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Way to go, Nancy....

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Mistletoe Angel
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25 posted 10-25-2007 01:32 AM       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:
Thant's very true, Noah. I'm sure there were many who believed that. It is one thing for us to think so and another thing for Congress to continue coming out with a barrage of points which do nothing more than undermine our troops in the field. Once war begins, I believe that the congress should band together and the nation stand as one. Peaceful protests? Of course - that is everyone's right but the Democrats in power have gone way beyond that. They have gone every way possible to elaborate on everything gone wrong in Iraq. Has there been any media coverage of the good things? Zilch. They do not want there to be anything good. Picture yourself a soldier in the field, Noah, fighting for something you believe in, which a majority of soldiers in Iraq do. What do you read? How the American are torturers based on Abu Ghrab. How American soldiers murder civilians in their beds. How the was is lost and America has no chance at any success. You are hearing this from your own politicians while watching videos of soldiers having their heads chopped off by terrorist machetes. How would you feel, Noah? Do you not think the terrorists are emboldened by such actions?  Limbaugh did say one interesting thing last week. On the CBS nightly news, Gibson said that there was  "no news to report from Iraq" since there had been no killing or no suicide bombs set off. No news???? That is GREAT news!  Unfortunately it is not the kind of news thay want. They want blood, bodies and mayhem - the rest, even peace, is unnewsworthy to them. I doubt the soldiers in Iraq feel the same way.


Los Angeles Times Interactive: September 13-14 2001 Poll

I've said this many times before and I'll reiterate it again: the nation DID stand together as one, Michael.

Contrary to what Karl Rove, Tom DeLay, Bill O'Reilly and others have suggested that one side of the aisle never had the nerve to go after those directly responsible for 9/11, following September 11th, a unanimous majority of Americans believed, regardless of political ideology, gender, race, faith or what-have-you, that we must, as a nation, go after those individuals and groups responsible for carrying out and/or coordinating the tragic attacks on our nation.

The results in the above LA Times poll released just after September 11th, 2001 reflect just that. On Question 6, 99% of Americans believed terrorism to be either a very serious or serious issue. And on Question 10, 86% of Americans set aside their political differences and supported the President (including myself) including many of his staunchest critics who had accused him of stealing the 2000 election. And on Questions 36 and 37, solid majorities favored using military action against Osama bin Laden and his sympathizers, even if it meant casualties were likely.

*

What you must understand, Michael, is that we we are all united on the belief that we must go after those DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE for the attacks on 9/11. Where we're fundamentally divided is NOT whether we go after them or not, but if there is any such thing as a "pre-911 world" and a "post-911 world". I believe myself there's no such thing, and that terrorism is a problem that has and will always exist in some fashion. That certainly doesn't mean we shouldn't combat terrorists. We must. But we must be pragmatic and patient in how we deal with these threats, and the fact is none of the 19 9/11 hijackers came from Iraq, I realized that BEFORE the war in Iraq began, I read deeply into the rationale and felt most skeptical, and believed it was a separate war from that against those directly responsible for 9/11, and so vocally opposed it adamantly not just because I'm a pragmatic pacifist, but because aside from that, it would divert attention away from those that made 9/11 happen.

No, I strongly disagree with the notion that we ought to, as Americans, deify ANY administration EVER during times of military conflict, and moreover that we always should have an innate distrust toward our government so that we keep them in check. And these last six years epitomize EXACTLY what happens when no check, no balance is put in place: you might wake up and find our habeas corpus rights have been suspended, or random American citizens are being wiretapped or their e-mail messages being read without a warrant, or what they check out at the public library is being leaked to intelligence services, or extraordinary renditions are taking place, or the definition of what constitutes as "torture" is being re-defined, etc..........all of which are gradual chiselings away at our civil liberties and protections that are playing right into the hands of the terrorists.

*

*

Now, you've asked me also to picture myself as a soldier on the field, fighting for something I believe in, as virtually all our young men and women certainly do, and think about what I'm often reading and how I feel in result.

