Monday, August 29, 2005

It's Time For Us To Go

James Walcott is always a great read and insight into the reality based world.

Nearly everyone debating the war (or, more precisely, how bad a shape the war effort is in) views it solely as a matter of what We do. It isn't about US anymore, it's never been all about US. Whatever minty new words are put into Bush's mouth aren't going to make a fig of difference to the insurgents, and refinding our "resolve" isn't going to create enough soldiers out of thin air to change the reality on the ground. .......A blithe, play-acting President on a bicycle on the ranch, under siege from a growing camp of aggrieved Americans while the finest, middle class youth of the nation is bled white thousands of miles away in the midst of a religious civil war triggered by the United States - with no hope of victory, no hope of Jeffersonian democracy, no hope for honor. Yes, this does sound like 1968 - minus the bicycle, and with lower approval ratings and a more mainstream opposition.
"Yet, of course, the toothless, political cowardice of the Democrats must not slip away into the night of history. Particularly in this Congress, lockstep support for national security in the "time of war" has given the Administration the social checkbook it needs to write the bills for this war. Far too many Democrats went along for the ride, bought too easily into the argument that everything is different after 9-11. They missed the fact that one thing didn't change, despite the panic of the President and his little yelping terriers: we still have some national character in this country, we can't be sold a bill of goods forever, we know when to hold 'em and to fold 'em.
"And folks, it's time to fold 'em. When the argument for continuing war is to merely to honor the dead that have gone before with more dead, with more wounded, with more destruction, you know the jig is up, that the military maneuver is merely in the form of a forlorn hope, destined to die for nothing. The Iraqi civil war will rage until there is no Iraq. There never was an Iraq, except as the construct of an empire and a dictator; we had no business in the squabbles of religious tribes........."There is nothing to this but to admit failure, and save American lives. Perhaps that is not honorable. Perhaps it leaves a vaccuum in the east, into which the hard-core religionists can step. To bad: it is done. And we need to be done."

Admitedly this is a sad thing to say. The neo cons will no doubt sqawk(pardon the sick unintended pun) bloody murder. The good news is we can then get on with phase 2 of the real war on terror and maybe get back to truly advancing our goals and rebuilding relationships around the world.

You can read the full post here.


Blogger The Donkey said...

The Donkey was surprized to hear what Ron said to Linda and the Maniac. Ron needs to listen.

Ron does know that the Maniac is a veteran. He also knows that the Maniac can not get work due to problems from Agent Orange. He also knows that Linda has to care for her husband.

The Donkey's son, after hearing of the situation, has volunteered to help with the house maintenance tasks of this couple. The Donkey also will help because it is the right thing to do. If Linda feels an obligation to pay the Donkey or his son for the work, fine. If she can not pay now, then she can pay it foward later.

The Donkey and family feel a duty to help our neighbors. The Donkey knows the obligation and debt he has to veterans.

The Donkey is not shocked to know some Americans just want the wounded veterans to shut up and die. There are many selfish people. The Donkey expected more humanity from Ron.

11:40 PM, August 29, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, then, the Donkey can show some respect to the other veterans, and those in the military here, too.

There's at least one I can think of...

Will YOU enlist, too, Donkey?

7:14 AM, August 30, 2005  
Blogger Dedanna said...

And, what the hell does that have to do with what Ron's posted here, anyway?

Not OTT:

It is time to fold 'em. We lost in Korea, we lost in Vietnam, and never should have entered a war that was illegal to in the first place again, given our own past (which is truly glorified in the history textbooks).

We've screwed up, we've given everyone else (and haven't really done that) what we should have been giving ourselves, and played right into corporate hands doing it.

BUT... let me remind you:

We did it to ourselves.

The Dems became pansies at the 2004 election, the Repugs because truly repugnant (to say the least). We rolled over and played dead as American people, allowed ourselves to become brainwashed, robotic idiots, instead of thinking to ourselves, "is this truly right???".

This is why people want to leave the country. We see what this so-called "America", a supposedly Democratic society (which is actually a Republic) has turned into, yet we put up with it.

Those who don't... well, there may be a handful left, but nowhere near enough to fight what there is now.

To believe that the people can win if they put up a big enough stink about things, is to be way too idealistic any more. None of the politicians (and I do mean none) of them, give a rat's ass about what we think.

So, why are the few who are left, whining and moaning?

Because they can no longer afford to get out of here, that's why.

7:33 AM, August 30, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are so many things I disagree with on this Wallcot article I don't even know where to begin. so i will do a list because if I start on one point I will ramble.

