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Do We Pull Out?

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Balladeer
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50 posted 01-13-2007 11:59 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

So, then, why would you assume one way over another?

I never have and, if you would care to point out where, I'd like to see it. I said the draft instilled character in some. I certainly did not say it was the only way...only one way.

The same as any other "first job"? I guess that's why we seldom agree, Ron - we live in different universes. Perhaps you may be right in today's army. In my time, however, and in yours it was not a "first job"....for many it was a first commitment. You don't go to jail if you walk out on your first job. You can tell your boss to go to hell in your first job if he screams in your face - try it in the Army. Show up late at your job and get a wagging finger. Show up late in the army and you get more than the finger. A job gives you a choice - the service does not....or did not. It was hardly what I would call a first job.

For many, however, and myself included it WAS a first commitment. It was the first place they simply couldn't walk away from. It was the first place where they were disciplined and had to take it.  It was also the first place where many felt they actually belonged to a team. It was the first place where they were expected to do their part and counted on others to do theirs. These requirements had a positive effect on many that I knew.  

When threatened, I believe most Americans will willingly fight to protect what is theirs

I agree, Ron, and that's why there are so many in the service right now (as you pointed out) and why the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are very positive about their roles. As I said before, my complaint is not with the soldiers.

If there's any confusion about that in today's world, I suspect it's because not all of the threats we face seem to necessarily be valid ones.

The confusion does not lie with the soldiers. You know where it does. I'm not sure what you consider to be invalid threats.  After a dozen terrorist attacks in the 90's and two on the WTC, is the possibility - no, certainty - of more attacks on, and in, the United States invalid? Which threats that we face do you consider invalid then? The soldiers think they're valid and that's why they believe in what they're doing. It's the people at home sitting in their comfy chairs or with a political axe to grind that don't.

imposing slavery on the population is only going to delay the inevitable.

The draft is slavery.........I have no response to that statement.
Ron
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51 posted 01-14-2007 12:34 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
you have insulted me and my son to the highest level,

I certainly didn't mean to, Lee. On the contrary, I restated pretty much what you said, but tried to give you and your son the credit instead. I still think that's where it belongs.

quote:
It was the first place they simply couldn't walk away from.

And that's a good thing, Mike? Do you realize that almost everything you just said about the service is equally true of prison?

Don't misunderstand me. I really do think military service can be a great experience, although not for ANY of the reasons you've cited. I also think college, church, and marriage can be rewarding experiences. I just don't believe we need to force people into our own mold of what's good for them.

quote:
Which threats that we face do you consider invalid then?

WMD?

quote:
The draft is slavery.........I have no response to that statement.

Would you prefer forced servitude?

No, slavery works best, I think. I know I certainly had more than one D.I. tell me, in no uncertain terms, that he owned my ass.
Balladeer
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52 posted 01-14-2007 12:49 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

What threats that we face do you consider invalid and you answer WMDs? Ok, that's enough for me. I have never seen a bigger cop-out.

Service is prison and the draft is slavery and the invalid threat we are facing is WMD's.

Time to move on.

Local Rebel
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53 posted 01-14-2007 03:57 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Lee -- where we agree is that national service for young adults (and I'll go you one further -- retired adults) is desirable -- I just don't think the only way is the military and I don't think it should be mandatory -- but rather -- a requirement IF one expects to receive certain government benefits.

The details are a matter of discussion for another thread.

And I didn't read Ron's statement as insulting toward you or your son -- but rather complimentary.  Maybe if you read it again you'll see it in a different light.

quote:

Service is prison and the draft is slavery and the invalid threat we are facing is WMD's



If someone doesn't want to be in the service -- what is it?  You joined.  Your experience is based on pursuing a path that you chose.

There must be a reason why all the top commanders in the military don't want a draft -- maybe they remember something you've forgotten.

and -- have you FOUND some WMD's?  
LeeJ
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54 posted 01-14-2007 07:46 AM       View Profile for LeeJ   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LeeJ

Reb...I have re read the comment and do take it in a differnt light thank you.

Ron, I owe you an apology...I shouldn't have come in and read this thread right after we lost the playoffs...I stand corrected

Balladeer
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55 posted 01-14-2007 10:22 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Ah, reb, why start down that same old WMD path again? In the first place, if we have to go back years to the start of Iraq, it was overwhelmingly conceded that the world thought there were indeed wmd's in Iraq. If necessary, I could go back years in the Alley to those threads and find where Ron stated that the world believed, and himself included, that they did exist. That's not the point, however, in my reply.

If there's any confusion about that in today's world, I suspect it's because not all of the threats we face seem to necessarily be valid ones.


