June 23, 2005

Troop Morale and the Home Front

More from Abizaid:

Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, acknowledged that U.S. troops, too, were becoming aware of the drop in the public's confidence.

"When my soldiers say to me and ask me the question whether or not they've got support from the American people or not, that worries me. And they're starting to do that," he said.

The Hugh Hewitt's will tell you it's the Dick Durbins of the world that are the root cause of Abizaid's concerns. Or the baddies of the MSM deflating war morale with slanted news coverage. People like Hewitt might have a point, to a fashion (though I have to say I think they've been a bit hysterical of late. Witness: "Censure Durbin because he deserves it, and the country's defense demands it"). And the bigger factor, I'd submit, is that no one in this Administration has come clean, really come clean, about how long and hard the war effort in Iraq will be. So the American people have been left surprised and dispirited about how bloody and difficult the going has been. Meantime, rank fools or spinmeisters are declaring victory in the blogosphere and in think tanks. This is as irresponsible and stupid as saying we have already been defeated and should pack up and go home. No one really knows how this effort will play out in the final analysis yet. What is clear, however, is that there is a lot of hard work yet to do--as Abizaid, who knows better than anyone, said today.

The public needs to be rallied anew to the task at hand lest support flag further. Bush should likely give a speech to the nation in the coming weeks spelling out what the consequences of retreat from Iraq would be (devastating, in a word). And ask the nation for patience and renewed committment to the war effort. He should neither be too optimistic, nor too pessimistic. But he has to treat his public as having heads on their shoulders--and keep the spin and rosy gloss to a mimimum. I mean, I just saw Cheney in my hotel room in Geneva in a Wolf Blitzer interview actually going on about what the definition of "throes" is when you look it up in the dictionary. Still spinning the "last throes" bit! Message to Veep: This sounds Clintonian and parsy and disingenuous. Only when the American people feel they are getting the real skinny will the country rally again to the task at hand. And so help make the troops under Abizaid's command less concerned about whether the American people support them. They do, still, in the main. But many are increasingly skeptical and disillusioned, as polling data seems to indicate. Again, I wager this decline in support is mostly borne of the over-optimistic prognostications coming from our leaders. Put differently, let's celebrate the victories when they occur; not before. Frank talk and honesty is the best policy. And the hard truth is that success in Iraq, real success (a viable, unitary democratic state with multi-ethnic, integrated security forces capable of standing and fighting), is still years away.


Posted by Gregory at June 23, 2005 11:52 PM | TrackBack (5)
Comments

Greg,

Do you really think that Hugh Hewett only has a point "to a fashion" whatever that means? Granted Bush has given the Durbins and the MSM the nubs that they have spun their cotton candy around, but do you honestly think the coverage would be anything close to what we have now if another media darling like Bill Clinton was in the WH? Your own mendacious posts on the horror - the horror - of fake blood put on the poor little terrorist is representative. You conveniently left out of your narrative that 1) the tactic was suggested to the interrogator by a devout Muslim on the Gitmo team, 2) she was reprimanded for doing it when it was made known to her superiors. But why let a few inconvenient facts get in the way of a good Bush bashing story line? And I'd like to second the call of the prior commentor who asked you for your source material on the number killed in US custody - I trust your integrity completely, but the surreal nature of this debate has made all such statistics questionable.

Posted by: wayne at June 24, 2005 03:08 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

To be honest Greg, I don't think any admininstratio anywhere will ever come clean about anything important. Why? To be honest because the vast majority of the populace in most nations are too ignorant, too stupid or just don't care enough to seek, nay demand the truth.

We live in an age where political spin dominates the landscape. Where there is nuance within nuance within nuance. We see it here in the often heated debates between wingnuts, conservatives, lefty liberal apologists, whatever the nomeclature might be.

Most of the posters here have a (in my opinion) well above average level of intellect and capacity to ask questions - despite what might be said in the throes of debates. We are often arguing both sides of the same point - we often (despite what some of you might think) are arguing for what to do to make the world a safer place and reduce the threats we face. We argue essentially over nuance, ideology and opinion. (And I'd challenge some commentators here to take just a minute or 2 to think about that before you launch into the next salvo or wingnut/peacenik bashing)

Bearing that in mind how the hell would the middle of the road, pickup truck driving, blue collar guy in a working class environment, ever have the time, the intellect or the desire to take thoughts about this stuff even to the level we do here? I just don't beleive they do - and this IS the populace we're talking about here. For every one person here there must be hundreds living in the blissful ignorance. If its on the TV it must be right kinda mentality.

The basic reality is most of the populace are so busy just living, that unless it enters the sphere of there everyday lives, they just don't give a shit.

