Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Conversation Interrupted

Stuff happens when you try preaching to the non-choir.

On a good day, 40% of my blogging occurs on neutral or pro-Bush sites. I call it my outreach program.

This week, on a neutral site, we had a warm and heated dialogue underway when the blogmeister elected not to approve my contributions.
No rules or standards for comments were posted, so I am without a clue as to how I offended anyone. My emailed query to the administrator has gone unanswered.

My annoyance is especially piqued by an anxiety that my companion in this discussion might be left with an impression that I had nothing further to say. He has the ability to follow me in here, to my pages. So, risking accusations of narcissistic self-indulgence, I thought I would reproduce the dialogue below in hopes he could be enticed to continue the discussion.

The thread was about a local Congressman's comment in Bush's surge splurge. Vigilante jumped in on September 14th, 2007 at 8:11 am:
Registering agreement with all opinions expressed above, I think it is important to acknowledge that our Dear Leader announced ‘victory’ in our unnecessary war of Iraq, that we are now in ‘occupation mode’ which, if allowed to linger indefinitely, will eventually morph into another war (with Iran). Furthermore, occupations are not won or lost. They are merely ended.
On September 15th, 2007 at 9:57 am, Mick responded:
It must be a heavy burden to bear: a visceral hatred of the political opposition, distrust of one’s own government, and such venom toward your own countrymen that you would prefer a civil war at home to the liberation of the Iraqi people.

If you weren’t so blinded by these emotions, you might have been able to hear during General Petraeus’ testimony that we are actually beginning to achieve some considerable success in Iraq. But then, perhaps that’s what you fear the most.

There were many, many mistakes made in the execution of the war, as in most wars; since, as Joe Louis once said, all battle plans become obsolete the minute the first punch is thrown. But the Iraqi people, like all people, want freedom.

If we leave before that goal is reached, there will be immediate mass slaughter perhaps exceeding the aftermath of our pulling out of Vietnam; Al-Qaeda will become emboldened and entrenched in their new international headquarters for Islamic terrorism, and finally, Iraq will be subsumed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, for, as Mahmoud has already stated: Iran will fill the void. I don’t have to explain in detail what will become of Israel.

I, personally, would not want to be responsible for leaving that mess in the hands of our children and grandchildren - if they’re still alive. Remember, Iran will soon have nukes, and, as founders of the Islamic Revolution, they feel the same way about Big Satan and Little Satan as Osama does. Have a great day.
Anon (September 15th, 2007 at 3:06 pm):
Losing will hurt the Republicans and that’s all that matters!

The sooner we quit the better.
Vigilante (September 17th, 2007 at 8:43 am):
Hey Mick, this misgovernment has already fully earned the distrust of our people. I have venom only for Bush who betrayed our people and who - themselves - will bear a heavy burden for a generation as a consequence of his unprovoked and unnecessary invasion of Iraq.

Mistakes? The invasion was the mother of all mistakes.

General Potemkin, in his own Congressional testimony, did not want to express his opinion on how or whether our continued occupation of Iraq would improve our national security.

When my grandchildren reach adulthood, they will fully grasp that George Bush has put a greater hurt on our once-great country than Osama bin Laden.

Have a GR8 day, yourself.
Mick (September 17th, 2007 at 10:21 am):
History will be the judge of these events, it is true. In the meanwhile, we can share our opinions on the subject, limited though our views may be.

Allow me to correct one of your statements, though, if I may. President Bush has not “earned the distrust of our people;” he has merely stirred up the hornets’ nest of the left. Wars always have been and always will be divisive, as well they should be. Bush-hatred goes much deeper than that, though, and I won’t bother to enumerate those ugly details here.

As far as the notion that Bush betrayed the nation by invading Iraq, you shouldn’t allow your hatred to blind you to the original facts of the situation: Saddam, it is well known, certainly once had WMDs. America and most of the rest of the world knew this, since America, England and France, you may recall, had sold him the bulk of them when they supported Iraq against the Soviet-backed Iranians in the Iran-Iraq war. Rightly so, I might add.

