Friday, July 13, 2007

Pale Rider Returns!!!

I love the smell of roast wingnut in the morning, and nobody - and I do mean nobody - roasts a wingnut like Pale Rider.

Let's see what happens when a wingnut talks about himself...

(National Review Online) This column was written by W. Thomas Smith Jr..

As a young Marine squad leader — some 20 years ago — I remember one morning standing on a windswept, South Korean hilltop looking out over the Sea of Japan. As I stood there, I briefly contemplated a simple fact about how the world works and my responsibility in it at that very moment in time: Armed with my rifle and some 12 heavily armed Marines under my direct authority, I realized that no matter what decisions were made by the president, his Cabinet, Congress, the intelligence community, and all the generals and the admirals; American foreign policy extended to and ended at the tip of my bayonet.

[Thank you for your service. Being a veteran of the Korean Peninsula, you must know that, were war to break out, the North Korean military would wage assymetrical warfare against the US and the ROK Army--through the use of infiltrators, frogmen, sabatoeurs, snipers and special forces. We currently face a vastly different kind of threat in Iraq--the fact of the matter is, few, if any, of the attacks in Iraq are carried out by insurgents who are as heavily trained and dedicated as what we would face in Korea.]

It was a huge responsibility for so young a man. But I clearly remember that young man: He was smart, energetic, dependable, commanding in many ways (despite his youth), and — contrary to what outsiders might believe about infantrymen — able to think beyond his 12-man squad.

[Calm down, sir. Plenty of people have led squads of men. Some of them have actually seen combat. Many of them can think beyond their surroundings.]

But I was only one of many, and I’m willing to bet any combatant who has ever humped over a ridge or patrolled an alleyway on the far ends of the earth has considered such.

[Ah, a little humility. Good on ya.]

Which brings me to Iraq, the American soldiers involved, the antiwar crowd which condemns their efforts — yet contend they support the troops — and the feverish waving of the interim assessment of progress — or the lack thereof — being made on the ground (which began days before the assessment’s release, and two months before Gen. David Petraeus is to formally report on the status of operations and progress in Iraq).

[Condemn their efforts? You're setting a rhetorical trap--it really is possible to condemn the war and support the troops. The troops are the instrument of policy and are not responsible for the failure of that policy--the Commander in Chief is responsible. No, wait--he abdicated that responsibility to LTG Lute, the "WAR CZAR." Where's General Lute, by the way? And, to take this further, most people condemn the irresponsible manner in which the troops are being used to fight an enemy the current President is lying about. Al Qaeda in Iraq is only responsible for about 5-10% of the attacks on US forces. And if an interim assessment shows little or no progress, does it not indicate that there should be a change in strategy to ensure that progress is made? What's wrong with looking at failure and calling it what it is?]

Iraq And Troop Support

Let’s consider Iraq.

I think it’s pretty obvious that nothing less than an imme diate utopian existence for all Iraqis in all of that country’s 18 provinces would suffice for the salivating antiwar Left. Even then, I’m not so sure they wouldn’t point to any level of criminal activity in Iraq as representing the “disaster” they say is Iraq.

[Utopian? How about not getting slaughtered on a daily basis? How about significantly reducing the numbers of Iraqis that are killed every day by death squads, militias and car bombs? The anti-war movement you point to does not exist in this country anymore. There is no Vietnam-era equivalent anymore. During the height of the Vietnam War, the anti-war movement could get a half million people to go to Washington DC. The current anti-war movement is small, fractured, marginalized and can't organize a one-car parade.]

The antiwar crowd will say their efforts to do anything and everything to end the war and bring the troops home now is an expression of their support for the troops (suggesting the troops are too immature, illiterate, and generally unworldly to make decisions about what is best for themselves, which is conflicting in my mind whenever I reflect on the thought-processes of that young Marine who once stood on that Korean hilltop). In fact, I belie ve the Left’s approach to supporting the troops is utterly disingenuous and condescending.

[You conflate yourself, your far too self-indulgent view of yourself, and call people who want our troops to have a clearly defined mission, the equipment they need to carry out that mission, and the need to get them out of harm's way because there is no good reason to actually have them in harm's way "disingenuous" and "condescending?" It is far more disingenuous and condescending to call the opposition to our forces in Iraq by the generic term "al Qaeda" when they are responsible for only 5-10% of the attacks on our troops.]

Anyone who truly understands or cares anything about Iraq, knows that bringing the troops home now — or beginning some withdrawal to a regional enclave — will not end the war. It will inflame the already hot war. If the troops are withdrawn to a regional enclave and the war boils over (as it would), they would ultimately have to move back into a far hotter environment than they are already in. Military planners and strategists who h ave to think decades ahead, have to consider such probabilities. Politicians, who rarely think beyond the next election, don’t.

