Voting To 'Support The Troops'

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A valid question: Which candidate and which party should one vote for in order to best support U.S. military personnel?

To answer this question in the negative (not the point of this post but let's get it out of the way): There is a hard-core faction on the left who believe America has too much power and ambition and needs to be cut down to size. They want the U.S. to lose. Therefore they will always advocate to bring the troops home if the troops are in any danger of causing a U.S. victory anywhere, they will describe any U.S. military endeavor as an unmitigated failure, and they will advocate retreat in the face of any enemy. These people will vote for a Democrat if the only other choice is a Republican.

If you think the U.S. has it coming, or if you generally advocate military retreat, or if you happen to BE a terrorist, stop reading right now and go vote for your local Democrat candidate. This is democracy in action. The Democrats certainly won't all represent your wishes, but as a whole they're the only party with the possibility of accomplishing what you'd like to see accomplished.

As one of their biggest supporters wrote yesterday: The Democrats' only plan for Iraq sounds a lot like what most people call 'defeat'. For some in the U.S., that's good enough as long as it brings the troops home.

To answer the question in the positive, the Washington Post just reported on a unique angle: What the troops themselves think we should do in Iraq. In short, the troops believe a U.S. pullout would be 'devastating':

The soldiers declined to discuss the political jousting back home, but they expressed support for the Bush administration's approach to the war, which they described as sticking with a tumultuous situation to give Iraq a chance to stand on its own.

Leading Democrats have argued for a timeline to bring U.S. troops home, because obvious progress has been elusive, especially in Baghdad, and even some Republican lawmakers have recently called for a change in strategy. But soldiers criticized the idea of a precipitate withdrawal, largely because they believe their hard work would go for naught.

Capt. Jim Modlin, 26, of Oceanport, N.J., said he thought the situation in Iraq had improved between his deployment in 2003 and his return this year as a liaison officer to Iraqi security forces with the 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, based here on FOB Sykes outside Tall Afar. Modlin described himself as more liberal than conservative and said he had already cast his absentee ballot in Texas. He said he believed that U.S. elected officials would lead the military in the right direction, regardless of what happens Tuesday.

"Pulling out now would be as bad or worse than going forward with no changes," Modlin said. "Sectarian violence would be rampant, democracy would cease to exist, and the rule of law would be decimated. It's not 'stay the course,' and it's not 'cut and run' or other political catchphrases. There are people's lives here. There are so many different dynamics that go on here that a simple solution just isn't possible."

(No small wonder, as has happened in the past, some Democrats continue to take a stab at making it difficult for U.S. military personnel to vote.)

The Virginia Senate race serves as a useful barometer of military veterans' position on the question of "supporting the troops." Although running against a decorated Navy veteran, Republican George Allen surprisingly won the endorsement of both the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the National Vietnam & Gulf War Veterans Coalition. Although George Allen has staked out the more "conservative" position than Jim Webb on a number of issues, including immigration enforcement and gay marriage, opposition to the Iraq War is Webb's key message and Allen's support of the war has been a chief point of differentiation between the two in the public debate.

After all of the votes from today's elections are analyzed, we should get a clearer picture of what current and former troops view as public 'support.' Leaving aside the recent unfortunate reminder that the Democrats' left wing maintains a low opinion of them, we can see that in the eyes of the troops support for U.S. military personnel cannot be boiled down to pulling out of Iraq.

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zimzo said:

If only our troops just had to battle straw men all the time the way you do, Joe. It's pretty easy to win an argument when you just make up what the other side is saying. The number of people on the Left who "want the U.S. to lose" is roughly the same as the number of people on the right who "want the U.S. to lose" because they think it will bring Jesus back and lead to the Rapture. The fact that you think you have to invent a straw man to knock down shows how desperate you are to win.

Then you write "The Democrats' only plan for Iraq sounds a lot like what most people call 'defeat'" Well, that's pretty funny. What does the Bush plan look like to you? Victory? Everyone knows the War in Iraq is a disaster and getting worse...except Bush and his hardcore supporters. Even the people who wanted this war in the first place think it has been a disaster.

"Supporting the troops" does not mean staying the course and continuing to fight a war that George Bush has run incompetently, a war fought with too few troops, without even adequate body armor or armored vehicles, run by an arrogant Secretary of Defense who the President refuses to fire even though the military itself has turned against him, a war that has made us less safe and allowed the Taliban to regain strength in Afghanistan.

In Virginia you have a very clear choice between George Allen, a man who was never in the military, never fought in a war and who avoided going to Vietnam, who believes we should "stay the course" in Iraq and will continue to rubber stamp Bush's policies there and Jim Webb, who won the Navy Cross in Vietnam and who warned before we went to Iraq what would happen there and has been proven right in everything he said.

Instead of mischaracterizing what Jim Webb believes, why don't we look at what he has actually said:

"I was an early voice saying we shouldn't go in, that it was not connected to the war against international terrorism, that it was not among the highest national security concerns that we should be considering. My warning before we went in was basically that it was a strategic mousetrap on three different levels. One is that it would involve the nation's focus and attention and resources beyond military resources to the detriment of other interests. Second was that if you're going to decapitate a government, you would be draining your force structure. And thirdly, in the sense that we have focused so strongly on the Sunnis while the Shiites have been in a win-win since day one, and as a result we're empowering Iran. I'm not saying we should pick up everything and leave in six months. I'm saying we made a horrendous mistake going in, in my view a strategic error."

