Re: Jed Babbin’s Have We Lost in Iraq?:
President Bush is not leading us anywhere. You are correct when you say that President Bush is “not engaged.” I’m not sure he ever was ever engaged. I never bought the line that Karl Rove was the genius behind Mr. Bush’s election as President. Mr. Bush is President today because the Democrats offered us Mr. Gore and Mr. Kerry. Their activities after their defeats clearly show they would have been worse Presidents than Mr. Bush.
Mr. Bush lost all of my confidence when he nominated Ms. Miers to the SCOTUS. Clearly a very dumb mistake. The failure of the White House to support border control, limit federal spending and be a clear leader in matters of constitutional law are signs of continuing weakness. The wolves are at the door and our President is hiding in a straw house built on patriotism.
The “left” is gaining ground. The weaknesses of the White House and Congress have opened a window of opportunity allowing communists and socialists to move more rapidly toward their goals. President Bush, like Tsar Nicholas II in Russia, is oblivious to the undercurrents of political movement in the U.S. Health care and Social Security will be the drivers of the 2008 election, not Iraq or Iran. (Unless we go to war with Iran over a nuclear bomb, in which case all bets are off.) Russia lost their war with Japan in 1905 and we will, ultimately, lose our war in the Middle East. We cannot afford the spending that will soon be necessary within our borders and also pay for a long-term war of attrition with Islamofascism.
The parallels between Russia (and Nicholas II) in the early 1900s and the U.S. (and President Bush) today are clear. Those who do not read and understand history are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.
— Nelson Ward
Ribera, New Mexico
I find it most unpleasant disagreeing with Jed, but his hand-wringing panic piece is unworthy of his usual somber judgment. Jed has joined the chorus of elite naysayers over Iraq because a handful of fanatics have managed to score an apparent victory. Instead of seeing the destruction of this sacred shrine, which has withstood 1,200 years of sectarian violence, as a despicable desperate act perpetrated by a remnant of hardcore death eaters, Jed instead sees a failure by Bush. So much so, that it manages to taint our entire noble enterprise of Iraqi and Middle East freedom.
Despite three elections and the fact that civil war has not erupted, because the Iraqis have a new found freedom worth saving (a point Jed glibly glosses over), nonetheless, all is lost because Bush has not defined the mission. Jed offers no proof for this assertion other than the fact that the NYT says so. I for one don’t think that the mission is adrift, contrary to Jed’s panic attack. And since when did the NYT, CBS or the rest of the MSM ever not attempt to portray our actions in Iraq as anything other than a failure? This is not new, but to Jed, because of a mosque bombing, Bush has managed single-handedly to lose the moral high ground to the Alec Baldwins of the loony left.
Well, Jed, all I can say is that the MSM has never defined the mission for me, ever; and I don’t intend to let them start now. That’s why I read TAS everyday. Even if civil war does become a reality, albeit a brief one, peace will be restored and Saddam will never return to power, ever. So, if you want to fall in with the all is lost crowd, well that’s your problem. Just don’t try and make it ours.
— A. DiPentima
It looks as if President Bush has basically gone to sleep, just as his father did after the first Iraqi war. He is acting like no more than a caretaker now, ignoring his political base, or even insulting it.
Also, as long as Syria and Iran can keep interfering in Iraq, we are not going to win. No one wants a larger war, but leaving the enemy a North Vietnam sanctuary means we can’t really win. We will just sit there as our troops did in South Vietnam, waiting for whatever the enemy will throw at us. Are we supposed to outlast Assad and the Ayatollahs, as we were supposed to outlast Hanoi?
This administration won’t even use political means — not even symbolic means — to pressure or weaken these regimes. Perhaps Bush is too busy threatening his first veto ever over the UAE contract, or trying to come up with another illegal immigrant amnesty that no one but his rich business friends and liberal enemies want — dressed up as a “work program,” of course.
