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Author Topic: GOP and Democrats in the House of Reps
Bob_Scopatz
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Frankly, I find this whole episode shameful. This bit really bugged me. I suppose it could be chalked up to "biased" reporting, but if the facts are as stated, I think the GOP is playing a very dangerous and ultimately hurtful game.
Washington Post

quote:
Murtha's resolution included language the Republicans wanted to avoid, such as "the American people have not been shown clear, measurable progress" toward stability in Iraq. It also said troops should be withdrawn "at the earliest practicable date," although Murtha said in statements and interviews Thursday that the drawdown should begin now.

Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) drafted a simpler resolution calling for an immediate withdrawal of troops, saying it was a fair interpretation of Murtha's intent.

I mean, to me Murtha (who is traditionally hawkish) has never said "pull out immediately." He has said that the pull out should begin now, but that's a vastly different thing. It's a proposal that means we'd have to force the Iraqi military and police to take over sooner.

The GOP bill is not a fair representation in anyone's mind, but it is an obvious political maneuver.

Accusing Murtha of political posturing is, I think, rather sick given his history. Especially on this issue.

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tern
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Murtha is posturing. I can say this, I'm a Marine.

What the media isn't telling you is that Murtha was speaking out against the war six months after it started. Cowards run. Marines don't.

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Icarus
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Wow. You can serve in the Marines and be decorated--specifically for valor--and even that is not enough to make your courage unimpeachable.

Pathetic.

If you're a Marine, I would think you would not want to see the name cheapened like that, but what do I know.

"Coward" has become the latest word whose meaning is now "person who disagrees with me."

Well, at least that means dissentors are not traitors anymore, right?

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fugu13
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You do realize that when you make exact quotations of talking points, it rather undermines any point you might have (though you wouldn't have much of one even were your statement original)?

edit: just to make clear, this is in response to tern, who is blatantly stealing the rhetoric of one of Murtha's critics

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Bob_Scopatz
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Maybe tern is the one who allegedly called the good representative.


tern, I have to ask, if you became convinced that a war or order was based on deliberate misrepresentation of the facts, would you as a Marine feel honor bound to do something about it? Or, would your conscience tell you that orders is orders and you should just shut up and do what you're told?

I personally think that attacking Murtha is a cheap shot. If you think he's a coward, could you explain just in what way he's being cowardly. Or is it just that calling for accountability in war is embarrassing?

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MrSquicky
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Murtha was speaking out about how the war was conducted, not about the war itself. He was concerned, as in fact were many serious former soldiers who've been in combat (a quality that is lacking from the people making the descisions about Iraq), that the administration was not directing the war correctly nor showing sufficient concern for the well-being of the troops. I don't see how that makes him a coward. But then tern, perhaps you feel that people being concerned that your life and safety are being put in harms way in an irresponsible manner are cowardly for speaking up.

edit: I only had to add the "who've been in combat" qualification as a nod to the brief and completely stateside service of Donald Rumsfeld. The rest of the adminsitration seemed to prefer the oh so courageous "get out of military service through my connections" when called upon to serve. And the President couldn't even live up to that commitment. The only legitimate combat soldier they had, Colin Powell, was shut out of the decision making process.

[ November 19, 2005, 12:59 PM: Message edited by: MrSquicky ]

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Bob_Scopatz
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Icarus, it seems that everyone's credentials mean nothing anymore. Religious leaders with no specific expertise in the biological can influence the teaching of that science by referencing "scientists" who support them. Decorated soldiers are "cowards" if they don't support GW Bush.

While I believe that no-one's credibility is so great as to make them above questioning, the trend has gone so far in the wrong direction that people seem eager to listen to anyone who agrees with them, and completely discount the expertise and credibility of those who do not agree with them.

It has me very worried. If we, as a culture, do not value experience and education -- at least to the point of listening to people who have earned the right to speak on a particular subject -- then why would anyone bother taking the time to gain that expertise or experience?

If all it takes is the ability to tell the largest crowd whatever it is they want to hear...any sociopath can do that.

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Storm Saxon
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I can't find the text that reflects Murtha's exact words, but from the portion of the news that I caught, Murtha didn't appear to be advocating complete abandonment of Iraq. I believed the words he used were something like "withdraw over the horizon", ie withdraw close to Iraq, to keep an eye on things, but otherwise let the Iraqis fend for themselves.

