Do not terrorists win if we leave Iraq now?

Tue, 11/07/2006 - 4:31pm
By: Letters to the ...

Jeff Carter well demonstrated that I was wrong when I said the Bush administration didn’t use al Qaeda-Iraq links to justify the war. There were indeed many statements to that end made by the administration before the war. I apologize for that error. I admit that in the pursuit of partisan politics, I too can be guilty of selective memory. I am only human, after all.

But this focus on a single mistake I made still misses the major point of my original letter, which hasn’t been answered by Mr. Carter, Mr. Williams, and a Mr. Larry Robinson (welcome to the fray!).

It is this: support for immediate withdrawal from Iraq, especially when advocated in response to continued casualties of American troops, gives aid and comfort to the enemy.

Even if that position is taken primarily because Bush ”lied” to get us into war, the end result is the same: support for the enemy’s position and strategy.

In all of your clever arguments, name-calling, grandstanding and self-righteous belly-aching, none of you has been able to demonstrate that the terrorists are not emboldened and encouraged when they see their efforts being rewarded by Americans calling for immediate withdrawal, or “re-deployment” as the cowardly Democratic politicians refer to it (cowardly because, as is typical, they use language to disguise what they are actually advocating).

See, whatever your misgivings are about how and why we got into the war in Iraq, you have to admit that if we withdraw without having secured the position of the new government and as a result of pressure from “insurgent” violence, we lose, the terrorists win, Iraq falls into absolute chaos, and the world becomes more dangerous.

Perhaps in the very short-term our soldiers would no longer be in harm’s way on an “illegitimate” mission, but we will send a signal to terrorists that if you attack us enough, we will abandon the mission.

We sent this message too many times in the ‘80s and ‘90s and paid for it with 9/11.

Plus, you military folks should know better than anyone that it can’t be good for morale to abandon a mission in failure. It means your casualties and sacrifices were made in vain and you can’t count on support from the American people and politicians when the mission becomes difficult. That’s not a good thing, is it?

So, I implore you intransigent critics of Bush, realize that the best way for us to get out of Iraq, or at least reduce our commitment, is to win. Winning means making the Iraqi government sufficiently secure in its authority and ability to control the country that our military presence could be reduced to minimal levels. Then, we could withdraw troops with our heads held high and send a signal to the terrorists that we don’t cut and run when the going gets tough.

What kills me is that you critics of Bush who advocate withdrawal are actually endangering the very people you claim to be concerned about. The terrorists derive encouragement from your voices because they know their attacks are having their exact, desired effect.

Thus they attack our soldiers more, as is witnessed by their increased attacks in the weeks leading up to the election. (By the way, which party do you think the terrorists want to win?) Let me make it plain: calls for withdrawal equal more attacks on our soldiers.

Not only is your position therefore hypocritical, but it is shortsighted and cruel to the people of Iraq, who would suffer much more if we withdrew. Doesn’t anyone care about them and their fate?

And frankly, I don’t understand you military folks who support the Democrats. John Kerry, after earlier referring to our soldiers as thugs who terrorize women and children, recently said that only those who are uneducated and without prospect go into the armed services. How can you possibly support a party whose standard-bearer has such utter contempt for our service men and women?

It’s high time for you guys to stop thinking of Bush as the enemy and focus on who it really is, and what is really best for our military, our country, and our future.

Trey Hoffman
Peachtree City, Ga.

login to post comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
JeffC's picture
Submitted by JeffC on Fri, 11/10/2006 - 1:17pm.

My response has been submitted. I am confident that the stunning force and clarity of my explanations will overwhelm you! Well... possibly not, but I'm reasonably confident that you will be entertained by the skewering.


JeffC's picture
Submitted by JeffC on Thu, 11/09/2006 - 9:33am.

and well served too! I'm contemplating my wounds and sharpening my pencil...

Peace Through Strength

Submitted by kevin king on Thu, 11/09/2006 - 9:24am.

You sit down and author a clever "I screwed up some facts but my point is valid" Letter to the Editor, and as fate would have it, your own president pulls the rug out from under your argument a day after Americans pull the rug out from under his. Life can be so ironic sometimes.

Kevin "AF-A10" King

Submitted by AMDG on Thu, 11/09/2006 - 1:48pm.

What are you talking about? In fact, Bush re-emphasized our commitment to Iraq in spite of the Democrats victory because he knows that the terrorists will regard the victory as their own.

