Shame, cowardice and betrayal

Finally, the Congress is heard from on Iraq, and what does its vanguard decide to do?

It passes a resolution that accomplishes absolutely nothing legislatively. It won’t stop a single soldier or Marine from going into harm’s way in Iraq.

Oh, but it does accomplish this: It tells the force of chaos, those who wish to kill as many of those brave Americans as possible, that they only have to hold out a little longer: See how divided we are? See how we tell our troops we don’t support their mission, even as they kiss their wives and babies goodbye, possibly for the last time?

This is utterly disgusting — worse than that, because Americans will pay for it in blood.

If those who don’t think it necessary to do all we can to succeed in Iraq had the slightest trace of courage, they would take tangible ACTION — they ARE the majority are they not (and I’m including the nihilists of both parties here, so give me none of your partisan umbrage)?

Get this paragraph, describing the depth of senatorial resolve:

But they said that whatever language is sent to the floor will have to
include the policy prescriptions that are in both resolutions: a
statement against further deployments; a call for U.S. troops to be
re-deployed to guard Iraq’s borders, focus on counterterrorism and
speeding up the training of Iraqi troops; and a call for diplomatic
efforts to engage Iraq’s neighbors in the pursuit of a political
settlement to the war.

A statement. A call. Another call. No action, of course. Oh, what inexcusable, bloodyminded fecklessness!

They make the laws. They control the pursestrings, completely. All they need do is cut off all funding for offensive operations, and appropriate money that, BY LAW, can only be used to fund the retreat that they desire. As Newt Gingrich and company learned to their great pain and chagrin after 1994, governing carries far weightier responsibility than merely sitting on the back benches and criticizing.

As my readers know, I don’t WANT them to do those things; such actions would be disastrous. But at least I could respect them more.

But they don’t have the guts to do that, do they, Hagel and the rest? All they have the gumption to do is make gestures of the sort that undermine, that corrode, that fester in the national soul as they watch more Americans die, and say, "See? We told you so." Self-fulfilled defeat.

What of that, though? The senators have now expressed themselves, however nonbinding their expression, and that has enabled them to go home tonight feeling much better about themselves. Surely we can all take solace from that.

I can write no more about it tonight. My contempt is complete, and so is my grief for my country, and its finest and bravest — who, despite this deadly insult, will go and do their duty, however much more difficult the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has resolved to make it.

35 thoughts on “Shame, cowardice and betrayal

  1. Mary Rosh

    “I can write no more about it tonight.”
    Oh, thank God. If you would just not write about it after tonight either, that would be fabulous.
    Look. I understand that it’s emotionally important for you to use Iraq as a surrogate for Vietnam – to refute those who were correct in opposing the Iraq war in order to somehow prove that those who were correct in opposing the Vietnam war were also wrong. I know that you feel that if the Vietnam war was wrong, a large part of your father’s career was pointless.
    As I’ve said before, the responsibility of every member of the military (your father included) is to carry out the orders of the civilian leadership. Your father did his duty, and served his country, by following the orders he was given, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THOSE ORDERS WERE RIGHT OR WRONG. You DON’T HAVE TO PROVE THAT THE VIETNAM WAR WAS RIGHT IN ORDER TO VINDICATE YOUR FATHER. YOUR FATHER SERVED HONORABLY. THE ACTUAL RESULT OF HIS ACTIONS DOESN’T MATTER. HE FOLLOWED HIS ORDERS.
    Now, of course, the Vietnam war was wrong, and it harmed America. So yes, if you have to look at it like that, your father harmed America by his actions, and a large part of what he did in his service to America was not simply a total waste of time, but actually damaging to his country. But don’t you understand that it doesn’t MATTER if he helped or harmed America, because that wasn’t for him to decide. He was supposed to follow his orders, and he did follow his orders. He did right, even if the ultimate result of his actions did nothing whatsoever to benefit America. He doesn’t deserve any of the blame, the blame rests with those who gave the orders he followed.
    You do not need to vindicate your father by attacking those who were right about Iraq. You CANNOT prove that the Vietnam war was right, even if you could prove that the Iraq war was right, and you CANNOT prove that the Iraq war is right by accusing men like:
    Jim Webb
    Chuck Hagel
    John Warner
    Walter Jones
    John Kerry
    -men by whom you are not fit to be spat on-
    of undermining America, of corroding the national soul, of stabbing America in the back. You are not fit to be spat on by any of these men.
    You CANNOT justify the Iraq war, or, by extension, the Vietnam war, by accusing a majority of Americans of stabbling America in the back. America is NOT divided. America favors a withdrawal from Iraq, and opposes an escalation.
    And you don’t need to. Your father’s service was worthy and honorable. It doesn’t MATTER that the actual effects of his service harmed is country.