That is the statement in question. Notice that it says today's world and threats we face. It is in the present tense, not going back four years. WMD's is not the issue today. So which threats we face are invalid today? Shall we say that there are no terrorist groups or, even if there are, if we leave them alone, they won't bother us? Shall we say that searching them out or trying to disrupt them is invalid? Is taking away their safe havens invalid? Many soldiers believe what they are doing, and what they have done, is in the interest of preventing future terrorist attacks against the US. Are those thoughts invalid? All of that was ignored in response to my question, as if WMD was supposed to be a clear answer.

Am I pleased with the situation in Iraq? Hell no. I think it was badly handled and mis-managed. It could have been done much better. I blame Bush for his short-sightedness on strategy after the take-over and I blame many leaders of Congress for their continual attacks on the administration from the beginning, making matters worse. Do I think we should have gone in? Yes, absolutely, and dollars to doughnuts say that, if we had done nothing or not gone after the terrorists and their safe havens in such an aggressive manner, and another 9-11 were to occur, those same politicians and the same civilian arm-chair quarterbacks doing the bashing now, would be screaming about why DIDN'T we do anything,why didn't we go after terrorists groups and prevent other attacks? How could we let the sit over there in their safe havens like Afghanistan and Iraq and plan our destruction? The terrorist threats are real, reb, and giving a WMD response does not change that.

Ok, then, the draft is slavery and the service is prison. I'm sure that in our prisons, the prisoners are fed good meals, after working hours they can take off their uniforms and wear whatever they want, they can go downtown have have a few drinks or go out on dates, maybe catch a movie. In prison, they can call home whenever they want and have visitors come over. They can also specify what type of assignment they want and where they want their "cell" to be located. They can even choose another country. In prison they can go to college and have decent rooms with some good furniture, cd collections maybe, whatever they can come up with to make it homey. They can live without chains or shackles on their legs, since that would make it hard for them to play baseball or the other activities the prison offers.  I could go much farther with this but hopefully that's enough to show how off the mark calling the service "prison" is....a little overkill on the comparison, I would think.
Not A Poet
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56 posted 01-14-2007 11:01 AM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

There are also some pretty valuable perks after leaving the service, just for having served. For just a couple of examples from many, the G.I. Bill helped pay my way through school. After leaving the "working class" a few years back and being unable to get medical insurance, the VA medical program certainly helped my peace of mind.

BTW, I was not drafted but did serve with many who were. I would have to say the, for the most part, those of us who volunteered had a much better attitude than those conscripted. And that three years contributed a lot toward my maturing process. I don't like to consider what my outcome might have been had I not "committed."
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57 posted 01-14-2007 12:01 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
I just don't think the only way is the military and I don't think it should be mandatory -- but rather -- a requirement IF one expects to receive certain government benefits.

That's called a choice, Reb, and I don't have any problem with that at all. Indeed, I'd probably be willing to go further than that and consider imposing costs as well as offering benefits. The danger, of course, is that we want to avoid a system where people are essentially buying their way out of government service and only the poor get stuck. In other words, everyone should get choices equally, not just the wealthy.

quote:
I could go much farther with this but hopefully that's enough to show how off the mark calling the service "prison" is....a little overkill on the comparison, I would think.

Mike, everything you listed in that paragraph is a privilege in the service, not a right. That an owner treats his slaves well doesn't make them any less slaves.

I think it's also pertinent that many of the privileges you cite didn't exist in an army that was largely driven by conscription. Draftees have never, in my experience, been treated the same as enlistees. The owner doesn't have to be nice when the slaves have no choice.

quote:
If necessary, I could go back years in the Alley to those threads and find where Ron stated that the world believed, and himself included, that they did exist.

Maybe, Mike, but what I and the world once believed was based on blatant, bald-faced lies. We didn't know any better. The people who told the lies, on the other hand, were also the people who took us into Iraq. The DID know better.

Okay, that's not entirely fair. I have to believe that Bush really was convinced that Iraq was a threat. However, his belief clearly wasn't based on the evidence he concocted for us as a justification for what he wanted to do. He was wrong. And even that is okay. But our system is specifically designed to avoid the mistakes one man can inflict on us and that system was circumvented because Bush had more faith in his own beliefs than in our government. He lied to get his own way and that is decidingly NOT okay.

I said I thought Americans would willingly fight in the fact of a threat, Mike, but in my opinion, Iraq wasn't a threat. They didn't have WMD. There was no reason to believe Al Qaeda was using Iraq as a safe haven and, indeed, plenty of evidence suggesting Saddam Hussein had his own reasons to keep them out. Afghanistan, the Taliban, and Al Qaeda were legitimate threats. Iraq was not. I believe, had we not been diverted from the real threats, we'd be safer today than we are. We'd also be about 450 billion dollars richer and there'd be over 3,000 more Americans alive to enjoy it.

