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DougMacG
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« Reply #300 on: April 10, 2007, 01:21:52 AM »

GM, interesting comments.

 "dems (with a few exceptions) think the global jihad is just some neocon conspiracy..."

It is true that the vocal left put more energy into blaming Bush etc. than blaming the enemy for our troubles.  They also pretend that nothing was the matter in Iraq before 'we' went in and messed it up.  There was a Hillary parody on Saturday Night Live illustrating that everyone knows and accepts that all these statements and positions on Iraq and the so-called war on terror are just what is necessary to win power.  It's is doubtful that these wroters oppose her, so I take their underlying message to be that everyone understands the silly anti-war and anti-American-power rhetoric is just saying what is necessary to get nominated and elected. The same people would expect that she or others would be thoughtful and responsible leaders AFTER being elected.  In other words, getting to power is more important than fighting the enemy only because they are out of power.  If they were in power they would fight the enemy.  That theory is tested with the changeover of power in congress.  As a party, Dems have the possibility to vote for an immediate end to all funding of the hostilities they allegedly oppose.  But as they get closer to power they back off of their own rhetoric.  Through Google news I found evidence from our favorite source - world socialist web site: "

In a declaration of support for an extended and open-ended US occupation of Iraq, two leading Democratic senators (Carl Levin, Chuck Schumer) told national television audiences Sunday that under no circumstances would the Democratic congressional majority cut off funding for the war."

--

Meanwhile on the other side:  "The republicans are fighting a half-assed war against the global jihad"

My first reaction:  I think the Republican problem has been more about inability to communicate rather than lack of resolve or action.  My God, they formed a coalition and took down the Taliban almost instantly after 9/11.  They killed, captured and interragated terrorists as fast and aggressively as possible up to the point of drawing heavy criticism from all directions and are still doing it.  They largely shut down the financial networks that suported terror.  They took down Saddam Hussein including the cumbersome hurdles of securing  congressional and UN security council approvals.  We have the  Patriot Act and the surveillance program and whatever other protection and enforcement programs we don't even know about. 

Saddam was cowering in a rat hole while the Americans marched freely above.  The central, former leadership of al Qaida can't so much as use a telephone to make a call, and Iran is right now isolated from its last protectors on the security council.

Critics ask the question: WHERE is Osama hding?  I see the more telling questions: Where is Saddam now and WHY is Osama hiding???

I share your frustration, but I wouldn't characterize the efforts as half assed.  JMHO.



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G M
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« Reply #301 on: April 10, 2007, 02:02:54 AM »

Doug,

Though i'd agree with the positives you cite, there are profound flaws with the way the current administration has fought this war. Here are a few:

1. In the early days post 9/11 we were scared and we were pissed. No one knew just how dangerous we were but they didn't want to find out. "With us or with the terrorists" was a doctrine with teeth. Pakistan did initially help us because they feared we'd go to war with them as well. Iran couldn't be quieter, Syria was docile and superficially helpful. Less than 6 years and now partisan politics trumps nat'l survival and Iran and Syria feel free to create the "Next Vietnam" the dems are aching for.

2. To quote a friend from DHS "9/12/2001, the borders should have been closed tighter than turtle pussy". When Beslan comes to America's shores (It's when, not if) and any of the terrorists are found to have entered from Canada or Mexico, Bush will bear the blame as his legacy forever.

3. 9/11/2001 was the cue that the nat'l security infastructure wasn't geared to fighting this new war. Sadly the CIA/NSA/NRO/DIA and others is still ready to play spy vs. spy with the Soviets. There should have been a wave of firings/retirements throughout the nat'l security entities. Instead, we have political correctness undercutting any serious attempt at counterterrorist initiatives.

4. There should have been a national mobilization akin to WWII. The US military should be much bigger and better armed and the nation should be at war, not just the Army and Marines.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #302 on: April 10, 2007, 12:00:02 PM »

GM, Thanks for that. I was hoping to draw out why you felt that way and I likewise agree with your points.  I see most of the failures coming from the cumbersome nature of this huge democracy with our limits on power and multiple viewpoints trying to exert itself.  The electorate can't fully support the mission when the leaders are sloppy and inconsistent in explaining it.  Authorization of congress for the Iraq war would not have passed with bipartisan support without the promise to take it to the security council.  The approval of the security council would not have happened without framing the justification in terms of WMD and violations of the UN's previous resolutions.  The Iraq mission would not have bogged down so badly had we not given Saddam months and months and months to clean up weapons sites and prepare for an insurgency that would outlive him andif the enemy didn't know that support erodes with every American they kill.  The Syrians and Iranians cannot seriously feel militarily threatened by America when they see the quagmire in Iraq, the disapproval polls, and the anti-war momentum broadcasted continuously.  In the face of all that I guess I have even more admiration for the resolve of the leaders of this effort, though again, not their ability to communicate.  I think the above explains why Pakistan, Syria and Iran no longer feel heat from the promise that "either you are with us or you are against us".

I agree whole heatedly with your point about borders. National security is the reason IMO to support borders enforcement as tight as you so graphically describe. lol.  I am pro-free-trade, pro-legal-immigration and pro-guest-worker etc, but only in the context that America chooses and controls the numbers and needs that we fill with approvals for legal entry.  How can we possibly invest so much in security - hundreds of billions or trillions(?) of dollars, lose our right to walk from the ticket counter onto an airplane etc, and then have no idea who, why, where from, or how many people are entering our country???  Up here (MN) we joke about those pesky Canadians procuring our medical services and infiltrating our hockey games.  Other places they may complain about Mexicans.  But when we allow an illegal industry to flourish to the point of becoming organized crime, how can we not think we are also welcoming the next wave of terrorists?

Border politics, they say, is tricky.  You can't risk offending today's Hispanic-Americans or future voters who my be legalized along the way.  To me, an Hispanic American citizen is one of us,  not a minority.  I find it condescending to think people of certain origin cannot see a connection between border control and national security.  (Comments welcome)




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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #303 on: April 10, 2007, 02:23:58 PM »

I'll put aside commenting on border/Mexican immigration issues to focus this post on what I feel have been some of the great failings of the Bush-Rumbo leadership:

1) I'll accept that they were clueless about what they would find, but the response time to the insurgency was grossly negligent.  As Richard Barnett points out, we need to have a qualified team for coming on the field after we are done killing people and breaking things.   Instead we kind of wandered in circles clueslessly for 18-24 months.

2) The failure to control/close the border with Syria, with Iran, with Saudi Arabia:  This is a military mission, and one that we could have and should have accomplished.  The reason we didn't was too few troops and the reason that we did not adjust to this reality is Rumbo and his theories of small, high tech and fast moving military. He's right as far as he goes, but did not and does not see that boots on the ground are essential for this mission.

3)  The boots on the ground thing goes to a terrible failure on the President's part to speak up in 2003 and 2004 to increase the size of the military and the commitment.  Even Senator Kerry called for 40,000 more troops for the military in the 2004 campaign.  Bush could have done so and asked for even more with zero political cost but he did not.  Instead he and Rumbo thrashed our troops hard.  Now that the Dhimmicrats have won Congress he fires Rumbo (instead of during the summer when it could have done some good for the elections) and now he seeks to increase the size of the military by 90,000 when it is much, much harder to inspire people to take this courageous step-- especially with a broad lack of confidence in the competence of leadership.

4) In the Geopolitical Matters thread RickN made an extremely cogent post. 
« Last Edit: April 10, 2007, 02:58:10 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
SB_Mig
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« Reply #304 on: April 10, 2007, 03:27:13 PM »

Crafty,

Excellent points. Two questions I would pose:

1) Seeing as we are heading into a political quagmire here in the States (Dems controlling votes, but completely inefficient at governing and Repubs too concerned about saving face/the Presidential election to think about much else), are there any viable political options for the situation in Iraq the Middle East at this point?

2) Is there a solution besides turning that part of the world into a glass factory or complete withdrawal of US forces with which the American public would be satisfied? And if so, who would be able to push that solution forward?

I ask the questions here, but will be happy to move them if necessary.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #305 on: April 10, 2007, 05:25:48 PM »

Woof SB:

Good questions.  Please post them on WW3, War in the Mid-east, Geopolitical Matters or some analogous thread.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #306 on: May 20, 2007, 12:13:43 AM »

 
As to Prison Planet, Jones is a complete wacko. Just read his topics, everything is a conspiracy. 9-11 was caused by the government and explosives planted. The planes were remote controlled. FDR provoked Pearl Harbor. If this is your source for news.............
 
Now, to address some other things, I allow Bill Whittle of http://www.ejectejecteject.com/ to take over by excerpts:
 
I think the entire nation owes a deep and profound debt of gratitude to the editors of Popular Mechanics magazine. Their debunking of the 9/11 conspiracy was not only first-rate journalism. It was an act of vital national importance. It was heroic.

But Popular Mechanics?! That sort of article should have been front page, above the fold in The New York Times, The LA Times, Washington Post, and all of the other 'media watchdogs' that are -- or so I am assured -- determined to safeguard the republic by presenting the truth.

There are only two small mites I might add to that monumental work.

This whole ball of earwax got started when a French author (by way of gratitude, I presume, for the hundreds of thousands of Americans killed defending his country from a tyranny they themselves were unwilling to fight) claimed that the hole in the Pentagon was far too small to have been caused by a jet. It must have been a missile!

All of these 9/11 conspiracy sites have museum-grade idiots stating what 'obviously' happens at velocities and temperatures that they are flat-out incapable of understanding. Not only are these people too stupid to understand the physics involved with what they are bloviating about -- they are too stupid to realize that they are too stupid.

An airplane is a hollow, extremely light-weight tube of aluminum, cunningly designed to lift not one ounce more than is necessary for safe flight in rough weather. An airplane is as fragile as a hollow-boned bird, and for the same reasons. The Pentagon, on the other hand, is a fortress, and as a matter of one of the very few pieces of good luck on that awful day, the side hit by American Flight 77 happened to be the only one of the five sides that had been recently reinforced to withstand a truck bomb attack.

Now if you have ever seen a bird fly into a window pane, you may realize that it does not leave a nice bird-shaped hole in the window. That is because in each historical conflict between the ground and an airplane, the ground has won every time.

Here's something to prove the point far better than any words could ever do. It is a video of an F-4 Phantom being launched into a reinforced wall at over 500 mph. The Phantom is a big airplane -- not as big as a jetliner, certainly, but far sturdier in construction. When you watch this video, you will see that massive-looking fighter jet simply vaporize into a plume of aluminum dust. Nothing comes through the other side. It. Just. Disappears.

My other small contribution -- which may be widely stated, although I have not seen it -- is to grant this revolting premise for a moment and envision the consequences.

The 9/11 Truthers claim that the twin towers were brought down by controlled demolition. Okay.

Have you ever seen a controlled demolition? Shows like this are all over The Discovery Channel. Do these people realize how all of the insulation and paneling must be stripped away from the support beams? Do they not understand how these beams must be cut open and the explosives placed with great care? Have they not any idea of the amount of time this takes -- months -- and the forest of wires that runs through the structure to the detonating mechanism? Have they given no thought -- none? -- to what an enormous job this is, and how much work goes into getting these explosives exactly where they need to be?

Apparently not. They just figure someone leaves a suitcase somewhere, I guess.

Anyone who has ever -- ever -- seen what is required to bring down a building of that size knows that the site is a disaster area of det cord, pulled paneling, and huge bundles of explosives taped to the structural columns across many floors. Has no one considered that this all had to be started after everyone went home on Monday night and before people reported for work the next day? On multiple floors of two of the busiest public spaces in the world?

No one noticed this on Tuesday morning? Hey Jim, what do you suppose that huge bundle of plastic explosives is doing there where the water cooler used to be? And where do those wires go? Well, must be some logical explanation. Let's get some coffee and bagels.

Now you're talking!

Of all the people in those buildings that morning, no one -- no one -- saw any wires anywhere? No one asked why the drywall was torn down and replaced with grey stuff duct-taped into place? None of the firemen rushing into those burning towers, checking all those floors for survivors -- none of them noticed the building was rigged to explode? That it might possibly be worth a small call on the radio?

My father was interred at Arlington National Cemetery in 2002. I will never forget that day. It changed my life, and it was the event that started me writing here at Eject! Eject! Eject!

The man who coordinated that service was on a hill about a half-mile from that side of the Pentagon on the morning of September 11th, 2001. He told me that they had been informed that something was going on in New York that morning. Then he heard something that he said he thought was a missile attack -- a roar so loud and so far beyond a normal jet sound that he looked up at that exact moment expecting to die.

What he saw emerge from the trees overhead, perhaps a hundred feet above him, was American Airlines Flight 77 as it went by in a silver blur, engines screaming in a power dive as it hit the near side of the Pentagon. He told me -- to my face -- that body parts had rained down all over that sacred field. Just like red hail on a summer day. Those body parts are buried in a special place at the base of that hill.

Now. If Rosie O'Donnell and the rest of that Lunatic Brigade is right and I am wrong, then that man -- that insignificant Army chaplain and his Honor Guard of forty men -- are all liars. He is lying to me for Halliburton and Big Oil. That Chaplain -- and all of those decent, patriotic young men in the Honor Guard, and all the commuters on the roads who saw an American Airlines jet instead of a missile -- all of those people are liars and accessories to murder. And all of the firefighters who went into buildings rigged to explode were pre-recruited suicide martyrs dying for George W. Bush's plans for world conquest. Remember: NOTHING that happened on September 11th needed any more explanation than what was obvious from the second impact... namely, that Islamic terrorists hijacked four American aircraft and flew three of them into their targets. To try to convince people of missile attacks and rigged explosives and mystery jets is nothing more than an intentional assault on reason and common sense, one that damns the innocent and protects those mass murderers with our blood on their hands.

It's an obscenity. It's a filthy, God-damned, criminal obscenity. Nothing less.

Coexist!

You’ve probably seen this word spelled out with various religious symbols.

Who can argue with this? Not me, certainly.

What I CAN argue with is the idea that if only enough stupid, warlike Americans would just get on the Coexist train, then the world would be a happy and peaceful garden. Who else are the people with these bumper stickers preaching to, if not their ill-informed, knuckle-dragging neocon fellow commuters?

Unfortunately, here’s where reality inserts its ugly head. There is no more multi-cultural society on earth than the United States. The United States owns the patent on Coexisting religions and ethnicities. Drive half a mile though any major US urban area and you will see more ancient ethnic enemies living cheek by jowl in harmony than any other spot on the planet. Thursday morning water cooler conversations about Dancing with the Stars wallpaper over more ancient ethnic and religious murders than history has been able to record, and this despite Hollywood and the news media’s deepest efforts to remind you on a daily basis that the black or Hispanic or Asian or white friend in the next cube is secretly seething with racial hatred just beneath that placid veneer.

Americans are able to coexist because they have subjugated, if not abandoned, those ancient religious and ethnic hatreds to join a larger family, that larger family being America. And this is why, if you truly value the idea of coexistence, you should be dead set against multi-cultural grievance and identity politics, which do nothing but pit one ethnic group against the others and reinforce, rather than dilute, ancient resentments and grievances.

Now as it turns out, there is one member of the human family that seems to be having a little difficulty with the whole coexist thing. Muslims are at war with Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan, they are fighting Animists in Africa, Hindus in Kashmir, Buddhists in Southeast Asia…they are blowing up nightclubs and schools and police stations and trains and buses and skyscrapers and are under daily orders to kill Jews on sight anywhere in the world.

I don’t mind preaching so much as preaching to the choir. When I see Coexist bumper stickers in Islamabad and Cairo and especially Riyadh to the degree I see them in Venice, California, I will be a happy man. They will make a very welcome sight covering over the Death to the Infidel! stickers that seem to be somewhat outselling Coexist messages in that part of the world. Until then I think we should coexist and carry a big stick.

End U.S. Imperialism Now!

Can I just take another quick second of your precious time to put this one to bed once and for all?

It is a staple of the left to accuse the US of “Imperialism.” That so many people can level such a charge with a straight face is a testament to the efficacy of forty years of standards-free education reform here and around the world.

