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Screw what W, Hillary or you think: let Iraq vote on whether they want our troops there

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How long should our troops stay in Iraq? Maybe we should ask the Iraqis this question instead of debating it among ourselves. After all, it’s their country. Next year, when the recently elected delegates have created a constitution, and Iraqis get to vote again, we might as well add this question to their ballot: Do you want all foreign troops to leave Iraq as soon as possible?

A referendum. Democracy in action.

As for our own debate: apparently we need to be there to guarantee security. Neocon court historians of empire, like Brit nabob booster boob Niall Ferguson, decree we can’t withdraw because there’d be a civil war.

Oh yeah? These days, we look and act more like a threat to peace than a guarantor of security. The latest news reports say we’re going to encircle Baghdad and divide it into smaller sections so 40,000 Iraqi and 10,000 U.S. troops can conduct house-to-house searches to destroy combatants. Is this Fallujah all over again? We smashed two-thirds of that city of 300,000 and killed a whole lot of civilians to root out a few hundred insurgents. We had to destroy the village to save it.

The only way to stop the insurgency would be to kill the 80% Sunnis who support the insurgency. We can’t do that, so anything else is pretty useless. Why would 40,000 Iraqi troops want to tackle insurgents hand-to-hand? They’re Shiites, that’s why, aching to polish off Sunnis. Sounds like a great way to start a civil war instead of stopping one.

It’s time to get the heck out, before we get blamed for that, too. The sooner we leave, the sooner the insurgents won’t have us to insurge against. Maybe they’ll still blow up stuff, but at least we won’t be the reason.

Anyway, who are to prevent others from having their civil war? We had ourselves a big fat one a while ago, a painful process in our own nation-building. If the Iraqis need their own civil war, let them have it. It’s their country. Our war cost more than 100,000 Iraqi lives – what will a civil war cost Iraq? Maybe 10,000 or 20,000 casualties: much cheaper than what we cost them.

If they want to split up Iraq, why not let them? The Kurds are going their own way already. Let them. Turkey won’t invade a Kurdish state; they wouldn’t want to say goodbye to their chances of being invited into Europe. If there were a Kurdish state, we’d have at least one friend in the neighborhood we could count on besides Israel.

If the Shiites and the Sunnis choose to squabble over the rest of Iraq, let them. It’s their country. The Shiites need to settle scores; the Sunnis need to realize they’re a minority whose days of bully-rule are over.

If our troops left, our big companies would probably pull out, too. Let them. Get Bechtel and Halliburton out of there. The contracts for rebuilding Iraq should go to Iraqi businesses, not to U.S. companies. Local suppliers have more reason and motivation than our companies to rebuild Iraq, who seem to be there mostly for the opportunity to overcharge. Let’s give — or lend — Iraqi businesses the dollars we save by pulling out. Iraqis can do a whole lot more with our bucks than our troops.

We’re not good at being occupiers or ‘liberators.’ Nobody is. Napoleon wasn’t. The Brits weren’t. The French in Algiers weren’t. We can tell ourselves we’re liberators till we’re blue in the face, but do the Iraqis think we are? Just the other day we detained Abdul Hamid, the leader of Iraq’s largest Sunni political party. Went in there with stun bombs and bullets, blazing away. Bagged his head and tied his hands. It just so happens that his party, the Islamic Party, opposes the new Baghdad offensive because they believe the security forces will disregard the rights of innocent Iraqis, the way occupiers do. Could they be right?

Later he was released and the military admitted its mistake. But Abdul Hamid refused this apology in the Arab media. He said he was humiliated when US soldiers held their boots on his head for 20 minutes. He didn’t feel liberated. In fact, he accused American soldiers of liberating items from his home.

Countless Iraqis whose homes have been raided complain of money, jewelry and other belongings looted by our soldiers — besides doors and walls busted down and kids traumatized. Often the wrong homes are broken into. Most of the house raids turn up nothing — 70%, according to one officer. The International Committee of the Red Cross reports being told by military intelligence officers that between 70 and 90% of those we detain are held by mistake.

None of this endears us to the Iraqis, whom we’re supposed to be protecting instead of jailing.

Meanwhile the country is going to hell in a hand-basket and we don’t know how to spend the money we’re supposed to be spending on infrastructure. In 1991, there were 1,800 health-care centers in Iraq. That number is down to half. Today, Iraq’s child malnutrition rate is equal to Burundi’s, a country decimated by more than a decade of war. The health of Iraqis is compromised by a lack of dependable electricity; shortages of potable water; non-repaired sewage systems; outbreaks of hepatitis, cholera and typhoid fever, particularly in southern Iraq. Not a picture of “liberation.”

