Lesson two: The Long War

How soon we forget. It seems like only yesterday that “Bush lied, kids died” and perhaps that’s another reason the youth vote swung Barack Obama’s way. And Obama originally campaigned on the fact that the surge didn’t work and he would have the troops out of Iraq shortly after taking office.

But shortly after taking office, Obama instead put in place a 16 month timetable for withdrawal, which brings the date reasonably close to the cutoff date prescribed by the Iraqi Parliament in 2011. Instead, Obama wants to ramp up the cause in Afghanistan on a mission to capture Osama bin Laden.

Naturally the Left clamored like the rest of us for bin Laden and dismissed Iraq as simply revenge sought by GWB for an assassination attempt on his father by Saddam Hussein. (This was in between the mantras of “no blood for oil”, equating Bush with Adolf Hitler, and making movies about Bush’s own demise.) They cried out about there not being weapons of mass destruction nor was Iraq seeking yellowcake uranium (both charges were instead proven true.)

Apparently since BHO took office warfare is now hunky-dory among the youth. We’re not seeing much outcry amongst the Code Pink crowd about beefing up troop levels in Afghanistan, despite the fact that wiping out the Taliban is proving to be a much more difficult task than subduing the al-Qaeda forces and their allies in Iraq. In fact, many of these same liberals would love to see us intervene in Durfur to quell the human tragedy there while we’re over that way.

So let me ask: was the torture and mayhem perpetrated by the Hussein family in Iraq any less despicable? Bush sent our troops there and wiped out all three of those miscreants yet got zero credit for that achievement, not to mention sending a lot of other jihadists to see their 72 virgins – you’d think they’d be running out up there with our success rate.

Here’s the way it is, kids. We have a national interest in what goes on in the Middle East because much of the free world (including a number of our European allies) gets their oil from there and will do so for the foreseeable future. My apologies to the green crowd for that inconvenient truth. Unfortunately for Africa, there’s just not a whole lot of reason to get involved on that continent, which, alas, is also cursed with more than its share of tinhorn despots and thugs. Even once-great countries like South Africa and the former Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe and under the thumb of the despot Robert Mugabe) have devolved into the morass the remainder of that continent inhabits.

In theory we could militarily overpower anyone else on the planet, but choose not to. The Long War was an exception in recent American history, because the last four protracted confrontations (Vietnam, Korea, and World Wars 1 and 2) were all started or escalated under Democratic administrations, with the last two ended under Republican administrations. Unfortunately, neither Korea nor Vietnam ended with the desired result a lasting American victory would have provided. Too many wanted peace at any cost.

Early on President Bush warned America that this would be a lengthy conflict against Islamic terrorists, who were essentially stateless but had a number of allies. “You are either with us or against us,” he warned.

When American interests are at stake, partisanship should end at the water’s edge. It’s only one party which has violated this rule, and the youth tend to belong to that party. But you can change that very easily at your local Board of Elections.

No one likes to go to war, and conservatives are no different in that respect. But America was attacked under George W. Bush, and dissed as a “paper tiger” by Osama bin Laden. Forceful action was needed, and forceful action was taken. If Barack Obama can keep us safe from a terrorist attack during his term in office, I’ll be the first to congratulate him for that. But don’t believe that some in the world will stop planning America’s demise just because we elected him and not the military veteran John McCain.

And yes, there’s more where that came from. I’m not done with you yet.

Author: Michael

It's me from my laptop computer.

9 thoughts on “Lesson two: The Long War”

  1. I’d question how serious our interests really are over there. After all, you and I are both believers in the free market – if the supply of oil were cut off, things would get tight, but the demand spike would ultimately lead to new solutions to meet that demand.

    As for the real threat of terrorism, the Cato Institute and others have repeatedly shown that the threat is much more minimal than is popularly believed.

    And for the real damage Osama bin Laden did to America, I’d like to proffer this article by Jon Utley. He’s a bit of a loon at times, but the article is pretty insightful, http://www.antiwar.com/utley/?articleid=14081

  2. Your characterization of some leftists is correct, but what about people like me? I have no desire for the U.S. to intervene in Darfur, I don’t think Bush is comparable to Adolph Hitler, nor do I think we went into Iraq because Bush was seeking revenge. I do think, however, that the Iraq war was a mistake (and I thought that in 2003) and that the War on Terrorism (how can you have a war against a method, by the way?) has done much more to destroy our freedom than protect us from terrorists. The fact is that Bush screwed up royally in foreign policy and we are paying for that in dollars (paying for a much larger military than we need), safety (the war in Iraq has radicalized many in the Islamic world, making it more likely that we will be struck by terrorists), lives (self-explanatory), and freedom (also self-explanatory). And there were no WMDs in Iraq.

    And the idea that partisanship should end at the water’s edge is ridiculous. You don’t even follow that advice here. You criticize Obama’s foreign policy. Republicans criticized Clinton’s foreign policy in Haiti and the Balkans (back when the GOP was rightfully skeptical of Presidents who committed U.S. troops to foreign conflicts). Hell, Republicans criticized Truman during the Korean War and Johnson during Vietnam. It’s healthy to have a good debate about these issues.

