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WWSD = What Would Santa Do??

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Bring our troops home!




We have made a disaster in Iraq. We cannot escape from all of its consequences. But the human consequences of staying—the Iraqi civilians we will kill, the young American men and women alive this minute who will die or be maimed in body or mind—are worse than the political consequences of withdrawing. In any case, the political consequences are notional, as weighed against the certainty of death, suffering, and grief. In our own eyes, our prestige diminished after we withdrew from Vietnam, but our international position was not weakened. Asked for the hundredth time why we were in Vietnam, Lyndon Johnson, according to Arthur Goldberg, his U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, "unzipped his fly, drew out his substantial organ, and declared, 'This is why!'" In Iraq as in Vietnam, at risk is not America's prestige but the President's. No one should have to die to save George W. Bush's face.


~~~On the other hand~~~


The 'fat in the fire' is not Bush's; it's ours. It's our kids who are killing and dying on this fool's errand. It's our nation's once-good name that is being sundered along with Iraqi homes and hopes. And it's our duty to turn this rudderless beast around – to do everything in our power to slap our country back to its senses, step back to our proper place in the world, ask for help from our former friends and get our kids the hell out of there.



On the real Iraqi front, David Letterman ran off a series of crowd-pleasers while visiting the troops:


"Iraqi elections are in January. Hurry up and pick somebody so we can get the hell out of here,'' he said.


And: "If I wanted to face insurgents I would've spent Christmas with my relatives.''

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Somehow, I don't think there's anything substantial about the Bushes' organs. LBJ was tragically wrong about Vietnam, but he was a giant, politically as well as physically. Being well-endowed was probably one of the sources of his supreme self-confidence, a quality essential for success in politics. One thing for sure, LBJ never seemed to feel the need to constantly prove his manhood to everyone.


The Bushes don't seem self-confident, at all. They strut like bantam roosters, constantly trying to prove their manhood, perhaps because they never were, um, "Big Men On Campus," and also because they're not self-made men, as LBJ was. The Bushes try to pretend that they're successful business people, but the family history makes it clear that they leeched their way to wealth and power through coldly calculated marriages and trading favors with their much wealthier friends. With the Bushes, there's never enough money or power, perhaps as compensation for their lack in other endowments!


LBJ married money, too, but he was already a rising political star when he married Lady Bird, and his subsequent political success was largely based on his own abilities, not because of endless favors by well-connected friends. He came from an extremely modest background, unlike the Bushes, and he never forgot his origins. It was the source of his implacable drive to end injustice and poverty in the U.S., and to create the "Great Society." As deeply flawed as LBJ was, he still towers over any of the Bushes.

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The larger question that never gats answered is "Why are we there?" I know there are millions who feel just like GLUTES, TRI and myself. And many millions of others who follow the questionable wisdom of our president. But how can any sensible American feel that any of this makes sense. We are raiding our nation's future with the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars, the future of hundreds of billions of dollars more in interest payments on the increased debt and the uncertain possibility of financial instability and ruin when(not if) interest rates on this said debt increases. But even worse is the death and distruction of lives in the future; for those Americans killed and maimed that were sent over to fight for this nation of ours. For decades into the future, the lives of wives, husbands, children and grandchildren will be changed by the loss of loved ones and in my mind, even more saddening is of those returning with such catastrophic physical injuries. Possibly living for decades without limbs, sight, mental faculties is an incredible toll on the extended families of these servicemen and women. And for what? Nation-building? Do the demagogues leading our country really believe that they will be able to create another Korea or Japan in the midst of the Islamic religious fervor that has always gripped this region? Is there anyone who can help save us from this folly of ours, one just given another four years, to help destroy this great nation of ours?

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"But even worse is the death and distruction of lives in the future; for those Americans killed and maimed that were sent over to fight for this nation of ours."


Oh? If you listen to the Misadmistrations' latest BS, our troops are fighting for the Iraqis!

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One reads in the papers that the Pentagon expects the war in Iraq to continue till 2010. Donald Rumsfeld will not guarantee that it will be over by 2009. How many dead and maimed Americans by then? How many sad obituaries? How many full pages in the papers with pictures of all the casualties?




