Democrats & Liberals Archives

Turning the Corner, or Going Around In Circles?

You’ve known me long enough. You know my answer. But let me tell you what backs that answer. Three or four months ago, Bush told Americans that “success on the ground” would allow American soliders to leave. But is that so? Despite that claim, and in the light of recent successes in reducing violence, Bush is nonetheless telling us that he’ll be halting, perhaps even reversing troop cuts. Does success allow us to leave or keep us from going?

I know these things are complex, but not always evenly so. Sometimes the world really does boil down to simple truths. Even a McCain Supporting military analyst will tell you that. The Bush policy is not a sustainable policy. It's become massively unpopular with members of the American military, and soldiers are more or less voting with their feet. We're having to accept criminals, dropouts and other subpar candidates into our military just to keep current levels up, and a number of people are saying that this will result in more washouts, more troops ending up in prison, and of course, more discipline problems. The MP battalions are already being bulked up to handle this.

But of course, the Surge is a success, right? Or maybe it's just upstaging the real cause of the drop in violence, and in reality it's another in a long line of dismal failures

Yes, I know "Dismal Failure" is a loaded phrase, but the ammunition for it is the fact that fifteen out of eighteen goals failed by the Bush Administration's own standards. At least, until they changed those standards after the fact. Still, why not hold them to their original goals, rather than following their pursuit of "success", which is always defined as getting the ball somewhere in the direction of the previously moved goalposts, before moving them again to facilitate the next shot.

And what was the original position of the Goalposts? Protecting America from al-Qaeda, right? As Andrew Bacevich says in a recent editorial:

In reality, the war's effects are precisely the inverse of those that Bush and his lieutenants expected. Baghdad has become a strategic cul-de-sac. Only the truly blinkered will imagine at this late date that Iraq has shown the United States to be the "stronger horse." In fact, the war has revealed the very real limits of U.S. power. And for good measure, it has boosted anti-Americanism to record levels, recruited untold numbers of new jihadists, enhanced the standing of adversaries such as Iran and diverted resources and attention from Afghanistan, a theater of war far more directly relevant to the threat posed by al-Qaeda. Instead of draining the jihadist swamp, the Iraq war is continuously replenishing it.

I have never opposed the Iraq War on grounds of pacificism, or inherent defeatism. I backed policy alternatives nearer to the beginning of the war, when I thought it winnable, that I believed would lead to victory. Ironically enough, many of these ideas were adopted by the Bush White House after they got trounced in the elections, but unfortunately, the same thing that helped them get trounced also made these measures too little, too late to truly win the war.

I'm no stranger to being stubbornly focused on victory. Stubborn wilpower, though, doesn't win wars. We were stubbornly engaged in Vietnam for over a decade, and it helped us very little, because we could not do what it took to win. We could not and would not wage total war on the North. We'd bomb the hell out of them, but we would not invade with military forces to take and hold the territory and put an end to the war that way. We did not, early on, invest our time and effort with effectively bringing the Vietnamese people to our side. We instead sided with a weak, despised, corrupt government that could not match the other side's charismatic leaders and politics, and counted on our firepower and their feckless forces to win the day. That didn't work, so we stuck our neck further into the war, escalating our presence to high levels, but that could only ensure we didn't lose any pitched battles (we didn't, we always won) They instead used insurgent tactics.

Now some on this site might say that when they finally won the war, the North Vietnamese used conventional forces. Well, I'd say, of course. They weren't overmatched at that point. The insurgent or guerilla's point is not to win the war, it's to not lose in a way that makes it difficult, if not impossible for the other side to win.

Guerilla Warfare is meant to be strategically disruptive more than physically disruptive to forces. Their aim is not to take territory permanently or to destroy your army through attrition. Their aim is to make your war effort unsustainable. They attack supply lines, disrupt communications or make them worthless, and they do their absolute best to galvanize resistance against you. They do their best to disrupt activities that are meant to help endear you to the public, or make permanent your presence or the presence of your political manipulation in the land. If I were to sum it up, what Guerillas do is force you to fight the war that would otherwise be yours to win on unfavorable and self-destructive terms.

Dare I say it? Mission Accomplished. They did win. They fragmented Iraq like so much pottery and by many Republicans after the fact admission, they failed to prevent it. The question is now, what can we do? The Republican solution is a permanent presence in Iraq. To do what? To prop up a government we let become too weak to support itself? To build up and arm belligerent factions even as they refuse to make the basic compromises necessary to make peace? This is a recipe for Iraq holding American foreign policy hostage for the next generation, our military forced to fight a long-term war with no end in sight. Meanwhile, thanks to Bush policy, our military has little reserve left in it to respond to emergencies. And, of course, Republicans are expecting Americans to hold fast for an entire generation to a war they do not like, cannot see succeeding, and want over as fast as possible.

