Saturday, June 09, 2007

End The War or Win The War?

June 9, 2007

In April 2007 Joe Biden (D. De) says, "Mr. President, you got to start moving combat troops out of harm's way now." In October 2002 Mr. Biden said, "We must be clear with the American people that we are committing to Iraq for the long haul; not just the day after, but the decade after."

In April 2007 Hillary Clinton (D. NY) says, “This is not America's war to win or lose. We have given the Iraqi people the chance to have freedom, to have their own country. It is up to them to decide whether or not they're going to take that chance.” In March 2007 she said, “I hope that the president will extricate us from Iraq before he leaves office. But let me assure you, if you doesn't, when I'm president, I will.” In September 2002 she said, "I can support the President, I can support an action against Saddam Hussein because I think it's in the long-term interests of our national security ..." In October 2002 she said, “…I believe the authority to use force to enforce that mandate is inherent in the original 1991 UN resolution, as President Clinton recognized when he launched Operation Desert Fox in 1998.”

In May 2007 Chris Dodd (D. Ct) said, “There is only one way to end this war responsibly. Congress must exercise its Constitutional responsibility to do what needs to be done to bring an end to our involvement in this civil war.” In March 2003 he said, “The current military action may only last a few days or a few weeks. But in the end, I have no doubt that our American service men and women will prevail in this conflict.” He added, “The United States is not the only nation that has a stake in rebuilding Iraq. The entire world has a huge stake in getting this right.”

In April 2007 former senator and failed vice-presidential candidate John Edwards (D. NC) said, “The withdrawal of all combat troops should be completed in about a year.” In February 2007 he said, “We need to be leaving Iraq. We need to start leaving now.” In February 2002 he said, “I think Iraq and Saddam Hussein present the most serious and most imminent threat.” In October 2002 he said, “It is in America's national interest to help build an Iraq at peace with itself and its neighbors, because a democratic, tolerant and accountable Iraq will be a peaceful regional partner, & such an Iraq could serve as a model for the entire Arab world.”

In April 2007 Barack Obama (D. Il) said, “…because of the distraction of Iraq, we have not finished the job in terms of making certain that we are driving back the Taliban, stabilizing the Karzai government, capturing bin Laden and making sure that we've rooted out terrorism in that region.” In October 2004 he said, “The War on Terror has to be vigorously fought… we have a deep national security interest in making certain that Iraq is stable. If not, not only are we going to have a humanitarian crisis, we are also going to have a huge national security problem on our hands…”

And on and on they go. One after another, every Democrat hopeful wishing to be president calls for an “end to the war,” even after speaking boldly on it at the outset of it, up until the 2004 campaign of failed hopeful, John ‘F’in Kerry (D. Ma) who is said to have served in Viet Nam.

Of the “don’t have a prayer” Democrat candidates, most all seem to have been solidly opposed and committed to their pacifist views then as now. Mike gavel, Democrat and former Alaska Senator said in February 2007, “… he [President Bush] can continue to believe in God or he can turn around and end the war.” Dennis Kucinich (D. Oh) said in April 2007, “We're in Iraq for oil. We're looking at attacking Iran for oil.”

I guess the thought of a rogue despotic regime as Iran with nuclear weapons is of no concern to Representative Kucinich. I also don’t think he has had to buy any gas in the past 30 years if he thinks all we are after is Middle East Oil. At the same time, he opposes our drilling our own oil in ANWR Alaska as well as he desires price controls on electricity and gas. Maybe he thinks the long gas lines of the 1970’s weren’t long enough.

Governor Bill Richardson (D NM) in May 2007 said, “…when we went into Iraq, I wanted to support the troops. But after incompetency, deceitfulness by this administration, the fact that there's no WMD, the link to al-Qaeda was enormously suspect--there is no basis for us to be there.” This is the same Bill Richardson who, 18 months earlier, wrote in his book, “At this point we must see this mission through [until] the Iraqis have achieved control over their own internal security. We owe them the opportunity to make their democracy work. We must not undermine their efforts now.”

Since the 2004 campaign season, the Democrat party, true to form, has stood for failure in Iraq and subsequently, whether they want to admit it or not, in the overall War on Terror. Not one ever mentions anything about winning the war, just ending it.

In some manner or another nearly all advocate a diplomatic ending. Negotiate with the insurgents. Does not diplomacy and negotiation entail compromise, give and take? Just what are they prepared to compromise on, to give up to a group of people that have no qualms high jacking passenger aircraft and flying them into occupied buildings? What possible middle ground could be found with people that slowly saw off a person’s head on video as they scream in pain and agony? What negotiations could be held with people that would line the walls of a school with explosives to blow up in the future, hoping to kill all the children inside just to instill fear in citizens of the area? What peace could Democrats possibly hope to find with such evil people as this?

With few exceptions, Republican hopefuls seem to see the dangers of decades of ignoring this growing problem of Islamofascists and their terror tactics around the globe. Even John McCain, (R.Az) who doesn’t enjoy the support of Republicans as much as he thinks he does, said in May 2007, “We have to continue because it's not just the Iraqi vital national security interests that are at stake here, it's America's vital national security interests. If we fail in Iraq, we will see Iraq become a center for al Qaeda, chaos, genocide in the region, & they'll follow us home.”

Rudy Guliani, former mayor of New York City, in May 2007 said, in response to his calling the Democrats timetable for withdrawal fundamentally irresponsible, “I was talking about the timetable for retreat that the Democrats passed, in which they did something I've never heard of in the history of war, which is to give your enemy a schedule of how a retreating army is going to retreat.”

Former governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney in May 2007 said, “It is critical for us to remember that Iraq has to be considered in the context of what's happening in the Middle East and throughout the world. There is a global Jihadist effort. Violent, radical Jihadists want to replace all the governments of the moderate Islamic states, replace them with a caliphate. And to do that, they also want to bring down the West, in particular us.”