1) The idea that we must fight on to honor the dead is a direct answer to the Cindy Sheehan "pull them out now" crowd. It is not a substitute for the mission of stabalizing Iraq. It is a cannard that we are only there now to honor the dead. Staying and finishing the job to honor the dead is an aspect of why staying is a good idea it is not a substitute for the mission.

2.) This may just be a rant so i apologize up front. But why would anybody admit defeat when the majority of the military men and women want to stay and fullfill the mission. I know some of you want to compare Iraq to Viet Nam but if you look at it point by point the dissimilarties out number the similarties. The people who advocate pulling out now ironically will make it a lot like Viet Nam when i.e. hundreds of thousand of innocent Iraqi's are murderded when we leave before security is gained. And what if people like Mr. Walcott had their way in WWII ? If he thinks things in Iraq are going bad he would have flipped out at the onset of our entry into WWII. I guess I just don'tr understand why we can't put things into historical percpective. I agree the post war plan was poor and cost american lives but that is no reason to cut and run. The military is largely proud of there work and want to finish the job Mr. Walcott certainly does not know more than the soldiers in the field.

3.) I love this country (i'm not saying you guys don't)I never want to admit defeat. I hear a lot of people say we need to restore our image in the world, leaving innocent Iraqi's to the murderous gangs who would take over if we left too soon would not help our image in the world In my opinion the best way to gain respect from other nations in the world is to succeed in Iraq. A stable democratic ragime in that part of the world will provide hope fopr the hopeless who in the past have turned to radical Islam for answers.

Finally I just want to say that I feel so strongly about this issue of staying the course it makes my head hurt when I hear people say pull out I honestly do not understand that way of thinking. I'm not trying to be hateful I truly do not understand how anyone can think that way.


8:25 AM, August 30, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark, this is for you.

..."Where does it go from here? The nightmare misadventure in Iraq is over, beyond the reach of any reasonable argument, though many more body bags will be filled. In Washington, chicken hawks will still be squawking about "digging in" and winning, but Vietnam proved conclusively that no modern war of occupation would ever be won. Every occupation is doomed. The only way you "win" a war of occupation is the old-fashioned way, the way Rome finally defeated the Carthaginians: kill all the fighters, enslave everyone else, raze the cities and sow the fields with salt. Otherwise the occupied people will fight you to the last peasant, and why shouldn't they? If our presidential election fails to dislodge the crazy bastards who annexed Baghdad, many of us in this country would welcome regime change by any intervention, human or divine. But if, say, the Chinese came in to rescue us--Operation American Freedom--how long would any of us, left-wing or right, put up with an occupying army teaching us Chinese-style democracy? A guerrilla who opposes an invading army on his own soil is not a terrorist, he's a resistance fighter. In Iraq we're not fighting enemies but making enemies. As Richard Clarke and others have observed, every dollar, bullet and American life that we spend in Iraq is one that's not being spent in the war on terrorism. Every Iraqi, every Muslim we kill or torture or humiliate is a precious shot of adrenaline for Osama and al Qaeda. The irreducible truth is that the invasion of Iraq was the worst blunder, the most staggering miscarriage of judgment, the most fateful, egregious, deceitful abuse of power in the history of American foreign policy. If you don't believe it yet, just keep watching..."
From "With Trembling Fingers" by Hal Crowther. The best article of "summation" written in the past 3 years.

"I believe that if we had and would keep our dirty, bloody, dollar-crooked fingers out of the business of these nations so full of depressed, exploited people, they will arrive at a solution of their own. One that they design and want, one that they fight and work for. And if, unfortunately, their revolution must be of the violent type because the "haves" refused to share with the "have nots" by any peaceful method, at least what they get will be their own, and not the American style, which they don’t want and above all don’t want crammed down their throats by Americans."

From General David Shoup who resigned his commmission in 1966 because he did not think the Vietnam War was worth the life of one soldier.

General Zinni said we were going to rue the day we ever started this. That is because you cannot sort out the enemies. There are new enemies every day.

Do you, Mark, have any skin in the game?

Most of the soldiers I have heard want to go back because they want to help their buddies. The military does do a good job of making them think they are responsible for each other.

This war is a war of AGGRESSION started by us with no justification. It is nothing like WWII.

I wish we could save the Iraqis. Perhaps we could have in the beginning if we had gone in with 300,000 people like Shinseki suggested. NOW we would have to destroy the village in order to save it. Tens of thousands more Iraqis would die, maybe hundreds of thousands more. The Iraq Veterans Against the War I have heard are really upset because we are not helping the ones who need help now. Helping them was never our intent. And, probably, never will be. Why else would we have relied on a business crook for advice?

