May 10, 2007
WAR: Standing Against Evil
Mohammed Fadhil, of Iraq the Model, writes in today's NY Daily News about how the Congressional Democrats look from Iraq:
I wasn't surprised when I saw Al Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, appear on Al Jazeera to announce America's defeat last week, not long after U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid did. Zawahiri claims Al Qaeda has won, and Reid claims America has lost.
But from here in Baghdad, I see only a war that's still raging - with no victory in sight for Al Qaeda or any other entity. In fact, I see Al Qaeda on the ropes, losing support among my fellow Iraqis.
In the midst of such a fierce war, sending more wrong messages could only further complicate an already complicated situation. It would only create more of a mess inside Iraq - a mess that would then be exploited by Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia for their own purposes: more iron-fisted control of the peoples and treasures of the region, more pushing the Middle East to crises and confrontations, and more spreading of their dark, backward ideologies.
And so, as an Iraqi, I say without hesitation: the American forces should stay here, and further reinforcements should be sent if the situation requires them. Not only that, these forces should be prepared to expand their operations whenever and wherever necessary to strike hard at the nests of evil that not only threaten Iraq and the Middle East, but seek to blackmail the whole world in the ugliest way through pursuing nuclear weapons.
You know, America went to Iraq for its own national interests; we don't do wars just to benefit somebody else. But once you go in, and your friends on the grounds stick out their necks in reliance on you, and your other enemies pour in to fight you, how can you say you have no obligation to finish the job? And what credibility do you have with the people you will ask for help in the future if you abandon your friends?
It's not like this is a morally ambiguous battle:
Those who prefer to bury their heads in the dirt today, and withdraw from this difficult fight, will be cursed forever for abandoning their duty when they were most capable. I don't understand why someone who has all the tools for victory would refuse to fight an enemy that reminds us every day that it is evil - with all the daily beheadings, torture and violations of all humane laws and values.
Well said. Read the whole thing. RedState's Jeff Emanuel has much more from Iraq in the same vein.
Everything was going great until that bastard Harry Reid had open his big trap.
Remember when Saddam declared vicrory after the first Gulf War? Sometimes people say stuff that has no basis in reality just because it sounds good and gets them out of an immediate situation. Pretending that Harry Reid's comments mean a hill of beans to anyone is a bunch of malarkey. The propagandists in the middle east just make crap up. They don't need Harry Reid. Besides, most Americans don't know Harry Reid. How many arabs do? Do you really think al Qaeda was sitting around all despondent until this quote came over the wire? The forces of chaos in the region do not needs bulletin board material. They can say whatever they want.
I agree that we owe something to the people of Iraq because of the hell we have unleashed there. But, at some point, we need to consider if the effort of the troops is leading to anything. I may be wrong on this, and I'm sure someone will correct me, but didn't the vetoed bill say that a pull out plan was to be put in place by September unless there was a compelling reason not to? Progress towards some clearly defined goal would be compelling.
Now that more than a few Repubs are talking about withdrawal, will that make it OK?
A few questions from me;
What constitutes finishing the job?
What is the downside (besides Turkey being upset) of a three state solution?
Why is Iran acting with absolute immunity in all this?
Is Sean Penn visiting Iraq any different than a right-wing journalist visiting Iraq?
I guess the racists were right a few years back, though. The Iraqis were not ready for freedom.
Yeah,drive-bys by cheerleaders for the debacle who only venture outside the Green Zone surrounded by troops are certainly enlightening.Do yourself a favor and sample some real war reporting,say,for instance,Patrick Cockburn in The Independent,or Pepe Escobar in Asia Times Online.
And isn't it about time you dispel yourself of the notion there were compelling American interests to invade Iraq?Like imaginary WMDs,imaginary links to AlQueda,and imaginary democracies with American fingerprints on their constitution,military,and intelligence services-not to mention the pending oil grab.Of course,if spending half a trillion taxpayer dollars to increase oil and defense industry revenues (the sacred free market principle of socialized risk and privatized profit) is a compelling national interest,this war is already a raging fucking success.
