Drafty Rangel

Charlie Rangel likes the draft. It is fair, he thinks. He and his friends hope it will constrain U.S. policy or - as they might put it - U.S. aggression. They recall it pushed Vietnam era students to the left. RIchard Nixon overcame Democratic opposition to get rid of the draft more than thirty years ago, so nobody pays much attention when Dems like Charlie Rangel call for its return. We do not need a draft and some liberals only say they want one, but now that Dems are back we may hear more about it.

Rangel is an old man with old ideas going back to Vietnam. In those days, rich college kids protested the war while the draft snagged those from poor & minority families. The all volunteer military is different. The poor are not common , since they often lack the education, skills and generally clean police records that a modern military requires. Minority representation is about the same as it is in the general U.S. population of young people. The U.S. military looks like America and so do those taking the risks. Ten percent of casualties in Iraq are black, while whites make up 73.5% of the dead. In Afghanistan the percentages are 7.5 and 80.5.

If liberals want angry poor kids in the military and angry rich ones screaming from college campuses they need a draft. Few Democrats really want that, but some radical lefties might. They remember when we were sending draftees to fight in Vietnam and they were virtuously fighting "the man" on the streets of Berkeley, Madison & Cambridge. Their younger brothers and sisters envy their experience. They are itching to fight the good fight one more time but the struggle is less heroic these days. In fact, it is a little venal to refuse to participate in an overseas war when nobody wants to send you there in the first place. A sixties style draft is the perfect solution. Young radicals can howl about being forced to go to war with a low probability of actually having to do it.

Rangel might really believe that the draft is a good thing. Most of his Dem colleagues do not, but may see use the issue to whip up hysteria among the looney left that longs to sing those song of peace & protest.

Young Americans can rest easy and the radical among them need not learn those cute rhymes from the Vietnam era. The U.S. will not have a draft . The American public will not support it. Even Nancy Pelost says she is against it. Military leaders do not want it. We do not need it. The military has been meeting or exceeding its recruiting goals even in wartime and retention rates are near all time highs. But the fact that it will not happen will not stop the talk. Teddy Kennedy used to say it was "poor people fighting rich men's wars." That is just too good a line for liberals to throw away completely.

Watch for it and when you hear Dems talking about the draft remember that it is just a way for them to play good cop/bad cop. Remember too that it is Dems playing both ends. It is their game. Let them play it by themselves.

Posted by Jack at November 22, 2006 11:38 PM
Comments
Comment #196281


You forgot to read the headlines today didn’t you. The Marines are desperate for a few good men. They do 7 months in Iraq, 7 to 9 months at home then back to Iraq. They need to expand the size of the corp and hopefully they can do it through enlistments. I for one don’t want a draft. It would be just as corrupt as the last one was. I might consider it if the first to get drafted were the local draft boards.

Posted by: jlw at November 23, 2006 12:02 AM
Comment #196288

It may at some point come to this, because Bush and Rumsfeld refused to expand the volunteer army to match the demands they were putting on it.

One of the unfortunate things you can do to a good army is forced to fight it a war short of the soldiers it needs. Bush and company have been trying to get away with it for three and half years now, and all its down is made our situation worse.

The fact is, this war might very well escalate into a situation where we must devote a whole bunch of troops quickly, or risk worse things happening. What happens then?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 23, 2006 1:23 AM
Comment #196294

I think this is a great debate to have. If you’re not in the military, or have a family member in the military, then you’d never know that America is at war. If failure is not an option, then Americans should fully mobilize to meet the threat.

Unless you actually want us to lose, Jack…

Posted by: American Pundit at November 23, 2006 3:28 AM
Comment #196297

I’m usually not a big fan of Rangel, but I find myself more and more in agreement with him on the issue of the draft. American Pundit makes a valid point about not knowing (I would say caring) that America is at war. Both sides have valid arguments. I think that an all volunteer force is better for the military, but it isn’t necessarily better for the country. An all volunteer military effectively cuts off the military from the larger community and at the same time destroys a sense of duty and the inherent truth that rights carry responsibilities.

I don’t think that Rangel’s argument about minorities being over represented is valid. While minorities make up a larger portion of the military as a percentage than their percentage of the general population, it is poor rural white people who make up a disproportianate number of soldiers in the combat arms such as infatntry, armor, etc. USA Today did a story about this back before the war in Iraq kicked off in response to Rangel calling for a draft back then.

In addition, the message of an all-volunteer military says that people have no responsibility to the defense of the nation. Its not that there are no rich kids in the military, but they are few and far between, and most are in the officer corps and come from families with a military tradition. That being said, its hard to blame them. Again, an all volunteer military says that you have no responsibility to defend your nation unless you volunteer in the first place.

I’m going to be a smart ass here and propose that if there is a draft, one of the criterion used in selecting people should be political views and liberals should go first. This might not make much sense, especially since liberals are far more likely to question authority, refuse orders, and probably would not make the best soldiers. On the other hand, its liberals who need to appeal to the first amendment everytime they make outrageous statements like Bush orchestrated the 9/11 attacks etc, and since liberals are so under represented in the military, maybe its time they carried thier weight along with the rich kids.

Posted by: 1LT B at November 23, 2006 6:12 AM
Comment #196299

As jlw suggests, the strongest reason for a draft is that the volunteer army does seem to be at its limits. Guys like McCain are calling for more troops in Iraq, but my understanding is that the only way to get them now is to pull them out of South Korea. (Which would probably look bad considering what Kim Jong Il is up to.)

I don’t support a military draft, but I think some kind of mandatory service is worth considering. Draftees could choose whether to join the armed forces or something like VISTA or the Peace Corps. I think there are enough gung-ho types out there that a pretty large proportion would opt for the military.

This would give all Americans a unifying experience. Most European countries have a draft, believe it or not.

Posted by: Woody Mena at November 23, 2006 7:45 AM
Comment #196302

Good comments about the draft from the social point of view.

The Euro armies are very different from ours. They do not move very much. Our military is expeditionary and it is the only one that encompasses all the skills necessary to fight a war in a far off land.

This brings us to the other Rangel and liberal point. He thinks that it would constrain U.S. policy and that we would be less aggressive if everybody were liable to military service. You have to debate this on at least two three points.

The first is whether you want that constraint. There are legitimate exercises of U.S. military power. Even more important is the threat of American power. In the post late 1970s, when the bad guys were pretty sure we would not respond comprehensively with military, things got out of hand.

The second point is whether or not it would make much of a difference. We are currently very conscious of casualties, much more so than during conflicts when we had the draft. During peak years in Vietnam we lost many times the total Iraqi casualties each year. In WWII we lost more taking particular islands or hills. The constraint really does not apply, except on college campuses. Which lead to the third point.

A conscript army may make us MORE aggressive. If you have the men to throw at a problem, some people might make plans based on that. And if your army is drawn from the voting population, they may demand that we totally annihilate the enemy, as was the case in WWII.

In other words, the draft might make us swing between too much pacifism and too much aggression.