  2. bud

    Hooray for the United States Senate! After just a couple of weeks in power they are finally on the verge of officially voicing their disgust with this whole sordid affair in Iraq. Good for them. Let’s get one thing straight. The president has the power to run military operations in Iraq the way he sees fit. Congress can do little at this juncture except voice their opposition. There just simply are not the votes necessary to cut off funding. After the president’s predictable failure with HIS surge plan congress will have more power to do the right thing and cut off funding. (This is the BUSH plan not Petraeus or any other experienced military thinker). It’s going to take one more round of failed military mis-adventurism from the Chairborne Rangers to prove, once and for all, that this warmongering disaster is getting us nothing but death and a huge bill.
    As Mary has pointed out many times it takes no courage to send other people to fight a war. It takes no courage to ask for others to sacrifice. It takes no courage to write columns in favor of more war, death and destruction. But it does take courage to finally stand up for the moral principals this country was founded on. I applaud veterans like Hagel, Kerry and Webb for articulating these principals.
    As for the Chickenhawks running the White House, history will judge them and their minions for the failures that they are. To squander the good will of the world and a 90% percent approval rating required a considerable amount of ineptitude. Sadly, George W. Bush was down to the task. And now it’s time to begin the cleanup process. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in a narrow 12-9 vote, took the first step. Hopefully, they will continue the process to bring our brave young men and women home. The sooner the better.

  3. bud

    Here’s a brief military resume of four of the Senators Brad has accussed of: “Shame, Cowardice and Betrayal”.
    Chuck Hagel:
    Hagel is a Vietnam War veteran, having served in the U.S. Army infantry, attaining the rank of Sergeant (E-5) from 1967-68. While serving during the Vietnam War, he received the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
    John Warner:
    He enlisted in the United States Navy during World War II in January 1945, shortly before his 18th birthday. He served until the following year, leaving as a Petty Officer 3rd Class.
    He joined the Marine Corps in October 1950, after the outbreak of the Korean War, and served in Korea as a ground officer with the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. He continued in the Marine Corps Reserves after the war, eventually reaching the rank of captain.
    John Kerry:
    Kerry joined the Navy Reserves during his senior year at Yale. He is quoted as saying that he decided to join the Navy after he approached his draft board for permission to study for a year in Paris, and the draft board refused. In addition, several of his classmates were enlisting in the armed services. Upon graduation from Yale, Kerry entered active duty and served until 1970, eventually reaching the rank of Lieutenant. He was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star and 3 Purple Hearts for his service.
    Jim Webb:
    A 1968 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Webb was a Marine Corps infantry officer until 1972, and is a highly decorated Vietnam War combat veteran. During his four years with the Reagan administration, Webb served as the first Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, then as Secretary of the Navy.
    With “cowards” like these who needs heros?

  4. chrisw

    The one thing that can not be relied upon is courage in our governmental officials.
    As a conservative member of the “cut and run” team, I am embarrassed by the naked demagoguery and political posturing by many members of both parties. It is clear that the Democrats “prostituted” the men and women in harms way for the opportunity for to seize power in the 06 elections…and they clearly are clueless about how to stop this war and how to protect this country from fanatical terrorist.
    Of course, my problem is that the Republicans are no better. There is no greater collection of week and malleable men and women in the world than those 100 that occupy the world’s “most exclusive club”.
    The root problem here is not terrorism, or George Bush, or any other item that is being discussed. The root problem is that the since 1972 there has been a cascade of “do gooding” campaign reform acts have made it virtually impossible for thoughtful and courageous candidates to become elected to high office. What we have instead is a leadership class that is willing to supplicate itself for the needed money to obtain office and remain there. The end results are the seemingly intractable messes we see littering the landscape.
    Brad and I are on opposite side of the fence on this issue…not because of the root issues of the war…but because this country does not have a leadership class to prosecute this war, nor any other meaningful and difficult policy. And this has been true for 15 or 20 years…