An “Empire” is defined as a nation state that has political control over other nation states, and uses that political control to extract the wealth and resources from the subjugated country.

The United States of America does not have any political control over any other sovereign nation on the face of the Earth. We have influence, but influence is to control as a rich uncle is to a prison warden. That’s all you need to know. The entire idea of American Empire and U.S. Imperialism is dead on its face after that. No control means no empire. Period.

But we do have a large footprint in the rest of the world, and have military bases all across the globe. Is that a form of empire?

Look, the whole point of having an empire is to take the wealth out of the colonies and return them to enrich the home country. The US not only does not pull in the resources of other nations…it does exactly the reverse. We pump billions and billions of dollars annually into those nations that host our facilities, and the minute any one of those nations decides we are no longer welcome, we pack our bags, leave and turn those billion-dollar institutions over to the host country. (Look up Subic Bay and Clark Air Base in the Philippines for some recent examples)

This is not “imperial behavior.” It is, in fact, the precise opposite of imperial behavior. I guess somehow STOP U.S. ANTI-IMPERIALISM just doesn’t have the same snap somehow for the North Korean-backed International A.N.S.W.E.R. crowd. Color me shocked.

There are millions of people – actually, probably billions now – who genuinely believe that the wealth of the US was stolen from third world countries. This is one of the great perks of living a life free of the ability to think critically and do a little research. I have heard this slander repeated so many times I decided to look into some actual numbers to see if there is anything to this charge. This is a perfect example of how critical thinking allows you to see the unseen. That attitude, Google and ten minutes is all you need to shoot lies like this down in flames.

Okay. The US Per capita income is $41,300. That of a poor, third world country –Djibouti, say -- is $2,070.

Now it gets interesting. The US gross domestic product – the value of everything we produce in a year -- was last measured as $12 trillion, 277 billion dollars (hundreds of millions of dollars being too insignificant to count in this economy).

The GDP of Djibouti is 1 billion, 641 million US dollars.

A little basic arithmetic shows me that the US has a GDP 7,481 times greater than Djibouti. A 365 day year, composed of 24 hours in a day, yields 8,760 hours per year. Hang on to that for a sec.

Now, let’s suppose the U.S. went into Djibouti with the Marines, and stole every single thing that’s produced there in a year…just grant the premise and say we stole every goddam thing they make. If we hauled away all of Djibouti’s annual wealth, how long would it run the U.S. Economy, which is 7,481 times greater?

Well, 8,760 hours divided by 7,481 gives you an answer of 1.17 hours. In other words, it takes the U.S. 1.17 hours to produce what Djibouti produces in a year.

If the US really did go in and steal everything that the bottom thirty countries in the world produce, it might power the US economy for two or three days.

Conversely, the billions and billions of dollars the US spends annually in aid, rent, etc. – plus uncounted billions more from private American charities – would supply the entire GDP of Djibouti for hundreds of years.

Where’s your Imperialism argument now?

War is not the Answer

Okay. I’m listening. What is the answer?

No, you don’t get to say I don’t know but I know it's not war! If you admit you don’t know what the answer is, then it logically follows that you are in no position to say what it is not.

With regards to Iraq, Saddam started a suicidal war with Iran, and then with the United States. He then proceeded to break every single element of his cease-fire agreement…shooting at allied airplanes trying to belatedly enforce no-fly zones to prevent him from massacring even more of his own people, continuing with a well-documented and undeniable effort to obtain nuclear weapons, and all the rest.

So what is the answer, Mr. Moral Superiority? Sanctions? We sanctioned him for 13 years. He bribed the UN and stole billions of dollars for new palaces and industrial shredders for the opposition. Should we just leave him alone? The New York Times reported a few days ago that Saddam was a year or two away from a nuclear weapon. Do you trust the man’s judgment after Iran and Kuwait? I don’t.

War is an ugly, messy, filthy business, and the greatest slander I have seen in these last three years is the idea that somehow the pro-war crowd thinks war is a great thing. War is an awful thing. And yet I am pro war in this case. How can that be?

This is probably the most useful thing I’ll write in this essay:

Doves think the choice is between fighting or not fighting. Hawks think the choice is between fighting now or fighting later.

If you understand this, you understand everything that follows. You don’t need to think the other side is insane, or evil. Both hawks and doves are convinced they are doing the right thing. But it seems to me there is a choice between peace at any price and a peace worth having.

We cannot undo the invasion and compare that timeline to the one we have. The only data we can use to compare these philosophies is embedded in the pages of history. What does history show?

I cannot think of a single example where appeasement – giving in to an aggressive adversary in the hope that it will convince them to become peaceful themselves – has provided any lasting peace or security. I can say in complete honesty that I look forward to hearing of any historical example that shows it does.

What I do see are barbarian forces closing in and sacking Rome because the Romans no longer had the will to defend themselves. Payments of tribute to the barbarian hordes only funded the creation of larger and better-armed hordes. The depredations of Viking Raiders throughout Northern Europe produced much in the way of ransom payments. The more ransom that was paid, the more aggressive and warlike the Vikings became. Why? Because it was working, that’s why. And why not? Bluster costs nothing. If you can scare a person into giving you his hard-earned wealth, and suffer no loss in return, well then you my friend have hit the Vandal Jackpot. On the other hand, if you are, say, the Barbary Pirates, raiding and looting and having a grand time of it all, and across the world sits a Jefferson – you know, Mr. Liberty and Restraint – who has decided he has had enough and sends out an actual Navy to track these bastards down and sink them all… well, suddenly raiding and piracy is not such a lucrative occupation. So, contrary to doomsayers throughout history, the destruction of the Barbary Pirates did not result in the recruitment of more Pirates. The destruction of the Barbary Pirates resulted in the destruction of the Barbary Pirates.

And it is just so with terrorism. When the results of terrorism do the terrorist more harm than good, terrorism will go away. We need to harm these terrorists, not reward them, if we ever expect to see the end of them.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #307 on: July 05, 2007, 08:20:49 AM »

TWO WARS - AND NO LEADERSHIP
TERROR'S TWO FACES & OUR FAILURES
 July 3, 2007 -- WE'RE not fighting a single war against terrorists. We're stuck in two. The past few days saw both conflicts hit the headlines. And we're still not serious about either one.
One war in this global struggle involves Sunni-Arab fanatics, exemplified by al Qaeda, who believe not only that the atrocities they commit will revive the caliphate - a romanticized religious empire - but that their merciless brand of Islam is destined to rule the world.

Our other fight is with Shia extremists, such as the god-gangsters wrecking Iran, Muqtada al-Sadr's thugs and Hezbollah. Their goals are regional (for now): They want to master the heart of the Middle East and gain hegemony over the world's oil supply.

In London, then in Glasgow, we saw attempts (blessedly incompetent ones - thanks, Allah!) to generate mass civilian casualties, challenge Britain's new government and strengthen the U.K.'s appeasement faction. The terrorists involved weren't the "wretched of the earth" beloved in left-wing mythology, but included at least two doctors, as well as other middle-class immigrants.

Behind all the jihadi nonsense, this was a revenge plot by madmen for imagined wrongs. Like all religious fanatics, the would-be murderers (burn, baby, burn) weren't really serving any god, but acting out their struggle with personal demons. It was classic Sunni terrorism - 9/11 re-invented by the Three Stooges.

In the Shia terror war, a U.S. military spokesman in Iraq yesterday finally admitted the serious role that Iran and its clients play in the bombing, kidnapping and cold-blooded murder of our troops. Back in March, our forces busted Ali Mussa Daqduq - a Hezbollah bomb, ambush and abduction expert - in Basra. He wasn't on vacation.

Media speculation holds that Iran, which funds and equips Hezbollah, called in some chips and forced Daqduq to take a leave of absence from Lebanon to help Tehran's al Quds commandos train Iraqi Shias to kill Americans more efficiently.

What's wrong is the notion that Daqduq was press-ganged. Shia terror also crosses borders, if still only regionally. The terrorists are "cross-leveling" expertise with enthusiasm, not reluctance.

Within both the Sunni and the Shia terror co-ops, we're seeing a level of collaboration that's utterly missing in the West. And the Iran-backed rise of Sunni Hamas makes it look as if they're increasingly willing to work across sectarian lines, if it helps them defeat Israel, the West and moderate Arab governments.

They'll get back to killing each other in good time. But right now they want to kill us. Meanwhile, we want to persuade them that we're nice guys.

The most effective action we ever launched against Sunni terror was the destruction of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. We took away the terrorists' safe-haven state, still the greatest loss suffered by Qaeda and Sunni fanaticism. Even if no Democratic presidential aspirant will admit it, al Qaeda has never recaptured the authority it lost.

Shia extremists have a safe-haven state, too: Iran. But the Bush administration ran out of steam when Iraq didn't turn into Iowa. Aware that Tehran's commandos were active in Iraq, supplying weapons, training and direct supervision of attacks that targeted Americans, we did nothing. An Iranian diplomatic passport turned out to be a better form of body armor than anything our troops wear.

Patience isn't a virtue when a hostile government's killing your soldiers. Our timidity only encouraged Iran, which has paid no serious penalties. Tehran has been given free rein not only in Iraq, but also in Lebanon and Gaza.

An invasion of Iran isn't the answer. But selective strikes against the infrastructure of the Revolutionary Guards (and the Quds Force in particular), as well as against Tehran's security services, are the minimum needed to get the regime's attention. Our Air Force's combat capabilities are distinctly under-utilized: It's time for 30 seconds over Tehran. Let's see if those F-22s really work.

Sanctions? Diplomacy? Tell it to the troops in Walter Reed. Or in Arlington.

Oh, I wish we could just buy every terrorist a pint of Ben & Jerry's and make him feel all mushy about surfer-girls in bikinis. But it ain't going to happen. If you want to win any war, you have to kill the enemy until he gives up trying to kill you. Instead, our response to terror is the equivalent of a lawsuit.

If military action isn't a perfect answer, appeasement is never the answer. Give in to terrorists' demands, and you'll only get more demands. Britain is paying for its reluctance to crack down hard on extremist mosques and hate speech - even though most British Muslims would be glad to be rid of the fanatics. Fair play doesn't work if the other side refuses to play fair.

Here at home, we face maddening calls to extend to captured terrorists the legal rights enjoyed by American citizens. Stop and think about that - really think about it. We're bleeding in multiple wars, and we want to send in the lawyers?

Perhaps the biggest lie told since 9/11 is that we must wage war according to our values. If we'd tried that in World War II, we'd still be fighting in the Philippines and struggling to reach the Rhine. In war, the point is to win. Nothing else matters. And you don't get credit for manners.

Our global position isn't eroding because we're stuck in Iraq or because Europeans are mad at us (they're always mad at us). We're losing ground because our leaders, Democrat and Republican, still don't believe we're at war. They live in perfect safety and don't really care if you or your children die, as long as you vote for them.

If roadside bombs were going off on Capitol Hill, we'd punish Iran ferociously and stop treating captured terrorists like white-collar crooks. But as long as the IEDs only kill and cripple our soldiers and Marines, neither political party gives a damn.

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ccp
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« Reply #308 on: July 07, 2007, 09:00:13 AM »

I gotta love a lotta the lines like these:

***Behind all the jihadi nonsense,***

***They'll get back to killing each other in good time. But right now they want to kill us. Meanwhile, we want to persuade them that we're nice guys.***

***But the Bush administration ran out of steam when Iraq didn't turn into Iowa***.

***Oh, I wish we could just buy every terrorist a pint of Ben & Jerry's and make him feel all mushy about surfer-girls in bikinis. Instead, our response to terror is the equivalent of a lawsuit.***

***Here at home, we face maddening calls to extend to captured terrorists the legal rights enjoyed by American citizens. Stop and think about that - really think about it. We're bleeding in multiple wars, and we want to send in the lawyers?***

Are all the crat candidates laywers?  Hillary who says it's a scandal that Bush commuted Libby's sentence for perjury yet, herself is a worldclass psychopathic liar.  Bill who will give us 'his' definition of terrorism before sending his 'army' of NYC/DC liberal lawyers (many of whom I am quite sorry to say are my fellow Jews who you would think would know better when fighting Jihadists).   Edwards who will lead a class action personal injury suit against the radical Muslims.  Obama who thinks we can settle our lawsuit agianst Osama by just leaving the "politics of personal destruction" outside the courtroom of the world.
Kusinich who thinks we just need to make Willie Nelson Secretary of State and send him to Tehran to sing "ON the Road Again".

Joe Lieberman, Cheney, Bush and the temporary Ambassador to the UN (I am going blank on his name for the moment) who seem to view it the way portrayed in this article.

I agree with them.  If the MM is to be believed then I am in the minority.




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SB_Mig
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« Reply #309 on: July 07, 2007, 01:13:28 PM »

Quote
Are all the crat candidates laywers?

How about the Republican contenders?

Republican nominees who have practiced law:

Fred Thompson
Rudy Giuliani
Sam Brownback
Duncan Hunter
Jim Gilmore

...and don't forget Joe Lieberman.
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ccp
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« Reply #310 on: July 07, 2007, 02:44:06 PM »

More on my favorite gal who deserves a good verbal spankin'.  Thanks to Dick Morris who is ready willing and able to express better than me my own thoughts on the matter:

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/DickMorrisandEileenMcGann/2007/07/06/do_the_clintons_now_support_jail_time_for_perjurers

The problem with treating the terrorists like criminals worthy of a police crackdown (like the luny right wing fringe with ex front man Timothy Mcveigh) is the terrorists are being sponsored by governments: like Iran, no. Korea, China, and others.

Except for Lieberman we will not see anything else from the Democratic side.  Not that I am anamored by all the cans either.  For me its Newt, then Romney, then either McCain or Guliani.  At this point I don't see what is impressive about Thompson except the antiabortionists needed him for their sole cause.

On the left *maybe* I could live with Richardson just because he is well spoken, talented, smart and seems more or less a straight arrow.  I admit I don't know a lot of his views yet though.

As for attorneys I much prefer former prosecutors like Guliani rather than tort or defense laywers (who are not about *our* defense).
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Howling Dog
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« Reply #311 on: July 08, 2007, 06:01:12 PM »

Woof, I think this definitely falls under the category of "Political Rant" tongue
I think Cindy Sheehan needs a psych eval. rolleyes

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070708/ap_on_el_ho/cindy_sheehan_pelosi
                                                                       TG
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« Reply #312 on: July 09, 2007, 10:24:45 AM »

editorial in The New York Observer, often called the paper of the liberal elite, described Mr. Clinton as ‘an untrustworthy lowlife who used people for his own purposes and then discarded them. How could they have been fooled so badly?’...[M]illions of Americans, including political hacks, media toadies, and grass-roots dupes, were unflinchingly loyal to Clinton throughout a scandal-drenched eight years, during which it was credibly charged or proven that he: seduced a 21-year-old White House intern, groped a visitor in the Oval Office, paid his way out of a pants-dropping charge, was credibly accused of rape, organized a White House hit team to assassinate the reputation of his accusers; took money from Chinese communist donors; entertained known criminals, drug dealers and arms smugglers at private White House gatherings; hid subpoenaed documents in the living quarters of the White House; rented out the Lincoln bedroom; sold seats on Air Force One; violated the War Powers Act; bombed an aspirin factory in Sudan; never uttered a word of regret for the 19 innocent babies and children who were burned to death at Waco; used the IRS and the FBI to attack political enemies; used taxpayer-paid lawyers and aides to defend himself against charges of sexual misconduct; lied under oath; lied when not under oath; shredded documents; suborned perjury; tampered with witnesses and obstructed justice... I remain hopeful that in time, the legacy of the Clinton presidency will be that its classic wretchedness awakened the American people from a soul-numbing, moral stupor.” —Linda Bowles
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« Reply #313 on: July 14, 2007, 09:02:24 PM »

http://newsbusters.org/node/14095

Don't question the left's patriotism though....
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SB_Mig
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« Reply #314 on: July 17, 2007, 01:36:44 PM »

I found this article a little on the weird side, especially coming from someone who considers themselves a "true conservative"...

