Daily Wisdom

August 10, 2007

Questions, Questions, Questions!

Why would ANY American (even a liberal)...

  • Want America to LOSE a war?
  • Say that they "support the troops", yet denounce the mission of those troops?
  • Say that they "support the troops", yet falsely accuse those troops of going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night and terrorizing women and children?
  • Say that they "support the troops", yet suggest that only the uneducated "get stuck in Iraq".
  • Say that they "support the troops", yet demand that those troops come home in shame and defeat?
  • Put American soldiers in harm's way, and then deny those soldiers the funding they need to support the mission?
  • Unilaterally declare that a war is LOST, without having accurate information from sources on-the-ground?
  • Suggest redeployment to a location 5,000 miles from Iraq as a good place for "rapid response"?
  • Suggest that it was a mistake to depose a man who killed millions of people?
  • Want to insure that the lives of those Americans heroically sacrificed in Iraq have been wasted?
  • Unanimously approve the appointment of a U.S. general, and then immediately seek to undermine his mission?
  • Declare a new strategy to be a failure, even before it has been fully implemented?
  • Agree to a date-certain for a report from the Pentagon, and then attempt to make an uninformed military decision (2) months prior to release of that report?
  • Purposely ignore the historical lessons of Vietnam?
  • Want to sacrifice the lives of thousands (or perhaps millions) of innocent Iraqi civilians?
  • Want to smash the dreams of millions of Iraqis for stability in their lives?
  • Want to surrender a country of 28 million people to Al-Qaeda, our sworn enemy?
  • Want to provide a safe haven for terrorists to plan their next attacks on America?
  • Turn their backs on a fledgling democracy that will one day be an important ally?
  • Turn their backs on Afghanistan - which will be the next target of Al-Qaeda and Iran?
  • Turn their backs on the Middle East - an entire region of the world?
  • Turn their backs on Israel - an important ally in the region and a long-established democracy?
  • Give Iran free reign to establish Shi'ite fundamentalism in Iraq?
  • Give Iran free reign to develop its nuclear arsenal?
  • Want America's international stature to be diminished?
  • Want to embarrass the U.S. in the eyes of the world?
  • Want to meet and be seen with dictators and tyrants?
  • Be cordial to America's enemies, and indifferent to America's allies?
  • Expose classified intelligence programs that keep Americans safe from terrorists?
  • Seek to prevent intelligence agencies from conducting wiretaps on foreign enemies during a time of war?
  • Seek to prevent intelligence agencies from using proven methods of interrogation to obtain valuable intelligence during a time of war?
  • Seek to release foreign enemy combatants from prison so that they can resume their terrorist activities?
  • Want to subvert the President of the United States during a time of war?
  • Want to subvert the Constitution of the United States by allowing (or advocating) that Congress usurp the role of "Commander-in-Chief" during a time of war?


  • I will be the first to admit that I have no answers to such questions - neither simple nor complex. But let me say that such questions are NOT rhetorical. I truly cannot fathom what such people think. I can only ask more questions...

  • Is it because such people are against ALL war in principle?
  • Are they TRULY "conscientious objectors"?
  • Do they TRULY believe that American soldiers are Nazi storm troopers?
  • Do they REALLY equate George W. Bush with Adolf Hitler?
  • Are the lives of American soldiers TRULY that precious to anti-war activists?
  • Do they REALLY believe that the Iraq war is lost?
  • Do they REALLY believe Iraqis would have been better off under Saddam?
  • Do they REALLY believe there won't be another 9/11-type event?
  • Do the lives of Iraqi millions mean nothing to them?
  • Does liberty mean so little to them?
  • Are they ignorant of history?
  • Are they short-sighted?
  • Have they been misled?
  • Are they stupid?
  • Do they REALLY believe that life would be better under Chavez, Castro or Ahmadinejad?
  • Do they REALLY believe that George W. Bush wants to listen in on their private phone calls?
  • Do they REALLY believe that George W. Bush caused the attacks of 9/11?
  • Do they REALLY believe that George W. Bush invaded Iraq only to get the oil?
  • Do they REALLY believe that George W. Bush wants to consolidate ABSOLUTE power for the remainder of his 18 months in office?
  • Do they REALLY fear that George W. Bush will set himself up as a tyrant and not leave office after his second term?


  • Or... do they simply suffer from BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome)?

  • Are they still angry that John Kerry lost in 2004?
  • Are they still angry about the Swift Boat Vets?
  • Are they still angry that Dan Rather was forced to resign?
  • Are they still angry that Al Gore lost in 2000?
  • Are they still angry that Bill Clinton was impeached?


  • Or... is it because they simply seek to aquire political power? Do they REALLY value political power more than...

  • Their country?
  • The lives of our soldiers?
  • The lives of millions of Iraqis?
  • America's stature in the world?
  • The safety of Americans from terrorists?
  • Fledgling democracies and future allies?
  • Relationships with our existing allies?
  • The entire Middle East region of the world?
  • Iran's nuclear ambitions?
  • The Office of the Presidency?
  • The United States Constitution?