Tom Tancredo (R. Co), even though opposed to the troop reinforcements, said in May 2007, “…whether or not we were in the Iraq war or not, they would be trying to kill us because it's a dictate of their religion, at least a part of it, and we have to defend ourselves.”

Arkansas’s Republican governor, Mike Huckabee, in May 2007 said, “Those generals told us, early on, it would take 300,000 troops to successfully go in and stabilize Iraq. Instead we gave them a limited number of troops and a budget and said, you have to do it with this. I think that's something, now, we understand was a mistake. But rather than simply walking away and leaving the Middle East in a complete disastrous chaos that will spread to the region and to the rest of the world, it's important that we finish the job, that we do it right, rather than have to go back and some day do it over.”

Sam Brownback (R Ks) said in May 2007, “We've got to pull together here to win over there, and I think it is a way for us to pull forward. We've got far too many divisions in this government here. We will win if we can pull together, and we can win the war. It's difficult for us to win with one party for the war and one party against the war.”

An embarrassment is Libertarian, masquerading as Republican from Texas, Ron Paul, for suggesting in May 2007, “They attack us because we've been over there; we've been bombing Iraq for 10 years.” And, “If we think that we can do what we want around the world and not incite hatred, then we have a problem. They don't come here to attack us because we're rich and we're free. They come and they attack us because we're over there.”

As he says, “I'm suggesting that we listen to the people who attacked us…” perhaps he too should listen to what the terrorists keep saying. In 1996, Terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden said of the withdrawal from Somalia in 1993, “You have been disgraced by Allah and you withdrew. The extent of your impotence and weaknesses has become very clear.” “When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse.”

At that time, bin Laden also said, “We have seen in the last decade the decline of American power and the weakness of the American soldier who is ready to wage Cold Wars, but unprepared to fight long wars. This was proven in Beirut in 1983 when the Marines fled after two explosions. It also proves they can run in less than 24 hours, and this was also repeated in Somalia.”

In May 2006, Iranian president Ahmadinejad sent a letter to president Bush that many saw as an invitation to join their radical interpretation of Islam or else.

Yes, Representative Paul, we listen to those who have been attacking us for three decades now. The question is, do you?

So far, of all candidates with their hats in the ring, one stands out as being the most consistent, Duncan Hunter (R Ca). He says, “At this critical point, the members of Congress who are engaging in political posturing, while our soldiers are carrying out their mission, are doing a real disservice to the troops.” Congressman Hunter, after a meeting with General Petraeus, said, “One thing that he reminded us of, is that this war is a test of wills; and he admonished us that what we say to the world, to our adversaries and our allies, is also listened to by the other side.”

Congressman Hunter, a decorated Viet Nam Veteran with a son who is a decorated Marine Officer currently having served multiple tours in Iraq, has a unique credibility on the war other candidates don’t share. Even this far out from the primaries, it is clear who advocates just “ending the war” and who desires to “win the war.”

America, you need to make a choice. Do we live in fear for more decades hoping the terrorists leave us alone? Or, do we finally confront them, destroying them and giving the oppressed Muslims that do not desire the oppression practiced by the bin Laden’s and Ahmadinejad’s a chance to step into the 21st century?

I’ve made my choice.



Anonymous said...

Osama wouldn't have lived to gloat had Bush been intelligent enough to actually win in Afghanistan before invading Iraq. Bush could have locked the country down *hard* with the troops now wasted patrolling streets and getting sniped at in a different country.

Of course, his plan to win in Iraq is apparently to start a new war in Iran, so it's hard to tell if he has attention deficit disorder, or is really, really stupid.

You might consider Paul to be a cheese-eating surrender monkey, but he *did* vote for the fight in Afghanistan, and what he asked his collegues for in Iraq was a declaration of war -- as required by the Constitution -- if they wished for an invasion. Instead, they passed the buck to the President, who was determined to make Jimmy Carter look like a quasi-success. I'm a registered Republican, but I'll be damned if I vote for any candidate who refuses to recognize what a waste of time, effort, money, and blood invading Iraq was. If you lose your shirt in Vegas, you don't drain your bank account and mortgage your house to try to win it back, you cut your losses and figure out a better form of investment.

LewWaters said...

Actually, anonymous, Osama wouldn't be any worry by himself had the previous administration capitalized on any of the several offers for his apprehension. But, that is neither here nor there now.

Your assessment of Afghanistan is flawed, I feel. I can't say it was the administrations intent, but Afghanistan is maybe one of the harshest countries to fight in. The Soviets discovered that in the 1980's. The terrain is some of the most inhospitable in the world, easily hiding whoever knows it. Drawing the out does have a certain Military advantage to it.

One of the bigger flaws in the left's thinking on this is focusing on one man, like bin Laden. Dead or alive, he isn't the entire war and reducing him to a shadow figure hiding from cave to cave keeps him inactive mostly. Even with that, like in other organizations, others are at the ready to take over and direct things. While his death is imperative, it won't stop terror by a long shot.

So far, the only ones I hear mentioning war with Iran is the left. Are they trumping something up the rest aren't aware of?

While I understand you analogy, it is poor. This isn't a game of chance. It never has been.

I find it odd that you declare Iraq a "waste of time, effort, money, and blood" because Paul didn't get his formal Declaration of War, something I might have supported at the time as well. Does it take a mere piece of paper with words to garner your support? Are our Troops any less deserving of our Support because Congress didn't act in the manner you and Paul say should be proper?

I invite you to do as Paul also said and "listen to those that attacked us." Listen to all they say, not just their misleading comments.

As for a formal declaration of war, I'm in. Why doesn't he still advocate it if he feels it proper? Why the change now to cut and run?

Next, Paul should be honest with the voters and stop calling himself a Republican when is a lifelong Libertarian.

The false impression you, Democrats and even Paul has of "ending this war" is that you are only forcing one side, our side, to stop. The other side has no intention of stopping until they win.

Oh, their "declaration of war" wasn't all that formal (by our congressional means) either. It came many years after they started attacking.

