We Are Our Own Worst Enemy

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Mark Steyn is a blogger who is in my opinion witty, erudite, and factually correct. His most appealing attribute is his humor. It is telling, the level of animus that he generates. Attached is an observation Mark makes regarding the war in Iraq.

For the Iraqis, "Iraq" is about Iraq. For everyone else in the world, "Iraq" is about America. This country has acquired the habit either of losing wars or of ending them inconclusively. A similar result in the Middle East would lead not just the Chinese, Russians, and Iranians but also the Norwegians, Singaporeans, and Australians to conclude that the nation's hyperpower status was some freak accident — like Jerry Lewis stumbling into a boardroom meeting and being mistaken for the new chairman. They would make their dispositions according, there being no reason why anyone should take Washington seriously ever again. If the Democrats think that's good for the world, I'd like to know why.
When did we become so myopic as to be unable to stop the politics at the waters edge? Politics’ ending at the water’s edge used to be the by-word for presenting a united front to the enemy. The back-rooms of Congress were where the back stabbing, acrimony, and mendacity occurred that are the hallmarks of a healthy republic. We are airing our laundry out in front of the world and giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

How do we put the genie back in the bottle? We are doing ourselves no favors. I see this as suicide. It is all the more painful that it is taking us so long to die.

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36 Comments

zimzo said:

Yes, it would be so much better for our image to stay in Iraq and lose decisively.

This guy is brilliant. He thinks the kidnapped Fox News journalists were cowards for pretending to convert to Islam rather than letting the kidnappers blow their heads off as he would have if he weren't all safe in sound in America. You can bet on it. And by not letting themselves get murdered they've pretty much lost the war on terror for us:

http://glenngreenwald.blogspot.com/2006/09/will-real-cowards-please-stand-up.html

You really know how to pick 'em, Joe!

Jack said:

It does make one wonder whether those who were kidnapped and killed were given the same choice, but had the faith to refuse.

Jack said:

Zimzo:

Why are you so sure we will lose?

charles said:

Zimzo, Glenn misread Steyn's article, and misrepresented it.

There was nothing "mocking" in that article to the Fox people. He stated factually what they did, and gave his opinion as to how their action was perceived by our enemies.

He did NOT say they were WRONG, or make fun of them, for doing so, he made astute observations of the meaning of what they did.

The article Glenn cites is an excellent article by Steyn, and on-point, especially his comments regarding Andrew Sullivan, which Glenn also mis-represents. Andrew Sullivan is an atheist, who firmly believes there is no afterlife. So to Andrew, there is no point in giving up your life, because NOW is the only time you will live.

For those who believe in an afterlife, there are many reasons why sacrificing life now is the right, and honorable thing to do.

I don't fault the fox people for what they did, I might do the same notwithstanding the teachings of my faith -- I trust that if I were ever in such a position God would give me the strength I needed.

Of course, the fox people are now marked men, for making a mockery of the "religion of peace". It's a trick you can only pull once, and further a trick that other journalists aren't likely to be able to pull off.

In fact, it is just as likely that the next "convert" will be killed after conversion in order to "ensure they don't backslide".

But that isn't the fox reporter's fault, and Steyn never said it was -- it's the fault of our enemy, and the weakness of our culture which values personal gain over principle.

Jacob Ash said:

Zimzam,
Bravo Zimmy my boy. You completely missed the point of both Mark's article and my post. I will now return to the cliff note format:
1. The terrorist read the internet.
2. They see us publicly ripping each others guts out over the nature of the policy AND how the policy is being implimented
3. this gives the enemy aid and comfort
4. many are utter defeatists only because it is a Republican and not a Democrat in the Whitehouse,
5. the reverse of 4 would be most likely true
6. we are insane if we think we can survive let alone win this war operating under such circumstances

Given I have taken the time to get around you apparent lack of reading comprehension skills please be so kind as to answer the following questions:
1 Explain what is wrong with closing ranks to face an enemy, we did so in WWI and WWII

2. Why are you so convinced we will lose (I am repeating Jack’s question)

I not convinced we will win, but I am sure loosing would be a disaster.