  • One can only suggest that the latter possibility simply begs the question: Why would anyone want to create an environment where they could acquire power in a country...

  • By losing a crucial war?
  • Whose troops were forced to leave the battlefield in shame and defeat?
  • Whose stature in the world has just been diminished?
  • Whose credibility is now at stake?
  • Whose foreign policy may result in the deaths of thousands or millions?
  • Whose relationship with its important allies has been compromised?
  • That surrendered 28 million people to its enemies?
  • That provided a safe haven for terrorists to plan attacks against themselves?
  • That abandoned an entire region of the world?
  • That put the lives of its own citizens at risk?
  • Where idiots believe that they can have "rapid response" from a distance of 5,000 miles?
  • Where people apologize for deposing a brutal murderer?
  • Where leaders make false accusations against their best and brightest?
  • Where leaders surrender to the enemy while their troops are winning the battle?
  • Where the media exposes classified intelligence programs?
  • Where intelligence agencies are prevented from obtaining intel on their foreign enemies?
  • Where the office of the presidency is being subverted?
  • Where leaders subvert their own constitution?


  • It's beyond me. I'm simply in a state of "interrogative conundrum".

    32 Comments:

    At 8/10/2007 9:03 PM , Anonymous Ms RightWing's News and Views said...

    I will have all the answers by the year 2020 if I start right now.

     
    At 8/10/2007 9:20 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

    Ms RW,
    Funny! But, come now dear lady. Unless you're a speed reader, me-thinks you skipped right to the end to post your comment in record time. I'm going to quiz you at the ScrappleFest on the contents of this post.

    (:D) Best regards...

     
    At 8/10/2007 10:33 PM , Blogger Pat'sRick© said...

    Actually the answers to this can be found in a Weekly Standard (or was it the American Spectator?)article by a former KGB operative. Seems like Kerry's denunciation of Vietnam was right out of the Kremlin playbook. And so is the current load of crap from leading Democrats.

    Sorry I don't have the link to the story.

     
    At 8/10/2007 10:41 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

    Rick,
    I think you're talking about the piece in the Opinion Journal?

    Click here

     
    At 8/11/2007 11:36 AM , Blogger Beerme said...

    Wow! Lots of questions! And ya know, they all seem pretty simple, don't they? I would say that I myself understand the concern for the increase of the powers of the presidency, if only because I fear what they could do in the hands of...say, Hillary! But otherwise, I won't disagree with a one of those points.

    By the way, do you reload? You sure used up a lot of bullets, in that post!

     
    At 8/11/2007 12:08 PM , Blogger Maggie said...

    Ms Rightwing,
    I'll have all the questions read by 2020....:>)

     
    At 8/11/2007 1:16 PM , Anonymous prettyold said...

    It boils down to ,
    Are the Liberals really this stupid and ignorant,or are they so truly evil they are willing to sacrifice all of us for their own gain? I pick EVIL.

     
    At 8/11/2007 1:32 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    They're not Americans. Americans aren't born, they BECOME

     
    At 8/11/2007 3:51 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

    Beerme,
    These questions have been going through my head for months. I was amazed how many there actually were when I started writing them down?

    As for the bullets... I use only ammo belts to insure long sustained bursts!

    (:D) Best regards...

     
    At 8/11/2007 3:53 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

    Maggie,
    You'll have to get Ms. RW to show her speed-reading techniques.

    (:D) Best regards & good to hear from ya!

     
    At 8/11/2007 4:02 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

    Prettyold,
    I think you're right on. I tried to be fair in my article and give them the benefit of the doubt, but... it sure does seem to look like nothing more than treachery, deceit, pandering, power-grabbing, and back-stabbing partisan politics as usual (i.e., EVIL).

    However, I must say here that their evil exposes the fact that they are also stupid and ignorant.

    (:D) Best regards...

     
    At 8/11/2007 4:04 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

    Anonymous,
    Well said! Thanks for your comment.

    (:D)

     
    At 8/12/2007 5:05 PM , Blogger benning said...

    There's no way to explain such insanity, Hawk. But there you are! It exists. It's part anger, part stupidity, part greed and poer-hungry desire. BSD explains much of it, but it existed before GW began his run for the Presidency in 2000. It's the Socialist/Leftist mindset, and it's a form of insanity.

     
    At 8/13/2007 3:56 AM , Anonymous camojack said...

    I think mostly they're just "useful idiots", parroting what they've been spoon-fed by a biased media.

     
    At 8/13/2007 7:22 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

    Benning,
    AHHHH! That explains it... Insanity! No wonder I've been having such a hard time trying to rationalize and understand. Thank you... I'll give it a rest. Insanity is such a hard thing to understand, isn't it?

    (:D) Best regards...

     
    At 8/13/2007 7:23 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

    Camo,
    "Useful"??? ...or just "idiots".

    (:D) Best regards...

     
    At 8/14/2007 3:57 AM , Anonymous camojack said...

    Useful to a certain agenda, that is.

     
    At 8/14/2007 8:01 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

    Camo,
    OK, now I got ya...