I think this is rapidly becoming a good idea.

I supported our invasion of Iraq. I hope things work out in Iraq. However, I think the time has pretty much arrived when it's clear that we've done all we can and the Iraqis have to shoulder the burden.

I give it another year. No more.

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Storm Saxon
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P.S. If they can smear Max Cleland and John McCain as unpatriotic, they can do it to anyone.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
What the media isn't telling you is that Murtha was speaking out against the war six months after it started. Cowards run. Marines don't.
Tern,

Instead of talking about the issue in this thread, I'll just focus on something very specific. Murtha is a decorated combat veteran Marine, who is known in government as being hawkish.

You've called him a coward. This accusation necessarily means one of a few things. Either you didn't know he was a decorated combat veteran Marine, you believe that his combat experience is overplayed and his commendations cheaply given, or you think that since he was a decorated combat veteran Marine, he has become a coward.

You say you're a Marine. Then you should have some idea of how serious it is to call a combat veteran a coward. So which item on the list do you believe is the truth? You must pick one, or else recant your statement.

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Lyrhawn
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Tern I will ignore. To me his words are hollow, and aren't worthy of arguing, I'll let others do that.

As for the suggestion of pulling out. Much as I have always been against the war, I have until recently also been against pulling out. But I'm starting to change my mind. Don't get me wrong, I don't think we should cut and run, leaving the Iraqis a bloodbath in our wake.

But I am starting to wonder about some things. Are our troops doing more harm than good over there?

Suicide bombers attack US troops and in the process kill scores of Iraqi civilians. When the civilians get angry, the terrorists say they were only trying to kill the Americans, and everyone else was merely a bystander. And if you have a population willing to believe that, all you have to do is say it, and you'll never lose their support.

US troops make targets out of civilians, not by actually killing them, but just by being there. Maybe we should finish setting up their government, set up their security forces a bit more, and then withdraw to the rim to see what happens. The suicide bombers won't have US troops to attack, or US businesses like in Amman. They will either be forced to commit to all out civil war, or to shut up. If they attack civilains without a pretext of attacking our troops, they would lose the support of the populace.

Perhaps it's for them to form the nation on their own, rather than have it thrust upon them.

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MrSquicky
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I think offering a timetable is a good idea, but I don't know that focusing primarily on the troops withdrawing is the way to go. Rather, I think our focus should be on building the infrasctructure and Iraq abilities such that, if we're sucessful, they won't need the troops there anymore. The troops withdrawing would be part of the timetable, but tied into the accomplishments of these other things. this way, they're part of the larger whole, with the idea that "They're leaving because they aren't needed.", which I think will have the same postive effects as making the troops leaving the primary focus, but without some of the negative effects.
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tern
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I don't think that Murtha was a coward when he served. And in combat, I'm sure that he was a good Marine. I'm not denying that. However, this is thirty nine years after he won his medals. Is he a coward now? I have no idea. Do I consider what he is advocating cowardly? Yes. So Rakeesh, I'll go with a modified version of your number three.
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tern
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quote:
I think offering a timetable is a good idea, but I don't know that focusing primarily on the troops withdrawing is the way to go. Rather, I think our focus should be on building the infrasctructure and Iraq abilities such that, if we're sucessful, they won't need the troops there anymore.
That's a great idea.
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Storm Saxon
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It's the obvious idea that no one can actually give a timetable for. [Smile]

Look, until we invade and wipeout that Islamists/anti-American ideologues in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Syria, that day is never going to come.

Are we ever going to invade any of those countries? Not in the near future, if ever.

We've built up what we can. Things are better now than before we got there.

The Iraqi military, while not quite there yet, is doing well on the Syrian border, and has doen well in Falleujah (sp). It doesn't need the whole U.S. military there to train them and supplement them to bring them up to strength, when there are plenty of jobless young men who would love to join, and we can just leave a small training force to train the rest. Let's go. We've done what we could.

Good luck, Iraq. Your future is in your hands.

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Bob_Scopatz
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quote:
That's a great idea.
Have you examined closely what Murtha is saying? Perhaps you'd find he is full of the very same good idea.
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tern
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My concern about pulling out of Iraq is that we won't finish what we came to do. Mr. Squicky's idea of conditioning the troop pullout on completing the mission is wonderful, and combines the best of both worlds.

