Copy and paste laziness. Sorry, I'm busy.

Iraq Troop Withdrawal Resolution

Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr., Republican from North Carolina, has introduced a bipartisan resolution calling for President Bush to come up with a plan by the end of this year to withdraw the troops from Iraq, and for the withdrawal to start no later than October of 2006. Rep. Jones became famous for changing the name of the french fries in the congressional cafeteria to "Freedom Fries" when France came out against invading Iraq. He also represents Marine Corps base Camp Lejeune, where many new recruits go for basic training, so it is significant that he is publicly breaking with Bush policy. This is how quagmires like this end. First the public support drops, and polls already show American' support for this war declining. Next, Congress begins to pressure the administration to come up with a way out. That is what this resolution does. Finally, if the administration continues to fight calls for withdrawal, Congress pulls the plug on the money. That is how the war in Vietnam eventually ended. To push this process along, we need members of Congress to join the two Republicans and two Democrats introducing this resolution. Please send a message to your congressperson asking him or her to sign on and vote for it.

(See link above)

I'm all about forcing bush and friends to wrap things up over there and get our troops out of harm's way. Every day we're over there without a clear exit strategy, is another day we have good hardworking people killed with IEDs and RPGs with no end in sight. It was bad to go into the war without a clear plan on how to win, but to be 2 years into it with no idea is ludicrous. Our troops are doing their part, why isn't the commander in chief doing his?

11 thoughts on “Copy and paste laziness. Sorry, I'm busy.”

  1. Though I dislike arguing certain points of politics, I've got something of an urge to reply to this… So think of this as sort of a place-holder to remind myself to say my peace later… πŸ˜‰

    (I'd do it now, but I'm on a government computer and I think that'd hardly be appropriate.)


  2. Okay, a few points here. (Sorry for the delay.)

    I quite agree–our troops are definitely doing their part, and far better than can be expected under the circumstances. But I would hesitate before I would presume to imply that the National Command Authority (NCA) (President, advisors, and military structure) is not doing its part as well.

    War these days has been brought home to us in our armchairs, vividly, blow-by-blow; CNN and others provide us with all the information that the NCA gets (or so we tend to think). It is hardly unexpected, then, that we should be very critical of what decisions are made. We should be, of course: that's one of the hallmarks of our national heritage. Be critical, by all means; question what is done and think of how you would do things better. Be engaged in the issues.

    There is a fine line, however, between constructive criticism and destructive rhetoric. (I'm not saying that "all criticism in time of war is treason," or any of that poppycock.) But note, please, that frivolous or unfounded criticisms only serve to fill the air with so much white noise, distracting millions of Americans from truths that may lie hidden just beneath the surface of the "news."

    This seems like an aside, but I assure you it's not.
    Regarding "exit strategies"… I should point out that Ike certainly had no "exit strategy" when he committed us to the Normandy landings; Sherman certainly had no "exit strategy" when he marched across Georgia; and there was no "exit strategy" at Valley Forge, either. This new militaristic term is really little more than a buzzword meaning "way to save our asses if things get too hot." (Buzzwords only serve to make unpleasant things more… palatable.)

    With that said, I think that the situation in Iraq is one that is not improving, and one that our continued presence is only aggravating. (That wasn't always the case, not at first.) Our reasons for going in, I think, were sound (and they're NOT what you heard on the news!) It served its purpose as a show of force for a while, but now we have reached the "pull-out point," in Sub-talk. Our interests would be better served, I think, in admitting a relatively minor defeat and preserving our military rather than in continuing to waste it in search of "victory."

    In fact, as I see it, any degree of "victory" we may achieve will only serve to buy time before the inevitable climactic showdown. As citizens watching CNN and such, we often do not realize what a precarious position we are in internationally. (I shan't detail it here, but suffice it to say… it is far from good or secure.) Suffice it to say… that when the NCA went into the war "without a clear plan on how to win," the war it was thinking about was NOT just Iraq, but far larger. One that few have even dared to hint at… and one that I would challenge ANYONE to figure out how to win.

    So it might be prudent to take into account other factors before accusing any president of not doing their "part."