Was this a defeat out of the blue? Not at all. They were told in advance of just about every problem that they ignored and let fester, and yet these hawks, these people who had the strongest will to win, just maintained their denial, and dismissed warnings as their political rivals trying to hold them back. Ironically enough, the war's supporters did a lot of the dirty work for Iraqi insurgents, making sure they had plenty of naive policies, military heavy-handedness, low manpower, corruption, mismanagement, and political cowardice to take advantage of. The Bush Administration handed America this defeat, and America doesn't want to spend the next generation fighting this war as well as paying for it.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at January 31, 2008 8:47 AM
Comments
Comment #244319

Stephen,
This time, the Opinion Research Bureau weighs in:

http://www.reuters.com/article/newsMaps/idUSL3048857920080130?sp=true

The Iraq conflict has killed over one million Iraqis.

Given the violence, chaos, and slaughter unleashed by the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, it is impossible to use terms like “victory.” What an utter disgrace.

Bush just issued another signing statement. The US military bases are permanent. So much for “liberation.” The appropriate word is “conquest.” The width and breadth of America’s shame keeps spreading.

Posted by: phx8 at January 31, 2008 11:51 AM
Comment #244320

A better word may be imperialism. I doubt it will be tolerated.
Also, The US refuses to understand theocracy as we “force” democracy on region that is volitale and unstable.

Posted by: Joe D. at January 31, 2008 11:58 AM
Comment #244328

SD
Defeat? Hardly.It was and is a victory. Not for the American people or even the Iraqis, but a great victory none the less. What is on the agenda now is the consolidation of that victory by establishing a prolonged US military precence in Irag to oversee the puppet regime and control the native troops,exactly like the British did in India and elsewhere including Iraq, to allow US Corporations to strip natural resourse and provide a platform for furthur expansion.The original goals are being met dispite complications.It is pretty much unstoppable at this point and can only be addressed long term by a major political shift and frank discussion of US imperialism’s pros and cons.Instead we get denile of imperialisms existance in spit of all the evidence .Not a good place for a discussion of public policy to begin.

Posted by: BillS at January 31, 2008 1:38 PM
Comment #244333

As I have written before, if our presence reduces violence, how can leaving EVER be justified? We had to stay to stem the violence. Now Bush will say we can’t leave because the violence has abated and leaving would perhaps increase the violence again.

With Bush, there is, and never has been, an exit strategy from Iraq. Because the whole point of occupying Iraq and setting up House there was to become permanent hegemonic cops in the oil fields of the Middle East.

That is now so obvious, yet, about 1/3 of Americans don’t see it. But, then I have heard that 1/3 of Americans believe we have alien ships visiting our planet on a regular basis.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 31, 2008 2:20 PM
Comment #244336

BillS,
Good point. The question of “victory” depends on the point of view. As David points out in the previous comment, there are a small number of very rich, very powerful people in the United States who have an agenda completely different from the vast majority of Americans. This small group still manages to dupe about 1/3 of the population into believing all kinds of silly things, and so they retain enough support to continue to an imperialist policy. This small group keeps US troops in Iraq in order to control Iraqi oil for the United States, which, coincidentally, results in them enriching themselves.

Posted by: phx8 at January 31, 2008 2:31 PM
Comment #244340

Sure, interpretation is in the mind of the interpretor. I’m sure that those on the payrolls of Blackwater and Haliburton are finding all things happening, and to come…just peachy keen.
The rest of us only get to sit back and comfort our friends, family and neighbors as the body count continues to climb, in spite of the waning news of such.
I’m on the short end of the life span, and I’m certain that I’ll not live to see US military personnel out of Iraq!!!
I am pretty certain, that we are all going to see political suicide within the new administration….can’t see where there will be any way to continue combat activity without implementing a draft. S**t for brains has calculated impeccably that he will be clear of that act. Which reminds me, we may all want to give a really good look at all of the candidates, because they’re surely all mental cases to want to step into the job !!

Posted by: Jane Doe at January 31, 2008 2:56 PM
Comment #244347

BillS-
It’s no more a victory in those terms than Vietnam was. There’s no real public support for maintaining this war, as there was pre-1968 with Vietnam. Corruption and gimmees to Bush-Friendly contractors is an ugly side to this war, but ultimately, they’re not going to fare any better than anybody else in this mess.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 31, 2008 3:49 PM
Comment #244352

phx8, very good comments. I agree.

Stephen:

Corruption and gimmees to Bush-Friendly contractors is an ugly side to this war, but ultimately, they’re not going to fare any better than anybody else in this mess.

