Friday, October 06, 2006

Breaker Morant

Who else should be indicted? From a BBC article on the trial of seven Marines for actions in Hamdaniya. “A Navy medic has told his court-martial in California how US marines seized an Iraqi civilian, threw him into a hole and shot him in the head 10 times. … [the medic] Petty Officer Bacos said he was on patrol with the marine squad who were looking for an insurgent - Saleh Gowad - who had been captured three times but released. Petty Officer Bacos said the marines were angry the insurgent had been freed and, frustrated at not finding him, instead seized civilian Hashim Awad from his home.” (BBC)

One might facetiously suggest that for complete justice to be served, the seven Marines should be imprisoned in Iraq and allowed to escape as many times as is normal in that country. It makes about as much sense as anything else. And while a murder is a murder, not in the least because it is a violation of the laws under which the Marines operate, there is something hideous about a process in which an innocent Iraqi civilian and seven young American men wind up dead or imprisoned while Saleh Gowad tip-toes through the tulips and the antiwar crowd laps it up.


A commenter writes to say that my dig at the antiwar crowd above was unfair.

I think that's amazingly unfair.

I'm not aware of any people who oppose the war in Iraq "lapping up" these tragedies. I'm not aware of any anti-war people setting policies in Iraq. If there was anyone setting policies in Iraq I'd assume you'd have to first look to the Bush administration, civilian appointees at the Pentagon, various State Department figures, and finally the Iraqi government.

In defense, I copied out a cartoon which I think expresses the widely held view in antiwar circles that a secret policy of brutality exists for which low ranking officers or enlisted men will be blamed. According to this view, the impetus for War Crimes really comes from on high, except that only lowly enlisted Marine will be held to account for it. Isn't that a fair statement of the antiwar point of view?

 

 

But the reality Petty Officer Bacos described is different. Here we have the hooded man being released — not chained — as depicted in the cartoon above. Released to kill and plant IEDs again. It is not the policy of excessive cruelty but the policy of excessive leniency which, according to Petty Officer Bacos, drove those men to perform the acts he described. I think it is fair to say that a lot of that leniency has been implemented precisely to mollify the antiwar crowd, the crowd which holds that America is too cruel. And because the accused Marines felt they could not defend themselves under the Politically Correct regime they resorted to their version of Rule 303. That does not justify the act; it does not exculpate the Administration for the responsibility of its policies or the breakdown in discipline but I think it is useless to pretend that the Left did not have some share in this tragedy.

Nor will this be the end. Have we not heard the argument that we should implement the Geneva Conventions to the letter, but trust that some intelligence officer will "throw himself under a bus" and "do the right thing" if he must interrogate a terrorist for information which might save a large number of lives? There is a price to be paid for fighting a politically correct war. Society might conciously be willing to pay that price but it cannot pretend that releasing a terrorist thrice will have no consequences. 


Note: Those who are intrigued by the reference might want to visit the Wikipedia article the Court Martial of Breaker Morant which illustrates the ambiguities of men who must win a war and yet conform to public expectations. Here's an actual exchange between Morant and the prosecutor.

When asked by the President whether his court had been constituted like the court-martial, and whether he had observed certain of the King's Regulations, Morant responded defiantly. His reply, as recorded by Witton, is legendary: "Was it like this?" fiercely answered Morant. "No; it was not quite so handsome. As to rules and regulations, we had no Red Book, and knew nothing about them. We were out fighting the Boers, not sitting comfortably behind barb-wire entanglements; we got them and shot them under Rule 303," referring to the Lee-Enfield .303 caliber rifles the Carbineers carried.

74 Comments:

Blogger Arthur Dent said...

The lines have been so clearly drawn that everyone should be able to choose sides. With that said, many will still point to Amerikkka as the problem.

Perhaps we could all get together, form a commitee, and save Darfur (just to show we care).

10/06/2006 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger James Kielland said...

"there is something hideous about a process in which an innocent Iraqi civilian and seven young American men wind up dead or imprisoned while Saleh Gowad tip-toes through the tulips and the antiwar crowd laps it up."

I think that's amazingly unfair.

I'm not aware of any people who oppose the war in Iraq "lapping up" these tragedies. I'm not aware of any anti-war people setting policies in Iraq. If there was anyone setting policies in Iraq I'd assume you'd have to first look to the Bush administration, civilian appointees at the Pentagon, various State Department figures, and finally the Iraqi government.

Yes, it is a tragedy that this innocent Iraqi has lost his life and that these Marines will undoubtedly have the rest of their lives severely harmed. And ultimately the responsibility for the tragedy lies with those who put them in this position, fighting with odd rules of engagement and in a battlespace shaped by years of goofy decisions.

We don't have to look very far to find those people. And I strongly suspect that their decisions and actions haven't been unduly influenced by the anti-war crowd.

10/06/2006 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

James,

You don't give yourself enough credit. The anti-war crowd has helped make policy in Iraq, it's just that you have helped the other side with their own policy. Where in this conflict are the anti-war types asserting their superiority? Are they operating in some of the most oppressed regions of the world helping and protecting women, homosexuals, or democracy advocates? No they are not. The anti-war crowd doesn't care for these minority groups.

Its Bushitler you are worried about. The anti-war crowd for years now has been giving moral support to the most racist, sexist, homophobic, and anti-environmental group of people on the planet. And no, I'm not talking about Texans, I'm talking about the Islamists.

Grunts like myself and thousands of others have done more for minority rights around the world than any anti-war/social justice group from the US or Europe.

So be proud of your efforts. You are making a huge impact in our world. I'm sure your granddaughter will be proud of you when you tell her how you faced down Bush.

10/06/2006 06:21:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

Every "Abu Grahib", every "Pendleton 8" does incalculable damage to the mission in Iraq and the US image abroad, and blaming it somehow on the anti-war crowd defies belief. It's like pointing the finger at the Democrats for the Mark Foley thing. There's Rules of Engagement, and there's a thing called military discipline, and there's a thing called plain decency.

10/06/2006 06:35:00 PM  
Blogger Juggernaut said...

Under the the rules that have been set who willfight for us hogtied and hamstrung?
Who will be willing to take up arms for us let alone along side us as "allies"?
What effect do these ROE, Catch and Release Programs and how nicely the animals in Gitmo are treated to the morale of those who fight?
There will alway be some but will they're always be enough?

JT

10/06/2006 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

There's Rules of Engagement, and there's a thing called military discipline, and there's a thing called plain decency.

And the next question is how did those rules of engagement come to be so restrictive. Remember the Marine who shot the Terrorist in the head during the battle for Fallujah? He was threatened with a court martial. How ridiculous was that? Marine CNN

Did those rule of engagement come from our experiences on the battlefield or were they driven by the demands of those who believe that we shouldn't be fighting. Furthermore if we are fighting the rules should be such that the rules themselves can limit as much as possible the damage done by our military. Which has the effect of drawing out our wars so long that we cannot win?