Unknown said...

So far, the only ones I hear mentioning war with Iran is the left. Are they trumping something up the rest aren't aware of?

You should have watched the third Republican debate. Every candidate (except the sane one, Ron Paul) seemed quite enthusiastic about Nuking Iran. Of course, if we nuked the entire country to glass, it could be said that it wasn't so much a war as a genocide (Persians aren't Arabs).

I find it odd that you declare Iraq a "waste of time, effort, money, and blood" because Paul didn't get his formal Declaration of War, something I might have supported at the time as well. Does it take a mere piece of paper with words to garner your support? Are our Troops any less deserving of our Support because Congress didn't act in the manner you and Paul say should be proper?

That is a bit deceptive. The war is unconstitutional because Paul did not get a declaration vote. Even with the declaration, the war would have been a waste of blood and treasure. Why? BECAUSE IRAQ HAVE NEVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD ATTACKED THE UNITED STATES!! We would be more justified in going to war with Britain, since they at one time attacked us (rev war, 1812, maybe some skirmishes I've forgotten).

Iraq has never attacked us.

Try to remember:

Iraq. Has. Never. Attacked. Us.

Now slowly:


Unknown said...

Oh, god, I just noticed the invocation of "the troops". Didn't realize you were one of those:

Please try to think about the following distinction:

Policies are goals which may (or may not) be implemented by military force.

Troops are human beings who wear uniforms and carry guns.

To oppose a policy (which is an idea) is not to oppose a troop (which is a person who wears a uniform and carries a gun).

I support our troops firmly. I prefer supporting live troops to supporting dead troops. Therefore I would prefer to support them here then to support them in Iraq.

Of course, right now, it may be that we should be supporting the troops currently stationed in Iraq in Afghanistan. This would also be an improvement, because there they would have an opportunity to actually fight people who have attacked us. (please see above if you do not understand this last statement)

LewWaters said...

LOL, cxx, you Ron Paul supporters crack me up just like other liberal’s do. Try to fathom something, son.


We are in a new type of warfare, a fight against a radical ideology that is dispersed throughout several countries. A group of radical ideologues that don't give a damn how well you sing Kumbaya. A group of radical Islamists who will slaughter their own as fast as us if they fail to adhere to their particular misinterpretation of the Qu'Ran.

Paul, liberals and other pacifists fail to comprehend that these ideologues have been steadily growing in numbers and strength for three decades. That he didn't get the "formal" declaration he desired, which I actually take as a means designed to block resumption of hostilities with Saddam's government, doesn't make the fight "unconstitutional." With or without Paul's vote, Congress gave the administration the authority to engage Saddam's government.

BTW, Afghanistan never attacked the United States, either. Nor did Congress issue a formal declaration of war there. Yet, I don't hear him calling for withdrawal there. Since the Taliban is also Afghani people, doesn't that qualify as another "civil war" too?

As for Iran, show me where the current administration is calling for "nuking" them. Candidates don't make formal policy.

If by one of "those," you mean a Veteran who has experienced the "love and support" of the anti-war left as they denigrated us, spit at us, expressed sorrow over our "victimization" and treated us less than sub-human, yes, then I am "one of those."

You are only fooling yourself and other moonbats with you "support the troops but not the mission" facade. All the glib words in the dictionary to make you feel good don’t matter if it doesn't resonate with the Troops themselves.

Since you state "I prefer supporting live troops to supporting dead troops," allow me to ask, does this support of yours extend to our Police Forces in major cities being withdrawn from high crime areas within those cities? Shouldn't they too receive the same "support" from the left and be withdrawn to lower crime areas where they may also live?

Maybe instead of such vocal opposition to Iraq, it is within our own cities that you need to protest and leave high crime neighborhoods to their own devices to 'solve their own problems.'

I await your response.

Anonymous said...

>>If by one of "those," you mean a Veteran who has experienced the "love and support" of the anti-war left as they denigrated us, spit at us, expressed sorrow over our "victimization" and treated us less than sub-human, yes, then I am "one of those."

Which brings up a question: Was fighting in Viet Nam worth it? Or would we have been better off if Johnson had just said, "You know, it's not really in our national interest to be there, so I'm bringing the troops home." After all, the end result would be the same, but without nearly as many American lives lost.

By the way, I'm a pretty poor pacifist, since I believe in the Old Testament "Thou shalt give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe." I just don't believe in doing so pre-emptively -- that's why we had Mutual Assured Destruction, not Premature Assured Destruction. In a game-theoretic sense, I believe in tit-for-tat, not "always defect."

LewWaters said...

Instead of asking me if Viet Nam was "worth it," why not ask any of the millions of refugees that escaped Viet Nam after we abandoned them.

Ask the Laotian Hmung that are still being hunted down and slaughtered there.

Ask the Montagnards of the Central Highlands in Viet Nam.

When we won our freedom from England in the 1700's, we needed help too and received it. Freedom around the globe IS in our National Interest.

Sorry, but I don't see a resumption of hostilities against a dictatorial regime who refuses to live up to an agreed upon cease-fire for 12 years, who is a known supporter of a radical ideology that perpetrated the single worst terrorist attack against our own land, who was thought by nearly the entire world to possess banned weaponry that could have easily been given to terrorists, since he refused to account for them, and who was oppressing his own people, doesn't fit my definition of a "pre-emption."

That argument really isn't even relevant today. To abandon Iraq now, giving the land and oil fields up to terrorists and a despotic regime like Ahmadinejad's, just as the Iraqi's are getting on their feet and before they are strong enough to stand on their own, is directly against our National Interests.

And, I don't mean just for oil.

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Anonymous said...

Lew...why do the cowards hide under "anonymous"? That strikes me as a jihadist troll moron.

Anyway, GREAT post, as usual.

Mental illness abounds in the Democrat's camp. They have convenient memories and they have great need and desire to lie a lot.

Psychosis. Sad.

Unknown said...

