July 25, 2009
When Victory is a Dirty Word
“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure...than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
- Theodore Roosevelt
“Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival.”
- Winston Churchill
Victory and defeat are each of the same price.
- Thomas Jefferson
There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger. With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph, so help us God.
- FDR after Pearl Harbor
"I'm always worried about using the word 'victory,' because, you know, it invokes this notion of Emperor Hirohito coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur,"
- Barack Obama
Anyone who has read VC for any time at all knows that for many years the subject I wrote about most often was the war. No other topic even came close. If you're still suffering through my overlong posts, you have almost certainly noticed I don't write about war much anymore. I have not been happy about this, but I've had my reasons.
It was the need to defeat al Qaeda and shore up public support for our men and women in uniform that got me into blogging way back in January of 2004. Since last November I've struggled to balance my disquiet over the direction of the war effort and growing conviction that Barack Obama has neither the resolve nor the intention of winning with my firm belief that criticizing senior leadership in time of war only provides aid and comfort to those we are fighting. But when the President of the United States openly announces that victory is "not necessarily our goal", I get off the bus. Nothing I can say will be news to our enemies. After all, our own Commander in Chief has proclaimed it for all the world to hear.
Some time ago, General Petraeus characterized the stability achieved by the Surge (a change in strategy Obama initially opposed, then refused to term a success when events proved him wrong) as 'fragile and reversible'. For all that he mumbles the words about the need for a secure and free Iraq and Afghanistan, I don't see Obama backing the folks who put their lives on the line daily to "win" the peace. I don't see him giving them what they need to defeat our enemies.
Because that's what you do in war. You fight to win - not to achieve ignominious defeat or a Mexican standoff. People are giving their lives to prosecute our foreign policy aims, but when we ask them to do this, there must be some overarching policy goal - one vitally important enough to justify the loss of American lives.
When George Bush was in office, his detractors may have complained about the efficacy of his strategies at times. But no one, including our enemies, doubted for an instant what the desired end state was: victory. And Bush did what it took to stabilize Iraq, despite a Congress determined to announce our defeat before we could get our boots on the ground. Though the war was not going well back then, George Bush never lost faith in our armed forces. He fought for them and provided them with the tools they needed to do turn things around. The knowledge that senior leadership is squarely behind them is vitally important to the morale and safety of every American who steps forward to risk their life for this country.
We have no right - NO RIGHT - to ask soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen to put themselves in harm's way without the full support of their Commander in Chief and yet that seems to be exactly what our new President is determined to do. His latest statement is appalling:
"I'm always worried about using the word 'victory,' because, you know, it invokes this notion of Emperor Hirohito coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur," Obama told ABC News.
What is it Barack Obama finds so deeply troubling about putting an end to Japan's cruel depredations and militaristic ambitions?
Survivors of the Nanking Massacre have recounted how Japanese soldiers forcibly took girls as young as 10 years old to rape them and after having satisfied their lust, killed and buried them in a mass graves.
Elderly men, women and children were not spared and when the carnage was finally over, 200,000 civilians lay dead after an orgy of killing that has no equal in the history of human conflict.
Selected young women was sent to army camps as sex slaves to satisfy Japanese soldiers while healthy young men were shipped of to Japan to be slaves. All this took place after the Japanese invasion of China and the testimonials of survivors of this holocaust have been properly documented and recorded.
There was ample reason for the term The Rape of Nanking and it doesn't include the hare brained notion that the actions of the Japanese army in China, Korea, and the Philippines pale by comparison to media-manufactured shibboleths like Abu Ghuraib and Guantanamo Bay.
This is a man who thinks he can lead the U.S. economy out of recession by constraining profit and taxing those citizens who are most adept at creating wealth. But there's nothing in the Constitution about punishing free men for the sin of succeeding. I don't know about you, but if doing a thing is made less rewarding most people do LESS of that thing, not more. You don't incent success by handicapping the talented and industrious, and it's damned hard to protect the weak by handicapping those who are strong and brave enough to defend them.
Inexplicably, our Expert in Chief seems to think we can win a war by protecting innocent civilians, as opposed to killing the scum who prey upon them. But how can we protect the innocent if we're not allowed to go after their persecutors? And since when did women's issues in Afghanistan become a burning national security priority? Don't get me wrong - I'm all for helping these women as much as we can, but Afghanistan has its own culture and laws and if we're dictating to them then they're not truly free. It's difficult to see how sending American men and women into harm's way with one hand tied behind their backs and an ill defined and unmeasurable set of benchmarks makes us any more secure here at home.
Obama has stated many times that the goal in Afghanistan is to prevent future attacks on the United States. And yet his metric for measuring progress is not how many bad guys we kill, but how many Afghans we "protect". How can we possibly measure that in a country where non-uniformed combatants purposely hide among the citizenry? The guilty don't wear labels on their foreheads. As a metric, it is no more measurable than Obama's promise to "save or create" millions of jobs. How do you measure a saved job when it's not certain whether it would have gone away, absent massive income transferes and injections of federal cash into completely unrelated entitlement programs and earmarks?
How do we measure "saved lives" when we can never know how many would have been killed, had we not intervened?
But then perhaps that's the point. Because despite his mind blowing rhetoric, Obama likes the world to see him - if not the country he represents - as a winner. We know this because he hasn't stopped reminding half of America: "I Won".
And when that happened, we all lost.
