PT: How many more people must die for the Pres's mistake?

On the same day that the 2000th American soldier was confirmed dead in Iraq, the President gave a speech to a friendly audience. Looking over his remarks, they seem remarkable similar to his domino speech of October 6, 2005, except for some new threats against Syria.

The dominoes didn't fall after Vietnam despite the Soviets leaning on the dominoes. Without a great power patron, al-Qaeda is doomed to destructive futility in Iraq and possible death at the hands of the majority Shia and Kurds. No dominoes will fall if we cease current military operations in Iraq. But we will close a major al-Qaeda recruiting center. A center which did not exist prior to our invasion.

What have we gotten with our 2,000 US lives and over $250 Billion? Not much:

Iraq was the wrong war at the wrong time. This was clearly seen by the millions of people across the political spectrum who tried to prevent this so called "preventive war." Despite that, if the President's occupation policy were actually reducing the number of terror attacks and increasing the number of Iraqis able to fight without our aid, I would be willing to counsel patience. But the longer we “stay the course�, doing the same things, the worse things get for our troops and for all Iraqis except the Kurds, who have their own effective militia. We need to change what we are doing. Either cease military operations entirely or switch to patrolling the borders and blocking foreign jihadis from entering the country.

Moving on to the speech itself, it was notable for the lamentable excess of misinformation and double-standards that this administration seems to be best at. A few examples:

Rhetoric: Every sailor, soldier, airman, Marine, and Coast Guardsman who wears the uniform volunteered for duty.

Reality: Tens of thousands of soldiers are trapped in the Army by stop-loss orders. I admire their discipline by continuing to serve, but that service isn't voluntary until they reenlist of their own free will. If the President wants to say “Everyone in Iraq is a volunteer!�, he needs to rescind the stop-loss policy.

Rhetoric: Some call this evil Islamic radicalism; others, militant Jihadism; still others, Islamo-fascism.

Reality: In all of his speeches, the President NEVER refers to the ideology behind al-Qaeda as wahabbi Islam, despite the wide acknowledgment that this brand of fundamentalism drives al-Qaeda. Why? Because acknowledging this fact would force the President to face the sources of this intolerant faith – Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt instead of letting him focus on his favorite villains of Iran and Syria. Iran ruled by a Shia Islam detested by al-Qaeda and Syria, a secular dictatorship. But until we confront the true sources of al-Qaeda's ideological and financial support in Saudi society and elsewhere, we are doomed to more dramatic terrorism. Just like the post-Iraq events President recounted in his speech. “Fighting them there� isn't working.

Rhetoric: Third, the militants believe that controlling one country will rally the Muslim masses, enabling them to overthrow all moderate governments in the region, and establish a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia.

Reality: The al-Qaeda/Taleban regime had Afghanistan for over a decade and not a single country converted to radical Islam of any flavor – until we deposed the secular dictatorship in Iraq and helped install radical Shia politicians and put in too few troops to keep out al-Qaeda recruiters.

Rhetoric: The radicals depend on front operations, such as corrupted charities, which direct money to terrorist activity.

Reality: If you check the Department of the Treasury's list of terrorist charity fronts, you will find the majority of them belong to Pakistan, nominally our ally. Syria and Iran are nowhere to be found.

Rhetoric: The government of Russia did not support Operation Iraqi Freedom, and yet the militants killed more than 150 Russian schoolchildren in Beslan.

Reality: Russia has been embroiled in an occupation against the Chechens for decades. No one I know has suggested that Russians are facing trouble because we invaded Iraq.

Rhetoric: And what this man who grew up in wealth and privilege considers good for poor Muslims is that they become killers and suicide bombers. He assures them that this is the road to paradise -- though he never offers to go along for the ride.

Reality: This is a double standard. The President is afraid to visit Iraq with notice, much less to offer to go a ride-along with our troops. He is exhibiting the same behavior he is condemning.

Rhetoric: Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy teaches that innocent individuals can be sacrificed to serve a political vision.

Reality: Another double-standard. Because this was a so-called “preemptive war�, tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians were sacrificed to the President's vision of a better Middle East.

Rhetoric: With every random bombing and every funeral of a child, it becomes more clear that the extremists are not patriots or resistance fighters -- they are murderers at war with the Iraqi people, themselves.

Reality: While some insurgents are DEFINITELY terrorists, the armed opposition in Iraq in multifaceted. Even members of our own military understand this. Treating the “insurgents� as a single block of terrorists is a stumbling block to a lasting solution.

If there is to be a real solution to Iraq, the President needs to admit his mistakes and outline a clear military disengagement strategy that still offers financial and other support to a truly sovereign Iraq free of US military checkpoints.

