September 11th, 2007

9/11: six years later

[My 9/11 story can be found here.]

It’s been six years since 9/11. Too long for it to remain fresh in our minds, but too soon to know how the aftermath will ultimately go. We are still engaged in what has come to be known as the “war on terror,” a phrase no one really prefers but that’s hard to replace with a better one.

For some, fighting this war is the most important task on the world agenda. For others, it has become either an excuse for the sins of the present administration, or a highly exaggerated myth against an enemy that hardly exists, or both.

On the original 9/11, these positions hadn’t yet hardened into the bitter divisions we see today. Sure, there was the blame-America-first-and-foremost crowd, already quite vocal. For an excellent example of that genre, see what the abominable Michael Moore had to say as early as Sept. 12, 2001. He highly doubts Bin Laden had anything to do with the attack, of course, and it’s just racist for anyone to even suggest such as thing. But if Bin Laden did it, it’s our fault anyway, because we trained him and we’re the real terrorists. And Bush sparked it all by not cooperating with Kyoto and—this might just be my personal favorite—by walking out of the lovefest known as the Durban conference on racism.

But Moore and others were tangential and relatively muted voices, distant enough so that I—who relied back then almost exclusively on the MSM for my news—barely heard them, and was able to imagine for a while that a time of renewed unity of purpose was at hand.

I had no inkling of the political changes that were to come for me personally in the next two years of reading and thinking; at the time I was just reacting to the human tragedy and shock of the event itself, and trying to understand what had caused it to happen and what the best reaction would be.

I was hardly alone in thinking that some sort of permanent change towards greater unity had occurred. Everyone, Republican and Democrat, seemed somber and serious, interested in fighting this evil that had existed for many years but seemed newly competent in its ability to inflict harm, and far more viciously hate-filled than had ever before been appreciated.

Gerard Vanderleun—writing shortly after the shattering and powerful experience of watching the towers fall from a close vantage point as he stood amidst the crowd that had gathered on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade—expected change as well, that Americans would be filled hereafter with “a terrible resolve” and a unity of purpose, as in WWII. And this thought was shared by many, including me.

Perhaps, as Norman Podhoretz writes in this new piece on the sixth 9/11 anniversary, it might finally be the end of widespread America-hating on the Left, and the defeat of the “Vietnam syndrome.” He himself hoped for it. But he also knew the Left very well, far better than I:

On the one hand, those who thought that we had brought 9/11 down on ourselves and had it coming were in a very tiny minority–even tinier than the antiwar movement of the early ’60s. On the other hand, they were much stronger at a comparably early stage of the game than their counterparts of the ’60s (who in some cases were their own younger selves). The reason was that, as the Vietnam War ground inconclusively on, the institutions that shape our culture were one by one and bit by bit converting to the “faith in America the ugly.” By now, indeed, in the world of the arts, in the universities, in the major media of news and entertainment, and even in some of the mainstream churches, that faith had become the regnant orthodoxy.

But even Podhoretz didn’t foresee how quickly they would regroup, how strong they would get, and how closely they’d follow the Vietnam template of the 70s. In fact, the only thing that seems to have prevented a repeat of those years (at least, so far) is the fact that the antiwar group lacks enough votes in Congress to override a Presidential veto.

So, what happened? Why did the unity dissipate so quickly, or was it illusory from the start? In some ways the ability of so many people to bounce back, to regard further attacks as highly unlikely, to want to return to the nepenthe of the Clinton years, is understandable. And the absense of further attacks has made it easy for people to do so.

On reflection, none of us should be especially surprised that those earlier hopes and expectations have not come to pass. We understand now (and perhaps we did even then, on some level) that they were a reaction to the drama and shock of the event itself, and that it is human nature—and, in particular, the nature of our freewheeling country—to divide, to retrench, to regroup, to deny, to forget, to go back to business as usual.

To many, the enemy within,—real or imagined, President Bush or Halliburton—is more fearsome, destructive, and evil than al Qaeda. Certainly he is closer and more familiar. Some go so far as to believe Bush himself was part of 9/11, or winked at it and allowed it to happen. Others merely think everything he’s done in reaction to it is wrong, and worse in some ways than the attack itself.

As the heartbreaking details of the stories of the dead told so poignantly in the New York Times fade, and life and hope asserts itself, we have to accept that our divisions have widened. In a way it’s a sign of relative health, although the rage and bitterness involved is not only testament to the importance of the issues at hand, but to the depth of the emotion and shock that still resonates as the fallout of that spectacularly beautiful day in September, six short and long years ago.

77 Responses to “9/11: six years later”

  1. Trimegistus Says:

    After 9/11 the American Left was faced with the choice: who do they hate and fear more? Al-Qaeda or America? They made their choice.

  2. Laura Says:

    That was a very eloquent reflection Neo. I have a certain perspective that I think might add further insight. Neo says:

    “On reflection, none of us should be especially surprised that those earlier hopes and expectations have not come to pass. We understand now (and perhaps we did even then, on some level) that they were a reaction to the drama and shock of the event itself, and that it is human nature—and, in particular, the nature of our freewheeling country—to divide, to retrench, to regroup, to deny, to forget, to go back to business as usual.”

    I think that it didn’t take very long to lose that galvanized spirit when people started to forget that awful day. For our family, the global war on terror is a daily reality as we have seen our son deploy four times since that fateful day. I tend to blame it on the propensity of humans to want and try to “explain” the why. I wish more Americans could see that we are ALL invsested in this Global war, not just the professional soldiers. In order to remember that feeling of unity, we must be reminded of the sacrifices that are required everyday, the patience that is needed in order to keep our tank of human energy fueled, and the knowledge that we are going to have to do this for a very long time. As long as people aren’t affected, as long as they don’t see that their action has an impact for the greater good of their nation, as long as they shut down and turn on American Idol instead of facing those realities, we will remain apathetic. Until the next time… Thanks for the post.

  3. Donald Wolberg Says:

    I would suggest that it might be more productive to concentrate on the real concerns: terror, Islamofascists, ineffectual political responses and insufficient military responses. Comments on those who comment, while interestins, does not address the causes: bad actors and nations with bad actors.
    Michael Moore is less than vile and Podhoretz is interesting, but the substance of the problem is an Islamofascist agenda and bad characters.

  4. Laura Says:

    I agree Donald. It’s important at this point in the aftermath to bring it down to those common denominators. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. Tatterdemalian Says:

    The gulf has become a chasm, and soon the chasm will become a complete sundering, as the two sides go their separate ways for different reasons. The left will separate themselves completelydfrom the crass impurities of the real world, an exodus not unlike Jim Jones’ flight to establish Jonestown; and the center-right will be happy to send them off, to relieve ourselves what has become a crushing burden on our will to fight, and even our will to live.

    Have fun in Venezuela, guys.

  6. Steven Says:

    I often wonder how things would have turned out if 9/11 had happened while, say, George H.W. Bush was president. Reading various blogs and the comments on them today, I see lots of conservatives who feel that the left was essentially predestined to arrive at the position it has arrived at today. But I think some portion of the left’s stance is due to the fact that they never accepted George Bush’s election as legitimate. They were still stewing furiously about the events of November 2000 when 9/11 happened. And there was a certain knee-jerk reaction of “whatever Bush is for, I’m against.” In other words, I’m wondering how much of the division over the “war on terror” (I would favor a name like “war on Islamic fascism” myself) was predestined, and how much of it has been driven by the notorious Bush Derangement Syndrome (do most medical insurance plans cover treatment for BDS?). If 9/11 had occurred under a Republican president that the left at least had to admit had been legitimately elected, would they still adopt all of the positions they adopt today? I hope not. Because that gives me hope that if a Democrat is elected to the White House next year, the left will abandon some of its more absurd stances. Things that were terrible threats to our civil liberties under Bush will miraculously become perfectly acceptable under a Democrat.