Yea, Mike, that was four years ago. Things have changed. I believe Iraq is more of a threat to America today than ever it was before Bush invaded, possibly in a physical sense since we seem to have opened the door to Al Qaeda, but more probably in an ideological sense. We gave our word and I personally think that has to mean something. I don't believe we had any right to promise what wasn't ours to give, but having made the promise we can't just start looking for an easy way to escape it. Lack of integrity is what got us into this mess. Lack of integrity can't be our way out.


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58 posted 01-14-2007 05:39 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

quote:
"Am I pleased with the situation in Iraq? Hell no. I think it was badly handled and mis-managed. It could have been done much better. I blame Bush for his short-sightedness on strategy after the take-over and I blame many leaders of Congress for their continual attacks on the administration from the beginning, making matters worse. Do I think we should have gone in? Yes, absolutely, and dollars to doughnuts say that, if we had done nothing or not gone after the terrorists and their safe havens in such an aggressive manner, and another 9-11 were to occur, those same politicians and the same civilian arm-chair quarterbacks doing the bashing now, would be screaming about why DIDN'T we do anything,why didn't we go after terrorists groups and prevent other attacks? How could we let the sit over there in their safe havens like Afghanistan and Iraq and plan our destruction? The terrorist threats are real, reb, and giving a WMD response does not change that."


I can sympathize with your understanding here, and that's precisely why though I'm no fan of war in general because whole communities full of innocent families and children are put into harms way in chasing the enemy, I found it was no use complaining when we went into Afghanistan to fight the Taliban and other al-Qaeda sympathizers, as they truly were the ones largely responsible for the 9/11 atrocities, and believed the President deserved our support in keeping his eye on the real suspects.

It was beginning in October 2002 approximately that I began getting skeptical about this administration, when both the House and Senate voted to authorize President Bush to attack Iraq if Saddam Hussein refused to give up weapons of mass destruction as required by U.N. resolutions. Although I believed at the time like a strong majority of Americans that it was possible he had dangerous weapons in his arsenal, I also believed from the beginning that he wasn't a real threat to our own country given years of sanctions had crippled his ability and technological capability to launch an attack on us, and moreover recognized that according to our own intelligence, 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia, two from the United Arab Emirates, one from Lebanon and one from Egypt, and none from Iraq, so I believed from the start, anti-war politics aside, that this was a diversion from the real networks and militia responsible for the attacks on our country. I also believed and stand by my belief that this war was illegal from the beginning because it was conducted without United Nations approval and therefore violated international law.

I admit myself that I didn't expect the civil conflict in Iraq in result of a war like this would get so bad that a civil war could widen beyond Iraq's borders into the neighboring countries of Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, etc. as many fear now regardless if we stay or leave, and turn into another sort of Darfur situation that has been spreading into Chad and Somalia. But I DID predict from the beginning that an Iraq war would encourage great power struggles between the various religious and ethnic groups there, and potentially break the country apart, and passionately and vocally opposed the war by participating in anti-war marches before the March 20th, 2003 invasion in that I especially believed a war in Iraq could damage peace and stability in the Middle East for decades.

Finally, I simply believe that war generally speaking ultimately solves virtually nothing for humanity. As we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day tomorrow, many remember King only as a civil rights champion and desegregation advocate, when in fact he was also known for his controversial anti-war stands at the time, particularly the escalation in Vietnam. In fact, in April 1967, King made a striking anti-war speech at Riverside Church in New York, where I have studied and remember many of the words by heart from it, where one passage went as follows:

*

"Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor in America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours."

*

And I believe the kind of economic populist concerns reflected in King's speech influenced many hearts of Americans in the 2006 elections, where many feel billions too many are being spent on this operation and shortchanging many Americans back at home. Prominent American conservative Merle Haggard even wrote a song last year titled "Rebuild America First", which also resonates with the message that we should begin planning to get out of Iraq and turn our attention back to re-building this country first above all else, which I believe that belief exploded following Hurricane Katrina, where many were shocked in disbelief at a great American city being hit as hard as it was, and now leaving many to believe that if our government on every level can't protect a city with a population under one million covering 4,190 square miles in our own country, how can we expect to establish democracy in a foreign country covering 170,000 square miles with a population ranging between 26 and 28 million?

I believe it'll be a historical and colossal mistake that we went into Iraq, and essentially have already lost Iraq because the war has weakened alliances and public opinion of our nation worldwide and fomented new terrorists, and moreover because I believe this war has been made up as the administration has went along.

This administration said nation-building was wrong for America before he was elected, before he was for it. He said he would never put U.S. troops under foreign control, and now last Wednesday promised to mold them with Iraqi units. He has told us time and time again the war was necessary for different reasons: because Saddam was a bad guy and a threat, because of 9/11, because of Osama bin Laden, because of establishing elections in Iraq, because of spreading democracy throughout the Middle East, because of new waves of "fascism" in the Middle East, because of "sacrifice". He said recently more troops were not necessary, and now is adamant that more troops are necessary. He said the decisions for more troops are up to the generals, and then removes some of the generals who said more troops would not be necessary including General Casey. He said repeatedly before we would "stay the course", then says we were never about “stay the course.” He insisted before that we weren't going to go door-to-door in Baghdad, yet last Wednesday said that to gain the trust of the Iraqis, we would go door-to-door there.

