In the Army in a War With No End in Sight

Good column by Bob Herbert in the NYT. Here's a typically insightful statement: "There are always plenty of hawks in America. But the hawks want their wars fought with other people's children."

And although I would not qualify myself as a hawk (as a matter of fact, I much prefer the cooing of doves), I don't want my children sent to Iraq either. The 'war' is a travesty and a painfully heavy load for all Americans to carry.

Comments

yeah that's a real gem

I'll ask you the same question I asked Daniel. What's your solution?

Re:yeah that's a real gem

I , (unlike GWB), wouldn't have started a land or air war in the first place. Who were we fighting? There was and is no Iraqi army, there was and is no Iraqi threat to America. We shouldn't have gone and we shouldn't be there. We cannot change the entire world to our way of thinking (as Condi is now attempting to do in her Mid-East trip). It's crazy, it's imperialistic and it's wrong. All we can do is hope to keep our country safe and encourage trust and trade between nations.

But I'm game, Greg, what's your solution ?

Re:yeah that's a real gem

Hope to keep our country safe? Is that how you think it works?

My solution is to continue what we're doing in Iraq and starting beaming some kind of Radio Free Middle East from there to the surrounding countries. To start making aggressive stands on the borders with Syria and Iran. To hopefully start selling Iraqi oil and completely undercut Saudi Arabia's economy.

Yes Birdie, we can change the world to our way of thinking. I wasn't aware that Freedom was unique to White Anglo-Saxon Protestents.

Re:yeah that's a real gem

Greg says: Yes Birdie, we can change the world to our way of thinking. I wasn't aware that Freedom was unique to White Anglo-Saxon Protestents.

Birdie's reply: Oh, I see, unique to 'White Anglo-Saxon Protestents', well that explains it. I'm not feeling particularly free these days...but neither am I a 'White Anglo-Saxon Protestent'.

Re:yeah that's a real gem

Yes, you're so oppressed. Exactly which freedom is it that you feel is in such jeopardy?

In other words...

you're an isolationist and in another time, a conservative.

Would you also agree that the U.S. should stop all international humanitarian and foreign aid? Roughly 20 billion in 04?

Re:yeah that's a real gem

To start making aggressive stands on the borders with Syria and Iran. To hopefully start selling Iraqi oil and completely undercut Saudi Arabia's economy.

Aggressive stands? With what military forces? Have you changed your mind about enlisting?Saudi Arabia has far more oil reserves than Iraq. They're in a position to completely undercut Iraqi oil than vice versa.As far as "hope to keep the country safe" that's what the Bush admin is doing by refusing to fix many of the identified security risks (cargo containers, chemical & nuke plants) in this country. Birdie's way is cheaper by hundreds of billions of dollars, thousands of lives, and actual focuses on the terror groups who have attacked our soil.

Re:In other words...

There is a difference between waging agressive war and providing humanitarian and foreign aid.I believe that freedom is a universal value and that we are endowed by inalienable rights by our creator, but believe that we must lead through example and by withdrawing governmental support from dictatorial governments. If we don't practice our own values, we'll never bomb people into accepting them.Wouldn't stop all aid, but I would cut off Egypt until they have free and fair multiparty elections. Notice that Rice said NOTHING about that while in Cairo.PS - I find it interesting that the $20 Billion you mentioned would only run our occupation of Iraq for a month. You can certainly tell where our priorities are by our spending.

Re:yeah that's a real gem

Thanks Daniel for coming to my rescue, I was starting to feel as if I was under seige for my opinions. A shame too, because it's nice to have a venue where you can share your opinions without being attacked.

I'm not asking anybody to adopt to my way of thinking. I just wanted to express my own opinion (and that of the Times columnist and that of most Americans these days).

Re:yeah that's a real gem

Come on Birdie, your posting was an attack. If you don't want to be responsible for your actions then leave your comments off.

Re:yeah that's a real gem

Have you changed your mind Daniel? I don't see you heading to Afghanistan?