Perhaps in the long term you are correct, but BillS’s point is still a very valid one. When it comes to the recession we’re currently falling into*, those people who have so extravagantly benefited from all of Bush’s “corruption and gimmees” probably aren’t going to be feeling much of an economic pinch for many years to come.

*The current state of our economy seems dire enough at this point not to wait the full six months to attach the recession label.

Posted by: veritas vincit at January 31, 2008 4:51 PM
Comment #244355
It is pretty much unstoppable at this point and can only be addressed long term by a major political shift and frank discussion of US imperialism’s pros and cons.Instead we get denile of imperialisms existance in spite of all the evidence .Not a good place for a discussion of public policy to begin. Posted by: BillS at January 31, 2008 01:38 PM
As David points out in the previous comment, there are a small number of very rich, very powerful people in the United States who have an agenda completely different from the vast majority of Americans. Posted by: phx8 at January 31, 2008 02:31 PM
Sure, interpretation is in the mind of the interpretor. Posted by: Jane Doe at January 31, 2008 02:56 PM
When stuck with lemons, make lemonade. Posted by: Unknown at Unknown
Which reminds me, we may all want to give a really good look at all of the candidates, because they’re surely all mental cases to want to step into the job !! Posted by: Jane Doe at January 31, 2008 02:56 PM

There won’t be any help there, Jane Doe. There was no help from the Democratic Congress when they were elected. They lied to get the majority and then maintained the statis quo.
So, we have one option. Make lemonade. I don’t see how bemoaning the past is going to get us some lemonade.
I’m at a loss other than to say we must think positive. We can’t be afraid to present individual ideas for improvement into the discussion. Sure, they would be met with criticism, I know! But every blind squirrel will find a nut sometime.

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 31, 2008 5:06 PM
Comment #244358

HEY VV! I TINK IT’S TIME TO TEEL A PICANIC BASKET!

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 31, 2008 6:38 PM
Comment #244361

Weary Willie,

Could you please translate “TEEL” for me? I get everything but that particular word, and yet it seems essential to whatever point you’re trying to make.
Also, why are you SHOUTING?

Posted by: veritas vincit at January 31, 2008 7:11 PM
Comment #244364

If I said I thought it was time to steal a picknic basket I would be guilty of consperasy and I would be labeled a terrorist and I would be sent to a foriegn country where I would languish forever in a dark and dismall and smelly and dank and humid place where I would gather all sorts of parasites until I perished and was no more.


What’s up with you?

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 31, 2008 7:24 PM
Comment #244366

Why didn’t you question:

TINK

?

Think about it.

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 31, 2008 7:42 PM
Comment #244368

Weary Willie-
I’m all for making lemons into lemonade, when it’s practical.

But what’s our situation? Our Army’s been essentially rendered unable to fight any other war, even in an emergency, for the next five years. Bin Laden’s sitting in Pakistan sipping pina coladas, enjoying the show. Afghanistan is getting worse, and Iraq’s making it difficult to make it better, which is why I long ago suggested letting Iraq go in order to focus on Afghanistan. Why keep trying to step on the Snake’s tail when you can stomp your heel on their head or neck?

I don’t recommend just dropping Iraq, anymore than I’d recommend letting Afghanistan drop. We need to make two things clear: we’re going and it isn’t in the interests of the surrounding countries to let things go to hell in their own backyard. They get us, out of their hair, for the price of leaving us with less reason to remain there.

This war is bleeding the military dry, and the worst part about it is, policy, and not some enemy did this to us. The warning signs of insufficient manpower have been there since the war’s beginning. It’s a sickening irony for me that they only try bulking things up after they’ve devastated our ability to sustain it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 31, 2008 7:49 PM
Comment #244369

Weary Willie:

If I said I thought it was time to steal a picknic basket I would be guilty of consperasy and I would be labeled a terrorist and I would be sent to a foriegn country where I would languish forever in a dark and dismall and smelly and dank and humid place where I would gather all sorts of parasites until I perished and was no more.

Um, okay?
And this has something to do with what I wrote how, exactly?

What’s up with you?

Oh, not too much. Just listening to Beck’s Odelay, and trying to make heads or tails of some very cryptic meanderings.

Why didn’t you question:

TINK

?

Because as I previously mentioned, I had grokked everything but “TEEL.”

Posted by: veritas vincit at January 31, 2008 7:58 PM
Comment #244370

I had grokked everything but “TEEL.”
Is that Clingon?

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 31, 2008 8:08 PM
Comment #244372

Jane Doe, I do not know why anyone would want to walk into the Bush mess, but the Clintons did it before, and were successful enough to ensure the eternal hatred of those who profit from the messes Bushes make. We are well on our way to becoming the focus of evil in the modern world in the 21st century.