  7. Laura Says:

    Steven says:

    They were still stewing furiously about the events of November 2000 when 9/11 happened. And there was a certain knee-jerk reaction of “whatever Bush is for, I’m against.” In other words, I’m wondering how much of the division over the “war on terror” (I would favor a name like “war on Islamic fascism” myself) was predestined, and how much of it has been driven by the notorious Bush Derangement Syndrome…

    He had us at “hello” Steven. We were more galvanized as a nation after 9/11 and WE were united. The whole split and noticeable divide came about in July 04 when “the story” of WMD or lack thereof, and the Bush adm reacting to that. Argue that if you want, but that is when serious doubts about WMD started to surface. Add to that the outrage that many people felt, and feel today for being duped out of fear into a war that has gone badly. When you make an honest assessment of the series of events since 9/11 and pin the whole mess on the left, you forget that the whole ball of wax, all the power, was in the hands of the right and the administration.

    Bush has only himself to blame for this mess. We have to mop it up, both Republican and Democrat, take an inventory and move on with lessons learned.

  8. Lee Says:

    Steven,
    Not so much “predestination” in regards to the left, as “a leopard cannot change it’s spots”.
    Remember how they wailed about Reagan “with his finger on the button”? The “armegeddon clock” ticking closer and closer to “midnight”?
    Bush I, overcompensating for his “wimpiness”? What did they say before Gulf War I? “It will be a bloodbath! It will become a quagmire! It will become another Vietnam!” (sound familiar?)
    What was H.W.’s downfall? Democrats convinced him that government would “collapse” if he didn’t go along with tax increases(Read my lips,..). He acquiesced, with the stipulation that there would be budget cuts. No budgets cuts came, but the outcry was “Bush lied!” “It’s the economy, stupid!” And who do you suppose are the most vocal about the need for a draft today? The Democrats, and the left. If one comes along, do you suppose they will say “about time”, or “See? We told you he would do it!” Which is why Laura the nazi girl’s appeal for “greater sacrifice” from everyone rings hollow.
    Their hypocracy is evident in “global warming”. “My footprint is compensated for by ‘carbon credits’”. Or even lame rationalizations such as “my” oil is “local”, or “mine is ‘terror free’”.
    And like you said the Patroit Act will be okay, because our leadership will be “prudent and benevelont” rather than an “abuse of power”.
    How about “we didn’t send enough troops to keep the peace!” When the surge was announced, we heard “this ‘dangerous escalation’ will only increase the violence!”
    When Osama parrots their talking points, they say “he’s just an impotent kook, trying to divide us!” Yet, every day the troops are in Iraq, they say “We need to focus on the ‘real enemy’, who still runs free!”
    The left always has been, and always will be, the left.

  9. Mark Says:

    Laura Said:
    “you forget that the whole ball of wax, all the power, was in the hands of the right and the administration.”
    You’re correct, Laura, the ball of wax was/is in Bush’s hands. But what is the “ball of wax?” Can you define it? Or is it just something for you to complain about? Are you omniscient? Can you define the ball of wax? Or does it just give you something to squeeze?
    It’s easy to say we shouldn’t have gone into Iraq. Prove it.
    It’s easy to say we should have focused on Afghanistan. Prove it.
    It’s easy to say that Syria, Iran, and the Arab world are not a problem. Prove it.
    It’s easy to say Islamofascism is not a problem. Prove it.
    Why do people who don’t know their ass from third base have such strong opinions? I can prove that, starting with Michael Moore. I wonder why he doesn’t run for President?

    Great post Neo.

  10. r4d20 Says:

    I see lots of conservatives who feel that the left was essentially predestined to arrive at the position it has arrived at today.

    Some of them – kind of people who parrot Chomsky, Zinn, and Michael Moore – would have.

    It was certainly NOT predestined that 70%+ of America would end up turning against this administration and the war as well.

    Conservatives keep referring to ALL opponents of staying in Iraq as “The Left” – but 70%+ of Americans want to start getting out and “the left” has NEVER constituted, or even had much influence over, 70% of the public. 20%-25% tops. That leave ~50% of the public who are NOT left but oppose this Admin, its agenda, and the war.

    What Conservatives need to understand is NOT what drives the “hard left”. What they need to understand is what drives the ~50% of Americans who are NOT part of the “hard left” but still oppose them, the administration, and continuing this war.

  11. polprof Says:

    “What Conservatives need to understand is NOT what drives the “hard left”. What they need to understand is what drives the ~50% of Americans who are NOT part of the “hard left” but still oppose them, the administration, and continuing this war.”

    Does this 50% agree with the kind of craven behavior that Democrats in Congress inflicted on General P and Ambassador C over the last two days, the pointless “gotcha” “when did you stop beating your wife” questioning? It seems unlikely–Congress’ approval rating is even lower than the President’s. But do many of them oppose the war simply because of the drumbeat of antiwar messages the sounds from the MSM–and an administration that is not adept at defending itself (to say the least)? That seems more likely to me. . .

  12. Lee Says:

    r4 hypocritically derides “our” generalizations. Yet he assumes the 50% “all” oppose the continuation of the war.
    He doesn’t distinguish between those who opposed from the start as “unjust, illegal, contrived, and should end as soon as possible” vs. those who think “if it’s not going to be done correctly, we might as well come home, but if properly implemented, will continue to support”.

  13. Laura Says:

    Lee, you a military man? You have a job? You affected by the war? making sacrifices are you?

    It was people like those on the hard right who bought all the “arguments” for going to war, staying in war, and believing without any doubt and not AT ALL willing to compromise are the ones who want to blame those who just aren’t buying it anymore for failing. Who’s the whiner now?

    Until you know FIRST HAND, I mean seeing with your own eyes the limbless, the ones with PTSD, the ones who were in Iraq for a whole year, home for what they thought was at LEAST 9 months of down and family and retraining time, only to be sent BACK for another 15 month tour, less than a month after they came home as part of the surge; when you know what I and MANY other american families know, then you can preach at me. Don’t question our patriotism when you don’t do anything to shore it up buddy.

    Draft? No, providing a service to your country: yes

    If you can’t stand up for passionately calling all to make the sacrifice, then you only have yourself to blame when we run out of people to fight the nobel fight.

    “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.” — Dwight David Eisenhower

  14. Lee Says:

    Another reflection, from across the pond:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article2424020.ece

    In the summer of 2006 I came back to live in the UK after two-and-a-half years in South America. I maintain that I had not become more of a fascist in the interim – at the feet of a Galtieri, say, or at the knee of a Pinochet. But in politics it is surprisingly easy to move from side to side while staying in the same place; and the middle ground, I discovered, was not where it used to be. The extent of the shift became dramatically clear to me on live television, when I appeared on Question Time(the BBC’s interactive discussion show) and was asked about our progress in what was now being called the Long War
    The answer I gave was, I thought, almost tediously centrist. I said that the West should have spent the past five years in the construction of a democratic and pluralistic model in Afghanistan, while in the meantime merely containing Iraq. In Afghanistan we have already seen, not the “genocide” eagerly predicted by Noam Chomsky and others, but “genogenesis” (in Paul Berman’s coinage) – a burgeoning census. Since 2001, the population has risen by 25 per cent. Meanwhile, too, needless to say, the coalition should have been tearing up the earth of Waziristan in its hunt for the remnants of al-Qaeda.
    At this point I started looking from face to face in the audience, and what I saw were the gapes and frowns, not of disagreement, but of disbelief. Then a young woman spoke up, in a voice near-tearful with passionate self-righteousness, saying that it was the Americans who had armed the Islamists in Afghanistan, and that therefore the US, in its response to September 11, “should be dropping bombs on themselves”! I had time to imagine the F16s yowling in over Chicago, and the USS Abraham Lincoln pumping shells the size of Volkswagens into downtown Miami – in bold atonement for the World Trade Center, for the Pentagon, for United 93, United 175, American 11, and American 77. But then my thoughts were scattered by the sound of unanimous applause. We are drowsily accustomed, by now, to the fetishisation of “balance”, the groundrule of “moral equivalence” in all conflicts between West and East, the 100-per-cent and 360-degree inability to pass judgment on any ethnicity other than our own (except in the case of Israel). And yet the handclappers of Question Time had moved beyond the old formula of pious paralysis. This was not equivalence; this was hemispherical abjection. Accordingly, given the choice between George Bush and Osama bin Laden, the liberal relativist, it seems, is obliged to plump for the Saudi, thus becoming the appeaser of an armed doctrine with the following tenets: it is racist, misogynist, homophobic, totalitarian, inquisitional, imperialist, and genocidal.