If we’re not helping the Iraqis much, we’re helping ourselves even less. We keep on dying there.

Listen, we’ve done our job in Iraq. We did it when we toppled Saddam, we did it when we caught him, we did it when we organized the election. What more can we do? Once upon a time we thought Iraq would serve as “flypaper” for all terrorists, gathering them where our superior firepower and tactics could whack the lot of them. But federal counterterrorism officials now foresee “the bleed out” of “hundreds or thousands of Iraq-trained jihadists back to their home countries throughout the Middle East and Western Europe.” Having boosted terrorist recruitment significantly, it’s time to stop our contribution to the cause of Jihad. (We might even think about leaving Afghanistan, too, now that we’ve restored their opium trade. We’ve secured our drug supply, why stick around for the oil?)

The only purpose our troops in Iraq can still serve, is to provide some wily Democrat a platform to run on for President. In a May Gallup poll, three-fourths of the respondents who rated Iraq as their top concern, wanted immediate withdrawal. 64% of conservative Democrats in a Pew survey want the troops brought home ASAP. 57% of Americans told CNN/USA Today/Gallup the Iraq war was not worth fighting. These numbers will only increase. Howard Dean, here’s your second chance; this time, many more people will listen to you.

Some of them might even be in the House of Representatives. Recently, for the first time since the war started, a modest amendment, introduced by Rep. Lynn Woolsey of California in May this year, asked President Bush to devise a plan for withdrawal. 123 Democrats and five Republicans voted for it. They stuck their fingers in the wind; they can feel where it’s blowing.

Meanwhile, our country produces toys like the bombed-out dollhouse of Ever Sparkle, Inc., where grenades replace salt and pepper shakers, ammo boxes sit in the kitchen and G.I. Joe stands on the balcony with his bazooka. I kid you not. The World Peace Keepers Battle Station comes complete with M-16s, grenades and sandbags so that kids three years and older can learn the real meaning of peace.

Why are we still there? In our “security” efforts and “defense” adventures, we commit the all-too-American mistake of confusing swagger with toughness. Who are we kidding? Our presence in Iraq has blown up any myth the world may have had about us as a nation of “good guys.” Now everybody knows that, given half a chance, we can brutalize and torture like any other barbaric nation. Gitmo and Abu Ghraib have made us smell like war criminals in the nostrils of the world.

Practically speaking, all that our war on terror has produced, is more terrorists. Instead of fewer. Some war. Some success.

The Iraqis know how take care of themselves better than we can. Thanks to our money, the UN, and the Iraqis themselves, their education system is improving. Their 300,000 teachers can now earn 300,000-400,000 (200-270 dollars) instead of the old average monthly salary of 10,000 dinars (around two-three dollars). Retired teachers want their old jobs back, if only for a year or two, so they can qualify for improved pensions. UNICEF and USAID are retooling infrastructure and training teachers to boost Iraqi education beyond where it was 25 years ago. “Iraq’s educational system used to be among the best in the region,” the UN Development Program (UNDP) said in its 2004 survey of living conditions in Iraq. Since 1980, war and sanctions have taken their toll so that illiteracy is now widespread in rural areas, and among girls in particular — but a $5.8m USAID program aims to turn things around at 84 “model” schools. A modest $70,000 per school will demonstrate what can be done and encourage future donors to pitch in. Teachers are sent to neighboring Jordan for training, which they then share with colleagues back home. They consistently spend evenings in optional workshops, a USAID program director said. “It’s the first time someone’s investing in them.” UNICEF is using a “double cascade” approach whereby 25 people selected by Iraq’s ministry of education go through a six-week program before training 440 others who train still more in turn. Its Accelerated Learning Program aims to provide out-of-school youth with six years of primary education in three years.

Maybe we can use some of these methods in our own blighted public schools.

What we certainly need is some hard-nosed education about the uses of American power. We may be good at winning wars, but we’re lousy at winning the peace. When it comes to the peace, you don’t need soldiers; you need NGOs and the UN and our excellent dollars.

It’s time to get real and put our money where our soldiers are. Bucks in, privates out. Let’s ask the Iraqis to vote on this, and when they say they want us out, our leaders will have all the cover they need to leave with our dignity intact. The mighty sound of a collective American sigh of relief will drown out all qualms. If the Administration is serious about bringing freedom to Iraq, they’d do well to jump at the chance of an honorable out supplied by Iraq’s voters, freely exercising their democratic choice.