    I'm rambling, I know, but I had many disparate thoughts to hit and no good way to connect them save at the end. I should be very happy, of course, to elucidate any confusion that this might create.

    My apologies for the length and discontinuity.


    1. Yea, I always try to evaluate my criticisms. I constantly ask myself whether the reasons for pursuing a criticism are valid reasons, or just a partisan thing. I typically reformat these kind of messages before posting, hence the "Copy and paste laziness, sorry" in the title. I think some of the language in it could be better stated.

      If our purpose of invasion of iraq was to show force (which seems like a pretty silly idea on its face. I don't prevent bee stings by stirring up the hive to show them that I am ready and willing to kill them.), we're not succeeding. We went into this with far too many soldiers, and tried to win on a budget. That alone is a pretty bad thing to do, since it means that we were going in with not enough armor and other supplies, such as vehicles on the ground. I'd imagine they probably had supply chain problems from the sudden rampup of this war, trying to keep it all secret before they did it – that doesn't forgive that it happened and doesn't mean it couldn't have been done another way, I can just understand why it did happen this way.

      Unless there was actually a defense issue to this war (I was all about the first iraq war, and I was outspoken in my desire to pave over afghanistan (but how could we miss osama? Wha? And I'm not even trying to "give clinton a pass" on that issue, as many republican talking points tend to mention, Bush himself had plenty of opportunities and messed them up as well.), I don't understand why we had to lose face in the world fighting it. We showed the world we were serious with afghanistan, and we had ALL KINDS of support with it. But to run off and invade Iraq in the middle of it? Bad move, because it left the war there unfinished. I've heard that they're back to exporting heroin from there again, because there's not enough men on the ground to enforce the law properly. That's not cool.

      I don't mind going into war without an "exit strategy". I too agree it's a silly term. But you should at least have a well formed plan, and make sure you have enough people on the ground in the right places. Any strategy at all would have been good. I can forgive mistakes, I don't even pretend to be good at war. But the president's dad already fought this war once before, and did a really decent job – he could have asked for advice or something. πŸ™‚

      I know we're basically screwed with the international community. All you have to do is visit non-us websites to find that out. All the extremist groups are using this whole escapade as an example of why Americans are bad, and we're really stirring up the hornets nest for no good reason here.

      It was obvious that the people in charge basically want to unseat OPEC. We thought we could gain control of the oil in iraq, and use it to bargain against OPEC, and if it all went well, we could totally take over a few more countries. But obviously, it didn't. The president and a great deal of his cabinet are big oil people. They ran oil wells, defense contractors, and all that stuff. This was the world as they wanted it. If they could keep us at war in perpetuity, they would – more defense spending, more "success in spreading democracy" involved. That and generally nobody unseats a president in a time of war, so that was good for the re-election campaign. The president can exercise his wartime powers to get all kinds of crazy stuff that would never have passed in a time of peace through, like the really chilling stuff in the patriot act (some of it, the interagency cooperation stuff, is great. The stuff where they can do all kinds of surreptitious searches and get all kinds of records without telling you is not cool.). All of this is good for corporate america, bad for the people. But in this day and age we're all focused so heavily on the stock market that the general populace thinks that anything that makes the market go up is good for the economy (not!), and if the economy is good, it means better things for them (not! Unless they're investors!).

      I acknowledge my length and discontinuity, but don't apologize for it, because anything that can be discussed as one small, coherent, prepackaged statement isn't worth discussing. πŸ™‚

      1. I acknowledge your point on the political ramifications of war, and I readily concede that they were used to the hilt by the sitting administration in the last election. I'd be most surprised if they hadn't. I will not agree, as so many seem to suggest, that the war was created specifically to keep the current powers-that-be in power.

        I know we're basically screwed with the international community. All you have to do is visit non-us websites to find that out.