S.D., shame on you for criminals, dropouts and other sub par individuals.

Biden’s plan was probably the best, but I say support Kurdistan and let the others screw eachother for Allah’s sake.

I bought a warm hat on the way to Hawthorne Park one day, inside it says 100% acrylic, made in Vietnam, the first time I ever saw that.

Posted by: ohrealy at January 31, 2008 8:27 PM
Comment #244374

“Is that Clingon?”

Nope. Vintage Hippie. It means: understand.
Personally, I was much too young to have used it originally, but I’m doing my best to bring it back.

Posted by: veritas vincit at January 31, 2008 8:39 PM
Comment #244376

Nurce good body. Can I have another shot?

I’m trying to see why we need to have a federal government when it isn’t necessary.

I’m resigning to the fact that everyone thinks the federal government is first.

Se la ve.

is that french? May be. It could be any language if we don’t get our shit together.

Posted by: Weary Willie at January 31, 2008 8:48 PM
Comment #244380

Ohrealy-
I said subpar candidates. We used to require people to make it through at least high school, to not have a felony on their record, to be of sound mental and physical condition.

The lowering of standards to keep up appearances is a valid issue, not some value judgment on these people’s characters.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 31, 2008 9:25 PM
Comment #244383

Oh, and Grok is not Klingon, it’s Martian, from Robert Heinlein’s novel Stranger in Stranger Land. You’d like him. He’s very much the Libertarian.

And it’s not se la ve, it’s C’est La Vie.

As for having a Federal Government? Look, We’re not the Confederacy of American states for a good reason: weak central governments make for contentious, difficult to resolve differences between the states. The Federal Government’s basic function is to resolve those differences, as laid out in the Constitution. It gives America consistent laws, a consistent trade policy, and a nation that enjoys the benefits of integration to go along with the benefits of freedom.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 31, 2008 9:33 PM
Comment #244387

Apparently, the spam comments control that was on earlier in the day is off now.

S.D., I do not know how individuals got in there instead of candidates. What do you specifically mean by sub-par, other than criminal or dropout? Do you mean, people that we should throw away or lock away, or deny any opportunity for advancement? I am opposed to all of those, and many of the people we had in the first place were no bargain either.

Did you ever see the video of our guys offering a bottle of water to an Iraqi kid if he would run after their Humvee, getting him to run for blocks, and then when they drop the bottle of water, some other locals run in and take it. It was all over Youtube last year, and there are some similar clips there now. It’s a pretty good metaphor of what we are doing in Iraq.

The only problem I would see would be the age of the recruits, older is better than younger.

Favorite Heinlein, the Moon is a Harsh Mistress, 1966, after Dune, but I believe before Clarkes 2001. Frank Herbert tried to get the writers together to sue George Lucas after Star Wars, but they thought it helped the sale of their works, and made them more respectable. In the late 60s, SciFi was on a par with pornography, literally. The writers got together at the Science Fiction and Pornography Convention.

Posted by: ohrealy at January 31, 2008 10:09 PM
Comment #244389

ohrealy-
Sub-par. Below standards. I wouldn’t be so quick to judge most of the people that got sent there, but I’d say that in their desperation to avoid admitting to the problem they’re causing, they’re going to put people into Iraq who are clearly unfit for the rigors and requirements of that duty.

It’s not necessarily egalitarian to talk this way, but I feel that merit can and should be the defining quality of those who enter and gain advancement in the military. We have all too much experience of what happens when it’s just politics that decides.

We need a military policy that deals with sensible necessities rather than trying to fulfill ideological wishlists.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 31, 2008 11:05 PM
Comment #244391

Stephen:

Oh, and Grok is not Klingon, it’s Martian, from Robert Heinlein’s novel Stranger in Stranger Land.

You’re right, of course. I haven’t read that book since I was a kid. I’d completely forgotten that “grok” was coined by Heinlein. (Although it was heavily used among the Hippies.)

He’s very much the Libertarian.

Probably why I never really liked him much. My all time favorites are Lovecraft, Asimov and Harlan Ellison - in that order.

Uh, sorry to go so off topic.

Posted by: veritas vincit at January 31, 2008 11:33 PM
Comment #244392

S.D., It seems odd, since you were advocating a return to the draft last year, and I was arguing something like what you are saying now.

I looked over those clips on Youtube, and I remembered where I first saw it. It was on a Myspace page of a local 20 year old who was killed about a year ago, William Newgard. He joined up in hopes of working for Blackwater later. His mother worked for a school near my mother’s house, and he had just been there talking to the kids a few weeks before. His death had a really big impact here.

Bryan Anderson, another local, was featured on that HBO Alive Day documentary, which should be required viewing for everyone. There was an article about him in Esquire, which was pretty good, http://www.esquire.com/features/what-ive-learned/ESQ0107bryananderson .