  15. Laura Says:

    NO WMD MARK. Asked today if we would be safer if we didn’t win in Iraq, Patraeus responds, “I don’t know”…wait a minute. Isn’t our entire way of life, OUR lives at stake if we don’t WIN in Iraq?

    Afghanistan was virtually left in the dust Mark. All reasonable intelligence tells us that AQ is regrouping in the Afghan-Pakistan border areas. True? Yes.

    Syria, Iran are a problem. How do you suppose we can “handle” that situation Mark? Move over from Iraq? How will we respond if attacked again by either of these wackos? Call the Guard, Reserves? Yeah right. Hope you have enough ammo and weapons stashed, oh and food.

    Islamofascism IS a problem. Do you think it helps when our country kills by accident 10s of thousands of innocent people in order to go after one guy and prop up a more acceptable government. We provide them free non-stop commercials for their cause. Please don’t use the “Saddam was killing babies” BS. Doesn’t work on me. We aren’t that nobel. If we were, we wouldn’t look the other way in Darfur. Besides, we went in for WMD right?

    Talk about being castrated. WE ARE while we say the same old BS, “stay the course”

    Not on third base buddy. Living the experience enough to know better.

  16. Lee Says:

    Laura the nazi girl,
    In previous posts, all those questions have been asked and answered.
    In your case, I not only question your patriotism, I question your claims of experience, and your life story. Clara Barton herself didn’t see as much suffering as you claim to have. The stories of veterans of this, and every war are as varied as the individuals themselves. Yet, EACH and EVERY veteran you claim to speak for has the SAME STORY! Doesn’t wash.

    “The only thing worse than war is losing a war.”
    Winston Churchill

  17. bubba Says:

    per Trimegistus:
    “After 9/11 the American Left was faced with the choice: who do they hate and fear more? Al-Qaeda or America? They made their choice.”

    Yes, we did make a choice…

    to go after bin laden and al qaeda in afghanistan, in saudia arabia, in pakistan… and NOT to invade iraq in some grandiosely naive plan to bring democracy to the middle east — and which, sadly, has resulted in the death of over 4000 Americans (more than those murdered on 9/11) and tens, if not hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, not to mention the severely maimed. (I know you folks don’t care to bring up these statistics.)

    So, please ask yourself, who hates america more!!??

  18. bubba Says:

    WOW!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tf3MPSxupjE

    Senator Warner: Has Iraq made America safer?

    Petraeus: “Sir, I don’t know, actually.”

  19. Mark Says:

    Laura says:
    Isn’t our entire way of life, OUR lives at stake if we don’t WIN in Iraq?
    Mark answers: Well, Is it?
    Laura says: All reasonable intelligence tells us that AQ is regrouping in the Afghan-Pakistan border areas. True?
    Mark Answers: Yes. Of course, but Why? Is the U.S a cause or an answer?
    Laura says: How do you suppose we can “handle” that situation Mark? Move over from Iraq?
    Mark says: Why Not?
    Laura says: Islamofascism IS a problem.
    Mark says: Correct. Do you think Bush is the cause? If you answer yes to that I’d like to know what you’re smoking.

  20. Laura Says:

    Nazi not even. Naive, not at all. I shared your rant with a friend of ours who returned this afternoon to Israel. He nearly choked from laughing. His perspective as an Israeli living in Haifa with three sons, one in the military still, is that their system of military service is about as Democratic as it gets. Everyone in the electorate is evenly invested in their country’s foreign policy.

    In terms of what I know, personally, our 26 year old son is a Special Forces soldier. I am the development Director for a non profit in my county that deals with veterans and veterans issues. Don’t believe my story? I don’t give jack if you do or don’t. You don’t have enough sense to pay attention to the issues that I have raised. Here are some interesting stories: Following those links, I have a challenge for you. Call your local VA facility and ask how many beds they have for PTSD patients for GWOT vets. Ask what the criteria for treatment is. Ask how many programs there are around the country.

    http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d06397high.pdf

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/19/AR2006121901659.html

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/17/us/17suicide.html?ex=1189656000&en=42ccd8a103ea7f22&ei=5070

    http://icasualties.org/oif/default.aspx

    http://newstandardnews.net/content/index.cfm/items/1468

    http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2006/05/30/new_veterans_fear_repeat_of_vietnam/

  21. Laura Says:

    Mark:

    Isn’t that what we’re told, that our entire way of life, “fight em there and not here”?
    If the highest ranking general in Iraq says “I don’t know” if we are safer if we don’t win, then shouldn’t that be taken into account when listening to the spin, vs the “reality on the ground”?

    Fight AQ on the border. How? Where are these troops going to come from?

    Because Mark, we don’t have enough people to deploy to Iran, Afghanistan and Syria.

    Bush is not the cause of Islamofascism. It is a cancerous ideology. It will require resolve for generations and the DELIBERATE AND CALCULATED plan that is realistic and carved from experts, not donors to campaigns, not from people without any military or cultural wisdom. Bush had all of the best military minds telling him how to go about a real strategy and as many cautioning him about his lack of an exit strategy. There wasn’t one. You don’t build your biggest, most expensive base in the world in a country you don’t plan on occupying for generations. Yet, we were told, “we will stay just as long as needed to get the job done, and then we will leave” Occupying Iraq CAN ONLY happen long term if we get more people in to do the job.

  22. Mark Says:

    Laura. What Special Force? SEAL? DELTA? Ranger? What? What’s his class number? Does he plan to quit if there aren’t enough beds at the VA hospital for PTSD? Is that to be the measure of what we require for victory?

  23. Laura Says:

    You know Lee, this one soldier, two weeks apart in age from our son, not active duty but Marine reserves went to Iraq 2003. There for six months, saw some action and came home. He struggled at first. The parents, he a therapist and she a nurse, were perplexed about his behavior. We live in a small town and none of us had any experience with returning soldiers at the time. The kid just started to deteriorate. His parents put him in the VA and he was released. They tried to get him admitted after he totalled the family car and went on drinking binges. The guy couldn’t sleep anymore. He felt that there were hands all over him from the dead people in Iraq. He just snapped. He was turned away from the VA. When his parents left the house for a short two hours or so, he hung himself in the basement of their house.

    THIS IS ONE YOUNG SOLDIER WHO WON’T EVER BE COMING BACK. You cannot ask these young, proud, honorable and decent young men and women to go on tour after tour after tour without down time or they WILL break.

    It’s time for some other really strong, capable, nobel and proud young men and women to step up and serve.

  24. Mark Says:

    Laura says: If the highest ranking general in Iraq says “I don’t know” if we are safer if we don’t win, then shouldn’t that be taken into account when listening to the spin, vs the “reality on the ground”?
    Mark says: I’ve tried to parse that sentence three times. I must be tired. I’ll say good night and I wish you well.