Last thing I'll say about Murtha, and then I'll give it a rest. I just came from his website, and it seems like he has a genuine concern for the troops and their welfare. It seems like he put forth his proposal with the best of intentions. I still feel like it's a cowardly idea, however. Oh well, good men can still have bad ideas.

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tern
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Bob, not according to the resolution. You can find it on his entry on Wikipedia. It doesn't give any of his reasoning, nor does it put any conditions on withdrawal. Maybe he has the same good idea, but that isn't what he proposed.
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Storm Saxon
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quote:

My concern about pulling out of Iraq is that we won't finish what we came to do.

And that is what?
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tern
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Heh, and my second concern is that nobody seems to know what we came to do...but whatever we came to do, we haven't finished it - we haven't finished anything over there, except overthrow Saddam.
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Storm Saxon
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I don't understand. You say you want to stay until we finish what we came there to do, but, as I hinted at before, if neither you nor anyone else can really say if that will ever happen, are you saying that you're willing to see us stay there indefinitely?
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Storm Saxon
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And let me ask another question. Is it not worrisome that...two, three years into Iraq, no one is willing to give a timetable? That no one, it seems, can give a timetable?
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Lyrhawn
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I think we went there to do something that hasn't been in effect for a few thousand years, to build a stable society not based on fear and religious fantacism.

Good luck with that.

I think maybe it isn't a bad idea to change our mission objective. Bravado and pride aren't helping the situation. Running around saying that if we cut and run it isn't American is crap. America regularly cuts and runs when it isn't in its best interests to stay. I think it is now beyond EVERYONE's best interests that we stay, and that a great many people would be better off if we retreated to Kuwait, maybe Jordan, Turkey, perhaps some in the far north more stable Kurdish areas.

If the insurgents attempt a coup we can always rush right back in and stop them, we're really good at toppling unstable governments. Once their government is set up, let's pull out a bunch of troops and get the Iraqis in there. Let them win the battle for the hearts and minds.

That battle is one the American forces have probably already lost.

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Bob_Scopatz
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Here's what he's proposing:

quote:

To immediately redeploy U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces.
To create a quick reaction force in the region.
To create an over- the- horizon presence of Marines.
To diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq

John Murtha

I'm still not sure how that earns him your scorn.

I can see how some of his statements might displease a person in the military, though. He has said things like we cannot accomplish anything more militarily in Iraq. He's blasted the continued inability to get the aid money committed and see real progress in things like the unemployment rate, infrastructure repairs, etc.

I'm VERY concerned about those things and I am not convinced that the military is or can get the job done the way it was outlined to the people.

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Storm Saxon
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I think Murtha is right on the money, though I would be curious whether we would remain in country, and somehow remain neutral if a civil war broke out, or be stationed in, say, Kuwait...and remain neutral if civil war or partisan fighting broke out.

I think my belief is that, unless a foreign power invades, we let the Iraqis sort it out for themselves, up to, and including, bloody civil war.

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tern
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quote:
Originally posted by Storm Saxon:
And let me ask another question. Is it not worrisome that...two, three years into Iraq, no one is willing to give a timetable? That no one, it seems, can give a timetable?

A timetable for what? Withdrawal? As we've stayed in Germany and Japan for sixty years, I'm not quite concerned yet that three years into Iraq we don't have what we still don't have for our enemies in WWII.

Now, I'd really like to see goals laid out for what needs to be done in Iraq, and a timetable done for that - even though we didn't have such a timetable after WWII.

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tern
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quote:
Originally posted by Storm Saxon:
I don't understand. You say you want to stay until we finish what we came there to do, but, as I hinted at before, if neither you nor anyone else can really say if that will ever happen, are you saying that you're willing to see us stay there indefinitely?