        Quite right. But reading some of your other points, I think it is necessary for me to explain myself a bit. (We've got a bit of a "tail wags the dog" fallacy here, I think… πŸ˜‰ Consider the cause of our loss of prestige. Do you think it is entirely due to the actions of this administration? I contend that it is not. I contend that our enemies have been arrayed around us for a long time, and that they are just now starting to come out into the open. They include China and Korea, several European nations, quite a few Middle Eastern countries (and non-national organizations), possibly India, perhaps even Russia. (And certainly others–not all are in the open yet.) They are motivated by jealousy, greed, lust for power, a misguided lust for revenge, and so on–they're using our recent international policies and actions as a convenient excuse.

        I guess the right question to be asking is "Why do they hate us?" Do they hate us simply because of some of the actions we've taken in the last few years? Or is it deeper than that, a pre-existing condition that is only now coming out? Like a cancer, I believe that the disease exists long before the symptoms become apparent.

        Personally, I believe that we have badly botched (with a few exceptions) the last eighty years of international affairs. We have treated other nations around the world with a benevolence that can only be interpreted as contempt–and though that has not been our motivation, that's how they see it. We have "insulted" them for decades, flaunting our power by helping them… and slowly sowed the seeds of discontent around the world. Even our traditional allies–France, Germany, South Korea, and others–are interested in seeing us fall from our high perch, and have been for at least the last fifteen years.

        Everyone ridiculed the president when he identified an "axis of evil." But what if he was only giving a label to a few enemies who had already sharpened their knives?

        I believe that this understanding of the world and our precarious place in it casts a new light on our current situation. I like to use an illustration:

        An aging lion stands alone in the middle of a large room, a spotlight on him. All around him, at the edge of view, are arrayed jackals and hyenas, snickering, laughing, and growling. They are, as of yet, unidentifiable; but they are there. Every so often a hyena will bound from the shadows and attack the lion; the lion will throw him off, but it becomes more difficult each time. Eventually a time comes when the lion cannot throw the jackal off… and suddenly, seeing the weakness, all the other jackals and hyenas jump into the fray, and the lion quickly becomes so much raw flesh.

      2. *Damned max-post-reply-length…* Pardon the interruption.

        September 11 was just such an attack, and warranted a strong response. Afghanistan was, as you say, such an operation. But it was not enough to dissuade enemies like China, Iran, or North Korea. As I see it, the NCA determined that a similar show of force had to be made in the Middle East, which has been a real hotbed of anti-American sentiment for a long time. They had three choices: Syria (which wouldn't have been much of a show of force at all), Iran (which was too big a job for us to handle), and Iraq (which was a viable operation, militarily speaking, and which, situated between the other two, might succeed in preventing them from engaging in joint operations). That we had gone in before and had excellent intelligence of the ground and enemy were doubtless helpful in the decision. (As were, as you say, rising oil prices and wanting to stick it to OPEC… which I'm all for, by the way… πŸ˜‰ Hopefully after such a dual show of force, other nations would step back and reconsider their plans against us… and perhaps we could buy some time to repair our sorry defenses.

        The biggest challenge then was gaining popular support without endangering national security. To this end, I think the president was ineffective, and some of the "excuses" he made for going in have come back to bite us in the ass. I believe that this fallacy of "regime-building" is the only reason that we are still there; in nearly every other respect the "show of force" was a great success. We should have pulled out after we found Saddam and set up a government–whether it was viable or not. But I'm getting off-topic.

        I suppose I can see where "big oil" would want us at war "in perpetuity;" but as I see it, there's not much of a choice. The war has been looming for over a decade (and growing for a long time before that), and the events of September 2001 inaugurated it. It is not an exaggeration, I think, to say that this nation will be at war for most, if not all, of our lifetime. This is only the beginning. A lot of hammer blows are getting ready to fall; I can see one vividly at the moment, and after that… who knows what the future holds?

        And maybe I'm just a damned idealist, but I can't imagine that anyone charged with the safety and security of this nation would seek to line their pockets at the cost of the lives of hundreds (or thousands) of servicemen and women. I can't even think that of Wilson, FDR, or Clinton, even… πŸ˜‰

        Okay, that's enough for now. Time to try and get my transmission fixed…


        PS–As always, if you have questions and would like some expansion or explanation (or evidence!) I shall be happy to provide you with such.

