Monday, October 30, 2006

The Toll Mounts....

We can debate whether they died because of a willful lie (WMD's). My opinion is that they did, and I don't understand how any reasonable, clear-thinking person could believe otherwise in light of what we've learned since 2003. But at this point it's clear that absent a realistic exit strategy and a change in our civilian and military leadership, further deaths will be in vain.

Serious question: In the future, what will family members of American troops killed in Iraq say their loved ones died for? WMD's? Spreading democracy? Fighting terrorism? Preventing a "radical Islamic caliphate"?

Will they have to think about it first? Will the answer depend on the year of death?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bravo man, "Will they have to think about it first? Will the answer depend on the year of death?"

That is the crux of the situation; and it is the apathetic voting public that is equally to blame for accepting this 'moving goalpost' methodology of explaining American Foreign Policy.

I love America but Hate what Bush & Co have done

10/30/2006 10:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's one Marine's father's answer to your question- posed in the form of questions for the President.

10/30/2006 11:05 PM  
Blogger Ned said...

It's interesting to see how the question comes up and is being dealt with. Here, for instance, you get this, from the brother of a dead soldier:

Brian Baum is less concerned about Republican political fortunes than he is about fraying local support for the war. "We can't pull out now — we can't leave," said Baum, a muscular security director for a local factory. "If we pull out now, what does that mean for all the guys who died? It's all for nothing?"

I couldn't tell this guy that this is indeed what I think. Or if I did, I wouldn't expect it to change his mind. And hoping that he sees things my way seems like a damned cruel wish by any standard. Yet there's nothing else I can suggest...

10/30/2006 11:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's very simple. They died over there so they didn't have to die over a car accident on neglected roads, from cancer caused by non-regulated chemicals, from gunshot wounds while living in inner cities, from natural disasters where government rescue teams were either disinterested, unprepared or both, etc.

10/31/2006 2:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10/31/2006 4:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10/31/2006 4:58 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Ned's comment, indeed, tells us how family members will rationalize future deaths: they died so the deaths of those who went before them weren't in vain.

It's the kind of logical illogic we've come to expect daily in our strange new world.

10/31/2006 5:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many will believe that they died "getting those guys that got us on 911"
Here what Pat Tilmans brother thinks ...I cant understand why this letter is not getting the play th his death did.

10/31/2006 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Thomas Daulton said...

Assuming the country returns to its senses at some point (probably decades in the future), the answer may well be similar to what we say about Vietnam casualties: they died for a horrible mistake and a misguided policy by unscrupulous politicians. (As TCR has noted on these pages before, the dominos all fell in Southeast Asia, yet somehow Vietnam is a respectable U.S. trading partner today anyway.)

Until such time as the madness passes, however, we will get a lot of answers like Brian Baum's; most likely, deluded people will also say these soldiers died "to teach 'them' a lesson," where "them" stands for some kind of racist caricature of barbaric Muslims; or, the soldiers are dying "to show the world that terrorism cannot go unanswered" or some such vapid rhetoric.

TCR and commenters here seem not to understand -- I think at some level you do understand, but your comments don't reflect it -- anyone who is still in favor of the war at this point, bought into it from the beginning as a symbol, not a real, substantive policy. Our willingness to bomb civilians in a country totally unrelated to 9/11 was not a bug, it's a feature. The war supporters, probably all the way up to the President, were trying to teach some kind of paternalistic lesson, that we are "tough", to the terrorists (who don't care about civilian lives anyway, hence the lesson apparently didn't work). Or, the arbitrary deaths of bystanders was a lesson that was supposed to teach civilians not to harbor terrorists, or something like that. But because the citizens of completely different countries in completely different cultures do not accept our nation's authority as a paternalistic font of virtue and goodness and righteousness, like the chickenhawks all do, we instead come across to the world as bloodthirsty savages. Which is what all the people in the "peace movement" had been saying for four or five years now.

As some other blogger (sorry, I forget who) put it, "Just because Charles Krauthammer believes the United States wields the mighty sword of infinite justice, it was assumed that the people upon whom the bombs fell also accepted our moral authority."

10/31/2006 11:47 AM  
Anonymous Thomas Daulton said...

Sorry for the verbosity, but I could also add... that most of the people who initially supported the war but have now turned against it -- what, 20-30% of the U.S. population? -- could be described as people who initially thought this strategy, of administering a symbolic "lesson", was a good idea. But they, at least, unlike their former compatriots, have opened their eyes and accepted the real-world evidence that our "lesson" is having basically the opposite effect from what they intended. However, many of these people probably still hold to the "lesson" strategy as a good plan in general, thus the US may still be persuaded to teach another country (Iran? Syria?) a similar "lesson", with similar or worse results. Somehow we still need to get the point across about _WHY_ this idea does not work.

10/31/2006 12:00 PM  
Anonymous goldhorder said...

American's are flawed as all other people on Earth. They are attracted to power and want to believe they are no limits to what we can achieve as a country. Pat Buchanan brings up the theme of knowing the limits of power in his recent article
Eisenhower did not do what felt like the emotionally right thing to do...believing the consequences of our actions would be worse for the US. That is what true leadership is...anybody can bring the masses into an emotional frenzy like Bush did after 9/11. The people demanded blood...and Bush was more than willing to give it to him. To show the world how powerful we are. People are not mad at Bush for what he did. They are mad at him for making the US look less powerful. He should have used the thinking portion of his brain a bit more. Like Eisenhower or his father. Sorry to say it...but America is going to get and continuing getting just what it deserves.