A Middle East specialist I heard before the war said we were going to wish within a year after the war that we had someone very like Saddam back in power. Those people are not like us. To keep Iraq one country, they needed a brutal "strongman." And, now they have none. They will break apart into the sects they were before Britain made a country of them. They have fought each other for thousands of years. And all that will happen if we are in the middle of it is our kids will get killed and maimed.

The doctor from Iraq that Bush had at his 2005 State of the Union address said Iraq has been set back 30 years (for women.) They had it bettr under Saddam than they will have it under the clerics and the new Constitution.

8:59 AM, August 30, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

saddam used to put women's faces in acid yep they had it better under him. the new draft constitution guarantees 25% reprentation for women in thier parliment (or whatever they call it) hell we don't even do that. I read most of what you copied there I am not saying that things are great in Iraq. I just think pulling out now is the wrong thing to do...we can eventually pull out when the Iraqi's can and will fight for their own country that may take years but it is something that must be also define this as a war of occupation i don't think that is what it is as we want to get the country stable and leave, yes we will have bases in Iraq years from now but we have them in Germany and I don't think they consider us occupiers. I understand that things look bleak but to me that is the time to show strength not weakness. I do agree with you we should have been more aggressive in fighting the war at the outset and we still may have to be more aggressive with the terroorists flooding in, part of the problem in my opinion is that we have been fighting this war in a PC manner (not shooting at Mosques after reciving sniper fire) while I have do not have my skin in the fight to of my friends have been over there and they tell me they see progress and want to finish the job.


11:33 AM, August 30, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Again, noone said Hussein was a nice guy. BUT, a woman professor at one of the university's there said you had it pretty good under Saddam if you were apolitical. AND, we had our own civil war here in which half a million? died, but they were not civilians. As almost any ruler would do, after the uprising after Gulf War I, he killed the ones who rose up. The ones we, shamefully, encouraged to rise up and then deserted.

This war is not helping the situation in the Middle East. They need to solve the problems themselves. Then it will be on THEIR heads. And their own solution is the only solution they will ever accept long term. And it is not likely to be the solution WE would prefer.

I don't know when your friends were there, but it seems to get worse right along. From everything I have read, the only safe place is in the Green Zone. A million Iraqis signed a petition asking us to leave. Some of our own generals believe that our presence there just fuels the insurgency. Do you read Dahr Jamil sp.? I know the Baghdad girl blogger told us to leave a long time ago.

There is no good way out of this thing. Leaving is not good, and staying is not good. Even IF we win the victory, with the differences in culture, I think it will be a short-term victory.

You may not think it is an occupied country, but THEY think it is an occupied country. Most of them.

The little kindnesses our soldiers do for those people is probably the most positive thing in the entire war, but that is offset by the soldiers who act like thugs. They used to hate Saddam, but now many and maybe most appear to hate us more. I think people hate whoever they perceive as being the cause of their current and/or greatest misery. And they know Saddam got the country up and running in 3 months after the first Gulf War, and he used Iraqi workers to do it. We have had 3 years, and the situation with electricity, water and sanitation seems to have gotten worse, if anything. On top of that, he may have been a thug, but he was THEIR thug. From their country.

As I said, there is no good answer to this problem. Not if we stay, and not if we leave. But it has cost every person in this country about $1000 to this point in time. And that does not include the $1500 per cost of the Defense Budget per year per person.

I think it would depend on where you are in the country as to whether or not you are better off. And, all the women I have read or listened to think they were better off under Saddam. Some of them said that right away. Many more of them are saying it now.

Again, I can only go by what I read, and I don't claim to be an expert, but I read all the time.

It is a war we should never have started. And the people responsible should all resign or be impeached for being the authors of such a disaster.

I cannot tell you the rage I would feel if it was one of my kids facing death or injury in this fiasco without end!! And IF they want to keep it going, they will almost certainly have to reinstate the draft eventually. When it is the kids of the upper middle class who start getting drafted, THEN the outrage will begin. The unpopularity this bunch of thieves is dealing with now is largely because the people are beginning to get fired up over what DOES affect them personally. High gas prices.

3:09 PM, August 30, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

annon, that was a nice post I guess I just have to disagree with you that things are as bad as you think, once again historically speaking the sacrifice has not been that great ...I do agree with you on a point though I don't think most americans understand that we are at war Bush has not asked the bulk of americans to sacrifice anything unlike WWII with rations and whatnot. I personally do not think a draft is warranted yet but certainly it is something that could be used. Any way I completely agree with you the Iraq situation is indeed a mess but as i said before this is not the time to shirk our responsibility in fact that is when we must show more resolve. President Bush has said before the that the job would be difficult and it would take a long time to settle the unrest at least on that point he was right (if you dont believe that check David Corn's web-site he even admits although tacitly that Bush did warn AMericans that it would be a tough road ahead) Anywho I appreciate what you said in your post you seem to be rational in your arguements which makes it easier for me to take. who knows maybe you have gotten me to listen to your side more than I normally would :)


3:58 PM, August 30, 2005  
Blogger The Donkey said...

