Category Archives: 9/11

Addressing War, National Interest, and Iraq-Part 1

On a previous post that I wrote, oddly enough one about Josh Romney possibly running for congress, a debate has broken out in the comments section about war and President Bush.  Anytime this is discussed between me and someone who wants us to withdraw immediately from Iraq, a few of the same arguments are made, two of which are stated in comment below, given to us by SLCondensed:

I guess my problem is I can’t honestly justify attacking a country for its oil when there are so many worse countries and regimes around the world. The situation in Darfur is much worse than it ever was in Iraq, and we don’t do something about it why?

I posted a fairly brief response to this comment, but feel that there is so much more involved with this comment that it justified a whole post here.  The first comment SLCondensed writes comes down an issue of national interest and this is what will be addressed in Part 1 (the comment about Darfur will be addressed in Part 2).  After reading that sentence there are a few questions that need to be asked: 

1. Why did we go to war in Iraq?
2. Did we go to war in Iraq for Oil?
3. Were there worse regimes and countries than Iraq?
4. Considering how much conflict there is in the world, what responsibility does the U.S. have to intervene?  What is the threshold for such an intervention? How should the U.S., being the industrialized world’s security provider, determine when military intervention is acceptable?
5. Does the reason we went to Iraq in the first place even matter to the situation today?

Regarding why we went to war in Iraq, there was not one single reason.  Sure, the Bush administration sold us that there were WMDs and that was really the only reason given, but it was so much more than that.  First, I need to remind the reader that EVERYONE believed Iraq had WMDs before we invaded, everyone (except Saddam).  The question wasn’t, “Does Iraq have WMDs?”, it was, “how much of a threat are those WMDs?”  So I don’t want to hear anything about Bush lied, what a crock.

Anyway, here is the list of reasons why I think we went to Iraq: 1. WMDs (9/11 was still fresh on our minds), 2. Surround Iran with U.S. forces 3. Oil and Gas, 4. Send a message to other despotic regimes (which worked magically, just about 9 months after Iraq started Libya gave up it’s WMD program, perhaps Bush’s greatest acheivement and solidified my vote for him in ’04), 5. Revenge against Saddam for trying to assassinate Bush ’41, 6. To provide freedom to the Iraqi people, 6. To finally force people to take Western threats seriously (I mean, how many times can you say, “you better do this or else” and never follow through-lookin’ at you U.N.), 7. To fight terrorists somewhere not named the United States.

Some of those reasons are more honorable than others, some are more realistic than others, some are childish, but ultimately I believe all of those things were considered by the Bush administration during the decision making process.  Of course, the Administration could not come out and say all those things, it would have been political suicide. No President, whether GOP or Dem, would be that stupid. 

Question 2 was answered in question one, of course the need for oil played a part in our decision to go to war in Iraq.  So what?  The need for energy and fuel is essential to any society, the whole reason we have any interest in the Middle-East at all is because of energy.  If they didn’t have oil or gas we would view them and treat them the way we do Mali and Sudan.

Question 3, certainly there were worse regimes in the world, but not many.  North Korea, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Somalia, and Haiti to name a few.   But this brings us back to national interest and it’s role in our decision making process, which I will discuss in full in Part II.

Question 4,  these questions have no cut and dry answer.  But I will certainly share my opinion.  The way I view the current world is I see the U.S as the world’s only superpower and essentially, as the military for Canada, Europe, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, and New Zealand.   Each of these geographies, whether we or they like or not, rely on the U.S. predominantly for their security.  The reason they can get away with having such miniscule military forces is because they know the U.S. is there to back them up and we will so long as the reason is just.  This is a good scenario for both parties, it allows us to maintain our place in the world and grow and expand our economic interests.  It allows them to focus their more limited resources on providing for the people socially and economically.  The fact the U.S. acts in this role is precisely why the developed world blossomed.  Now these realities may upset you or you may like them, but the fact remains that this is the reality of the world in which we now live.

