30 September 2005

Response to a Knox's letter

A soldier in Iraq recently penned the following letter, which probably does a pretty good job of expressing rightwing thought on the war. After being directly admonished by Delftsman to read it, I did. Here's the pertinent excerpt with my response:

I’m finding that perhaps I don’t agree with how the Administration is handling everything over here. But I also realize that it’s a hell of a lot easier to analyze after the fact.

Actually, it was pretty easy to analyze before the fact. You and millions of other Americans simply chose to ignore this analysis. Lifelong conservatives, including those with lifetime military (e.g., Bacevich) or intel careers (e.g., Ray McGovern), were openly stating that the administration was lying to the U.S. people and completely out of touch with the situation. I was out in the street physically protesting this war before it happened.

It would appear that, yes, we probably should have started this invasion with more troops (more bombs, and significantly more planned destruction, by the way. Should’ve pummeled this place until we had complete submission and started rebuilding from there.)

This "analysis" assumes that the U.S. hasn't killed enough Iraqis and so that's why there are currently problems. I'd like to maintain an objective tone but I must say this plainly--this is an absolutely assanine comment. The reason the U.S. will find this war unwinnable is simply because it won't be able to get enough support from the average Iraqi. You somehow think more civilian casualties would have given the U.S. more support. Of course, there is always a "final solution" in these situations. One can just go in and kill everyone. Both Hitler and the Mongols tried this at certain points. It doesn't bode well for the maintainence of a longterm, multicultural civilization.

We probably should have anticipated presently resulting issues to some extent….the foreign insurgency, the Iranian and Syrian support, the fleeing former regime elements, civilian looting and destruction, corruption in the ranks of the new Iraqi Army and police, collaboration of some these same with insurgent elements for personal or ideological gain, and most importantly, the potential for a close working relationship between a predominantly Shiite government with Iran.

These things were anticipated. The Bush administration simply chose to ignore them.

So, there are some unforeseen problems that maybe should have been expected previously and planned for. Didn’t happen. What do we do now? Go home and say it just didn’t work out? No. Go home and continually tell Americans till the end of time that this is a quagmire and it’s George’s fault? This would be the plan of most Bush-haters. But thank God (by the way, you are allowed to do this too, because of the American soldier, but maybe not for long with the US Constitution being rewritten by our judiciary) that at least you have this President in there, a man of conviction, morals and Christian faith, not the wishy-washy, mealy-mouthed putz who perhaps would be handling these difficulties more wisely? Not likely. And Bush, with these characteristics has been a wonderful example to our all servicemembers here, all of whom take an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States (as written), believe in the grand importance of what they’re willingly doing and most of whom still pray to God while wearing a government provided uniform and being paid by that government.

Sometimes I find people spouting such bizarre idiocy that I have to wonder what the point is of attempting conversation. Who told you that Bush is a God-fearing Christian with deep convictions? Bush? Do you believe what everyone tells you? Is there a single event that we know about Bush's life that would suggest that he has a single conviction, moral feeling, or an ounce of faith? As we watch him nervously shift back and forth behind the podium, is there the slightest reason to assume that this idiot has a single leadership quality (beyond his aristocratic blood)? Do the actions of Bush's team make you think he gives a damn about the Constitution? The Patriot Act and everything else he's done (regardless as to how you feel about these things) would suggest just the opposite.

Also, most of them will have been here more than three and a half months before going home and without plans to protest! Who got me started? Anyway, we’ve got work to do and a lot yet to accomplish. Part of my point is that an awful lot has been successfully accomplished already and the efforts continue. By far the biggest obstacle to a more speedy success and return home to the States is this liberal media, the academic and Hollywood freaks who have no clue or purposely misrepresent or ignore the truth to push forth their own agendas.

Why are liberals a threat? They don't run things. You've got your man as president; you control both houses; you now own the Supreme Court; and you've even got your own news channel. This is your war. You bought it, paid for it (actually our children will pay for it, but you get the point), and own it. Don't blame this on liberals. If things go awry, the blame will fall squarely on your shoulders.

