Re: What's A Surge?

1

Colbert brilliantly proposed sending 300 million troops last night.


Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 9:03 AM
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The aspect of all this that really pisses me off is the implicit premise that Iraq is a problem just waiting for the right solution; that we can tinker with it over here, try something else over there, and that eventually, if we just keep at it, we'll find the right plan.

By now, 1/8th of the Iraqi population has been displaced, with the Iraqi professional class fleeing the country entirely and people without resources moving to ethnic enclaves. Over 200,000 are projected to have died. Completely new political entities have already sprung up since we invaded, and some have already withered away. Neighboring countries are beginning to declare their interests and intentions in the country more openly.

I'm going to listen to the Bush speech tonight (God help me), and if he doesn't acknowledge these dynamics, even in passing, it'll be back-to-despairing-nihilism for me.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 9:06 AM
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Only if you think that Geraldo's Al Capone's Vault was a stunt. Yes, there was nothing in there, but people forget the glorious weeks of anticipatory excitement.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 9:09 AM
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I'm going to listen to the Bush speech tonight (God help me), and if he doesn't acknowledge these dynamics, even in passing

Just start drinking now.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 9:11 AM
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Just start drinking now

Do we chug when somebody says "9/11?"


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 9:14 AM
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Really, the whole thing looks like a pointless stunt.

Exactly, as the Washingtonpost reported:

the end, the White House favored the idea of more troops as one visible and dramatic step the administration could take.

Everything is for domestic political consumption. If thousands of Iraqis and dozens of U.S. soldiers have to die, sucks for them.


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 9:18 AM
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I really think the same thing can be said about the whole goddam war. It was a combination of a political stunt for domestic consumption, and a gravy train for well connected contractors. What actually came out of it was beside the point.

And it worked for them.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 9:22 AM
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It's not pointless. It sets the stage for that familiar old rhetoric: had it not been for our weak, feminized Congress, for the lily-livered liberals misled by the msm, we would have had the Will (tm) to stick to our guns, to stay the course, and we would have brought the blessings of democracy, evangelical christianity and capitalism to that poor benighted heathen country. In other words, it allows them to say "It's your fault the Republican Invasion of Iraq failed, because you went limp just when we were reaching the light at the end of the tunnel"


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 9:28 AM
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Tonight, this [senior White House official] said, the president will explain "that we have to go up before we go down."

I assume this is actually his tribute to the late, great Godfather of Soul.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 9:32 AM
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Or perhaps to Ærosmith.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 9:33 AM
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"Stay on the scene!"

"Take it to the bridge!"


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 9:34 AM
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From the WaPo link: But the Joint Chiefs made clear they could muster 20,000 at best -- not for long, and not all at once.

That's simply not enough to do what it's ostensibly for. It's enough to let the admin say they tried and it's all the Iraqi's fault that things have gone to hell. Before the invasion the generals wanted close to 500K and now I'd guess Colbert's 300 million is the correct one.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 9:36 AM
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Colbert's suggestion had me wondering, what if we did a wholesale transfer of population between Iraq and a similar area of the US? Or between Iraq and a similar number of USians?


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 9:42 AM
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13: Wondering whether you're Stalin, you mean?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 9:44 AM
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Exactly.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 9:44 AM
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Or perhaps "Can we hit it and quit?"


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 9:51 AM
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It could be done with fewer than 300 million if it's the right "forec profile": a hooker for each insurgent, and a squad of troops to protect each hooker. Blowjobs can pacify the country.


Posted by: DaveB | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 9:53 AM
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13 - Which area of the US would you suppose is most similar to Iraq? Other than Iraq, I mean.


Posted by: ryan | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 9:53 AM
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The Congressional Democrats are showing their usual audacity and daring in response. They won't try to stop this, oh no no no, the President is commander in chief and interfering might be unconstitutional and they support the troops. So they'll just pass a symbolic resolution to put pressure on him in the court of public opinion.

Of course, by announcing in advance that something is purely symbolic & political, you *completely undercut* it's symbolic and political power--the press and the public wonder why they should care, and the President is free to simply ignore you. If the Democrats really want to make a symbolic statement and impose a political cost, they should pass the bill and let him veto it. Let him issue a "signing statement" and then openly defy the law. Let John McCain promise voters that he would do the same thing in Bush's place.

We are being failed, horribly, again, by our representatives. The public very clearly doesn't want this. The military doesn't want this. I don't think Iraqis want this. Nevertheless, the President thinks it's good for him politically, and the brand new Congressional majority think it's bad for them politically to forcefully oppose it. They want to "support the troops."

I met a guy last October, a U.S. Marine who had a hell of a time in Iraq, was suffering from knee problems and PTSD after he returned, apparently tried to kill himself. He's doing better now, but was worried then about the very real possibility of being redeployed on the stop-loss program. I don't think his experience is typical--but I'm sure there are thousands of others who really do not want to risk being killed or crippled in a futile cause. If the Democrats want to support the troops they should fucking stand up for them.

(To be fair, some of them are--unfortunately it does not take a lot of Joe Bidens to make it impossible for the entire caucus to respond forcefully even if its leaders want to. I don't know whether Reid wants to, but it's at least possible.)


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 9:57 AM
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Which area of the US would you suppose is most similar to Iraq? Other than Iraq, I mean.

Texas, of course. I think having Moqtada al-Sadr in Congress instead of Kay Bailey Hutchison would be a great improvement. It would really show the US the threat posed by conservative religious extremists.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 9:58 AM
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I met a guy last October, a U.S. Marine who had a hell of a time in Iraq, was suffering from knee problems and PTSD after he returned, apparently tried to kill himself. He's doing better now, but was worried then about the very real possibility of being redeployed on the stop-loss program. I don't think his experience is typical--but I'm sure there are thousands of others who really do not want to risk being killed or crippled in a futile cause.

Who did he vote for in '04?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 10:03 AM
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This line from the article Katherine linked is interesting:

But the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, said Congress could not supplant the authority of the president. "You can't run a war by a committee of 435 in the House and 100 in the Senate," he said.

The answer is, "No, you can't run one, but you can end one." The Constitution is set up to give Congress control over whether or not we war on other countries, even though the Executive controls the operations of that war. Congress doesn't lose it's powers just because the war has started already.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 10:04 AM
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I don't understand this symbolic resolution thing. Don't the Democrats have a real one yet? And if we don't, why not?

On CNN (okay, in a bar) the other night it sounded like the plan was to add another 20,000 in 5,000 minisurges, and that number seems awfully small.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 10:07 AM
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Mitch McConnell

It was at that point in the quote that I knew nothing of value was about to follow.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 10:08 AM
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Senator Kennedy has one -- the question is whether to go with that or with a symbolic, non-binding resolution.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 10:08 AM
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18 -- I was not really thinking similarity of environment, just of area. my dreams of world domination hadn't really progressed as far as picking out a particular bit of the US to be transferred. It would certainly need to include the administration at any rate.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 10:09 AM
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20 -- It would be sad, though, to lose McManus and the Austinites. Weiner o/c is already dead to us.


Posted by: Clownæsthesiologist | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 10:13 AM
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21: Didn't ask. Would strongly guess that he either didn't vote or voted for Kerry. I mean, I think the family may know the Sheehans (as I said, the guy is *not* representative--but it's impossible not to remember to think about it when I hear these discussions.)

I also had a coworker last year who served in Iraq, and for him it was sucky, too long in the desert getting shot at, but he wasn't wounded, traumatized, etc. and didn't seem to regret enlisting at all (he was fairly apolitical about the war--he may actually have voted for Kerry too, if he voted at all.) His experience was probably atypical in the other direction--no one in his unit was killed or seriously wounded, and he said this was unusual at the time & area where he served.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 10:15 AM
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Ned, are you in Texas?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 10:19 AM
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I'm only asking because we're having a meet-up in Austin fairly soon.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 10:20 AM
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19: I don't think the surge makes sense politically, either, at least in the sense of trying to salvage the preznit's legacy on Iraq. My suspicion is that its a delaying action intended to draw the Democrats away from broader questions of executive authority - which is Cheney's true Precious - and toward the narrow issue of troop levels. In that regard the plan is working wonderfully.


Posted by: Sven | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 10:22 AM
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17: A friend of mine proposed winning the Vietnam War by giving the NVA and VC troops first class airline tickets to NYC and free room & board for a few years. It worked out to be considerably less expensive in $ than the cost of killing one.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 10:29 AM
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32: You know, there's a lot to be said for buying off your enemies. It is also a lot less like appeasement if you buy off the populace, rather than the leaders.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 10:36 AM
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And think of all the great Vietnamese restaurants that would have suddenly opened in New York.


Posted by: DaveB | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 10:36 AM
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Along those lines, I've been thinking about what the US should do to honor its commitments under the "you break it, you own it" principle. Troop deployment isn't working as a way of owning our mistake, but I think taking in a shitload of refugees would. Also, offering military protection for refugee camps. I haven't seen the media report much, though on where people are moving. I know the middle class is heading for Jordan, but what of those who can't afford to get out? Where are they? What do they need?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 10:38 AM
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One of my favorite historical quirks was that the Han emperors in China pulled exactly this trick on the Mongolian tribemen (who were really awesome archers on horseback that decided to INVADE THE WORLD every 800 years for shits and giggles). Since the Middle Kingdom was so fabulously rich, these emperors just had a number of big silk factories working non-stop to produce silk that they sent straight up to the northern warrior tribes as "gifts".

