May 2008

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rk

How does a war proponent, like McCain, enjoy so much military support, when his 'no-draft' policy, means the troops will all be turning MORE than 3-4 tours?

I can understand 'military' support coming from the generals. But McCain & Co, also seem to enjoy the support of the enlisted ranks.

Fox

I gave several years as a U.S. Army ground Troop. I was in the Guard and then Reg Army.

I have friends that are still over there and I have friends that are going over.

Do not listen to what you read in the papers, do not watch what they put on t.v. If you want to know the real story you need to talk to PV2 Joe Somebody from NE or Sargeant Sam Everyman from NC.

10 people can join the service and 10 people can see and live different things over there. One thing is for sure, I have never talk to anyone who has never served there get it right.

I have been to places and seen things that the papers and t.v. told me I did not. As with anything people will pick the path of thought they want, but think about where the info you are thinking about comes from. When it comes from a person who talked to someone who heard about it from someone who had seen it and then wrote about it, things might not be all that right.

aguy

"No one doubts that a stable democracy in Iraq would be good for our national security."

Ummm I do.

Remove the US troops and most people agree it will be civil war. Why is that not in the US interests? There is virtually no significant oil flowing from Iraq anyway.
Wouldn’t it be better if the if the Bathist, Sunis, Shia, Iranians, and al-Qaeda types are fighting each other instead of the US. They wont follow us home (using the GOP lost puppie anology) if they are locked in a mortal battle against their historic enemies for supremacy in Iraq.

It would certainly be bad for the Iraqis (but we haven’t exactly been their best friend since we sold them gas in the Iraq/Iran war anyway). Morally wrong perhaps. But, strategically it could work out in our best interests to create more infighting. Let’s face it they want to fight somebody, why not give them a new target.

ASM826

Yea, you support the troops. Name one. How many veterans are you friends with? When was the last time you went to a Memorial Day event or parade? You're fooling yourself.

Here it is. War is what troops do. Troops die and get horribly injured, mentally and physically. We, as a society, have decided that price is worth it to maintain the country.

Wasting troops in unnecessary ways is bad, on many levels. So, if you decide to use troops, you have to fight to win. Supporting victory, and finishing the fight is supporting the troops.

Your whole argument sounds like something a cow-orker would spout off the break room, making me throw away my lunch half eaten just to get away from him/her.

Semper Fidelis,
ASM826

Dusty

I agree with Scott. Our soldiers have made an amazing commitment to their country, namely their lives. In return, our Government owes it to them to respect that commitment by maintaining a high standard of what is worth putting those lives in jeopardy. The exaggerated evidence leading up to Iraq (and subsequent outcome) has clearly not been worth the cost in soldiers lives. Saying this doesn't devalue our soldiers' sacrifice -- it just says that the President has extremely bad judgment. "Supporting our troops" by trying to get them out of there asap and back home to their families is a recognition of their worth to the country, not a betrayal.

Regarding the other threads this discussion has taken, I would point out just how ridiculously huge and strong this country is. Short of us destroying ourselves through our own stupidiy, Al-Qaida isn't going to do any real damage. We can stomp them out whenever they get too big without occupying the Middle East and making the entire Arab world hate us. The fact that there hasn't been so much as a pipe bomb on public transport since 9/11 isn't a testament to Homeland Security's crack anti-terrorist efforts -- it's because there really aren't that many people who hate innocent Americans that much.

Stomper

JShope:

Iraq had a history of directly funding and supporting terrorism? I've heard that claim before, but all the evidence I've seen shows just the opposite. The fundamentalists did not like Saddam because he was too sectarian, and thus doctrinally suspect.

And if Saddam really had little or nothing to do with terrorism, then he was just one of many nasty despots out there. The US cannot depose all of them, so what makes Iraq special?

There is no sin in breaking a promise you were never capable of keeping. The sin lies in making the promise in the first place. Our troops cannot force democracy or even peace down the collective throat of a populace that does not respect or want either.