If by one of "those," you mean a Veteran who has experienced the "love and support" of the anti-war left as they denigrated us, spit at us, expressed sorrow over our "victimization" and treated us less than sub-human, yes, then I am "one of those."

Nope, by "those", I mean those who are unable to distinguish between dissent and treason. Dissent is saying "It is not in our national interest to fight this war". Treason would be saying "this war is in our national interests, but I prefer to support the interests of the other side."

On the idea of going to war against an idea (Islam) or a tactic (Terrorism), I would point out that both ideas and tactics are bullet-proof. Communism did not fail because we shot every communist on earth. We couldn't have afforded the bullets. Communism failed because Communism does not work, and will fail, everywhere and always, without our help.

Imagine that we succeeded in killing every Muslim whose political beliefs you consider "radical". Would that be the end of it? Sorry, no. There are plenty of Muslims who do not fit into the radical definition. But as we kill their friends and relatives, they will find themselves thinking "Maybe my brother was right, after all! Maybe America really is and evil empire".

This is actually one of the goals of terrorism. You bait the government into acting badly, and then use the bad behavior of the government against it to influence those who are undecided to fight against the government. This is not a new tactic.

It worked in the Revolutionary war, when many Americans fought for freedom, and many other Americans fought for revenge.

It worked at Kent State, which served to radicalize many Americans, not only against the war, but gave credibility to completely unrelated and insane ideas like Socialism.

It is working right now in Iraq. There are lots of people who were with us at the beginning, who are now saying "if this is what freedom looks like, I'd prefer the other thing, please!".

Even before WWII, when we started intervening in the Middle East, there existed a few Muslims who would have tried to fight even an isolationist America. We aided their cause when we imposed the Shah on Iran. We aided their cause when we sided with Israel in every conflict. We aided their cause when we invaded Lebanon. We aided their cause when we attacked Iraq the first time. We aided their cause when we maintained troops in Saudi Arabia afterward. We aided their cause when we imposed killer sanctions on Iraq for a decade. We aided their cause when we bombed Iraq every week (on average) for a decade. We aided their cause when we again invaded Iraq, in response to an attack by Saudi Arabian criminals financed by Afghanistan. We aid their cause by not leaving when the people of Iraq want us out. The biggest asset that the radicals have is not an imam, or a mullah, or an ayatollah. The biggest assets they have are George I, William I, and George II. They are the real forces radicalizing Muslims.

As for Afghanistan, the attack against us was based in Afghanistan. If Mexicans were shelling us, even Mexican criminals, and the Mexican government was powerless to stop them, we would have every right to invade Mexico in order to put an end to it. Why?

Because governments are instituted among men to protect the rights of those who live under them. The shelling would be an attack on our population, on our soil. As was 9/11. Which didn't have a goddamn thing to do with Iraq.

LewWaters said...

Cxx, I appreciate you defining “one of those” in your terms, regardless of how wrong you are. Funny thing about ‘dissent’ and ‘treason,’ it seems to matter on just who is sitting in the Oval Office as to which term applies. As we all now know, any ‘dissent’ against the previous administration is just “a vast right winged conspiracy.”

I fail to see where even your definition of ‘dissent’ gives the lamestream media reason to publish accounts of ‘secrets’ used to ferret out enemy agents within the country that are actually working towards the destruction of or undermining of the nation as a whole. Publicly declaring the current war as ‘lost,’ labeling our Troops as like ‘Nazis,’ ‘Soviets’ and other ‘repressive regimes’ also escapes me as being mere ‘dissent.’ But, I cannot fathom the Liberal mindset either.

As to your comments on Communism, apparently you have failed to notice that it isn’t yet dead, only out of power within the former Soviet Union. Perhaps because we didn’t shoot every Communist? Had we, I would imagine that the Democrat party and a good portion of the Libertarians would no longer exist.

Terrorism and Islam are not “bullet-proof,” as you claim. Radical Islam, the few from the religion that would murder any and all, even from within Islam itself, can be rendered ineffective, as have other ideologies of the past that have stirred up much trouble and contention. Granted, they are still with us, but their effectiveness has been severely curtailed. Just so you realize, I am not of the “all Islam is evil” brigade and actually support those Muslims that see the dangers of Radical Islamists that wage war simply to force their ultra radical views on others. That includes the Iraqi and Afghani Muslims standing up alongside our Troops and fighting for their own freedoms as well as the few thousand American Muslims currently fighting and dying in the U.S. Military in this current war.

I will grant you that not all Radical Islamists can be killed while I also acknowledge that the current effort isn’t only on killing them. Just the ones we can while we help build up the rest to see they are not alone and that we are there to help rebuild what has been destroyed and what they never had under Saddam and the Taliban. Perhaps you have failed to notice that several of the Terrorist attacks have been against recruiting stations for Iraqi and Afghani Military and Police, and still, they keep coming to sign up for their freedom and their countries.

Our Military isn’t there to bring about a full Military solution, but to provide security to those who desire to implement their own form of free government while they work out their bugs. As former Democrat Senator Bob Kerrey put it, “The war to overthrow Saddam Hussein is over. What remains is a war to overthrow the government of Iraq.”

You are also sadly mistaken that the bulk of the Iraqi people want us out right now. I can agree that we cannot be there forever and we don’t want to be. When you peel back the bias of the favored polls the left loves to tout, you discover that even with the Iraqis not wanting foreigners present, they also understand what will happen if our Troops prematurely withdraw and tolerate us there until they can do it on their own. Iraqis Think Life Is Getting Better. Polling in Iraq, Who Is Correct? Perhaps you also missed the Iraqi diplomats that were sent to the United States in May to help gain support from the Democrats in Congress to allow US troops to remain in Iraq?

