Daily Wisdom

February 12, 2007

Soldiers In Iraq Starting To Worry

Let's face it, American soldiers are not stupid. They are quick to recognize political posturing and Washington, D.C. double-speak. It's pretty hard to say you support the soldiers, while at the same time saying you don't support the work those soldiers are doing, or the cause that they are dying for.

American soldiers are highly motivated. They believe in the mission. They believe we are winning in Iraq. They believe in the cause they are fighting for. They want to help the Iraqis achieve freedom and democracy. They want to crush Al-Qaeda in Iraq. They want to quell the insurgents. They want to see sectarian violence end... through VICTORY. They know better than the rest of us, that if we pull out of Iraq prematurely, the violence will not end. They know that it will only get worse... like the slaughter that took place at the hands of Pol Pot when the Americans pulled out of Vietnam. American soldiers want "peace through victory".

Barack Obama said today, "We ended up launching a war that should have never been authorized and should have never been waged and to which we now have spent $400 billion and have seen over 3,000 lives of the bravest young Americans wasted."

But American soldiers don't agree with that statement. American soldiers don't believe that the lives of their brothers and sisters were "wasted". American soldiers believe that those lives were sacrificed for a noble cause: the liberation of the Iraqi people. Those lives will ONLY be wasted if the anti-war crowd gets their way and surrenders to the insurgents and the forces of evil. Those lives will ONLY be wasted if Congress makes a conscious decision to throw their lives away. Those lives will ONLY be wasted if Congress subverts the mission of our troops and unilaterally turns the nation of Iraq over to the fundamentalist Islamic forces of Al-Qaeda, Muqtada al-Sadr, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Is it any wonder then that our soldiers are beginning to worry?

From CyberAlert: The following story is from a January 29th CyberAlert. It briefly describes the frustration of American soldiers with those back home who say "they support the soldiers, but not the war".

Friday's NBC Nightly News gave rare voice to soldiers in Iraq disturbed by criticism of the war back home. Embedded with the Army's Stryker Brigade's Apache Company (the Fort Lewis, Washington-based 1st Battalion of the 23rd Infantry Regiment) in Hurriya, Richard Engel relayed how "troops here say they are increasingly frustrated by American criticism of the war. Many take it personally, believing it is also criticism of what they've been fighting for.

Twenty-one-year-old Specialist Tyler Johnson is on his first tour in Iraq. He thinks skeptics should come over and see what it's like firsthand before criticizing." Johnson asserted: "You may support or say we support the troops, but, so you're not supporting what they do, what they're here sweating for, what we bleed for, what we die for. It just don't make sense to me."

Staff Sergeant Manuel Sahagun directly took on the spin of war critics, complaining that "one thing I don't like is when people back home say they support the troops, but they don't support the war. If they're going to support us, support us all the way." Engel soon powerfully concluded: "Apache Company has lost two soldiers, and now worries their country may be abandoning the mission they died for."

To see the video from NBC in Windows Media format, click HERE.


At 2/12/2007 11:41 PM , Anonymous Elroy said...

Are the soldiers not defending the free speech rights of the people who said the following?

‘Well, I just think it's a bad idea. What's going to happen is they're going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years.’

‘I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions…these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our overextended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today’

‘Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?’

‘No goal, no objective, not until we have those things and a compelling case is made, then I say, back out of it, because innocent people are going to die for nothing. That's why I'm against it.’

‘My job as majority leader is be supportive of our troops, try to have input as decisions are made and to look at those decisions after they're made ... not to march in lock step with everything the president decides to do.’

‘American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy.’

‘If we are going to commit American troops, we must be certain they have a clear mission, an achievable goal and an exit strategy.’

‘Escalating this war doesn’t make any sense because starting this war did not make any sense.’

‘You can support the troops but not the president.’

‘Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is.’



At 2/13/2007 9:06 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

American soldiers are INDEED defending the free speech rights of Americans. I assume that those whom you quote are Americans, although you have (purposely no doubt) failed to ascribe their attributions. I cannot honestly say however, that American soldiers are defending the free speech rights of those in other countries, unless they have been ordered to do so by their Commander-In-Chief.

Americans DO have the right to say what they believe... whether right or wrong. In fact, ALL people should have the right to say what they believe. (But don't dare speak your mind if you live in Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, Iran, China, or Saudi Arabia... becuase you might end up dead.)

All Americans have the right to say what they believe... even if it is STUPID. Americans are free to speak, even if they fail to engage their brains before opening their mouths.

The freedom of speech does not automatically endow a person with clarity, honesty or intellect. Even idiots and liars can speak their minds (and often do).

No, the true test of intelligence is in being able to discern that which is fact from that which is folly. The true test of intelligence is in the accurate analysis of a situation and distilling out that which is the heart of the matter.

Therefore, speaking MANY words is NOT an indicator of intelligence (although the speaker may well be intelligent). Being able to state one's case clearly and concisely is far more compelling than reciting a litany of proofs. I place far more respect in those who can synthesize truth from chatter, than in those who merely chatter.

