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Friday, June 23, 2006

Same Old, Same Old in Iraq

Despite my general blasé with political discourse of late, I saw this and I couldn't resist:

Senate rejects Iraq redeployment motions

It was politics as usual on Capitol Hill. The Dems put forth two different motions that basically said, at least as presented here, "Get out of Iraq." The Reps said, "No." Not the least bit surprising in and of itself.

Personally, I don't like the way Iraq is being handled and I don't think "Stay the course" is a very good idea when the "course" in question is murky at best, however why is the only other option presented cut-and-run?

The only good justification I can see for leaving the Iraqis to handle this mess we created is if we were going to "redeploy" our troops to our own borders, effectively securing our country. That is not the intention of the Dems or the Reps. The Reps, apparently, want to stick it out no matter how badly the war is going, or seems to be going. The Dems want to cut and run, leaving the Iraqis to fend for themselves, thus abdicating their own responsibility for casting their votes in favor of this whole mess to begin with.

"Redeploying United States troops is necessary," said Kerry, D-Mass.

Most senators didn't agree, and the proposal fell on a 86-13
vote.

Let me take a moment to yawn. Kerry voted for the Iraq war, but one has to wonder why. It seems to me the only probable explanation is that Kerry voted in favor of the Iraq war so he could complain about it later, but then again, understanding that man's, um, thinking has never been something I could do very well.

Then there's this pleasant bit of quotage:

Despite the Democratic defections, Reid said his
rank-and-file were united. "Every Democrat agrees that the direction of the war
in Iraq must change, and change now," he said.
--emphasis added

So, now anyone who disagreed isn't a Democrat, despite being a Democrat..? What does that mean, really? It is quite possible that every Democrat agrees a new direction is needed. However, obviously every Democrat did not agree on what that "new direction" should be.

Here's another quote, one exemplifying why I object to this whole thing:

At a Pentagon briefing, the top U.S. commander in Iraq said he expected
reductions in U.S. forces this year but did not agree with congressional efforts
to put a timetable on the effort.

"I don't like it, I feel it would limit my flexibility" and give the enemy a schedule to focus on, said Gen. George Casey.
--emphasis added

Can we stand back for a moment and say, "Duh!" please? Despite the way both the Dems and the Reps are playing this, it's not a game, it's a war. And we'd be doing a whole lot better if those on Capitol Hill could remember that once in a while. Good strategy is not announcing what you're going to do and when you're going to do it.

In a fiercely partisan debate over two days, Senate Republicans opposed any
timeline and painted Democrats as reckless with national security.

Reckless with national security...hmmm... It's seems bizarre for them to bring that up, considering both sides want to keep our own borders wide-open so anyone who's willing to brave the desert can walk right in. And, you know, come to think of it, our enemies don't really seem to mind the desert all that much.

18 Comments:

At 6/23/2006 8:40 PM, Blogger historymike said...

It is an ugly mess, Steph. An immediate withdrawal would make matters worse, but "staying the course" is also folly.

A 1-2 year troop drawdown seems to be the best move.

While the Democrats may be right about the bad decision to go to war in Iraq (time will be the best judge), arguing about the merits of the decision are not productive.

We cannot go back in time and override GWB.

This is a political war that cannot be "won" in a military sense, much like Vietnam could never be "won."

We can achieve military victories, but the insurgency will only grow with US troops on Iraqi soil. As brutal as Sadaam may have been, terrorism is almost entirely a post-invasion phenomenon in Iraq.

The best thing for the fledgling Iraqi government is for US troops to leave in a orderly fashion.

Finally, I hope that we learn valable lessons from Iraq and Vietnam, and avoid repeating the same mistakes.

 
At 6/23/2006 11:43 PM, Blogger Do I have to??? said...

I really don't pay attention to the news enough to have an educated opinion, quite sad actually seeing as I am a member of the armed forces, but I would like to see us get out before I get deployed, but im just selfish that way.

 
At 6/25/2006 5:26 AM, Blogger David Schantz said...

