June 28, 2005

Kerry's Bad Advice

John Kerry, in today's NYT, has some advice for Bush in advance of his speech tonight. It's quite poor, in the main.

Kerry:

He [Bush] should also say that the United States will insist that the Iraqis establish a truly inclusive political process and meet the deadlines for finishing the Constitution and holding elections in December. We're doing our part: our huge military presence stands between the Iraqi people and chaos, and our special forces protect Iraqi leaders. The Iraqis must now do theirs.

There is an obsession with "deadlines," isn't there, among the Democrat camp of late? As I've said, and I agree with Rumsfeld on this, talk of deadlines and timetables provides a "lifeline to terrorists". It's a huge incentive to the bad guys to simply wait us out. It's simply bad policy, and it's sad that whoever is advising Kerry on such opinion pieces behind the scenes (Jamie Rubin? Susan Rice? Ivo Daalder?) continues to go on about artificial drop-dead deadines and such. Yes, it would be great if Iraqis were able to meet deadlines on the Constitution or the December elections. But to hold a gun to their head and intimate we might cut and run if they do not meet such timeframes is just as irresponsible as providing some drop-dead exit date (yet another fictitious "deadline"). It is simply not the right way forward. Moderate Iraqis must believe that we will stand shoulder to shoulder with them come what may.

Notice too how Kerry cloaks this recommendation in faux patriotic garb ("We're doing our part.,.The Iraqis must now do theirs..."). Let's re-rephrase that somewhat. We've not done our part, not by a long shot. In fact, speaking frankly, much of our involvement to date has been something of a pretty significant cluster-f*&k (this is not to discount the very significant strides made, ie. sovereignty handed over, successful elections, Sunni involvement in the Constitution-drafting but, still, the security situation remains dismal in large swaths of the country and so democratization and reconstruction is badly lagging). After all, a prerequisite to establishing a true democracy in Mesopotamia is providing basic order so that viable political governance structures can take root. So it is simply breathtaking--and speaks to Kerry's lack of real conviction and fundamental disinterest in seeing Iraqi democratization through--that he would breezily declare that "(w)e're doing our part." We've not yet, alas, and so this is simply rhetoric on par with Kerry's donning of the goose-hunting gear during the election. It's a bone to toss to presumed isolationist red-staters who wonder why we're spending so much blood and treasure helping out those so-far-away-ingrate-A-Rabs. It's the cheapest of rhetoric really, and until more serious Democrats emerge such talk only reinforces the view of foreign policy observers, like B.D., who chose Bush in '04 because the alternative was far worse.

He also needs to put the training of Iraqi troops on a true six-month wartime footing and ensure that the Iraqi government has the budget needed to deploy them. The administration and the Iraqi government must stop using the requirement that troops be trained in-country as an excuse for refusing offers made by Egypt, Jordan, France and Germany to do more.

"A true six-month wartime footing." Wrong! What General Petraeus needs to do--the military leader in charge of 'train and equip'--is to take all the time he needs to make sure this job is done right. One criticism I've had of Don Rumsfeld is that he has thrown around numbers, 160,000 and such, of Iraqi forces trained and equipped much too breezily. We're meeting targets, Iraqification is proceeding apace, exit strategy is a-ok on sched! Except, of course, very few of these units can operate without U.S. support, many of them are not specialized in counter-insurgency tactics but are more by way of constabulatory forces and the like, not to mention a good many other problems besides. The point is there is no way this job can be done in six months. To so suggest is grotesquely irresponsible. Even Rumsfeld on Meet the Press last Sunday starting moving away from tossing about numbers and stated: "The biggest problems are not numbers. The biggest problems are the ministries, which are weak, and the chains of command down through those and the linkages between the police and the military forces, because they have to work together if they are going to repress this insurgency. And it's--most people are focusing on the metrics, the hard numbers. I would say the soft things, the ministries, the chains of command are considerably more important." Actually both are important. And neither the requisite numbers of fully trained and equipped Iraqi forces, nor adequate communication via "chains of command"--neither could be adequately accomplished on a 'wartime footing' (whatever that means) of six months. Kerry and his advisors likely know this, but this isn't about coming together and figuring out, really, how to win this war by helping bring about a viable, democratic Iraq. It's more about throwing around fake and easy fixes to score partisan points. Again, no leadership. No real opposition. Put simply, a time of deep mediocrity in Washington.

But I digress. Back to the meat of Kerry's oped. Ah, lest we forget, all those offers of help from Berlin and Paris that we've crudely rebuffed! What are they exactly (lest you think Bush's stubborn refusal to train more forces outside Iraq and his hick-like trans-atlantic feuding has us missing out on massive assistance and largesse from Paris and Berlin)? Well, here are the facts:

[France] pledged $660,000 to a NATO fund for military and police training in Iraq and has assigned one French midlevel officer to the training mission at NATO headquarters near Brussels, French officials said.

You'll forgive me if I wager that the one French midlevel officer--so reluctantly coughed up by Mr. Chirac so as to allow the U.S. to put the 'train and equip' effort under some titular NATO imprimatur/ umbrella--has absolutely no impact on 'train and equip'. Ah, you protest! But this is precisely Mr. Kerry's point! If we hadn't been so stubborn that most of the 'train and equip' take place in Iraq (which we weren't regardless, really)--Chirac would have come through!

Or, er, not:

Even with the agreement, the training mission is hampered by the fact that six NATO countries - France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Greece and Spain - have refused U.S. and Iraqi requests to help train military forces and police officers inside Iraq, preferring to do training outside the country or to help pay for the mission....

...But as several NATO countries resisted U.S. appeals to put even one soldier or police officer on the ground, the United States curbed its aims, saying that paying for the transport of equipment was to be lauded as an important contribution...

...As a result of the intense U.S. lobbying campaign, 17 other member states have committed more than $5 million in the last two weeks for trust funds that will cover such expenses as transporting Iraqi officers to NATO training posts outside Iraq and for equipment purchases...

By contrast, the United States has already contributed more than $50 million since last summer for the training mission.

Jones and other senior U.S. military officers have complained about the lack of adequate funding for the training mission and the cumbersome NATO system of fund-raising.

In a speech at NATO headquarters Tuesday, President Jacques Chirac of France said nothing about the French decision to participate in the NATO plan, but he reminded his partners that France has offered to train 1,500 Iraqi police officers outside of Iraq, a program that would cost France $20 million.

"In Iraq," Chirac told NATO leaders, "France wants to contribute to stability."

Sure, mon Jacques. Stability, indeed! In the form of 1,500 police officers. Gendarmarie, get it? The type that likely already have their hands pretty full in the Parisian banlieu. Still, they could help train a bit, oui? Er, with a small, pitiable number (1,500) of cops-to-be-trained in France. When what is really needed is a 200,000 strong fighting force trained in counter-insurgency that is capable of ultimately fighting alone, without coalition support, against a fanatical enemy. It is for this level of assistance that Kerry would like us to prostrate ourselves in front of a Jacques Chirac and beg for assistance? How silly. How inane. And, again, this is all a fake story, to a fashion. We've accepted German assistance training Iraqi forces outside of Iraq already (in the UAE). Kerry makes it sound like we've been stubborn, steadfastly refusing to allow for training anywhere outside Iraq. But that's simply not true. It's rank politiking, again. So people, lest you be fooled, he is not offering up real alternatives here. Get it?

The administration must immediately draw up a detailed plan with clear milestones and deadlines for the transfer of military and police responsibilities to Iraqis after the December elections. The plan should be shared with Congress. The guideposts should take into account political and security needs and objectives and be linked to specific tasks and accomplishments. If Iraqis adopt a constitution and hold elections as planned, support for the insurgency should fall and Iraqi security forces should be able to take on more responsibility. It will also set the stage for American forces to begin to come home.

Again, a "detailed plan with clear milestones and deadlines for the transfer of military and police responsibilities" would be a roadmap to the insurgents. And all this so that Senatorial blowhards like Kerry can windbag on a few months hence when the "plan...shared with Congress" misses a "deadline" because the going was a bit rougher than expected. Make no mistake. A good part of all this tiresome bloviating is making sure there is good political theater for the klieg-lights of the Beltway going forward. It's bad policy, but potentially good politics. Sad that this is what is proferred up as a serious alternative policy by the leading newspaper in the land and, perhaps, the leading Democrat (save HRC, of course!).

More from Kerry:

Iraq, of course, badly needs a unified national army, but until it has one - something that our generals now say could take two more years - it should make use of its tribal, religious and ethnic militias like the Kurdish pesh merga and the Shiite Badr Brigade to provide protection and help with reconstruction. Instead of single-mindedly focusing on training a national army, the administration should prod the Iraqi government to fill the current security gap by integrating these militias into a National Guard-type force that can provide security in their own areas.

What a horrible idea! Pushing the Badr Brigade and pesh merga out front smacks of desparation to provide security, whatever the consequences. Why? Because to integrate such militias into a "National Guard-type force" is likely to heighten the risks of inter-sectarian conflict. (Note also the inconsistency in Kerry's op-ed. He wants an all out "six month wartime footing" train and equip effort. But, apparently without really addressing the seeming contradiction, he more or less acknowledges that truly efficacious 'train and equip' will take more than two years).

His solution? Well, rush the effort so that a Shia-Kurdish National Guard provides security. But what of the risk of cross-ethnic or sectarian conflagration? Yes, Kerry says these militias would police "in their own areas." But this ignores hot-spots like Baghdad and Kirkuk that are ethnically mixed. And, regardless, what we really need is not more security, say, in Basra--but forces capable of helping root out insurgents in Mosul, Baghdad, Tal Afar, Fallujah, Ramadi, the Syrian border areas of Anbar province, and so on. Is sending pesh merga to Fallujah the way to go? Or, god forbid, Badr Brigades (with some Mahdi militia throw in for good measure)? Of course not. Look, there is a reason we are trying to create a unitary, national army that is ethnically diverse and includes Kurds, Shi'a and Sunni. Much like Turkey, say, the Army is likely to be the ballast and glue that holds Iraq going forward during the coming decades. So it must represent each of Iraq's major populations--or the risk of civil war becomes unacceptably high. Also, for the record, we are integrating pesh merga and Badr people into the Army. But piece-meal and in a fashion that won't raise too many Sunni alarm bells. In a word, brigades of Badr Militia can't simply show up for duty and, voila, happily become part of a unified Iraqi officer corps. This would be reckless in the extreme.

Witness:

But the progress toward Sunni inclusion in the government came as comments from Interior Minister Bayan Jabr drew a harsh response from Sunni Arab leaders.

Jabr, in an interview with the Al Arabiya news channel, said that Kurdish and Shiite Muslim militias "are going to join the security forces. This does not mean that they are going to join the police or the army as one bloc, but some of their employees can be used as soldiers or officers with their real ranks."

Jabr specifically named the Badr Brigade, the armed wing of one of the top Shiite political parties, as well as the Kurdish fighters known as the peshmerga. He also mentioned firebrand Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr's Al Mahdi militia.

His comments weren't particularly controversial — members of the Kurdish and Shiite militias have been steadily joining the army and police forces. But the militia question is a sensitive one.

Sunni Arabs, who had dominated the Iraqi government and army since the 1920s, now find themselves outside the new Shiite-Kurdish political order.

They fear being further marginalized by the creation of a largely Kurdish and Shiite military.

Sunni Arab leaders complained that the move would produce a factionalized army whose loyalty to Iraq was secondary to diverse political allegiances.

"This is a dangerous decision…. It will be a historical mistake," said Salih Mutlaq, a spokesman for the National Dialogue Council and a new Sunni representative on the constitutional committee.

"There will be a sectarian and racist basis for the army…. The army has to be professional, far away from political parties. These militias are connected to political parties, and their presence will politicize the army."

This is typical Kerry isn't it? Pretend you have a new idea when, in actuality, what you are proposing is actually already taking place. But dramatize the issue and, without thinking through all the consequences, make more 'robust' the policy recommendation so it sounds like you are offering up something new. In other words, it's a matter of degree. Yes, we must (carefully, methodically) integrate some pesh merga and Badr (ensuring, for instance, they are not Mahdi Militia) into the national army. But not like Kerry suggests, seemingly rushed and whole-sale, so as to alienate the Sunnis. Again, he doesn't really care what the consequences are for Iraqi democratization--and is more preening in the New York Times pretending he has a better, more viable exit strategy than Bush. He doesn't. Please don't be fooled.

