Thursday, September 2, 2010

Some Quaint Washington Post Thinking on Iraq

Matt Miller, in today's Washington Post:

"I want to remind you that I blew it...I supported the war in 2003 because I thought Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction...I'm hoping for the best, in the spirit the president urged Tuesday night, though he can't admit he fought the surge that's created the chance for a happier ending...When he was at the center of events in the Clinton years, Bob Rubin spoke often about what he called "probabilistic reasoning."You could only judge the quality of a decision based on the information available at the time. This used to strike me as sound. I don't think so now."

In other words, Bush and Cheney lied to us and strarted an unneccessary war; the appropriate response is to attack Obama and Clinton. Because Republicans could never have done anything wrong.

"I can't help thinking that, 100 years from now, America's readiness to send its brave youth half a world away to topple a heinous dictator and then flush him out of a hole will be seen as noble"

Listen, Matt, I'm sure that Hitler told himself the same thing about the invasion of Czechoslovakia, when he had his gun in his mouth in April, 1945. A war of aggression against an innocent country will never be regarded as noble, at least not by decent people, who are apparently in short supply at the Washington Post.

"For better or worse, I lack the moral clarity and strategic certainty of the war's ardent supporters or foes."

That's for sure.

"Our troops have performed remarkably. Whether they've been well served by their political leaders -- or their political pundits -- is another matter."

In the first place, sorry buddy, but attacking a country one tenth our size without a functioning army, spending a trillion dollars and then walking away with nothing is not my idea of performing remarkably. But then, along with your admitted lack of "moral clarity and strategic certainty" maybe you lack a basic understanding of what an army has to do to "perform remarkably." And second, as to the question of whether these troops were "well served by their political leaders " who sent them to die for nothing: well, if you can't answer that by now, you don't even have any buisiness shooting your mouth off in a bar, let alone writing for a major newspaper.

The Iraq aggression was one of the greatest military blunders in the history of the world, planned, and carried out by Republicans, according to strict Republican doctrine. That is the simple truth. There is no glory, there is nothing but disgrace for anyone involved in its planning and execution, and it was one of Obama's great mistakes that he didn't say so on January 20, 2009, and bring a stop to it that day.

12 comments:

magpie said...

"moral clarity"...

That thing neocons claim to have when it's clear they have no grasp of morality at all.

Silverfiddle said...

Well, Green Eagle, I don't believe Bush lied, though I do think a good case can be made that they cherry picked evidence and studiously ignored anything that did not bolster their case for invasion. Why did the Germans and British intelligence services, among others, believe Saddam has WMD?

However misguided our leaders may have been, the US military performed heroically.

It may all come apart, but Iraq is now the 12th fastest growing economy

http://www.economywatch.com/economy-business-and-finance-news/12-fastest-growing-economies-in-2010-13-10.html

You and magpie should take heart that conservatives are joining libertarians in a complete repudiation of any further adventures. The neocons are just progressive community organizers on an international scale.

I think (hope!) the neocon project is over. "Nation building" and "helping" people who don't want to be helped is a waste of time, money and human life.

I hope you'll have some patience and some magnanimity for those of us coming to the anti-war side.

Those of us on the right can repudiate Bush and express open doubts about the wars we are in, but we can never go so far as to repudiate the troops or dishonor the sacrifices they have made.

That in itself makes us not truly fit in the anti-war camp. But treat us nicely and we'll be there with you the next time the sunshine patriots in business suits blow their tinny horns and beat their hollow war drums.

magpie said...

"The neocons are just progressive community organizers on an international scale"...
No. Please don't start comparing them to the likes of UNICEF.

The Neocons were never about "helping people".

They were, and still are, about hegemony. War that never ends.

You know your Orwell, Silverfiddle... "War Is Peace".

They believe it.

Silverfiddle said...

You could be right magpie, but I am less willing in general to ascribe nefarious motives to people and groups, left, right or whatever.

I often invoke Soros as a sinister figure, but I don't think he's a running some conspiracy, he's just putting his money where his belief system is.

And ascribing motives isn't required. The neocons are wrong and it doesn't matter why.

Green Eagle said...

I will answer Silverfiddle in some detail.

"I don't believe Bush lied, though I do think a good case can be made that they cherry picked evidence and studiously ignored anything that did not bolster their case for invasion."

Hiding the truth and "cherry picking;" i.e. suppressing anything that contradicted their claims is lying.

"Why did the Germans and British intelligence services, among others, believe Saddam has WMD?"

Because Bush told them so, and they couldn't believe that the President of the United States would lie about something so important.

"However misguided our leaders may have been, the US military performed heroically."

You could say the same thing about the German sixth army at Stalingrad. My point of view is that there is no heroism when the cause is evil.

"The neocons are just progressive community organizers on an international scale."

Oh, Bill Kristol is a progressive? Silverfiddle, this is a perfect example of why it is so frustrating to try to discuss things with conservatives, who have absolutely no compunction about saying anything that suits their purpose at the moment.

"Those of us on the right can repudiate Bush and express open doubts about the wars we are in, but we can never go so far as to repudiate the troops or dishonor the sacrifices they have made."