So therefore, why bother changing or coming clean?? There's no reason too, and a hell of a lot of reasons not too. Maybe its why communism failed to such a degree. Keep people mostly busy but kinda comfortable and give 'em a bit of religion and they really wont worry too much about what you do...

Thats my 2c on the human condition. I'm sure some will want to comment, so go right ahead!

Posted by: Aran Brown at June 24, 2005 03:32 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Bush should likely give a speech to the nation spelling out what the consequences of retreat from Iraq would be.

Would he be any more accurate about the consequences of withdrawal than he was about the consequences of invasion?

Posted by: AlanDownunder at June 24, 2005 03:46 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg, your blog seems to now resort to ad hominem arguments showing up somewhere in the in the majority of your posts. Says a lot about a person if he can't help but resort to petty insults. I originally started to visit here for the analysis, but I'm afraid that this visit is my last.

Posted by: Sashamurphy at June 24, 2005 04:13 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

i'm sorry you feel that way sasha murphy b/c i want to keep the readers i have. but if you want to move on, well, move on then. i have attacked wretchard and lileks of late (just like i've attacked duncan black or josh marshall in the past) b/c i think they are, each in their own fashion, doing a disservice to the war effort (one by underestimating the insurgency, the other by trivializing torture via frat-like humor). if i've been too snarky or sound like an asshole, i really apologize. you know, the blogosphere is odd. you rarely meet any of the people (at least I don't as i don't go to blog conclaves and the like) that you are in cyber-dialogue with. if i had met duncan, or lileks or wretchard or josh--maybe i'd be less snarky. but the blogosphere is built on a not insignificant amount of feisty repartie, and i'm doing this not to be ad hominem or trash people but to try to make substantive points. readers are more than welcome to let me know if they find my tactics distasteful, in the main, and i will try to adapt to the extent that the criticism is persuasive, judicious and fair. but i've got my M.O. and style--and when someone, for instance, makes a mockery of the very serious issue of guantanamo, or trumps up the Niger-uranium story erroneously, i find it well within my rights to call b.s. and take them to task.

again, however, i want readers who have previously found analysis here they find of interest not to defect and regret those who feel they no longer want to come around. they'll be missed, but there are a lot of blogs out there, and you should point your browser where you so desire. i would say, however, that I see a tendency on both the right and left of the blogosphere to curl up into various echo-chambers of self-congralatory amens. Chimp=Hitleresque Neo-Fascist on Left; 'We Don't Saw Heads'--so All Cool on Right. I'm calling them as I see them over here not to preen as some cool centrist, but b/c i'm going with my gut and head. and as i said, if you don't like it, there are a helluva lot of other blogs out there to choose from.

Finally, can I just say that if you have decided to move along and not come around--I'm not sure you really need to announce it in comments. Just move on, no?

best,
gd

Posted by: greg at June 24, 2005 08:52 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg.....

at this point, do you really believe that a speech by Bush would have any real impact?

The reason that this war is losing the support of the American people is the loss of credibility of our leadership. We were sold a war on obviously false pretenses---that Iraq was a threat, that the war would make us safer, and that the aftermath would be "easy." And since then, we've "turned the corner" so many times, it feels like we're going around in circles.

Maybe if Bush came clean, and admitted that as a result of his arrogant self-righteousness he both deceived the American people about the need for the war and failed to plan properly for its aftermath, and then cleaned house of the Rumsfelds, Cheney's, Rices', Boltons, Negroponte's etc. and replaced them with "internationalists", the American people might believe that Bush can be believed this time about the dangers represented by Iraq, and the need to "stay the course."

But lets face it, George W. Bush is simply incapable of doing what is necessary to regain the confidence of the American people. Its not in his character.

Its becoming increasingly apparent that you and other thinking conservatives are making the long hard slog back to the "reality based community" --- but its two steps forward (recognizing that the situation is not getting better anytime soon, and recognizing the damage that this war is doing to the Army) and one step back (thinking that a speech is the solution to the problems -- that's its all just a question of public relations.)

The reason I advocate withdrawal from Iraq is that the rest of the world is just as aware as you are of the likely consequences of such a withdrawal, and would be forced to act to prevent those consequences. And the reason why the international community is not more involved now is that they know that if they help the US, Bush will simply see it as a vindication of his policies --- and simply continue on the same destructive path that got us into Iraq in the first place. Only when Bush is humbled and the world is assured that he no longer represents a danger will the needed cooperation of the international community be forthcoming.

I wish I knew what the "right" answer is, but I really don't see a solution as long as Bush remains in the White House. He's not going to change --- if anything, he's going to get worse (Karl Rove's planned deliberate provocation of Democrats tells us how this White House responds to adversity----lash out at the critics in the hope that attention can be diverted from the problem and responsibility for the problem.)

