Saturday, August 25, 2007

WHAT ARE WE TO BELIEVE ABOUT IRAQ??????????????????????????

To say that the war and interpretation of it has to be incredibly confusing is an understatement of many a day. There are zealots on the margins with most of us in the middle attempting to sort it out. And, to attempt to be objective is a gargantuan task. Here's a good example, I am in an email group of highly educated and committed retired military types. It is as though we are living in different galaxies.

Sometime ago, I realized that there's a philosophy with many: do not confuse me with facts, I have my mind made up. I don't think this is true of me. I would be so thrilled if I could find one thing about our involvement in Iraq that is not messed up. When I hear the talking heads on TV, I am amazed: it is as though they simply don't face any sort of facts. Is the surge working? "Well", would be their answer. "We have made progress in Baghdad, people are not killing each other as much." Yet, the facts can be: 300 Iraqis and five soldiers killed today in Iraq. Their mantra: Facts should not interfere with their views.


On the PBS's Newshour, which attempts to take an objective stance, I think, there's some guy whose group is spending 15 mil for ads showing how successful Iraq has been. Totally ignoring any facts. To him, they simply don't exist. And, the MoveOn.Org. guy, not a good spokesperson in my estimation, he counters. I admit that I come down more on the side of MoveOn.Org--no one except someone who is on anotehr planet cannot see that we have had botched war strategy from the beginning. Simply, however, what are people who care and trying to be informed, to believe?

A senator goes to Iraq, Republican type, comes back and says we need to start withdrawing 5000 troops by the end of the year: some general in Iraq immediately counters his view by saying how disastrous to pull out.


The pro Iraqi war guy uses words like cut and run, defeat. Next comes a talking head, from the New Republic. He injects how we screwed up Vietnam by leaving. Nobody points out that our leaving was not disastrous nor did the so called, "domino" theory happen. Today, Vietnam is a peaceful country--every tourist describes the modern Vietnam in glowing terms. (To me, it doesn't speak well of news organizations to have some thirty something so called commentator who spouts off, knowing little and surely with no skin in the game on Vietnam or Iraq. Of course, in my view, can't compare Vietnam as a country and Iraq at all--Ho was a nationalist mainly. His goal always was to unite the country. Iraq is complicated by 2000 years of strife, with violence among the sects in a way of life which is not going to end).

Here is my prediction, knowing that my track record is dismal: I am the guy who said Kerrey was going to beat Bush. Most Americans who care and not all do, remember Vietnam: they are not going to put up with us staying in Iraq forever which we'd have to do to win and then I don't think we could do it, short of 2000 years.

All of the politicians and news types keep talking about September as if it was the Second Coming with General Petreous--what in the world is he going to tell us that we don't already know. Nothing but more confusion.


The best thing that I've seen in ages is an article in last Sunday's NY Times by get this: 1 Sp4, 4E5s, 2 SSGs (thes are all soldiers and this is the kind of war we have: guys watching YouTube, emailing, etc., constantly--another example of this war, we have 75 bases in Iraq; one of them has a PX (post exchange) where a GI can buy a wide screen high definition TV. This is a war where we should have zapped Saddam and been out of there in 6 months).

These guys who wrote the article are in the 82d Airborne Division, all finishing 15 month tours. I'd love to see the rest of their career (meaning will they have to pay for penning this article) but I think we are in such a different era with the volunteer Army, not good or bad, just different.

This article is a litany of how we've screwed up in Iraq, simple facts. And, the confusing thing is that it is as though these guys have written this in a vacuum, as far as I can see--like so much else about Iraq, their comments are totally ignored. Here is just one paragraph from the article, "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. 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." This is a great article, not because I agree with it but because it effectively spells out what the situation is. Not the denial that we are constantly hearing.

I agree with John Edwards about this: it really doesn't make any difference what Democrat is elected president, he/she will get us out of Iraq at some point. Ron Paul is the only Republican who would do the same and we know what chance he has.

I loved the way these soldiers ended this article, makes me proud, even as I am amazed that they've written it, "We need not talk about our morale. As committed soldiers, we will see the mission through." Instead of Congress listening to Generals, these are the guys they should be talking too.