Wasn't there a song in the 60's (during the war in Vietnam) that ask "When will they ever learn"? To cut and run now (I hate saying this) would make even less sense than getting involved in this mess in the first place did. I wonder, in 30 years will Iraq be one of our most favored nations trading partners?

God Bless America, God Save The Republic.

 
At 6/26/2006 2:27 AM, Blogger Joey said...

I refuse to criticize the war because it's the popular thing to do. I refuse to defend it because I'm a conservative and again, it's the popular thing for a conservative to do. I refuse to make my opinion based on the biased media. I refuse to make my opinion based on RNC talking points.

So, where do I sit?

War is ugly. To think otherwise is stupid. To think we can run a war with drones and long range missiles is assinine. War takes lives. War is ugly. I have some perspective. My cousin fought in Tikrit. He was in Iraq for a year, leaving behind a wife and two kids (the second was born while he was deployed, though during a 15-day leave when he was able to come back for the birth). I also know a guy who fought in the infamous "Triangle of Death."

I know from both of these individuals that war is ugly. Does that mean we withdraw?

Hindsight is 20/20. Knowing what we know now, we can all criticize GWB because of the lack of WMD's (though there are most definitely chemical weapons that have been discovered). But that's hindsight. GWB didn't have the advantage of seeing two years into the future. He went with the intelligence he had. (Intelligence gathered by the CIA - among other international agencies - an organization that was run by a Clinton appointee and saw numerous intelligence flops under his leadership.)

That intelligence proved to be somewhat faulty. It was faulty in that Hussein didn't have the WMD's sitting in storage facilities like we thought he would. All he had were plans and chemical weapons.

However, let's go back four years to when we entered Iraq. Remember when everyone agreed it was the right move? And even now, no one disagrees that Hussein needed to be deposed. So why is it that, while he needed to be deposed, we're on the bandwagon that we need to get out now?

The United States declared independence in 1776. Our war with Britain wasn't finished until 1783. We didn't have a constitution till 1787, and we didn't have a fully operating government till 1789. That's 13 years. Why do we expect Iraq to go any faster?

Additionally, we never would have freed ourselves from Britain without the help of France. We weren't able to do it on our own. Neither were the Iraqis. They needed help.

War is ugly. Wars for independence are ugly. Most ugly are wars whose express purpose is for political control of a country, as in Iraq. I don't like this war. I don't like any war. But why mull over a decision that was made on intelligence that we can only wish we'd been able to see? Why spend our time on decisions that are completely out of our control? I won't. I prefer to support the mission. I don't believe it's possible to support the troops without supporting the mission. It would be like me telling my little brother, "I really hate baseball and think it's wrong for you to be playing it, but if you're going to play it, I'll support you." He'd look back and say, "Thanks, but no thanks."

Anyway, that's a summary of how I look at this as I've tried to grapple with it. I won't jump on any bandwagons - especially those perpetuated by our wonderfully ridiculous media. It's just not my style.

 
At 6/26/2006 5:14 PM, Anonymous And Another Thing said...

George Bernard Shaw said, "If there is one thing a man can learn from history is that man never learns anything from history."

The military victory of the U.S. forces in Iraq was swift and complete. THAT war was over 3 years ago. The political decisions made before and since are resulting in the deaths of soldiers and Marines who never joined up to be cops.

After Vietnam it was assumed that one of the lessons was the limitations on U.S. power. Panama, Grenada, and Iraq 1 were clear, concise military victories followed by a return of the troops.

There are those who criticize Reagan for pulling the Marines out of Lebanon in 1982 after the bombing of their barracks. He was right to do so because his judgement was that the lives of those Marines were worth more than a political objective that simply did not exist.

Now, for Kerry, Kennedy, Reid, et al to demand a withdrawel now is stupid. Constitutionally, I believe GWB to be the most dangerous occupant of the White House in my lifetime. However, I believe it to be a mistake to think that the Iraqi government is being given a blank check by the administration.