Since I'm not an active volunteer, I don't know what they read, Michael, but I'm also sure that all 160,000 of our young men and women in uniform are not reading the same thing either and get their news from various sources.

Certainly much of the war coverage is negative and depressing, and I'll agree once again strongly that I don't believe the good news is reported nearly as much as it should be on the things our young men and women do in local communities all across Iraq, many of which are golden acts of altruism and human compassion for the good of Iraqi children and their families. For that, I'd imagine I'd certainly be most frustrated the more humanist side of the Iraq war isn't being covered, as it SHOULD be covered in any war.

The New York Times: "The War As We Saw It": August 19th, 2007

But, Michael, you also have to understand that our troops aren't all going to think the same way, and they all have varying opinions and backgrounds just like you and me and every other American. Some soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, Seventh Marines are simply going to have different views from some soldiers in the 82nd Airborne Division, who seven troops in the latter wrote an op-ed in The New York Times called “The War As We Saw It.” which the piece expressed skepticism about “recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable” (Two of the seven op-ed writers, Sgt. Omar Mora and Sgt. Yance Gray, have since died from a vehicle accident in western Baghdad, with a third badly injured.)

That certainly doesn't mean all our troops have the same sentiments. On the contrary, there are many I recognize who not only believe in what they're doing as virtually ALL our troops do, but ALSO believe in the mission, where opinion is much more polarized. I may staunchly disagree with the views of those serving who believe in the "stay-the-course policy", but I certainly don't think any less of any one of the troops who has that view, and respect them equally as highly as I do the critics of the war serving there.

I myself not only doubt, but am certain, that our troops don't feel the same way about what kind of news from Iraq is "unnewsworthy" as many of our media personalities do. I believe they very much resent that the fuller spectrum of stories are not being represented, particularly those of the courageous and compassionate things many of them are doing across Iraq. But I also believe most of our young men and women in uniform are able to see beyond the superficiality of thoughtless comments some of our politicians and pundits make occasionally regarding Iraq, and will interpret these situations as that these personalities are just wackos and are not meant to be taken seriously. For they KNOW what they're doing is RIGHT, they BELIEVE in what they're doing, and a unanimous majority of Americans BELIEVE in them as well, where I know once they all come back, they won't be spat at and ridiculed endlessly, but on the contrary be praised and applauded, immortalized as the heroes they truly are.

I absolutely believe our young men and women in uniform have enough emotional strength to tell what is a crazy thing someone says from what is the reality as they serve.........and though I am not serving and thus will never fully understand all the sentiments and emotional tension on the ground as the approximately 160,000 currently serving in Iraq do, I believe I'd feel most frustrated with how the media misrepresents me, but also optimistically sure of myself that what I'm doing is right and is appreciated by a unanimous majority of Americans, and will not be crushed.

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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26 posted 10-25-2007 02:16 AM       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:
Don't underestimate the Demos, John. With the press behind them they can easily twist even that around to make it W's fault. That's what they do best. They can solve anything but only if they are in charge. They sold that to voters to gain control of Congress. Unfortunately for them, once they get there they have to produce.  When they don't produce, well, they make that W's fault, too. As Pelosi said last week, Congress hasn't gotten anything done because W is too partisan. Gotta love her....or not.


*

1) The Democrats never picked up majorities in Congress to begin with because the American public overall liked the Democrats (they have abysmal approval ratings too as a party) nor because they believed they had any real ideas to solve anything.

On the contrary, the Democrats picked up majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives more because the American public overall was OUTRAGED with the GOP rubber-stamp trifecta, particularly on Bush's war policy, his executive power grab and the Abramoff/Cunningham ethics scandals.

Thus, 2006 was more about Americans voting AGAINST the GOP than voting FOR the Democrats.......and I don't think most Americans (including myself) were ever expecting Pelosi to be held to her promise of making the 110th Congress the "most honest, ethical and open Congress in history", nor in "draining the swamp", nor in producing much positive results.

