Chickenhawk Henpeck Begins

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Watching Iraq hawks turning on each other reminds me of the scene where Joel Cairo, having discovered that the Maltese Falcon is a fake, turns on his ally Kaspar Gutman and says with his eyes bugging out, "You stupid, fat, stupid, fat stupid!" The National Review called last week for "An End to the Illusion," arguing:

[I]t is time for reality to drive our Iraq policy, unhindered by illusions or wishful thinking.

Andrew Sullivan doesn't like that idea:

To have supported the invasion of Iraq only now to support as quick an exit as possible is to give us the worst of both worlds. The kind of skepticism and realism National Review's editors are now flirting with should have demanded no intervention in the first place–as the Buchanan brigades averred.

Today's Wall Street Journal takes President Bush to task for turning over the management of Iraq to U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi:

The early thinking, if it can be called that, seems to be to dismantle the IGC and appoint some "technocrats" to run things until elections are held. So the Iraqis the U.S. has spent a year working most closely with will be cashiered in favor of unknowns chosen by an Algerian who works for Kofi Annan.

At the opposite end of the wishful thinking continuum is Daniel Pipes, who solidifies the position of pessimism he started carving out last October:

I therefore counsel the occupying forces quickly to leave Iraqi cities and then, when feasible, to leave Iraq as a whole. They should seek out what I have been calling for since a year ago: a democratically-minded Iraqi strongman, someone who will work with the coalition forces, provide decent government, and move eventually toward a more open political system.

This sounds slow, dull, and unsatisfactory. But at least it will work—in contrast to the ambitious but failing current project.

It's hard to say which of these sides is more contemptible, and I only hope neither ever runs out of bullets. The Stay-the-Coursers are, as ever, courageous enough to sacrifice other Americans' lives in support of their Wilsonian fancies. But I find the Wobblies even more perplexing. Did these goddamn dimwits really think things were going to go any better? Pipes I can at least credit with deviousness: He wants Iraq to descend into chaos so he can say something along the lines of "See? Perpetual war is the only language Arabs understand." The editors of the National Review, demonstrate their lack of acquaintance with human life as it is lived on planet Earth consistently enough that I guess they really are surprised to find democracy-building isn't as simple as advertised.

At least it's encouraging to see the Wobblies beginning to understand that there are limits to power, and that the least wise foreign policy is one that advertises the exact limits of your power to the world on a daily basis. But any Iraq hawk who claims to be surprised at the problems we're having over there should really have the decency to refrain from commenting on this topic ever again.

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  1. Wilsonian fancies?

    The WoT is a pure manifestation of Jacksonian Rage that will not go away anytime soon.

  2. Tim Cavanaugh,

    Over-reach was always one of the most troubling things about the war.

  3. But any Iraq hawk who claims to be surprised at the problems we’re having over there should really have the decency to refrain from commenting on this topic ever again.

    Sing it, brother.

  4. The amzing thing is how much better this occupation is going than the last ones in Germany and Japan. It took over 5 years to get gangs of hold-outs and black marketeers under control and another 4-6 years to get a parlimentary democracy going. And even more time was needed to build effective armed forces in those countries. Although the continual failure of the JDF against Godzilla brings the entire Eisenhower administration’s policies on Japanese re-armament into question!

    If the Clintonistas had tried this level of speedy nation-building, [they did try it in the Balkans, but nobody remembers, OK] there would have been squeals of delight in some quarters for their “daring humanitarian policy” and bitter grumbling from others about the “quagmire”. [Insert Irony about role reversal here]

    Just remember: EVERYTHING currently happening in Irag was forseen as a potential problem a YEAR ago, by many of the same [select favorite term] “neocons” , “chickenhawks” and/or “shadowy jewish policy-makers” in Washington. Rosy predictions were NOT made by anybody other than pundits on tube. Not Colin, not Rummy and certainly not the Shrub.

    Currently, instead of dodging problems like we did in the Balkans [the agenda was for the US Army to avoid fights-trust me, I had to brief that crap daily!], we appear to be trying to solve them – which does not play well on TV. Generations of bad war movies make real combat look very disorganized and indecisive to TV viewers, with GIs running and ducking instead of heroically winning the fight with a single grenade. Only an unprecedented degree of concern for cvivilian casualties has kept the fighting going this long.