3. Do you disagree that the consequences of a loss would be severe?

-JA

Jacob Ash said:

Zimmy,
I am not Joe you twit.
-JA

Jacob Ash said:

Charles,
You wrote a great commentary regarding the Glen article; I too see that Glen woefully misreading Steyn.

http://www.suntimes.com/output/steyn/cst-edt-steyn03.html

The level of mendacity by Glen is classic. Steyn never calls anyone in his article a coward; Glen is making real hay in this regard; and Zimzam is constructing a scarecrow with it.

The real point of the article centers on the behavior of Reuters and other ‘news’ agencies that are not checking the facts that are being reported by their amateurs in the field. A second point is the PC manner in which acts by Middle Eastern looking men are being reported. Swing and a miss Glen.

Zimmy,
Just because you can find an article it does mean you are making an argument.

-JA

zimzo said:

First of all, my apologies to Joe for blaming him for this tripe.

Charles, Andrew Sullivan is not an atheist but a devout Roman Catholic. I know there are some Christians who believe that Roman Catholicism is atheism but I'm surprised to see you're one of them.

Jacob, I suppose you think that it would be better if we all just went along with whatever Bush and Rumsfeld and Cheney did no matter how ill-conceived and incompetent so as not to let the terrorists see us arguing. I don't know if you can remember back five years but after September 11 the entire country was united. Bush's popularity ratings were 90%. The Patriot Act passed 98-1. A large majority of the country supported the war in Afghanistan. Then Bush let Osama Bin Laden flee Tora Bora. He began turning his attention to Iraq, which had nothing to do with the September 11th attacks, drumming up false evidence to support the cause. In the 2002 election Republicans began exploiting the war on terror for partisan gain. They morphed Sen. Cleland into Osama Bin Laden. They began portraying anyone who disagreed with their tactics as weak on terror. Anyone who questioned the poor planning and execution in Iraq was called a "defeatist." The President basically took a united country and divided it.

This notion that the only reason we are losing in Iraq is because of "defeatists" at home would be funny if it weren't so sad. The Bush Administration went into this war with two few troops who didn't even have the armor to protect themselves. The Bush Administration went in with no planning for reconstructing the country and winning the peace, with no understanding of the culture under the false assumption that we would be greeted with flowers and the insurgency would be over in a matter of weeks. It's not defeatist to acknowledge reality. Even Sistani has acknowledged he can do nothing to stop civil war. At some point you have to wake up to reality. When it became obvious that Vietnam was a lost cause we pulled out. None of the nightmare scenarios of dominos falling to Communism were realized. Last I checked, we won the Cold War.

It's time to turn our attention back to the real enemy Al Qaeda. It's time to fight the war on terror with intelligence for a change. It's time to acknowledge that we can't win this war alone, that we need the allies Rumsfeld stupidly referred to as Old Europe and that Republicans are going to need Democrats, especially since it looks like they might control Congresss next year. It's time for Republicans to stop seeing the war on terror as a tool to consolidate their political power.

As far as the Steyn article goes, read it again. He is not just saying his problem is with how the world sees the kidnapped Fox journalists but how they LET the world see them. The reference to the Arthur Conan Doyle story leaves no doubt that he believes this is how they should have behaved. He quotes: "They cannot bring themselves to submit to Islam, for they understand it to be not just a denial of Christ but in some sense a denial of themselves, too." If you prefer writing even less subtle, then check out tis delightful and truly embarrasing round-up:

http://glenngreenwald.blogspot.com/2006/08/president-has-made-his-choice-more.html

The David Warren piece he discusses is truly one of the most disgusting and shameful pieces I have ever seen published in a newspaper. Then take a look at how some of your cronies on the blogosphere have attacked the Fox journalists from the safety of their own homes after falsely accusing the Left of not caring about them because of who they worked for. I think the Right has truly jumped the shark.

Jack said:

Ah, Zimzo, missing the point again, I see. The point is not that the Democrats should blindly go along with Bush, but should keep those discussions in private conferences with the administration, so that we present a united front to our enemies.

The "reality" of this "disaster" that we are "losing" is that we have lost fewer soldiers and marines than we did taking Iwo Jima. As for not having armor, when was ANY army wearing body armor?

As for going unprepared for all eventualities, that is the nature of war. In WWI, Russia marched on Germany when not all of their soldiers even had guns! Why? Because they had told the French they would do so to draw German troops out of France. The unarmed soldiers would just have to pick up the Nagants of their fallen comrades.