Whether US forces leave now, or 20 years from now, Iraq will have a bloodbath at that point until some replacement for Saddam takes over and ruthlessly squelches the oposition. The difference from the US perspective is how many of our troops must be maimed and killed before we leave.

The fact that there is confusion about our objectives in Iraq (as you concede) is itself an indictment of our so-called "leadership" and powerful evidence that there is nothing viable for our military to attain. We are eventually going to pull out with our collective tails between our collective legs, and we should do so sooner rather than later.

--Stomper

JShope

Stomper -- "I'm still waiting for a good reason why it had to be the US providing the force to depose him."

I live in a city that has a county island in one spot. If there is a fire in the county island, the city fire department will respond, even though it is not their fire to fight. The county islanders refuse to be annexed into the city because they don't want to pay the additional taxes for fire and police. The US went into Iraq because there was a history of directly funding and supporting terrorism. It was not necessarily a US problem to fight, but the US was the only one willing to do so. We have a similar problem with Iran. The US is following a different strategy, but we are engaged where other countries can not or will not.


Stomper -- "However, we were supposed to learn from Viet Nam and Korea that US troops should only be sent to fight for achievable military objectives. "

It would be nice if every objective were achievable, but there are too many conflicting ideas about what the true objectives are and how they should be achieved. I also took a different lesson from Vietnam and Korea, and the first Gulf War: Just because the US stops fighting, does not mean the enemy will. We made an explicit promise, when we entered the conflict, to see it through to a conclusion that offers some semblance of peace. When we broke our promise to South Vietnam, they suffered and continue to suffer, and we still have a problem. When we kept our promise to South Korea, we minimized the suffering, but we still have a problem. When we broke our promise to the Shiites in Iraq, they died by the thousands. I think we need to return to being a nation that keeps its promises.

Stomper

gr8hands:

Throw cold water on my face and pick me up off the floor. Next you'll tell me you've found Jesus. ;)

--Stomper

gr8hands

Stomper, I'm in the unusual position of agreeing completely with your response to Andy.

Well said.

Stomper

Andy:

No, I guess I wasn't clear enough. My bad. Let me try again.

US haters with the resources to come over here and deal damage on our own soil will not be delayed or decoyed by the fight in Iraq. They will still come over here. Where is the evidence to the contrary?

This means the only US haters fighting US forces in Iraq are the haters from that region without the resources to attack us over here. If we withdraw our forces, then those people have no way to attack the US.

It makes no sense to suggest that fighting them over there somehow increases our security over here. That is just the kind of rationale people say to (a) justify and excuse a horrible foreign policy decision after the fact, and (b) help themselves feel better about the fact that security cannot be guaranteed. There is no logic or truth in the position, and other posters have already pointed out that there is no historical validity to the position, either.

In fact, the evidence overwhelmingly indicates that our actions in Iraq are actually breeding and training more US haters. If we keep encouraging people to hate us, then the laws of probability tell us some of those new haters WILL have the resources to get over here and deal damage on our soil. We are DECREASING our domestic security with every day we stay in Iraq.

And yes, I'm a trial lawyer, but I fail to see how I switched scope. The gist of your post was, "better to fight them over there than over here," and that is what I responded to. Did I misunderstand YOUR post?

JShope:

The fire you are talking about was never ours to put out. Sure, Saddam was a bad man who needed to be deposed. I'm still waiting for a good reason why it had to be the US providing the force to depose him. That was never our right or our duty.

I agree that it is silly to say that soldiers should never be exposed to risk, or that victory has to be certain. However, we were supposed to learn from Viet Nam and Korea that US troops should only be sent to fight for achievable military objectives. Iraq does not have one of those.

--Stomper

Andy

Stomper:

You made my point better and more eloquently than I could. Thanks for answering your own question.

I will add only this: Switching scope is often employed by lawyers in a courtroom trying to win the weaker case. Better luck next time.

bcammack

Were any of you nitwits even alive during Vietnam? Are you truely so limited in your capacity for abstract thinking that "If we don't fight them over there, we'll have to fight them over here!" is a satisfactory, completely encompassing explanation for this debacle?