I imagine his concessionary tone on other issues and on bi-partisanship was done to ensure he could get the Dems to agree to stay the course in Iraq.

If anything, the ball is in your/the Dems court now. I will be very, very surprised if they call for an immediate withdrawal. Now that they have the responsibility to govern, I believe they will appreciate the many dangers associated with either immediate withdrawal or "redeployment."

So, please be more specific or be ready to admit, as I did about the Al Qaeda connection, that you are wrong.

AF A-10's picture
Submitted by AF A-10 on Thu, 11/09/2006 - 6:56pm.

I appreciate your civility. It is always nice having an educated exchange, as I find with you, Gitreal, and Armymaj. Oh yeah, and Oldschool, even though he isn't speaking to me.
I am specifically referring to your not understanding why some military people have supported democrats. That is the only way to change this stubborn course with no defined milestones to meet. That brought Jim Webb over to the dark side. Let's see what happens. My faith is now in Jim Baker.


Hack, no longer soiling my britches or staining clothes.

Submitted by AMDG on Fri, 11/10/2006 - 9:16am.

AF A-10,

Understand your desire for a change in Iraq. And, not having served in the military, I obviously cannot understand the situation like you can. But tell me if I'm wrong: you want a change in direction so that we WIN, not so that we get out before the job is done, right? It seems to me that you don't so much support the Dems as you support change. I know there are people like Jim Webb who have credibility, but they are in a party with people like Alcee Hastings, Barney Frank, Barbara Boxer, and, let's not forget, Nancy Pelosi, people who make a career out of besmirching the good name of our armed forces and who fundamentally distrust the military and the use of force. Throwing your lot in with such a group is, to me, short-sighted and counter-productive. My only hope is that Bush will use the Democrats as an excuse to change course. Getting rid of Rumsfeld will help in that direction. Baker is a good influence, too. But, remember, Bush was forced into his single-minded position by the unrelenting criticism of the Dems. They gave him no room to maneuver or show any signs of weakness. Any change by Bush before would have been regarded as incosistency and would have been used by Dems to prove they were right about this whole thing. They sacrificed national priorities for political gain.
The Dems may use folks like you to get elected now, but once in power, do you really think they will honor the integrity and mission of our armed services?
Granted, if we were talking about the Dems from before 1968, or '64, you might have a point. But you're now dealing with the party of surrender, weakness, and intense national cynicism.
Hey, but what do I know? I'm just a civilian, right-wing, send-our-boys-into-battle kind of guy.
By the way, your earlier remark about my believing in using force all the time is false. I do believe in diplomacy, of course, but I also believe it has limitations when dealing with certain types. Force is necessary at times, as I'm sure you know, but must be used only when absolutely necessary and then must be used properly. I don't think there was any way to stop Saddam Hussein from lying and cheating and acquiring WMD other than forcible removal. He wasn't a negotiating kind of guy.

ManofGreatLogic's picture
Submitted by ManofGreatLogic on Sat, 11/11/2006 - 9:44pm.

Nobody respects a man who never served in the military but continues to yap about war.

Even in the military, there is a huge respect for, and awe, for those who saw combat.

I was in the Navy, but never saw combat. Those of us who worked with combat veterans didn't say a dam word about combat. It was an unwritten rule. You don't say a THING about war to a combat veteran or you look stupid.

It's that simple.

Submitted by AMDG on Mon, 11/13/2006 - 10:58am.

A fundamental aspect of our system is to have civilian control of the military. Are you saying this is not the case and that military decisions can only be made by active service or retired military? If so, let's go ahead and start the process to becoming a military dictatorship.
To say I have no right to comment on military affairs is a silly thing to say and would invalidate our constitutional controls on governmental power.

Submitted by dollaradayandfound on Sun, 11/12/2006 - 9:21am.

I am a veteran. I am not a hero, however,
Some of our current trouble does start with people like Cheney, Bush, Gingrich, and the hundreds of others in the Bush administration who didn't serve, but want others to do so under any stupid circumstances.War can not be managed by corporate executives (Bush, McNamarra--Viet Nam, Cheney, etc.). They look too much at economic gain and ignore experts in war. It was sickening to see Clinton and Bush always saluting (wonder where they learned--oh, Bush did protect Texas and help in a campaign.. his Fathers) and bringing up "Commander-in-Chief at every opportunity. They are civilians, act like civilians.

muddle's picture
Submitted by muddle on Sun, 11/12/2006 - 7:40am.

