Democrats & Liberals Archives

Brawling in the Middle East

Right now, I don’t like much of anybody in the Middle East. Israel’s doing its best to provoke other countries. Other countries are doing their best to get into a fight with Israel, Hezbollah and Hamas are proving why its an awful idea to mix terrorism (especially religious terrorism) with politics, and what we’re basically getting here is a big fat mess. Welcome to the world of the Bush Doctrine.

Let's separate the notion of what we intend to do, from what actually occurs as a consequence. Everybody intends the next escalation to be the one that backs the enemy down. It never works. Folks remember the last blow and use it, even after peace has broken out, as justification for the next one. And then there are always these assholes popping up trying to stir up stuff.

Israel needs to have a defense policy that doesn't rise to every provocation. It's maddening in the extreme for these people to apply exactly the kind of heavy handed tactics that have failed before, to the exact same negative effects that darkened things to begin with. Israel has assumed a hypersensitive, sometimes paranoid notion of defense, one that has made it very easy to scare or anger Israel into committing the very bloody acts that lose them credibility in the world's eyes.

The Arabs need to accept that Israel will remain in Israeli hands. Israel's heavy handed tactics are product of years of attacks and terrorist acts by other nations. One reason why the Palestinian territories are so controversial is that they were occupied in the aftermath of an illegal war the Arabs inflicted on the Israelis. The goal of destroying Israel has been an albatross around the Arab world's neck, a failure to put the colonialist past behind them. They need to understand that groups like HAMAS and Hezbollah only serve to legitimize Western interference in their lands, especially in the wake of 9/11. They needlessly provoke, needlessly kill, and needlessly isolate their people behind walls of ideology and degenerate religion. They do not seek the peace that is the goal of all enduring religious victories, instead seeking the glory of battle in the name of God. Like many things of this world, it becomes an idol itself, followed to the exception of divine commandments not to be the provocateurs or the slaughterers of innocents.

And we? We made the mistake of putting out the Bush Doctrine, that perfect-world style sensibility of perfect freedom to act against our enemies. The ability to do a thing does not make it the appropriate course of action, though, and the weakness of the thinking behind this doctrines leads those who use it to blur the lines of acceptable behavior, and needlessly cause ourselves more trouble.

If we have to destabilize a region to answer a threat, then we should, but we should be prepared to minimize it, to deal with the situation. We should avoid making additional trouble to pile on that we already have, disrupting only when necessary. Part of any robust response to terrorism must be the prudent application of force. You win wars by reducing the number of enemies, not creating more.

In terms of our alliances, we should make it plain that we have the initiative and the help there, not them, that we have the pieces on the board besides our own to put theirs and their allies in check. In terms of our tactics, we should let the reality of our actions become our propaganda, and make sure that the message we send with those actions is consistent with our principles. We cannot win by being one kind of people at home, and another kind overseas. Folks should be able to tell by looking at us that we have the moral high ground.. It shouldn't be just a glib claim on our part that we fight for freedom and Democracy.

We need to ditch this Islamofascism thing. I trust no label for our enemy that lumps Bin Laden in with the Saudi Royals he despises, or which does the same for Saddam and the Mullahs of Iran, or Hosni Mubharak and Ayman al-Zawahiri. It doesn't distinguish between Sunni and Shia (even while they decidedly do), nor between Arab, Turk, or Persian. What use do we have for such muddled, vague category?

Maybe it's convenient for rhetoric's sake to envision a cohesive enemy, but the reality is much more fractious, and those divisions matter, whether we seek to exploit them or heal them. These distinctions are part of the challenges our foreign policy must meet, and it's of little use to us if our perceptions run right over them and back over them twice without getting it.

I think we we are in fact repeating the mistakes of major offenders in the Israeli crisis, including Israel itself. You will always find those who think, in the light of the failure of their efforts, that what is need was the last solution they came up with, only more so. Or others who think that what the situations needs is another provocative act. People can be real idiots about this, chasing unattainable dreams of order in their agenda's image, never considering that their actions could come back to haunt them.

In the end, dreams have to die for people to live, in terms of both their mortality and their quality of life. We all have unrealistic ideals we'd like to attain, and often leaders grant us dreams in the name of continuing their lives in politics. They want to start things, to have people know they're front and center saving their civilization. They've got their followers, backing their every word, partisans living in their leader's dream.

But wars aren't like dreams. They're like bar brawls. It take's a lot of hard work to keep the fight limited to a few belligerents, and even then, breaking them up is difficult. The Blood is risen, the anger palpable, and the wish to listen to the other and do anything but inflict harm is buried under all that.