Anything I agree with in his piece? Yes, this part:

So what should the president say tonight? The first thing he should do is tell the truth to the American people. Happy talk about the insurgency being in "the last throes" leads to frustrated expectations at home.

He's right, of course. But it's much less dangerous to have a Vice President disingenuously talk of "last throes" than it would be to pursue many of the policy recommendations being offered up by the almost-but-for-Ohio President. Not even close, really.

UPDATE: What he said. And Maguire too. A polite request to various commenters (both on the Left and Right, they know who they are). Please don't hijack threads, engage in personal attacks, frequent use of profanity (yeah, I know, I break this rule sometimes too), or racial epithets--bottom line: please generally do your utmost to avoid descending into all the predictable, assorted cyber-nastiness. I don't have the time to come up with 'policies' and 'moderate' and all that. But if it becomes too unruly or too much of a hassle--I'll just shut them down. Please help me avoid doing so, OK?

On the substance of the post, be sure to check out Cole too (that's John, not Juan). Teaser:

A really good way to be perceived as playing with national security for purely selfish political reasons is to actually have your former losing Presidential candidate write snide and condescending editorials in the NY Times presuming to tell the President what to say in his speech. To make matters worse, you could repeatedly call him a liar, prescribe no real solutions, and throw around phrases that read like a grad school education training class ('establish a truly inclusive political process').

It probably isn't a good idea, the week after Rove unfairly painted you all as weak on security and the war on terror, to have the man who in many ways is still the symbolic head of the Democratic party demanding timelines and deadlines for withdrawal...

Also worth a gander: Von gets it.


Posted by Gregory at June 28, 2005 09:15 AM | TrackBack (7)
Comments

well, greg.....

since you seem to insist upon committing well over 100,000 American troops to Iraq for the next couple of years, I assume that you will be signing up to serve right after the President's speech.

(I do hope you will continue blogging when you get to Iraq. We never get enough blogging telling us about the lastest school that has been given a new coat of paint.)

I personally don't think that Kerry is all that concerned with deadlines per se --- the problem is not the lack of deadlines, but the lack of progress under Bush's approach. Bush's running of this war and occupation has been, as you acknowledge, a clusterf*ck, and all he wants to do is "stay the course" -- merely extending the clusterf*ck. By setting some deadlines and benchmarks that will inevitably be unmet by the Bush regime, we at least will have the means to insist that the course be changed in the not too distant future.

Or do you prefer "quagmire" that commits the US to a decade or more of a major US presence in Iraq, in the meantime destroying the effectiveness of our volunteer military?

Posted by: p.lukasiak at June 28, 2005 11:23 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I certainly wouldn't object to to a standing rule that any post invoking the "chickenhawk" attack be deleted. It is intellectually dishonest and contributes nothing to the debate.

The only value of c. lukasiak's chickenhawking is that the label that it attaches to him. Consider future posts to be discounted appropriately, p., if not skipped altogether.

Posted by: R C Dean at June 28, 2005 12:16 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Is that Colonel R.C. Dean, of the 101st Fighting Keyboardist, gracing this comments section?

Thank goodness that we have always been able to count on people like the Colonel to ensure that war are fought by other people and other people's children, and that they are paid for by our own children and grandchildren.

Colonel Dean, this isn't about Iraq, its about our national security and the continued effectiveness of an all volunteer army --- which everyone agrees is a good idea. Thanks to this disasterous war --- which Greg seems to want to keep going for quite a few more years --- the Army can't meet its recruitment goals (despite having reduced those goals for the Reserves and Nat'l Guard.). Somebody is going to have to step up and do their duty if we follow Greg's advice --- and the best candidates are those that believe in the mission.

That's people like you, and the rest of the pro-war contingent.


Posted by: p.lukasiak at June 28, 2005 12:27 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Keep digging, p., keep digging.

For you information, I am disqualified on three counts from military service: age (I am over 40), a heart condition, partial deafness. Any attempt on my part to volunteer would be meaningless posturing.

Unless you suppose, p., that backing up your views with meaningless posturing somehow validates those opinions?

I'll stop feeding the troll now, B.D.

Posted by: R C Dean at June 28, 2005 12:33 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I would like to thank p.lukasik for his support of a military dictatorship where only serving or ex-military "full citizens" may have the full right of free speech and political representation.
I would remind him, however, that over 75% of the military vote Republican, and therefore people like himself will probably not get what they thought they were going to get.

I would also like to thank him for his support of George Bush Sr. and Bob Dole in their election contests with 'chickenhawk' Bill Clinton, his opposition of 'chickenchicken' Michael Moore (never wore a uniform in his life), and express my appreciation of his implied promise to oppose almost ALL of the possible Democratic candidates for President in '08 on the grounds of their lack of military expertese.

Posted by: DaveP. at June 28, 2005 12:41 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink


Wow, I'm glad I'm a veteran, with over a decade of volunteer service behind me! That means I'm qualified to tell p. "Diddy" lukasiak to piss off.

I propose an allegory to Godwin's Law: the first person to raise the chickenhawk argument loses the debate. This country was founded on civilian control of the military, and commentors like p. diddy ought to be damned glad us mere civilians have the right to debate our international relations, such as they may be at anyt given time, amongst ourselves.

Posted by: Hogarth at June 28, 2005 01:06 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Hey leave Paul alone, remember how he rushed into the recruiting office to support operations in Kosovo, and then spent that year in Afghanistan?

Posted by: monkeyboy at June 28, 2005 01:20 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Ah, you protest! But this is precisely Mr. Kerry's point! If we hadn't been so stubborn that most of the 'train and equip' take place in Iraq (which we weren't regardless, really)--Chirac would have come through!


Or, er, not:

I'd also point out that John Kerry is still a member of the US Senate, and is theoretically supposed to be contributing to the state of the country, not belittling it. Is there any reason his magical ability to get divisions of combat troops out of Germany and France can't be exercised in his current role?

Posted by: JSinger at June 28, 2005 01:29 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

kerry and his ilk are back in the 70s. I often wonder whether they get their instructions from the same people. After all, didn't Kerry just go overseas. Maybe he met with the Iraqi 'opposition'.

Posted by: davod at June 28, 2005 01:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The irony is that those who snark away with the Fighting Keyboardist cracks do so from the safety of their cubicles. I have never heard the same snark to my face and never expect to either. It doesn't take much of a man to question anothers courage over the Web, does it?

I don't see that "fighting through your keyboard" is any less honorable than hiding behind one.

Posted by: spongeworthy at June 28, 2005 01:41 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Though I sound like a broken record stating my military qualifications (20 years, four trips so far to the ME, two in OIF, one more scheduled this fall with 4th ID), it seems I need to, to ensure folks like P-dummy up there understand that folks in the military don't want their "support".
The very basis of p.lukasiak's argument is that if you don't go, you can't talk about it. So, p.lukasiak, when was your last tour through Iraq? If one can't show support without having been there, why would one be allowed to disapprove of the venture, knowing nothing more of it than what they've read in Time and seen in Fahrenheit 9-11? I'd venture that my lowliest private knows more about the situation in Iraq than you do, since they were there for nearly a year back in 2003-2004.
Anyone who would even make such a moronic statement as the Leftist's much-used "chickenhawk" argument ignores the hundreds of soldiers currently blogging from Iraq that support the effort there. But why would p.lukasiak want to read any of those blogs? Clearly the only use the Leftists have for soldiers is when they are "shooting their officers". In return, the only use we soldiers have for Leftists is when we can get a good laugh watching them shoot themselves in the foot with the "chickenhawk" argument that immediately invalidates anything they have to say about the Iraq "quagmire".

Posted by: Diggs at June 28, 2005 01:42 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I would like to thank p.lukasik for his support of a military dictatorship where only serving or ex-military "full citizens" may have the full right of free speech and political representation.

Hm. Would anyone care to place a small wager on wether or not mr lukasik has ever read Starship Troopers? While I strongly doubt that such a society would result from the policies he (?) seems to be endorsing, reading the book (not watching the movie) would probably give him cause to think twice before saying such things...

Posted by: rosignol at June 28, 2005 01:45 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The concept of only those who have served in battle being able to vote on going to battle is interesting. Lets go back to WWII and the Europeans. The Belgians, French and Brits making decisions on how to deal with Germany's beligerance were living with the memory of the First World War. Their comments reflected a desire to avoid war at all costs, understandably so. When you consider that Hitler could have been stopped when the Germans into the Rheineland in 1936. Maybe being to close to war can have the effect of blinding you to the dangers of not acting.

Posted by: DAVOD at June 28, 2005 01:56 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The concept of only those who have served in battle being able to vote on going to battle is interesting. Lets go back to WWII and the Europeans. The Belgians, French and Brits making decisions on how to deal with Germany's beligerance were living with the memory of the First World War. Their comments reflected a desire to avoid war at all costs, understandably so. Consider that Hitler could have been stopped when the Germans moved into the Rheineland in 1936. Maybe being to close to war can have the effect of blinding you to the dangers of not acting.

Posted by: DAVOD at June 28, 2005 01:59 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

its good to see that the 101st Fighting Keyboardists have managed to recruit and deploy an entire batallion of straw men to fight the good fight in pursuit of sending other people to die in the wars that they favor. Too bad they don't spend that energy urging their fellow war supporters to stop their hypocrisy, and enlist in the Army.

This is an optional war --- a completely unnecessary and counter-productive war that the Keyboardists chose to support. People need to take responsibility for their own choices --- but like their role-model George W. Bush, the Keyboardists think that they are entitled to do whatever they want, and have other people deal with the consequences of their bad choices.

But the Kowardly Keyboardists not only don't want to fight the wars themselves, they don't even want to pay for them --- the way I figure it, every person who supported Bush in 2004 should be contributing $1000/year to the federal treasury above and beyond their regular taxes in order to pay for this debacle. Just mark the check "101st Fighting Keyboardists War Fund"....

Posted by: p.lukasiak at June 28, 2005 02:29 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Gee, I thought that STARPOOP SCOOPERS was supposed to be an evil & fascistic farrago of nonsense, not Lukasiak's beau ideal.

Posted by: Ernest Brown at June 28, 2005 02:31 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

If another "chickenhawk" may make so bold as to render an opinion on military matters, the calls for a timetable are as idiotic as the carping about the "poor planning" by the Bush administration. Wars are always made up as they go along. The Left believe in the power of government elites (their government elites, anyway) to masterfully plan and control the entire world. Therefore, any negative news from the front must, ipso facto, be evidence of poor planning.

The hard truth is that counterinsurgency is tough, tricky work. History teaches that tenacity is more important than raw manpower in successfully extinguishing an insurgency. Compared to any past such campaign, Iraq is going both quickly and well.

As for "destroying the effectiveness of our volunteer military," I'd like to point out that it won't be long before nearly everyone in any of our uniforms will have had at least one tour's worth of combat experience in, over or off-shore of Iraq. We get better and better able to fight this war as we go along as well as getting a leg up on fighting a next one, if necessary. The Army's recruiting problems are not large and their retention rate has actually gone up. The people actually fighting the war don't seem to find it nearly as off-putting as the political Left and the mainstream media would have one believe.

Posted by: Dick Eagleson at June 28, 2005 02:33 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I personally would like to encourage p. Without the likes of him and his inane invective, how would we keep winning elections?

Although I admit to missing the Democratic Party of Truman and Kennedy. Even LBJ could be counted on to be on America's side in a fight, which we are in right now. It is so hard to fight the temptation to feed the troll, but since it is more pointless than fun, I will abjure.

Posted by: Moptop at June 28, 2005 02:44 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Funny how p.lukasiak's e-mail address is "awol." Figures.