  25. Laura Says:

    Mark, you insulting little man. Delta doesn’t exist right?

    SF Command, Bragg. SFC. That’s all you get.

    He will go where his country sends him. He is more courageous than any man I know.

  26. Laura Says:

    What we require for victory to START: Time, time to train. This is critical. They need time to be at home as well. Even in Vietnam, you didn’t send soldiers out tour after tour after tour. Maintain a happy home and retain the soldier; any officer will tell you this.

    Equipment and gear: including the newest and best body armor, without delays and red tape. We need equipment that isn’t falling apart.

    Realistic rotation schedules with enough time in between.

    More manpower and better manpower. How many Princeton grads are serving? More parents need to remind their kids while growing up that they are obligated to give some of thier time to serve.

    This would be a good start.

  27. Rachel Says:

    stop the pissing battles, both of you.
    Laura’s concern is legitimate. She has seen directly the results of WAR – not jus the Iraq War, but war in general, and has the belief that many people have. They believe in sacrifice, but for the “right” reasons – they believe Afghanistan was the right reason while Iraq was not, especially after little NBC’s were found.

    Calling her a nazi is wrong, She is a faithful American citizen who is angry over the war in Iraq and how our military is treated. If you don’t agree with her, fine. But calling her a nazi is wrong and ridiculously blind and childish.

    What disturbs me the most is the idea of abandoning Iraq and in the long run Afghenistan (face it, no politician is promoting back to Afghanistan). We should take the advantage of being in the middle east and provide assistance instead of creating childish political battles that will only cause more suffering to Iraqis. This is not America’s success or failure, it is Iraqis success or failure with American help.

  28. Tatterdemalian Says:

    I find myself having more respect for the highest ranking general in Iraq for responding to a loaded leading question like that with “I don’t know.” Given time to think about it, I would have replied, “You can make a case for either side, and until there is another successful terror attack on US soil, we can’t really know,” but the press corps would just reply with the vocal equivalent of “tl;dr.”

  29. Stupid Country Says:

    Since a majority of Americans assumed Gen. Petraeus’s testimony would be a sugar-coated sales pitch for an extension of the surge, before he even spoke, it doesn’t seem to me that the skepticism about this week’s assessment was isolated to an antiwar fringe in Congress.

    Most of the country’s let go of the whole concept of victory in Iraq. Incremental military gains designed to “buy time” for political reconciliation are pointless if there is not the faintest glimmer of political reconciliation. What’s going to happen to Iraq, whether we hang around to wallow in it or not, is going to be ugly and hellish and humiliating. The reason Bush is “playing for October”, or June, gets clearer with each passing day. This, not the surge, is the real Republican strategy for Iraq: Avoid owning it.

    The Republican leadership can see as clearly as anyone else can that the occupation is a failure and that nothing will prevent Iraq’s descent deeper into chaos in coming years. They (with the possible, inexplicable exception of John McCain) understand that all talk of prolonged occupation or increases in troop commitments or victory become irrelevant after the 2008 election, because the next administration will be committed to withdrawal.

    The Republican strategy for Iraq is to stonewall on any acknowledgment of any of this until 2009, when the inevitable pullout becomes the Democrats’ problem. Thus, Republicans can go right on insisting that withdrawal equals defeat, surrender, humiliation, up until the moment it happens, whereupon they will frame these events as the Democrats’ defeat, surrender and humiliation. There will be some defections between now and the election, most likely among Republicans whose seats are at risk in 2008, but I suspect few among the GOP leadership will break ranks with this bunker strategy. It’s a question of partisan survival.

  30. Sally Says:

    No, Laura’s not a nazi, as far as I can tell. But neither, as far as I can tell, is she very good at strategy or foreign policy. She IS good at emoting, a la Cindy Sheehan.

    There were, in fact, a number of good reasons for invading Iraq — that it was a vicious, hostile regime in the heart of a region that bred suicidal mass murderers like flies, that it actively supported bases for such killers, that it used as much of its considerable oil wealth as possible to build a massive armed force that had certainly included WMD in the past, and certainly would again in the future as soon as it could, even if little evidence of such weapons were found at the time of the invasion — and these remain good reasons for remaining there to finish the job.

    War of any kind, anywhere, for any reason, is a dirty, bloody, ugly, tragic mess. But sometimes it’s a mess we can’t avoid. When its rules or patterns change, as they did after 9/11, then our strategies have to change too — and when terrorists can slip across the porous “borders” of a region of failed states, thugocracies, islamofascists, etc., then pre-emptive strategies are not just justified, they’re required. What war is NOT, ever, is just a game that we can quit and go home from when we get tired of it.

  31. Lee Says:

    Boy, Laura,
    For an anonymous commentor in an anonymous forum, you sure work yourself up and spend a lot of time typing, linking, and crying foul to convince everyone of your “bona fides”. You also seem obsessed as to how everyone in general, and me in particular, think of you.
    Take me, for instance. Even those who generally agree with my opinions consider me a “jerk”, a “blowhard”, a “jackass”, etc. around here. Do you think for one minute that bothers me? I’m here to speak my mind, in any manner I see fit, within the parameters set by our host. I say what I mean, and I mean what I say. Whether you agree, disagree, like, love, hate, believe, disbelieve, I could care less. How everyone internalizes it is up to them. And I never presume to speak for others.
    Offended? Tough. You have an opinion, something to say? Say it. But don’t come around with your unverifiable acts of selflessness and sacrifice and sob stories, claiming authority when no one can tell you from Eve.
    If you don’t like the label “nazi”, Don’t talk like one.

    Nazi

  32. sergey Says:

    To answer correctly the question asked to Gen. Petrelius the scope of analysis shuld be enlarged a way too much beyond competence on anti-insurgency expert. Iraq is not about Iraq only, just as Viet Nam was not about Viet Nam: it is just one battlefild in much wider Manichean struggle. You should see a big picture, in which it is not US safety in short-term perspective that is on stake, but eventual survival of the whole Western civilization. The war is long, the war is global, tens of millions lives can be saved or lost in its course, and let us reminder that to defeat Nazi Russia had to sacrifice 23 mln lives, and US around 400 thousand. To defeat Islamofascism I suppose several million lives of US soldiers are needed, and the so called “collateral damage” of ME civilians can amount to dozen millions. This is inevitable, I am afraid, because of the nature of the threat. So stop these childish whinning about “unnecessary war” as if you could stop it unilaterally. The sad truth is that you can not. Nobody can. The only way out of this calamity is victory, and it can not be cheap.

  33. Bustermoves Says:

    neoneocon says: But if Bin Laden did it, it’s our fault anyway, because we trained him and we’re the real terrorists. And Bush sparked it all by not cooperating with Kyoto and—this might just be my personal favorite—by walking out of the lovefest known as the Durban conference on racism.

    Well, America foreign policy has always crapped flowers 24/7 so there is little possibility there is any chain of events leading to the creation of bin Laden’s or any other negative effect.

    When America acts, it acts justly. If people hate us, there is likely something wrong with them.

    Few Americans could name products or companies that have harmed foreigners because it probably never happens, but most are probably aware of China defective merchandise coming into the country.

    Because people are out to do us evil. And for no reason at all. We were minding our own business and buildings fell on us.

    When the fat loud ignorant American tourist gets poor service? Whose fault is it. Not ours.

    Thus the sword of the neocon will bring justice to all the evildoers.

    Forever and ever, Amen.