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About Adam Ash

  • SFC SKI

    Most Iraqis want us to leave only after they have a more stable country as a result of a functioning government and a capable military. If you think all this can be accomplished in less than another 3 years, I’d disagree.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Nice fantasy you’ve got going there, Adam. Polls in Iraq clearly show that Iraqis understand the need for US Troops to back up their forces for an extended period and they’re perfectly willing to accept it so long as their government remains more or less in charge.

    What they want is peace, and even the Sunnis have come to understand that the terrorists are the problem, not the US Army. I guess being in Iraq makes that clearer, but some people here in America get it, one wonders why the left can’t seem to see it.

    Dave

  • Bennett

    Well, if what Dave and SFC SKI say is true, then having Ash’s suggested referendum on the ballot would make that clear to all. If the majority of Iraqis want US troops to stay in the country, let them say it by voting.

    Relying on “polls” is a pathetic way to decide something of such import.

    I think this is a well written piece, with thoughtful suggestions. Thanks Ash.

  • http://www.psychopundit.com Dave Nalle

    Bennett, government policy shouldn’t be bound to a public vote. The whole point of having a legislature and an executive is to make informed decisions which the public isn’t really qualified or informed enough to make effectively – sometimes even unpopular decisions.

    Polling is good because it doesn’t have the binding qualities of a referendum, but lets the government gauge public opinion as one of the factors to take into consideration in making decisions without locking them into anything.

    If you put everything to public referendums then you just have mob rule and chaos. A country with the problems Iraq has needs a stronger government than that.

    Dave

  • Bennett

    Yeah Dave, that’s valid. So make it a non-binding referendum. If the voting public in Iraq has a voice, let’s hear it!

    If all is as you say, wouldn’t that give gwb even more justification and validation?

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    How much value such a referendum would have is debatable, but if the questions were worded carefully I don’t see why it wouldn’t be a reasonable thing to do.

    Based on the polling, the opinion among Iraqis seems to be that they see the US forces as necessary but undesirable. They’d rather have us there supporting their local forces than the alternatives of dictatorship or total anarchy.

    If a referendum made it clear that this was the choice they face then it would be a fair assessment.

    Dave

  • Bennett

    That’s what I was thinking. It’s all about how it’s phrased. A lot of the points Ash made are valid. Once the situation is semi stable, ALL of the reconstruction should go to Iraqi firms. Halliburton has GOT to get out of Iraq.

    That the perception, and quite possibly the reality, of US contractors making millions and millions of dollars off of our unprovoked invasion of this country, just flies in the face of all of the rhetoric about “giving freedom to Iraq”. There is NO altruism in this situation. No matter the spin, no one in our government gives a rats ass for the Iraqi people. Less so the contractors screwing US taxpayers by overcharging on this fiasco non-bid contract.

    And please spare me the “they violated UN sanctions” argument for invasion(it’s as lame as the WMD argument). Plus, if UN sanctions was really the last straw, we would have had UN approval of the invasion.

    It’s quite a mess gwb has got us into, and if like Lincoln, gwb sees a “bigger picture” to justify the hundreds of thousands of deaths he is responsible for, there had better be a solid resolution to this. NOT like Lincoln with the carpet baggers and military governments raping the south for ten years after the war was over.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Frankly, Bennett, why we invaded is completely irrelevant at this point. We’re not invading now, we’re dealing with making a functional country. Bringing up why we went there at this point is basically just a useless distraction for people who have no solutions or no interest in a solution for the current problems.

    As for Halliburton, the reason that they are there is that they are one of only 3 or 4 companies in the world which are even capable of providing the services needed for the reconstruction. Bechtel can handle some of the jobs and a couple of French companies are about as useful as Bechtel, but their bids were rejected because they are French – which you may or may not agree with – so Halliburton is about it until locals get a much more functional infrastructure going.

    Dave

  • Bennett

    I think you’re wrong about that Dave. With every door our troops kick in by mistake we’re invading Iraq. With every person we erroneously arrest, mistreat, and then release months later, we’re invading Iraq.

    I’ve come to believe that rebuilding Iraq is beyond the capability of ANY American firm. Provide the money, provide the heavy equipment, provide the consultants. Let the Iraqis rebuild their country. Monitor and help their government to ensure they don’t create a new dictatorship, but get Americans out of Iraq. Like Ash said, they’re going to sink or swim on their own. With Americans in their faces day after day, I don’t see the “insurgency” going away, ever.