So, with the U.S. having such a large role in the world, both economically and militarily, it puts us in a place of responsibility.  How to use that responsibility is a question of great debate and the cause of much frustration and animosity, both on the part of America and the rest of the world.  The fact is, despite our current position as the world’s hegemon, we still have limited resources, we can’t do all things and we can’t be involved in everthing; nor should we.   Thus, all decisions are usually to be made based upon national interest.  Every country in the history of the world operates this way.

With the U.S. in such a unique and powerful position, we also have to show restraint.  Just because we have freedom and democracy does not mean that we have to force every other country to institute the same.  Forcing democracy seems like an oxymoron.  At the same time, the spread of democracy is in our national interests so we encourage democracy and try to demonstrate the value of it. 

Similarly, both because of national interest/limited resources and because we need to allow countries to largely work out their own issues, we just can’t and shouldn’t get involved everywhere.  Sometimes it is justified, but determining that justification is difficult.  I will address this much more in Part II.  Ultimately, though, the U.S. needs to make decisions based upon what is best for the U.S.

Question 5, ultimately SLCondensed’s comment basically was saying that we need to leave Iraq because we never should have been there in the first place.  Whether that reasoning is true or not, it has absolutely no relevance on the current situation.  The anti-Iraq people’s favorite argument against Iraq is this reason we are there thing and it is utterly ridiculous. The fact is, we are in Iraq, we destroyed their government, and we decided that we were going to help rebuild it and to provide freedom.  Essentially, we broke so we are going to fix it.

Why we went to Iraq in the first place does not change the fact that we are there.  Pulling out all of our troops and causing an even worse humanitarian crisis because you disagree of our original justification for the interaction is ridiculous, ignorant, and naieve.   Further, we are now winning.  Why are we going to pull out when victory and success is in our sights?

But you may say, what determine’s victory in Iraq? I would argue that victory is a country that is relatively stable, can provide for the basic needs of the people, and has a semblance of democracy.  We don’t need Iraq to be like the U.S. or even like Turkey right away, we need Iraq to just be able to largely support itself, defend its people from radicals, and provide an environment for continued economic development.

This leads me to briefly discuss U.S. history in war.  The United States has a large history of doing terrible in wars at the beginning but pulling out the victory in the end.  Let’s run down that history.  The U.S. had no business winning the revolutionary war.  We lost battle after battle and very nearly lost the war in the first year.  The war lasted about 8 years, in 1776 things were awful, yet by 1783 and ’84 we had come back and won. 

The War of 1812 was near disaster as well.  Our Navy was terrible and we lost many battles early on, but managed to pull it out in the end.  The Civil War is the perfect example.  From 1860 to 1863 the Union army was terrible, many people criticized the war and wanted us out.  had we listened to them the United States would be two countries. Fortunately we had a President that had resolve and refused to cower to public pressure.  Eventually, we won some big battles and won the war. 

In WWII the German military had the upperhand for the first year or two of our involvement, but again, American determination resulted in victory.  This takes us to Vietnam.  The reality in Vietnam is that when we gave up, we were on our way to winning, things were looking up.  The only reason we lost the War was because our politicians back home caved to public pressure.   We would have been outright victorious a short time later had we seen it through.

The only two wars that we haven’t been behind in were WWI, because we came in late and gave the Brits and French the boost they needed to break the stalemate with the Germans, and Iraq I, we faced a ridiculously weak military and only required Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait.  (By the way, that was a War that was solely for oil, I wonder where all you were then?).

Today, we are going through a similar pattern to what we SHOULD be used to, except for the fact our people are historically ignorant.  The first 3 years of the “war” (I don’t even consider it a war, it more a peacekeeping and stability mission, we won the war when the Iraqi Army collapsed and Baghdad fell) were disasterous.  We made a lot of mistakes, just like the Lincoln administration did in the 1860’s, but year four has been a resounding success and year 5 is starting out much the same; even the Political situation is starting to stablize.  Yet so many of you still want us to throw in the towel.  It makes no sense!