     
    At 8/14/2007 8:28 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Oh, Hawkeye – no wonder you’re confused! You can’t work out the answers to your questions because they are unanswerable. They are a collection of straw men, projections and assumptions that are nearly all erroneous, and so the supplementary questions and conclusions you reach are equally bogus because they are extrapolated from faulty logic.

    I could debunk every single one of your bullets and explain it all to you but for two things; I don’t have the time and I don’t think you’d care. You don’t really WANT to know why liberals feel the way they do, or why your questions are so wrong-headed; you just want to carry on feeling good and righteous, and to have your petty biases and paranoias stroked by the dittoheads that mistake the demagogues’ talking points for political debate. It’s quite sad, really.

    However, if there is a select one or two questions you would like me to address then, for you, maybe I could find a little time. After all, I’d hate to think that you don’t think that we don’t think.

    Cheers

    Elroy

     
    At 8/14/2007 9:11 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

    Elroy,
    Thank you for your typically pompous, elitist, arrogant remarks. But since these questions are directed specifically towards Americans, there's no need for you to inject your usual pinko, anti-American rhetoric. Sorry you don't qualify, but thanks for playing.

    Cheers

     
    At 8/15/2007 12:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Pompous? Well excuse me for having a vocabulary that extends past ‘Yall’.

    Elitist? What elite am I a member of? And isn’t declaring that your little questionnaire is only open to Americans a tad elitist too?

    Arrogant? Since when was that a crime? And I might suggest that for you to call anyone arrogant might be heading into an ill-advised pot/kettle/black scenario.

    And by the way, as tax-paying member of the Coalition of the Willing™ I feel I do qualify to inject my sensible, rational, opposing point of view, and I remind you that you did not make it plain that your quiz was an elitist, exclusionary, USA-only affair; furthermore, what America decides effects the world so, as a fellow planet-dweller, I have a right to join in.

    I have, from the goodness of my heart, offered to put you right on whichever points you might choose to highlight but instead you prefer to shoot the messenger and carry on fooling yourself and others. Typical. However, in the spirit of bipartisanship, the offer stands.

    Cheers

    Elroy

     
    At 8/15/2007 8:11 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

    Elroy,
    you did not make it plain that your quiz was an elitist, exclusionary, USA-only affair.

    As I recall, my opening question was: Why would ANY American...?

    So, unless you ARE an American, I don't see how you qualify to respond... that is, unless you now consider yourself an EXPERT on Americans (ie, how they think, etc).

    As you seem to consider yourself an expert on almost everything else, I will give you the benefit of the doubt. Feel free to submit your qualifications for my review, and I will be happy to consider them.

    Cheers

    P.S.-- Media watching is insufficient as a qualification. The media has a heavy liberal bias and presents a distorted view of America and Americans.

     
    At 8/15/2007 11:18 PM , Anonymous Elroy said...

    'As I recall, my opening question was: Why would ANY American...?'

Exactly. There is nothing in your question that says a non-American may not answer.

    I’m not an expert on Americans, but I am familiar with the liberal mindset, which, like the conservative mindset, knows no national borders.

    I am no more an expert on everything than you are; we are both highly opinionated, and so I am offering my opinion as you offer yours. You ask questions; I have merely offered to help you find the answers.

    So here’s the first half dozen:

    'Want America to LOSE a war?'

    They don’t – they just want people to stop suffering. However, as the definition of ‘victory’ keeps changing it would appear that the war has been lost several times already.

    'Say that they "support the troops", yet denounce the mission of those troops?'

    The two are not mutually exclusive. I support the troops by not wanting them to die; I do not hold them personally responsible for the war.

    The ‘mission’ is another question; what is the mission this week? Whatever it is, the ‘mission’ has been mismanaged beyond belief and has caused way more pain and damage than would otherwise have occurred.

    'Say that they "support the troops", yet falsely accuse those troops of going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night and terrorizing women and children?'

    Why do you deny the realities of war? The US troops go into the homes of Iraqis at night, and the occupants of those homes find that terrifying. I’m sure you would too.

    John Kerry never said that this was done with the sole intention of terrifying the occupants, or that the troops took pleasure in it – that has been impugned by all the O’Rushitys afterwards. All Kerry said was that it is happening. And it is. Whether it has to happen is another question again.

    'Say that they "support the troops", yet suggest that only the uneducated "get stuck in Iraq".'

    Oh boy, you just won’t let this die, will you? Kerry meant to say ‘us’; he didn’t. It’s even on the transcript handed put before he made the speech. Let it go. The Right ‘mis-speak’ all the time, but when they do all we hear are excuses. Bush is a master of it.

    But again you are avoiding reality. Are you honestly trying to say that people do not join the military to access the various educational and other bonuses? That for many people, a stint in the military is the only way out of the poverty trap?

    Some were faced with a choice of either the military or jail. Do you deny this too? The point is, liberals are not making a value judgment, they are merely saying that this is a reality. And it is.

    'Say that they "support the troops", yet demand that those troops come home in shame and defeat?'

