Major Dad 1984

Cursed By A Classical Education

Let's just say that I intend to use this blog to blow off some steam that I might be feeling with the International/National media, my work situation, or maybe even to tee off on the family in a humorous way of course!


Ted Kennedy Calls for Iraq Withdrawl Post #2

Part Two

We need a serious course correction, and we need it now. We must make it for the American soldiers who are paying with their lives. We must make it for the American people who cannot afford to spend our resources and national prestige protracting the war in the wrong way. We must make it for the sake of the Iraqi people who yearn for a country that is not a permanent battlefield and for a future free from permanent occupation.

Just for a minute, can we look at other wars we’ve fought and spent precious American resources on? How about the war on poverty? We’ve spent GAZILLIONS on that war…mostly under the watch of liberal Democrats. Senator Kennedy, has that worked? Have you come out advocating some sort of change in course there?

How about your buddy, Senator Byrd from West Virginia? How’s his war against “pork barrel” spending going?

You lost a brother in World War II! Would you have preferred us to have packed up and gone home before the job was done there? What would your brother have died for then?

The elections in Iraq this weekend provide an opportunity for a fresh and honest approach. We need a new plan that sets fair and realistic goals for self-government in Iraq, and works with the Iraqi government on a specific timetable for the honorable homecoming of our forces.

Wow, there is room for agreement between the two of us! However…you keep wanting to schedule breakthroughs and innovations. When certain criteria are met…and the elected Iraqi government chooses the time to request our departure, we’ll go. And not a moment before.

The first step is to confront our own mistakes. Americans are rightly concerned about why our 157,000 soldiers are there -- when they will come home -- and how our policy could have gone so wrong.

Senator Kennedy, since you’ve never served a day in uniform, you’ll never know what it means to take an oath that might really be tried. Sure, you’ve sworn to defend the Constitution against enemies both foreign and domestic…but when have you had SCUDs flying over your head? When was the last time you qualified with a personal weapon? When did you last prepare a will prior to deploying overseas? Those that are currently serving are members of an all volunteer military. If they didn’t realize that they could be ordered to foreign lands, meet interesting people and kill them….or possibly be killed by them, they were woefully misinformed and didn’t do their own due diligence research.

No matter how many times the Administration denies it, there is no question they misled the nation and led us into a quagmire in Iraq. President Bush rushed to war on the basis of trumped up intelligence and a reckless argument that Iraq was a critical arena in the global war on terror, that somehow it was more important to start a war with Iraq than to finish the war in Afghanistan and capture Osama bin Laden, and that somehow the danger was so urgent that the U.N. weapons inspectors could not be allowed time to complete their search for weapons of mass destruction.

Time to complete their search for weapons of mass destruction? Who’s kidding who here? The first Gulf War ended in a cease fire in March of 1991. Operation Iraqi Freedom commenced in March of 2002. Are you trying to tell me that it would take 11 years? If so…why was the 18 months that we spent as AMERICANS searching so lengthy and unnecessary?

I’m shocked at you Mr. Kennedy. I’m a student in a relatively low level course when compared to your lofty perch, but I’m becoming very familiar with the National Security Strategy and National Military Strategy prepared by the President and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I don’t see anything contained in them that says that we can only fight one action at a time. In spite of my personal opinion that says that the military is under strength to carry out two simultaneous actions (like Mr. Clinton proposed), we’re still under that impression.

Afghanistan…Iraq. One…two!

As in Vietnam, truth was the first casualty of this war. Nearly 1400 Americans have died. More than 10,000 have been wounded, and tens of thousands of Iraqi men, women, and children have been killed. The weapons of mass destruction weren’t there, but today 157,000 Americans are.

No, the weapons of mass destruction were not found, but then again, it’s impossible to prove a negative hypothesis, isn’t it?

We toyed around with Saddam and his administration for years…allowing him to refuse to consent to the inspections that had halted the first Gulf War when it did. If we had known what was going to happen in the intervening 10 years, I believe that George H.W. Bush would have allowed us to “Charlie Mike” and finish the job by the end of 1991.

As a result of our actions in Iraq, our respect and credibility around the world have reached all-time lows. The President bungled the pre-war diplomacy on Iraq and wounded our alliances. The label “coalition of the willing” cannot conceal the fact that American soldiers make up 80% of the troops on the ground in Iraq and more than 90% of the casualties.

I don’t think that we need to conceal facts and figures like that. We have once again shown that we care more for our fellow man than we do for our own security.

If we took your proposed approach to this war, we never would have been involved in WWII. We would have sat comfortably on the sidelines, protected by the Atlantic and Pacific and watched the Nazi juggernaut roll across Europe in both directions completely unchecked. We would have watched the Japanese Empire expand across Asia.