    And how about those bases we’re building? Are we setting up a permanent presence there? Will the Iraqi people vote yes on that little item? When we leave, are we really leaving?

    You took one small paragraph of my last post and used it as a way to discredit my entire post. I’m sure you’ll do the same with this comment. But to answer your derogatory statements: No, I don’t have solutions to the hideous mess we’re in. All I can hope for is a quick resolution to a problem that our country didn’t need, and that my fellow citizens don’t deserve.

  • http://www.biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    It’s quite a mess gwb has got us into, and if like Lincoln, gwb sees a “bigger picture” to justify the hundreds of thousands of deaths he is responsible for, there had better be a solid resolution to this. NOT like Lincoln with the carpet baggers and military governments raping the south for ten years after the war was over.

    Dude, are you still fighting the war? I’m with Dave, we’re there, deal with it. As far as those who have ‘raped’ the South, and I’m not saying you’re entirely wrong, I fear that we’re a far more divided country today than we were at the end of the Civil War. Now, of course, we’re a more civilized society and the South has risen to control Washington’s politics quite effectively.

    I’ve lived on either side of the Mason-Dixon line. There is no doubt in my mind due to my personal experience that those in the North and on the West Coast are far more tolerant and reasonable than those who have been indoctrinated by Southern Baptist propaganda. I’m not saying we’re perfect, far from it. But at least we’re a bit more open to dialogue.

  • Shark

    Two words, boyz:

    Pottery.

    Barn.

    Remember the “rule”?

    We broke it. We own it.

    Cost: $200 billion and counting;

    Cost: American GI *Lives: 1,702 and counting

    * last week alone:

    06/10 thru yesterday – Seven dead, names not yet confirmed

    06/09/05 –
    Birch, Dustin V.
    Keeling, Thomas O.
    Edwards, Mark O.
    Chavez, Daniel
    Seymour, Devon Paul
    Squires, Brad D.
    Murray, David Joseph

    06/08/05 –
    Arizola Jr., Roberto
    Allen, Louis E.
    Esposito, Phillip T.
    Fasnacht, Michael J.
    Tucker, Marc Lucas
    Kashmer, Douglas E.

    06/07/05 –
    Burri, Eric T.
    Crowe, Terrence K.

    06/06/05 –
    Smith, Jonathan L.
    Romines, Brian M.
    Mininger, Robert T.

    06/05/05 –
    Ulbrich, Brian Scott “Scotty”
    French, Carrie L
    Poelman, Eric J.
    Vasquez, Justin L.
    Westhusing, Theodore S.

    DaveNalle: “…Frankly… why we invaded is completely irrelevant at this point.”

    Dave, on behalf of the families of those listed above, let me just say:

    FUCK YOU.

  • Bennett

    Silas,

    Nah, I’m a CA boy now living in Vermont. No rebel blood at all. I just see parallels between Iraq and the civil war, in trying to put something back together broken by war.

    More to look at the concept of “bigger picture” re: invading the whole damn middle east before gwb leaves office, and Lincoln’s willingness to wage war rather than allow southern states to suceed. Lincold seeing the big picture of “one great nation” as being most important. And gwb seeing some kind of democratic domino theory starting in Iraq.

    But don’t hold me to that. Pure speculation.

  • Bennett

    Hey Shark, how’s things? Sad list you bring, highly relevent.

    Oh, and Dave, Sorry ’bout the “suceed” instaed of “succeed” and “Lincold” instead of Lincoln” I caught those after the fact.

    Oh, and Silas,

    “There is no doubt in my mind due to my personal experience that those in the North and on the West Coast are far more tolerant and reasonable than those who have been indoctrinated by Southern Baptist propaganda. I’m not saying we’re perfect, far from it. But at least we’re a bit more open to dialogue.”

    Yeah, we are.

    :-]

  • http://www.biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    There we go playing the war casualty card, Shark. With all due respect, I believe there are many grieving families in this country who believe as strongly as I do that while this invasion should never have taken place, we’re there and must do whatever it is we need to do. We did break it, therefore we own it. There’s no use crying over the broken pottery now, it’s irreparable.

    I hope and pray with all my heart, Bennett, that GWB is not the architect of a domino effect policy in the Middle East. That part of the world has been a mess for hundreds of years and there’s little we can do to rectify the situation especially after the mistake the West made in restructuring the Middle East after World War II.