Again, your profane reference to Iraq and 9/11 is a leftwing strawman. No one has ever claimed Saddam or Iraq was involved in 9/11. Again, I refer you back to the recent words of former Democrat Senator Bob Kerrey when he said, “The U.S. led an invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein because Iraq was rightly seen as a threat following Sept. 11, 2001.” He also said, “ No matter how incompetent the Bush administration and no matter how poorly they chose their words to describe themselves and their political opponents, Iraq was a larger national security risk after Sept. 11 than it was before.”

What I find hilarious and you seem to support, is how the left saw and called Saddam a threat to us all during the 8 years of Clinton, but once we were attacked on 9/11 and Bush responded in the manner many were calling on Clinton to do, all of a sudden, according to the left, Saddam never was a threat, especially during the failed Kerry campaign of 2004.

Unknown said...

The left and the right are certainly interesting to watch on the issue of foreign intervention. They seem to base their analysis entirely on who is doing a thing, and not on what is being done. I agreed with the non-interventionists during the Clinton years (regardless of the fact that they were non-interventionists only because their party was not the one intervening) and I agreed with the non-interventionists during the Bush years, (regardless of the fact that they were non-interventionists only because their party was not the one intervening). Please don't take this to imply that I am a pacifist. I believe in self defense, and am armed whenever the law permits me to be. I would fight to the death to defeat anything I believed to be a threat to defend the Constitution of the United States from any enemy, foreign or domestic. Sadly, I believe that Americans have far more to fear from the IRS, the ATF, and Homeland Security then they ever did from the IRA, the PLO or al-Queda.

I see the problem as one of having too many irons in the fire. The United States maintains troops in 137 foreign countries. If we stopped defending the rest of the world, I believe we could defend our own nation much more effectively, with fewer invasions of our civil liberties, without risking national bankruptcy. This would also resolve the question I often get from leftists: "If the socialism of Europe is so destructive, why does their population have a standard of living that approaches ours." The answer, of course, is that we pay to defend them. They have next to no military, while we pay to police the world. So when they waste their money on a welfare state, you can barely see the difference, because we waste just as much on their defense. This is especially pronounced in the cases of Germany and Japan. I understand why they are forbidden to have a military of their own. But if we are to defend them, should they not be paying for that defense?

What I find hilarious and you seem to support, is how the left saw and called Saddam a threat to us all during the 8 years of Clinton, but once we were attacked on 9/11 and Bush responded in the manner many were calling on Clinton to do, all of a sudden, according to the left, Saddam never was a threat, especially during the failed Kerry campaign of 2004.

I am not a leftist, so I cannot comment on what the left thought. But I can ask you to think about this:

You are Saddam Hussein. It's 1991. You've just invaded Kuwait, and you are so proud, that you've decided to take on a slightly larger challenge. You're going to invade and occupy the United States. They are slightly larger then the last country you invaded, but what the heck ... it's not like their military is that much larger then the combined force of the rest of the world. How exactly do you structure your invasion? Do you build a navy or an air force. Your 200-odd fighter planes will have a slow job ferrying your troops, and you don't have a navy to speak of. Your helicopters seem to lack the range. And of course the United States can defeat your entire military, on it's own ground, in about 2 weeks of concerted effort, slightly longer if they decide to do it without taking a single casualty. So what strategy do you pursue?

LewWaters said...

cxx, my apologies for not getting back sooner, but as I’m sure you know and have to yourself, we must work to support our bad habits, clothes on our backs, roofs over our heads and food in our stomachs.

A basic shortcoming I see in your “non-intervention” stance is that others do not practice it themselves. You mentioned previously about our CIA installing the Shah of Iran in power in 1953. Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah, was in power since 1941. In 1953, Dr. Mohammad Mosaddeq, after a period of struggle and increasing authoritarianism from Mosaddeq, assumed power as the Pahlavi fled. It may not have been much thought of it, other than Masaddeq aligned himself with Moscow, using them for support. I don’t think you of an age to recall those times, I was just a small boy myself, but the Soviet Union was actively practicing a policy of intervention and spreading their form of Communism around the globe.

Judging from your comments, I assume you don’t agree with the Soviet style of government by oppression. Regardless, with the spreading of Communism and Moscos now having some control in Iran and over their oil, Eisenhower couldn’t sit back and twiddle his thumbs and hope they shared. Their goal was also a world under their form of Communism. For all of his Dictatorial shortcomings, Pahlavi also modernized the nation, granting women to vote and was the first Muslim leader to recognize Israel. He wasn’t perfect, but was a lot better than what is there now. Still, given the times, the threat of Soviet expansion was a very real threat and intervention was the only way to stop it, short of risking a nuclear war.

What I am saying is that at times, intervention must happen. Non-intervention and Isolationalism was popular in the late 1930’s and look where that ended up. I also find it curious that Paul opposed decalring Darfur a genocide, opposes intervention should the UN fail to act, yet supports humanitarian aid. Not that I disagree with that aid, but just how does he suppose that aid be given to citizens in need with the Janjaweed prepared to slaughter any they can? Think back to Rwanda. Non-intervention allowed how many to be slaughtered? Not that I feel only America should help, but no one did. As the lone super power, how can we sit back and just watch innocents be slaughtered like that?

Don’t bother trying to relate Iraq deaths to Rwanda and Darfur, I know for a fact the steps taken by the Troops to avoid innocents in crossfire and how utterly destroyed many feel if Innocents are caught in the middle.

Yes, we do have Troops spread out. While we are in several countries, I don’t think the size of our forces there would place them under a “defense” stance. I don’t know where you got your data, but the Heritage Foundation researched it from 1950 to 2005 and according to them, only 54 nations have hosted at least 1,000 American Troops in the past 50 years. As of 2003, only 14 had 1,000 or more. I have to assume whatever your source is for Troops in 137 countries blends Embassy Guards with actual Troops of any strength elsewhere. As I’m sure you realize, Embassy Guards count for a mere handful, hardly defending a nation.

