Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Response to a Comment

I came across Ms. Natalie Rosen's blog quite by accident, but as I am an open minded guy, I asked her to engage in some enlightened or at least some intelligent debate between a liberal and a conservative. I am always trying to understand how intelligent reasoning people can follow the democratic Party. I just haven't found any good solid reasoning as yet, but maybe there is someone who can shed some light on things. Although her comment was sort of an "in a nutshell" basic philosophy, it was pretty lengthy, so I took my time and pondered it for a while before i responded. Since back and forth commenting is a bit difficult sometimes since an actual "in-person" conversation is much more fluid sometimes things may be misconstrued or a point may be missed. If I have missed anything, I apologize. I also tried my best not sound condescending or antagonistic. Sometimes I may come across that way, If I have, I apologize for that as well.
So here is Ms. Rosen's comment and my response to it:

This latest Iraq War has been a tragedy which is still playing its hand. The consequences could be catastrophic and already have been disastrous because we took our eye off the ball which was, of course, Al Quaeda in Afghanistan, the real perpetrators of 9/11.

A lot can and has been said about the war in Iraq. And although I do believe we have not committed fully enough to the work in Afghanistan, The war in Iraq is not actually taking our eye off the ball. You are correct that the results could be catastrophic if we don't stay committed to the Iraqi people. However your assessment of it already being disastrous as a result of "taking our eye off the ball" is a bit misguided. Particularly if you look at history. This war has gone on for almost 5 years and we have taken very few casualties compared to all other wars. Another myth is that infects a lot of people's mind here in America is that of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. If you are implying that Al-Qaeda as an organization is based in Afghanistan you are sorely mistaken. Osama Bin-Laden may or may not be there. Yes he is the central figurehead, but the organization is much more pervasive than most believe. Another fact not commonly referred to is that Al-Qaeda is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. When you are talking about a terrorist organization of the likes of the Muslim Brotherhood you are talking about the "illuminati" of the Global Jihad. Going after the training camps in Afghanistan, although vitally important is like treating the symptom and not the sickness. The sickness being radical Islamism. Al-Qaeda has defined Iraq as the battleground and we aim to keep the battleground there.

There is, of course, more to the story than the fight against radical Islam. Iraq is a prime strategic asset. The whole Iraq debacle is something that will continue to be debated for years. Personally, having served in the war in 2003, I was not particularly happy about the idea since I did not know what exactly I was doing there. Having done my research and looked at the evidence to this point, I think invading Iraq and ousting Saddam Hussein was a good thing, the way we went about doing it was not so good. And I blame that on the civilian leadership. Our own military warned of what would happen if we went ahead as Rumsfeld wanted. Their opinions were quickly dismissed by an arrogant bastard. And yes lives were lost that probably should not have been. Our military was not prepared properly for that invasion. Despite basically rolling over the enemy in a matter of weeks, some operations were poorly conceived and executed due to poor leadership and improper training.
But that is the past.
What we have to deal with is the present and future.

The Iraq invasion and occupation has been prosecuted with phenominally inept leadership and begun by sheer hubris. In my opinion, although I supported the war in the beginning because I did not know that the "facts" used to justify the war were lies, much to my constant embarrasement, this war rises to the level of a war crime. The stupidity of it is staggering. The preparation for it was non existent. Our soldiers were put at great risk and our nation has paid out soon to be trillions. Our blood and our treasure has been squanderd. Billions have been lost and unaccounted for.

I know there are a lot of people out there that believe our military, Marines in particular are brainwashed stormtroopers. That could not be further from the truth. Our military is an all volunteer military. American citizens and foreign nationals striving to attain citizenship join the military to serve. Not everyone is so selfless, in fact most join for the opportunities made available by enlisting. I joined to pay for college. A lot of people join for the monetary and education benefits. But noone put a gun to their head and forced them to join. When you take the oath of enlistment, you have the opportunity to decline if you can't deal with the contract.
The US military is a professional organization no matter what branch you look at.
And although initially I will agree there has been some poor decisions made, particularly at the outset of this campaign, General Petraeus has performed phenomenally in managing the miltary's role in Iraq. General Petraeus has proven his loyalty and patriotism numerous times throughout his career and in my personal opinion has done nothing to deserve the abuse thrown at him from the idiots who enjoy their freedoms thanks to the sacrifices of men like him.
Another thing to consider when judging this war is that this is unlike any other war we have ever fought. We have had to redefine our tactics and doctrine to be able to cope with an enemy that has no regard for human life or collateral damage. An enemy that specifically targets hospitals, churches, and areas of high population density. Our military is the ONLY military in the world that bends over backwards to abide by the laws set down in the Geneva convention. And that is a cold hard truth. If you really want to bring up Abu Ghraib and Gitmo, by all means. People are not perfect and bad decisions are made. They are also punished to the full extent of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
By focusing only on the extremely few transgressions by our military members and not shining any light whatsoever on all the good we do, the media colors the perception of the common citizen and makes it easier to disassociate from the soldiers. Soldiers come from every walk of life and multiple racial, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. The traditional idea that only officers are well educated is now quickly becoming a fallacy. Many enlisted soldiers get an education through their military benefits and some, like myself join to help pay off school loans. When I was a private my platoon sergeant had completed an associates, 2 bachelors and was working on a third bachelor's degree.
Our military is not just composed of the poor and underprivileged of the nation.