Or Face the End of Constitutional Democracy
Impeach Now

By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

Unless Congress immediately impeaches Bush and Cheney, a year from now the US could be a dictatorial police state at war with Iran.

Bush has put in place all the necessary measures for dictatorship in the form of "executive orders" that are triggered whenever Bush declares a national emergency. Recent statements by Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff, former Republican senator Rick Santorum and others suggest that Americans might expect a series of staged, or false flag, "terrorist" events in the near future.

Many attentive people believe that the reason the Bush administration will not bow to expert advice and public opinion and begin withdrawing US troops from Iraq is that the administration intends to rescue its unpopular position with false flag operations that can be used to expand the war to Iran.

Too much is going wrong for the Bush administration: the failure of its Middle East wars, Republican senators jumping ship, Turkish troops massed on northern Iraq's border poised for an invasion to deal with Kurds, and a majority of Americans favoring the impeachment of Cheney and a near-majority favoring Bush's impeachment. The Bush administration desperately needs dramatic events to scare the American people and the Congress back in line with the militarist-police state that Bush and Cheney have fostered.

William Norman Grigg recently wrote that the GOP is "praying for a terrorist strike" to save the party from electoral wipeout in 2008.
Chertoff, Cheney, the neocon nazis, and Mossad would have no qualms about saving the bacon for the Republicans, who have enabled Bush to start two unjustified wars, with Iran waiting in the wings to be attacked in a third war.

The Bush administration has tried unsuccessfully to resurrect the terrorist fear factor by infiltrating some blowhard groups and encouraging them to talk about staging "terrorist" events. The talk, encouraged by federal agents, resulted in "terrorist" arrests hyped by the media, but even the captive media was unable to scare people with such transparent sting operations.

If the Bush administration wants to continue its wars in the Middle East and to entrench the "unitary executive" at home, it will have to conduct some false flag operations that will both frighten and anger the American people and make them accept Bush's declaration of "national emergency" and the return of the draft. Alternatively, the administration could simply allow any real terrorist plot to proceed without hindrance.

A series of staged or permitted attacks would be spun by the captive media as a vindication of the neoconsevatives' Islamophobic policy, the intention of which is to destroy all Middle Eastern governments that are not American puppet states. Success would give the US control over oil, but the main purpose is to eliminate any resistance to Israel's complete absorption of Palestine into Greater Israel.

Think about it. If another 9/11-type "security failure" were not in the works, why would Homeland Security czar Chertoff go to the trouble of convincing the Chicago Tribune that Americans have become complacent about terrorist threats and that he has "a gut feeling" that America will soon be hit hard?

Why would Republican warmonger Rick Santorum say on the Hugh Hewitt radio show that "between now and November, a lot of things are going to happen, and I believe that by this time next year, the American public's (sic) going to have a very different view of this war."

Throughout its existence the US government has staged incidents that the government then used in behalf of purposes that it could not otherwise have pursued. According to a number of writers, false flag operations have been routinely used by the Israeli state. During the Czarist era in Russia, the secret police would set off bombs in order to arrest those the secret police regarded as troublesome. Hitler was a dramatic orchestrator of false flag operations. False flag operations are a commonplace tool of governments.

Ask yourself: Would a government that has lied us into two wars and is working to lie us into an attack on Iran shrink from staging "terrorist" attacks in order to remove opposition to its agenda?

Only a diehard minority believes in the honesty and integrity of the Bush-Cheney administration and in the truthfulness of the corporate media.

Hitler, who never achieved majority support in a German election, used the Reichstag fire to fan hysteria and push through the Enabling Act, which made him dictator. Determined tyrants never require majority support in order to overthrow constitutional orders.

The American constitutional system is near to being overthrown. Are coming "terrorist" events of which Chertoff warns and Santorum promises the means for overthrowing our constitutional democracy?

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #315 on: July 17, 2007, 02:00:21 PM »

I don't know what happened to Paul Craig Roberts but I liked him better before.  He enjoys the by-line of working for Reagan and the WSJ in the past but didn't get those jobs by advancing the types of views he writes now for anti-war.com and for 911 conspiracy sites.  His impeach-now view would make sense if he backed up his Bush staged the terrorism claim with a shred of evidence. No matter what actions Bush does or does not take with Iran, we aren't going to be in a "dictatorial police state" next year.  The '08 elections will be held on schedule, and it was misguided Jihadists, not an American conspiracy, who brought down the towers. JMHO.
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SB_Mig
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« Reply #316 on: July 17, 2007, 02:29:00 PM »

Yeah, it kind of tripped me out to see how far over the edge he's leaning (if he hasn't already gone over it).
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #317 on: July 17, 2007, 02:40:55 PM »

"A series of staged or permitted attacks would be spun by the captive media as a vindication of the neoconsevatives' Islamophobic policy, the intention of which is to destroy all Middle Eastern governments that are not American puppet states. Success would give the US control over oil, but the main purpose is to eliminate any resistance to Israel's complete absorption of Palestine into Greater Israel."

WTF?!?

SB Mig, do you have a URL for this piece?

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SB_Mig
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« Reply #318 on: July 17, 2007, 03:31:04 PM »

Passed on via email:

http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts07162007.html

I'm putting this up there with one of the more bizarre articles I've read this year.
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« Reply #319 on: July 19, 2007, 09:54:00 AM »

WSJ:

'Slow-Motion Tantrum'
A ruling so silly, the dissenting judge didn't even bother read it.

BY DENNIS G. JACOBS
Thursday, July 19, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

(Editor's note: Dennis Jacobs is chief judge of the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. This is his opinion, concurring in part and dissenting in part, in Husain v. Springer, which the court decided last Friday. The entire opinion is available here.)

I concur in the majority's result insofar as it affirms the dismissal of some claims, but I dissent insofar as it reverses the grant of qualified immunity.


I concede that this short opinion of mine does not consider or take into account the majority opinion. So I should disclose at the outset that I have not read it. I suppose this is unusual, so I explain why.





The majority has fulfilled its responsibility to explain at some length its vacatur of a part of the district court's judgment. But this is not a case that should occupy the mind of a person who has anything consequential to do. In a nutshell, the editors of the College Voice student newspaper used it as a campaign flyer to promote the self-styled radicals of the "Student Union" party in a long-ago student election, and the college president, finding that the partisan use of student-activity funds made a mockery of the election rules, directed that the election be re-run. The gist of the complaint is that the editors' speech was chilled, which is deemed to be a bad thing.
This is a case about nothing. Injunctive relief from the school's election rules is now moot (if it was ever viable); and plaintiffs' counsel conceded at oral argument that the only relief sought in this litigation is nominal damages. Now, after years of litigation over two dollars, the majority will impose on a busy judge to conduct a trial on this silly thing, and require a panel of jurors to set aside their more important duties of family and business in order to decide it. See Amato v. City of Saratoga Springs, 170 F.3d 311, 322-23 (2d Cir. 1999) (Jacobs, J., concurring) (noting that a trial over one dollar is a "wasteful imposition on the trial judge and on the taxpayers and veniremen").

With due respect to my colleagues in the majority, and to whatever compulsion they feel to expend substantial energies on this case, I fear that the majority opinion (44 pages of typescript) will only feed the plaintiffs' fantasy of oppression: that plutocrats are trying to stifle an upsurge of Pol-Potism on Staten Island. Contrary to the impression created by the majority's lengthy formal opinion, this case is not a cause célèbre; it is a slow-motion tantrum by children spending their graduate years trying to humiliate the school that conferred on them a costly education from which they evidently derived small benefit. A selection from the illiterate piffle in the disputed issue of the College Voice is set out in the margin for the reader's fun.1





On the merits, I would affirm for the reasons given in Judge Gershon's careful and thorough opinion (which I have read).
President Springer's decision to re-run the election was (to apply the governing standard) not unreasonable in light of clearly established law. The school adopted election rules intended to level the playing field and limit the use of student-activities funds for election-related purposes. President Springer's decision was based on her view that the May 1997 issue of the College Voice was "a thinly veiled student activity fee funded piece of campaign literature for the Student Union slate." The majority remands for a trial on whether the college president acted on an impermissible belief that a school newspaper funded by (compelled) student-activities fees should be balanced.

I think that the First Amendment protects the freedom of the press and that this protection should be strongest when a newspaper prints election-related content at election time. But this area of the law is (unfortunately) far from clear.

In 2003, six years after the student-government election at issue, the Supreme Court upheld numerous limitations on speech during election time--in an opinion that could open the way to direct regulation of a newspaper if its election coverage becomes too "slanted" or "biased." See McConnell v. Fed. Election Comm'n, 540 U.S. 93, 283-86 (2003) (Thomas, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part). In 2004, this Court upheld a state election law that provided for the regulation of news stories about candidates based on the discretionary rulings of the law's administrators. See Landell v. Sorrell, 382 F.3d 91, 181-82 (2d Cir. 2004) (Winter, J., dissenting), rev'd sub nom. Randall v. Sorrell, 126 S. Ct. 2479 (2006). That discretion to ensure a "fair" election is the same kind of discretion that President Springer exercised here.

In this light, it cannot be said that in 1997 there was a clear line between a viewpoint-based reprisal against a campus newspaper and [ii] the implementation of neutral and constitutional election standards. In any event, a school administrator should not have to become a constitutional-law professor in order to save herself from personal liability when giving a needed lesson in fair play.





This prolonged litigation has already cost the school a lot of money that could better have been spent to enrich course offerings or expand student day-care. If this case ends with a verdict for plaintiffs (anything is possible with a jury), the district court will have the opportunity to consider whether the exercise merits an award of attorneys' fees in excess of one-third of two dollars.




Footnote
1. One student journalist laments that he is no longer the friend of the incumbent president of the student government: "I am very sad today. I lost a friend; his name is Joe Canale. . . . Things changed on April 9, 1997. It was a pizza day I won't forget. . . . Joe did not shake my hand and all he said to me, in a rather drone voice, was 'Getting ready for the elections?' From that point on I knew, Joe had disowned me, all because of my affiliation with [the Student Union]. . . . 'When I found out he renounced my friendship, because of my affiliation with Student Union, I adopted the slogan 'Joe Must Go' to console me in my hour of need.' "

Another article denounces "pizza politics": free pizza at student events is "another of the perverse policies set forth by this bureaucratic institution. The pizza is most certainly not 'free.' It was paid for, in full, by the student body of the College of Staten Island, it belongs to them. The pizza is the property of the student body, not of the student government." The same writer is agitated by a student-government planned "Solidarity/Unity Fest" which included a "velcro wall, a climbing mountain, a gladiator joust, a laser tag maze, human bowling, a bungee run, a Velcro wall [another velcro wall?], human fooseball [sic], face painters, jugglers, mimes, 12 different carnival style games and things of that nature." According to the author, this "Fest" was an "attempt[] to coerce votes out of the student body in exchange for carnal pleasures." The article closes with a call to "end the evil tyranous [sic] reign of the current [student government] by whatever means necesaary [sic]."

The paper's coverage of a "so-called Mayoral Forum" complains that the two political

parties "have historically been slaves to the Wall Street corporate tycoons, while either ignoring or killing the working class and poor people of this city and nation."

An editorial sets out the goals of the paper: "We oppose the poisonous divisions fostered on the basis of race by the bosses, who make Black and white workers fight each other for the crumbs off their table . . . even though it is the workers who produce all the wealth." The paper "seeks to engage all those who are committed to fighting exploitation and oppression in common action against the common enemy...capitalism." (ellipsis in original).

The issue features the Student Union's "12-Pt. Program For Change," including a call to "END CORPORATE CONTROL OF THE BOOKSTORE" so that it can "be returned immediately to the student body." The reason: "CUNY in general and CSI in particular have become the crown jewel in [Barnes & Noble's] campaign of corporate terror."
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #320 on: July 20, 2007, 12:29:41 PM »

TWISTING INTEL
DEMS DISTORT TERROR REPORT

 July 19, 2007 -- DEMOCRATS on Capitol Hill have complained for years that the White House "cherry-picks" intelligence. Yesterday, that's exactly what the Dems did themselves with the just-declassified summary of a National Intelligence Estimate on terrorism.
While preparing for their congressional pajama party Tuesday night (D.C. escort services reportedly had a slow evening), the Dems showed once again that, as wretched as the Bush administration can be, it remains a safer bet in the Age of Terror.

The Dems want to have it both ways. They claim we're not fighting al Qaeda. Then they insist we abandon Iraq to al Qaeda.

And, as a capper, no leading Democrat praised our military when it was revealed yesterday that we captured the senior Iraqi in al Qaeda, Khaled al-Mashhadani. Wouldn't want any good news reaching the voters . . .

The intelligence report in question said, in essence, that, after the devastating blow we struck against al Qaeda in Afghanistan, the terrorists have regained some strength in their safe haven on Pakistan's Northwest Frontier. It doesn't say that al Qaeda is stronger than ever - although that's what the Dems imply.

In 2001, al Qaeda had a country of its own. Today, it survives in isolated compounds. And guess which "veteran warrior" wants to go get them?

Sen. Barack Obama. Far too important to ever serve in the military himself, Obama thinks we should invade Pakistan.

Go for it, Big Guy. Of course, we'll have to reintroduce the draft to find enough troops. And we'll need to kill, at a minimum, a few hundred thousand tribesmen and their families. We'll need to occupy the miserable place indefinitely.

Oh, and Pakistan's a nuclear power already teetering on the edge of chaos.

Barack Obama, strategist and military expert. Who knew?

Not that the problem in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas isn't serious. We should be hitting high-value targets there from the air and employing special operations forces - despite the consequences for the Musharraf government. (Or maybe we could just send in Obama Girl? She'd look hot in a burqa.)

Field Marshall Obama's fire-for-effect belligerence underscores the sad truth that the Dems are perfectly willing to squander the lives of our troops. They just don't want any casualties that might lead to positive results before the 2008 election.

So what's the truth about terrorism? Is the threat worse today than it was in 2001? Why can't we get Osama? Why do the terrorists keep coming?

(We'll skip the embarrassing-for-the-Democrats question about why the terrorists have been unable to strike our country since 9/11.)

Islamist terrorism is about the catastrophic, self-inflicted failure of the Muslim world of the greater Middle East. It's their bad, not ours. They're humiliated, jealous, hateful, stunningly incompetent - and angry about it. And the situation isn't about to change.

We'll face Islamist terror for decades to come. Although only the military can lead this fight, terrorism is like crime in the sense that we'll never eliminate it entirely. But (also as with crime) that doesn't mean it isn't worth reducing terrorism as much as we can.

Does the fact that rapes still occur mean that we should stop arresting rapists? Does our failure to stop all murder mean we should let murderers run wild? Of course not. You nail every criminal you can and make the world safer. But it will never be perfectly safe.

Same with terror.

We have to fight Islamist terrorists tenaciously. And for all its appalling faults, the administration has done a good job on that count. The proof is that we haven't seen 9/11, Act II.

Oh, we will be struck again. It's inevitable. No matter how good you are, the enemy gets in a lick now and then. But an eventual terrorist success won't mean it wasn't worth interdicting all of the other terrorist plots leading up to it.

Every day we live in safety is a win for the good guys.

What about getting bin Laden? Finding a single individual among 6 billion human beings is tough. Look how long it took us to find the Unabomber right here at home (and he didn't have a fanatical protection network). And we only busted him when his own brother turned him in. Still, I'm confident that, one day, we'll see Osama's corpse. And I hope that the Soldier or Marine who kills him has the rocks to plant an American flag in his eye-socket.

Meanwhile, we're killing al Qaeda members (mostly Saudis, thanks) in droves in Iraq. That's a good thing, folks. But the Dems want to call it off: They'd allow a defeated al Qaeda to rebound and declare a strategic victory.

Want to help the terrorists find a new wave of recruits? Give them a win in Iraq.

Bush has gotten plenty wrong. But at least the guy fights. Unlike the Clinton administration - which did all it could to avoid taking serious action against the terrorists as they struck us again and again around the world.

