Friday, August 12, 2005

Hey, remember that war?

I have thought about this a lot and so I thought it interesting that Slate has an article titled "Losing the Iraq War: Can the left really want us to?". I don't agree with most of this article because I find his logic fuzzy, and his conclusions based on statements of belief rather than fact, but I think it is an interesting question because my answer varies based on what you consider losing.

Does losing mean we accept the fact that we removed one dictator to replace him with another that may for a few years be more sympathetic to our cause, but in the long run will simply foster a new generation of terrorists with hatred for America emblazoned in their hearts?

Does losing mean turning over the police action in Iraq over to the UN and walking away?

Does losing mean that our loss of life continues to pile up and violence continues to escalate until public outcry causes our own politicians to say fuck it and leave?

Did we already lose when we went to war on false pretense, got caught torturing people in prison, provided a rallying point and training ground for terrorists way better than the Taliban Afghanistan, and generally reinforced every bad thing anybody ever said about America's continually misguided military actions around the world?

The point I think is really that we have already lost, because it is not possible to define winning this war. How do we even discuss winning when we have nothing to gain? What is the prize when we aren't fighting over territory or even really resources (I doubt we will get much oil out of this). When it comes down to it those that support this war claim we are fighting a war of ideology (freedom, terror, democracy, ect.). I just don't see how an occupational military power enforces freedom? How does the constant presence of armed men from a foreign country roaming your streets attracting bombs and snipers relieve terror? I know we can't leave now, but I don't see how we can stay. We can't abandon Iraq to anarchy, but as long as there are American military personnel in the middleeast we will continue to be a locus for extremists to rally hate around. How do we win this war when we lose a little more everyday?

17 comments:

Almostgrace said...

Holy shit. I love this post.

Bodie said...

Thank you!

Angela said...

If one of your loved ones were on one of those planes or in the twin towers on the fateful day, could you feel the same as you do right now?

Bodie said...

Iraq and 911 are totally different things. The President and his staff lied to the American people about the connection, and over 1500 american soldiers have had to pay the price. This has been documented by the 911 commision as well as several other studies done by our own military and intelligence services. I can find you an inexhaustable supply of evidence that proves there was no connection, but if you have ignored it thus far, I am sure there is no way I could convince you.

This war has nothing to do with the murder of those 3,500 people that died that day, and everything to do with an opportunistic manipulation of American foreign policy by those that used that tragedy to justify a pointless war.

If I had a loved one that had died that day, I would probably feel even more strongly about this war. Afghanistan is where Al Quaida was based, and continues to be the best guess at the location of Osama. Why don't we have 150,000 men in Afghanistan hunting down that guy? Why instead of doing everything we can to dismantle Al Quaida throughout the world did we create this enormous quagmire in Iraq where there were no terrorists, or WMDs or any real threat to our national security? Why hven't we captured the murderers responsible for 911 rater than created a new training ground for terrorists to recruit?

Agent 1776 said...

Bodie, you mention that Iraq did not have WMD's... this is incorrect; the US handed them to Saddam in the 80's to fight Iran as a bargaining chip to avoid a war... (which it ultimatly did by the way). Years later, Hussein used biological warfare against the Kurds... I understand that it's a catch-22 that we supplied this man weapons to kill his own people; understand that we are dealing with a volatile region and there is naturally some guesswork about who to trust and who to shun...

History tells us that Hussein originally during the 70's (while he was rising to power) was a "more probable than not" effective leader and potential ally of the West (read his record of creating schools and infrastructure); hence our support... now admittingly, it was a mistake and therefore the UN wanted accountability of the WMD's once genocide was confirmed with the Kurds.

Hussein closed off inspections and violated sanction after sanction and ultimately invaded Kuwait...

Clinton in the 90's declared a policy of "regime change" in Iraq as the most probable avenue to ultimate stability in the region... do you forget that? Can you explain that? Was Clinton wrong, or misguided?

Lastly, you are correct that very little evidence links 9-11 to Iraq, but there are some links. Hussein was a terrorist state-sponsored country that is WELL documented.

While WMD's have not been found in Iraq (after the fact) should only raise concerns about where they are... Syria? Pakistan? Iran? who knows... but if we can successfully prop up a West-friendly ally in the heart of the middle east, are we not all that much safer? yes, of course we are. Think about it... if we can become an ally in Iraq, we will be able to get all sorts of embassies in the country and have much more infomraiton about fuutre 9-11's in general (agree?)...