Unsupervised cronies such as KBR and Blackwater steal our money, perform abysmally and get away with anything they choose. I believe, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and others are war criminals.

Ok, this one has leaves a particularly bad taste in my mouth because the people that accuse these companies of performing abysmally have no concept of what these people do. First of all, they are supervised. That is an outright lie fostered by the media. And quite frankly, they save us money not steal it. The gov't is forced to hire contractors to perform many roles because our military is stretched to thin to handle it and costs more anyway. Most of the operators of Blackwater are former soldiers, in particular Special Forces, SEALS, Rangers and the like. And if you even dare confuse these men with Mercenaries, you are also sadly mistaken. They are extremely loyal to America and have proven their loyalty time and again. As far as performing abysmally, Blackwater has never. NEVER had a diplomat or other VIP killed or injured on their watch. I would say that they performed admirably.
Of course I know that the Iraqi gov't accused them of wrongdoing and not having enough legal control over them. That's because the Iraqi gov't did not have control of them, OUR gov't does.

So you think Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld are war criminals….hmmm. What have they done illegal? Just a question, I don't know the answer to that. But if anyone could be considered a war criminal I would say Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid could be considered War criminals. They have repeatedly overstepped their bounds and their roles in their repeated attempts to sabotage our war effort. And I'm not just talking about their petty beauracratic games in the capital. I'm talking about engaging our enemies personally with talks. Syria? Come on now. And Jimmy Carter talking with Hamas….I don't think there's anything that needs to be said about that…it speaks for itself.

I would never vote and never have voted Republican. I am an ardent Democrat. In my opinion, if you are not part of the top 10 percent in wealth then you have been duped by the Republican party to support a cause which is not in your interest.

What cause is not in my interest? I am a registered independent, but I believe in the US as a federated republic, contrary to what a lot of Americans think, we are not a democracy. Read the Federalist papers by John Jay it will give you some insight. Republicans believe in a smaller federal government role in our affairs. While it seems the democrats want to increase the big gov't role in our lives. I know it was not always so, but today being a democrat is synonymous with being a socialist. Socialism does not work. At least not for very long. The working middle class bears the burdens of all the "do-good" socialist programs that the democrats keep trying to put into practice. I have not been duped. I simply believe in more freedom from Gov't than you do.

Patriotism is not only wrapped in symbols and phony utterances, it truly is a commitment to the ideals of those men of the Enlightenment who knew what it meant to curtail the power of government, who knew the risk of unbridled power and who, most especially, knew the dangers of a marriage of church and state. We have come a long way since that date but we have at least within the past few decades become lost. Bush II has been, in my opinion, an American tragedy and possibly the worst president in US history bar none.

Of course a separation of church and state is necessary for our gov't to be free from exclusivity. I totally agree with this. But patriotism, especially for our military folks is in defending our constitution against all enemies…foreign and domestic. When you have a political party in this country that is actively trying to curtail our rights and freedoms granted by the constitution and the bill of rights, I would consider them the enemy.
Your choice of candidates leaves a lot to be desired in my opinion because of the 2nd fundamental right that is protected by our Bill of Rights.
I am going to clarify another thing for you. The constitution and the bill of rights does not grant us these rights. These rights are inherent. All men and women have these rights by the grace of existing. Our Constitution and the Bill of Rights protects us form the gov't infringing upon them. That being said, my personal belief is that the single greatest threat to our country is the democratic party agenda. Take away private gun ownership, create more socialist programs that are paid for by our taxdollars and allow diplomatic negotiations with terrorist states that have no intention of changing or abiding by any agreement with us. Last time I checked, the US is a sovereign nation. Seems this "feel-good" attitude has caused a lot of people to forget that the rest of the world is not as "enlightened" as they are. The rest of the world will and does take advantage of our softness. We are considered weak by the ruthless of the world. And rest assured those individuals are out there and are held in check by our current superiority. To become complacent and even arrogant in our attitude that we are better than they are or we could never be conquered or usurped by those that plot against us is naïve if you would believe in a passive stance. The world is a ruthless place. Americans are spoiled.