I've heard this line a lot.

It reminds me of the absurd suggestion that males are not entitled to an opinion on the abortion issue. Why in the world should anyone think a thing like that?

I've never been a cop, but I am pro law enforcement.

I've never been a firefighter, but I am in favor of there being men who have the courage to run into burning buildings.

I've never worked in an ER, but I am glad that someone does.

Further, it is possible to have a *conceptual* grasp of what is involved in each of these though lacking actual experience. I might have informed opinions on whether the police used unnecessary force or whether a department is understaffed, or whether their equipment is up to date. In the event of a violent crime in progress, I favor sending them in harm's way, and do so with no intention of going in to fight the bad guys myself.

I don't know firsthand what it is like to be in constant danger from terrorists' bombs or snipers' bullets. But I have an informed opinion on whether and to what extent the Pendleton 8 should be prosecuted for their summary roadside execution of a probable insurgent.

About the only thing I am, by definition, *not* entitled to say is what it is like, firsthand, to be a cop, a fireman, a surgeon or a soldier. (Though I may report to you my second-hand understanding of someone else's experience.) If you hear me speaking as though I've been there when I haven't, then I am lying. People should shut their pie-holes and not tell lies.

A. Lincoln had limited and, as he saw it, comical, military experience in the Black Hawk war. He said that about the only thing his militia ever charged was wild onions and his men shed blood only on account of mosquitoes. But when the Civil War commenced, Lincoln proved himself to be a first-rate military strategist--on a level with the best West Point had graduated.

ManofGreatLogic's picture
Submitted by ManofGreatLogic on Sat, 11/11/2006 - 9:42pm.

There is no such organization as Al Queda.

It's a term, created by the USA, that applies to any small or large group of people who attack the USA or its interest through terrorism.

There actually is no formal organization called Al Queda.

Do any of you actually know anything?

muddle's picture
Submitted by muddle on Sun, 11/12/2006 - 10:10am.

An article published by Al-jazeera argues forcefully that "Al-Qaeda" is actually a bogey man invented by GWB to justify incursions in the Middle East. The article cites an earlier piece in Pravda (Ru), making the same claims. And, of course, lots of people have jumped aboard.

The conspiracy theories regarding Bush's systematic deceptions abound. My favorite is that the Bush administration is ultimately responsible for bringing down the towers. Why? Once again, to justify a war in the Middle East so that he can get his grubby little hands on the oil. (The *real* crazies have suggested that the planes were empty, operated by remote control. The original planes landed at a military base, and the few passengers that were aboard are now living in hiding somewhere.)

What is the claim? Is it that there is an organized terror network, but that it does not go by the name of "Al-Qaeda"? This would be less than significant. Imagine Al-Zawahiri coming on saying, "That is not our name. YOU just made that up!" (His favorite word for his terorists may be "mujahedeen".) You can call it the Cleveland Browns if you like. The question is whether there is an organized network of terror.

Or is it that there is no organized terror network AT ALL?

The latter would be significant, but it is rather hard to believe, given claims made by the terrorists themselves. Consider, for instance, al-Zawahiri's letter to al-Zarqawi.

al-Zawahiri Letter

Al-Zawahiri certainly SPEAKS as though there is an organization, even going so far as to list the "stages" of their plans:

"The first stage: Expel the Americans from Iraq.

The second stage: Establish an Islamic authority or amirate, then develop it and support it until it achieves the level of a caliphate- over as much territory as you can to spread its power in Iraq, i.e., in Sunni areas, is in order to fill the void stemming from the departure of the Americans, immediately upon their exit and before unIslamic forces attempt to fill this void, whether those whom the Americans will leave behind them, or those among the un-Islamic forces who will try to jump at taking power.

There is no doubt that this amirate will enter into a fierce struggle with the foreign infidel forces, and those supporting them among the local forces, to put it in a state of constant preoccupation with defending itself, to make it impossible for it to establish a stable state which could proclaim a caliphate, and to keep the Jihadist groups in a constant state of war, until these forces find a chance to annihilate them.

The third stage: Extend the jihad wave to the secular countries neighboring Iraq.