After that conflict and after his alienation from the U.S. in the wake of “the rape of Kuwait,” Saddam projected and encouraged the belief that Iraq still had stockpiles of the stuff to deter enemies both internal and external. As with most Stalinist regimes, it requires a certain amount of paranoia to remain in power.

That’s why, prior to the invasion in 2003, the CIA, Britain’s M-9, the UN, as well as French, German, Czech and most of the world’s intelligence agencies, had plausible reason to believe he possessed weapons of mass destruction. It was his successful, but ultimately fatal, strategy of “deterrence by doubt.”

In the wake of 9-11, it was clear that we could not afford to take the chance that Saddam might provide al-Qaeda with those weapons, since they were already operating there - the Ansar al-Islam camps (run by al Qaeda) operated in Northern Iraq and cooperated with Saddam against the Kurds in that region.

Betrayal? I think not. It was a justified toppling of a dangerous dictator who had also been murdering and torturing his own people for 25 years. Have you forgotten that America had recently invaded a sovereign nation for what some might consider dubious reasons (it was called “ethnic cleansing” then), in an invasion that was UN-opposed and unprovoked by the invaded nation, in the Balkans in 1998? Without a single peep from the anti-American Left, I might add.

Also, have you noticed that the anti-American presidents of Germany and France have since been replaced - by wide margins - with pro-American, conservative leaders? Schroeder and Chirac, as it turns out, opposed the invasion of Iraq to protect illicit deals they had with Saddam in clear violation of the “Oil-for-Food program,” which was established international law at the time.

Finally, I might point out that you spelled ‘Petraeus’ wrong. Does not a man who has devoted most of his life to protecting his nation at the very least deserve to have his name spelled correctly? Have another great day.
Vigilante (September 17th, 2007 at 9:57 pm):
Excuse me. Petraeus. I was being ironic. Potemkin refers to the General’s description of Iraq.
And then, Vigilante immediately followed up with a second consecutive comment which never appeared:
I do not consider myself corrected on any other of my points. As far as your errors, it's not my day or night job to educate you. My time constraints require that I be brief.

My quarrel with Bush began with his post-9/11 stampeding this country into a pointless, illegal, and ill-advised invasion of Iraq. He and his team did this by fear-mongering, lying, faking and the cherry-picking of intelligence. The intelligence and facts were fixed around the policy as dramatized by the Downing Street Memorandum.

Bush's policy was regime change by force of arms. Clinton's policy in the Balkans was qualitatively more limited: instead of replacing a regime by invasion and occupation, the Balkan policy was aimed at getting the Serbs to modify their behavior through punitive aerial bombardments. Clinton's intervention in the Balkans interrupted genocide and ethnic cleansing as it occurred. To put as generous a spin as possible on it, your pretense that Saddam's mass murdering was interrupted by Bush's 20-Mar-03 invasion is disingenuous: the killings Saddam was hung for occurred a decade or more before. By the time Bush invaded, Saddam had long been checkmated by overlapping no-fly zones.

As far as public opinion in Europe goes, my impression is that the polls show it to be as adverse to Bush as ever, irrespective of government. I am not surprised. The Bush doctrine of preventive war is not only alien to our American tradition of statecraft, it is also a retro-rationale for aggression that most Europeans (left and right) thought and hoped had been buried in the middle of the 20th Century.

In the minds of world opinion - as well as in the minds of a growing number of Americans, 11-Sep-01 did not change everything. 20-Mar-03 did.

Chuck Hagel, Republican Senator from Nebraska agrees with me. He calls Bush's invasion and occupation of Iraq "The biggest foreign policy blunder in our history". If you have anymore questions, Mick, take them up with the Senator.

Great as your day was today, I hope your tomorrow will be even better!
So, Mick: if you're out there, please come in and let's continue?

Of course, while we're waiting for Mick, others are invited to pick up this dangling thread.