    They just want the troops to come home alive. How many military wives do know that would rather their husbands die for the honour of George Bush? Honour does not pay the rent.

    'Put American soldiers in harm's way, and then deny those soldiers the funding they need to support the mission?'

    No funding has been denied by liberals. The only person that denied funding was GWB. And who sent the military in ill equipped in the first place? GWB. Who wrecked their medical care system? The Republican WH. Why aren’t you mad at GWB? It is he who has destroyed the military.

    That’ll do for now. Any more questions?

    Cheers

    Elroy

     
    At 8/18/2007 5:16 AM , Anonymous Elroy said...

    C'mon, Hawkeye! Where is ya? Am I right? Or am I right? Don't give up now, sport!

    Cheers

    Elroy

     
    At 8/18/2007 7:24 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

    Elroy,
    I’m not an expert on Americans, but I am familiar with the liberal mindset...

    Well Elroy... that's your first problem. 'Nuff said.

    I am no more an expert on everything than you are...

    Your honesty is refreshing, but contradicts your 'know-it-all' attitude.

    They don’t (want America to lose a war) – they just want people to stop suffering...

    I assume that the "people" to which you refer, are the terrorists, insurgents, and Taliban types? Frankly, I won't be upset if they continue to suffer.

    as the definition of ‘victory’ keeps changing it would appear that the war has been lost several times already...

    Huh? Give me a list of all these various definitions for 'victory' regarding either the 'war on terror' or the 'war in Iraq' (preferably with references).

    (Supporting the troops and denouncing the mission) are not mutually exclusive...

    Yes and no. There are two different situations: 1) when the mission is correct or noble, and 2) when the mission is incorrect or dishonorable. Now, YOU may be of the opinion that the mission is incorrect or dishonorable, but in the opinion of the troops it is correct and noble. Therefore, when you denounce the mission, you denounce the troops who believe in the mission. Denouncing the troops does not constitute "support".

    I support the troops by not wanting them to die; I do not hold them personally responsible for the war...

    Then you are foolish my friend, for several reasons. First of all, the very function of the US military is to defend the citizens of the United States. That function is accomplished by men and women who put themselves into harm's way. They defend America by inserting themselves between America and its enemies. They understand the risks associated with the job. They have volunteered to perform that function. Furthermore, an abundance of troops have re-enlisted once, twice, or even 3 times, which suggests that said troops do not hold their own lives in such high esteem as do you. Therefore, you should not overly-concern yourself about them.

    Second, bringing our troops home in order to "protect" them from the enemy, endangers the very citizens they have sworn to protect, because our enemies will follow the soldiers home. They will attack us here where we live, instead of us attacking them there where they live.

    Third, the fact that many of the troops have re-enlisted once, twice, or even 3 times, personally implicates them in the continued prosecution of the war. If said troops felt themselves to be merely pawns in an unjust war, why would they re-enlist? If said troops felt that they were fighting for a losing cause, why would they re-enlist? If said troops felt their mission was not worthwhile, why would they re-enlist?

    The 'mission' is another question; what is the mission this week?...

    Essentially the same as it was the very first day of the war: "to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger... And helping Iraqis achieve a united, stable and free country" (President George W. Bush, March 19, 2003). Iraq is disarmed. Its people have been freed. The world has been defended from the grave danger of Saddam Hussein. But the remainder of the mission, to help Iraqis "achieve a united, stable and free country", is still on-going.

    the 'mission' has been mismanaged...

    No argument there. That's why Donald Rumsfeld was fired. That's why General David Petraeus is now there. And his new strategy appears to be working.

    the 'mission'... has caused way more pain and damage than would otherwise have occurred.

    Perhaps. But that's a hypothetical statement. You can't prove it. I can't disprove it. There are too many variables. Neither you nor I know what might have happened if Saddam Hussein remained in power. He may have killed as many of his own people as the war has killed. Don't forget, he's responsible for the deaths of over a million people including Iraqis, Iranians, and Kuwaitis. He may have also launched, funded or otherwise supported a deadly terrorist plot against America, or... Australia for that matter. But since we are a much more likely target, you can understand why we are so very interested.

    US troops go into the homes of Iraqis at night, and the occupants of those homes find that terrifying. I’m sure you would too....

    No doubt I would.

    John Kerry never said that this was done with the sole intention of terrifying the occupants, or that the troops took pleasure in it...

    No he did not. Nevertheless, for a man who says that he "supports the troops", he has on more than one occasion cast the military in a negative light. During the 1970s he falsely accused the military of bogus war crimes in his testimony before Congress. His more recent actions and thoughtless statements reveal the man's true personality.

    John Kerry is a manipulator. He uses information, people and organizations whenever it advances his cause. He went into the military because he thought it would advance his future career in politics. He was against the Vietnam war when it was popular to do so, and when it promised him face time in front of the Congress. He touted his career in the military whenever he thought it would get him votes. He was FOR the Iraq war before he was AGAINST it (when it became unpopular with the Democratic base). In the "dead of night" statement, he simply used the troops in Iraq to bash Bush because they were a handy tool. John Kerry would throw his mother under a bus if it got him votes.