Or maybe he’s too buy creating even more “affirmative action” quota programs in the federal service.
I think Bush has blown his chance to be a great president. But he could still go down in history as a good one, if he will just wake up, and just end the common GOP practice of slapping its supporters in the face, in a futile effort to win support among people who hate him.
— John Lockwood
None of your suggestions are going to have any impact on Iraq. How does declaring the Palestinian Government a terrorist organization help us in Iraq? If anything it hurts us. As does some silly dinner date with the Danish PM. And I’m sure Zarqawi will immediately cease hostilities once that Security Resolution is blocked by China and Russia.
Forget Buckley. He was against Iraq from the start. This is the second decade in a hundred years war. There are going to be darker days than this in the future.
Get yourself a good 2×4 and strap it to your back. It needs stiffening.
— Don Herion
To defeat the power of the religious symbols of those we fight, we need powerful symbols of our own — our own “national religion.” Currently, that consists of a conglomerate of things usually mentioned in every Bush speech — the “religions” of free speech, democracy, free markets and consumerism, and human rights (which to most Americans now means “the right to do as I please.”)
These do not hold the same power to provide the will to win as the religion of our enemy. These “religions” are materialistic gods who will fail just as much as the god of socialism has apparently failed. (Although that one is still alive and kicking about…)
Socialism and our current national religion of liberal democracy are really two sides of the same coin — they both seek to build a Heaven on Earth, and draw attention away from our Creator. Until America returns to the worship of the God of our Fathers, we fight without a soul, and without a belief in something above and beyond ourselves — something that requires real sacrifice because sacrifice is a foundational part of its teachings. Any nation that fights a war without such a belief is at a disadvantage from the outset, and is set on a dangerous course.
Jed Babbin brings up some very disturbing points in his article, all the more so because what he said about Bush is probably being felt by a lot of us conservatives who have stood by him, even when we probably shouldn’t have.
I wouldn’t compare him to Johnson, though, though there are similarities in some respects. No, Bush has lost his way because like Jed said, he never really defined it to himself. He started out to topple Saddam, conquer Iraq, remove them from the terrorist equation and he did that. He didn’t have a real plan on how to form them into a pro-western nation because he refuses to accept the fact that Muslims are our enemy really. Their culture is so opposed to ours that there can be no melding of the two. He refused to acknowledge that Iraq was in reality an occupied country subject to our rule. He let them set the tone of the occupation. On the home front, Bush has shown a complete disregard for domestic issues that are of concern to conservatives such as spending, border security, immigration, and leaks. He has let others form the issues. He did good with the Supreme Court (so far as we know) but that was after we pounded on him a bit. His political missteps are far too serious to just brush off anymore and his silence is too deafening. We have many a warrior putting their life on the line for us and their CIC just keeps mouthing the same old phrases. Could it be that Bush was not really up to the tasks he set out for himself and now the media (the real enemy) is winning this war?
— Pete Chagnon
Thanks for calling attention to Bush’s lapses in leadership over the war in Iraq. However, I don’t think the President could have rescued us from the failed “win their hearts and minds” strategy that has guided the entire campaign. We went into Iraq assuming that Arabs think like Americans, that forbearance is a virtue and dialog the path to peace. But as Oliver North has pointed out, Arabs think more like the Japanese of WWII. (The Japanese, not Muslims, invented suicide attacks.) Gen. MacArthur understood the Asian mind when he took the reins of government in occupied Japan. For the surrender ceremony aboard his ship, he wore a plain uniform with no tie and his shirt opened at the neck, while the Japanese delegation was decked out in their finest suits. MacArthur said he did that to humiliate the Japanese, because without humiliating them, they would never respect him, and without their respect, he could never rule them. Had we entered Iraq with MacArthur’s attitude, no insurgency would have developed.