At this point, is it any wonder why a strong majority of the American public feel this administration has no credibility on this war, and simply can't trust this president?  

It might interest some to know that at dairy farms, "surge" is the brandname of a sort of milking machine. That is precisely what this administration is doing with this war I believe; milking this Iraq agenda for all it's worth in a desperate attempt to "salvage" their legacy. And in doing so, more American troops will inevitably and needlessly be losing their lives, and acting as though it's the next president's responsibility to beginning planning to gradually pull them out instead of him, which is what angers me the most about this whole thing.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton


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Balladeer
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59 posted 01-14-2007 06:23 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Draftees have never, in my experience, been treated the same as enlistees. The owner doesn't have to be nice when the slaves have no choice.

Well, I can't speak for your personal experiences, Ron, but when I went in there were a combination of enlistees and draftees and it was not possible to differentiate between the two. We were all treated the same way and all expected to act the same way. When classifications came out and locations assigned after basic, there was no favoritism shown that I could see.

Maybe, Mike, but what I and the world once believed was based on blatant, bald-faced lies. We didn't know any better. The people who told the lies, on the other hand, were also the people who took us into Iraq. The DID know better.

Interesting that you would be so hard on Clinton, Ron, or were you one of the few back in '97 and '98 who did not believe him when he called Iraq the gravest threat to America and advised Congress it was necessary to declare war on them and invade? When HE spoke of Iraq's WMD's? Were you one of the few who listened to Kennedy, Pelosi and the group state that it was vital to invade Iraq and didn't believe them? If so, you were in a minority. Or is it easier just to lay it on Bush and disregard the rest?

Your opinion now is that Iraq was not a threat. Was it your opinion when we went in?
We had been hit by a terrorist attack which killed thousands. We had Hussein sitting there, with a clear hatred of the United States declaring he had wmd's. We had Al-Qaida on the run in need of safe havens. Was it your opinion THEN that Iraq was no threat, either as a safe haven or as a supplier of weapons to terrorist groups or do you  say it now after the fact because wmd's were not found?

Iraq is more a threat to America today? How do you figure that? Iraq is no threat at all. The terrorists causing trouble in Iraq are not even Iraqis for the most part. Iraq is only a threat to terrorist organizations and countries that do not want to see a democracy in the Middle East.

You and Reb speak of slavery and forced servitude as if anything that obligates another makes them a slave. What about jobs? When you accept a job, you are required to follow the company rules and do what you are expected to do. Yes, you can say shove it and leave but, unless you are either wealthy or have a life-long dream of being a street bum, you will have to find another job and there you will also be expected to follow their policies. Leave that and you have to find another and so on and so on and so on. Same applies to marriages or relationships. Life is filled with obligations, Ron, and you can't yell slavery whenever one comes up. Personally, I don't believe that one of those obligations being to your country is a bad thing. It made us what we are today.
Brad
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60 posted 01-14-2007 07:12 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

If I remember correctly, the question we were debating here at that time, wasn't whether or not Iraq had WMD's (I'm pretty sure we all agreed on that at that time), but whether this made Iraq an imminent threat to our security.

A threat, yes. An imminent threat, no.

Was it necessary to invade Iraq at that time?

The answer, of course, is no. Now.

Now, of course, the argument has changed and changed again.

The new argument is that we can't pull out because it's like Vietnam. We must protect people with purple thumbs just as we didn't protect 'our friends' in Vietnam.

You know Bush, the father, was wrong. We haven't kicked the Vietnam complex at all. We keep reliving it.

What is in the best interests of the United States?

Whether it's reinstating the draft, protecting 'our friends', backing our president, or whatever, I keep feeling that that question is never really asked.

Anymore.

Sorry, I just wanted to get that off my chest.

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61 posted 01-14-2007 07:40 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

An excellent question, Brad. It is the crux of  everything.
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62 posted 01-14-2007 08:00 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Speaking of Viet-Nam, I don't recall Democratic congressmen screaming that it was not right or bemoaning the loss of American troops or claiming that Viet-Nam was not a threat to the US.....but, since it was a Democratic president handling the controls, that's to be expected.

If Bush were a Democrat, we wouldn't be hearing them now, either, and yet they speak about what is "good for America" in their speeches. Each can judge the validity of their passion and outragefor himself.
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63 posted 01-15-2007 07:06 AM       View Profile for LeeJ   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LeeJ

I've been following along with this thread as I find it very interesting.  

