Thursday, June 22, 2006

By Some Measures The Iraq Invasion And Occupation Are Hugely Successful

72% of our troops think we should leave Iraq this year. These are the young men and women who know the situation on the ground, they can see with their own eyes that the situation there is not getting better, but rather deteriorating at a rapid pace. Yet, the Republicans in Congress and this shameless administration refuse to shift the current policy and continue to spout their favorite slogan of “stay the course” and label any attempt to correct this course as, “cut and run”. It is Vietnam all over again. The civilians making all of the decisions know that the objective (whatever that is this week) can’t be met, yet they continue to send our young people to die in an occupation with no end.

The Bush administration lied about the reasons for invading Iraq, lied about what we are there to “accomplish” and lied over and over again about the situation on the ground. They have even lied about the circumstances surrounding the deaths of our men and women in uniform. Shameful. This administration has nothing but contempt for the people, and that includes the young men in women they send to die in Iraq for money, oil and power. I have heard reports of how Bush is all torn up about the deaths of our men and women serving in Iraq, it may be true, but with all the lying that comes so easily to these people, I have a hard time imagining that it is. They’re just poor kids mostly anyway and George W. Bush has no use for the poor. Well, except as cannon fodder and low-wage workers to keep profits up of course.

So maybe I’ve got this all wrong, maybe the objectives of the Bush administration are in fact being met in Iraq, they’re just not the objectives that we the people are allowed to know exist. There are making serious progress on the US Embassy in Iraq, the largest in the world that is said to be the size of Vatican City. And those permanent military bases are coming along nicely. And the oil companies are making record profits. And the military industrial complex is firing on all cylinders. And contractors like Halliburton are swimming in American tax dollars. It’s hard to imagine these are merely unintended consequences. Are we to believe that it’s just dumb luck that the construction on the military bases and the embassy are running full steam ahead because they just happen to be taking place in areas where there isn’t as much violence as, say, the electrical plants? Or that there was no design to the high price we pay at the pump now, thanks to the manipulation of supply now possible because we are in Iraq with our hand on one of the spigots? Or that Vice President Cheney’s old company (that he still holds stock in) has been the biggest beneficiary of no-bid government contracts that have earned him millions?

My dad has studied history most of his life and although my eyes glazed over when he would regale me with stories of the past, there is one thing he told me over and over again that has always stuck with me, “If you want to know the truth about why something happened, it's helpful to take a close look at who benefited most.” Most of us knew that the WMD story was crap, the same way we knew the “spreading democracy” story was crap, neither one passed the smell test. The most recent crap being shoveled upon us are, “when the Iraqis stand up, we’ll stand down” and “we’re fighting the terrorists there so we don’t have to fight them here” and “we can’t pull out of Iraq now because it will descend into chaos and become a terrorist breeding ground.” The Iraqis are standing up, they’re just not on our side, how could they be? We are occupying their country, clearly intent on staying, and setting up a government that will allow us unfettered access to their oil. In some instances (who knows how many exactly) the Iraqi troops we are training, are turning around and killing the American troops they’re patrolling with. The Iraqis do not want us there and we cannot “train” them to turn on their own, at least not in the numbers we need.

As far as Iraq descending into chaos, I think we’ve accomplished that already. It has been three years since Bush declared victory in Iraq, but since then we have managed to spark a civil war, erode any good will that may have existed after toppling Saddam Hussein, and we have let loose death squads that are terrorizing the Iraqi people, perhaps even more brutally than Saddam did. With friends like us, who needs enemies? As long as we stay, the insurgency will grow. You see, we call them an insurgency, but they likely consider themselves patriots fighting for their country.

I watched John Kerry on C-SPAN yesterday, defending his amendment on the Senate floor. For all of the problems that I have with John Kerry, I have the utmost respect for his service to this country. He spoke passionately on behalf of those fighting on the ground in Iraq. I honestly don’t think this is a purely political move on his part, I think having served in the military and having fought in battle, he understands the immorality of continuing on with a failed policy that costs more and more young American lives every day.

Kerry brought up the fact that former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara wrote years after Vietnam that he knew the war couldn’t be won, yet he continued to send young men to their deaths for a lost cause (half of the dead in Vietnam came after that point). John Kerry, John Murtha and Russ Feingold are determined not to let that happen again. They are convinced that we cannot prevail in Iraq with “stay the course” and they have no faith that the Bush administration will change the policy, leaving them with no other option that to push for a redeployment of our troops this year. 72% of the troops and 60% of the American people are with them. What happens next is up to us. I’m going to call my Senators again right now and ask that they support a plan for withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. Vietnam was ended because the public demanded a change. Ending this war depends on the same and candidates that refuse to get on board need to be sent home. Our troops deserve at least that much support from us.