As a 6 year veteran who spent time in the Gulf and was involved in "Operation Lewinsky" it strikes me as odd that leftists like this loser can complain so bitterly about this war being a waste of time, but were not around to criticize a flaccid, limp-wristed poltically-motivated attack when it happened in 1998. I can't complain too much, as it was great practice for me and my crew and showed off the capability of submarines to fight in modern wars...but it didn't accomplish anything in terms of foreign policy.

Posted by: brainy435 at June 28, 2005 02:55 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Chicken hawk! Chicken hawk!

[Fingers in ears.]

LALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALAAAAA!!!! I'M NOT LISTENING!!!

BUSH LIED! QUAGMIRE! QUAGMIRE!

[Sucking thumb.]

Posted by: Massachusetts Jackass at June 28, 2005 03:00 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Go for it p! I only wish I could buy you time on a national network. Are you sure you are not a Karl Rove mole? Or are you just one of his 'useful idiots'? I am betting on the latter.

Posted by: Moptop at June 28, 2005 03:00 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

>>Would anyone care to place a small wager on wether or not mr lukasik has ever read Starship Troopers? While I strongly doubt that such a society would result from the policies he (?) seems to be endorsing, reading the book (not watching the movie) would probably give him cause to think twice before saying such things...

Posted by: Rick at June 28, 2005 03:13 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

amazing how not one of the 101st Fighting Keyboardists even admits that it would be a good idea to ask those who support Bush's war to enlist. I mean, why doesn't Bush do a 60 stops in 60 days "recruitment tour", a la his Social Security tour. At least the crisis in Army Recruitment is real and immediate....

They'd prefer to ignore the army's recruitment problems --- including the fact that the army has had to lower its standards and still get find enough warm bodies to meet our national security needs.

They obviously don't really care about our national security --- they have no plan to ensure that the regular Army and Reserves and National Guard are fully and competently manned. All they care about is whining about how someone is pointing out their gross hypocrisy --- issues and ideas (other than killing muslims on the other side of the world) don't play a role for them.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at June 28, 2005 03:25 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

How nice that Luka's childish tactic has been debunked by the collective community on this blog

Thanks to his crass efforts we can all ignore his repeated "unecessary" war dribble from here forward

Its just the usual Mooreesque pack of repeated lies

Those interested in real discussion can proceed and enjoy

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at June 28, 2005 03:27 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Just for the record, and based on my experience as a guest blogger on this site, let me say that there are few things more exasperating to any writer than to spend a couple of hours putting together a thoughtful piece and immediately see discussion of it veer off into irrelevancy. Not even original irrelevancy either, but the "you can't talk unless you served--I can too--Can not-Can too" kind of irrelevancy that must have been posted thousands of times on hundreds of sites by now. It really does not take a huge amount of self-control to stay on-topic; not every emotional impulse demands immediate expression in cyberspace.

That's all I have to say on Netiquette. A point about Kerry's NYT piece, and one about Greg's post: first, the deadlines Kerry refers to for finishing the Iraqi constitution and holding elections afterward are the same ones the administration supports. It is, in fact, very important that the Iraqis meet them. Much political ground there, gained in February's elections, has since been lost through the perception that political leaders are squabbling ineffectually while people's lives are being destroyed. Meeting both of the political deadlines is crucial to rebuilding confidence that Iraq's political leadership is up to the challenge of defeating the insurgency and rebuilding the country. In this respect Kerry and Khalilzad are on the same page.

More generally, I have some concern about an idea Greg appears to hold, that the difficulties in Iraq with respect to security, reconstruction and democratization are essentially America's fault. Greg gives a nod toward the real successes in Iraq; I for my part have written often about many examples of American policies that were unwise or badly implemented. But the people blowing up cars all over Baghdad are mostly Iraqis; the people who invited Arab human bombs into the country are Iraqis; the corruption and crime that bedevils the country is almost entirely Iraqi; and, lest anyone forget, the guilt for the crimes of the former regime over many years rests solely with Iraqis.

For different reasons, both Iraqis and Americans need to keep all this firmly in mind. Within Iraqi culture and political tradition there is a great deal that is simple barbarism and must be discarded if a modern society with a highly demanding political system like representative democracy is to be possible. This reality must be faced squarely, not evaded by Iraqis with the excuse that all would have been well if the Americans had been more deft and sensitive occupiers.

For our part, Americans need to remember what an enormous project it is to attempt the construction of a liberal democracy in an Arab country ravaged by decades of rule under the Stalinist model. It is a project that I would not have chosen to undertake; be that as it may, we are over two years into it, and at the point where we need to assess whether it can succeed or not.

This depends mostly on Iraqis, not on us. If Iraqi leaders emerge who are able to meet the challenges of the Sunni Arab insurgency and the enactment of a constitution it will be well worth it for the United States to back them up even when doing so is not popular; we have made the commitment to this country and should do our best to make it good. But if it appears this will not happen we will need to make other arrangements. Iraq is one, mid-sized Arab country; the resources America has devoted to it would be out of all proportion to our interests there even if they were not all borrowed from Asian central banks. "Showing our resolve" is not a policy under these circumstances. American voters will make sure there is a point at which we do not throw more good borrowed money after bad unless American political leadership first demonstrates that it sees that point itself.

In any event, it could not hurt for Iraqi political and factional leaders to understand that their best chance of avoiding a full-scale civil war and the dismemberment of their country lies in getting their act together before the Americans give up on them. Few democracies anywhere have been built and made to endure just because people love freedom; in the great majority of cases their supporters chose democracy to avert disaster. No one doubts that disaster is exactly what Iraq would face if the Americans left now, but if Iraqi political leaders are led to believe we will "stay the course" no matter what happens they may be tempted to avoid the compromises among themselves necessary to building a new political order.

Posted by: JEB at June 28, 2005 03:28 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I rather like "101st Fighting Keyboardists". Maybe someone could come up with a logo?

Posted by: cwp at June 28, 2005 03:38 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

P Lukasiak:
As a 60-something who has done his military thing, and not a Bush-backer for reasons other than Iraq, I'll say: You (thought that you) made a cute and fanciful suggestion that select people should contribute an extra $1000/yr to support the effort in Iraq, which I believe is much more than a "war". If that option were offered, I WOULD do just that, actually. I pay many times that much in taxes already, and believe only a small fraction of it is "well used" by the time it goes through the sausage maker in Washington, with much of it falling on the floor and wasted. An extra $1,000 used for the support of security and reconstruction efforts would make me feel quite good, given that I can't contribute my time any more and would gladly share some of my relative prosperity to benefit the good of citizens in Iraq, inasmuch as we have stepped up in that arena as a nation.

I am not strongly pro-war (now or in the past), I don't like it that we have big deficits, that our troops may not be as well equipped as they should be, that people are dying, that there is at least the usual amount of skulduggery in how money is being spent, that some helpful advice about the context and post-invasion scenario was shelved way back in the beginning. I also know that war (and for that matter any major change initiative) never gets done according to plans in a 3-ring binder, even if one is resolute and visionary. So, I am a bystander with a lifetime of experience and am willing to live in an imperfect world and try, in positive ways, to make it better.

So, yes, I would buy an Iraq Mission War Bond each year that it takes to get through this. In the same spirit as contributing to tsunami relief efforts, I would do it --- hoping it gets to the right place and is used wisely (in both cases).

Posted by: Terry Ott at June 28, 2005 03:47 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Jeb wrote - "But the people blowing up cars all over Baghdad are mostly Iraqis; the people who invited Arab human bombs into the country are Iraqis"

These 2 statements are somewhat contradictory Jeb

Of course the Iraqi's may be less enthusiatic about getting their 72 raisins and so adopt the car-bomb the mosque approach with a timer

But I wonder why so few are curious as to the nature of these imported fighters into Iraq

It is my understanding that MANY of them are Saudi's


Oh - and the obligatory note to Luka's comments about how others want to "kill muslims" - odd coming from him since he considers them sand-niggers who are capable of nothing better than life under Saddam and then Uday

After all - there were no WMD pointed at him right - so its none of his business how these sand-niggers die

And he probably thinks he has the moral high ground regarding Iraq - after all - he was against the"war"

And true to form - he is for abandoning the Iraqi people .... ooops - I mean the sand-niggers as he considers them

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at June 28, 2005 03:55 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Well said JEB, but I have to take issue with the kind of thinking that blame the Iraqis wholly for the insurgency --- especially the presence of foreign terrorists.

The insurgency exists only because the Bush administration decided to occupy Iraq -- and lest we forget, this "insurgency" has morphed over time (remember when al Sadr and his Mahdi army were the designated boogie man in Iraq?). Blaming Iraqis for doing what Americans would do if this nation was occupied by Islamic fundamentalists who did so "for our own good" places far too little responsibility for this optional war where it belongs---with George W. Bush.

More importantly, perhaps, is the claim that Iraqis have invited the foreign terrorists to Iraq. I see no evidence of that --- and I've seen no evidence of co-ordination of efforts by the foreign terrorists and the indigenous insurgency. If anyone invited those terrorist to Iraq, it was George W. Bush --- I'm sure you recall the "its better to fight them over there than over here" and "flypaper" rhetoric.

Iraq was "broken" before we got there.... but there is a difference between a plate that is chipped and cracked, and one that is shattered. The Bush regime bears primary responsibility for taking a "broken" country, and shattering it to the point where its doubtful it can be reconstructed.

The real problem, however, is not that Iraq is insoluable -- its that the people running the Bush regime are the least likely to come up with a workable solution.

Its obvious that without the co-operation of the international community -- especially Iraq's neighbors -- things aren't going to get much better. But the Bush regime is bound and determined to antagonize both Syria and Iraq, and treats the rest of the world with contempt by doing stuff like insisting on sending John Bolton to the UN.

(Here's my solution -- move the British troops from the south, and put the functioning Iraqi army troops in charge of security there. The Brits would take over complete control of the Green Zone, as well as joint command (with Iraq) of all American troops in Iraq. In exchange, the US woud commit to having 125,000 troops in Iraq for a minimum of 5 years if needed --- plus pledge $50 billion dollars per year for ten years toward reconstruction --- with disbursement of those fund being done under UN auspices. To me, the most critical need is to get Bush, Rummy, Cheney, Rice, Negroponte, and the rest of the sick neo-cons out of the war business --- once that is achieved, there is hope.)


Posted by: p.lukasiak at June 28, 2005 03:56 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Very good, Mrs. Lukasiak, for so proudly waiving the liberal flag. International community my ass. You can only mean the French, Germans and Russians..those paid to try and thwart the U.S. by Saddam..because you certainly can't mean Britian, Australia or Poland, to name a few, since they are already there. And that's before I get into the fact that the U.S. being subservient to the U.N. is one huge reason why there is no President Kerry....

Posted by: brainy435 at June 28, 2005 04:10 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Dipsersing funds in Iraq under UN auspices...

Where have I heard about that before? Maybe the Secretary General's son can have a hand in doing that.

Posted by: monkeyboy at June 28, 2005 04:25 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

As a point of information, I contributed a multiple of the suggested amount to various charities directly involved in the reconstruction and outreach efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm interested in any charity that gives discretionary funds to our soldiers and relief workers on the ground. While not of enlisting age, unfortunately, I'm a member of the 101st check-writing brigade.

I give entirely out of self-interest. I believe, in fact, that successful completion of our mission in Iraq will *decrease* the likelihood of my children participating in any way in future armed conflict. If it becomes another fly-by, and Iraq collapses into a failed regime because of our 'deadlines', I suspect a much larger war, involving many more casualties at home and abroad, awaits the next generation.

No doubt we gambled invading Iraq. But now we have to follow through.

Posted by: "Mindles H. Dreck" at June 28, 2005 04:25 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Just say it Luka - you'll feel better We should have never gone into Iraq and deposed Saddam in the first place

Just come out and say it - and then explain about how you really "care" about the killing of muslims

Because really now - you don't

As long as those sand-niggers are just killing each other - you are happy

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at June 28, 2005 04:48 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Dipsersing funds in Iraq under UN auspices... Where have I heard about that before? Maybe the Secretary General's son can have a hand in doing that.

hey, considering the fact that we literally handed out BILLIONS in cash in Iraq without recording what the money was handed out for --- and indeed cannot account for $8.8 BILLION DOLLARS of money that belonged to the Iraqi people that was spent by the CPA, I'd say that Kofi's boy looks pretty good in contrast to the neo-con jokers that have been running the show for us so far....