Continue to watch ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS, and read the NY Times and Washington Post if you want to be manipulated and let them form your opinion. Start ignoring them or, better yet, challenging them if you truly do “support the troops”! The last thing these guys over here need is all that two-faced “we support the troops” hoopla when people don’t.

I fully agree that people should turn off their TVs and think for themselves. But do you really think Fox is telling it like it is? They could be making movies for all it matters. The show provides less intelligent insight in 24 hours that my barber does in 5 minutes.

If you’re not behind the mission, you’re not behind the troops. If you can’t acknowledge what they’re doing is important and necessary, then you’re belittling their efforts and sacrifice. They don’t need and want that.

I don't support the troops. I don't think the U.S. will be better off if U.S. troops are occupying countries around the globe. I don't think that what you're doing will lead to much positive. I'm very sure that democracy, if it is to last, is almost always home-grown. Your efforts and sacrifice may very well be making matters much worse than they would be otherwise. I realize that this uncomfortable reality makes your job much more difficult, but that's the way it goes. I didn't ask you to go over there. If your actions end up taking a bad situation and making it much worse, I'll blame Bush, his supporters, and you who have chosen to fight this war.

So, thank you to all who truly do “support the troops”.One last item. Don’t believe any of this crap about Islam being a “religion of peace”. There are obviously peaceful and spiritual Muslims, but they do not follow Mohammed’s teachings and lifestyle. Read the unabridged Koran. Compare and contrast Christ and Mohammed. Study your history regarding the Crusades and learn that the Muslims were trying to convert the world, not the Christians. Decide for yourself where knee-bending respect and tolerance of Islam is going to lead. And it spreads. France, Spain, Britain, Denmark, Sweden, most of northern Africa, where thousands upon thousands of Christians are brutally murdered in Mohammed’s name without so much as a peep from anyone.

Here in a nutshell, you've provided a very good reason why the U.S. shouldn't be over there. Islam has co-existed peacefully with other cultures and religions for much of its history and it continues to do so in many places in the world. Attitudes and actions like yours only contribute to its radicalization. Left to its own, radical Islam would be left to fight an uphill battle to maintain its message amidst the secularizing forces at work in the modern world. You've provide it with a superb justification, essentially tossing an archaic, illogical, and doomed movement a life-raft just as it was about to sink below the waves.


delftsman3 said...

I can respect most of your views, although I disagree with them.

The one thing that I MUST call you on is in your contention that "radical" Islam was fighting an uphill stuggle against all the "peaceful" adherants of the majority. There is no evidence to support this contention. even the VERY few statements against the radicals by the "majority' seem to include a "BUT, on the other hand".

And, it always seems that there are two diametrically opposed statements made by the same leaders, one "moderate" for American consumption, and another firebrand to their own people. Arafat was a master at this duplicity.

Then you have groups such as C.A.I.R. that are presented to the American public as one of those "moderate",bridge-building groups in the public arena, yet in "private" in-group settings, you have the director of C.A.I.R. stating that the end goal of the organization is to replace the U.S. Constitution with Shar'ia Koranic law, and the conversion of the U.S. to an Islamic state.

They are seemingly willing to take a more long-range, slower and less violent path, but their end goals are the same as Al Quiada's. I say seemingly,because fund raising groups sponsered by the organmization have collected and funneled millions of dollars to radical groups, Hamas and Al Quiada among them.

"This "analysis" assumes that the U.S. hasn't killed enough Iraqis and so that's why there are currently problems."

It's not the number of Iraqis killed that Knox was trying to say were not enough to be effective, it was the fact that the military did it's utmost to avoid "collateral damage" in every instance. This is perceived as a sign of weakness by the radicals and gives them a higher effectiveness in conducting a terror type of campaign, and when the average Iraqi sees the difference in the willingness of the opposing forces to be ruthless in war, combined with the growing voice of those here protesting, they harken back to when we lost the public will to fight in VN, and naturally will hedge their bets with the radicals in case that the same occurs in this situation, a perfectly reasonable response given that they will be there when we have gone, no matter how we leave. A reasonable response, but one that makes it all the harder for our troops to accomplish their mission. Had they been convinced from the beginning of our resoluteness by fighting a war as a war, they would be more comfortable in dealing comepletely with us now.