    I am not a big fan of the creation of the State of Israel. It has nothing to do with the slaughter of millions of Jews in Germany. I have a real problem with the fact that the European Jews refused to recognize the oldest Jewish tribe in Africa as part of the whole Jewish equation. European White Jews in many respects are as guilty of racism as the members of the PLO.

    As with Iraq, there’s nothing we can do to reverse the decisions of Truman and the United Nations. The State of Israel has been created, therefore it is entitled to exist. That being said, the West must not diminish the importance of the Palestinians. They have been the unwilling victims of their Arab brothers in the poltical war with Israel. If they would stop raising families of bigotry and hate perhaps the next few generations of Arabs and Jews could work together to bring a peaceful resolution to the Middle East.

  • http://sussfr.blogspot.com Matthew T. Sussman

    Shark, you’re better than that.

    On behalf of civilized debate everywhere, take your hatred somewhere else.

  • http://www.communistvampires.com Thomas M. Sipos

    For that matter, why not let the Iraqis decide who they wish to do business with?

    Last year, Bush and “conservatives” were discussing whether they should “let” French or German firms bid for Iraqi contract.

    Yet if Iraq is free, as Bush claims, who are we to tell the Iraqis whether or not they may do business with Germany or France?

  • SFC SKI

    Sure, the French And German firms did business with Saddam, they know the territory.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>And how about those bases we’re building? Are we setting up a permanent presence there? Will the Iraqi people vote yes on that little item? When we leave, are we really leaving?< < As I've posted here before, there's no plan to put permanent bases in Iraq. None. >>You took one small paragraph of my last post and used it as a way to discredit my entire post. < < I did you a favor. Do you REALLY want me to rip you a new one over that ridiculous Lincoln comparison? >> No, I don’t have solutions to the hideous mess we’re in. All I can hope for is a quick resolution to a problem that our country didn’t need, and that my fellow citizens don’t deserve.<< At least you’re willing to consider the possibility that there might be solutions. Far too many on the left aren’t interested in solutions and are taking political benefit from making sure our efforts are as hamstrung as possible. Dave

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>DaveNalle: “…Frankly… why we invaded is completely irrelevant at this point.”

    Dave, on behalf of the families of those listed above, let me just say:

    FUCK YOU.<< Good, intelligent response there, Snark. But the fact remains that endless recriminations over the conditions under which we invaded won’t save the life of a single soldier or do one bit to help out the Iraqis. It’s just a distraction designed to weaken us in a time of crisis, manufactured by political opportunists who are willing to climb to power over the bodies of dead soldiers and dead Iraqis. Those are the people you’re siding with, Shark, not the families of the slain. Dave

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>Oh, and Dave, Sorry ’bout the “suceed” instaed of “succeed” << I hate to even do this, but it’s ‘secede’, not any of hte above. Dave

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Sipos: “For that matter, why not let the Iraqis decide who they wish to do business with?”

    Ultimately they will have to make those decisions, and chances are that they’ll pick Halliburton, because they can underbid and outbribe the competition.

    Sipos: “Yet if Iraq is free, as Bush claims, who are we to tell the Iraqis whether or not they may do business with Germany or France?”

    At the time the initial contract negotiations were made there was no Iraqi government to make such a business decision. Now that there is things may well change and there’s nothing at all wrong with that. The more companies there are involved in the reconstruction work the better.

    Dave

  • Shark

    “There we go playing the war casualty card, Shark.”

    It’s not a card, dude, and it’s not a vague abstaction to those families.

    PS: Weapons of Mass Destruction Found So Far:

    ZERO.

    =======

    Sussman: “Shark, you’re better than that. On behalf of civilized debate everywhere, take your hatred somewhere else.”

    Ironic that I’m being upbraided, yet Nalle’s comment that the “reason” 1,702 Americans are dead is “irrelevant” goes without comment.

    Yall’s priorities are pretty fuckin’ weird.

    I would suggest that the REASON behind the Commander in Chief ‘s decision to send American soldiers into harm’s way is a pretty important consideration in a ‘civilized debate’ — one that yall continue to sweep under the rug of “oh well, we’re there.”

    I suggest that what Nalle said is much more offensive than anything I’ve said so far.

    But the day is young…

  • Shark

    NALLE on American Casualites in Iraq: “It’s just a distraction designed to weaken us in a time of crisis, manufactured by political opportunists who are willing to climb to power over the bodies of dead soldiers and dead Iraqis…”

    Or it could be a tragic reminder that IN THE FUTURE, our leadership should weigh the consequences before sending the U.S. military into the Middle East to do some ad hoc “nation building”.