A fact that is not faced by the talking heads on TV is war is about killing and terrorizing. In war you must break the will of those you are fighting. You don't do that by being gentle and merciful. You do that by murdering them in such large numbers that they tremble at your approach.

The only rules that should be imposed on our military are those rules that enable them to win as quickly as possible. I wrote a piece about that which explains my position better than I am doing here...

Secrecy and Stealth, fighting ghosts with rules and September 11, 2001

10/06/2006 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger buck smith said...

Teresita says "There's Rules of Engagement, and there's a thing called military discipline, and there's a thing called plain decency." But Wretchards question is are there Rules of engagement for Saleh Gowad, say via Geneva. As near as I can tell It seems like the jihadis get the protections of Geneva conventions and the US soldiers get the prosecutions of Geneva conventions. If Bush were serious about supporting US troops he would do something to equalize this.

10/06/2006 07:49:00 PM  
Blogger java_thread said...

A war has never been won with the current US rules of engagement.

Return to the Geneva Convention and start summary executions for terrorists/pirates.

If the US doesn’t have the stomach to fight, then surrender already.

Think wars were more genteel in the past? Read the best memoir from WW II
“With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa” by E.B. Sledge.

http://www.amazon.com/Old-Breed-At-Peleliu-Okinawa/dp/0195067142

10/06/2006 07:51:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

There are no rules to war, unless you want to die. There are the illusions of rules. We discussed this in June
2164th said...
Rule 303

Major Thomas: "Tell me, Mr. Robertson what was Lt Hancock's reason for putting Boer prisoners on open cattle cars on the trains."
Capt. Robertson: "Well the Boers had been mining the lines and blowing up a lot of trains. He thought it might stop them."
Major Thomas: "Well did it?"
[Robertson looks at the prosecutor]
Major Thomas: "Did it?"
Capt. Robertson: "Yes, but I don't think..."
[he's interrupted]
Harry Morant: "We shot them under Rule 303."

Rule 303 of course is the reliable 303 British Enfield rifle. You need to take another look at the 1980 film, "Breaker Morant". It is about three Australian soldiers put in an impossible situation during the Boer war and tried for crimes of war.

The irony in all of this is the attempt to make a distinction of innocents and combatants in guerilla warfare. These are subtleties lost on young men exposed to being killed maimed and disabled daily by IED's. I second the notion aptly expressed that the guilty are the politicians that put these men in this senseless and pointless carnage. There are no innocents in a guerilla war. There are willing and unwilling participants. We are told there is no such thing as an innocent or guilty AIDS victim. We accept that.

I do not endorse what these men did. I like to think that had I been there, I would have stopped it. All of us would, but this is the beginning of the end of the US war in Iraq. It is not about acquiescent civilians, silent about bombs, planted to kill and maim US soldiers. It is not about what is right and wrong when young men are trained and sent to foreign lands to kill and destroy. They were practicing their trade in a war not of their making. They were also innocent and being killed and destroyed. The architects of this war will soon be the ones on trial and the majority of us will judge the wisdom of this venture.

Or back to Breaker Morant.

Major Thomas: “The barbarities of war are seldom committed by abnormal men. The tragedy of war is that these horrors are committed by normal men in abnormal situations.”

Was all this necessary?

6/02/2006 12:59:14 AM

10/06/2006 08:13:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Java Thread said"If the US doesn't have the stomach to fight then surrender already"Bingo!That is precisely the issue.We're drowning in political correctness and hypersensitivity to offending everyone who despises us in the world.
I am not justifying what the Marines did.I have been in situations where committing atrocities was one of the options on the table.I didn't do it,nor did I see others do it,but it is a temptation when you're put in a Kafkaesque nightmare where your own leaders don't give you means or reason to win,only a good chance to die.In Viet Nam when this sank in,drug addiction ,racial conflict and other ills set in and ruined the US military for 20 years.Teresita,its easy to moralize and obviously these incidents hurt our image,but you ain't walked in those Marine's boots and you don't have a clue what they're facing.
James K.,if you don't think there are people in the antiwar movement who relish and long for America's defeat you are blind,naive and foolish.
The Patterico posts on Gitmo were shocking portraits of the savages were fighting.Drudge today had a headline-"Reporters say Gitmo guards boast of abuse"Which is it?Are they crazed and bestial fanatics or are we the enemy.All depends on who you ask.

10/06/2006 08:36:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

In war you must break the will of those you are fighting. You don't do that by being gentle and merciful. You do that by murdering them in such large numbers that they tremble at your approach.

If the US believed the object of war was to kill as many people as possible, it would have never developed precision bombs. It would just do Arclight ops in residential neighborhoods. In Afghanistan the USSR bombed indiscrimately and killed everything that moved, and turned everyone into resentful guerillas. In Iraq only the Saddamists who have been removed from power are resentful guerrillas.

10/06/2006 08:58:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

If the US believed the object of war was to kill as many people as possible, it would have never developed precision bombs. It would just do Arclight ops in residential neighborhoods. In Afghanistan the USSR bombed indiscrimately and killed everything that moved, and turned everyone into resentful guerillas.

The Soviets were incompetent...so lets not bring them into this argument.

And I didn't advocate indiscriminate bombing or killing everything in sight. What I advocate is the sort of war we fought in WW2. Those of you advocating all these cute rules of engagement might better take a look at what passed for rules of engagement when we were serious about winning. We are not fighting this war like we think we might lose, we are fighting this war like we think we cannot lose.

Take it from me that sort of attitude is about as dangerous an attitude as might exist.

This opinion journal piece on Iwo Jima explains it well.

Yet even this valor and sacrifice is not the full story of what Iwo Jima means, or what Rosenthal's immortal photograph truly symbolizes. The lesson of Iwo Jima is in fact an ancient one, going back to Machiavelli: that sometimes free societies must be as tough and unrelenting as their enemies. Totalitarians test their opponents by generating extreme conditions of brutality and violence; in those conditions--in the streets and beheadings of Fallujah or on the beach and in the bunkers of Iwo Jima--they believe weak democratic nerves will crack. This in turn demonstrates their moral superiority: that by giving up their own decency and humanity they have become stronger than those who have not.

Read the whole thing as the saying goes. Iwo Jima The famous battle offers lessons for us 60 years later. BY ARTHUR HERMAN

10/06/2006 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

If the US believed the object of war was to kill as many people as possible, it would have never developed precision bombs.

Oh it is also worth noting that ever since we developed these wonder weapons we have lost every single fight we have entered. We don't scare anyone anymore and hoping for maniacs to be rational and give up the fight because they are facing the big bad tootless United States is like wishing for the tooth fairy. Sweet but pointless.

10/06/2006 09:40:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

The lesson of Iwo Jima is in fact an ancient one, going back to Machiavelli: that sometimes free societies must be as tough and unrelenting as their enemies.