I guess some victories are more equal than others. The difference here is that he's not spending foreign campaign donations but American lives in a reckless race to surrender everything these magnificent men and women hold dear: American security, prestige, and honor. VP Biden, speaking in London, recently stated that the war in Afghanistan is "worth the effort". Well I have news for him.
In war, you don't get graded on effort. You get graded on results.
Posted by Cassandra at July 25, 2009 10:36 AM
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"I'm always worried about using the word 'victory,' because, you know, it invokes this notion of Emperor Hirohito coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur."
Hirohito didn't sign the terms of surrender on the deck of the Missouri -- MacArthur wanted to maintain the fiction that the House of Meiji had nothing to do with Japanese aggression.
The only area in which Obama does *not* display abysmal ignorance is in selling to the gullible.
Posted by: BillT at July 25, 2009 01:46 PM
What Bill said.
Not that a U.S. President ought to know a bit about the nation's history or anything...
Posted by: bthun at July 25, 2009 01:53 PM
So far, his ignorance has led him into antagonizing every head of state he's met, with the exception of Hugo Chavez.
Learning on the job is one thing -- failing to learn while you're doing it is something else entirely.
Posted by: BillT at July 25, 2009 02:11 PM
Oh ferchrissakes. I'm disappointed that my twelve years old littlest red rdr knows more about the military-socio-political history of every conflict since Gavrilo Princip popped a cap in Archduke Ferdinand in 1914 than the Commander in Chief knows about the decomcratic priciples established in Japan as the result of the Second World War.
With all of the money he's willing to print to cram "change you f****ng well better believe in" down our throats, you'd think that at least he'd might spring for a subscription to the History Channel.
Not impressed, folks. Not one bit.
Posted by: spd rdr at July 25, 2009 03:09 PM
What struck me about Obama inserting the Hirohito detail is that it was so unnecessary.
I will admit that my grasp of modern history isn't all that great. We always covered the 20th Century in Spring, and by that time my mind had turned to thoughts of boys and driving my poor parents batsh** insane with various idiotic escapades that involved climbing out of my window after I was supposed to be asleep.
It seemed to me as though he was showing off. For a guy who uses a Teleprompter all the time to keep from making mistakes, to gratuitously throw an easy to screw up detail (Hirohito vs. simply "The Japanese") into the comment seems odd. It's as though he wanted to show off his knowledge and got tripped up by his ego.
Posted by: Cassandra at July 25, 2009 04:29 PM
Thou hast twigged it, darlin' girl.
The man is ignorant even of the depths of his own ignorance.
Posted by: BillT at July 25, 2009 04:32 PM
O may have been thinking of the meeting that Hirohito did have with MacArthur.
But probably not. His remarks often have a curious relationship with facts.
Mac and Hiro were both masters. The General saw dealing softly with H would ease the job of occupying Japan.
And H landed on his feet each time during a long life. He had Teflon armor before Reagan. (Of course when many millions regard you as a God that gives you a good start.)
Posted by: K at July 25, 2009 04:51 PM
Hmph. It's even simpler than that.
Obama's referent for "soldier" is the thugs he and his friends sent 'round to (ahem!) explain that people need to do what they're told. Aversive conditioning is such an effective teaching method, don't'cha know?
Posted by: Ric Locke at July 25, 2009 05:47 PM
"The man is ignorant even of the depths of his own ignorance"
And these are the most dangerous ones.
Posted by: olga at July 25, 2009 06:34 PM
Victor Davis Hanson is a student of both war and culture. He's written several excellent history books, including books on the Western way of war. Basically nothing less than total victory is acceptable--at least on a cultural basis.
Barack is not a student of history. I frankly don't know what he's a student of, other than rhetoric. The words he reads from the teleprompter usually aren't his own. He's got a pair of 27 year old speechwriters squirreled away who, if anything, are even more historically ignorant than The Won. But they write soaringly eloquent--although frequently fact challenged--speeches for The Won.
Comes an occasion a week or three ago at a White House press briefing presided over by the truly inimitable "Baghad Bob" Gibbs.
A White House correspondent asked Gibbsie about a seeming discrepancy between an assertion of historical fact in one of The Won's speeches--and a statement in a Victor Davis Hanson history book about the same event. The two versions of the same event were flatly contradictory.
Qouth Gibbsie: "I don't know who Victor Davis Hanson is, but as between our speechwriters and Hanson, I'll go with our speechwriters."
It's said that ignorance can be cured, but stupid is forever. It's going to be a long four years.
Cassandra, I appreciate what your husband does for the country, and I'm sorry that he and his men are not being properly employed. This sort of half baked messing around with military missions is what, in a weaker country such as France, ultimately produces an OAS. But then Gibbsie and Obama never heard of the OAS either.
It's not going to happen here; we have too long and honorable a military tradition. But Obama ought not be allowed to direct anything much more dangerous than a Girl Scout campfire wienie roast, with 'smores to follow for dessert.
Posted by: Mike Myers at July 25, 2009 07:36 PM
Underwhelming, as usual.
Posted by: Cricket at July 25, 2009 07:49 PM
I heard the Gibbs comment regarding VDH over breakfast one morning while watching one of the satellite talking-heads slap-n-tickle fests that masquerade as a news show.
I think the Q&A was in reference to VDH having the audacity to mention the Emperior's lack of historical attire in his June 11, 2009 NRO piece. I almost choked at Gibbs response, which only lacked for him sticking his fingers in his ears while chanting lalalalalalalala. *sigh*
Buck up folks, it's 464 days and a wake up until the next round of taking out the trash.
