Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sulkosphere staying the quagmire

In Virginia’s hawkosphere, four days after the election, tired vitriol continued to be slung toward Senator-elect Jim Webb on Veterans Day. Among other things Webb, a decorated combat vet, was still being called a “pervert.”

Likewise, since Tuesday’s telling numbers poured in, some angry supporters of the Bush administration’s failed Iraq war policy have continued to hurl derision at Sen. John Kerry and Rep. John Murtha, as if they are traitors, or cowards, because they have called for a new policy.

Some disappointed keyboard warriors couldn’t hold back for just one day, Veterans Day, out of respect. While all three of the above mentioned Democrats served their country with distinction during the Vietnam War, they have had to endure baseless attacks on their character -- even their military service -- coming from people who simply disagree with them about politics today.

Most observers agree the war in Iraq was the biggest issue working against the Republicans on election day. No doubt, other issues were also in play, but it was plain to see that voters were both unhappy about what has been happening in Iraq, and with the Bush administration’s plan for the future there.

Does that make the majority of voters cowards and traitors, too?

It seems that “staying the quagmire” remains the operative plan for the bitterest of Bush-backers in the sulkosphere, who have no problem traveling the lowest of roads, regardless of how many people disagree with them.

Of course, the irony here is these self-styled patriots don’t seem at all concerned that their ugly disrespect for Democratic office-holding veterans -- war heroes of my generation -- might be hurting morale among today’s troops.

Might some now in the armed services wonder if they, too, will someday hear Americans who disagree with them about politics saying they are cowards, should they choose to speak out on such matters?

How much that hidden factor has discouraged young Americans from joining the armed forces in the first place is something we’ll probably never know.

22 comments:

spankthatdonkey said...

I republished just for your benefit Terry....

Al Qaeda and Iran is laughing at the "spineless" USA....

The Democrat Party is making a mockery of this nation... all for their political gain...

http://www.spankthatdonkey.com/spankthatdonkey2/2006/11/11/al-qaeda-gloats.html

Debate me! Or is that possible now that our sworn enemies are absolutely reveling in Congress turning to the party of defeat and second guessing?

JPTERP said...

STD, Al Qaeda's opinion is useless.

G.W. Bush says that AQ stated that Iraq was the central front on the war on terror. Therefore, the central front on the war on terror should be Iraq.

Since when do we let enemies dictate our strategy? If we're better off fighting AQ in Afghanistan or the North Pole, then we'll fight them in Afghanistan or the North Pole.

If AQ was an ally, their opinion would matter. Since they are not, their opinion is irrelevant.

spankthatdonkey said...

and I guess you think what you've commented actually makes sense?

F.T. Rea said...

The first time I encountered the trick of condemning a politician by saying he has the support of America’s enemies was in 1960. I saw a little pink card that was being distributed by the John Birch Society that had words to this effect on it: So you’re thinking of voting for Sen. John F. Kennedy. Congratulations, you’re in good company. Kennedy also has the support of Nikita Khrushchev, Fidel Castro, Mao Tse-Tung, and so forth and so on.

At the time I was 12 years old and baseball was my passion. Growing up in Richmond I knew almost nothing about Kennedy, and had little interest in picking between him and his opponent, Vice President Richard Nixon.

Still, even at that tender age, I could see through the ploy.

JPTERP said...

STD, it makes sense to me.

Since you're having difficulty following my reasoning, show me where's the weakness in the argument?

AQ sends out a PR release saying this election result is the greatest news ever. So what?

It's much more significant to me that our allies have rallied behind this outcome. It's equally significant that other nation states, such as China and Russia, who tend to be hostile to American objectives are saying "maybe this isn't such a great outcome for us."

Why is it that China and Russia would be more receptive to GOP control of the congress?

Since when our China and Russia great buddies of U.S. interests?

spankthatdonkey said...

You two have no answer for bringing Al Qaeda to Justice...

You now only have the problem of.. opps... We are in power now, what do we do?

The last I heard the Dems wanted to double the amount of ground troops in Iraq...

Do you favor that as a strategy, or is "Cut and Run" more favorable?

Or, "Stay the Course", when the Iraqi's stand up, we stand down?

That should lay it out pretty neatly for you....

You are in charge now, what do we do?