    (Regarding his statement that only the uneducated "get stuck in Iraq") Kerry meant to say 'us'; he didn't...

    I don't get it. Where was the "us" supposed to go? How was the statement supposed read? Like this?... "You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don't, you get ("us") stuck in Iraq." That was supposed to be a joke against Bush? Well, if that's true, then I'm sure glad he wasn't elected President! So, OK... he wasn't slighting the US military, he was just a lousy a comedian and an idiot to boot (Bush got higher grades at Yale than Kerry did). Sheesh!

    Are you honestly trying to say that people do not join the military to access the various educational and other bonuses? That for many people, a stint in the military is the only way out of the poverty trap?...

    No, I'm not trying to say any such thing. Why do you ask? I'm trying to say that the US military is not full of un-educated retards. I'm trying to say that the US military is an honorable profession and that college graduates should not think of themselves as superior to military personnel. I know a lot of college grads that wouldn't be able to fly an Air Force jet, navigate a submarine, calculate the projected path of an artillery shell, or manage the logistics of an intricate covert operation.

    Some were faced with a choice of either the military or jail. Do you deny this too?...

    First I've heard of it. Sources?

    (Regarding support for the troops, yet demanding that those troops come home in shame and defeat) They just want the troops to come home alive...

    We ALL want the troops to come home alive. So what? And by almost any standard of comparison, this war has had the fewest casualties in American history. I will say it again. They are all volunteers. Many have volunteered since we first went into Iraq. More have volunteered since we went into Afghanistan right after 9/11. They knew what they were getting into. They went in with their eyes wide open. Many have re-enlisted one or more times. They have a mission. They believe in the mission. They believe the mission is honorable. They don't want their wounds and the sacrifice of their fallen comrades to be in vain. They don't WANT to come home in shame and defeat. There is NO NEED to come home in shame and defeat. There is a new strategy. That strategy appears to be working. Recognizing that the life of everyone is precious, the long-term benefits of victory cannot be underestimated.

    How many military wives do (you) know that would rather their husbands die for the honour of George Bush?...

    Rhetorical question. C'mon Elroy. You're more intelligent than that.

    No funding has been denied by liberals...

    Your statement is accurate, but obtuse. No funding was denied by liberals, but only because they didn't have enough votes to deny the funding. In fact, John Kerry did vote October 11, 2002 to grant Bush authority to use military force against Iraq, and a year later Kerry also voted against Bush's request for $87 billion to fund military operations and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan. Likewise, Senators Hillary Clinton and Christopher Dodd voted to grant Bush authority to use military force against Iraq, and then in May, 2007 voted against a bill authorizing $100 billion for the war.

    The only person that denied funding was GWB. And who sent the military in ill equipped in the first place? GWB. Who wrecked their medical care system? The Republican WH. Why aren’t you mad at GWB? It is he who has destroyed the military...

    Please supply references for these dubious claims.

     
    At 8/20/2007 5:33 AM , Anonymous Elroy said...

    Hawkeye, thanks for your reply, but before I shoot back at you I would like to offer you the opportunity to read this letter written by some troops coming off a 15-month tour – it may help clarify some issues.

    The War as We Saw It

    By BUDDHIKA JAYAMAHA, WESLEY D. SMITH, JEREMY ROEBUCK, OMAR MORA, EDWARD SANDMEIER, YANCE T. GRAY and JEREMY A. MURPHY
    Baghdad

    VIEWED from Iraq at the tail end of a 15-month deployment, the political debate in Washington is indeed surreal. Counterinsurgency is, by definition, a competition between insurgents and counterinsurgents for the control and support of a population. To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched. As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day. (Obviously, these are our personal views and should not be seen as official within our chain of command.)

    The claim that we are increasingly in control of the battlefields in Iraq is an assessment arrived at through a flawed, American-centered framework. Yes, we are militarily superior, but our successes are offset by failures elsewhere. What soldiers call the “battle space” remains the same, with changes only at the margins. It is crowded with actors who do not fit neatly into boxes: Sunni extremists, Al Qaeda terrorists, Shiite militiamen, criminals and armed tribes. This situation is made more complex by the questionable loyalties and Janus-faced role of the Iraqi police and Iraqi Army, which have been trained and armed at United States taxpayers’ expense.

    A few nights ago, for example, we witnessed the death of one American soldier and the critical wounding of two others when a lethal armor-piercing explosive was detonated between an Iraqi Army checkpoint and a police one. Local Iraqis readily testified to American investigators that Iraqi police and Army officers escorted the triggermen and helped plant the bomb. These civilians highlighted their own predicament: had they informed the Americans of the bomb before the incident, the Iraqi Army, the police or the local Shiite militia would have killed their families.

    As many grunts will tell you, this is a near-routine event. Reports that a majority of Iraqi Army commanders are now reliable partners can be considered only misleading rhetoric. The truth is that battalion commanders, even if well meaning, have little to no influence over the thousands of obstinate men under them, in an incoherent chain of command, who are really loyal only to their militias.