Tammy Duckworth ran for Congress in the district I lived in before the last reapportionment. All real people, not recruits, candidates, or statistics.

The Vietnam comparison for me comes in because the parents of the candidates, who might be considered more desirable, have weighed in and said that this war is a losing proposition, like Vietnam, that will go on for many years, to an end that could have been reached years ago.

Posted by: ohrealy at February 1, 2008 12:00 AM
Comment #244407

S.D. said: “We need a military policy that deals with sensible necessities rather than trying to fulfill ideological wishlists.”

And one which does not promote escalating suicides amongst its ranks. Did you catch 2007’s figures?

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 1, 2008 6:12 AM
Comment #244408

WW said: “I’m trying to see why we need to have a federal government when it isn’t necessary.”

Open your eyes upon a document entitled The Constitution of the United States. You will see, then, hopefully. Then again, you might be a Ron Paul supporter, in which case, save yourself the time. Ron Paul sure has.

He is as absentee a constitutional scholar as he is an absentee medical doctor. Why did he leave medicine for government, anyway? Any of his supporters ever ask? Surely not. Why risk toppling the pedestal, eh?

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 1, 2008 6:14 AM
Comment #244410

ohrealy-
A draft and high standards are not mutually exclusive. What lead the draft to be such a problem in this regard, though, is pretty much the same thing that lead recruiting to be a problem in today’s war: the war itself has proved so unpopular, become so loathed by both its participants and recruits back home that they’re having trouble retaining troops.

Many supporters of the troops blame the negative news in the coverage of the war, but at some point, you have to ask the question: would that news be there if people were doing their jobs. Here, they would generalize again, presupposing that all wars have their problems and that these are just those kinds.

The cause for the problems in this war, however, can often be traced back to the policies we started the war off with, the bad information and bad assumptions which lead us to commit many mistakes, and fail to nip others in the bud. So, the mismanagement of the war has fed back into morale. When you do that, people often reason that joining up (or allowing yourself to be conscripted) would be unwise. This limits your selection. However, if you got levels to maintain, you can’t be so choosy anymore.

Of course, that starts its own feedback, as you bring in more folks with psychological problems, criminal tendencies, and diminished capacity, both physical and mental. Some people might like to see soldiers as just dumb killers, or cannon fodder, but the truth is, soldiers need to be better than that.

I wouldn’t be celebrating too enthusiastically if Bush brought back the draft, to be honest, but it worries me to see our military stretched so thin. It’s putting us in a position where we might have to drop a number of the balls we’re juggling with our military in order to deal with an emergency. For the sake of avoiding a political problem with the draft or increased recruiting earlier, Bush may have doomed us to a draft in our next war.

I had a bad feeling about Bush’s policy the moment we were unable to put a stop to the looting after we took Baghdad. What’s happening now wasn’t inevitable then, but I felt at that point that it was an issue that needed taking care of. Almost Five years later, this is the situation we are in, and I’d have to say, this is the reason I am a Watchblog writer and a fierce critic of Bush.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 1, 2008 9:11 AM
Comment #244416

SD
“It’s no more a victory in those terms than Vietnam was”

Too the contrary. Unless our troops and the native troops we are trainning and supporting are completely routed,US based oil trust will recieve sweetheart deals on Iraqi oil resources into pertpetuity,and as importantly, China will be largely kept out.
With our huge embassy and bases in the region and the most likely winner of the next presidency willing to keep troops there for “a hundred years”,our” victory “is likely to be consolidated.
Public opinion cannot be allowed to matter. Huge financial cost cannot be allowed to matter.More Dead GIs cannot be allowed to matter. THAT is why imperialism is so dangerious to democracy. An Empire demands an emperor. This has been true from Ceaser,Napoleon,Victoria. Even the Brits,who managed to maintain at least some semblence of democracy suffered from great homeland poverty,constant warfare,societal stratification of such intensity it is hard for Americans to concieve of.

Posted by: BIllS at February 1, 2008 12:20 PM
Comment #244417

BillS-
Oil interests can talk about getting oil from there, but how long will they last there without the American Army to protect them? As it is, the oil profits from Iraq are nowhere near what they’re supposed to be, thanks to the constant insurgent attacks on them.

I doubt McCain gets the White House. These folks do not have enthusiasm on their side. We regularly bring far greater numbers to the table in turnout than they do. That promise to keep American in Iraq for a century more if that’s what it takes is not going to sit well with roughly two thirds of the country.

