Sept 08 2007


  WHAT ARE WE TO BELIEVE ABOUT IRAQ???
US soldiers take up positions as helicopter takes off from the outskirts of Baghdad. The Washington Post has revealed that US President George W. Bush plans to ask Congress for an extra 50 billion dollars for Iraq following a highly anticipated report on progress in the war-torn country.(AFP/David Furst)
To say that the war and interpretation of it has to be incredibly confusing is an understatement.

There are zealots on the margins with most of us in the middle attempting to sort it out. To attempt to be objective is a gargantuan task.

Here's a good example: I am in an email group of highly educated and committed retired military types. It is as though we are living in different galaxies.

Sometime ago, I realized that there's a philosophy with many: Do not confuse me with facts, I have my mind made up. I don't think this is true of me.

I would be so thrilled if I could find one thing about our involvement in Iraq that has not been messed up.

When I hear the talking heads on TV, I am amazed. They simply don't face any sort of facts. Is the surge working? "Well", (would be their answer) "We have made progress in Baghdad, people are not killing each other as much." Yet, the facts can be: 300 Iraqis and five soldiers killed today in Iraq. Their mantra: Facts should not interfere with their views. KT
   Who Are We To Believe?????????????
President George W. Bush meets General David Petraeus, the top U.S. Commander in Iraq, upon his arrival at Al-Asad Air Base in Anbar Province, Iraq, September 3, 2007. Bush made a surprise visit to Iraq on Monday, just a week before his top officials in Baghdad present pivotal testimony to Congress that could influence future policy on the war. (Jason Reed/Reuters)
Bush and Petraeus in Iraq(Jason Reed/Reuters)
On a recent PBS Newshour, which attempts to take an objective stance, Judy Woodruff did a segment on Iraq War ads. Brad Blakeman, president of Freedom's Watch is spending 15 million for ads showing how successful Iraq has been, totally ignoring any facts. To him, they simply don't exist.

The MoveOn.Org.guy,Tom Matzzie,(not a good spokesperson in my estimation)countered that the war has not be a success. I admit that I come down more on the side of MoveOn.Org.

Anyone (except someone who is on another planet) can see that we have botched the war strategy from the beginning. Simply, however, what are people who care and are trying to be informed to believe?

For instance, Senator Warner, a Republican, comes back from Iraq and says we need to start withdrawing 5000 troops by the end of the year. Army Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of troops south of Baghdad,in Iraq immediately counters his view by saying how disastrous a pull out would be. Again, who are we to believe? KT
   Nothing But More Confusion...
US soldiers patrol the outskirts of Baghdad. General Mike Jackson -- the head of the British Army during the invasion of Iraq -- has blasted the United States for its handling of the aftermath of the conflict.()
(AFP/File/David Furst) Petraeus Surge Report
On the same PBS Newshour(see above),was a talking head segment with Rich Lowery from the National Review and Mark Shields.

Lowry spouted that we screwed up Vietnam by leaving. No one pointed out that our leaving was not disastrous nor did the so called, "domino" theory happen. Today, Vietnam is a peaceful country. Tourists describe the modern Vietnam in glowing terms.

(To me, it doesn't speak well of news organizations to have some thirty something so-called commentator who spouts off, knowing little with no skin in the game on Vietnam or Iraq. Of course, in my view, can't compare Vietnam and Iraq at all. Ho was a nationalist mainly. His goal always was to unite the country. Iraq is complicated by 2000 years of strife, with violence among the sects in a way of life which is not going to end).

Here is my prediction:(My track record is dismal. I am the guy who said Kerry was going to beat Bush) Most Americans who care(and not all do) remember Vietnam. They are not going to put up with us staying in Iraq forever which we would have to do to win. I don't think we could do it, short of 2000 years.

All of the politicians and news types keep talking about the General Petraeus september surge report as if it was the Second Coming.

What in the world is Petraeus going to tell us that we don't already know? Nothing but more confusion. KT
   The Best Article I have Read on Iraq
A US soldier patrols a street in the restive northern Iraqi city of Mosul, 370km of Baghdad, in 2005. Iraq's military is at least 12-18 months away from assuming combat duties from US soldiers, while its police force is so corrupt that it should be abolished, an independent report said Thursday.(AFP/File/Mauricio Lima)
(AFP/File/Mauricio Lima)
The best article that I've read in ages is an op-ed written by one Army Specialist, four Sergeants, and two Staff Sergeants called The War as We Saw It in the August 19, 2007 issue of the Sunday New York Times(original article).

(We definitely have a media war. Our soldiers watching YouTube, emailing, writing down their thoughts in articles and blogs, etc. We have 75 bases in Iraq; one of them has a PX (post exchange) where a GI can buy a wide screen high definition TV. This is a war where we should have zapped Saddam and been out of there in 6 months).

The guys who wrote the article are in the 82d Airborne Division, all finishing fifteen month tours. I'd love to see the rest of their career (meaning will they have a career after penning this article), but I think we are in such a different era with the volunteer Army, not good or bad, just different.

This article is a litany of how we've screwed up in Iraq. The confusing thing is that it seems these enlisted guys have written this in a vacuum. Like so much else about Iraq, their comments are totally ignored.

Here is just one paragraph from the article, "In short, we operate in a bewildering context of determined enemies and questionable allies, one where the balance of forces on the ground remains entirely unclear. While we have the will and the resources to fight in this context, we are effectively hamstrung because realities on the ground require measures we will always refuse--namely the widespread use of lethal and brutal force."

This is a great article, not because I agree with it, but because it effectively spells out what the situation is, not the denial that we are constantly hearing.

I agree with John Edwards about this: It really doesn't make any difference what Democrat is elected president, he/she will get us out of Iraq at some point. Ron Paul is the only Republican who would do the same and we know what chance he has.

I loved the way these soldiers ended this article, makes me proud, even as I am amazed that they've written it: "We need not talk about our morale. As committed soldiers, we will see the mission through."

Instead of Congress listening to Generals, these are the guys they should be talking to. KT




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