There is nothing "tough" about murdering an innocent civilian because you can't find the perp you're looking for. There's nothing "unrelenting" about bringing some dobermans into a cell to scare the bejeezus out of a tied-up perp who won't talk. All of these are in fact profoundly cowardly acts. If we shrug, we no longer have the moral authority to protest when things like these are done to our POWs in the next conflict.

10/06/2006 09:47:00 PM  
Blogger Fellow Peacekeeper said...

I really miss the comparison with Breaker Morant : If the 8 had tied a captured insurgent to their humvee as a IED shield, or more or less justly executed a terrorist perp out of hand (such as Gowad) while however ignoring all pretence of due process, then one could compare to Breaker Morant.

But is that the case here? Who was this Awad - bystander, insurgent suspect, maybe even a coalition supporter?

Its not just a violation of the law, junior soldiers taking it upon themselves to act as ersatz einsatzkommando and shoot bystanders of the approximately correct ethnicity because they were frustrated directly undermines the mission (though thats historicaly unfair to the einsatzkommando, they murdered folks on order instead of at random). It has to be stamped on publically, lest others also get the impression its ok to be "frustrated".

Of course if it was true that this Awad character was probably one of the bad guys that'd put a different slant on it and make the Breaker Morant comparison appropriate. But is there any suggestion that Awad was a bad guy, and not a hapless bystander?

10/06/2006 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

There I was in '72, courtesy of my lottery # of 6, at beloved and departed Camp Upshur. Everybody runnin' the place was about 6 months back from Viet Nam. The platoon sergeants and sergeants instructor kept prefacing thoughts they were passing along and things they were teaching with the phrase "And when you're in the World of Sh*t...." It got me to thinking.

Lately, the thought of that vein that has been wandering inside my head is that the people defining the restrictions on our side of this struggle have probably never been in a streetfight...nor put much time into thinking through RoE and what they mean to the LCpls.... Paul Begala, Rahm Emmanuel, Sandy Berger...street fightin' men....

As to jk's "not aware" comment above: It always fascinates me how the people who counsel the appreciation of "nuance" can periodically become way "bright line"...usually when seeking to escape responsibility.

10/06/2006 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Fellow Peacekeeper,

Of course the parallels are not exact. How could they be? But the general problems are strikingly the same. The real life Morant went on a campaign of reprisals after his superior, Captain Hunt was executed and tortured by the Boers.

"Hunt's body was recovered the next day. It had been found lying in a gutter, naked and mutilated — the sinews at the backs of both knees and ankles had been severed, his legs were slashed with long knife cuts, his face had been crushed by hob-nailed boots. According to Kit Denton, he had also been castrated ..."

When news of Hunt's death reached the fort, it had a profound effect on Morant — Witton says he became "like a man demented". He immediately ordered every available man out on patrol, broke down while addressing the men, and ordered them to avenge the death of their captain and "give no quarter". ...


But it was not the reprisals for which Morant was punished. He went to trial for the incident of shooting eight Boers after they had surrendered.


On hearing of the arrests, Kitchener's Chief of Police, Provost Marshall Robert Poore remarked in his diary: "... if they had wanted to shoot Boers they should not have taken them prisoner first" — a view later ruefully echoed in his book by George Witton. With hindsight, while it is fairly certain that Morant and others did kill some prisoners, their real mistake — in terms of their subsequent court-martial — was that they killed the Boers after they captured them. As Poore noted in his diary, had they shot them before they surrendered, the repercussions might well have been considerably less serious.


Which of course brings us to another paradox: a combatant you could have lawfully blown to pieces on the battlefield five minutes before suddenly becomes a person from whom you cannot require more than his name, rank and serial number once he is in your power. In an instant you go from being a candidate for a medal to being a candidate for a court martial. It's a strange set of incentives, one which some have warned might result in fewer prisoners. But humanitarians, no less than lawyers are creatures of procedure. The battlefield is absurd. And while we recognize that the Marines may committed a crime under the law, that does not necessarily invalidate the observation that their crime and their situation was still absurd.

10/06/2006 10:29:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It is absurd that Saleh Gowad had been "Caught and Released" three times.
The "Catch and Release" policy is absurd, perhaps criminally negligent.

Where does the buck stop?

10/06/2006 10:40:00 PM  
Blogger 2164th said...

fellow peacekeper,

very thoughtful comments, I allude to this but better to hear it from Major Thomas: “The barbarities of war are seldom committed by abnormal men. The tragedy of war is that these horrors are committed by normal men in abnormal situations.”

I just looked at you web siteThe Rear Guard. it is too bad you are not posting more while you are deployed. A nice site. Many of us forget about our friends and allies while the media focuses on the US forces. Best of luck to you. Keep in touch.

10/06/2006 10:42:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

There is nothing "tough" about murdering an innocent civilian because you can't find the perp you're looking for.

No there is nothing tough about it but the point you are missing is perhaps it is the result of the sort of idiocy brought on by the "rules". Frustration at the absurdity of the entire process. We are engaged in trying to convince people to see our point...that never works. Instead we should be engaged in letting people know how terrible a price there is to pay if you should attack us. That is the only lesson we can teach. Civilization is a lesson a society must learn on its own. We can only make sure that the lesson is clear that if you attack the United States life will become worse than you can imagine.

There's nothing "unrelenting" about bringing some dobermans into a cell to scare the bejeezus out of a tied-up perp who won't talk.
Bringing Dobermans into a cell to scare the bejeezus out of a perp who won't talk is fine with me. The idea that I must sacrifice my children or my neighbors children to save some from feeling that we are barbarians in war is hard to understand. War is barbaric, the only thing worse is losing the war. There are no rules in war except winning.

Again what I see over and over again in these sorts of debates are people who seem to believe that no matter what sort of constraints we place on the military we will still win. That is so arrogant as to be almost a parody. We may not win. And that is from the people who want us to win. Those who don't want us to win and there are thousands perhaps millions in the US want those rules specifically to force us to lose.

I say to those who demand rules that ok but the first up for sacrifice should be the families of those who advocate such nonsense. Let McCain put up his family for sacrifice at the altar of his grandstanding...let Murtha put up his family to be sacrificed on the altar of feelgood rules. Instead those punks sacrifice soldiers who die because we are afraid of sullying our fine reputations for genteelness.

I won't sacrifice ONE US soldier to save 10,000 of the enemy.

10/06/2006 11:12:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

Yes this same thought has struck me time and time again. I wonder just how many have been in a serious fight for survival? Not many I would wager. Politicians, Professors, the Media and on and on through our elite all defenseless lambs who need to have rules in their fights. hehe...

Lately, the thought of that vein that has been wandering inside my head is that the people defining the restrictions on our side of this struggle have probably never been in a streetfight...nor put much time into thinking through RoE and what they mean to the LCpls.... Paul Begala, Rahm Emmanuel, Sandy Berger...street fightin' men....