  3. Dear Lord, where to begin? “They cried out about there not being weapons of mass destruction nor was Iraq seeking yellowcake uranium (both charges were instead proven true.)” Really? According to whom? Because I’d really love to see your evidence of weapons of mass destruction. More importantly, Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld would like to see your evidence, since they now all acknowledge there weren’t any. And let’s not go back to gassing the Kurds years earlier–that despicable act brought an end to Iraq’s WOMD due to–are you listening–INSPECTIONS! Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld cherry picked intelligence from dubious sources to justify their war. And you seem to want to slam the left for supporting efforts to go after the Taliban and bin Laden in Afghanistan. Ummm . . . who actually attacked the US on 9/11? Was it Saddam? Nope. Any Iraqis at all? Nope. Here’s a wacky idea from the left–attack the guys who attacked us. I know, I know, crazy, isn’t it? Speaking of WOMD and oppressive regimes, how about that North Korea? Why didn’t we invade there? After all, they actually have nuclear weapons, and are easily as repressive as Saddam. How about the Congo? You ought to pick up a copy of this month’s Vanity Fair, and read the oral history of Bush’s insiders. It isn’t a bunch of liberal critics, it is interviews with Bush’s own people. It might make you reassess your devotion to the “Long War” and change it to its proper name, the “Wrong War.”

  4. You claim that Bush, et. al. “cherry picked” intelligence to justify “their” war. By its nature, intelligence is only a best guess. It didn’t help that during the Clinton years we cut the intelligence budget – you know, that “peace dividend.”

    However, if Iraq didn’t seek yellowcake uranium, why did they just recently ship tons of it out of Iraq to Canada? By the way, there were WMD’s found, just not the quantities that were believed to be present.

    You also seem to forget that we DID go to Afghanistan first and routed the Taliban.

    This will be a “Long War” because the enemy isn’t going to give up easily. This is particularly true when our side is so disunited. If we made this an effort akin to World War 2 (insofar as the country being almost totally in favor of wiping out the Nazis and imperial Japan) this would assist in the overall effort.

    I don’t know about you, FF, but I doubt you’d look good in a burqa. But that’s the aim of Islamic fundamentalists. Nor do I understand how those on your side can’t endorse opposing a regime and philosophy which demeans women as they do.

  5. “You also seem to forget that we DID go to Afghanistan first and routed the Taliban.” Are you kidding me? Do you even watch the news? The Taliban most assuredly is still controlling large portions of Afghanistan, and is spreading its control over areas of Pakistan. Why are they able to regain control? Gee, I don’t know, it isn’t like the bulk of our military was distracted by another war against someone who had NOTHING TO DO WITH 9/11! Say it with me, Michael–Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11. You’ll feel better once you admit that.
    “Nor do I understand how those on your side can’t endorse opposing a regime and philosophy which demeans women as they do.” Again, are you kidding me? NOW was lambasting the Taliban when I was in college, long before anyone else was. The left has long been a proponent of women’s rights, but the right still listens to Phyllis Schlafly. Demeaning women? How about our “pals” in Saudi Arabia, where it is illegal for a woman to drive a car. The reason the country is not united behind the “Wrong War” is because it is wrong. We do not line up like chattering monkeys and mindlessly support war because the president wants us to.

  6. Michael,

    The fact that we were so hell-bent on “wiping out the Nazis and imperial Japan” is a key part of what led to one of the most heinous acts of U.S. history – the Japanese internment. I know you’re a Michelle Malkin fan, but please tell me you don’t think that was justified.

    There has to be a line that we’re not willing to cross when it comes to security concerns or else there’s nothing worth fighting for. Like I said before, Cato and others have shown that the terrorist threat is massively overstated.

    In the end the so-called Long War has done little to increase our security from terrorist threats, but done quite a bit of damage to our security from our own state.

  7. Mike, if you read the MSNBC article you would see this information:

    “Later, U.N. inspectors documented and safeguarded the yellowcake, which had been stored in aging drums and containers since before the 1991 Gulf War. There was no evidence of any yellowcake dating from after 1991, the official said.”

    The yellowcake was not the yellowcake that Bush discussed. Your point is not proven. Furthermore, the “WMDs,” from your source, were not quite all that threatening: “The weapons are thought to be manufactured before 1991 so they would not be proof of an ongoing WMD program in the 1990s.” Degraded, pre-1991 chemical weapons certainly doesn’t support the contentions made by Bush to go to war in Iraq.

  8. But that would be what the intelligence would have been based on. Certainly we can look back after the fact and realize that things weren’t as advertised but you have to base decisions on what you know in the here and now. Saddam Hussein had used WMD’s before, he was less than honest with the UN inspectors, and at the time the Salman Pak training camp was suspected of being a terrorist camp.

    We know now that not all of the allegations were necessarily true, but again I point out the decisions made were based on the intelligence available at the time.

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