18 Comments:

Anonymous lester said...

vietnam was what 10 years long? if we get out completely in a year and a half we're only half as stupid.

In my opinion, the reason for a timetable isn't to give the iraqi leadership a kick in the ass, it's to give OUR leadership one. george needs to get off his bicycle and go to WORK for once. Rumsfeld can come back from vietnam or wherever in creation he is. Cheney can take a brake from hunting his friends. excuse me, hunting WITH his friends.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Jack said...

I have a question; didn't the republicans bring to vote a measure/resolution (not sure of the term) to begin withdrawal a couple of weeks ago? And nearly everyone in both houses voted against it?

I was under the impression that measure/resolution was a political manuever for the midterm elections or something along that line.

How was this different? Thanks.

11:46 AM  
Anonymous geocrackr said...

LG-

Well, yeah. I've figured that was the case all along. We've known from the beginning that any "official" explanation was demonstrably a lie (along with "follow the money/look at who benefited most," the other attendant aphorism is "watch what they do, not what they say"). The real question is, why did the Dems, and specifically the Dem leadership (Hillary, Kerry when it counted, etc.), pretend not to know, and why are they still parroting the lies?

If they're not pointing out the permanent bases, the oil company and contractor war profiteering, and how the occupation has actually increased terrorism every time they're in front of a camera or a newspaper reporter, the only reasonable explanation is that they are somehow complicit ("watch what they do, not what they say" applies to the Dems, too). So how are they benefitting by perpetuating the lies and ignoring their voting constituents?

12:19 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Lester--I'd settle for half as stupid at this point, but it looks like the Bush administration is pressing on toward full and complete bat crap crazy stupid.

Jack--Why yes they did, and if you believe that that resolution was at all a serious attempt to change the direction of the occupation, you are just plain silly. The Republicans are firmly behind "stay the course" so having them write a resolution calling for immediate withdrawal was nothing more than political theater and a chance to say "cut and run" over and over again.

GeoCrackr--I think the Democrats that are not getting behind a withdrawal of troops are benefiting in several ways. They are able to avoid having the GOP smear machine turned on them full force thus saving their own jobs, some are positioning themselves for Presidential runs (see, I'm tough on terror too and I’m not afraid to use our military) and most of them have ties to the same moneymen the Republicans do so they continue to do the bidding of the campaign donors to keep that money coming in.

But John Murtha is speaking out on principle, Russ Feingold is speaking out on principle and I think this time, John Kerry is doing the same. There comes a point for some people, politicians included, when doing the right thing becomes necessary enough to risk something (campaign contributions, a job, political power). Clearly, most Democrats haven't reached that point yet, some probably never will, but public pressure is one way to push them to do the right thing, whether or not they really want to. If they do it to save their own ass, fine by me, I just want this insanity to end.

But then there's the whole voting thing, and if we lose (or have lost already) the ability to hold them accountable through the ballot, I'm not sure we have any power left at all. I sometimes think this knowledge of voter irrelevance is why the Republicans have no great fear of sticking with a failed policy that is not supported by the people.

2:03 PM  
Anonymous lester said...

I think regardless of the fact that it was not a majority of them, democrats picked a winner with the timetable thing. They will get more and more votes for that one and the republicans are going to be sorry they didn't think of it first.

2:09 PM  
Anonymous Jack said...

LG

I reread my own post and realized it wasn't clear at all.

I was trying to ask you (and other readers) why the public and media can't see that vote ~2 weeks ago by the republican measure for immediate withdrawal was a laughably transparent attempt by republicans to use this war purely for political reasons come the midterm elections.

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Jack said...

LG-

BTW, I enjoy your writing. It's thoughtful and well-written.

2:43 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Jack--I'm sorry if I misinterpreted your comment, I thought you were suggesting that the Republican's measure a few weeks ago and this one amounted to the same thing, political posturing. I need to be more careful when reading comments, I sometimes read sarcasm when none is intended (I think the trolls are having an effect on me).

When the Republicans offer a resolution that suggests the opposite of what they want, that is clearly a sham. The Republicans set up that resolution as immediate withdrawal (or cut and run as they are fond of saying) knowing full well that Democrats wouldn’t vote for it. It was a win/win for Republicans, if the Dems voted for it they were cut and runners, if they voted against it, clearly they were in support of the current Iraq policy.

This is different because it is an honest attempt by the opposition to actually change the policy. This amendment sets a timetable for withdrawal of our troops, an idea that the majority of Americans support.

Thanks for your kind words and sorry I was such a reactionary snot before.