Besides all that, the needs of military are very different. Just as in private firms, we no longer can really use the mass of untrained people. Look at road crew. Used to be hundred of unskilled guy digging. Now a couple of them run complicated machines.

Posted by: Jack at November 23, 2006 8:58 AM
Comment #196303

1LT B-
I think Rangel speaks from the context of his district and his experience. When you look around, you don’t feel the need to check statistics to arrive at your perceptions about the world. Rangel looks at things the same way. He represents a minority district, sees a lot of minorities recruited…

As for Liberals? I think you buy into too much of the Republican propaganda about the average liberal. That said, there’s something to be said for the ability to think for one self, since war plans can go awry. If our soldiers didn’t have some degree of initiative out in Iraq, things would probably be much worse than they are now.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 23, 2006 9:08 AM
Comment #196305

There is another argument against the draft, which you don’t hear made very often: It violates free market conservatism.

What I mean is that it would give the government unfair leverage in the labor market. Right now they have to compete with other employers. A draft is by definition an un-free market.

The same criticism applies to my mandatory service scheme, too, of course. But I’m not a strict believer in free markets.

Posted by: Woody Mena at November 23, 2006 9:16 AM
Comment #196306

Stephen,

Actually, the strongest reason for my belief about the efficacy of a draft is what happens every single time I go home. in the last 2 years, I’ve been in the States for about 5 months. I served a year in Korea, then went to Fort Gordon, then to Germany and Iraq. When I was home, the complete ignorance of the military was stunning. Beyond this, being in the military has given me an unforeseen but totally foreseeable contempt of civilians in my own age group. When I met people I went to high school, I was totally different, and they remained the same. While .5% of the population in my age group fights, the rest sit around getting drunk, smoking pot, and not even “being vigilant.” They have no concept of service and think this country exists solely to support their right to do whatever the hell they want. Kinda like the Doonsebury about the guy who said he could best serve his country working for a hedge fund.

That being said, I was only partly serious about the draft and liberals. Liberals are definitely under represented in the military, and that is no lie, nor just an observation. Despite the fact that minorities are over represented in the military, the military votes grossly disproportionatly Republican. I haven’t seen any stats for this election, but from 2004 back until the early 80s, this has been the case. Oh, and you are right about our Soldiers being inventive and innovative, they always have been, even when we had a draft. I think innovation is part of the American character.

Woody Mena,

I’ve never heard the free market argument made in context of a discussion of the draft. The all-volunteer military effectively is within the free market as you say, though I would say that the military is different in the case of a draft as making war is a power reserved to the government and one in which private industry isn’t supposed to compete anyways.

Posted by: 1LT B at November 23, 2006 9:30 AM
Comment #196307

Jack-
Your notion that few soldiers could take care of the same function ignores the necessities of occupation. Technology may allow you to use a couple guys to pave a road, but the interactions in war are often persistent and person to person. You don’t necessarily have to use as many soldier as you once did, but you still need to use quite a few.

As for lessening or increasing aggression? I think you’re spitballing. First, some problems actually require more soldiers Iraq demonstrated that plainly. Regardless of the official line, a lack of soldiers has been the defining problem of the war. Second, a draft is no casual event, which is Rangel’s point.

But there’s an advantage to a draft: it both encourages the government to be clear about what the need for the soldiers is, and it encourages Americans to be more skeptical of proposed wars, and more unified in wars that have gained political support.

Under normal conditions, there wouldn’t be a draft, so we could fight the small wars that were necessary in between. We’d have to ask ourselves, though, what commitments we would be willing to escalate.

As for casualties? I think they only become a problem if the war becomes a problem. It took quite a bit of casualties and disillusionment about the war to make the grim milestones such a hypersensitive issue. If Americans believed that the cause was right, they’d allow thousands of casualties a year, even a month, without much complaint.

I think the trouble here is that you underestimate the American people on account of their disagreement with your position. It’s easy to believe everybody’s just lost their nerve, when in fact the truth is, they’ve actually just lost their patience. The Republican’s unwillingness to believe that opposition to the war could come from a position of integrity is one of the main reasons why they’ve been so successful at alienating people about it. If they were willing to engage people as if their concerns were legitimate, support for the war, and the progress of it would like be in better shape at this point.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 23, 2006 9:46 AM
Comment #196310


1LT B: When our troops finally come home from Iraq, you should be on the committee that separates the conservative troops from the liberal ones. That way you can have a ticker tape parade for the conservatives and spit on the liberals. Many liberals have fought and died for this nation and there are many liberal veterans. There are many conservative chicken hawks in this country that sure can talk a mean fight but always seem to find another way to serve their country that is more conducive to their wallets and their health.

Posted by: jlw at November 23, 2006 10:26 AM
Comment #196313

Woody

The labor market argument works in reverse.

Today we are enjoying low unemployment and facing labor shortages in the future. At one time some people argued for the draft to mop up extra labor. Since our economy has grown robustly for most of the last 25 years and the baby boom is passing into retirement that is no longer desirable.

1LT

It is important for young people to have some kind of challenge away from home. The military is one way to do that.

One of the problems for today’s young people is too many options. I have not been young for a little while, but I work with interns and have kids. They find it hard to decide among the many options and so they commit to nothing and do everything half fast.

Stephen

I am thinking historically. Throughout most of the 19th and 20th centuries the democracies or semi-democracies of Europe depended on conscription for their armies. It was not a time of particular peace.

I think that liberals hope that a draft would constrain what they see as Republican war making, but in the current conflict they forget history (maybe willfully). Democratic presidents learned how to deploy large conscript armies in places like Korea and Vietnam. I do not know how much the draft constrained the Republican presidents who got them out. Since President Nixon ended the draft, the numbers of Americans killed in foreign wars has been much lower.

Posted by: Jack at November 23, 2006 10:54 AM
Comment #196314

Jack-
If you haven’t noticed, the age of the volunteer army hasn’t been either. The casualty free time only lasted until we committed ourselves to a long term full scale war. It’s full scale war that makes for the casualties, not conscriptions, and the major force preventing full-scale war was the Cold War hesitance of both sides to start something they knew would finish them both.

In terms of Korea, Eisenhower left that war a stalemate that continues to this day, and still could turn to a full scale war at some point. In terms of Vietnam, the Republicans got us out of that one their way to the tune of as many if not more casualties, by stalling much the way Bush did while promising an exit.

I think you just don’t like the draft. Our soldiers are at a point now where the army is at a breaking point. Too many soldiers begin to leave, and there won’t be any debate about conscriptions, only necessity, when the time comes. The Republicans don’t want to be seen as having made the average man or woman pay the price of the war. That’s the same sort of butt-covering politics that landed us in this situation in the first place. You do what you have to do to succeed in war, and you take the political hit necessary to do so.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 23, 2006 11:08 AM
Comment #196315

Stephen

Both Vietnam and Korea were Cold War conflicts. All the American causalities suffered in Iraq do not come close to a 1968 or 1969 in Vietnam. Conscripts fought the big wars of the 20th century. Conscription may not lead to war, but it clearly doesn’t lead to peace.