The 9/11 attacks were the culmination of the Clinton presidency. Do we really want to go back there?

If the Dems have a workable plan to put a permanent end to Islamist terror, let's hear it. Prove me wrong. But if they haven't got a serious plan, they need to shut up and help.

Wouldn't it be great if members of Congress - from both parties - could put our country and the safety of its citizens ahead of shabby politicking?

They lie, you die.
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rogt
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« Reply #321 on: July 20, 2007, 12:38:03 PM »

TWISTING INTEL
DEMS DISTORT TERROR REPORT

Source for this article?

Quote
Sen. Barack Obama. Far too important to ever serve in the military himself, Obama thinks we should invade Pakistan.

Yeah, unlike those brave, selfless college Republicans who are happy to provide "support" (which as far as I can see amounts to harassing Muslim groups and getting Ann Coulter to come give speeches on their campuses) back here but strangely can't be bothered to join up themselves.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #322 on: July 20, 2007, 01:31:39 PM »

Scolding of Crafty aside, I found this source/link: Ralph Peters, NY Sun, http://www.nypost.com/seven/07192007/postopinion/opedcolumnists/twisting_intel_opedcolumnists_ralph_peters.htm

The political point goes both ways regarding military service.  I find it petty when used in that context.  Maybe the author is having some fun or getting revenge with the people who tortured Bush who did serve and Cheney who used college deferments like most who could.  Obviously it is not a prerequisite for Democrats as none of the front runners served nor for Republicans. I agree. I believe in civilian rule of the country and our military. I wish the cheapshot artists would check the candidates for competence on economic issues as closely as they check for military service.
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G M
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« Reply #323 on: July 20, 2007, 02:42:37 PM »

TWISTING INTEL
DEMS DISTORT TERROR REPORT

Source for this article?

Quote
Sen. Barack Obama. Far too important to ever serve in the military himself, Obama thinks we should invade Pakistan.

Yeah, unlike those brave, selfless college Republicans who are happy to provide "support" (which as far as I can see amounts to harassing Muslim groups and getting Ann Coulter to come give speeches on their campuses) back here but strangely can't be bothered to join up themselves.

Rogt,

Want to cite some examples of "harrassment" of muslim groups by college republicans? Which political party is the party of choice of the majority  of the military and law enforcement officers? Why is that?
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rogt
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« Reply #324 on: July 20, 2007, 07:04:27 PM »

Scolding of Crafty aside, I found this source/link: Ralph Peters, NY Sun, http://www.nypost.com/seven/07192007/postopinion/opedcolumnists/twisting_intel_opedcolumnists_ralph_peters.htm

The political point goes both ways regarding military service.  I find it petty when used in that context.  Maybe the author is having some fun or getting revenge with the people who tortured Bush who did serve

Being in the Texas Air National Guard may technically qualify as "service", but I'm sure you'll agree it isn't exactly in the same category as combat in Vietnam.

Quote
Obviously it is not a prerequisite for Democrats as none of the front runners served nor for Republicans. I agree. I believe in civilian rule of the country and our military. I wish the cheapshot artists would check the candidates for competence on economic issues as closely as they check for military service.

John Kerry (while not a current front runner) actually was in combat in Vietnam, and the Republican cheapshot artists had a field day with the whole "swift boat" affair.

But I do agree that we'd all be better off if there was less cheap shots and more focus on substantive issues.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #325 on: July 20, 2007, 07:09:17 PM »

Good idea!

So, will we be hearing from you in response to GM's question:  "Want to cite some examples of "harrassment" of Muslim groups by college Republicans?" ?
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rogt
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« Reply #326 on: July 20, 2007, 07:16:48 PM »

We have at least that one example that's well-covered in the "Danish cartoons" thread.  I'm not going to argue it again.
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« Reply #327 on: July 20, 2007, 07:18:52 PM »

Its a long thread.  Since you know what you're looking for, would you be so kind as to give the post number within the thread?  Thank you.
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rogt
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« Reply #328 on: July 20, 2007, 07:27:01 PM »

No, I'm not going to bother.  You want details, you do the work of searching for it.  Like I said, I'm not going to argue it again.
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Howling Dog
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« Reply #329 on: July 20, 2007, 07:38:51 PM »

Woof GM, So then are you saying we are NOT winning the war on global Jihad?
Surley your not advocating for your last post of nuking Mecca?
What is the goal of the global war on Jihad anyway? In other words......How is it won?
I personally feel that we are by no means serious about this "war on terror" When 6 years after 9/11 we still are not going after the number one terrorist in the world with serious intent. (Bin Laden)
All that smoke we are blowing about....not taking going into Pakistan "off the table" Is pure BS, and anyone with half a brain knows Musharrif(sp) is playing us like a cheap guitar.
Hes been playing both sides for years.
In my opinon the whole things a farce........yet in the mean time weve some how managed to mess up Iraq and get a pretty good Jihad started there.......
In all honesty Sadaam Husein was messed up.......but there was a certain amount of stability in that country, after years and billions we can not say that today......
                                                                                  TG
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Howling Dog
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« Reply #330 on: July 20, 2007, 07:40:16 PM »

Rog:

Hey, its your asssertion-- if you can't be bothered to do the leg work neither can I. rolleyes
« Last Edit: July 20, 2007, 07:42:02 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
G M
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« Reply #331 on: July 20, 2007, 08:03:24 PM »

Woof GM, So then are you saying we are NOT winning the war on global Jihad?
Surley your not advocating for your last post of nuking Mecca?
What is the goal of the global war on Jihad anyway? In other words......How is it won?
I personally feel that we are by no means serious about this "war on terror" When 6 years after 9/11 we still are not going after the number one terrorist in the world with serious intent. (Bin Laden)
All that smoke we are blowing about....not taking going into Pakistan "off the table" Is pure BS, and anyone with half a brain knows Musharrif(sp) is playing us like a cheap guitar.
Hes been playing both sides for years.
In my opinon the whole things a farce........yet in the mean time weve some how managed to mess up Iraq and get a pretty good Jihad started there.......
In all honesty Sadaam Husein was messed up.......but there was a certain amount of stability in that country, after years and billions we can not say that today......
                                                                                  TG

Tom,

We've won tactical victories, killed a lot of low and mid level jihadis. I've seen documents captured in Afghanistan that lay out the al qaeda 100 year plan for establishing the global caliphate. What's our 10 year plan? As you'll note, out of the US citizens posting here, a number think there isn't a war worth fighting. So, do we give up on trying to establish a free muslim nation and put a strongman on our payroll instead? Obviously Pakistan, like the Saudis is our ally in name only. Still, going into Pakistan in force quite possibly could result in Mushy getting a state funeral and Pakistan formally becoming nuclear "Alqaedastan".

As far as nuking Mecca, i'm very serious. Mecca holds a special position in islamic theology. The world's muslims having to bow 5 times a day towards America's newest nuclear test site would have a crisis of faith that couldn't be answered. No Mecca, probably no 72 virgins for martyrs either. Much like MacArthur making the Japanese Emperor go on Japanese radio to tell Japan he was just a man and not a divine being did much to end internal resistance in Japan. We've beaten fanatics before, it required lots of killing and a few nuclear weapons.
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« Reply #332 on: July 21, 2007, 12:15:19 PM »

Woof GM, I just wanted to clarify my position on the global war on terror.
I'am all for fighting it, though I think we need to be doing a much better/smarter job of fighting it.
I think it uunexcusable that six years later we still have not gotten Bin Laden esp since I'am sure we have a good idea where he's at.
Mushy has survived more than on attempt on his life and that for him, in my opinon is the nature of  his beast...esp since hes decided to play both sides.......mostley I think he just plays us.
We could kill as many low level mid level jihadis as we want......and it won't diminish the number of such named much.
My thought is that the "radical" Islam is more the main stream  than most people want to admit.
I thnk concentrated efforts on "radical" leaders and selective targeting is or would be much more effective and cost a heck of a lot less.
Looking back on Iraq....I'am at least willing to admit I made a mistake there, because I fully supported the invasion and take out of Sadaam....but looking back I feel we created more of a jihad than helped the situation, and its cost us dearly and will continue to do so....because now I feel we are obligated to see this thru till its fixed if ever it would or will be.

Going back to selective targeting Jihad, and including Iraq.......tell me why if were so serious about what were doing....why is Sadr still walking the earth?

Here is my view in a nutshell regarding the global war on terror.....We screwed that up when we went into Iraq.
Afghanastan is still quite ify...and my dollar says if and when we leave it.........it too falls back to the Taliban.(at least as it stands today)
What the "H" were we then thinking by trying to take on Iraq at the same time..... my opinon a personal vendetta by Bush.
                                                                             TG
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« Reply #333 on: July 21, 2007, 05:01:40 PM »

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/013/904pffgs.asp

The 9/11 Generation
Better than the Boomers.
by Dean Barnett
07/30/2007, Volume 012, Issue 43


In the 1960s, history called the Baby Boomers. They didn't answer the phone.

Confronted with a generation-defining conflict, the cold war, the Boomers--those, at any rate, who came to be emblematic of their generation--took the opposite path from their parents during World War II. Sadly, the excesses of Woodstock became the face of the Boomers' response to their moment of challenge. War protests where agitated youths derided American soldiers as baby-killers added no luster to their image.

Few of the leading lights of that generation joined the military. Most calculated how they could avoid military service, and their attitude rippled through the rest of the century. In the 1970s, '80s, and '90s, military service didn't occur to most young people as an option, let alone a duty.

But now, once again, history is calling. Fortunately, the present generation appears more reminiscent of their grandparents than their parents.

I've spent much of the past two weeks speaking with young people (and a few not-so-young) who have made the decision to serve their country by volunteering for the military. Some of these men have Ivy League degrees; all of them are talented and intelligent individuals who--contrary to John Kerry's infamous "botched joke" ("Education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. And if you don't, you get stuck in Iraq")--could have chosen to do anything with their lives. Having signed up, they have either gone to Iraq or look forward to doing so. Not surprisingly, the mainstream media have underreported their stories.

One of the excesses of the 1960s that present-day liberals have disowned and disavowed since 9/11 is the demonization of the American military. While every now and then an unrepentant liberal like Charlie Rangel will appear on cable news and casually accuse U.S. troops of engaging in baby-killing in Iraq, the liberal establishment generally knows better. They "support" the American military--at least in the abstract, until it does anything resembling fighting a war.

In search of a new narrative, 21st-century liberals have settled on the "soldiers are victims" meme. Democratic senators (and the occasional Republican senator who's facing a tough reelection campaign) routinely pronounce their concern for our "children" in Iraq. One of the reasons John Kerry's "botched joke" resonated so strongly was that it fit the liberals' narrative. The Democratic party would have you believe that our soldiers are children or, at best, adults with few options: In short, a callous and mendacious administration has victimized the young, the gullible, and the hopeless, and stuck them in Iraq.

But this narrative is not just insulting to our fighting men and women, it is also grossly inaccurate.

Kurt Schlichter is a lieutenant colonel in the California National Guard. A veteran of the first Gulf war, he's now stateside and commands the 1-18th Cavalry, 462-man RSTA (Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition) squadron attached to the 40th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. The last media representative he spoke with before I contacted him was a New York Times stringer who wanted Schlichter's help in tracking down guardsmen who were "having trouble because they got mobilized."

In describing his unit, Schlichter says, "Our mission is to operate far out in front of the main body of the brigade to find and keep in contact with the enemy, report on its activities, and call in air or artillery fire on it. We are very lightly armed--speed, stealth, and smarts are our best weapons--and our Cav scouts work out of humvees or on foot." Their squadron motto is "Swift and Deadly."

Colonel Schlichter talks about the soldiers he commands with unvarnished admiration. He has 20-year-olds serving under him who have earned combat badges. As to why these young men are willingly and eagerly putting themselves in harm's way, Schlichter flatly declares, "The direction comes from themselves. They like to be challenged."

One of the soldiers in Colonel Schlichter's 1-18th is 28-year-old Sergeant Joseph Moseley. The outline of Moseley's story matches the liberal narrative of the "soldier victim." A junior college student, he served four years in the Army and then four years in the National Guard. During his stint in the Guard, Moseley got mobilized. He went to Iraq, where he had a portion of his calf muscle torn away by an IED. He has since returned to the United States and is undergoing a rigorous rehab program, which he describes as "not always going smoothly." It's virtually impossible that Sergeant Moseley will recover fully from his injuries.

Yet when asked about his time in Iraq, Moseley speaks with evident pride. He says the fact that he took the brunt of the IED's blow means he did his job. None of the men serving under him was seriously injured. When asked how he would feel about being characterized as a victim, Sergeant Moseley bristles. "I'm not a victim," he says. "It's insulting. That's what we signed up for. I knew what I was doing."

Tom Cotton is another soldier who knew what he was doing. When 9/11 occurred, Cotton was in his third year at Harvard Law School. Like most Americans, he was "shocked, saddened, and angered." Like many on that day, he made a promise to serve his country.

And Cotton meant it. After fulfilling the commitments he had already made, including clerking for a federal judge and going to work for a large Washington law firm, Cotton enlisted in the Army. He jokes that doing so came with a healthy six-figure pay cut.

Cotton enlisted for one reason: He wanted to lead men into combat. His recruiter suggested that he use the talents he had spent seven years developing at Harvard and join the JAG Corps, the Armed Forces' law firm. Cotton rejected that idea. He instead began 15 months of training that culminated with his deployment to Iraq as a 2nd lieutenant platoon leader with the 101st Airborne in Baghdad.

The platoon he led was composed of men who had already been in Baghdad for five months. Cotton knew that a new platoon leader normally undergoes a period of testing from his men. Because his platoon was patrolling "outside the wire" every day, there was no time for Cotton and his men to have such a spell. He credits what turned out to be a smooth transition to his platoon's noncommissioned officers, saying, "The troops really belong to the NCOs." After six months, Cotton and his platoon redeployed stateside.

While in Iraq, Cotton's platoon was awarded two Purple Hearts, but suffered no killed in action. His larger unit, however, did suffer a KIA. When I asked Cotton for his feelings about that soldier's death, the pain in his voice was evident. After searching for words, he described it as "sad, frustrating, angry--very hard, very hard on the entire company."

He then added some thoughts. "As painful as it was, the death didn't hurt morale," he said. "That's something that would have surprised me before I joined the Army. Everyone in the Infantry has volunteered twice--once for the Army, once for the Infantry. These are all grown men who all made the decision to face the enemy on his turf. The least you can do is respect them and what they're doing."

Now serving in the Army in Virginia, still enjoying his six-figure pay cut, Tom Cotton says he is "infinitely happy" that he joined the Army and fought in Iraq. "If I hadn't done it," he says, "I would have regretted it the rest of my life."

Regardless of their backgrounds, the soldiers I spoke with had a similar matter-of-fact style. Not only did all of them bristle at the notion of being labeled victims, they bristled at the idea of being labeled heroes. To a man, they were doing what they saw as their duty. Their self-assessments lacked the sense of superiority that politicians of a certain age who once served in the military often display. The soldiers I spoke with also refused to make disparaging comparisons between themselves and their generational cohorts who have taken a different path.

But that doesn't mean the soldiers were unaware of the importance of their undertaking. About a month ago, I attended the commissioning of a lieutenant in the Marine Corps. The day before his commissioning, he had graduated from Harvard. He didn't come from a military family, and it wasn't financial hardship that drove him into the Armed Forces. Don't tell John Kerry, but he studied hard in college. After his commissioning, this freshly minted United States Marine returned to his Harvard dorm room to clean it out.

As he entered the dorm in his full dress uniform, some of his classmates gave him a spontaneous round of applause. A campus police officer took him aside to shake his hand. His father observed, "It was like something out of a movie."

A few weeks after his commissioning, the lieutenant sent me an email that read in part:

I remember when I was down at Quantico two summers ago for the first half of Officer Candidates School. The second to last day I was down there--"Family Day," incidentally--was the 7/7 bombings. The staff pulled us over and told us the news and then said that's basically why they're so hard on us down there: We're at war and will be for a long time, and the mothers of recruits at MCRD and at Parris Island right now are going to be depending on us one day to get their sons and daughters home alive.