    That some buttoned-down, ivy-league policy wonks are losing their enthusiasm, comes as no surprise. But it doesn’t matter. The troops won’t and the CURRENT chain of command won’t.

    PS: Those who wonder if military victories and regime changes are possible in the post-modern world should consult with the North Vietnamese General Staff.

  5. I have yet to read a single article, column, or blog entry which both (1) called someone a “chickenhawk” and (2) was worth reading. This entry was no exception.

  6. Those that supported starting the war and want to cut and run now are pieces of shit. I opposed the war and feeel we have to stay for the long haul. Leaving now will:

    a) make us look weaker than ever. If you thought terror attacks before were bad, this will make OBL and friends regain confidence.

    b) fuck up the whole region. Iraq will be a free for all of Sunnis, Iranians, Kurds and Turks. We will then have to reengage just to clean up the bigger mess left.

    c) Make us lose inordinate amounts of face worldwide. No one will have confidence in our ability to finish what we started and all of our decisions will be looked upon with significant amounts of skepticism. (I understand that is now the case, but if we do a good or even passable job we will save significant face, leaving now will make us lose face)

    Pipes is contemptible, but at least he’s honest about it.

  7. Most who favored the war still do. I suppose a little debate is good. You don’t get serious debate on the other side, since those who oppose the war are mostly characterized by complete fucking cluelessness and desperation.

  8. The set-up for this was not crystal clear, but, nevertheless, gives me another chance to propose Bush will withdraw his candidacy for President in advance of the Republican convention.
    He will pull an LBJ.
    What were the names in the classic triple-play?
    Anyway, it will be Lugar to Cheney to Bush.

    The Republican convention will put a bee in the bonnet of Democrats, and they will give Kerry the boot too.

    This Children’s Crusade has been lunacy. Wiser heads will prevail before November.

  9. The Constitution authorizes Congress, and only Congress, to declare war, and the reality that no one wants to admit is that Congress hasn’t done that. Nowhere in the Constitution is there a provision for the President to declare war and nowhere is there a provision for the Congress to transfer that power to any other entity. That they have both done so is Constitutionally illegal. The actual reality is that nothing should have been done in Iraq, and nothing should be done in Iraq, starting right now, to get the Bush administration back under Constitutional control. If the Iraqis want a foreign country to invade and occupy their country, it’s up to them to make that decision. Until that time, we are prevented by our Constitution from being there. I’m going to adhere to the what the Constitution says, since its the law, rather than what George Bush says, which is clearly in violation of it. The Constitution has no provisions for “saving face.”

  10. You don’t get serious debate on the other side, since those who oppose the war are mostly characterized by complete fucking cluelessness and desperation.

    Or maybe because the other side was overruled. As I recall, any and all objections and concerns about invading Iraq were distorted, ridiculed, and ignored when they were raised. The war happened on Bush’s schedule, according to Bush’s plan, at the place and hour of his choosing. Debating a counterfactual scenario where wisdom and prudence prevailed in 2003 I haven’t got time for.

  11. “[I]t is time for reality to drive our Iraq policy, unhindered by illusions or wishful thinking.”

    As opposed to the runup to the war, when life or death decisions are best made in a haze of one part self-righteousness, one part delusions of grandeur, two parts arrogance, with a twist of absolute faith in one’s divinely inspired infallibility. Rightist NR assholes.

    “The amzing thing is how much better this occupation is going than the last ones in Germany and Japan.” You can blow the whistle and shriek “All is well!” till you’re blue in the face, but Bluto is still going to run your ass over with Flounder’s car.

  12. Tim, please don’t insult the Wobblies by linking them with these idiots.

    Where is Kevin Carson, anyway?

  13. I didn’t realize any one single post could lower my high opinion of Tim C. – but this one did!

    If the pro-war faction engages in debate and there are several people with different opinions, that is bad? Why?

    Calling someone who didn’t serve in the military a “Chickenhawk” is a poor name-calling.

    Do you, Tim C., ONLY comment on stuff in which you have a first-hand experience and paid your dues? Is that the norm/rule for opinions?

    I also remember a few days ago on one of the threads, some guy wrote, “want to discuss ..whatever.. going on in the EU?”