Posted by: p.lukasiak at June 28, 2005 04:49 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Well, I come into this a bit late, but lukasiak seems to have great concern for our fighting forces being able to meet their recruitment goals and being able to fight other conflicts in far flung corners of the globe. The sad fact is that if these anti-war at any cost zealots would embrace the legacy of liberalism and support democracy as JFK called for, The momentum for change in Iraq and other parts of the Middle East would excellerate. The anti-American forces would become more readibly demorialized and our fighting forces could possibly exit the front lines in, if not a timely manner, but sooner rather than later. Unfortunately the old canard that politics stops at the water's edge is a concept "all wet" to many on the left. Tis better to target for destruction anything that this administration may endeavor in; at the expense of any meaningful thrust for the furtherance of freedom and democracy worldwide and ultimately security for the United States, in order to return the liberal elite back to their faux anti-Vietnam victory and their halicon days of flower power.

Posted by: Esbiem at June 28, 2005 04:54 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The deadliness of the insurgency is exaggerated.

In June, it was estimated that insurgents had killed 1,142 people over the course of two months (http://www.eitb24.com/noticia_en.php?id=69948). At that rate, they'll kill 6,852 people/year. This in a country of 25,000,000 people.

The risk of being killed by insurgents each year for the average Iraqi is 6,852/25,000,000 = .00027408.

For comparison, there were 114 murders in the City of St. Louis last year (down from roughly 350 several years ago). This in a city of 350,000.

The risk of being murdered in the City of St. Louis is 114/350,000 = .00032571.

So it appears that even in relatively peaceful times in my adopted hometown, the risk of being murdered in St. Louis is 1.19 times greater than the risk of being killed by insurgents in Iraq.

I don't mean to minimize the problem - the insurgents kill many people, they contribute to a sense that the country is out of control, and they will preferentially kill precisely those people who are most vital to the stability of the country. They need to be killed, captured, or otherwise shut down, and until the Iraqis can do it themselves, we need to help out.

But I do think we ought to keep some sense of perspective about it. The country is not "shattered", and if the average Iraqi lives in constant fear of the insurgency that has more to do with perception than reality.

Posted by: Morgan at June 28, 2005 04:54 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The deadliness of the insurgency is exaggerated.

In June, it was estimated that insurgents had killed 1,142 people over the course of two months (http://www.eitb24.com/noticia_en.php?id=69948). At that rate, they'll kill 6,852 people/year. This in a country of 25,000,000 people.

The risk of being killed by insurgents each year for the average Iraqi is 6,852/25,000,000 = .00027408.

For comparison, there were 114 murders in the City of St. Louis last year (down from roughly 350 several years ago). This in a city of 350,000.

The risk of being murdered in the City of St. Louis is 114/350,000 = .00032571.

So it appears that even in relatively peaceful times in my adopted hometown, the risk of being murdered in St. Louis is 1.19 times greater than the risk of being killed by insurgents in Iraq.

I don't mean to minimize the problem - the insurgents kill many people, they contribute to a sense that the country is out of control, and they will preferentially kill precisely those people who are most vital to the stability of the country. They need to be killed, captured, or otherwise shut down, and until the Iraqis can do it themselves, we need to help out.

But I do think we ought to keep some sense of perspective about it. The country is not "shattered", and if the average Iraqi lives in constant fear of the insurgency that has more to do with perception than reality.

Posted by: Morgan at June 28, 2005 04:55 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I have an idea - since there is a general consensus that the chickenhawk argument is not convincing, why don't we re-focus the discussion. Possible themes - reactions to Gregory's long and well researched post, or some idea on how we meet speed the pace of Iraqification.

(Bonus idea - if p.lukasiak insists on returning to his theme, struggle manfully and resist the temptation to be trolled. Ladies, struggle womanfully.)

Posted by: Tom Maguire at June 28, 2005 05:19 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Morgan has an excellent point. Furthermore, the insurgency lacks any coherent political program, any identifiable leadership or chain of command, any manner of organizing documents. There seems to be little chance of 'losing' the government of Iraq to a group that has no form. What then is the 'risk' entailed by setting such a timetable??

Posted by: Master Shake at June 28, 2005 05:21 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Well, I have started that here. Can't get the trackback to work, though.

Posted by: sammler at June 28, 2005 05:22 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greatestr Misses:

Bush: "Somalia. It started off as a humanitarian mission then changed into a nation-building mission and that's where the mission went wrong. The mission was changed. And as a result, our nation paid a price, and so I don't think our troops outght to be used for what's called nation building."

AND

Bush: "...But I'm going to be judicious as to how to use the military. It needs to be in our vital interests. The mission needs to be clear and the exit strategy obvious."

AND Don't forget
MODERATOR: New question. How would you go about as president deciding when it was in the national interest to use U.S. force, generally?

BUSH: Well, if it's in our vital national interest, and that means whether our territory is threatened or people could be harmed, whether or not the alliances are -- our defense alliances are threatened, whether or not our friends in the Middle East are threatened. That would be a time to seriously consider the use of force. Secondly, whether or not the mission was clear. Whether or not it was a clear understanding as to what the mission would be. Thirdly, whether or not we were prepared and trained to win. Whether or not our forces were of high morale and high standing and well-equipped. And finally, whether or not there was an exit strategy. I would take the use of force very seriously. I would be guarded in my approach. I don't think we can be all things to all people in the world. I think we've got to be very careful when we commit our troops. The vice president and I have a disagreement about the use of troops. He believes in nation building. I would be very careful about using our troops as nation builders. I believe the role of the military is to fight and win war and therefore prevent war from happening in the first place. So I would take my responsibility seriously. And it starts with making sure we rebuild our military power. Morale in today's military is too low. We're having trouble meeting recruiting goals. We met the goals this year, but in the previous years we have not met recruiting goals. Some of our troops are not well-equipped. I believe we're overextended in too many places. And therefore I want to rebuild the military power. It starts with a billion dollar pay raise for the men and women who wear the uniform. A billion dollars more than the president recently signed into law. It's to make sure our troops are well-housed and well-equipped. Bonus plans to keep some of our high-skilled folks in the services and a commander in chief that sets the mission to fight and win war and prevent war from happening in the first place.

And
Remember Over 1700 Dead Americans & Their
Families Thank You!

Posted by: GetBent at June 28, 2005 05:34 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Nice to see Bush hater Paul Lukasiak pop his sorry ass out of his hole. Did somebody blow the silent whistle?

Don't you and Matry Heldt have some speechwriting for Bill Burkett to do?

Posted by: Fresh Air at June 28, 2005 05:48 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Getbent,
And then a little something known as 9/11 happened.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at June 28, 2005 05:50 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Same old song and dance:

9/11
9/11
9/11

Is that the excuse you will let them use for everything. I was in the middle of the damn thing, but I refuse to let that change my values or freedoms.
Others would sell their own mothers for a false sense of security. By the way exhelodrvr how much?

Posted by: GetBent at June 28, 2005 06:03 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

if we plan this thing, the terrorists have won.

Posted by: jami at June 28, 2005 06:05 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The risk in setting a timetable for pulling out is (at least) twofold:

1) It gives the insurgents something to look forward to.

2) Political pressures might cause us to stick to it when we shouldn't.

I prefer the current approach - pulling out is conditioned on the attainment of certain conditions. All else being equal, attaining those conditions quickly is preferable to attaining them slowly, but to set a deadline would be foolish.

Point 2 applies to setting a timetable for training Iraqi troops as well (as does point 1, if you consider the completion of training to be the point at which coalition troops will likely pull out).

Posted by: Morgan at June 28, 2005 06:16 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg,
I'm sure you'll remember when "Switzerland in the Balkans" aka Bonsia was the Clinton Administration's only foreign policy goal, the Democrats kept beating the Republicans back with the notion of "an end state not an end date." Now the positions are reversed except we have a lot more at stake in Iraq than creating another vacation destination for the Europeans. The left either refuses to acknowledge the strategic implications of what we're trying to accomplish or is willing to abandon an entire region for domestic political gain. (Should this surprise me?) I attribute much of the Dem/Rep disagreement over the situation on the ground to a media which will not go farther than its hotel balcony to report on the only story that interests it; car bombs and body counts. Witness the Dem House members and what they said after they actually saw conditions at Gitmo. They need to get out more and talk to those who truely know what's going on; Iraqi politicans, Iraqi government officials and the U.S. military.
P.S. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: D.L. From Heidelberg at June 28, 2005 06:33 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Fresh Air,

Wow, I had never made the connection. Hmmm.... If Winds of Change can ban Paul with Praktikes backing, why can't Greg. I am a little tired of the thread hijacking, bizarre ad hominem attacks and generally incoherent arguments by a man who has spent the last five years on a jihad against Bush. The AWOL project, the National Guard forgeries, one sided "research" to prove our elections have been stolen and (hilariously enough for a man so worried about recruitment) campaigns to keep the ROTC from recruiting on campuses. Heck, I even have some sympathy for him on the military's stance on gays, but it hardly fits with his hysteria about recruiting goals. It does prove however, if I had any doubt, that the entire complaint is in bad faith. Honest liberals should denounce this conspiracy mongering, Bush obsessed troll. I will respond to him no more. I repeat that I suggest he be banned.

Fresh Air, thanks for letting me know who he was.

Posted by: Lance at June 28, 2005 06:37 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

GetBent,

"Same old song and dance:

9/11
9/11
9/11
Is that the excuse you will let them use for everything. I was in the middle of the damn thing, but I refuse to let that change my values or freedoms.
Others would sell their own mothers for a false sense of security. By the way exhelodrvr how much?"

All we have to do is give you the opportunity to type/talk, and you will dispel any thoughts we might have had about your intelligence/understanding of the world. I guess we should thank B.D. for that.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at June 28, 2005 06:39 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Saying that the insurgency exists because the US invaded and occupied Iraq is like saying the KKK exists because of the abolition of slavery and granting of voting rights to black Americans: so what again? Should the Union circa 1865 - 1870 apologize for the KKK? Fear of pissing off violent thugs is not an excuse for remaining passive.

I happen to think the US is correct to spread democracy in the ME. However, contra Greg and in agreement with JEB, our responsibilites to the Iraqis only go so far. I don't take the loss of 1700 Americans lightly and this loss resulted in a lot of benefits to the Iraqis: no dictator, no oppresive armed forces, meaning no helicopter gunships or no jet/rocket launched chemical weapons against Kurds or Shias, no government santioned mass killings, no tanks, armor etc for use to quell uprisings, no insurgent controlled towns like Fallujah, etc. Unlike some, I don't think it was realistic to expect the Iraqis to rise up on their own and fight Saddam, since he had no problems using heavy weapons to kill large numbers of people.

What is left is car bomb, rockets, IEDs, etc. I strongly support the military training the Iraqis and giving them a fighting chance, and helping them create a democratic government, the US does owe that, but the Iraqis can match the insurgents in firepower and must fight on their own eventually--Iraqis would chafe under and hate the draconian security measures necessary for the US to beat down the insurgents, if that is so, beating it is their responsibility. Again, the US can help, but saying it is all our responsibility is incorrect. I think 6-month timelines are unrealistic, but the clock is ticking for everyone no matter what any politician says: surely the Iraqis, Bush administration, and yes, even the insurgents, know that any pledge of support after 2008 is shaky at best.

Posted by: Steve Wood at June 28, 2005 06:41 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

{From time capsule report, Battle of Midway, 1942}

Sailor onboard U.S.S. Yorktown: "Remember Pearl Harbor!"

GetBent: "Same old song and dance. Pearl Harbor, Pearl Harbor, Pearl Harbor...All I get from you guys is Pearl Harbor! Is that the same old excuse you use for everything?"

(Scuffling sounds, followed by a muffled splash...)

Posted by: Fresh Air at June 28, 2005 06:41 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The left either refuses to acknowledge the strategic implications of what we're trying to accomplish or is willing to abandon an entire region for domestic political gain.

which is a perfect example of why what passes for right wing thought is worthless.

