IRAQ IN SOBER FOCUS
Re: Jed Babbin’s Rethinking Iraq:
Jed is exactly correct. And W is in the perfect position to do it. If only. Should Clinton/Obama win in ’08, we’re done for and a lot more people are going to die. I’m afraid that is what it’ll take.
Hey Jed, I really enjoy when you sub for Hugh.
Funny, in this article I didn’t see any mention of the brutal fate that awaits the thousands of Iraqis, both the supporters of the Coalition Forces and innocent bystanders, after our withdrawal.
— SSG David Shoup
Operation Iraqi Freedom Veteran
Once again Mr. Babbin has given an insightful analysis of the current condition of the State of Iraq. A military confrontation with Iran and her satellite, Syria, will take place soon enough. And we are going to need forces in Iraq to combat them. This is for the future, though, not the present.
To take the argument concerning Iran and Syria off the table, let me merely point out that the current administration of our great nation has made it clear that they are unwilling to do this. Though, due to the direct participation of the governments of both nations in attacks upon government forces of Iraq and the U.S., direct action against them, by U.S. forces, is defensible. Simply put, for a variety of reasons, the Bush administration will not directly engage either nation.
Back to Iraq. The current situation in Iraq is simple to explain in hindsight. There has been no consistent rudder employed by the administration to direct U.S. actions in-country. Contrary to some claims that the administration is “staying the course” in Iraq, this course has most resembled the path of a drunken blind man crossing a football field. The purpose of invading Iraq was not to establish a bastion of democracy in the Middle East. It was to eliminate a potential threat to this country (there were WMD’s and the programs to create more were poised to re-start quickly) and to dissuade others from continuing upon courses of action that threatened the security of the U.S. A democracy in Iraq, while a desirable side benefit, was not a high priority option. The security of Iraq was.
In order for all other positive results to occur, Iraq had to be secured. This did not happen. For whatever reason, the United States blinked. The real war for Iraq began several weeks after U.S. troops rolled into Baghdad. And we did not rise to the challenge. The administration forgot an important lesson of military history, an occupying force is the government of a subjugated country. Any attack against said occupying force is to be considered an attack against the duly established government of the occupied state and handled accordingly. This did not happen. Case in point being Moqtada al’Sadr. After he led his “resistance” against the “foreign invaders” he should have been capture and executed immediately and his troops destroyed. The same should have happened to several other insurgent leaders. It did not.
The country was never secured and the administration made it clear that the U.S. would never make a concerted effort to secure it. This includes direct action against the border areas of Iran and Syria to hinder incursions of men and materiel from those countries. Now, a legitimate government has been installed in Iraq and the U.S. will have to live with it. By agreement with that government, we are duty bound to operate with its consent. The reason for this appears to be the fact that the administration caved to domestic pressures to become kinder and gentler.
Where do we go from here? That is a very good question. The answers are not readily discernible, due to the muddled mess that Iraq has become. If we stay, we face years of violence in-country with no clear victory in sight. If we leave, we will be back within five years and this time we will face a regional conflict without a force-in-place. Neither are desirable choices. But if we choose to leave Iraq at this point, we might as well leave en masse. A phased withdrawal will only embolden the enemy nation states in the region and their irregular allies in Iraq. Violence will rise to exceptional levels as they seek to damage U.S. military assets as much as possible before they leave the country. The following sectarian violence, as various parties seek to establish their dominance in areas of the country, will also spike.
The Baker/Hamilton study will not answer any real questions. Iran, Syria and North Korea will be “confronted” in the near future, whether we wish it or not. Iraq will still be Iraq. And the threats to this country’s future will be augmented by internal fractures. The only real question is whether we have the fortitude to hang tough, play rough and wipe the blood off of our nose and continue. Time will tell.
— Michael Tobias
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Jed Babbin, as usual, has nailed the crux of the problem with both the Dem thinking and the Bush thinking regarding the so called War on Terror. I tried to compose a letter to both praise Jed’s article and to express my thoughts on this current conflict. Unfortunately, it was rapidly getting to doctoral dissertation length, and I was getting more frustrated as I went on.
George Bush had some good and worthy notions and instincts immediately upon experiencing the events of 9/11. As he stood atop a pile of rubble in New York, with his arm around a fireman and spoke by bull horn, he expressed the feelings and inclinations of most Americans. Unfortunately he went down hill rapidly from there. How far he had fallen from these good instincts was revealed in his ill fated “Mission Accomplished” speech on the aircraft carrier just barely over the horizon from San Diego. Since that day, he has been part of the problem, not part of the solution, and now we are to have a James Baker III solution imposed on us, it seems. This is what happens when you insist on playing a prevent defense, you often lose the game.
