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November 14, 2006

Finally, Iraq.

I supported the mission when we went in and I support the mission today. I still believe that a free and prosperous Iraq is a necessity for a stable Middle East and that freedom is the only thing that can beat back Islamofascism. I am happy we took out Saddam Hussein. The weapons of mass destruction were real--we can ask the Kurds all about them.

I hear a lot of people say that the method we used in Iraq has been wrong and I have to agree. Our boys have their hands tied behind their backs, unable to fight a real war, unable to defend themselves. It is unacceptable. I hear stories about how ridiculous protocol gets our men killed (though it happened in Afghanistan, the cemetary debacle is the most perfect illustration of what I mean), how they are not allowed to fire at a jeep barreling towards them on the road, even if the intentions of the jeep's inhabitants are not in doubt. They are not allowed to kill someone planting roadside bombs and instead must risk the bomb going off while they capture the perpetrator. This is not war. This is capitulation to terrorism, a 'we are better than you' battle that we only win when we lose.

It seems we have three options in Iraq. They are:

1. Pull out- this is irresponsible and dangerous, so of course it's the one Democrats want. As much as it crushes me to lose even one more American soldier, a pull out is just about the worst thing we can do and insures we will be back there within the decade to sort of the remaining mess.

2. Add troops- Is the problem really too few troops? I don't know, I'm not a military strategist but any time I read about Iraq and the problems we face there, I never get a sense that it's because there are too few boots on the ground.

3. Acknowledge that we are at war and act accordingly- this is my preference and from anecdotal conversations with returning troops, it seems to be the one military people favor as well.

We are pretending that we are there on some kind of humanitarian mission. When I hear about "good news" from Iraq it's inevitably a new water tower or pipeline or road or school. And that's all terrific. But how many terrorists did we kill today? How many towns did we lock down and show that if people support terrorists, if they harbor them, if they help them, we will kill them? The kid glove treatment has got to stop. I only care about the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people if they are helping us secure the region. If they are assisting in the chaos-kill them.

I approve of the humanitarian component of the Iraq war, I do, I just don't approve of the war part of the Iraq war. Don't tell me about the Iraqi schoolchildren and how they have shoes now or how Baghdad has multiple cell phone companies. I care, just not as much as I care about the survival of our civilization and about world peace and prosperity in the long-term.

Let's stop pretending we're not in a war. It's the only way to win it.

Posted by Karol at November 14, 2006 09:58 AM | TrackBack
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You forgot the fourth option: Send Bill from INDC.

Posted by: jay at November 14, 2006 12:37 PM

So we take the gloves off and hope they love us and our ideas and ideals ? At the same time, we have to prevent the Sunni and the Shiites from killing each other. Which one are the good guys and which ones are the bad guys ? One side seems to support the guy we took out and the other sides supports the leadership of Iran. Which ones are the Islamofacists ? Saddam was Islamofacist, right ? The leaders in Iran are, right ? Who do we support ? Here's the problem. We're between two armed camps and either we are at war with both of them or we are a peacemaker. Either way, we're stuck in the middle, stuck being the operative word.

Mission accomplished. Death throes. Cakewalk!

Posted by: Von Bek at November 14, 2006 01:10 PM

Totally useless and unhelpful comment. It's what I expect from people who want us to lose not from so-called patriotic conservatives.

Posted by: Karol at November 14, 2006 01:24 PM

I am merely pointing out Karol that there are no easy answers and no clear ways to win. I think the administration and its supporters underestimated how tough this would be and I would include myself in that number. Based on your comments in the post, you did the same thing. Believe me if I had a soultion of any use or help, I would provide one. I want us to win, I simply have no idea how to do it. Do you ? Does anyone ?

I know you well enough to think you would not question my loyalty to my home, my history, my heritage, all of which are in this great republic of ours.

Posted by: Von Bek at November 14, 2006 01:30 PM

I am merely pointing out Karol that there are no easy answers and no clear ways to win.