  34. sergey Says:

    What I can clearly see from this discussion is that America is not ready to adequately answer the historical challenge that was imposed on it: to defend freedom worldwide against all its foes. (And this was its mission from the beginning, as Founders unambiguosly stated.) Not enough troops, officers, hospital beds, rehabilitation facilities, army is hollow because of ten years policy of cutting its numbers in futile hope that land war can be prevented by UN and peace talks and nuclear deterrence. This was a blunder of Clinton administration, but not accidentally: the whole Democratic party, not only marginal Left, belived in this crap. Half of the country still believes, contrary to all evidence. Pacifism became a secular religion of some sort, so no amount of facts can disavow it, only great emotional chock. 9/11 was not enough. You need a big US city to be nuked before you can face reality.

  35. Laura Says:

    A couple of things. Yes, Sergey, we weren’t in a position to build overnight a mighty force to respond to the new world threats, 9/11 came to us and we had to regroup rather quickly. Clinton’s policies, the lack of funding for our military and for VA put us at a disadvantage. Couldn’t agree more.

    Identify the problems, the needs and develop a strategic plan for long and short term goals in our military structure. Reckless abandon and multiple tours without time to retrain and decompress will not make us safer, it will only depleat our military, force some to choose between country and family and leave holes in the mid level leadership structure that is tough to fill with inexperienced soldiers. One of the best officers in the military are your mid level NCOs; but we are retaining them as we should. Why? They can get jobs outside of the military that will pay better and will provide a relative stable family environment. Lots of these guys move over to Blackwater and the like, and those numbers are never released to the public. A private military that is well-funded and equipped should alarm all of us.

    It is very complicated, and I’m no diplomat, just a mom who cares very very much about my country and about soldiers and their families. So, I bring with me that perspective. I just can’t stress enough that we aren’t any safer when we don’t insist that the military be shored up and supported.

    Thanks

  36. troutsky Says:

    fascinating. All this jabber and not one mention of oil.

  37. Laura Says:

    Please hold up in prayer another one of our local soldiers who lost his life in Iraq. Just got off the phone with the family. Ari Brown-Weeks, 23.

  38. Laura Says:

    The Army confirms that two of the soldiers who wrote this OP Ed were killed in Iraq, both in similar fashion.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/19/opinion/19jayamaha.html?pagewanted=1&ei=5090&en=5a8349a0e944e61b&ex=1345176000&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

  39. Sally Says:

    Laura: I just can’t stress enough that we aren’t any safer when we don’t insist that the military be shored up and supported.

    Okay, excellent point.

    My only point is that we don’t have the luxury to treat these kinds of events and issues as though they were far-away and discretionary contests that we can quit whenever we feel we’ve had enough. If that’s all they are, then we have no business being involved in them in the first place. I know there are many people who genuinely feel that we’ve gotten involved in Iraq in just that sort of way, and then there’s little wonder that they’re angry and upset about it — I would be too. But, first, I think such people are profoundly wrong about Iraq — its invasion was and is the result of a serious strategic decision in a war that was forced upon us, and that we can’t avoid. And, second, I think in any case such people who are honest have a moral and intellectual obligation to relate their criticisms of any decisions in this war to the larger context and situation. Making common cause with those who insult our soldiers and their leaders for partisan or ideological advantage is contemptible.

  40. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Those who claim that Afghanistan ought to be the focus are missing two points:

    One is that we have substantial forces in Afghanistan, allied with NATO. The forces we don’t have there–armor and artillery–are not particularly useful there, at least compared to Iraq.

    The other point is that we recall they didn’t want to go to Afghanistan until it became a handy excuse for bailing on Iraq.

    Oh. There’s another. If we do bail on Iraq, they’ll be insisting we can’t win in Afghanistan and have to leave immediately.

    One last one. They don’t think everybody already knows what they have done and will do.

    If you’ve been following what is going on in Afghanistan, the terrs have been running attacks on fixed positions and losing guys by two or three dozen a day, for nothing. They attacked a convoy a week or so back, where they had the choice of ground and the initiative, and lost a hundred guys.

    Their leadership is either dead or gone elsewhere. What’s left couldn’t get a squad to the latrine. The ANA is getting better.

    The desperation on the left reflects their accurate assessment we might just win.

  41. Laura Says:

    Good post Sally. Interesting perspective.

    I think that a person’s perception of the war is shaped by their own experience of it. One of the reasons why it will remain complex.

    From my perspective, it’s around me all the time. the phone rings, I jump. A family calls and before I say hello, I ask, “everything okay?” My awareness of it is shaped in part by the closeness it is in our lives as a family and community, not to mention the work that I do. So, the war is seen within that filter. It just doesn’t seem to permeate the fabric of our everyday lives in general. That place, over there, so far away is rarely a thought for those not involved in it in some way. Some people, not many, take it as seriously as you and I do.

    Anyhow, thanks for the post.

  42. Donald Wolberg Says:

    All of the justifications for attacking Iraq vanished with the results of all the data gathered by our investigators on the ground and have been acknowledged by the administration (although new justifications have been created, none of which can be sustained). There was no link between 9/11 and Iraq; no WMD existed or were being created; the Kurds were safe; the Iraqi military was impotent, from takns that were starved for spare parts to aircraft afraid to fly; and the loonies in control of Iraq were reduced to bribing UN officials with oil money. Of course Iraq was, as it has been since its creation by the European map makers, a non-state, failed state that will never be a state, comprise of factions with no historical, cultural,religious connections that enhance unity and only increase rivalry. They were held together, kind of and for a while, by a mass murderer and his kin, who was virtually impotent except in a very narrow field of action. Iraq, in short, was not and is not worth the lives of our soldiers, almost 80-90 being killed each month now, 3700-plus in all, or the 30,000 maimed forever or the 20,000 emotionally harmed forever. The failure of this administration in Iraq reflects its failure in almost every sector of activitty foreign and domestic from disaster relief and border security at home to a miserable trade policy that has sold this nation to others. Along the way, this failed administration has damaged the conservative movement and the Republican Party, a fact widely accepted and acknowledged. As long as this ridiculous set of failed policies continues, more of our soldiers will be killed, more billions and billions wasted, and our real enemies will be strengthened. Leadership requires an admission of error and setting a new course. Oddly, a real warrior, Mr. Eisenhower, ended the Korean “police Action” that killed 50,000 Americans; Mr. Kenendy admitted error vis a vis Cuba; and Mr. Nixon managed to extricate us from another contrived war. Mr. Bush may not be the sharpest tack in the shop, but even he should realize we are in the wrong place and paying too hig a price for the wrong reasons. His failure to do so is the reason for his low esteem as a leader, a fact acknowledged by his own “used-to-be” supporters and apointees, and almost all of our own distinguised military leaders. And more and more of our children die.

  43. nyomythus Says:

    And what forced me to define my liberalism; classical as opposed to post-modern.

  44. Sally Says:

    Donald: The failure of this administration in Iraq reflects its failure in almost every sector of activitty foreign and domestic from disaster relief and border security at home to a miserable trade policy that has sold this nation to others.

    The Donald here is a good illustration of the problem:

    First, there’s his myopia — 9/11 was just one event in a longer and larger conflict with islamism, not just with the terrorist gang of the month, and Iraq had plenty of connections to islamofascist terrorists. More than that, Iraq was the heart and keystone of the region that spawns these butchers, regardless of their post-colonial nationality, and changing its regime was essential to beginning the much longer process of changing that region. As for WMDs, they obviously had been there, and subsequent investigations clearly stated that plans were in place to replace them as soon as sanctions were lifted — which, absent the invasion, would have been soon — but Donald and his ilk can’t be bothered to look beyond the moment.

    Second, as the quote at the top reveals, there’s his political opportunism. In the midst of a long-standing struggle against one of the worst, most repressive ideologies the world has seen, he trots out a laundry list of political complaints regarding the current President that includes a whine about his “miserable trade policy”(!). As though the war were merely another and convenient political club with with to beat a partisan opponent.