*

2) Though Congress is itself largely responsible for failing to get much done in all recent memory, President Bush has also, in fact, been intensely partisan and increasingly an obstrutionist as of late, and is equally as responsible as Congress for failing to get anything accomplished for the American public.

CNN: September 25, 2006

CBS News: June 20, 2007

Washington Post: October 3, 2007

I've already addressed in full detail his recent veto of the SCHIP expansion bill, as well as two previous vetoes providing more funding for embryonic stem-cell research.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg, Michael. He has also threatened to veto ten of twelve regular appropriations bills that fund the various departments of the federal government, along with twenty other bills. Here's the full list of legislation Bush has threatened to veto:

*

1) The College Cost Reduction Act (H.R. 2669)
2) Both the House (H.R. 2638) and Senate (S. 1644) versions of Homeland Security Appropriations
3) State-Foreign Operations Appropriations(H.R. 2764)
4) Interior-Environment Appropriations (H.R. 2643)
5) The Energy Price Gouging Act (H.R. 1252)
6) The No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels (NOPEC) Act (H.R. 2264)
7) FY 2008 Defense Authorization Bill (H.R. 1585)
8) FY 2008 Homeland Security Authorization (H.R. 1684)
9) Hate Crimes Prevention Act (H.R. 1592)
10) D.C. Voting Rights Act (H.R. 1905)
11) Rail and Mass Transit Security Act (H.R. 1401)
12) Presidential Records Act Amendments of 2007 (H.R. 1255)
13) Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2007 (H.R. 985)
14) Reauthorizing Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund (H.R. 720)
15) Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 800)
16) Requiring Medicare to Negotiate Lower Prescription Drug Prices (H.R. 4)
17) Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act (H.R. 2829)
18) FY 2008 Energy & Water Appropriations (H.R. 2641)
19) Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations (H.R. 3043)
20) Transportation-HUD Appropriations (H.R. 3074)
21) Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations (H.R. 3093)
22) Farm, Nutrition and Bioengery Act (H.R. 2419)
23) Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (H.R. 2831)
24) Ensuring Military Readiness Through Stability and Predictability Deployment Policy Act (H.R. 3159)
25) Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act (H.R. 2776)
26) New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security, and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 3221)
27) FY 2008 Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA (H.R. 3161)
28) FY 2008 Defense (H.R. 3222)

*

President Bush famously declared himself on April 16th, 2006: "I'm the decider!" when defending former Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld. Seems to me, in hoping to maintain relevancy as his approval ratings sink lower in the 20's in many polls, he is re-defining himself as "The Obstructer".

And, ultimately, it's the GOP that suffers in result of his obstructionism, and should they continue failing to show true leadership on certain legislative match-ups where the bankrolling of education programs and health services are center stage, they're only going to hand over more domestic campaign issues to the Democrats, where they can easily make poignant campaign attack ads out of to make the GOP appear unsympathetic toward hard-working American families and middle America, and lose even more seats come November 2008.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton


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

Mother Teresa
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I've said this many times before and I'll reiterate it again: the nation DID stand together as one, Michael

The nation, yes...not Congress.

The results in the above LA Times poll released just after September 11th, 2001 reflect just that. On Question 6, 99% of Americans believed terrorism to be either a very serious or serious issue.

No kidding but how many considered terrorism a serious issue BEFORE 9/11, even though we had the bombing of the USS Cole, the first attack on the WTC, and the other terrorist attacks on US embassies and properties?

What you must understand, Michael, is that we we are all united on the belief that we must go after those DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE for the attacks on 9/11.

True, and if there were a country called Terrorismbad where we could bomb them all, that would be simple. There's not....

you might wake up and find our habeas corpus rights have been suspended, or random American citizens are being wiretapped or their e-mail messages being read without a warrant, or what they check out at the public library is being leaked to intelligence services, or extraordinary renditions are taking place, or the definition of what constitutes as "torture" is being re-defined, etc..........all of which are gradual chiselings away at our civil liberties and protections that are playing right into the hands of the terrorists.