F.T. Rea said...

spank,

What the hell is all that “You are in charge now, what do we do?“ malarkey? Bush is still Commander-in-Chief.

The thing that has changed is that now the executive branch will need to compromise with the legislative more than it has for the last six years, in order to pass laws and get confirmations. Now there will be more oversight by Congress, meaning that there will be some healthy investigations coming.

Why all the silliness?

You know the President will still be in charge of foreign policy. Now, however, it will be possible for Congress to ask more questions about how he spends the taxpayers money. As far as I’m concerned that should be a good thing, but I can understand why some Bush backers fear that scrutiny.

Mosquito said...

GACT--In the 2004 election Al Queda made a PR effort that the CIA determined was the result of Al Queda WANTING Bush to remain President and continue the Iraqi Quagmire.

So I'm not surprised that Al Queda PR efforts are once again trying to encourage the US to remain in Iraq. Iraq and Cheney's (via Bush) foreign policy in the Mid East is a terrorist recruitment dream plan.

So if you decide to take the Al Queda PR spin seriously you are simply putty in Al Queda's hands.

I'm proud to have voted for a new direction for the United States and I'm satisfied that this is not what Al Queda wants the US to do....which makes me even more determined to help get my country moving on a new course.

Buzz....Buzz....

Mosquito said...

sorry for the typo...GACT=FACT

JPTERP said...

STD, so the issue then is that the Democrats don't have a strategy?

This is a good development and a fair line of attack.

First, it was John McCain who was advocating the doubling of the U.S. force. He knows, I know, and a lot of people know that we do not have 100,000 combat ready troops to spare. We could send untrained, unarmed, green recruits into the battlefield, but I don't think anyone is going to push for that outcome.

In Iraq there will be a withdrawal, but we will still have tens of thousands of troops in the Middle East (possibly in Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar) for decades to come.

Our objective in Iraq is to keep the lid on the sectarian civil war to the degree that we can--and to continue to go after foreign fighters in the region (i.e. Al Qaeda recruits).

The first goal will need to be changed in large part diplomatically. We need to get Syria and Iran to buy into quelling the sectarian war inside Iraq (e.g. both these nations have a vested interest in doing so, because a full blown civil war is not in their interests. e.g. e.g. Civil Wars create refugee problems, and the conflicts can spill over borders. Why would the Iranians or Syrians want to have their nations destablized?).

If we can cut the flow of arms from Syria and Iran, we can ratchet down the sectarian war.

Freeing up troops in Iraq will allow us to dedicate more resources to Afghanistan. It will increase the likelihood that we keep the Taliban from coming back into power, which will increase the likelihood that AQ will be deprived of an operating base(s) in Afghanistan.

Long-term the solutions to the AQ problem will not be solved by our military. The forces that are driving recruitment are due to some pretty complex social and political factors in the region. We need to reduce our strategic interests in the region period.

The most obvious way to do this is through energy independence. There are so many reasons for us to shift our focus from fossil fuels--that I can't even begin to understand why nothing is being done on this front. This is key. If we cut oil out of the equation, our relationship to the Middle East changes dramatically.

One thing is almost for certain, the Dems and the surviving GOP faction will not be drawing up war plans that say after the invasion "we will be greeted as liberators and reconstructions will be self-financing through oil revenues". If they do, it will be labelled as a best case scenario--not as the only possible scenario (this is no joke--we had no contingency plans in Iraq).

Btw, "Stay the course" and "cut and run" are not strategies. They are catch phrases used by politicians to score cheap political points. If wars were won rhetorically, Sadaam Hussein would still be in power. He was a master of pre-war trash-talk. That doesn't make him a brilliant strategist.

F.T. Rea said...

jpterp,

As you say, "stay the course" and "cut and run" are not strategies. Nor are they policies.

Moreover, they are quick and dirty propaganda, slogans for people who see only the surface of the deepest waters.

Not_Blackbeard said...

What Al Queda and Iran are performing is called propaganda.

STD and others fell for it.

spankthatdonkey said...

Terry:
The Dems control the war effort now because all appropriations start in the House... Come on now, he who controls the Gold controls our policies....

This isn't a compromise situation.

JTerp: For all your strategizing, I would like to remind you of something. Everyone was all happy about a jury putting Saddam in a noose...