I get the gist of what you’re trying to say, but do not agree with the sense of historical inevitability. It’s been just eight years, and the attempts at imperialism have essentially broken the party that pushed them the hardest. The popular sentiments of Americans, six years after 9/11, have rebounded sharply from the crisis mode we were in. Democracy is dangerous to imperialism. It makes it difficult for people to sustain the power it takes to arbitrarily feed the economy, the manpower, and the resources into the meat grinder.

America can only sustain imperialist policies as long as Americans consent to them, and that consent has been largely withdrawn.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 1, 2008 12:39 PM
Comment #244423

S.D., I think foreign nationals are more likely than the draft. To me, everything seems to be heading more towards a more expensive professional mercenary army, but there is a recruitment center directly across the street from one of the local high schools. The humvees are all bright and shiny out front. Maybe they are getting former used car dealers to recruit.

The suicide rate may point to people volunteering having pre-existing issues. I know of several cases of that, mostly children of bitterly divorced parents.

There was a news story here yesterday about the Illinois National Guard being the worst at getting its equipment back, so the states are going to have to come up with more revenue for that.

I am not as concerned about our ability to perform numerous military missions, since I do not think we should be doing what we are doing. Even Afghanistan seems to be going nowhere. I think we should start poking at Cuba a little bit. They’re close to home and we could use the sugar to replace the corn syrup.

On Watchblog, it looks like it’s mostly just the writers in this column arguing with the independant writers, and then sometimes someone from the right wing column will come in to promote some of their topics, like: Continuing Reagans legacy, Religion is politics, Free enterprise is wonderful, Hillary bad Drudge good, Lets deport our neighbors and landscapers, Liberal is a dirty word and conservative means whatever we say it means.

Pretty disappointing and deja vu.

Posted by: ohrealy at February 1, 2008 1:47 PM
Comment #244443
The suicide rate may point to people volunteering having pre-existing issues.

This is a copout. If it is all volunteer they perhaps should be properly screened for service? I guess being in a “war” like this wouldn’t make one suicidal unless they were already when they enlisted?

Oh, that’s right. We’re so desperate for enlistees we have lowered the bar, raised the age limit and a few other things to try to get enlistees. That couldn’t have anything to do with it, right?

Please.

Posted by: womanmarine at February 1, 2008 5:47 PM
Comment #244444

Properly screened? One of the guys that I was talking about would have have visible scars on his wrists from a prior suicide attempt when he enlisted.

Posted by: ohrealy at February 1, 2008 6:16 PM
Comment #244455

So, ohrealy, you make my point beautifully. Thanks.

Posted by: womanmarine at February 1, 2008 10:09 PM
Comment #244479
..those people who have so extravagantly benefited from all of Bush’s corruption and gimmees probably aren’t going to be feeling much of an economic pinch for many years to come.

Posted by: veritas vincit at January 31, 2008 04:51 PM

If they aren’t going to feel a pinch then we should snatch the extravagant benefits away before they know what’s happening to them. My Idea would be to convince the Supreme court to overturn the false assumption that corporations are persons equal to you and me. That’s what I mean to “teel the picanic basket”.

Because as I previously mentioned, I had grokked everything but “TEEL.”

Posted by: veritas vincit at January 31, 2008 07:58 PM

It would have helped if I had spelled my Yogi Bear impersonation correctly. Oh! Well, C’est La Vie! Thank You, Stephen Daugherty.


But what’s our situation?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 31, 2008 07:49 PM


Your situation is that of an adherent to a party that lied to you to get elected and continues to lie while you blindly follow along.

Open your eyes upon a document entitled The Constitution of the United States.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 1, 2008 06:14 AM

To what end, Mr. Remer? Isn’t the Constitution of the United States simply a grey area? (except for the election of public officials) Isn’t the Constitution suppose to be interpreted to mean what ever the opinion of the current nine supreme court justices happens to be?

The fact is, every passage of the Constitution which is neither blatantly clear like the election process or terms of office, nor adequate to address modern context which the founders had no inkling of, are subject to multiple interpretations depending on whether one is liberal, conservative, libertarian, or otherwise affected by one or more of the possible interpretations in a negative way.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 17, 2008 05:33 AM

Many supporters of the troops blame the negative news in the coverage of the war, but at some point, you have to ask the question: would that news be there if people were doing their jobs.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 1, 2008 09:11 AM

I am one of those supporters who blame the negative news coverage for the interpretation of how this war has been conducted. I will also take this opportunity to point out again how the Democratics lied to their party thru out the duration of the war in an effort to regain power. Had it not been for the internet they would have succeded by saying we have lost, by touting false documents as fact, and by sensationalizing the negative and suppressing the positive.

