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Monday, June 11, 2007

Warning - Political Opinions Ahead

Saber Rattling

This is absolutely nuts. Sometime last week Republican presidential candidate Duncan Hunter proposed in a debate that we toss a nuclear weapon at the Mideast. Leading Republican candidate Mitt Romney nodded sagely and said that "no options should be taken off the table" when it comes to the Middle East.

Oh, that'll win the hearts and minds of the people... "We can't find a way to counter your suicide bombers so we're going to kill hundreds and hundreds of thousands of civilians and turn a few cities into radioactive slag."

This is the United States of America. We hold ourselves to a higher standard than the rest of the world. We are the shining example of clear political thought, restraint and morality. We are known for helping our enemies ("Do unto others...") and rebuilding broken nations. We do not allow torture. We do not allow people to be arrested without cause. We do not hold people without trial. Free speech is a bastion of our culture. We do not spy on our own citizens...

Or at least that's the way it used to be. Sadly, it's not so any more. We have reduced ourselves to the level of our enemies. This needs to change! We need to find our way back to honesty, accountability, morality.

Dropping tactical nuclear weapons isn't going to achieve that goal. All that's gonna do is give North Korea, Iran, Russia and even Pakistan a green light to drop a tactical nuclear weapon on us the first time they feel provoked -- and we're pretty good at provoking those particular nations lately. We need to maintain the morality of restraint. We need to remember to honor the human life.

We're good people. We really are. We just need to start acting like it.


MORE Saber Rattling


I just heard this morning that Independent Senator Joseph Isadore Lieberman (I-Diot) went on national television and spewed even MORE venom into the world by saying the United States should mount covert raids across the Iraqi border into Iran in retaliation for Iranians training Iraqis to kill people. The Senator did say with a dismissive shrug that the majority of the work could be done by air.

Didn't Senator Lieberman learn anything from Vietnam when we started bombing Cambodia, and sneaked across the border into Laos to close off the Ho Chi Minh Trail? I guess not. Historically, what the Senator proposes simply hasn't worked. Do we need to deal with Iran? Yes. But we do NOT need to engage in a sneaky war with them, nor do we need to start throwing nuclear weapons around as others have suggested. We must regain and maintain the high moral ground.

But I'm sure Senator Lieberman knows what combat is like and realizes the sacrifices he's asking others to make on his behalf. Oh, wait, he never served in the military, did he... Nor do his children, come to think of it.

Something to be aware of when discussing Senator Lieberman and the Middle East is the fact that he receives a LOT of donations from pro-Israel groups who hope he'll continue to enact legislation that favors Israel. Senator Lieberman and his wife Hadassah are both Orthodox Jews and have staunchly advocated for Israel -- part of which is working to continue the war in Iraq, one of Israel's enemies. It's also no secret that Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wants to wipe Israel off the map and has declared the Holocaust never happened.

So... Iran hates Jewish people, and Senator Lieberman (who happens to be one of those Jewish people himself) is taking tons of money from other Jewish people for his campaign, and is calling to invade Iran. Could it be that the Senator has an ax to grind? Could he be pushing a hidden agenda? Is he trying to get us to fight Israel's wars? Don't get me wrong -- I'm NOT defending Iran, nor am I advocating we abandon Israel. I just want to make sure we have our reasons and priorities straight before we start the bombing runs...


Thoughts on War in General


Someone mentioned in a comment to a previous post that I seem to be anti-war and pro-soldier. That's correct for the most part, I guess. But I have to admit, I'm not a complete dove -- there are times when war is necessary, unfortunately. If someone were to invade Iowa, I'd certainly call for war. If someone were to drop a nuclear weapon on Canada, I'd probably call for war. In other words, my philosophy is kind of "don't mess with my family and friends and I won't mess with you."

When the twin towers of the World Trade Center fell and it became apparent that it was the work of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda my immediate reaction was "well, let's go get him!" The United States sent troops off to Afghanistan to find bin Laden and nullify al-Qaeda, and I was fine with that.

But Dagmar and I watched in horror as United States President George Bush gradually convinced the nation that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was the one that was actually behind the 9/11 plot, and that they were on the verge of launching weapons of mass destruction at western targets. We could see, my wife and I, that this simply wasn't so -- Hussein was an evil man who did evil things in evil ways, but he wasn't responsible for the attacks of 9/11, nor did he have weapons of mass destruction -- our own inspectors confirmed that. When the United States lined our troops up and pointed them towards Baghdad we watched the war from our couch, simultaneously aghast and appalled at what we were doing and proud of how well our troops were doing it. When Baghdad fell we thought our objective had been met and hoped the war was over, but it wasn't. When Hussein was captured we thought our objective had been met and hoped the war was over, but it wasn't. When Hussein was executed we hoped the war was over, but it wasn't.

Meanwhile, the man who actually did the United States damage, Osama bin Laden, ran free in Afghanistan, and is still free to this day.

I simply feel we are in the wrong war. We should not have gone into Iraq; we needed to keep our focus on finding al-Qaeda operatives. Once we did go into Iraq, we should have had clear objectives and a definition of victory. Despite our troops' best efforts, we're now finding ourselves bloody umpires in a civil war in Iraq, left unable to defend ourselves should our true enemy al-Qaeda choose to attack. The blame for this goes squarely on the Bush administration -- mainly former government bigwig Donald Rumsfeld, vice president Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney, adviser Karl Rove, John Ashcroft, Paul Wolfowitz and President George Bush. They willfully ignored intelligence reports that opposed their wishes, replaced military leaders who didn't agree with their ideology, and generally attempted to micromanage the war from the White House. This didn't work when we fought in Vietnam, and it didn't work in Iraq. (President Bush should have learned from his father, who was president during the Gulf War. During that war the president gave the military clearly defined goals and objectives, and let the generals do what they're trained to do. Consequently, the war was over quickly, and victory was decisive.)

How do we now get out of the war in Iraq? I dunno. But we need to find a way. Our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines have done exactly what we asked them to do, and have done it admirably. We need to get them home; get them rested up and ready to defend the United States against our true enemies. The war in Iraq has cost us more money that is imaginable, and that money must be paid. (Sadly, our children and grandchildren are going to be paying for this war for a long, long time.) We, as a nation, have been slowly mortgaging and pawning off our assets to pay for Iraq. Our creditors will come calling. We also need to find the resources to care for those that served in Iraq -- they deserve the best care we can give them.

I'm very aware that there are other opinions, and that there are probably a few big holes in my argument that can be found, but this is simply my rather grumpy opinion on my rather grumpy blog. I'm tired of going to funerals.

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