A speech by George W. Bush telling us to "stay the course" isn't going to have anything other than a minor, temporary impact on US support for this war, while the damage being done to US national security interests continue to accumulate.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at June 24, 2005 11:56 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg,
I continue to respect your position on torture/prisoner abuse. Yet you continue to display a less than commendable moral ambivalence.

Now, according to Karl Rove, you, like Dick Durbin, are a traitor.

Karl says you are deliberately undermining the troops and the mission and aiding and abetting the enemy.

Rove is Bush's right hand man. Look at the comments here. When will you realize, Greg, that you're on the wrong side. This issue of torture is revealing the true nature of the right wing.

You say you side with the rightwing because you trust the rightwing to be stronger on defense. I don't see how you can trust someone like Rove to be or do anything. Rumsfeld has bungled miserably, Wolfowitz was pathologically inaccurate in his estimates of resources needed to successfully prosecute the Iraq war. Yet Bush defends them. He won't fire any of them as any good CEO would.

Rove calls those who criticize torture traitors and Bush does nothing. Think about it, your man is either too weak or too morally corrupt to deal with the torture issue and to deal with Rove's fascism (yes, it is fascism).

So Bush gave you and your wealthy friends and clients some tax cuts. By doing so did he buy your soul?

Posted by: avedis at June 24, 2005 12:11 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

p.

Respectfully, why would the world come in when we pull out? Politicians of other countries would be under the same pressures as our own politicians -- Why are we cleaning up the US messes? Why are we sending our boys (and girls) out to die, when the US can't be bothered? What business is it of ours if Iraq is a mess??

And, if the world left the mess to fester (think Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo, Darfur), would you support sending the troops back in (under a President Hillary Clinton)?

I'd like to believe that we could get the world to help us on this. But there's no compelling reason for them to do it. And, frankly, if a nation does not have a compelling national interest to do something, it usually does not have the will to see the task through if the going even gets mildly tough. (Again, see Iraq and Vietnam)

Posted by: Appalled Moderate at June 24, 2005 01:02 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

avedis: i am insulted that you breezily impugn my integrity with your comment: "So Bush gave you and your wealthy friends and clients some tax cuts. By doing so did he buy your soul?" First off, you don't know who my "friends" or "clients" are. Second, I can assure you that the issue of whether my taxes would go up in a Kerry Admin had no impact on my vote. I voted on foreign policy grounds solely. If I thought Kerry had a better foreign policy to offer up than Bush--and Kerry was going to double my taxes--I'd have voted for Kerry. It's really that simple. Your insinuations to the contrary are therefore quite insulting.

p.s. and while your passionate (if often misguided) conviction and seeming sincerity are all well and good avedis--you clearly become unhinged in describing karl rove as "fascist." his comments may be dumb, misguided, unfair, reprehensible even (i've not given them much thought just yet frankly)--but to call them "fascist" is just absurd. you cheapen words like the rankest of relativists when you speak like that. and greatly reduce your credibility as a serious interlocuter. at least imho.

Posted by: greg at June 24, 2005 02:00 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Respectfully, why would the world come in when we pull out? Politicians of other countries would be under the same pressures as our own politicians -- Why are we cleaning up the US messes? Why are we sending our boys (and girls) out to die, when the US can't be bothered? What business is it of ours if Iraq is a mess?? ... I'd like to believe that we could get the world to help us on this. But there's no compelling reason for them to do it.

My point (which I guess I didn't make clear) is that they won't "help us", but what they will do is act in their own national security interests. The goal here is to separate "helping the Bush regime" from "acting in their own national interests" by preventing the creation of a chaotic failed state in the middle of the source of an absolutely vital percentage of the world's oil supply.

There is a lot of speculation about Syria and Iranian support for the insurgency --- if one accepts that as being true, one has to ask why they would consider that support in their interests given the risk that chaos in Iraq could easily spread to their own countries. And the only reason I can come up with would be that they see the US presence in Iraq as a "grave and growing" threat to them, and the insurgency is preventing that threat from being realized. Remove that threat, and there is very little upside for nations like Syria and Iran to support the insurgency---and lots of potential problems if the insurgency continues.

My reading is that rest of the international community is equally (although, not as directly) concerned with the prospect of chaos in Iraq --- and equally discomfited by the prospect that the US would, in fact, attack Syria or Iran should Iraq be pacified.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at June 24, 2005 02:30 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg,

I think you should chill out and let these people vent. If they don't like your writing or don't trust your integrity, they don't have to come back. The majority of your readers - like myself - do, and appreciate your writing, and think you have integrity, and would rather argue over ideas. You shouldn't have to defend your evenhandedness or even provide evidence of your impartiality. Just call it like you see it, and the readers you care about will keep reading.