As a result, the only conclusion I can come to as to why you want us to give up actually has nothing to do with Iraq or the realities there, it is that you hate and despise President Bush and want whatever it takes to bring him down to occur (short of assassination of course).   I am confident that had Kerry won in 2004 and followed the exact same path that Bush has taken in this second term, today you would be loving Kerry.  The reality is that so many of you are so blinded by your vitriol for Bush that you fail to recognize that the fastest way for us to get out of Iraq and the best way to ensure that a humanitarian crisis will be averted is by finishing the job there.  It reminds me of a common phrase our training instructors told us in Air Force Basic Training, “the fastest way out of here is to graduate.”   Things are going well in Iraq, sure they aren’t perfect, but they are still going well (you can tell that by the limited coverage Iraq gets in the media).  Give it a chance and try to look at the situation realistically.

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Iraq War: No News is Good News

Is it just me or does it seem like the media has nearly forgotton the Iraq War since Petraeus’s September report? It has been a month and occassionally we hear a story or two, like the Blackwater situation, but we have not heard much else. This means that we are winning. The media typically only likes to report bad news, especially news that is bad for Bush. The media also doesn’t like to report good news, especially when it is good for Bush. As a result, one can deduce that we are having great success in Iraq.

Indeed, this is not the only sign that things are going well. Honestly, that is a silly premise from which to solely base one’s opinion on how things are going (nevertheless a decent indicator). Regular readers of Michael Yon’s blog know of the great and miraculous work that is being done in Iraq. Damien McElroy of the Telegraph in London reports about the continuing rebellion against Al Qaeda in Iraq and other insurgent groups by the Iraqi people and how they have realized that siding with the Americans has brought more security and (most importantly) economic growth and commerce. Even the Democrats are finding that continued harping on Iraq is quickly becoming a losing strategy. What a difference a year makes.

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The Gettysburg of the Iraq War

Every war has one battle, one location, one incident that is a turning point one way or another. Arguably , the most famous of these for our country was the Battle of Gettysburg, and the subsequent Gettysburg Address by President Lincoln in the Civil War. In today’s environment, we have been waiting for such an event in Iraq, something that will hopefully lead to victory. That event may have occured this weekend in Anbar when President Bush and nearly his entire war cabinet met with members of the Iraqi government, all of this following Iraq’s success in pacifying Anbar last year. Frederick Kagan wrote about this on National Review, it is a MUST read. I’d love to hear your comments about it.

The Gettysburg of this War

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Is Obama OK with Genocide in Iraq?

Barack Obama up until now has been a strange enigma in my mind.  On the one hand, he is among the most left-wing senators in our country and I completely disagree with him on most of his policies.  On the other hand, he seems to be a genuine and honest person.  He does not seem to be overly tainted by Washington politics…yet.  And he is generally likeable and charming.   I have wondered if the race for President came down to Giuliani v. Obama, would I really consider voting for Obama?   Me, a right-wing conservative?   Well, up to last week, the answer was yes, I would consider it (though not likely).    

Anyone who reads this site fairly regularly is aware that I believe that success in Iraq is essential to U.S. national security, U.S. long-term interests, and to the preservation and rebirth of America’s image world-wide.   I have also argued that if the sole reason we stay in Iraq is for humanitarian reasons alone it would be worthwhile and justified.    So, when I read the comments of Mr. Obama on Iraq last week, you could imagine my extreme disappointment.  He essentially said that maintaining troops in Iraq for humantiarian problems and preventing Genocide in Iraq is not enough of a reason to keep our troops there

Now before I get into his justifications for this remark and my interpretation of what he is saying, allow me to interject something about what the Left (of whom he is a significant part) is suppossed to be about.   The left continually supports human rights and life, they are suppossed to be the U.S. humanitarians, they support Amnesty International, condemn U.S. actions across the world that are remotely deemed as insensitive and hurtful, and they are currently staging a large advertising campaign to raise awareness for the genocide in Darfur.  Aside from Obama’s obvious lack of understanding about the realities of the War, this is what is most disappointing in him.  He and candidates of his party should hold the line that they don’t agree with the war, they believe that political success is highly unlikely, but if only to save lives we should maintain a presence in Iraq.  Very disappointing and really causes the left to lose even more credibility.