It worked for the few centuries it was tried, because no one can go around invading people once they've felt the sweet embrace of silk underwear.


Posted by: JAC | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 10:40 AM
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34: Perhaps immigration policy should be set on the basis of who has the best ethnic cuisine.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 10:40 AM
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37: Let's get some more Ethiopians up in this joint!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 10:41 AM
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But we're already admitting just a fraction of the Iraqis who'd like to come, because they might secretly be terrorists. Whereas the Vietnamese were primarily resterateurs.


Posted by: ryan | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 10:44 AM
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I've thought about that -- that we have a responsibility to withdraw, but keep spending some serious fraction of what a continued war would have cost on any sort of aid calculated to improve the humanitarian situation, without getting too fussy about who it's going to benefit politically.

But I think the chance that this will happen is about zero.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 10:44 AM
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RetAUrateurs.


Posted by: ryan | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 10:45 AM
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Go for 3, Ryan!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 10:47 AM
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Damn it.


Posted by: ryan | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 10:48 AM
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35: more Syria than Jordan now (another reason why it's absurd not to talk to Syria). Some move on the Egypt, too. Jordan's basically closed to border to new people, especially young males.

It is expensive. I don't know what poor people without relatives in other countries do. Stay in their own ethnic group's neighborhood, I guess--if you have no certain destination it's probably more dangerous to try to flee.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 10:59 AM
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Does anyone know if Iraqi food is any good?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 11:01 AM
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21: I'm curious, would your sympathy be predicated on who he voted for? I'd like to hope that if I get myself killed while I'm over there, my family won't have to read comments about how I deserved it because I voted wrong in 2004.


Posted by: Andrew Olmsted | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 11:07 AM
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I doubt that was what was meant -- I read it more as wondering how on earth the Republican party holds people's loyalty while it injures them. Which might be considered superior and condescending, but isn't anything like as nasty as what you were worrying about.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 11:09 AM
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I read it either as LB did or as a "just curious" kind of question.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 11:13 AM
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The 30,000 figure is even a lowball figure for that needed to control Baghdad. Even if this strategy is effective the insurgents could just move out of Baghdad and wait it out.


Posted by: joeo | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 11:22 AM
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Don't mean to be hypersensitive. I just find myself wondering more about how I'll be remembered these days. ;)

49

Very true. For the strategy to work, there have to be sufficient troops to hold Baghdad once it is cleared and still move on to the next city to be cleared. COIN is very manpower-intensive.


Posted by: Andrew Olmsted | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 11:24 AM
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29 - no. You can bet I'll be absentee voting for Moqtada if it becomes possible, though.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 11:24 AM
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50: Don't worry about it. Some of my favorite people are Republicans.

(And I hope sincerely that someday they get over it.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 11:26 AM
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52: For the record, I haven't been a Republican in over a decade.


Posted by: Andrew Olmsted | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 11:27 AM
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Yay! It worked!

(Small joke.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 11:29 AM
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COIN is very manpower-intensive.

COIN is also like OB/GYN, or would be if it were pronounced "see oh eye enn".


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 11:35 AM
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46: Yeah, it was curiosity. I thought about clarifying the question to caveat away your reasonable interpretation, but, you know...I didn't. Anyway, my underlying question, about which I'd love to hear from you, is, "Why don't the Dems own the military vote?" After the last five years, I find it befuddling. I get the Air Force (not really), but not the other services. I feel like Dems are either failing to get their message across, or else failing to address military concerns. I don't know. I find it astonishing that the Republicans have managed to maintain the loyalty of the military voters.

But no, I don't think people who voted for Bush and are in the military deserve what happens to them. What happens to them is on us, as a country.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 11:50 AM
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56: Well, I can speak only for myself, but going to a small liberal arts college where the left was pretty predominant, I got turned off Democrats at the time by people who would ask why I wanted to kill babies when they saw me in uniform, or the charming fellow who called me a 'hatemonger.' It's unfair to the run-of-the-mill Democrat, but the fact is that the majority of people I've known who dislike (or worse) the military are on the left side of the spectrum. So, even though they're well to the left of the average Democrat, they're closer to the Democrats than the Republicans, so I suspect the Democrats end up blamed for that kind of thing by default. The same is true of the 'chickenhawk' meme, I think. And, of course, you do have people like Senator Kerry and Rep. Rangel denigrating those who choose to serve (granted, Kerry's comment was a gaffe, but Rangel appeared to be quite serious about his remarks).

As for the comment, I apologize for raising the issue. As I said, I am overly sensitive to such things, and I should have given the question the benefit of the doubt.


Posted by: Andrew Olmsted | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 12:03 PM
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Rep. Rangel denigrating those who choose to serve

I missed this story. What did he say?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 12:06 PM
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I got turned off Democrats at the time by people who would ask why I wanted to kill babies when they saw me in uniform, or the charming fellow who called me a 'hatemonger.' It's unfair to the run-of-the-mill Democrat, but the fact is that the majority of people I've known who dislike (or worse) the military are on the left side of the spectrum.

You know, this has got to be the military equivalent of guys being surprised that women get catcalled. It's terribly annoying that most decent guys are somewhat incredulous about it, but of course they aren't there when it happens -- they aren't the people doing it, and no one catcalls a woman walking with a man.

I've had conversations with Idealist, a commenter here who's a veteran I know IRL, about this sort of thing, and I find it boggling, because I literally never encounter anti-military hostility (as opposed to anti-war political views). But of course, I'm not in the military, so why would I encounter it? It is a shame that Democrats generally get blamed for that sort of thing, I don't think it's at all prevalent.

(BTW -- I'm not sure what of Rangel's you're talking about. I assume you do know he's a Korean War vet, right?)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 12:10 PM
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Well, I can speak only for myself, but going to a small liberal arts college where the left was pretty predominant, I got turned off Democrats at the time by people who would ask why I wanted to kill babies when they saw me in uniform, or the charming fellow who called me a 'hatemonger.'

May I ask in what age bracket you fall? Like LB, I never run into this IRL. With someone like Ideal (and possibly TLL), I figure, "Eh, the 70s." But I think you're in your mid-thirties or below. (Pls. don't answer if the question seems intrusive.)

As for the comment, I apologize for raising the issue.

Eh, don't. As I said, I saw that as a possible and fair reading of the question prior to your comment, and I didn't correct it. That's on me. I don't think you were being oversensitive.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 12:20 PM
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He said something about the only people who would volunteer to serve are those who can't make it in other careers. While that's certainly true in my case, there's a lot of soldiers it doesn't really apply to.

"If a young fellow has an option of having a decent career, or joining the Army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq," Mr. Rangel, a Democrat representing Manhattan and Queens, said on "Fox News Sunday." article and video.


Posted by: Andrew Olmsted | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 12:23 PM
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I suspect it's just guilt by association. Most Democrats might be pro-soldier, but anti-war. But all you need is a couple well-placed, well-managed stories about rabid anti-war protestors. Sort of like all professors being Ward Churchill. Most of us don't give a rat's ass about who students vote for, but they'll all believe we're munching fetuses in the faculty lounge.

And it's also just that 'love the sinner, hate the sin', never sells well. It's too nuanced for public discourse.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 12:23 PM
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Like LB, I never run into this IRL.

No, me either, and I think Tim, LB, and I are all in our mid-to-late thirties, so at least remember the 70s through a kids' eyes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 12:24 PM
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I don't know if the perception is real, but it's still very strong. I have had a couple students who are veterans or ROTC, and usually it comes up at some point in a discussion, and they always seem absolutely bewildered when I express polite interest in their service rather than, I dunno, flunking them outright.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 12:27 PM
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59: See my last for the comment in question. I suspect that Rangel is projecting; he was drafted, so it's difficult for him to imagine that there are people out there who do enjoy serving.

As for the catcalls, an excellent analogy. Although I suspect that women get catcalls more often than soldiers get opprobrium. I still recall arguing with a friend in high school when he shouted out the window of my car at some woman as we drove past. He was utterly certain that women liked that, and nothing I could say would convince him otherwise.

60:The comments in question occured in the late 80s/early 90s. Where I went to school, there were a lot (actually, probably a small but really loud minority) of students who seemed really upset they missed the 60s. And I should note that this was not a daily occurence by any means. But, in my limited experience, when someone asks you why you want to kill babies, that memory tends to stick with you. ;)


Posted by: Andrew Olmsted | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 12:28 PM
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64: I'm always interested to hear about campuses, because while there was plenty of liberalism where I went to school, I was relatively well-known as a conservative due to my writing for the school papers, yet I never saw the slightest sign from any of my professors that they held that against me. So when I hear about 'lefty professor horrors' I immediately wonder if my experience was unique, if things have changed over the past 15 years, or if people are just blowing smoke. I tend to suspect the latter.


Posted by: Andrew Olmsted | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 12:31 PM
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Olmsted, he specifically said fighting in Iraq. Not serving in general. Dude. Really.


Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 12:31 PM
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Allow me to share with you the following blog entry:
-----------------------------------------------------------
3,002
Today is January 1, 2007, the first day of a new year. On this day, the number of American soldiers killed in the Iraq War reached three thousand and two. This is what 3,002 looks like:

O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O

Every life touches other lives. Consider the loss of one life on mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, wives, husbands, and children. And let us not forget the cost in lives among Iraqi civilians. No one knows for sure, but casualty estimates range from 150,000 to 400,000. The Iraq War has devolved into a human catastrophe without end. More deaths will not honor those who have already died.