That's why peace is the more desirable state of things, even with the threats that exist around us. Armed conflict has a way of taking tidy assumptions and twisting them unrecognizably. Some think it simplifies things, but that's a crock of you-know-what; war only simplifies emotions and responses, and not always for the better. The rest gets complicated. That's why control of the battlefield is crucial; surprises are not to the soldier's benefit.

A short-sighted military and foreign policy will not end the war on terror, it will prolong it. It will make volatile situations like Iraq and Israel more so. The time has come for our country to respond to the terrorists in a way that does not resemble a chickenhawk running around with its head cut off. It's time for our policy with Israel to acknowledge that they are part of the problem as well, and not simply give them free rein.

It's time to start thinking and stop spouting off the slogans and the buzzwords and start really thinking about this country needs and how we are going to get it. The time to lead by attitude and willpower alone is over.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at July 14, 2006 4:49 PM
Comments
Comment #167633

Isreal just wants to be left alone with what land they have. They don’t start the fights. The U. S. knows perfectly well that Isreal can handle itself. But when provoked they strike back with a vengence.

Posted by: KAP at July 14, 2006 7:23 PM
Comment #167643

KAP,

“But when provoked they strike back with a vengence.”

Apparently Israel doesnt know the meaning of “measured response”.

Israel’s trashing of Lebanon is like performing a delicate surgery with an axe.

Bush can only sit on the fence as one of the examples of “Democracy” in the Middle East becomes the playground of the local bullies.

This revenge bullshit will never end until the entire area is flattened and they are all dead.

An “eye for an eye” my ass.

Posted by: Rocky at July 14, 2006 7:50 PM
Comment #167648

—Stephen good to see you back. A good example of what you have been discussing not only today but for several weeks. For example, the congress voted to build a wall across parts of Mexico and today Congress rather the Senate voted against funding the building of the fence. Is that a flip flop or what.
Not building the wall may be a good thing anyway.
Your post today covers a lot of ground, this one will take two reads, good job.

Posted by: DAVID at July 14, 2006 7:57 PM
Comment #167651

After selling over 70% of the territory of Israel to jewish interests, then bitching to one and all because they didn’t own the land anymore, the palestians now have established an independent and sovereign government. Their first official action: to elect a terrorist governing body.

After years of calling for an Israeli pullout from Gaza, when Israel does just that, they start shelling Israel. Now that the Palestians are playing in the big leagues, they need to take the consequences for their actions. Nations are responsible for controlling what happens within their borders or their offended neighbors will.

Your comment about one Israeli response is offbase because Palestine must play by diffent rules than in the past when they were oppressed “freedom fighters”. Israel is entirely within her rights to respond strongly to attacks from Palestine, Syria and Lebannon.

If the Palestians don’t like being bombed they should stop committing acts of agreesion.

Posted by: goodkingned at July 14, 2006 7:59 PM
Comment #167655

GOODKINGNED
Well put.

Posted by: KAP at July 14, 2006 8:02 PM
Comment #167656

I thought Israel believed an “eye for an eye” but instead they kill dozens of civilians for the capture of two of their soldiers. I wrote on a post a couple of days ago the Israel would be doing themselves a big favor if they defended themselves with precise, measured responses. What they have done in Lebanon might have taken them to a all time low. They apparently do not want peace or security in any form for they have brought a new level of violence to the area. May God help the Middle East.

Posted by: mark at July 14, 2006 8:04 PM
Comment #167657

goodkingned—I believe Lebanon is the country being bombed.

Posted by: DAVID at July 14, 2006 8:05 PM
Comment #167662

goodkingned

What news reports are you watching or reading. Israel is right now bombing Lebanon killing mostly civilians who just elected(democratically) a new, moderate government.The lebanese government had nothing to do with any act of aggression, it was committed by Hezbollah. Israel is slitting its own throat and we are all going to pay for this one way or another. Now there is talk of Iran and Syria. Are you advocating all out war in the Middle East?

Posted by: mark at July 14, 2006 8:16 PM
Comment #167664

S.D., my first reaction to Israel’s actions in Lebanon yesterday, was that they must be trying to provoke a reaction now, especially from Iran, in order to force a confrontation before Iran goes nuclear, or before Bush leaves office.

Posted by: ohrealy at July 14, 2006 8:21 PM
Comment #167669

An “eye for an eye” my ass.
Posted by: Rocky at July 14, 2006 07:50 P

Isn’t it true Rocky, that an eye for an eye, just leaves everyone blind?

Stephen, excellent post, up to your usual standard.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at July 14, 2006 8:29 PM
Comment #167681

Paul,

Would it be the case, these morons on both sides couldn’t see each other to fight.