    =======

    Speaking of political opportuntists scambling over dead bodies, “political opportunists” could also cover the Halliburtons et al who rushed into Iraq to milk the U.S. treasury for “reconstruction”.

    Lemmee know when you find the missing $8.8 BILLION, and then we’ll talk about political opportunists.

  • JR

    Dave Nalle: It’s just a distraction designed to weaken us in a time of crisis, manufactured by political opportunists who are willing to climb to power over the bodies of dead soldiers and dead Iraqis.

    So, in your estimation, we are in a time of crisis?

    Interesting.

  • Shark

    JR, Dave’s “crisis” is manufactured;

    the cause: LIBERALS running the country and the media.

    Nevermind that the majority of the media are mindless lapdogs for the Bush administration — and that the Republcans currently control all branches of government; The Dave Nalle’s of the world don’t let reality get in the way of their *fantasy crises.

    *It used to be “the commies are coming!” — now it’s “the liberals are here!”

  • http://adamash.blogspot.com adam

    It used to be “the commies are coming!” — now it’s “the liberals are here!”

    Shark, I love that. You’ve nailed the paranoia of the right in one — their need to have enemies, which comes from their free-floating discomfort with the modern world, which keeps leaving them behind, like beached whales, irrelevant yet constantly whining.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Snark: “Or it could be a tragic reminder that IN THE FUTURE, our leadership should weigh the consequences before sending the U.S. military into the Middle East to do some ad hoc “nation building”.”

    I hate to actually agree with Snark, but of course we should weigh this kind of decision very heavily. But once we commit to it, we shouldn’t run around like idiots second-guessing ourselves and undermining our nation’s efforts to complete a job we’re too far into to back out of.

    Snark:”Speaking of political opportuntists scambling over dead bodies, “political opportunists” could also cover the Halliburtons et al who rushed into Iraq to milk the U.S. treasury for “reconstruction”.””

    Halliburton is just doing business and providing services that are needed. Someone had to do the job and they were the best choice for it. Would you prefer that it were some less qualified, less equipped and therefore more expensive competitor?

    You just don’t think these things through.

    Dave

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    >>*It used to be “the commies are coming!” — now it’s “the liberals are here!”<< The Liberals have been here for over 200 years. I’m one of them. The leftist/socialists on the other hand, are recent arrivals who stole the name ‘liberal’, disgraced it and want to tear down all the good things that real liberalism has done in this country. Bad enough we have to fight the old enemies of statists on the right, now we have to fight statists on the left as well. Dave

  • Bennett

    “I did you a favor. Do you REALLY want me to rip you a new one over that ridiculous Lincoln comparison?”

    Dave, it won’t be the first time I get “cored” on blogcritics. It only stings for a few days, and I learn so damn much from the experience.

    The comparison between Bush and Lincoln is not meant to be flattering to either. Both initiated a war that was unnecessary. Both completely underestimated the duration or the resources required for victory. Both were willing to sacrifice human life on a massive scale for questionable goals.

    I believe that Lincoln started the Civil War because he had a vision for a totally united continent under one federal government, and that this vision was worth any sacrifice of life and personal liberty (for as long as it took to achieve his goal, and I don’t believe he imagined the level of casualties to come). But still, in his mind, the end justified the means.

    Bush now says that he invaded Iraq to “bring freedom” to the Iraqi people (after initially saying it was over WMD) and I don’t believe either reason. But I wonder if he and his henchmen see a bigger goal. A goal worth sacrificing the lives of our soldiers, the reputation and good will of our country, and the financial health of our nation.

    What is that ultimate goal? I don’t know the answer to that question, but I’m hoping to live long enough to find out. It’s been suggested that he dreams of the Nobel Peace Prize for dramatically changing the direction of the Arab world via Iraq, but that’s a bit much, don’t you think? A lot will depend on whether he initiates yet another invasion (Iran?) before his term is up.

    You don’t have to “rip me a new one” over this, it’s all speculation and randomly connecting thoughts.

  • SFC SKI

    Considering morethan a few Iraqi officials have publicly requested that US and Coalition forces remain in Iraq, I think that many Iraqis would ask the same thing in a referendum. I wonder what reaction that would cause with many of the opponents of the Iraq War.

  • Bennett

    My (and Adam’s) point exactly SFC SKI. It would go a long way toward diffusing some of the angry rhetoric in the USA.

    Wouldn’t hurt us in the rest of the world either.