If a Dem is elected in 2008, this may be the first time that a Dem ended a war that a Republican started. If they get elected and if they end the war.

Posted by: Jack at November 23, 2006 11:28 AM
Comment #196317

Jack,

After having heard Rangel rant about the draft in a news conference, his reasons given for reinstating it were that he thinks the rich should have to go over and fight just like the poor. He thinks that the military is made up of primarily poor Black high school dropouts who are getting the shaft. His views are much the same as John Kerry’s toward the military, and the Democrats had better stop this nonsense before it turns and bites them in the backsides. He is trying to inject race and class warfare into the War in Iraq because that is what works for Democrats. It has nothing to do with Generals demanding more forces; they are not! This is about kick starting more anti-war protests, and attempting to stir the political pot out there. Rangel is so transparent it is ridiculous!!!

JD

Posted by: JD at November 23, 2006 11:50 AM
Comment #196322

Stephen Daugherty:

If Americans believed that the cause was right, they’d allow thousands of casualties a year, even a month, without much complaint.

Very true. The implication is that now many Americans do not believe the cause is just or right. If this is true, then there must have been a time when we did believe the cause was right. What changed?

Why is the cause no longer justified? Is it because “Bush lied, people died”? Is it because “No WMDs, we must appease”?

Someone mentioned here that our losses in Iraq do not even begin to approach the number of casualties Americans suffered in certain WW II battles (Okinawa, Iwo Jima, etc.), so in the broader context of American involvement in conflicts overseas, our losses in Iraq (as tragic as they are) are relatively light. That’s the reality of the situation.

But American support of the Iraq War has less to do with reality than with perception. For years, the American people have had to view the Iraq War through the foggy filter of a media that has framed our involvement as unjust and our cause as lost, even though it can be demonstrated that significant progess has been made not just militarily, but in practically every other measureable indice.

Iraq may be a shaky democracy at present, but it is still a democracy. Saddam is no longer a threat. We are in the process of rebuilding a nation, a very noble, time-consuming, and expensive effort that should be applauded and celebrated. Maybe “rebuilding” isn’t the right word to use. It implies that there once was an infrastructure that actually met the needs of a majority of Iraqi citizens. That clearly was not the case.

Granted, it is no cake walk in Iraq. The insurgency is smart, tough, well-funded, and determined. But so are we.

Our cause was, and continues to be, just and right. We are making significant progress in Iraq. What, then, has contributed to the perception that the cause is no longer just?

Posted by: Chris at November 23, 2006 12:05 PM
Comment #196325


From the leadership down, many on the right seem to think that the American people don’t understand how serious the threat from radical Islam is. I don’t buy that argument. I think that the main thing they don’t understand is how their leadership can be so incompetent.

If the right thinks that the American people don’t understand the seriousness of the situation, then why oh why do they also tell us to not worry, be happy, spend money? If they believe as 1LT B seems to that 99% of those doing the fighting are conservatives, it seems to me that they would be screaming for a draft so they can force some liberals to fight.

The right should at least want a serious debate on the House floor. It would certainly get the peoples attention. Our young troops are under considerable stress primarily because there are to few of them to control the country. We at least owe them a debate.

Posted by: jlw at November 23, 2006 12:43 PM
Comment #196326


We heard constantly from Rumsfeld that the troop strength is adequate to accomplish the mission and if it weren’t, the commanders on the ground have the authority to request more troops.

Now that is has been announced that Rumsfeld will be replaced, our commanders on the ground are saying that they don’t have enough troops to get the job done.

I guess our ground commanders have been saying this all along but the MSM just wouldn’t let them tell Rumsfeld.

Posted by: jlw at November 23, 2006 1:01 PM
Comment #196329

jlw,

Apparently you can’t take a joke. I will tell you that there aren’t many liberals in the military, that in no way impugns the service of liberals in the military now or in the past. What I said is not just some random guess on my part, its based on both my time in military service and reporting that indicates that the military is indeed far more conservative than the country as a whole. And I wasn’t screaming for a draft, but I do believe that was the whole point of the joke, that a draft would force some liberals, hopefully with some rich kids, to have a hand in defending this nation that guarantees their right to criticize it for the liberals and protects the wealth and lifestyle of the rich. And I never said that 99% of people in the military are conservatives, I said they are under represented compared to their total percentage in the Army compared to their total percentage of the US population.

Chris,

What changed was the fact that the American people don’t seem to have the stomach for war anymore, even with casualties that are so light in proportion to what we’re doing its almost beyond belief. Some poster here referred to battles of WWII or Korea or Vietnam. Here’s a much better one. In the entire war in Iraq, a conflict that’s gone for over 3 years now, we’ve lost around 3,000 Soldiers killed and about 20,000 wounded. In one day, the Battle of Antietam in the Civil War, 3,654 were killed with about 23,000 wounded on both sides. This battle lasted about 8 hours. To put this further into perspective, the population of the US in 1860 was 31 million. The total casualties of the Civil War was about 600,000. To equate to that type of loss today, we would need to lose about 1,800,000 people. Even when only .05% of the population is actually even in the military while the other 99.5% does not fight, we cry about casualties that any other nation engaged in a task as monumental would be thankful for. Fighting insurgents in the middle of cities is different than fighting massed armor formations in the middle of the desert. We’ve been spoiled into believing wars only take a few days or weeks at most and the only casualties are on the other side. The MSM and our own propaganda about the effectiveness of our weapons systems etc did this.

Posted by: 1LT B at November 23, 2006 2:18 PM
Comment #196331

1LT B, it wasn’t that long ago that the military was overwhelmingly FDR/Great Society Democrats. After all, rich kid Republicans could get deferments — and they did.

Posted by: American Pundit at November 23, 2006 2:23 PM
Comment #196332

Chris and 1LT B,

Thanks for saying what I have been trying to get across to people for over a year now! It would take us sixty years to lose the number of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq that we lost in approximately four years of Vietnam. You guys are right on the money! Our military has been doing one heck of a job, and all the troop bashing has to stop if we are going to win this war!!!

Posted by: JD at November 23, 2006 2:32 PM
Comment #196334

Chris,

You also make a great point that we are doing more than just rebuilding Iraq. When the United States goes in and begins building / rebuilding a country in ruins, we often build with our own standards in mind. Schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, businesses, etc. are not going to be cinder block shacks and rutty mud pits. America tries to present America to the inhabitants / refugees of these countries. This takes money, and a lot of it. Perhaps, this is one reason very few countries will touch Africa and its problems. I believe to help stop the tribal warfare there, the world would have to develop that country in massive ways. Even in Iraq, this is a huge task the allies have taken upon themselves for the cause of the Iraqi people. I don’t think the majority of people understand this. Just because this country is rich in oil, it does not mean the people were allowed to partake of its wealth.