Now, back to Obama’s specific statement.  Is he saying that the deaths of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people is not as important as the loss of another 1-2 thousand American lives?   That is what it sounds like to me.  Many of you may think that 1-2 thousand more American lives are not worth it, but personally I think that is sad.  In a situation like this in Iraq that we essentially created, I personally would be willing to make such a sacrifice, and when I signed my name on the dotted line to join the Military, that is exactly what I said I was willing to do. 

To emphasize his point Obama said the following:

 “Well, look, if that’s the criteria by which we are making decisions on the deployment of U.S. forces, then by that argument you would have 300,000 troops in the Congo right now—where millions have been slaughtered as a consequence of ethnic strife—which we haven’t done,” Obama said in an interview with The Associated Press.

“We would be deploying unilaterally and occupying the Sudan, which we haven’t done. Those of us who care about Darfur don’t think it would be a good idea,” he said.

What a completely stupid and asinine argument.  It infuriates me that he could be this short-sighted and moronic.  The problem with his argument is that we had nothing to do with the problems in the Congo and Sudan.   We did not cause them.  In Iraq, we are the reason the Iraqi’s are in the situation they are, for good or bad.  Al Qaeda in Iraq is there because we ousted Saddam and they see an opportunity to take advantage of the situation in attempt to earn themselves another country from which to field their operations.  We have an obligation to the Iraqi people to help them and protect them from people who commit atrocities like those AQI has committed.  We have no such obligation for Sudan or Congo.  

Further, regarding the deployment of US forces his argument is off on the wrong foot immediately.  Our troops are already deployed there for a military engagement mission.  The humanitarian crisis in Iraq is in no way the basis for our deployment there, but it should be part of the mission now that we are there.   He is right that we should not engage in war or deploy troops solely for such reasons, but that is hardly applicable to the situation in Iraq.  Thus, he has a complete lack of understanding of what is happening there and what our mission is.  Obama then added the following:

It is my assessment that those risks (of genocide) are even greater if we continue to occupy Iraq and serve as a magnet for not only terrorist activity but also irresponsible behavior by Iraqi factions,” he said.

Wow, what can I say here?  I am almost speechless. He is wrong, wrong, wrong.  If we left too early AQI, Iran, and other groups would push into Iran harsher and faster to establish a new Taliban like state, to build a new Islamic Republic, or just to gain political power at the expense of anyone who stands in their way.  These groups are not just there to attack Americans, they are smarter than that.  When they see our weakness and wavering they push harder and are more ruthless, but the one thing remotely holding them back is the presence of American troops.  For evidence of this read Michael Yon’s blog.

I am extremely disappointed in Barack.  I recognize that he is a politician and is trying to earn votes, but this is unacceptable.  Primarily because it is a poor and not-thought-out argument.  It makes him look ill-suited to serve as commander-in-chief and leader of the free world.

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Criticism of the Anti-Iraq movement; the Case for Iraq part II

The phrase “anti-war movement” is a stupid phrase.  Everyone should be anti-war.  I am against War, I wish we could avoid it, I wish people did not have to die; but sometimes it is necessary.  As a result, I will refer to those who are known as anti-War as anti-Iraq.  Those who are against the current military situation in Iraq (it is not a War by the way, despite what Bush or Pelosi want to call it) usually have asinine and ridiculous arguments against it.  We all know what they are, so I am not going to bother rehashing them.  Why? because their arguments can all be broken down to two things:  emotion and our reason for being in Iraq in the first place.