The problem with liberals (in my opinion) are some pretty short-sided emotion-driven arguments that don't account for the long run... you are right; it is a gamble, and I would argue an appropriate gamble in light of the "war on terror" that we find ourselves involved in. Will the War in Iraq create more terrorism? hmmm, maybe in the short run, but in the long run, it sends a message to the fundamentalist Islamic leaders that the US will move militarily if we're fucked with.... a message that is LONG overdue.

my prediction is this: within the next 5-10 years, a thriving democracy will slowly prop up and the ideals of freedom and democracy will slowly bleed to Syria, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, etc., and ultimalty there will likely be savage reforms in the form of civil wars... that is natural for every "transition" of governments as these regions (including US/Europe by the way--historically) reform...

In summary, we have a responsibility as Americans to foster West friendly states all around the world... by doing so, we become safer and safer ultimately... and yes, there are religious leaders (most notably Islamic fundamentalist) that do have their citizens participate in suicide bombings and such; it's the last stand for a desperate cause.... let's not forget that shall we?

Solution: all we have to do is stick it out; democracy and freedom will always trump oppression...

I'm surprised that as a liberal, you don't side with the human rights issue alone... remember Hiroshima... terrible end to a bloody war, but look at the results... what about Berlin carpet bombing? All terrible "short term" solutions to a bigger problem...

My overall point is that the Left needs to get some balls and check their history on such matters... ok, that was a cheap shot, but I believe I've raised some strong arguments... would you care to grab those balls and address each one... by agreeing or disagreeing...

... it will be interesting either way.

I like you Blog by the way; been looking at it for months... this is my first post though.

-1776

Bodie said...

I am on the road right now, so I don't have the time to spend on each of your points (I will in a few days). As for the balls thing I don't remember you stating that you were in Iraq right now fighting the rightous war of ideals with this immaginary enemy of terror, which tells me you have about the same level of balls as I do. That magnet on the back or you car doesn't mean shit.

Agent 1776 said...

Bodie, I signed up for the Army during the first gulf war (was in bootcamp during)... so yea, I've got some balls (want a lesson?)... I suspect that your first thought is: "what a fucking idiot... he joined up during a WAR!!!!!"...

which is my point all along with liberals... hey, it's easy to complain and bitch and play devil's advocate on issues... it's quite another to face facts and reality with hard decisions and make appropriate gambles...

I mean, you can't possibly support Clinton's 8 year "poll-driven" foreign policy program do you?

the reality is nowhere near the solution of letting the USA grind down to some hazy socialistic state and "even the odds" to make the rest of the world feel better... reality is that we are not imperialistic by nature; our military is indeed deployed throughout the world for reasons (to keep the country safer by resisting communism/fundamentalism), not for "oil" or whatever such reason the Left can throw in there to spin the minority into voting for the Dean's, Kerry's and Gore's of the country... sheesh.

face it, the last three election cycles show a strong electoral shift to the Right for reasons... it's probably why the Left is turning crazier and crazier...

I mean, aren't you concerened (even a little) with how angry and foul you sound? The rant about the flag burning alone was disgraceful... you really should be ashamed of yourself... you truly are a BAD AMERICAN... there's some balls for you; I call 'em as I see 'em buddy.

just an observation... spin at will.

-1776

mandy said...

Holy crap. Listen, I'm really happy that our blog creates debate. And I'm all for people commenting and asking questions and discussing the validity of our posts. I am glad for the input and am genuinely interested in what other people have to say.

However I'd like to make a suggestion that we bring things back to more of a discussion and less of a mudslinging "who's got balls" rant. I'm not pointing any fingers here... just a suggestion.

1776 - thank you for reading our blog. Do you have a website?

Agent 1776 said...

alright Mandy, you got me there, the "who's got balls" was perhaps over the top... but what's life without a little controversy huh? You are right though, I will tone it down a little... I did feel a bit justified after reading the flag burning posts; thought I'd bring it to the same level; but again, I could be a little more tactful....

I don't have a website; my friend is trying to talk me into a BLOG; just not enough time despite assurances that it is very easy and doesn't take much time at all...

-1776

Griffonage said...

Agent 1776 is right about WMDs.

Almost everyone I know on the left AND right now thinks "We went to war on false pretenses", "There were no WMDs"

EVERYONE in the 90's Including the UN, France, Clinton, and Saddam himself claimed WMDs were in Saddam's possession in Iraq, hence the UN Security Councils Resolution 1441 (the 2002 reiteration of the 1991 Resolution 687.

Now leading up to the war, Saddam failed to offer proof of his WMD destruction, and was in MATERIAL BREACH of the 1441 agreement.

Now fast forward to today. Liberals want us to believe that because WMDs haven’t been found, Saddam must have destroyed them and decided to play a game with the UN and US and refuse to show proof of their destruction....

yeah that makes sense.

This whole liberal WMD argument is based on the logical fallacy of Argumentum Ad Ignorantiam, because weapons weren’t found, they must not have existed.