The reasons change: weapons of mass destruction, war on terror, freedom and democracy for the people of Iraq, American credibility. All are deceptions. This cockamamie and criminally immoral war was planned before the Sept. 11 attack in which Iraq was not involved. It has nothing to do with the war on terror. American-style freedom and democracy in Arab countries are hallucinations by men and women like Paul Wolfowitz and Condi Rice whose contribution to the war is writing long memos -- Republican intellectuals with pointy heads.


One must support the troops, I am told. I certainly support the troops the best way possible: Bring them home, get them out of a war for which the planning was inadequate, the training nonexistent, the goal obscure, and the equipment and especially the armor for their vehicles inferior. They are brave men and women who believe they are fighting to defend their country and have become sitting ducks for fanatics. Those who die are the victims of the big lie. They believe that they are fighting to prevent another terror attack on the United States. They are not the war criminals. The ''Vulcans,'' as the Bush foreign policy team calls itself, are the criminals, and they ought to face indictment as war criminals.


There is an irony in the promise of a prolonged war. The Vulcans believed that, as the world's only superpower, the military might of the United States was overwhelming, irresistible, beyond challenge. In fact, the war into which they tricked us has become a quagmire, 130,000 American troops are at the mercy of perhaps 5,000 true-believer guerrillas and an Iraqi population that doesn't like Americans any more than it liked Saddam Hussein. It is a war in which there is no possibility of victory -- whether it ends in June 2005 or June 2010, whether there are 2,000 American battle deaths or 50,000, whether there are 10,000 wounded Americans or 500,000, whether those with post-traumatic stress are 10 percent of the returning troops or 30 percent.


One of the criteria for a just war is that there be a reasonable chance of victory. Where is that reasonable chance? Each extra day of the war makes it more unjust, more criminal. The guilty people are not only the Vulcans but those Americans who in the November election endorsed the war.


They are also responsible for the Iraqi deaths, especially the men who join the police or the army because they need the money to support their families -- their jobs eaten up in the maw of the American ''liberation.'' Iraqi deaths don't trouble many Americans. Their attitude is not unlike the e-mail writer who said he rejoices every time a Muslim kills another Muslim. ''Let Allah sort them out.''


This time of the year we celebrate ''peace on Earth to men of good will.'' Americans must face the fact that they can no longer claim to be men and women of good will, not as long as they support an unnecessary, foolish, ill-conceived, badly executed and, finally, unwinnable war. If most people in other countries blame the war on Americans, we earned that blame in the November election -- not that there is any serious reason to believe that Sen. John Kerry would have had the courage to end the war. Perhaps if he had changed his mind, as he did about the war in Vietnam, and opposed the Iraqi war, he might have won. Too late now. Too late till 2010 -- or 2020.

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I'm probably not in full agreement with all the posters or writers in this thread. I was very ambivalent about the need for the war in Iraq, leaning more to opposing it than favoring it, although I could see the appeal of overthrowing Saddam. Even though Saddam wasn't an immediate threat to the U.S., he had been a threat before, invading his neighbors, causing the deaths of millions in his wars, and using chemical weapons against his own people. The games he played with the U.N. inspectors raised doubts about whether he really had complied with the U.N. resolutions on disarming. Given the circumstances, I can understand the argument for invading Iraq and overthrowing Saddam before his strength enabled him to strike first. Even so, I felt the invasion was a mistake, especially because it was undertaken unilaterally over the opposition of most of our allies and much of world opinion.


Whatever I felt at first is probably not all that relevant. I subscribe to the Pottery Barn theory: we broke Iraq, now we have to fix it. I understand that this will take money and military might. This is one of the principal reasons I supported John Kerry. I was convinced that he'd commit the necessary troops, resources and leadership to get the job done right as quickly as possible, so we could then be able to pull out. The Bush camp was clearly living in fantasyland, expecting to be greeted like conquering heroes and being able to pull off this stunt on the cheap, with no plan for the inevitable occupation after the invasion. The subsequent string of mistakes would be comic, if they weren't at the cost of so many lives and so much destruction and human misery. As far as I can tell, BushCo still doesn't get it, meaning we'll be mired down in Iraq forever, spending ourselves into national bankruptcy. It's a shame Americans couldn't see through the smoke and mirrors in the last election. Four years from now (and maybe considerably sooner) I think they're going to regret their votes, if they helped put Bush back in office in 2004

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<It's a shame Americans couldn't see through the smoke and mirrors in the last election. Four years from now (and maybe considerably sooner) I think they're going to regret their votes, if they helped put Bush back in office in 2004>


Speaking with some fellow Demos, maybe this war will unravel BushCo!