  • MCH

    Shark,

    Thanx for listing the latest American deaths in Iraq – courageous soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice, in part, to help preserve our freedom of speech.

    I wonder why reading the names of those heroes would bother Silas kain, to the point of wanting to censor you? I mean, he’s still safe…right?

  • http://www.immafooker.com Brooke Lee

    There’s lots of yelling on this thread and I’m not interested in becoming involved.

    I remember when they pulled that statue of Saddam down and everyone was beatin it with their shoes. I don’t normally watch the news but I was stuck in bloody Kansas, and your options are very limited there.

    What I don’t understand is why didn’t we pull out after that? Couldn’t they’ve said something like, “Well here’s a number where you can reach us if ya need any help or run into any further trouble.”

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    We didn’t pull out then because the Iranian army would have moved right in and taken the country over as a puppet state and the people of Iraq and the world would have been worse off than before.

    Dave

  • http://www.biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    I wonder why reading the names of those heroes would bother Silas kain, to the point of wanting to censor you? I mean, he’s still safe…right?

    Let’s get something straight, MCH. Reading the names of those heroes does not bother me in the least. It should become a daily reminder to us in this country of what they sacrificed for us as a people. I don’t agree with how we got into this war and I refuse to apologize for that. There were no weapons of mass destruction, but there was plenty of political mass distraction. But the bottom line is that we are there, we own it, and we owe it to our fallen soldiers and the innocent Iraqi people to get their country into the light of Democracy. It won’t be easy. We’ll be there for years to come. But, if there is a chance that the Iraqi children today will live in a free society tomorrow then somehow some of this will have been worth it.

    Yes, MCH, I am free. I am free because my great great grandfather served in the Union Army and sustained serious injuries which affected his wife and children in such a way that it trickled down 4 generations. I lost one uncle in the Korean War and three cousins in the Viet Nam War. One of my cousin’s wife was so devastated that she finally committed suicide leaving behind three children who are forever tormented. This weighed heavily on my Aunt and Uncle and they both died of broken hearts trying to raise their grandchildren. So, MCH, don’t start on me about the heroes of war. I’ve heard all the horror stories about what my Dad’s family went through in Poland first against the Germans and then the Russians. I felt their pain, I saw it in their eyes. I’m not insensitive to the families who are suffering losses from the current war.

    I wish that our President were as sensitive. In his joint press conference with Prime Minister Blair last week in the White House, President Bush was asked a question about the Downing Street Memo:

    Q Thank you, sir. On Iraq, the so-called Downing Street memo from July 2002 says intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy of removing Saddam through military action. Is this an accurate reflection of what happened? Could both of you respond?

    PRIME MINISTER BLAIR: Well, I can respond to that very easily. No, the facts were not being fixed in any shape or form at all. And let me remind you that that memorandum was written before we then went to the United Nations. Now, no one knows more intimately the discussions that we were conducting as two countries at the time than me. And the fact is we decided to go to the United Nations and went through that process, which resulted in the November 2002 United Nations resolution, to give a final chance to Saddam Hussein to comply with international law. He didn’t do so. And that was the reason why we had to take military action.
    But all the way through that period of time, we were trying to look for a way of managing to resolve this without conflict. As it happened, we weren’t able to do that because — as I think was very clear — there was no way that Saddam Hussein was ever going to change the way that he worked, or the way that he acted.

    PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, I — you know, I read kind of the characterizations of the memo, particularly when they dropped it out in the middle of his race. I’m not sure who “they dropped it out” is, but — I’m not suggesting that you all dropped it out there. (Laughter.) And somebody said, well, you know, we had made up our mind to go to use military force to deal with Saddam. There’s nothing farther from the truth.
    My conversation with the Prime Minister was, how could we do this peacefully, what could we do. And this meeting, evidently, that took place in London happened before we even went to the United Nations — or I went to the United Nations. And so it’s — look, both us of didn’t want to use our military. Nobody wants to commit military into combat. It’s the last option. The consequences of committing the military are — are very difficult. The hardest things I do as the President is to try to comfort families who’ve lost a loved one in combat. It’s the last option that the President must have — and it’s the last option I know my friend had, as well.