El Presidente failed utterly to bring the public along with him at each step as was necessary. Because of this failure, he now experiences an increasing hostile electorate, and almost the whole thing is of his own making. His ineptitude and missteps would seem to be about to give the Dems renewed life and influence over government policies. I am not at all sure that Bush is the person that can right the ship now. I am very afraid that all we can do is muddle along for 2 + years until we get a new Commander-in-Chief. I sincerely hope that our American electorate will see the error in their ways in the intervening years and reject the hard core Socialism that is the only solution that the Dems have any interest in promoting.
Such a damn shame. It didn’t have to be this way. When we had the bad guys on the run, that was the time to go into over-drive and make sure that they could not rise from the ashes of their enmity towards us. It was time to completely flush out the stables of the Middle East and disinfect the region so that the infection would not return. Because of this government’s half-hearted actions, another generation of America’s best will have to go in harms way to rescue their parents from their mistakes.
Well, I shall hope that Beverly, or Elaine, or Diane, or some of the other regulars to this font of wisdom will better define the problem than I have. Now I am going to get my optimism prescription refilled. I am almost out.
— Ken Shreve
Mr. Babbin has given the four options that have most recently been discussed in the media. It might help at this juncture to review a past option that was proffered by the Democrats and their Generals and John McCain that vastly more troops were needed to stabilize Iraq. The current situation in Baghdad puts the lie to that strategy. First, most of Iraq is stable. Baghdad is not. We could put thousands more troops into Baghdad and the insurgents would either continue to fight or hide for a while. We have enough troops in Iraq. The present commanders have been and are right about troop levels. In fact if our conventional forces were used in the manner of WWll, Baghdad would be a parking lot.
Second, the recognition that we have enough troops, enough material, and enough morale to get Baghdad stabilized points to the correct strategy. Take off the gloves! We can’t you say; the rest of the world and the press will not allow it, will resist and support our enemies, turn public opinion against the war. Well we can if it is crunch time. Crunch time is allowing the Iraqi Army and its strongest General to destroy the militias quickly, then let vetted survivors join the Iraqi Army and debrief them to find out how Iran supplies them with money and weaponry. This general should also be given authority to order Predator missiles and selected artillery to fire at targets selected by him. And the word should go out that there will be no safe havens or neighborhoods for belligerents which will induce more tips and intelligence to zero in on troublemakers. Only then can policing start. There are only soldiers on a battlefield. Police exist only in a stabilized society. Each have their role to play. Bur soldiering must come first.
— Howard Lohmuller
I always get the impression that our senior officers are operating under the specter of the patsy Schroeder era in Congress. Under her tenure, congress effectively neutered future generations of military officers, at least in their thinking about the conduct of war.
What we wound up with are managers and administrators, but no warrior killers, or too few of them and they are not in charge. Just remember the fate of the black colonel who fired his pistol next to that spy’s head while it was in a bucket…I guess we showed him. In the face of brutal slaughter of their own people we are bound and determined not to cause civilian deaths while we fight a war. This sounds pretty absurd especially when these “civilians” aid and abet the terrorists by allowing them to blend back into their neighborhoods after an attack on our men. They will continue to do this because they see no downside to it.
It must be the job of the senior officers there to see to it that there is a serious downside to supporting the enemy. We need to spread the pain around into their midst to graphically demonstrate that aiding and abetting will get them killed very quickly and in large numbers. I would not permit one armed person to enter or leave a house or mosque without calling an airstrike to completely destroy said building and all occupants. Case closed, this is war. I would unbed the press also.
Love your stuff.
— Gene Hauber
Sunnis + Shia + Kurds = potassium nitrate + charcoal + sulfur.
Islam is the inextinguishable spark.
— David Govett
Re: The Washington Prowler’s Chair Personnel:
I would suggest that any talk of by passing old guard Dems for senior positions is just fluff designed to calm worried voters.
If the Dems. win big Conyers, Rangel, and the impeached judge, through their committees, will be controlling the country.
— David Ward
We’re two weeks away from the Election and it’s wake-up time for some Republican Unity…..
Republicans, of all faiths, sexual persuasions, ages, colors, shapes, waist sizes, and golf handicaps need to quit playing into the Dem’s divide-and-conquer game.
Nobody is perfect.
No one agrees with the President 100% of the time. Not even Laura.
If you don’t like the some of the decisions that the President makes some of the time, and if you don’t like the decisions that Hastert makes some of the time,, and if you don’t like Foley, and if you don’t like gays, or do like gays, or really don’t care, or don’t like McCain, or do like McCain, one thing is certain:
You will really, really NOT like the decisions that Speaker-of-the House Nancy Pelosi makes. All of the time.
The time for Republican Unity is now. Old, young, gay, straight, black, white, brown, whatever: Pay attention to the big picture.