Posted by: bthun at July 25, 2009 08:23 PM
Thanks for your essay. As an Air Force vet -- and as a citizen-- my feelings match yours. But your words are so much better. We put our lives on the line and we do it willingly. But we need to be supported by our president. And we are not.
Posted by: Peter Conover at July 25, 2009 08:50 PM
President Obama is master of every liberal-Democrat Party trope since the beginning of the New Deal. How can you say he doesn't know any history? Every fatuous belief, stupid slogan or bromide, every unprovable and undocumented populist truth. In short, it is a Confederacy of Dunces, and Robert Gibbs is truly in his element. Look for him to get a major network job at either CNN, MSNBC or PBS when the Obama Administration comes to and end. Someday?
And this will continue because Obama is not BUSH! or CHENEY! The majority of the Mass Media will continue to cover for him and not ridicule his cluelessness because that would be racist.
And of course, there's always Sarah Palin to kick around when the going gets a little sticky for the Prez and his media minions. This next three years will be like wading into someone else's dirty bathwater. We're only up to our ankles in it now; soon will be up to our hips.
Posted by: Don Brouhaha at July 25, 2009 09:01 PM
VDH is a liberal's worst nightmare. He is a conservative and a historian recognized by his peers as such. I labored in my youth on a dairy farm during the summers when he was working on his family farm during the same period. I corresponded with him briefly years ago that we had watched many a sunrise over the Sierras as we went about our chores. Many's the time I road a train by the station at his quiet town.
Gibbs once again denigrates the folks in flyover America with a dismissive aside. Yesterday I encountered the same dismissiveness from a family member visiting from Eugene, Oregon. She echoes the sentiment that us rubes are not capable of deciding things for ourselves. She went on to inform us that the "intellectuals" in her group are the sine qua non that saves the rest of us cretins from our ignorant and base selves.
It was refreshing hearing this condemnation from someone so young (36) with two young daughters. It reinforces my understanding that we are not taken seriously in the hinterlands far removed from mainstream academia. She was impervious to facts to the contrary and derided Sarah Palin as being somewhere between ignorant and stupid (that word again.)
Knowing where we stand in the great debate provides a tactical advantage when dealing with talking points put out by so-called intellectuals. Theye in an echo chamber of like-minded harrumphers who use ad hominem attacks instead of anaylysis memorably stated by the eastern lady who said she couldn't believe Bush was elected/reelected when she didn't know a soul who voted for him. She is on her way back to her support group for refueling.
Posted by: vet66 at July 26, 2009 12:05 PM
Trust me, vet. Even if she is family, if she's from Eugene, Portland or Salem, she's from a different planet.
Posted by: DL Sly at July 26, 2009 02:19 PM
Worked and lived in Eugene for 8 years. We finally transferred back to L.A. just to get out of there. When I saw the first load of lumber come in on one of our freight trains from the Southeastern United States I saw the writing on the wall. That with complaints from local retirees who bought a place on the McKenzie river who found their property tax bills exceeded the monthly payment on the original mortgage forced them out.
They encouraged my wife to stay on the sub-list so they could take friday and/or monday off at least once a month. They finally went on one of many strikes and told her if she enjoyed working the sub-list she would not fill in for them during the strike. She called their bluff and a month later, things were back to normal. Seems they like their 3-4 day weekends off more than they liked thinning out the availability of qualified substitutes. I can still hear the plaintive wail "THE CHILDREN, THE CHILDREN" from the picket line. Apparently "THE CHILDREN" were superseded by whatever the NEA eked out of the negotiations which brought the teachers back to the classroom.
Another planet indeed! She lost her job and blames Bush!
Posted by: vet66 at July 26, 2009 02:38 PM
Ah yes, save us from those images of victory. What terrible injuries they inflict on the national psyche. (Even if the exist only in someone's addled sense of history.) Give us that good old, nobody gets hurt, nobody wins, and nobody loses imagery. That's much better for us, and much more realistic. Just ask the French.
Posted by: Steven at July 27, 2009 07:52 AM
I think what folks are missing (or at least, I've yet to see anyone else point this out) is that the President is captive of his own party's ideology. "You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake." One of the more foolish sentiments than most of the drek the anti-war left loves, which is saying something. 'Victory' to them is an outdated concept that implies that there are winners and losers rather than 'participants'. For us to declare 'victory' means that someone else lost, and that's just MEAN!
Also, I am sure, after hammering Bush for years about "Mission Accomplished", he CERTAINLY doesn't want to do something as 'stupid' as declare victory then have ANYTHING go wrong. Because clearly, even though Iraq has less violence per capita than LA or Chicago, it's a quagmire and we must leave immediately!
I wish I could say I was saddened or surprised by this idiocy the POTUS has unleashed on us now, but honestly it's pretty much what I expected.