The fourth stage: It may coincide with what came before: the clash with Israel, because Israel was established only to challenge any new Islamic entity.

My raising this idea-I don't claim that it's infallible-is only to stress something extremely important. And it is that the mujahedeen must not have their mission end with the expulsion of the Americans from Iraq, and then lay down their weapons, and silence the fighting zeal. We will return to having the secularists and traitors holding sway over us. Instead, their ongoing mission is to establish an Islamic state, and defend it, and for every generation to hand over the banner to the one after it until the Hour of Resurrection."

What follows is his own specific reference to "the Al Qaida in the Land of Two Rivers." Al-Zarqawi himself selected the name "al-Qaeda in Iraq" and coupled this with a sworn allegiance to bin Laden. This suggests to me that he thought of his own organization as the "local chapter" of a worldwide organization.

Submitted by dollaradayandfound on Sun, 11/12/2006 - 9:09am.

The term means: "the camp," supposedly the one set up in Afghanistan originally by Bin Laden. It trained Muslim independent warriors from all countries. It has no generals, no timed enlistments, no real organization---it was a training school. We have one here in Georgia to train South American despots.
We are fighting fanatics who are mostly Muslims. They want their share of the oil revenues in the middle east, and indonesian wealth, for "the church." They think they weren't getting it and that Saudi Arabia was in bed with us, and thus we went "there" to be pounded on. The world trade center just happened to be located here: they wanted that "den of iniquity" (capitalistic paper shufflers, they think) destroyed more than Americans as such destroyed, that are here. The Bushes' (and the Limbaughs, O'rileys, Hannitys, and other entertainers, etc.) knew all this but couldn't sell an oil war on this basis. The turkey shoot in Iraq was ill planned by corporate idiots, who screwed the Pentagon, and it failed. What we were doing just before we bombed Baghdad was more than adequate! Their WMDs were gone and they couldn't even fly a plane.

Submitted by myword_mark on Sun, 11/12/2006 - 10:55am.

I would suggest you read AF A-10's blog below this one regarding "The Base". Your home spun theories are more than a little off base. While the Republicans have completely screwed up the Iraq situation, discounting the threat and whistling past the graveyard is foolish.

"Know your enemy or become their slave."
ﺵﻤﺍﺭﺍ ‘ﺡﻠﺼ ‘ﻰﺘﺸﺍ ‘ﻰﺘﻤﻻﺴ ‘ﺎﻔﺼﻭ ﺡﻠﺼ

AF A-10's picture
Submitted by AF A-10 on Sat, 11/11/2006 - 10:18pm.

Asalam u alaikum (hello / God be with you),
Kheif halak (how are you?) Zin, tamam, al hom dolila (good, well, thanks to God I am fine). Al Qaeda might yield better search results. It means "the base." This is what they call themselves. They are global and Sunni. Taliban or "seekers of knowledge" are also sunni and generally are found in and around Afghanistan. The Palestinian equivalent are Hamas "Islamic Resistance." Hezbollah "party of God" are the Shi'a muslim equivalent. Know thine enemies.

Cheers, Afwan (you're welcome), and masaalama (goodbye)


AF A-10's picture
Submitted by AF A-10 on Fri, 11/10/2006 - 1:36pm.

Greetings Trey.
I'll continue with the civil tone even though I continuously have to look at your icon; a uniform wearer, unlike yourself, with "liberal scumbag", scumbag meaning used condom filled with semen, under it. Why aren't you in the military, Trey?
Anyhow, here is the deal. What does "win" mean? We can't make WMDs that don't exist appear. In the invasion of a sovereign country to secure what the IAEA never found, we have already lost. We can't wish that away.
We will not make Shiite love Sunni. We won't make them like eachother. That is mission impossible. You may be the last soul on earth to realize that. Piling brave bodies on top of an impossible "victory," an ill defined victory, honors NOONE. This has been the greatest mistake in our foreign policy in my lifetime, facilitated by minds such as yours. Minds such as Boxer's, Pelosi's, Franks' are open minds that will listen to the will of the people.
Bottom line Trey. If this country had to depend on the average neocon to fight our battles voluntarily, we would have an army of 50 people. Gentlemen like Cheney, Wolfowitz, Krystal, Limbaugh, Perle, adleman, Allen, Mehlman, Boener, Hastert, Delay,and yourself would not be flinging themselves into harms way. There would be medical waivers and guard bums if the draft re-emerged. So I can't give your attacks on democrats much credibility. We have alot of veterans like myself. Many much braver than I will ever be. Tammy Duckworth is a fine example. Your party did not want her in Illinois. Dems did. Murtha is a man I'm proud of. He is respected at the Pentagon. He has fought side by side with his fellow Americans. And he listens to the people. Hope this helps you understand why democrats were for killing Osamma, and against babysitting Iraq indefinitely.