We went into Iraq when we did because we had to. A summer attack against possible gas, germ, and dirty nuke attacks was not feasible. We could not wait until Fall, because it would give Saddam too long to launch the attacks he had threatened. All the Democrats had the same intel reports the Bush administration had, and they came to the same conclusions. Now DEMOCRATS are exploiting the war for political gain. That's treason.

What is the Democrats plan to win in Iraq? Or do they just plan to concede defeat and leave? When we left Viet Nam, millions were slaughtered in our wake. Is that what you want for the Iraqis?

As for the Fox journalists, I do wonder how many of those beheaded were given the same choice and refused. The terrorists would never show that.

Jacob Ash said:

Zimzam,

“Charles, Andrew Sullivan is not an atheist but a devout Roman Catholic. I know there are some Christians who believe that Roman Catholicism is atheism but I'm surprised to see you're one of them.”

Zimzam is overreaching, as usual. Charles is wrong here. Andrew Sullivan is not an atheist. Nonetheless Zimmy goes off the deep end and proclaims that Charles is of the mind that ALL Roman Catholics are atheists.

Andrew calls himself a devout Roman Catholic and then lives a lifestyle that antithetical to the teachings of the Church. He does so in a manner that as ‘in your face’ as it can get. Is Andrew Sullivan a Roman Catholic? Absolutely. Is he devout? Absolutely not. To be devout one cannot champion a view that is heretical to the teaching of the Church.

I used to read Andrew’s stuff avidly, the guy is real smart. What I found disappointing was when he and Bush parted ways on the gay marriage issue AS switched his support in a number of other areas as well. I still read him, but not as often.

-JA
PS when it comes to tripe, I must admit you are an expert.

PSPS More to come Zimzam

Jacob Ash said:

Zimzam,
“I suppose you think that it would be better if we all just went along with whatever Bush and Rumsfeld and Cheney did no matter how ill-conceived and incompetent so as not to let the terrorists see us arguing.” Hardly. Please recall “the back-rooms of Congress were where the back stabbing, acrimony, and mendacity occurred that are the hallmarks of a healthy republic.” I am all for the country revisiting the sagacity of the policy. But, we have politicized the war to the nth degree here. This IS giving aid and comfort to the enemy because in this day and age the PR front is as important as any other front.

“A large majority of the country supported the war in Afghanistan.” Yes, and I remember hearing plenty of nonsense calling Afghanistan a ‘quagmire’ right up until the Taliban ran away. While the vast majority did support the war there the left wing of the talking head circuit was already calling it the beginnings of a defeat. Why Zimmy? Will you tell me why? Can you tell me why?

‘This notion that the only reason we are losing in Iraq is because of "defeatists" at home would be funny if it weren't so sad.’ I never said that, what is really sad is that you feel the need to air so ridiculous a straw man. Nice Democrat talking point.

‘It's time to turn our attention back to the real enemy Al Qaeda.’ What organization what Zarqawi part of? This is the king of all red herrings and another Democrat talking point. Try something else.

My post (see above) was in part based on conversation from the NRO blog 'the corner'. Go read the block quote above. As for reading Styns other aricle, I have a better idea, answer the question that was the underlying premise of the block quote an my posting “How is losing the war in Iraq good for the US?”

Why don’t you answer that instead of regurgitating Democratic talking points.

-JA

Moderate 5-19 said:

JA,

This question is somewhat more complicated then choices of ‘blind allegiance’ or ‘open disagreement’. Lets assume (for the sake of argument) a that a person (no matter the political affiliation) really does believe the war in Iraq was not only not needed but also how the war is being conducted is causing the un-necessary loss of life to our troops as well as Iraq citizens. This person may feel that it is his duty as a good American (maybe even as a good Christian) to speak out against the war, openly and honestly. And let’s continue to assume that even if this person thought the enemy was getting some” comfort” from his/her words it is more important to them to save American lives.

Now on the other hand one could believe that the administration is completely right in all his actions and it is never appropriate to openly chastise the administration.

How does one reconcile these two views?