I don’t know if you have spent any significant time in Europe, but during my three years there, while their lifestyle is indeed similar to ours, their standard of living falls well behind ours. Of course, that was thirty years ago. On a similar note, an unspoken intent of having Troops in Germany, at least back then, was a deterrent to them rising up again against the rest of Europe as they did twice in the 20th Century. While it may cost us, the cost pales in comparison to if we were forced into another European War. But, like I said, that wasn’t expressed officially, just an unspoken intent.

Sorry, but your scenario is lacking. While I won’t say Saddam was directly involved in the terrorist activities of the past 28 years, there is ample evidence he supported it. The strategy of the terrorists was working well, until they were openly attacked and forced to come out more in the open.

Allow me to give you another scenario, if I may.

You are a newly elected president. Your country suffers the most cataclysmic attack in its history and supporters and opposers alike are demanding action. You localize the perpetrators down to a band of well-financed and trained terrorists in a very inhospitable nation far away. At the same time, you have another dictator that has shown his hatred for your country, once attempting to assassinate one of its ex-president’s. Intelligence agency’s from the majority of friendly nations tells you this dictator, who by cease-fire agreement 12 years earlier agreed to dismantle an excessive weapons program and stockpile and now refuses to verify that he did, is once again stockpiling those weapons and even attempting to gain nuclear weapons. Intelligence reports again from many nations informs you that this dictator has met with and has ties to this well-trained terrorist network, so you realize there is a distinct possibility of those banned weapons falling into the hands of the terrorists. Over a period of months, you issue ultimatum after ultimatum, seek congressional approval and support, receiving it, seek the support of the UN Security Council, receiving unanimous support and amass your Military for the possibility of invasion to secure those weapons. After refusal after refusal to comply, the threat of another terrorist attack looms ahead, so you move your forces in, depose the renegade regime and government, easily defeat the Military and lo and behold, discover that either those weapons were spirited out during the months long seeking approval, or were destroyed before and said dictator was bluffing.

You cannot say you’re sorry and place the dictator back in power, his crimes are too severe. In the meantime, you install a temporary government, giving the freed citizens the time and chance to form their own. While this is going on, the terrorist network slips into the country in much larger numbers than before and begins an attack. The opposing political party starts crying foul in an effort to regain political power. They undermine you every step of the way and you know if you abandon these newly freed people, a terrorist nation like the first one you liberated would spring up rapidly. Do you say “oh well,” and just walk away, allowing whatever happens to happen? Or, do you carry on and work diligently to give those newly freed people a decent chance at freedom and life?

Would you have been willing to take the chance and just ignore intelligence reports from all over that those weapons existed and would fall into the hands of the people that killed 3,000 of your citizens in the hope that they are wrong, like maybe a handful said?

The non-intervention policies of Jimmy Carter got us here when he refused to support the Shah of Iran and didn’t respond to the act of war of invading and occupying our sovereign embassy in Tehran. Our enemies have no qualms intervening. They expect us to not respond and instead quiver in our boots, pleading with them to don’t do it again as we give in to their demands gradually.

Non-intervention just ends up with more people dead.

Unknown said...

Well, I do understand what you are saying with Iran and the Oil. My main study for the last 2 years (I'm a computer programmer, but taking some time off) has been economics. The problems that I see with the scenario are several.

One is that the soviets were buying oil before, during, and after the 1953. If they had been able to divert all the oil in Iran (which has small reserves compared to several Middle Eastern countries, which in turn supply 15% of U.S. consumption) to themselves, they would have imported that much less from the rest of the world. They would have gotten their oil more cheaply then they did before, but because they were buying less from countries other than Iran, but they would not have significantly raised the price of oil in the rest of the world. They would have raised it a bit, if the output of Iran exceeded their demand, and if they simply slowed Iranian production of oil, rather then selling what they did not need. This would have been less harmful, I think, in the long run to U.S. interests then the problems that were caused by our support of the Shah.

One of the problems we had throughout the cold war, in my humble opinion, is that we knew what we were fighting against, communism, but we lost sight of what we were fighting for: capitalism. Capitalism is such a dynamic system that it can adjust to nearly any shortage, disruption of supply, new technology, or other supply that comes it's way. Even were aliens to show up one day, such every ounce of oil out of the earth, and disappear in a cloud of smoke from their diesel powered spaceships, the economy (though it would be forced into a temporary recession) would recover. Other methods of energy generation, which are viable except that they cost more than oil, would be used. The greens would be shouted down when they objected to nuclear power. Life would go on.

This is frequently hidden from us, because each industry has an interest in convincing us that it is somehow different, and vital, and irreplaceable. The oil industry has done a wonderful job of this. In reality, the price of oil can never go higher then the cost of the next most efficient means of extracting power. And nuclear energy is much more efficient then we think it is: In the words of an engineer who worked on the first nuclear power plant built in America: "The first nuclear power plant built in America took 1.5 years to build. The last one took 12 years. Now that's progress". This is not because we no longer know how to build efficiently, but because we are rich enough to indulge the greens. Hungry people will be much more willing to give them the "screw off" they deserve.

The important thing to remember is that while the Shah was better then what is there now, Mosaddeq was also better then what was there now, and the years under the brutality of the Shah is what radicalized the Iranians into wanting what they have now. The price we paid for having the Shah from 1953 to 1979 was having the Ayatollahs from 1979 to the present. The two results of our policy are inseparable.

There is some good news: dissent is growing in Iran. Even people within the administration are extremely dissatisfied with the lunatic who is president these days. I personally believe his days to be numbered. But there is one thing which could allow him to remain in power: if the Iranians are sufficiently afraid of us, they will naturally want a "strong man" to protect them. Although many Iranians see him as a mad man, many others see him as a strong man, especially when they see how easily he frightens a superpower like the United States. Just like the regime in 1984, he can use foreign battles, real or imagined, to maintain control of "his" population: until he is discredited by news from outside, reporting that there is no real threat against them.