JD

Posted by: JD at November 23, 2006 2:57 PM
Comment #196338
We are in the process of rebuilding a nation, a very noble, time-consuming, and expensive effort that should be applauded and celebrated.

I thought Bush told us he wouldn’t do any nation building? I must have misunderstood.

all the troop bashing has to stop

I don’t see any posters bashing the troops. Perhaps you should reread for content?

Now that is has been announced that Rumsfeld will be replaced, our commanders on the ground are saying that they don’t have enough troops to get the job done.

They’re also saying that there aren’t enough troops, even if they wanted to increase the troop numbers. I watched their testimony before congress.

Posted by: womanmarine at November 23, 2006 3:16 PM
Comment #196340
Iraq may be a shaky democracy at present, but it is still a democracy.

It’s not really. Yes, they had a vote, but the Sunnis voted for Sunnis, the Kurds voted for Kurds and the Shiites voted for Shiites. They were voting for control of the country, not for ideas like tax cuts or immigration or Social Security.

And technically, according to their Constitution, it’s a Theocracy controlled by a council of Islamic scholars who have the final say on every piece of legislation. If it conflicts with fundamentalist Islamic Sharia Law (the source of their Constitution), they kill it.

And the reconstruction is over. The funding’s been cut off and the contractors are pulling out. America isn’t going to make Iraq any better than it is now. Stick a fork in it, that turkey’s done — and so is mine.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by: American Pundit at November 23, 2006 3:24 PM
Comment #196344

Hey I am all for bring back the Draft.
Have it for everyone, from the time they are 20yrs old to 23yrs old. No deferrments for ANYONE unless it is a major medical problem and a note from the family doctor will not due it. If they don’t join the military there is a lot of community services that can be done at the same pay as in the military. It would take a lot of working out the kink’s, but can be done.

KT
(drafted in 1970 with a draft number of 1, and retired USARMY with 21 1/2 yrs)

Posted by: KT at November 23, 2006 5:11 PM
Comment #196346

Call me selfish, but I will never support a draft until I am convinced our leaders will use foresight and wisdom when starting wars. I have an eight-year-old daughter, so of course I’m not impartial on this. If we did have a draft, it’s hard to argue nowadays that women should be exempt.

Posted by: Trent at November 23, 2006 6:05 PM
Comment #196347

Trent, if everyone including the children of the elected are drafted then they would think twice before getting us involved in something that we should not be drawn into, or stay to long (i.e. Iraq).
Also make it where if you go to Canada or any other country to avoid it, you lose the right to vote, apply for goverment aid etc if you come back.


I have 3 son’s, 2 that were in the Army(both were in Iraq at the beginning), and one is trying to join now, I also have 7 granddaughters. Make a alternative to military service(community service) for the same amount of time and pay. Something like the CCC that they had during the depression. There are a lot of parks that could use a good make over, or work in a hospital changing bed pans:-), give the kids a little real life experince before they go to college or take a job.
Maybe then they will have a little more respect for those in the military that serve making low wages, working long hours, and putting their life on the line each and every day.

Posted by: KT at November 23, 2006 7:06 PM
Comment #196349


1LT B: You are right, the military is more conservative than the civilian population. Unless the military has changed since I was in it, you go along to get along. If you disagree with the politics of the military, it is best to pretend that you do or just keep your mouth shut. In the military, there can be consequences for speaking your mind.

KT: I agree with you on alternatives to the draft. The CCC was one of the best programs ever for youth. It should be brought back with or without a draft. The Peace Corp is another good alternative.

I think that it is very calus of people to say that we have only lost 2000 soldiers in Iraq without a care in the world about the people of Iraq. There are 120 of them dying every day. One hundred thousand are fleeing Iraq every month. What we need is a few hundred thousand Iraqi boat people coming ashore to put things in perspective.

It wouldn’t hurt to remember that we also have 99,000 families in Mississippi and Louisianna still living in those little FEMA trailers this thanksgiving.

Posted by: jlw at November 23, 2006 7:41 PM
Comment #196350


Jack: You failed to list the percentage of kids from the top ten percent of the population. Those that reap the greatest benefit in this society.

Posted by: jlw at November 23, 2006 7:52 PM
Comment #196351

Chris-
The document dates to almost two years ago. Even if it this official statement of what was going right was indeed truthful, the picture it presents is of a situation extinct on the ground.

You lay vague blame upon the media and your political opponents, not detailed by any real narrative of events. We lay our blame for all this on specific folks based on documented evidence and fact. We can do more than say the Administration is at fault for how this turned out, we can tell you exactly how. We can show you the critical events that turned things against us. We weren’t doomed to failure by any stretch. We brought to it because certain people indulged their preconception about what thought ought to happen in the place of ensuring the outcome by multiple plans.

The Aim of this administration was to leave the Iraqi exiles in charge of the place, and to prove the power of the military doctrine of transformation: fewer troops, more mobile, higher technology. They believed events would break as they thought they would. It turns out that they didn’t. What makes that a problem is that the administration was slow if not utterly paralyzed in admitting the error, all while we face the consequences of the setbacks, incompetence and lack of material support that resulted from their being no other plan than their ideal.

You still don’t seem to be able to give up on your ideal outcome, even while the real world outcome falls around your ears. That’s what they call tragedy. I never wanted things to turn out this way, and the lengths I have gone to in order to bring the problems of this war to people’s attention have been aimed at fixing it before some kind of positive outcome is beyond our grasp.

It sickens me to see things go this way; it strikes me with horror that still in the face of a devastating public rebuke of his performance on the war, the president still won’t humble himself to a real change of policy.

If you’re doing things wrong, continuing to do things the same way is only going to make things worse. However you lionize it, it’s just the continuation of an error.

We need a plan in Iraq that does more than feed the egos of those that got us into this mess. We need a plan that lets us leave with some dignity, with Iraq on its way to stability. If we wait for events to catch up to Bush’s vision of how they should go, we might very well find ourselves forced out by circumstances before we are let out by the long deferred success Bush and you are looking for. We need to get realistic about squaring things on this war. We’ve already wasted enough opportunities to get this done right. What do you have against getting things done right? How the hell can you call what we have here doing things right?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 23, 2006 8:03 PM
Comment #196353


One hundred thousand fleeing Iraq for their lives every month. They are the ones whose’s hearts and minds we were trying to win over. They are the ones we were counting on to be our new allies in the Middle East.

What are most on the right saying? Bush is doing a wonderful job. The war is really going well. (160 butchered in Bagdad today; 140 yesterday etc.) The Demodrats hate Bush. The MSM hates Bush. The MSM won’t tell the people how many schools we are building. Who in their wildest imagination could think that the Iraqi peole give a damn about how many schools we are building when they are being slaughtered?

Posted by: jlw at November 23, 2006 10:48 PM
Comment #196373

Jack,
I realize a lot of people have fuzzy memories of the sixties, but until now I never thought you were one of them.