  5. Ready to Hurl

    Oh, spare us the dramatic rending of clothes and tearing of hair.
    If the insurgents are savvy enough to keep up with US Senate resolutions then they are savvy enough read polls showing Dear Leader at 28% popularity and various other indicators that Joe and Jane Sixpack have awoken. Perhaps we should stop taking polls– or elections– because they give “aid and comfort” to the enemy.
    Sure the Congress could cut off the funding. Then you’d rant and rave at their craveness for “leaving the troops stranded overseas without monies…”
    Gawd, the absolute hypocrisy of this diatribe was enough to make me puke in my Cheerios.
    The Congress is faced with a sociopathic Chief Executive. If Brad were a cognizant observer then he’d understand that Dear Leader responds to nothing but brute force. He is monomaniacal and deluded. The senate resolution is the latest of “messages” delivered by a weary populace. (Remember the midterm elections and the plummeting polls, Brad?)
    Again, Brad will exhume the odious and patently false slander that we “hate Bush more than we love our country.” Every term that I use for Bush is supported by his actions.
    Americans are not “war weary” as Dear Leader’s spinmeisters would have you believe. They are weary of being deceived and blatantly lied to by a spoiled, egomaniac man-child in a bubble of unreality.
    In absolutely NO WAY is this situation parallel to Lincoln’s unpopularity in 1864– a particularly galling and egregious mis-appropriation of history.
    The senate resolution is simply the next step in escalating warnings. De-funding is the last ditch, drastic step. One can hope that it won’t be necessary. Given Dear Leader’s blind stubbornness and Darth Cheney’s un-bending fanaticism, it may be the only solution– barring impeachment.

  6. Doug

    If we had put 10% of the money we’ve spent on Iraq so far into programs to protect our borders and improve our intelliegence and counter-terrorism operations, we’d be in a far better condition than we are now.
    Bush created this mess. He pulled the original WMD bait-and-switch, never asked for any sacrifice from the American public to pay for the war, got his rocks off on wearing a flight suit and declaring “Mission Accomplished”, and has lost the support of his own party. Trading a murderous dictator for a civil war isn’t progress.
    Sorry we won’t be killing more American soldiers for your idealogical benefit, Brad. You’ll just have to get over it.

  7. Mary Rosh

    “Gawd, the absolute hypocrisy of this diatribe was enough to make me puke in my Cheerios.”
    RTH, does this mean you should change your screen name to something like RTH Again?

  8. Wally Altman

    Brad, I understand your desire to see Iraq transformed into a peaceful, functioning democracy, but how can you still believe that’s possible under this administration when Cheney still won’t admit that they’ve made mistakes and says Rumsfeld did a “superb job”?

  9. bud

    By Brad’s own standards Jim Webb should be one of his favorite politicians. As a war veteran he served his country proud in Vietnam. As Secretary of the Navy he helped Republican president Ronald Reagan build the military to an unpresidented level during the later stages of the Cold War. But his conscience later dictated that he abandon party ties for the sake of what he believed was best for his country and joined the ranks of the Democrats. He did so not because of ideological stubborness but because he earnestly believed it was the right thing to do.
    I’ll be watching closely in this blog and in the editorial page of the State for a article by Brad Warthen praising the independent minded, American hero Jim Webb of Virgina.

  10. Ready to Hurl

    Mary, my gag reflex has been sorely tested by Brad previously.
    BTW, I’ve been remiss in not signing my posts as I promised elsewhere in deference to Brad’s fixation on names.
    Teddy Roosevelt

  11. bud

    Ok Brad, several of us have taken shots at you for this post. But I’ll give you a chance to change my mind. Show me some evidence, anything, by an independent study group (not a right-wing think tank) that supports your contention that a redeployment of American forces away from the most dangerous areas of Iraq will result in a less secure America. All you’ve done is ask us to accept that contention on faith. Show us your evidence. The burden of proof is clearly on the side of those who want to continue spending billions and killing thousands to show how this makes us safe. What evidence has led you to believe that it will?
    As a corollary to this show us some evidence that a vote in Congress to show support for pulling our troops out of Iraq imperils the troops and makes Americans less safe? Maybe I have a stronger stomach than Hurl but it’s important for me to hear you out one more time on this.

  12. Brad Warthen

    In my never-ending quest to find someone who wants to have good-faith dialogue, I’ll address Wally, who said:

    Brad, I understand your desire to see Iraq transformed into a peaceful, functioning democracy, but how can you still believe that’s possible under this administration when Cheney still won’t admit that they’ve made mistakes and says Rumsfeld did a "superb job"?