Ya, I know, that's why I said "I know there aren't a lot of options, and Americans aren't expecting us to have all the solutions. But at least engage, discuss, consider. LEAD."

I am presenting one possible solution: let our soldiers fight the war as if it were a war and not some humanitarian mission. It isn't much but it it's more than just harping on past missteps.

Posted by: Karol at November 14, 2006 01:40 PM

Karol:

What did Von Bek say that is wrong? And what makes you think that "winning" was ever possible in the first place? It seems that the patriotic thing is to cut our losses by bringing our troops back home.
I think the election showed that a lot of Americans are getting tired of all this nonsense in Iraq and want to start pulling our troops out. I won't count on Washington listening to the people though.

Posted by: Dan at November 14, 2006 01:40 PM

Well, I think the croaking on the past bothces will fade a bit now that Rummy is gone. Great war leaders are not afraid to make changes. Look at Lincoln; in 4 years, four commanders of the entire army, eight commanders of the forces in VA (McClellan counted twice, before and after Pope), at least 6 in MO, 5 with the Army of the Ohio/Cumberland and so on. He didn't let fidelity and loyalty to old friends and supporters get in the way of winning the war. I'm heartned to see Bush showing a bit of the same.

Posted by: Von Bek at November 14, 2006 01:43 PM

Von Bek,

I'm just curious...would I be correct in guessing that you like Pat Buchanan, and James Baker ?

Posted by: BadBoyInASuit at November 14, 2006 02:04 PM

You are bagging on Von Bek, you haven't exactly said much yourself Karol.

Pulling out is irresponsible and dangerous? Where is the danger? What is the responsibility? There are 150000 dead Iraqis this year?

Adding troops? What is the task at hand? What are the troops for?

Who exactly are we at war with? Is the Army geared up and trained to fight the war that you would have them fight?

I'm back to the beginning. What is the mission that you believed in?

Posted by: David at November 14, 2006 02:20 PM

I think Baker and Buchanan represent two different positions. Baker strikes me as the personification of cautious internationalism and Buchanan almost a pure isolationist.

I have mixed thoughts on Buchanan. While I appreciate his defense of life, his calls for abolishing the federal Department of Education and the IRS and his stance on immigration, I think a number of his positions on trade and international affairs are simply wrong. When he is one, he's a damn fine writer which makes me wonder why the American Conservative is perhaps the most poorly edited magazine of the right. I had the opportunity to vote for him and did not vote for him either time. He also strikes me as too much of an entertainer, saying some things as undiplomatically as possible to get a response. I think his criticisms of World War Two and, to a lesser extent, Israel have a touch of anti-semitism. I also think because he is friendly, suprisingly funny and a creature of the Beltway, he got off a bit too easy from the national media.

Baker....I'll be blunt, I have not really followed the guy since 92 with the exception of his work in FL after the election in 2000. I think he did a fine job in assembling the coalition for Gulf War one. While some conservatives attack Baker for his role in the Reagan White House, I think he did a realistic job and did not do badly at Treasury. My chief gripe with Baker is his ego. I think the guy baked in the reputation of being Bush patria's ace in the hole too many times and I think his role and his fighting for the spotlight in the 92 campaign was piss poor to say the least. I suspect he will try to provide some cover for Bush in Iraq now. I don't like his connections to the Saudis.

Posted by: Von Bek at November 14, 2006 02:21 PM

Karol, this idea of locking down towns and killing those who aid 'the enemy'/don't support you. Isn't this what the Nazis did in occupied France?
Instead of admitting you are at war, perhaps it would be better to admit you are invading Iraq for the purposes of occupation. Saddam was your man in the region until he turned rogue and used the WMD's we in the west supplied to him in order to mainyain the stability we put him there to maintain in the first place. Who did Rumsfeld think the weapons he sold to Iraq in the 70's and 80's gonna be used against. Certainly not Israel.
Your whole post has so much that I'd like to comment on, but it would be just too long to do so. Suffice it to say that the idea of waging war without working out how you want the peace is foolhardy, and brave forces and unlucky civilians have learned this to their cost. yet you seem to want more killing and more death.

