Monday, July 16, 2007

Supporting the Troops

Shane goes through some pretty convoluted attempts to claim he supports the troops in Iraq here. He calls out a couple of my previous posts somehow trying, I think, to prove that I'm a hypocrite on the subject. I've read the post several times and still have difficulty trying to understand his point.

He claims this "To speak out against the war was to put the troops in harms way. Andy typifies that here, when he made the false claim that terrorist would attack the US before the last election: (emphasis mine)"

in reference to this statement from me "By liberals and Democrats opposing the war the way they do, they put our service men in more danger. The terrorists and insurgents know that they have their chances of victory are greater if liberals and Democrats are in power. And by knowing this, their resolve is strengthened. If, on the other hand, liberals and Democrats were in full support of the war and not so passive and anti-Bush, the enemy would be demoralized and weaker with less of our service men dying.
Yes, I blame the anti-war liberals and Democrats for the reason more Soldiers and Marines are dying than should be. The enemy knows that they can easily manipulate our liberal media and liberal politicians"

I don't know were he gets that I claim terrorists will attack the US before the election. I also don't see where I'm a hypocrite.

Anyway, in rereading the two posts he references, I still stand by them and still believe them to be true. I'm calling out the anti war Liberals and Democrats and how their anti war position on the war is hurting our troops and strengthening the resolve of the enemy.

I believe they want to lose the war and are doing all they can to see that happen as I say here. Harry Reid has even publicly declared the war lost. What kind of message does that send our troops? What kind of message does that send our enemy? When the Senate Majority Leader makes a declaration like that, it only confirms what I have said.

I also cannot reconcile the statement "I support the troops but I don't support their mission". How can that be? They all volunteered to serve knowing the risks and what they're mission is. They are going into it willingly. How can you honestly say you support the troops but not what they are doing? Perhaps I'm affected by the anti war people during the Viet Nam war who openly and publicly expressed their hate and disgust towards the troops.


  1. Colby Natale7/17/2007 8:52 AM

    "I support the troops but I don't support their mission".

    let me ask you this Andy, do you think that EVERY soldier in Iraq supports the goals and means of the Bush administration? Do you think EVERY soldier in Iraq believes the terrorists can be defeated and Democracy will reign?

    If you do, then I don't much more to say, because that kind of unity in belief is unheard of, not to say scary. Plus all the polls, stats, etc say it isn't true.

    If you don't, then does that mean that those troops who don't support the mission don't support themselves? It is odd to think that young men and women in Iraq don't support each other.

    What I am getting at is this: When I say I support the troops, I mean I have empathy for them and I am trying to do what I think is best for them. That doesn't mean I specifically support what they are doing right now. I support keeping them alive, I support returning them to their families, and I support using their role (of soldier) in a more relevant role; not in a futile battle that we shouldn't have gotten into.

    The same would be said if my daughter did something wrong and got in trouble. I don't condone her actions (and she needs some degree of punishment), yet I still support my daughter and want good things for her.

    Your comment that you cannot rectify the statement above essentially has you saying something like: "If you say you support a person, you must support EVERYTHING that person does", which is just plan craziness.

  2. A simple question, Andy:

    Considering that most of the attacks against our troops are being carried out by Sunni or Shi'ite Iraqis, exactly how do calls for us to remain in occupation 'embolden' these enemies?

    Asked another way, who is the enemy that we face in Iraq?

  3. Colby,
    Of course every soldier in Iraq does not support the goals and means of the Bush Admin. Neither does every soldier believe terrorists can be defeated. You'll always find those that disagree in anything. However, I think the vast majority do which is why the joined the military to begin with.

    I understand your empathy towards the troops and wanting to get them back home and keeping them alive. So do I and that's all very nice. But, again, they volunteered and went into it knowing what is in store for them. Do you think they want to pull out and be part of a war effort that the US lost?

    Their mission is to kill insurgents and terrorists regardless of tribe and establish security, freedom and democracy in this very unstable land. It's in our best interest to do this to eliminate terrorist acts on Americans and to keep the free flow of oil, the fuel of our thriving economy, flowing.

    The Democrats are doing everything they can to subvert their mission. Harry Reid says the war is lost. Congress keeps debating about defunding the war. The MSM avoids reporting good stories and focuses on the negative. Etc. etc.