    I DON’T think it’s possible under this administration. I NEVER thought it was possible under this administration.

    As I have pointed out repeatedly, I have been on record since the week of the invasion as saying that this task would be for Bush’s successor, or his successor’s successor, to complete.
    I have never had any illusions that anything else was possible, and I have not been shy about saying so.

    The only way in which the present administration is relevant at this point is that its gross mistakes have severely set us back, making the process even LONGER than it was going to be.

    To be absolutely clear: THIS IS A GENERATIONAL STRUGGLE. Always has been. And surprise, surprise — that’s why I keep holding up and extolling the people who understand and SAY that, because the country needs to hear it, and understand it. The trouble is, we elect mostly followers, not leaders. The war becomes unpopular, so they try to weasel their way out of being responsible for it (because they don’t have the courage to END it, even though they have the power). What they should be doing is leading, and explaining the stakes to any constituents who don’t get it. (And don’t tell me the elected followers themselves don’t see the stakes as I do; if they truly disagreed, they’d have the courage to end the war.)

    Talk about timetables is utterly absurd;  from the perspective of one who understands that this isn’t going to be over for a long, long time, people who talk about timetables might as well be speaking Martian.

    And it doesn’t do a bit of good to talk about partisan politics. The only political question that is relevant at this moment is, Who would be the best candidate for president to carry us forward toward success in Iraq? That’s been the ONLY political question with any relevance to the war effort since November 2004. Therefore, I remain stunned at the political classes’ capacity to wallow in political irrelevancies in spite of that painfully obvious fact.

  13. Brad Warthen

    bud, I think your message and mine crossed paths.

    You deserve an answer too, because you’ve expressed more than once your willingness to listen.

    However, in this case you pose an unanswerable question. How can I prove to you that a hypothetical situation would lead inevitably to a certain result? It’s not that simple.

    What I can do is repeat reasons that I’ve given in the past as to why I believe as I do. Check this post and this one. On the latter one, scroll down to the words "last helicopter."

    To those points I can only add that there is every reason to believe that if we deserted the Iraqis at this point, the consequences would include:

    • A strengthening of the most extreme elements in Iran — the most dangerous factor in the region — as they sweep in and take the south of Iraq.
    • The transformation of the Sunni areas into the new safe base for Al Qaeda and other extremists — although of course Hezbollah would tend to hang out in the Iranian zones.
    • War between Turkey and an independent greater Kurdistan, without our presence there to moderate Kurdish independence moves.
    • A tremendous boost to the confidence and operational effectiveness of al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, who would seize this opportunity to go back on the offensive against the U.S., Britain, Israel, and pretty much anybody else who sets off their craziness.

    bud, I probably can’t convince you here that those things would happen. But I believe firmly that, one way or another (there are many variables), such things would happen, and I doubt you can convince me that they won’t. I’m happy for you to try, though. Things sure would be a lot easier if you were right, too.

  14. bud

    My appologies to Mary and RTH. I may be slow but I finally get it. Brad Warthen is an idiot. Brad’s rationale for supporting our continued involvement in Iraq cannot be explained any other way than to say that it’s an article of religious faith. The Brad Warthen Church of Idiocy. Whether you like it or not Brad there IS A TIMETABLE. The next election frames the debate. We either succeed or fail by the next election. The American public will not tolerate the situation in Iraq longer than that.
    So why beat that dead (and buried) horse to death. The next president WILL pull our forces out of Iraq if it hasn’t happened before then. So any discussion of continuing our stay any longer is an exercise in fantasy thinking. To speak in terms of continuing beyond the 2008 election simply shows a total, utter, complete lack of the basic understanding of political reality. Why can’t you get that through your thick head?

  15. Agricola

    Like supporters of the war keep saying: Ok, we admit it is a cluster f***. Mistakes were made. But it does not alter the fact, which Brad points out, that we are engaged in a generational war with an ideological enemy that wishes for our annihilation. Folks, however much you want to blame BushHitler, the fact is that we did not start this war. If we had not gone into Iraq, we would have had to become engaged somewhere, in the near future. It was gonna happen. And all of your psychosis, or longing for the good old anti-Vietnam days, only serves to remind the rest of us of the bankruptcy of your values and the short-sightedness of your world view.