Before someone goes off and says, "But you're the one arguing without evidence because you can't prove they exist now". Saddam himself agreed to destroy them, but never proved he did, the burden of proof is lies on their destruction...not on their existence.

There is no reason in the world that anyone should believe that Saddam would destroy his WMDs and then decide to loose his regime and freedom by hiding their destruction from the UN.

Bodie said...

So much to comment on, and so little time. It is going to have to be another post to deal with the WMDs and justification for war, and what it means to me to ask men to die for their country under an umbrella of lies. I am not backing down, but this will make a better post than a comment. This is a 3 year old (or 15 year depending upon historical perspective) debate about things that even the best intelligence and policy analysts in the country still don't really know the answers, so how can I possibly find the evidence that will convince you? I will lay out my beliefs, and that is all I can do. I felt, like 49% of the nation (don't fool yourself into believing that the election of W was overwhelming)that Kerry hit it on the head when he said wrong war, wrong time.

I agree with Aurthur Laramy on almost all points. I just don't believe that the WMDs posed a clear and present danger. I think the rest of the world including much or our own intelligence apparatus agree on that point. I won't defend Saddam or Iraq, or even the weak UN and Clinton poliices that lead to the stalemate, but I will oppose any attempt to convince people that 911 and Iraq share anything in common. I refute the propagation of fear that followed 911 that was perpetrated by our governing officers to justify the diversion of resources from the war on the people that actually attacked us. It truly makes me wonder if they even want to catch them.

As for 1776's response to the flag burning post he really ought to have left a comment on that post and then gone on to HAG's blog. She wrote it not me. If you read regularly you would realize that that was actually a sarcastic response to a friend about my having attacked that silly girl in the past. I do defend her right to say it though because I do believe that banning the destruction of symbols like the flag is an imposition on all of our civil liberties. I don't burn flags, but I believe I have that right. I have strong libertarian tendencies that repel the invasion of civil liberties, and I do often feel very conflicted by the things that I have to defend, but that is life. i don't believe in the flag, I believe in the American people.

As for the general attacks on Clinton, Gore, Kerry, and Dean all I have to say is so what? I like some of these guys, and I believe one of them is an actual war hero and patriot. Others of them I don't like. I won't defend any of them just as I won't ask you to defend Karl Rove for being a traitor bastard, or Cheney for selling out tax payers to Enron and Halliburton.

Thanks for reading and follow up posts to come as time permits.

mandy said...

Great response! Couldn't have said it any better.

susan said...

I took an awesome class in college, just as the Iraq was was starting, on the Balkans over the last 200 years. One of the main points of the course was the concept of nationality as an essential prerequisite to democracy. Currently, as in the Balkans as described in that course, most Iraqis identify more strongly with a religious group or region than they do with a country. They've been held together by force, but they don't see themselves as a whole. Without that common identity/vision, there's no hope for democratic process -- the most likely outcome is a dictatorship that bows to the form of democracy (voting, parties, etc) but not to the spirit of it.

A modern sense of nationality, at least by existing examples, takes many decades to forge, and only with extreme ongoing international pressure. (generally this pressure is in the form of a threat, not in the form of "helping.") I doubt that Bush envisioned that sort of commitment.

Creating a democracy isn't winnable. Restoring infrastructure, or preserving women's rights in the face of Sharia, or instituting a decent educational system to provide an alternative to terrorism all could be. Unfortunately, I don't think these can be done if the main catch phrase is democracy... I think you have to pick your battles, and I think the US is currently picking the wrong one.

Angela said...

I believe that all reasons,senarios, options, outcomes, predictions and possiblities have been considered, not just by one person, but by many intellegent, educationed, publicly appointed officials (they can't all be morons!) That being the case, I would imagine if the best thing were not to be fighting this war, then it would have likely ceased by now and may never even have started. So, with out being the people directly involved in the decision making process, it is hard to imagine that a normal person could have all the information that those decision makers have, therefore couldn't actually know which is better; fighting the war or not.

Bodie said...

Blind obediance to authority flies in the face of democracy. Dialogue is the root of liberty. Our leaders are not ordained by god as infallible, and quite frequently they have achieved their positions by compromising their integrity.

If you will not question your leaders and judge their mistakes for yourself then you are abandoning your responsibility to our political process.

Agent 1776 said...

I have a question for you Bodie... would you consider the act of dissent (as frequently and loud as possible) the highest form of patriotism? if not, then what is...

mandy said...

No, the act of dissent ("as frequently and as loud as possible") is not the "highest form of patriotism," whatever that is. I think the message Bodie is trying to get across is that we, as the people in a democratic country, have the right and responsibility to question our leaders. Blind obedience is not patriotism.

We're not arguing against everything the government is doing; we're just trying to point out the weaknesses, lies, and misguided activites that this administration is trying to convince the public to ignore.

2+2=5?