It's amazing, really, thinking about the progression of comments from people like AnonE.Mouse... a few years ago it was basically "I hate Bush because he got us into a war in Iraq"...now it's much more "The War in Iraq is immoral and cannot be won, because I hate Bush."
Of course RG actually didn't read the previous post as it never says, "I have Bush."
I would say this is pretty much all the folks on your side of the aisle have left. This "war" (remember it is not actually a war) is a boondoggle on its good days. What GOP Inc. wants is a blank check with no accountability, no responsibility and no oversight. And somehow you all find that to be just fine. I think many people feel that the folks that got us into this position are not qualified to be the ones who get us out.
I'm used to assclowns like Rubber Goose simply making shit up to bolster their arguments(not unlike the way the war was sold,as a matter of fact).The last five years have amply demonstrated that our Keystone Krusaders(especially the pc warriors fighting the war from their keyboards,like Rubber Goose)are either ignorant or mendacious.
Yeah, drive-bys by cheerleaders for the debacle who only venture outside the Green Zone surrounded by troops are certainly enlightening.
What the hell are you talking about? Mohammed Fadhil lives outside the green zone. Baghdad is his home. How do you write something like that? It doesn't even make a shred of sense.
I don't understand why someone who has all the tools for victory would refuse to fight an enemy that reminds us every day that it is evil
I assume Zaphod & Rubber Goose agree with this. So when's your flight to Bagdad guys? You bring you weapon with you, or do they supply you with it when you get there? I'm SO PROUD as an American to know there are brave men like you, going over there to fight for freedom in the face of such evil.
Good luck, stay safe, and come home in one piece. I'll be praying for you.
Jesus,some of the readers here need program notes.I was responding to intrepid reporter Jeff Emanuel reporting 'from Iraq'.
Mike, although we frequently have a different perspective, I've read enough of your commentary to know that you are better than the chickenhawk bullshit. Don't sell yourself short.
No source is good enough for some people to cut with the ad hominem attacks. I mean, here I'm quoting Mohammed, who has lived in Iraq his entire life, and Jeff, who (a) is a veteran of the 2003 invasion and (b) just went back and traveled around Iraq for two weeks (yes, outside the Green Zone), interviewing contractors and Iraqis and riding with troops in the field.
I'd be interested to know where is this mythical part of Iraq that is not like the parts that Iraqis live in and US soldiers patrol.
Zufall - I have written before about the victory question. The three-state solution...such things did not work so well in Yugoslavia, Palestine, Northern Ireland, or the Indian subcontinent. The question about Iran is a good one, and one I intend to return to again in the near future.
Help me out here-I'm not sure where I attacked ad hominem.I questioned the reliability of embedded reports and responded appropriately to an assclown who attributed words to me I never wrote.Oh yeah,I also tried to help restore sensibility to one of your readers.
As you know,but apparently choose to ignore,Mr.Fadhil is not among the overwhelming majority of his countrymen(an even greater majority when the Kurdish are not counted)who want the occupation of their country to end.
As I implied in my original comment,reporters who only venture outside the Green Zone accompanied by troops(like Mr.Emanuel) are qualified only to comment on the daily life of the troops and their inevitable influence on the words and behaviour of the Iraqis they interact with(I'm polite to the cop who pulls me over for going five over,but it's not what I'm thinking).American patrols control only what they're patrolling.Spend a month reading some unembedded reporting and see what I mean.
Are you advocating a one-state solution for Israel/Palestine?
As for the 'chickenhawk bullshit',I've noticed it's considered bullshit mostly by chickenhawks.
Sticking to the unified Iraq plan because the 3 state plan did not work elsewhere is pretty weak. The Kurds are already seperated. The Sunnis and Shiites may be seperating themselves on their own. What is the downside to Re-drawing the boundaries and starting over. I would vote for staying in the region if our troops were there to keep the Shiite state from invading the Sunni state. That is a clear objective. It won't be pleasant, but it is clear.
My problem is the wishy-washy nature of the mission. Victory and defeat are sort of nebulous. That is a crappy position to put the military in.
Clarity, baby. That's what I want.
I will not argue the observations and experiences of the people over there. I may sound disrespectful to say that despite what the guys in the Redstate article see every day I would go in the opposite direction. There is enough contradictory evidence (hence my Sean Penn reference) that it seems like it should all be a wash.