The Donkey will not re-enlist. The Donkey does not love this war and the men that cause it. It amuses the Donkey how cowards want the Donkey in Iraq yet want to stay home themselves.

The Donkey will countinue to encourage the aggressive posters to go to the military. More war lovers over there will mean more people that want out of Iraq can come home. If you want to fight, join up. If you are brave and think this war is good, enlist. Your posts will not kill any Iraqis.

9:28 PM, August 30, 2005  
Blogger Jim said...

I'd like to pose a hypothetical, if I might . . .

Let's suppose that there never were WMDs in Iraq and everybody knew it. (Just go with it for a minute, OK?) Let's also suppose that there was no connection between Iraq/Saddam and any terrorists. (Stay with me.) Let's also leave 9/11 out of the picture for a minute.

So now we have a clean slate.

Now let's suppose that in 2002 George W. Bush speaks before the nation and says, "There is this despicable tyrant over in Iraq named Saddam. He has gassed and done many terrible, unspeakable things to his countrymen. If we send 140,000 of our military over there and spend $200 or $400 billion dollars over a few years, we can kick that sum-bitch out of there and the remaining 25 million Iraqis will be so much better off."

That's it. How about it? Should we go?


George W. Bush in 2002 speaks before the nation and says, "There's a bunch of countries over there in the middle east, and they are not democracies. It is the policy of this administration that all sovereign nations should, nay, must be democratic, and so we will send 140,000 of our military over there and spend $200 or $400 billion dollars over a few years, and kick that sum-bitch dictator out of there so that Iraq will be a democracy and democracy will spread throughout the middle east and the world."

That's it. How about it? Should we go?

Because basically these are the two arguments now being used by most Administration supporters to justify the Iraq war.

There were no WMDs. There is no proven, significant connection to terrorist groups. There is no connection whatsoever between Iraq and 9/11. So we hear, "But 25 million Iraqis are better off because we removed a terrible tyrant." "We are spreading democracy throughout the middle east."

If you were a Senator in 2002 and one of these was Bush's justification for war, would you have voted for the war? Why?

10:11 PM, August 30, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

for Mark:

I am not always absolutely convinced I am right on every issue. And, you said you had been in Iraq. That means you know firsthand what I can only guess at. However, I do think that except for specific areas it is a lot worsee now than it was in 2003 or even 2004. Do you read Djar Jamil? He is a reporter in Iraq. He says it is total chaos.

I do think it is a different culture. We expect them to WANT to be like us. And they don't necessarily want to be like us.

There is no reason why people who see things a different way can't have a discussion. I am interested in your viewpoint because you have been there. And I am not happy that we will leave them in a mess if we get out anytime soon. But, I think we can get out with 1800 dead or with 5000 dead, and the end result will be the same. I could be wrong, but I would not want to risk my child's life on it. OF course we can win the war. IF we pretty much destroy the country and kill most of the people doing it. And that is probably what it would take.

BUT, their needs may have been YOUR concern, but they were never the primary concern of our government. 5000 years of history in the museum and libraries was not guarded when we invaded. The only building that was guarded was the oil ministry. AND the night before the bombing began, Bush did not tell the Iraqis to keep themselves safe OR to not hurt our soldiers. What he did tell them was to not sabotage the oil!!

Just please, do not tell me this war has anything to do with my freedom and liberty. It might have to do with trying to get oil cheap enough so that I don't have to lower my standard of living that much. It has made us more hated in the world. Meaning billions more people hate us than did before, and many of those probably hate us enough to die taking Americans out wherever they find them in the world.

I was "okay" with us going into Afghanistan. I knew after 9/11 we would bomb somebody. But, Iraq made no sense. General Zinni really thought it was stupid. Wesley Clark was not in favor of it, either. Neither was the late great Col. Hackworth. Or the CIA agent who wrote "Imperial Hubris."

The timing of the war was suspicious as well. It became an issue just before the 2002 elections in time to distract attention from Ken Lay and his relationship with the president, and messy things like that.

I just never believed Saddam was any kind of a real threat. I heard a lot of things about him, but never that he was stupid. And he had to have known that if we could trace anything major back to him, we would hit him with everything he had, and his little presidency would be OVER, and his country destroyed. And that WAS the reason they gave us for going to war in Iraq -- that he was an IMMINENT threat. FIRST they needed to concentrate on getting bin Laden. But they didn't and al Qaeda dispersed to 60 countries.