Somebody needs to step in there and start knocking some heads together.

Posted by: Rocky at July 14, 2006 8:54 PM
Comment #167687

Well Rocky, its US arms and money and diplomatic cover that permits Israel to continually drive the people into the arms of the extremists. If there were a just peace on the table, people are not fools. They would grab it, and it is not beyond the wit of mankind to find a solution that could be at least acceptable to reasonable people on both sides.

Does anyone believe that people in the Mid East are any different from the rest of us? Don’t we all want peace and the opportunity to build useful fulfilling lives for ourselves and our families? However, as long as Israel has a blank cheque from the US, and effectively a blind eye from the EU, the rapacious imperialists will continue to drive moderate Israeli to support security solutions that do not win security, but greater lebensraum.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at July 14, 2006 9:02 PM
Comment #167693

I guess according to Paul in Euroland, the US is the cause for all the problems in the world.
Well then maybe we should just cut all aid to everybody in the world, pull our troops out of everywhere, and when a earthquake hit and help is needed then the world can go to euroland and stop bugging us.
If I remember right the US fought in 2 wars in euroland to stop a country from trying to take over euroland for themselves, plus we had stationed troops in euroland to stop another country bent on taking over euroland.

Posted by: KT at July 14, 2006 9:15 PM
Comment #167699

This is why sane people do not fight wars, people die and sometimes it is women and children. Israel understands that, it would seem thier neighbors do not. I say bomb churches, schools, hospitals and anywhere the people live, this is for both sides, then they can see how dangerous their little disagreement. I truely believe that Israel understands that to survive in that area of the world, you must strike back ten fold as to what has been delivered to you, as long as we keep pussyfooting about in Iraq, the results will be the same.

Posted by: Michael M at July 14, 2006 9:22 PM
Comment #167701

Paul
As I said in the other post. Lebanon has hezballah in its government. Hezballah is firing missles into Isreal form Lebanon. Lebanon gets rid of Hezballah Isreal leaves Lebanon alone. Lebanon needs to send Hezballah back to Iran. Then Isreal will take care of our worries about Irans nuclear threat.
KT
Good post

Posted by: KAP at July 14, 2006 9:26 PM
Comment #167702

“We need to ditch this Islamofascism thing. I trust no label for our enemy that lumps Bin Laden in with the Saudi Royals he despises, or which does the same for Saddam and the Mullahs of Iran, or Hosni Mubharak and Ayman al-Zawahiri. It doesn’t distinguish between Sunni and Shia (even while they decidedly do), nor between Arab, Turk, or Persian. What use do we have for such muddled, vague category?”

They’re all Muslims. Islam is a violent, merciless, totalitarian ideology that includes genocide against the Jews as one of its core precepts. It is the self declared enemy of everyone who isn’t a Muslim. Islam has been spread by the sword since it was created by that psychopathic pedophile, Muhammad. The modern jihadists (terrorists) haven’t hijacked a peaceful religion and twisted its teachings. They are obeying the edicts of its founder and practicing it as he did. The fact that the different factions treat each other with such violence just demonstrates how utterly evil it is.
The only thing that those who preach violence understand is violence. Israel has acted with tremendous restraint for years. Its high time they took decisive action and punished those who harbor their enemies.

“Welcome to the world of the Bush Doctrine.”

How is Israel stomping on terrorists “Bush Doctrine”?

Posted by: traveller at July 14, 2006 9:26 PM
Comment #167706

What strikes me about this whole situation is how difficult it is to speak of a moral high ground. As I said in my initial posting, this whole situation is the result of two illegal actions: the war of aggression against Israel, and the occupation of formerly Palestinian lands thereafter.

I think if you want to make a conflict long lasting, you put two opponents against each other who think the same way. Israel’s original leaders used the same kind of unconventional tactics to make Israel a homeland for the Jews that the Palestinians now use to try and kick them out. Both consider their mission of utmost importance, both retaliate when the other attacks. They’ve got the hotheads in charge, because the hotheads can make their case one of survival.

Yet the reality is, they’d be suffering a lot less if cooler heads would prevail. We’d like to think people would get sick of this someday, but the awful truth is that war and conflict can be addictive, especially when it’s futile and ongoing. Vengeance piles on vengeance, the self-righteousness escalates, and each side wonders why the other doesn’t recognize their moral superiority- or maybe believes they do recognize it, but are too chickenshit and dishonest to admit it.

In short, it’s all a fucked-up mess, and unless people realize what a useless fucked-up mess it is, it’s only going to continue.