Now I believe that when and if possible in war time, criticism should be done in private, having said that the Bush administration has been said to not listen to various points of view or even want to hear others who may have more experience. The fact is that many people to include Brent Scowcroft, General Susekee and others (perhaps even Colon Powell) were said to have advised the administration against going into Iraq. It is said that the neo-cons (Paul Wilfowitz, Doug Feith, Richard Perle and others) had the Presidents ear and he had a tin ear to any other voices. He did not listen to advice about the needs of troops, troop levels, how we would be received, possible insurgency, Iraq Nationalism, and 100 other issues.

So the question becomes what is an elected leader to do when they may have said all these things in private yet never have their point of view heard and thus believes Americans are dying as a result. I could make the argument that it is the patriotic thing to do is speak out. Others may feel speaking out is never appropriate.

I don’t believe that either feeling makes one a dis-loyal American.


Jack said:

M 5-19: Your hypothetical person is not the issue. For an individual citizen, I have no problem with his protesting the war or criticizing its execution. The problem is with the opposition leaders who make public statements against the administration and the war.

You make the common error of accusing someone of "not listening" when they do not take your advice. To say Bush did not listen to advice is plain wrong. He listened to his advisors, and some opposition leaders. Now those whose advice he did not follow are bitter about it, so they are airing their differences in public. These are NOT the actions of a LOYAL opposition.

Jacob Ash said:

M5,
Jack beat me to it. The likes of Zimzo can rant and bay at the moon regarding the war all they want. I actually would defend their right to do it. One has the constitutional right to say what one will, shouting fire inn a theatre being the notable exception.

It is when the leadership of the 'loyal' opposition starts to engage in overtly partisan speech regarding the war that we must take pause. If one is a chairman of the party, a house whip etc, then the question has to be "will what I say be used by the enemy?"

Joe blow is exempt. Zimzo is exempt. The chair of a senatorial committee is not exempt. He is held to a higher standard.

The chairman must be, for we are not that strong, our will is not unbreakable, and this war will be won in the town square, for the enemy cannot defeat us in a stand up fight.

As for the listening, I cannot say Bush did or did not listen. I am sure we did not accept the advice of Jimmy Carter. But aside from that I do not know how much advice got; I am also unable to say how he weighed all the advice.

-JA

Moderate 5-19 said:


Jack,
I guess I was not clear, my "hypothetical person" is a hypothetical elected leader".

I don't think that it is just a matter of the Bush Admin. not taking others advice. I actually believe they are arrogant and not listening. So many of the things that Bush was told could go wrong has gone wrong yet he still has this “stay the course" plan.

It is wise to listen to those who have been there and done that. Clearly they are not doing this. And it’s not just the opposition party who has openly opposed the prosecution of this war. Heck Brent Scowcroft is Bush’s God Father and was his father’s right hand man. And what about all the General’s and other retired military who oppose the way the war is being prosecuted, they are not political people. And they may actually have a better way.

Why must we assume that those in opposition are “bitter”, why is it not possible that they are just as concerned about the troops and believe staying on this course is bad for the troops and bad for the country.

I believe the Bush Administration is so busy defending past decisions they can’t see their way to listen to someone giving them new ideas.

It is not the job of the opposition party or anyone else to be loyal to the administration. They are to be loyal to the country. Bush may be the person currently holding the office, but as Mark Twain said

"Loyalty to the country always, Loyalty to the government when it deserves it"

I believe people are being loyal to the country while critical of the administration. They are NOT the same thing.

zimzo said:

Dear, Jacob, I know sometimes my sense of humor sails right over you so perhaps we can work out some sort of code so that you know when I am joking. I knew very well that Charles was not attacking Andrew Sullivan because he is Roman Catholic but because he is gay. But, and here I am being serious, I think your notion that someone cannot be gay and a devout Christian, to be troubling, and one most people would disagree with, though it does give us some insight into the bgotry behind the mindset of those who are pushing the anti-gay marriage amendment. I believe that most Christians believe, and please correct me if I am wrong, that even if one believes homosexuality is a sin, and not all Christians believe that, that it is possible to be Christian and a sinner. Yet for some reason some Christians seem to think that an exception has been carved out for homosexuality.