That's enough politics for one Thursday

Comments

what?

"The dominoes didn't fall after Vietnam despite the Soviets leaning on the dominoes."

Millions died, Daniel, millions more have died around the world because of Communism. How many need to die before muslim extremists become a threat? If your going to use how many Americans have died to justify not doing anything, make sure you give a tally of how many people have died around the world also because of not doing anything.

Countries, my friend

The President's "domino" claim was that if we don't do exactly as he says in Iraq, the entire Middle East will fall and an Islamic empire will stretch from Spain to Malaysia.President Johnson said that if we didn't do exactly what he said to do in Vietnam, all of Southeast Asia would fall to the Communists, creating a global Communist empire.President Johnson was proved wrong. And Viet Nam had a great power patron in the Soviet Union.Since al-Qaeda lacks such a patron and failed to make anything meaningful of their occupation of Afganistan AND faces a deeply hostile majority in Iraq, I think President Bush's assertion will be proved equally wrong. No more of our soldiers should have to die for a disproven model.If we want to use our soldiers to establish and protect an independent democratic Kurdish state in Iraq, I'm all for that and would cease note body counts. A Kurdish state is an acheivable goal and the people there really do like us, despite our multiple betrayals.There is more terrorism in the world today than there was in 2001. Our efforts, far from protecting the world have been counterproductive. Hence the need to do something different.As far as Muslim extremists, as I've said on many occaisions, until you name them as wahabbists and confront them on THEIR HOME GROUND in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt, you will never rid the world of al-Qaeda, the only proven Muslim extremist group of GLOBAL reach. You won't defeat the wahabbist forces by attacking shia gov'ts or secular dictatorships.
 

Let's do it your way

If your going to use how many Americans have died to justify not doing anything, make sure you give a tally of how many people have died around the world also because of not doing anything.

Once again you fail to make a distinction between a optional, manufactured, so-called "preventive war" in Iraq and taking no action at all. Or even between "first strike" and legitimate self defense.But let's do it your way. Let's count people around the world who are dying because we are demonstrably doing nothing (in comparision to the blood and treasure we're wasting in Iraq). If we're going to count people who've died as a result of our relative inaction, we need to count:

  • At least 3.3 million babies are stillborn each year.
  • 6.6 million young children die before their fifth birthday each year.
  • 529,000 Women die in childbirth each and every year.
  • YEARLY Total: 10.4 Million infants and children.

Source - World Health Organization Report 2005We need to count these people because it is within our power to boost funding and provide the basic medical care and food and water they need to survive. It would cost a LOT LESS than $5 Billion a week, that's for sure!According to the Rand Corporation's Terrorism Knowledge Base's incident analysis tool, 27,067 people WORLDWIDE have been killed by terrorists in the 15 years since 1990.15 years of terror death statistics amount to 0.26 percent of the mostly preventable mother and infant deaths worldwide that occur YEAR IN AND YEAR OUT. Yet we're spending $5 Billion WEEK IN AND WEEK OUT on an operation that has failed to decrease terror-related deaths worldwide or even in Iraq itself. Just imagine how many millions of lives would be saved if we'd even commit to $500 Million a week to providing basic prenatal care or a little food and clean water.Deaths from inaction, sure. From lack of preventive wars? I don't think so.And I was easy on you. Lots of adults perish from lack of access to drinking water, food supplies, AIDS and many other things were the initiatives we're making are tiny drops in the bucket compared to what is needed. But even what is needed are small drops of water comparing to what we're spending on the Iraq occupation where the vast majority of the population opposes our presence according to a British MoD commissioned poll this month.

SHUSH!Greg -you are a CHICKENHAWK

Bwaak, Bwaak. Everybody else can die for me, huh Greg? Well, big man why don't you enlist?Join the National Guard.Join the Reserve. Go to Iraq.COWARD, CHICKENHAWK.
    BWAAK!

Re:Let's do it your way

"And I was easy on you."

:) The solution to every one of those problems is to remove the corrupt governments that prevent both the effective use of world resources that are spent on many of the countries where those occur and to allow a healthy government to ensure healthy growth where possible. We're saving lives in Iraq. Hopefully we'll get around to savings all these others but it will likely be with a show of force or actual force but nothing else.

Re:SHUSH!Greg -you are a CHICKENHAWK

Said the anon.

Re:Countries, my friend

"There is more terrorism in the world today than there was in 2001."

We never fought back until 2001. If we just stayed in Afghanistan I would wager the numbers would be just as high if not higher.