Kevin "Hack" King

Submitted by AMDG on Mon, 11/13/2006 - 11:10am.

First, my little cartoon is a joke. If you're offended, sorry. I get offended when people on these pages call me names, but I can take it. I don't claim any military credbility by using it; I just thought the WW-II GI-looking guy saying such an outrageous thing was funny.
Anyway, after pretending that winning was indefinable, you lapsed back into name-calling and silly non-sequiters ("if we had to depend on neocons to fight...").
Granted, Bush may have been wrong to adopt the "Neocon" notion of spreading freedom (what a horrible thing!) and certainly made strategic and tactical errors.
But we're there now and have lost our precious soldiers' lives. Do we respond to the difficulties by getting out? Wouldn't that be a loss and deliver a victory to the terrorists?
Winning isn't so difficult as you say: it means making Iraq secure enough that the government can continue on with limited American support. Perhaps that means separating the Sunnis and Shia, since, as you claim, it's "impossible" to make them like each other.
But please demonstrate to me how a precipitous withdrawal would benefit our long-term interests and wouldn't be a defeat and a waste of our soldiers' sacrifices and wouldn't result in the deaths of many more 1000s in a protacted, bloody civil war. Or, do you not care about the people of Iraq?

AF A-10's picture
Submitted by AF A-10 on Mon, 11/13/2006 - 12:56pm.

Don't have much time, but....
I didn't name call. Please reread. Many people use neocon to describe the new conservative; not malicious.
I don't get offended. I'm just confused at what you're after with GI Joe.
I never said victory is not definable. It just has not been clearly defined. LEt's use your definition which I have not heard from the current admin.

"it means making Iraq secure enough that the government can continue on with limited American support."

Trey, your definition does not address sectarian violence directly, just security. Please talk me through the process by which more or fewer of our brave men and women fighting in Iraq bring justification to the current Shiite govt. And how many souls, dollars, and years should we set as the upper limit of what our country should sacrifice before we determine that just possibly, our goal is not obtainable. Take care buddy, and I do enjoy our chat board conversations,


Submitted by AMDG on Mon, 11/13/2006 - 1:18pm.

Yeah, you didn't name call, although "neocon" is practically a perjorative. I think I was confused from all the previous postings which do call me names.
Anyway, I cannot give you a piece-by-piece, detailed account of how we get out of Iraq, or how we win. That's not my expertise. I can say that I think we need to work to win, to defeat the terrorist insurgents and ensure the stability of the government. It's not so much about having a plan as it is about having the will to win and the support of both parties. Without that, winning is probably impossible.
Shiites and Sunnis are fighting each other, but the majority are not. They are serving together in the armed services and trying to work together in the government. Hopefully, they, with our support, can work it out. We may be there a long time, like we're in Korea, Japan, Germany, etc. And perhaps that's not tenable given the Muslim disgust at having Western powers in their umma.
But what I am sure of is that pulling out will NOT help the situation. So really, the onus is on you to justify pulling out not just in terms of the difficulty of the situation, but in terms of what the consequences will be.
By the way, Bush, just the other day, gave the exact same definition of victory as I just gave.

AF A-10's picture
Submitted by AF A-10 on Sat, 11/11/2006 - 10:41pm.

I am, day by day, beginning to think Osamma bin Laden is ghosted. I have a feeling his kidneys or disease may have done him in. This may be a Howard Hughs or D B Cooper type of mystery.



ArmyMAJretired's picture
Submitted by ArmyMAJretired on Fri, 11/10/2006 - 1:50pm.


Any recent surveys of the USMC to back that statement up?

I for one would not pee on him if he were on fire. That goes for Senator Durbin and Jon Carry as well.

AF A-10's picture
Submitted by AF A-10 on Fri, 11/10/2006 - 9:10pm.