The left recognizes the implications of what the Bush regime claims t is trying to accomplish --- but it also recognizes two other things....

1) this focus and abiding interest in "democratization" is not why we decided to occupy Iraq. There is nothing which suggests that the Bush regime planned to "democratize" Iraq -- instead, Bush wanted to install a "US Friendly" puppet regime lead by Chalabi and his buddies. Certainly, every effort was made to keep the Shia majority from gaining control of Iraq ---- Bush didn't even want the "direct" elections that he took credit for. It was only when Sistani's clerical subordinates started calling for street demostrations (with Sistani's obvious blessing) that the Bush regime finally allowed the January elections to be organized and take place.

2) "Good intentions" are no guarantee of success, especially when the people running the show have demonstrated a serious level of incompetence and/or corruption already. Even assuming that Bush's new found interest in democracy is sincere, the fact is that so far, he's made America's national security situation far worse than it was prior to the invasion -- and doesn't even seem to know it.

The wingnuts who are critical of "the left" will acknowledge neither of obvious facts, which is why they can't understand what the left is saying.

Bush can't be trusted vis a vis his intentions, and even if he could be, he couldn't be trusted to not screw things up. Its as simple as that.

that "good intentions" don't mean good results.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at June 28, 2005 07:02 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

If a person is riding a bike and a brick wall is ahead, just how far will that person go before
stopping. I would bet most would stop before
impact. Bush's comment " I'll stay the course"
until he runs into that brick wall or will he have
the sense to know when it is time to pull up.
This is a man who won't admit he or his administration had done anything wrong.
Do you think he will pull back if it is a sign of
him admitting that he was wrong or will he sacrifice
men and women for his ego or what he calls the
right thing to do.....

Posted by: Tim Miller at June 28, 2005 07:06 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Supply and demand meet at a price. If the market for labor is up the Army is going to have to pay a bigger price to bring in bodies.

Now what this means in practical terms is that we have a good economy.

OK.

The Army having trouble recruiting is a positive indicator.

Posted by: M. Simon at June 28, 2005 07:09 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Well, Tim, let's see:

He drastically changed his foreign policy views following 9/11. That is hardly a sign of someone who refuses to change. They have changed methods in Iraq (Garner-then Bremer-now the Iraqis) to adjust to the conditions/the success of the previous methods. That is hardly the sign of an administration which refuses to change. The military and the civilians working with the Iraqis are constantly adjusting their tactics as the situation changes. Hardly the sign of an administration which refuses to change.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at June 28, 2005 07:11 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

{From time capsule report, Battle of Midway, 1942}

Sailor onboard U.S.S. Yorktown: "Remember Pearl Harbor!"

GetBent: "Same old song and dance. Pearl Harbor, Pearl Harbor, Pearl Harbor...All I get from you guys is Pearl Harbor! Is that the same old excuse you use for everything?"

(Scuffling sounds, followed by a muffled splash...)

WOW what a comeback.... if it made any sense...

Anyway, this has been fun.

p.lukasiak keep speaking Truth to Power Baby, but I have the feeling you can't reach this group. Too far gone to help.

Posted by: GetBent at June 28, 2005 07:12 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Ah, Mathematics - the great BS filter. Nicely done, Morgan.

Posted by: Tommy G at June 28, 2005 07:18 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I like math.

Like I said, I don't mean to minimize the problem. Scale the relative deadliness of the insurgency up to the size of the US, and you have something like 75,000 people killed every year.

Obviously this would be an unacceptable situation, and a huge effort would be demanded to put an end to it. But would it prevent people from working, walking down the street, or voting? It might, but only if the perception of danger were much greater than the actual danger. I suppose our media might well accomplish that.

Posted by: Morgan at June 28, 2005 07:32 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Truth to Power!

There you have it, Internet posters, Bush-hater and conspiracy theorist Paul Lukasiak speaks truth to power! Bet you didn't realize you were so important as to have his audience.

What a considerate guy to come down out of the clouds and bless us all with his eminence!

Even GetBent's toss-off phrases are encrusted with leftist rust. Groove on, dude!

Posted by: Fresh Air at June 28, 2005 07:38 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"2) "Good intentions" are no guarantee of success, especially when the people running the show have demonstrated a serious level of incompetence and/or corruption already. Even assuming that Bush's new found interest in democracy is sincere, the fact is that so far, he's made America's national security situation far worse than it was prior to the invasion -- and doesn't even seem to know it."

P-man, look at history. Look at the Civil War and the years of carnage and incompetance. Lincoln and his staff of generals make GWB and his administration look like military savants. A similar argument could be made about WWII, Korea, the Revolutionary War, all of which had bigger fiascos than what we have suffered in Iraq.

Wars are always full of incompetance. This issue is who can adapt and who has a stronger will.

Greg, nice essay. (Although, frankly I didn't really read the whole thing). My origins are from Massachusetts and when it was heard today that Kerry had an op-ed piece in the NYT, you could hear a collective groan over Cape Cod. John Kerry's speeches are like an old joke whose punch-line you saw coming around the corner a day before yesterday.

For Kerry to pre-empt the speech tonight with this is typical Brahman hubris. In point of fact, the essay was probably crafted by one of his staffers while he was in Nantucket wind-surfing.

"Lovey, could you chill this Pinot Noir? It got warm while I was reviewing this masterstroke Jenkins just emailed me. Geez, is the wind picking up?"

Posted by: bob at June 28, 2005 07:42 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Except, of course, very few of these units can operate without U.S. support, many of them are not specialized in counter-insurgency tactics but are more by way of constabulatory forces and the like, not to mention a good many other problems besides."

Sounds like NATO.

As for the stupidity of planning military strategy 6-24 months in advance, I'll quote/paraphrase someone - I think it was Lois McMaster Bujold -

"Remember, Clausewitz in 'On War' reminds us that no plan survives contact with the enemy."
"Of course not - that's why we call them the enemy."

If Kerry really had the ability to assess military, political, and 'insurgent' situations that far into the future, don't you think he might have run a better campaign - or no campaign at all?

As for the 'chickenhawk' theory -

I haven't been in the military, so I can't have opinions about war.
I've never been an insurgent, so I can't have opinions about the insurgency.
I've never been a doctor, so I can't have opinions about my medical care.
I've never been a lawyer, so I can't have opinions about laws.
I've never been a polititian, so I can't have opinions about politics.

I could go on, but since I've never been stupid, I can't have opinions about stupidity.

The truth is that I am a citizen, and have opinions about all of the above, as every citizen should.

And yes, sad to say, that even by the 'chickenhawk' theory, I am qualified to have opinions about stupidity.

Posted by: David D at June 28, 2005 07:44 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I keep wondering whether the "war as project management" school will proclaim that we should just try for ISO-9002 certification of the war effort? Or perhaps hiring some Six Sigma Black-belts from IBM, armed with Powerpoint and Microsoft Project, will achieve victory. And if we don't achieve Bullet Point 14 because one of the subs doesn't meet its objectives, we go home.

Yup - I'm sure this will have Zarqawi's quaking in his boots...

Posted by: Foobarista at June 28, 2005 08:06 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Foobarista--

The "war has been mismanaged" critique is a canard. It is offered almost universally by those who did not support the war or its aims to begin with. If the war had been "perfect," however that would be defined, they still wouldn't support it. It's just more disingenuous posturing from the morally bankrupt Left.

Posted by: Fresh Air at June 28, 2005 08:22 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The only time we've had deadlines that ended a war was one that we lost...

Anyway, we have civilian control of the military here. Civilians decide when and where we fight. It should be that way. Otherwise, because we never know when a war will start, we would have a government where only veterens can run for office. Also, over 99% of the country is not in the military. Does that mean that almost no one is allowed to have a public opinion on the war? The chickenhawk stuff is so 2003. Give it a rest.

Oh yeah. Seven years in the miltary. Does that mean I can have an opinion?

Posted by: John at June 28, 2005 08:24 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I disagree that Bush never used democratization as an "excuse" to invade Iraq. After the second inaugration I spoke with a well known journalist from the Washington Post who told me the media missed it. After the inaugration speech where Bush spoke of the need to spread democracy he went back and checked his notes and discovered that Bush had in fact been promoting democratization since day one of his first term. He had the quotes to prove it. His point was that the media was so wrapped up in WMD (still is) that it failed to see the larger strategic picture. Yes, Bush and Co. thought Saddam had WMD (as did our formerly close European allies); yes there was a failure of enormous implications in our intelligence. (But UN resolutions placed the burden of proof on Saddam to show the international community that he did not possess it - they did not place the burden on the UN (or U.S) to prove he did.) There was also agreement from the days of the Clinton Administration that sanctions on Iraq had already failed (same holds true with China today - the EU never saw a sanction it couldn't rationalize away). In other words,it was only a question of time before proliferation and terrorism intersected. Iran is a case in point. In any event, whether one agrees with the premise of the war or not, we're there now and the importance of it for us and the jihadists has not been lost on the likes of al-Zacharwi. Anyone in Baghdad underdstands this.

Posted by: D.L. From Heidelberg at June 28, 2005 08:52 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The version of the war that is available to America is slanted and does not give the true picture of the horror faced by the Iraq people and the lack of distribution of needed funds for both the people and the soldiers serving there. There are many ways to help the people, day to day. Tapping the water wells with facuets -PVC pipes run from each house to large septic tanks placed in the ground - Large electric generators. All of these types of items could be placed throughout the villages and towns until the main infractures are built. Prefab buildings for homes and schools and other structures. All of these resources are readily available from any country in the world to be air lifted their to shelter the people. The Iraq people need the basics of life and the opportunity to rebuild and support themselves. The Iraqs are educated people, employ them to rebuild their infracture, not send contractors from the US and other countires to rip off the country and the American people. Leave the grandiose photo-ops and lies to the politicians.

Posted by: Dene at June 28, 2005 09:05 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Hmmmm...Bicycle Tim.

Here's a thought: Get off the damn hippie bike and blow a hole in the wall.

Posted by: Drivebymonkeyfan at June 28, 2005 09:20 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

p.lukasiak, are you dense or just obstinate?

The reason we went into Iraq is because, in a post-9/11 world, we can no longer count on the forebearance of a tyrannical, sociopathic dictator who openly funds terrorists, who insists on WMD programs despite UN sanctions, who has made efforts to reach out and coordinate with Al Quaida, and who has previously demonstrated his willingness to slaughter literally millions (count the casualties during the Iran-Iraq War, too) if it helps him maintain his hold on power.

The Middle East didn't take America seriously, because after 8 years of the Clintons our country had demonstrated its lack of seriousness. Ambush our soldiers in Somalia? We'll pull out and bargain with you. Blow up our embassies? We'll blow up your empty tents, but be careful not to actually hurt someone. Attack and almost sink one of our warships, and kill dozens of our sailors during a peaceful port call? Well... we'll just let that one slide and chalk it up to the dangers of being in the military. September 11th, a predictable escalation of the low-level attacks by Islamofascists, was too big to ignore -- so Bush decided (wisely) to abandon the tepid alligator control attempts of his predecessor and drain the entire freakin' swamp. Could it be that the reason we haven't seen a repeat of 9/11 is because most of the Al Quaida/Taliban leadership were killed, the rest are on the run, and after Iraq the rest of the Middle East is understandably wary about pissing us off... at least until a Democrat gets elected to the White House?

The problem with most leftist "liberals" is that they do not understand that force is a legitimate tool of the nation-state if it is used for a valid reason. Liberals don't believe that there is ever a valid reason for force. Similarly, because liberals embrace the concept of non-judgementalism and moral relativism ("who are we to say that a dictatorship is bad?"), they see countries like Iraq as morally equivalent to the United States. This idiocy is why Democrats have lost control over the federal government; most Americans are smart enough to support candidates who intrinsically understand right from wrong, and that there is a difference between the two.

I say that any non-democratic government that abridges the fundamental rights (life, liberty, and property) of its denizens is not entitled to respect as a sovereign nation-state. Saddam-era Iraq wasn't a legitimate nation-state; instead the term refers to the geographical boundaries of a thugocracy run by the most brutal thug for the benefit of himself and his cronies. Invading Iraq to remove Saddam was as legitimate as sending in the SWAT team to clear out a known crack house.