    Tim responded, “my govt. has no hand in EU policy. so, no”. I thought that was a strange statement. But then the next day Reason was bitching about Putin’s human rights abuse – only because they could criticize Bush (looking into Putin’s soul …)

    Tim C – you are as contemptible as “those sides” (if they are contemptible)

  14. Hell yeah I would dodge the draft. And proud to do so. After all, Vietman proved that forced conscription is an absolute failure, especially when it comes to getting talented soldiers who can actually win a war. Besides it goes against the very tradition of the volunteer army that our Founding Forefathers established–and was re-established again after the Vietnam disaster.

    That I’m no longer of draft age means I don’t have to worry about having to move to Toronto. But since I do have siblings of that age (and especially since women would likely be drafted as well now), I’ll make sure a new version of the old underground railroad is created just in case.

  15. Anyone who thought the occupation was going to go much better than it has was really not thinking very clearly.

    Anyone who still expects the typical internet anti-war commenter (or 98% of the typical anti-war types in general) to argue reasonably about the war or its aftermath has not been paying attention.

  16. Did I really just read the term “chikenhawk” in Reason? Aren’t you guys better than that?

  17. sorry, “chickenhawk.” See, I misspelled that word because I never thought I’d use it.

  18. One more comment on the ‘Chickenhawk’ thing: Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz, and other members of the administration have made themselves huge targets for life by taking the positions they have. They increased the risks to themselves and their families. Bush will have to look over his shoulder for some jihadi nutbar for the rest of his life. At least he will get Secret Service protection. But Wolfowitz won’t. Nor Rumsfeld.

    For that matter, both Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld have gone into Iraq, making themselves big targets. Wolfowitz was nearly killed by an attack on his hotel.

    Right or wrong, these guys are putting their own lives on the line in support of what they believe. Calling them ‘Chickenhawks’ is offensive.

    And by the way, Bush’s F-102 duty was more dangerous than the average Vietnam rotation. Anyone who thinks Bush is ‘chicken’ should go get their asses strapped into one of those old Century-series deathtraps for a few hundred hours and then come back and report on the experience.

  19. ‘Chickenhawk’ is one of the stupidest terms. Can we retire this from circulation, please ?

    Only if the Chickenhawks agree to retire “appeasement”.

  20. RiShawn:

    I agree with your sentiment about the draft, but I disagree with this statement:

    Besides it goes against the very tradition of the volunteer army that our Founding Forefathers established–and was re-established again after the Vietnam disaster.

    Actually, the militia system that most of the Founders believed in was compulsory, not voluntary. You had to serve in your state?s militia, though obviously this was not always enforced. It wasn?t conscription in the federal regular army, an institution they feared, but it was a form of conscription. By the Mexican War and Civil War, however, most soldiers were volunteers — even after the imposition of direct conscription by the Feds and the Rebs in the latter.

  21. Although Cavanaugh’s post does a poor job of summarizing, or even communicating the gist of, the various cited links, how newsworthy it is to see that Andrew Sullivan has lodged a tetchy complaint against something printed in Nat. Review

  22. This is the best plan for Iraq that I have seen so far. It recognizes that true liberal democracy grows from the ground up, not the top down.

    http://www.techcentralstation.com/042004A.html

    This plan rewards those Iraqis who wish to live as civilized human beings, and keeps military pressure on the barbarians.

  23. It’s hard to say which of these sides is more contemptible

    Would you mind explaining what is even *remotely* contemptible about the Wall Street Journal quote you offered?

    Offer a constructive suggestion or shut the fuck up.

  24. John, serving in a militia is not a full time responsibility, nor does it put you in physical danger. The only time a militiaman is in physical danger is when the country is invaded, and in that case, you’re already in danger.

    “Near as I can tell, he means that unless we fight in the military, we have no business commenting on it.” Actually, it refers to people who actively sought to avoid military service (or who made sure they got cushy assignments), like when Cheney and Delay got repeated deferrals, or when Bush jumped the line to get into the “Champagne Regiment.” People who’ve had no dealings whatsoever with the military can’t fairly have it held against them, but people who do their damnedest to make sure other people, and only other people, get put in harms way are despicable.

  25. ‘Chickenhawk’ is a perfectly legitimate term when its used precisely.

    I have nothing against a general supporter of the war who thinks its quite grand that a terrible dictator was removed and there’s a chance for a mid-eastern country to become more or less democratic, etc, but who realizes that war is a sometimes necessary evil and not something glorified or desirable.