10/31/2006 12:36 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

They died because a Yale frat boy was elected president to cut taxes and make everyone feel better. Then that Yale boy thought that some crazed Pentagon vets were wise.

10/31/2006 3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The neocons who are occupying the United States have a very different view of the world than the average American. All the talk about dying for a "noble cause" would sound like hopeless idealism to a true neocon. If you want to know what neocon ideals are, read about Machiavelli. Or Leo Strauss.

"Strauss asks his readers to consider whether 'noble lies' have any role at all to play in uniting and guiding the polis. Are 'myths' needed to give people meaning and purpose and to ensure a stable society?"

Who knows for sure what is the underlying core motive or ideology for which US service -men and -women are being sacrificed? The privileged, who pull the strings of power, distrust the people today, as they always have. Why should they let you in on their "noble lies"?

What we can know is this: "Divide and Conquer" is a strategy which the "deciders" of the US and UK, have often used against any and all who oppose their interests, foreign or domestic. British and American forces have been caught in Iraq, fomenting violence while masquerading as Arabs. (The Brits even broke down the walls of an Iraqi jail with a tank, to free their agent provocateurs!)

My guess is that an Iraqi civil war was the goal, or at least an acceptable outcome. The power elite have no interest in actually building up either the strength of the Iraqi nation, or the comfort and security of the US taxpayers. The "deciders" have a war to fight - the people of any nation be damned!

Meanwhile, the US press continues its compaign against America, fomenting division and hatred, pitting American against American, in order to keep the public off-balance and incapable of rousing an intelligent alternative choice of action.

Alas, the public have intelligence, wisdom, and most of all, compassion. The OpEd posted by anonymous above proves it! This is the greatest terror facing the "deciders". What could they hope to accomplish without cover? Without secrecy and deception, the current regime will dissolve away like water droplets dancing on a dry, hot, frying pan.

Apparently, those men and women had to die, in order to get to wherever we are going tomorrow. The reaction to their senseless deaths may be what they in fact died for. I don't condone their deaths. I'm not a big fan of "problem - reaction - solution." But we got to where we are now, because of what we all collectively did in the past, and the future will be determined by what we do today. Decide what you want to live for, and do it.

10/31/2006 3:56 PM  
Anonymous wendy said...

Copy Editor, you forgot the part about the"wise men" convincing the C-minus Augustus that it is his calling from God to wage this war. That's the real kicker.

It is too kind looking at GWB as simply an incurious tax-cutting, pandering to the religious right republican since the mission from God/Crusades rhetoric is being cranked up so high.

10/31/2006 4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wendy raises an interesting point. Why have violent and divisive religions been formed around the story of Jesus? Hmmm. Because there's power in religion, maybe?

This "Clash of Civilizations" idea is a big lie. If the US really wanted to neutralize Islam, do you think that it would try to accomplish that with direct confrontation? There's a lot of smart men around Washington D.C. They know better. They know that you're not going to neutralize deeply held religious belief by attacking the believers. That'll only make their faith stronger.

However, if the attacks are meant to be provocative, then you know your deep politcs. Sounds like something right out of the Machiavelli playbook to me. Provoke the people who are sitting upon the desired resources. Stir up their deeply held religious beliefs, beliefs alien to onlookers (which includes other nations as well as your own populace). Isolate them. Demonize them. Shake, stir, pulverize, and it's ready to serve.

Obviously, the administration doesn't give a damn about Islam. There's much more to the Middle East than religion. Guess what that might be.

10/31/2006 4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The corporate and economic reasons for war

10/31/2006 7:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if the american people were running their own fp,the world would be a very different a people they are the most straight talking/up front and kind people as anywhere...but they have no idea of the motivations and powers behind what is being done in their names...although that seems to be changing now...

10/31/2006 11:15 PM  
Anonymous goldhorder said...

The average American doesn't give at rat's ass about Iraq or Iraqis. Most American's today are mindless sheep who find all the name calling, fingerpointing, and patriotic speeches entertaining. The average American likes being part of a powerful empire and that is why they support it. The op-ed of the marine father is sincere because it is his son's life in the balance. He has a real stake in the debate. As long as only poor kids and latinos looking for citizenship do our fighting Americans don't give a rat's ass. They will just sit back and enjoy the show. They admire excercised in power but don't enjoy the fact that we look weak know. American's don't like looking weak. That is why Bush is no longer popular. American's are collosal hypocrites. The reason there is no draft is because everybody knows that if there was one the people would riot and bring the war to an end. The American people largely don't have any personal risk so they support the war as cheerleaders.

11/01/2006 11:05 AM  
Blogger copy editor said...

"C-minus Augustus"

I like it.

11/01/2006 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Mr. Hedley Bowes said...

Great thread.

11/03/2006 1:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

think goldhoarder is being too hard on the people...people ought to be entitled to just get on with their work and lives...they ought to be able to just rely on their policymakers/strategists/politicians to do right, fair and kind things...there was a time when a politician was caught fibbing, he would resign immediately...those days are gone...feel many big, bad things are going down...the pace of bringing things under 'order' have been accelerated...dear realist, please let us know whenever you feel something major is going down in the finacial markets...even if its a gut feel thing...

11/03/2006 5:41 AM  
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