When the only way you can win an argument is to lie about your opponent, you really do deserve to lose.

Jack said:

Reading all of Webb's statement, he has no plan. It's all hind-sight.

The reason we don't have more troops in Iraq and Afghanistan is the anti-war leftists, who oppose Bush at every step. In 1945, we had a nation of about 145 million. We had an Army of 8 million, with 5 million in-theater. We also have a Navy and Marine Corps near 6 million strong. Now, with twice the population, our Army is straining to keep 200,000 in Iraq and Afghanistan, because of the opposition of the leftists.

Zimzo, you're sounding a lot like the people you are calling "straw men."

Anyway, Noam Chomsky and Michael Kinsley - if you follow the links - are in fact very real representatives of the viewpoints I characterize in the post.

Heh: Find me the people "on the right" who want the U.S. to lose in order to hasten the rapture, and I'll be happy to weigh their overall significance vis a vis the leftists.

Actually, don't waste your time, because it's unlikely any exist. As usual, another notion concocted out of thin air.

BTW your Jim Webb quote, while forceful and well stated, does not exactly contradict the point of this post. Just an observation.

Kevin said:

Jack- "The reason we don't have more troops in Iraq and Afghanistan is the anti-war leftists, who oppose Bush at every step." You're really confused here. Last I heard from Bush himself was that we don't have more troops because the generals are telling him it's not necessary. I mean, that's what Bush himself is saying. And as far as I remember it was Rummy who is attempting to run a trimmer military. But what do I know.

Zim, not sure where the conservatives hoping the US loses to hasten the second coming are. I'm fascinated to learn though. I'm only aware of the movement to hasten Israel's conflict for that reason.

Kevin said:

Jack- "The review is expected to confirm Rumsfeld's views that the military must be lighter, more agile and better equipped to fight terrorism and confront weapons of mass destruction.

Officials said Rumsfeld is considering several options for cutting personnel costs, including: ..."

The rest of that singular article featured at is linked and waiting in the queue.

Also features quotes such as: "efforts to control the number of recruits coming in" etc. etc.

zimzo said:

For conservatives hoping the Middle East blows up, meet the fun-loving folks at Rapture Ready:

Kevin said:

No, I understand there is that group but I guess I didn't understand that their hope was for the US to fail in Iraq. It isn't, is it?

zimzo said:

They believe that war in the Middle East will trigger Armageddon which will bring the Anti-Christ to power and Christians will be "raptured" to Heaven. That sounds like losing to me, at least for the rest of us.

If you want another example of a conservative who wants us to lose there is always Fred Phelps, who believes it would be punishment against the U.S. for tolerating homosexuality. They're the ones who protest at the funerals of gay people and soldiers killed in Iraq.

The point is it's ridiculous to focus on the crazies from the extremes.

Jack said:

That Armageddon thing sounds like the President of Iran.

Kevin said:

Jack, in case you didn't read, they have strict rules against "pinning the tail on the Antichrist" Ha hahahaha ha! Armageddon is the war, but you know that.

No Relation said:

Joe- you said it. If we pull out of either Iraq or Afghanistan now, their democratic governments will collapse, and the past 5 years of fighting will have been in vain. As Frank J. over at IMAO.US always says, the main lesson of the Vietnam War is don't lose wars. As a nation, we've sacrificed too much to give up now.

Zimzo- What is your beef with war supporters who never served in the military? Is your view that non-vets shouldn't support our current military, nor hold office? Did you serve?

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man said:

no relation, that's the dumbest thing i've ever heard. now the reason we're at war is because we've been at war? you should have taken the blue pill.

as a nation, we haven't sacrificed jack. (which is good news for jack) I haven't seen any victory gardens or ration coupons lately. seen a lot of hummer commercials. ... we're really sacrificing for this war, huh? not enough metal to make new ipods for christmas this year, huh? we've been through so much, we're really in a position to empathize with the iraqi people.

the lesson from Vietnam is don't start b.s. wars. When will these baby boomers ever learn? when will they ev-er learn?

Jack said:


That is EXACTLY my point. We have not sacrificed for this war -- we have not even been asked to. (We've been asked to shop.) If we did, it would be won vey quickly.

The lesson of Viet Nam is not to listen to the leftists losers who haven't got the stomach for a fight.

zimzo said:

I had no idea that the Bush Administration was full of leftist losers.

Is it too late to sacrifice Jack?

Jack said:

Congress is full of leftists losers, who won't vote for anything that requires sacrifice, lest their leftist loser constituencies vote them out of office.

No Relation said:

Poof-guy...YOU haven't sacrificed anything, because better men than you are doing it in your place. Most of them wouldn't have it any other way, either. I'm embarrassed you have no appreciation for it.

We're at war now so that the victories we won by ousting tyrannical regimes will result in lasting peace, rather than collapse into anarchy so that some other tyrant can seize power. If you call that a B.S. war, then tell me, is anything a valid war in your mind?

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man said:

your post has 'No Relation' --with reality!

NR has some experience with reality, General. He's too modest to spell it out though he should.

No Relation said:


Why is that so hard to answer, poof?

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