Noah, our habeus corpus rights are alive and well. 99% of all Amereicans have not have phone messages wiretapped not e-mails read without warrants - unless there were strong supposition that your calls to the Middle East could be going terrorist operatives. Most of the reports of our "torturing" prisoners have been dispelled and your civil liberties have not been chiseled away.

I myself not only doubt, but am certain, that our troops don't feel the same way about what kind of news from Iraq is "unnewsworthy" as many of our media personalities do.

Really?

But I also believe most of our young men and women in uniform are able to see beyond the superficiality of thoughtless comments some of our politicians and pundits make occasionally regarding Iraq, and will interpret these situations as that these personalities are just wackos and are not meant to be taken seriously.

You are very misguided, sir. The comments mean a lot to the soldiers. The way they are portrayed also mean a lot when they are over there fighting for their lives and reading that they are torturers and murderers and the war is lost. Does the rest of the world see those comments as thoughtless, too? Look at all of the anit-American demonstrations. do the terrorists see the comments as thoughtless? Look at how they use them in their propoganda. Thoughtless is a good description, Noah, because the politicians put no thought into the effect their comments have and the  repurcussions to our military. I was one who suffered from those thoughtless comments, Noah, and was met with stone-cold faces upon my return. Don't call them superficial....

For they KNOW what they're doing is RIGHT, they BELIEVE in what they're doing, and a unanimous majority of Americans BELIEVE in them as well, where I know once they all come back, they won't be spat at and ridiculed endlessly, but on the contrary be praised and applauded, immortalized as the heroes they truly are.

I don't understand that comment. If they believe in what they are doing is right and they know what they are dong is right and the American public believes in them as well, why are you and others writing volumes on what they are doing is wrong? IF they are praised and applauded upon their resturn should this barrage of accusations from the Democrats continue, it won't be as heroes. It will be a kneejerk reaction from a public having a chance to correct the wrong they did to the Viet Nam returnees.

I believe I'd feel most frustrated with how the media misrepresents me, but also optimistically sure of myself that what I'm doing is right and is appreciated by a unanimous majority of Americans, and will not be crushed.

I'd like to visit your world some day, Noah

As always, I appreciate the effort you put into your replies, sir
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quote:
You are very misguided, sir. The comments mean a lot to the soldiers. The way they are portrayed also mean a lot when they are over there fighting for their lives and reading that they are torturers and murderers and the war is lost. Does the rest of the world see those comments as thoughtless, too? Look at all of the anit-American demonstrations. do the terrorists see the comments as thoughtless? Look at how they use them in their propoganda. Thoughtless is a good description, Noah, because the politicians put no thought into the effect their comments have and the  repurcussions to our military. I was one who suffered from those thoughtless comments, Noah, and was met with stone-cold faces upon my return. Don't call them superficial....


And I regret that when you served, thoughtless comments were made towards you and others by certain individuals, and I sympathize with you and others that were indeed hurt by them.

All I'm suggesting, Michael, is that ultimately actions do speak louder than words, and the fact our young men and women in uniform are putting their lives on the line for days, months, years at a time, I believe speaks volumes, as do just about every American, and the immaculate crescendo of their courage and honor rings louder than anything any thoughtless pundit, politician or disgruntled pigeon could utter that tries to make the vast majority of Americans think otherwise.

As for terrorists using such thoughtless slings for propaganda purposes, I recognize that very much, and agree it's a serious issue. But again, Michael, actions speak louder than words, and while I don't at all deny that terrorists opportunistically usurp things some of our own elected officials and pundits say to make their case for their anti-American template, we must also understand that interventionist foreign policy in general raises many profound concerns and hostilities among the populace being occupied. Do you not agree that many innocent Iraqi citizens rightfully feel that because our occupation of the country has went on for 4 1/2 years and counting that somehow we are trying to impose our faith and ways of life upon their culture, and desire to modernize them? Do you not agree that many innocent Iraqi civilians are suspicious, because of the occupation, that we have some sort of ulterior motive behind the guise of spreading freedom and democracy across the wider region?