    Here’s a bit of gratuitous advice, Don — if you want to be taken seriously in Iraq debates, by anyone other than partisan hacks, you might want to leave things like trade policy to another time.

  45. Mark Says:

    Dear Laura, Not likely you’ll get this but this “little ” man should respond in the interest of his kids and grandkids. As a Navy pilot for 25 years, I’ve seen my share of the dark side. But I’m not ashamed of my class number: NAVCAD class 30-54. So why are we hiding your son’s class number? If he’s genuine, he’s proud of it.

  46. Ymarsakar Says:

    Bush had all of the best military minds telling him how to go about a real strategy and as many cautioning him about his lack of an exit strategy.

    The military, the Army branch specifically, actually didn’t listen to Petraeus or COIN operatives. When the Joint Chiefs don’t recommend to the President that he should plan for an insurgency and do COIN, the President is going to listen to these “best military minds”.

    The military is not infallible, Laura. If they were, you wouldn’t have cases of soldiers being sent home civilian side without being treated for PTSD first.

    Occupying Iraq CAN ONLY happen long term if we get more people in to do the job.

    Nothing’s stopping you from calling for redeployment of troops from anti-American Korea and anti-American Germany, or even allied Japan, Laura.

    Instead of correcting the problem, which is VA and government bureacracy, you wish for more of the sort of problems that cause burn out in soldiers that are never treated. How do you think you will decrease PTSD by quickly increasing the military’s size? There’s no quickness to training up a force from scratch, as we have seen in Iraq. You can expand the military only at the level that the logistics, NCOs, and cadres can support the expansion. With the number of people that left the military during the Cold War draw down and the Clinton administration, you’re not just going to get those people back in 8 years.

    Laura the nazi girl,

    Stop calling Laura a Nazi, Lee. If you don’t like her, attack her arguments. There are plenty of them around.

    So why are we hiding your son’s class number? If he’s genuine, he’s proud of it.

    Over at VC and Grim’s Hall, there is some productive discussion over the possibility or desirability of a draft. Link

    Grim takes on the technical feasibility of a draft and the real arguments against it and for it.

  47. Ymarsakar Says:

    His perspective as an Israeli living in Haifa with three sons, one in the military still, is that their system of military service is about as Democratic as it gets. Everyone in the electorate is evenly invested in their country’s foreign policy.

    Which is why Israel is so Leftist that they will trade 1000 Palestinan prisoners for 1 or two Israeli hostages, why they won’t nuclearize Gaza in retalliation for suicide bombing, and why they are so weak they traded lives for nothing in Lebanon.

  48. Ymarsakar Says:

    Everyone only thinks they have a say. Which is the best way to ensure that the chains of slavery remain on, for the slaves to see themselves as free with it on.

  49. Ymarsakar Says:

    Iraq, in short, was not and is not worth the lives of our soldiers, almost 80-90 being killed each month now, 3700-plus in all, or the 30,000 maimed forever or the 20,000 emotionally harmed forever.

    Laura should answer why she thinks the war is worth this, in that more people should be sent to such a mistake. After all, Laura appears to agree with Donald yet she wishes to send more folks into the PTSD grinder. So it seems there is a slight inconsistency here.

  50. neo-neocon Says:

    Lee: please stop with the inappropriate name-calling of Laura. Nothing she has said merits the appellation “Nazi.” Thanks.

  51. Laura Says:

    Okay, Mark. I appologize sincerely for allowing my anger to get away from me and calling you a little man. I felt on the defensive and lashed out inappropriately. I will try to remain less reactive when I post.

    I can’t tell you anything about him now, other than to say he moved over from a different unit and command structure at Ft. Bragg. He did serve with the 1st Battalion, 325th, 82nd airborne before his job changed. Honestly, that’s all I am comfortable saying. I can’t do anything to identify him and I am sure being retired military you can understand that.

    In terms of the Nazi comment. You know, let’s just let that be.

    Lot’s of different perspectives here and nobody agrees with anybody. Let’s just leave it at that. This is perhaps not the forum for me, and maybe I am better served not putting myself out there, as the comments that I offer seem only to offend most of the people here. And yes, I am sensitive to the bashing; my own fault for being so vocal. Thanks.

  52. Sally Says:

    Don’t go away, Laura. Some of the “bashing” here arises because of a few types who come just to provoke and derail (commonly known as trolls), which plays off of other people’s sensitivities and defensiveness. But there is an honest debate here that too often gets hidden amidst all the noise, and you bring an authentic perspective to it.

  53. r4d20 Says:

    He doesn’t distinguish between those who opposed from the start as “unjust, illegal, contrived, and should end as soon as possible” vs. those who think “if it’s not going to be done correctly, we might as well come home, but if properly implemented, will continue to support”.

    I damn well do distinguish between the two because I f**king supported the war

    In my experience it has largely been war-supporters who refuse to make that distinction and ignore the reasons people turned against the war in favor of simply stereotyping them all as MoveOn types – like you just did.

  54. neo-neocon Says:

    r4d20: I was thinking I’d really like to see a poll that tries to distinguish between the two groups, and asks the question of why the person opposes the war. The two groups are profoundly different, but I believe they are generally lumped together in polls the better to make the general antiwar crowd look larger and more powerful.

    If anyone knows of any such polls that attempt to distinguish between the two anti-Iraq-War camps, please give the link. I’ve been unable to find any so far.

  55. Lee Says:

    Neo-neocon,
    Fine. As I said, it’s your site, and I will respect your wishes in this matter. But be warned. Agents of evil always present themselves as “angels of light”, and my experiences with many of them have given me insights many others ignore.
    Misguided, misinformed, partisan politics is one thing, but tolerance of evil is not a virtue.

  56. Richard Aubrey Says:

    I’d like to see a poll asking a question to get to the numbers of a third group. It would be something like, “Is the president sufficiently aggressive in pursuing the war in Iraq (WOT in general)?
    My answer would be no, but with the current poll questioning I would be lumped into the group which supposedly thinks we ought to leave asap.

  57. Promethea Says:

    Laura and Donald need to get over themselves and their personal emotions and do some reading about the “big picture.”

    Jihadist Islam is a problem that won’t go away unless the civilized world does something about it. The Jihadists and Muslim Brotherhood types have an advantage that most Americans don’t have, i.e. they have a plan and they are patient.

    Americans may be strong in some ways, but they have ridiculously short historical memories, and their political system forces the leader to be sensitive to elections on a regular 4-year basis. This makes military planning and execution difficult.

    Sally, Sergey, and others on this thread clearly understand the stakes. Laura, maybe in your spare time you might try reading a history of the Byzantine Empire. Or something about India and the Islamic onslaught. Try Andrew Bostom’s “The Legacy of Jihad.” If you think that that legacy doesn’t apply to you, you are wrong.

    The sooner Americans can help Iraqis, Afghans, and others build up democratic institutions on a foundation of human rights, the safer we will all be. And if we can’t do that the nice humane American way, our children and grandchildren will have to take care of business the more brutal way.

    Laura, you are not the only “Mom” out there, so don’t give yourself some special badge for “caringness.” Your arguments don’t reveal any sense that great forces are in play.

  58. Donald Wolberg Says:

    Now I understand, the Biggggggggggggggggg Picture. I wondered about that. I recall that was a 60′s title of a 5 AM U.S. Army PR television program, convincing us to go and do grand things combatting communists in SE Asia. Surely, you don’t mean THAT Biggggggggggggggggg Picture. You mean Mr. Bush’s Bigggggggggggggggggggg Picture, the picture that he keeps trying to stay wihin the lines coloring as he asks more of our kids to die or be maimed in a war that by just about all data available to us normal people, and all data available to special people, never should have happened. In the end, after the tens of thousands of maimed American kids and thousands of dead American kids, the failed state that never was a stae will return to just about where it was before Mr. Bush decided to ignore the evidence and ignore what his father did (with real cause): win but don’t occupy and destroy them and don’t get stuck in street by street, house by house fights.