What lost support for Vietnam wasn’t rich kids protesting, it was the body bags and lies about the situation in Vietnam that hit the infamous silent majority.

It isn’t Cindy Sheehan that lost support for Bush’s Iraq adventure. It was his lies.

I’m dissapointed that you fail to see the threat that we face in the middle east, in part, because of Bush’s bungle.

I watched Netanyahu recently make a case for comparing Jihad to Mein Kampf, and Ahmadinejad to Hitler. While perhaps a stretch, it isn’t out of the realm of possiblilities. We didn’t have enough troops to avoid failure in Iraq. We violated the Powell Doctrine. If we do not increase our military strength we will be unprepared for what could come next. Your rant against Rangel, fueled by blind anti-liberalism, misses the point again.

You seem to have adopted the Rumsfeld’s/McNamara’s idealogical/accounting style of how to lose a war.

Thank God, for pragmatists thinking about the future instead of trying to prove some futile point.

America did not enter WWII to stop facism in Europe. FDR committed supplies to Britian and began building our military. We entered when we were atacked at Pearl. Bush didn’t learn that lesson. We committed to a real reason to enter the real hell of war, not to save France or the Jews. What happened to Conservatism?


Posted by: gergle at November 24, 2006 11:40 AM
Comment #196381

Trent:

“…I will never support a draft until I am convinced our leaders will use foresight and wisdom when starting wars.”

That’s pretty funny.

Posted by: Tim Crow at November 24, 2006 3:46 PM
Comment #196387

Tim,

I didn’t intend that to be funny. Perhaps I should have written “when getting involved in wars.”

KT,

I agree with you. Requiring some sort of service (community service, peace corps, or military, etc.) in exchange for, say, help with college seems like a good idea to me. I don’t think history bears out the belief that conscription leads to fewer wars, though. To be clear about something not yet said, I’m not a pacifist. War is obviously necessary, sometimes. But this country has too often been involved in adventurism or in conducting war to serve our economic interests. Sometimes it’s extremely difficult to understand the moral justification of some of our actions — supporting the barbaric Contra terrorists is just one example. When it comes to foreign policy, we quickly condemn brutal leftist regimes but turn a blind eye to brutal rightwing regimes. Why? The leftist regimes sometimes threaten American economic interests, while the rightwing regimes often don’t. I fear most citizens of this country do not really understand that.

gergle,

Yes, in fact, before WWII, high officals including FDR expressed admiration for fascist ideology and leaders, including Mussolini, and thought his suppression of labor was a good idea. Orderliness was a virtue. Why? Mussolini encouraged foreign investment; it was a way for American companies to profit.

Posted by: Trent at November 24, 2006 6:09 PM
Comment #196392

Trent:

Whether starting wars or ‘getting involved’ in wars, they will largely be for the corporate interests. We are no longer the ‘good guys’ and our track record proves it.

So if you’re waiting for some wisdom and foresight from imperialist corporate hacks laughingly known as ‘statesmen’, you’re going to have a long wait.

From here on in, I suspect we’re going to be involved in wars over resources, clean water, oil, arrible land etc. Your daughter, thanks to at least fifty years of head-in-sand policies regarding energy independence larded with great gobs of greed, will have a front-row seat to the festivites.

Posted by: Tim Crow at November 24, 2006 8:22 PM
Comment #196397

KT,

It would be wonderful if every young person learned the discipline and hardworking team spirit of the military.
But, regardless of how Rangel rants, you try to make that the law of the land, and watch every liberal group in this nation march on Washington faster than Superman changes outfits. If liberals out there wanted kids signing up for the military or being drafted, why are they working so hard to ban the military recruiting in High Schools and colleges across the country? Why did San Francisco just ban the Jr. ROTC programs from their schools. Liberals hate anything to do with the military. Rangel included! His stance on a draft is nothing but race baiting and class warfare, plain and simple!

JD

Posted by: JD at November 24, 2006 10:38 PM
Comment #196401

JD-
The problem with your theory is just who would have to pass this: the Liberals themselves. Now, as for San Francisco, they’ve got their attitudes, and the rest of the country has their own. Unfortunately, you’re not willing to grace us with anything more sophisticated than the sort of regional divisiveness which lost you the election in the first place.

You’re arguing against stereotypes. Do us a favor and start addressing our real concerns, such as how we keep this war going for any sustained period of time without breaking the armed forces over it, and how we get that warzone over there calmed down sufficiently so we can leave in such a way that we don’t grant our enemies the advantage we were trying to take away from them in the first place.

If you’re willing to talk with us seriously on that subject, fine. Otherwise its what we’ve hear before, and you’re missing the truly important points we have to make.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 25, 2006 12:30 AM
Comment #196416

Hey Jack,

If we had had a draft, and those Senators needed to seriously consider the possibility that their own children would go to war, they would never have gone into this crazy Iraq mess.

If you really believe in something, you should be willing to put your money where your mouth is. It’s that simple.

Posted by: Max at November 25, 2006 8:26 AM
Comment #196417

jack - I think you really missed the point of what Rangel was trying to do.

This war in Iraq has not been a shared sacrifice among the American People. Our volunteer military and their families have made all the sacrifice. While they fight, we enjoy tax cuts, plenty of gas and isolation from this war. Wre are kept fat dump and hapy consumers. Most people on the street could not find Iraq on a map.

This war is far away. We do not really see and feel the pain and suffering of this war. We do not see the returning dead. American media dose not print the gruesome reality of war and blown children from American cluster bombs. We do not want to see it. If they print it, they are supporting terrorists.

GWB has said numerous times that this war is neccessary to protect our way of life, security and freedom. How can you make such extreme claims and present such dire consequences if we lose, yet ask no sacrifices from you citizens?

It is easy to support a war when it costs you nothing. No price to pay and no pain to feel. The draft will “in principle” make it a shared burden. Young people will finally learn where Iraq is on a map. People will become educated, involved and care.

I think Rangel is right to bring this up. It shows the hypocrisy of our patriotism and values to be against the draft. To not want to discuss the shared burden and costs of war. - It slap of reality that we so desperatley need.

Posted by: Stefano at November 25, 2006 8:29 AM
Comment #196420

Tim,

You may be right, but unless we succumb to defeatism, all we can do is hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Despite it all, I am essentially an optimistic person, which is not to say, I hope, that I am blind to reality. Attitude has much to do with quality of life.

Posted by: Trent at November 25, 2006 9:57 AM
Comment #196423

1LT B,

It disgusts me when posters like you try to diminish the importance of the number of troops killed in Iraq, by pointing out it’s ‘not even as much as Antietem or the Civil War.’ 2,873 people - it’s not a statistic to be spun into nothing, it’s people. Living, breathing, brave poeple who are now in the ground.

To date, 2,873 of our brave troops have been killed in Iraq. That’s 2,873 families that have lost a son, daughter, brother, sister, dad or mom, and will have their lives changed forever because of it. 2,873 families that cried and mourned and felt the pain of losing a loved one. Hundreds of children that will never know their parent. Hundreds of parents that stood over their child’s casket. Thousands of friends that last saw a young vibrant soldier and then stood over a flag-draped casket crying.