Abraham Lincoln is a good case in point. He won the Lincoln-Douglas debates although Douglas was clearly the more "eloquent" of the two. Douglas droned on while Lincoln came to the point.

At the dedication of the military cemetary at Gettysburg, the 2-hour oration by the Honorable Edward Everett has been all but forgotten, while the 2-minute "Gettysburg Address" by Lincoln is considered to be one of the greatest speeches of all time.

In all sincerity, my desire is that you come to appreciate such values.

At 2/16/2007 12:02 AM , Anonymous Elroy said...

Point taken, but sometimes a little redundancy is necessary to get one’s argument across. Being able to state one's case clearly and concisely can indeed be far more compelling than reciting a litany of proofs, but it is also a mistake to reduce issues down to a point where distinctions are lost for the sake of simplicity. Such an approach is deeply patronizing and unworthy of a sophisticated society.

I don’t appreciate having my politics dumbed down at the expense of the truth, and such practices do democracy a disservice. Furthermore, they are used to hide a multitude of sins and avoid scrutiny. Cheap sloganeering might push the buttons of the rank and file but we know where that leads – I’m sure you’ve read Animal Farm.

However, it is true that I have a tendency to go on a bit, but there are so many points to make and they are complicated. Multi-faceted. Not black and white. You ask me something and I’ll tell you. You want shorter posts? Don’t ask me so many questions. Not that I’m blaming you, just explaining why I drone on a bit.

Anyhoo, I thought American soldiers are defending the free speech of Iraqis. Isn’t that what ‘spreading democracy’ is all about? I agree that free speech is a tad dangerous in some of the countries you mention (although it might be a worthy project to examine exactly what the state of free speech is in these places), but from what I can gather it is no picnic in the USA either.

People on the left are routinely fired, receive hate mail and death threats, there are arguably more than a few political prisoners in US jails right now, as there have been in the past, and if you are a public figure then things get expedientially worse. It may not be as bad as vacationing in a Chinese gulag, but that’s not the point.

The point is, what is free speech? If it is the freedom to say what you believe without fear of reprisals, to say what you believe without having to think twice about the price you may have to pay, then it could be said that free speech has been dead in the US for years.
There are many on the left who find that they must keep quiet, and do, lest they get attacked in one way or another.

Conservatives might counter that abusing liberals is merely an expression of their first amendment rights, but with rights come responsibilities. I’m not saying that the Left are saints by any means, but what I am saying is that the conservative attack machine is more effective.

The Right have, for instance, FOX News, the Republican defacto propaganda arm that would not exist were it not for the bottomless pockets of Rupert Murdoch. This organization and its mouthpieces have great influence, far greater than they might deserve and I agree with you when you say that even idiots and liars often speak their minds and fail to engage their brains before opening their mouths – they do it on cable news five nights a week.

Yes, the true test of intelligence is in being able to discern that which is fact from that which is folly; the accurate analysis of a situation and distilling out that which is the heart of the matter. The freedom of speech does not, indeed, automatically endow a person with clarity, honesty or intellect, and speaking many words is not an indicator of intelligence, which is why I have such a problem with O’Reilly, Hannity et al.

O’Reilly and Hannity do not pass any of the above tests. They consistently lie and twist the words of their enemies and will not tolerate dissent, shouting down anyone who goes too far unless, of course, that dissent comes from the mouths of their friends. These commentators are so inconsistent as to defy belief, all the while claiming to be ‘fair and balanced, a claim which is demonstrably untrue.

For example, ‘misspeaking’ is a mortal sin when committed by the likes of Kerry, yet Bush et al are never picked up for the same crime by that most vigilant parse-master Sean Hannity. ‘Our enemies’, George once informed us, ‘…never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we’, but Hannity let it slide.

Maybe Hannity didn’t even notice. Maybe he forgave him; George does this kind of thing quite often, always benefiting from the low expectations of the rest of us. Actually, Hannity even let himself off the hook the other day, saying that people like him that talk a lot a rebound to ‘misspeak’ every now and then and that they ought to be cut a bit of slack. So it’s alright for Bush, and alright for Hannity, but a liberal? Cut off at the knees.

The current conservative meme is to paint anyone who opposes the Iraq war as a ‘traitor’, ignoring or conveniently forgetting their previous ‘opinions’ and those of the politicians that bear FOX’s preferred political stripe. ‘Criticism in a time of war is essential to the maintenance of any kind of democratic government.’ Is a seditious piece of venom spat at the troops by pinko-scum Sen. Robert Taft (R-Ohio), an avowed enemy of that freedom-crushing socialist intervention, the New Deal. However, Sean Hannity of all people happily quote FDR, the New Deal’s author and slave-puppet of Stalin when it suits him.