When I was in England last week, I talked to an officer in the Royal Navy who had just received his Ph.D. He was saying he thought the larger war would last 20-30 years; I've always thought a generation--mine in particular. Our highest calling: To defend our way of life and Western Civilization; fight for the freedom of others; protect our friends, family, and country; and give hope to a people long without it.
It is surely a measure of how far we've come as a society from the dark days of the 1960s that things like military service and duty and sacrifice are now celebrated. Just because Washington and Hollywood haven't noticed this generational shift doesn't mean it hasn't occurred. It has, and it's seismic.
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« Reply #334 on: July 21, 2007, 05:45:06 PM »

War Crimes   
By Jamie Glazov
FrontPageMagazine.com | July 20, 2007

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Lieutenant Colonel Robert "Buzz" Patterson, United States Air Force (Retired), the Vice-Chairman for Move America Forward and the author of two New York Times best sellers, Dereliction of Duty: The Eyewitness Account of How Bill Clinton Compromised America’s National Security and Reckless Disregard: How Liberal Democrats Undercut Our Military, Endanger Our Soldiers, and Jeopardize Our Security. His new book, just released, is War Crimes: The Left’s Campaign to Destroy the Military and Lose the War on Terror.


 
FP: Buzz Patterson, welcome to Frontpage Interview.

Patterson: Hi Jamie. It’s great to be back with you. Thank you for the opportunity.
 
FP: And it's great to talk to you again.
 
So what inspired you to write this book?

Patterson: Virtually since September 12, 2001, as fires still smoldered at Ground Zero and the Pentagon, elements of the American Left mobilized against their country and created a de facto alliance with our Islamofascist enemies. I'd retired from the Air Force only 11 days prior to the attacks and I was increasingly shocked that so many of my fellow citizens could choose not to support our military and our commander-in-chief in an obvious time of war. There were Americans who wanted to see their own nation defeated. As a serviceman, I guess I was naive, but the reality that citizens I'd sworn to protect and defend for 20 years could hate their nation so intensely floored me.
 
Early on in America's involvement in Iraq I noticed a tremendous disconnect between what our media was reporting as "truth" and what I was hearing from my friends and peers actually doing the fighting there. This is the first "internet war" we've ever fought and our soldiers have access to all of the media that those of us stateside do, that is internet access, CNN, Fox, etc.  In conversations and e-mails, the troops I spoke with routinely voiced concern and outrage over what they were seeing coming from home.  Increasingly they told me that what they were experiencing on the ground in Iraq, the ground truth, was not what they were seeing portrayed on the media.
 
My initial thesis for War Crimes was that the American media were intentionally undermining the efforts of our president and our troops.   I visited Iraq in 2005 to see for myself. After speaking to hundreds of soldiers I realized that the subversive opposition to the war was much bigger than just the media -- it was also Democrat politicians, academics at U.S. colleges and high schools, non-governmental "peace" organizations and the popular culture of Hollywood. War Crimes is an indictment of the Left by servicemen and women fighting a just and noble war.
 
FP: Can you tell us a bit more about your trip to Iraq? What were some of your observations and experiences? Did you see anything that you did not expect?
 
Patterson: I went over with a group from the pro-troop, pro-war on terror organization Move America Forward. It was one of the most profound experiences of my life. I served 20 years in the Air Force and was involved in combat operations as a pilot but my experiences were from above, from the sky. This was my first real insight into our ground forces, Army and Marines, how they operate in war time, what drives them, what their particular military culture is about. I was amazed at their high morale and dedication. It was a tremendous honor to be with them.
 
We went in July, which is the worst possible time to go to Iraq, and the conditions were oppressive. The temperatures hit about 125 degrees. The air was filled with a talcum powder-like sand that made it difficult to breathe.  I fully expected to find some morale and motivation issues amongst our troops but I didn't. In fact, quite the opposite, the morale, professionalism and devotion to duty were off the charts high. I interviewed hundreds of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines yet found one who was disaffected and miserable. The rest I spoke with, and I'm talking all ranks here, general down to private, were sharp, motivated and acutely aware of why they were there.
 
One of the other themes that struck me was how passionate the troops were for their mission and how disgusted, quite frankly, they were with the American media and some politicians. For the most part they didn't hold back in their condemnation of the media, leftist politicians, anti-war organizations such as Code Pink, and the Hollywood pop culture. It was this passion and commitment that really spoke to me and motivated me to tell their story in War Crimes.
 
FP: Tell us your thoughts on the Left's de facto alliance with Islamofascism.

Patterson: The bottom line is the Left in this country only wins when America loses. Its a tried-and-true principle founded in the anti-war efforts of Vietnam and the 1960s. To bring down "the man" during Vietnam meant to oppose your country and side with the Communist enemies we faced in North Vietnam, the Soviet Union, North Korea, China and Cuba.  The U.S. military never lost a battle throughout the Vietnam War but mainstream media, anti-American radicals and defeatist Democrats colluded to lose the war any way. The Left successfully parlayed the international humiliation and defeat of Vietnam in political capital in Washington, DC and, as a result, elected a radical House and Senate in 1974 and Jimmy Carter to the presidency in 1976.
 
An almost identical scenario is playing out today. Democrats, and their allies on the Left, have entered into an informal alliance with Islamofascism. They retook the House and Senate last year based on their anti-war, anti-Bush positions. Their hopes to regain the White House in 2008 hinge on turning Iraq and the greater global war against Islamofascism into defeat. They never offer a platform or strategy to address national security or the War on Terror, only a constant drum beat of negativity and defeatism.
 
Examine the rhetoric. Congressman John Murtha calls our Marines "cold blooded murderers." Senator Dick Durbin morally equates our troops serving at Guantanamo Bay with Hitler's Nazis, Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge and Soviets in their gulags. Michael Moore releases his anti-American, anti-military screed Fahrenheit 9/11 and receives marketing assistance in Lebanon from Hezbollah (the terrorist organization that’s been killing Americans since 1983).  Columbia University professor Nichole De Genova tells a gathering of 3000 students that "the only true heroes are those who find ways that help defeat the U.S. military."
 
This sort of behavior and rhetoric is not only irresponsible, it’s subversive. It plays right into the Islamofascist game plan, it emboldens our enemy and it results in the war being prolonged and American deaths.
 
FP: What is the impulse that drives the Left to reach out in solidarity to radical Islam. The Left has always pretended to be the great knight in shining armor when it comes to gay rights, women’s rights, democratic rights and minority rights etc. But now the Left genuflects in the direction of a monstrous and barbaric anti-progressive force that represents the most gay-hating, women-hating, minority-hating and democracy-hating entity on earth. What’s your psychological diagnosis of this mindset?
 
Patterson: The Left is so blinded by their pathological hatred for their own nation that defeatism is their only recourse. They cannot credit the United States and its armed forces with success because, to them, America and especially the U.S. military are the real enemies. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. As such, they have declared war on their own nation and our military.
 
Plus, with their de facto alliance with Islamofascists, the Left believes that an anti-war movement will bring them political capital, as it did during Vietnam. By inflating Vietnam into the symbol of American imperialism, Leftists achieved their real goals—power in Washington, D.C. (where they could cripple the war machine) and control of the nation’s universities and editorial offices. Their strategizing for exactly that outcome with the war in Iraq and the greater global ideological war with Islamic extremism. They are placing their failed ideology and egocentric political desires above the nation's security and the service of our men and women in uniform. It’s disgusting.
 
The internal enemy we face from within is one we have to defeat to be successful in Iraq and elsewhere. It won't be easy. The Left’s campaign against America’s War on Terror is a well-coordinated, well-financed operation that involves individuals and institutions from all parts of our society. Leading Democratic politicians, major media outlets, academia, popular culture, and a host of deep-pocketed radical organizations combine to form a Fifth Column that undermines our military’s heroic efforts in this global campaign.
 
FP: What are the ingredients of the Left's Fifth Column? What is it comprised of?

Patterson: The Fifth Column today is comprised of academics, liberal politicians, big media, anti-war organizations and Hollywood. Notice that these are all institutions with a monopoly on communications and messages. Academics such as Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and Ward Churchill are revered on college campuses for their imperialist America and anti-military views.  They indoctrinate our young adults with their twisted ideology. Democrat politicians with partisan ego-centric agendas selfishly sacrifice the country's national security and the lives of our soldiers for their careers.  Major media such as the big television networks, the New York Times and the Washington Post consistently misrepresent or distort the facts emanating from Iraq and leak highly-classified government programs. "Peace" organizations such as Code Pink and United for Peace and Justice, funded by big money from the Ford Foundation, George Soros, etc, publicly denounce the commander-in-chief and our troops as war criminals.
 
FP: How is this book unique and original?
 
Patterson: This is the only book that I'm aware of that frames a comprehensive argument against the Left but relies on the voices and observations of those actually doing the fighting -- the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. I conducted hundreds of interviews, many in Iraq, with our troops and their frustration with and enmity toward the Left is very revealing.  They see quite clearly that they can't be beaten military. Their only prospect of losing comes from subversive elements in America and lack of resolve of elected representatives in Washington, DC.
 
For example, Army Sergeant Eddie Jeffers said that he sees "the enemy is transitioning from the Muslim extremists to Americans.  The enemy is becoming the very people whom we defend with our lives."
 
Air Force Major Eric Egland told me that "the troops number one frustration has been the media reporting. The way the pres mishandled Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay had a tremendous negative effect on us. It inflamed the Iraqis at a time when we were making great progress in Iraq."
 
Also referring to the media, Army First Sergeant Jeff Nuding said "You (the American press) are creating greater risk for me personally (and) you create added danger for my soldiers. You feed into enemy, yes enemy, propaganda efforts in yielding unlimited access to pre-staged voices with calculated intent...You diminish and demean our service...Never, never claim to support the soldiers, you don't, you never will in any meaningful way until you can see your prejudices for what they are." Nuding also said "We daily see the gross distortions. We can't recognize the caricature they (the media) scratch out, neither in our fellow soldiers, nor on the battleground. I know they claim to be objective but really they're nothing more than accomplices in the face of this evil."
 
FP: How do you see the future of this war? Will the Left force a premature withdrawal? What must we do to win? Can we? Is there any room for optimism?
 
Patterson: We have to win, there really is no alternative. We can win and we are winning in Iraq. General David Patraeus and men and women in uniform are doing tremendous things within the "surge." They will win if we let them.
 
Again, we need to focus on the institutions within our nation that are aggressively seeking to undermine the war effort. There is absolutely no way that Al Qaeda and the insurgents in Iraq can defeat our enemy. They have to rely on withering resolve and duplicitous politics on the part of Americans. Just as the North Vietnamese relied on western media, the anti-war movement and wobbly-kneed American politicians, so too are Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. It's incumbent upon us to ensure that doesn't happen, not just for the sake of the Iraqi people and their future, but for our national security and the security of the Middle East.
 
The Left is doing everything they can to force a premature withdrawal. That would be catastrophic. Secular violence on an incredible scale would immediately follow our withdrawal. Eventually, Iran and Al Qaeda would own Iraq and the world's second largest oil reserves. Iraq would be the launching pad for the exporting of terror world wide, and they would visit us again. Turkey, just to the north, would probably move to protect its southern borders. It would be extremely ugly and absolutely unnecessary. The fact that so many Democrats and big media types are either naive to the realities or choosing to ignore them for political expediency and/or their hatred for President George Bush is incredibly troubling.
 
Ultimately, we will prevail. America doesn't like to lose nor squander the sacrifices of our troops. Ultimately, patriotic Americans will prevent the Left from turning a just and noble cause into defeat. Hopefully, books like War Crimes will educate the American public to the threat that comes from within and re-energize the nation to demand victory, to insist on victory.
 
FP: Buzz Patterson, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.
 
Patterson: Jamie, it’s been a real pleasure. Thank you so much for what you and the great folks at FrontPage Magazine do to get the truth out there.
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« Reply #335 on: July 31, 2007, 10:51:39 AM »

President Bush's Broken Promises
By MICHAEL RUBIN
July 31, 2007; Page A14

During his last 18 months in office, President Bush confronts a broader set of international crises than in his first 18 months. While pundits blame unilateralism and the Iraq war, the deterioration of Washington's relations with once-staunch allies has less to do with a lack of diplomacy and more to do with its kind.

Too often, the administration has sacrificed long-term credibility for short-term calm. Take Turkey. At the June 2004 NATO summit in Istanbul, President Bush promised Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the U.S. military would shut down Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) terrorists in Iraq. He did not. Three years later, the Turks no longer trust U.S. promises and may send their army into Iraqi Kurdistan.

Already the damage to U.S. prestige is severe. Once among America's closest allies, Turkey, according to a Pew Global Attitudes Project poll last month, is the most anti-American country in the world. Only 9% of Turks have a favorable impression of the U.S.; 83% hold the opposite view. Most blame U.S. inaction against the PKK.

On June 24, 2002, Mr. Bush declared, "The United States will not support the establishment of a Palestinian state until its leaders engage in a sustained fight against the terrorists and dismantle their infrastructure." Less than a year later the State Department reversed course, eliminating the cessation of terror as a precondition for engagement. Palestinian terrorism grew.

While the White House condemns Hamas terrorism, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement, to which Mr. Bush promised a half billion dollars in July, is equally culpable. A year ago Fatah's military wing threatened to "strike at the economic and civilian interests of these countries [the U.S. and Israel], here and abroad," and it claimed responsibility for a rocket attack on the Israeli town of Sderot in June.

Empty promises of accountability encourage terror by diminishing the costs of its embrace.

While terrorists benefit, Arab liberals pay the price for the president's rhetorical reversals. His promise in the second inaugural speech to "support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture" rings hollow as Egyptian police beat, arrest and sodomize protestors rallying to demand the rule of law.

Mr. Bush has yet to act on his promise to resolve the case of Palestinian banker Issam Abu Issa, whose visa the State Department revoked in February 2004 as he prepared to testify before the House Financial Services Committee on Palestinian Authority corruption. Nor has the president fulfilled a promise to demand the release of Libyan dissident Fathi Eljahmi, imprisoned by Moammar Ghadafi since March 2004. State Department officials say Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice will visit the Libyan dictator this autumn, regardless of Mr. Jahmi's fate.

On June 5, 2007, Mr. Bush endorsed the Prague Declaration, which calls upon governments to instruct diplomats "to actively and openly seek out meetings with political prisoners and dissidents committed to building free societies through non-violence," and announced that he'd tasked Secretary Rice to implement it. U.S. embassies in the Middle East have yet to reach out to any dissident or political prisoner.

Increasingly, friends view Washington as an unreliable ally; foes conclude the U.S. is a paper tiger. This latter conclusion may transform broken promises into a national security nightmare.

Way back in April 2001, the president established a moral redline when he declared that the U.S. would do "whatever it took to help Taiwan defend herself" in the face of Chinese aggression. But amid Beijing's steady military build-up, Mr. Bush stood in the Oval Office beside Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and condemned Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian for holding a referendum on missile defense. Unlike his predecessors, Mr. Bush has yet to send a single cabinet-level official to demonstrate commitment to the island nation. Such contradictions may raise doubt in Beijing and encourage Chinese officials to test U.S. resolve.

After promising Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in May 2003 that Washington would "not settle for anything less than the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of nuclear weapons program," Mr. Bush directed his administration to do just that. Despite the administration's self-congratulations over its ephemeral deal with North Korea in February of this year, the fact remains that, against its allies' wishes, Washington acquiesced to Pyongyang's continued custody of its reactor and nuclear weapons. This broken promise is guaranteed to haunt the next U.S. administration.

Kicking diplomatic problems down the road is not a strategy. Addressing crises with insincere promises is as counterproductive as treating a hemorrhagic fever with a band-aid. Empty promises exacerbate crises. They do not solve them. While farsighted in his vision, it is the president's failure to abide by his word that will most shape his foreign policy legacy. It would be ironic if he justifies the "Bush lied, people died" rhetoric of protestors across the White House lawn in Lafayette Park, though not for the reasons they believe.