[Bringing the troops home now gets them out of a mission that is not defined and gets them out of a civil war in which they have no business being a party to. Iraq is already inflamed--the violence is being directed at US troops whenever the warring parties are able to stop killing each other. We are seen as being occupiers that are propping up an illegitimate government that, as of now, cannot deliberate because too many factions have pulled out of the government and it cannot hold a quorum. It cannot arrest Ministers who break the law. It cannot pass laws and it cannot provide basic security to its citizens. Iraq needs a new government, not an occupying force. And if we attempt to change the Iraqi government while occupying the country, we will be right back in the situation we're in now.]

A Victory For Al Qaeda

Also, if we withdraw in the face of the enemy (or set a date for withdrawal), al Qaeda will claim a huge victory — and make no m istake, our withdrawing won’t be a hollow victory for al Qaeda: It will be an enormous and very real triumph for the terrorist network.

[No, the nationalist Iraqis will claim victory--and they will clamor for power. Sunni and Shia factions will fight for the spoils no differently tomorrow than they are fighting each other right now. There is no doubt there will be bloodshed. As opposed to what we have now, it is more likely that the competing factions will turn on al Qaeda, what little there is, and eliminate it far more quickly and effectively than we are able to. ]

Finally, with so much at stake, and no one left except the bad guys to fill any vacuum left by withdrawing U.S. forces (before the bad guys are soundly defeated), the region will become far more unstable than it is now. And I cannot begin to imagine the horrors the Iraqi people who voted in free elections, who supported us, who provided intelligence to us, and whose kids were photographed with us, would be subjected to (and believe me, the Iraqis know that too).

[The region is unstable because we removed the check on Iranian power provided by Saddam Hussein--you remember Bush's father? The man who had a half million man army and a clear road to Baghdad once the bulldozers cleared the smashed Iraqi looters from the roadway? The fact of the matter is, Iran had far less influence in the region when Hussein held power. Removing Saddam and his murderous kleptocracy was a noble initiative--but by failing to use enough troops and to plan for the removal of the Ba'athist regime, we left a power vacuum that Paul Bremer and his suede boots couldn't fill. And just a hint to you--those Iraqis who were photographed with "us" and were working with "us" are sometimes found to also be planting bombs and counting off paces between buildings so their buddies can more accurately drop rounds on us. If we had as many friends as you say, there'd be a whole lot less killing.]

Those are facts. So, based on facts and the actions of the L eft, a utopian existence for the Iraqi people — if there were such a possibility — could not be what the antiwar Left truly hopes for. Utopia in Iraq would only thwart their four-part agenda of destroying any hint of a successful legacy for the current president (which I personally don’t care about), justifying their own rantings and elected seats (again, don’t care about), humbling our military forces (which I do seriously care about), and trying to negotiate with butchers whom — as Michael Yon describes — bake people’s children and serve them to their families.

[Generalities don't add up to facts. No one expects utopia--people expect our troops to have a clear mission and the tools to achieve it. They don't have that. They are caught in a civil war. The al Qaeda in Iraq boogeyman accounts for only 5-10% of the attacks but for 100% of the rhetoric and the hollow threats. There is not one credible person who opposes this war who wishes to see our armed forces "humbled" in any way, shape or form. In point of fact, credible people who oppose this war would like them to be treated in hospitals that aren't rotting and falling apart and credible people want to welcome them home with open arms and treat their wounds, counsel their fears, and help them put their lives back together. You support a Republican Party that has cut funds to the Veterans' Administration, taken away combat pay whenever it could get away with it, and have voted down a law which would have brought them home to be retrained, rested and re-equipped for a time equal to their previous deployment. In effect, you support a Republican Party that wants to turn our troops away from medical and mental health care and send them back to war without the proper training and rest. And you try to drape the flag from your shoulders and set yourself up to be their staunch defender? At the end of the day, all you have is hollow rhetoric and jingoism--transparent concern and a reckless disregard for the truth.]

Progress is being made in Iraq. Successful counterinsurgencies take years. Failure or retreat — including withdrawal before the work is finished — is not a reasonable option (I am constantly amazed that it is even a consideration). The soldiers in Iraq — every bit as book-smart and street-savvy as that young Marine in Korea years ago — understand this. Why Congress doesn’t, is beyond me. Or perhaps they really do, but they also know that it is not politically expedient to support an effort that has been so-maligned in the public eye. An d there is no doubt in my mind that some would sell their very souls to save their elected skins.

[For someone claiming to be so saavy, you forgot to explain what the mission really is. Fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here? Prop up a weak government until we can figure out how to get out of Iraq without causing the electoral destruction of the Republican Party? Whose soul has been sold to the defense contractors that paid bribes for no-bid contracts? Whose soul was sold for the dollars that flowed to the Republican party in the months leading up to the war and whose soul was sold down the river to support a war that was going nowhere? The chief proponent of the President's strategy in Iraq is John McCain. His campaign is shattered and broke and his poll numbers are dismal. McCain was the future of the Republican Party and look where he is now. The skins you're protecting don't even cover the flayed hides of the men who sold their soul to wage an unnecessary war.]

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