Geez, I'm so glad I'll be comfortably dead in a couple decades (or less) so that I won't have to experience whatever the next level of mass insanity manifests itself to be.

Your sanctimonious patriotism and jingoistic paranoia may keep you smugly self-satisfied, but it's a cheap high and it's killing a lot of humans for no good reason save to assuage your hateful, ill-informed suspicions of the unknown.

mo480

Being not a troop anymore by just a few months, I have to say I doubt it.
Deal with it.

sourcreamus

I also could not find a poll asking returning veterans about the war. I do not think this is a reason to presume what the results of such a poll would be. The only way to find out would be to poll so many people that eventually you got enough Iraq war veterans for a valid sample. This would be so expensive as to be prohibitive for most polling companies. The other way would be to get a list from the military and I would guess that giving out a list of returning veterans is illegal.
So in the absence of a valid poll, one could use reenlistment numbers since by definition it includes only military people currently serving. I found many articles talking about record reenlistment rates, but the only number I could find was 84% in the first quarter of this year. All of the articles I found mentioned that reenlistment rates were well above goals. This seems to me pretty conclusive evidence that those fighting the war seem to believe in it. I think it is great that you are willing to change your beliefs based on evidence. It would be a better world if more people let evidence affect their political views.

JShope

Thank you Stomper. However, I do not feel that the firemen in the analogy were "racing to a false alarm".

It is well established that Saddam was a threat to his own country and its citizens, even if there is debate about the external threat (after Kuwait). U.S. and Coalition Soldiers came in, arrested him, and turned him over to the courts.

The area now could be compared to any gang-infested area, such as Chicago or Los Angeles. Does anyone feel we should pull all of the police and fire personnel from gang-ridden areas and let all of the people there just fend for themselves?

Stomper

Andy:

Exactly how is the Iraq conflict preventing attacks on our own soil? I'll grant you that our own troops and civilian contractors in Iraq are more conveniently available for the middle-eastern US-haters who can't manage a trip overseas (the travel agents were probably the first to leave, using their discounted fares). The haters who already have automatic weapons or explosives that won't travel through security very well are also using that opportunity to shoot at local targets.

But how does that help protect us from the haters who CAN get over here? Do you really think the haters with frequent-flyer miles or financial resources are postponing the trip so that they can fight our armed and prepared troops over there, rather than hurt (generally) unarmed and unprepared civilians here in the US? Do you understand how terrorism works?

Sorry, but your argument looks kind of lame over here. Maybe it would make more sense to assert that argument in Iraq, so the terrorists would all address it there. Or not.

--Stomper

Stomper

Andy:

Exactly how is the Iraq conflict preventing attacks on our own soil? I'll grant you that our own troops and civilian contractors in Iraq are more conveniently available for the middle-eastern US-haters who can't manage a trip overseas (the travel agents were probably the first to leave, using their discounted fares). The haters who already have automatic weapons or explosives that won't travel through security very well are also using that opportunity to shoot at local targets.

But how does that help protect us from the haters who CAN get over here? Do you really think the haters with frequent-flyer miles or financial resources are postponing the trip so that they can fight our armed and prepared troops over there, rather than hurt (generally) unarmed and unprepared civilians here in the US? Do you understand how terrorism works?

Sorry, but your argument looks kind of lame over here. Maybe it would make more sense to assert that argument in Iraq, so the terrorists would all address it there. Or not.

--Stomper

Dilbert's Rabbi

"I support the troops more than you do". DO NOT!! Let's see if you have a good come back for that one!

Andy

It must be tough to hold an opinion that happens to match that of the popular media and most polls. I guess that qualifies you as an independent thinker...

The fact is: facing the fanatics somewhere other than New York, DC, or the skies over Pennsylvania and facing them with the best trained and most prepared people we can (regardless of how prepared *you* think they are [In which branch of the military did you serve? I was Army.]) is a better idea than anything I've read here.

