Friday, November 03, 2006

Post 250

This is my 250th post on this blog -- I haven't posted a lot lately, because I feel like I said everything I came to say. Then I come up with rant postings that are so long they need a summary -- this is the summary.

I thought the War was a good idea, badly prosecuted. Some of my reasons for favoring the war can be teased out of the rant below. I have also posted a series of "Previous Posts I'm Proud Of" along the right side of the blog. A lot of those posts are about my support for the War. You might also want to read Tony Blair's speech in Los Angeles -- August 2006 -- its linked on the right. Tony Blair's reasoning -- it was only 90 days ago -- resonates with me. But it hasn't reasonated with anyone else. Republicans don't parrot his arguments here. And there, Blair has basically been forced to resign.

But it doesn't matter anymore whether anyone is for or against the war. It doesn't matter whether there is no good way out of Iraq. We'll leave either way -- and soon too -- because if Bush couldn't get this Republican Congress to pass Social Security reform, I don't see how he can get the next Republican Congress to pass legislation for a draft. I don't see how we can fight the war effectively without more soldiers. I don't see more soldiers without a draft. If we have more soldiers without a draft -- if we go to a mercenary army at market rates -- then of course, I'm wrong -- we'll be able to stay in Iraq indefinitely, but it will change the nature of our country in a way that is beyond my power -- or anyone's power -- to perceive.

And if there is a Democratic Congress, then the conduct of the war will not survive the light that ought to be shed on it by Congressional subpoena. As I say in greater length below, the Democrats don't have a good strategy to leave Iraq. But it doesn't matter because all strategies to leave Iraq are equally bad. I'm sure James Baker's plan -- whatever it is (I speculate below)-- will do.

After the war is over, I hope we still have the ability to solve the global warming problem and the immigration problem.

Post 249 is also new today -- it is really short -- a couple of brief comments about John Kerry and the reaction to him.

This is Post 250. Thanks for reading.

Podhoretz in today's New York Post complains that his right wing friends are bailing on him. They are suddenly complaining that the situation in Iraq is -- and has always been -- intractible. And the situation in Iraq is intractible because the people of Iraq are more tribal than national. Why people like Ralph Peters and David Brooks -- who supposedly are thinking to pay their rent -- are coming to this conclusion at this late date is confusing to Podhoretz. It's confusing to me too. It's nothing we didn't know, say, 1000 years ago. Podhoretz complains that the Iraqi people have gone to the polls -- 3 times -- in large numbers. Podhoretz says that the fervor to vote proves that the Iraqi people want what we want. We should not allow the few to obstruct the many.

I sent John an e-mail. It says:

"Voter turnout is not freedom -- as any Soviet-era election announcement of 96% turnout can tell you

"Voter turnout is not an act of unification --- Hitler won a free and fair election, as has Hamas.

"Perhaps if all those Iraqi voters chose more moderate leaders, there would have been more moderate results. However, we have not seen the Iraqis -- or the Iraqi leaders -- who are willing to put country above faction. Maybe that's because Iraq is just a bunch of lines that the Brits drew on a map. Maybe that's because Iraq is just following the example of the United States --where people have started to base their votes on all matters of things that may be good for their religion, but have nothing to do with their country.

"P.S. -- More on this to be posted on the blog -- I didn't want to inundate you with a rant."

Here is the P.S.(Some old stuff, some new stuff):

We are three years into a war that, if prosecuted properly, would last ... If it took us 45 years to do the job in Europe -- a region with experience in freedom and democracy -- how long do you think it would take to do the job in the Middle East? Lets say twice as long, just for the sake of argument -- 90 years.

The leaders of this country have done nothing to prepare this country for the sort of sacrifice needed to fight a multi-generational existential war. When we were coming along (I'm 48 -- and my sense from reading your articles is that you are 2-5 years younger), there was no doubt that we were in an endless war with Soviet Europe. It only took 45 years as things turned out, but we all understood it could have taken forever.

How many people understand that we are in a forever war? What have your precious friends in government done to rally the country behind the concept of a forever war? I know. I can quote Bush's speeches, too. But when the speech is over, what actions are taken?

You're right. Professionals, well-wishers like Ralph Peters and David Brooks, misapprehend the duration of the war, and the sacrifices that need to be me made. If people like Peters and Brooks don't understand that given the tiny commitment of troops and energy the United States has made to Iraq -- that we are as far along as we could hope to be in Year 4 -- what are the rest of us supposed to think?

Back when we were fighting the Soviets, we had large standing armies. Now we are fighting in Iraq, we are fighting in Afghanistan, we are fighting terrorism. According to Bill Kristol, we need to be in Iran. We may need to be in North Korea. We may need to be in Indonesia, we may need to be in Pakistan. And, of course, I don't have access to classified information.

Maybe we should have a larger Army now.

Let's look for volunteers.