    MCH, notice the bold highlight above. Show me when and where this President has been seen comforting the families of lost loved ones. This President and his Administration do their damnedest to hide the flag draped coffins that come into the United States every day. These metal shipping crates contain the lifeless remains of over 1,700 men and women who gave of themselves in this war and they deserve the utmost respect and praise from their Commander-In-Chief. I’ll tell you this, President Ronald Reagan would have handled the situation in a way befitting these fallen heroes. For that matter a President John McCain would have been the right man for the job as well, but we saw what happens to politicians who don’t tow the GWB party line.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    For what it’s worth, Silas, Bush has met personally with the parents of hundreds of dead soldiers. He has chosen not to make it a public spectacle, and I don’t think it’s for the reasons you imply. I get the impression that he thinks that grief is something to be dealt with in private.

    Dave

  • http://www.biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    If that is the case, Dave, I will back off. However, had Bush met with as many families as you say he has, why haven’t any of them come forward to express their gratitude? I know grief is a private thing, I understand it completely. But speaking from direct personal experience I also know that an outpouring of sympathy from the community goes a long way in helping survivors cope and move on with their lives. It’s not that they want a public spectacle for themselves, but in their hearts they have a need to insure that their slain loved one is dispatched to the ground with full recognition and honor.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Silas, here’s a link to a recent article in the Washington Post about one of these meetings. I’ve seen reports on at least a dozen of them, usually with 25-35 families involved in a private meeting for some hours with the president. It would not surprise me if he had met with the families of almost every dead soldier, and from all reports the families really appreciate the personal attention.

    Dave

  • http://www.immafooker.com Brooke Lee

    Thank you Dave, I got so tired of everybody claiming it was over oil.

    I’ve heard from my grandparents and friends’ grandparents alike that noone was interested in World War II; not even the American Jews. That is until oops, Japan gave us one helluva bitchslap.

    I noticed a blurb up there about President Lincoln. As a blood relative of General Robert E. Lee (somebody in this family has that damn genealogical tree) I tended to hate that tall ugly bastard. With blood already dripping from his hands; President Lincoln refused a prisoner trade and we all know about the horrors of Andersonville. I hated him for that, but then I learned a lil back history. Abraham Lincoln was treated like something you wipe off your shoe, and that was just the opposing party; his own party loathed him with an unabashed fever. He was hoping to keep the North from taking advantage of the South, but then he got shot.

    I’ve been reading a lot of English history, mainly about the Plantagenet’s; Henry II, Edward the Great and Edward III; all arguably the greatest kings of English history, and yet still soaked in the blood of the innocent. If anything from this history I’ve learned that your heroes are never pristine.

    I’m certainly not claiming any of our present leaders’ heroes, and I’m not choosing sides. I don’t even vote, you can yell at me for that if you like, but I don’t like how politics brings out the savage and vicious behavior of your fellow man.

    Take my Father for example: He’s incredibly right wing, but still a mild mannered and gentle human being, but let politics rear its ugly head and it’s like that old Goofy cartoon where mild mannered Goofy became a bloody thirsty beast soon as he hopped into the driver’s seat. I’m frightened by the fact that some young liberal will bad mouth Bush to my Father, and he may very well take a swing at him; and that’s completely out of his nature.

    Debate is great, even cussing is fun, but politics seems to be topping the list at bringing out the worst in everyone.

  • MCH

    “Army Specialist Carrie L. French, 19 years old, of Caldwell, Idaho; attached to the 116th Brigade Combat Team; was killed June 5th when an improvised explosive device hit the front of her convoy and detonated, in Kirkuk, Iraq.”
    Honor the Fallen
    (www.militarycity.com/valor)

    “Carrie was a funloving young woman with a warm heart and a desire to serve,” the family said in a statement. “She was loved by everyone who knew her and she will be dearly missed.”

    Carrie is survived by her mother, Paula Hylinsky, and her father, Rick French.

  • SFC SKI

    Personally, I think it’s sad that a lot of people will post the names of Soldiers killed in this warr, but they don’t take the time to learn about what the living Soldiers have accomplished. All these names represent are numbers on a piece of paper used to support your own argument.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    MCH doesn’t care about the good work soldiers are doing, and doesn’t want to dilute his hatred for President Bush by directing any of it towards the far more deserving targets like the terrorists who planted the IED that killed Carrie French.

    Dave

  • http://adamash.blogspot.com adam

    “MCH doesn’t care about the good work soldiers are doing, and doesn’t want to dilute his hatred for President Bush by directing any of it towards the far more deserving targets like the terrorists who planted the IED that killed Carrie French.”

    Jeez, Dave, that’s not quite up to your usual standard. A bit cheap of you, I’d say.

  • Eric Olsen

    um, actually it was understated given the history

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Adam clearly doesn’t know MCH terribly well.

    Dave