Another example of this behaviour is how the media and the democratics presented George Bush, Sr.’s presidency and his bid for reelection. 41 gave in to a small tax increase on a small sector forced upon him by an obstructionist, democratic congress and the repercussions of that tax increase was portrayed to effect the country as a whole. The media and the democratics cried, “It’s the economy, stupid!” but the economy was continuing to grow at record levels.
43 doesn’t admit to a mistake. He stands his ground, and he’s considered stubborn, stupid, moronic, a dictator, tyrant, criminal. An opinion freely and liberally supported by the media, I might add.

For the sake of avoiding a political problem with the draft or increased recruiting earlier, Bush may have doomed us to a draft in our next war.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 1, 2008 09:11 AM

http://www.peacecorps.gov/

This is your Icon’s most lasting legacy, Stephen Daugherty. Put your money where your mouth is. We wouldn’t need a military presence in Iraq if JFK’s peace corp was a viable solution.


America can only sustain imperialist policies as long as Americans consent to them, and that consent has been largely withdrawn.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 1, 2008 12:39 PM

Again:

I will also take this opportunity to point out again how the Democratics lied to their party thru out the duration of the war in an effort to regain power.


Posted by: Weary Willie at February 2, 2008 1:50 PM
Comment #244488

ohrealy-
I think after this war is done, you’ll have a generation of military strategists who’ll absolutely loath mercenaries, and will hardly be fans of hiring them.

The suicide rate may relate to recruits, but the pressures of war, we should reminds ourselves, can take their toll even on a person otherwise mentally healthy.

As for our ability to do multiple military missions, that’s not my concern. It’s our ability to react militarily when we actually need to. The real trouble is, Left, Right, or Independent, is that we’ve gotten a something-for-nothing attitude about things.

Worse, on other things, our attitude is something like “inevitable decay”, which is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The time has come to fight, rather than grumpily observe that the bad guys and the corrupt are winning.

Weary Willie-

Your situation is that of an adherent to a party that lied to you to get elected and continues to lie while you blindly follow along.

I don’t get my information from my party. As for lies? I provided links to news stories dealing with the subject at hand. Either prove the lies you claim are real, or admit you’re just personally finding our current situation difficult to deal with, to admit to.

Isn’t the Constitution suppose to be interpreted to mean what ever the opinion of the current nine supreme court justices happens to be?

The judges are supposed to interpret the constitution and the law properly, not just however they like it. Unfortunately, a large political constituency likes to make political hay by calling any judgment they disagree with judicial activism.

Let’s get something clear: strict constructionism sounds like a good idea until you remember the old wisdom about the spirit of the law and the letter of it, that laws are about more than just themselves. We need judges with some room for discretion as to how they come to their decisions because the real world cannot be perfectly encompassed in literal legislation, and the results, anyways, would create their own complicated mess of problems.

Besides, many time the term judicial activism is used by those who have not read the opinion, but who are simply echoing the sentiments of political hacks. Have you considered that in many of these cases, the law was simply not on your folks’ side?

I am one of those supporters who blame the negative news coverage for the interpretation of how this war has been conducted. I will also take this opportunity to point out again how the Democratics lied to their party thru out the duration of the war in an effort to regain power. Had it not been for the internet they would have succeded by saying we have lost, by touting false documents as fact, and by sensationalizing the negative and suppressing the positive.

This kind of thinking is just what got your party in trouble. Your focus is on seeking positive spin, rather than getting good results. You’re so convinced that it’s all a media conspiracy, that you never step back and look at things from the standpoint of practical policy.

Take 41’s raising of taxes. Politically, it was suicidal. Economically, though, it was necessary. As far as what got people pissed off about the economy, that had more to do with the economic consequences of his and Reagan’s deficit spending and the problems that created.

You and others have cheered on Bush’s pathological resistance to this, and the result, unsurprisingly, is another record deficit.

This is your Icon’s most lasting legacy, Stephen Daugherty. Put your money where your mouth is. We wouldn’t need a military presence in Iraq if JFK’s peace corp was a viable solution.

No, my Icon’s most lasting legacy, besides getting this country through the Cuban Missile Crisis and putting our country on the path to the moon, was getting us into Vietnam.

It’s an unfortunate legacy, which dwarfs the Peace Corp. The truth is, though, the presence in Iraq is entirely your Icon’s fault. There was no real reason to get into Iraq, and if your people hadn’t been so darn eager to get there, you might have had time to realize that.

You can talk about the lies we told to get into power when you can provide genuine examples. I, and others like me, have long been documenting the dishonesty coming from your side, including your dishonesty with yourselves.

Ask yourselves, though, if you had dissented on Bush’s policy earlier, rather than slavishly echoing his every talking point, don’t you think he would have felt more pressure to correct his mistakes, and less incentive to go into denial about them so he could keep his base with him?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 2, 2008 3:21 PM
Comment #244499

S.D., We won’t have a generation of military strategists who’ll absolutely loath mercenaries, if they are going to work for those same companies after they leave the service, or are coming from those companies to work in the government. Some of these have been around since at least Vietnam. Brown and Root came before KBR, etc.