    To say you support the troops but declare this a futile and irrelevant battle is not supporting them, in my opinion. They need to know we are behind them and their work and mission are important and crucial to the security of their country.

  4. Wulfgar,
    Do you mean how do calls to pull out embolden our enemies?

    They will be emboldened by knowing we will eventually pull out then they can take over. They just need to wait us out after manipulating public opinion and the MSM. I think the anti-war folks, through their words and actions, encourage and embolden them.

  5. Colby Natale7/18/2007 8:46 AM

    Okay, so the ones who don't support the mission, do you think they support themselves; that is, are they trying to look out for and take of themselves?

    Because if they are, then you have just explained how it is possible to not support the mission, yet support the people.

  6. They will be emboldened by knowing we will eventually pull out then they can take over.

    Andy, that's the point you seem to willfully ignore. Who will "take over"? The Shi'ite Mujahideen under Moqtada al Sadr? The Turks, who are currently lobbing shells into the Kurdish North? al Qaeda, who *no one* likes? The Sunni in Basra who are already being oppressed and persecuted, and fighting back? Who will take over, Andy?

    It's a really simple question, and yet no one in power seems willing to answer it; so forgive me if I assume that you can't. Since you can't even clarify who "them" are, I'll pay no heed to your caution that we will embolden "them".

    Yep. We're emboldening the enemy. Too bad we can't even figure out who they are. Another simple question: Considering that 85% of Iraqis want us out, what if the "Them" is all of them?


  7. I’m not going to get into the whole “Supports the Troops” battle. It is too easy for people to create their own definition of ‘support”. But I do hope people will ask themselves a simple question before putting expressing and ideology, “does this make the troop’s job easier and harder”. I argue that when we hear things like, “the war is lost” from politicians or “no blood for oil” from bloggers, that makes the troops job more difficult.

  8. I wandered in here from Wulfgar's site - and there's a message over there for you, Andy, under the "Andy Kreskin Hammond, Boy Genous [sic]" post.

    Now to tackle the "Supporting the Troops" meme.

    We all support the troops, with our tax dollars at least. We all support them when they're deployed, even when we disagree with the people who deployed them. No liberal, no conservative, no Republican, no Democrat, rubs their hands with glee when they die or come home missing parts of their bodies or their minds. All Americans agree - the people who put their lives on the line for our defense are damned good people deserving of our respect, at least.

    Yes, many Americans opposed the invasion of Iraq. But you know what? Only a fool takes a divided country to war in the face of a divided world.

    Now, we have to address a couple of other issues, Andy. Your use of the term "enemy" is fluid, at best. Al Qaeda definitely is present in Iraq, and as Wulfgar notes, is not very welcome. In Anbar and Diyala provinces, some of the people who were shooting at us have joined with us, for now, to fight those fascist foreign fools. Power to them, and I'll be glad when they eradicate them. But when they do, those Sunni tribal militias will have no one left to fight except the occupiers. You know, our troops. And we armed them and gave them uniforms.

    By far, most of the people we are fighting are Iraqis - former regime loyalists, nationalists, domestic Islamic extremists, and even organized criminals. Of the 19,000 people in US custody in Iraq, fewer than 200 are foreign fighters. And nearly half of those are from Saudi Arabia, our ally.

    The militias are mostly fighting each other, only occasionally engaging us. The Iraqi government would be smart to incorporate some of the militias into their new security forces - army and police. But to do so, there needs to be political stability, and that only comes when the citizens feel they own their government. There is a democracy in Iraq, but it was built from the top down, not the bottom up. The single best thing we could do to turn that around is help with new elections, starting with local elections, then provincial, then national. It may be too late for that, but we have to do something besides kill, kill, kill.

    As to that very short and powerful word, war, we are not at war, no matter what you, the president, every congressman, every pundit, and damn near every American says and believes. We won the war when we toppled Saddam Hussein's regime in April of 2003. Every combat action we've faced from then on has been an insurgency against our occupation. Thankfully, General Petraeus understands that. Words have meanings, and must be used properly. As Hunter Thompson said before he checked out, "we are not at War, we are having a nervous breakdown." It's not a war, it's an occupation.