"Why are liberals a threat?"

Because they have the majority of the media working to try to inject their agenda in the court of public opinion, and the Stupid party doesn't seem to have the balls to fight them them on it, reducing their effectiveness.

If you tell a lie or an inaccurate pov long and loudly enough; enough start to believe it to sway the public opinion away from doing the hard and distasteful jobs that sometimes NEED to be done.

DBK said...

"So there were some unforeseen probems."

Why is it that lack of imagination or planning is seen as a legitimate excuse for failure? If this were an isolated instance then it could be legitimate, but it is far from isolated. "Nobody could have anticipated that they would fly airplanes into buildings," says Condi Rice, who was at the G8 in Genoa months before 9/11, where the Italians had anticipated that terrorists might fly airplanes into buildings. "Nobody could have known that the levees wouldn't hold," said someone, nme escapes me at the moment, despite the fact that there had been newspapers and FEMA warning about this possibility for years before it happened.

The point here is that the raeason there is a lack of adequate planning (adequate, get it?) is that the people who are doing the planning are incompetent and incapable of imagining that something would go wrong, so they fail to look at possibilities. Those people need to be fired now, starting with the head man. The failures in Iraq have been monumental, the fiasco is causing the country massive damage financially as well as killing thousands of our people and tens of thousands of Iraqis and ruining our credibility around the world. The failures surrounding Katrina will cost upwards of $100 billion and have killed thousands of Americans, failures which could well have been siginificantly reduced by spending the money to upgrade the levees (those same levees that nobody could have foreseen would fail, except that it was foreseen and the money to repair them was never forthcoming). The failure to protect the US at the WTC, well, we know what the results of that have been, both in terms of lives, costs, and civil liberties.

After all of that, add in the way the economic plans of this crew of Republicans, who control the White House, the Congress, and the Courts, in DC have given us an economic shambles in which the country is in massive debt to countries like China, energy is in crisis (way to go Cheney's Energy Task Force--guess there were some unforeseen difficulties), and then tell me how anyoen can still support anything but the immediate removal of all Republicans from office? One more disaster like the last one (five years in office for Bush and all he has to show for it is a series of endless complete and total disasters) and we could all be wearing paper bags and living in the streets while the banks own all of our homes but can't find anyone outside of Saudi Arabia to buy them.

I expect when the next disaster comes, and under this Republican government we seem to lurch from one disaster, followed by a massive failureof government response, to the next, nobody will have seen it coming either.

john boy said...

With all of its ignorant, ethnocentric ramblings this letter by Knox really isn't worth commenting about. But, your response was superior to the intellectually dishonest original comments by delftsman on his blog.

I also enjoyed the irony of "armybran" backing up his attacks against you with, "I have an advaced degree in poly-sci with a concentration in international relations and I am currently serving my country in Iraq, in the Army." I guess he missed the point Knox made about his belief that the "academic" are part of the problem.

Supporters of this "president" and this illegitimate war do not have a sound leg to stand on. Their logic it greatly flawed. Why else when they control all three branches of government would they spend so much time trying to blame THEIR mistakes and decisions on "liberals"?

Karlo said...

I'm actually old enough to remember hippies buying beat up VW vans in Germany and driving them across central Asia (through Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan) and having virtually no problems with the locals. Truth be told, these hippies were probably in much LESS danger in these places than they were back in suburban U.S.A. So I don't understand your contention that Islam has always been an extremely belligerent religion. Radical Islam is essentially a reaction to colonialism and secular materialism and according to most reputable scholars on the subject has nothing to do with traditional Islam. Paradoxically, the Jews in Europe would have fared much better had the Moors taken over all of Europe and ran it as an Islamic Caliphate.