Folks outside of this warzone look at it in terms of their cultural dreams of a dominant Israel, an Israel free Middle East, or the supremacy of Syria and Iran in the region, but fail to see that each side is deadlocked, and short of some earth shattering change, nobody’s going to win.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 14, 2006 9:40 PM
Comment #167716

Traveller-
Israel, in particular Former PM Ariel Sharon, justified increasingly aggressive measures in the Palestinian territories in the name of the Bush doctrine.

As for Stomping Terrorists? All for it. But it’s a useless thing to do if you constantly inflict collateral damage, and keep the territories perpetual war zones. If you don’t hold the moral high ground with your actions, you can’t hold it well with your words. Holding the moral high ground is key to defeating the terrorists on a permanent basis. It’s what gets sympathy on our side rather than theirs, and makes it easier to enlist the cooperation of other nations in our ventures. Let there be no question about what Americas motives or intentions are raised by our actions.

The same applies to Israel, though years of ruthless defensive measures have made that more difficult. The trap laid for Israel is one that takes advantage of their earnest wish to defend themselves at all costs. Ultimately defending oneself at all costs is a strategy that ends up adding up costs one can’t or won’t pay. Moderation in the right amounts and places can make defense stronger and more sustainable.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 14, 2006 10:11 PM
Comment #167729

“Israel has assumed a hypersensitive, sometimes paranoid notion of defense, … “

Yes, why is Israel like that? With peace-loving countries like Switzerland and Luxembourg on their border why in the world … . .

Oh yeah, Israel has every reason under the sun to be paranoid. If we lost thousands of people in public busses and pizzarias we’d be “hyper-sensitive” too! Or at least I’d hope we would!!!

To equate Israel with the lawlessness and anti-civilization of Muslim extreme radicals is absurd. The Left has every opportunity to take back the House, the Senate, and the White House … but it’s equivocations like this article which will prevent any of those 3 from happening.

Posted by: Ken Strong at July 15, 2006 12:14 AM
Comment #167732

It’s not too often that I agree with Traveller, but in this case we think alike. I’m not going to address the Bush Doctrine thing because I think this whole problem existed way before that. At least 2000 years before that.
I’m of the opinion that Israel has tried practicing restraint, and it has not worked. They have been at the table for every peace conference, even when the other side would not attend. They have never failed to seek peaceful means to settle the disputes.
They have held back at the request of the US when Iraq was lambasting them with scuds. They’ve refrained from bombing the crap out of Palestine over and over again. They have used measured, proportional responses many times in the past.
What has it gotten them? More attacks and more confirmations that the islamic nations want to wipe Israel from the face of the earth.
I don’t care who fired the first shot (or threw the first stone). It’s all about what the involved parties are doing now to end it. From what I’ve seen, Israel has shown that they are willing to make concessions, as long as the other side is willing to back off. That has never happened.
So now, let them do what they have to do. If it means bombing civilian targets in Lebanon, Syria, Iran, and Palestine until their enemy is so disheartened that they no longer wish to fight, then so be it. Their enemies have not spared civilians. Let them reap what they sow.
The Germans bombed civilians in WWII, and the allies did the same to them in return. When the germans no longer had a will to fight, they lost. The same thing happened with the Japanese.
When the other side has shown you time and again that they will not negotiate, and that your civilian population is targeted, you have to do what is necessary to win at all costs. The alternative is to be destroyed.

I’m a Democrat who is sick and tired of the lying Islamic governments who kill rather than seek peace. Saddam was secular, and did not attack us. But the Islamic extremists did. It’s time for them to receive the repercussions from their actions. I say, let Israel do their thing. And if they need help, then we should help them. It’s a common enemy.

Posted by: Cole at July 15, 2006 12:42 AM
Comment #167754

Many good points, Stephen. Nixon chose to include Communist China into our world rather than shut them out and compound our cold war with the USSR. It was a brilliant move. Bush would have done well to have learned from that lesson of history with regard to the Middle East. By rejecting the Hamas democratically elected government, he excluded the Palestinians from our arena of influence. And now he has nothing with which to dialogue with them about.

Lebanon, a state which Bush became somewhat enamored with due to its (albeit weakly supported) democracy, pitted the Government against its Hezbellah dominated population, rather than encouraging the government to reach out to and include Hezbellah in its negotiations with Israel.

Many Bush defenders will say Bush was preoccupied with terrorism and the axis of evil, and there is only so much a President can handle at one time. But, the straight dope is, Bush ignored the Middle East because the Israeli - Arab conflicts there require NOT a cowboy man of six shooter action quick on the draw, but, an enlightened, sophisticated and highly educated person of nuance, diplomacy, and active mediation with the patience of Job.