What Bush says is that our goal is to give Iraq a stable democracy. Unfortunately, I've seen too many conflicting signals from all sides, and it doesn't seem like there is a consensus on this goal.
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tern
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quote:
If the insurgents attempt a coup we can always rush right back in and stop them, we're really good at toppling unstable governments. Once their government is set up, let's pull out a bunch of troops and get the Iraqis in there. Let them win the battle for the hearts and minds.
With as much acrimony as there is in the United States regarding our current presence in Iraq, do you think there is any chance that we could do this after we pull out?
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tern
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quote:
I think we went there to do something that hasn't been in effect for a few thousand years, to build a stable society not based on fear and religious fantacism.
That's an accurate sumnation of what I hope we went in there to do. I don't think it's impossible, however - we accomplished a similar goal in Japan.
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tern
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quote:
I can see how some of his statements might displease a person in the military, though. He has said things like we cannot accomplish anything more militarily in Iraq. He's blasted the continued inability to get the aid money committed and see real progress in things like the unemployment rate, infrastructure repairs, etc.

I'm VERY concerned about those things and I am not convinced that the military is or can get the job done the way it was outlined to the people.

The military is the wrong tool for these things, yes. What the military is necessary for is enforcing order and peace sufficient to allow other people to accomplish these goals. As bad as it is now, can you imagine how much worse it would be if we left? Fat chance rebuilding then.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
I think my belief is that, unless a foreign power invades, we let the Iraqis sort it out for themselves, up to, and including, bloody civil war.
Now that I don't agree with. Including a bloody civil war? A civil war there could last decades, and we would be to blame for it. Leaving Iraq in a civil war is leaving it a hundred times WORSE than when we first got there.

Besides, I think it's almost impossible to have a civil war in Iraq without foriegn powers invading. When they break into civil war, the country breaks into three pieces, the same way it was before Britain decided to play Cartographer. Kurdish Iraq goes independent, and leaves everyone else alone, at which point Turkey invades Kurdistan. The Sunnis and Shiites in the south beat the crap out of each of each other for awhile, and then I believe Iran will rush in to help their Shiite brothers. And then what, we get into a fight with Iran AND Turkey? A NATO ally? Right.

Letting them fight out a civil war would be a disaster. Even if only 10% of what I just said actually happens.

quote:
With as much acrimony as there is in the United States regarding our current presence in Iraq, do you think there is any chance that we could do this after we pull out?
Yes, I do. A guided missile could do it. A small strike team could do it. A single tank division could do it. Taking out an unsupported leadership is somethingw we've turned into a sick art form. We could do it in a moment, and Bush would just call it an arm of the war on terrorism.

quote:
That's an accurate sumnation of what I hope we went in there to do. I don't think it's impossible, however - we accomplished a similar goal in Japan.
It IS impossible for a foriegn power though. Until they can resolve the problems for themselves, there will never be a lasting peace, and as of now, they don't want us to be their power broker. You can't make comparisons like that. Japan was ready and willing to make the changes we made over there. They embraced American culture and our help, for bette or for worse. I don't see how you can even suggest that it's the same thing in Iraq.
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fugu13
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tern -- Japan already had the noted benefits of being a far more advanced society, technically, and being a largely integrated society. Iraq is heavily divided into factions based on religious, social, and ethnic lines, as well as being far behind where Japan was technically (strong technical accomplishment provides economic foundations).
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Yank
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quote:
tern -- Japan already had the noted benefits of being a far more advanced society, technically, and being a largely integrated society. Iraq is heavily divided into factions based on religious, social, and ethnic lines, as well as being far behind where Japan was technically (strong technical accomplishment provides economic foundations).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

All this is certainly true enough. I'm not sure a comparison to Japan is terribly apt, as the challenge of rebuilding it, and the conditions in which we did, were very different, but I would like to point out that the rebuilding of Japan was probably just as challenging in its own way. We're talking about the conversion of one of the most fanatical and xenophobic militaristic theocracies in the history of the world into a peaceful (semi) democracy. By the "semi" I mean not a democracy as we understand it; Japanese culture produced a very different sort of republic than the one we live in, much more authoritarian yet much less overtly contentious. And much less "democratic" in the sense allowing the demos as opposed to the high-status elites to run things. Iraq is similar in that Islamic culture will likely produce a (semi) democratic government. But that's what happens when you let people build their own government. That's what happens whenever you grant human beings freedom: they'll do stuff you don't like. I don't think that the rebuilding of Iraq is necessarily going to be much more difficult than Japan's was. Of course, in quantifying the "difficulty" of rebuilding Japan you have to factor in what went on before the "rebuilding" began; we had shed rivers of blood in fighting them, firebombed Tokyo almost to the ground, used a new and incomprehensibly powerful terror-weapon on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (of which they thought we had more) and smashed much of their cultural world view and self-image into tiny tinkling bits. It was monstrously difficult. And I think we may be in for a very long haul in Iraq also, for the reasons you've described. I'm especially concerned with the deep and powerful currents of religious, ethnic, and political tribalism that tear at their unity.