Posted by: Eric at June 24, 2005 02:51 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I think what's really at issue here is that many want to believe that the administration didn't properly prepare the American people. But, those of us who actually listened to the President's SOTU were warned about how difficult the OIF would be.

From 2003

"Sending Americans into battle is the most profound decision a President can make. The technologies of war have changed; the risks and suffering of war have not. For the brave Americans who bear the risk, no victory is free from sorrow. This nation fights reluctantly, because we know the cost and we dread the days of mourning that always come."

From 2004

"Our generational commitment to the advance of freedom, especially in the Middle East, is now being tested and honored in Iraq. "

"Recently an Iraqi interpreter said to a reporter, "Tell America not to abandon us." He and all Iraqis can be certain: While our military strategy is adapting to circumstances, our commitment remains firm and unchanging. We are standing for the freedom of our Iraqi friends, and freedom in Iraq will make America safer for generations to come. (Applause.) We will not set an artificial timetable for leaving Iraq, because that would embolden the terrorists and make them believe they can wait us out. We are in Iraq to achieve a result: A country that is democratic, representative of all its people, at peace with its neighbors, and able to defend itself. And when that result is achieved, our men and women serving in Iraq will return home with the honor they have earned. (Applause.)"

"The terrorists and insurgents are violently opposed to democracy, and will continue to attack it."


"Right now, Americans in uniform are serving at posts across the world, often taking great risks on my orders. We have given them training and equipment; and they have given us an example of idealism and character that makes every American proud. (Applause.) The volunteers of our military are unrelenting in battle, unwavering in loyalty, unmatched in honor and decency, and every day they're making our nation more secure. Some of our servicemen and women have survived terrible injuries, and this grateful country will do everything we can to help them recover. (Applause.) And we have said farewell to some very good men and women, who died for our freedom, and whose memory this nation will honor forever."


From Gregory:
". Frank talk and honesty is the best policy. And the hard truth is that success in Iraq, real success (a viable, unitary democratic state with multi-ethnic, integrated security forces capable of standing and fighting), is still years away."

Gregory mee the SOTU. SOTU meet Gregory.
2004 SOTU

Posted by: Tom at June 24, 2005 03:07 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg

I suggest rereading the guy at AEI. Minus the silly "war is won" headline, he made some very good points.

I think a lot of the silliness in the blogosphere has to do with the ambiguity in the phrase "the war is won" Is the war won when its no longer possible for your adversary to win, and thus the issue is decided, even if you still see the course? To an armchair strategist, or to a historian focusing on strategy and the like, world war two was "won" by January 1943. To the thousands of Americans who lost sons, husbands, fathers after that - to the millions of civilians who died - the Jews who were incinerated - the notion that the war was "won" in 1943 is an obscene joke. Or take the American Civil War - it was "over" in September 1864, with the fall of Atlanta. Yet plenty of horror at Petersburg lay ahead.

The war is "over" in that its virtually impossible for the insurgency to win, IF we stay the course. And the likelihood that we will get a working democracy in Iraq is far higher now than it was a year ago, and looking more promising with each passing week. BUT - weve got years of war ahead, hundreds of more US combat deaths, and probably thousands of more Iraqi deaths at the hands of the Jihadis. So the war is FAR from over.

Posted by: liberalhawk at June 24, 2005 03:46 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"There is a lot of speculation about Syria and Iranian support for the insurgency --- if one accepts that as being true, one has to ask why they would consider that support in their interests given the risk that chaos in Iraq could easily spread to their own countries. And the only reason I can come up with would be that they see the US presence in Iraq as a "grave and growing" threat to them, and the insurgency is preventing that threat from being realized. "


Or they simply fear the demonstration effect from a democracy, and the Iranian mullahs in particular fear the influence of the Najaf hawza.

Posted by: liberalhawk at June 24, 2005 03:48 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"I'd like to believe that we could get the world to help us on this. But there's no compelling reason for them to do it"

and even if they did who would do so? Germany is extremely reluctant to deploy outside of Europe, and did so in Afghanistan with great reluctance. I doubt they would deploy in Iraq if we left even if they saw the danger. France has troops in Haiti, in Cote D'Ivoire, and IIUC in Afghanistan. Frankly thyre pretty close to overstretch too - they dont have that many troops deployable abroad. Most of our other allies are already in Iraq, or are already overstretched.

Posted by: liberalhawk at June 24, 2005 03:53 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"I'd like to believe that we could get the world to help us on this. But there's no compelling reason for them to do it"

and even if they did who would do so? Germany is extremely reluctant to deploy outside of Europe, and did so in Afghanistan with great reluctance. I doubt they would deploy in Iraq if we left even if they saw the danger. France has troops in Haiti, in Cote D'Ivoire, and IIUC in Afghanistan. Frankly thyre pretty close to overstretch too - they dont have that many troops deployable abroad. Most of our other allies are already in Iraq, or are already overstretched.