Mr. Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is editor of the Middle East Quarterly.
WSJ
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« Reply #336 on: July 31, 2007, 02:56:00 PM »

Interesting post, no shoot the messenger is intended with my 2cents worth aimed back at Mr. Rubin.

First point in my mind on foreign policy is that this administration has broken its back in the effort to KEEP its promises, namely the fight in Iraq and efforts to shut down the functional organizations of known terrorists.  If we had the slightest support at home or from our allies in the current struggles we might have won already and have the resources to help Turkey secure its border (before we secure ours).  If I recall correctly, the first thing to go wrong in this war was when Turkey, our alleged ally and NATO member, shut down our access into Iraq from the north. That cost us time, lives and resources that are now hard to come by.  Being an ally is a 2-way street.  While we are almost the only ones doing anything to secure Iraq, Turkey says we aren't doing enough? How do I say nicely...f*** them.

His recap of 2002 statements about Israel and Palestinian issues reminds me of parent child explanations I have had to make with my daughter.  Sometimes we change our plans with new circumstances or new strategies.  I have no idea what the right answers are with the Palestinians, but I hope that in an 8 year presidency we have the right to change our approaches and change our thinking.  Criticism aside, we ARE doing enough to encourage middle east peace.

The President's promise to encourage democratic movements rings hollow in Egypt???  Once again, my God, we aren't doing enough in the Middle East??? And an American intervention in Egypt would be welcomed by whom?  Certainly not the Egyptians or the Democrats or media in America.  Or the voters.

We backstabbed Japan on North Korea???  We were the ones who insisted on the 6 party talks to INCLUDE JAPAN and correctly refused to let this be N.Korea vs. USA issue.  I wish we could bomb their facilities into oblivion but no one can say that would have eased the anti-US sentiments around the globe or satisfied one critic.

Likewise with Taiwan.  They weren't crushed under G.W.Bush's watch.  Without US backing they would have been.  Dealing with China without war is a delicate situation and whatever Bush's cowboy image may be, we mostly used finesse to get cooperation and no one (other than perhaps me) seriously thinks we should be bringing down the regime and liberating the people.

"Kicking diplomatic problems down the road is not a strategy."  - Yes it is.  Achieving stability in Iraq and defeat of current adversaries does help the democratic movements elsewhere and make the world smaller for the remaining bloody tyrants and rogue regimes. JMHO.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #337 on: August 09, 2007, 10:11:25 PM »

A brief political insight from Paul Mirengoff of Powerlineblog.com this week.   Opposing replies welcome. 

The difference between a liberal and a leftist

Democrats are fond of arguing that we should withdraw from Iraq so we can fight more effectively on the "real" battlefields in the war on terror in Afghanistan and perhaps Pakistan. But at the Contentions blog, Max Boot maintains that defeat in Iraq will make it more difficult to fight in Afghanistan and to counter terrorists in Pakistan. Boot points to a report in the Washington Post that Pakistan's dictator Musharraf has complained that his leverage over tribal militants has slipped because their leaders are less fearful of the U.S. given our difficulties in Iraq. Boot suggests that U.S. withdrawal from Iraq would accentuate this trend.

The point is a rather obvious one -- failure to succeed at war reduces a nation's ability to exert influence and emboldens a nation's enemies and potential enemies. This may not be a rationale for continuing to fight a lost cause. However, recent developments in Iraq strongly suggest that the cause there is not lost.

If the Democrats push for defeat in Iraq under these circumstances, it would be difficult not to conclude that either (a) they would like to see the U.S. unable to exert influence in the world or (b) they have no understanding of how the world works. Option (a) provides a good working definition of an American leftist; option (b) of an American liberal.
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Howling Dog
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« Reply #338 on: August 10, 2007, 09:03:59 AM »

I will take a minor stab at this ...Esp since its the Poilitcal rants thread and I cant hardly go wrong ranting cheesy.
I'am not for pulling out of Iraq. The battle field there is real...problem is we are figthing groups there NOW that we were not fighting until WE went there more specificly Iraqi Sunni's and Shites. Were they or are they terrorists? Probably not. We created this enemy when we invaded their country.
As far as Afghanastan and Pakastan goes.....garunteed if our troops are fighting in Iraq they are definetly not fighting in Afghanastan or Pakastan against those types who have a more difinitvie history of attacking our embassays, our navy ships and out homeland. Much more of an enemy I would rather see us fighting.....also a more rightous war in my book.

Again I'am not for removing our troops from Iraq, but a stronger military presence around the tribal areas of Pakastan would probably do something about "emboldening" tribal militants.......Of course they are emboldend now theres virtually no pressure on them at this time.

As for failure to succeed in war......as far as Iraq goes.....in this context I think we have failed....not lost, just done a very poor job of succeeding.(failing to succeed)
The escalation is working......thats good. It was called for at least two years ago(maybe longer?)
How long will we sustain it, and what are we going to call a victory is my question.

Also are we going to get agressive and take the war in Iraq to those who would oppose peace in Iraq or fight a passive war and continue as before and just put out fires when they start?

I still say long term we plan on staying in Iraq militarily, for an indefinite period of time to protect "our intrests" in the mideast
That in my opinion was more the reason we went into Iraq, THAN ANY OTHER.
                                                               TG
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« Reply #339 on: August 10, 2007, 05:08:42 PM »

Hi Tom, I was trying to hide over here on rants to avoid further discussion with you on Iraq Smiley

As I told a friend recently, I don't believe we had bin Laden in our grasp or sights and then just let go because those exact fighters of ours were suddenly needed in Iraq.  In Afghanistan, we have more allies helping us, and like you say we had more immediate justification.  OTOH, once al Qaida leadership fled, we are left to fight the Taliban whose main 'crime' was to harbor al Qaida (who fled).  The story of heroin crop yields seems to me as just negativists looking for data and finding it.  Are we managing crops fields or fighting terror.  Afghanistan pre-war was an economy, as George Gilder put it, incapable of manufacturing a flashlight.  BTW, isn't the plant of heroin also source of legal drugs such as morphine I received after being hit by a car?

You supported the invasion then.  You support staying now.  We all suffer war fatigue and for me I am experiencing that lakeside, sipping something cool on a beautiful and comfortable Minnesota summer afternoon.  Imagine how the soldiers feel in desert heat.

So we second guess and use hindsight to judge strategies, and that's okay.  That's what these boards are for.  We should have surged sooner? Maybe. We should have known this would be difficult.  Maybe we needed our accumulated knowledge base in Iraq for this surge to succeed, if it is.  And maybe these tactics would have cost more lives if tried sooner.  I don't know.  For me, rather than blame the prosecutors of the war, it is a little more obvious to blame the dissenters of the war for lifting the spirits and giving the enemy encouragement to keep going in spite of all the errors they too have made.

Americans will stay on to watch the peace post-war?  I suppose so.  We are still in europe and Asia.   Not really a hidden agenda when the repeated theme is to fight them there so we won't have to fight them here.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2007, 05:13:23 PM by DougMacG » Logged
Howling Dog
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« Reply #340 on: August 10, 2007, 07:12:47 PM »

Hi Doug, Sorry you don't like conversing with me. I'am beleive it or not I'am supporter of our mideast efforts more so than a negativist.
I served six years in the USN, and the military has a way of getting into your blood. More than anything Iam extremely proud of our troops and the courage they display on a daily baisis.
However, I try very hard to be a realist and I'am certainly no sheep that blindly follows.
Lets put things into perspective. If my job approval rating was 36% how long should I expect to hold my job? rolleyes Congress as well holds a similar approval rating.
I think the world a better place without Sadaam Husien and his hell spawn children....Hower the thing I didn't know about which I blame or government for not being more sensitive to and prepaired for and having a better plan for was....How truly disfunctional Iraq and all its tribal factions were/are......As has proven true...getting rid of Sadaam Husien was the easy part restoring a  sense of normalcy has proven quite difficult. We should have been better prepaired for this.....I'am fairly sure this is the reason why Bush SR. did not take out Sadaam when he had a much better chance with much more rightous reason.

It truly makes my head spin from day to day trying to figure out who were fighting and who our allies are, Sunni....no Shites...no thats the Mahdi militia.....yes but the Sunnis are more closley tied to A'Q.....WOW!! Where does this end?

As for the fatigue of the war aspect....well not so much, but fatigue towards how we are fighting it.
Yes we seem to still be fighting the same way its just that we have more troops there now.
A fact plain and simple, you can't fight a war to win, by fighting a LIMITED WAR. Which is exactly what we are doing.
Ok my rant on Iraq.

I agree we didn't let Osama go by going into Iraq.......My problem there is the 6 years following 9/11 and we still haven't gotten him nor are we even operating where he is beleived to be......Thats just CRAZY Its really hard to comprehend when you think about it. The WORLDS most wanted man enjoys safe haven in a place like Pakistan. Bizzare is all I can say.

As for the heroin trade its pretty commonly known to go hand in hand with terrorists  not to mention the war on drugs Herion is a biggie don't forget grin
So yea we need to be minding the fields and keeping money out of terrorists hands.....I could even tolerate a herion crop in Afghanastan......If it were'nt a RECORD CROP....Remmeber we are there and as you stated so are other militarys world wide.

As for poppys being used to make morphine.....I'am fairly certain that all pharm. morphine is syntheticly made in a lab.
If that were not the case we could certainly legitimize the poppy growing, pay the farmers for their crop....even pay them a premium price and ship all the poppys to the U.S. or any legit labs to be made into legal morphine.....it would be awesome and great for the Afghan economy.......Sorry.

As for our premenante presence in Iraq.......c'mon ....its oil and making sure it gets out world wide.....remember when I said I served in the USN 6 years?  3 Of those were on a aircraft carrier...where do you think I spent the most time?
Hint: persion gulf/Gulf of Oman.....since we no longer have troops in Saudi Arabia......Iraq will be the next best place.....Hey from Iraq we can sqweeze the Saudi's and Iranians at the same time while sitting on the number 3 oil producer in the world(IRAQ)......
It would be nice if we could trust Washington to do the right things unfortunatly tooo many agendas get in the way of that.....Sucks.....
                                                    TG
Now thats a RANT grin

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Howling Dog
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« Reply #341 on: August 17, 2007, 06:25:01 PM »

I hope that we can continue to engage in the friendly conversation with which weve all grown to love.
I hope that all who are for the war in Iraq and those who are against it and all the in betweeners are willing to take the needed responsiblitys that come with war...and the seriousness that engaging in war brings.
Having said that.....I suppose that most all who read or listen to the daily news know that this week it was announced that the military suffered its highest suicide rate this year, in 26 yerars.....If I'am not mistaken there were 99 suicides by military personel this year.
The number of troops suffering from POST traumatic stress syndrome is through the roof...........yet we continue to subject our guys and gals to repeated and extended tours in Iraq.
My question quite simply is how many tours should a soldier be made to endure.....
If I'am not mistaken it was quite uncommon for a soldier to do more than 2 tours in Vietnam......why do we assume that our troops can endure more than that today?
Also as a side note and a personal opinion of mine......
The vietnam war was what instituted the begining of what is now our homeless Americans......These men came back to America, but were never able to go home....and wander the streets of good ole U.S.A. lost to the world they live in....
(It is pretty widley known that a good number of homless are vietnam vets)

Who then will take care of the Iraq wounded......both the physically and the mentally wounded....we are already showing it won't be our military or its government.......
                                                                  TG
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Howling Dog
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« Reply #342 on: August 18, 2007, 09:38:34 AM »

I consider myself some what of a moralist, beleiving in right and wrong.....also believing in being responsible for right and wrong as well as responsible for our actions and the repercusions for them encompasing the full spectrum of such actions.
In this context It is our war in Iraq.
I made my last post on this thread with such reagard.
I think our troops and their well being is grossly over looked by our happy leap into a war with whomever we convienetly decide we are figthing in Iraq at any particular time.
My point here being if one would take a few minutes to sit down and think of all the responsiblities that we should morally look out during, and when this war is some day over I think we may decide that a war in Iraq was not worth the cost(thinking full spectrum) cost$$$$, killed innocents ,our boys killed maimed and wounded ect......
I also think that when its over or at least we pull out our troops(which we eventually will and everyone knows its comming)
we will duck our responsiblity to those Iraqi people who were innocent in our assult on their country.......let alone our own American citizens.
I know my views and opinions are not popular on this pro war forum.......but I merly add them as a source of balance.
Just like many here complain that the main stream media onley reports the bad thats happening in the mideast.......

The cost of war is huge........think of all who are affected......whos going to take responsiblity?
My personal feeling is confusion, as to why we are in Iraq, and what we are trying to accomplish........putting that into respect to what was going on there, before we went in there, kinda has me shrugging my shoulders with a "wtf"?
                                                                                TG
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DougMacG
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« Reply #343 on: August 19, 2007, 06:47:53 PM »

Tom, all - Combining my reply to Tom's from two threads over to here in Rants-  The back and forth is nice, but in general I prefer if someone else jumps in.  From a time management perspective, I plan to answer or post only when I think I have something to add that hasn't already been said.  I don't have any unique or inside info on Iraq or foreign policy except to explain my own opinions and why I think this way. We are looking at the same information and drawing different views. I don't see any sign of minds changing.

I recognize that you served and I didn't and I am grateful and always remembering of that.

Picking what I answer,I won't get to everything- 

"One mans terrorist is another mans patriot."  - No, I don't share the moral equivalent view that comment implies to me.  If you join me in bank robberies and the cops are our enemy that doesn't change which side has the patriots and which side has the terrorists.  Maybe it's a judgment or opinion, and maybe it takes fifty years to sort it all out, but there is a difference.  There's no moral symmetry IMO between this American intervention and the fight of the Jihadists.  If we can't draw that distinction here I don't see how you could in any past conflict either.  Why was it okay to fight Japan and Germany but not these thugs.

Another huge difference in thinking, Tom wrote: "The Kurd massacares happend 20 years ago. These things were not going on when we went into Iraq to "liberate" the people."  -My view is diametrically opposed to that.  Time elapsing doesn't remove anything about the crimes against humanity for me except perhaps the freshness of the evidence, and gassing the Kurds was far from being Saddam's only or most recent crime.  If a people live with a gun to their heads and they do exactly as they are told and then are not killed, I say life is still lost and terror and violence have been committed although death and damage may be hard to measure.  I join this with opposing the view that we are responsible for al Qaida's damage to Iraq.  These are show stopping differences.

"Do you think its been worth it so far"  - Again it's different thinking. The value to me doesn't change easily.  I also don't know how to explain to anyone who disagrees that a half million American lives were worth it to win WWII - I just have to say yes IMO it was clearly the right thing to do and the cost is an unbelievable tragedy.  This is no less important.  Yes we misjudged and bogged down and changed tactics and gained battleground information and added resources and changed leaders and stayed resolved to win, if momentum and victory are possible before either a new President changes course or until congress ends it.  Yes I think fighting and winning this war now is better than the alternatives such as leaving Saddam in power then or leaving unfinished now.  The 'viewed as liberators' and all will cooperate scenario isn't what played out.  We underestimated our enemy, their numbers, their will and their abilities.  Hunting them down in all neighborhoods simultaneously is the current strategy and we'll see how that goes.  I support it and wish them speedy success.

The point is beautifully stated in Crafty's post from the cabinet secretary of India.  His context I think is global, meaning more difficult than Iraq: 28.There is no end in sight to the US military operations against the Neo Al Qaeda and the Neo Taliban even almost six years after the operations started. This is nothing to be surprised about. Victory in the war is not for tomorrow or the day after. There is no doubt that the US will one day ultimately prevail over the jihadi terrorists. It has to in order to protect its homeland. But that day is still far off."(end quote)   In Iraq the battle is joined and I believe a) we will win and b) it was worth it.