2,873! And for what? To get the WMDs? Ooops, we goofed on that one. To make the world safe from terrorism? Ooops, our our intel agencies tell us we made it worse. To “fight them over there and not here?” Ooops, the “them” weren’t in Iraq when we started bombing the Iraqi civilians. To avenge the 2,899 killed on 9/11? Ooops, Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with that tragedy.

2,873. It’s a sad and unnecessary number no matter how you try to trivialize it with ridiculous comparisons.

Proving that Americans have lost their stomach for war is your premise for pointing out that “only” 2,873 have died. Well, it’s not “only” - and it’s hard to determine our stomach for war - all I know is we’ve lost our faith in the leadership of this one brought on by under false pretences and no long-term plan.

2,873. Think about it.

Posted by: Boomer at November 25, 2006 11:06 AM
Comment #196425

Boomer

Every death is a tragedy to somebody. I cannot speak for 1lt (who is himself in the miltary), but I would say that you cannot use the tragedy argument unless you are willing to do it for other things, in which case you can do nothing at all. Each year something like 50,000 people are killed in traffic accidents. MOST of those trips were objectively unnecessary.

Think about all the deaths from booze. We figured that out once before and tried to ban it. Didn’t work out well.

Of course the biggest potential abuser of your argument are anti-abortion people.

What number of “unnecessary” deaths is acceptable? Obviously zero. So do nothing. Of course if the British & French had risked some unnecessary deaths in the late 1930s, they may have avoided millions of them later. You just cannot know.

You can argue for or against the war in Iraq. The personal tragedy argument, however, is not valid.

Posted by: Jack at November 25, 2006 11:35 AM
Comment #196428

A tragedy is not a tragedy because of numbers, but because of circumstances and the ironies associated. Iraq War deaths are tragic because the war is largely counterproductive in terms of its pretexts. It has made America weaker in terms of counterproliferation, and brought terrorism as a chronic problem to a nation where it was hardly an issue at all, creating a new haven for our enemies

The tragedy argument is that under the current plan, we’re inflicting a great deal of pain and suffering on ourselves, only to create a situation that will visit even more of this on us. We need to stop this, or otherwise prepare for things to become worse.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 25, 2006 1:34 PM
Comment #196435

Stephen Daugherty,

You obviously missed my point completely. Show me twenty Democrats in the Senate or House that is willing to go along with Rangel on this and maybe I’ll believe! The fact is, liberals loathe the military, and over their own dead bodies will they draft more folks to go to Iraq. Rangel is doing this as a fish out of water, to stir up sympathy for the poor, and Blacks, whom he says are the only ones dying in Iraq. It is pure race baiting and class warfare, the kind of divisiveness Democrats successfully used in Katrina, as well. He is doing it because it works. It plays to the MSM’s Democratic agenda, and that’s the plain and simple truth.
When someone calls the messenger, me, divisive because one in their own Party is trying to play that game, I believe that is called a tu quoque argument. Don’t “you too” me. Stick to the premise of what I said!

JD

Posted by: JD at November 25, 2006 3:01 PM
Comment #196439

JD,

Um, none of my liberal buddies hate the military. I’m not fond of the foolish use of the military, but that’s hardly the military’s fault. But I guess you know my liberal buddies and me more than we do. Btw, some of my liberal buddies were in the military. They don’t hate it either, though they do tell lots of stories about the foolishness and absurdity they’ve seen. If they “hate” anyone, it’d be the civilian leaders. It’s a simple distinction, but one lost on many with strong preconceptions.

As for Rangel — kind of sounds like we’re damned if we support his notions and damned if we don’t. C’est la vie. Democrats have never been good at subordinating personal beliefs for the sake of partisanship.

Posted by: Trent at November 25, 2006 4:09 PM
Comment #196446

Jack,

“Even more important is the threat of American power. In the post late 1970s, when the bad guys were pretty sure we would not respond comprehensively with military, things got out of hand.”

And that was because, like Iraq, we screwed around and didn’t do the job we went there to do. It had less to do with the fact we pulled out and more to do with the fact that we allowed a 5th class country (admittedly with some pretty big allies), to kick our collective ass.

Things also got out of hand because our “friends”, like the Shah, got kicked out of power and we ended up looking bad on that account too.

JD,

I work in an industry that is rife with liberals. I have never heard any of them say they hate the military.

Ever.

This type of hyperbole from the right has worn pretty thin.
You might want to think of some other example.

Posted by: Rocky at November 25, 2006 7:04 PM
Comment #196448

Stephen

You can argue that the war is tragic. But you cannot use the individuals as part of that argument unless you want to open the gates for all of the appeal to misery fallacies.

Rocky

Historians argue these big points. The South beat back the north in 1972. They may have been able to do it again with U.S. air support. The North kept its big allies. We cut ours off. I do not know if it could have held up.

The Shah fell for internal Iranian reasons, but the U.S. was clearly involved with it. W/o the weakness of our defeat in Vietnam and our general pull back, who knows how that would have played out. The Shah would probably have fallen, but we did not have to get what we did - essentially the worst case scenario. You know that the Soviets probably would not have invaded Afghanistan if Iran had not been in turmoil. No Soviet invasion, no training for the bad guys we face now. OF course, maybe the Soviet Union would not have fallen.

Anyway, these are interesting counter historicals, but the bottom line is as I said. If the bad guys are reasonably sure we will not respond, they will go about their evil business.

Posted by: Jack at November 25, 2006 7:16 PM
Comment #196454

Jack,

“The Shah would probably have fallen, but we did not have to get what we did - essentially the worst case scenario.”

Besides the fact that the Shah was ill, I think he was done anyway. Khomeini had been a thorn in his side even before he went into exile in France.

We had backed the wrong side in what was essentially a revolution in Iran, and I’m sure that even if we hadn’t admitted the Shah for medical care, the Iranians were in no mood to be friendly to America, after the Shah had been deposed.

As for the Soviets, they were already running on empty before they invaded Afghanistan, and it was really only a matter of time before they collapsed under the weight of their own mistakes.

I’m also sure we felt that backing Bin Laden was in America’s best interests (can you say lesser of two evils?), though I doubt that the Soviets would have prevailed where so many had failed in Afghanistan before.

Recently we have made some serious mistakes in the region that have made America look foolish, inept, and incapable of putting forth the kind of “threat” you spoke of before.
Following failed policy, after failed policy is what has lowered our standing in the world, not any dissonance at home.

I think that it was in 1944 that Americans were no longer able to “volunteer” for the military, because nobody was volunteering to be in the ground troops.
Everybody wanted to be in the Air Corps, and the Navy.

Posted by: Rocky at November 25, 2006 9:34 PM
Comment #196463

Here’s some cheerful news:

Iraq insurgency now financially self-sustaining: NYT

The report, completed in June, was provided to the newspaper by U.S. officials in Iraq who told the Times they had done so in hopes that the findings could improve U.S. understanding of the challenges faced in Iraq.