  16. bud

    Agricola writes:
    “Folks, however much you want to blame BushHitler, the fact is that we did not start this war.”
    OF COURSE WE DID! Why is it that war supporters never run out of stupid things to say. UN inspectors had to rush out of Iraq once American military forces started bombing the place. The war mongers make the pragmatic war opponents job easy by saying things that are factually not true.

  17. Mary Rosh

    Agricola, do you not understand that you cannot successfully make your point by presuming that your viewpoint is correct and talking in this patronizing way to those who do not accept that your viewpoint is correct? If you want to persuade people that your viewpoint is correct, you need to present supporting facts and reasoning. You have not done this. Watch:
    “we are engaged in a generational war with an ideological enemy that wishes for our annihilation.”
    No we aren’t.
    “Folks, however much you want to blame BushHitler, the fact is that we did not start this war.”
    Yeah we did.
    “If we had not gone into Iraq, we would have had to become engaged somewhere, in the near future.”
    No we wouldn’t.
    “It was gonna happen.”
    No it wasn’t.
    It isn’t any kind of shortcoming on our part that keeps us from accepting your point of view as correct, it is that YOU HAVE NOT SUPPORTED YOUR VIEWS WITH ANY KIND OF ARGUMENT. YOU have not done the work you need to do. Don’t blame us.

  18. Brad Warthen

    I can’t get it through my head, bud, because it doesn’t fit the facts. If the timetable is that “We either succeed or fail by the next election,” then we fail. Period. There is no way in the world to finish the job before then. Never has been, and certainly not after all the things that Bush and Rumsfeld screwed up.
    What I don’t understand is why you and the attention-deprived majority of the public have never heard anything that has been said about the “long haul,” about the fact that we are in a struggle between modern civilization and radical Islam (and the various regional political factors that both cause it and arise from it), and that it is so big, and so complex, that none of us will live to see the end of it.
    The next ten years will go better if Gen. Petraeus’ plan works, and it will only work if people like you give him the chance.
    The next 10 years will go worse if we declare defeat and pull out of Iraq. I firmly believe that in the next decade, more Americans will die than if we don’t.
    That is true whether you agree or not. If you think we pull out and have a generation of peace, you are delusional. What we want is far from being the only factor here. Those who cheer and fire their AKs into the air as we leave will have a lot more to say about what happens next than we will.
    It’s a lousy situation, but it doesn’t change just because you think it would be nice if things were different.

  19. Wally Altman

    You’re absolutely right about the military situation in Iraq. There is no way to succeed within two years, and there never has been. However, that doesn’t change the fact that bud is also right. President Bush and his administration have mishandled the war so badly that it’s all but impossible politically for the next president to continue the war.
    If the American people believed we had a chance to succeed in Iraq, then they would support the war effort, as they largely did a few years ago. But the continual missteps of the current administration have forfeited all Bush’s credibility. When he now tells us that we can still win in Iraq with his new strategy, very few people believe him. That is why there is such a negative response to this plan; if we are going to lose anyway, and Bush has given us no reason to believe we won’t, then why are we still sending more soldiers to be killed?

  20. Doug

    We could “win” Iraq and still be threatened by Iran, North Korea, Taliban, Al Queda, etc. The resources we have wasted on invading Iraq would have been better spent beefing up our own defenses and intelligence operations.
    We CANNOT defeat terrorism. We can only try to prevent them from harming us.
    The tentacles of radical Islamist factions are spread around the world. We may squeeze them out of Iraq, but they will just pop up somewhere else. It’s a military version of Whack-a-Mole.
    Sadly, I think Brad is waiting for the next 9/11 attack so he can say, “I told you so”.

