Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Constructive criticism?

When I read this piece in the Boston Globe this morning, I wondered whose agenda such statements advance. Democratic Rep. John Murtha being interviewed on "Nightline" said he would not join the armed forces of our country today because of our involvement in Iraq. Murtha, being a decorated Vietnam era Marine, commands great respect and gratitude for his noble service to our country. It struck me, however, that his remarks carry a lot of weight and will more than likely have some effect on this country's ability to attract enlistment in our armed forces.
It is troubling when considering that we are in the midst of fighting a war on terror. Have some of us already forgotten the devastating attack on our soil on 9/11? Is this just another anti-war critique that is designed to speed our exit out of Iraq? If that is the intent, why take this course of criticism which will undoubtedly have the effect of weakening not just our country's resolve but actually undermine our nation's initiatives and our ability to carry out our military options? I can't help but think that this is not helpful to our soldiers or our country's efforts worlwide, not just in Iraq. Rep. Murtha and some leading Democrats have recently been accused of having a "defeatist" attitude and for promoting failure in our country's efforts to stop terrorists from setting up safe havens.
Statements like these are apt to lend credence to those accusations.


Fahd Mirza said...

Perhaps Vietnam is haunting Murtha.

But I agree that it would be very morale-lowering thing for the troops and the nation, when in the midst of war, some one starts denouncing it.

roman said...

Fahd Mirza,
The Vietnam conflict which cost our county many lives and much resources, is still deeply ingrained in the psyche of many who are now older middle-aged plus citizens. These people are very active in the political arena and many are of a mindset that the USA should not get involved in anything, anywhere and for any reason. Some of them carry their ideals a bit too far and actually undermine efforts already underway and thereby hurting the chances of success. It's like having a soccer team and having some members on your team purposely slow their play to give the opposing team a better chance at winning. This is the logic which escapes me completely. It is this sense of frustration that drives me to post these rants.
Peace be unto you, my brother.

Pete's Blog said...

Granted the US deserves and has sought revenge for 9/11.

However this revenge, dressed up as a form of international policing, has wasted its time in Iraq.

There is no reasonable level of proof that Iraq was involved in 9/11. It was then not a state full of Islamic guerillas. It in now though as a result of the invasion.

Bin Laden wanted never ending bloodshed between the West and Islam and the US has been drawn into it his scheme.

The US needed to DO something. Alternatives - some are now not there.
- pursue the "terrorists" in Afghanistan on a much largee scale.
- don't split your forces with the Iraq venture.
- do pressure Pakistan to genuinely crackdown on the "terrorists" within Pakistan and on the border region with Afghanistan (note: Pakistan as a sovereign (Muslim) country would need positive incentives (money, and military assistance) on a vastly larger scale than at present. Realise that "terrorists" or even sincere, fundamentalist, Muslims have morally blackmailed the Pakistani government on what it should do.
- finally recognise that current and former Saudi's were the main perpetrators of 9/11. And that anti al Quaida measures in the Kingdom have been largely window dressing because bin Laden is romantised as a "warrior, prince" verses the "decadent, pro-Western, House of Saudi.

Saudi Arabia is the banker for the "terrorists". Cleanup operations against the 9/11 perpetrators in Saudi Arabia have been a politicised joke.

Regarding the Democrats right to criticise - a strong opposition (in theory the Democrats) strengthens democracy. If you assume that the opposition should suspend its criticisms during the "War on Terror" normal democratic expectations will need to wait a very long time (20+ years". War on such an intangible enemy, so poorly prosecuted, will be endless. Maybe Bush will someday say "its over folks" but that would be a political stance.

Time money and lives were wasted in Iraq when most of the "terorists" (their cash and connections) remained in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

My own country (Australia) is the US' fighting ally in Iraq as it was in Vietnam. And my father who fought in Vietnam, decorated and later rose to General, has the same views as me.

The reasons why Bush really went into Iraq (one partially valid) are another story.

Vman said...

I agree with spying bad things. Invading Iraq and setting up a democracy is a good thing since the more democracy we can spread the better but using 9/11 to justify it is wrong.

Fahd Mirza said...

my dear brother roman, what you have written in your comments is what I have read in the books I manage to get once in a while about American indulgence in Vietnam war. Every author says that it was a mistake to go there and that war has left some very indelible imprints on American psyche and blah blah blah.

Does it mean that young generation is fighting and supporting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the old ones are opposing it?

roman said...

spying bad things,
Thanks for stopping by my blog.
I can assure you with confidence that "revenge" for 9/11, though likely a small factor, was not and is not at the foreground for the WOT within my circle of acquaintances. I agree that the Iraq regime had very little to do with 9/11 and in hindsight, with what has been learned since, I firmly believe it could have been handled differently with better results. If it was'nt for that raving lunatic Saddam defying and thumbing his nose at the UN for 12 years and virtually inviting an invasion, we would not be in this mess. Him and his regime are the blame for this collosal failure of intelligence because of their political bravado and suicidal bluster. The coalition forces, with the intelligence they had at the time, did the brave and honorable thing in eliminating the out-of-control Sadam regime. Hindsight is 20/20, it is unfair to now second guess and judge what was right or wrong back then with what we know now.
Please note, however, that now that we are there, should we just pick up and leave? That would be wrong. I agree with President Bush that we must protect the fledgling democratic movement until it can protect itself. Then get out of there ASAP.
Your alternatives are well thought out and I commend you for the logical alternatives. I'm not sure that we should "pressure" Pakistan or any sovereign nation to do anything. Their leadership does not need our help to recognize that chaos and bloodshed through terror is wrong and have been very cooperative in their own WOT. It is just that they have not received full recognition of their efforts by the main stream media.
I agree that the House of Saud, was in fact, very lackadaisical in their efforts to curb terror activity by some in their extended family. They have also recognized during the last few years that the danger from terror is much greater than the threat of Democratic movements and are more seriously involved in stopping the terror activity within their borders.
"Hi mates" to my long lost cousins
in Perth.

roman said...