I don’t know what kind of psychological screening will weed out people who will be looked at as sub-par later, after something happens. I know someone who had a promising career in the Navy, and a wife and two kids, stationed in Italy, who ended up in the brig after his wife left him, because she wanted to go home.

If you looked into his background, you would see that his parents divorced, his mother cut off all contact with his father’s family, all very nice people, and got her next husband to adopt the 3 children and change their last names. This continued even after her ex died of cancer. His twin sister was anorexic. Should he have been screened out?

Posted by: ohrealy at February 2, 2008 8:19 PM
Comment #244501

ohrealy-
I have yet to see any indication that the majority of people getting out of the army are seeking that path. Mostly, the move has been back to plain old civilian life.

Mercenaries are not well-loved by folks. It’s the politicians who brought them into the mix, and the Army folks hate them for the same reason why it wasn’t a good idea to start with: Mercenaries do not function within the unified chain of command. It’s incidents like this one that I wrote about which don’t exactly endear them to the military.

The key with the recruiting issues I spoke of is excluding problematic candidates as much as possible before hand, so that those who turn out to be sub-par later aren’t such a large part of your forces.

And yes, there should be a standard to hold these people to. I’ve always insisted on that. These are the people who are supposed to represent us, whose judgment can be critical in matters of national security, and whose misjudgments can have profound international implications for our country. Sound mind and judgment, along with a sound body are not too much to ask, nor an elitist thing to insist upon.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 2, 2008 8:59 PM
Comment #244512

I started looking up articles on Blackwater after that local kid that I mentioned, died in Iraq last year. The BBC and Smoking Gun are good sources on that.

I did not make the connection immediately, but that local high school with the recruiting office across the street, is the one that gets the kids who have been in trouble for fighting at school. I know a kid from Evanston who goes there, 15 miles from his home, possibly ADHD. He was kicked out of ETHS, but his parents don’t want him to drop out, even though he has a full time job at nights with the CTA. I suspect he is also there to sell product. He often wears a military jacket. The recruiting office might be getting kids like him, or others who just want to get away from their families, historically a strong reason for enlisting.

I was reading something recently and this phrase caught my eye: “alcohol causes sloppy reasoning, credulity and excessive emotion” and I thought this applied perfectly to the commander in chief, sometimes described as a dry drunk. McCain was on the Yahoo video news clips blaming Rummy for everything. I have a prejudice in favor of Rumsfeld due to a connection through the Glencoe Union Church, and he was actually out there at the Pentagon on 9/11 helping people.

I forgot about your blog, it is actually better than this one. I gave up most of mine for time constraints. I will post some comments if you have that enabled. I had to disable mine because of too much Spam.

A warning about this site, if you save anything from here directly to your computer, make sure you delete the bar above the post with the comment number. There is something funny in there, which caused stuttering on the Adobe and Windows Media Players. It was driving me nuts. Every time it happened. I would do disk cleanup and disk checks, then I noticed something similar in the file where I kept my posts. I deleted those comment numbers last night, and nothing has stuttered since then, and I have been playing music and videos all day.

Posted by: ohrealy at February 3, 2008 12:08 AM
Comment #244627

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1152923/posts

Well, a library in Illinois was selling off some of its magazines on ebay, and I was able to get all of the US News and TIME magazines from 1997/8/9/00. I’ve also been reading a few interesting books published before 2000.

So, in the interest of playing the who-lied game, I compiled this list of Iraq’s ties to Al Queda using only sources that are NOT from the Bush admininstration. Most come from before the current President was even a candidate. No Bush lies in this list. If you find lies….their Clinton lies. (and if such “lies” are found, I’m eager to see the equal and fair outcry of rage that Clinton-lied as has been given to the President).

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 4, 2008 5:59 PM
Comment #244629

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1152923/posts

Well, a library in Illinois was selling off some of its magazines on ebay, and I was able to get all of the US News and TIME magazines from 1997/8/9/00. I’ve also been reading a few interesting books published before 2000.

So, in the interest of playing the who-lied game, I compiled this list of Iraq’s ties to Al Queda using only sources that are NOT from the Bush admininstration. Most come from before the current President was even a candidate. No Bush lies in this list. If you find lies….their Clinton lies. (and if such “lies” are found, I’m eager to see the equal and fair outcry of rage that Clinton-lied as has been given to the President).

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 4, 2008 6:19 PM
Comment #244639

http://www.watchblog.com/republicans/archives/003078.html#108989

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 4, 2008 9:37 PM
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