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bitmasher's picture
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Thanks for Nothing

One way of looking at the election results is that Americans really DO value their troops. Right or wrong voters precieve Iraq as a lost cause not worth throwing more life away on. I think that shows they really support their troops when it counts the most.

If the voters are being wishy-washy I can hardly blame them since they are merely following the leadership. Leadership has repeatedly changed the objective in Iraq. First it was to remove saddam and wmd, then its to stop insurgents, then its to build a new nation (which ironically Bush campaigned on an anti-nation-building platform), now its to stop civil war. While I did not vote with the majority, I can understand the exasperation with the administration.

FYI: The Tancredo drama was split from this thread. Please stay on topic.

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expatriate wrote:
I say commit more troops, accept the possibility of collateral damage, ramp up efforts to bring Iraqi forces online, and seal the borders to stop the inflow of arms from Iran and Syria. Get the job done rather than run away.

I agree with this direction. The problem is that the "end of the war" should not have been declared so soon and more troops should have been committed from the start. Pre-war intellegince about how the war would unfold was very poor, we have been pulled into urban combat and using our troops as cops. Thats not what the military is for.

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Also it is not entirely clear that this new elected leadership in congress is of the tuck-tail and run sort. The reason I say this is Murtha (a heavy anti-iraq critic) resounding lost despite Pelosi's endorsement. Several democrats that won are more conservative than some liberal state republicans.

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Unfortunately, military terminology doesn't always translate. It seemed perfectly clear to me that "end of major combat" signified the defeat of Iraq's national defenses -- massed, heavily armed forces led by national control and wearing the national uniform. In short: an end to the conventional war. No one ever said the war was over, nor did anyone say we were done fighting. However, the general public tends to be unfamiliar with military definitions and doesn't understand the nuances. Reagan might've been able to explain it, but communication has never been one of Bush's strong suits.

As far as voters supporting the troops when it counts, well, we'll have to disagree on that one. They may think they're doing the military a service, but setting the stage for a future conflict that will spill far more of our blood (and the blood of enemies and those we'll try to defend) isn't doing us any favors.

I agree that most of the newly elected democrats were social conservatives. However, the new leaders in Congress aren't -- and they're the ones who'll make decisions on committee membership, decide which bills get to the floor, and pick which freshman legislators get rewarded and which ones don't. It's the generals, not the soldiers, who run the campaign.

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Here's a bit of latebreaking news -- Charlie Rangell, a leading Democrat and new chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, is calling to reinstate the draft. Both the military and 70 percent of the country think that's a bad idea. I think I just heard an enormous gasp of betrayal from the MTV crowd that's been cheering the Democrats.

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Re: Thanks for Nothing
expatriate wrote:
OK -- I"ve kept it in for almost a week hoping headlines would go elsewhere, but I gotta say it.

To all of those who voted to hand Congress to the likes of Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and John Murtha, thanks for nothing. Plans are already being drawn up for our speedy withdrawal from Iraq.

As a military member, I can understand defeat. America's fighting men and women have occasionally been chased off a battlefield by a superior foe throughout our history. But walking off the field and leaving it to the enemy because he's beaten you militarily is one thing. Giving him the field because of a lack of willpower from people in the rear who aren't even in harm's way is another.

We as a nation have disgraced those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in this cause, and betrayed those serving in uniform. What's sad is that when our emboldened enemies regroup and strike us again in greater force with higher stakes, our military will be called back to pay the price in blood while those pulling us out today sit in their easy chairs.

We in the military have been willing to make the sacrifices needed for this war. All we've asked from the rear is support. But it looks like we're about to get the rug yanked out from under us.

My military career is winding down, but I have a son and son-in-law in Iraq and four more boys growing up. I don't want them to pay the price of cowardice.

expatriate

We're both on the same page......and I agree with your assessment whole-heartedly but I'm very fearful.....that you're fighting a losing battle in convincing others here that Bush & Co. have been correct regarding present policy in Iraq and Afghanistan. Never mind the fact that the majority of the US Congress gave approval for the invasion of Iraq.....based upon intelligence data which was available during the debate in the halls of Congress! Present day Americans have very short memories and politicians have very bad lapses of memory when it is politically feasible for doing so. We have seen the results of this by many members of the US Congress in previous months by statements that those members have made.

The basic problem in this war has been the fact that we no longer have citizens akin to those that grew up within my Dad's generation; the same group of citizens whom got really mad when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and whom wanted revenge for that dastardly act! The Bush Administration has attempted to be 'politically correct' in this war.....and wars are not won using that concept! Wars should not be initiated without the clearcut goal of total victory and the old boys in charge of fighting WWII were not worried about 'katowing' to world opinion or whether or not killing civilians was the right thing to do!