Your right that 9/11 should have never been the justification for the Iraq invasion and it was'nt, IMHO. It was for Afghanistan. Bin Laden and his boys had set up shop there and the Taliban government made a grave miscalculation by refusing to oust their "guests" even though they knew that they were murderous terrorists. If it was not for Bin Laden, the Taliban government could have consolidated their government and there would now have been an Islamic republic of Afghanistan hopefully with peacefull relations with all their neighbors.
In Iraq, however, the reasons were more like:
1. Defying and laughing at the sanctions and inspections by the UN (a representative world body)for 12 years.
2. Fear of their FUNDING of terror and their ABILITY to create and purchase WMD which coud ultimately be used on their neighbors and possibly an attack on our mainland.
3. The murderous tyrrany of the Saddam regime on his own people.
4. His regime's consistant defiance and violation of the surrender CONTRACT they signed after the Kuwait debacle.
I am sure there are a few more but its late and I am sure we have all heard them before.
So, no its not 9/11 at all.

roman said...

Fahd Mirza,

"young generation is fighting and supporting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the old ones are opposing it?"

Not quite as simple as that but there are many older people that opposed the war in Vietnam during their years as students back in the late 60's and early 70's. They were partially succesfull in demonstrations on university campuses and forced President Lyndon Johnson to not seek a second term and President Nixon to scale down and withdraw from the conflict(it was never declared a war). These same people are still in opposition to any "foreign" action by our government.
Some of them are now highly regarded university professors who tend to disagree with any governmental policies and are more than happy to pass on their political wisdom to their young students. Some of them are in our media and are happy to expose any hint of malfeasance by our government, even if it does not exist or merits attention. So there is a mix of young and old left wing socialist anti-government(Bush haters) who keep opposing any governmental policies no matter whether they are fair or unfair, just or unjust.
Many commenters (and friends and associates) accuse me of being a Bush "crony" but I have to express my honest opinions the way I see them. If I write only oppinions that I think people want to hear, that would not be honest.
Oops, my cat just walked on my keyboard... she is purring loudly.
Peace to you.

Pete's Blog said...


Thanks for not taking umbrige over my critical comments (as a new boy on your blog).

I agree its easier to be wise after the event (concerning the Iraq invasion). I also agree that withdrawing from Iraq will present a serious and extremely difficult challege.

I suspect that once/if there are air or missile stikes on Iran's nuclear facilities, the Iraq quagmire will take a backseat. The spectre of Israel participating in an Iran operation (noting Israel bombed an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981) makes the whole strategic picture even more complex.


I don't want to disillusion you but I think the major reasons the US went into Iraq where to:

- get rid of Saddam, but not replace it with democracy. The US want a new and controllable regime. Typically this is some type of dictatorship. I think the hardheads in the CIA and Defense were/are looking for a strong (secular) Ataturk like leader. Imposed democracy (with Shiite domination) is too much of an imperialist longshot - and, I think the expectation was/is it might happen in the long term (20 years).

- such regime change would also ensure the second major objective occured - ie steady and predictable access to Iraq's oil production and reserves. Without this there would be excessive dependence on Saudi Arabia's ability to influence world oil production levels and pricing.

As the main consumer the US has a right to ensure steady oil supplies.

There would be little problem if the US's optimistic goals had been achieved of installing political stability in Iraq and receiving steady oil from it (all with minimal loss of life).

But its a mess instead. Too many Iraqi's, other Muslims and Coalition troops have died and Iraq's standard of living is far worse than under Saddam. Half the oil flowing (compared to the level under Saddam).

If you want more of my odd insights come vist my site. It mainly deals with intelligence collection rather than analysis side.

Goodnight all :)

Oricon Ailin said...

Goodness, I admit, I am not very good with politics and stuff. But, having grown up in a military family, I feel for the men and women of our armed forces. My father was a Marine for nearly 20 years. So, you can imagine the pride and respect I have for all our nation's troops.

It's sad that the outcome of Iraq isn't what we had hoped. But I agree, we did the best we could do based on the information we had. I don't think we did it for 9/11...again, that was what Afghanistan was for. But, with the maniac running Iraq, we had to get him reign destroyed.

I am with you roman, that we can't just pack up the troops overnight and pull them out. This is for two major reasons:

1. If we pull out now, all the work we did will fall apart. It's like the "little democratic country that could" going on over there. They think they can, but they can't just yet. They need support.

2. If we pull out the troops in a mass effort, we are setting them up as targets for the insurgents. You can't just line 'em up and pull out over night. It's gonna take some coordinated efforts to bring our men and women home. Let's not just stick out to dry in the sun and become targets. No way!

I hope all that I have said makes sense. Again, I'm terrible when it comes to politics and such. In fact, it makes me very nervous, but I don't trust most of what is said out there anyway. But, I know what I feel in my heart, and I'll just stick to that.

Blessins Roman...and thank you for coming by my little blog. I would like to add you to my links, is that okay???

roman said...

oricon ailin,
Thank you for coming by my blog.
Your words " I know what I feel in my heart, and I'll just stick to that." are inspirational.
If we do not express what is in our hearts, can we ever state our true beliefs? I think not.
I would consider it an honor if you link to my site.

SuperiorAmerican said...

The troops have Superior morale. Nothing Murtha says will lower it.