Posted by: liberalhawk at June 24, 2005 03:54 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Gregory mee the SOTU. SOTU meet Gregory.

The SOTU's were the furthest thing from "frank talk and honesty" --- they were boilerplate glowing generalities about the honor and sacrifice in times of war. We already know that "war is hell".

When Greg talks about "frank and honest", I assume he mean in contrast to what we've been hearing so far --- the increasingly empty reassurances that although thinking about war is "hard work", there is no reason for concern about Iraq because everything will turn out right if we just "stay the course."

First and foremost is an admission that Bush and his subordinates did not properly plan for the post-invasion period, and ignored those (like Tony Blair) who recognized the enormous challenge that the physical and political reconstruction of Iraq represented. We know that Bush blew it, what we need to know now is that Bush knows that he blew it, because there is no way to have any confidence in him going forward if he doesn't know it.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at June 24, 2005 04:24 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

p.s. and while your passionate (if often misguided) conviction and seeming sincerity are all well and good avedis--you clearly become unhinged in describing karl rove as "fascist."

Greg-
"Fascist" may be over-the-top, but this is some scary shit. When the president's right-hand man essentially calls liberals traitors, we're going down a dangerous road.

What are the odds that Rove's comments (much more offensive than Durbin's) are retracted?

Posted by: Guy at June 24, 2005 04:28 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

At issue are the following:

1) The War on Terror has been defined as an open-ended war;
2) Certain right-wing personalities (politicians and pundits alike) have stated that any dissent in a time of war gives aid and comfort to the enemy.

How is it possible to reconcile the two? If the War on Terror is, in fact, a state of perpetual war, then point 2 outlaws dissent for perpetuity.

Posted by: Big Gay Al at June 24, 2005 04:49 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I ascribe a higher importance to the MSM.
I've read that getting troops to go back for a second tour to Iraq is easier than to get new recruits. Seeing the reality seems to provoke a different reaction than those dependent on what the MSM provides.
Our guys have fought major urban conflicts with minimal civilian casualties, engagements that will be do down in history. They've built schools, vaccinated kids, and on and on. The Iraqis are standing up. They are taking hits but fighting back.
I agree that the Bush team is terrible at PR and advocacy. But the friction provided by the Dems and MSM are far more worrisome. Greg, I respect your integrity and will continue to enjoy reading your posts. But as a 70s anti-war type, I see the same scenario unfolding. We were working towards a US defeat then, and I see the Left/MSM working towards a US defeat now. And yes, with notable support (some tacit, some less so) from Democratic Party leaders. Bush sucks at PR? Sure. But why don't Dems work half as hard for US victory in Iraq as they do for defeat of Bolton?

Posted by: Jim, Mtn View, CA at June 24, 2005 05:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

p.lukasiak,


"The SOTU's were the furthest thing from "frank talk and honesty" --- they were boilerplate glowing generalities about the honor and sacrifice in times of war. We already know that "war is hell".

Thanks for proving my point. Despite, the fact that Bush specifically says:

"We will not set an artificial timetable for leaving Iraq, because that would embolden the terrorists and make them believe they can wait us out. "

That means he isn't being honest with the American people about how long we will be in Iraq.


Despite the fact that he says:

"Some of our servicemen and women have survived terrible injuries, and this grateful country will do everything we can to help them recover. (Applause.) And we have said farewell to some very good men and women, who died for our freedom, and whose memory this nation will honor forever."

To you that means he isn't being honest with the American people the maiming and killing of ours soldiers.


Someone is following a boilerplate here, but it isn't Bush. Bush can't help that you refuse to heed his words. That's really not a failing of his, but yours.

Posted by: Tom at June 24, 2005 06:46 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Now Tom - you are so unfair to lukasiak there - he heard lots of things that were never said - like

Iraq is an imminent threat

or

WMD is the only reason for toppling Saddam


Considering how he has heard things that weren't said its a little much to expect him to ALSO hear the things that were said


Theres only so much time ;)

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at June 24, 2005 07:18 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

That means he isn't being honest with the American people about how long we will be in Iraq.

If Bush had told the American people to expect over a hundred thousand troops to be stationed in Iraq for five years or more, and the the war would cost $150 Billion each year, (not to mention thousands of deaths and permanent disfigurement and disability of American troops) THAT would be "being honest"

You seem to forget that Bush regime officials were also saying that the war would be a "cakewalk" and "would pay for itself"....

So, while Bush may have been saying "open ended", we were being told at the same time that "open ended" meant "not terribly long, and not that costly".

Oh, and BTW, Scott McClelland did describe the threat as "imminent"...