I am hoping that the Democratic party will prevail this time and, although I was initially a Hillary Clinton supporter, I do support Obama because I believe he is the best possibility we have to utterly revamp American foreign policy and its constant penchant for war. I believe he can help change the course of this nation to one that cares about its own people and less about its own imperial power. I believe he can reintroduce to the world the America I knew and loved as a young child.

You are very misguided ma'am. And I am not trying to be patronizing. You speak of America's penchant for war. Have you looked at the world today? When was the last time a rogue political group staged a coup in Boston? Our last Civil war was over a century ago. And in case you hadn't noticed, Al-Qaeda and the radical Islamic wave has declared war on us. We are taking the fight to them. In the public's mind, we declared war on them. The fact is, we finally woke up and declared our position after war was declared on us. Declared on the entire western world. And not only us, but Asia as well. The Jihadist movement has attacked China as well. This Cult has declared war on all that is not Islam.
We became complacent and were caught with our pants down. I say, Never Again!
The entire nation was of one voice after 9/11 and has since descended into petty feuding and squabbling over what? All this dissent and divisiveness does is keep the public busy thinking about everything but the real issues.
I am curious as to why you think Obama is our best hope. Because he preaches hope and change? I haven't heard one decent policy come out of his mouth, it's all liberal do-good, feel-good talk without substance. If I have missed something, please enlighten me, I could easily have missed something since I do not hang on his every word.

That's it....

Die with your boots on.....

1 comment:

natalie said...

Some of your comments are well taken and for me too numerous too at this time to respond back. For now, in hopes I have time later, I will respond to them generally.

In short, now, I will say that the left and the right see things from two different perspectives. I know about the value of our military. I am NOT a socialist. I believe in capitalism. I have read some of the Federal Papers and know about John Jay. Things taken from history long past have relevance. Sometimes, they do not have relevance because the historical milieu changes.

I take issue, as you have admitted, too, with the bad decisions of our policy makers NOT with our military who as you say are the best most professional on planet earth. Our policy makers though have cost many lives and much treasure and although this small by the numbers, if it is your son or your daughter or you it's easy to give these numbers. And I might add they are still rising and there is no end in sight. What will the casualities and the cost be in 10 years, 20, 30, etc. They have committed us to a no win policy and an occupation which could go on for decades to come.

I suspect too Bin Laden is not in Afghanistan but PROBABLY is, according to media sources, somewhere in the mountains between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Iraq has now BECOME a focal point for Al Quaeda because Bush opened the door for them AND worse allowed Iran to be top dog on the block. There is not one insurgency but MULTIPLE insurgencies. That is why the problem is now so complex.

After 9/11 I will admit I wanted to kick back and hard. I looked every single day I awoke after that fateful day for about two years to see if we caught the murderer of our people. I gave up a long time ago. IF a Democrat had done and executed a colossally failed policy like Iraq the Republicans would be beating them into the ground. Can you imagine? They beat Clinton into the ground after Bosnia and also after Somalia. There wasn't a move that guy could have made internationally for which the Republicans did not want to roast his rump.

Iraq is George Bush's war. It has run longer than our civil war, longer than WWI and WWII and there is still no end in sight. You indict too the policy makers like Rumsfeld well, in fact, as you admit he did make horrendous errors of judgment. The buck stopped with George Bush though who gave the order to invade a country which did not invade us, where no weapons of mass destruction to this day have been found, where Al Quaeda was not but now is. My feeling about Blackcwater emanates from a Moyers program on Blackwater and other mercenary groups by someone whose name alludes me now but who expertly knows what Blackwater has and has not done.

I enjoyed your comment and you are right, it is hard via blogs to respond. Perhaps I will try later.

I end by saying what will it take to change this erroneous course we have set? Are you better off now than four or eight years ago. I also ask you do you truly feel safer now? I am not sure that I do.