Let’s start with Emotion.  The biggest reason why so many people can’t take the arguments of the “anti-Iraq” movement seriously (even if they support withdrawl of the troops) is because the anti-Iraqis’ arguments are based on emotion and not on rationality or reason.  Watch a YouTube video of anti-Iraq folks, actually listen to the arguments they make, or even just have a conversation with one while playing devil’s advocate and supporting Bush;  they will see bulging blood vessels and red faces and hear childish name-calling and irrational conspiracy theories, these from otherwise normal and rational people.  It is amazing.

The problem with allowing excess emotion to dictate your argument is that it prevents one from looking at the big picture and attempting to look objectively at the current situation we are in.  Every argument against Iraq is premised on our reason’s for being in Iraq in the first place.  It is argued that Bush lied, there were no WMD’s, etc etc.  Whether those things are true or not doesn’t matter.  The reasons for which we went to Iraq in the first place is completely irrelevant to where we go from here, completely irrelevant.  Why we are there does not change the fact that we are there.  We can’t go back and change the past, we have to make do with the situation we now face.   So let’s ask some questions and attempt to answer them honestly and rationally:

If we withdrew from Iraq today…

…what would happen to the U.S. image world-wide? Would it become worse or be better than it now is?

… what would be the plight and future of the Iraqi people?

… what would happen to the Iraqi government?  Will maintain democracy?

… what impact would such a move have on the security of the greater Middle-East?  Who would it help, who would it harm (if anyone)?

… what impact would it have on terrorist movements across the World?  Would the US be safer from Terrorist attacks?

… what would Iran and Syria do?  Would Iran attempt to install an Islamic government based on their theocracy?  If so, is that a bad thing?

… would Iraq fall into full civil war that would evolve into another Somalia or Sudan?

… what would happen to the booming economies in the Northern (Kurdish) and Southern parts of Iraq? 

… who would control the oil? Would the Iraqi people benefit from it?

… what do China and Russia do?  Do they seek to exert their influence more?

… what economic impact does it have on the US?  Does it promote or denigrate American economic interests and influence throughout the World?

When I look at these questions and try to answer them as a student of International Relations and not as a political commentator, I cannot see a positive outcome for the United States in any of them.  Undoubtedly, the terrorists would be encouraged and have more resolve, just look at the way they treated Mogadishu in 1993, they still use that in propoganda, imagine what they would do with Iraq.   We would completely lose all credibility in the international community; we may only have a little now, but we still have some, it would be gone if we left.  Other’s would know we were weak and timid and do not follow through.  It would be the beginning of the end for the U.S. as a world power.

Some of you may say, “so what, why do we need to be a world power?”  That is an understandable question, but now ask yourself, “if it were not the US, who would it be?” There are three possible answers: 1. China – a communist country who denies its citizens freedoms and is a human-rights disaster; 2. Russia – a country headed back into communism, ruthless; 3. No one would really step up and non-governmental groups, like terrorists, would stage coups and attempt to impose their will on people across the world, primarily in 3rd world places like Africa.  None of these answers are nearly as good as having the US as at least one of the world’s superpowers. Despite our many failings, we are still a democratically elected country – no matter how much a person may despise Bush, at least they know that his time is limited, and that is more than the Chinese, Russians, or Iranians can say.  We still have a strong moral compass and our economic system, despite imperfections, has spurred economic growth through out the world, from Europe to Asia.  And, finally, we still are there to help others when times get tough, we provide more humanitarian support than anyother country in the World, not only that but our military prowess allows countries like Canada, Netherlands, and New Zealand to live in peace and prosperity without having to build huge militaries and defenses, they know that we have their backs and will protect them if needed. 