You remember way back when we met on these posts and you and other conservatives thought I was full of anger and rage, but I wasn't? And I told you I'd pull you out of a burning car with Bush/Cheney stickers all over it? That was and is true. I as well as Jack Murtha, Durbin, and Kerry would pee all over you if you were on fire or even smoldering.Smiling
I wrote alot above, but you only commented on Murtha? I'm waiting for the rest (Cheney, Bush, Rove, etc.) My father in law is a full bird. He has been at the pentagon far too long. My best friend and fellow USAFA bum is an officer in J3 at the Pentagon. My father (Al King) is the Mayor of Goldsboro, NC, home of Seymour Johnson AFB. He is AirforceMajretired. He is on the National League of Municipalities, and has been to the Pentagon and Congress several times. I can only go by what I hear directly from the men I know who work and have been there. Jack Murtha is respected. You can judge him by the sickness he felt over terrible things done at the hands of a few of our soldiers, but I will not.


ps. I think I'm being hacked. My browser is doing strange things. Hope you are safer on here than I am.

Basmati's picture
Submitted by Basmati on Fri, 11/10/2006 - 2:54pm.

Colonel Murtha did the right and honorable thing when he exposed the Marine Corps coverup of the massacre of civilians.

I am not surprised but nevertheless disappointed that you find fault in his actions, Major.

ArmyMAJretired's picture
Submitted by ArmyMAJretired on Fri, 11/10/2006 - 3:13pm.

Damn, even criminals are assumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. IF the Marines are guilty they will be convicted.

Just to remind everyone here is what the Congressman said:

"that sources within the military have told him that an internal investigation will show that "there was no firefight, there was no IED (improvised explosive device) that killed these innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood."

The Marine Corps issued a statement in response to Murtha's remarks:

"There is an ongoing investigation; therefore, any comment at this time would be inappropriate and could undermine the investigatory and possible legal process. As soon as the facts are known and decisions on future actions are made, we will make that information available to the public to the fullest extent allowable."

Submitted by dollaradayandfound on Fri, 11/10/2006 - 11:43am.

These people you mentioned aren't against the soldiers, they are their sons and nephews, and cousins, and daughters!
They are against the selfish idiots who use them like so much cannon fodder. If we had gone in with half a million when we bombed and killed thousands and totally occupied the place as the real soldiers wanted to do, we would have solved the problem in two years. Idiots, idiots. They will be canned now, I hope. You knew Bush had no gravitas when you nominated him. You have to be smart now to be President.

Submitted by AMDG on Mon, 11/13/2006 - 1:38pm.

I too am against politicians using our armed services irresponsibly, like LBJ did in Vietnam or like Clinton did to distract the country from Monica Lewinski.
Lest you all forget, Bush was in the military, unless being the Texas Air National Guard doesn't count.
Your point about bombing Iraq to the stone age is a good one, though crudely made. And that is the fundamental problem with Iraq, that we didn't have the mandate to destroy the place and so had to be surgical. As a result, our enemies easily retreated and regrouped and now can do the harm they are doing.
So perhaps history will show that it was wrong to go into Iraq. It was also wrong to fight the British in 1812, but humans are not infallible and mistakes are made.

AF A-10's picture
Submitted by AF A-10 on Mon, 11/13/2006 - 9:04pm.

On 11/13/2006, you ended your post by asking me, "..don't you care about the people of Iraq?" Directly above, on the same day, you wrote...

"And that is the fundamental problem with Iraq, that we didn't have the mandate to destroy the place and so had to be surgical."

Trey, honest question: do YOU care about the people of Iraq or saving face here in America?

Kevin Hack King

Submitted by AMDG on Tue, 11/14/2006 - 10:52am.

You remind me of JeffC and others who say that if I am Christian as I claim then I must support criminalizing divorce to be consistent.

You are also guilty of absolutizing my positions, or carrying them to an untenable extreme, because I think you have a very pre-conceived notion of what a "conservative" should think.

In any case, let me try and explain: the bottom line now is that if we withdraw from Iraq immediately, the Iraqi people will be in danger. I do not wish that to happen. Now that we've invaded, we're morally obligated to do as much as we can to support them and should not repeat the abandonment of Vietnam (which was primarily engineered by the oh-so-compassionate Democrats).