Posted by: Jeffrey Berger | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 12:32 PM
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Allow me to share with you the following blog entry:
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3,002
Today is January 1, 2007, the first day of a new year. On this day, the number of American soldiers killed in the Iraq War reached three thousand and two. This is what 3,002 looks like:

O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O

Every life touches other lives. Consider the loss of one life on mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, wives, husbands, and children. And let us not forget the cost in lives among Iraqi civilians. No one knows for sure, but casualty estimates range from 150,000 to 400,000. The Iraq War has devolved into a human catastrophe without end. More deaths will not honor those who have already died.


Posted by: Jeffrey Berger | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 12:32 PM
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why you want to kill babies

Because they make an unholy racket if you eat them live, which totally kills the relaxed dining ambience.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 12:34 PM
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W H O O O O O O O P S


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 12:34 PM
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61: You know, it's universalizing, but if you tone it down from 'you bet your life', is it either wrong or insulting?

Aren't there a lot of people in the military because they think it's a better (higher status, more responsible and challenging, more emotionally rewarding) job than they could get in the civilian world? Someone who wants to help people, but doesn't have the option of going to law school and working for Legal Aid?

I don't see that as saying much more than that this war isn't a popular one -- people who join the military are joining because they think the military is their best option, much less because they think that Iraq is a necessary fight. Someone enlisting in WW II was doing it because they wanted to stop the Nazis -- someone enlisting now is much more likely to be doing it because they want to join the Army, which includes thinking the Army is their best option.

I don't know that this is true, but I don't think it's insulting. (And, not to deny that there's some anti-military hostility out there, because you say there is, but interpreting ambigious remarks as evidence of anti-military hostility is kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more you do it, the more hostility you see, and the more you're inclined to do it.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 12:35 PM
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67: Perhaps I should have noted that I'm trying to bring up examples of why I think the Democrats are generally less popular in the military than the Republicans.

72: It's all well and good that you don't think it's insulting. I don't happen to think that it's really appropriate to be all worked up about the conquest of Andalusia more than 500 years after the fact, but it doesn't really matter what I think as long as Osama and his band of merry thugs consider that sufficient reason to wage jihad against Spain and Portugal.

You asked why the Democrats haven't made more inroads in the military. I've offered some reasons. Given that the average commenter here appears to lean left, most of those reasons aren't going to make much sense to those who read them. But it makes sense to a lot of people in the military. You're free to decide that makes military people dumb, ignorant, irrational, etc., if you choose, or you can attempt to understand the mindset. I'm just throwing out some reasons why I suspect the Democrats' support among the troops is lower than you feel it ought to be.

As for a self-fulfilling prophecy, I think that's about where you're at, unfortunately. Kerry's gaffe was seized upon because a lot of people believe that's really what he thinks. Rangel may not have intended to denigrate soldiers, but the assumption already exists that Democrats dislike the military, so people tend to interpret remarks in that light.

Let's turn the tables: two people, one Democrat and one Republican, do something that could be interpreted as racist. Which is more likely to be interpreted as racist and which as innocuous? The storyline is already written, so we tend to fit data to it rather than examining it in and of itself.


Posted by: Andrew Olmsted | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 12:47 PM
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59

"I've had conversations with Idealist, a commenter here who's a veteran I know IRL, about this sort of thing, and I find it boggling, because I literally never encounter anti-military hostility (as opposed to anti-war political views). But of course, I'm not in the military, so why would I encounter it? It is a shame that Democrats generally get blamed for that sort of thing, I don't think it's at all prevalent."

Really? Personally I would be appalled if any of my young relatives chose a military career and I don't think this is an uncommon feeling.

And there are certainly a lot of anti-military comments in internet discussions.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 12:48 PM
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It seems like there's something to be said about the people who trumpet, exaggerate and distort these so-called anti-military leaders. You can bet your ass that more people (particularly military people) heard what Rangel said in the context of "This guy says soldiers are idiots, listen!" than in the context of the interview where it was evident that he was ruing the fact that military service is disincentivized by the war. The result is plainly a lot more hurt feelings. I take a very dim view of people promulgating these slurs and find it hard not to suspect that they don't really care about the morale of the soldiers who hear these things at all.

Kerry's gaffe was seized upon because a lot of people believe that's really what he thinks.

A lot of people believe that's really what he thinks because Kerry's gaffe was seized upon.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 12:49 PM
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FUCK. Jesus.

Except that the Republican Party is filled with people, including elected representatives, who promote or tolerate racism. Elected Democrats haven't actually tried to systematically oppress the fucking troops, or praised those who do, in a long, long time.


Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 12:50 PM
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Continuing 76: If they ever really did, actually.


Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 12:51 PM
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The result is plainly a lot more hurt feelings. I take a very dim view of people promulgating these slurs and find it hard not to suspect that they don't really care about the morale of the soldiers who hear these things at all.

Well, of course they don't care about the morale of the soldiers. They want the soldiers to feel persecuted by the Democratic Party. Feeling persecuted is bad for morale, at least in our present-day army where a sense of frustration and unhappiness does not actually make you a more effective killer of the enemy.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 12:53 PM
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Yeah, kind of what neil said. This is why we get the awkward insistence on Kerry (and in this case Rangel) being veterans -- trying to get across that the sort of reflexive contempt for soldiers being attributed to them doesn't make sense as a psychological matter. While there may be some people who feel that way about soldiers, I would guess that few of them are veterans.

I'm not trying to be dismissive about your experience of anti-military hostility; I'm sure there is some (although I would argue that comment 74 demonstrates that it is not limited to liberals). I'm just wondering if there's any way for Democrats to recover the benefit of the doubt on this one.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 12:56 PM
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79: Tough to say what it will take to change the calculus. Once people have a model in their heads for how things are, it's very difficult to shake that belief. Anchoring and confirmation bias, as I'm sure you're familiar with.


Posted by: Andrew Olmsted | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:00 PM
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but interpreting ambigious remarks as evidence of anti-military hostility is kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more you do it, the more hostility you see, and the more you're inclined to do it.)

You are reading too much into it, Andrew.

For what it's worth, Andrew, my experiences appear to match yours. I will add, however, in agreement with some of the other comments above, that the attitude you describe seems to me to be be less prevalant now than it was 10 or 15 or more years ago.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:03 PM
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The reason the military isn't yet full of Democrats is simple inertia. That and the success of Republican propaganda that Democrats hate soldiers. The result is that any time a Democrat says anything about soldiers, it gets filtered through most people's propaganda filter and comes out as either "insulting" (the Rangel comment, Kerry's comments) or as lying/pandering. Neither the comment in 61 or Kerry's comment was *at all* insulting to soldiers. There's not a goddamn thing wrong with pointing out that no one in their right fucking mind wants to sign up to go to Iraq right now. I get that there are going to be some poor idealistic bastards who sign up "to serve their country." But even they, sans propaganda filter, ought to be able to understand that both Rangel and Kerry are essentially saying that the war is fucked and that we damn well shouldn't be sending soldiers, idealistic or not, off to get killed for something *that never had anything to do with US interests*.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:03 PM
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I'm not trying to be dismissive about your experience of anti-military hostility; I'm sure there is some (although I would argue that comment 74 demonstrates that it is not limited to liberals). I'm just wondering if there's any way for Democrats to recover the benefit of the doubt on this one.

This is sort of where I am. Most of the military people I've met--and my exposure is very limited, and (for reasons I don't really get) mostly restricted to Marines and ex-Marines--are pretty decent and thoughtful people. It's hard to conceive that they're queering the data somehow. So we (or Dems) are failing somewhere. I'm not sure that arguing that military personnel didn't experience what they believe they've experienced is the best way to get their votes. But you can't just let the Republican narrative stand, either.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:04 PM
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Re. lefty anti-military hostility: sure, it exists. You do get college kids who argue that all soldiers are baby killers. Then again, you also get college kids who argue that all meat is murder, and presumably you recognize that that's not a representative opinion.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:12 PM
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Most of the military people I've met--and my exposure is very limited, and (for reasons I don't really get) mostly restricted to Marines and ex-Marines--are pretty decent and thoughtful people. It's hard to conceive that they're queering the data somehow.

This is a general problem, nothing to do with the military specifically, but an absolutely huge problem in politics generally is that telling people "You've been tricked or manipulated into making a decision on an irrational basis" comes off as a huge insult, and whoever you've said it to gets pissed and won't listen to you anymore. (I'm not saying that I'm surprised people feel this way; it's perfectly obvious why they should.)

But smart people get successfully manipulated; educated people get successfully manipulated. I'm a highly educated urban professional who's at least reasonably intelligent, and of the hundreds of decisions I make every day, I'm lucky if two or three are well thought out and rational. Marketing works, and propaganda works -- they work on me, and they work on everyone else. Not always, for every attempt, but everyone gets fooled sometimes.

That resistance to admitting you've had the wool pulled over your eyes just makes it even more effective -- once you've got a propaganda campaign that's effective at all, any attempt to point out that it's not true is a direct insult to the people it convinced, and just reinforces the original campaign.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:13 PM
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That resistance to admitting you've had the wool pulled over your eyes just makes it even more effective -- once you've got a propaganda campaign that's effective at all, any attempt to point out that it's not true is a direct insult to the people it convinced, and just reinforces the original campaign.