Problem is though, without an invasion of IRaq... He would not be getting that new neck ware! Same to be said for your strategizing....

Ya'lls political partisanship wouldn't give GWB any, not any credit for anything! That is far from genuine...

Now, you guys were getting on me for bashing Webb and Kerry on Veterans Day....

Our Iraqi Freedom Veterans are getting a whole lot closer to know what the Vietnam Vets... felt.

When they all left Vietnam, we had militarily won, the North said we would have peace, then of course invaded...

The Chase-Church Amendment ended all hopes that our ally S. Vietnam would be a free peoples... why JFK sent us in there to begin with!

We have suffered casualties, and now without giving the Iraqi military and govt, enough time to get on their feet, The Dem leadership will likely pull out...

In five years, how will those vets feel? If the Shia or Sunni or Kurd still slaughter one another... b/c a strong Federal Govt. never got the chance to really govern? The Iraqi people and our military are always "pawns" to the ultimate ambitions of Democrats seeking to gain and hold power.

The Pubs never did that in WW2 or Korea, or really Vietnam to the extent that the Dems have demonstrated in this war against Mullahs who convince teenagers, and the mentally challenged to strap on bombs in exchange for the promise of virgins?

These people do not want to co-exist with us...

spankthatdonkey said...

Mosquito:
Al Quada is getting their butts whipped, because we are in Iraq.. The quality of their fighters is non existent...

They are waging a terrorist campaign of bombings... such as the campaign that even the IRA has given up.... The problem is that the Dems are short circuiting the Iraqi govt. before it can get up to speed to govern and secure their country.

Al Quada has been kicked out of Saudi Arabia if you haven't noticed (again), and all the major Arab countries, because they don't want those extremists destablizing their countries either.

You are doing nothing but continuing their sick cause by trying to say they want us in Iraq... That is like saying they want us in Afghanistan....

They want into our US Malls to bomb our people here.... Blame GWB all you want... he has kept our military's foot on their throats, and we are working to dry up their funding, and arms...

Why don't you take off your partisan glasses for once and get on board with reality?

F.T. Rea said...

Note: I find it mildly interesting that so far the comments here have yet to touch on my main point in the original post about the Veterans Day bashing of veterans Kerry, Murtha and Webb by bitter stay-the-course bloggers.

Yet, from the same viewpoint we hear so much how any antiwar speech out in the marketplace of ideas might hurt the morale of the troops.

JPTERP said...

Wow, STD, "Al Qaeda is getting there butts whipped" is definitely a minority opinion.

Even our own intelligence is saying that the Iraq War has increased AQ's recruitment efforts. G.W. Bush may say that we're "winning the war," but even he doesn't dispute claims by our own intelligence agencies.

G.W.'s best argument is that the Iraq War is a "comma" in a larger battle, which means that we're going to be dealing with this issue for decades to come (regardless of who's in power in the U.S.).

What's most likely going to happen is you have recruits pouring in from the Middle East and North Africa. A few thousand of these guys will get killed. Several thousand others will return to their home countries and start wars. Others, if they're fortunate enough to find a base of operations--as was the case in Afghanistan--will continue their training.

Maybe you've heard of Chechnya? I know you've heard of Afghanistan War during the 1980s and early 1990s. This is exactly what happened in both those situations.

As far as Saudi Arabia goes, you still have the conditions that lead to terrorism. There's no indication that militant Islam is on the run anywhere--in the Middle East, North Africa, or in parts of South and South east Asia.

It's obviously a big problem and there's no easy three word solution to the problem (e.g. "stay the course" or "cut and run").

Strong resolve isn't sufficient either. You have to go at the problem using every tool at your disposal. I will say that this administration has been successful at targetting sources of terrorist funding. But on other levels--the diplomatic front especially--this administration hasn't been that successful.

In hindsight it's also easy to say that we would have been better off depriving the safe haven in Afghanistan before opening up a second front in Iraq (actually there were quite a few people who were making this argument, including Jim Webb, Brent Scowcroft, and Jim Baker, before we even launched the Iraq invasion. G.W. Bush and his Neocon buddies ignored this advice).

JPTERP said...

Btw, in reference to Sadaam getting it. The argument has always better that the "world is a safer place without Sadaam Hussein in power".