10/06/2006 11:18:00 PM  
Blogger jj mollo said...

Is this not a serious fight for survival? And we are all in it. There is, however, a legitimate argument that we need to follow a set of rules, some set of rules anyway. The argument goes to reciprocity, and McCain and Colin Powell are pushing that viewpoint.

However, we are not getting reciprocity, and we should not be defining our rules of engagement to mollify political opponents of the war. We won't get reciprocity on that one either.

The second reason to support rules is for the sake of regularity. Since orders are frequently counterintuitive by the time they reach the end user, they need to be accepted and effected as given. Frustration is part of the job description. These guys surely knew that their commanding officer would not approve of their actions.

10/07/2006 12:24:00 AM  
Blogger Ed onWestSlope said...

Pierre Legrand -- "The idea that I must sacrifice my children or my neighbors children to save some from feeling that we are barbarians in war is hard to understand. War is barbaric, the only thing worse is losing the war. There are no rules in war except winning."

There are rules. We must be moral. The problem reaches our present stage because we have ignored the basic rules, early on. The compounding of errors always makes for worse decisions down the road. How to win the necessary victory when the advantage has been given/taken away?

In 1971, I was spending some 'quality' time at a combat engineers camp, overlooking My Lai, Looking down over that collection of villages, abandoned, saved for evidence or whatever -- Pondering. I am still pondering. The fine line between murder and war. There is a distinction. Why do we allow ourselves to be put in our present position?

10/07/2006 01:14:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

3case -


1. Sandy Berger landed a slot through a family friend in the Army Dental Reserves during Vietnam so he could attend Harvard Law unimpeded. He was trained as a dental hygenist. It is unlikely he ever cleaned a tooth other than in hygenist's school. If only he had attended the Army Reserve School for Stashing Documents.

2. Paul Begala never served, as far as his records I saw show. Though I thought I heard him call himself a Marine. His Wikipedia entry shows College, Law school, right into politics.

3. Rahm Emanuel was a promising ballet dancer by training. His military service was being a civilian volunteer for the Israeli Army during the Gulf War, where his job was relining truck brakes. Emanuel denies rumors of dual loyalty or - that on other trips to Israel he was trained by Israeli intelligence and that he held a covert commission in the IDF prior to being elected to Congress.

On the Marines. People who have never seen war forget it is a community affair for most nations. There are no real innocent civilians in a guerilla war and niceities meant for traditional Western warfare don't work when the other side doesn't play by the rules. The Marines are facing Sunni towns where huge numbers wish to kil them or assist - be it as boys walking off mortar distances, little girls serving as lookouts for the IED triggerman - women that serve feasts to celebrate a convoy of Americans made dead or maimed. In polls, 84% of Arab Sunnis say killing the occupier is right, and holy. 61% of Shiites believe it is proper to kill Americans.

To which the Lefties say we haven't "tried to be friends" enough. To which I say that we should protect our servicemen from those that will try to lynch them as much as we can - tell the Lefties under Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch and Nadine Strossen of the ACLU to bugger off. These are the same people that are now whining about the need to send our fighters to Sudan - where they will be watched by the Lefties and Jihadis and sent to be crucified in US courts for the slightest misstep.

Teresita has a mistaken impression of precision bombs being built to spare little 10-year old IED planters. No, they were developed to hit a valuable target with high kill odds. In WWII, it took 200 bombs to kill a hard target like a bridge. In Vietnam, that was brought down to 50. Now it is 1.3 smart bombs.

If we had flattened Fallujah intially rather than seek Jenin II, there would have been rage and crying in the Arab Street, sobs and mutters of lawsuits in synogogues the ACLU frequents, and fury in the media...but we would have shown the Iraqis we would mete out collective retaliation for the community projects they collectively endorsed of turning Americans into hamburger. The trick under Geneva is to comply with commensurate force requirements needed to overcome resistance - not a mandate that each little civilian Jihadi or hadji wife lives are sacrosanct. Now we have Vietnam-like ROE all but guaranteeing our loss - and we are not feared. We are the only military where families of the enemy feel it is somewhat safe to openly gather and jeer at Americans retrieving body parts from an IED blast they all knew was there.

Legrand is right about the volunteer military and how the elites being free from risk happily impose rules that guarantee more dead US guys - just so they can hold their heads up as "noble, high-minded elites." It is for that reason we must return to the Draft, include women, have no deferments or exceptions. To include everyone from people like the Bush daughters to some precious child of a "GITMO Gulag" protestor to some exceptionally dumb or marginally handicapped that can still do useful service. Everyone.

And in that Draft Law Congress should make it clear that children of the Elite that flee to places like Canada, France, and Israel will not have a pardon waiting for them but felony charges, felony charges for any family member sending money, and NO amnesty, ever.

10/07/2006 01:27:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

ed onwestslope - There is a distinction. Why do we allow ourselves to be put in our present position?

Because the Anti-West Left showed it didn;t go away with the end of Communism but remained a potent force in control of the media, academia, many of the courts - and even stronger from alliances with Euroleft and radical Islamists.

We are in this position because we underestimated the power of the Left to demonize America and dominate the propaganda war - despite using the most extraordinary care to avoid civilian death any military has ever done and the without precedent awarding of a vast range of enemy rights to "due process" and privileges.

Perhaps you haven't read Pattarico's blogs on what the soldiers face in Gitmo. Fear of terrorists, fear of their supervisors punishing them for the slightest reaction to terrorist provocations, fear of ACLU lawsuits when they return from duty.

In WWII, if a Nazi concentration camp guard threw a mixture of feces and other excreta into an American guards face, that Nazi would be clubbed into silly putty with rifle butts and no one would say a word.

If a US GI did that to a Vietnamese guard at the Hilton, they would die fast or slow. In the Civil War, on both sides, any prisoner striking or attacking a guard was legally bayoneted, shot, or hanged the next day.

10/07/2006 01:39:00 AM  
Blogger Fellow Peacekeeper said...

Wretchard : I see, and agree that the situation is absurd, but IMHO the comparison between Morant and this case is still pretty tenuous.

I understand the unit involved had not suffered grievous losses, nor was executing Awad in cold blood part of the mission.

It is the difference that I think instructive. A brutalized Morant committed excesses essentially in pursuit of the mission, while a "frustrated" squad committed excesses quite unrelated to the mission.

And yes, the anti-war left are horrible to watch. They seem to think the facts of the case proves the war is murder and military are mindless butchers, when the fact of the prosecution undertaken indicates quite the contrary.

2164th : Thankyou for the kind words, I consciously ceased posting to avoid any inadvertent playing of ring-around-the-opsec.

10/07/2006 03:02:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

GWB's constant attempts to satisfy the worst among us at the expense of the best are inexcusable.
Why he is perpetually excused here is beyond me:
Fool me a thousand times, shame on me.

