Brief and to the Point
Don't You Dare Question his Patriotism

The Fourth World War

A very apt analogy by a friend of Omar:

... he described this war in an interesting way, he said "this war is much like a fierce boxing match; you punch and you get punched but even if you're stronger than your opponent you should not allow him to catch his breath at any round because he might then give you a surprising punch when the next round begins and knocks you down".

Our present Great War will ebb and flow but we must be vigilant and persevere.

This is how not to fight this war.


Robert Silvey

Isaac, it seems to me it would be more apt to say that the US is a muscle-bound, punch-drunk fighter, too proud to learn the rudiments of boxing or the techniques of his adversary. An empire based on arrogance and ignorance is suicidal. We can support the troops. We can bring them home and vote for regime change in Washington.

Isaac Schrödinger

Robert, continuing with the analogy, it seems to me that the US should learn the workings and weaknesses of her enemy. Then use that information to pummel the thugs. Simply leaving the ring would ensure defeat.

BTW, the US has an all-volunteer military. Cutting their mission short and calling their C-in-C's Administration a "regime" is patently not supporting the troops.

Robert Silvey

I would agree, Isaac, that the US should learn the weaknesses of any potential enemies, but I fail to see the utility of preemptive attacks. Defense of the country? Excellent. That's what the department in charge of it is called: defense. But it is counterproductive to have 725 bases overseas, and it is offensive and dangerous to stir up every wasp nest overseas by injecting military force.

I don't follow your second point. Yes, the US military is all-volunteer, but they didn't volunteer to be sent to their deaths on the basis of lies (WMD and Al Qaeda connection), without sufficient support or armor, and lacking a credible mission or exit strategy. Especially when their presence in Iraq does not contribute to the security of the United States.

A couple of clarifications: Regime simply means "government in power." (Admittedly, I do use more pejorative terms about the Bushites now and again in Rubicon.) And the administration does not belong to the commander in chief; that title applies only to the president's relation to the military, not to the civilian administration. As one who spent time in the military, I am sensitive to the misuse of our troops by civilians who have grandiose theories but no military experience.

Isaac Schrödinger

Robert, read this link.

My point about the all-volunteer military was that they willingly serve and by a large margin support the C-in-C. Question: why would one do that if, as you say, they were lied to, not provided enough protection, and weren't given a credible mission? Why would the troops put their lives on the line for a battle that doesn't contribute to the country's safety?

BTW, the resolution that was passed by the US Senate in 2002 mentioned the WMD and the Al Qaeda connection among tens of other items. The Al Qaeda link is present.

You talked about the non-utility of troops in Europe, South Korea, and Japan. I largely agree. There is no need for the US to have around 200,000 troops in these 3 places. But your objection goes beyond that. You want all of the foreign US bases removed. That opinion disregards the heavy political, social, and economic consequences of US troop removal.

Do imagine if the US had simply left in 1946 from Japan and Europe? Hey, the "job" was done by then. Had that catastrophe occured, the US would have been fighting the next dictators of these places in the 1960s. It made tremendous sense for the defense of the US to have US troops in these places. Incidentally, Japan and Germany are the second and third largest economies in the world.

Today, the situation is similar. It's just that we have a completely different enemy (and in many cases friends). The US and the Allies must stay in Iraq for years, likely decades, for democracy to flourish in the Middle East. After living in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia for 15 years, I can personally tell you that this long war is the least bloody method of defeating the Islamists.

Defeat them we must. For the world is too small for Democracy and Islamism.

Robert Silvey

The situation is in no way similar, Isaac. Our enemies then were large states intent on conquering other countries; now our enemies are dangerous but small-scale terror cells that are becoming more powerful principally as a result of our actions. We had allies then; we followed international law; and we worked with international organizations. Now we are defeating ourselves by undermining our own values of legal rights, human rights, and democratic self-determination. We are widely seen as a rogue nation, more dangerous to peace and stability than anyone else. And the longer we have troops in Iraq, the less likely our success. We have sown dragon's teeth throughout the Islamic world, and I fear we will reap disaster. You would find Chalmers Johnson's books interesting on the effect of foreign military bases—especially his latest.

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