That said, it is not rational to blame what is happening in the Middle East surrounding Israel on Bush. These conflicts have plagued every president since Kennedy, and resolution ultimately must come from the regional agents involved. One can say with evidence, that Bush is a man of limited talents. But, it is not rational to hold a stand off party responsible for a fight that is engaged in by other parties while one is looking another direction.

We may be a superpower, but we are not a nation of supermen and women. And it is a very dangerous postulation to assume that the U.S. must bear responsiblity and blame for everything that happens in the world. That is an invitation to a US dominated world, and frankly, the world is not ready to be dominated by the U.S., despite Bush administration efforts to the contrary.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 15, 2006 3:50 AM
Comment #167764

I guess according to Paul in Euroland, the US is the cause for all the problems in the world.
Well then maybe we should just cut all aid to everybody in the world, pull our troops out of everywhere, and when a earthquake hit and help is needed then the world can go to euroland and stop bugging us.
If I remember right the US fought in 2 wars in euroland to stop a country from trying to take over euroland for themselves, plus we had stationed troops in euroland to stop another country bent on taking over euroland.
Posted by: KT at July 14, 2006 09:15 PM

KT, you’re arguing things I never said. First off, I never said that the US is the cause of all the worlds problems. Nor did I deny that in many parts of the world, the US is doing wonderful things. I have several times on the blog expressed my awe at the sacrifice the US and its warriors made in defeating Nazism and later in keeping Western Europe safe from Stalinist communism and further, in providing massive aid for the reconstruction of Europe.

As an Irishman, with a great liking for the US and its people, who considers himself a friend of the US, I have to say that it is the responsibility of friends to speak truthfully as they see it to each other. And the fact is that US policy towards Israel has for too long been too one sided and too uncritical, particularly as a massive donor of both military and economic aid. The present Israeli attacks on Lebanon can only bring further extremism in both Lebanon and the wider Arab world, as the innocent are driven by despair and pain into the arms of the extremists. How this can serve either the interests of Israel or the US, I just cannot imagine. US policy particularly under the neo con administration of Bush is making things worse instead of better. Just because the US has been and still is in many ways a force for good in the world, does not give it a free pass on policies that oppress people. And in passing, this criticism is not simply directed at the US. Much the same could also be said of many other Western governments, who have sidled up cosily to dictators who will do their bidding, while oppressing their own people. The chickens eventually come home to roost, and you reap what you sow.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at July 15, 2006 7:03 AM
Comment #167765

How difficult is it to believe that the Islamists are NOT the third world boobs we wish they were? In most of his recent rants, Usama bin Laden has declared his goal is to bankrupt America and our allies. Does anyone disagree that so far things are going pretty well according to this plan? Now add the expense of the Israeli attrition. Does anyone beleive that the Israeli economy can support the expense of a drawn out middle east war? They never have before!!! All of Israel’s conflicts have been bought and paid for by Uncle Sucker. It’s time to say NO to Israel’s disproportional retribution. It’s time to say NO to ‘Stay the Course’ in Iraq. It’s time to say NO to Usama bin Laden… “You will NOT bankrupt us!”

Posted by: Thom Houts at July 15, 2006 7:19 AM
Comment #167794

Thom Houts:
You tell ‘em, Thom! “You will not bankrupt us because we will back down from you and do whatever you say whether you like it or not!”

Posted by: Neocon at July 15, 2006 12:00 PM
Comment #167829

Neocon,

That is one of the lamest opinions I have read here in quite a while.

IMHO, “staying the course” means just what it says, following a lame policy even if it isn’t working.
The opposite of “staying the course” isn’t necessarily pulling out.
How about we change what we’re doing because it isn’t working?

Posted by: Rocky at July 15, 2006 2:14 PM
Comment #167863

Rocky, we don’t have enough personnel to change tactics and make them effective. Rummies small lean surgical strike military machine for modern non-protracted warfare of the 21st century, remember? Only problem in Iraq is someone forgot to tell them to pull out after the strike that toppled Hussien’s regime. Now we are back into 20 century protracted warfare ill equipped by a so called small 21st century military.

And they said Clinton downsized the military. Now look at it. $40,000. sign up bonues and they still can’t meet the quotas.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 15, 2006 4:12 PM
Comment #167869

David,

I believe that this administrations version of “stay the course” is to begin a pullout when it is the most politically advantageous to do so. I look for a troop withdrawal sometime around late October, just before the elections, and they will claim that was the plan to begin with.

Thus, they can then claim they “stayed the course”, and blame the Democrats for obstruction if they object.

Posted by: Rocky at July 15, 2006 5:03 PM
Comment #167873

Thom,

We, as a Union, got our butt kicked the 1st couple years of the Civil War and WWII. You wanna know what we did? I’ll give ya a hint … we didn’t give up. We didn’t say “Aww, this is too gosh darn hard.”