I've been remembering the war in Viet Nam and remember hearing from those who fought in it, saying that we should have never lost the war, but, our administration at that time, neglected to send our full force and technology...was that idle talk?  

Can I rightfully compare Iraq with Nam?  I don't think so...but ponder what is different about Iraq...is this situation any different really?  

Shall we pull out?  I would hate to do that...but in the same, honestly admit, I hate to see us loose more young men if we are not going to go in there full force and with a different attitude and strategy.  In listening to others, they say, if we stay, we'll be there for many years...just like we're still in Germany?  And it seems to me, you cannot change a culture over night, that it takes years and years.

Also, what really bothers me is why we're in Iraq at all...when we should be after Bin Launden and his crew of murders?

Or is it the Presidents perception, that Iraq is a start and a presence closer to the situations at hand in the Middle East and or, could it have been his agenda to maintain a presence in the Middle East and Iraq was a beginning. Something pulls at my inner being saying we should stay?

What I'd like to know is what are the long term effects....

If we pull out, I feel we will be abandoning the efforts already put forth...if we stay, then my  attitude would be, we've got to go over there full force and with everything we've got and take over?

And am I being naive, but is now the time to ask ourselves what is in only the best interest of the U.S.?  Shouldn't we also consider those over there who are in danger?  I mean, wasn't that first and foremost on our agenda when we infiltrated as we did?

And if we pull out, what does that say to the soldiers and their families who have lost their lives, would it be wrong for me to believe then, that they lost their lives for nothing?  

Shouldn't we be considering the effects of this what we do, on everyone involved?

And Brad, I'm not suggesting your wrong...but shouldn't we also be considering where we leave those people in Iraq if we leave?  Will they be overrun?  Do they indeed have the ability to fight for themselves? Or shouldn't we consider that, as well?  

I don't think American's should conclude based on political agendas or anger at the other party, or even on past wars...but first and foremost consider everything else and the present...and yes, I know that is something that will never happen, but I suppose what should be said to Americans to remind them, forget about your parties and past blunders, and think about all the effects of pulling out or staying...which would be the best to do for all concerned, or be best for the U.S. in the long run.  And if we pull out, will that put the world in more danger of more 911 attacks.  

Did our being in Iraq really cut down on terrorist attacks, are we really that much safer?  

Adding, I believe strongly still, that our military input on this, would and should have a bearing.  I think we should ask them and listen, consider and weigh all our options?  Yes or no?

Just some questions that I don't have a clue of how to answer to myself.  
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64 posted 01-15-2007 08:55 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Lee,

I wasn't trying to persuade anyone. My worry, wrongly perhaps, is that we have somehow stopped thinking about what's the most important thing. I am as you well know a committed internationalist, but I don't think I've ever wavered on one point.

In international politics, self-interest is  all there is.

Why?

Because that is what everybody else is going to think.

It's not left or right, up or down, 4th or 5th dimension. It's what's best for us.

Even if we haven't visted our home in awhile.

LeeJ
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65 posted 01-15-2007 09:06 AM       View Profile for LeeJ   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LeeJ

Hi Brad
I know you weren't trying to persuade anyone...and greatly understand your worry and concern...

"Because that is what everybody else is going to think"

I suppose, you've answered all my questions...if self-interest remains our purpose, well, in my belief, we will always be destined to fail...and self-insterest of course should account, but.....?????

Do you understand what I'm trying to explain?  Perhaps I've lived to sheltered a life...but would like to understand politics more clearly, more objectively...putting emotion aside.  And do you mean us as a national community or as an American Community.  I'm sorry, sometime you have to hit me with a 2 x 4 to get my attention....please feel free to draw pictures...   I'm kidding...to a degree

Thanks Brad...
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66 posted 01-15-2007 03:05 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

quote:
Shall we pull out?  I would hate to do that...but in the same, honestly admit, I hate to see us loose more young men if we are not going to go in there full force and with a different attitude and strategy.  In listening to others, they say, if we stay, we'll be there for many years...just like we're still in Germany?  And it seems to me, you cannot change a culture over night, that it takes years and years.


That last point is precisely the point I was making earlier in the thread on post #19; how can you ever expect to change a culture when you don't even understand the culture and the people you're trying to liberate, especially the schism that has defined the battle line in Islam for almost 1,400 years.

The neoconservative architects of this war believed we were likely to do just that in weeks, many pundits who paraded behind the war while virtually facillitating no dialogue and public discussion beforehand believed likewise, and it feels as though even the President believed so.

quote:
Or is it the Presidents perception, that Iraq is a start and a presence closer to the situations at hand in the Middle East and or, could it have been his agenda to maintain a presence in the Middle East and Iraq was a beginning. Something pulls at my inner being saying we should stay?


That's one of the lamest excuses to me, as to me that's like saying Lesotho is the center of the war on terror in Africa, or that Larson B is the center of the war on terror in Antarctica, cherry-picking some random country that had nothing to do with the 9/11 atrocities and then gambling on the premise that a floodgate of democracy will open and torrentially pour across the soils of all surrounding countries.