OSTMWHYB!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:21 PM
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But it doesn't have to be a "wool pulled over eyes" thing. Most of my convos with military guys--and I've had a lot of them--basically hinged on moving right beyond talking points and cliches and laying down *specific* reasons for my side of the argument. What more money actually would do for schools, why it's detrimental to the military to keep women and gays out of military academies and combat, why attacking Iraq was counterproductive to the larger goal of dealing with terrorism. Most military guys *are* smart, but it's a fairly insulated culture, and a lot of them *do* seem to think that "liberals" base their opinions on silly cliches rather than actually knowing something. It's frustrating, but it's a presupposition that the right has successfully exploited for *years*, and if we just keep talking, it's gonna start falling apart. Hell, it already has.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:24 PM
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What that meant to say more specifically is, I think the strong tendency to associate Democrats with hostility to soldiers, today, is at least partially the result of a successful attempt by the Republican party to create that impression. But I am cringing and wincing as I type those words, because by saying that, I am implicitly saying that people commenting here have been influenced by a marketing campaign, and most people do take that sort of statement as an insult.

And yet marketing works.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:26 PM
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86: Wow. Does that even stand for anything?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:26 PM
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Ugh. I can't believe this thread, which refers to a measure that's going to get a lot of troops killed by an administration which has gotten 3,000 insufficiently-armored troops killed already through a war it didn't even have the courtesy to plan, has devolved into a discussion over whether Democrats actually hate the troops, and if so, how much.


Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:28 PM
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I will add, however, in agreement with some of the other comments above, that the attitude you describe seems to me to be be less prevalant now than it was 10 or 15 or more years ago.

One good thing about the Bush administration is that it has really made it clear to a lot of politically active idealist types (e.g. college activists) that the soldiers not only should not, but CAN not, be blamed for the actions of the military. It's obvious that Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld are not military people, and resenting them has not translated into resenting the troops, at least among anyone I know.

It was discussed in an earlier thread, but there's been a lot of anti-militaryrecruitment activism around here, and it's amazing the way it's been focused on the issue of "You scum, trying to meet your quota by fooling well-intentioned kids into dying for no reason" rather than "You idiots, how dare you join an organization that kills people". Not that the former message is entirely true, but it's not borne out of a resentment against the type of people who join the military.

It's even more amazing that this has happened as the military has become an all-volunteer force, in other words consisting entirely of people who want to be in the military, which you'd think would make it easier for the more simple-minded activists to caricature as Republicans/jocks/bullies/whatever. The caricaturing hasn't happened.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:29 PM
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Oh, come on, Joe. Tim asked. It's not like anyone came in complaining that the real problem is that Democrats hate the troops.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:30 PM
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I am implicitly saying that people commenting here have been influenced by a marketing campaign, and most people do take that sort of statement as an insult.

Yes you are. Yes they do, with good reason. But thinking that the fault lies with the evil Reupblican propaganda campaign is easier than thinking that people like Andrew and I are describing real things that really happen rather than simply being overwrought and imagining things. No doubt, this makes you feel better. It does not change any facts, however.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:31 PM
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I konw, I know. I wasn't talking about any specific comment/question. I just meant generally.


Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:31 PM
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93: See 'cringing and wincing', above.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:32 PM
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90: Indeed. If my arguments have been taken to imply that Democrats do, in fact, hate the troops, I'd like to clear the air. I'm just throwing out some reasons why the perception exists.


Posted by: Andrew Olmsted | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:32 PM
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Now that I posted 91, it seems like another important factor was that Clinton was an even less military-seeming guy, and there were all those debates back then about how the military felt ashamed to be following his wussy commands, but they had to anyway, especially during the Blackhawk Down affair. Now that perceived independence of opinion is working against the Republicans.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:33 PM
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I think it's true that of the 0.001% of Americans who hate the troops, almost all are left-wing. The Democratic party isn't their ally, though, of course.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:34 PM
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But seriously, Ideal. You've said that your personal experience is that there's a lot less anti-military feeling then there was when you were younger. But there's still a strong association being made (in, for example, Andrew's mind) between Democrats and hatred of soldiers.

Now, that association is politically useful to the Republican party. And it seems clear that they make at least some attempt to foster it even where it isn't true (e.g., trumpeting the Kerry thing, which was in context (particularly given the prepared text of the speech) clearly a joke aimed at Bush, not at the military). Are soldiers the only people in the world immune to marketing? Is it really so insulting to believe that Republican efforts along those lines have at least some effect on people?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:37 PM
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But thinking that the fault lies with the evil Reupblican propaganda campaign is easier than thinking that people like Andrew and I are describing real things that really happen rather than simply being overwrought and imagining things. No doubt, this makes you feel better. It does not change any facts, however.

For fuck's sake. It is a marketing campaign. You think it makes us feel better that people think my party rejoices when troops get killed? Really? It makes me feel good? Give me a fucking break. I'm sorry that you guys have a successful media manipulation operation, but you do. Be proud of it. It's done great things for you.

And shall I do a roundup of Republican pundits (who invariably didn't serve) blaming one downturn or another on the troops themselves? Because there are dozens of them. I just saw some fresh ones today. Republicans bash the troops constantly. And I challenge you to find me similar examples from lefty pundits of comparable stature. I'll bet you could count those on one hand. Democrats don't bash the troops. We don't underfund the troops. We don't underfund Veterans' health care. We don't make them pay for their own body armor. We don't make comments like "You go to war with the army you have, not the army you want." I mean, Jesus Fucking Christ, Ideal.


Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:38 PM
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I agree with 100. Republican pundits are actually starting to let their lust for George W. Bush (and its attendant corollary, the belief that the Iraq war was a good idea) overcome their lust for the military, with the result that they ACTUALLY ARE blaming the soldiers for the failed implementation of Bush's plans. Check out this douchebaggery.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:40 PM
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That was the example from today that I was thinking of, actually.


Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:42 PM
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Oh no! Find another example, quick. Data is the plural of anecdote, not the singular.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:43 PM
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99: Whoa, I object. I do not think Democrats hate the military or soldiers (although I'm sure there are exceptions to that rule). I'm just throwing out some reasons why I think the connection persists.

I think Ideal's point is merely that the existence of a marketing campaign intended to create the perception of Democratic disdain towards the military does not mean that Ideal and I haven't experienced some instances of anti-military bias. Are they representative? Of course not. But it doesn't have to be, as a rule. Most people tend to extrapolate from their experience, however limited, so they really only have to have a very limited number of experiences of anti-military bias to come to the conclusion Democrats don't like the military. Surely everyone here has extrapolated from a personal experience only to later learn their experience wasn't representative at some point in their life?

And, one more time, I don't think that Democrats hate the troops. For the record.


Posted by: Andrew Olmsted | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:43 PM
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how the military felt ashamed to be following his wussy commands

For many military people, dilsike of President Clinton went beyond any views on his policies. He made his feelings about the military clear.

Most people particularly noted this line: I am writing too in the hope that my telling this one story will help you to understand more clearly how so many fine people have come to find themselves still loving their country but loathing the military . . . ."


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:44 PM
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105 - Please. If you did a poll among military members, especially officers, on why they hated Clinton, would they cite that one line from one speech, or would they cite his support of Operation Military Fag Infiltration?


Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:46 PM
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106: You might be surprised, but while I wouldn't deny having seen instances of homophobia in the military, I've seen an awful lot of people who at least claim they don't care about the gays in the military kerfuffle.


Posted by: Andrew Olmsted | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:49 PM
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Democrats don't bash the troops. We don't underfund the troops. We don't underfund Veterans' health care. We don't make them pay for their own body armor. We don't make comments like "You go to war with the army you have, not the army you want."

Say it louder, but make them all positive assertions. Look, even if all Democrats are pro-soldier and it is all Republican propaganda (I think Andrew's assessment of it is probably correct, mostly confirmation bias), it's still propaganda that needs to be addressed. Just pointing out that it is propaganda isn't going to work.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:49 PM
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Of course there's anti-military bias. And some of it is pretty stupid. On the other hand, just like any well-run, insular instituion, including academia, there *are* certain mindsets that do, sometimes, exist, and that are worthy of criticism. Academics can be insufferably pretentious; military guys can be insufferably jingoistic. Saying that isn't, or shouldn't be, inherently anti-academia or anti-military.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:50 PM
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104: Yeah, I looked back at that and realized I'd misspoken -- I meant to say that you understood the belief as it exists in other people, to the extent that you were comfortable explaining it. My apologies.

105: Yep. Talking about his personal esteem for the soldier he's writing to, and about the necessity and the importance of the draft in WW II, clearly establish that Clinton hated the military generally rather than simply opposing, and therefore not wanting to serve in, Vietnam. I'm not going to convince you, but I think you're mistaken.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:50 PM
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It's surprising that the Pentagon brass blocked it from happening, then. I'm sure some of their best friends were fags.


Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:50 PM
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And as B says (and I said a couple of times above) of course there is real anti-military bias. Heck, look at Shearer in this thread.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:52 PM
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Just pointing out that it is propaganda isn't going to work.

I didn't say it was. I wasn't proposing some kind of plan. I'm not an elected officer of the U.S. government.

Ok, i'm getting way too het up here. I think I'm probably being too harsh on Andrew, who seems to be arguing in good faith.


Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:52 PM
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105 is just gross. In context, that sentence is not only *not* anti-military, it's extremely honest and self-deprecating. If you see that as anti-military, it *is* because you've been brainwashed.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:54 PM
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I don't think that Democrats hate the troops. For the record.