If we pull the tropps home we will need them here because here will be the new front.

neopolitan

EJ Smith,

Thanks for directing us to a font of propaganda. I have heard that the US military are working to use cyberspace more efficiently to push their mission, interesting to see one of their attempts. They could put a bit of effort into making it seem less like a propaganda outlet and more like one humble soldier trying to make a difference.

They also have a channel on You-Tube with footage from daily life in Iraq.

I am pretty sure that the average joes in the military are no better nor worse than the average joes on the street (any street). My cynicism is reserved to those in cushy chairs back home who send out other people to die with questionable (and ambiguous) motives.

Interesting to see the motive for the war in that PowerPoint slideshow. "Freedom and Democracy". Not a single word about ridding the world of WMDs. I guess that the lie that got them into this mess is now inconvenient and it is a case of being flexible when it comes to mission assignment.

I would be interested to see a few analyses of the slideshow from others ... so here is the link again http://badgersforward.blogspot.com/2007/05/10-myths-about-iraq-war.html (warning, it is propaganda - I am not sending you there to convince you but for it to be read critically :) )

cheers,

neopolitan

PS Anyone who thinks that the people involved in the naked pyramid building exercises were inherently bad and not representative of the average soldier should read about the Stanford prison experiment (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_Prison_Experiment). Those soldiers could have been anyone, you really should blame the people who put them in a situation where the ugly side of being human could manifest so spectacularly.

Tom

Using your rationale I will admit that you support the troops more that me BUT your thinking is limited to the well being of the troops and maybe not the country.

First lets agree on the need for better medical care and better equipment. Now that we have dispensed with that debate we need to ask whether the price we ask American troops to pay enhances the freedom and the security for the US.

Like the Democrats you can support the troops but completely miss out on the big picture and that is the long term freedom from terrorism by fighting the religious zealots on their own turf.

It is probably a waste of bits to convince you to think strategically so I will end with: Freedom is not free.

Sir Mike Tallon

"No one doubts that a stable democracy in Iraq would be good for our national security." -Sheikh Adams

That's kind of selfish.

Has anyone ever thought we shouldn't be going around and telling people to form democracies in their countries? It's like saying, "Use this form of government, because I know better than you and I say so." Obviously the merits of democracy are sensibly progressive, but look at the level of the corruption democracies still face when put to practice, ours especially. Communism has its merits in theory but in real life the results are horrendous.

Even though we were first there to find WMDs, and then we were there to capture Saddam for war crimes, and now we're there because we have to force our beliefs of a better government--our leaders need to take their focus away from justifying the stay and realize it's imposing of us to be there in the first place. If you support the troops do you support that?

We shouldn't leave because we're real troop supporters, stop distracting yourself and make a point that we need to leave because it's immoral to push your beliefs on anyone. Here in our land, we frolic in all the democratic goodness, but the middle east has a completely opposite culture and religion from us. There's no way we can ever hope to completely understand it, and there's no way we can tell them to live the lives that we feel is best for them. That's what we stacked up 50 states for.

Brian

I'll deal with it just fine, thank you.

Since when is war, or an outcome of a war, "predictable"? What color is the sky in your world, pal?

You're smart about a lot of things, Scott, but this is a subject where we can be thankful you're not in a position to, you know, be the decider. Your thinking represents one of the worst aspects of the American character: the willingness (insanity?) to avoid dealing with tough moral choices that impact the globe, and abdicating our responsibilities to the rest of the world, or at least Western civilization, so we can feel better about avoiding these choices. It just feels good to not have to busy ourselves with wars we can't be assured we win, right? Or, would you feel comfortable with another Grenada-type war - short, cheap, and certainly winnable?

Stomper

JShope:

Call the analogy police. I'm going to extend yours.

Scott's point is that Iraq is not a "dangerous fire that could have potentially killed hundreds of people." There is no evidence (but plenty of speculative crystal-ball gazing) to suggest that our "fire-fighters" are saving US lives by fighting in Iraq.

Rather, the current situation is analogous to a truckload of firefighters all dying while racing to a false alarm. They were just trying to do their job, but their deaths saved no one. What a horrible, tragic waste. We need to call off the alarm before more firefighters get killed.

--Stomper

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