I thought, and still think, the Iraqi invasion was pointless. That does not imply pulling out on some schedule. If GWB has read anything by some good presidents, he will realize that the American people are looking over his shoulder all the time. It is not the media (clowns that they are) but rather the basic facts that matter.

It is always the President's decisions. But it is always our blood that pays.

 
At 6/26/2006 7:33 PM, Anonymous Jake Porter said...

And it's one two three what are we fighting for

Don't ask me I don't give a damn next stop is Iran

And it's five six seven open up the pearly gates

Ain't no time to wonder why whoopee we're all gonna die


For those of you who don't know I just changed one of the words from one of Country Joe Mcdonald's songs.

 
At 6/26/2006 10:27 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Sorry everyone...final's week and all.

Mike,

"A 1-2 year troop drawdown seems to be the best move."

At this point, I'd have to know the purpose before I would get behind any "best move." While I do believe GWB had a purpose, I was never quite sure I trusted what it was and whatever it was has been lost in the politics here at home.

I strongly believe that Hussein needed to be ousted and I still do. I also believe that Iraq can have a democratic government of some form, though it will not look like our own, since they are not us and have a different history/culture. Personally, I'm okay with that, though I know far too many people who just aren't satisfied with them maintaining their own culture...which is all part of why the insurgency is happening in the first place.

Before we leave Iraq, I would like us to have clear objectives and for us to meet those objectives definitively. However, the way we need to go about that... I don't know enough about strategy to know how, but this really doesn't seem to be the way.

 
At 6/26/2006 10:46 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Do I have to..?

Hey, baby! I do understand your concern about Iraq. (And yes...you know it bothers me that you're a soldier and yet you don't pay attention to the, um, war.) But, by the time your out of ROTC your little prince will be a little bit better prepared...and perhaps you can choose somewhere other than the grandparents to keep him safe, which would probably help.

 
At 6/26/2006 10:51 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

David,

"I wonder, in 30 years will Iraq be one of our most favored nations trading partners?"

Well, I hope if we do that the merchadise isn't reliant on child labor, but really it's hard to tell.

I'm still hoping they'll figure out what it is, exactly, the intend to accomplish and just get 'er done.

 
At 6/26/2006 11:00 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Joey,

I understand. I'm not interested in what's popular...actually, I'm frankly sick of the politics of this war altogether. IMO, a war shouldn't be fought based on the politics at home; it should have a purpose and the purpose should be accomplished. Our soldiers can do it...we've just got to let them. I hate to hear from the soldiers in the Sand Box and hear how discouraged they get. They're doing a good job and that's underplayed far too much. But the few I've talked to really don't know what the big picture (of their mission) is...and the big picture that's touted by the media (irregardless of which way they lean) doesn't make sense with what's happening on the ground. And that is something that disturbs me greatly. It's not that they're not accomplishing anything, they most certainly are, it just that they're not sure what they're supposed to be accomplishing in the long run.

 
At 6/26/2006 11:40 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

And Another Thing,

"The military victory of the U.S. forces in Iraq was swift and complete."

Are you saying we should have gotten out after the whole "mission accomplished" thing? (I'm not being sassy, just honestly asking for clarification.)

"That does not imply pulling out on some schedule."

And that's the thing. To me, and maybe this is just me, but to me a war shouldn't be about when we get out, but what we accomplish before we do.

If our objective was to find and dismantle any WMD programs and dispose Hussein in the process. Fine, we're done...leave them in chaos. I'd be ashamed to be an American if our military objectives were that selfish and futile, but hey...that's life, right?

If our objective was to eliminate the WMD stuff and set up a democratic government. Fine, we're done...leave them in chaos. It's still pretty lousy of us, but hey, mission accomplished.

If, however, our objective is to give the Iraqi people an opportunity to successfully govern themselves...we are not done yet! Now, that's something I can really get behind, and I believe it's worth staying in Iraq for, but we'd actually need to know that's what we're trying to work towards and actually work towards it.