As far as your notion that politicians who object to a President policies should be silent during wartime, I wonder where you get this idea. Can it be found in the secret articles of the Constitution? Perhaps its one of the new powers President Bush gave himself as a Unitary Executive because Republicans didn't seem to know about during the war in Kosovo. Here is a very nice summary of how Republicans behaved when they were in the opposition to "Clinton's War" as they called it in the Balkans:

http://www.slate.com/id/27730/

By the way, Jack, Zarqawi was not a member of Al Qaeda. He began referring to his group as "Al Qaeda in Iraq" after the U.S. invaded. I know facing facts is not your forte but it seems clear to anyone that letting Osama Bin Laden go and instead going after someone who had nothing to do with Al Qaeda until after we started going after him is not the best strategy for defeating Al Qaeda.

And just in case someone reading this thread is not convinced how loony and dangerous the right wing has become, let me quote from David Warren's article on the kidnapped Fox News journlaists:

"The degree to which our starch is awash is exhibited in the behaviour of so many of our captives, but especially in these two. They were told to convert to Islam under implicit threat (blindfolded and hand-tied, they could not judge what threat), and agreed to make the propaganda broadcasts to guarantee their own safety. That much we can understand, as conventional cowardice. (Understand; not forgive.) But it is obvious from their later statements that they never thought twice; that they could see nothing wrong in serving the enemy, so long as it meant they'd be safe. . . .

I assume they are not Christians (few journalists are), but had they ever been instructed in that faith, they might have grasped that conversion to Islam means denial of Christ, and that is something many millions of Christians (few of them intellectuals) have refused to do, even at the cost of excruciating deaths . . .

And the two Fox journalists, whom I will not stoop to name, begged for their lives even though, in retrospect, their lives probably weren't in danger. . . . Men without chests, men without character, men who don't think twice."

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2006/08/doing_the_enemys_work.html

Jack said:

M5-19:

Many of the things the anti-federalists feared came to be, too. No-one has perfect forsight. What happens is that you get a wide range of opinions, and the ones who are right on a particular point say, I told you so," while dismissing the dozen times they were wrong. The best a leader can do is listen to all, and make the best choice he can at the time. The best the advisors can do is give their advice and keep the I-told-you-sos to themselves. That is loyalty. When we are at war, "loyal opposition" does not use the war as a political bludgeon.

The Democratic Party has never expressed a whole lot of concern for the troops. They tried to get their votes nullified in Florida, their speeches accusing Bush of lying to get into the war against Iraq embolden our enemies, and they do not try to defend our borders. Such acts do nothing to convince me of their loyalty to our country.

Jack said:

Zimzo:

What are you babbling about now? I never mentioned al-Zarqawi. I gave a link to the article on the capture of Hamed Jumaa Faris Juri al-Saeidi. I must assume you did not read it.

Now, as I have stated before, being homosexual is not a sin. Homosexual ACTS are sins. We are all sinners, but our acknowledging that fact and repenting of our sins is what marks our devotion. Sullivan denies his sins and asks not for God's forgiveness, but for our acceptance of his sin.

As for "Clinton's War," you are entirely correct. (See, there is a God.) The Republicans speeches were out of order. For the record, I think Clinton did the right thing in the Balkans. (BTW, did Clinton have a U.N. Resolution and Congressional authorization for the Balkan action?)

zimzo said:

Jack, I wan't talking to you, though I know it pains you.

Jack said:

Now you're just insane, Zimzo. You don't even read your own posts. "By the way, Jack, Zarqawi was not a member of Al Qaeda." That sure sounds like you're talking to me.

zimzo said:

Sorry, I meant Jacob. I stand corrected. Perhaps in my subconscious I am obsessed with you after all, Jack.

charles said:

zimzo, thanks for the correction. I got confused, and thought "andrew sullivan" was Christopher Hitchens, not Andrew Sullivan. Don't know why I confused the two of them, a mind is a terrible thing to lose.

That said, I still disagree that the most important thing is staying alive.

I also partly agree that the Warren piece went overboard, but disagree that the Steyn piece in any way did so. Warren is a religious writer, and wrote from a purely religious perspective.

And I bet that Warren WOULD have been beheaded rather than betray his faith, but it is wrong to expect people without that faith to live up to that ideal.

Jacob Ash said:

Zim,
Ok. I missed the joke. Considering your penchant for overreach can you really blame me, or am I expected to commit sepuchi? Jack may be right, you probably are insane. Come to think of it did not Mike Savage refer to liberalism as a mental disease?