Now that we are in Iraq, we have the responsibility and the opportunity to transform a thugocracy into a legitimate democratic nation-state. The very few people who comprise the "insurgency" are really the remnents of the thugocracy, or foreign fanatics who are thankfully following our plan and confronting us in Iraq instead of Indiana. If p.lukasiak and his ilk are reasonably well-informed then they have undoubtedly noticed the increasing accounts of "red-on-red" intra-insurgent fighting between the Iraqis and the foreigners, as well as the attempts by the Iraqi insurgents to find a way to lay down their arms and join the political process. All of the spectacular attacks recently have been at the hands of foreign-born jihadists, not Iraqi malcontents.

We are winning in Iraq. Let me rephrase that: we have WON in Iraq. Yes, the jihadists are still fighting, and dying, and killing. However, as long as we stay the course there is NO WAY they can prevail. They have no popular support, they have no domestic base, they cannot defeat the US military... and their only hope is to kick-start a sectarian war between Shia and Sunni by indiscriminate civilian massacres that they hope will be blamed on one side or the other... but it's not working. Just as WWII was decided (won, but not finished) before the Battle of the Bulge and the invasion of Okinawa, Iraq has also been decided. If you disagree with this assessment then you simply do not understand war, maybe because you have ideological blinders on, or maybe because you're just stupid.

Posted by: ObiJohn at June 28, 2005 09:28 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"I haven't been in the military, so I can't have opinions about war.
I've never been an insurgent, so I can't have opinions about the insurgency.
I've never been a doctor, so I can't have opinions about my medical care.
I've never been a lawyer, so I can't have opinions about laws.
I've never been a polititian, so I can't have opinions about politics."

This counter-chickenhawk reductio ad absurdum argument (used a lot lately) is specious. There aren't massive manpower shortages in those professions. Our volunteer army has been stretched to its limits - at this point, we don't pose a threat to North Korea or Iran, and they know it. If you think we should be in Iraq, you should join, in the same spirit that folks joined up during WWII. I have nothing but respect for anyone who does, as they're standing by their priniciples, and nothing but contempt for anyone who idly cheerleads a war effort they know desperately needs them.

Posted by: albedo at June 28, 2005 09:36 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

You fire breathers can tar and feather P. Lusiak all day long, but none have addressed what (I believe) was his point, concealed within snarkyness such that it was.

To wit; how will we pay for an extented Iraq mission? At current rates the adventure could cost over a trillion $. I too find it ironic that the same crowd that supports the Iraq adventure into perpetuity is the same crowd that demands tax breaks, accuses Washington and "Gubbermint" generally of being unwise with tax payers' $.

At any rate, given an increasing federal deficit and moves to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, How will we finance this thing? Will you demand Bush to raise taxes to cover the costs of Iraq??? Would Bush do it if you did ask???

The same crowd that advocates a strong defense of the US and that places fear of nuclear attack high on its list of issues to get busy about, has no problem bogging down our all volunteer military in Iraq. They have no problem ignoring the increasing warnings from military brass that our forces are being weakened and that our ability to engage threats elsewhere on the globe are compromised (NoKo anyone? A Pakistani coup d'etat by Islamic haedliners?).

So how do we committ indefinitely to Iraq and deal with other threats globally?

I do not pretend to read Lusiak's mind, but, perhaps, his chickenhawk statement again is aimed at those who wish to be strong on defense and fight in Iraq, but do not choose to make a sacrifice to support the war effort. Personally, I think we should have a draft. Also, personally, I think that anyone who truly believes that our efforts in Iraq are necessary to defend our country and who is of age to enlist, should do so, lest they be a coward and a shirker.

As for Kerry's comments, Our military's responsibilty is first and foremost to defend our Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. So, yes, let the Iraqis get their act together and defend themselves and get our troops home to rest and recup and regroup so they'll be prepared to defend us.

Posted by: avedis at June 28, 2005 09:43 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Albedo,
That turns out to be wrong.

http://sacramento.bizjournals.com/sacramento/stories/2005/04/11/focus4.html

Now that you're aware that there *is* a shortage of workers in the health field you doubtless will be happy to say that neither Senator Clinton nor anyone else who is not a physician has any right to have an opinion on health care, right? o_O

Or maybe you'll instead acknowledge that those who push the "chickenhawk line" are nothing more than a collection of twits? That would be nice too. ^_~

Posted by: Small Pink Mouse at June 28, 2005 10:06 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Avedis,
"...perhaps, his chickenhawk statement again is aimed at those who wish to be strong on defense and fight in Iraq, but do not choose to make a sacrifice to support the war effort. Personally, I think we should have a draft. "

Perhaps. Since you yourself admit that you don't know what goes on in his "mind" I suspect that speculation would be fruitless. However, since you are doubtless the best expert in the world on what goes on in *your* mind perhaps you could tell us just what sort of sacrifice you had in mind? Would you like us to burn cattle and incense at a stone alter? Would you rather we tossed maidens into volcanoes? Would you like us to make our prisoners of war into Wicker Men to be burned alive at standing stones the way the Druids did or perhaps start skinning them while alive and then flaying them to death as the Aztecs did? Don't be shy in your reply! With the awareness that today's satire is tomorrow's leftist policy I really am morbidly curious. ^_^;

Sincerely yours,
S.P.M.

Posted by: Small Pink Mouse at June 28, 2005 10:19 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Comparing our national (in)security as concerns the massive troop shortages caused by the Iraq war to a shortage of GP's in California is fundamentally unserious.
But to run with your analogy, if there were a national-crisis-level shortage of health-care workers caused by a policy that some people on the blogosphere tirelessly championed while simultaneously positioning themselves as the defenders of health-care, then yeah, I'd say those people could put up or shut up and don some scrubs, stat.

Posted by: albedo at June 28, 2005 10:20 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

GetBent: "Same old song and dance. Pearl Harbor, Pearl Harbor, Pearl Harbor...All I get from you guys is Pearl Harbor! Is that the same old excuse you use for everything?"

you know you are in wingnutworld when people think that nineteen guys with pocket knives were the equivalent of the Japanese Imperial Navy....

Posted by: p.lukasiak at June 28, 2005 10:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"There aren't massive manpower shortages in those professions..."

There isn't a massive manpower shortage in the military, either. The Army is 8,000 troops short in its efforts to increase staffing from 480,000 to 510,000 active-duty troops. (The Marines, Air Force, and Navy are on track with recruiting efforts). These are the levels set by the DOD and Congress, and reflect their estimates of the optimal levels.

Posted by: Morgan at June 28, 2005 10:44 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

By the way albedo, since you're the one who believes there is a "national-crisis-level shortage" of military personnel, why haven't you signed up?

Posted by: Morgan at June 28, 2005 10:51 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"By the way albedo, since you're the one who believes there is a "national-crisis-level shortage" of military personnel, why haven't you signed up?"

Because I don't support our Iraq policy. I would have thought that was fairly obvious.

Posted by: albedo at June 28, 2005 10:55 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

You mean the current policy of helping Iraq to become free, democratic, and able to look after itself? Okay. I can understand that.

But because of that, you are willing to allow the national security crisis to continue? Suck it up, man! Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.

Posted by: Morgan at June 28, 2005 11:02 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Yes albedo,

I guess you would. So, I could spend a lot of time pointing out all kinds of problems in health care and many other areas that have been caused or exacerbated by the policies of the democratic party in areas that said democrats say is important. They probably wouldn't agree that it is their policies that have contributed to inadequate affordable housing, spiraling health care costs, and a host of other issues, but who says others have to agree with me? I still get to sneer that they don't care about such issues and have to spend their fortune and money addressing the issues personally, full time or they are hypocrites.

Sorry Greg. I won't come back to this thread so I can avoid feeding these trolls anymore. I want you to have comments and by even taking this insidious nonsense on I am contributing to the hijacking of this thread. It is a pity if this site descends into the nonsense I have to wade through at Drum's. Many of the commenters here are far more interested in substantive discussion than flame wars, but people who have no interest in understanding other opinions and whose sole goal is to spew vile invective can twist even the best of us.

I also don't want you to have to moderate the discussion and I have already decided to never respond to pl again to do my own small part. Too many people drop in and get taken in by his gambit for it to really help though, and too many of us just can't help responding. I still think he should be banned but it is your blog. He has been banned at many other places where spirited debate is the norm because his abuse and intransigent singlemindedness runs discussions not only far off track, but in directions which lead to no real insight, just bile.

To quote Jeff Jarvis on Paul "frankly, I stopped reading comments with your name on them. I gave up. You descended into personal attack and vitriol and did it in numbing volume and there is no law that says I have to stand there when someone spews spittle on me."

Posted by: Lance at June 28, 2005 11:04 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"There isn't a massive manpower shortage in the military, either. The Army is 8,000 troops short in its efforts to increase staffing from 480,000 to 510,000 active-duty troops. (The Marines, Air Force, and Navy are on track with recruiting efforts)."

IOW, there is a shortage in the Army. Also, do those figures take stop-loss into account?

Posted by: albedo at June 28, 2005 11:05 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"I guess you would. So, I could spend a lot of time pointing out all kinds of problems in health care and many other areas that have been caused or exacerbated by the policies of the democratic party in areas that said democrats say is important. They probably wouldn't agree that it is their policies that have contributed to inadequate affordable housing, spiraling health care costs, and a host of other issues, but who says others have to agree with me? I still get to sneer that they don't care about such issues and have to spend their fortune and money addressing the issues personally, full time or they are hypocrites."

Incoherent.

"You mean the current policy of helping Iraq to become free, democratic, and able to look after itself? Okay. I can understand that.

But because of that, you are willing to allow the national security crisis to continue? Suck it up, man! Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do."

Bad logic. If I don't think we should be continuing our nation-building escapades in the ME, needless to say, I think we should be taking our troops out of there in short order, thereby ending extant manpower shortfalls.

Boy, this chickenhawk thing is really touching some nerves out there. I wonder why?

Posted by: albedo at June 28, 2005 11:14 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"If a person is riding a bike and a brick wall is ahead ..."

If you're driving a tank, on the other hand ...

Posted by: M1 4U at June 28, 2005 11:23 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

But if you can't make the troops come home, the problem will continue until you, and others who recognize the crisis, sign up. It falls to those who recognize the problem to fix it, I'm afraid.

However, now that the "massive shortages" have been downgraded to "extant shortfalls", perhaps the need is not so urgent.

I apologize for so heartily feeding the troll. I'll stop now.

Posted by: Morgan at June 28, 2005 11:27 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

you know you are in wingnutworld when people think that nineteen guys with pocket knives were the equivalent of the Japanese Imperial Navy....

Factoring as war damage, both the economic loss along with the immediate loss of life, and normalizing as a single occurrence as opposed to the duration of the War in the Pacific, they were worse.

Full Disclaimer:
No insult to the Japanese Imperial Navy is intended by this comparison. Their Modus Operandi was to attack military targets and wear uniforms to mark themselves as military personnel, unlike certain other people who have been commented upon in this blog's comments...

Posted by: Adriane at June 28, 2005 11:29 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"But if you can't make the troops come home, the problem will continue until you, and others who recognize the crisis, sign up. It falls to those who recognize the problem to fix it, I'm afraid."

I'm afraid I'd have to say, first and foremost, it should fall to those (partially) creating the problem with their jingoistic cheerleading. Anyway, surely you'd be a better soldier than me, since you so vigorously support the effort. Just think, with the 101st Keyboarding Division signed up, we could engage in freedom-spreading and still do a little North Korean sabre-rattling on the side. Fun!

Any word on how stop-loss affects those figures, or would that just egg me on?

Posted by: albedo at June 28, 2005 11:53 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Albedo - we have to don scrubs? Can't we just wear our pajamas?

I suspect that Iran & North Korea are of the opinion that while our available conventional forces are busy, the USA is not near it's limits; the word 'Nagasaki' might occure to them. Of course, our limits on nuking someone are very, very high, but the potential exists. I can't imagine what would provoke such a response from America - but I'll bet there are people in Iran who can.