According to the Times, the report holds out little hope that much can be done any time soon to stem the flow of funds to insurgents, acknowledging how little U.S. authorities in Iraq know about crucial aspects of insurgent operations.

Posted by: womanmarine at November 26, 2006 12:45 AM
Comment #196464

Rocky

I presume we will have a draft if we get into a world war. We just do not need one now.

Re the Shah, we really did not back him under Jimmy Carter. If fact, we sort of backed away and then in the worst of all possible turn arounds let him back in. If you are going to abandon someone, you probably should stay the course. I am not an expert on 1979 Iran, but I believe it is possible that a flexible but strong approach might have yielded a government less odious than the one we got.

Re the fall of the Soviet Union, I do not know that they would have fallen. Few people dislike communism more than I do, but I recognize that even really bad systems can hang on. Russia today is doing better economically and it is really not run that much differently. Just because something DID happen does not mean it was inevitable.

During the middle 1980s, I used to give a lecture where I called the Soviet Union the last of the colonial empires. I used to say that the British, French & Spanish had lost their empires and the Soviets would too. I sometimes brag about my being right, but I was not really. It was only one of many scenarios - wishful thinking - and I never thought it would happen anytime soon. The more likely scenario was the bloody disintegration of Austria-Hungary provoking a great war or the Ottomans, provoking many little ones. We were very lucky on the fall of the evil empire. It could have gone much worse.

Posted by: Jack at November 26, 2006 12:46 AM
Comment #196468

Sorry Rocky,

They don’t have to say it directly! Actions speak louder than words, and the actions I described are not ones of love and affection for our men in uniform. How does John Kerry’s portrayal of the military look to you? 1970’s or 2006? How does Rangel’s portrayal of the military look to you? Explain why liberals are adamant about kicking our recruiters out of schools and universities. Go back and review some of the comments made by Sen. Durbin and other Dems on the floor of the Senate.
Just because your “friends” don’t express hatred for the military means nothing, if they choose to support those who do. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck, it’s a duck! And so are the little ducklings that follow after.
However, my point is still that Rangel is taking this posture for the sole purpose of class warfare and race baiting. As Jack said in his original statement, there will be no draft. It has no support. If there will be no draft, then why is Rangel out there running his mouth? That is the real question?

JD

Posted by: JD at November 26, 2006 1:59 AM
Comment #196471

Boomer,

You know what disgusts me? When the media focuses only on casualties at the expense of progress we’ve made out here. When politicians and activists use the body count to score political points. When people say that the sacrifices we make are worthless and based on lies. When pogue civilians who have no training or experience in the military try and tell us how to do our jobs. Is each and every death a tragedy here? Yes. I’ve lost friends here. The point is that some people want to make 3,000 casualites out to be a failure. Its not. It speaks incredibly well of our leadership, training, and equipment that we’ve had so few casualties.

Oh, and one more thing. What’s this nonsense about bombing Iraqi civilians? Do you think we did this deliberately? Part of the reason for the body count you decry is because we don’t just bomb or artillerize buildings insurgents hide out in, we go in with troops to spare civilians. A bullet is far more selective than a bomb. Why don’t you inform yourself a bit before making wild, unsubstantiated, and frankly insulting accusations?

Posted by: 1LT B at November 26, 2006 5:02 AM
Comment #196475

JD,

“Just because your “friends” don’t express hatred for the military means nothing, if they choose to support those who do. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck, it’s a duck! And so are the little ducklings that follow after.”

After reading the posts from the far right on this and other threads I can only assume that they are incapable of anything except hyperbole.

It is the absolutism of the righteous.

I was very liberal when I was younger. I marched against the war in Vietnam. I was against the war, not against the military.
Even if I supported some folks that I didn’t exactly see eye to eye with, didn’t mean I was one of their ducklings, incapable of an original, rational, thought.

I pity those that only see the world through the myopic lens of black and white.

If we are indeed in a world wide war, and there is a need for a draft, there will be one.
Regardless of which direction the winds of politics are blowing at this moment in time.


1LT B,

Realistically, what has been gained from our adventure in Iraq?
What has America lost in this trade?

The American military appears to have done all they could with what they have had to work with, yet the region is less stable now than when we got there.

We haven’t achieved the “hearts and minds” thing, and have lost 3,000 good men and women, and spent hundreds of billions of dollars on a dubious quest, and gained nothing.
Yes, our technology works, and it works well, but our “dead from the neck up” civilian command structure has proved itself as inept as ever, and more’s the pity.

There are those that say that our American Democracy took time to coalesce, and all we need is more time for the same to happen in Iraq.

Well, here in America, we were all pulling in the same direction, toward the same goal. All fighting against the same tyranny.
That isn’t what’s happening in Iraq. Every faction there is in it for themselves, and all seem incapable of any compromise that would help pull a Democracy in Iraq together.

If they were our job would be done, and there would be no need for a draft.

Posted by: Rocky at November 26, 2006 9:39 AM
Comment #196484

Rocky,

And I pity those who live in an entirely gray world that no longer has any concept of right and wrong. This is where liberalism has been leading us for the last sixty years.

JD

Posted by: JD at November 26, 2006 12:08 PM
Comment #196502

JD,

Sorry, my world is full of colors and shades of colors, a marvelous mix of cultures.
People are alive, and make decisions based on the circumstances they face, not because some pundit or politician told them what to think, or say, or fear.

Posted by: Rocky at November 26, 2006 4:39 PM
Comment #196504

JD,

Liberals do have a concept of right and wrong; it’s why we are liberals. We just think easy formulations of right/wrong usually are self serving. As a country, we consider ourselves God’s chosen while doing despicable deeds. The very foundational texts many use to determine right/wrong subordinate women, justify slavery and cloak the genuinely unholy reasons we engage in some wars. We liberals love this country’s founding documents because, for the first time in history, they lay the blueprint for a society in which everyone is considered created equal, in which everyone has some basic civil rights. Yet only the wild-eyed talked about actually extending suffrage to women, and much Biblical authority was extended in trying to maintain the status quo. I think I will puke if I hear another “conservative” talk about right and wrong, particularly those who glibly dismiss concerns about torture or violating the Constitution. Elsewhere, I read rightwing defenses of the British Empire, saying that it produced a net “Good.” Good grief. The same argument, of course, can be used to defend the Soviet Union for keeping a lid on nationalistic and religious factions.

You want to make sweeping generalizations? There’s my sweeping answer. From its foundation, the United States was a progessive nation, and every societal advance was a progressive advance fought against those who have self-serving notions of right and wrong. Consersvatives tend to forget that, because something like women suffrage is established, it’s so obviously in line with this country’s founding values that it becomes the de facto status quo and conservatives pick some other progressive cause to freak out about.