Posted by: MikeD at July 27, 2009 01:25 PM
I think there may be a misread of that quote. Is it possible he is saying there is no Hirohito here? No boogeyman to bring to surrender. I love the comparisons to World War II as if this is the same type of war. In fact, the comment here:
"Obama has stated many times that the goal in Afghanistan is to prevent future attacks on the United States. And yet his metric for measuring progress is not how many bad guys we kill, but how many Afghans we "protect". "
That was actually one of Petraeus' tenants on how to fight this war effectively. I believe everyone, including Obama has embraced Petraesus' plan and quality of leadership in changing the course of the war, which implies that Rumsfeld and Bush did not provide our soldiers with the tools they needed. There is ample example and information there (such as choosing to engage in an optional war). What happened to unquestionable support of our POTUS that pervaded this site for the Bush years, when we learned frequently that he was not supporting our troops, and only using rhetoric to rationalize his choices. Bush refused, as did Rumsfeld to provide more troops until election time rolled around. Then the Anbar Awakening and a new planned helped. However, if you read "The Gamble" by Thomas Ricks you will find the game isn't over folks. And there are plenty of issues, like the economy, that President Obama had firmly laid in his lap. Seems to me the military leadership is happy with his handling of the Iraq/Afghanistan situation. Sounds like this website is still residing in ideological positions rather than pragmatic ones. I am astounded how on this site Bush is still revered, or excused for the damage he has done, while our newest President, fresh in his first seven full months of the job is going to end our great nation. Yet that is the beauty of our great nation...everyone has the freedom to state their opinion and vote on it ever few years to change course. So, you'll have your opportunity to convince everyone in 2012 that the War in Iraq was a success, that Obama didn't support it, that it was his fault that the economy was ruined and not the past 30 years of speculative investment and a house of cards being built, that history wasn't fair to GW Bush, that al Queda really was in bed with Saddam, that Saddam was going to strike America, that Obama didn't protect us, that William Kristol was right, that Dick Cheney is a true patriot and not a thief, liar and rogue leader, and that the republican party and conservatism/neoconservatism is the answer. So I'd suggest that in the next four years you true and be part of the solution instead of part of the problem and give up the phony birth certificate theories, the false claims of Obama not supporting our troops and try and protect your children and friends as soldiers by doing something significant.....help to end the war in Iraq as soon as possible. Get the troops we so love out of that country ASAP! That would demonstrate a tremendous amount of patriotism.
Posted by: Miguel Sanchez at July 28, 2009 12:39 AM
Seems to me the military leadership is happy with his handling of the Iraq/Afghanistan situation.
You're mistaking a lack of protest for cheerful acceptance. Obama's handling of the situation was to send *more* troops, not fewer.
...help to end the war in Iraq as soon as possible.
The war with Iraq *is* over. We won. Sorry to disappoint you.
Which isn't to say that there still isn't *fighting* going on over here, but we're fighting the same dirtbags we're fighting in Afghanistan.
Get the troops we so love out of that country ASAP!
Oh, spare me. It ain't 2006 any more.
Do you have any idea who's being killed by the IEDs, VBIEDs, human bombs and sneak-shooters? Iraqi civilians -- we're still here because we're teaching the Iraqi military and the National Police how to become more effective at preventing the attacks and catching the perps -- to include recruiters and suppliers.
Posted by: BillT at July 28, 2009 06:16 AM
I believe everyone, including Obama has embraced Petraesus' plan and quality of leadership in changing the course of the war...
Nope. Obie is *still* denying Petraeus' plan worked because the additional troops of the Surge gave him the space and mass he needed to implement it.
Posted by: BillT at July 28, 2009 06:34 AM
I saw a fascinating bumper sticker last weekend.
OOPS. The two O's had the rainbow in them.
We have our first affirmative action President. He knows nothing of economics, job creation, or capital formation. He knows nothing of geopolitics, diplomacy, or international relations. He knows nothing about medicine, health management, hospitals, emergency rooms, or patient care.
He has but one skill: reading the words of someone else from the screen of a teleprompter.
He has but one rubric: the state must control everything. We have seen how well this works in New Jersey. With unlimited power comes unlimited graft, in a manner similar to former Governor Blago and his item of supreme value.
Regrettably, there are no historical paradigms of unlimited State control doing anyone any good. I heard this in 1961: we are smarter, we can make it work. State control failed then.
I am hearing it again today: we are smarter, we can make it work.
Sorry, O. If you do not have victory, you have defeat. And I will not join you there.
Posted by: Tom Johnson at July 28, 2009 08:04 AM
"UN'ing" the war effort.
Posted by: MarkT at July 28, 2009 09:26 AM
Facts are Obama reversed his decision on pullout due to Petraeus' influence, and Petraeus supported Obama on the closing of GITMO. Sounds like they are working together and respecting each other. Two rational individuals seeing the forest from the trees.
I imagine Mr. Johnson thought Pres. GW Bush was a more competent leader. Comments such as "unlimited state control" or such hysterical overreactions. I don't recall much teeth gnashing when the Bush WH expanded executive powers and overrode certain Constitutional provisions in pursuit of ultimate control. As well, his decisions on tax cuts, Medicare drug spending, Iraq War and the first TARP package have assisted greatly in putting us in a corner. Not to mention sweetheart deals with friends of oil such as Haliburton. Once again, these are the same critiques of Clinton who managed to give us three years of surplus. I understand that this blog is focused on military and most individuals on this site are military. But to be caught up in this "war was won" talk is short sighted. Nothing was won. Nothing is over. Troops continue to be killed. If you accept that as a condition of occupation, then that is also not benefitting the military, or our country. The demonstrated facts are that this was a war of choice, our prized military was put into an untenable situation, and our soldiers and country have paid a high price for a POTUS (Bush) and his admin that manufactured a war. It doesn't besmirch the honor of any soldier to state that. It points a very definite finger at two people in particular who did their best in their young lives to avoid service....Cheney and Bush.