This hypocrisy is everywhere with these guys Just a couple of nights ago Hannity and Dick ‘Don’t-forget-to-visit-my-website-wwwdotdickmorrisdotcom’ Morris were tearing strips off Hilary for ‘flip-flopping’ over the Iraq war, however when Colmes showed footage of Bush doing the same if not worse, a rather uncomfortable Morris said ‘Well, when the facts change, you change your opinion.’ But only, it would seem, if your name is George.

Conservatives love this Abraham Lincoln on the subject: ‘Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled, or hanged’, which is stirring stuff; the only problem is that Honest Abe never said it. The actual author is one J. Michael Waller, who blames his editor for not removing some erroneous quote marks, another example of conservatives taking personal responsibilityfor their mistakes and their blatant disregard for the truth.

And so it goes. Karl Rove has turned out to be quite a fan of post-modern philosophy, helping the GOP take the concept that ‘reality is relative’ to new levels. Remember this classic from the ‘unnamed’ White House aide when he told NYT journalist Ron Suskind that people like him were

…‘in what we call the reality-based community…[people who] believe that solutions emerge from [the] judicious study of discernible reality. That's not the way the world really works anymore. We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.’

Free speech in the GOP is non-existent under the doctrine of Rovism; he rules with an iron fist, and everyone does what they’re told. To quote Neal Gabler:

‘When neither dissent nor facts are recognized as constraining forces, one is infallible, which is the sum and foundation of Rovism. Cleverly invoking the power of faith to protect itself from accusations of stubbornness and insularity, this administration entertains no doubt, no adjustment, no negotiation, no competing point of view. As such, it eschews the essence of the American political system: flexibility and compromise.

In Rovism, toughness is the only virtue. The mere appearance of change is intolerable, which is why Bush apparently can't admit ever making a mistake. As Machiavelli put it, the prince must show that "his judgments are irrevocable.

Rovism regards any form of compromise as weakness. Politics isn't a bus we all board together, it's a steamroller.’

It is this sort of behavior that eats at the concepts of democracy and common discourse like a cancer; civility has gone out the window with this ‘Fer’ us or agin’ us’ routine as Rove’s attack machine continues to maul all before it.

Debate is a thing of the past; Rovism demands that Republicans do not debate the issues asked of them because it would mean being hostage to the Democratic Party’s agenda; instead they attack, and this no paranoid CT fantasy either – Rove himself has written as much.

Have you seen this, from Representatives John Shadegg and Peter Hoekstra?

‘We are writing to urge you not to debate the Democratic Iraq resolution on their terms, but rather on ours.

Democrats want to force us to focus on defending the surge, making the case that it will work and explaining why the President's new Iraq policy is different from prior efforts and therefore justified.

We urge you to instead broaden the debate to the threat posed to Americans, the world, and all "unbelievers" by radical Islamists. We would further urge you to join us in educating the American people about the views of radical Islamists and the consequences of not defeating radical Islam in Iraq.

The debate should not be about the surge or its details. This debate should not even be about the Iraq war to date, mistakes that have been made, or whether we can, or cannot, win militarily. If we let Democrats force us into a debate on the surge or the current situation in Iraq, we lose.’

And everyone did as they were told. Is this another example of the broad church of liberty and individualism that the GOP is famous for being?

It is vital for the health of democracy that we recognize that politics is not a sport, particularly not a blood sport, and the presidential elections are not the Superbowl. Politics is the process by which the world decides how we live and die, and we should all have a say anything less is totalitarianism.

There. It should be about six minutes later now – I am obviously no Abe, but I’m no Everett either. However, in all sincerity my desire is that you come to appreciate such values as cannot be communicated in a sound-bite.

Cheers (comprehensively)


At 2/16/2007 12:05 AM , Anonymous Elroy said...

P.S. Still no results for my pop quiz? Waiting...



At 2/16/2007 1:14 AM , Anonymous Elroy said...

EERATUM: There may be a number of Republicans who vote for the Democratic Party's non-binding resolution. My apologies. May Rove and Cheney have mercy on their souls.



At 2/20/2007 7:42 AM , Blogger MargeinMI said...

Well, alrighty then!

At 2/20/2007 5:24 PM , Anonymous Elroy said...

So, Margeinmi, you agree with me?



At 2/22/2007 2:17 AM , Anonymous Elroy said...

Do you remember that movie Snow White & The Seven Dwarves by Walt Disney? Did you ever really look closely at the villian? That's right, the evil stepmother queen was none other than Condileeza Rice.

"And because you've been
so good to poor old Granny,
I'll share a secret with you.
This is no ordinary apple.
It's a magic wishing apple."

"A wishing apple?"

"Yes! One bite and all
your dreams will come true.
The War on Terror will be over.
Al Qaeda will leave us alone.
Our soldiers will redeploy in victory.
We will return to the Reagan era
of hiding our heads in our butts.
And no one will blow up a nuke
in downtown New York!"

It cuts both ways, sunshine!



At 2/22/2007 10:16 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

You posted your last comment at the wrong article "sunshine".

(:D) Regards...


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home