I'm beginning to ramble. And my lack of intelligence and writing skill are about to be troublesome.
Oh yeah, I also tried to help restore sensibility to one of your readers.
Riiiiight. You are so pathetically full of yourself it's ridiculous.
Now that would be an example of an ad hominem attack.
The proper response to a clever riposte like zaphod's would be something along the lines of
I know you are but what am I?
I more than sympathize with Mohammed Fadhil and his fellow Iraqis; the US unleashed the horrors of war across their country with no realistic plan for stability. Now, after four years of anarchy, chaos and civil war, we're as clueless as the day we arrived.
As Crank points out, we are morally obligated to clean up this mess.
Also, as a foreign policy realist, I shudder to think of the future nightmares that will arise from Iraq's devastation.
Still, I think Harry Reid and John Murtha are heroes. Why? Our imbecilic and impotent president has had this war on cruise control for four years. And Congress' legal authority is limited against such an obstinate force as the Bush Administration. The only power they have is to apply the breaks. In doing so, they force this administration to account...FINALLY!!
Lets hope the wake up causes the President to take responsible steps to clean up the mess (eg consult allies in the region and around the globe; work through international alliances; provide necessary funding and troops etc. )
I appreciate the kind words (and, believe me, they're returned in kind), but . . .
I am DEAD TIRED of keyboard warriors sending America's finest youth to die in the goddamn meatgrinder based on some philosophical notion of what's right/wrong, or good/bad.
I'm sick of it! If folks wanna fight the good fight, then go fu*kin' fight it, for goodness sake. Let the 20 year olds reach 30. Enough is enough. Didn't we learn the lesson 34 years ago?
(Things seem to have turned out pretty well for us, all things considered. And none of our boys died for it.)
The Bush Administration's ability to do nothing in Iraq is limitless.
Remember how everything was considered urgent last fall, but people said Bush had to wait until after the mid-terms to make any major changes; plus everyone was waiting for the Iraq Study Group's recommendations.
It appeared everything was coming to a head in December, but Bush waited another month to announce his big new plan -- "the Surge," which consisted of nothing more than slapping a 'new and improved' sticker on our efforts and wouldn't even bring our troop levels up to their previous numbers.
Now we're heading into Memorial Day weekend, four months into "the Surge," and the President can't fathom Congress' nerve to ask him to account....FINALLY!!
You know, I don't hear opponents of the war lining up to shut up ... so as long as they don't, those of us who do support the war have an obligation to answer them.
That whole 'chickenhawk' thing is just an attempt to have a one-sided argument.
I thinks that's a specious argument, Crank. The majority of the country opposes the war, yet a very vocal minority keeps pounding the drum on a daily basis, demanding that young men & women (with a lot less power or voice) go over to fight & die in a badly-conceived, clumsily-executed war.
I think that's outrageous.
But . . . then we have to hear no end of overheated rhetoric about how the future of Western Civilization swings in the balance, that it's a Manechian struggle between the forces of good and evil, blah, blah, blah. And that a pile of BS, and I think everyone spewing it knows as much.
So my point is, if one truly believes that the future of freedom is on the table, he's mighty selfish to sit at his keyboard, encouraging and cheerleading, but not actually fighting as this epic battle goes down.
If I were a few generations older, I'd sure hate to know I sat at my typewriter composing propaganda and over-glorified copy, as my fellow citizens stormed the beach at Normandy, or flushed suicidal soldiers out of caves on Guadalcanal. When freedom really was at stake in that war, men from 18-45 years-old SERVED. They didn't just talk, they fought. 16 million of them. 400,000 of whom gave their lives.
It's moral cowardice at this point to support an obvious clusterf**k of a war, without getting some skin in the game.
I respect you on many levels Crank (and if I'm out of line, I offer sincere apologies on a personal level), but we really couldn't be further apart on this one, right down to a basic ethical/philosophical core. I won't use the term, "Chickenhawk," because I think it's cheap & insulting. But as to behaviors or ideals, I'll call em as I see em.
You "don't hear opponents of the war lining up to shut up"?That tortured sentence is worthy of Coach from Cheers.