"You also did not answer my question as to what would be considered a"victory" in Iraq."  - I have written about that in the past.  I'll describe it here the best I can.  The American part of the war is 'over' when the Iraqi security forces can provide basic security. Then American troops can fortress back from the front line and reduce numbers significantly.  The war itself is won when the  preponderance of activities in Iraq having to do with commerce, family, religion, self-government,  communities and recreation etc. overshadow the remnants of war. 



« Last Edit: August 19, 2007, 07:03:27 PM by DougMacG » Logged
Howling Dog
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« Reply #344 on: August 19, 2007, 09:35:33 PM »

Doug, Thanks for your responses. I appreciate them and certainly respect them......and I understand not wanting to go back and forth...as I said in my last post I have been hoping to provoke some of the others here...so far no takers undecided.

When you refer to criminals and cops your right in saying that its a wrong analogy to equivlate a terrrorist and a patriot.
However I would contend that not all those that engage our troops fall into the terrorist category.
I think a good many view us as occupiers in thier soverign country trying to impose our will and our idealogy on them and they are not willing to accept it.....nor should they be forced to in my opinion.......
I think freedom means a person is free to live his life as he pleases wink
Weather we agree with the life style or not.
Though yes those who attack innocent civilians and blow up markets and the like are definetly terrorists......but again I contend that was not going on in Iraq till we got there.
When you talk about fighting Jihadists....there again your using generic terminalogy for convenince sake....but there again....What kind of Jihad was going on in Iraq before we got there?
Are there or were there not better places to engage Jihadists than Iraq....If thats really what we wanted to do....How about the Sudan or Somolia? Definatly the Sudan qualifys as Muslims as committing genocide against Christian farmers but yet we sit by and watch it happen with a 2 MILLION death count probable.
 Still Why Iraq? I said this before concerining Sadaam and Jihad.....Sadaam was not even a good Muslim let alone a jihadist....I think that thought to be quite wrong and out of context.
Very bold of you to equate Sadaam with the likes of Hitler(or the Iraq war with ww2)....hardly but ok.......
No one will argue Sadaam a bad guy and needed to be removed from power....Now all I ask is we take responsiblity for removing him from power.
Is that too much to ask?
I WILL PUT THIS QUESTION OUT TO ANYONE WHO WANTS TO ANSWER, TO ANSWER........
IF the Iraqi people choose to not live in a free and democratic society and want to live under Islamic rule and law should they not have the right to do so?
It seems to me those who are most willing to fight and fight the hardest in Iraq are the ones who want to live that way.
Where are all those folks who dream to be free from the tyranny of Islam?  Oh I know.....they defected with the 110,000 AK 47'S undecided
                                                                             TG
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Howling Dog
DougMacG
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« Reply #345 on: August 20, 2007, 12:07:15 PM »

"I would contend that not all those that engage our troops fall into the terrorist category. "

They are terrorizing the countryside, the roadside, the neighborhoods and the mosques.  They are terrorists.  They are not "engaging" our troops, they are hiding and taking hostages.  Set aside the involvement of America as a foreign country, they are fighting the freely elected government of their own country and the security forces trying to establish peace.

There were two wars in Iraq.  The one against Saddam is long over and only under debate for historical perspective.  The war continuing will result either in what you described as "a free and democratic society" and of course it will pass laws that are based on the traditions and rules of Islam, a peaceful and socially strict religion.  The American goal includes the first part, free and democratic, the second part that they can't take on the same qualities we rightly or wrongly fought - WMD programs and sponsoring or harboring terrorists, and third, the American interest is to have it remain one country with an internal balancing of power which turns out to be the hardest. 

"but there again....What kind of Jihad was going on in Iraq before we got there?"

And there again we are not fighting Saddam.  That war is over.  We are fighting an alternative power who would like to fill the vacuum, to oppress same or worse than Saddam as they do in Iran, to threaten the world's oil supply with saber rattling as the Mulluhs constantly do, and to take the riches of the 3rd largest oil reserves to arm and finance and export terror, worse than before. 

"Very bold of you to equate Sadaam with the likes of Hitler(or the Iraq war with ww2)....hardly but ok......."

Please no straw man argument.  The war against Saddam is over (broken record), we are fighting an opposing vision for Iraq that I described above.  I don't equate Saddam with Hitler, I equate Nazism with the Jihadist movement, which I think you acknowledge is real and global - call it by whatever name  you like, Radical Islamic Fundamentalism, Islamofascism, etc.  Like Soviet communism and Nazi fascism, in the real world radical Islamic fundamentalism doesn't face free and fair elections and isn't content to capture one country and not export terror and destabilization.

"No one will argue Sadaam a bad guy and needed to be removed from power....Now all I ask is we take responsiblity for removing him from power.  Is that too much to ask?"

Thank you for conceding the first part; that was not at all clear in your recent posts or elsewhere in this one. For the second part, isn't that exactly why we are fighting - taking responsibility for the vacuum we created.

"Where are all those folks who dream to be free from the tyranny of Islam?  Oh I know.....they defected with the 110,000 AK 47'S"

To me that statement implies a view that the majority favor a collapse of the budding new democratic government.  I don't believe that.  The innocent civilians in the neighborhoods should be reluctant to stick their neck out publicly siding with Americans or the current government the day before we pull the plug and they face slaughter from the victory of the terrorists.  OTOH, as they see security and democracy taking shape, the citizens seem to be more and more helpful with reliable information, and accurate info is the only way we know the difference between a bomb builder and a plumber.  With reliable information we win.  Without it we lose.  JMHO.

« Last Edit: August 20, 2007, 01:47:11 PM by DougMacG » Logged
Howling Dog
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« Reply #346 on: August 20, 2007, 03:34:33 PM »

Doug,I don't plan a long response. I think it quite conveniant that you equate Iraq in two seperate wars. The second would not be going on had we not created the "vacuum" as you state it. Thats true plain and simple...we gave the jihadists a battle ground that they did not have before....
I notice you did not respond to my assertion that there were better places world wide to confront Jihadists....so how do you feel about the Sudan?
Anyway......Just something for you to consider in your quest to justify this war that we started.
There are 110,000 missing ak47's that were issued to Iraqi's that we were training.
Are you Understanding that what your saying is that we were training 110,000 terrorists until they took off with the weapons?
If that be true then I say were pretty damn carless with who we give weapons to and certainly have no business being a super power.
We know that these 110,000 were not Bathists as we banned them from this type of authority.
forget about what you think my previous statement implies and look at it from a realsistc perspective.
Were we training 110,000 terrorists or not.
                                                                                      TG
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Howling Dog
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« Reply #347 on: August 20, 2007, 04:48:55 PM »

Interesting back and forth. I won't get long in my contributions. Also, not much of a rant, so I can move it if necessary.

Quote
IF the Iraqi people choose to not live in a free and democratic society and want to live under Islamic rule and law should they not have the right to do so?

SHORT ANSWER:

Yes. But it depends on who you ask.

REALITY:

I believe that the current U.S. administration does not want to leave until a secular government is in place. The chances of that happening or slim to none (I'm guessing closer to none).

Quote
Were we training 110,000 terrorists or not.

SHORT ANSWER:

No.

REALITY:

The current Iraqi army, police force, and government (local and national) are so rife with corruption that I'm guessing a good percentage of anything that is sent over there "takes a walk".

I've come to the following conclusions (so far):

1) The surge seems to be working
2) Unless we kick the Iraqi government in the crotch and tell them to get it together, they never will
3) The only way the Iraqi government will know that we are serious about them taking charge is to say "Hey fellas, we're giving you a year to sort it out. After that, we're outta here."

Militarily the tide seems to be turning. Politically speaking, the Iraqi fat cats are scared but still corrupt and powerful enough to milk the situation for all it's worth, while allowing soldiers and civilians to die around them. I would predict that whenever we decide to leave, a HUGE percentage of their legislature will suddenly discover that they have business to tend to in another country, for say, an indefinite period of time.  wink
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buzwardo
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« Reply #348 on: August 20, 2007, 04:49:46 PM »

Howdy Tom,

Afraid I'm not much inclined to join this fray. Strikes me that you're flinging a lot of pasta at the wall and seeing what sticks; I don't have time to sort through the results. Any one of your statements would take an essay to reply to in full and, as I've noted in previous conversations, I'm not much inclined to put more energy into answering a question than you do asking it.

Do think several pieces already posted, and this one attached, speak to many of your points. The fact that issues addressed in these pieces don't enter your end of the conversation suggests you're not paying them any heed. Folks who think far more deeply than me--and get paid for it to boot--have spoken to many of your questions. I've no reason to think any effort of mine will display more cogency or sate your queries any better than posted pieces that speak directly to the questions you've asked.

I will note that you are making a lot of hay out of the 110,000 "lost" AKs. Don't know if they'll prove as mythical as the flushed Guantánamo Koran or are indeed a significant blunder. A cursory study of military history, however, reveals that blunders are part of any conflict. The omniscience expected by today's armchair generals never ceases to amaze me; compared and contrasted to earlier efforts now held in high regard the war in Iraq is no more blunder filled than any and likely could be argued to be less so.

A VDH essay on the study of war follows.

Why Study War?
Military history teaches us about honor, sacrifice, and the inevitability of conflict.

Victor Davis Hanson
Summer 2007

Try explaining to a college student that Tet was an American military victory. You’ll provoke not a counterargument—let alone an assent—but a blank stare: Who or what was Tet? Doing interviews about the recent hit movie 300, I encountered similar bewilderment from listeners and hosts. Not only did most of them not know who the 300 were or what Thermopylae was; they seemed clueless about the Persian Wars altogether.

It’s no surprise that civilian Americans tend to lack a basic understanding of military matters. Even when I was a graduate student, 30-some years ago, military history—understood broadly as the investigation of why one side wins and another loses a war, and encompassing reflections on magisterial or foolish generalship, technological stagnation or breakthrough, and the roles of discipline, bravery, national will, and culture in determining a conflict’s outcome and its consequences—had already become unfashionable on campus. Today, universities are even less receptive to the subject.

This state of affairs is profoundly troubling, for democratic citizenship requires knowledge of war—and now, in the age of weapons of mass annihilation, more than ever.

I came to the study of warfare in an odd way, at the age of 24. Without ever taking a class in military history, I naively began writing about war for a Stanford classics dissertation that explored the effects of agricultural devastation in ancient Greece, especially the Spartan ravaging of the Athenian countryside during the Peloponnesian War. The topic fascinated me. Was the strategy effective? Why assume that ancient armies with primitive tools could easily burn or cut trees, vines, and grain on thousands of acres of enemy farms, when on my family farm in Selma, California, it took me almost an hour to fell a mature fruit tree with a sharp modern ax? Yet even if the invaders couldn’t starve civilian populations, was the destruction still harmful psychologically? Did it goad proud agrarians to come out and fight? And what did the practice tell us about the values of the Greeks—and of the generals who persisted in an operation that seemingly brought no tangible results?

I posed these questions to my prospective thesis advisor, adding all sorts of further justifications. The topic was central to understanding the Peloponnesian War, I noted. The research would be interdisciplinary—a big plus in the modern university—drawing not just on ancient military histories but also on archaeology, classical drama, epigraphy, and poetry. I could bring a personal dimension to the research, too, having grown up around veterans of both world wars who talked constantly about battle. And from my experience on the farm, I wanted to add practical details about growing trees and vines in a Mediterranean climate.

Yet my advisor was skeptical. Agrarian wars, indeed wars of any kind, weren’t popular in classics Ph.D. programs, even though farming and fighting were the ancient Greeks’ two most common pursuits, the sources of anecdote, allusion, and metaphor in almost every Greek philosophical, historical, and literary text. Few classicists seemed to care any more that most notable Greek writers, thinkers, and statesmen—from Aeschylus to Pericles to Xenophon—had served in the phalanx or on a trireme at sea. Dozens of nineteenth-century dissertations and monographs on ancient warfare—on the organization of the Spartan army, the birth of Greek tactics, the strategic thinking of Greek generals, and much more—went largely unread. Nor was the discipline of military history, once central to a liberal education, in vogue on campuses in the seventies. It was as if the university had forgotten that history itself had begun with Herodotus and Thucydides as the story of armed conflicts.

What lay behind this academic lack of interest? The most obvious explanation: this was the immediate post-Vietnam era. The public perception in the Carter years was that America had lost a war that for moral and practical reasons it should never have fought—a catastrophe, for many in the universities, that it must never repeat. The necessary corrective wasn’t to learn how such wars started, went forward, and were lost. Better to ignore anything that had to do with such odious business in the first place.

The nuclear pessimism of the cold war, which followed the horror of two world wars, also dampened academic interest. The postwar obscenity of Mutually Assured Destruction had lent an apocalyptic veneer to contemporary war: as President Kennedy warned, “Mankind must put an end to war, or war will put an end to mankind.” Conflict had become something so destructive, in this view, that it no longer had any relation to the battles of the past. It seemed absurd to worry about a new tank or a novel doctrine of counterinsurgency when the press of a button, unleashing nuclear Armageddon, would render all military thinking superfluous.

Further, the sixties had ushered in a utopian view of society antithetical to serious thinking about war. Government, the military, business, religion, and the family had conspired, the new Rousseauians believed, to warp the naturally peace-loving individual. Conformity and coercion smothered our innately pacifist selves. To assert that wars broke out because bad men, in fear or in pride, sought material advantage or status, or because good men had done too little to stop them, was now seen as antithetical to an enlightened understanding of human nature. “What difference does it make,” in the words of the much-quoted Mahatma Gandhi, “to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?”

The academic neglect of war is even more acute today. Military history as a discipline has atrophied, with very few professorships, journal articles, or degree programs. In 2004, Edward Coffman, a retired military history professor who taught at the University of Wisconsin, reviewed the faculties of the top 25 history departments, as ranked by U.S. News and World Report. He found that of over 1,000 professors, only 21 identified war as a specialty. When war does show up on university syllabi, it’s often about the race, class, and gender of combatants and wartime civilians. So a class on the Civil War will focus on the Underground Railroad and Reconstruction, not on Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. One on World War II might emphasize Japanese internment, Rosie the Riveter, and the horror of Hiroshima, not Guadalcanal and Midway. A survey of the Vietnam War will devote lots of time to the inequities of the draft, media coverage, and the antiwar movement at home, and scant the air and artillery barrages at Khe Sanh.

Those who want to study war in the traditional way face intense academic suspicion, as Margaret Atwood’s poem “The Loneliness of the Military Historian” suggests:

Confess: it’s my profession
that alarms you.
This is why few people ask me to dinner,
though Lord knows I don’t go out of my
    way to be scary.
Historians of war must derive perverse pleasure, their critics suspect, from reading about carnage and suffering. Why not figure out instead how to outlaw war forever, as if it were not a tragic, nearly inevitable aspect of human existence? Hence the recent surge of “peace studies” (see “The Peace Racket”).

The university’s aversion to the study of war certainly doesn’t reflect public lack of interest in the subject. Students love old-fashioned war classes on those rare occasions when they’re offered, usually as courses that professors sneak in when the choice of what to teach is left up to them. I taught a number of such classes at California State University, Stanford, and elsewhere. They’d invariably wind up overenrolled, with hordes of students lingering after office hours to offer opinions on the battles of Marathon and Lepanto.

Popular culture, too, displays extraordinary enthusiasm for all things military. There’s a new Military History Channel, and Hollywood churns out a steady supply of blockbuster war movies, from Saving Private Ryan to 300. The post–Ken Burns explosion of interest in the Civil War continues. Historical reenactment societies stage history’s great battles, from the Roman legions’ to the Wehrmacht’s. Barnes and Noble and Borders bookstores boast well-stocked military history sections, with scores of new titles every month. A plethora of websites obsess over strategy and tactics. Hit video games grow ever more realistic in their reconstructions of battles.

The public may feel drawn to military history because it wants to learn about honor and sacrifice, or because of interest in technology—the muzzle velocity of a Tiger Tank’s 88mm cannon, for instance—or because of a pathological need to experience violence, if only vicariously. The importance—and challenge—of the academic study of war is to elevate that popular enthusiasm into a more capacious and serious understanding, one that seeks answers to such questions as: Why do wars break out? How do they end? Why do the winners win and the losers lose? How best to avoid wars or contain their worst effects?