As for oil, which country would you rather get the US supply from?

Oh please, closing up your 'security risks' would be just as expensive as the war in Iraq and not nearly as fruitful. A free Middle East is the only permanent solution.

Re:yeah that's a real gem

Have you changed your mind Daniel? I don't see you heading to Afghanistan?

We could have properly finished our job in Afghanistan if the President hadn't diverted resources to Iraq. Iraq was an optional war of aggression.You appear to want to start additional wars with Iran and Syria. Again, with what?The guy I quoted a few days ago was right. If you are not willing to enlist or find a friend who will, you have effectively voted for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Our manpower resources are stretched to the limit and if people who advocate sacrificing more people don't start sacrificing themselves, we won't have a functional military.The other option, which I support, is scaling back our commitments to match our resources and support the troops by reducing the number and length of their deployments. Something that President Bush promised to do back in 2000, but has forgotten in his push to remake the Middle East.

As for oil, which country would you rather get the US supply from?

Your quarrel is with the oil economists, not me. I think we should start moving away from oil, which even Max Boot believes is within our power to do.

Oh please, closing up your 'security risks' would be just as expensive as the war in Iraq and not nearly as fruitful. A free Middle East is the only permanent solution.

What makes you think it would cost more than $200B to plug obvious security holes? Why wouldn't it be as fruitful? The statistics say that worldwide terror incidents are UP, not down. Your war policy, aside from being ruinous, has not offered any measurable improvement.What makes you think that a "A free Middle East is the only permanent solution?"Aside from that, we should try plugging obvious security holes at home before waging war. That's called making war a last resort!

Re:In other words...

There is a difference between waging agressive war and providing humanitarian and foreign aid.

We've discussed "preemption" as defense here before. As far as I can tell, all war is aggressive.

My point is that war and aid are tools of U.S. foreign policy. That said your position is interesting in that it puts you in Cuban embargo camp. (Which I happen to agree with) Of course your list would be much longer; Saudia Arabia, half the African continent, etc..

Wouldn't stop all aid, but I would cut off Egypt until they have free and fair multiparty elections. Notice that Rice said NOTHING about that while in Cairo.

I too support free elections for Egypt. But what do you give Ms. Rice to work with here? We just had a free election in Iraq but many around these parts feel we have paid too high a price.

Rescue, siege, attacked ...

Good grief Birdie. You post these stories as a would-be-journalist and then play the damsel when "attacked" by the boys. Should we all just nod our heads in agreement when you feel the need to express yourself?

Re:Rescue, siege, attacked ...

Good grief you say? I'd just call it "grief". (period).

How was birdie's posting an attack?

Hi Greg,I was so into arguing your war points that I didn't think to ask you about:

Come on Birdie, your posting was an attack. If you don't want to be responsible for your actions then leave your comments off.

I just finished rereading birdie's original posting and I saw no attack on any specific person. She offered the opinion that war supporters don't offer their children up for war, but didn't attack anyone in particular.Her posting wasn't any more of an attack than your posts suggesting that people who want an investigation into the Downing Street Memos are delusional Bush haters. At least birdie's posting didn't name names. She could have mentioned the President's own children, who won't lift a finger in their father's cause. If he can't convince his own children, why should others die for his vague goals?If you really think that birdie's original posting was an attack, what are we to make of entries like yours? Has expressing a different opinion become an attack? Society cannot endure if it has.

Re:In other words...

My point is that war and aid are tools of U.S. foreign policy. That said your position is interesting in that it puts you in Cuban embargo camp. (Which I happen to agree with) Of course your list would be much longer; Saudia Arabia, half the African continent, etc..Daniel: Wouldn't stop all aid, but I would cut off Egypt until they have free and fair multiparty elections. Notice that Rice said NOTHING about that while in Cairo.I too support free elections for Egypt. But what do you give Ms. Rice to work with here? We just had a free election in Iraq but many around these parts feel we have paid too high a price.