I will get to the rest of your comment later. Who knows, maybe you answered a question for a change. This could lead to me having a stroke, the shock would be too much. Keep your fingers crossed. ;-)

-JA

charles said:

zimzo, reading your further comment, I must strongly protest:

"I knew very well that Charles was not attacking Andrew Sullivan because he is Roman Catholic but because he is gay".

I most certainly was not. In fact, I was confused by the whole "gay" thing, because I was pretty sure Christopher Hitchens was NOT gay, and as I said before I got confused between Andrew Sullivan and Christopher Hitchens.

charles said:

And while I'm at it, zimzo, your "timeline of events" was laughable.

The democrats pushed for a new department of homeland security. Bush finally decided it was a good idea, and then the democrats tried to hold it up to get special protection for their union voters right before the election.

Max Cleland was one of the senators who opposed the Homeland Security department without special union protections, and his opponent called him out on it.

A majority of the voters in his state agreed with his republican opponent. The silliness of complaining about whose picture is next to whose picture in a campaign commercial might have had something to do with it, people don't like whiners, and everybody uses pictures of unsavory people with their opponent.

The country might have been united, but the democrats were already attacking the president, rumsfeld, and drumming up issues for the 2002 election by november of 2001. Remember "quagmire", "vietnam", and "unprepared to lead"? Those were all statements from prominent democrats NOT about Iraq, but about the war in Afghanistan, right before the Taliban was toppled.

As for Osama, he's probably less effective now than if we had him in custody in Guantanamo, where he would have a lawyer and a bevy of sympathetic leftists complaining about his treatment and making sure his pronouncements were made public for the world to hear.

Jacob Ash said:

Zim,
One little item. The rest will be dealt with tommorow night.

"As far as your notion that politicians who object to a President policies should be silent during wartime, I wonder where you get this idea."

Please note that St Roosevelt during WWII asked for and recieved a tacit agreement with the Republican minority to maintain a unified front. The letters from the time show much rancor and disagreement. But the minorty leader did NOT make it a habit of aring out the dirty laundry in the Chicago Tribune.

The discussion of differences are what makes us a democracy. We must continue this. BUT we are at war, we must be contrained by this. If it worked in WWII (and WWI for that matter) then it can be made to work now.

-JA

charles said:

As to protesting the war -- there's nothing wrong with protesting a war, and fighting to end it.

It is wrong to undermine the elected leader of the armed forces in an attempt to weaken his ability to run the war, to convince allies to help us, and to embolden the enemy to fight on.

And at some point as an elected member of the government, if you think a war is "illegal", you should resign your office before saying so, because you are a REPRESENTATIVE of the government, so if the war is illegal YOU are part of the illegal war.

Denouncing the country at war, claiming we have no right to be at war, that our enemies have every right to fight us, and to say so as an official representative of the government, is wrong. If you want to say those things, resign your post first. That's my message to elected leaders who are claiming our government is a criminal endeavor, and there are many elected democrats who have said that in the past couple of years.

When at war, it is important for our commander-in-chief to be seen as a strong, supported leader in order for us to succeed. In order to win back the white house, the democrats sought to undermine the president directly and falsely. Max Cleland actually joined a protest at the President's ranch during his working vacation in order to cast doubt on his leadership -- but that was AFTER the 2004 election, when there was NO political reason to still be attacking the president except for spite, and to try to take down the entire republican party in the next election.

Jack said:

This is wierd. The Washington Post article I cited above was front-page at 6:30 this morning, but now it has been replaced by "Risk of Autism Increases As Fathers Get Older" and there is no sign of the article on the main page. The link to the article is still good, though. A similar article is still up on Washington Times, but there is nothing in the NYT.

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man said:

good thing you guys have zimzo to take all your frustration out on, but sooner or later the fun will be over, and you'll all have to face up to the fact that the Iraq war was a mistake (or spend the rest of your lives in a denial-driven fantasy land) In the meantime, I'd like to take a shot at JA's 3 Q's.

1 Explain what is wrong with closing ranks to face an enemy, we did so in WWI and WWII

A: there was a fair deal of controversy re: America's involvement in WWI. There was big public support for World War II. The people were behind the war, so from a purely political POV there was no advantage to be had in being against the war. The same was true during Afghanistan, and I'd bet that the "nonsense calling Afghanistan a ‘quagmire’ right up until the Taliban ran away" which you seem to remember, Ash, was coming from a newsmedia obsessed with controversy rather than elected officials.