However, in general with warfare, if you want real victory you have to be willing to overwhelm your enemy with massive force and decisive defeat. Doing so requires mass destruction, unfortunately. Lincoln pursued this strategy in the Civil War, only to immediately call for aid and renewed ties after the surrender. He knew that for a victory to stick, it needs to be total. Thus also our efforts in Germany and Japan. There's a fine line between achieving total victory and unjustifiable killing of civilians, but it is this very seriousness which makes it incumbent upon us or any nation to seriously weigh the decision to go to war.

In Iraq, and also in Vietnam, we wanted victory, of course, but did not have the political or moral mandate to wage total war. Our stated objective in Iraq was simply to remove the Hussein regime, which we did quickly and well. We actually would not have had to destroy the country to achieve that, but given the nature of the insurgency afterwards, we did need a larger force willing and enabled to destroy targets in civilian areas, where the insurgents hide like cowards.

But, as I said, we don't have the mandate for such an undertaking and so have had to restrain our military forces. This is, obviously, a recipe for disaster.

I do not wish to see civilians killed, nor does any military person or sane person. But if war is to be undertaken and victory is to be secured, it is an unfortunate but necessary corollary to prosecuting the war. The cause must therefore be clear and have widespread support, which neither Iraq nor Vietnam did. Our modern weaponry, especially, gives us the impression that we can achieve victory with minimal casualties, and to some extent this is true. But it tricks us into thinking we can win a war without the massive presence needed to secure true victory, and this is the trap we're in now.

We do not have the mandate to wage the war in Iraq with the necessary ferocity, so we have to figure out another way to win. It's a pickle, to be sure, but we must work with the Iraqis and the military to achieve it.

Pulling out is indeed an option, but it's only pro is that our troops are taken out of harm. The cons are too numerous to mention and that's the problem I have with you and you're ilk. You've yet to explain how the cons of pulling out can either be dealt with or mitigated. It's easy to just say "pull out now", but it's not so easy to actually ahve a plan that takes into account all of the realities of such an action.

AF A-10's picture
Submitted by AF A-10 on Tue, 11/14/2006 - 2:06pm.

Trey, my question above, relating to how we view the importance of Iraqi lives, has nothing to do with your or my religion. It has nothing to do with trying to trap you in a rhetorical box canyon. I am not carrying your positions to extremes, but I am simply trying to reconcile the different things you have said on the Iraq issue. I am having a hard time sorting out your feelings on the roles of Iraqis in their own future, and the value which should be given to Iraqi lives.
Many of my military brothers have used the tongue and cheek statement that we should "turn the region into glass" referring to what happens to sand under nuclear levels of heat. We ran a "blitzkrieg" operation in Fallujah early last year that won no hearts or minds and lost many.
Remember when our goal was winning Iraqi hearts and minds? That was the key; to give ownership to the people who actually are going to live in the country of Iraq. But Iraq is now all about us and OUr role; not their responsibilities. They stand up, we stand down? We have stood up almost 400,000. Many of them have questionable national resolve and stronger tribal religious ties. How will our presence with guns change that? What's next? Endless occupation? Fight them "there" forever because we can't ensure we won't fight them "here" without the fight "there?" And not to point out our "war on terror" Attention Deficit Disorder, but remember when we were focused on Afghanistan, home of the Taliban and Al Qaeda? Afghanistan is not going well, according to the NATO commander that we turned that operation over to, and we are too bogged down in Iraq to weigh in. So how do we respect the lives of Iraqis, protect the lives of Americans, and continue our focus on global terrorism? I don't know if this is a question with a valid answer.



Submitted by AMDG on Fri, 11/17/2006 - 4:14pm.


You are confusing me. What have I said about the role of Iraqis that is so confusing?

Let me make my position clear: we need to win in Iraq now. That means helping the Iraqi government stabilize and helping the military establish true control. If we try our best to do this and fail, then at some point we do have to admit failure and get out.

Many people are now saying we shouldn't have gone into Iraq, but 85% supported the decision in 2003 and Congress approved it. 9/11 changed Bush from being a geopolitical realist to a crusading freedom fighter. As a result of the shock/trauma of 9/11, we were all thrust into a new world. The Neocons previously stated notions of using American might to spread liberty became appealing to Bush, and he adopted it, abandoning the realpolitik of his father and his 2000 campaign. That was his solution to terrorism and the problem of the Middle East.

It was an honest attempt to rectify the problem, but has turned out to be, perhaps, the wrong method.