Now how good an idea is that? If not now, when? If not us, who?

The Administration also failed to prepare for the aftermath of “victory” – and so the post-war period became a new war, with more casualties, astronomical costs, and relentless insurgent attacks.

What is it like to never make a mistake? And what is it like to completely ignore history? You seem to fail to remember how long it actually took to subdue resistance in both post-war Germany and Japan. It did not happen overnight!

The Administration failed to establish a basic level of law and order after Baghdad fell, and so massive looting occurred.

Senator Kennedy…why did you fail to anticipate the little problem at Chappaquiddick? Granted, the Administration’s mistake has without a doubt caused more casualties than necessary, but if you’d had your “Spidey Sense” firing on all cylinders in 1969 Mary Jo would be a grandmother by now.

Yes, that was a pretty low blow to be thrown, but sometimes you have to demonstrate the absurd by going there a little yourself. Honestly, if Senator Kennedy HASN’T made any more mistakes since that incident in July of 1969…then he should share his secret with us all.
The Administration dissolved the Iraqi army and dismissed its troops, but left their weapons intact and their ammunition dumps unguarded, and they have become arsenals of the insurgency.

How is this different than what we did during the occupation after WWII in both Germany and Japan? Here, I’m speaking to the military and not necessarily the munitions. I do agree with Senator Kennedy that we should have foreseen SOME of the issues of unguarded munitions and they’re value to a possible insurgency or international terrorists at large.

As far as the disbanding of the militaries…we set a precedent in WWII when we dissolved the Axis military. Again, we might have considered keeping some of the senior leaders that could assist in building a replacement force…but the possibility of leaving Baathists in power is still something I think we made the right call on. Based on what we know about the Baath Party…I’m guessing that there wasn’t much difference between them and the Nazi party in terms of the perks and privileges to their members.

The Administration relied for advice on self-promoting Iraqi exiles who were out of touch with the Iraqi people and resented by them – and the result is an America regarded as occupier, not as liberator.
The President recklessly declared “Mission Accomplished” when in truth the mission had barely begun. He and his advisors predicted and even bragged that the war would be a cakewalk, but the expected welcoming garlands of roses became an endless bed of thorns.

Some people just won’t let sleeping dogs lie, will they? I’ve heard about the banner aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 2, 2003…that the Navy personnel put up…stating that THEIR mission was accomplished. They were returning to their home port after supporting operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom. I don’t blame them for putting it up…I blame the media and certain politicians that just can’t see this for what it was.

Do you really think that President Bush should have thrown a hissy fit and demanded that they tear the sign down? He was as elated as they were in returning safely.

The Administration told us the financial costs would be paid with Iraqi oil dollars, but it is being paid with billions of American tax dollars. Another $80 billion bill for the black hole that Iraq has become has just been handed to the American people.

Hmmmm…dare we talk about other black holes that the government’s thrown money down with even less of a return? I believe that eventually we will be compensated for our efforts…but certainly not dollar for dollar. That wouldn’t be fair based upon our past track record for forgiveness of debts.

The cost is also being paid in shame and stain on America’s good name as a beacon of human rights. Nothing is more at odds with our values as Americans than the torture of another human being. Do you think that any Americans tell their children with pride that America tortures prisoners? Yet, high officials in the Administration in their arrogance strayed so far from our heritage and our belief in fundamental human decency that they approved the use of torture—and they were wrong, deeply wrong, to do that.

In my world Senator…torture has many gradients…in yours, I’m not so sure. Probably any hotel that doesn’t turn down your bed and leave a mint on your pillow is a veritable torture chamber!

I’m not defending those fools that might have abused their positions of authority over detained Iraqis/insurgents…but I’m certainly not calling for them to go to the electric chair either. I think that in the case of Abu GrabAss prison, there was an utter and complete breakdown of the chain of command from LTG Ricardo Sanchez down to Specialist Fourth Class Englund (The Chick with the Leash).

The Administration’s willful disregard of the Geneva Conventions led to the torture and flagrant abuse of the prisoners at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and that degradation has diminished America in the eyes of the whole world. It has diminished our moral voice on the planet.
Never in our history has there been a more powerful, more painful example of the saying that those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.

The world changed dramatically one day in September 2001…and to many, we need to change along with it. Now, does that mean we need to start airing videotapes or posting on the Internet pictures of Iraqis and Islamic fanatics in custody pleading for their lives? Do we need to start beheading them and airing the video on CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX? Do we need to fill the 24/7 airways with images like Al Jazeerah does?

While we might have departed from our traditionally civilized way of dealing with enemy prisoners…we also have to weigh the consequence of not getting tough and not getting information that they might be concealing to the alternative.
. And here is the rest of it.

Read the rest of the longer story!


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