Bad boy, I have tried to reply to your claim that I feel the threat of terror to be crass, but I keep hitting the same bad gateway. I actually feel mocking the threat of terror to be crass (along with mocking the mentally ill).

Posted by: bryan at November 14, 2006 02:28 PM

Bryan, we're compared to the Nazis today, right now, while we take the wuss approach to war. Do I really care if we get called Nazis while we're taking out terrorists and those who support them. Maybe in the future the left will be more careful with such labels so that they'll actually mean something. Further, Americans are no occupiers. We have no interest in a permanent presence...anywhere. But the rest of the world has their fingers in their ears about the threat of Islamism to all of us and instead of helping are just bitching from the sidelines. So, yeah, we're going to stay in Iraq and finish the job.

David, if we pull out, Iraq crumbles and falls apart, it's pretty obvious. The mission to me was and remains a stable, secure and prosperous Middle East which doesn't breed terrorists.

Posted by: Karol at November 14, 2006 02:46 PM

All I can say (and it's only an opinion, and not worth much more than the paper it's printed on) is that this strikes me as blue-sky thinking, and that we can't set milestones based on it.

Sorry if I came off harsh in the other post. Thought more about it and realized it was probably a little strong.

Posted by: David at November 14, 2006 02:58 PM

"Bad boy, I have tried to reply to your claim that I feel the threat of terror to be crass, but I keep hitting the same bad gateway. I actually feel mocking the threat of terror to be crass (along with mocking the mentally ill)."

Bryan, dude, what are you talking about ?

My only comment in this thread has been a question to Von Bek about his feelings about Pat Buchanan and James Baker.

Posted by: BadBoyInASuit at November 14, 2006 03:12 PM

I agree with Von Bek.

Karol: Who are we at war with? It seems like you want troops killing both sunni's and shiites.

The comparisons to Naziís are extreme but not unjust. If the decision is made to kill anyone harboring, sympathizing or aiding a terrorist, you may as well keep troops in the green zone and commence mass air raids on iraqi towns (and while you are at, gaza, the west bank and southern lebanon). If you think you can go door-to-door in these towns and figure out who the sympathizers are from the innocents, you are not being realistic.

We went in to Iraq to eliminate a potential threat to us. As an ancillary benefit, the oppressed people of iraq would be freed. Turns out the oppressed want nothing to do with us now that they have their freedom. In addition, their vision of freedom is islamic law which we don't agree with.

And what happens if we bail? They'll probably spiral into civil war (which is kind of like now only none of our guys die).

Posted by: SMVP at November 14, 2006 03:49 PM

Bad Boy in a suit, if you really feel the need for a summary of my political views and favorite politicans, drop me a line at thecityintheautumnstars@yahoo.com and you can learn more than I'm sure you ever wanted to know.

Posted by: Von Bek at November 14, 2006 04:04 PM

Karol.

You/We will NEVER solve the problem in Iraq. Pull out or stay there WILL be a civil war.

This is NOT advocating dictatorship or Saddam but dictatorships tend to keep countries such as Iraq (or the former Yugoslavia) that were artificial creations consisting of 2 or more ethnic/religious groups who HATE each other and have been fighting for longer than the US/Germany/Italy have existed as nations, stable.

You take off the gloves and your position (and ours) will become COMPLETELY untenable. Whether or not we invaded as liberators there are enough in Iraq who disagree and will fight. You start killing people, razing towns etc and the insurgency will increase to the point where US troops are being killed in double figures on a daily basis. You piss off the populace even more than has been done already and they will do what the White Russians/Ukranians did after the Nazis invaded, what the Afghans did to the Russians, your own ancestors did to us in 1776 and what the Spanish and Russian peasantry did to Napoleons armies.