We have talked preemption before and I don't find it a defense. I think events in Iraq prove my point. The Iraq debacle has weakened our defenses and is providing first class training to our opposition.When I talk about "cutting Egypt off" I'm talking about our government to government aid, which amounts to 3B dollars a year, if I'm not mistaken. That's not the same as a trade embargo. Cuba is the textbook case for why that doesn't work.I'm also not suggesting invading Egypt for the sake of elections, but we could be as forceful in our rhetoric towards Egypt as we are towards Syria and Iran because all have comparable lack of freedom.The fact we're practically ready to attack Iran and Syria (if we had the forces), while continuing to ladle out hundreds of millions of dollars to *our* dictator in Egypt just shows how hollow our commitment to liberty is. If America begins to live our core values, the world will be a better place. Our core values of liberty and justice are worth living out -- we don't need preventive wars, indefinite detentions, "coervice interregations" that flunk the CAT and other tools of authoritarianism.As it is, we're dragging the world towards anarchy; which suits the terrorists -- more recruitment, more training, more terrorists seasons against increasingly overstretched American soldiers.

While at our house (homefront).

Herbert raises the question of recruitment and who is going off to the far-away lands. I can only tell you what has happened at OUR house. We have a son who, unfortunately, suffers from clinical depression, bipolar disorder, and things I'd never heard of, and has made four (count'em, folks) FOUR suicide attempts this year. He's hospitalized as I write this. So, guess who called us, wondering if he'd like to be all he can be? That's right, Greg and Tomeboy. The United States Army. After stifling a chuckle, I informed the Army of his current condition...and I was told "Not a prob! We have excellent medical coverage!"...My wife (a modest woman with strong family values and NEVER curses) shouted "Are they (the Army) out of their f--king minds?!?". I thanked the Army for their interest, but politely declined to offer him up for service at this time. I hope I don't seem unpatriotic. I'd also like to see that database Bob Herbert writes of. I'm sure it's informative and entertaining. Meanwhile, I continue to wonder if the Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft, etc. households are receiving these calls as well. For some reason, I doubt it.

Re:While at our house (homefront).

Thank you Makhno for bringing this discussion out of the ether and into reality. My thoughts are with you and your son. My son has been called and visited by recruiters at home and at high school, and when told that he was planning on attending Vassar in the fall, they tried to encourage him to put off his pursuit of education for another day.

Re:How was birdie's posting an attack?

"the hawks want their wars fought with other people's children"

No, that's not an attack at all.

1. Simply because someone doesn't name names doesn't make it a nonattack. That's just splitting hairs.

2. You can make whatever you want of my comments. Birdie said she didn't like being attacked, I said her initial post was an attack. End of story.

Re:While at our house (homefront).

Last evening I received a phone call between slicing tomatoes and grilling. Knife in one hand, phone in the other, my "Hello" was returned with a Bengali accent chirping about special mortgage rates. I didn't bother the caller about my burning chicken, wife's absence on a business trip or daughter's insistence on
peanut butter and jelly. I hung up the phone.

Very sorry about your son Makhno. Seriously. But your call has nothing to do with me nor is it unique to your family.

Re:While at our house (homefront).

My sympathies for your son Makhno but did it occur to you that recruiters hear a lot of parents painting bad pictures of their children to keep the military away? If they met the kid and verified his record and still tried to recruit him (not impossible) I'd be po'd but not until.

Re:While at our house (homefront).

As much as a I swore to myself that I was finished with the back and forth on this discussion, I am forced to respond to tomeboy's last post. Do you not recognize the difference between 1) trying to recruit your child be sent overseas to fight a war

    and

2) trying to sell a second mortgage.

Re:While at our house (homefront).

Yes, I do. Now suppose you explain to me the difference between the way you handled the pitch of your son's recruiter and your latest telemarketer.

Re:How was birdie's posting an attack?

So your journal postings are attacks?

Re:How was birdie's posting an attack?

If you want to try make the case. Some probably are, some certainly are not.

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