Last time I checked, the "surge" strategy was designed to offer the Iraqi government breathing space to come together and assume responsibility for their country, as they have been underperforming to date and meeting the benchmarks toward taking responsibility for their country into their own hands. The fact is, al-Maliki and many of his colleagues continue to appear uncommitted to providing true leadership for the citizens of Iraq, and many top commanders and generals do believe the best way to pressure them into taking charge is by drawing down our forces as a signal that we aren't going to be there forever, and sooner or later they need to govern and protect their own people.

Yet, there remains no established plan for victory in Iraq; the objectives are vague and changing often, and when we still have a force of 160,000 stationed over there, do you not agree that many Iraqis will interpret that as though we have intentions to stay there in the long term, whether for geopolitical or hegemonical purposes?

The point is, actions and gestures produce propaganda as well, and we need to think about how the citizens of Iraq will interpret a prolonging occupation there in the months ahead, while media personalities surely need to think about the potential consequences of something they say that may make an effective soundbyte for an undesirable propaganda outlet before they speak.

*

quote:
I don't understand that comment. If they believe in what they are doing is right and they know what they are dong is right and the American public believes in them as well, why are you and others writing volumes on what they are doing is wrong? IF they are praised and applauded upon their resturn should this barrage of accusations from the Democrats continue, it won't be as heroes. It will be a kneejerk reaction from a public having a chance to correct the wrong they did to the Viet Nam returnees.


When have I ever written volumes suggesting what our young men and women in uniform is doing is wrong?

I am very cautious and selective in my use of words, and I specifically chastise our government when talking about their war policy, NOT our troops. Look back in the archives of the Alley, all the way back to about August 2003 when I made my debut here, and I have consistently condemned the war, yes, but have also praised what our troops have done in communities all across Iraq.

My unabashed outrage toward this war policy and the selling of it to the American public is directed most of all at the neoconservative architects of it, a complacent media that cheerled us to war without providing genuine dialogue and debate prior to the March 2003 invasion, as well as a president who won't claim responsibility for what has happened and rather wants to punt the problem to the next president. I believe I've been most specific in where my frustration is vented towards, and I have not only not written any volumes suggesting what our servicemen/women are doing is wrong, I haven't even written any dissertations remotely related to that.

Trust me: our young men and women will NOT be mocked and ridiculed once they return home together from Iraq (aside from a razor-thin few minority of troublemakers who represent less than 0.1% of public opinion) and frankly I don't even understand what you mean by this "barrage of accusations from the Democrats", as while I certainly have great fundamental reservations with the party as I do the GOP in terms of leadership, I don't believe either party collectively sponsors the demeaning of our troops, and it's rather just a handful of individual Democrats who make such thoughtless and stinging accusations.

I've heard some GOP lawmakers say thoughtless things as well regarding our servicemen/women in Iraq, but I certainly have never concluded that the GOP in general sponsors the demeaning of our troops, as I recognize it's just a thin minority of certain Republicans who more often put their feet in their mouths and most Republicans, along with most Democrats, genuinely commend what our troops are doing.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton


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

Mother Teresa
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"But I also believe most of our young men and women in uniform are able to see beyond the superficiality of thoughtless comments some of our politicians and pundits make occasionally regarding Iraq, and will interpret these situations as that these personalities are just wackos and are not meant to be taken seriously.

You are very misguided, sir. The comments mean a lot to the soldiers. The way they are portrayed also mean a lot when they are over there fighting for their lives and reading that they are torturers and murderers and the war is lost."

Amen Mike.
Anyone who did time in Vietnam especially
after Tet knows that.
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"Depriving them of the opportunity to help themselves is not so good."

