I haven’t really posted much on the war in Iraq, but there’s been so much going on that I really need to put some of my thoughts up.
First off, I’m a progressive liberal. I don’t like the current administration’s attempts to turn America into a theocracy, I don’t like them using fear to push the USA PATRIOT ACT, which is being used for non-terrorist related drug enforcement. I don’t think we should have sent our troops to Iraq.
That said, I don’t think that we should bring our troops home either. We shouldn’t be there, but since we’ve destabilized the country we damn well better stay there until it’s stable again. We can’t simply say
Ooops, we went to war under false pretenses and didn’t realize how hard it was going to be, so we’re going to leave the Iraqis to their own devices. We made a mistake in going into Iraq, but it would be an even bigger mistake to leave now.
Now that I’ve provided some context for my opinions, here’s what I’ve been seeing lately:
You need to be reading From Ann Arbor to Beirut by David Enders. David is a journalist and University of Michigan alumni who is in Iraq. Some recent posts have included anectdotes about kidnappings and Public Affairs Officers recognizing him from his High Times article.
I spotted this imagery at Seat of the Revolution and thought it was pretty poignant:
The first image is a picture taken of an Iraqi POW that was told that if he fell off of the cardboard box he is on he would be electrocuted. Obviously we don’t put people in concentration camps because of their ethnicity (we just deport them) but the similarities are striking. This war was was presented using the language of good vs. evil, it’s important to make sure that we stay on the good side.
Another thing to remember is that we didn’t go to war with Iraq because we’re the good guys. We went to war because Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction posed a clear and present danger to the United States, which is what made a preemptive war – a war that we fought even though we weren’t attacked – acceptable. While I didn’t question the existence of WMDs in the buildup to war (I objected to the preemptive declaration of war without international support) I think that it’s disgraceful that our bravest men and women are dying because of faulty intelligence.
Is the world a better place with Saddam Hussein in prison? Of course, but if the ends justify the means then any sort of vigilantism is acceptable. Some people don’t seem to understand that even though the end result is good, if it comes from bad actions the bad finds its way into the good. Democracy hinges on the rule of law, and if our leader can decide to go above international law, what does that say about our faith in democracy? In November it’s important that you exercise democracy and vote against Bush, it’s doubly important if you live in a swing state.
Finally, as more and more American men and women die each day in Iraq, it’s important to remember the words of our Commander in Chief:
There are some who feel like that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is bring them on. It’s that hubris, that arrogance, that cowboy swagger that turns allies into enemies and isn’t going to gain the trust of the Iraqi people.
Of course, the opposite sentiment wouldn’t necessarily be much better. Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said that Thai troops would be recalled from Iraq if attacked. I’m not sure what’s a better way to invite attacks on your troops, to ask insurgents to “bring them on” or to say that as soon as you are attacked you will leave.
Finally, there was a bit in this week’s Onion that Extrastout caught:
Bush To Iraqi Militants: ‘Please Stop Bringing It On’
WASHINGTON, DC—In an internationally televised statement Monday, President Bush modified a July 2003 challenge to Iraqi militants attacking U.S. forces. “Terrorists, Saddam loyalists, and anti-American insurgents: Please stop bringing it on now,” Bush said at a Monday press conference. “Nine months and 500 U.S. casualties ago, I may have invited y’all to bring it on, but as of today, I formally rescind that statement. I would officially like for you to step back.” The president added that the “it” Iraqis should stop bringing includes gunfire, bombings, grenade attacks, and suicide missions of all types.
3 responses to “Mission Accomplished”
Your words about our involvement being based on fault intelligence reminded me of Vietnam. Actually, much of what’s happening in Iraq reminds me of what I’ve read about Vietnam. Several months ago I read Daniel Elsberg’s book “Secrets” about the Pentagon Papers.
Elsberg released the Pentagon Papers largely because of the “faulty intelligence” which was being routinely being presented to the presidents and the people during the Vietnam era. It’s unclear wether this deception was directed by the president or not.
For example, one of the guys who spent extensive time traveling Vietnam, was to be given an audience with the President. The chief of staff was speaking with him before the meeting and said “I think the war in Vietnam will be over before the end of the year.” The reply was “Oh, I think we’ll be able to hold out at least two more years.” The chief of staff was stunned, stepped out of his office for a moment, and the meeting with the President never happened.
Of course, then there’s all the stuff about how Nixon was lieing to Congress and the people, saying that they “seek no wider war in Vietnam”, while plans were being made to do exactly that.
Then, of course, there’s the fact that our entry to Vietnam was based on “faulty intelligence”. I believe it was in the book Body_of_Secrets where I read compelling evidence of this. Apparently, a large part of the reason for our entry into Vietnam was that McNamera argued compellingly to Congress for our entry. The reason for his argument was the belief that there had been a second attack on the US in the Gulf of Tonkin, when there really had only been one.
The problem is that, because the government holds so many documents as secrets, we’re basically 30 years from having any idea about what’s actually going on today. Because of that, I’m thinking that the only thing we can do to figure out what exactly is happening now, is by looking to the past.
Have to say that agree.
I don’t have a saying in US politics but I do have an oppion. An oppion that bids me to say
“two wrongs doesn’t make a right”