June 13, 2007

 

ARWARWARWARWARWARWARWARWARWARWARW

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Here are some random thoughts (I thought about apologizing to any readers who don’t give a crap, but then as they say, "if you’re not enraged, you’re not paying attention").

The bottom line, politically, is that the Bush administration has mismanaged this war beyond repair. I am a from-the-starter and was scratching my head at the split from Afghanistan to go start up Iraq. The neo-cons persuaded the president to go for it, and have gotten it wrong from square one.

In retrospect I believe that, since Iraq was a decision that few (including Congress) seemed willing to turn back from, we should've instituted the draft. The spirit was there to build up the forces necessary, but then we would've needed leaders who knew what the fuck to do with the mightiest army on the planet. My best guess is that Rumsfeld and Bush, even if they truly believed in the WMD theory, knew that invasion was a half-baked plan but simply hoped that we, as the hand of the Almighty, would prevail. When I say our leaders squandered a lot of goodwill in the world, I hear it argued that if other countries can't stick with us beyond just the sympathy phase of 9-11, then fuck 'em. But if we had leaders who were really looking out for the security of the citizens, I think we would be pursuing a much wiser spending of $430 billion (so far), with the world on our side and Al-Qaeda on the run if not already vanquished. I don’t know - is this naïve?

I am officially tired of the phrase is “freedom isn’t free.” It gets bandied about nearly as much as “they hate our freedoms” and “we fight them there blahblah...” I was recently reading excerpts from Ronald Reagan’s White House diaries. He wrote that after the terrorist truck bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon, a father of one of the deceased asked him whether what we were in Lebanon for was worth his son’s life. The president did not write about what answer he may or may not have given. Leaders send the rank and file to die “for our freedom.” I put that in quotes because, while no grave decision is cut and dried, since World War II the U.S. has been cowboying about with military and covert operations with nary a care for how the big boot of karma will come back around to swiftly kick our ass. The use of our military strength to enforce political views has cheapened the lives of citizens who’ve become soldiers, ostensibly to protect our country from physical threat. Such is the case again in Iraq, so when people say “freedom isn’t free,” if the time and place is appropriate I try to remember to say “I agree,” then ask them if they think what we’re there for is worth the cost of lives of parents, brothers, sisters or friends. When it comes to that aspect of our freedom, I’d like to see our nation economize a lot more.

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Comments:
Nicely said, O'Tim. I pretty much wholly agree with everything that you say here... although I would say one thing about the draft.

The accepted theory says that when a draft is instituted, the military-industrial-political complex is likely to be more circumspect when it comes to committing the nation into avoidable conflicts. But we saw during the Vietnam War that, if they so choose, the rich can simply exempt themselves from the draft anyway. A word in someone's shell-like ear is all it takes.

So I don't know how useful the draft would be nowadays... unless Canada wants an instant population boost and the rest of us want some cool protest songs... :)
 
The war is a massive disaster. I was openminded at first because I thought it would just be some bombing to punish Saddam re throwing out the nuclear inspectors, overflying, etc., but no. The invasion was totally ill-thought out from day one -- we can't bomb a mosque, we can't do this, we can't do that. WTF? What kind of stupid war is that? Just let our guys die, right. And then we tacked on that democracy shit, pretending that was the reason all along. What, you don't think Iraqis deserve democracy? RACIST!!! So now we have this giant mess we can't get out of, a zillion poor dead Iraqis, dead soldiers because of idiotic policies, a guy more sympathetic to Iran in there, terrorists further emboldened by our incompetence, and Osama/AQ still on the loose. Even if we don't care that the world hates us, we should care about those things!
 
"I hear it argued that if other countries can't stick with us beyond just the sympathy phase of 9-11, then fuck 'em."

Fuck the morons who say that. We get involved in other country's problems when it's perceived to be in our best interest, period. Other countries pursuing their bests interests instead of spending money and lives to further Bush's policies should be fine with anyone who isn't revising history in their own minds to make us look like paragons of altruism.

“freedom isn’t free.”

I hear that mostly from people who have no connection with the military whatsoever. They just think that talking tough and putting a sticker on the pickup makes them good Americans. Our FREEDOM was never actually in danger, anyway.

"since World War II the U.S. has been cowboying about with military and covert operations with nary a care for how the big boot of karma will come back around to swiftly kick our ass."

The RISK board that I mentioned earlier, indeed. I find it interesting that the "freedom isn't free" people tend to think that we've just been minding our own business all this time.
 
Nice post. It raised a couple of points of my own.

The neo-cons persuaded the president to go for it ...

Nope. I don't think there was much persuading being done. I think the necons' job was to fabricate the evidence to support it.

... Rumsfeld and Bush, even if they truly believed in the WMD theory, knew that invasion was a half-baked plan but simply hoped that we, as the hand of the Almighty, would prevail.

I disagree again. I think Rummy, Bushie, Cheney, Wolfie, etc honestly believed it would be a cakewalk, and that our boys would meet the sort of reaction as the guys liberating France in 45 did.

I am officially tired of the phrase is “freedom isn’t free.” You can also add the prhase "they are protecting our freedom." Both are completely Orwellian Newspeak in this case, since being in Iraq has nothing to do with protecting or achieving our freedom.

Oh, and the most insipid, infuriating, irrelevant, and ignorant comment I hear about this war is some variation of: "Well, the Dems thought Saddam had WMDs and nobody argued then."

What the fuck is that about? Did Clinton invade Iraq? Does that have anything to do with the mismanagement? And does that somehow mean that everyone opposing this war would support it if Clinton did invade? If so, does it mean all those contards and Bushwipes would the oppose the war had Clinton started it? This statement is surely the clearest sign of someone who is either too blind, too dumb, or too narrow-minded to see the truth.

Ook ook
 
I'm so with you on all of it, but particularly the "freedom isn't free" stuff. The pro-Iraq war crowd loves their catch-phrases, and the only one that gets (mis)used more is "providing aid and comfort to the enemy."
 
Cheezy - It would definitely have to be a deferment-free draft.

unless Canada wants an instant population boost and the rest of us want some cool protest songs

Now I know the reason I like Neil Young so much!

Paula wrote: What, you don't think Iraqis deserve democracy? RACIST!!!

I don't say they don't deserve it, but anything worth having is worth working for (my little catch phrase), and they don't seem too interested in working for it.

Joe wrote: I hear that ("freedom isn't free") mostly from people who have no connection with the military whatsoever.

Actually that's one I get more as a a fallback from the old-timer veterans around here. I'm amazed at their inability to see the debacle, and the phrase seems like a defense for the useless wars (VN, Korea) that they fought in.

Fez wrote: "the Dems thought Saddam had WMDs and nobody argued then."

Your response to that is a keeper.


Jeff - The next person who tells me I am "providing aid and comfort to the enemy" is getting a big sackful of Me Calling That Bullshit dumped on them.
 
Great post. I honestly believe that they thought they could go in, take out Saddam and the citizens of Iraq would fall at their feet in gratitude. Quick, clean and a friendly replacement in Saddams place.
The damage from this catastrophic folly will reverberate for generations.
 
I was going to say exactly what Fez said.

I would also like to point out that before "the war" women in Iraq had freedoms that have since been taken away: education, walking about in public without head covering, working, etc. They have gone from living in a secular society to living under Sharia law. So, when our "leaders" are patting themselves on the back for bringing Democracy to the Middle East, they can also kick themselves in the ass for sending the Iraqi women back to the stoneage.
 
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