  21. Ready to Hurl

    bud, Darth Cheney is the Pope (soon to be saint) of that Neo-Con Church.
    Brad’s just a priest out in the hinterlands doing his best to explain the One and True Faith to the heathens.
    I bet that Brad can tell you how many terrorists can dance on the head of a pin.
    I’m beginning to understand how deeply Brad has drunk the sacred Purple Kool-aid. He threw me off by not using the nomenclature of the nuttiest misguided, eg. islamofascist, clash of cultures, murderous infidel Muslims, towel heads etc.
    Brad and the rest have a strong psychological need to be part of a grand, over-arching, individual-absorbing, cultural/religious crusade. I’m sure that there is a psychological/sociological term for this behavior.
    Rather than deal with the more mundane, less exalted reality they need to feel part of another “Greatest Generation.” Instead of recognizing the terrorists as a minuscule minority of a subset of a portion of a larger religion, they fancy the many millions of Muslims as a threat to Western Enlightenment.
    Rather than remedy the causes of Islamic radicalism (western economic exploitation, poor education systems, authoritarian governments and poor legal systems), the neo-cons see the answer as replacing their culture with ours. It’s so much more exciting than the difficult, humdrum, inexact methods needed to bring the Muslim countries into the 21st Century.
    Oddly enough, almost everything that they’ve advocated has been successful at creating the clash of civilizations which they fervently believe in– a self-fulfillng prophecy of the Church of Neo-Cons.

  22. bill

    I was listening to an NPR show featuring four retired generals.They’re was an incredible amount of insight being tossed around.
    One snippet from Gen William Odom-
    “the biggest source of instability in Iraq is paradoxically the presence of U.S. forces there.”
    Odom said that “withdrawal from Iraq” on “a serious and irreversible schedule, is the only thing that will change the polarity of the situation to give this president an opportunity to design a strategy that has some prospect of victory.”

  23. Agricola

    This is what I’m talking about earlier:
    “we are engaged in a generational war with an ideological enemy that wishes for our annihilation.”
    No we aren’t.
    “Folks, however much you want to blame BushHitler, the fact is that we did not start this war.”
    Yeah we did.
    “If we had not gone into Iraq, we would have had to become engaged somewhere, in the near future.”
    No we wouldn’t.
    “It was gonna happen.”
    No it wasn’t.
    It isn’t any kind of shortcoming on our part that keeps us from accepting your point of view as correct, it is that YOU HAVE NOT SUPPORTED YOUR VIEWS WITH ANY KIND OF ARGUMENT”
    Did we start the war? Did we bomb Teheran with hijacked aircraft? Did we strike anywhere, for that matter, with our armed forces? NO
    Is a central tenet of the radical Muslim sects the destruction of Western values? YES.
    Have they sworn to strike the West repeatedely until we submit? YES
    Read a little bit. “The Age of Sacred Terror”, by two NSC staffers in the Clinton White House. Read Bernard Lewis, who has written extensively about the change in Islam and the threat it poses to the West. Read VS Naipaul’s two books on his travels throught the Muslim world and the beliefs of true believers. As much as you want to slam supporters of the Administration, try to understand the sweep of history and not the rants of reflexive post-modern “progressive” nonsense…….

  24. Dave

    As Bush said, Congress didnt vote for failure, but the lefty bloggers on this blog desire failure. In fact, they have already conceded defeat. Only with the leftist anti-Americans can we kill 50,000 terrorists while we lose 3000 brave soldiers and that is called losing. The saving grace for Bush is that the vast majority of Americans WANT and demand victory, not a false defeat. So big deal, the Senate passes a “non-binding” resolution. Is that like a warning from a cop for failure to yield right of way? How effeminate can that group get? But Al Qaeda is celebrating the defeatists in the Senate if that makes the cut and run crowd proud of themselves. Bush, really our military, will have won OUR war by the time these sissies show the guts they could show, and then, you read it here first, most of them will say their “actions” turned the war around in our favor.

  25. bud

    Agricola, you’ve bought into the neo-con false dichotomy that links the Iraq war with 9-11. The two are completely unrelated. We started the war against Iraq on March 19, 2003 by bombing their cities and marching into their territory. No amount of talk radio spin can change that fact. By invading Iraq the way we did we did two things that made our security situation much worse. First, we prematurely reduced our efforts in Afghanistan. That has allowed the Taliban to re-group and that very impoverished nation is left hanging in the wind.
    Second, by going into Iraq we effectively proved the point of the radical elements in the region that have long suggested America was trying to take over the region and turn it into something of a Judeo-Christian colony. In the long run this will result in a vastly greater number of terrorists in the region than any number Dave can make up.
    Given the mess Bush has created it’s unlikely that we will ever be in the same strong position we were in following 9-11. However, by withdrawing from Iraq we can at least move in a positive direction.