I don't remember Bush saying early on that it was going to take time. I remember Perle, Wolfowitz and others saying it would be a cakewalk, they would greet us with flowers, oil revenue would pay for the war, which would probably only cost $50 billion. Bush said it later.

And I remember Bush saying that astounding lie that we went to war with Iraq because Hussein wouldn't let the inspectors in. And then when he was asked about the fact that there were no WMD's he asked "What's the difference?" Meaning what difference does it make if the reasons I gave for going to war were all lies. I wanted to go to war, and I got to go to war and that is all that matters. If I lied to accomplish that goal, so what?

This is what the Baghdad Girl Blogger wrote in May of last year. She has not blogged now, for 6 weeks. I am worried about her. I know she is very concerned women will be more repressed now. She was probably a Sunni, and her family was probably better off than most. She was a computer programmer? before the war.

Baghdad Girl Blogger, May 7, 2004
People are seething with anger- the pictures of Abu Ghraib and the Brits in Basrah are everywhere… Everyone here in Iraq knows that there are thousands of innocent people detained. Some were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, while others were detained 'under suspicion'. In the New Iraq, it's "guilty until proven innocent by some miracle of God". People are so angry… even pro-occupation Iraqis find themselves silenced by this latest horror… People would rather be dead than sexually abused and degraded by the animals running Abu Ghraib prison. There was a time when people here felt sorry for the troops. No matter what one's attitude was towards the occupation, there were moments of pity towards the troops, regardless of their nationality. We would see them suffering the Iraqi sun, obviously wishing they were somewhere else and somehow, that vulnerability made them seem less monstrous and more human. That time has passed…And through all this, Bush gives his repulsive speeches. He makes an appearance on Arabic tv channels looking sheepish and attempting to look sincere, babbling on about how this 'incident' wasn't representative of the American people or even the army, regardless of the fact that it's been going on for so long. He asks Iraqis to not let these pictures reflect on their attitude towards the American people… and yet when the bodies were dragged through the streets of Falloojeh, the American troops took it upon themselves to punish the whole city. …this is a catastrophe. Your [Bush’s] credibility was gone the moment you stepped into Iraq and couldn't find the WMD... your reputation never existed… It seems that torture and humiliation are common techniques used in countries blessed with the American presence… All I can think about is the universal outrage when the former government showed pictures of American POWs on television… I remember the outcries from American citizens, claiming that Iraqis were animals for showing 'America's finest' fully clothed and unharmed. So what does this make Americans now?… There is nothing that is going to make this 'better'. Nothing. Through all of this, where is the Governing Council? Under what rock are the Puppets hiding? Why is no one condemning this? What does Bremer have to say for himself and for the Americans? Why this unbearable silence?… You've seen the troops break down doors and terrify women and children… curse, scream, push, pull and throw people to the ground with a boot over their head. You've seen troops shoot civilians in cold blood. You've seen them bomb cities and towns. You've seen them burn cars and humans using tanks and helicopters… The current situation in the south makes one wonder who, now, is going to implement a no-fly zone over areas like Falloojeh and Najaf to 'protect' the people this time around? I sometimes get emails asking me to propose solutions or make suggestions. Fine. Today's lesson:
“Don't rape, don't torture, don't kill, and get out while you can. . . . Chaos? Civil war? We'll take our chances -- just take your puppets, your tanks, your smart weapons, your dumb politicians, your lies, your empty promises, your rapists, your sadistic torturers and go."
Baghdad Girl Blogger

This is me again -- something I have on my truck.

Collateral Damage

“Can you help me get my arms back? Do you think the doctors can get me another pair of hands. If I don’t get another pair of hands I’ll commit suicide.”12 year old Iraqi boy who lost his arms, his father, pregnant mother, brother and twelve other relatives.


10:25 PM, August 30, 2005  
Blogger Dedanna said...

Perxactly. This war is not for the U.S.; it's for Iraq.

To me, the only war worth fighting, is one for me or my own. Other people's lives are their responsibility, not mine, and Iraq is not the responsibility of the American people. In particular, when I can not afford to raise them.

Tell me something: Is there anything at all that this war has done, directly for the United States?

No, all these billions of dollars for Iraq, and I can't even get medically treated when I desperately need to. All these billions of dollars for Iraqi oil, when we're spending $2.89 (at least) per gallon for gas.

The sad thing is, I honestly don't think it will ever end.

12:40 PM, August 31, 2005  

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