How many of those Republican families that are so busy mocking John Kerry would voluntarily send their sons and daughters into the War that Donald Rumsfeld is running (more like a Commerce Secretary than a Secretary of Defense, if the truth be told)?

If the War is as important as people say it is, how come we haven't committed the resources?

Why is draft such a dirty word, if the war is such a noble cause? Is it because the religious fundamentalists like the composition of the Army the way that it is? Is it because a smaller army makes it easier for Rumsfeld to outsource the war to outside contractors? Can the Army withstand the scrutiny that would come when the sons and daughters of all the people, liberals and conservatives, Jews, Muslims, Christians, rich people, poor people, Republicans and yes, Democrats, are all part of the Army?

If a government is outsourcing its military intelligence, through private contractors doing interrogations, through renditions, then who employs the troops? If we decide not to have a draft, and simply pay Halliburton to provide us with the troops, as well, then what happens when arming the troops cuts into profits? What happens if peace is coming, and the companies supplying the soldiers need to make more profits? Will they start battles just to keep the war going? If the generals aren't writing your paychecks, can the generals be said to have any control? Isn't that one root of Abu Gharib? If the government is outsourcing its war, and if its outsourcing its port protection to non-democratic governments, then what is the government doing?

And in this country, with such a small “pre-history,” if we don’t have a government, and we don't have any good old days to go back to, then all we have is Jesus. Then we can start fighting and killing over which Jesus, I guess. Europe fought those wars for several hundred years. I’m sure we could do Europe one better -- we always could.

Those of us who don’t believe in Jesus? Maybe we can all back to where we came from.

Not only have the leaders of this country done nothing to prepare this country to fight the war, they have done nothing, 5 years after 9/11, to prepare this country to leave the war. And leaving we will be. If the Republicans win, they will still have to get a draft in. And if the Republicans don't have the votes for Social Security reform, they sure won't have the votes for a draft. They can outsource the troops I guess. But I don't know what that means for a government to willingly give up so much power.

And if the Democrats win .. well, in fact, the Democrats don't have a plan. But they won't need one. Because they'll have the subpoena power. (just a deep footnote -- in World War II -the Democrats did not wait to issue subpoenas on war profiteering -- they set up a committee run by an obscure Senator -- Harry Truman. Wonder what became of him. Wonder why some Republican Senator from the Midwest didn't think of that for himself today.)

Anyway, the Democrats don't have a plan. James Baker has a plan. I'm sure it will look exactly like John Kerry's plan in 2004 -- hold an international peace conference. Blame the Israelis for everything. Make the Israelis give up some land. All of Iraq will celebrate the defeat of the Zionists. Say the celebration proves that the Iraqis are in fact peacefully united on something, and therefore our job is done.

That plan will work just as well as any other. And they are all doomed to fail.

We will try to get Iraq to have its one day of peace, its one day of celebrating Israel's fate, so we can say we succeeded. We'll leave on the second day. And on the third day, Darkness and Chaos will most certainly rise out of the void. And on the fourth day, the Republicans will blame the liberals for losing Iraq -- Even though the Republicans hold the White House, the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Supreme Court, the boards of all the Major Corporations, the Fox media empire, and most of the Churches. Even though there has been no significant anti-war movement. And on the fifth day, we'll do the Red Scare/ McCarthy/ Patriot Act thing -- send some of the liberals and the Jews (any Rosenbergs still around) out for rendition. And on the sixth day some will celebrate and some will mourn. And on the seventh day we'll rest.

And on the eighth day, hopefully, hopefully, we will finally try to solve the energy crisis. And the global warming crisis. It doesn't matter whether man created global warming or not. Mankind didn't create polio or leprosy either. But it was our job to solve it. Just like its our job to solve global warming.

And somewhere in that busy schedule, we are going to have to deal with the immigration problem that is going to occur when millions of fundamentalist Muslims – trained to hate all things Western -- come into this country because they have nowhere else to go. And they won’t need to be coming in through Mexico either. Do you think things are bad in France? Worse in Holland? How can the leadership of this country have the full-blown immigration debate we are having – year after year after year—and not even discuss the role of terrorism and refugees from the Middle East in the debate? Ah, well. I guess that’s one way to settle the fight about Jesus.

This is the real bottom line telling point for me:

People who support this war (I’m not talking about you, John) do not take the implications of this war seriously. Everyone is still fighting over the way things were in March 2003. (WMDs/ no WMDs - snore). Bush is still saying that we’re fighting there so that we don’t have to fight here (sorry London. I guess you were only part of “here” -- part of the coalition of the willing -- until the day they bombed your subway, and the day they tried to hijack your planes).

In 3½ years, there is not a single person who said that the landscape has changed, and made the following case for the War:

“Gee. I didn’t think we should have gone in, but now that I see what happened after Saddam left, I am glad that the United States was there to clean up the damage. Imagine what would have happened if Saddam had died or got killed and we weren’t there.”

No wonder that supporters for the war are dropping like flies.