I agree that it is certainly very much not the policy of the Democratic party to hate the troops; indeed, it is very much in the interests of Democrats to claim that opposite. Indeed, given the perception that some elements of the Democratic Party traditionally have held the military in low regard (see, e.g., comment 105), one could imagine that Democrats might even engage in a marketing campaign to sell their strong pro-military feelings. Whether validly held or not.

I mean, if you want to talk about marketing campaigns.

On a less heated note, I do not believe that it is or has ever been the policy of the Democratic Party to hate the military. As to individuals, I take them as I find them. The only person commenting here whom I know IRL is LizardBreath, and notwithstanding that she is in some ways a way far left leftist (although conservative in other ways), I certainly do not believe that she is in any way biased against the military or service members.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:54 PM
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I'd guess that most people in the military who went to college and are under 40 are pro-fag, just like their civilian counterparts.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:55 PM
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101: To be fair to Leeden (whom I hate), he's got skin in the game. His son's there, IIRC. It doesn't make his point more accurate, but...something.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:56 PM
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You hear that, guys? You're all on notice. Idealist has his eye on you pinkos.


Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:56 PM
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The gays in the military issue is a tough one. IME, military guys tend to be kinda homophobic and to trot out silly stuff like "I wouldn't want to share a tent with a gay guy." And a lot of them are the same, or worse, about women. Which isn't to say that there aren't *also* plenty of military guys who think the whole thing's a bunch of nonsense, but regardless of whether the guys at the top really are or aren't homophobes, the "morale" argument is a shitty one. You just fucking do it, just like you integrated the troops, and anyone who can't deal with their gay/women comrades gets booted.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:59 PM
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113: Joe-D, for what it's worth, I thought you had the right idea; concrete ideas about what's gone wrong, rather than just saying it's the Republican message. Of course it's their message. I think you had some good ideas about an alternate message: those guys say values and military pride, but they seem to be short on remembering the body armor.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:59 PM
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Indeed, given the perception that some elements of the Democratic Party traditionally have held the military in low regard (see, e.g., comment 105), one could imagine that Democrats might even engage in a marketing campaign to sell their strong pro-military feelings. Whether validly held or not.

That marketing campaign didn't work, largely because it was followed shortly by a Republican marketing campaign that used similar themes as well as the uniquely Republican theme of psychotic jingoism.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 1:59 PM
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Whether validly held or not.

Like I said. Through the propaganda filter, anything the Dems say or do that's supportive of the military in general or soldiers specifically is a lie.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:01 PM
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Cala - I know. I'm just saying, it's not my job to come up with a new message. I'm not part of the Democratic leadership. But, pointing out to individuals the existence of a marketing campaign is something that is within my power to do.


Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:01 PM
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86: Wow. Does that even stand for anything?

OSTMWHYB


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:02 PM
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If you did a poll among military members, especially officers, on why they hated Clinton, would they cite that one line from one speech, or would they cite his support of Operation Military Fag Infiltration?

With all respect, you have no fucking clue of what you are talking about. I would try explaining, but I suspect it would be a waste of breath because you have exhibited exactly the mindless anti-military bias that it still very common among the left. Who the fuck are you to tell me that I hate gays.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:02 PM
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"But, in my limited experience, when someone asks you why you want to kill babies, that memory tends to stick with you. ;)"

Contrast with Family Research Council's current perspective on embryonic stem cell research: "Democrats in Congress who support ESCR are not really interested in helping patients, Prentice contends; he believes these lawmakers' simply want to push studies and clinical trials that result in the destruction of human embryos."


Posted by: BEPea | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:02 PM
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Yeah, I didn't agree with 106 either.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:03 PM
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123: But you're magic and write speeches.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:04 PM
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Idealist, like every single other person on this thread, I wasn't talking about you personally. That the Pentagon brass blocked Clinton's initiative is fact. We aren't talking about you, dude. And half my family is military. What anti-military comments have I made in this thread, or any other?


Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:04 PM
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128: Not anymore.


Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:05 PM
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125: You know, Joe didn't say anything about you specifically. He, aggressively and hyperbolically, said that military opposition to Clinton was largely due to disagreement with his proposed policy for allowing gays to serve openly.

This may be false, but is it an anti-military thing to say? I thought it was a simple fact that polls showed most people in the military at the time opposed Clinton's proposed policy. That may not be why they didn't like Clinton -- Joe could be wrong about that -- but it's not mindless anti-military bias to note the opposition.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:07 PM
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you have exhibited exactly the mindless anti-military bias that it still very common among the left.

Who the fuck are you to tell us that we hate the military?


Posted by: the left | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:11 PM
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125: Gimme a break. IIRC, Ideal has been out with Clown and one or two of the other male commenters at least a couple of times. And yet, no reports of man-on-man sex. The record speaks for itself, big guy.

What I want to know is how to win the military (and in specific the Navy). The actual merit of their objections to the Dems is relevant only insofar as it helps advance us toward that end.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:12 PM
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People, people. The mullahs want us to hate each other. Or so they would have us believe.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:13 PM
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Free toasters?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:13 PM
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My family members in the military didn't like Clinton because they, like much of the rest of the country, were still fighting the Vietnam War twenty years after the fact. Many of them still are and will continue to think they are fighting it right until the day we plant them in the dirt.

On the other hand, I guarantee you that Bill Clinton didn't think he was still involved in it, and god help us all if every statement we make as a college student has to be carried around on a sandwich board the rest of our lives.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:13 PM
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133 -- what happens in Flushing, stays in Flushing.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:14 PM
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Vietnam. Yes, I imagine that's a big part of it. Half the "Why Liberals Cannot Be Trusted (Because They're On The Other Side!)" threads on RedState degenerate into rehashings of Vietnam-era humiliations. The other half degenerates into anti-abortion purer-than-thou chest-thumping.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:16 PM
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Free toasters?

Yeah, we here on the left know that the military are all a bunch of damned toast-eaters. I think it could work!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:17 PM
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I think there needs to be a type of Godwin's Law dealing with Jane Fonda and/or Chappaquiddickqckq(sp?).


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:18 PM
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what happens in Flushing, stays in Flushing.

Thank you for the discretions. And they don't call it Queens for nothing.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:19 PM
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(sp?)

No, you got it right.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:20 PM
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Visceral personal hatred and contempt for Clinton preceded his election, and was related to his positions and opinions during Vietnam, at least as I heard them expressed. As a Boomer with an anti-war past, he also became the focus of general hostility far broader in origin than anything personal. This seemed a much more important matter fifteen years ago than it would today. Some felt it shouldn't be possible to elect a president held in such low regard by such an overwhelming majority of people in the military culture, and the hostility shown Admiral Crowe, when he supported Clinton's candidacy, was impressive. I remember being struck at the time by how many military-minded people took Clinton's election as a personal insult to them and their values. They felt disrespected by the whole generation of which he was such a visible symbol.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:20 PM
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138 gets it right. Moreover, a lot of the "lefties spat on returning vets!" stuff isn't true.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:22 PM
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This seemed a much more important matter fifteen years ago than it would today.

Tell it to John Kerry.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:25 PM
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Also, from a 2006 Military Times poll of randomly selected servicemembers:

6) Do you think openly homosexual people should be allowed to serve in the military?

Yes 30%
No 59%
Don't know/no answer 10%


Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:25 PM
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144: In a vain attempt to forestall this argument, can we agree that saying "a lot of the "lefties spat on returning vets!" stuff isn't true," is not a claim of certainty that none of it is true, just that it seems to have received a hell of a lot more media emphasis in the last 35 years or so than the amount that contemporary evidence would suggest that it happened would justify?

Please? I hate this one.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:26 PM
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I think I've read something saying that there's not a single verified instance of a vet being spat on, but yeah, I don't care if we let that one go.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:29 PM
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But Rambo said it!


Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:30 PM
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I hate this one.

Me too. But arguing that it never happened fits well with the revisionist theme that the left has always loved, admired and respected the military. And in other news, the word loathe and the word admire are synonyms.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:30 PM
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I grew up thinking that everybody had finally agreed that Vietnam was a horrible, mostly pointless war, so the last six years have been very illuminating. I wonder what it will take for this war not to have a similar revanchist contingent.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:32 PM
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And in other news, the word loathe and the word admire are synonyms.

Are you honestly reading that sentence as Clinton claiming that he personally loathes the military?

How?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:32 PM
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150: Do you know for a fact that it happened? Because I'd be quite happy to be wrong. Although showing that it happened doesn't say anything about "the left," you know.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:32 PM
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But arguing that it never happened fits well with the revisionist theme that the left has always loved, admired and respected the military.

Who the fuck are you to tell us that we hate, scorn, and disrespect the military, or have done so?


Posted by: the left | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:36 PM
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the word loathe and the word admire are synonyms

By definition.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:42 PM
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151: Yeah, all the threads at Bizarro World saying that the south would have won had congress not cut off funding are astonishing to me (cause, you know, they were so much better at fighting after the several hundred thousand U.S. troops left, who must have been incompetent ninnies).


Posted by: Ugh | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 2:47 PM
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79 I am not a liberal but I am a Kerry voter.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 3:30 PM
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I am a bit mystified by the claims that no one could reasonably believe that the left is anti-military. Are you all really unaware of the sizeable "war is evil" segment of the left?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 3:34 PM
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Damn. Then you're the guy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 3:34 PM
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That was to 157.