Successful occupations everywhere have always relied on indigenous elements for support. The other model is to simply put massive numbers of people into places and be extremely violent (like the Japanese in Korea and China in WWII) but most Americans aren't going to move to Iraq in order to run a village post office with a gun strapped to their back. All indications after years of occupation is that the U.S. no longer enjoys much support. This doesn't surprise me. Even non-Sunni Iraqis are Muslims and they therefore have deep suspicions over American intentions (I can only refer you to the end of Knox's letter as to why.)

Karlo said...

The above comments were directed at Delftsman. BTW, the following excerpt is from Karen Armstrong, considered to be the expert in Fundamentalist movements:

"Islam is a universal religion and there is nothing aggressively oriental or anti-Western about it. Indeed, when Muslims first encountered the colonial West during the 18th century, many were impressed by its modern civilization and tried to emulate it. "

She cautions that there is nothing eccentric or unique in the rise of fundamentalism in parts of the Muslim world. Fundamentalism, she maintains, is "a worldwide response to the peculiar strain of late 20th-century life'' and is by no means confined to the Muslim world. In this regard she cites Zionists like the late Meir Kahane, who vowed to push every Muslim out of Israel and the Israeli-occupied territories. She notes that Christian fundamentalists like Jerry Falwell have come to assume astonishing political power in the United States and Hindu extremists have gained extraordinary political influence in India today.

delftsman3 said...

"She notes that Christian fundamentalists like Jerry Falwell have come to assume astonishing political power in the United States and Hindu extremists have gained extraordinary political influence in India today."

I can't speak to the Hindus in India, Karlo, but just WHAT office has Jerry Falwell ever held in government? Just WHAT legislation has he ever gotten passed?

It's true that a lot of Ultra-Fundementalist types may quote him, but no one seriously gives his views serious weight in secular politics, except for the moonbats on the other side, trying to paint the entire GOP with that brush.

"..she cites Zionists like the late Meir Kahane, who vowed to push every Muslim out of Israel and the Israeli-occupied territories."

yeah she cites one Israeli fanatic, that was given as much weight in Israeli politics as JF in American politics. He just took the PLO charter mandate and replaced the word Arab for Jew and spoke out loud. But, of course we really KNOW that it's all the Joooos fault *wink*wink*nudge-nudge*. (They have spent ever moment of their modern existance just trying to kill every Arab/Muslim near them..they have bombed busses, nightclub, preschools,civilian housing; the list goes on and on. Their favorite method is to send a young man fresh out of Shul packed with dynamite around his chest into the middle of a civilian group and set himself off as a mayrter(sic) to the Knesset.)

Pardon me if I don't put too much stock in her expertise.
Replacing the Constitution with Shar'ia Law sure sounds anti-western to me. And that's the "moderate" muslims speaking, not the fanatics. The moderates are willing to let all us "infidels" to continue to exist, as long as we pay the dhimmi tax, the fanatics want to kill us before they take over. Afterall, "we're all rich, and all oppresion is all the fault of the rich" Hmm sounds like I'm channeling someone I know there..wonder who...

Muslim fundementalists aren't anti-Western, they're anti ANYTHING not Muslim.

Muslims WERE the "modern" culture back when West met East..in the 7th Century, unfortunately, they never left that century, and the "barbaric" culture of the West has progressed a lot in 1300 years.

Karlo said...

There's some truth to your final comment but the same could be said for much of the world. As for aims and intentions, there are plenty of Christians in this country who constantly beat me over the head with the notion that this is a "Christian country." Of course, the West is for the most part secular, so they're up against some strong opposition that has the force of science and modern thinking on its side.

Basically, I think the best way to defeat fanaticism is to confront it when it's truly threatening and completely ignore it when it isn't. Incidently, terrorism isn't threatening. It's annoying, but its usefulness is always in its value as drama. More people die of bee bites and lightning strikes. The die-hard conservative eating his twinky with a beer watching Middle East news stands a much better chance of dying from over-eating than any Israeli does from a Palestinian bomb. No Muslim countries threaten the U.S. or even could if they wanted to. The U.S. over-reaction to non-existent threats is one of two things: stupid or deceitful. I assume it's the latter. The current government is simply using it as an excuse to push pro-corporate policy more aggressively.