    Similarly, Sunnis, who have been underrepresented in the new Iraqi armed forces, now find themselves forming militias, sometimes with our tacit support. Sunnis recognize that the best guarantee they may have against Shiite militias and the Shiite-dominated government is to form their own armed bands. We arm them to aid in our fight against Al Qaeda.

    However, while creating proxies is essential in winning a counterinsurgency, it requires that the proxies are loyal to the center that we claim to support. Armed Sunni tribes have indeed become effective surrogates, but the enduring question is where their loyalties would lie in our absence. The Iraqi government finds itself working at cross purposes with us on this issue because it is justifiably fearful that Sunni militias will turn on it should the Americans leave.

    In short, we operate in a bewildering context of determined enemies and questionable allies, one where the balance of forces on the ground remains entirely unclear. (In the course of writing this article, this fact became all too clear: one of us, Staff Sergeant Murphy, an Army Ranger and reconnaissance team leader, was shot in the head during a “time-sensitive target acquisition mission” on Aug. 12; he is expected to survive and is being flown to a military hospital in the United States.) While we have the will and the resources to fight in this context, we are effectively hamstrung because realities on the ground require measures we will always refuse — namely, the widespread use of lethal and brutal force.

    Given the situation, it is important not to assess security from an American-centered perspective. The ability of, say, American observers to safely walk down the streets of formerly violent towns is not a resounding indicator of security. What matters is the experience of the local citizenry and the future of our counterinsurgency. When we take this view, we see that a vast majority of Iraqis feel increasingly insecure and view us as an occupation force that has failed to produce normalcy after four years and is increasingly unlikely to do so as we continue to arm each warring side.

    Coupling our military strategy to an insistence that the Iraqis meet political benchmarks for reconciliation is also unhelpful. The morass in the government has fueled impatience and confusion while providing no semblance of security to average Iraqis. Leaders are far from arriving at a lasting political settlement. This should not be surprising, since a lasting political solution will not be possible while the military situation remains in constant flux.

    The Iraqi government is run by the main coalition partners of the Shiite-dominated United Iraqi Alliance, with Kurds as minority members. The Shiite clerical establishment formed the alliance to make sure its people did not succumb to the same mistake as in 1920: rebelling against the occupying Western force (then the British) and losing what they believed was their inherent right to rule Iraq as the majority. The qualified and reluctant welcome we received from the Shiites since the invasion has to be seen in that historical context. They saw in us something useful for the moment.

    Now that moment is passing, as the Shiites have achieved what they believe is rightfully theirs. Their next task is to figure out how best to consolidate the gains, because reconciliation without consolidation risks losing it all. Washington’s insistence that the Iraqis correct the three gravest mistakes we made — de-Baathification, the dismantling of the Iraqi Army and the creation of a loose federalist system of government — places us at cross purposes with the government we have committed to support.

    Political reconciliation in Iraq will occur, but not at our insistence or in ways that meet our benchmarks. It will happen on Iraqi terms when the reality on the battlefield is congruent with that in the political sphere. There will be no magnanimous solutions that please every party the way we expect, and there will be winners and losers. The choice we have left is to decide which side we will take. Trying to please every party in the conflict — as we do now — will only ensure we are hated by all in the long run.

    At the same time, the most important front in the counterinsurgency, improving basic social and economic conditions, is the one on which we have failed most miserably. Two million Iraqis are in refugee camps in bordering countries. Close to two million more are internally displaced and now fill many urban slums. Cities lack regular electricity, telephone services and sanitation. “Lucky” Iraqis live in gated communities barricaded with concrete blast walls that provide them with a sense of communal claustrophobia rather than any sense of security we would consider normal.

    In a lawless environment where men with guns rule the streets, engaging in the banalities of life has become a death-defying act. Four years into our occupation, we have failed on every promise, while we have substituted Baath Party tyranny with a tyranny of Islamist, militia and criminal violence. When the primary preoccupation of average Iraqis is when and how they are likely to be killed, we can hardly feel smug as we hand out care packages. As an Iraqi man told us a few days ago with deep resignation, “We need security, not free food.”

    In the end, we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are — an army of occupation — and force our withdrawal.

    Until that happens, it would be prudent for us to increasingly let Iraqis take center stage in all matters, to come up with a nuanced policy in which we assist them from the margins but let them resolve their differences as they see fit. This suggestion is not meant to be defeatist, but rather to highlight our pursuit of incompatible policies to absurd ends without recognizing the incongruities.

    We need not talk about our morale. As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through.'

    Buddhika Jayamaha is an Army specialist. Wesley D. Smith is a sergeant. Jeremy Roebuck is a sergeant. Omar Mora is a sergeant. Edward Sandmeier is a sergeant. Yance T. Gray is a staff sergeant. Jeremy A. Murphy is a staff sergeant.


    There you go. I'm not that they would know more about it than you but they sure would know more about it than me.

    Cheers

    Elroy

     
    At 8/22/2007 12:19 PM , Anonymous West Coast Liberal said...