The tipping point toward occurred when we abandoned the first siege of Fallujah because of opposition from the Sunni clerics, who were in league with the terrorists. By withdrawing, we sent them a strong message that we are weak in spirit, and they can wear us down in time. Every sign of weakness acts to boost recruitment for terrorist groups. Instead of negotiating behind the scenes with the Sunni clerics who maintained ties with the terrorists, and thereby giving them power and legitimacy, we should have tried them in military courts and lynched them in a public square. Because we didn’t, the Shia have endured years of murder at their hands. Today, the U.S. has placed our soldiers between the Shia and Sunnis, in effect protecting murderous Sunnis from Shia justice. We have forced the Shia to take justice into their own hands because we refuse to punish the Sunnis who aid and abet the terrorists. All Sunnis aren’t guilty, but the majority are, because the terrorists could not operate as freely as they do with support from the populace.
What’s the solution? Get out of the way! Pull our troops out and let the Shia and Kurds settle the problem. There would be no civil war; the Sunnis make up only 20 percent of the population. There might be a massacre of Sunnis, but the Shia and Kurds could end the so-called insurgency in a few months if we just get out their way.
— Roger D. McKinney
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
I have very much enjoyed reading articles by Jed Babbin here and elsewhere for a few years now. Unless I am mistaken, Jed has been on a journey that is rapidly reaching its conclusion now. I have watched Jed start out almost reflexively supporting (or at least giving the benefit of the doubt) to George Bush. I have seen Jed offer good common sense advice to our POTUS. I have seen Jed (and still see Jed) as a dedicated and sincere supporter of our wonderful military folks.
Jed seems just barely short of declaring an all out split with the Bush administration on military and geo-political issues. May I humbly suggest that Mr. Babbin is right and Mr. Bush is profoundly and stubbornly wrong.
Mr. Bush’s White House communication/pr operation is cluster #$%&. Mr. Bush’s habit of “going wobbly” at the precisely worst moment is now a dependable given. He insists on uttering macho statements and opinions at the outset and then settling for a mushy moderation in very short order. He insists on being very firm against his base voters and distressingly PC with his opponents. He is VERY exasperating, and wrong. Our great military men and women deserve better and so does the nation. Bush and the rest of the elected GOP ought to be on their knees every night thanking God for the ineptitude and venality of the modern Democrat Party and its adherents.
Go Jed go!!!
— Ken Shreve
Jed Babbin couldn’t be more wrong. It’s not even worth arguing. In two months when the Iraqis have a government up and running, and American casualties continue to decrease (as they have for the last four months, including now) I hope you ask him for an “update.”
It is clear that this “crisis” is the climax of our combat operations, Iraqis are in the lead right now as “boots on the ground” and our future role will be limited to logistics and air strikes.
I hope to hear from Jed in May.
— Scott T. Allen, Lt. Col. USMC (ret.)
Et tu Brute? Shake hands with W.F. Buckley Jr. Gentlemen, we are at war, remember? I am a Canadian from Europe, an old lady who survived Hitler and Communism. I love America, but you are now not part of it.
— Irene Kostir
IN THE MUCK TO CLEAN IT
Re: Clinton W. Taylor’s Dubai Wiseguys:
The estimable Clinton W. Taylor declares, “You can either do business with terrorists, or you can do business with the United States.” Mr. (soon to be Dr., we all hope!) Taylor, would you entertain the notion that, in certain circumstances, one not only can do both, but must do both?
One can “do business with” (and show public support for) a tyrannical, fascistic, and terrorist organization (such as, let us say, the Taliban). At the same time, one can “do business with” — covertly — the United States (providing intelligence on positioning and movements) to enable our initial strikes against both the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan to be far more successful than they otherwise might have been.
According to General Tommy Franks, this was precisely what the UAE was doing during the run-up to the war. The general seemed to think that it was a pretty good deal.
— David Gonzalez
It’s really very simple, Mr. Taylor: The enemy does not sit at our table. And, of course, the enemy is Islam.