In Korea we were nailed down to a small hunk of land in southern South Korea. You know what we did? We landed at Inchon right in the heart of the enemy.

We’re in a counter-insurgency in Iraq. Those are universally “hard” and they are always drawn out.

In the end, we could’ve saved trillions by not fighting any wars at all! Of course there’d still be slaves in the South and those slaves and slave owners would be speaking German while the Valley Girls in California would be saying “gag me with a fork” in Japanese.

Posted by: Ken Strong at July 15, 2006 5:52 PM
Comment #167874

David Remer,

The military has had re-sign bonuses for years. As a matter of fact the bonus increases haven’t even kept up with inflation for the most part … so they’re actually getting less.

USA Today just reported last week that the Army was exceeding all of their recruitment goals. Please review facts.

Posted by: Ken Strong at July 15, 2006 5:55 PM
Comment #167900

Ken Strong,

“USA Today just reported last week that the Army was exceeding all of their recruitment goals.”

From ABC News;

http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=2176450&page=1

“July 10, 2006 — What a difference a year makes. Despite predictions by some commentators that last year’s recruiting shortfall would be repeated this year as the violence continues in Iraq, the Army is on track to meet its annual goal of 80,000 new recruits.
The Army isn’t alone: All the active-duty military services are on pace to meet or exceed their annual recruiting goals.
Pentagon officials attribute the turnaround this year to the presence of more recruiters and more financial incentives. An additional reason for the Army’s success so far has been the lowering of monthly goals for most of the recruiting year and the significant increase in the monthly goals for the summer months, which have historically proven to be the most successful recruiting period.”

The “facts” are that the military had lowered it’s goals and put in higher monetary incentives.

Posted by: Rocky at July 15, 2006 9:02 PM
Comment #167904

Mr.Strong: There is no parallel between ww2 and the Iraq war. We are the agressor state. Iraq did not attack us. That puts us in the historical company of Japan in Manchuria and the Philipines,and germany in Europe. That is if you still seek ww2 comparisons.
If your point is that success can take time,granted. Protracted military victory is a contradiction in terms. Failure can also take time.The question becomes is the possibility of success worth the risk? Is there a possibility of success? There is no Inchon. There is no McArthur

Posted by: BillS at July 15, 2006 9:14 PM
Comment #167918

BillS, I have to agree with you on the Iraq war. As far as winning one on a protracted military victory, look at Nam, a country where we had a military present for 25yrs. Sure didn’t win that one.

Posted by: KT at July 15, 2006 10:31 PM
Comment #167959

KT: Sad thing to agree on. The question that perplexes me about Vietnam is,What if we had won? Vietnam would be a poor Southeast Asian country. Nike would make shoes there. We lost and Vietnam is a poor Southeast Asian country.Nike makes shoes there.What a waste.


“Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war.”

Posted by: BillS at July 16, 2006 2:06 AM
Comment #167967

Ken Strong, the military uses sign up bonuses as needed. Many years they were paltry sums. The Iraq war had generated hundreds of percent increases. The cost of getting recruits is a graph that shoots skyward in comparison to previous years dating back to the end of the Viet Nam War when there were no sign up bonues at all for many pay grades or new recruits. We had too many in the service after Viet Nam and were downsizing.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 16, 2006 4:16 AM
Comment #167968

Rocky, I agree that is possible and maybe even likely. The Generals, contrary to Bush’s insistence, are not making all the decisions about Iraq. Rummie has made an enormous number of decisions, some of them contradicting advice of our Generals on the ground.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 16, 2006 4:20 AM
Comment #167980

The problem is Israel is a racist-aphartied state, Palestinians are confined to bantustans, of 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza 80% were forced into it when Israel was craeted and they are not allowed to go anywhere, not even the west bank, the west bank has similar bantustans..the racist wall israel is building is actually just more aphartied..you Americans critisize the Palestinians even though you would never accept such an arrangement for yourselves, you are murdering and oppresing the Iraqis as well.. Both Syria & Lebanon have said they will normalize relations and disarm all militant groups if Israel withdraws to the legal 1967 borders..no settlement blocks, no east jerusalem, Israel must accept the legal borders, no Palestinian refugees to Israel, only a ‘just solution’ to the refugee problem, Israel can have this deal anytime, the Arab league has stated that repeatedly, why do they not accept the legal borders?

Posted by: Sam at July 16, 2006 9:01 AM
Comment #167994

Ken Strong-
Three years after Pearl Harbor, the tide had turned in our favor in WWII. Normandy was invaded, and we were on Germany’s doorstep if not across the threshold. Three years after the Beginning of the Civil War, we were done with Gettysburg and the war was turned in our favor.