Are you really confused by the difference between the two statements "War is an evil thing," and "I hate and despise soldiers"? I know plenty on the left who believe the first, none who believe the second.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 3:35 PM
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I'm unaware of it. How sizable is it? Does it have any power at all over the Democratic party platform?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 3:36 PM
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My daughter is an officer in the military. Both she and my family break the stereotype that only conservatives or wingnuts support the military. In fact, we are all liberal Democrats; perhaps I am more left-leaning than my daughter. Although I wish she were in safer line of work (wouldn't any parent?), I do not disparage those who serve.

The Administration rushed our soldiers into an ad hoc itchy-trigger finger war predicated on misrepresentations, false intelligence, errors in judgment, wrong tactics, and no exit strategy. Citizens ask for truth and accountability. Our officials answer with subterfuge and smear.

I understand Kerry's anger and justifiable bitterness over the Swiftboat assault on his honorable military record. His word gaffes harmed no one; the administration's policy gaffes brought tragedy and heartbreak to thousands of American and Iraqi families. I have no sympathy for an American government that covets it's own power "├╝ber alles," more than honor, more than human life.


Posted by: Jeffrey Berger | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 3:40 PM
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Oh my, everyone should click through to Jeff's blog. Beautiful pictures.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 3:42 PM
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All the "lefties (read Democrat) hate the military" is not only a holdover from Vietnam, but also the deploymnet of the Pershing missles in Europeand other Cold War expenditures that were demonstrated against or blocked. Not every weapons system is needed, but spending is how we beat the Russkies.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 3:47 PM
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What on earth does that have to do with hating the military? It's a policy difference about how best to use it, not an expression of contempt for soldiers. That doesn't even come close to making sense.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 3:50 PM
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160

Yes I am confused. War is the purpose of the military, the reason for it to exist. How can you think capital punishment is evil and not despise the hangman?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 3:53 PM
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How can you think violence is bad, and respect policemen?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 3:55 PM
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spending is how we beat the Russkies

This is nonsense, though widely believed nonsense. Declassified documents from the Soviet era show that their military spending decreased pretty much every year during the Reagan administration. All our massive military spending during the 80s did was create an enormous federal debt and enrich a bunch of contractors.

Americans love to take credit for bringing down the the Soviet Union, just like they love to take credit for defeating the Nazis. But any objective reading of history has to give credit for both of those to actual Soviet citizens.

SDI and Pershing missiles, not so much.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 3:56 PM
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LB, politics doesn't make sense like that. "I'm not interested in what religious arguments have to say, because they're bullshit" gets conflated with "I don't like religious people." "I don't think gays should have marital rights" gets conflated with "I hate gays." "We want to disburse Social Security at 69" gets conflated with "They want to steal my SS!" "I think we should protect the environment" gets conflated with "I heart trees and spotted owls."

This is just how modern political discourse is. It isn't ideal. It doesn't follow nice rules of logic. But that's the game.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 3:57 PM
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167

To some extent you can't. Also a policeman's job is less about violence than a soldier's job is about war. Which is one reason soldiers make bad cops.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:01 PM
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This is just how modern political discourse is. It isn't ideal. It doesn't follow nice rules of logic. But that's the game.

I suppose, maybe, but this here isn't modern political discourse, it's a conversation between purportedly reasonable people.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:01 PM
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166: SAC manages to have "Peace is Our Profession" as its motto and has also made it work. An ideal military would be a perfect waste 'cause there never would be a need to use it.

There's no necessary connection between holding that "War is evil" and despising the military.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:02 PM
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You Are Not Your Job


Posted by: Gas Huffer | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:02 PM
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The military exists to fight and win wars, but much like any tool, how it is used is critical in how your view it. If the military is used only in situations where the nation is clearly in danger, one can easily justify disliking war but being (at least) neutral regarding the military. As Iraq found out in 2003, only one side of a military conflict has to want war for there to be one.

To continue the tool analogy, if someone picks up a hammer and uses it to bludgeon someone else, we do not, as a rule, blame the hammer. This analogy is imperfect, since the military consists of autonomous individuals, but I think it has value. Congress authorized military force. The courts say that such an authorization clears the Constitutional 'declaration of war' hurdle. The President says go. The military goes, regardless of our personal feelings regarding the conflict.

Although I think it would be interesting to change the law so that U.S. troops could be used overseas only with their permission. As I understand it (and I'm going on memory), this was at one time, and may still be, British law.


Posted by: Andrew Olmsted | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:08 PM
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The "stab in the back" backlash is coming, but in my opinion it is the Administration who should take the rap. For one second, concede that operations in Iraq are part of GWOT, and an important front. Why then was it handled so poorly? If I were a Democratic Presidential hopeful, I would run to the right on this issue. GWB was not "serious" about winning.
Secondly, I think that Americans have turned against this war because we haven't won (see above). As in Viet Nam the debate about whether it was ever winnable is not the point. If Democrats want to be seen as pro- military, the rhetoric needs to be "give them the tools to finish the job".


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:11 PM
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I prefer "don't assign them impossible tasks."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:14 PM
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If I were a Democratic Presidential hopeful, I would run to the right on this issue.

Thank you for your concern, Tass. We can take it from here.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:14 PM
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What would 'winning' mean to you at this point, and what tools do you envision making it possible? Or do you just want to throw tens of thousands more Iraqis and Americans into a meatgrinder for political advantage while you figure that out?

In further questions, what color is the sky in your world? Is it pretty?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:14 PM
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To continue the tool analogy, if someone picks up a hammer and uses it to bludgeon someone else, we do not, as a rule, blame the hammer. This analogy is imperfect, since the military consists of autonomous individuals, but I think it has value. Congress authorized military force.

This is exactly it. Even given autonomy.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:16 PM
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For one second, concede that operations in Iraq are part of GWOT, and an important front.

Conceding that is how we got in to this stupid mess in the first place. The issue is larger than "Bush botched Iraq"; the issue is "Bush can't even figure out which country poses a threat, much less how to deal with it."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:16 PM
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Yeah, I agree with Apostropher in #176. It isn't "give them the tools to win," it's, "have a point." As I understand it, that's the Powell-branch of Vietnam criticism: mission creep, no exit strategy, etc.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:18 PM
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The goddam term Axis of Evil should have tipped everyone in the freaking country off that Bush had no idea what he was talking about. Two countries that hate each other, and a third not terribly closely entwined with the other two, do not an Axis make.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:19 PM
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172

Good grief. Peace is not the profession of the SAC no matter what their PR may say. If the President orders them to nuke Iran perhaps this will become clearer to you.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:20 PM
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TLL --- not pretending that Iraq was/is part of GWOT is important too, though. That idea always was bullshit, and there is no reason to give the current admin a free ride on that. I agree that not winning is what has turned a lot of people against it --- but what do you do if we don't have the tools to finish the job? Or if the job is unfinishable? If you pretend Iraq is tenable and drag things out, you'll justifiably bear some of the blame (assuming a D executive). D's need to be careful not to alienate people, true. But Iraq is a republican clusterfuck, and they need to be held accountable for it.


Posted by: soubzriquet | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:20 PM
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For one second, concede that operations in Iraq are part of GWOT, and an important front.

But they're not. If they were, then why did the administration have to manufacture evidence in order to convince Congress to authorize force? Why didn't they use true evidence?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:21 PM
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The question wasn't addressed to me, but I can only see one plausible answer anyhow.

What would 'winning' mean to you at this point

Establishing a stable democratic pro-American government in Iraq.

and what tools do you envision making it possible?

Getting rid of all those goddamned Iraqis.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:21 PM
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It is so wrong that that cracked me up. Apo, you do know that you're going to hell, right?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:21 PM
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I am aware, yes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:24 PM
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174

Sure but the hangman only hangs people after they have been duly tried and convicted. Nevertheless if you think that capital punishment is evil how can you respect the hangman?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:24 PM
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183: Virtually every man and woman I know who works or worked for SAC believed strongly in peace and in the importance of deterrence as a means to ensure it. You may disagree with this, and in many ways so do I, but it's absolutely false to imply that soldiers love or seek war.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:26 PM
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I'm not sure Iraq is "winnable" in any concrete sense of the word. I do think that there was a window of opportunity that was missed after the fall of Baghdad to reestablish order, probably by shooting the looters. Like after the San Francisco earthquake.
What is our goal in Iraq? The long term goal is to have a multi- ethnic society with majority rule and minority rights "with liberty and justice for all." Actively killing insurgents while training the Iraqi forces will need about ten years. The template is more like our occupation of the Phillipenes after the Spanish American war or the Banana wars in Central America, not Viet Nam.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:27 PM
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LB, I saw TLL as putting the question of whether the war was winnable aside for rhetorical reasons, not whether he personally believed it was a vital issue.

I think the question of what winning, what victory mean has been a huge question at least since Korea, and agree that our democracy won't work until this is part of the political debate, the question of peace and war. But I take TLL to be saying it isn't debated fairly now, and I agree with him.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:30 PM
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I can't believe I'm engaging with this, but here we go.

War in self defense, or in defense of others, is morally permissible and sometimes morally good.

In order to have the capacity for self-defense or to protect others, we need to have a military.

Militaries work poorly when the individuals that make them up are free to make their own decisions who and when to shoot at -- generally, for that reason, we place moral responsibility for the evil effects of war on those directing the military, rather than the soldiers themselves.

Thus, one may respect and admire the military, as composed of people doing difficult and dangerous work necessary for the defense of their country, and nonetheless deplore the actual wars their civilian leadership places them in.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:31 PM
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Thank you for your concern, Tass. We can take it from here.

HOLY HOT FLAMING CHEETOHS I LOVE ME SOME STANDPIPE.


Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:32 PM
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193: Amen to this.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:32 PM
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Actively killing insurgents while training the Iraqi forces will need about ten years.

There's a set number of insurgents, and there will be no more?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:32 PM
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a window of opportunity that was missed

Due to our tragic lack of a mind control ray.

probably by shooting the looters

Y'know, it's not like we haven't been shooting people. So far, it mostly seems to piss off their families and neighbors enough to start planting roadside bombs. But maybe if we had done lots and lots more that might have done the trick. I'll go ask the IDF and the Russian forces in Chechnya about that. They've been at it for longer than ten years.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:32 PM
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Actively killing insurgents while training the Iraqi forces will need about ten years.

Ten starting now, or from 2003? In any case, good luck with that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:32 PM
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185 I guess I wasn't clear. I am a firm believer in the Powell doctrine, and the Administration trashed it about as thoughoughly as possible. If war truly is the last resort, then by God we had better win it. Instead, we get a half assed response making the exact same mistakes as Vietnam- ie one year tours so just when relationships are fruitful they end. IIRC we didn't spend thirteen years fighting in Viet Nam, we spent one year thirteen times in a row.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:35 PM
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If war truly is the last resort, then by God we had better win it. Instead, we get a half assed response making the exact same mistakes as Vietnam

See, this is where the disconnect starts for me. This war *clearly* wasn't a war of last resort. It wasn't even a war of questionable necessity. It was purely elective, with no identifiable goal, aside from knock the Ba'athist government out of power. As I've said over and over, that's like the dog whose goal is just to catch that car, then hasn't the faintest idea what to do once his teeth are stuck in the bumper and his hindquarters are being ground away at 60 mph.

"Failure's not an option, Fido! Bite harder! Damn, you missed your window: if you'd just climbed up the back of the trunk, smashed the back windshield, killed the driver, then navigated the car safely to a stop, you could have won. Too bad you went with the half-assed attack."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:43 PM
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193

"Thus, one may respect and admire the military, as composed of people doing difficult and dangerous work necessary for the defense of their country, and nonetheless deplore the actual wars their civilian leadership places them in."

So just following orders is a moral defense?

Anyway a lot of antiwar sentiment of the left targets more than just certain specific actual wars. I seem to recall comparisons of the cost of aircraft carrier groups to schools and the like.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:51 PM
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It seems to me that the only antiwar person here is Shearer. And I'm sure it's not a coincidence that he can no more distinguish between a soldier and a war than he can between advocating spending on education and hating soldiers.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:54 PM
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So just following orders is a moral defense?

Depending on the orders, sure. There are two values here that need to be balanced: obey orders and do right. It's a lot easier to judge the former.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:54 PM
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So just following orders is a moral defense?

For the ill effects of lawful war, yes. For war crimes, no. Make sense?

I seem to recall comparisons of the cost of aircraft carrier groups to schools and the like.

Thinking that certain military expenditures are unnecessary and wasteful does not imply contempt for the military. Respecting soldiers does not imply desiring uncontrolled military spending.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:54 PM
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It seems to me that the only antiwar person here is Shearer.

But he voted for Kerry. So he's the soldier-hatin' leftist we keep on hearing about.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:55 PM
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192- Yes, that is my point. Famous lefty Gerorge Clooney was quoted as saying prior to the war that "... we can't beat anyone anymore". This was taken as ignorant remark about our military capabilities, but I think he meant what will victory look like.
200- Exactly why I said concede the point that the war was necessary. War should never be optional. It is either of vital national importance requiring an act of Congress or forget it. Punative strikes, Marine landings, etc. can fall outside this category. That is why I think the Republicans are vulnerable on the right, if you want to call it that.


Posted by: Tassled Loaferd Leech | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:57 PM
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So just following orders is a moral defense?

If they're legal orders, yes. You cannot allow a million troops to make their own individual calls over whether a particular conflict is moral or not. (Save, of course, for when their enlistment is up.)

Please note that this does not apply to individual actions in that war. To use the easy example, regardless of whether or not the actions at Abu Ghraib were official policy, individual soldiers should have known better than to stack people naked or expose them to hypothermia (I may be conflating GTMO with Abu Ghraib here) in order to 'soften them up' for interrogation.


Posted by: Andrew Olmsted | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:58 PM
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190

"... but it's absolutely false to imply that soldiers love or seek war."

Absolutely false? Really? Actually some soldiers do. And many soldiers like the idea of becoming trained competent professional killers else why would they sign up?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:58 PM
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It seems to me that the only antiwar person here is Shearer.

Mmm, I'm antiwar in that I'd like to see us trim our military down to a size just sufficient to defend our borders, so that we'd quit throwing them into every two-bit conflict taking place near a commodity resource. But then I'm way more isolationist than pretty much the entire Democratic Party.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 4:59 PM
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209: I figured 'antiwar' was a typo for 'soldier-hatin' there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:01 PM
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That is, I'm antiwar whenever it can be avoided, and I favor less military spending than we do. But that's not having contempt for soldiers.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:02 PM
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209- That was basically US policy before WWII. Then some smart guys decided after all that killin' that maybe we needed to do things differently, and we ended up as global cop. The Economist had an interesting article on rethinking the role of the UN in that regard, since the major powers are now closer that ever before, if not exactly cozy, having a UN rapid response brigade that has teeth would reduce the need for the US to think it has to act.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:08 PM
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Thinking that certain military expenditures are unnecessary and wasteful does not imply contempt for the military. Respecting soldiers does not imply desiring uncontrolled military spending.

Sure, but one person's "unnecessary expenditure" is someone else's sorely needed bit of gear. Health care is full of analagous situations - witness the portrayal of "HMO bureaucrats deciding what procedures you can have instead of your doctor." To the extent that policy should be about doing the right thing for society as a whole rather than buying off special interest groups, the military not liking Democrats can almost be considered a feature rather than a bug.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:09 PM
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202

I am not antiwar, I just oppose wars which are not in the national interest of the United States like the current conflict in Iraq.

But I don't see how you can be a pacifist or believe the American military is an evil instrument of imperialistic oppression and not despise the soldiers who are after all volunteers.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:09 PM
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The Economist had an interesting article on rethinking the role of the UN in that regard, since the major powers are now closer that ever before, if not exactly cozy, having a UN rapid response brigade that has teeth would reduce the need for the US to think it has to act.

You may be inferring good intentions where none exist. I don't think the only time we get involved is when we think we have to act, unless "have" has a very broad definition. "US," too, probably.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:10 PM
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212: also, there's a bit of "the most powerful country out there has an obligation to sort of keep the peace", as a generalization of "the country with the most powerful Navy is obligated to use it to keep down pirates, etc." This role passed from the UK to the US after we took all the UK's money in WWII.

The idiocy of George W. Bush aside, it's not even clear that this is a bad thing.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:12 PM
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I think Shearer is trolling himself. Bravo.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:13 PM
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208: It's absolutely false to imply that soldiers, *as a class*, love war, yes.

214: Ah, the "American military is an evil instrument of imperialistic oppression" lefty strawman.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:13 PM
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one person's "unnecessary expenditure" is someone else's sorely needed bit of gear.

That is part of how we ended up where we are now in terms of equipment for the troops. In the 1990s, the Army envisioned fighting in high-intensity conflict and a linear battlefield, so body armor and armored HMMWVs weren't a big deal. (One can make a good argument that your average infantryman might have wanted the body armor, although those I've spoken to about it have mixed feelings.) And certainly on a linear battlefield uparmored HMMWVs have no place, so they were deemed unnecessary.

War has an unfortunate tendency to go places we don't expect. (The insurgency was probably predictable, for example, but the use of IEDs has been a big surprise.) So predicting which bit of equipment is necessary and which is superfluous is tougher than it seems. This is even more so given our nebulous (at best) national security strategy.


Posted by: Andrew Olmsted | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:15 PM
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This role passed from the UK to the US after we took all the UK's money in WWII.

Um, what?

Also, 194 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:18 PM
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204

"Thinking that certain military expenditures are unnecessary and wasteful does not imply contempt for the military. Respecting soldiers does not imply desiring uncontrolled military spending."

And the fact that I think certain educational expenditures are unnecessary and wasteful does not imply contempt for teachers but I can understand why teachers might think that it does.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:18 PM
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Yeah, my opinions on military budgeting are completely uneducated in any sort of detail -- I just find it incredible that there could be any actual necessity for more military spending than the next largest twenty or so militaries combined. But this doesn't involve knowing what to cut.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:18 PM
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And to be clear, I'm questioning the part of the sentence that includes and follows "after".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:19 PM
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Contempt and loathing for some members of the US military strikes me as appropriate. I'm thinking about My Lai, Kent State, Tailhook, Abu Ghraib, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the discrimination against non-Christians at the academy in Colorado Springs, homophobia and sexism shown by the official attitude towards women and gays, the incidence of rape in the military, the treatment of Jessica Lynch and Lori Piestewa. Of course, any large group of people - even, perhaps, the Left - will include some despicable individuals.


Posted by: Michael H Schneider | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:19 PM
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221: No, your expressed opinion that teaching is a low-skill activity and that teachers shouldn't be paid a living wage implies contempt for teachers.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:20 PM
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215- SCMT, you are implying that nefarious reasons for US actions exist, to which I can only say maybe, but many US actions known to the public were to counter actions unknown to the public by such actors as the Soviets. But my personal hero, Smedley Butler famously said that war is a racket, and that he was paid muscle for Wall Street. I'd love to do a screen play on how he saved FDR from a fascist coup.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:21 PM
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And the fact that I think certain educational expenditures are unnecessary and wasteful does not imply contempt for teachers but I can understand why teachers might think that it does.