    I certainly appreciate the message of not involving Mr. Bush’s cowardly border policy and foreign trade give away. of course these issues cannot possibly matter to the high discourse evident here. I stand corrected again; the fact that 12-20 million illegal aliens (not of the Roswell kind) are in this country, and we can’t seem to identify them or find them, cannot possibly be a security issue. I just don’t know what came over me. The fact that Mr. Bush has allowed most of American industry to be Clinton-like “internationalized” can’t possibly have security/terror overtones. Of course the fact that the Chinese People’s Army tried to buy a closed U.S. Naval Base in San Diego should not be of concern. All the Cjinese are trying to do is sell toys with lead paint to American kids and poisoned dog food to American pets. Of course i should not worry that Mr. Bush has allowed computer technology and other electronic technology to go to the Chineses so that their new cruisers are basically clones of our Aegis cruisers, a keel laid for a Chinese aircraft carrier and missiles that can strike our space satellites, rendering them useless, and they can now MIRV their ICBM’s. I am also wrong, I realize, to be concerned about Mr. Putin and his new Bear overflights, new missiles and his new superbomb demonstrated yesterday. After all Mr. Bush looked into Putin’s eyes and saw the cross he wore, and understood his soul. I must have been mistaken that I thought Mr. Bush’s trade policies were harmful to our welfare.

    Finally, I did not realize that having opinions required demonstrating real blood to lose. I am overjoyed Mark flew for 25 years and did not believe Laura “really” had a child in service. Oh my, did she pass the “Mark test?” and why should a mother worry for her son? after all, there are mothers who had sons and daughters, 3700 of them, who are dead, and mothers who had sons and daughters, 30,000 of them, who are maimed. In so far as Laura is concerned, her son is still alive and still has arms, legs, eyes–so stop complaing Laura—was that the point?

  59. Laura Says:

    Wow, thanks Sally. Okay, here is something that has been curious to me. Why is it that if you have doubts about the war, you are lumped into the MoveOn group? It’s as if, if you even hint at having doubts, well then! You must be a Lefty or a defeatist.

    We are all, mostly at least, smarter than that. You can’t just put people into boxes like that. I gotta tell ya’, I have seen a lot of venom here and I have seen a lot of venom there. I’m not a MoveOn girl, and even said that much in another post. It was a stupid thing to do. Perhaps what we all forget is that we are people, human and free. We have the social structure that allows us to get pissed off with one another and situations where we aren’t in control. But the blaming HAS to stop. We as a nation have to see that this will be a war not only of this generation, but the next and the next. So, the whole argument of defeating them now so the kids and grandkids don’t have to doesn’t really make sense does it?

    That being said, and knowing that the Islamists see this as hundreds of years of struggle, we have to take that information, sober up and develop a plan that will realistically address those facts. Sadly however, we have short memories and are used to quick fixes. We also tend to think that the work is going to be done by someone else, something I get attacked for from the left and the right.

    We also have to stop doing exactly what the terrorists want us to do. Divide. The mud slinging doesn’t stop from either side. For Christ sakes it feels sometimes like I am in a kindergarden classroom. Brutal honesty with ourselves first will bring the tenor down and the ability to debate next. Just because one person has a certain idea and another has something different, can’t sections of both be implemented? Called brainstorming folks. Thanks for the more reasonable opportunity to share.

  60. Mark Says:

    Dear Laura,
    Apology accepted, but I wasn’t seeking one. It’s just that Special Forces guys normally don’t advertise. You might be surprised to know there are more people who say they were SEALs than the number that ever went through SEAL training.
    Promethea has the answer: more reading. Start with Homer Lea’s “The Valor of Ignorance” and see if you can figure out how, in 1909, Lea knew that the Japanese would attack the U.S. You don’t even have to read it. Just look at the diagrams of the West Coast and Pearl Harbor.(The book was required reading in the Japanese Naval Academy—optional for our guys)
    That might help you understand that there are threats in this world, and people capable of recognizing them. Next read a few of the plethora of books on the threat of Islam and ask yourself: Is that what I want to leave to my grandchildren? Many won’t believe it. (Ask them what they’ve read) Many won’t accept it. )Ask them what they’re drinking) Nobody likes it. That’s why God invented bourbon. Be Well, Mark

  61. Laura Says:

    Thanks mark.

    Thanks also for your service.

    I will certainly look into those books. Right now, reading about TE Lawrence and Gertrude Bell about Iraq before it was Iraq. It’s important to know about the cultures from which so many of these people seem to come from.

  62. Ymarsakar Says:

    If anyone knows of any such polls that attempt to distinguish between the two anti-Iraq-War camps, please give the link. I’ve been unable to find any so far.

    That is because polls are designed primarily in mind to influence public opinion, rather than reflect it.

    Why is it that if you have doubts about the war, you are lumped into the MoveOn group?

    Some people will, some people won’t. If you deal exclusively with the former rather than the latter, you will see more of the group that will lump you with MoveOn.

    Brutal honesty with ourselves first will bring the tenor down and the ability to debate next.

    Human nature doesn’t tend to have a lot of brutal honesty, rather it has a lot of self-delusion and self-deception. That is just how it is, and it can’t be erased simply by giving people a choice.

    Just because one person has a certain idea and another has something different, can’t sections of both be implemented?

    So long as you are talking about overall policy and not the details of those policies, then no sections of strategies cannot be implemented if those sections are unclear.

  63. r4d20 Says:

    I believe they are generally lumped together in polls the better to make the general antiwar crowd look larger and more powerful.

    I think you are right at least sometime – anti-war activists regularly inflate their numbers.

    Being a “former” war supporter (I would be one again if I saw any hope) and Republican I spent most of my time around other war-supporters and right-blogs. I can honestly say that there was almost NO nuance – the vast majority of responses to anything critical or negative about even just the HANDLING of the war were simply tirades about how I was obviously a war opponent who was trying to spread defeatism. It didn’t matter if I explained I was NOT against the war – either they ignored it or called me a liar and insisted I must be a dyed-in-the-wool leftist.

    I cant read minds, but I got the impression that some people were so keyed up that they couldn’t tell real anti-war bullshit propaganda from honest appraisals from those who wanted to win but thought we were making mistakes. ANYTHING short of “we are winning and information to the contrary just reflects media bias” was intolerable.

  64. Laura Says:

    Hey r4d20

    That’s EXACTLY what I am talking about. You see it from the left too, trust me. I have shown up to non political discussions about the war, and the minute someone finds out that my son serves in the war, they want to pile on and show their “Support” and pick up tidbits of what I have said to push their own agenda. When I push back and say that I SUPPORT THE MILITARY AND MILITARY SPENDING, well then, I must be some sort of Right Winger. The same thing happens here when I try and advocate FOR the military, how I believe more people need to be supporting it by joining it, I get jumped on as well. As soon as people stop digging the trench that divides us and come up with common ground, we aren’t going anywhere, and quick. People need to get a little closer to the middle, see that there are people on both sides of the fence who offer valuable insight and try to come to some agreements. Until then, well, lots of people will continue to label, shout and think “they” are the only ones who are right.

    Thanks

  65. Ymarsakar Says:

    Being a “former” war supporter (I would be one again if I saw any hope) and Republican I spent most of my time around other war-supporters and right-blogs.

    The bandwagon of appeal of victory often works for most people. They side with the side that appears to be winning, thereby contributing sources that create a self-fullfilling prophecy.

    I can honestly say that there was almost NO nuance – the vast majority of responses to anything critical or negative about even just the HANDLING of the war were simply tirades about how I was obviously a war opponent who was trying to spread defeatism.