Our wars have followed a more timely course than you would assume is normal. Truth is, this war should have been over the minute we hit Baghdad. That it has dragged on this long testifies to the war’s mismanagement. Unfortunately, your side has used the model of the Vietnam as your model for how the facts should be managed. Thing is, that’s what lost the war: the People at home didn’t understand how badly things were getting screwed up when we had the chance to improve them.

I can only hope we’re not too late to remedy our screwups here. Your side’s stubbornness, though, is making that remedy much harder.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 16, 2006 9:53 AM
Comment #168016

Stephen,

Excellent article as usual.

ohrealy,

Good Point,

You wrote:

they must be trying to provoke a reaction now, especially from Iran, in order to force a confrontation before Iran goes nuclear, or before Bush leaves office.

My analysis has been, and bears repeating:

North Korea’s nuclear program was contained prior to Bush. Declaring a policy gun sliggin “Preemption” - then naming the countries you plan to attack - then starting to check them off the list - one by one - then practicing “Diplomacy” with the ones that actually do have WMD - then spreading “Democracy” to an Iranian sympathetic and influenced majority in Iraq - then spreading Democracy to an Iranian sympathetic and influenced terrorist organization (Hezbollah) in Lebanon, then spreading “Democracy” an Iranian influenced terrorist organization in the West Bank and Gaza (HAMAS) - then bogging the most powerful military in the world down in a quagmire and civil war - then threatening preemptive nuclear war against Iran - then confronting Iran from a position of self imposed weakness - might be a lot like putting ourselves in the position of being a hungry cat in a cage with five birds (something my father apparently did when he was a kid) - the cat is not smart enough to kill one and move on to the next - it gets one in its mouth and one under each paw and then constantly lets one go in order to try and catch another. Under the above listed circumstances, are you surprised that Iran is encouraging and supporting civil war in Iraq - encouraging and supporting HAMAS to escalate - encouraging and supporting Hezbollah to attack Israel? That is where this President has led us.

So, I lay the blame for this squarely at the feet of George W. Failure’s Regime… But you have a good point: Israel may want to provoke a regional war for their own purpose, and they may want to do it while they have a dry drunk gun sligger in the White House, so that they can draw us into it. We also know that George W. Failure likes to lie and “fix intelligence” around his decision to go to war. Perhaps he is “in” on this plan. Perhaps this is his way of getting his war with Iran - by proxy. Maybe the joint U.S. Israeli operation is called “Cut the Pig” - Arabs have “issues” with pigs don’t they? Perhaps that is why he had that smirk on his face and made jokes about cutting the pig when he was questioned about this situation in Germany. This is probably just a paranoid delusion. Sounds reasonable. Could be true. Probably isn’t. But, with this JACKASS running the world, the actual truth is probably worse…


Posted by: Ray Guest at July 16, 2006 12:00 PM
Comment #168072

David,
You wrote:

That said, it is not rational to blame what is happening in the Middle East surrounding Israel on Bush. These conflicts have plagued every president since Kennedy, and resolution ultimately must come from the regional agents involved. One can say with evidence, that Bush is a man of limited talents. But, it is not rational to hold a stand off party responsible for a fight that is engaged in by other parties while one is looking another direction.

I sort of disagree with you here. You are so kind when you say that “Bush is a man of limited talents” and yes, these are ancient religious tribal conflicts, and yes, no President has untied the knot, and probably none ever will… But this is directly traceable to Bush’s failed foreign policy - and or - this may be his foreign policy. Certainly Israel is not acting without a wink and a nod from the U.S.


Ken Strong

You wrote:

David Remer,

:

The military has had re-sign bonuses for years. As a matter of fact the bonus increases haven’t even kept up with inflation for the most part… so they’re actually getting less.:

:

USA Today just reported last week that the Army was exceeding all of their recruitment goals. Please review facts.

Well, with huge bonuses (for special forces) and most importantly with lowered standards and still some of their goals have not been met - especially for special forces. Of course, part of the problem here, is the military / industrial complex. It no longer just involves industry. It now also involves a mercenary industry of private security contractors. George W. Failure obviously chose to use mercenaries in Iraq for a number of reasons: Different rules of engagement - No flag draped coffins - One more way to loot the treasury in favor of the rich and powerful - probably others. So, they privatised the war effort. It was just good business all around… Forget the fact that you have an ever larger industry whose survival and profits are tied to a perpetual state of war. It is much bigger than General Motors. Forget that naive old fashioned idea that what is good for GM is good for the country. Now - what is good for the mercenary private security industry is good for the country. People got to make a livin. But the invisible hand of the market place (the market place for professional mercenary killers that is) is working against recruitment goals for the special forces. Who wants to be an elite soldier fighting for your country when you can make five times as much as mercenary fighting for the highest bidder? Some patriots, but only the patriots. I would take the money. So, as a result of privatising the war, in order to maintain a state controlled military, they have to raise bonuses and compensation in order to compete with the private market. That is where this President has led us.