But don't let the facts get in the way of your arguments....

Posted by: p.lukasiak at June 24, 2005 07:28 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Now Tom - you are so unfair to lukasiak there - he heard lots of things that were never said - like
Iraq is an imminent threat

If Iraq was not an imminent threat, why did we attack?

Posted by: Big Gay Al at June 24, 2005 07:47 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Luka, that is a LIE

McCellen responded to a QUESTION that used the term

And frankly - thats the best you can do - pathetic


Now let us join luka in the world of fantasy - where Roosevelt tells the US public in Dec 41 that we will be at war for 4 years and lose 300,000 dead

Whats that - Roosevelt didn't have the ability to tell the future?

But chimpymchaliburton is expected to?


Here's your chance - why don't you predict some significant events for the next 6 months - lets see how your crystal ball works

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at June 24, 2005 07:55 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Big Gay Al -

The roof only leaks when it rains, but when is the best time to fix it? When it's raining or when it's not?

Posted by: Adriane at June 24, 2005 08:26 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

p.lukasiak,

Darn the Internet and the truth it holds...

04/06/2003
Transcript: Deputy Defense Wolfowitz, General Pace on NBC's Meet the Press

MR. RUSSERT: But our soldiers have encountered something much more than a "cakewalk" that Ken Adelman, who is on the Pentagon Defense Review Board, had suggested it would be.

MR. WOLFOWITZ: I have always disliked that term, and no one in the senior leadership in this administration, either civilian or military, and certainly not the president, has ever thought that war is anything other than a very dangerous thing. The president would not have put young men and women at risk of their lives, young Americans at risk of their lives, if he didn't think that there's something very important here in terms of our security and security of our friends and allies.

Need I say more about who is reading from a boilerplate or atleast speaking without doing a little research of the facts.

Posted by: tom at June 24, 2005 08:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

We went into Iraq for reasons I seriously doubt you will ever understand if you don't by now

If your yardstick for measuring the need for action, including military action, is "imminent danger" then we are never going to agree

See, in my view President Clinton should have gone into Afghanistan in 1998 when we knew OBL was there, we knew he was being sheltered by the Taliban, we knew what the Taliban was and we knew OBL was coordinating assults on US interests around the world.

Did the conditions in 1998 meet your definition of an imminent threat?

I am pretty sure they did not

Do you wish we had gone after OBL before 9/11?
I sure wish we had


But I am a realist - I understand that the political will to do this was lacking in 1998 - if Clinton had tried this he would have been abused by the Republicans for this effort

Frankly it took 9/11 to wake SOME of us up

It seems we haven't woken everyone up yet

Maybe when the jihadis are about to saw your head off you will see the danger

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at June 24, 2005 08:43 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Need I say more about who is reading from a boilerplate or atleast speaking without doing a little research of the facts.

yeah, you can provide me with some evidence that Wolfowitz (who's the guy who said that reconstruction would pretty much pay for itself) objected to the use of the word "cakewalk" BEFORE it became obvious that it wasn't gonna be one.

When did Wolfowitz tell the American people...

"Expect thousands upon thousands of America's finest young men and woman to be returned home in body bags, or missing limbs, or permanently disfigured in the first two years --- and expect there be no end in sight to the carnage at that point"?

Also, note that Wolfowitz did not address the SPECIFIC QUESTION about Iraq, and how much death and carnage it would visit on American troops. His statement was, in fact, nothing but "war is hell" boilerplate....

....and given the fact that we now know that these soldiers were sent to fight this optional war without the proper body armor or properly armored transport, its pretty obvious that Wolfowitz was lying when he cited how concerned Bush was with the welfare of the troops....

Posted by: p.lukasiak at June 24, 2005 08:58 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 41 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - President Bush assured Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari on Friday "there are not going to be any timetables" for withdrawal of American forces and vowed victory over insurgents attempting to prevent establishment of a democratic government under a new constitution.

If only Bush could be more clear and honest...

Posted by: tom at June 24, 2005 09:00 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

What worries me is that it seems the same deluded ideologues who ignored all the experts and believed things would go wonderfully after Iraq was conquered, still seem to have the President's ear and are giving him more bad advice.

A recent example is how the President's denunciation of Iran the day before its election last week lead the Iranian public to come out and vote to defend its pride. Wasn't that predictable?

Another area is Syria, where the administration seems to think there is a strong liberal movement that could take power if the present regime fell. That is the same mistake it made in Iraq, and for the same reason.

Posted by: Les Brunswick at June 24, 2005 09:07 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

p.lukasiak,

I guess I can see where you got confused. By War... you thought something other than war.

Again, that's not really his fault now it is.