But I think it can be done. I think they can survive. I think it's a good endeavor and one worth paying a heavy price for. I think that while it's unwise to recognize all the nasty problems, it's also foolish to underestimate the power of ideas. Like the *idea* of Iraq, Iraq as a unified country, where they are *Iraqis* and not just Sunnis and Shi'ites and Kurds. Like the idea of freedom, and democracy; of having a government that is really *theirs* and not the Ba'athist's or the English Crown's or the Sheikh's, but *theirs*.

Most of the "insurgents"-almost all of them now-are not Iraqis, but carpetbag terrorists thrilled at the idea that there is an American target in the Middle East on which to bequeath their poorly aimed gunfire and singed human shrapnel. Which means they're not really "insurgents" in the usual sense of the word. This is both positive, in that many Iraqis recognize them as foreigners and despise them for coming in and killing Iraqis, and negative, in that as long as we're there, the prospect of an "American" target will be tempting. It's possible that, if we left, these terrorists would be seen by the Arab world as just attacking fellow Arabs. Possible, but not probable; never underestimate Al-Jazeera and Company's capacity for distortion, prevarication, paranoia, conspiracy-mongering, victim-swapping, misrepresentation, pandering, and a thousand other varieties of general whatsit production. It's much more probable that they'd just decide the Americans are cowards (something already very important to their worldview) and step things up a notch or twenty.

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fugu13
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Calling Japan at any time a theocracy is a bit of a misnomer, as while there was Empereror-reverence, the country was not governed by a priest-caste, nor were decisions particularly heavily influenced by religious considerations compared to other monarchies throughout history.

As for most of the insurgents being foreigners, I believe I saw an article just recently that debunked that. One figure cited was "between 4 and 10 percent".

Ah, this wasn't the article I read, but its a good read on the topic, and by an excellent source: http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0923/dailyUpdate.html

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Sterling
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I don't want to see any more of our soldiers killed in Iraq. And I think the rhetoric that's being used by those politicians who favor keeping our forces there is abhorrent, and ought to be to everyone. You don't let young people die to "show your resolve", thousands of miles away. You don't keep throwing the deaths of our citizens in our faces, long after it's been disproven that there was any connection between those deaths and the country we invaded. You don't accuse people who are tired of seeing their sons and daughters come back in flag-draped coffins of cowardice and "blaming America first". You don't keep trying to provoke fear and anger in the name of rallying support to your cause, then claim you only want to foster unity. You don't drown out all discussion, all plans that vary from your vision, and then refuse to accept responsibility for the fiasco you created.

The people who are responsible for this war are scum. And I don't say that lightly.

And, yet. <sigh>

I don't want to punish the Iraqi people by letting a regime twice as bad as the one that was deposed take its place. I don't want the desire to punish the fools responsible for this mess to overwhelm the responsibility to deal with the situation as it stands now.

We need to start thinking about how we're going to get out of Iraq. And to have that happen, certain blowhards are going to have to shut up.

We also have to start thinking beyond Iraq, because I don't think it's remotely realistic to say that democracy is suddenly going to flourish in the Middle East because of our showing a willingness to engage in unilateral "pre-emptive" war, and a simple "we kill the people we define as terrorists until they're all dead" strategy is just idiocy.

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Dan_raven
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One of the many mistakes that the Republicans are making with this war is to define the terms with, "You are either 100% in agreement with all we do, or you are a terrible person supporting the terrorists."

Many people out there feel that something is wrong with the way the war is being handled. From the "handling" of intelligence before the war to the "handling" of armor for our troops, there are questions that need to be answered.

And they need to be answered for the sake of our brave and worth soldiers risking their lives.

However, the public is being told, "You can't ask that question. To question how we are fighting means you want us to be cowardly and run."

If you force the people to choose between leaving Iraq or continueing to fight this un-war in a bad way, sooner or later, with no other practical choice being offered, the people will choose to leave.