A similar long-term/short-term trade-off was in Cambodia. We destabilized the government in Cambodia, because they would not cooperate with us in Vietnam. We did well, and installed a friendly general via a military coup. Unfortunately, this general was incompetent, and a bit bloodthirsty. His rule damaged his country so badly that they wanted a "strong man" to save them from him ... their savior was Pol Pot. By the time he was in power, and even worse than anything they had ever seen, or even imagined, there was nothing they could do. Millions died in the "killing fields" of Cambodia. Again, we got what we wanted in the short run, but the blowback was disaster.

Interestingly, you're the only person I've heard (or read) agreeing with me on Iran. The only war, from 1941 onwards, that I think would have been justified was the one we did not wage: the invasion of Iran and freeing of our hostages in 1979. Even had the hostages been killed in the process, I think that is would have been better than what actually happened. I suspect that the hostages' families would disagree with me, but our failure to respond with overwhelming force to that provocation, combined with a stated policy of responding only when attacked, would have indeed raised our stature among Muslims. They understand the need to respond to force with force, which I think is why we are having so little trouble in Afghanistan compared to Iraq. Iraq can paint itself as a victim. Afghanistan cannot, except to some on the left, who take the view that if we did it, it's wrong.

In terms of Iraq, I never believed that there were weapons of mass destruction there. I was working for a company with a navy contract, and one of our contacts at the prime contractor was sent to Iraq to search for such weapons. My question to him, "are you familiar with that sort of manufacturing" proved more accurate then I would have liked. I must give Bush credit for not cooking up his very own chemical weapons in Iraq, and then "finding" them, as he could easily have done. Now it could be that I just made a lucky guess, and Bush made an unlucky guess, but it seems hard for me to believe that our best intelligence could be so wrong, and I, as a casual reader and viewer of main stream media, could be right. But it is possible.

But let us assume that I am Bush, and I was wrong rather than lying. There I am, up to my ass in Iraq and unable to locate any weapons. My orders would have been to shoot Hussein on sight, rather than arresting him. As a matter of fact, I would have asked Congress to issue a Letter of Reprisal, in order to make it nice and legal (they can do that, it's in the Constitution). Once I knew him to be dead, I would have withdrawn, and suggested to the Iraqis that they choose their leaders more carefully in the future. There probably would have been a civil war anyway. I would have taken a lot of heat for pulling out. And for having Saddam killed. And nobody would ever be able to look into this alternate future, count the bodies, and tell me I was right or wrong. But that would have been my imperfect solution to an imperfect situation. I do remember that when we first moved into Iraq, the people (at least the Shiites) seemed awfully happy to see us. I know some (Sunni) refugees from Iraq who claim that these displays were staged, but they have a vested interest in saying so, so I cannot take them at their word. Perhaps they would have managed to form a country or three. I like to think so.

Unknown said...

I suspect that the hostages' families would disagree with me, but our failure to respond with overwhelming force to that provocation, combined with a stated policy of responding only when attacked, would have indeed raised our stature among Muslims.

Wow, that turned out to be gibberish, didn't it! What I meant to say was that responding with overwhelming force (which I think is the only way to go to war ... Vietnam being a perfect example of what happens when you try to wage a half-assed war), combined with a stated policy of responding only when attacked, would have raised our stature among Arabs, who do understand the need to respond to force with force.

LewWaters said...

The problem with the Soviets in Iran and having control over the oil wasn’t so much an economic issue, I believe, as a strategic one. Once they established a foothold there, Iran could be a staging point for a takeover of far more lucrative oil fields and placing a stranglehold on the world’s supply of oil. Oil is and was a very important commodity. One of the ways we defeated Hitler’s Germany was by attacking his oil supply, thereby robbing him of much needed fuel to wage war with. Imagine the Soviets, with their policy of spreading Soviet Communism, controlling the bulk of the world’s oil.

I don’t feel we so much lost sight of Capitalist goals as they were cast aside by far leftists desiring a more Socialist form of government. Just my opinion.

I think alternative fuels, nuclear and others need to be utilized more than they are. Even coal can be burned clean, although expensive to do so. But, oil was cheap and plentiful and none of the oil companies saw what was coming, or ignored it, in the fuel crisis of the early 1970’s. If we can stave off the far left, hopefully they and other companies will now realize the urgency of alternative fuels to meet our needs.

Had Carter supported the Shah, I don’t think the Ayatollahs would be in power now. Interesting that it was Carter who actually put Saddam up to attacking Iran, after not supporting the Shah.

I don’t know where you learned what you did about Cambodia and Viet Nam, but to date, I haven’t seen or heard of any actual evidence that we put Lon Nol up to the coup against Sihanouk, even though it is the favored assumption that he was CIA supported. Sihanouk, while trying to show neutrality, was responsible for allowing the North Vietnamese to seek safe haven within Cambodia and leaned towards Soviet Communist as well. The Cambodian National Assembly, in March 1970, voted unanimously to depose Sihanouk and installed Lon Nol. One of the first things he did was order the North Vietnamese out and in April 1970, granted permission for us to inavde and force them out. I was there for that one.

For that, the North Vietnamese and Chinese increased aid to the Communist Khmer Rouge, as we cut support to Southeast Asia, ultimately abandoning them. What little support ws afforded Nol wasn’t enough and he couldn’t stand against the better supportd Communists. He held out until 1975, but resigned and fled to Hawaii. The rest is history, the killing fields, boat people of Viet Nam, Hmung from Laos and all. That’s why I, and many others, so adamntly oppose a quick withdrawal from Iraq today, seeing that happen again as an even more evil force takes control of the country.

Even just shooting Saddam and leaving would have left a powerful vacuum in place. Dividing the country could also turn into a disaster as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey jump in to support or oppose their favored sect of Islam. Letting them set up three states under a central government might work out, but ultimately, the three main sects need to learn to either get along or avoid each other.

Interesting side note, it was the League of Nations, under British leadership, that set up the modern boundaries we see in the Middle East today. Even the Jews of Palestine were promised their own country, but had to fight to get a small portion of what they were promised in 1948. Palestinian Arabs were ignored by other Arabs and Muslims until the 1967 Arab/Israeli War. Then, they became a tool.