Of course no one does that. But when you say things like this, what you are really doing is claiming that that is exactly what liberals do, which is just another lying propaganda smear.

"treat us nicely and we'll be there with you the next time the sunshine patriots in business suits blow their tinny horns and beat their hollow war drums."

Based on a century of experience, no you won't. You'll be banging the drums for war as loudly as ever, as most conservatives are now doing about attacking Iran.

Silverfiddle said...

This is why conservatives are loath to make common cause, because so many on the left are so repellent. It's like you're being offensive on purpose.

My objection to foreign adventure is because it is futile to help those who don't want to be helped, and a country has no right to invade another country unprovoked.

Funny how God-hating/denying leftists invoke morality. If you don't believe in God, then what morality are you invoking? Could it be the libertarian view of morality?

Domestic progressives and international progressives both deny human nature and resolve to fix things "once and for all." Any casual student of history knows what folly that is.

Trade-off and mitigations are the best we get in this world.

Silverfiddle said...

Btw, Your equating our soldiers with Nazi Germany's belies your America hatred.

We get these wars wrapped up and utopian progressives like you will just move on to some other reason to hate America.

Green Eagle said...

I have repeatedly saying that Bush's unprovoked aggression against Iraq, sold to the American people with a host of warmongering lies, is almost exactly analogous to Hitler's aggression against Czechoslovakia. Tell me where I am wrong.

Now, Silverfiddle, your second to last post has come close to descending into the usual wingnut smearing and character assassination with which I have no tolerance. People who consistently engage in such conduct are not welcome here.

Silverfiddle said...

Hit a sore spot did I?

We can play the comparison game all day.

How are American progressives like the Italians and Germans of the 1930's?

The want a "strong man" leading a "strong government," that intervenes personally in everyone's lives. They believe the people should be subservient to the state, that the state should take care of everyone and that individuals should subordinate their personal liberty to the prerogatives of the state.

The hero worship of Obama, the iconography...

How is Obama like Hitler or Mussolini?

His bombing of Pakistan could be compared to Il Duche's bombing of Abyssinia.

Let's see... Cult of personality, huge rallies in grandiose settings, taking advantage of a bad economic situation to get democratically elected. State control of private enterprise. Demagoguery of "the other:" They cling to their guns and their bibles...

Your comparison is just as ridiculous as this one I just made up.

Hitler had a dream of a greater Germany denuded of auslanders and filled with his mythological Aryan race.

I haven't seen any evidence Bush was driven by similar motives. Hell, the Daddy envy theory makes more sense.

Also, compare conduct of our soldiers with historical accounts of nazi brutality. There is no comparison.

Green Eagle said...

Silverfiddle, your comment is so disingenuous that it does not deserve the time it would take to reply. I will, however, answer this point:

"Also, compare conduct of our soldiers with historical accounts of nazi brutality. There is no comparison."

There IS a comparison. Our noble troops killed a million innocent civilians in Iraq for absolutely no reason other than a war to dominate them and steal their resources. That fare exceeds the 345,000 deaths estimated to have been caused by the Nazis. And let me point out that the German justification, centered on Lebesraum, was also an attempt to seize their resources.

People like you are never going to live your hate and greed driven fantasy world long enough to acknowledge this, or the 2-4 million civilian murders we committed in Vietnam, without a shred of excuse. Too bad, because as I have pointed out before, the right's pathological inability to accept responsibility for anything is a major factor in the incipient destruction of this country.

Silverfiddle said...

Nazis only caused 345,000 deaths? Are you kidding? How about over 8 million?

Stalin killed over 20 million, Mao 60-100 million. Big government statists all.

Once again, I agree with your underlying premise that nations should not invade other nations unprovoked. But your equating us and our troops with nazi Germany is a bridge too far for me.

Maybe it is all caused by corporate puppet masters, I'm open to the evidence. I follow the maxim:

"Never chalk up to malfeasance what can more easily be explained as incompetence."

I think we have tried to do too much for too many.

Too many people scream at every sin of the US, but ignore Darfur, Tibet, the subjugation of women and the killing of homosexuals in hideous regimes worldwide. A little more balance would make much of this anti-US criticism more credible.

Green Eagle said...

Silverfiddle:

The number of deaths I mentioned was the number estimated to have died in Czechoslovakia, which is what we were talking about. Total deaths from Hitler's actions are thought to be in the area of 50 million, including 20 million Russians.

"Too many people scream at every sin of the US, but ignore Darfur, Tibet, the subjugation of women and the killing of homosexuals in hideous regimes worldwide. A little more balance would make much of this anti-US criticism more credible."

You know, I agree with your sentiment there. I think it is horrible, for example, that people have ignored five million deaths in the Congo, of the horrid abuses of the Sudan government, which have taken place not just in Darfur, and whose connection with Islamic extremism go back to the Mahdi in the nineteenth century at least. However, even if there are worse things elsewhere, we are responsible for the conduct of our own government, and most Americans would just rather turn their heads away from its abuses, and pretend that we are without sin.