Time has let to do with it for me, then what our purpose is...what the mission is. Either we've been there to long and we're just messing around in the first place, or we're not done...I'd prefer to believe the latter.

 
At 6/26/2006 11:51 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Jake,

While I'm not familiar with the song or artist you referenced, I must say I'm against us involving ourselves in Iran. I was against it when the Dems were saying we shouldn't have gone into Iraq, because we need to take care of Iran. And I'm against it now that the Reps are saying that we should take on Iran as well as Iraq and Afghanistan...if they remember Afghanistan at all.

It is my opinion that Iran will take care of itself, considering the strong sympathy/interest the Iranian youth have in American culture...all we have to do is not f*** it up. But, again, that's just me.

 
At 6/27/2006 3:13 AM, Blogger Denny said...

Lest we humans forget (we do forget, don't we?) there was MORE than the reason
of dangerous WMD's at Saddam's disposal to use or sell to terrorists groups like
the ones he already funded, why we resumed hostilities in Iraq. He had started
TWO wars with his neighbors, continued in his quest to conquer the Middle East,
was a major destabilizing influence in the region and world, defied NUMEROUS
U.N. security council measures to keep the CEASE FIRE continuing, and was FIRING
at our military! Have you not heard of the pre-emption military attack
philosophy that President Bush articulated (used it with Iran, too) several
times? Do we all have to REVISIT his mass graves and his torture and rape
chambers? Can we remember he USED WMD's on Iraqis on more than one occasion?
Does anyone remember the CEASE FIRE that enabled the fruition of the Food
(blood) for Oil debacle that actually helped KEEP him in power? If Saddam
Hussein were still in power, does anyone think that he would not STILL
be bribing members of the security council to grant him an end to sanctions, and
thus an end to the world knowing what he was up to? Does anyone think that Libya
would have payed billions, admitted to terrorism, and given up it's WMD's if
Hussein was still in power?

Freedom is sweeping the Middle East in small and medium steps while Lebanon has
expelled the Syrian army and dreaded secret police from their land. Kuwait gave
women the right to vote for the first time in HISTORY. Many middle East
countries have already, or are in the process of, liberalizing elections and
granting better freedom for their people. Do you believe these things would have
occurred with Saddam free to start his WMD programs once sanctions were lifted,
which was his GOAL according to the Duelfer Report?

Afghanistan AND Iraq serve as a double whammy against the authoritarian regimes
all around them. We have taken the fight to where THEY had brought it.

Abu Zarqawi was in Afghanistan working in HIS training camps and also with his
lieutenant, Azizi (linked to Madrid bombings, assorted other attacks, AND 9/11)
prior to 9/11. After coalition forces injured his leg, he fled to Iraq (where
other terrorist training camps were operating) and begun setting up shop there.

There are MANY more reasons, facts and data to REMEMBER about why we (the
coalition) felt we needed to end the cease fire agreement (which he NEVER
complied with) with Saddam. But, who has the time for facts when opinions are
easier to remember?

 
At 6/27/2006 4:58 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Welcome, Denny. The point I was making is that Saddam Hussein is out of power. If that was our goal...then we're done...mission accomplished. The Iraqis are better off...even if they are living in chaos. If ousting Saddam Hussein was our goal, we've stayed longer than we should have and Americans have died because of it.

BUT, if there's a greater purpose to our mission in Iraq, both the Iraqis and the Americans should know it and work together to meet our other objectives as best we can. What those greater purposes might be have yet to be clearly determined...and so we flounder.

Yes, ousting Hussein was a worthy goal and one I've consisting supported. However, it's been accomplished. We either need to know what we're still doing there, or we need to get out as soon as our troops can get to their planes.

 
At 6/27/2006 6:22 AM, Anonymous Jake Porter said...

Let us not forget Waco, let us not forget Ruby Ridge and the fact that we funded Saddam Hussein.

Now I must ask why we didn't send in the military to deal with Janet Reno?