In our nation, anyone is entitled to criticize the POTUS for his policies. No one here seems to agree with Obama on any policy. That is acceptable. The majority of Americans seem to agree with him at this point. Time will tell whether that continues. Most of the criticisms lack any substantive proof of failure. On the other hand, there is quite a bit of substantive proof of Bush's failures. Many conservatives recognize this fact. By applying simplistic sloganisms to complicated situations does not make a "war won". "If you do not have victory, you have defeat". That means nothing at this point. I would deduce by the absence of Bush support that everyone has resigned to the fact that he was a failure.
Posted by: Miguel Sanchez at July 28, 2009 11:37 AM
Nothing was won. Nothing is over.
Sorry, but the war against Iraq was won -- what we're doing now is nation-building. Something the Clinton White House went to war over. Bosnia sound familiar? Haiti? How about Kosovo? Why no cries to pull our troops from there? Why no agitation to pull our troops out of Korea -- that fight was settled fifty years ago, and troops continue to die there, too.
Troops continue to be killed. If you accept that as a condition of occupation, then that is also not benefitting the military, or our country.
Cops continue to be killed nationwide in the US. So, if you accept that as the price for living in a stable society, then it is not befitting(?) the police, or our country?
You either fail to realize that killing Islamofascists on ground of *our* choosing is preferable to fighting them on *their* terms, which puts the troops at greater risk, or you're clueless about what this fight is about in the first place -- the dirtbags want us dead, because we aren't takfiri Wahhabi.
The troops you want to bring back will be the first ones to tell you that withdrawing them is *not* the way to win. You might not want to win, but *they* do, and the troops have a better idea of what's good for them than you do. I know you may find that concept shocking and difficult to accept, but try to deal with it.
Posted by: BillT at July 28, 2009 12:19 PM
I would deduce by the absence of Bush support that everyone has resigned to the fact that he was a failure.
Ah, that explains things -- you're stuck in 2006.
Bush isn't the President anymore, Miguel. You can stop campaigning against him.
Posted by: BillT at July 28, 2009 12:22 PM
Ah, that explains things -- you're stuck in 2006.
And lets discuss this particular delusion that Bush was a tyrant determined to rule the world and stomp out opposition by crushing dissent and overthrowing the Constitution to give oil money to his friends in Hallib... BLLAAARGHGHR!!!
Just stop. Last I recalled, military and/or police force was not required to get Bush to leave the White House. He did not call out the Army to keep the Obama's from moving in. Hell, he didn't rig the election (though I remember folks on the Left warning us that if Obama lost, this would be why). In fact, he didn't even declare a national emergency and martial law to prevent the election.
Boy, he sure doesn't know how to be a dictator very well. Or maybe, just maybe (and I know that you're never going to be able to admit this)... MAYBE you were wrong. Maybe Bush was NOT Hitler. Maybe he DIDN'T trample the Constitution. Maybe you just were responding out of partisanship and a touch of paranoia?
Because I can tell you from here... that's what it looks like.
Posted by: MikeD at July 28, 2009 02:14 PM
One wonders how, exactly, the bid process is supposed to work with these things:
"OK guys, I've called 1000 companies asking for a bid for rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure. We've told them we don't know what they have that works, we don't know what they have that doesn't, we don't know what we'll break, we don't know what they'll self-sabatage, and we don't know when they'll be able to even begin much less what kind of security situation they'll be working through."
"Given the normal operations of the digestive tract, we'll expect to start getting numbers pulled out of their ass in the next 3 days. We'll then spend the next 6 months sifting through that pile of shit."
Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 28, 2009 03:39 PM
Just as I suspected -- you've had gummint experience...
Posted by: BillT at July 28, 2009 03:52 PM
Understand that a straw man hyberbole argument doesn't by default prove that something isn't true or factual. Sorry....I didn't pull out the word dictator. Abuse of power doesn't require that someone become a dictator. It requires majority rule. We'll see if Obama behaves in the same way. Not likely. Looks like healthcare will change dramatically. Not the way the last administration did business.
To boot, the Dems that voted for an Iraq War were mainly concerned with re-election. LIke Kerry, they changed their minds later once the tide turned.
Read up on John Yoo's directives and legal positions he scored (with support) to give the executive branch unparalleled powers at any time in history. Check out David Addington's role in this as well. I find it amazing that some shed their memories of the past 8 years out of convenience, but can't forget about the splooge on the chubby girl's blue dress over ten years ago. Who has their head in the sand?
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" Santayana
Black/white. Hitler/protector...win/lose. This line of simplistic deduction sounds quite Bushian. NO wonder you like the guy. I exist in a World which is a little more complex than that.
As for occupation in other cases, your examples as comparison or analogy are quite weak as matched up with Iraq. In every instance. And although we still have troops in some of these places (hell, we still have troops in Germany)precedent can be sited of the international resolution of these situations, which unfortunately (at least for your argument) we don't have the same support in Iraq.
Read this article and then tell me we are winning in Iraq. Unfortunately, once again, it isn't that simple. The tide keeps changing.