What happens if you take the gloves off? Al Quaeda has a recruiting field day. What of Iran? Will the nutjob in charge there stay out of it? no of course not. He will do his utmost to stoke the problem safe in Tehran.

Iraq is done whether the US army goes all out or not. The mission was a con from the start and what the world told Bush before the invasion has come to pass. At some point there will be a civil war.

Posted by: Nick at November 14, 2006 04:07 PM

Iraq is a diversion. As the army attacks Iraq, the US gov't erodes rights at home by suspending habeas corpus, stealing private lands, banning books like "America Deceived" from Amazon, rigging elections, conducting warrantless wiretaps and starting 2 illegal wars based on lies. Soon, another US false-flag operation will occur (sinking of an Aircraft Carrier) and the US will invade Iran, (on behalf of Israel).
Final link (before Google Books bends to gov't demands and censors the title):
America Deceived (book)

Posted by: Remember, remember the 5th of November at November 14, 2006 05:46 PM

Remember, I didn't know they had internet access in the looney bin. Yay for technology.

Karol, the problem is in one sense Pelosi is correct - we're not at war. The actual war ended a few days after it started. What we have now is an occupation, which is an entirely different beast. If we were still actually at war our course would be clear - destroy the enemy forces.

The first problem is while a war can be won, there's no "victory" in an occupation except persistance - i.e. you want me to leave and I'm still here. If your goal is to stay you need to run the occupation competantly, which is something we're not doing. If your goal isn't to stay, you have no goal, since your ablility to affect the situation ends the day you leave.

We can't just leave, since in doing so we'd leave yet another set of allies in the lurch with no way to defend themselves, and nobody will trust us for another generation. Not only that, every punk bin Laden will think he can change our foreign policy using a couple well-placed bombs.

So here's my prescription: Treat the occupation like a real occupation. Flood the zone with secret police and cameras. Kill al-Sadr and anyone else who opposes us. Make the posession of any firearm or explosive by natives punishable by summary execution. Throw away the Iraqi constition and replace it with a colonial charter, and put Americans in all key police and government posts. In short, we need to do what the Brits did in India.

And we need to stay for a few generations, until the Iraqis are civilized, and I don't use that word lightly. The biggest ideological problem we face in Iraq is the PC notion their culture is "just as good" as ours. It isn't, both as a way to organize society and base upon which you can build peacable relations with your neighbors. If we persist in the notion we can build a modern democracy on the the current culture we can only fail.

Posted by: Eric at November 14, 2006 09:25 PM

I think a lot of your observations are pretty much "on target" (pardon the pun). Let's give this some historical perspective. Germany started its military effort as soon as Hitler came to power in 1933, and started occupying places in what? 1936? Open hostilities "formally" broke out in 1939, the U.S. entered the fray in late 1941 (though the U.S. was providing support to the British and was building up military industries in the three or four years leading up to that), Germany and Japan were defeated in 1945, and it took another four years (until 1949) before (West) Germany got to elect its own government. Just from the formal outbreak of hostilities to Adenauer's election was ten years right there!

So what do we have in Iraq? Saddam was involved with his deceptive WMD game for several years with the world not doing too much about him. We finally invaded and knocked him out in 2003. The Iraqis have already had elections and a lot of the country is actually stabilized. Much of the violence takes place for the benefit of the TV cameras near Baghdad. We are doing a pretty good job for 3 1/2 years given the place has very little history of anything approaching democratic rule.

The question remains how much effort and for how long do we keep going in Iraq. Also, how do we deal with the obvious extgernal interference provided by Iran. Can we destabilize them?

During WWII, reporters were more eager to tell the public about the heroics of our troops. We have a lot less of that going on today. Reporting the violence and deaths is important, yes, but a lot of balance is still missing.