    So essentially you are no different from the people you criticize, for you will only believe in victory when you see hope of victory and they will only admit defeat when they see defeat. Also if your complaint and resentment, manifested in the sound of grinding axes, is that they are only telling their side of the story and not listening to yours, then what makes you any different? You, after all, are not an unbiased party to this story.

    ANYTHING short of “we are winning and information to the contrary just reflects media bias” was intolerable.

    They may or may not have done so. We hear no names and no dates from you. For you are telling your side of the story and that’s it, the same thing you resented about with others.

    So what makes you superior?

    the vast majority of responses to anything critical or negative about even just the HANDLING of the war were simply tirades about how I was obviously a war opponent

    Focusing on the bad and acting as if the good does not matter, is precisely what they accused you of yet you seek to demonstrate their point for them. Yes, the majority of things may have been grist for your axe, but is that why you focus in on such the way Laura focuses on Lee’s comments? Do you wish to obtain a justification for what you already assume to be true?

  66. r4d20 Says:

    The bandwagon of appeal of victory often works for most people.

    Bandwagon?

    You remind me of the boy on Fox news who said he wouldn’t go to iraq even though he suported the war because“I support the yankees but that doesn’t mean have to wear the uniform”.

    The war is not a spectator sport for your amusement and “supporting the troops” doesnt mean cheering them despite a losing season like some painted up “true fan”.

    People shouldnt die attempting the impossible.

    Unlike you I take violence and matters of life and death seriously. Go back to your playing hero on your PSP little boy.

  67. Ymarsakar Says:

    Far more than Bandwagons is in store

  68. Arguments on War Support « Sake White Says:

    [...] Says: September 13th, 2007 at 5:43 pm I believe they are generally lumped together in polls the better to make the general antiwar crowd [...]

  69. Ymarsakar Says:

    People shouldnt die attempting the impossible.-r4d20

    We already know that it is impossible for you, r4d2, to consider viewpoints that disagree with you. Yet your limitations do not limit us insomuch as they hinder you personally.

    Go back to your playing hero on your PSP little boy.

    I asked you before about what made you superior to the people you resented as having “almost NO nuance”. Your answer is that you are no way superior or rather that you are superior because you are more righteous.

    Unlike you I take violence and matters of life and death seriously.

    Being a “former” war supporter (I would be one again if I saw any hope) -r2d2

    Allow me to spell it out for your compartamentalized mind to grasp. In clear and short sentences to avoid confusion. You will support the war in question based upon beliefs concerning whether there is hope of victory in that war, as witnessed and judged by you. Life and death must be one big game of odds with you. If things look good or hopeful, then you’ll support it. If things look bad… well, mistakes are made as you may imagine.

    Did you know that this is why units break in combat? The soldiers lose confidence in their leaders and believe the battle to be lost and unable to be won. What would logically then be the point of fighting for a lost cause. When other soldiers see their buddies flee the scene, they start entertaining thoughts of defeat and uselessness as well. Thus panic spreads where a unified and disciplined unit might have held the position and fought effectively.

    Bandwagon.

    But we digress. Let us go back to your superiority over others.

    the vast majority of responses to anything critical or negative about even just the HANDLING of the war were simply tirades about how I was obviously a war opponent who was trying to spread defeatism.

    I surmise then that in some air sealed compartment in your mind, you believe you are better than the vast majority of responses that treated any negative handling over the war as simply tirades that the r4d2 unit spouts, due to the consideration that the r4d2 unit is obviously a war opponent and trying to spread defeatism.

    How you can believe so when you respond to criticism by calling people little boys is simply a testament to your intelligence and excellence. For only the excellently intelligent may hold 2 and more contradictory beliefs in their minds at once.

    honest appraisals from those who wanted to win but thought we were making mistakes.

    Some people have honest appraisals designed to win but based upon the belief that mistakes had been made in war.

    People shouldnt die attempting the impossible.-r2d4

    So the question is, are you one of the honest ones? I assume you take life and death seriously because you will only allow people and the nation to take on challenges and wars that you believe can be won, but if there ever was a hope for victory against impossible odds, then you would immediately jump ship and become a supporter of that which you once stopped supporting. Speculation you might say. More on that later, perhaps.

    I don’t devote as many resources to compartamentalized thinking, so you’ll have to forgive the lack of quality analysis on other people’s compartamentalized beliefs.

    Maybe you do take life and death seriously.

    the minister of interior has ordered a monument to be built in memory of the sheik, in addition to naming a police brigade after him-Comment r4 is replying to

    LOL. This is exactly the kind of thing I would expect them to do if they were the ones who had him killed.-r4d20

    Then again, maybe not. There are always at least two sides to a story. The tricky part is with the “at least” portion. Two people, yet one person with 3 sides to his own story, now that’s tricky.

  70. r4d20 Says:

    Anyone who responds labels the argument “The war is costing us money and lives and seems unlikely to produce anything positive so it would be in our best interest to leave” as “bandwagon” IS a little boy who should leave the business of men alone and go back to playing with his toys.

  71. Lee Says:

    r4,
    He is playing. You’re the toy.

  72. Ymarsakar Says:

    Be sure to confirm the identity pool. Or even, pool of identities.

    Not even you r4, can somehow fit it within your warped mind that “being a “former” war supporter (I would be one again if I saw any hope)” is somehow the same as talking about the “war costing us money”. Please don’t tell me you’re trying to claim that you were lying. Because that would, indeed, be ironic.

    Regressing back to your childhood where you actually had a single worldview in your head in aggregate, doesn’t really do anything, either.

    I was interested in what you said about Iran, r4.

    There is a difference between a ‘safe bet’ and ‘evidence sufficient to goto war’ but, as someone pointed out, they might be able to fabricate evidence.

    The fight should be “Attacking Iran would be stupid” NOT “Iran is innocent”. The first is solidly grounded in empirical reality that cannot be undermined by real or fabricated evidence – the second might be false and, even if true, might not matter if someone does a good enough frame-up job.-R4

    Would you return to supporting the current war even with the fabrications? Would you support future wars other people start on fabricated evidence, so long as you see a hope for victory? The bandwagon is the least of your problems.

  73. Laura Says:

    Promethea says:

    “Laura and Donald need to get over themselves and their personal emotions and do some reading about the “big picture.”

    Promethea, Donald and I have a very clear understanding of what the “big picture” is. “Get over” ourselves? That’s a patronizing and insulting comment to make to anyone making sacrifices in the GWOT. We hear stories from boots on the ground of what this entails. We see firsthand what the cost is, and we have a much more sober look at “the big picture”. Offering your commentary on what we need to read in order to understand that “big picture” underscores your own misunderstandings of what that entails. You contradict yourself when on the one hand you offer your “reading material” that clearly outlines that this is a hundreds of years of conflict, and then offer the following: “The sooner Americans can help Iraqis, Afghans, and others build up democratic institutions on a foundation of human rights, the safer we will all be. And if we can’t do that the nice humane American way, our children and grandchildren will have to take care of business the more brutal way.”

    Let’s be really clear on this: This is a conflict that WILL engage your kids and grandkids. If you follow your own form of thinking, that the Jhihadis are patient and are prepared to fight for hundreds of years, makes the argument of protecting our kids and grandkids from that fight moot.

  74. Lee Says:

    Actually, Promethia didn’t say “if we don’t finish the job today, our children and grandchildren will have to finish it”, Prom said “If we don’t keep up the pressure today, our kids will be forced to a more brutal approach tomorrow”.
    In other words, if we withdraw today, our kids may be forced to go nuclear, just to survive. We’re winning today without drafts, human waves, carpet bombings, and nukes. Let’s keep it that way.

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About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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