I understand that is easier to presume that America is always righteous, but it is more sane and honest to understand that we make mistakes. Once this clarity can be realized, we can begin to make decisions that are not influenced by self-deception. That was the crux of Gen. Petraeus' plan with Iraq. Realize the previous plan and execution of Rumsfeld did not support or protect the troops, and did not make order and control a reality. I am convinced that guys like Petraeus want to create a situation in which we can draw down and protect American military lives, and try and create order where there is disorder. And Obama supports that. That is what I mean by bring the troops home. So, yes, I'd like them home tomorrow, but I realize that is not possible because of the hole dug by the former administration. I hope that this POTUS will continue to listen to wise people like Petraeus who will achieve that end, I believe. I don't think Petreaus thinks in such a simple "win/lose" scenario. Maybe you should stop watching all those Mel Gibson movies.
Posted by: Miguel Sanchez at July 28, 2009 08:22 PM
I don't think you have the slightest idea what Petraeus thinks :p But keep trying.
Oh, and Bill - give up, man. Even though you're IN Iraq, Miguel knows far more about it than you do.
Posted by: Cassandra at July 28, 2009 08:49 PM
Geez, Cassie, you'd think I'm *new* at this.
You *know* I always just circle the target for a while...
Posted by: BillT at July 29, 2009 12:12 AM
I believe. I don't think Petreaus thinks in such a simple "win/lose" scenario.
You *believe*. You *think*. But I've been *doing* -- for forty years.
Maybe you should stop watching all those Mel Gibson movies.
Yeah, We Were Soldiers wasn't totally accurate in its portrayal of what happened at the base of the Chu Pong -- but if it had been, you would have run out of the theater, puking.
Posted by: BillT at July 29, 2009 12:20 AM
Ya know... I HAD been planning on debating ole Miguel there, but then I realized... why? I'm not going to convince him anymore than he's going to convince me. He clearly thinks he's a mind reader who knows the heart of General Petraeus, how am I going to convince him he doesn't?
Bill, you're on site in the sandbox, and yet you have no idea what you're talking about apparently. Miguel has the "big picture" you can't see since you're too close. And 'experience' and 'knowledge'? Pfft! That's overrated. He knows you don't use that. Instead you don't draw on your own Vietnam experience, you get it from a MOVIE to know what war's REALLY like.
Seriously Miguel, before you argue with someone about where they get their worldview... try and find out what they might ACTUALLY get it from rather than spout your talking points.
Posted by: MikeD at July 29, 2009 09:47 AM
Telling a Vietnam vet that he doesn't know what war is really like does not exactly a strategy to help your credibility.
Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 29, 2009 09:51 AM
Sorry not gonna take the bait. Talk about putting words in one's mouth....Obviously, I am basing my opinions on reading material and perspective from my own experiences...which isn't coming from Iraq right now, and maybe from some other historical event. Sounds like a few levels of skin on this site are quite thin. I don't recall making any comments about anyone else's service to our nation, or where they are sending those words from. I'm talking about words used. Also, sounds like some of you don't like Petraeus. Pretty much seems like a veiled criticism of the man.
I enjoy the reductionism that occurs here whenever someone states an opinion contrary to the group-think...."You think you know more than a Vet....a Viet Nam vet...a soldier in Iraq". Don't recall making that statement. If I'm in disagreement with you, I'm sorry you take it as a personal attack. Seems to me our nation has made many errors in our great history in time of war. And we will continue to make more. It apparently gets under the skin of some of you when it is pointed out that major errors were made in this war. Criticize the war and you criticize the soldier.....again, absurd reductionist argumentation. And apparently Bill is the oldest soldier in Iraq, because he was in Chu Pong, My Lai and all over Nam forty years ago. If that is the fact, then I applaud the man. But does that make his perspective the only one? And by virtue of the fact that he is fighting in Iraq right now, in the sandbox, justifies any of our actions in that region for the past 8 years? Flawed reasoning. This is the drill here. One debates the perspective of guys like Bill, and suddenly I don't respect Bill, I'm a silly citizen who doesn't know anything about war, Iraq, World conflict. First of all, I don't wear my experiences on my sleeve....so I don't have to state what conflicts I've been a part of, how I've been affected by all this, or how I fit in. It's not about me folks. Secondly,It might serve discussion better if some of you got off the cross and discussed the points. Mike The Deducer has a great point...we will not convince the other of our point of view, but it is probably worth sharing it from both ends. Thirdly, the last comment there that I'm telling someone they don't know what war is is quite a stretch of truth. You must listen to a lot of Limbaugh to use that talk radio tactic and fabricate stuff. I appreciate the fact that no one has refuted my statements about the debacle that was this war from the beginning. Clearly the debate is whether or not our efforts now are succeeding. Time will tell. I hope for the safety of all troops there, it does succeed.
Posted by: Miguel Sanchez at July 29, 2009 12:34 PM
I don't recall making any comments about anyone else's service to our nation, or where they are sending those words from.
You must have a short memory. They come from here: Maybe you should stop watching all those Mel Gibson movies.
Perhaps, just perhaps, Bill's ideas about how to fight a war come not from Mel Gibson movies but his own experience, you know, fighting a war.
Posted by: Shirley at July 29, 2009 01:06 PM
Sorry, change your name for joke and you forget to change it back.
Anyway, I'm just sayin' when disagreeing with with Joe Torre on baseball, it's probably not the best tactic to tell him to stop watching so many baseball movies. It doesn't make you look good.
Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 29, 2009 01:21 PM
If you look back, it wasn't just Bill that was using the "Winning the War" banner. There were a few others. How in the World would I know Bill was in Nam. I don't live at this site by the hour, or the day. As well, the Mel Gibson could have been a reference to any of his flicks. The Patriot, Braveheart, What Women Think...sorry, not that one. Thicken up the skin folks.