        1. And maybe I'm just a damned idealist, but I can't imagine that anyone charged with the safety and security of this nation would seek to line their pockets at the cost of the lives of hundreds (or thousands) of servicemen and women. I can't even think that of Wilson, FDR, or Clinton, even… πŸ˜‰

          These days, I'm not so sure. I've never seen a regime this much in bed with corporate america. I'm not so idealist to believe that it didn't happen before, even with presidents I actually liked, but I mean, some of this stuff is just creepy. When the vice president just "happens" used to be the former CEO of our now largest government contractor and when challenged has no better retort than "go fuck yourself". I don't think that the people in command are profiting directly, so much as trading their power and influence to enrich their friends in private industry, who in return will likely provide them powerful positions in corporate america where they can get lots and lots of money later, as well as provide monetary assistance to their political campaigns to help them stay in power. I don't think that our administration is necessarily corrupt, I think they are pawns of the corporations, and are that way by necessity of the political process. I don't think that a simple party change will solve much. I didn't much like Kerry either, honestly.

          My ideal politician would be as follows:
          1) Support freedom of speech

          2) Support the right to bear arms. Honestly, I don't like restrictions on any weapon. I understand that letting people buy grenades isn't a great idea, but man, would it make neighborhood disputes amusing. πŸ™‚

          3) Support the idea that the citizens are more important than the companies that they work for, and that the American is more than just a worker bee.

          4) I want government run healthcare. I don't care what the administration tries to tell me about how it's not great, bla bla bla. Anything's better than the fucked situation we have right now. Okay, so if it sucks a bit, let me buy supplimental insurance, but I shouldn't have to worry that if breaks a bone or something, that she would have to be chased by bill collectors until the end of time over the bill for fixing it. Make this problem go away and you've got my vote. I don't care what party you're from.

          5) Legalize marijuana and regulate it like cigarettes and alcohol. Release anyone who is currently in prison or jail for its use. I don't smoke it. I've tried it, and frankly, I don't like it. But we're spending a whole lot of time and money prosecuting people for using drugs that don't hurt anyone. As the popular line goes: "When's the last time you heard of someone getting stoned out of their mind, and going home and beating their wife?" Now replace that with being drunk….. so yea. Doing this would remove a great amount of income for organized crime, provide a new income stream for the US government, and lower the amount of citizens we have in jail not doing anything productive for our economy. I can't think of a downside here.

          6) Stop trying to fuck with social security. Let it work like it's supposed to, quit robbing its trust fund, and raise the cutoff for people who make more than 90k/year. I intend to make more than that before I reach age 40, and I still am in favor of this. It may only by itself pay enough to live in a crappy ghetto apartment and eat cat food, but it beats living on the street eating nothing. I should hope that I don't have to care about social security, due to my 401k, but who knows. It's good knowing that there's something there if everything goes tits up, and if it prevents homelessness or poverty from families having to support their parents entirely off their own income, I'm all for it.

          7) Stop it right now with the conservative christian agenda in the government. Provide birth control funding, and stop pretending you can just tell everyone to not have sex and that's going to stop overpopulation.(!).
          We have a seperation of church and state for a damn reason. Enough said here.

      3. Also, one final word as I re-read everything again…

        Do not mistake international support as a "good thing." As the old saying goes… "With friends like these, who needs enemies?" If the international community (and, in particular, several of the countries I mentioned earlier) don't go along with us… well, we may be doing the right thing.

        I understand that we can't do everything ourselves; it's a tough spot we find ourselves in. But when criticism comes, consider who it's coming from… and evaluate it in that light.

        And… it's hard to remember sometimes that in tough spots like these, there is rarely a perfect answer… only the lesser of two, three, or a dozen evils. "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." It's easier to criticize than to be the man in the arena, with the responsibility on his shoulders, as it were.

        1. Yea, I get that part.

          I understand that it's impossible to make everyone happy, but I just know, deep down, there was a better way to accomplish whatever the heck it was they're actually trying to accomplish. I know a great deal of us hated us before, but we're not helping ourselves by just disregarding that entirely and doing whatever the heck we want, that's how we got this image to begin with.

          Picking the lesser of evils. lol. All I have to say about that is that I think about that every november 2nd. πŸ™‚

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