There are other ways to look at this though. Sadaam was a buffer state against Iran. Now the Iranians are wielding tremendous influence inside of Iraq (this was not the case before Hussein's fall). So by invading Iraq we've increased the influence of the Iranians.

If given the choice between an empowered Iran, and chaos in Iraq, versus having a contained Sadaam still in power, there isn't much question which would be in the U.S.'s interests.

The question now is where do we go from here. This is an open question, and we're going to hear a lot of debate about this in the coming months.

I don't think anyone though would reasonably argue that the Iraq invasion has advanced U.S. interests in the Middle East or in the broader war against militant Islam. At this point Sadaam's death by hanging changes nothing--in fact it may help to ensure that we face a full blown civil war in Iraq.

Triscula said...

If you get a chance, read Thomas Ricks' book, Fiasco. It's very informative on background, people, events and the inner workings of the run-up, the invasion and the occupation. Very thoroughly researched, loads of direct quotes from military and intel people who were directly involved. It's a cautionary tale about hubris and the perils of 'good intentions'.

spankthatdonkey said...

Terry:
I did comment on your original premise... and what part of my graphic of your three "heroes" waving white flags do you disagree with?

As for the rest of you guys... You are such excellent critics of all things GWB/Cheney/Rumsfeld etc.

Now it's your turn... You've actually seemed to acknowledge that we have an enemy out to kill us.....

and now, we need a diplomatic solution right? We're just going to talk about it? I tell you what, you talk an evangelical out of opposing abortion because it ends a childs life...

and I'll believe you can talk a member of Al Quada out of wanting to kill us because we support Israel, and believe in defending our citizens when attacked...

Yeah, I compared the two because both are committed to God... One calls God, God, the other Allah.. Doesn't matter, except for the fact that Muslim Mullahs convince their followers to kill on sight.

Big difference between them and say your favorite whipping boys Jerry Falwell, and Pat Robertson..

The one difference, we believe Israel has the right to exist peacefully, and the Muslim extremists to especially include Iran, want nothing but blood....

Oh, but we are going to find a diplomatic solution to this, gonna talk about it, Neville Chamberlein style....

Good Luck.... it's your baby now :-)

JPTERP said...

Triscula, I was able to read Tom Ricks' book about a month ago. Definitely a must read.

I think his worst case scenario--the Muslim caliphate headed by a charismatic idealogue--is a bit of a long shot. Too many competiting interests. Too much bitter history between various factions. Otherwise I thought it was a very well reported account.

SpankThatDonkey, in reference diplomacy, there's nothing to talk to Al Qaeda about.

Non-state actors (AQ) and Nation-States (U.S., China, Russia, U.K, Iran, Syria) play by different sets of rules. Iran and Syria have something to lose in a number of scenarios (e.g. if they are further isolated from the rest of the world, if a full-blown civil war breaks out on their door step).

The goal is to use negotiations to isolate AQ--to remove safe havens and to stop the flow of recruits. State actors have a compelling interest to do this.

No one in the Middle East is on the AQ bandwagon right now.

When people talk about diplomacy no one is talking about trying to persuade AQ to stop attacking civilian targets in the West. I would agree that persuasion isn't an option here.

Talking to Iran and Syria is a different story. Nothing may come of it, but it something that we must do. The Middle East today is a different situation than Europe in the late 1930s.

Triscula said...

"and now, we need a diplomatic solution right? We're just going to talk about it? I tell you what, you talk an evangelical out of opposing abortion because it ends a childs life...

and I'll believe you can talk a member of Al Quada out of wanting to kill us because we support Israel, and believe in defending our citizens when attacked...

Yeah, I compared the two because both are committed to God... One calls God, God, the other Allah.."


Well, I'm glad to see someone on the political right finally acknowledge the obvious similarities between evangelical Christian fundementalism and Al Quaeda's ideology. Thank you sir. THAT was a bold statement.
;)

Torrid said...

y'all are giving STD far, far FAR more respect than he deserves. He's spouting talking points that have long since been rejected by thinking people. Engaging that as if it's being presented honestly and as a cogent argument worth rebutting, is a waste of time. It's almost 2007--nobody's buying the BS anymore, so don't encourage further attempts, eh?