Nice evasion of the issue that we don't SEE proponents of the war lining up to enlist to fight the Clash of Civilizations.Your 'obligation' goes beyond simply answering war critics-rhetoric is cheap.Mighty few of you have felt obliged to answer with a few years of service or even a few dollars in the way of increased taxes to pay for your debacle.Neoconservatives and their toadies thought they could do Empire on Ten Dollars a Day-thank goodness this bunch of incompetents weren't around in the days when the heavyweight division had some real contenders,like Germany and Japan.
Chickenhawk isn't cheap and insulting enough for the cowardly enablers of this international crime of historic dimensions.
I'll stick up for Crank here. Just because someone is for the deployment of American troops in a region does not obligate that person to strap on his boots and start marching towards that region. We have a well trained professional military ready to serve that purpose...lets leave it to them.
If I think they should build a new bridge across the Hudson, does that obligate me to go out there and start planting steal beams into the water...of course not.
That is not to say we shouldn't always consider carefully the dangers into which we may place our soldiers -- one hundred of whom lost their precious lives last month in Iraq.
Its now clear nobody within the administration properly considered the reasons for which we sent our soldiers half way around the world four years ago. Their lack of judgment is tragedy of epoch proportions.
Due to their lack of judgment, Iraq's instability now poses a horrific risk to the region and the world; and thousands of Iraqi civilians are slaughtered each month.
Should we stick our heads in the sand and forget about this mess? I don't think so; but that does not obligate me to head for Middle East, does it?
Sadly, we're stuck with the same boob of a commander in chief that created the mess -- therein lies the challange of the current situation. Sadly there are no easy answers; but due to work of a Democratic Congress, sharper people than the President are starting to get involved.
Comparing an elective invasion and occupation of a sovereign state that was sold to the voters of this country(and members of the UN) with manufactured evidence(that's lies,folks) ,that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands and destruction of Iraqi civil society,that has cost 500 billion(and counting)borrowed dollars,comparing that to building a bridge across the Hudson-that's not apples and oranges,that's apples and Mars.
We HAD a well trained professional military before this began.If you've been paying attention,you'll discover an increasing number of military experts(not the ones on the administration payroll)sounding alarms about the state of the military.Some evidence of the truth in those warnings are declining standards pertaining to education and criminal backgrounds demanded of new recruits,as well as expanding the age range upwards(I'm waiting to see recruiting ads in my AARP magazine soon).Troops are being treated like the proverbial rented mule with substandard equipment,multiple rotations,and extended tours(we don't need to go into the deplorable conditions the wounded endure nor the appalling practice of tagging wounded vets with "personality disorders" to avoid giving them VA care,do we?).Ask citizens of Kansas how well the deployment of the Guard in Iraq is working out.
The person you're defending,Patrick G, is the same person who's claiming this is "not a morally ambiguous battle"(there's not usually a whole lot of moral ambiguity involved in bridge building) and quotes someone saying America should not only stay but send reinforcements(and no doubt he had a flag pin on his lapel as he risked blisters to his fingertips typing those brave words).I just don't see him or his kind doing shit to make that happen other than cheerleading from the sidelines.If I think a fight is that important,I give it 100%-I don't see that kind of committment from these asstalkers.This one in particular seems to think it's a spectator event like a baseball game or The Sopranos.
Now that would be an example of an ad hominem attack.
Let's see... You attack me as lacking sensibility and then you complain about an ad hominem attack from me. I'm so ashamed.
Comparing an elective invasion and occupation of a sovereign state that was sold to the voters of this country (and members of the UN) with manufactured evidence...
I keep hearing this argument over and over again and I think to myself, you must think we're all too stupid to use Google. I don't know of a single senior Congressional Democrat (from the time when the resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq was passed) who didn't make the same argument the Bush admin made about Saddam's WMDs. Even Ted Kennedy in his speech arguing AGAINST war pointed out the probable cost in American lives when Saddam used his chemical weapons against our soldiers. By the way, the Democrats were in CONTROL of the Senate (thanx to Jim Jeffords party switch the previous year) when the resolution was passed.