    Let me answer some of your questions.

    Want America to LOSE a war?

    No one wants America to lose a war, but true patriotism is not defined by denial, i.e. refusing to say that the war is lost when it is apparently so.

    Say that they "support the troops", yet denounce the mission of those troops?

    The troops DO NOT get to define the mission. The Commander in Chief does, in the same way that the CEO sets the direction of the company, not the junior level employees.

    Denouncing the mission has nothing to do with support for troops. Not sending troops into battle with adequate body armour like the Republicans have done is an example of not supporting the troops.

    Say that they "support the troops", yet suggest that only the uneducated "get stuck in Iraq"

    It is not factually inaccurate to say that the vast majority of the troops in Iraq have not done well academically in the past.

    Of course, this does not make them any more intelligent or stupid than the rest of the population but as far as education goes, the statement is true to a certain extent.

    Say that they "support the troops", yet demand that those troops come home in shame and defeat?

    Shame and defeat is a matter of opinion, just like one can conclude that a team lost valiantly in a football game whereas someone else can say that the team lost with their tails between their legs.

    It is conservatives who think that coming home would signal "shame and defeat".

    Suggest that it was a mistake to depose a man who killed millions of people?

    Because disposing of this man is not worth the enormous chaos, civil strife, fatalities and financial costs that would arise from it. Even Dick Cheney said so.

    Declare a new strategy to be a failure, even before it has been fully implemented?

    Because the American people has been told for the past 4 years that the old strategy was working well and a new strategy was not needed.

    Purposely ignore the historical lessons of Vietnam?

    What lesson? The one that we should never have gone in in the first place?

    Want to smash the dreams of millions of Iraqis for stability in their lives?

    Are you referring to the stability that the Iraqis have had for the past 4 years with the countless deaths and roadside bombs? Or the stability that is yet to come but hopefully will once pigs fly?

    Turn their backs on Afghanistan - which will be the next target of Al-Qaeda and Iran?

    Can't answer this. Only Bush can.

    Since I don't have the time to answer all the questions, let me just add one thing about the surge.

    The goal of the surge was to send more troops to calm the violence in order to give breathing room to the Iraqi parliament to achieve political consensus.

    Hence, the ultimate goal of the surge was NOT a decrease in daily bombings, mass killings, etc.. The ultimate goal WAS the political reconciliation.

    Where is the political reconciliation? Oh wait, the Iraqi politicians are on a month-long vacation, probably lying somewhere on the beach, while American troops are still dying on a daily basis. You might want to ask Ryan Crocker how he feels about the Iraqi politicians.

    Last but not least, for anyone to claim that the surge is working just because the violence is down is ludicrous, asinine and duplicitous. We have been down this road before. Violence down temporarily in a certain region, but goes back up once we leave that area.

    Go George Bush.

     
    At 8/22/2007 8:51 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

    WCL,

    Likewise, patriotism is NOT defined by 'the unilateral surrender of a US Senator or Representative', 'declaring a strategy to have failed before it is fully implemented', or 'subversive partisan attacks intended to create the appearance of failure for political expediency'.

    The war's loss may be "apparent" to you, but apparently no one has told the US military. Contrary to your opinion, there is a growing consensus (which includes Democrats and Liberals) that the surge is in fact succeeding.

    And oh, by the way, please define "the war is lost".

    You are correct, the troops do not define the mission, but they do BELIEVE in it. Their morale is high, and they are proud of what they are accomplishing there. This fact is confirmed in their high re-enlistment rates. Therefore, when you suggest to the troops that the progress they have made, or the good work they have been doing, is "wrong" or "failed" or "a waste", those troops will take it personally. They will consider you to be against them... and that hardly qualifies as "support for the troops". Your failure to recognize this simple fact exposes your ignorance.

    Please allow me the benefit of knowing what you do for a living so I may repay you in kind by saying all the worst things I can about your profession, your failure in the execution of your job, and by commenting on the stupidity of your superiors. Failing that, you can provide me with a list of any things you are proud to have accomplished. I can denigrate those just as well.

    Pardon me if I decline to comment on the childish things you say next.

    Your statement that "the ultimate goal of the surge was NOT a decrease in daily bombings, mass killings, etc. The ultimate goal WAS the political reconciliation", is in fact true... but obtuse. I do not disagree with that statement. However, the surge was a critical step needed to promote political dialogue and reconciliation by doing just that... decreasing daily bombings, mass killings, etc. Without the implementation of that vital step, dialogue and reconciliation could never take place. Granted, the surge was not an end but a means... a means without which the end could never be achieved. Now that the surge is providing a useful tool to work with, you want to abandon the construction project.

    Last but not least, for anyone to claim that the surge is FAILING just because the violence is down is ludicrous, asinine and duplicitous.

    Go WCL. No really, please go.

     
    At 8/22/2007 11:23 PM , Anonymous West Coast Liberal said...