Most people could realize that they are making a sacrifice for Iraq when they look at the difference between Gross & Net pay every two weeks.

And as for your comment

"This counter-chickenhawk reductio ad absurdum argument (used a lot lately)"

I find that upsetting. I thought I was being creative. I guess I'll just have to read more blogs.

However, if I replaced Lawyers and Politicians (of whom we have a surplus) with Teachers and Cops, my (probably lame, reductio ad absurdum, often-cited) argument would have been the same:

I am a citizen. Government policy - no matter if it war, health care, law, or ecologically-fragile wetlands - is my business, no matter what job I have done for a living. There are several areas upon which I am qualified to have an opinion, not all of which are reflected in my resume.

This is not absurd. This is required.

Of course, if policy is set only by people like me - with no practical experience in war, health care, law, or ecologically-fragile wetlands - disaster can result. However, if policy is set only by people with practical experience in war, health care, law, or ecologically-fragile wetlands - disaster can result.

I lean towards the belief that the word 'only' is the key, and that's why people wiser that I set up America so that civilians would decide when we go to war, and warriors decide how we go to war.

OT - kinda - quote from Ben Franklin:
"Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is when the sheep has a gun."

Let's make sure that Iraq is armed against the Iranian and Syrian wolves. Timetable variable: based on experience, it took 7 years in Japan, and 60 in Germany; costly in dollars, cheap in lives.

Posted by: David D at June 28, 2005 11:55 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Albedo,
We are nowhere near usingour conventional capacity. You are ignoring airpower, of which only a fraction is currently in use in Iraq, and the Navy, of which an even smaller fraction is in use. The only area where we do not currently have much excess capability is in ground forces, and those would be the least needed against either China or North Korea, where air power would be the primary weapon. And even with the ground troops, in case of an emergency, the troops that are currently rotated back in the states could be sent elsewhere.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at June 29, 2005 12:17 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Paul Lukasiak--

You are the prime examplar of the foolishness that brought us September 11th. If you cannot see the danger we face when 19 terrorists armed only with box cutters (a primitive weapon to be sure), creativity and religious zeal could wipe out 3,000 people inside of three hours, then it is impossible to make you understand the nexus of Islamofascism, Arab money and portable radiologic weapons.

That is what this whole war is about. Technology only marches in one direction. Its spread is inexorable, and one day it will be possible for denizens of these previously third-world states to construct weapons that would at minimum devastate our economy and at maximum wipe out millions.

Draining the Middle East swamp of jihadis will take tremendous fortitude, courage and patience. You never had any of these, I suspect, and never will. That's your right. But thank God the American people had the good sense to reject such thinking last November.

I can't wait for your next installment of National Guard memos, by the way. Will they be on plain or crinkled paper this time?

Posted by: Fresh Air at June 29, 2005 12:23 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Morgan - feed them until they choke to death.

You'll notice how they shy away from the mathematics. Spend quite a bit of time over at optruth.com last fall fighting exactly the same kind of nonsense.

Perhaps Albedo would care to break down how a persistant 70,000 accessions a year affects 3,500 man Brigades?

Posted by: Tommy G at June 29, 2005 12:25 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

David -

I stand by my opinion that, assuming there is indeed a troop shortage, the truly honorable thing for a fervent supporter of the Iraq War to do is join the military. Not even saying that to score cheap chickenhawk points - I really think that's honorable, and some people have actually done just that. Anyone else who's eligible, able-bodied, and loudly pro-War, but can't be talked into signing up, I think is either a) a pussy, or b) a loudmouth who doesn't believe what he posts on blogs.
However, thanks for your reasonable response, and you do make some good points.

exhelodrvr - Can I please get a citation/numbers for these claims? Also, once again, do any of the troop figures being thrown around here take stop-loss into account?

Posted by: albedo at June 29, 2005 12:38 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Albedo--

I think it's fine and appropriate for anyone who is able to serve in the military. But Dave D.'s post was hardly a reductio ad absurdum. It was merely a series of simple examples demonstrating why the "chickenhawk" argument is a logical non sequitur.

Is this really so hard to understand? If so, perhaps you need to look at the definition of ad hominem circumstantial.

Logic. It's a beautiful thing.

Posted by: Fresh Air at June 29, 2005 12:47 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Fresh Air - Two points:

1) You and Dave D. misrepresent the chickenhawk argument. As it's often described on conservative blogs, it's, "If you never served in the military, you can't have an opinion about the war." That's not it. The actual chickenhawk argument is, "You have a (positive) opinion about the war, so go serve in it." I mean, you're entitled to your opinions, free country and all. Just think most of you are full of hot air when it comes to your stated ideals regarding Iraq.

2) The argument holds water because of depleted troop levels, stop-loss, and near-full National Guard deployment. If the US military was at peak capacity, there wouldn't be a need for any of you strapping young keyboardists to drop your cocks and grab your socks, as it were.
The "depleted forces" thing has been disputed a couple of times, but I've yet to be given a link or citation for any claims contra.

Posted by: albedo at June 29, 2005 01:08 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

It is a good thing kerry was not around back in say, 1783. I wonder if he would have been demanding deadlines on the US Constitution.

As for the chicken doves, all I will say about them is they okay right into the hands of these terrorist groups. They are indeed useful idiots. Sailor

Posted by: Sailor in the Desert at June 29, 2005 01:46 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I've been okaying right into the hands of Osama this whole time and I didn't even realize it!

Posted by: albedo at June 29, 2005 01:53 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Kerry??? Who can trust Kerry or anything he or his party regurgitates.
To succeed we need to follow he leader who was elected!!!!!! Not like WA State who got stuck with someone who cannot count.

Posted by: lday at June 29, 2005 02:12 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Albedo--

Don't put words in my mouth. I pointed out that regardless of whether we need troops or not, support the war or oppose it, the validity of your opinion is unaffected.

You, sir, really are a dope--and you have digitarhea to boot.

Posted by: Fresh Air at June 29, 2005 02:16 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"The "depleted forces" thing has been disputed a couple of times, but I've yet to be given a link or citation for any claims contra."

"Depleted"? Try "Growing".

Here's your cite, Jack-ass...

"In October 2004 the FY2005 Defense Authorization Act increased Army end strength by 20,000 and Marine Corps end strength by 3,000 for FY2005, with additional increases authorized in future years. The Army recognizes the challenges the continuing deployments have created. It is one of the driving forces behind the Army growing by close to 30,000 Soldiers over two years."

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/agency/end-strength.htm

I'll leave it to Morgan to explain cyclic shortfalls against forecasted growth. It's more business model math than Military logistics, anyways. Not that you'd understand that, either, but you've wasted enough of my time.

Posted by: Tommy G at June 29, 2005 02:47 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

How about this?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20050610/pl_afp/usmilitaryiraq_050610195520

and this?

http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,13319,FL_recruiting_060305,00.html?ESRC=eb.nl

from above: "What we have is a recruiting problem," said Charles Pena, director of defense policy studies at the Cato Institute. "The question is whether or not it becomes a recruiting crisis."

Ohhh, it's only a problem right now. Guess all you tough guys are off the hook for the time being, and can go back to sticking your fingers in your ears while watching the Fox News ticker.
Anyways, the "jackass" and "dope" comments tell me I've won this argument, regardless. Adieu, and good luck with Operation Spineless Loudmouth.

Posted by: albedo at June 29, 2005 03:08 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Adios, Albedo! Please bone up on your logical fallacies before our next discussion.

Posted by: Fresh Air at June 29, 2005 03:27 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The comments to Greg’s thoughtful post quickly turned ugly when the Chickenhawk charge was hurled: “If you support the war, why haven’t you enlisted?”

Can’t we all just get along? I didn’t think so. But questioning motivations is a cheap trick that does nothing to advance the argument.

Is there any support for a “Chickenhawk declaration” in which the one who hurls the charge is recognized as having lost the argument, in much the same way that tradition holds the fruition of Godwin’s law?

Posted by: The Kid at June 29, 2005 03:50 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Why do those who are opposed to the war always try to insist that those who support the war should go and join the military?
Should everyone who believes in abortion rights go and get one? Should everyone who believes in the governments' right to emminent domain give up their own property? Should everyone who believes in the right to die have to kill themselves?
Nice try, using the Michael Moore approach. I prefer logic. God watch over the coalition til the mission is complete.

Posted by: IceBlue8 at June 29, 2005 03:58 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

albedo:
Excellent point about the importance of the Chickenhawk charge. Great work!

It then follows that:
- Those who criticize the Bush tax cuts must pay higher taxes than what the tax code requires.
- Those who do not support capital punishment should house those convicts who would otherwise be executed.
- Those who are against littering should shut up and just pick the stuff up.
- The first five hundred and twenty who announce that Gitmo must be closed should each get one former Gitmo detainee to have and to hold, etc.
- Those who support Kyoto should stop emitting CO2.

Thanks, it’s quite helpful.

Posted by: The Kid at June 29, 2005 04:00 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Albedo,

You've raised a fair challenge to now-shamed chickenhawks like myself. What sacrifice have I made? How will I work to keep this country afloat as the years drag on in this seemingly never-ending struggle that I've so cavalierly supported?

I propose massive, massive cuts in Medicare, Social Security, and foreign aid. In fact, I would applaud the elimination of all of these gross misappropriations of my money. After all, the federal government has absolutely no Constitutional mandate to spend the people's money on such absurdities, while they have a very explicit mandate to defend the country. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's one of only three powers enumerated to it!

Since you are now undoubtedly wetting your pants at the mere thought of a country that doesn't commit institutionalized armed robbery in the name of "compassion" (don't worry, I'm a little scared too!), you will, as a man of honor willing to question and berate the honor of others, immediately do the following to compensate for the shortfall in entitlements brought about in the name of supporting the war effort:

* Refuse to take any deductions on your next 1040 form, including any child tax credits, business credits, education credits, and any of the other takebacks of which you've previously availed yourself. You've got a society to save here, and you're far too principled for this sort of naked hypocrisy.

* Sell all of your possessions deemed, by the "objective observer" principle, not necessary to your survival, and cut a check for 100% of the proceeds from said sale to the U.S. Treasury Department. Be sure to write "for the suffering, both young and old" in the memo section. They'll know what to do with it.

* In the hours when you aren't working solely to prop up the programs you used to feel should be funded even by those with strong legal and ethical objections to them, work tirelessly on a grass-roots campaign to convince your fellow travelers to follow the previous two steps.

See? Just by convincing you to step down off of your high horse and put your money where your mouth is, I've:

* fully funded the President's Constitutional right to wage war against foreign enemies he deems a threat to the security of the United States.

* taken untold numbers of Communications and Women's Studies majors off of the government dole and put them to doing real work they can believe in.

* properly changed the coercive and utterly disingenuous nature of our nation's dispensing of "compassion" to one bred of free will and personal sacrifice.

In return, my debts now relieved of the wasteful, counter-productive, Marxist idiocy inflicted upon my checkbook by luminaries like FDR and LBJ, I will gladly buy $5,000 worth of war bonds annually to support the cause so dear to my heart.

Still think you "won" the debate, you dopey jackass? Of course you do...

Posted by: VJay at June 29, 2005 04:05 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

It seems to me we have accomplished an awful lot in Iraq for the lives of only 1,700 men. Before we went in, Iraq was said to have the third largest army in the world, remember?

Seven thousand lives were lost in the building of the Panama Canal, when America's population was less than one-third what it is today.

The ramifications of a free and democratic Iraq--whether next year or the year after--are truly mindboggling, and have more than begun already.

We had to do something different in the Middle East, and I think the current war policy was very well chosen. Our men were shot at for years on the No-Fly-Zone, for heavens' sake. None of our "allies" would do it, except Britain a little.

We were going to be out of Bosnia "by Christmas" over nine years ago. The Panmunjam armistice was 53 years ago, and our troops are not out of South Korea. And we're still in Germany. The only people calling for us to cut and run from Iraq are people who want our Iraq policy to fail.

Basically, 60 years of bribes to Israel and Egypt had gotten us nothing except child suicide bombers and a higher level of carnage than ever, plus suicide attacks on the United States. We had to do something different. George W. Bush did. And some 62 million voters last year appreciated what he's done.