  26. bud

    Brad’s call to fight in Iraq for the next 10 years is an idea that is not going to happen. Here are some other unattainable projects that we can discuss:
    1. Require the sun to come up in the west. This would eliminate the dangerous blind spot created for motorists who drive from west to east in the morning due to the bright sun.
    2. Drain the Atlantic Ocean. Without all that water we would have additional land to ease over-crowding problems.
    3. Outlaw breathing. That would help reduce the emission CO-2 and help with the global warming problem.
    4. Perform a census to accurately determine the number of grains of sand at Myrtle Beach. The current process of estimating this figure does not provide decision makers with an acceptable level of accuracy.

  27. Dave

    Bud, some facts. Afghan. didnt fire a single shot at us, or even threaten us. Yet, you approve of us attacking Afghan. Why there and not Iraq? AQ was in Afghan and AQ leaders and followers scurried to Iraq when they were losing in Afghan. Zarqawi was one of those. Now Somalia hasnt attacked us but many on the left want military action there. Why? As Lee asks, where and when specifically do you want to fight the terrorists. I need names and dates.

  28. bud

    To answer Dave’s question, how about Peru on June 18, 2008. That would make about as much sense as what we’re doing now. I can hear the neo-cons now. We have indisputable evidence that Peru is developing a new strain of biological weapons that would render Americans folically impaired. It’s being tested now and the results are shocking. Men are losing their hair all over the land. Men than once had a full head of hair in their 20s have been rendered b*** by the time thier 40 years old. (The b-word is too inflamatory to repeat in this family blog). This menace must be stopped before it’s too late. Do we have to wait for the evidence of this threat to appear as a shiny toadstool on the heads of our people? And what if this new weapon is used on American women!!!

  29. Herb Brasher

    Brad, you remember the yelling and screaming 35 years ago over Vietnam? I remember when I started my seminary studies up in Chicago, one of the first guys I met–or better, “saw”–I avoided him like the plague–was a guy down the hallway who was yelling in frustration about the Vietnam war. The guy was Jim Wallis, today a leading evangelical on the left, and the organization he founded at the time eventually became Sojourners. He was energetic at 25; he’s mellowed at 50.
    He put me off by his yelling–but now I think he was pretty much right. Would I have listened if he had just taken a nice, peaceful approach? Maybe, but probably not. After all, we were all convinced of the domino theory–just get out of Vietnam, and the rest of Southeast Asia would fall–and who knows, eventually the Communists would land on the coast of California.
    I still don’t like some of Mary’s and others’ approach, and I think it’s stupid and just plain disrespectful to tell you what to do when you’re not at your desk–like volunteering at the V.A. hospital. All you’d have to do is to go play golf instead of investing time in this, and this public forum would be shut down for all of us.
    But I’m thinking back–what if Mary and others are yelling because it’s a life and death matter, and nobody is really listening? How many times have I felt like yelling about the abortion issue (because it’s a life and death matter as well–30 million babies gone since Roe vs. Wade was passed, I’m told)–but of course I don’t. Is this new “domino theory” about Iraq really true? Yes–I still agree with Uncle Elmer–just picking up and leaving looks to be a cheap way out of a mess that we are responsible for.
    But sometimes I have to wonder if I was mellow at 25, and slowly rotting after 50.

  30. Ready to Hurl

    Hey, Brad (and everyone else) check out the Walker Institute on U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security at USC, 2/8-2/9.
    George Packer, author of The Assassins’ Gate, will lecture on “The Media and the Iraq War,” 7:00 p.m., Rm. 153, Gambrell, 2/8.
    On Friday, 2/9, Packer will join a panel including Peter Galbraith, and defense analyst Thomas Donnelly discussing “Iraq: Strategies for the Future.” The panel session meets in the same Gambrell room at 1:00 p.m.
    Brad this should be very educational session for you, in particular. Peter Galbraith is extremely knowledgeable about the Middle East and formerly served as U.S. Ambassador to Croatia. He wrote The End of Iraq which recommends partitioning Iraq and withdrawing.

  31. Lee

    The Democrats have too much invested in their hope that America fails in Iraq, to stop now that they have regained power. They are hell bent on making their wishes come true.

  32. Brad Warthen

    But Lee, if that’s so, why don’t they use their power?
    A nonbinding resolution is less than nothing. Seems to me antiwar people would be furious about it.
    What you’re suggesting is that it’s all a diabolical plot to undermine the war effort without taking responsibility for what happens as a result. That may well be the way it turns out, but I don’t believe anyone has thought it out consciously, or is doing that deliberately. I don’t think they could live with themselves if they did.


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