Personally, if the Iraqis can manage it and set up a form of Democratic government, I think their eventual abundance will inspire neighboring countries to follow suit and much of the unrest will be set aside. At least, I hope so.

Unknown said...

I don’t feel we so much lost sight of Capitalist goals as they were cast aside by far leftists desiring a more Socialist form of government. Just my opinion.

I agree with you somewhat on this ... I think that the left discarded the goals of capitalism, but I think the right lost faith in the power of capitalism. They seem very intent on controlling markets, and trying to come up with a "kinder, gentler" capitalism. This generally means resisting change, by (for example) "protecting jobs" in the steel industry by imposing taxes on imported steel. This works ... you benefit the steel workers who do not lose their jobs. The problem is that everybody else pays higher prices for steel. The loss to America as a whole is tremendous: about 250,000 per year for each job saved.

Even just shooting Saddam and leaving would have left a powerful vacuum in place. Dividing the country could also turn into a disaster as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey jump in to support or oppose their favored sect of Islam. Letting them set up three states under a central government might work out, but ultimately, the three main sects need to learn to either get along or avoid each other.

Actually, the power vacuum it would have left is the reason, in my mind, for acting that way. I fear that the Iraqi government we have put into power will always be seen as a creature of the United States. I can see three possible outcomes:

1) The government there turns out OK, and the population decides that we Americans really were nice guys after all. Actually, the government there will probably have to defy us on some important issues in order to get their chops from the population, but so long as those issues are economic (say refusing to sell us oil) we can deal with them. Of course a violent attack against us would have to result in Baghdad being bombed to glass.

2) The government there turns out OK, but is overthrown none the less, because it is rejected by the Iraqis, not because there is anything wrong with the government itself, but simply because they see it as a U.S. puppet. This is more or less a wash for us. On the one hand, they end up with some flavor of theocracy, on the other, it's not really our fault.

3) The Iraqis elect a Hitler (it is vital to always remember that Hitler was actually elected democratically, as it reminds us why a democracy needs an equivalent to the Second Amendment) this would not be our fault, except that it would always be blamed on us, since we set up the government.

I think it will be many decades before any Arab country is able to like a government which is openly friendly with the United States. It is quite possible that governments even in places that we think of as stable, like Saudi Arabia, will fall, not so much because of what they have done, but because they are perceived as pro-western.

Had Carter supported the Shah, I don’t think the Ayatollahs would be in power now. Interesting that it was Carter who actually put Saddam up to attacking Iran, after not supporting the Shah.

I think the Shah would have lasted longer, had he been supported by Carter, but evil carries the seeds of it's own destruction. Any people that is ruled by terror will eventually find their way out of it. And though the Shah was friendly to us, he was, none the less, very much authoritarian in his own country.

I think that we Americans give far too much credit in winning the Cold War to Ronald Reagan, and far too little to our most powerful ally in it: Karl Marx. He dreamed up a mystical economic system which could never, ever, really work in practice.

No finite number of planners can ever accomplish anything approaching the gains that can be made by an entire population, each striving for it's own reasons toward it's own goals. This is true even if the planners are incorruptible idealists who sincerely want what is best for their people. Of course such people could never stay in power for very long anyway under a socialist/communist system.

Interesting side note, it was the League of Nations, under British leadership, that set up the modern boundaries we see in the Middle East today. Even the Jews of Palestine were promised their own country, but had to fight to get a small portion of what they were promised in 1948. Palestinian Arabs were ignored by other Arabs and Muslims until the 1967 Arab/Israeli War. Then, they became a tool.

This somewhat oversimplifies the situation in Palestine. The Jewish population of Israel, which was 33% of the total population, was promised 55% of the land of Palestine. By the end of the 1948 war of independence, they held 78% of Palestine, and had expelled almost a million Palestinians from that area. The Palestinians were left with 22% of the original Palestine, which consisted of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. These were absorbed into Egypt and Jordan respectively, although the people were not welcomed, and were largely confined into the parts of Palestine they inhabited.

In the 1967 war, Israel retook the West Bank and the Gaza strip, and have occupied (but not annexed) the area ever since. This 40 year occupation is the longest military occupation in modern history. The Palestinians in the Occupied Territories live under a foreign military dictatorship. Their land is frequently confiscated and given to Jewish settlers, who are building Jewish-only settlements connected by Jewish-only roads in the 22% of Palestine which is left to the Palestinians.

According the UN Resolution 242, Israel should withdraw to it's 1967 borders, and release the West Bank and the Gaza strip. I don't know how many Palestinians that would satisfy, but I get the impression that you have seen what a foreign military occupation of civilians looks like, so I'll ask you: How long could you live under occupation, without civil rights, stopped at checkpoints for hours, with the economy crushed and not permitted to recover (that's all an economy needs to recover: permission), and with the constant threat that somebody will come and evict you from your home, because somebody else wants it.

LewWaters said...

cxx, I can’t argue with you on your view of Capitalism. Of course, the Republican party currently is corrupted with too many RINO’s, moderates who are more left than conservative.

The current Iraqi government really isn’t of our doing. Our guys were voted out and it is more of a choice of those Iraqis that voted. Of course, a large segment of Sunni’s shunned the polling places. That doesn’t stop others from viewing them as a ‘puppet,’ but in time, I feel, neighbors will see them as legitimate, especially if the Sunni’s step up and vote next time and more and more Iraqis stand up for Iraq. Many are, but more are needed.

Credit for winning of the Cold War must be shared over a decades long time. Reagan, I feel, was responsible for the final nail in their coffin with convincing them that our “Star Wars” program would be built. Of course, we cannot deny they expended a lot of energy and money in their failed attempt in Afghanistan.

I totally agree with you on Socialism/Communism. Even in our current move left in America, people are robbed of the incentive to better themselves and do better. It is a self-defeating system.

Another reason many conservatives oppose it.