And I think leaving, right now, would be wrong. I think refusing to fix what is wrong with how he are handling the war is also wrong.

PS. The main reason the Republicans are demanding this vote now is an attempt to stifle the Democrats for questioning policy. If a Democrat realizes that immiediate evacuation of Iraq is morally wrong, so votes for the bill, then the next time they question the war the Republicans will get on all the conservative media and state, "He's a hypocrate. Why back in November he voted to keep the war going."

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Rakeesh
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Tern,

I suppose I can accept that explanation, but there is a problem with it. Advocating retreat, withdrawl, advancing to the rear, whatever you call it, is not automatically cowardly.

The definition of a coward is someone who shows ignoble fear in the face of danger or pain. So if, for example, Rep. Murtha were advocating withdrawl while expressing fear for his career or of the "insurgency", he would be a coward. It is not necessarily cowardly to advocate retreat in the face of unexpected or adverse circumstances in order to save one's soldiers.

I'll illustrate with an example. Would Custer have been cowardly if when he entered the Little Big Horn and saw what was arrayed against him and he retreated (if he'd had that option by that time), would he have been a coward? Surely you'll agree he would not have been behaving in a cowardly fashion, right?

Granted, the situation here is not as straightforward as Custer's Last Stand, by any means. It seems to me that the area has much more gray in a military sense, on top of all the gray political murkiness involved as well. But I'm just trying to say that just because someone advises retreat, does not make them a coward. Similarly, retreat is not always a cowardly option, which is precisely what you implied at first.

I think one should be much more cautious and respectful when it comes to slinging those sorts of accusations to combat veterans of military service.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
Yes, I do. A guided missile could do it. A small strike team could do it. A single tank division could do it. Taking out an unsupported leadership is somethingw we've turned into a sick art form. We could do it in a moment, and Bush would just call it an arm of the war on terrorism.
I'd be curious to hear when and where we've developed such skills to a "sick art form".
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Bean Counter
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A timetable for withdrawl from our enemies point of view is an attack date. The day we set a day for withdrawl is the day the enemy sets for victory. It is that simple, they will hunker down, they will sit on caches, they will amass money and spread the word and they they will lash out at the new government from Syria and Iran and from within.

I cannot believe that you people are too foolish to see this clear and obvious fact, or recognize what a disaster such a date was in Viet Nam.

This war is won, it takes two things to put the cherry on top, us staying long enough for the tree to take root, and us stealing any hope the enemy has to win back the day. That hope comes from the daily magnification of our losses by the liberal media and the self serving grandstanding of Democrates maneuvering for significance as a Lame Duck President winds down his duty.

Both activities undermine the war effort of the United States of America, a thing we used to call Treason.

Is it still Treason if the war is based on false or magnified intellegence? He** yes it is! You play the cards you have, there are all kinds of things back home that I disagree with. Does that mean I will lay down arms and refuse to go out on patrol? He** no!

You can only fight a war to win, you people who are American Citizens need to consider how much more it will cost you individually and as a Nation if you manage to make us lose this thing with your stupidity. Let the soldiers fight, the leaders now have one great thing that the peanut gallery lacks, they have the facts we gather day to day to base their plans on. Let them do the job they were trained to do.

BC

[ November 20, 2005, 01:40 PM: Message edited by: Bean Counter ]

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Dan_raven
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BC: I agree with you.

I believe setting a timetable or date is just what the Insurgence have been lobbying for.

I believe that too quickly turning over our responsibilities in Iraq to unready Iraqi defence forces will be a blight on America's name.

However, I believe that the administrations inflexibiity, its demand that we are right and any questioning of that right is treason, and its tendency to blame others will result in the US doing just that.

And when the disaster occurs, the Republicans will blame the Democrats for forcing them to leave, while the Democrats will blame the Republicans for the war to begin with and while everyone in the US, in their nice comfortable arm chairs blame each other, the people of Iraq will suffer ever more.

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TomDavidson
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quote:

Both activities undermine the war effort of the United States of America, a thing we used to call Treason.

Is it Treason is the war is based on false or magnified intellegence? He** yes it is!

So if I understand you correctly, you're saying that it's treasonous coming and going?

What would have been the ethical, non-treasonous approach?