Posted by: Ray Guest at July 16, 2006 3:58 PM
Comment #168098

Ray Guest: Very perceptive.Thanks
So we are in a bidding war with ourselves? Great,just great.

Posted by: BillS at July 16, 2006 8:45 PM
Comment #168183

Not to mention that we are now seeing some mentally defective recruits harm our international PR with rape and murder of civilians in Iraq. The minute our Gov’t. decided signup bonuses were the answer to failing recruitment quotas, they started getting profiteers and defectives as recruits instead of patriots, in growing numbers of cases.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 17, 2006 9:11 AM
Comment #168207

Thet are also recruiting white supremacists in greater numbers. Imagine what that does for the morale of black troops pinned down in a ditch - counting on their white buddy - and not knowing if he is a racist.

Posted by: Ray Guest at July 17, 2006 11:32 AM
Comment #168209

Rocky,

An “eye for an eye” my ass.

Actually it’s more “Twenty eyes, from whoever, for an eye” *measured response*. But who care. Better look the other way (or count the ammo sales dollars) meanwhile…

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at July 17, 2006 11:51 AM
Comment #168210

Phillipe,

Actually, it’s more like a leg for an eye.

Posted by: Rocky at July 17, 2006 11:53 AM
Comment #168211

goodkingned

If the Palestians don’t like being bombed they should stop committing acts of agreesion.

Just change one word and you’ll get the other side position. Guess which one (the word, not the side)?

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at July 17, 2006 11:54 AM
Comment #168213

KT,

If I remember right the US fought in 2 wars in euroland to stop a country from trying to take over euroland for themselves

If I remember right the french helped the US to become, well, the US…
But feel free to require europeans being your vassals forever. We may disagree, thought.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at July 17, 2006 12:06 PM
Comment #168216

Ken Strong,

Israel has every reason under the sun to be paranoid. If we lost thousands of people in public busses and pizzarias we’d be “hyper-sensitive” too! Or at least I’d hope we would!!!

Here the major difference about War On Terror between pro and anti-Bush Doctrine: I’d hope we would NOT. When it come to terrorism, becoming hyper-sensitive is LOSING, not winning.

Ignoring terrorists is the worst thing that could happened to them. Sure, it’s not enough and one should make whatever he can to stop terrorist attacks as soon as possible.

Ask Londonian. They still take subway and busses everyday. And they remember well but know, since WWII, that the best way to win against terror is to show terrorists that theirs attacks wont change british way of life *ever*…

To equate Israel with the lawlessness and anti-civilization of Muslim extreme radicals is absurd. The Left has every opportunity to take back the House, the Senate, and the White House … but it’s equivocations like this article which will prevent any of those 3 from happening.
Posted by: Ken Strong a

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at July 17, 2006 12:16 PM
Comment #168217

Sorry, that last paragraph was an mistaken copy-paste. Ignore it, please.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at July 17, 2006 12:18 PM
Comment #168256

Ray Guest, did you see this today
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert :

“We are not looking for war or direct conflict, but if necessary we will not be frightened by it…”
Militant groups in Lebanon and Gaza were “sub-contractors working under the auspices, with the encouragement, of governments that support terrorism and are against peace in the axis of evil that continues from Teheran to Damascus”.

from

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5188420.stm

Posted by: orhealy at July 17, 2006 2:25 PM
Comment #169673

Stephen/Ray Guest and others:

Is there ANYTHING you don’t lay “…directly at the feet of George W…”? I think you would blame him for the fall of Adam in the Garden of Eden (if you believed in God and Adam that is). You guys just look for ways to make everything that is wrong in the world his fault. For crying out loud guys…he has only been in office for 7+ years. You lay absolutely no blame on Clinton for any of this…do you honestly believe that all these problems (Iraq, Iran, Israel and the Hezbollah etcetc) only cropped up in the last 7 years? Many of these situations have been brewing since Clinton and even before…what did Bill C do about any of this? Or for that matter, what has any Congress in the last 20 years done to help any of this? Presidents (George and Bill and all the rest) don’t operate in a vacuum.

Get real guys.

DaveR

Posted by: DaveR at July 22, 2006 3:22 AM
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