---
The REAL Mistake in the War
Ol' BC wrote:
While visiting RightWingRocker, as I do almost daily, I came upon one of his posts that quoted Mohammed from the blog Iraq The Model.
Quite an interesting take from an Iraqi.
See what you think.

"America's worst mistakes were hesitation, failing to invest the initial victory in Iraq and Afghanistan and not using her power and influence to achieve more.

America simply did not act like a winner but instead stood idly like a weary giant doing nothing but complain about mosquito bites.
Some might ask ...
Do we have to do all of this?
Go through all these battles and change those regimes?
My answer is Yes.
For one reason; terrorists and terror-supporting regimes have chosen war and America, and the values it stands for, is the target and they will not stop shooting at America until they are dead or arrested.
It is a war that was imposed on the free world by murderous maniacs who would do anything to destroy the human civilization and they would not hesitate to use any means to destroy those who are different.
Fighting those criminals now will cost less blood and resources than fighting them later."

---
Comments:

"I'm not sure we "sat idly by" in total, but I feel we certainly did to some degree.
For some reason the "majority party" had this overwhelming need to pacify the other party and those who criticized them perpetually.
Much more progress could have been made."
Ol' BC Homepage 10.06.06 - 6:56 pm
Link

10/07/2006 06:16:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

This Friedman Piece from May 22, 2003 is a Must Read.
---
He describes the broken country we found after OIF, stressing he was not talking about damage from our precision guided weapons, but from mindless looting by a people who had been deprived of there humanity in endless detail for 30 years.

The upshot being that he saw very little ability on their part to do what needed to be done next.
Lo and behold, the very people he observed WERE Capable and full of energy to do so were the very exiles that were part of General Garners plans!
But State stepped in at that time (again, because GWB allowed the adversary to set the rules) threw out Garner, put in Bremmer to oversee the waiting period as the insurgency got organized, and the rest leads to where we are now, pretending that democracy is a substitute for basic security.
---
TOM FRIEDMAN: It's a manpower question at the services level. It's a political question of what kind of Iraq politically are we going to construct? This is really complicated. One of the things that really struck me when I was there, I met with some of the Shiite groups -- leaders that had come back from Iran, one in particular, Bucker Akim, who is the main one,
I met with Chalabi's people,
I didn't meet with him,
he's the Iraqi National Congress, and I met with one of the Kurdish leaders.

What struck me about the exile groups is they're full of energy, they've been on the outside, they know how politics works.

One of them said I have a problem, I call the Pentagon the other day.

So the Iraqis themselves, they have no idea how to do this, because they have not had a horizontal conversation. What struck me about -- in the Iraqis who were there is they don't really know each other, they have not been allowed to have a horizontal conversation.

JIM LEHRER: The Shiites don't know the Sunnis - don't know the Kurds -

TOM FRIEDMAN: They had a vertical top down monologue for 30 years. So you got these really active exiles, then you got all the other Iraqis there. Now, if those exiles can sink roots, you know, among the Iraqi population, I say God bless them, because they've got plans, they've got vision, you know, whatnot.

I do think they do have a democratic impulse for the most part.
But if they can't, I don't know what kind of stew we're going to have.
It's not clear to me that we have a clear idea how we're going to bring all these chemicals together into one social compact.

10/07/2006 06:16:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Some here seem incapable of imagining the nightmare as it would apply to them:

A known child-molesting murderer is released in your neighborhood 3 times:

Kind of hard to remember to respect THOSE rules!

10/07/2006 06:31:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

One interesting detail in Friedman's piece is that he was able to motor around in places then that would be suicidal today.

10/07/2006 06:49:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...



Some here seem incapable of imagining the nightmare as it would apply to them:

A known child-molesting murderer is released in your neighborhood 3 times:

Kind of hard to remember to respect THOSE rules!


So whip up a mob to string the perp up in the name of "civilization". And when Mayor Bush and District Attorney Gonzales and Sheriff Rumsfeld who released this perp three times to appease the libs are up for election send them back because they have an "R" next to their names on the ballot.

10/07/2006 07:01:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

A man said to the universe: "Sir I exist!"

"However," replied the universe, "The fact has not created in me a sense of obligation."

-- Stephen Crane

The Players

Man: Dems, Libs, Euros
Universe: jihadis, Iran, NK, Soros

10/07/2006 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

Teresita,

Shouldn't that read: "...to appease the libs and MSM...."?

10/07/2006 07:05:00 AM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

There are rules. We must be moral. The problem reaches our present stage because we have ignored the basic rules, early on. The compounding of errors always makes for worse decisions down the road. How to win the necessary victory when the advantage has been given/taken away?

So being moral is more important that winning?

10/07/2006 07:16:00 AM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

Shouldn't that read: "...to appease the libs and MSM...."?

"Reader, suppose you were a Member of the Mainstream Media. And suppose you were a liberal. But I repeat myself." -- Mark Twain (paraphrased)

10/07/2006 07:23:00 AM  
Blogger Reocon said...

Mahmoud al-Mashdani is Sunni fundamentalist, physician and current Speaker of the Iraqi parliament. He has said of the Iraqi constitution which he helped draft: "We have reached a point where this constitution contains the seeds of the division of Iraq."

He has said that the US Occupation is "butcher's work under the slogan of democracy and human rights and justice."

Mashadani was arrested twice by the CPA for his connections to the Sunni insurgency yet he still met with Bush during the President's last trip to Iraq! Mashadani, after all, is the freely elected Speaker of the Iraqi parliament. Wretchard, should we blame critics of the war for this as well?

10/07/2006 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger Dave H said...

I find the easy acceptance of the "innocent Iraqi" label kind of smelly. I am not even offering an opinion on what these marines did or did not do, but I am a bit curious about why they would havepicked out this innocent civilian and shot him.

I have an idea that medic Bacos will be a short timer in the Navy and will go on no more patrols with marines.

He must be an individual with a lot of nerve and a strong sense of righteousness or else he has an ideologic agenda. Does anyone know anything about him?

10/07/2006 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

How about Petty Officer Bacos did not want to do twenty years for a conspiracy to commit murder conviction.
Nothing self rightous or ideologic about that.
He saw what occurred, in the end he gave an accurate, or not, after action report.
Self preservation and a commitment to telling the truth could all that motivates Petty Officer Bacos

10/07/2006 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger redaktør said...

If the Arab is not actively helping us fight Jihad and Jihadis, s/he is not a "hapless bystander". As far as I'm concerned, all those Arab "hapless bystanders" are fair game. It leads back to the argument that Islam has been hijacked by "militant radicals". This, we all know is patently untrue. The militant radicals are only the tip of the spear, a fighting force that is given emotional-psychological support, sheltered, and is provided with money, intelligence, and a base of operations, by the so called "hapless bystander". This has been proven in election after election where the "hapless bystander" votes in the Jihadist agenda.