Then there are the many statements from the entire foreign policy team of the Clinton administration warning about Saddam's WMDs. The concern was so serious that Congress passed and President Clinton signed a resolution calling for regime change in Iraq as official US policy. This was at a time when George W Bush was still the governor of Texas and his presidency was but a gleam in the eyes of the neo-cons.
The fact is it WASN'T lies, folks. It was just bad intelligence. It's certainly more fun for you to close your eyes, screw up your face and believe otherwise but it just ain't so.
zaphod,you complained of an inability to make sense of a perfectly clear allusion to drive-by war reporting-I was only trying to help clarify the muddled thinking and poor reading skills you appeared to be suffering.And if you'll read again what I wrote about ad hominems,I wasn't complaining-I was making fun of you.
I don't think you're too stupid to use Google-I just think you're too stupid to understand what you find when you get where you're going.The war was launched in 2003(Clinton's presidency ended in January 2001 for the historically illiterate like zaphod)using carefully selected stovepiped intelligence and ignoring any caveats,of which there were many.While the Democratic majority Senate demonstrated cowardice in authorizing this fiasco,images of mushroom clouds came from the administration.The urgency of war in the Middle East is a Bush baby,misconceived by the criminal occupants of the White House(next time you're Googling on the internets,try Nuremberg,or wars of aggression).
zaphod,you complained of an inability to make sense of a perfectly clear allusion to drive-by war reporting-I was only trying to help clarify the muddled thinking and poor reading skills you appeared to be suffering...
The post was 95% about Mohammed Fadhil's oped in the Post. Crank only mentioned Jeff Emanuel at the very end. Leaving aside the question of whether it's fair to characterize Emanuel's reporting as "drive-by" it's obviously absurd to refer to Fadhil's reporting in that matter. No amount of "clarifying" is going to make your comments into something sensible.
And golly! Thanks for reminding me when Clinton left office but here's something you might want to think about. Decisions aren't made in a vacuum. The Bush admin was NOT the solely responsible for "images of mushroom clouds". Check out Clinton's December 16, 1998 address to the nation where he explained why he'd just bombed Iraq.
As for Bush's urgency, well, in the wake of 9/11 I don't blame the President for taking the war to one of the world's known state sponsors of terror.
I was staying out of this dog fight but...Iraq was not a sponsor of terrorism. I am not defending the policies of Iraq but terrorism was nothing but a threat to Hussein. The way he ran his government and the ideology of terrorists are at different ends of the spectrum. This is a part of why the "war on Iraq" is such a problem. Iraq was and is not the "center of terrorism" as the Admin likes to call it. Iraq, even according to the Admin, had nothing to do with 9/11. So, zaphod, your last paragraph of your last post just makes it seem that you are willing to continue making the connection that has been completely discredited and thus, well, not in touch with reality.
I don't particularly care if the original post was 95% about how to properly cook a turkey or the Krebs Cycle.If you linked to and read (and understood) the articles in question it was clear what I was referring to.
For some reason,you seem to mistake me for an apologist for Clinton and the Democrats.I vociferously condemned Clinton for the sanctions he continued throughout the 90's as well as his policy of American air terrorism ,in Iraq as well as Yugoslavia (not to mention his botching health care reform,NAFTA,telecommunications deregulation,etc.I confess to supporting his promotion of blow jobs,cigars,and saxophone music).The fact remains,however,that Clinton didn't launch an invasion and occupation-that would be Bush and his puppetmasters.
I figured you were someone whose pants remained soiled post 9/11.With just a few amendments,your absolution of guilt could have come from a good German in 1939 or a good Soviet in 1979.However,just repeating something over and over doesn't make it true.
I would like to correct a mistake I made in a previous comment.War supporters are not always ignorant or mendacious-sometimes they are ignorant and mendacious.
I was staying out of this dog fight but...Iraq was not a sponsor of terrorism.
Yes it was. And I didn't say iraq had anything to do with 9/11. Just because Iraq probably wasn't involved in that particular attack that doesn't mean it wasn't involved in terrorism.
I don't particularly care if the original post was 95% about how to properly cook a turkey or the Krebs Cycle.If you linked to and read (and understood) the articles in question it was clear what I was referring to...