Having said that, there are moral issues we should be profoundly uneasy about. How to balance the right of self determination against the “right” of unborn babies? Let’s talk about real issues instead of making sweeping generalizations. I’m done.

Posted by: Trent at November 26, 2006 5:17 PM
Comment #196509

Thank you Trent, well said.

Posted by: Rocky at November 26, 2006 5:49 PM
Comment #196561

JD-
Thank you for once again making broad assumptions about our motives and beliefs, despite what we’ve told you. I think you’d be suprised to find that most Democrats are moderates, most liberals in fact. Liberals, as a matter of fact, are not leftists by definition, as you assume. That’s another part of the party.

Do you think there would be mass demonstrations? In certain quarters, yes. It would not be an easy or uncontroversial decision, regardless of who made it. It might turn out to be a necessary one, though, and I think Liberals will be able to make the decision. The question of whether they would support it for Iraq is a valid question. If the push becomes great enough, perhaps we would. What would kill it at this point would be the fact that we’re trying to wrap our involvement in this war up. It doesn’t quite work to bring in tons of new soldiers into a fight we’re trying to step away from.

It is an option we should consider, if our efforts to leave become hampered by chaos in the region. It would practically become necessity if this president manages to land us in another war, or if the results of this one explode.

Rangel’s arguments have centered around spreading the sacrifice around, rather than focusing it all on a small group of volunteers we end up disregarding and ignoring otherwise. He has not expressed any hatred for troops. If you’re accusing him of race-baiting, I think you’re going too far. For him, race is an issue, but its not the issue. I think you should gather a great deal more evidence before you judge his position cynical. It’s easy to say somebody’s just wanting to exploit the situation; Republicans have gotten into the bad habit of doing it all the time with people. However, it’s not a claim that should be made lightly, or without good evidence. If you want a good example of race-baiting, try that campaign commercial for that Corker guy with the naked blonde chick asking a black candidate to call her. That’s race baiting.

1LT B-
You should understand the position back here at home: We were sold the war on different premises, now invalidated by the evidence. We started the war having rolled over the enemy. Now the enemy has gradually rolled over us, instead. Sure, we wanted to believe things were going well. It took some time for the majority of people to turn against the war.

What really happened here, what you should understand, is that your superiors failed to plan for anything else but that spectacular, fast invasion. They went into this war without crucial options in place, ready to run if needed. That is what’s losing you the war, not the media, not the grumbling and dissent back home. If that’s what people are telling you, they don’t know what they’re talking about

The American people have the stomach for war, but not for being lied to. There have been too many nasty surprises, too many betrayals of trust, and far too long a gap between when people realized this war was getting worse, and when the president started doing something about it.

The Country is grateful for what America’s soldiers have done, but as Colin Powell observed, there’s not much sense in sending more people to die just to honor those who have died. We, unlike our enemies, value the lives of our soldiers, and will not see them killed, just so some politician can continue a malfunctioning policy and save face.

John McCain, fresh from the prison camps at the end of the Vietnam War wanted to know how his country got into the position it did. To find out, he read David Halberstam’s The Best and the Brightest. Years later, he would even write an introduction to an edition of the book. There are no end of books and documentaries you can look at when you get home to find out what really happened, and why rather hawkish people like myself (this being the first and only war I’ve ever actively dissented against) have opposed Bush’s policies.

This wasn’t about politics, really. If you read about what your superiors did, you would come to understand that. It’s about the basic fundamentals of running a war, and how folk’s egos in the Bush administration got in the way of that.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 27, 2006 12:41 PM
Comment #196583

“I’m going to be a smart ass here and propose that if there is a draft, one of the criterion used in selecting people should be political views and liberals should go first”

Trying to cause a population explosion in Canada there LT?

Posted by: kctim at November 27, 2006 5:25 PM
Comment #196757

Rocky,

When you have a politician in one sentence erroneously claiming that our military is made up of the underprivileged, poor minorities, then in the next sentence calling for the draft to make more rich whites go to Iraq, that’s race baiting and class warfare, plain and simple. The end result is an attempt to stir up dissentions within the military ranks, and the civilian population about who’s who. What would happen if one of Rangel’s Black soldiers over in Iraq starts questioning orders because his leader happens to be one of the white guys, or for that matter vice versa? The military would start operating like people on the streets of New York City. You can’t operate the military in terms of Black and White. Who is the one seeing things as only Black and White now, hmm? One of the reasons the military is loathed by liberals is that it treats every individual as an integral member of the team. The team either wins, or the team loses. Rangel, trying to break the ranks into Black and White, rich and poor, is being divisive, and serves no purpose but to stir the pot of hatred and bigotry; something which has no place in an outfit where one person has to place his life in another man’s hands every day!

And as for the Corker ad, How about Barak Obama’s speeches in Maryland and Tennessee in which he told Maryland Blacks not to vote for Michael Steele just because he is Black, then told Tennessee Blacks to vote for Harold Ford, Jr. because Obama is the only Black Senator in Washington and he was getting lonely. If you think Republicans play the race card more than Democrats, where have you been living the last forty years?

JD

Posted by: JD at November 28, 2006 6:23 PM
Comment #196763

JD,

“What would happen if one of Rangel’s Black soldiers over in Iraq starts questioning orders because his leader happens to be one of the white guys, or for that matter vice versa? The military would start operating like people on the streets of New York City.”

You’ve got to be kidding, right?

Those that question orders in the military, get reprimanded, or face a Court Marshall.
That is how it should be, and how it has always been.

Posted by: Rocky at November 28, 2006 6:55 PM
Comment #196771

Rocky,

I apologize for using your name, my last comment should have been directed toward the comments of Stephen Daugherty, but you probably already realized that.
You’re right! The soldier should get reprimanded, but in a society which sees in terms of Black and White, many times authority figures are extremely hesitant to reprimand for fear of racial retribution and its aftermath. I think we’ve all seen enough examples of that. However, that’s a totally different discussion.

JD

Posted by: JD at November 28, 2006 7:35 PM
Comment #197090

Of course people speak in terms of their own bias as a result of one’s background and experiences, so trying to changes one’s mind is futile. Rangel is a minority with military experience. Respect his views. We just have to try to honestly and objectively look at things. EVERY argument has a positive and a negative. I’m a black man from humble beginnings and I do agree that the military does target minority groups. Just look at the advertisements.

I DO NOT AGREE WITH A DRAFT AND I DO NOT SUPPORT THIS “WAR,” or costly business venture of our President’s. We’re supposedly fighting for democracy everywhere. What exactly is our military presence in Africa where there’s too much to name going on.

I DO AGREE that if we had a draft that so many that believe in this war would have a change of heart if they or their children were forced to enlist. A draft won’t happen so take a deep sigh of relief, war mongers.

ONE QUESTION for those that think 2000 deaths is insignificant. 2000 is 10 times my high school graduation class. How many lives have you affected as one man/woman? I would guess too many to name. GOD bless everybody!!

Posted by: Jerrell Turner at November 30, 2006 3:55 PM
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