So no, keep killing the so called Arab "hapless bystander", and make it clear that there is no such thing as a "hapless bystanders" in this fight.

10/07/2006 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger redaktør said...

And yes, I think it's positively idiotic that we have not yet nuked the Saudis, the Pakis, the Syrians, the Iraqis, the Iranians, the Egyptians, the Sudan, Gaza, and all the other Jihadi strongholds.

10/07/2006 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger 3Case said...

My Wife (born German/naturalized American) keeps saying to me: "They hate us. Americans don't understand. They all (Euros + MEs) hate us. Why doesn't anybody get that?"

I have friends and clients who are not Americans and who reside here. They keep telling me that, in environs free of Americans/Christians, their Muslim acquaintances are very different about the whole Islam/jihad thing. These people have, generally, escaped an assortment of 20th Century tyrannies. They, too, ask me why Americans don't get it.

10/07/2006 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger ExRat said...

I can't say it any better than this:

"People who try to be sensitive in a war have a tendency to die, and to take their nations with them." -- Steven Den Beste, 21 Sept 2002

10/07/2006 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

W, if your correspondent finds it odd that we accuse the anti-war crowd (who seemingly did not exist in the 90's) of wallowing in America's failures, I would refer them to the NYT running Abu Ghraib on the front page every day for over five weeks.

10/07/2006 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Chris, @ 10/06/2006 06:21:08 PM (back up atop), I wish Wretchard would post your letter, as "Letter from a Soldier".

10/07/2006 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger TinfoilHatter said...

"When you go to Africa to go police the Dutchmen...be careful for heaven's sake and definately don't shoot them."

10/07/2006 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger TinfoilHatter said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/07/2006 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"2. Paul Begala never served, as far as his records I saw show. Though I thought I heard him call himself a Marine. His Wikipedia entry shows College, Law school, right into politics."

Carville's the marine.

10/07/2006 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

redakt0r wrote:

If the Arab is not actively helping us fight Jihad and Jihadis, s/he is not a "hapless bystander". As far as I'm concerned, all those Arab "hapless bystanders" are fair game

Until redakt0r's 10:18:31 we could morally condemn the 911 hijackers for considering the hapless bystanders in the World Trade Center "fair game" because they were not actively helping al-Qaeda convert the West to Islam. Since there is now "no such thing as 'hapless bystanders' in this fight" our outrage can no longer be based on moral grounds, but reduces to simply "boo for their team, hooray for our team".

10/07/2006 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

So, you're saying that feminism is not really about women's rights, but is in fact just another attack on free market capitalism by the international left?

The war is over and chix won. Even the traditional male bastions of math and science are sporting hips these days. Women make up 57 percent of undergraduates. The following data is from the 1998 school year:

College preparatory math: 6 percent more girls enrolled, meaning there were 106 high school girls enrolled for every 100 high school boys.

College prep physical science: 7 percent more girls.

College prep life science: 16 percent more girls.

10/07/2006 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

Until redakt0r's 10:18:31 we could morally condemn the 911 hijackers for considering the hapless bystanders in the World Trade Center "fair game" because they were not actively helping al-Qaeda convert the West to Islam. Since there is now "no such thing as 'hapless bystanders' in this fight" our outrage can no longer be based on moral grounds, but reduces to simply "boo for their team, hooray for our team".

hehe...Cannot get away from that we are just as bad as they are eh? Tell me is the police officer who shoots the murderer rampaging through your house attacking your family on the same moral plane as the maniac? They both use guns? They both kill people...

What is the difference?

For the record I simply advocate prosecuting the war with the same verve that we prosecuted the last war we won. Since then we have prosecuted wars they way you have declared to be moral and millions have died in gulags and mass murders. Witness Cambodia.

10/07/2006 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger redaktør said...

Teresita,

I couldn't care less about “moral” condemnations and pronouncements. I leave that to the busybodies at the UN. I’m interested in seeing the Jihadi ideology, its supporters, deceased and departed. For me, the era of the "hapless bystander" is no more.

10/07/2006 03:19:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

The Vietnam Analogy, extended into the actual history that happened the last time America "voluntarily" lost a war.

When the Democrats defunded, and by so doing defrauded our Paris Peace Agreement obligations to our allies in South Vietnam, we produced the following results in recent history:

1. My kids went to school and we had them in our house many times, whose parents and grandparents had been sent to in their millions to the sharks. Millions died in Cambodia and Laos, and some lucky "boat people" survivors made it to the Free World.
2. I lived with a family in downtown Tehran just before the Revolution, and traveled that country from border to border overland, and none of them wanted to live under an Islamofascist dictatorship.
3. I met pissed off soldiers in Jo'burg, who had been betrayed by the Carter Administration in their war against the tens of thousands of Cuban troops who made the Cold War a "ground war" in Angola.
4. I applauded the Iran-Contra operation in the face of all of the above.

Those among us who think we can somehow invulnerably retreat from the ongoing world war represent our enemies' greatest threat to us.

10/07/2006 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger Woman Catholic said...

Tell me is the police officer who shoots the murderer rampaging through your house attacking your family on the same moral plane as the maniac? They both use guns? They both kill people...

No, the cop is moral. I'm the one arguing for Rules of Engagement (such as not considering hapless bystanders fair game) on our side so that we can claim moral superiority. But according to redakt0r-RoEs, if my family is not actively helping the police officer stop the killer they lose their "hapless bystander" status in the War Against Maniacs and they are fair game for the cop too.

10/07/2006 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger Ed onWestSlope said...

Pierre Legrand asked:
So being moral is more important that winning?

YES But to argue that this forbids the excellant, effective warrier is to engage in sophomoric ramblings or worse, enters into sophism.

You were correct to say "The idea that I must sacrifice my children or my neighbors children to save some from feeling that we are barbarians in war is hard to understand. War is barbaric,..."
You were incorrect to make the blanket statement "...the only thing worse is losing the war. There are no rules in war except winning."

The old values of duty and honour and responsibility are important...are necessary.
I emphatically believe the 2 A-Bombs dropped on Japan were horrible, morally justified and yes, morally required. BUT, if the ordinance had been availible, to have continued bombing without thought to Japanese surrender, is morally unjustified and morally unacceptable.

Even when I disagree with some of her thoughts, I depend upon someone like Teresita to ask the questions and hold myself, my military and the nation accountable. I also expect her to allow the war to be fought and deal with compassion those who come back, unable to speak of what they did and witnessed.

More needs to be written and I have little time.

10/07/2006 04:33:00 PM  
Blogger redaktør said...

Teresita,

This isn't a civil action, and we're not playing cops & robbers. This is war. Total War, as far as I'm concerned.

10/07/2006 04:50:00 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

3Case --

'Scuse me: did you say dear ol' Camp Upshur is no more? What happened to it . . . is it a training village for dealing with IED's, or what?

10/07/2006 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger istarious said...