Over half of Americans don't buy that argument either that Iraq is linked to the war on terror either.

quote:
And am I being naive, but is now the time to ask ourselves what is in only the best interest of the U.S.?  Shouldn't we also consider those over there who are in danger?  I mean, wasn't that first and foremost on our agenda when we infiltrated as we did?


Our government launched the invasion because it was believed that not only did they have weapons of mass destruction, mobile labs, aluminum tubes, mobile labs and yellowcake...but that Saddam was a material threat to OUR nation and incessantly claimed that Saddam was widely responsible for 9/11, despite reports in advance noting that none of the 19 hijackers responsible for the September 11th atrocities came from Iraq, nor does multiple studies and investigations find any evidence of the link between Saddam and al-Qaeda.

Saddam was indeed a tyrant who committed horrible war crimes on his own people, and I am glad he can no longer harm another innocent spirit, and indeed I believe it's important that we continue to think very much about those who are in danger each day and pray for relief and peace to come to their communities, as millions have been doing for months already for Darfur. But I also believe that we must be more reasonable, and we shouldn't go routinely invading other countries in hopes of modernizing societies, and should only respond if a country poses a huge and knowledgable threat to our national security and interests.

The neoconservative's "long war" doctrine is that the only sure ways to build democratic societies elsewhere in the world is to invade country by country militarily, combat all the stifling forces there, and then work to try to modernize each country. Many always claim a non-violent peaceful belief is naive and utopian, but I happen to believe this neoconservative notion of spreading peace worldwide is far more utopian and naive, and already they're determined to go into Iran and Syria even while we're still in Iraq.

quote:
And if we pull out, what does that say to the soldiers and their families who have lost their lives, would it be wrong for me to believe then, that they lost their lives for nothing?  


They never lost their lives for nothing from the beginning, that's the whole point.

Courage and bravery is to be commended that's in the hearts of all our young men and women in uniform, which has glistened in them long before they ever started serving in Iraq, and no matter what happens to each individual serving there, they were born with these honors and will live on with these honors.

Although I believe Iraq is a colossal mess in the general sense and condemn this administration in its handling of it, I wholeheartedly praise everything our young men and women have done in reaching out to each Iraqi community and at least making a most genuine and compassionate effort to improve their way of life locally in Iraq, from building and re-building schools and hospitals, to providing fresh water to the citizens, to teaching them new sports, to offering child-care services; what they've done is most inspirational and shows that even in the biggest blunders of war, there's always an uplifting and human side to it that's represented in the hearts and minds of our young men and women in uniform and the civilians.

THAT'S why their efforts will NEVER be met in vain and they will NEVER die for nothing; they offered their hearts to help and reach out to a national populace, and even if a functioning democracy is never established there, I believe these altruistic efforts will be greatly appreciated to many Iraqi communities, and there are many reasonable Iraqis that will separate the politics of the government from that of our children.

quote:
And Brad, I'm not suggesting your wrong...but shouldn't we also be considering where we leave those people in Iraq if we leave?  Will they be overrun?  Do they indeed have the ability to fight for themselves? Or shouldn't we consider that, as well?


That's why a majority of the American public does NOT favor immediate withdrawal of ALL our forces there, but rather a phased withdrawal; though a strong majority of Americans now disapprove of this war's handling and also believe it is a mistake that we invaded to begin with, the most unfortunate problem is that we are there, and we need to at least make a genuine effort to train and provide for the Iraqi forces so that they will be able to effectively protect their country against inevitable constant insurgent attacks.

But it is beyond naive that we stay there for years and years, as that's only going to stretch our military further, it's only going to lead to many more needless lives of American soldiers, it's only going to further strain our nation economically, and frankly I believe it is the occupation there that has triggered the increasing sectarian violence there to begin with.

quote:
I don't think American's should conclude based on political agendas or anger at the other party, or even on past wars...but first and foremost consider everything else and the present...and yes, I know that is something that will never happen, but I suppose what should be said to Americans to remind them, forget about your parties and past blunders, and think about all the effects of pulling out or staying...which would be the best to do for all concerned, or be best for the U.S. in the long run.  And if we pull out, will that put the world in more danger of more 911 attacks.  


Yet you also have to consider the very real prospect that if we STAY, that's also going to put the world at greater risk of 9/11 attacks.

Constant polling trends show heavy majorities of Iraqis of all religious and cultural faiths wanting us to leave, and a far more scarier poll result that makes me extremely worried every day is nearly half of Iraqis believing that suicide attacks on our troops, regardless of their opinions on the groups committing them, are justified. That's a TERRIBLE problem, and should nothing improve in terms of public opinion there, I don't see how our presence there for years to come will in any way make attacks on our nation less likely.