A wartime public illiterate about the conflicts of the past can easily find itself paralyzed in the acrimony of the present. Without standards of historical comparison, it will prove ill equipped to make informed judgments. Neither our politicians nor most of our citizens seem to recall the incompetence and terrible decisions that, in December 1777, December 1941, and November 1950, led to massive American casualties and, for a time, public despair. So it’s no surprise that today so many seem to think that the violence in Iraq is unprecedented in our history. Roughly 3,000 combat dead in Iraq in some four years of fighting is, of course, a terrible thing. And it has provoked national outrage to the point of considering withdrawal and defeat, as we still bicker over up-armored Humvees and proper troop levels. But a previous generation considered Okinawa a stunning American victory, and prepared to follow it with an invasion of the Japanese mainland itself—despite losing, in a little over two months, four times as many Americans as we have lost in Iraq, casualties of faulty intelligence, poor generalship, and suicidal head-on assaults against fortified positions.

It’s not that military history offers cookie-cutter comparisons with the past. Germany’s World War I victory over Russia in under three years and her failure to take France in four apparently misled Hitler into thinking that he could overrun the Soviets in three or four weeks—after all, he had brought down historically tougher France in just six. Similarly, the conquest of the Taliban in eight weeks in 2001, followed by the establishment of constitutional government within a year in Kabul, did not mean that the similarly easy removal of Saddam Hussein in three weeks in 2003 would ensure a working Iraqi democracy within six months. The differences between the countries—cultural, political, geographical, and economic—were too great.

Instead, knowledge of past wars establishes wide parameters of what to expect from new ones. Themes, emotions, and rhetoric remain constant over the centuries, and thus generally predictable. Athens’s disastrous expedition in 415 BC against Sicily, the largest democracy in the Greek world, may not prefigure our war in Iraq. But the story of the Sicilian calamity does instruct us on how consensual societies can clamor for war—yet soon become disheartened and predicate their support on the perceived pulse of the battlefield.

Military history teaches us, contrary to popular belief these days, that wars aren’t necessarily the most costly of human calamities. The first Gulf War took few lives in getting Saddam out of Kuwait; doing nothing in Rwanda allowed savage gangs and militias to murder hundreds of thousands with impunity. Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, and Stalin killed far more off the battlefield than on it. The 1918 Spanish flu epidemic brought down more people than World War I did. And more Americans—over 3.2 million—lost their lives driving over the last 90 years than died in combat in this nation’s 231-year history. Perhaps what bothers us about wars, though, isn’t just their horrific lethality but also that people choose to wage them—which makes them seem avoidable, unlike a flu virus or a car wreck, and their tolls unduly grievous. Yet military history also reminds us that war sometimes has an eerie utility: as British strategist Basil H. Liddell Hart put it, “War is always a matter of doing evil in the hope that good may come of it.” Wars—or threats of wars—put an end to chattel slavery, Nazism, fascism, Japanese militarism, and Soviet Communism.

Military history is as often the story of appeasement as of warmongering. The destructive military careers of Alexander the Great, Caesar, Napoleon, and Hitler would all have ended early had any of their numerous enemies united when the odds favored them. Western air power stopped Slobodan Miloševi?’s reign of terror at little cost to NATO forces—but only after a near-decade of inaction and dialogue had made possible the slaughter of tens of thousands. Affluent Western societies have often proved reluctant to use force to prevent greater future violence. “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things,” observed the British philosopher John Stuart Mill. “The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse.”

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buzwardo
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« Reply #349 on: August 20, 2007, 04:50:30 PM »

Indeed, by ignoring history, the modern age is free to interpret war as a failure of communication, of diplomacy, of talking—as if aggressors don’t know exactly what they’re doing. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, frustrated by the Bush administration’s intransigence in the War on Terror, flew to Syria, hoping to persuade President Assad to stop funding terror in the Middle East. She assumed that Assad’s belligerence resulted from our aloofness and arrogance rather than from his dictatorship’s interest in destroying democracy in Lebanon and Iraq, before such contagious freedom might in fact destroy him. For a therapeutically inclined generation raised on Oprah and Dr. Phil—and not on the letters of William Tecumseh Sherman and William Shirer’s Berlin Diary—problems between states, like those in our personal lives, should be argued about by equally civilized and peaceful rivals, and so solved without resorting to violence.

Yet it’s hard to find many wars that result from miscommunication. Far more often they break out because of malevolent intent and the absence of deterrence. Margaret Atwood also wrote in her poem: “Wars happen because the ones who start them / think they can win.” Hitler did; so did Mussolini and Tojo—and their assumptions were logical, given the relative disarmament of the Western democracies at the time. Bin Laden attacked on September 11 not because there was a dearth of American diplomats willing to dialogue with him in the Hindu Kush. Instead, he recognized that a series of Islamic terrorist assaults against U.S. interests over two decades had met with no meaningful reprisals, and concluded that decadent Westerners would never fight, whatever the provocation—or that, if we did, we would withdraw as we had from Mogadishu.

In the twenty-first century, it’s easier than ever to succumb to technological determinism, the idea that science, new weaponry, and globalization have altered the very rules of war. But military history teaches us that our ability to strike a single individual from 30,000 feet up with a GPS bomb or a jihadist’s efforts to have his propaganda beamed to millions in real time do not necessarily transform the conditions that determine who wins and who loses wars.

True, instant communications may compress decision making, and generals must be skilled at news conferences that can now influence the views of millions worldwide. Yet these are really just new wrinkles on the old face of war. The improvised explosive device versus the up-armored Humvee is simply an updated take on the catapult versus the stone wall or the harquebus versus the mailed knight. The long history of war suggests no static primacy of the defensive or the offensive, or of one sort of weapon over the other, but just temporary advantages gained by particular strategies and technologies that go unanswered for a time by less adept adversaries.

So it’s highly doubtful, the study of war tells us, that a new weapon will emerge from the Pentagon or anywhere else that will change the very nature of armed conflict—unless some sort of genetic engineering so alters man’s brain chemistry that he begins to act in unprecedented ways. We fought the 1991 Gulf War with dazzling, computer-enhanced weaponry. But lost in the technological pizzazz was the basic wisdom that we need to fight wars with political objectives in mind and that, to conclude them decisively, we must defeat and even humiliate our enemies, so that they agree to abandon their prewar behavior. For some reason, no American general or diplomat seemed to understand that crucial point 16 years ago, with the result that, on the cessation of hostilities, Saddam Hussein’s supposedly defeated generals used their gunships to butcher Kurds and Shiites while Americans looked on. And because we never achieved the war’s proper aim—ensuring that Iraq would not use its petro-wealth to destroy the peace of the region—we have had to fight a second war of no-fly zones, and then a third war to remove Saddam, and now a fourth war, of counterinsurgency, to protect the fledgling Iraqi democracy.

Military history reminds us of important anomalies and paradoxes. When Sparta invaded Attica in the first spring of the Peloponnesian war, Thucydides recounts, it expected the Athenians to surrender after a few short seasons of ravaging. They didn’t—but a plague that broke out unexpectedly did more damage than thousands of Spartan ravagers did. Twenty-seven years later, a maritime Athens lost the war at sea to Sparta, an insular land power that started the conflict with scarcely a navy. The 2003 removal of Saddam refuted doom-and-gloom critics who predicted thousands of deaths and millions of refugees, just as the subsequent messy four-year reconstruction hasn’t evolved as anticipated into a quiet, stable democracy—to say the least.

The size of armies doesn’t guarantee battlefield success: the victors at Salamis, Issos, Mexico City, and Lepanto were all outnumbered. War’s most savage moments—the Allied summer offensive of 1918, the Russian siege of Berlin in the spring of 1945, the Battle of the Bulge, Hiroshima—often unfold right before hostilities cease. And democratic leaders during war—think of Winston Churchill, Harry Truman, and Richard Nixon—often leave office either disgraced or unpopular.

It would be reassuring to think that the righteousness of a cause, or the bravery of an army, or the nobility of a sacrifice ensures public support for war. But military history shows that far more often the perception of winning is what matters. Citizens turn abruptly on any leaders deemed culpable for losing. “Public sentiment is everything,” wrote Abraham Lincoln. “With public sentiment nothing can fail. Without it nothing can succeed. He who molds opinion is greater than he who enacts laws.” Lincoln knew that lesson well. Gettysburg and Vicksburg were brilliant Union victories that by summer 1863 had restored Lincoln’s previously shaky credibility. But a year later, after the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Petersburg, and Cold Harbor battles—Cold Harbor claimed 7,000 Union lives in 20 minutes—the public reviled him. Neither Lincoln nor his policies had changed, but the Confederate ability to kill large numbers of Union soldiers had.

Ultimately, public opinion follows the ups and downs—including the perception of the ups and downs—of the battlefield, since victory excites the most ardent pacifist and defeat silences the most zealous zealot. After the defeat of France, the losses to Bomber Command, the U-boat rampage, and the fall of Greece, Singapore, and Dunkirk, Churchill took the blame for a war as seemingly lost as, a little later, it seemed won by the brilliant prime minister after victories in North Africa, Sicily, and Normandy. When the successful military action against Saddam Hussein ended in April 2003, over 70 percent of the American people backed it, with politicians and pundits alike elbowing each other aside to take credit for their prescient support. Four years of insurgency later, Americans oppose a now-orphaned war by the same margin. General George S. Patton may have been uncouth, but he wasn’t wrong when he bellowed, “Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser.” The American public turned on the Iraq War not because of Cindy Sheehan or Michael Moore but because it felt that the battlefield news had turned uniformly bad and that the price in American lives and treasure for ensuring Iraqi reform was too dear.

Finally, military history has the moral purpose of educating us about past sacrifices that have secured our present freedom and security. If we know nothing of Shiloh, Belleau Wood, Tarawa, and Chosun, the crosses in our military cemeteries are just pleasant white stones on lush green lawns. They no longer serve as reminders that thousands endured pain and hardship for our right to listen to what we wish on our iPods and to shop at Wal-Mart in safety—or that they expected future generations, links in this great chain of obligation, to do the same for those not yet born. The United States was born through war, reunited by war, and saved from destruction by war. No future generation, however comfortable and affluent, should escape that terrible knowledge.

What, then, can we do to restore the study of war to its proper place in the life of the American mind? The challenge isn’t just to reform the graduate schools or the professoriate, though that would help. On a deeper level, we need to reexamine the larger forces that have devalued the very idea of military history—of war itself. We must abandon the naive faith that with enough money, education, or good intentions we can change the nature of mankind so that conflict, as if by fiat, becomes a thing of the past. In the end, the study of war reminds us that we will never be gods. We will always just be men, it tells us. Some men will always prefer war to peace; and other men, we who have learned from the past, have a moral obligation to stop them.

Studying War: Where to Start

While Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War, a chronicle of the three-decade war between Athens and Sparta, establishes the genre of military history, the best place to begin studying war is with the soldiers’ stories themselves. E. B. Sledge’s memoir of Okinawa, With the Old Breed, is nightmarish, but it reminds us that war, while it often translates to rot, filth, and carnage, can also be in the service of a noble cause. Elmer Bendiner’s tragic retelling of the annihilation of B-17s over Germany, The Fall of Fortresses: A Personal Account of the Most Daring, and Deadly, American Air Battles of World War II, is an unrecognized classic.

From a different wartime perspective—that of the generals—U. S. Grant’s Personal Memoirs is justly celebrated as a model of prose. Yet the nearly contemporaneous Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman is far more analytical in its dissection of the human follies and pretensions that lead to war. Likewise, George S. Patton’s War As I Knew It is not only a compilation of the eccentric general’s diary entries but also a candid assessment of human nature itself.

Fiction often captures the experience of war as effectively as memoir, beginning with Homer’s Iliad, in which Achilles confronts the paradox that rewards do not always go to the most deserving in war. The three most famous novels about the futility of conflict are The Red Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane, All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque, and August 1914, by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. No work has better insights on the folly of war, however, than Euripides’ Trojan Women.

Although many contemporary critics find it passé to document landmark battles in history, one can find a storehouse of information in The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World, by Edward S. Creasy, and A Military History of the Western World, by J. F. C. Fuller. Hans Delbrück’s History of the Art of War and Russell F. Weigley’s The Age of Battles center their sweeping histories on decisive engagements, using battles like Marathon and Waterloo as tools to illustrate larger social, political, and cultural values. A sense of high drama permeates William H. Prescott’s History of the Conquest of Mexico and History of the Conquest of Peru, while tragedy more often characterizes Steven Runciman’s spellbinding short account The Fall of Constantinople 1453 and Donald Morris’s massive The Washing of the Spears, about the rise and fall of the Zulu Empire. The most comprehensive and accessible one-volume treatment of history’s most destructive war remains Gerhard L. Weinberg’s A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II.

Relevant histories for our current struggle with Middle East terrorism are Alistair Horne’s superb A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954–1962, Michael Oren’s Six Days of War, and Mark Bowden’s Black Hawk Down. Anything John Keegan writes is worth reading; The Face of Battle remains the most impressive general military history of the last 50 years.

Biography too often winds up ignored in the study of war. Plutarch’s lives of Pericles, Alcibiades, Julius Caesar, Pompey, and Alexander the Great established the traditional view of these great captains as men of action, while weighing their record of near-superhuman achievement against their megalomania. Elizabeth Longford’s Wellington is a classic study of England’s greatest soldier. Lee’s Lieutenants: A Study in Command, by Douglas Southall Freeman, has been slighted recently but is spellbinding.

If, as Carl von Clausewitz believed, “War is the continuation of politics by other means,” then study of civilian wartime leadership is critical. The classic scholarly account of the proper relationship between the military and its overseers is still Samuel P. Huntington’s The Soldier and the State: The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations. For a contemporary J’accuse of American military leadership during the Vietnam War, see H. R. McMaster’s Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam.

Eliot A. Cohen’s Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime is purportedly a favorite read of President Bush’s. It argues that successful leaders like Ben-Gurion, Churchill, Clemenceau, and Lincoln kept a tight rein on their generals and never confused officers’ esoteric military expertise with either political sense or strategic resolution.

In The Mask of Command, Keegan examines the military competence of Alexander the Great, Wellington, Grant, and Hitler, and comes down on the side of the two who fought under consensual government. In The Soul of Battle, I took that argument further and suggested that three of the most audacious generals—Epaminondas, Sherman, and Patton—were also keen political thinkers, with strategic insight into what made their democratic armies so formidable.

How politicians lose wars is also of interest. See especially Ian Kershaw’s biography Hitler, 1936–1945: Nemesis. Mark Moyar’s first volume of a proposed two-volume reexamination of Vietnam, Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954–1965, is akin to reading Euripides’ tales of self-inflicted woe and missed chances. Horne has written a half-dozen classics, none more engrossing than his tragic To Lose a Battle: France 1940.

Few historians can weave military narrative into the contemporary political and cultural landscape. James McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom does, and his volume began the recent renaissance of Civil War history. Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August describes the first month of World War I in riveting but excruciatingly sad detail. Two volumes by David McCullough, Truman and 1776, give fascinating inside accounts of the political will necessary to continue wars amid domestic depression and bad news from the front. So does Martin Gilbert’s Winston S. Churchill: Finest Hour, 1939–1941. Donald Kagan’s On the Origins of War and the Preservation of Peace warns against the dangers of appeasement, especially the lethal combination of tough rhetoric with no military preparedness, in a survey of wars from ancient Greece to the Cuban missile crisis. Robert Kagan’s Dangerous Nation reminds Americans that their idealism (if not self-righteousness) is nothing new but rather helps explain more than two centuries of both wise and ill-considered intervention abroad.

Any survey on military history should conclude with more abstract lessons about war. Principles of War by Clausewitz remains the cornerstone of the science. Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Art of War blends realism with classical military detail. Two indispensable works, War: Ends and Means, by Angelo Codevilla and Paul Seabury, and Makers of Modern Strategy, edited by Peter Paret, provide refreshingly honest accounts of the timeless rules and nature of war.

—Victor Davis Hanson




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