Teresita,

Your hapless bystanders in action:
**warning! graphic video**

10/07/2006 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

Commenters here keep referring to frustration as the motivation that led the Marines to kill an Iraqi.

I don't think frustration is the term that applies. It was fear. Fear of being placed in a lethal situation at a disadvantage. Many here cannot imagine the mindset that devlops when placed in such a situation and seeing the results being manifest in the deaths of their mates.

They therefore should disqualify themselves as illegitimate in judging the actions of these young Marines.

10/07/2006 05:58:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Rumsfeld Shift Lets Army Seek Larger Budget
The defense secretary is allowing the Army to approach White House budget officials by itself to argue for substantial increases in resources.
Go to Complete Coverage »

The defense secretary has broken Pentagon precedent by allowing the Army to make its financial case directly to the president’s Office of Management and Budget, a task normally managed by the defense secretary and his staff rather than by the individual military services. The Air Force and the Navy also asked to present their budgets directly to the budget agency and the requests were granted.

The federal government is at the point in the budget process where departments are building their budget requests, with the Office of Management and Budget overseeing the effort.

Pentagon officials said the Army was seeking about $138 billion for the next fiscal year, compared with its $112 billion request last year. Army officials told Congress that the service was already $50 billion short in equipment when terrorists struck on Sept. 11, 2001, and that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would require $17.1 billion in extra spending for 2007 just to repair and replace tanks, Humvees and other gear. Money to repair and replace equipment is expected to be $13 billion in 2008 and the next five years.

As negotiations in the Defense Department and with the Office of Management and Budget got under way to build the 2008 budget proposal, which the White House is due to submit to Congress in February, the Army took the unusual step of ignoring a deadline for submitting its central budget document, which the armed services use to explain their missions and resource requests.

“This is unusual, but we are in unusual times,” a senior Defense Department official said. The official, who said the missions assigned to the armed forces were larger than those envisioned in official Pentagon strategy and far outstrip what can be supported by current budgets, described the conundrum Mr. Rumsfeld and the Army face.

“Do we lower our strategy, or do we raise our resources?” said the official, who was given anonymity to discuss budget deliberations. “That’s where we’re at.”

10/07/2006 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

You were incorrect to make the blanket statement "...the only thing worse is losing the war. There are no rules in war except winning."

Perhaps for you keeping your morality is more important than winning but not for me. I will not look my children in the eyes as they are being led away to slaughter smug in my having kept my morality.

Perhaps for you and perhaps the majority of people in the United States there exists the belief that defeat in this war will only result in some 60 minute programs where we blandly discuss what went wrong. In much the same way that we sit around sipping coffee discussing the similarities between this war and our last major loss Vietnam.

I do not believe this will be the result of our losing this war. Iraq is merely a battle to me. If we lose Iraq it will probably the sort of benchmark that Stalingrad was to the Germans. Didn't mean the immediate loss but it did signal the inevitable loss. The inevitable loss resulted in fathers looking their children in the eye's as they took their last breaths. Sorry but there is absolutely nothing I will not do to avoid that scenario, up to and including nuking every single major population center in the ME if that is what it would take. Up to and including personally throwing dimwits out of helicopters to gain intelligence...up to and including the slaughter of cities to avoid the greater slaughter of countries.

We are fighting this war as if a loss simply means we sit around discussing our errors over tea and crumpets. Sorry but that is not what will happen. Given the existential nature of this war there is absolutely nothing I will not do to win. Furthermore when push comes to shove if I believe that our leaders are sacrificing my family at the altar of morality I will do what I can to throw them out.

When you are in a boxing match you follow rules because you know you won't die. When you are in a knife fight in a closet there are no rules except being the one who walks out of the closet.

I do not think ill of teresita I simply believe she is looking at this war as an exercise. This comes from this country's unfortunate habit of being involved in wars that really didn't matter as far as threat to our lives. This one does threaten us but we refuse to believe it.

10/07/2006 06:30:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I've given up on Ms T:
Changes with the weather.
---
Moscow Reporter Shot Dead
Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, a critic of the war in Chechnya, is found dead.

The attack was the highest-profile killing of a journalist in Russia since July 2004, when Paul Klebnikov, an American editor of the Russian edition of Forbes magazine, was gunned down outside his office. Twelve journalists have been killed since Putin came to power in 2000, and most of the cases remain unsolved.

The Kremlin issued no immediate comment on the killing.

10/07/2006 06:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/07/2006 06:55:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/07/2006 06:55:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Loren Thompson, an analyst at the Lexington Institute, a policy research group in Virginia, noted that the military budget was on the verge of exceeding a half trillion dollars a year, a level that, based on inflation-adjusted dollars, has been reached only three times before.
Each previous time the budget reached that level, after the wars in Korea and Vietnam and after the defense buildup in the 1980’s, it soon went back down."
---
The analyst/expert evidently did not go to the trouble of calculating a percentage of GDP figure.
But he IS calculating.

10/07/2006 06:56:00 PM  
Blogger Reocon said...

Savor this irony. Iraqi PM Maliki lectures Shiites on the need to disarm their militias while being guarded by the Badr Brigade! Is there any Belmonter who has faith in this milquetoast frontman?


BAGHDAD, Iraq — Political parties must either get rid of their militias or get out of politics, Iraq's prime minister said Thursday, in his toughest warning yet to groups blamed for the country's wave of sectarian violence. . . .

About three dozen people attended the special iftar, held amid intense security in a dining room in the compound of Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, the head of the largest party in the Shiite coalition that dominates the government.

Outside, hundreds of guards from al-Hakim's party _ Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq _ were deployed in the streets throughout the south Baghdad neighborhood, carrying automatic weapons. SCIRI is accused of running its own militia, the Badr Brigade, though the party says it has been dissolved.


http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/world/4239813.html

In Iraq we have entered a vertiginous period of illusion, surreality and outright lies every bit as mad as Vietnam. These are today's five o'clock follies.

10/07/2006 07:24:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

3.7878787878787878787878787878788% based upon 2006 2d quarter revised GDP @ slightly less than $13.2T. Took less than 5 minutes.

10/07/2006 07:34:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

A figure that is near the bottom of the % of Military spending during Clintons years. This with candidate Bush claiming that the military needed rebuilding during the Gore debates. We can see what a fine job he has done of dedicating funds towards the rebuilding...its not like there is a war going on or something. But he is the best of a bunch of worst cases.

10/07/2006 08:32:00 PM  
Blogger Simon said...

In 2002, John Derbyshire did an NRO piece that he titled, "Better Dead Than Rude." His point was that 30 years of political correctness had made it politically impossible for the government to take obvious, common sense steps to protect us from future terrorist attacks. Such steps would have been legal, but also would have been sufficiently out of kilter with the multi-cultural hokum believed by a large part of our citizenry, that they could not be taken. Thus, we would rather be dead than rude.