It is in my opinion that we have already lost the war in Iraq, because this war has fomented new terrorists largely because many extremists there have exploited events like the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Somarra and the violence in Fallujah in making us look like the real enemy and thus brainwashing many young Iraqis nationally into joining al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations, thus we're sadly losing the information war against these propagandists.

*

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton


"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa
Mistletoe Angel
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City of Roses


67 posted 01-15-2007 03:54 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

quote:
Speaking of Viet-Nam, I don't recall Democratic congressmen screaming that it was not right or bemoaning the loss of American troops or claiming that Viet-Nam was not a threat to the US.....but, since it was a Democratic president handling the controls, that's to be expected.

If Bush were a Democrat, we wouldn't be hearing them now, either, and yet they speak about what is "good for America" in their speeches. Each can judge the validity of their passion and outragefor himself.


It's here that you bring up a good critical point regarding that though I'm convinced Bush does not have a plan for victory in Iraq and has rather just made so much up as he went along, the Democrats also don't have one, and thus is what makes this entire issue frustrating. I also believe that the Democrats are also putting politics over substance on Iraq, and if they truly don't believe in the troop surge as they are united on, they should vote AGAINST funding the surge.

There's a conservative columnist named David Reinhard who writes regularly for the Oregonian who I rarely agree with, but I believe he was absolutely dead-on in yesterday's editorial titled "With Soldiers Lives On The Line, Vote Substance, Not Symbolism" when he said that lawmakers should be acting as though our soldiers' lives depend on it, and if they have an alternative plan, they should share it, and those who believe we have lost and there's no way to win should cut the funding for the operation besides that that provides the armor and safety for our troops, to put an end to the "harping, whining, kvetching, moaning or second-guessing" and for once make a move that's more than merely symbolic like the Democrats and some Republicans including Gordon Smith, Chuck Hagel and Sam Brownback intend to do.

As Reinhard argues in closing in his column: "Our soldiers in Iraq face real bullets. Is it too much to ask lawmakers who say they want the United States out of Iraq to cast real votes?"

And that I think relates to your point about the "validity of their passion and outrage". Now that the American public responded in the 2006 elections and the Democrats now have power that they didn't have in twelve years, there's no excuses for that inactivity and "symbolism" they continue to project. One of my New Years Resolutions, by the way, was that now that the Democrats have power, I'm going to be far more aggressively vocal against them when there's something I don't like about their leadership, and already I believe is's maddening that first Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Joseph Biden, John Kerry and other congressional Democrats were initially FOR the troops escalation (Reid was for it as early as last month) before they came out AGAINST it, and yet while they've come out against it they only resort to a weenie plan of symbolic votes against the surge that's widely unsatisfactory to the American public. That's politics for you.

As Reinhard also stated:

*

"Congress doesn't have a lot of power over the commander-in-chief once we're at war, but it certainly has the power of the purse. Cutting off funds for the last-chance "surge" or the larger war would be an awful policy, but at least it would be a real policy. That is, something that would matter. A symbolic non-binding vote is no more than a posture."

*

It feels as though these Democrats are just licking their pointer fingers, lifting it up in the sky to test the winds and the barometer, and then cynically retreating to their shells. And though I don't have any sympathy for the stubborness on Bush's part, I also have no sympathy for the lack of integrity and substance among the Democratic leadership as well.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton


"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa
LeeJ
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68 posted 01-15-2007 06:01 PM       View Profile for LeeJ   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LeeJ

Dear Noah, thank you for bringing so much information to the table, your comments are helpful, and please don’t think the following is directed at you…they are questions I’ve asked myself over and over again and would simply like to bring them to the table.  

I was for this war in the beginning, if we were going in there to literally help those people and not for oil or any political agenda, but to honestly help to stop the rapes, torture, etc.

Now, I’m not so sure, we should pull out, and leave those people just yet...

And Ron wrote something which speaks volumes……

“I believe Iraq is more of a threat to America today than ever it was before Bush invaded, possibly in a physical sense since we seem to have opened the door to Al Qaeda, but more probably in an ideological sense. We gave our word and I personally think that has to mean something. I don't believe we had any right to promise what wasn't ours to give, but having made the promise we can't just start looking for an easy way to escape it. Lack of integrity is what got us into this mess. Lack of integrity can't be our way out.”

In other words…my concern is not winning, but walking away in the end, as men who did what was best for no other reason then a thread of human decency and to preserve life…but again…call me naive?  

That said, adding, I’ve always felt, we (Americans)  interfere way to much in the lives of other cultures…aloof in thinking we shall tell them how to live…and try to control their way of thinking to our liking...how smug?  Whose to say we are always the ones who are right?  I mean, we’ve got so much right here in this country that needs to be addressed…is this a way for our nation and it’s leaders to ignore our own problems, and another major concern which still remains a mystery to me, why the US cannot obtain global support on this war?