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Chris Bridges
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If you haven't yet, read this speech from John McCain which sets forth real and compelling reasons for staying in Iraq and suggests realistic and sensible things we should be doing to improve the situation. Things we are not doing now. Things McCain, a staunch supporter of the war since the beginning, has been deeply critical of for just as long.

I started from the opposite direction - I felt this war was a huge mistake that was forced upon us by an overeager and incompetent adminstration - but I find I agree with Sen. McCain more often than not. Now that we're there, for whatever reason, I think simply pulling out would be worse than never going there in the first place.

But I'm not interested in "we must keep going" or "we must pull out immediately" arguments, and those seem to be the only ones anyone talks about. How about we talk about the best way to preserve American lives and security AND work to leave Iraq in better shape than we found it? Suggestions? Here's a quick summary of his:

Stop trying to contain all of Iraq. Instead, work to create safe zones, patrolled by US and Iraqi forces, so that life can go on, reconstruction can make some headway and democracy can flourish. Expand as possible, and send out teams to actively find insurgents.

Keep senior officers in place. The Pentagon seems to have the policy of rotating out skilled leaders instead of putting them where their expertise serves us best.

Involve more of the government besides the Pentagon to fight insurgency such as "aid, trade, wells, schools, training" etc. We're not just fighting, we're rebuilding. This is being done, McCain implies, but it's not a priority and it should be.

Build loyalty in the armed forces by diversifying the troops instead of swallowing militias whole. It's good for the troops and for the people they encounter if Kurdish and Shia and Sunni are seen working and fighting on the same side.

Pressure Syria over their insurgent assistance.

Win the homefront by being completely honest about the situation in Iraq. Tell the American people what's at stake and what must be done, but avoid rosy scenarios or doomsday proclamations.

Anybody else? Give me real options, real policy suggestions, instead of vague jingo sound bites. Stop attacking the opposition with the "Oh yeah? So's your mother!" style of debate.

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Bean Counter
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I edited that part to clear it up a bit, my point is that we are at war now against a designated enemy so no matter how we came to be there helping that enemy is still Treason.

We have a great deal of ongoing construction and infrastructure development, it is not slowed by lack of priority, it is slowed down because security has to be the No. 1 priority. Security of the site, security for the workers and security against infiltrators. That is just the way it has to be.

We found a map with distance and directions to the Chow Hall and the PX along with an illegal Cell phone on a LN worker this week. Had to wear IBA and Kevlar to breakfast!

Even the non insurgent locals will steal anything not protected by security forces if you leave it overnight, even if you are building them a water system or power grid or school. They are not up to the moral level that includes the community. Yet every Iraqi you arm is likely to be another thug. So we secure what we can ourselves and the build is slower. The body count is lower.

BC

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Megan
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Treason is the new communism.

McCarthy, anyone?

Speaking of which, I'm really curious to see this movie.

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Chris Bridges
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I believe that when we should pull out and leave is obvious: when the democratic Iraqi government, comfortable with their level of control and effectiveness, asks us to.
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tern
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quote:
Treason is the new communism.
Communism really was a threat, but McCarthy went about it the wrong way. Actually communism and it's related ideologies and their adherents are still a threat.

That being said, I disagree with Bean Counter that what is happening is treason. It's sedition.

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fugu13
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He's inciting rebellion? You have a really strange idea of what "bring the troops home so they'll be safe" translates as.
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Paul Goldner
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"Both activities undermine the war effort of the United States of America, a thing we used to call Treason."

You really should look up the legal meaning of treason within the United States. Cause, what you describe ain't it. And, incidentally, never was. So if you used to call it treason, you were mistaken then too.

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Bob_Scopatz
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quote:
It's sedition.
Our form of government guarantees the right of citizens to disagree with their government and to do so peaceably (that's what the right of peaceable assembly is all about, among other rights we enjoy as US citizens).

If the government now claims that everyone who disagrees with them is inciting insurrection against their lawful actions (the defintion of sedition), then they're going to have to start arresting an awful lot of people.

I'm sorry, but throwing terms around like treason and sedition is just not meaningful in the context of a discussion on a bulletin board.

[ November 20, 2005, 09:38 PM: Message edited by: Bob_Scopatz ]

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Storm Saxon
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I have to give Bush props for showing a level of class sorely lacking in a lot of the members of his party.
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