Certainly, if we pulled out early from Iraq, we would still have some influence in the World, I do not want to say that we will become like Canada or Norway (nothing against those countries, their influence is just minimal. I love Canada, I lived there for two years; it is a wonderful place).  But certainly we would be harmed indefinitely.  There is absolutely no good that can come out of our early departure from Iraq.  So regardless of how loud the anti-Iraq movement is, from both the Left and the Right, realize that this is arguably the most important endeavor we have been in since WWII.  Why we went there is irrelevant, we are there, so let’s finish the job and make the world a better place.

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The Case for Staying in Iraq, Part I

I am convinced more than ever that we need to maintain the course we are on in Iraq or at the least, keep an active and large presence of US troops there.  Last night my wife and I were flipping through channels and we were sucked into a PBS special on the Iraq War.  Most of it felt like there was a negative slant, but at least PBS (or whoever produced it) seemed to at least try to be objective.  During and following the show my wife, who isn’t really into politics and world affairs like I am, was very intrigued and we entered into a long discussion on the situation there and the politics of Iraq in this country, including the anti-war movement.  It was really fun to talk about it with her, and I told her I would write about our discussion today.

So in this installment I simply want to highlight Michael Yon’s latest column on Iraq. He says it better than I could.  In part II or III (if necessary), I will really get into the meat of my arguments in support of our current efforts in Iraq and why we cannot bring the troops home too soon.

The big news on the streets today is that the people of Baqubah are generally ecstatic, although many hold in reserve a serious concern that we will abandon them again. For many Iraqis, we have morphed from being invaders to occupiers to members of a tribe. I call it the “al Ameriki tribe,” or “tribe America.”

I’ve seen this kind of progression in Mosul, out in Anbar and other places, and when I ask our military leaders if they have sensed any shift, many have said, yes, they too sense that Iraqis view us differently.  In the context of sectarian and tribal strife, we are the tribe that people can—more or less and with giant caveats—rely on.

Most Iraqis I talk with acknowledge that if it was ever about the oil, it’s not now. Not mostly anyway.  It clearly would have been cheaper just to buy the oil or invade somewhere easier that has more.  Similarly, most Iraqis seem now to realize that we really don’t want to stay here, and that many of us can’t wait to get back home.  They realize that we are not resolved to stay, but are impatient to drive down to Kuwait and sail away. And when they consider the Americans who actually deal with Iraqis every day, the Iraqis can no longer deny that we really do want them to succeed. But we want them to succeed without us.  We want to see their streets are clean and safe, their grass is green, and their birds are singing.  We want to see that on television.  Not in person.  We don’t want to be here.  We tell them that every day.  It finally has settled in that we are telling the truth.

Now that all those realizations and more have settled in, the dynamics here are changing in palpable ways.

One of the key elements that I see in this is consistent progress in Iraq – Mosul, Anbar, now Baquba.  Slowly and surely we are beginning to see the domino effect that we hoped to see in 2003.  Considering how (relatively) stabilized the norther Kurdish areas, the southern provinces are, and the progress of many of the central provinces surrounding Baghdad are making, there is reason to be optimistic for real success and victory if we American’s can just keep our emotions in check and our eye on the big picture (this issue of emotions is HUGE and will be addressed in a subsequent entry).

Yon continues:

And so on 05 July, or D + 16, after the meeting, Iraqi leaders including the Deputy Governor of Diyala, and also Abdul Jabar, one of the Provincial chair holders, headed to some of the most dangerous areas in Baqubah on what Americans would call “a meet and greet.” At first the people seemed hesitant, but when they saw Iraqi leaders–along with members of their own press–asking citizens what they needed, each place we stopped grew into a festival of smiles.

The people were jubilant. None of the kids–and by the end of the day there were hundreds–asked me for anything, other than to take their photos. These were not the kids-made-brats by well-meaning soldiers, but polite Iraqi kids in situ, and the cameras were like a roller coaster ride for them. The kids didn’t care much for the video; they wanted still photos taken. While the kids were trying to get me to photograph them, it was as if the roller coaster was cranking and popping up the tracks, but when I finally turned the camera on them–snap! –it was as if the rollercoaster had crested the apex and slipped into the thrill of gravity. Of course, once the ride ended, it only made some clamor for more. Iraqi kids that have not been spoiled by handouts are the funniest I have seen anywhere.

