Thursday, May 03, 2007

Religious extremists aren't worth American lives

Editor's note: This post is occasionally profane.

In living and traveling overseas I've gotten to know a lot of military guys. I happen to like them for their general aversion to BS, and the fact that they've been places and done things. They also tend to have something to say, which is a plus in a world full of too many boring people. One thing that is common is that they all tend to be anti-Democrat, which I can understand in some ways as Democrats tend to be pussies, but at the same time Republicans tend to send them places to make massive sacrifices unworthy of the national interest, such as Iraq now. Yet soldiers tend to be the one and only demographic, other than Bush himself, who still want America in Iraq.

I'm a liberal, but not an easily offended, watch what you say liberal, more of a stop shoveling religion and corporate bullshit at me anti-Republican liberal. I'm very sympathetic to the poor, but I believe in personal responsibility and that merit should be rewarded. If categorized, I'm really kind of a Green, progressive with a libertarian streak.

When this whole Iraq thing started, I thought the goal was to remove Hussein and get out, and I thought that part wouldn't be too hard, which it wasn't. I agreed with that idea. I never bought the nonsense about WMD's, and I wasn't stupid enough to confuse Iraq with 9/11, which Republicans were successful in doing.

Long ago I had it with Iraq, and I wish this albatross around America's neck would end. A war should have everyone sacrificing something. No non-military families are contributing to this thing. If there is any winner in this war it is Exxon and Haliburton. The sacrifice is disproportionately on the troops' shoulders. Already the Republicans are doing a good job at the spin game in calling for a "surrender date" regarding the Democrats feeble attempt to set a date to start removing troops as a condition for war funding. Democrats never do enough fighting back. Just once I'd like one of them to say, "How could we be surrendering if it was "Mission Accomplished" three years ago, jackass." Democrats are still merely the much lesser of two evils, with Bush and his ilk wearing horns and torturing souls -- and "enemy combatants."

From day one I loathed Bush with every fiber in my being. He was always a connected, mediocre, frat boy being overly rewarded because he was stupid enough to be easily controlled by monied interests. I'm offended by his lack of intellectual curiousity. I have been only slightly comforted that the world now gets that he is worthless. It should have been crystal during the last election, yet he won. I stood in amazement for the first couple years when people supported this idiot, who probably never even got legitimately elected. I am astonished that issue was swept under the rug as easily as it was. The fact that the Supreme Court installed this guy into office is a national disgrace. That decision damages America's prestige more than an Iraqi pullout would.

But all those things happend, and we're in Iraq and the debate is out there on how to solve this problem in "politically acceptable" way. All problems in Washington are political problems. To appeal to the bellicose instincts of Americans, and to the general American antipathy to ingrates, I feel the Democratic response should be something along the lines of "Screw Iraq, they're not worth American lives, and it's not the troops' fault." Bill Maher, just about the person I most admire on the planet right now, says as much on his great show Real Time on Friday nights. This is one smart and funny show -- much edgier than Jon Stewart, who I also like. I think that would be about all they would need to say for a palatable withdrawal. Some are going to talk about "America's prestige" or their "credibility" and other nonsense, but did the loss in Vietnam really matter looking back now? Did we not have the roaring 80s, win the Cold War, the Internet boom and four Yankee world series wins in five years even with the pull out in Vietnam? Is there anyone who watched Iraq and Afghanistan fall in a week and think the American military is overrated? Cmon. Nation building we're not so good, but we have the nation destroying thing down pretty well.

When I think about all the sacrifices soldiers are asked to make, the goal has to be very worthwhile. The goal in Iraq shifts regularly. For any war, there should be a clear threat to the homeland or an attack against you, such as Pearl Harbor. I think what the Taliban did qualifies. I don't think I'd want myself, my friends or my kids involved in most all American wars in history other than the Revolution, the Civil War, WWII and Afghanistan now. I'm not sure there was a war we fought otherwise that was worth casualties on the battlefield. Certainly none that involved a direct threat to the United States.

All the other stuff, I would have probably thought, you people weren't worth me dying over. Why would a soldier support the idea, for instance, that they should go to Vietnam to stop people you don't know, poor peasant farmers, who are no threat to you, from being Communist? I know they went with the whole cold war, Russia could be a threat leap, but it seems like a big leap for a lot of people to die in Vietnam. Vietnam went communist and it didn't matter. If we leave Iraq, one of the slightly different views on Allah will win out, and our not having stayed there to take all the errant bombs won't matter.

I'm hardly a pacifist. I just can't imagine wanting to see any fellow American stay without end in the middle of that hole in Iraq and possibly die because those idiots have a different view on Allah. Iraq isn't a threat now or ever, and I'm at the point where I don't care much if they all just kill each other, though I hate to see kids over there suffer from all that religious intolerance. I'm sick of suicide bombers killing innocent people to support a theocracy. I think most of those people want a theocracy, which is what all the middle east is for a long time.

So, that is my take. I've had it with those people. Why are we wasting our men, money and focus on some place that is no threat to us in a place with a tradition of religious hatred and theocratic government. How many people have to die in the future because 3,300 died in the past?


BoReGo said...