Iraq is different. The population was never fully behind this war, and it's not because Americans have suddenly become defeatist. It's because the war is build on error and lies, which (some of) the public has managed to see through. And the more unpopular this war is, the more politicians are going to distance themselves from it. That isn't treason, Jack. It's the nature of politics in a democratic society. ...and we all still love democracy, right? I don't hear anyone calling it sacrilege when politicians (aside from Hillary) pander to religious groups for the sake of some votes.

2. Why are you so convinced we will lose (I am repeating Jack’s question)

A: Success in Iraq isn't impossible, but it seems fairly improbable. It's increasingly unpopular among the public, and so increasingly difficult for elected officials to support. The US public seems tired with Iraq. It seems that the post-911 thirst for arab blood has been quenched, but the war drags on...

also, we don't know what we're doing, obviously. Our post-911 policy has been a fairly unimaginative, "we'll smoke 'em out" approach. and we don't have the stomach to force Iraq to work like it was in the past. What held Iraq together in the past? A vicious regime headed by a tyrannical dictator, right? silence the opposition, and kill their families, right?

3. Do you disagree that the consequences of a loss would be severe?

A: "I not convinced we will win, but I am sure loosing would be a disaster."

where were you in 2003? starting this war has been a disaster. Can you not imagine any negative consequences of continuing to fight a BS war simply on the basis of some, "We Cannot Loose" rhetoric. Every day people are killed in Iraq. every day Iran gets stronger as people throughout the region start more and more to see the US as an imperialist aggressor. In Iraq, we are killing 3 birds with 1 stone; we have tied up our volunteer army in an unnecessary war which is distracting us from one real enemy, Al-qaeda, and strengthening another, Ahmadinejad.

What would be the consequences of leaving Iraq? Iraq would become a training ground for terrorists? Wasn't that what those damned liberals were saying three years ago? Terrorists would claim Iraq as a victory if we pulled out, surely. Terrorists claim every conflict they're involved in as a victory. Look at the current situation with hezbollah. In their minds, all they have to do is show up. If we stayed in Iraq for 50 years, Al-Zawahiri's grandson would claim victory the day we left. Are we just supposed to sit tight in Iraq and wait for this whole 'extremism' thing to blow over?
Maybe not.

And so we're back at the point where one of you says, "OK mr. smarty pants, if you know so much, what's YOUR plan for Iraq" as if anyone opposed to the admin's policy should be required to have an outline for Iraq that rivals the entire republican-neocon-intelligence-military-industrial-complex
Is that what the Bush legacy is going to be? He bullheadedly lead the country into the wrong war, and than left it up to the people who told him not to do it to clean up the mess, like he's a freaking 2-year-old. Nice.

The way the Bush people shirked the international community in their rush to war makes a solution that much more difficult. (see the above comment about asking the people who told you not to do something to clean up the mess they told you you'd make) Nevertheless, there have been a number of plans put forth. Here's an example from Joe Biden:

http://biden.senate.gov/newsroom/details.cfm?id=249188

It seems solid, even though it's from a speech he made almost a year ago. That just goes to show how little progress we've made in Iraq in the past year. Even if you think his plan is lousy, could it be any worse than what we have now??

All of conservativeland's happy Rosy ideas about Iraq have been exposed as ridiculous, so it's no wonder you're frustrated. But calling zimzo "a twit" isn't going to change anything.

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man said:

P.S.

Charles, I'm not sure why I feel compelled to point this out (it might have something to do with the fact that you've misinterpreted a basic tenet of our system of government) but REPRESENTATIVES represent the people to the government. They don't represent the government to the people.

charles said:

SPMM, I wanted to immediately counter your claim, but I find myself oddly compelled by your assertion.

Who represents the government to the world? Well, the President, of course. But then is the problem that the representatives of the people to the government are misusing their power by representing the government to the world?

Yes, maybe that's the problem. When the democrats stand in front of the sign on national TV, it's not to petition government, or to represent us in congress (that happens on the floor of the house and senate). It's to send a message to the world. But as you say, it's not their position to send messages to the world.