When was the last time such a regime
was overthrown from within?
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31 posted 10-25-2007 04:51 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Do you not agree that many innocent Iraqi citizens rightfully feel that because our occupation of the country has went on for 4 1/2 years and counting that somehow we are trying to impose our faith and ways of life upon their culture, and desire to modernize them? Do you not agree that many innocent Iraqi civilians are suspicious, because of the occupation, that we have some sort of ulterior motive behind the guise of spreading freedom and democracy across the wider region?

Interesting comment, Noah. In the midst of some of the worst street bombings going on, 60 Minutes interviewed a variety of Iraqis in Iraq, concerning their feelings about the war, losing loved ones, the US presence, etc, etc. Of course they were tired of the bombings and killings. They were tired of burying their friends and greeting each day with fear but the last question was the one I found interesting. They were asked if they would have preferred that Hussein were still in power and Iraq the same as it was and the responding answer was NO!

Last time I checked, the "surge" strategy was designed to offer the Iraqi government breathing space to come together and assume responsibility for their country, as they have been underperforming to date and meeting the benchmarks toward taking responsibility for their country into their own hands. The fact is, al-Maliki and many of his colleagues continue to appear uncommitted to providing true leadership for the citizens of Iraq, and many top commanders and generals do believe the best way to pressure them into taking charge is by drawing down our forces as a signal that we aren't going to be there forever, and sooner or later they need to govern and protect their own people.

Then I would say you haven't checked for a while, sir. Killings and bombings have plummeted. On the news today there was a parade in Anbar province in the middle of town, denouncing the terrorists and pledging allegiance to the government. This would have been unthinkable months ago, especially in anbar province. Changes for the good are taking place, whether the US news agencies care to report them or not.

No established plan of victory in Iraq? Here i agree with you, Noah. My argument is not that we shouldn't have gone to Iraq, but that we should have had a better plan than "winging" it like we have. In that regard I blame Bush for his lack of planning and design for the "after Hussein" period. He dropped the ball badly. Yet there we are and leaving is not an option.
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.


We have to remember Iran and Syria
and others are involved.  Without their support where would those opposed to a free
Iraq be.

.
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quote:
Interesting comment, Noah. In the midst of some of the worst street bombings going on, 60 Minutes interviewed a variety of Iraqis in Iraq, concerning their feelings about the war, losing loved ones, the US presence, etc, etc. Of course they were tired of the bombings and killings. They were tired of burying their friends and greeting each day with fear but the last question was the one I found interesting. They were asked if they would have preferred that Hussein were still in power and Iraq the same as it was and the responding answer was NO!


But how was that last question interesting? Obviously Hussein was a brutal dictator himself, where no one here and I'd fathom a strong majority of Iraqis as well argues otherwise. OF COURSE they would feel nausea and numbness at the thought of ever having someone like him remaining in power, and OF COURSE they're glad he's out of power and can never harm another innocent life again.

Having said that, the hypothetical of Hussein still being in power if we hadn't invaded is just begging the question at this point when arguing how we get out of this mess in a more responsible fashion. The Iraqi citizens resent being suppressed and threatened constantly under brutal regimes like that of Hussein's, but they ALSO resent being occupied indefinitely by outsiders, regardless of how benevolent their intentions are, and both the administration and Congress need to be more mindful of that.

ABC News/BBC/NHK National Survey: September 10th, 2007

And national surveys like one conducted last month by ABC News, BBC News and the Japanese network NHK reflect that national resentment and frustration. There's encouraging news regarding Iraqis blaming the United States less for the violence occurring in Iraq from previous surveys, but nonetheless antagonism toward the US remains hostile, with more than six in 10 in that survey now calling the U.S.-led invasion of their country wrong, (up from 52 percent last winter), a startling 57% calling some violence against US forces acceptable (up from 51%) and 47% favoring an immediate, precipitous withdrawal from Iraq (up from 35%)