Posted by: exguru at June 29, 2005 04:43 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

albedo,

Just because you heard the phrase "stop-loss" on CNN, don't start acting like you're an expert in military personnel matters. Stop-loss has been a policy since before I enlisted in '77, was the policy my entire 20+ years, and is still the policy now. Nothing new with S-L. And yes, I knew quite a few who got caught under the policy over the years, and didn't get home to mama when they thought they would. One thing about that though... the policy was made quite clear to everyone. Once you sign your name on the dotted line, your ass belongs to Uncle Sugar until he says he doesn't need it anymore. At least this war isn't as severe as previous wars, where your hitch was for "the duration of conflict, plus 6 months". It's a kinder gentler military now.

Posted by: sgpi11 at June 29, 2005 07:16 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I would like to address the left wingers who slam anyone who remotely supports the Presidents actions because he or she did not join the military. First of all its a cheap shot. It's like saying you cant side with cops in a dispute because you've never been a cop. Lots of people havent been lots of things. Our armed forces are made up of volunteers which makes their bravery and sacrafice all the more honorable. Many of us myself included decided not to join the military. It is not for everyone (do not take that as a jab at the harrowing, bloodiness of war as only being for "other people") but the fact is that "military life" with its strict regimens and tight rules is not for everyone. However, because someone is not in the military this does not preclude someone from being able to support the troops and or see the long term political goals at stake. Also speaking of the volunteer army, I recall last summer moveon.org et al had come up with this rumor that the President (calling any president by their last name in print is rather dis-respectful, this goes for Bill Clinton as well) was going to intitute some kind of draft. I found that odd because it was John Kerry who wanted to raise 2 more army divisions to win this war. Where does everyone think he was going to get that from? Well geez I dunno, a draft. Also speaking of President Clinton, we are still in Bosnia! I dont see any Democrats and or peaceful hippies taking to the streets over that. Also, ask the Germans if they consider us "occupiers". Heck we wanna close bases there and the locals are up in arms over all the business they will lose when the GI's leave. I agree with the left-wingers/commies/socialists that we should not be in Iraq forever. However, it would be nice if I could see some consisteny in ther various arguements......Anyway, I agree with he analysis of Kerry's op-ed piece. However, at this point John Kerry is a political non-entity. His career is basically over as far as further office is concerned. I am from Massachusetts, he is not even well liked here and did not carry this state by as much as he should have. The people at large view him as aloof and out of touch, but the political machinery in Boston keeps getting him elected. Hilary is the choice for the Democratic nomination/or in case of natural disaster Joe Biden. I would be far more wary of what Hilary says than Kerry at this point....... Mmmmy name's Jooohn Keeerrry and even I get bored wiith mmmyyyself.

Posted by: Christian Noel at June 29, 2005 07:59 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

exguru,
Thank you. Thank you very much. Everyone loves to criticize the way GW has managed the war on terror -- or mismanaged, as they love to say -- as if he's managing some friggin' restaurant. Your post had some excellent posts. Just like the guy in the football stadium criticizing the quarterback, I'd like to say to all those critics, "why don't you go out and manage a war on terror, then, and we'll all see just how great of a job you do?!"

Posted by: Beth Barnat at June 29, 2005 08:00 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

You are the prime examplar of the foolishness that brought us September 11th. If you cannot see the danger we face when 19 terrorists armed only with box cutters (a primitive weapon to be sure), creativity and religious zeal could wipe out 3,000 people inside of three hours, then it is impossible to make you understand the nexus of Islamofascism, Arab money and portable radiologic weapons.

When 9-11 happened, there were no more than a few thousand adherents to the philosophy of Osama bin Laden in the entire world --- and the number of such adherents willing and capable of attacking the US was much, much smaller.

The threat, in other words was minimal. Nevertheless, it did exist, and needed to be addressed -- the big question was how to address it. And it should be pretty obvious by now that turning it into a literal "war" (rather than a metaphorical one) has been a disasterous mistake.

9-11 happened because the US left itself open to attack. We were more concerned with "convenient" air travel than safe air travel. Our politicians were more concerned with sucking up to Saudi billionaires than ensuring that terrorists were unable to breach our borders. And most critically, for the nine months preceding 9-11 we had a President who simply ignored the threat, and disregarded the warnings. (Face it --- if George W. Bush had mobilized the government bureaucracy to prevent 9-11 with the same fervor he did to find a link between al Qaeda and Iraq after 9-11, the attack would almost certainly have been prevented. )

We are in this current mess because George W. Bush is incapable of admitting that he screwed up. And if/when the US suffers more terrorist attacks, it will be because George W. Bush continues to screw up.

You talk about "portable radiological weapons" -- well, the fact is that the Bush regime has not done what is necessary to ensure that nuclear materials do not fall into the hands of terrorists --- especially the stuff that is laying around the old Soviet Republics. Nor has he devoted the necessary funding to ensure that our ports are safe.

He has instead increased the risk, by increasing the number of people who hate the USA --- and that is the critical consideration. The more people who hate America, the more likely it is that there are going to be people who have access to such materials that they can pass on to terrorists, and the more likely it is that the terrorists will include people with the necessary expertise to pull off such an attack.

The worst part is that the "radiological weapon" you are so worried about isn't where the real threat to the United States lies. The real threat is our economic vulnerability, especially our vulnerability to sustained interruption of international oil supplies. And what we are doing in Iraq right now is resulting in hundreds if not thousands of people being trained to accomplish just that --- the terrorists are learning how to disrupt Iraq's oil infrastructure, and if they transfer those lessons to Saudi Arabia or Kuwait, there will be hell to pay.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at June 29, 2005 11:30 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The "if you support the Iraq war, then join the army" argument doesn't hold up.

First, what if you are 80 years old and support the Iraq war? What then? What if you have a disability that prevents you from serving in the military and support the Iraq war?

What if, during World War II, you supported the war against Japan (because of Pearl Harbor) but opposed the war in Europe? There was no guarantee that by joining the military you wouldn't be sent to Europe.

When you join the military, you can't refuse to fight in a war that the President and Congress authorize.

And, as a practical matter, it is possible to join the military even if one opposes the Iraq war (for the educational and other benefits) just as it is possible to support the Iraq war and stay in civilian life (to take care of a sick relative, which one could not do if stationed overseas).

Posted by: Mark at June 29, 2005 12:54 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

, by increasing the number of people who hate the USA --- and that is the critical consideration. The more people who hate America, the more likely it is that there are going to be people who have access to such materials

It should be obvious that trends in terrorism are not driven by US 'popularity' abroad or its absence.

Posted by: pico at June 29, 2005 02:18 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

One point that has not been addressed in this whole "chickenhawk debate" is the open hostility that military recruiters and the ROTC are met with on the majority of campuses nationwide. This coupled with what I can only imagine is parental and guidance counselor's steering away from anything having to do with the military does not help the current recruiting dilemma. I certainly cannot fault any parent from wanting to keep their child out of harm's way, but I think too many baby boomers-cum-parents today have an irrational disdain for the military. We as a nation have to maintain a unified front if we are to achieve our objectives. Unfortunately, we have done everything but that since March 2003 (before actually) as the shrill, reactionary cries devoid of historical perspective coming from the left prove daily. This only provides succor and motivation to our enemies, and makes our job as a nation much more dangerous and difficult.
Saddam Hussein was on our list of enemies long before 9/11 thrust us onto our current war footing. See the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act signed by President Clinton for details. http://www.library.cornell.edu/colldev/mideast/libera.htm

Posted by: jrod at June 29, 2005 05:05 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

It should be obvious that trends in terrorism are not driven by US 'popularity' abroad or its absence.

it should be, but mr. lukasiak apparently believes, as all leftists do, that the US is responsible for every wrong that goes on in the world. As if, prior to 9-11, we were living in a vacuum and Bin Laden and his Jihadis were simply minding their own business, tending to their caves and sending out fatwas for kicks. As if the pathologies of the ME simply didn't exist and that it is the US that is the cause of any and all problems within theses societies.

This is the leftist worldview, one that treats the people of the ME with contempt and disdain and believes that the greatest force for liberty and democracy this century is actually the world's greatest menace. Reading lukasiak's ramblings is always an eye-opener and always helps me put things in perspective, because no matter how much the president may screw up or make mistakes, things would be infinately worse with the lukasiaks of the world in power.

Posted by: Mike at June 29, 2005 05:09 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

For an exceptional analysis of the WOT, and the actions taken, read the following:

http://denbeste.nu/essays/strategic_overview.shtml

It was actually written about 18 months ago, but it is extremely perceptive and accurate.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at June 29, 2005 06:53 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Declare victory and leave? Hey, at least he's on message.

Posted by: Tommy G at June 29, 2005 08:26 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

As an Australian who served in the Australian army in Vietnam and saw that war lost in the streets and MSM of the US, it is readily obvious that the same type of coalition of the self-centred and supercilious is attempting a repeat for Iraq.

It is blindingly obvious that most of the Democratic leadership and their vocal supporters actually want the US to lose in Iraq. All their feigned support for a victory is tissue thin. They put their political interests ahead of those of their country.

Their opposition causes the deaths of American and coalition military personnel and of Iraqis. They don't directly motivate suicide terrorists but vacillation and apparent uncertainty in the US causes ordinary Iraqis to either hold back from active support of their government (eg by tipoffs about suspected terrorists) or to provide some aid and comfort to terrorists (to not be marked as on the losing side). That environment in Iraq, and in some other Middle Eastern countries, makes life easier for the terrorists. And that leads to fatalities for the US and for ordinary Iraqi civilians, as well as those trying to defend their country from terrorists and thugs.

It's about time people in the US began naming this behaviour for what it is: treason.

Posted by: OzMC at June 30, 2005 12:15 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I would agree with the above assesment. Put yourself in the shoes of a common Iraqi. You were held captive in your own country for 35 years with no choice but to submit to a ruthless dictator. Now you're in the middle of an armed conflict where A) The Americans are able to help you thwart what amounts to a foriegn invasion force of Islamic fundamentalists (keep in mind that under Saddams rule Iraq was a mainly secular society) or B) The Americans bail and leave you to your own defenses. Which ultimately means you will be under the foot of an Islamo-Facist dictatorship as opposed to a secular one. Now being the bright Iraqi I would have to be rather pragmatic about these things. I will probably support whoever happens to appear to have the best shot at winning in order to be sure that I am at least alive to live my life even though they might find either side distateful. For purposes of my argument we will assume that they dont want to be dictated to and support Democracy in whatever ever form that takes in Iraq and no I dont expect it to be an American style place. Joe Iraqi doesnt wanna wind up on the wrong side of a knife. If it appears that the Americans are losing or plan on leaving soon I would be LESS likely to give info for fear that I will be tracked down after the Americans leave and promptly executed. If I feel the Americans are gonna stay finishwhat they started and help solidify my country I am more apt to help them because I see my future as being safe...meaning I get to live a peaceful life. At this point here is the deal. I invite everyone to read the resolution that went before Congress in 2002 to authorize force, and quotes from various commanders before the war. I knoooow people get caught up in the WMD thing and yes that was a reason to go and yes I know we didnt find any. However, I could rattle off about 10 other reasons to get Sadddam outta there. Including his repeated violation of the 1991 cease-fire, about 16 different U.N. resolutions aaaand as it turns out the out right bribery of U.N. officlas through oil for food. The value or non-value as some of you see it of this endevour will not be evident now, however, as with most things its place in history will be judged in the distant future 10-20 years down the line. No doubt there will be other conflicts, with Democrats as president. We cannot and should not base our opinions of a war or other "action" based solely on our dislike of the Commander-in-Chief of the time, as I suspect is the case for some amoung us. To do so would signal a clear sign of weakness to the enemy to wait us out. Terrorists and foreign regimes under stand our culture they study it, they know our impatience or restlessness to get on to the next thing. This war on terror will sometimes require military action, other times not. But this will be a long protracted fight on many varying fronts. I just hope we are all patient enough to win. Victory comes slowly, but defeat can come swiftly with the stroke of a pen or the edge of a sword.

Posted by: Christian Noel at June 30, 2005 07:53 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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