3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the Democrats should take ownership of "Cutting and Running".
The new Democratic mantra should be:

Cut the Crap.
and
Run things effectively.

Spell out a clear and simple plan that 's easy for people to understand and rally around cut and run.

3:36 PM  
Blogger The Local Crank said...

I loved this post so much I blatantly stole it.

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Jack said...

No worries at all!

I'm incredibly disheartened by the conservative direction this country is trending. It's partly the reason I've been reading political blogs as of late. I rarely check out conservative blogs because their warmongering makes me ill, but this one was linked on slate.com.

I can't understand the mindset of people that think Santorum's claim that 500 15-25 year old artillery shells with nerve agents (buried around the time of the Iraq-Iran War) constitute a WMD program and a justification for the Iraq war.

http://www.austinbay.net/blog/index.php?p=1210

5:13 PM  
Anonymous david said...

"Cut & Run" is a perfectly respectable naval action. During the age of sail, the captain of a vessel surprised by the enemy at a time when an engagement would be disasterous would order the anchor cable cut so the ship could run with the wind without waiting to haul up the anchor. It was never seen as a sign of cowardice --except in cheap novels-- but was a valid tactical response. Better an entact ship to fight another day than a burned wreck at the bottom of the bay.

5:28 PM  
Anonymous everyman said...

We spilt the milk and we have to clean it up.
Forget the reasons we went in, remember there are people like you and I who will die (and are dying now) because the country is not secure.
As much as it revolts us, we must make it safe for Ann Coulter, Hugh Hewitt, Rush Limbaugh, and others to picnic on the Tigris River bank. The sooner, the better. I want this to turn out well for Iraqis and Americans.
Protect the innocent, the vulnerable, and the victims of this war. Seek a noble exit and not an ignoble one.
My original hope for the war on terror was a reasoned approach to determine countries that abused their citizens most and then use our military might to right the wrongs. Instead we had Iraq.
I stand for people: safe, independent, and strong.

Let's change course to make that happen.

7:26 PM  
Anonymous Betty Cracker said...

Anon -- love the "cut" the crap and "run" things effectively angle. You should forward it to Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid immediately.

Everyman, do you have any specific ideas about how to clean up the milk we've spilt to Rush can have a carb fest on the Tigris?

3:08 AM  
Anonymous everyman said...

Betty Cracker,

Yes, 4 provinces are the problem: begin to secure Baghdad one block at a time with Iraqi soldiers; develop a citizen militia for certain neighborhoods in Baghdad and give them legitimate authority to arrest and detain; put water and power back on one block at a time; hire thousands of Iraqi's to clean up war debris and repair the city, block by block ; find the criminal gangs in Baghdad and arrest them and hold them for 90 days incommunicado, then do it again; rinse and repeat for the other three provinces.
One block at a time, never retreat, never lose progress.
For the remainder of the provinces that have little or no problems, turn over their security to them completely.

4:20 AM  
Anonymous david said...

Everyman, you seem to be living in a Fool's Paradise. Why should Americans be picnicking on the Tigris? Is Baghdad the footstool of the USA? There has never been anything noble about the War on Terror. And the USA has never promoted Freedom or Democracy abroad. Take the beam out of your own eye before you start pointing at the mote in the Eye of Iraq. Face up to reality: the Iraqis don't want you there; the Iraqis will be better off if you go now; YOU have become the terrorists. Did you learn nothing from Vietnam?

8:40 AM  
Blogger jae said...

"I’m going to call my Senators again right now and ask that they support a plan for withdrawal of our troops from Iraq."

When I read yesterday that both Menendez and Lautenberg both voted in favor of the Kerry/Feingold bill, I cried.
Then I went to the card store and bought them both Thank You cards.

3:18 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Everyman--I think that strategy could have worked at one time, perhaps if Kerry had been able to move into the White House in '05, but this administration will never do right by Iraq.

Of course we should have re-built that country, secured it properly, turned the lights back on, got the water running and used Iraqi labor, Iraqi resources and Iraqi businesses to do it, but we didn't and as long as Bush is in control, we never will. That is the reality of the situation. Do you really think there’s any chance of getting Halliburton to give up its lucrative contracts so that the money can stay in Iraq? What about these people running our country gives you any hope that they will see reason and do right by the Iraqi people? They will never change course, pulling our troops out is the only answer that makes sense.

We have lost all credibility with the Iraqi people. They've seen us blow up the milk container, spill it all over and spread it around. They know how to clean up the mess and they'd rather do it themselves, starting now rather than waiting until there's an administration in this country that cares about doing it right. Who are we to make them wait? We've done enough damage already, all we can do know is stop making it worse.

9:07 PM  

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