The violence against our own forces result is especially terrifying here, and while I'm absolutely saddened by these results, I think it again reflects back to the point I've made that Iraqis are growing increasingly upset and impatient with our indefinite occupation there, where they begin to have a sense of hopelessness in that we're there to stay forever, and they will in some ways never lead their lives free of foreign observance, and sometimes their emotions get the best of them to where they feel certain attacks are called for on our troops (which I believe ALL attacks on our forces are inexcusable)

Iraqis want to feel in control of their own nation and lifestyles again, period, and I fear the longer we stay there without an exit strategy, the more intense and livid these feelings of resentment many Iraqis already have will become, which could lead to increasing antagonism toward our servicemen/servicewomen. That's my greatest fear right now.

*

quote:
Then I would say you haven't checked for a while, sir. Killings and bombings have plummeted. On the news today there was a parade in Anbar province in the middle of town, denouncing the terrorists and pledging allegiance to the government. This would have been unthinkable months ago, especially in anbar province. Changes for the good are taking place, whether the US news agencies care to report them or not.


I agree there are some encouraging signs in some areas of Iraq. al-Qaeda got too arrogant in Iraq that many Sunni tribal leaders in the Anbar Province saw these brutal militants for who they really are; a bunch of hateful individuals who went too far with its extreme version of Islam and brutal tactics like suicide bombs targeting all who opposed them......and banded together in rebellion to retaliate against them in battle. al-Qaeda overplayed their hand in the region, and they got their comeuppance in result.

Yet, I advise you not to get too overconfident just yet either regarding this particular turn-around as of late. There remains a major risk allying ourselves with these tribes in that they had once sympathized with the insurgency, or even fought against our own forces. I happen to believe they only intend to be our allies in the short-term because they remain most resentful about the occupation and war, and there remains some hostility beneath the surface in their minds. I'm certainly not suggesting we dismiss and abandon any help or aid we're offered, but I don't think it would be wise to wholeheartedly trust these tribal leaders either.

Also, al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) only represents a small fraction of the insurgent violence in Iraq. The U.S.-sponsored Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in March analyzed the online postings of eleven prominent Sunni insurgent groups, including AQI, tallying how many attacks each group claimed, and found that AQI took credit for 10% of attacks on Iraqi security forces and Shiite militias (43 out of 439 attacks) and less than 4 percent of attacks on U.S. troops (17 out of 357)

Secondly, military officials told the New York Times in August of this year that of the approximately 24,500 prisoners in U.S. detention facilities in Iraq (nearly all of whom are Sunni) just 1,800 of them (about 7%) claim allegiance to al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Thirdly, the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), often said to have the best track record for producing accurate intelligence assessments, estimated in 2006 that AQI's membership was in a range of "more than 1,000." They estimated that the total size of the insurgency was between 20,000 and 30,000 full-time fighters, thus putting AQI forces at around 5 percent.

Finally, foreign policy experts such as Malcolm Nance, the author of The Terrorists of Iraq and a longtime intelligence veteran and Arabic speaker, who has worked with military and intelligence units tracking al-Qaeda inside Iraq for twenty years, has said he believes AQI includes about 850 full-time fighters, comprising 2 percent to 5 percent of the Sunni insurgency, adding: "Al-Qaeda in Iraq is a microscopic terrorist organization."

Washington Post: October 22nd, 2007

This doesn't at all diminish how dangerous and real the threat of AQI is by any means, nor that the fact al-Qaeda in Iraq is being routed is an encouraging achievement. But the point is AQI is just the tip of the iceberg regarding the overall shape of insurgency violence in Iraq. In fact, General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker now agree that while some Sunni insurgent violence has been on the decline, Shi'ite insurgent violence is on the rise, thus the anti-insurgency campaign is becoming ever more complex and unpredictable.

Changes for the good are taking place in some areas, I do believe that. But the country at large happens to remain in a terrible mess, where there has been minimal or no political progress, violence has increased in other areas where it had been quieter before, and the face of the conflict is ever evolving.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton


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

Mother Teresa
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34 posted 10-25-2007 05:50 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

btw, one congressman summed it up very well..