 American soldiers just watched, but during one of the impromptu stops, an Iraqi man who might have been 30-years-old came up and said that he’d been beaten up by soldiers from the 5th Iraqi Army. He had the marks on his face to lend initial credence.  But most striking was that he hadn’t gone to the Iraqi leaders, nor did he come to the man with the camera and note pad. He did what I see Iraqis increasingly doing: he went to the local sheik of “al Ameriki tribe.”  In this case, the sheik was LTC Fred Johnson.  (Note: I have not heard anyone calling the American commanders sheiks, but during meetings around Iraq, American officers often preside like sheiks and with sheiks.)

More and more Iraqis put their trust in Americans as arbiters of justice. The man said he was afraid to complain to Iraqi officials because he might get killed, but he wanted to tell LTC Johnson, who listened carefully. When the man pleaded for anonymity, Johnson said he needed written statements from witnesses. The man pointed to some witnesses, and then disappeared and came back with statements, and I can say from my own eyes that Johnson was careful with those statements, guarding them until he could get alone with an Iraqi general later on 05 July.

On D +1 and for those first few days of Operation Arrowhead Ripper, the Iraqi leaders seemed mostly inert. But now on D+16, only about two weeks later, they are out politicking, showing their faces in public, letting the people know they are in charge.  And, unlike the tired cliché of a politician in a parade, they truly have been working behind the scenes. I know because I sit in on the meetings, and listen to the progress reports as items on the lists get checked off. I hear the whining as each section of Baqubah seems to think they are the forgotten ones. “Why the Sunni getting help first?” They ask. But then in another neighborhood, “Why the Shia getting help first?” But I watch the sausage-making.  LTC Johnson will say, “Mike, c’mon.  It’s time to make suasage and you need to see this.”  It’s messy and frustrating.  But food shipments have resumed to Baqubah after 10 months of nothing.  Not that Diyala Province is starving: Diyala is, after all, Iraq’s breadbasket.

 

The efforts highlighted here are indicative of the work that our troops are doing across Iraq.   We are even working on creating situations like this in the most dangerous areas of Iraq, places like Sadr City.  Obviously there are still plenty of problems in Iraq, for instance the political leadership is mediocre and as stable as house of cards at best, but at least there is political leadership.  It seems as though the Iraqi people are finally realizing that we want them to succeed, we want to help them succeed, but we also want to go home, so they better get their act together.  They are! So, let’s utilize a little more patience and have some rational thinking and the U.S. may come out of Iraq as heroes rather than as villains.

(note:  In the rest of Yon’s article it discuss how it is known that Al’Qaeda is attacking the Iraqis and he also has some wonderful pictures of Iraqi children in Baquba)

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A Call for the Extermination and Murder of 13 Million People

Wow. I have been browsing various blogs today looking around for interesting articles. Then I came across one from supporters of our good friend Sam Brownback, blogsforbrownback.wordpress.com, titled LDS: Still Crazy After All these years. Here is the text of the column:

“Thanks to our friends at the Political Pale Horse for this tidbit:

Emma Nemecek, a Brownback for President staffer, sent an email to the Romney campaign about his Mormon faith. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Nemecek said in the email “the only thing Christianity and the LDS Church has in common is the name of Jesus Christ, and the LDS Jesus is not the same Jesus of the Christian faith.” She went on to say “those who claim that [the] LDS [faith] is a Christian denomination don’t know Mormon or Christian theology.”

Never underestimate the intelligence of the average American voter.