And really why did he need to say that... you guys were screaming it at the top of your lungs and still are... any American that hasn't heard all the talk of body bags would have to be deaf.

Better things to do... hasta la vista

Posted by: tom at June 24, 2005 09:07 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Ah well Tom - you must have heard the same broken record from the Luka's of the world before

They "heard" what they wanted to hear - facts are not important

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at June 24, 2005 09:20 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Les -

Some pictures of incredibly empty polling stations in Tehran are yours to view at www.publiuspundit.com.

As for the other two paragraphs in your comment, several posters hereon, better qualified than I, have gently tried to help you distinguish between what the President said, and what others have said the President said.

Additional comment on my part would be superfluous.

Posted by: Adriane at June 25, 2005 01:10 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

As one of those troops that watches with a keen eye what is going on at home, I disagree with the comment that "disillusionment is coming from successes celebrated too early and then not borne out." Successes that have been made have not been celebrated, period. We have won the war in both Iraq and Afghanistan over a cruel despot and the vicious Taliban. We are fighting to win the peace in both places. The terrorists (both local and imported) will not win – and when they fight us, they die. This is not Vietnam (I've been there), so from personal experience, this analogy should be dropped muy pronto. Islamofascism is not an ideology that has a future, yet it is amazing to hear that some are fighting at home for our loss. They will not win, period. This is not the time to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

The American people want victory, not excuses. There are some that view American power as the problem, not the solution - and that is the meme that is put forward by the Durbins of the world. I disagree. We fight for an idea, the idea that freedom and democracy is the last best hope for both protecting our families and bringing forth peace. Sometimes, you have to fight for what you believe in. The countries that fight with us in Iraq are there because they believe freedom is worth fighting for. For the ones that aren’t, they can be lumped into the free-rider or the opportunistic categories. They know we will fight because it is in our interest to do so, so they can pose as “defenders of international norms” while taking the easy road. When the British, Dutch, Italians, Japanese, South Koreans, and Japanese are willing to go to war (as well as about 20 other countries) at our side, then we may be onto something. I wouldn’t be surprised if the shoot-down of the EU constitution was in some ways a result of this because Iraq highlighted who can be trusted to do the right thing. In the end, America will.

Since I’m on a roll….the critics of the war claim that they "support the troops, but..." They can stop right there. Supporting the troops means supporting the troops, and if you voted to put them in harms way, you better follow through with it. I really wish the left and the press would stop claiming they support me, because I'm just not feeling very supported by their continuous undermining and carping.

Do the critics know who SFC Paul Smith is? The first Medal of Honor recipient in Iraq? Where is the honoring of the heroes? It is an injustice to the efforts of hundreds of thousands of professional troops that work very hard to be the best military in the world, whose efforts have minimized casualties on BOTH sides to the maximum extent possible. Critics who just focus on the casualties actually demean our efforts. We are, as a group, doing our best and making sure that the vast majority put in harms way serve honorably, get the mission done, and come home in one piece. It is disheartening that the focus always appears to be on the few soldiers that act two standard deviations from the norm, or the soldiers that only seem to become important after they die. If there is criminal activity in the military, that’s why we have and enforce the Uniform Code of Military Justice. If public support is “going soft”, it is because the heroes, both living and dead, are not honored - even worse, the just and good works they do are not acknowledged by those who darn well know that we are doing the right thing.

Posted by: Max at June 25, 2005 03:48 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Excellent post, Max.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at June 25, 2005 07:13 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Excellent post, Max.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at June 25, 2005 07:13 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg said;

"Again, I wager this decline in support is mostly borne of the over-optimistic prognostications coming from our leaders"

The above and much of the dialogue here leads me to believe that most commentators here were in kindergarden in '68, college in the early '80s under the tutelage of the anti-war Marxist Neo-Left that still controls the academy, and have spent their entire lives depending on the Neo-Left MSM for their worldview.

Is this a sound predicate?

RiverRat, USN Riverine Forces RVN '68-69

Posted by: RiverRat at June 25, 2005 09:20 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Other than Max, that is!

Posted by: RiverRat at June 25, 2005 09:25 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Successes that have been made have not been celebrated, period.

really? I guess you missed the accolades for Bush and the troops for their success in Afghanistan, the whole orgy of American self-congratulation when Bush got into fly-boy drag and announced "Major combat operations are over" in front of the "Mission Accomplished" banner, the self-congratulations accompanying the return of sovereignty, and the over-the-top "blue finger" celebrations accompanying the Iraqi elections...