 
At 6/27/2006 7:34 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Jake,

I'm not sure what Waco or Ruby Ridge or Janet Reno has to do with Saddam Hussein. It would seem like a slam against President Clinton, except that Ruby Ridge didn't happen during his watch.

While, I agree assisting Hussein was a serious mistake, and one reason I feel the US did have an obligation to oust Hussein from power...considering we helped him maintain it against any good sense. This is also another area where America has a difficult time remembering not to repeat the mistakes from the past, since supporting dictators tends to bite us in the ass far too often for us to continue this behavior...and yet it continues. Not to mention the absolute hyprocrisy of it.

However, I would ask...does having supported Hussein in the past mean that America should have continued supporting him irregardless of his actions?

 
At 6/27/2006 10:25 AM, Anonymous And Another Thing said...

I don't think you are being sassy with your question. It is valid but also points out the dilemma we now face. The military is used when politics fails, and what I was saying was that the military did their job well and quickly.

The problem lies in the political solution to the post-combat Iraq. This is not Japan or Germany after World War II. Where the 'Iraqi Freedom' effort lost me was when, in the drafting of their constitution, the Iraqi make clear that Islam has a special voice in their governance. This runs against my grain as an American, and flouts our own concept of 'freedom.'

This was an optional war, as opposed to Afghanistan. Our nation has a responsibility to the Iraqis as our government chose to change theirs. I question the capability of the Iraqis to settle for a western style republic.

Do you not find it ironic that while our government is striving to spread freedom to Iraq it is limiting freedoms within the U.S.?

 
At 6/27/2006 11:01 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

And Another Thing,

Sometimes people mistake a genuine question from me as flippancy. I wanted to make it clear that wasn't the case.

"The problem lies in the political solution to the post-combat Iraq."

I agree completely. The comparison to our revolution, while comparable, seems less fitting than a comparison to our Civil War. As destructive as the war itself was to our country, that was necessary...the Reconstruction era, however was even more brutual in a rather different way and it could have been handled much better and probably would have been had Lincoln lived to see it through.

I think the same could be said for the circumstances with Iraq. As easy as it is to villianize those who cooperated with Hussein, at least politically, there needs to be a line drawn within the Iraqi people between the "them" that is the Hussein lackey enemy types and the "us" and that line still has yet to be drawn in an inclusive enough manner.

As far as Islam having a strong place in their government...I understand the repugnance you feel, but it is their country and they need to be able to make such decisions for themselves. That's part of democracy is being able to determine the fate of one's own nation for yourself and we are not them. The Constitutional religious freedom we enjoy in America is still a very rare thing the world over, including compared to Europe, and it's something we ourselves are slowly losing because of extremists in both ends of our own politic spectrum.

"This was an optional war"

The problem I have with that statement is that all war is optional. Even WWI & II were optional wars. We did not have to participate. Even when provoked one does not have to fight. In regards to Hussein, we were provoked...though not in a manner that made our people demand war. This war was definitely the decision of the government versus the people...and that's the distinction I would make. But calling it "optional" is to deny that any war is a matter of choice...even if the only other choice is to allow oneself to be enslaved, it's still a choice.

"Do you not find it ironic that while our government is striving to spread freedom to Iraq it is limiting freedoms within the U.S.?"

Ironic, certainly. Objectionable...still unsure yet. I do not find the Patriot Act, or other such motions as objectionable as our more libertarian brethern. But, the irony is certainly not lost on me. Then again, we had/have freedoms the Iraqis still cannot rightly imagine having for themselves, so in that scope the irony becomes more understandable if no less ironic.

I know several bloggers who've joked about their writing drawing the attention of black hellicopters. I've done so myself. But the fact of the matter is it's not realistic in America as our nation is now...and that's the kind of freedom we take for granted that the vast majority of the world has never known. In the grand scheme of things Americans really don't have much to complain about...whether that "justifies" anything the Bush administration is doing that you may find objectionable...of course not, but the perspective is humbling considering how truly blessed we are.

Not sure if I had a point in there or not...
;-)

 

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