The Dems want us (and America) to focus on the negatives and bicker and give up, or not show up.
Sure, there are a lot of mis-steps, but what family is perfect?
North Korea, Radical Islam, Iran are far bigger threats than who-read-what email, and when.
Foley has stupidly dug his own political grave.
Let’s not fall in behind him.
Quit bickering, and for a moment, forget about who’s sleeping with who, or emailing who, and support our Senate and House Candidates. Help Negron get elected. Vote. Help decide what is best for the future.
If you don’t, Speaker of the House Pelosi will decide for you.
And you really won’t like that.
Let’s get to Work. We’ve got two weeks.
— Barron Thomas
THE BLAME GAME
Re: Faith McDonnell’s Blaming Bush for Darfur:
I wonder if Faith J. H. McDonnell and I are even reading the same newspaper. The ad in question simply expresses the belief that an intervention by Bush is the only thing that will be effective in resolving the situation, and it blames no one. Even a solidly pro-Bush evangelical like Richard Land can buy into that.
At least the ad tries for a solution, whereas McDonnell merely vents about the undeniably guilty perpetrators of this genocide. She’s right, but that by itself won’t stop the killing, and unlike the ad, she proposes no course of action.
— Gary Martin
Platte City, Missouri
Yes, the ads on TV telling Bush to “stop the killing in Darfur” (!) make it appear he is personally going over there and slaughtering innocent women and children. I’m sure the wording is no accident and the whole issue seems to have sprung from nowhere since, as you point out, it has been going on for years without attention from liberal interests â€˜til now. It’s one more issue useful for piling on the conservative Christian president. They know who the real enemy is.
— Laurey Boyd
In her article “Blaming Bush for Darfur,” Faith McDonald is right on the money. Personally, I can’t think of too many things that Bush has gotten right, but he deserves praise for his persistence in trying to end the violence in the Sudan. That he has not been entirely successful can be laid squarely at the feet of Sudan’s repressive regime, along with the regime’s Arab backers in the Middle East. George Bush has made himself an easy target for his critics over the years, but let’s at least criticize him where he has gone wrong, and not for what he has done right.
— David Sciacchitano
Re: Ralph R. Reiland’s Budapest: October 23, 1956:
Thanks for remembering those who stood up for freedom from their Soviet masters. It reminded me of the nurse I hired to care for my infant daughter in the early sixties. Her name was Audrey and she finally made it to America and So. Calif. after a tortuous journey…. displaced by the Nazis (half Jewish) to the camps, surviving that, displaced to Hungary after WWII to be gobbled up by the Soviets. She escaped from there in ’56, made her way to America at that time. I’ve often thought of her over the ensuing years and what she endured to arrive on freedom’s shores. God bless you Audrey and all those who have followed your difficult path.
— Edda Gahm
Diamond Bar, California
Re: Ben Stein’s Pedophile Nation:
Ben Stein’s column that was posted on your website couldn’t possibly be more true.
I have been saying this same thing for years now and in my field of work I see it everyday. Young girls are dressed like hussies and the boys flock to them. I am a man of 24 years old and can’t imagine dating any of these tramps that parade themselves around like whores. I would hope that someone along the line would tell these ladies that dressing like that is just trashy but it seems as though “parenting” has gone by the wayside. If my daughter ever tried to leave the house like that she would be grounded until she came to her senses, but then she would have been taught better than that. As for my sons they would be told that a woman that acts like that is not worth the time as she has no respect for herself. Today’s society screams SEX and it is killing our culture along with those who dwell within.
— Ryan Bohannon
Ben Stein’s comments on the nation’s interest in teen sex reminds me of an article he wrote for your mag. Quite a few years ago about the trend among Los Angeles elites to have a teen girl-friend. I particularly was struck, not by the lewdness or perversity of it but by the fact that these “Daddies” would actually get involved in the teen’s livesâ€”helping them with their homework and such. Perhaps that trend is simply coming into flower (perhaps in large part because of the internet.
Anyway thanks to Ben for raising the flag on this item years ago. I wonder if he remembers the article?
Thanks for being a force for good and light in the media.
— Marc Miller
Re: A. DiPentima’s letter (under “Wrecking the Rest”) in Reader Mail’s Humoring Hillary:
Mr. DiPentima, whose wisdom and wit I have long envied and enjoyed, quoted Justice Beyer’s comment that “America does not exist in a vacuum.” This is a most interesting position for a Supreme Court Justice to take, and it is obviously true. The problem is that Justice Beyer fails to recognize that the Constitution DOES exist in a vacuum. It does so to prevent activist judges from manipulating it and reshaping it to promote their own agendas. And to those who would debate whether or not this is actually happening, I give you the “penumbras of emanations” that have given us the privacy rulings from that august body, the SCOTUS.
— Joseph Baum
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