    You state, "The Democrats are doing everything they can to subvert their mission." What is the mission, Andy? I thought it was to liberate the Iraqis from a dictator and bring democracy to the Iraqi people in the hopes that democracy would spread to the rest of the Middle East. I gather from other things I've read on your blog that you believe we are there to build an American empire, absorbing the Middle East into that empire. Which is it? Democracy or empire? It can't be both.

    I'm at mac at igc dot org, if you wish to answer privately.

  9. Steve,
    You bring up some very interesting and good points.

    I do believe we are at war. It's obviously different then conventional wars we have fought in the past, but it's a war.

    It's important that we establish stability in that region. It isn't going to and won't happen overnight but it will happen.

    All wars are full of mistakes and it's easy to use hindsight to criticize. But we need to learn from our mistakes and figure out a way to succeed.

    After WWII we stayed in Germany, and are still there, to establish stability and to have a presence against the Soviet Union. I think what we are doing in Iraq is similar - we need to establish stability and have a strong presence against Al Qaeda and other terrorists in the area.

    When has the US ever built an empire? We helped establish democracies in Japan and Germany after we conquered them. We stayed in each country but left them alone once stability was established.

    That's what we do. We are the good guys and I get frustrated when people look at us as being the ones who are dangerous.

  10. Andy, you can believe whatever you wish, but use the damned dictionary. Better yet, use the US Constitution. Only Congress can declare war, and it has not. An authorization for use of military force is not a declaration of war.

    But no doubt, we are deep into a battle. Not an existential battle, but a battle nonetheless. There is no way that al Qaeda can destroy America. We are simply too strong. But al Qaeda can scare us in to destroying ourselves, and that is what is now occurring. This pissfest which you are carrying on with Wulfgar and Colby and others is a symptom of that destruction. You guys are competely self-absorbed in an attempt to top one another. While you keep pissing on each other, Osama is laughing his hairy ass off, knowing that he's turned us against one another.

    Look at the ridiculous level of the debate in Congress. We've got Democrats crying "Stop the war!" and Republicans standing behind the most incompetent civilian leadership of the military since Lyndon Johnson.

    But you're right - now that we have entirely blown the occupation, we have to establish security in the region. You're right that it won't happen overnight, but it will happen. The passage of time and the horrors we are seeing guarantee that. But we cannot do it alone. The only people that can establish security are the Iraqi people, who outnumber our troops by 150 to 1. Somehow, they will have to come together, or separate, more or less peacefully. Whatever happens is in their hands.

    Remember our Revolution? We threw out an occupation army and began to govern ourselves. The only hope for Iraq is that they can find accomodation among themselves. It is highly ironic that it may be our occupation that unites them. It may take a few years, and God forgive us for those that we have killed and will kill in the process, and God help those of us who died and will die.

    As for al Qaeda, the Sunni militias in Anbar and Diyala have joined us in killing them, even though al Qaeda foreign fighters are their fellow Sunnis! What do you think would happen to them if they tried to move into Shia country? It would make our nativist reaction against illegal immigrants look like a Welcome Wagon block party.

    I'd like to agree with you that we are the good guys, but we're not anymore. We followed the Bush administration into a war of choice, and of empire, into Iraq. Bush convinced some 70% of us that Saddam Hussein was involved in the al Qaeda attack on US soil, when Iraq under Saddam was emphatically opposed to al Qaeda.

    Hussein did not counter our allegations that he had WMDs because it was to his advantage to make the world believe that he had WMDs, even though he didn't. Creating the belief that he had them was his only protection from an invasion by his enemies - Iran, the US, and Iraqi opposition parties.

    "When has the US ever built an empire?" That would be the Spanish-American War. That's why the Philippines fell under their US-supported dictator, Ferdinand Marcos. That's why Fulgencio Batista became the dictator of Cuba and established a governorship so awful that the Cuban people accepted Fidel Castro's dictatorship as a "revolution".

    If you want to know more about our modern attempt to build an empire, read the Project for a New American Century's "Rebuilding America's Defenses". For a historical rendition from a true American hero, General Smedley Butler, read "War is a Racket".

    Andy, face the facts. We are, unfortunately, the dangerous ones.