Posted by: Ron at November 15, 2006 08:24 AM

I don't think the historical comparison is that accurate at all. The Germans seemed willing to be liberated by us. Nor did we have the German Catholics blowing up the German Luterhans. While there was a great debate about America's role before Pearl Harbor, there was next to none thereafter. The unity of WW2 is simply not going to be repeated in Iraq and unless Iran is dumb enough to pull a Pearl Harbor or they sink the Maine, the American people aren't going to rally to attack Tehran. We may hear that Iran needs democracy; they support terrorism; they have nukes and wmds. We've heard it before and we ain't buying it again alas.

Posted by: Von Bek at November 15, 2006 10:42 AM

Von Bek,

The historical analogies are more valid than you think. We still had to deal with former regime elements in Germany after the war. Believe it or not, most Iraqis prefer liberation to the Saddam regime. Remember, enlistment in the military and police forces there is very much on the increase.

Speaking of unity, one can easily say that there was not a lot of it after WWII. The Soviets started undermining us pretty quickly in Europe and a lot of other places. The Berlin blockade was what, in 1948?

The Iranians are very much working on developing nuclear weapons. I'm not sure that anyone really doubts that; certainly, I have not heard that. You may be right that the will to challenge the mad mullahs might not be there, and that's based on our perceived challenges in Iraq. I think that some of the resistance to dealing with Iran is based on sympathy with their regime or antipathy to the U.S. and it's allies.

And yes, Iran does want to pull a Pearl Harbor (though it's more likely that Israel would get it first), the question is whether anyone has the will to try to stop the Iranians first.

Posted by: Ron at November 15, 2006 11:16 AM

Invited all the troublemakers to a peace talk, surround the building, and go in an shot them all. Drag their bodies out and hang them along the street. If I recalled right, it work in a couple of occations.

Seriously, we do anyone think getting out of Iraq will solve everything? Iraq would still be there, and we have an interest to keep control of it, neither through a democratic government, elected by people that shares our interest only with the rest open to be dispose of, or a dictator dependent on us for servival. The problem in Iraq can be trace to Syria, Iran, and Russian, and China. We should have a comprehensive policy to deal with China and Russian, whose are supporting any regime that is AntiAmerica. We should renew ban on oil and gas technology transfer to Russia, and China. Created our own militias (freelance fighters) to cut up trade routes, and trading activities between Russia and it client in the Middle East. Syria and Iran have to be destroy to bleed off the Terrorist in Iraq, Russian and China must be distroy in order to destroy Syria and Iran. Both Russia and China have been a cancer on this world long enough, if America want to lead it should a policy that would down the road lead eliminated the Russuan and Chinese people from being a threat. Iraq is only a small part of the overall pictures.

Posted by: Anh at November 15, 2006 02:26 PM

Between the eagle and the bear, the Gemans prefered the eagle (and who can blame them). And while there was little unity between the former allied powers (namely USSR and USA) there was a great deal of unity in the US in terms of dealing with the Soviet Union. It's why Henry Wallace tanked so badly and why even old isolationists like Arthur Vandenberg rallied behind Truman.

Posted by: Von Bek at November 15, 2006 05:32 PM

Just to be historically picky.

Ron: Germany's military re-armament began in the mid 1920s when Von Seekt was at the height of his power and influence. Treaty of Rapallo gave Germany access to testing grounds within the Soviet Union and officers including Guderian gained invaluable experience using tanks in Sweden as well as Russia.

The idea that Hitler came to power in 1933 and then Germany re-armed is a myth. They were open about it post 1933.

Posted by: Nick at November 16, 2006 04:57 PM

Blame Woodrow Wilson for everything. Rise of Lenin and Hitler? Wilson. Rise of big government ? Wilson. Why the radio is playing Christmas crap all the time now ? Woodrow Wilson.

Posted by: Von Bek at November 16, 2006 05:56 PM

No idea about his domestic politics (or care) but I always sorry for Wilson. He had a brilliant vision but was ahead of its time.

An instance where we in Europe should have listened.

Posted by: Nick at November 18, 2006 04:17 PM
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