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December 27, 2004

'Staying the Course' Won't Do

by Patrick J. Buchanan


In the aftermath of the suicide bombing of the Mosul mess hall, we are being admonished anew we must stay the course in Iraq. But "Stay the course!" is no longer enough.


President Bush needs to go on national television and tell us the unvarnished truth. Why are we still there? For some of Bush's countrymen, there is a sense of having been had, of having been made victim to one of the great bait-and-switches in the history of warfare.


The president, his War Cabinet, and the neocon punditocracy sold us on this war by implying Saddam was implicated in 9/11, that he had a vast arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, that he was working on an atom bomb, that he would transfer his terror weapons to al-Qaeda. We had to invade, destroy, and disarm his axis-of-evil regime. Only thus could we be secure.


None of this was true. But the president won that debate and was given a free hand to invade Iraq. He did so, and overthrew Saddam's regime in three weeks. "Mission Accomplished!"


That was 20 months ago. What is our mission now? When did it change? With 1,300 dead and nearly 10,000 wounded, why are we still at war with these people?


The president says the enemy is "terrorism" and "evil," and we fight for "democracy" and that "freedom" that is "God's gift to humanity." All very noble.


But why should Americans have to die for democracy in a nation that has never known it? Democracy in the Middle East is not vital to our national security. For though the Middle East has never been democratic, no Middle East nation has ever attacked us. And should we catch a nation that is supporting terror against us, we have the weapons to make them pay a hellish price, without invading and occupying their country.


The only nation in the 20th century to attack us was Japan. And Japan lashed out, insanely, in desperation, because we had cut off her oil and convinced the British and Dutch to cut off the vital commodities she needed to avoid imperial defeat in China. We were choking the Japanese empire to death.


We might all prefer that Arab nations be democratic. But that is not vital to us. If they remain despotic, that is their problem, so long as they do not threaten or attack us. But to invade an Islamic country to force it to adopt democratic reforms is democratic imperialism. If we practice it, we must expect that some of those we are reforming will resort to the time-honored weapon of anti-imperialists, terrorism – the one effective weapon the weak have against the strong.


Yet, if our goals appear gauzy and vague, our enemy's war aims appear specific, concrete, and understandable. They seek our expulsion from Iraq and the eradication of all "collaborators." And the tactics they are using are the same as those the FLN used to drive the French out of Algeria.


To us, democracy may mean New England town meetings. To the Sunnis, democracy means a one-man, one-vote path to power for the Shias, 60 percent of Iraq's population, who will dispossess them of the power and place they have held since Ottoman times. Why should people to whom politics is about power – "Who, whom?" in Lenin's phrase – not fight that? And why should we fight and die for a Shia-dominated Iraq?


Before addressing his countrymen, the president needs to ask and answer for himself some hard questions. Who told him this would be a "cakewalk"? Who misled him to believe we would be welcomed as liberators with bouquets of flowers? Who led him into a situation where his choice appears to be between a seemingly endless guerrilla war that could destroy his presidency, and walking away from Iraq and watching it collapse in mayhem and the massacre of those who cast their lot with us? Why have these fools not been fired, like the CIA geniuses who sold JFK on the Bay of Pigs?


It is not just President Bush who is in this hellish mess. We're all in it together. But the president needs to know that if he intends to use U.S. military power to democratize the Middle East, Americans – 56 percent of whom now believe Iraq was a mistake – will not follow him.


Finally, the president must answer in his heart this question: Exactly how much more blood and money is he willing to plunge into a war for democracy in Iraq, and at what point must he decide – as LBJ and Nixon did in Vietnam – that the cost to America is so great that we must get out and risk the awful consequences of a mistaken war that we should never have launched?

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