When one bases comments on assumptions and conjectures, they are rarely comfortable in their own point of view. Otherwise, they wouldn't have to retreat to such a refuge.
Posted by: Miguel Sanchez at July 29, 2009 01:36 PM
If you look back, it wasn't just Bill that was using the "Winning the War" banner.
So, you were talking to him.
How in the World would I know Bill was in Nam.
Then perhaps you need to stop making assumptions about people you don't and issuing ad hominem arguments and address the issue and not their background.
Thicken up the skin folks.
I'm at a loss as to why you think pointing out your logical fallacies somehow implies that we are upset/offended/etc?
You: If A=B and B=C then A=D
Us: No, if A=B and B=C then A=C
You: You people need to thicken up your skin
You: See, your not comfortable in your own point of view.
Us: OK, yeah, whatever. You know you're not helping yourself, right?
You: Still retreating to that refuge, I see.
Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 29, 2009 02:07 PM
As for occupation in other cases, your examples as comparison or analogy are quite weak as matched up with Iraq.
Nope, they're *perfect* analogies.
In every instance. And although we still have troops in some of these places (hell, we still have troops in Germany)precedent can be sited [sic] of the international resolution of these situations, which unfortunately (at least for your argument) we don't have the same support in Iraq.
Unfortunately for your argument, double-digit UN Resolutions warned Saddam he'd get his nose bloodied. As for international support, the Brits, Romanians, Germans, Turks and others headquartered in Baghdad will no doubt be horrified to learn they're not really here, according to you.
Talk about putting words in one's mouth....
Ummmm, excuse me? You *said*, "Maybe you should stop watching all those Mel Gibson movies."
Obviously, I am basing my opinions on reading material and perspective from my own experiences...which isn't coming from Iraq right now, and maybe from some other historical event.
So, you're admitting you're arguing current events based on outdated information, and which may not even have anything to do with the subject you're talking about. And I *didn't* put words in your mouth, that's exactly what you just said.
It's not about me folks.
Sure, it is. You're so in love with your "points" you continue to try to make them even after they've been dunked.
Secondly,It might serve discussion better if some of you got off the cross and discussed the points.
I've been addressing your points. And if I were on a cross, I wouldn't be able to reach the keyboard...
And apparently Bill is the oldest soldier in Iraq, because he was in Chu Pong, My Lai and all over Nam forty years ago.
Now who's putting words in who's mouth? I never said I was "all over Nam" and you jumped to the conclusion I was over here *fighting* because that's you're sticking point. I'm an *instructor* over here, teaching Iraqi pilots on an Iraqi Air Base whose northern approached are guarded by an Iraqi Army unit.
As far as sectarian violence goes, there are Shi'a and Sunni Arabs, Kurds, and Turkmens living here, and the worst squabbling going on right now is about who's going to run for city council.
I appreciate the fact that no one has refuted my statements about the debacle that was this war from the beginning.
Then you're not going to appreciate that the war *wasn't* a debacle, the aftermath *was*. We severely underestimated the damage total de-Ba'athification of Iraq would do.
How in the World would I know Bill was in Nam. I don't live at this site by the hour, or the day.
We've had discussions before, and the subject came up. I even gave you a brief curriculum vitae.
When one bases comments on assumptions and conjectures, they are rarely comfortable in their own point of view.
You, of course, seem to be the exception that proves the rule.
Posted by: BillT at July 29, 2009 02:33 PM
I seriously can't believe I'm getting sucked into this. *sigh* Oh well
Mike The Deducer has a great point...
Yes, I am the Deducer. Because I read your post about Bush seizing "unprecedented power" and "subverting the Constitution" and "sweetheart deals for Halliburton" and therefor realized you were a left wing nutcase who drank the Bush is Hitler Kool-aid.
"Ah, but I never SAID Bush was Hitler! Nyah nyah nyah!" No, but you're saying ALL the same lines as the Bush is Hitler crowd use. Imagine that.
And I'm the Deducer, when exactly two sentences later you say:
You must listen to a lot of Limbaugh to use that talk radio tactic and fabricate stuff.
Yes friends, there is actual logic and reason. You apparently don't have much of a future in mind reading there Karnak. I don't like Limbaugh. I don't listen to him. Nor was Bill at Mai Lai (nice attempt at a slur there you piece of human excrement). And I daresay you're wrong with your mind reading attempt on General Petraeus (who I hold in a much greater respect than your buddies in MoveOn.org did), but once again... there's something else you completely missed in your pathetic attempt at mentalism.
I have already violated one of our hostess' rules here, so I'm done. I am not removing it or retracting it because for you to accuse a man as fine as Bill of a war crime (and please, spare me any pathetic attempt to weasel-word your way out of it), deserves far worse than your being called a name. But I am done with you. Clearly, I should not feed the trolls. I apologize to Cass and the Company for doing so.
Posted by: MikeD at July 29, 2009 02:44 PM
Bravo MikeyD! you proved my point oh, so excellently. Because of a mention of locations where all kind of things happened, I am accusing Bill of war crimes. Amazing. You should be a radio host.