Democrats seemed to be trying "to drill enough small holes in the bottom of the boat to sink the entire Iraqi enterprise, while still claiming undying support for the crew about to drown," said Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia, the committee's top Republican.
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35 posted 10-25-2007 06:39 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

Forbes: October 25th, 2007

The particular quotation you just mentioned, Michael, is in regard to the House Oversight Committee and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice challenging an edict Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has issued, suggesting corruption investigations of himself or senior ministry officials must be approved by himself before they are to be carried out.

I don't see what the fuss is here. It seems both Congress and Rice are in agreement that no immunity should be offered to ANY Iraqi official from corruption investigations. So I don't know what Tom Davis was suggesting when he said the Democrats were trying "to drill enough small holes in the bottom of the boat to sink the entire Iraqi enterprise", as apparently it is recognized in a bi-partisan fashion that for a government in Iraq to be as functional as can be, it needs to be free of corruption as much as possible, and it would be against our interests to offer immunity to any official who may be involved in such misconduct.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton


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

Mother Teresa
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36 posted 10-26-2007 12:39 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

What he means, Noah, is that it's just another small hole like the many others that the Democrats have drilled in order to be as detrimental as possible in any way they can. They will be happy should the boat ever sink completely (vowing their support for the troops as they go down).
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37 posted 10-29-2007 03:54 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

"Depriving them of the opportunity to help themselves is not so good."

When was the last time such a regime
was overthrown from within?

----------
what happened 50 yeas ago in Vietnam and Korea, 60 years ago in China, were civil wars and people was doing overthrowing the old corruptted Government...American came to lend a hand...what happened? Then take a look at the situation now(only 50 years later), even North Korea and South are talking, not mentioning Vietname is in unity and People from Taiwan are rushing to Mainland China to buy houses and trading.

Does American solve any of their problems?

War in Iraq... if for retaliation of 9/11 based on the theory that AlQada is closely related to Sadam, then the action should be finished. If the goal is to help settling their internal affair..not possible.
Of course there are oil, middle east peace involved..then American soldiers are fighting for something else.
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38 posted 10-29-2007 04:14 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

"what happened 50 yeas ago in Vietnam and Korea, 60 years ago in China, were civil wars and people was doing overthrowing the old corruptted Government..."


Ah the party line; and I imagine it
was all done with pointed sticks,
the USSR merely watching.
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39 posted 10-29-2007 04:33 PM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

Dear John, it is not a simple party line. It is the fighting of thought on different ideal world. But it was serious to US..... it is between God and Godless, holy and evil. One is justified to kill when call otherside evil. The truth is that In this world, nobody is better than another.
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40 posted 10-29-2007 07:55 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.

And just how many were killed in the
internal "liberation" of China?

.
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41 posted 10-31-2007 09:57 AM       View Profile for TomMark   Email TomMark   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for TomMark

death of fighting  for dream world.
or death of injustice?

Life, if there is not freedom, worth nothing.

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42 posted 10-31-2007 10:10 AM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

Ron:
quote:
I think there have been times, however, when the precepts of honor and truth still held sway in this country, when our actions were guided by emotions stronger than fear. Not recently, though, and I personally find that very sad. The scales of Justice were never meant to weigh consequences.


Exactly. Perhaps this is the reason it is so difficult to spend time listening to all these political debates.
MHO? Ms. Pelosi's continued focus on this Armenian genocide issue is admirable.
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43 posted 11-01-2007 06:06 AM       View Profile for icebox   Email icebox   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for icebox

Mike, I think you might try to be a little more kind to Pelosi.  

At her age, she has had her face lifted enough times that the effects may be cutting off the blood flow to her brain.
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44 posted 11-01-2007 12:39 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

You may be right, icebox. She's had to save face so many times it may be catching up with her
 
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