Thanks for sharing Jeff. I know of troops who feel the same way you do.

The Saipan Blogger said...

Mission Accomplished

SFC (Ret) Richard C. Haugh "Hawk" said...

Jeff - (I respect you opionions - mine are just that...)
When I entered Basic Training back in February 12, 1980. I was in formation being inspected for Guard Duty - one question the drill sergeant asked was, "How many days so far have the Americans been held captive in Iran?" the correct answer was 52 days. We have been in bed with the Middle East like forever - the biggest Embassy located across the street from the United Nations in New York is Saudi Arabia.
I spent 7 months in the Siani (Sharm El Shiek) in January 1983 - July 1983 the 2nd group over - surrounded by land mines from previous wars and conflicts up to the Israeli 6 day war we were not living in the best of conditions as they do today... that was to be a 5 year mission. I know because I was the Engineer Sgt for 1/132th Inf / 82nd Airborne Division attached from the 27th Engineer. I saw and help develop much of the build / structure plans. Today we are still there... There amongst the Egyptians (co-worker friends) is when I first learned I was an "Infidel"... thus no getting laid in Egypt for me.
I have said this before the Iraq war... And stay strong with my view. I don't care who the leadership (President down) is... America is in this for the long haul. The Middle East will not allow us to leave!
Before Desert Shield... was there not a media blurp that Saddam moved all his Air Power (majority of his aircraft) across to Iran for holding? Then we never heard about it since. I could have sworn we dominated Air Superority... so what happen to Iraq's airforce? Who knows I could be totally wrong.
I do respect the Iran's president especially if I was an Iranian... I am not thus makes him very dangerous. The Hochi Mein of this century.
As a soldier, we learn to believe and trust our superiors (chain of command). Are they always right? No, they too are humans. We (most soldiers) are not big fans of the side line Generals (civilians need to put up or shut up) I believe the Army extended the age to 37. We just needed to know the public supports us "THAT IS IT - No comments or their shared feelings are needed - after all how can they possibly understand or know what the soldiers are going through by watching the evening news or cool movies like "Jar Head" that is pure entertainment with some explotations of truths". The President needs to support the field Generals on the ground and support their needs to complete the mission.
What in the hell happened to the true American Support as given in WWII? Ahhh nobody truely supports this wars thus they ARE NOT supporting the troops - only verbally.
Mark my words - Nobody is comming home anytime soon unless the troops get true support. We are in bed with the enemy - the Middle East money is our blood - their oil is our life line. Arabics are living amongst us.
This rescent summer when I attended college at Thailand in my Western Culture Civilians class... A student (20 years old - father worked for the Afghanistan Embassy in Thailand) made the statement that the middle east conflicts would end if America would break away from Israel and kick them out of America... Alright - that is the stupidest thing I ever heard... How do we do that? Why not do the same with the Arabics too. I realize the students answer was not just his but fellow middle eastern people. I told the student I respect his answer and view at least from there more dialog, understanding of both enemies could possibly build together an answer agreeable to both parties vs a shoot out.
Bottom line is we have got to learn to deal with one another without the constant violence. Accept each others way of life, culture, beliefs, etc... but that will never happen because of the "Human Rights" issues that (in or eyes) are contantly being violated.
The answer is not easy... so we all remain divided. I am a Republican! I support my President! I support no time table (known to the public)! I support total removal of all media from the Middle East! I suppport Psyops media! Give the Generals (troops) what they need to completely complete the mission! Like the Siani - unfortunantly we will have to forever leave a Multi Force Observers.
What do I know, I am just another knuckle head civilian (retired Army) out of touch with ACTUAL FACTS and EYES ON the BIG PICTURE. The media cannot give us that... Classified, Secret, and Top Secret means just that.
I truely Support my Comrades!

bradinthesand said...

Our troops went to Vietnam thanks to Kennedy. We went to Korea thanks to Ike. Roosevelt was President during WWII. All Democrats. Just sayin.

Love your takes.

And a note to military supporters out there, the US Army Infantrymen are not policemen. DOn't send out to the streets like beat cops. That's not what they train for. I was one of them, I know. We were "Trained to kill, we must we will" and all about "One shot, one kill." Dealing with civilians was not so much a part of the process. There is training for that, but dudes loaded up with M-16's and SAWs are not the friendly faces locals will be comforted by.
Do we have an enemy in Iraq now? Who then? Is it the Iraqis? Is it the insurgents? Does anyone remember us accepting a surrender from anybody? Big deal, we caught their leader. So? Dude, we need to hammer them into submission until some one give up--not half ass it until we feel like packing up and going home.

Was it a war? Who won? Who's winning? How can you tell. Somebody wins and somebody loses. I think if you quit, you lose. The strategy was flawed from the beginning. So rather than hem and haw about when we should leave, let's win that damn thing and bring our boys back. Give the troops something to smile about like going on an all-out offensive and kicking the shit out of those guys from border to border. that's how you freakin win. then you can start thinking about installing a government.

Jeffrey C. Turbitt said...

Ike was a Republican, FDR's not even in the equation for this as as far as I'm concerened. People on both sides were guilty in Vietnam, mostly LBJ and Nixon.