In February/March of 1945 Iwo Jima was invaded by US Marines and we fought there on that small island for 37 days and when the battle was over.....we had totally decimated 22,000 Japanese soldiers and the US Marines suffered a total of 26,000 casualties with 7000 brave young Marines dead! Most of those young Marines ranged in age from 17-19 years of age and never got to cast their first vote! Now.....we're engaged in a conflict against fanatical Islamic terrorist that have sworn to wipe out every last Christian and Jew within the western world and the majority of US citizens are so totally ignorant about this present threat that they wish to 'cut and run'!! In nearly 5 years of fighting we have lost not quite 3000 men in Iraq and Afghanistan and when compared to our losses just on Iwo Jima alone....we haven't scratched the surface compared to what we will lose in the future because Iraq and Afghanistan will no longer be the battlefield; rather the battlefield will be on US soil! If we pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan.....this will be a signal to the Insurgents/Terrorist that they have truly beaten the USA on the battlefield and idiots in power elsewhere like Iran and North Korea will think that they have the wind at their backs and that the USA is truly just a 'paper tiger'!! Cry Cry

CVC
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Thanks for Nothing

"The Bush Administration has attempted to be 'politically correct' in this war.....and wars are not won using that concept! Wars should not be initiated without the clearcut goal of total victory and the old boys in charge of fighting WWII were not worried about 'katowing' to world opinion or whether or not killing civilians was the right thing to do! "

This is 100% right on.

However, let me offer a different perspective. Are we in a war against Iraq or is this truly a war against terrorism? I believe it is the latter and therefore it is a misnomer to state the "war in Iraq." It is a battle, a conflict, but not a war. The war is against terrorism.

What difference does this make? If as some believe, it is a war against Iraq and we remove our troops then yes, we've failed in our mission. We lost the war. But, in a war against terrorism, it is simply a redeployment, a shift in strategy and not surrender.

Think about it in terms of a war against terrorism. We're fighting in Iraq, but the enemy is mounting forces in a different area (Iran). Doesn't it make sense to reassess the importance of the current battle? Perhaps troop withdraw from Iraq to be repositioned elsewhere signals good war strategy and not defeat?

Bush's "rating" is so tied to the success in Iraq that no other options can really be considered. If the US military leaders said this is where the battle needs to be fought then I would be more supportive. But Bush's "stay the course" rings hollow to me.

We need to think long term - it is a war against terrorism and not Iraq. Are our resources being used wisely in this battle? Is winning control of Iraq more important in terms of winning the war against terrorism than the looming threat of Iran? Can we successfully fight on both fronts?

And one final note. It is insane to rebuild a country during the war. After the war maybe, but not during the war. Fight the damn war, take control of Iraq, destroy Iran and then help them rebuild if that is the right thing to do. But, win the war first.

Just a different point of view.

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I do not like political and religeous discussion's. But let me say this. The American people have no stomach for war and that will be our down fall. War is a horriffic business, and the horror cannot be avoided. Avoid the horror and lose the war!

Irac and Afghanistan will likely not stay free; their people do not have the will for it. They have been backward people, maybe third world is a better term, since the begining of time. That they will remain until THEY are willing to change their system.

I was apposed to going into Irac as we did and now I oppose cutting and running,,,,,again! The world is watching and pretty much know's we do not have the stomach anymore and that our politition's operate on public opinion polls. They do not have to beat us, we will beat ourselves.

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If you think things in Iraq are bad now, wait until the appeal s are over for Saddam and an execution date is set.

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The trouble with Iraq is the definition of war. When you say war, laymen such as myself think usually of the world wars, this has already been referenced in this thread. However these were what are called Total War. See link for definition:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_war

Total war makes it right to target civilians because they are part of a nation/state supporting destruction of our nation. It was made clear to Iraq civilians and the rest of the world, that this was not the type of war the U.S. intended to wage. Rather we are largely on a nation building mission in Iraq, thus it is inaccurate to draw analogies to the world wars, because the rules of engagement are simply not the same.

Some argue that the only purpose of the military is to wage total war and anything short of that is not a legitimate use. Bush argued this point to a certain extent during his first election run, when he felt that the somalia nation building project was not an acceptable use of the military. Ironically he is chest deep in the largest nation building project of our time and not able to use the doctorine of total war (like in the world wars) to subdue a nation and build a new post war government.

I simply think the iraq war leaders drastically underestimated the time, resources, and complexity involved in making Iraq a leading light of democracy in the middle east. I assume this "leading light of democracy" is the only "victory" that the administration will accept.

I don't think it is totally off base to think there is a significant portion, perhaps even a majority of iraqi's that want a secular democratic government. The problem is that with these horrific secretarian killings those that might be ok with a cooperative government fall back to their religious/family roots and go to arms with those that are killing those most immediate to them. Peace and a unity government seems to be getting harder and harder to get too. Bringing in Syria and Iran seems to just be desperation.

I'm deeply troubled by the fact that this nation building project may be building a more powerful shiite axis (hezbolah, syria, iran) with shiites in control of iraq. Shiites given free rein have repeatedly shown they have no interest in secularism and will go right to theocracy. This is completely backwards and I get pretty angry when I see evidence that our current "war" may be feeding the continuing iranian revolution.

Basically I have doubts about the premises and goals of our current engagement. Does that mean I don't support our troops? No way. I think they are doing a hell of a job, given the operating conditions. I do think they deserve leaders that give us realistic goals for the outcome in Iraq though. However I have no idea where this newly elected U.S. congress will help in the matter. I wish Bush and his staff were smarter.