As for dominoes, Vietnam was not the only factor. The Cold War was a global war. Take Afghanistan for instance. It was Russia's Vietnam for the same reasons, we supplied the Afghanis and the USSR eventually gave up. We gave up in Vietnam when we shouldn't have but we didn't give up everywhere else. We kept Russia in check as much as possible.

"You won't defeat the wahabbist forces by attacking shia gov'ts or secular dictatorships."

Probably not but everyone's always complaining that we go it alone. I'm guessing a happy and free Iraq will help, if only by setting an example. Oh and its also not just about terrorism. Its about technology. Little countries getting big weapons. Saddam used them, would again. A global reach now can mean a single missile so no more chances.

Re:Countries, my friend

We never fought back until 2001. If we just stayed in Afghanistan I would wager the numbers would be just as high if not higher.

If we just stayed in Afghanistan, we'd likely have brought the entire al-Qaeda leadership, including bin Laden, to justice. President Karzai's rule would extend beyond Kabul and if we spent a third of the money we've sacrificed on the alter of "preventive war" in Iraq on rebuilding Afghanistan, that country might be the shining beacon of hope for the Muslim world that we claim to want.I don't think the Afghans would treat us like they treated the Russians. Ridding them of the Taliban (even for a limited time) was seen as a true liberation.But no, it wasn't possible to finish our fight against a major base of al-Qaeda and wahhabist fanaticism. No we couldn't bother our "ally" Pakistan by raiding the Taliban strongholds in tribal Pakistan. No, we had to refoucus our funds, our special forces and ultimately our war effort on a country with no history of Islamic fundamentalism, no role in 9/11, and no operational relationship with the one group of global reach that murdered thousands of our citizens. Also a country that repeated international inspections found no trace of WMD stockpiles in the year before the war or the years after.Right. That was worth $250 Billion, 2000+ US deaths and 10s of thousands of civilian Iraqi lives. No.

We gave up in Vietnam when we shouldn't have but we didn't give up everywhere else. We kept Russia in check as much as possible.

Give me ONE example of some other country that we invaded for the express purpose of stopping Communist expansion. That's the equivilent model you need for Iraq.

Re:Let's do it your way

So the solution to every global problem is war by the United States? What about the desparately poor countries with high infant and mother deaths that are already our allies?There are cheaper solutions to medical and food problems.How many lives have we saved in Iraq through our invasion that couldn't be saved through other means? It's comforting to think so, but where's the proof?

Re:what?

Millions died, Daniel, millions more have died around the world because of Communism.

As usual that's only half of the equation. You cry so piteously about the millions who have died from Communist imperialism, but you can't acknowledge that anyone has ever died from American imperialism. The number is 100,000 innocent Iraqis, and 2,000 American servicemen from the invasion and occupation of Iraq alone. How many South Viet Namese were butchered by American munitions in the name of "saving" them from a threat that did not truly exist, and how many of them are still dieing today from the chemical weapons people like you used to poison their environment? We do know that the 53,000 American serviceman who died there did so in large part because the U.S. sent them to their deaths. Where are the Amerindian nations that once lived in the land you now occupy? How many people were savagely murdered and mutilated by the bloody-handed regimes the American government installed in Guatemala and El Salvador? By the Shah the U.S. installed by military coup? With the chemical weapons you sold to Saddam Hussein?

Yeah, Stalinist communism killed a lot of people. So has American imperialism. Turning a blind eye to that fact is a pious hypocrisy.

Re:Let's do it your way

The proof? WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam, China's taking of Tibet, Tianemmen Square, Kim Jong Il, Robert Mugabe... When we step in there's war followed by peace, when we do nothing or walk away there is chaos, when we throw money at it we stem the problem but do not end the problem. Actually there's a better example which is 9/11. It will never happen again because those who ride on planes know that if a hijacker attempts to take the plane there is only one solution, action.

Re:Countries, my friend

Right. That was worth $250 Billion, 2000+ US deaths and 10s of thousands of civilian Iraqi lives. No.

Yes.

Give me ONE example of some other country that we invaded for the express purpose of stopping Communist expansion. That's the equivilent model you need for Iraq.

Again Daniel, the primary lesson of 9/11 - don't wait. The USSR had nuclear arms, we had to be as careful with them as we are now with North Korea. Picture meetings at the UN where diplomats talked about wars in Korea, Vietnam, and Afghanistan where two major countries were fighting each other while not actually fighting each other. Total farce, necessary, but total farce. We didn't have to go through that with Iraq and we shouldn't with any other 3rd world country.

ARGENTINA

Allende's assassination by the CIA and the thousands who were "disappeared" because of this.

CHILE

Maybe he means Chile?

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