Crank made a post and you ignored 95% of it to make a specious attack. I understood you all right.
And I don't care whether you supported Clinton or not. It's beside the point.
RE: "I vociferously condemned Clinton for the sanctions he continued throughout the 90's as well as his policy of American air terrorism ,in Iraq as well as Yugoslavia."
When did Gary Kucinich start posting on Crank's website?
Actually,zaphhod,it's you who kept bringing up Clinton,as if I give a fuck what he said in 1998-I didn't like what he said and did then any more than I like what Bush is doing now.I still find it difficult to understand the right wing's obsession with all things Clinton.He was a reliable tool (rimshot) for advancing the cause of American economic and military hegemony.If he was a Republican,you guys would have been naming bus stations after him.
While my original comment was intended to address the somewhat skewed perspective of embedded reporting(which you still seem to have difficulty comprehending),I didn't exactly ignore 95% of his post-I subsequently pointed out he overlooks the 78% of Iraqis who want the US out of their country,which he has since ignored in 100% of his following two posts.
Is Gary Kucinich supposed to be Dennis Kucinich?You may want to have zaphod show you how to Google-he claims some expertise.
Actually,zaphhod,it's you who kept bringing up Clinton...
Right, because like I said previously, the decision to go to war wasn't made in a vacuum. Whether you liked Clinton or not is completely beside the point.
While my original comment was intended to address the somewhat skewed perspective of embedded reporting...
Yada yada yada... Fahdil isn't an embed.
I didn't exactly ignore 95% of his post...
At the point where I jumped into the conversation that's exactly what you'd done. Bitching about embeds in a post that isn't about an embed doesn't make any sense. The problem isn't with my comprehension. It's with you, Bosco.
Jesus,it's really true.You last 28% of true believers are either hopelessly stupid or just fucking insane.
Did you read the link to Jeff Emaunuel and "much more from Iraq" or not?Did you read my entire comment or not?I was responding to WHAT BASEBALL CRANK PROVIDED A LINK TO,dumbass.Yeah,I bitched about the original post representing embedded journalists(about 33% of my original comment,to keep it in terms that seem to be meanigful to you, for whatever silly reason),especially those with pro-war bias,providing any enlightening insight.
Then I responded to WHAT BASEBALL CRANK WROTE about American national interests being served in Iraq(the remaining 66% of my comment).Taken together,they were intended to show that I am 100% critical of the invasion and occupation,as well as it's defenders.I apologize for any lack of clarity in my writing-I'm new to right wing political sites(I linked here for the baseball)and have obviously grown too comfortable dealing with people with triple digit IQs who apparently have been compensating my shortcomings.I'll try to keep things more obvious for lowbrows like yourself.
As far as Mr. Fadhil,yes,he's a dentist who lives in Iraq he's a dentist who lives in Iraq he's a dentist who lives in Iraq-I understand that,you fucking moron.He also is not representative of anti-American sentiment in Iraq.78% of Iraqis want the occupation to end.I'll do the math for you-that means Mr.Fadhil is among the 22% who want us to stay.
Don't bother. He can't (or won't) hear you.
Yes he's a dentist who lives in Iraq and he's what the Crank's post was about. You, however, didn't respond to what Crank's post was about. And because someone called you on it, you're now foaming at the mouth. Brilliant.
Anon, even if Crank's post was about Jeff Emanuel, your argument would still have been lazy but at least then it would have made sense. That said, your implication that the reporting from embeds isn't "real war reporting" shows how skewed YOUR persepective is. Embeds have died in Iraq. Tell Bob Woodruff that he wasn't doing "real war reporting" when he almost lost his life.
You made a bullshit argument and I called you on it. Get over yourself. You don't get to steamroll me. Boo hoo. Why don't you wag your finger at me again and complain about ad hominem attacks.
As for being the last 28%, I don't care if I'm 28% or 98%. If 98% of the people agreed with me and we were wrong, then I'd still be wrong. If only 28% agree with me but we're right, well then, at least I'm that.
Problem is, you are wrong.
Problem is, you are wrong.
I knew I was probably teeing that up for somebody.
You have your opinion. I have mine.