I mean, its one thing to say that the media is presenting too negative a picture of what is going on in Iraq. But please don't lie about "successes not being celebrated", because IMHO one of the primary causes of the disillusionment of the American people is that they have been "celebrating" over and over again --- and still the body bags keep coming home while billions of tax dollars are sent to Iraq each week.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at June 25, 2005 10:06 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg,
RE: Your response up thread;
That you would be willing to pay 2X your current taxes under an administration that would fight "the war" best puts you in a minority of Americans. That you of the secondary school education and high finance set still manage to surround yourself with friends and clients that are unconcerned with lowering personal and business tax liabilities makes you a yet rarer individual.

Come on, Greg, I came of age in the country club set myself. I know what it's all about.

And it's all academic anyhow because no matter what the cost of war and the deficit, Bush will never ask people like you to make any actual sacrifice, financial or otherwise, by way of supporting the troops or the country.

You can pontificate about the virtues of invading a country that did not contain or support terrorists threatened the US. You can ignore the costs in blood and treasure and dispense with cost/benefit and marginal analyses because you are not invested in any way.

However, If I am wrong, I'm wrong. And I apologize for breazily impugning your character.

As for the comment regarding Rove's fascism....let's just say he's fascism-lite.

Yet I stand firm that it is fascism he's peddling. The techniques are classic of that philosophy - first sell the big lie and roll the state towards endless war, then accuse dissenters of treason, name entire blocks of people as the enemy (you know like Jews, liberals, Armenians).

The only thing keeping Rove and Mr. this-would-be easier-if-the country-were-a-dictatorship-as-long-as-I'm-the-dictator-Bush from full blown fascism is our Constitutional system of checks and balances.

Posted by: avedis at June 25, 2005 12:16 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Av,

Ummm, State-Owned Socialism is your bag, old sport - not Mr. Rove's.

You people need to get your story straight, you've got an election coming up in a little over 18 Months.

Stand firm if you want, but don't expect the rest of us not to laugh at you.

Posted by: Tommy G at June 26, 2005 12:41 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg,

I think you are right about setting the correct tone for Tuesday's speech. When I hear Cheney stating that we are near the end game in Iraq, it makes me cringe.

However I disagree with the following statement:

"But many are increasingly skeptical and disillusioned, as polling data seems to indicate. Again, I wager this decline in support is mostly borne of the over-optimistic prognostications coming from our leaders."

I think you have stated half the problem. The other problem is as Max pointed out above, the successes since 9/11 have been ignored by MSM or buried in the back page. In Cheney's interview with Blitzer, Cheney made a compelling case of the string of successes since 9/11 despite constant carping from the political opposition. But you would not know it because of the disproportional reporting on all of the things that have gone wrong.

A big difference I see, and one we should all appreciate, is what we are hearing from vets like Max. Remember, just two years into the heavy fighting (1967) Vietnam vets coming back from the war were overwhelmingly negative about what they were accomplishing.

Isn't it interesting that virtually everything you hear from vets serving in Iraq is that as bad as things currently are, the country is on the right track and toppling Saddam was indisputably good for Iraq.

Max and company are the ones whose lives are on the line every day and they are not skeptical or disillusioned. What's the problem with the people back home?


Posted by: bob at June 26, 2005 04:06 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg,

I think you are right about setting the correct tone for Tuesday's speech. When I hear Cheney stating that we are near the end game in Iraq, it makes me cringe.

However I disagree with the following statement:

"But many are increasingly skeptical and disillusioned, as polling data seems to indicate. Again, I wager this decline in support is mostly borne of the over-optimistic prognostications coming from our leaders."

I think you have stated half the problem. The other problem is as Max pointed out above, the successes since 9/11 have been ignored by MSM or buried in the back page. In Cheney's interview with Blitzer, Cheney made a compelling case of the string of successes since 9/11 despite constant carping from the political opposition. But you would not know it because of the disproportional reporting on all of the things that have gone wrong.

A big difference I see, and one we should all appreciate, is what we are hearing from vets like Max. Remember, just two years into the heavy fighting (1967) Vietnam vets coming back from the war were overwhelmingly negative about what they were accomplishing.

Isn't it interesting that virtually everything you hear from vets serving in Iraq is that as bad as things currently are, the country is on the right track and toppling Saddam was indisputably good for Iraq.

Max and company are the ones whose lives are on the line every day and they are not skeptical or disillusioned. What's the problem with the people back home?


Posted by: bob at June 26, 2005 04:07 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Again, I wager this decline in support is mostly borne of the over-optimistic prognostications coming from our leaders.

There may be some over-optimistic spin, but I don't really see nearly as much as over-pessimistic. You might try to quantify it.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at June 28, 2005 09:49 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

What is the definition of mission accomplished?
We can tick off a list of part accomplishments:
1. WMD: mission pre-accomplished
2. AlQaida support: mission pre-accomplished
3. Regime change: mission accomplished
What's left to do?

Posted by: AlanDownUnder at July 1, 2005 08:55 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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