But we're there now. We do have a responsibility to both protect and help the Iraqis since we did invade their country, but it is not an open-ended commitment. I think they and everyone else knows it. The problem with many Democrats and liberals is that they are calling for immediate withdrawal in teh face of ongoing attacks and chaos. This rewards the terrorists' efforts and lets them know that their attacks are having the desired effect, so they keep it up.

My point is that we should deny the terrorists that indirect, unintentional support, support the president in his resolve, and show the world that we're not going to leave until we've stabilized Iraq.


Basmati's picture
Submitted by Basmati on Fri, 11/10/2006 - 10:17am.

I feel that there are a number of fundamental flaws in Mr. Hoffman’s logic.

First and foremost of Mr. Hoffman’s logical inconsistency is his insistence that, absent Democratic criticism, America will somehow “win” in Iraq. I realize self-delusion is stock-in-trade to Mr. Hoffman, but most rational adults now realize that, given the armed force structure we currently have in Iraq, there is simply no possible way America can “win” in Iraq. General after general have insisted that an occupation force of between 300,000 to 500,000 troops are necessary to effectively pacify Iraq. There simply aren’t enough available troops to muster that kind of force. In order to raise that number of troops, a draft would be required, and the current president lacks the political courage to take that course of action. Instead, he’s content with the status quo of 130,000 troops locked in a bone-grinding war of attrition for the next two years, at which time he can hand the problem off to his successor. Despite Mr. Hoffman’s claims to the contrary, this is not “leadership”.

Secondly is Mr. Hoffman’s continual bleating about how not supporting the President somehow gives “aid and comfort to the enemy”. The typical Iraqi has a limited education, virtually no understanding of the English language and a greater-than-average tendency towards religious zealotry (hmmm…not unlike Mr. Hoffman now that I think of it). Try as I might, I cannot envision a situation where a poor bitter Iraqi, in a home where electricity is limited to 4 hrs a day, and who is effectively isolated from the outside world, could gain any sort of “aid” or “comfort” from anything someone might say a half a world away in a newspaper written in a language he doesn’t understand.

Finally, there is Mr. Hoffman’s insistence that all opposed to American occupation in Iraq are “terrorists”. I disagree with his premise. There are most definitely some terrorist elements in Iraq, and probably more than ever since the American occupation forces chose not to seal the Iraqi border. By and large, however, I think that most insurgents are native Iraqis upset with foreign troops occupying their country. The biggest strategic blunder of the war was the decision to permit looting immediately after major combat operations ended. It sent a message to the Iraqi people: we don’t care.

Finally, there is this little gratuitous comment by Mr. Hoffman: The Dems may use folks like you to get elected now, but once in power, do you really think they will honor the integrity and mission of our armed services? My answer to that, Trey, is emphatically YES, yes they will. If for nothing else, Democrats transcend party politics and put the needs of their country above the needs of their party. Unlike you, Trey.

Submitted by AMDG on Mon, 11/13/2006 - 11:24am.

If you're going to attack my logic, at least get it right. I never said that "absent Democratic criticism, America will somehow “win” in Iraq." Your logic depends on 1) the terrorists not having access to the media and 2) them being brain dead and unable to make school-boy calculations about how their acts affect our politics.

I call them "terrorists" because they kill innocent people intentionally. If they only killed soldiers with surprise attacks or hidden bombs, I would be comfortable with "insurgents" or "guerillas." Oh, sorry, perhaps not ALL of them kill innocents, but forgive me if I fail to make such subtle distinctions amongst attackers who kill women and children as a rule and claim God's approval for such hideous actions.

I don't know where you get your information, but I have heard numerous accounts of how the terrorists are very aware of our political situation and know specifically that their attacks are giving support to the get-out-of-Iraq movement in the US. It ain't hard to pick up a newspaper or get internet access, even if the majority of folks don't do so.

The great John Murtha unwittingly confirmed this dynamic when he said that combat deaths have quadrupled since his call to withdraw. He thinks this is proof that it's bad over there and we ought to get out. I think it proves that calling for immediate withdrawal encourages attacks. They have upped their attacks on US soldiers because they know people like Murtha will point to them as the reason to get out.

Being a student of logic, you should be able to figure that out. Even if you can't, the terrorists themselves have said this is a tactic of theirs. But, of course, to admit that would be to admit you might be wrong and that your whole deck of cards is in danger of falling down.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.