Monday, November 14, 2005

A Clarification on My Stance on the War

I received a comment from Beth at My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy the other day in regards to fundraising she was doing for injured vets. Beth and I diverge vastly on many issues. She loves Bush. I hate him. She believes in the conservative model, I believe in the liberal agenda. She is SEC, I am Big 10. She believes that Barry Manilow is the greatest musician of all time, while I don't think anyone will ever come close to matching MC Hammer's raw talent.

But, there are also some things we do agree on. Classic coke over New Coke, Pat Robertson and Micheal Moore are both idiots, and Penn State is a much better football team than Alabama. We also both believe that reasoned discourse, even if in disagreement, is both healthy and patriotic.

Any time some wingnut gives you shit about the war ("support the troops, not the war" or whatever), you let me know. Not that you need it, but I've got your back. :-)

After reading her comment, I think I need to clarify my position on the war in Iraq. I fully support the troops, and I, very reluctantly, support the Iraq war. I never thought we should have invaded in the first place. Unfortunately, all of my predictions came true. No weapons were found. We were not accepted with the open arms Rummy claimed we would. We have provided terrorist with a real life training, getting them out of those dusty camps in Afghanistan. We have ignored Afghanistan at crucial times. And, we are now seen as the big bully on the block and not the benevolent big brother.

The Iraq war was the ill conceived theoretics of a groups of people who still believe that trickle down economics actually is a viable model. This was as much to do with the Neo-con idea that they could restructure the middle east as it was to do with oil, WMD, and getting rid of a tyrant. Unfortunately and as usual, Neo-con theory is as based as much in reality as the Easter Bunny or Keanu Reeves belief he can act. In order for the Iraq war to have ever progressed as envisioned by the neo-cons, we would first have had to completely secure, rebuild, and then leave Afghanistan. Only after we had provided a smaller scale model, learning from our mistakes, and fully withdrawing to show that occupation was only a means to an end, could we have invaded Iraq as successfully as they envisioned. Instead, the Neo-cons got too greedy and moved too quickly.

I have no doubt that Bush honestly believed that he would find WMDs in Iraq once we invaded. I also believe that he knew that his intelligence was not as solid as he presented it. And, for the record, no, Senators do not get the same intel as the president. They never have and never will (not would we ever want them to), so please stop making that claim. You are just making yourself look foolish.

I believe that this war was going to happen one way or another. This was obvious due to Bush's ever increasing demands on Saddam. It started with weapons inspectors and culminated in Bush demanding that Saddam leave the country. Bush knew that Saddam would capitulate to the weapons inspectors (as he did), but would never capitulate to leaving his thrown. Thus, even if inspectors had access to every inch of Iraq, the Neo-cons were going to get their war one way or another so they could finally play their version of a real life sim-city. I really whish they would have contacted me first. I would have gladly bought them a copy for $19.99 for them to play with instead of the $300 + billion version they opted for.

Unfortunately, invading Iraq was like crossing the Rubicon. There is not turning back until we have forced Rome into submission. I do not support pulling troops out of Iraq any time soon. This will come at a great cost to out treasury and American life. But Bush has committed us, for good or bad, to a war that we are stuck with until we have accomplished our objective. Pulling out now, as much as I would like to, would prove even more disastrous that sticking it out for the next 5 to 10 years.

But, at the same time I personally support the war, I also support the right of any American to stand up and speak out against the war. Anyone who does is neither un-patriotic nor do they "love terrorist" as many people on the right will claim. As much as those on the right might dislike the long haired hippie types, they have as much right to speak out against a war they never agreed with, as a supporters of the war has a right to speak in favor of it. It is only those on the right and left who wish to silence their opponents who are un-patriotic.

On the flip side, I will not support anyone on the left who claims that American soldiers are baby killers or other sort of mass murderers. Undoubtedly, things that could be classified as "war crimes" have been committed and will continue to be committed in Iraq. I know there are many out there that will never believe this, but the rest of based in reality know that there has never been a war where atrocities have not occurred. It was tough on me when I first acknowledged that my parents had sex, but I moved on. Denial doesn't cange reality.

While any suffering of innocent civilians is always a tragedy, to the great credit of our US troops, there has probably been far less committed in this war than in any prior war in human history. While no tragedy is ever completely excusable, overall, our troops have fought one of the most humane wars that is possible given the fact that war is never, ever humane. I will not condone tactics that will intentionally inflict harm to civilians. Nor will I restrict our troops from using necessary force to ensure that they come home alive to their spouses and children. Leave it to the enemy to be martyrs. I want out troops to be able to march as soon as possible in their home town veterans day parade. At the same time, I will continue to demand from our civilian and military leaders that they do every thing possible to kill enemy, and only the enemy. For our leaders to knowing commit atrocities is never acceptable. The decisions made from HQ is never comparable to decisions made from a foxhole.

So, in summation, I, like many other Americans, are reluctant supporters of the war. That is why it is imperative that Bush and his administration stop trying to blow smoke up our ass, get some new leadership (Rummy) with respectability and integrity, and get their act together. It would be a lot easier for me to support the war if I had leaders, whom themselves, were worth supporting.


Beth said...

Two points on which I have to quibble:

1) I loathe Barry Manilow and his ilk. I'm a headbanger! :-D

2) How DARE you say any team is better than the glorious Alabama Crimson Tide!!! Blasphemy! (And I still hold a grudge against Penn State from 20 years ago!)


OK, you know I have issues with other stuff you said, but that's not important. "Agree to disagree," etc.
Great post, Aaron. You're a rare voice of reason in the extremist-loving blogosphere!

Dutchman said...

RE:"On the flip side, I will not support anyone on the left who claims that American soldiers are baby killers or other sort of mass murderers."

Me neither. I've been to a fair share of anti-war demonstrations. I have never heard anyone call our troops "baby killers"

This is a stereotype of the peace movement that the right spreads around- and that many of our troops fear the peace activists believe. (Way to go Rush! Score a point for your side with a lie at the expense of our troops' peace of mind!)

If there is anything that the Viet Nam era taught the peace movement, it was to truly support the troops (and Veteran's issues and causes)and to go after the Administrations that get us into these wars.

Don't buy into the propaganda. Go to an anti-war rally and stand off to the sides and see for yourself. Or check out Arlington West if you want to see our fallen troops given the respect they are due.

Meanwhile- you know there's that kooky "religious" leader out there, Fred Phelps, that goes to soldier's funerals and protests America in general for tolerating homosexuality?

Both sides have bad apples and wingnuts. Yes, I saw some moronic young lady at a protest with a sign that read "I DON'T support our troops".

I won't paint the right with a broad brush because of Phelps. Please don't do the same to the left because of the immature lunatics that sometimes come around.

Meanwhile- left, right, or center- this country needs a PLAN to wrap it up in Iraq. Our troops are simply targets there now. Staying the course, THIS course, is not a plan.

Dingo said...


YOu make a lot of good points and I was not trying to paint the left with a broad brush. But I have run across some on the left who do speak that way. But overall, you are right. Most anit-war people do not call our troops baby killers. That is why I will stand up for their right to speek.