    Hawkeye,

    "patriotism is NOT defined by 'the unilateral surrender of a US Senator or Representative', 'declaring a strategy to have failed before it is fully implemented'"

    Ok, sure, we disagree on this but I see your point. However, let's put our disagreement aside and look at the end result, i.e. the goal that the strategy was supposed to fulfill.

    Did the Iraqi politicians use the breathing room that the surge provided to come up with a political reconciliation?

    NO

    So basically whoever it was that said that the strategy was a failure before it was fully implemented turned out to be, err.. what is that word, CORRECT after all!!!!

    "The war's loss may be "apparent" to you, but apparently no one has told the US military."

    Good luck to the American military then. They are sacrificing their blood so that Iraqi politicians can take a month-long vacation instead of working to come up with a political resolution that would go a long way in ensuring that these troops can be reunited with their families soon.

    "Contrary to your opinion, there is a growing consensus (which includes Democrats and Liberals) that the surge is in fact succeeding."

    Give me a break. We have been there a million times before. Violence goes down temporarily, folks in Washington bring out the champagne glasses. Violence goes back up once US troops leave the area, the same politicians are expressing doubt about the war.

    What else is new?


    "And oh, by the way, please define "the war is lost"."

    Sure, let me put it simply. There is NO WAY that American troops can achieve victory in Iraq because victory is contingent upon Iraqi politicians - many of whom are aligned with extremists that have American blood on their hands - coming to a concensus.

    "Their morale is high, and they are proud of what they are accomplishing there."

    Yeah, I'm sure their morale is super high when they are reminded that the only reason they are prevented from seeing their loved ones sooner is because Iraqi politicians are lying on a beach somewhere in Aruba.

    "Therefore, when you suggest to the troops that the progress they have made, or the good work they have been doing, is "wrong" or "failed" or "a waste", those troops will take it personally."

    I agree, because as the saying goes, "the truth can sometime hurt".

    If you were to work all day in good faith thinking that you will be paid at the end of the day and I come and tell you that your boss is nothing but a crook who will not pay you a penny at the of the day, I'm sure you will take it personally too, because I just told you that your efforts have gone to waste.


    "Please allow me the benefit of knowing what you do for a living so I may repay you in kind by saying all the worst things I can about your profession, your failure in the execution of your job, and by commenting on the stupidity of your superiors."

    See my response above.


    "However, the surge was a critical step needed to promote political dialogue and reconciliation by doing just that."

    I agree.

    "Without the implementation of that vital step, dialogue and reconciliation could never take place."

    Ok, so where is that reconciliation that we are waiting for? More importantly, are we going to get a resolution by September, which was the date agreed upon by Democrats, Republicans and the Bush administration in order to push through the surge?

    "Now that the surge is providing a useful tool to work with, you want to abandon the construction project."

    You yourself said that the surge was merely a means to an end. So if the end will not be achieved, why even bother continuing with the means?


    "for anyone to claim that the surge is FAILING just because the violence is down is ludicrous, asinine and duplicitous."

    I did not say that. I said the surge HAS FAILED because it has FAILED to meet its goal of political reconciliation by September, which I will remind you again, was the date agreed upon by Bush, Congressional Republicans and Congressional Democrats.

     
    At 8/23/2007 12:40 AM , Anonymous Elroy said...

    'The war's loss may be "apparent" to you, but apparently no one has told the US military. Contrary to your opinion, there is a growing consensus (which includes Democrats and Liberals) that the surge is in fact succeeding.

    And oh, by the way, please define "the war is lost".

    You are correct, the troops do not define the mission, but they do BELIEVE in it. Their morale is high, and they are proud of what they are accomplishing there. This fact is confirmed in their high re-enlistment rates. Therefore, when you suggest to the troops that the progress they have made, or the good work they have been doing, is "wrong" or "failed" or "a waste", those troops will take it personally. They will consider you to be against them... and that hardly qualifies as "support for the troops". Your failure to recognize this simple fact exposes your ignorance'

    Hawkeye, may I direct you to 'The War As We See It' as posted above, as I think you must have missed it.

    Cheers

    Elroy

     
    At 8/23/2007 10:55 AM , Anonymous west coast liberal said...

    Hawkeye,
    Let me just put it in very simple terms to you.

    How soon American troops get to be reunited with their loved ones is at this point in time almost 100% contingent about Maliki and what he does.

    Do you honestly think Maliki has the resolve or the competence to do what is necessary so that a political resolution can be reached, hence ensuring the troops can come home sooner?

    Let's consider the following.

    1. Maliki has been at odds with Petraes over some of the latter's recent strategies

    2. Ryan Crocker has just strongly criticized the Maliki govt.

    3. There is hardly a person in Congress of either party who is not disappointed or enraged with Maliki's job performance so far.

    4. Many US generals are pissed as hell over Maliki's job performance as reported in the Wash Post a few days ago.

    5. Maliki still refuses to dis-associate himself with some militant groups that have killed American soldiers.

    Why don't you think about that for a minute?

     
    At 8/23/2007 4:23 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

    WCL,
    Your comments deserve a special article just for you. Look for it in the near future at a "View" near you.

     

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