I don't know why any of us continue to bother, but:

Upthread you imply that leftists actually despise or at least logically should despise soldiers. Now you're just saying that soldiers might think that leftist despise them. Which is it, Shearer?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:22 PM
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How's I miss 194? Bravo.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:22 PM
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In the 1990s . . . body armor [wasn't] a big deal.

Uh, in the 1980's the Army made a huge push to give soldiers body armor. I certainly had it when I was with the 101st in the First Gulf War. Heck, I think it was so widely distributed that I had it when I was a staff officer at the US Forces Korea headquarters.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:23 PM
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I don't know why any of us continue to bother

Indeed. But noooooooo, we can't ban him.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:23 PM
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Idealist,

I can only speak to what I know. In the 1990s, we had some cheap flak vests, but that was it. And that was when I was a platoon leader. When I was on staff, I had no body armor of any kind.


Posted by: Andrew Olmsted | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:25 PM
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225 Aren't teachers paid more than soldiers?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:26 PM
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I hate to break it to you Andrew, but I think they just liked Ideal better than you. The popular guys got the body armor.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:26 PM
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225: Depends on the soldier. I suspect I make more than most teachers by a respectable margin.

LB: Well, I didn't want to sound paranoid.


Posted by: Andrew Olmsted | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:28 PM
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227 Both actually.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:28 PM
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232: It depends. Why is this relevant?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:28 PM
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223: An uncharitable interpretation of the US's behavior would be to say that the UK borrowed all the money that they could to buy military supplies from us, and when they couldn't borrow any more we joined the war and gave them the supplies for free. Regardless, at the end of WWII the UK was incredibly deeply in debt, largely to the US.

222: It depends on what you want the military to do, and how much superiority you want. The US has typically answered these questions with "pretty much anything", and "as much as possible". This leads to amazingly low numbers of US soldiers killed in the bits of "hot war" they've been involved in - Kuwait/Iraq in the early 90's, Afghanistan, and Iraq now. You can argue that this level of superiority is not cost-effective, and that we'd be better off spending $50B a year and having 10k soldiers killed kicking Iraq out of Kuwait rather than $100B a year and 300 KIA, and you might very well be right (from a society-at-large point of view). The popularity of this approach among soldiers should be clear.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:30 PM
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235.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:30 PM
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I think they just liked Ideal better than you.

Highly unlikely; the set of people who know me and the set of people who like me have only a very small intersection.

Andrew, were you referring to active Army units in 231?


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:32 PM
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Idealist,

Yes. I was on active duty for all but about a ten-month slice of my career. I'm referring specifically to units at Fort Hood, Korea, and Fort Carson.


Posted by: Andrew Olmsted | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:34 PM
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Heck, we had body armour in the 3rd Marine Division in the 80's, and we got everything last. They were the old flak jackets. Idealist I'm sure got new stuff first, when he was on the tip of the spear.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:35 PM
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That just sounds terribly uncomfortable.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:37 PM
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Nah, if you're wearing body armor, the tip of the spear can't hurt you.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:39 PM
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242. I'm sure it was, for more than one reason.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:40 PM
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Depends on where it is. I still remember the unofficial motto of the 3d Armored Division (their nickname was 'Spearhead'): Whereever the spearhead goes, the shaft will follow.


Posted by: Andrew Olmsted | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:41 PM
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I'm not going to be baited into a discussion of military sexism, Andrew. Nice try, though.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:42 PM
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That just sounds terribly uncomfortable.

It's the place to be. While I was a great field artilleryman, and enjoyed it, I should have gone Infantry to be at the very tip (insert obligatory resevroir tip joke about the reserves here).


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:42 PM
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247: Indeed. Although I'm pretty happy being Armor.


Posted by: Andrew Olmsted | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:45 PM
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when he was on the tip of the spear.

No need to have sex with Clown as your bona fides anymore, Ideal.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:49 PM
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I'm pretty happy being Armor.

As you should be, tread head.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:49 PM
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I prefer the term CDAT.


Posted by: Andrew Olmsted | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:50 PM
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SCMT, you are implying that nefarious reasons for US actions exist, to which I can only say maybe, but many US actions known to the public were to counter actions unknown to the public by such actors as the Soviets.

Not nefarious, just mistaken. IIRC, that was Kennan's take on Vietnam before the war, and most everyone's afterwards. Today, we are a Goliath. Precisely what counts as "national security" in world in which we are absurdly powerful is very nebulous. For example, Iran with a bomb may threaten our "interests," but it doesn't threaten us.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:55 PM
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CDAT.

?


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:56 PM
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We used to be DATs: Dumb-a** tankers. When we got the M1, we became CDATs: Computerized dumba** tankers.


Posted by: Andrew Olmsted | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 5:58 PM
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re 254 Thanks. The "c" was throwing me. The other part, of course, goes without saying.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 6:00 PM
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I got a bit wound up and said some imterperate things upthread. Sorry for the cursing and over-aggressiveness.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 6:32 PM
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I was thinking, nice fucking language.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 6:33 PM
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Because heaven knows no one swears around here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 6:34 PM
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nice fucking language.

Hey, no fair mocking me with clever phrases I taught you!


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 6:36 PM
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Didn't any of you read that the UK just paid back the last of the Lend-Lease money in December? Huzzah! "Rule Britannia, Britannia rule the waves!"

Anyhow, the only good war is the war against officers, per Edward Abbey.

Just how much love do you think the grunts in Iraq get from the restricted country club set? The chickenhawk meme may be dated, but that's only because it's always been true. The grandees are more than happy to have broke kids to grip the M-16 and wield the billy club, the more the better, but is anyone so naive as to think that this means that they actually *like* soldiers? If you're overseas, blowing up brown people for Jebus and Jeb Bush, then you might not be a bad person, but you certainly are acting in opposition to your class interests. What is the strength of an army, anyway? It's not the munitions or the armour or the superfast stealth planes -- it's the ideology that says that G.I. Joe has more in common with the President than he does with Jerry or Ivan or Charlie or even Tommy Atkins.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 6:37 PM
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Back to Ogged's question, Austin Bay thinks the 20,000 troops are to send a message to Iran and Syria, in addition to helping quell the insurrection. Not sure that I agree, but he's better connected.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 6:37 PM
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What, FedEx was no good?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 6:41 PM
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What kind of message? "I'm a wanker whose best ideas for cleaning up the mess I've made are utter crap"


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 6:42 PM
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I would link to the article, but I can't from where I am. Link from instapundit if you want to read it. just sayin'.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 6:45 PM
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I'm trying to think of the content of the message: "Go ahead, guys, do whatever the hell you like. You want to know how many soldiers we've got free to stop you? That's right. So party down!"


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 6:49 PM
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"One American army bogged down in Baghdad! Come take a potshot!"


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 7:00 PM
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Maybe more like, "Please, please, come and stabilize this shit! Pick someone we all can work with, and help us get that loser Sadr out of the picture!"


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 7:02 PM
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I think Austin Bay makes a mistake in assuming the Syrians and Iranians are as simple-minded as he is. Hasn't proved to be the case so far.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 7:04 PM
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I got a bit wound up and said some imterperate things upthread. Sorry for the cursing and over-aggressiveness.

That's okay, we know you military guys are like that.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 7:06 PM
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261: He's connected to 110v across the temples if this is an example of what he considers "must read":

Taheri via Austin Bay:
"Finally, always remember that, in military terms, you have already won the war in Iraq. The task now is to translate that into a lasting geopolitical victory."

This is trenchant analysis and advice for 2007? Let's try for 2002.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 7:42 PM
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Taking anything Taheri says seriously is of course a disqualifier.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 01-10-07 7:45 PM
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So they are going to send 30,000 more troops to, er, 'beef up security' in Bagdad.
I'm no military man but of those 30,000 I wouldn't mind betting only a small percentage are actually going to be patrolling the streets - the rest will be 'in support' - servicing weapons, payroll, transportationetc etc.
So maybe only 6,000 extra young soldiers are going to on these 'local security centres' - remember, they're not going back to their main bases such as Camp Freedom.
And the insurgents will be waiting for them - only too anxious to wield a sniper's gun or whatever.
These soldiers are going to be shit-scared - the moment any shooting starts they'll call up extra firepower [think Apache helicopters etc] and whole neighbourhoods are going to be blasted to bits.
Bagdad is going to be a bloodbath - it's going to make Fallujah seem like a picnic. Mark my words.


Posted by: Herr Torquewrench | Link to this comment | 01-11-07 8:41 AM
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Results from the latest AP-Ipsos poll:

"Just 35 percent think it was right for the United States to go to war, a new low in AP polling and a reversal from two years ago, when two-thirds of Americans thought it was the correct move. Sixty percent, meanwhile, think it is unlikely that a stable, democratic Iraqi government will be established. [...] Fully 70 percent of Americans oppose sending more troops, and a like number don't think such an increase would help stabilize the situation there. [...] 60 percent of white evangelical Christians oppose the idea and 56 percent of self-described conservatives are opposed. [...] opposition was highest in the Northeast, where 79 percent of those surveyed opposed the idea of increasing troops. That compared with 68 percent in the South and 67 percent in the Midwest and West."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01-11-07 3:01 PM
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