And here is another thought I’ve tossed around… we are not going to turn Iraq into a model democracy. Yet we were told in the beginning, a few months to a year to change an entire culture....The Sunnis don't want democracy. The Shiites don't want democracy and neither do the Kurds.

The Saudis surely do not want a new democracy as a neighbor. Nor do the Kuwaitis. Nor do the Syrians. None of these countries in that region with tyrannical rulers want us to succeed.

Whats more is, do you think they're above slipping terrorists into Iraq to kill Americans?  I think not?

I remember a history class that never left my mind…our teacher was trying to help us understand, way back then about terrorists…in saying, even though you kill the leader, there will always be another tyrannical ruler to succeed, and another, and another.  So what makes our government so smug as to think we are going to turn things around to begin with?  The Middle East are countries of old culture and belief and even though they fight each other, they are brothers in their own being.    

Yes, Saddam is gone, but do we actually believe that culture of his is gone with him?  And, do we actually believe that with his death, we scared off those that would harm us…I think not.

The plan to conquer Iraq was impulsive from the beginning. Our troops were not properly trained nor equipped to do the job given them. (Sent to the desert in jungle fatigues? Not given body armor? Completely untrained in handling prisoners?)  Another reason why a mandatory draft in times of peace is good.  To train our men in all these areas, in the event the expertise are needed.   And if not needed, well, I’d feel a lot safer if our men were trained and ready to respond, ready to make snap decision…be those decisions popular or not…
Another point, wasn’t Iraq already in ruin, financially bankrupt, from years of sanctions imposed on it’s economy by the U.S.?  That being said, gives those people reason enough to hate us, don’t you think?  
And correct me please if I’m wrong, but weren’t most of the people involved in the attack against the US on 911 directly Arabic?

I don't believe it's about winning, or should be?

Lastly, all human beings have an agenda/ulterior motive...even if it's simply wanting to know our lives account for something...I'm wondering what our government was thinking when they invaded Iraq? Remembering people do things for many reasons, not just one...

I’m just thinking out loud here and pondering this entire situation.

Do I think we should leave right now?  I think if we do, we will be the worst for it...in the whole big picture of things...

but if we stay, I hope we certainly do have some new tacticle strategy in mind?  

  

[This message has been edited by LeeJ (01-15-2007 06:33 PM).]

rwood
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69 posted 01-15-2007 09:07 PM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

LeeJ~

I applaud your rationality by way of logical and ethical thinking-through over the measure of this thread.

As far as changing Iraq's culture, so true. Who are we? The culture police?

If someone came into my yard, knocked on my door, and told me I needed to change my culture like it was a pair of dirty underwear, I'd tell them to get the hell off my porch.

On a larger scale, if America went into another civil war and became divided, torn, and weakened by years worth of interior strife and fighting, would we want to adapt/adopt the way of life of a conquering nation who infiltrated and overpowered us?

I'm sure there are a million arguments to bolster the hows and whys that won't ever happen, but it is happening to Iraq.

I believe we would pull together just to fight that foreign power, even at odds, even in the face of pure hate for each other. It's still our country, it's still home to our families and beliefs. Americans still value freedom, where others have their own blood ties they fight for, for different reasons.

I understand the threat. It gives me more than an uneasy feeling when our death happens to be the very thing that guarantees some a sure passage into heaven. All I have to say to those is: If the virgin thing is true, I have no worries of being trapped in that fantasy, Thank God.

I'll not allow them to make me live in fear.

Now, I think the bones that need pickin' belong to a certain man who is supposed to be leading this country.

We have men and women serving as the backbone of this country while the man in charge appears to be able to live without a spine. This is an injustice to their loyalty.

If a liar's pants really did catch on fire, he'd be toast, though thankfully not, because there may be innocents standing too closely.

I think America and the rest of the world has had all the toast it can stomach, within the context of ruined, and not actual food, bless their hearts.

At this time, I'd support a presidential lottery before I'd support any notion of a draft.

Makes more sense to me, for all practical purposes, to draw from those worthy candidates that have proven themselves during their time in service as leaders, peace keepers, business heads and exemplar strategists who managed to solve conflicts, before things ever escalated into a war or a complete breakdown of institutional disaster. .
Name them and put them in the lottery, before we take thousands of more lives out and put them on the line for the sake of peace that won't keep.

I know, we'd all have a better chance at winning the state lotteries before that ever happens.

But if the Selective Service, out of convenience, pulls my birth date again, like they did in 1969, I will report for duty, because that's twice in my lifetime that Sept. 14th came up as the 1st batch to report for service. They will lock me up and tell me I'm too old and crazy, but I have something to say about it:

I want to support our troops whether Bush does or not.


Okay, I'm done now. Thanks again for caring and sharing.
 
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