Bill, the joinder was, "and if you were, I applaud you." Doesn't this indicate to you that did not know of your Nam connection? As to the "war", if everything before Bush put the banner on the aircraft carrier was war, and all the death/mayhem after was not, then you are correct and I am not. Yet, the entire conflict, pre and post banner surely constitutes the "war" not the specific battle plan. Nice to see you agree the execution in the aftermath was a debacle.
I was addressing the words of those that want to deduce this discussion down to taking my comments and stating they constitute disrespect to you and soldiers, and that if I believe this is a terrible moment in U.S. foreign policy, I am against soldiers, instuctors etc. It's pretty clear I am against policies that put our troops into conflicts which were unnecessary to engage in the way we did. Mikey D has me connected with MoveOn and admitted that he seemed to have lost his senses, when in fact he knows nothing of me except that I think this War is very big mistake. Call me Jane Fonda as well. So I suppose with MDs reasoning, anyone who disagrees with the policies of Bush and his admin, believes he overstepped his presidenital powers, and created quite a mess is also a member of MoveOn and a liberal wacko. The composite of people who feel that way stretches across all kinds of political and ideological lines. It isn't just reserved for liberal, commie pinkos.
If they are perfect analogies, how much did we spend in Kosovo and Bosnia, or Haiti? How long were we there? For the record, I was against intervention into those nations as well. Clinton's slapping NATO stickers on to our fighter jets was dispicable. It was unnecessary for us to be there. But the scope, cost, loss of life, and impact on the region in Iraq cannot not even closely be compared to Bosnia or Haiti.
One more point MikeyD. The Justice Department is currently investigated the statues put into practice by John Yoo and David Addington for Cheney and Bush. They are looking into Cheney's behavior. Dozens of books have been writtne about the Bush Admin and Iraq. Most likely, much like the three presidents preceding Bush, nothing will happen to bring this into the legal system. Very few of these people have a MoveOn.org agenda like the Greenwalds. If the government and intelligence people are involved in these ventures, it doesn't seem that they are liberal wackos spewing histrionic comparisons of Bush to Hitler. I don't really even think Bush was privy to many of the things that occurred. Similarly with Reagan, he was not made privy to many of the things that occurred with Iran-Contra and the relationships with Noriega and Adolfo Calero.
Posted by: Miguel Sanchez at July 29, 2009 09:01 PM
Oh, and the FreeRepublic.com moniker of "Troll" is so Post-Clinton NeoConservatism.....not in vogue anymore. The new buzz word is "socialist". Like the 50s are back.
Posted by: Miguel Sanchez at July 29, 2009 09:04 PM
Bill, the joinder was, "and if you were, I applaud you." Doesn't this indicate to you that did not know of your Nam connection?
Nope -- it merely indicates you ignored the information when it originally appeared in a reply.
...how much did we spend in Kosovo and Bosnia, or Haiti?
Oddly enough, the Clinton White House didn't release that tidbit.
How long were we there?
Bosnia? We still have troops there. Kosovo? Same.
So, 14 years and counting.
Posted by: BillT at July 30, 2009 12:57 AM
Oh, and the FreeRepublic.com moniker of "Troll" is so Post-Clinton NeoConservatism.....not in vogue anymore.
Lots of things aren't in vogue, but some things are just *classic*.
The new buzz word is "socialist". Like the 50s are back.
Socialist is soooooo 1930s -- it's not even *retro* anymore. However, it's appropriate.
BTW, the buzzword in the 50s was "fellow-traveller," and the Lefty buzzword for Conservative was "McCarthyite...
Posted by: BillT at July 30, 2009 06:20 AM
"Lots of things aren't in vogue, but some things are just *classic*."Huzzah!
At the appropriate time this evening, I will raise my mug in salute to the classics! Present company of classics included.
Posted by: bthun at July 30, 2009 02:19 PM
Ahhhhh -- the classics!
Particularly Chianti Classico from the red Tuscan soil of the vineyards of Montepulciano and Tavernelle...
Posted by: BillT at July 30, 2009 03:14 PM
For my sins I'd choose a table in the morning sun, a chessboard, and a glass of a big, big Tuscan red. Pity the fool that joins me and does not fall in love, if not with me, than with the promise of day.
Posted by: Captain Restraint at July 30, 2009 06:25 PM
Vino will have to wait for a nice antipasto & pasta dish, under the dim lights, on the back deck, in the early fall.
Ahhh, for now, I think I'll stick with some vintage, circa April 2009, Sam Adam's Boston Lager. It fits in my mug right well...
To the classics!
To good people!
To the ladies! And to the gentlemen!
To the Blog Princess and her gentleman!
To those on the wall!
And to all our ships at sea!
To the young whippersnappers with sense enough to appreciate the classics!
Posted by: bthun at July 30, 2009 07:09 PM
Posted by: spd rdr at July 30, 2009 07:17 PM
As someone who is unrelated to the US military, except in what intangible support I offer, for me, this notion of BO's about victory not being the goal, is what apalls me the most. It is insulting - as you so rightly say - to all the servicemen and women who daily put their lives on the line.
BO's non victory bs is one of the most glaring differences between him and his predecessor... Say what you will about GWB, and many did, our troops ALWAYS knew that he gave a damn about them. In GWB's time, many troops - and their families - saw up close and personal that he supported them. Most times, of course, this was in private, and unreported by the msm.
On this basis alone, BO should be drummed out of 1600.
Yeah, I suspect I am on the DHS RWT watch list already, and I am perfectly fine with that ;)
Posted by: brat at August 3, 2009 05:26 PM