Aside: Ever notice that LDS (Latter Day Saints) is an anagram of LSD? Makes you think, doesn’t it? No wonder they wear magical underpants (”garments”). They probably keep the angry dragons away (especially when infrequently laundered).

A further aside: I wonder when the Scientologists will front a Presidential candidate. A religion based on crappy science fiction from the 1950s? What’s next? Heaven’s Gate? The Nike party?”

Nothing too hostile here, I don’t think it is too thought out, but this is about standard for anti-Mormon comments. But then we get to the comments section, and these are incredible:

“What I’d like to know is how long after Sam Brownback is elected President will it be before those Mormons and Jehovahs Watchtower Witnesses are charged with felonies for pestering Christians. It is nothing short of terrorism against real Christians what they do.”Mrs. T.D. Gaines-Crockett (Bold added for emphasis)

So despite religious freedom guaranteed in the Constitution, Mormons should be arrested and treated like terrorists. Sounds reasonable. But wait it gets better (and this is incredible):

“What’s wrong with these crazy people? Don’t they know Jesus is Lord? People like them belong in prison. Or in the grave. Why can’t we just kill them all now, and get it over with?”Marcia P.

Honestly, what can you say to that? Well, ok I had something to say to that, here is my comment:

“Wow, I can’t believe the vitriol and bigotry here. Incredible. Do you realize, Marcia, that you are basically calling for the extermination of a entire group of people, that puts you in the same category as Hitler. You realize that despite Mormons obvious differences in doctrine, we generally live good moral lives and espouse many of the same moral principles you all do (except for the apparent acceptance of Genocide). It is fine that you don’t think Mormons are Christian, if this is how Christians view their common man, I don’t want to be considered Christian.

By the way, how is what Mormonism does on par with Terrorism, last I heard we weren’t blowing up cars or killing people randomly. Based upon the comments here I would think many of you would be more aptly compared to Terrorists. Which leads me to the title of the piece and referring to Mormons as Crazy. Again, re-read what you all just wrote, sounds a little irrational and crazy to me, but what do I know I am just a terrorist crazy Mormon.

Finally, I am Mormon and I believe Jesus is Lord, as do all Mormons. Get your facts straight.” – Swint

I should also add a comment by Nick Byrum, a non-Mormon rational view of the comments:

“My god, while you are at it, why don’t you Bats for Brownback go back to smearing Catholics as “spiritual cannibals”? That whole consubstantiation vs. transsubstantiation thing, remember? I thought we dealt with that kind of prejudice back in 1960.

Or better yet, why don’t you go find a Jewish public official and start calling him a Christ killer? I thought we dealt with that kind of prejudice back in 1945.

If you want to go after Romney on issues, go for it. But this crap is beyond the pale.

Are Mormon doctrines wacky? Sure. I like a good glass of wine now and then. But the fruits of the religion–stable happy families, clean and sober and productive citizens–are just fine.

That is why Mormonism, however new and hokey, is a much better faith than an “established” religion like Islam, which has brought the world nothing but slavery, torture, and murder.

Frankly, I’d rather have Mormons for neighbors than you creeps.” – Nick Byrum

Following all these, Mrs. Gaines-Crockett goes on to defend the genocidal tendencies of Marcia P.

Frankly, people are free to have whatever opinion they want of anything, they are welcome to want to kill 13 million people if they want to, but that is not very Christ-like of them. It is really, really sad that there are people with such hatred in their hearts, especially those who call themselves Christian. I do not have a problem with people disagreeing with Mormonism, or calling us a cult, or even saying we are Satanic. You can think what you want, and frankly, I am confident enough in my beliefs that those things will not affect me and that I do not need to spend time tearing down and disparaging the beliefs of others. This is really the reason why I started the Mormon Q&A page, to share what we believe, not to tear down others. Call us what you will, but when you get too emotional and make irrational statements you sound, well, irrational and ignorant. So like I said in my comment above, if these hateful sentiments is what is considered Christian, then I don’t want to be Christian.

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