Four years later, we are still hamstrung by the same preference. Not surprisingly, we have imposed the same preference on our troops through their rules of engagement. We would rather have them dead than rude. Evidently some of them are finding it's a bad bargain and showing some frustration.

Derbyshire's essay is still an interesting read

http://www.nationalreview.com/derbyshire/derbyshire052402.asp

10/07/2006 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger The Machinist said...

Teresita:

Since there is now "no such thing as 'hapless bystanders' in this fight" our outrage can no longer be based on moral grounds, but reduces to simply "boo for their team, hooray for our team".

10/07/2006 02:09:05 PM



And your problem with this eternal fact of life is...?

Rest assured, Teresita, if "their team" wins, all manner of lifestyle that you take for granted will undergo a sharp reduction in "hips."

This is not to endorse all kinds of mindless slaughter in Iraq and elsewhere - some of it may indeed be counterproductive - but as a matter of fact, perhaps the big smelly red-handed men who built this country and are currently busy defending it so that you and I don't have to, could do a better job without your backseat driving and recurrent cries of "Eeek!" and "Eeuw!"

Maybe your "hips" and the free exercise thereof depend more upon "our team's" rough men standing ready in the night, than on the foe's opinion of the baklava we serve at GTMO.

10/07/2006 09:30:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

If the countries desire to set things right on 9-12 had been pursued aggressively and without pause, we would not be at our present impasse.
---
It was not the public that asked for Powell's State dept to take over and turn it into an occupation, nor was it the public that clamored for catch and release.
And it most certainly was not those who put their lives on the line.

10/07/2006 09:31:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Well said, Machinist.

10/07/2006 09:33:00 PM  
Blogger Kingston53 said...

Bush and his advisors judged that America does not have the will to fight a real war. Their decisison was to fight an engagement that would only be a "little inconvenient" to the majority of Americans. If we keep the casualties low and avoid a draft maybe the great American public will slumber through. In the mean while we pretend that there are rules in war. It don't agree with this charade but think they probably have the right take on our will to fight.

10/07/2006 09:44:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Doug - It was not the public that asked for Powell's State dept to take over and turn it into an occupation, nor was it the public that clamored for catch and release.

Sorry, Doug, you cannot blame it on Powell. The idea that Iraq would cheer us as liberators, be back in their jobs the 1st Monday, and start cutting contracts for the USA and their new friend the Israelis came straight from the neocons that insinuated themselves in with the Bushies, and the neocons in turn were seduced into believing that by the "true voices of Iraq, like Chalabi. Lessons learned show a 2 year long process to sell the war, 2 years to prep and deploy for war, and 3 weeks of postwar planning actually done by the assignee neocon, Doug Feith.

Also, as the military now admits, Tommy Franks and staff refused to do any plans for postwar, considering their job "victory" "Then it's someone else's mess." The Army's own internal review shows it's units had no orders, no directed goals after conventional military resistance ended other than to hunker down and watch.

*********************
Kingston53 - Bush and his advisors judged that America does not have the will to fight a real war. Their decisison was to fight an engagement that would only be a "little inconvenient" to the majority of Americans. If we keep the casualties low and avoid a draft maybe the great American public will slumber through. In the mean while we pretend that there are rules in war. It don't agree with this charade but think they probably have the right take on our will to fight.

Bush and his advisors made several disastrous decisions early in his Administration. Even before 9/11, tax cuts for the wealthy investor class, funded by Japan and China were to be his Centerpiece showing supply side economics works. He gave early signs of wanting a big jump in government growth to reward his corporate donors with Pork. He showed less and less inclination to work with Congress - then got the idea he was America's Churchill after 9/11 that had the public so much behind him he didn't even need the Republicans - who would work Congress to reward "domestic partners" of Republicans and buy new voters into the ranks with borrowed money.

He has run down the military. We have less conventional war-fighting ability than we did in 2000, we are on our way to a 150 ship Navy from Reagans 600. And have seen massive attrition in numbers of our fighter jets, Bradleys, tankers, transport planes - and Rumsfeld is not interested outside what he wants in Iraq and if anything is "relevant" to "terrorist-fighting" only. Subs aren't, so even if China and the NORKs are building Fleets, don't do it!!

He was wrong about people after 9/11 only wanting to shop, enjoy more tax cuts, and seek to understand the Religion of Peace, as he called it. He was wrong that voters only vote for the Party that promises the most candy in wartime.

Going forward, the promise America "won't have to sacrifice" is as corrosive as anything the Left says, because each death in Iraq is seen as a breech of that guarantee, the lost opportunity of 550 billion in borrowed capital dumped into Iraq rather than smartly spent on domestic and overseas and priority military infrastructure (all attrited equipment is being deferred from replacement, even the C-17 line of heavily used transports was under consideration to be shut down as a cost-saving measure to fund more Iraq base facilities).

Going forward, it is fooldardy to seek a "Long War" when our enemies gather and some are on tracks to obtain a deployable nuclear weapons capability - and strategic rival China's global economic conquests, cornering strategic resources, and military buildup continues all but unnoticed by Bushies that obsess and focus only on Iraq and it's noble purple-fingered people..

10/08/2006 12:39:00 AM  
Blogger Mr.Atos said...

"I'm not aware of any people who oppose the war in Iraq "lapping up" these tragedies. I'm not aware of any anti-war people setting policies in Iraq. "

This statement represents a severe lack up understanding of the role of propaganda in warfare. The narrative is assembled and projected by both sides of the conflict. When a third agent, manipulates the narrative, they become players in that conflict... the direction of their narrative lending a semblence of their allegiance. The very behavior of the Anti-War crowd, I would argue is setting policy; quite deliberately, in fact, and in favor of the enemy. And as for lapping up tragedy, the Left relies on it to make their point and attack the Administration every day. What is that if not 'nourishing' on tragedy?!

Wretchard's allusion to the court martial of the Morant and his Carboneers is a perfect example of how political sensitivity becomes the driver of policy. Political Pressure from other European entities (namely Germany) was forcing England to subvert its own military standards to the whim of public opinion. Germany demanded 'justice' on behalf of the Boers. Whose side does that mean they were on? Morant and Handcock were executed, not as punishment for a crime, but rather to alleviate the opposition of the War's critics.

Back in June, I noted a similar historical congruety
(http://mysandmen.blogspot.com/2006/06/rule-303.html )...

" On the Morning of February 27, 1902, Lt. Harry 'Breaker' Harbord Morant along with Lt. Handcock were shot as scapegoats for a dying empire ; confused with its own identity, corrupted with conceit, and paralyzed by chronic guilt.

Democrats in Congress this week continued the prosecution of America with endless testimony to the guilt of a new empire. Given the opportunity, they would no doubt place The President and his Vice President in the same bloody chairs. The Democrats concept of Rule .303 is no different than ours. Its their notion of 'enemy' that is tragically flawed."

10/09/2006 12:02:00 PM  

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