Of course, the rest of the world sees representatives of government, because that's what these leaders are making themselves out to be, notwithstanding your observation that they are in fact our representatives TO the government.

In any case, the world does see our "government" as divided, they see people in our government claiming that our government is fighting an immoral, illegal war, and they take comfort in those words.

I served as a representative on a local HOA for a while, but if I thought they were doing something immoral or illegal I would have resigned immediately after pushing for a vote to end the immoral or illegal act.

charles said:

On Iraq, our standing with the Shia in Iraq is much better now than it was 4 years ago. It may not be enough to make them like us, or not side with Iran, but 4 years ago they hated us for abandoning them, and blamed us for their oppresion under Saddam.

If they had overthrown Saddam on their own, without our help, they would have taken over their country in a bloody civil war, with the kurds setting up an independent state that Turkey would have declared war on, drawing a NATO ally into the conflict.

The Shia part of Iraq would have aligned with Iran and against us, and would have made the Middle East 10 times worse.

By taking out Saddam for them, and sacrificing our own people on their behalf, we have built up some level of credibility and respect. It might not be enough, and it was certainly "more stable" when Saddam was oppressing, murdering, and raping those Shia to keep them in submission.

But in the long term, our sacrifice looks to be the only way we had to possibly effect the outcome of the certain collapse of Saddam's govenrment in a positive way for us.

We always had a tough road, too much military presence would have turned them all against us, too little makes the place too unstable.

It's not enough to argue that we went the wrong path. You have to explain what alternative path would have left us in a better position in 2009 than the path we took.

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man said:

ok, you have a good point. If the Shia had overthrown Saddam they might have sided w/ Iran. Isn't Iran Sunni, though?

But first of all, that's a big IF. That sort of speculation isn't the most solid foundation for going to war, and certainly not the reason we were given...

If we can go to war based on one bad outcome in a series of if/then statements, we could justify anything:

"If France elects a right-wing nut like La Pen, it could spark a new movement of right-wing extremism across Europe, so we're going to nip this in the bud by just invading France now."

Also, if we hadn't invaded Iraq, Iran would have less ammunition to use in their anti-american tirades. I don't think the Talliban had much support in the region. I'm pretty sure people in Iran were glad to see them go. But once we invaded Iraq, we had troops on the eastern and western borders of Iran. So naturally their gov.'s rhetoric was going to turn more anti-American. It'd be easy to make the argument that Ahmadinejad's rise to power and widespread support in the region is a direct result of our invasion of Iraq. That was his ticket to regional relevance.

So it seems ironic to argue that the consequences of not invading would have been unacceptable given the complete failure of our gov. to foresee the consequences of invading.

Jacob Ash said:

Marshmallow,

I want to protest! I do not take my frustration out on Zimmy. He asks for it in a BIG way. I am glad you are back because a discussion involving the give and take of questions being answered beats dealing with me being called a bigot or some such hands down.

As for "Isn't Iran Sunni, though?" Iran is Shia in a very big way. It is the largest Shia country on earth.

I will get to the rest of your and Zimzam comments tonight. Thank you for your input.

-JA

Alex said:

To be honest i think our media is getting out of control to the point where We the people will be our own worst enemies! In other words, down the road we could end up concouring the world just because the people will always hate "terrorists", terrorists being the new "communists". etc something that drives the media. So i think that we must look for peace and stop taking countries, Iraq dug us in a whole. I cant even believe what little an average citizen knows for example i bet you tell any kid that the government has a plane x-43 that can do mach 12 for 128 million dollars yet the government wants to build a mach 6 for another some 100-150 million! talk about a waste. To kill the issue lets just say the New YORK TIMES found out the government has 3 top secret biological program, one to create an antibiotic-resistant strain of anthrax!!! Wow lets just kill ourselves! Furthermore, its in direct violation to BWC Act.
http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache:g6ToGizQs9sJ:www.caedefensefund.org/CAE_USbiowar.pdf+secret+US+GOV+bio+programs&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=4&client=firefox-a

Furthmore, our governent has a collection of highly letal biological wepons such as anthrax, ncephalitis, tuberculosis, shellfish) at Ft. Derrick.

The point of this, well were just making an ass of ourselves the end.

Just remember over 23% of the world still doesnt have water!

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