— Joe Wood
Clinton W. Taylor replies:
Mr. Gonzalez, in the larger sense you are absolutely right, and I would at the end of the day like to see the UAE rewarded for its assistance. The point you make about the need for secret cooperation with publicly hostile countries is also the logic behind the Proliferation Security Initiative–a masterpiece of diplomacy that doesn’t even announce which countries are members, so they can publicly curse the U.S. and privately help us. I suspect the UAE is one of its signatories.
In the short term, though, Dawood Ibrahim is a bad, bad man and I’d like to make certain his influence in the Emirates is finished. If that happens, I think the reasons for opposing the ports will be difficult to advance.
HILLARY’S TOO ANGRY
Re: The Prowler’s Darkhorses to the Rescue:
It is a fundamental truth that a viable democracy requires two strong political parties. Your article points out that Republicans have men and women who are unafraid to swim against the current and nurture real ides. However, we should all be worried that the Democrats have no such people evident. And if they run Mrs. Clinton they will lose and for some extended period of time become irrelevant. That does no good for either party. It just allows tomorrow’s Republicans to become like today’s Democrats: filled with contempt for their country; loathing its people, mores, and customs; and filled with a ruthless, penetrating anger.
There are no dark-horse Democrats. In 2000 they ran Mr. Gore who apparently felt he was entitled to be President. He was contemptuous of Mr. Bush, hardly affording the respect one offers to a worthy rival. His platform seemed to be his claim that he invented every technological advance since the Wright Brothers. He lost. Then they ran Mr. Kerry, a prince somewhere who condescended to speak that vulgar English language to the serfs. We all knew he would rather French. Mr. Kerry was a man who never made much headway in the real world, but he was (is) good at marrying women who had money. He “reported for duty” after a three month “Al Gore” tour of Vietnam duty where he was singularly permitted to write up and approve his own decorations! He, too, lost.
Now I greatly fear democrats will offer up Mrs. Clinton to us. They fondly remember her oafish husband who grinned his bad boy grin, or bit his poor bottom lip and commanded tears to fall. He was an overgrown teenager without any grace at all and America enjoyed him. Mrs. Clinton is not funny. She is certainly not a bad boy, but could be classified as a miserable human being. A children’s advocate who avidly supports sticking a needle in the back of a seven- or eight-month fetus and suck its brains out so as not to inconvenience its mother. She argues for strong women, but lets her serial adulterer husband walk all over her. Her apparent qualification for office is that she is angry; hates George Bush and wants to make us more like France and Europe.
— Jay W. Molyneaux
Here is the quotation from Alexander Tytler which HF cites as a source for Bastiat. Perhaps it is worth noting that Tytler was two years old when Bastiat wrote his “The Law” in 1850.
“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, followed always by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.” –Alexander Fraser Tytler 1748-1813 (usually styled Lord Woodhouselee)
— Bill Lannon
PORTS BEFORE FACTS
Re: Richard Donley’s letter (under “Save Havens”) in Reader Mail’s Dueling Over Dubai:
I think that what Mr. Donley fails to understand and most “Bushies” do is the fact that Dubai Ports World have already purchased P&O outright. Ergo (that means therefore), no DPW, no P&O; no one to run the ports. Perhaps Halliburton (your worst nightmare) could do the job since it is probably the only AMERICAN company with the wherewithal to take on the task. You “get Bush at any price” folks should put your brains in motion before you let your fingers do the blogging. Facts is facts and you obviously do not know nor understand them.
— C.D. Lueders
Re: Clinton W. Taylor’s America’s Hit-Kickers:
I had to laugh. Our son was enrolled in French schools for over six years. He was sent home from one of his class parties with orders to bring his country music and his Stetson. Ze French asked, “What eez zis music?” He told them, “Country.” “Eh, bien! C’est SUPER!”
— C. Gressly
Have you forgotten “Have You Forgotten”?
— John Welte