    I do have problems with people whose mouth-foaming support for the war and the unquestioning acceptance of every utterance of the Bush administration lead them to question the loyalty, sanity, and manhood of anyone who would raise the slightest doubt about the current direction of the war.

    Interestingly enough, almost every such strident arm-chair general, and the leaders they defend, have either avoided military service or were an REMF who have never come under fire.

    These people richly deserve the title of chickenhawk.

  26. Excellent post moonbiter. It made me LOL.

  27. If Bush did anything wrong it was because God put wax in his ears and made it hard for him to hear what God told him to do.

  28. Democratically minded strongmen has been a pretty decent American policy.

    Think South Korea, Taiwan. Hell even Chile has made the grade.

    What the strong men do is provide political stability, private property and economic growth. When that process gets far enough along the people as a whole take over.

    Now is it a perfect policy? Hell no. The thing it does is to give a culture a chance to evolve without a despot taking over.

    Of course one trouble with the policy is determining who is a real democrat and who is just a despot in disguise. Still the policy has proved its long term worth if you can stand the short term losses.

  29. “‘Chickenhawk’ is one of the stupidest terms. Can we retire this from circulation, please?”

    Only if the Chickenhawks agree to retire “appeasement”.

    Oh, please. The terms have nothing to do with one another. Appeasement is a perfectly good word to describe a perfectly bad idea. “Chickenhawk,” by contrast, is just a snotty ephithet. It is not a legitimate argument in any context, any more than “chickendove” would be in reverse.

  30. This has to be the worst post ever by Mr. Cavanaugh. “Chickenhawk”? Brother, please…

  31. I guess this means Tim’s voting for Nader.

  32. Appeasement is a perfectly good word to describe a perfectly bad idea.

    Appeasement is a perfectly good word with a perfectly good definition. However, perfectly intelligent people conflate that word with another perfectly good word, “peace,” to further their own perfectly pro-war agenda.

    Appeasement refers to the dubious strategy of giving an invading army territory in the hopes that they won’t invade any further. However, since Hussein in 2003 was not in the process of invading another country – indeed, although his regime was vile and dictatorial, he was not showing any particular evidence that he was planning on attacking anyone – the term “appeasement” really doesn’t apply.

    Arguing against the invasion of Iraq on the basis that:

    A) It was a distraction from the real problem (Afganistan),
    B) It put our soldiers in unnecessary risk
    C) It was made under false pretenses
    D) We’d have no hope of stabilizing the region in a timely manner after the invasion
    E) It would sour our relations with nearby countries who might otherwise be convinced to assist with the real problem (see point A)
    and
    F) It cost a lot of money

    are not appeasement, and to call them appeasement denotes that you’re either historically myopic or a partisan shill.

    So, yes, please retire this word “appeasement” because it has absolutely no relevance to the situation in Iraq.

  33. Oh, and can we put this myth to rest as well?

    The amzing thing is how much better this occupation is going than the last ones in Germany and Japan.

    http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=255530

    The short of it is: the number of casualties during the post-war occupation of Germany was 32. Pro-Hitler stragglers were poorly organized and even more poorly supplied. Resistance to American occupation was qualitatively different in Germany 1945 than in Iraq 2003/04.

  34. “As I recall, any and all objections and concerns about invading Iraq were distorted, ridiculed, and ignored when they were raised. The war happened on Bush’s schedule, according to Bush’s plan, at the place and hour of his choosing.”

    Tim, that is incorrect. Congress received the debate on the war resolution (granted, it was not called that and granted strictly there should have been a war resolution) and opponents could have debated as long as they wanted. The Dems certainly understand Roberts Rules Of Order enough to block judicial appointments. Where was that righteous indignation on this great moral issue? Where was John Kerry with his infinite wisdom from the front lines explaining how it is easy to start a war but harder to end it? Where was the great Mr Smith fillibuster?

    By the way, let’s hear you call your position what it is. You are saying it would be better to have a brutal dictator like Saddam Hussein in power in Iraq than the current anarchy. Stability is more important than freedom, because freedom is too messy. How very libertarian of you.

  35. “Until that time, we are prevented by our Constitution from being there.”

    And yet, there “we” are. That’s surely an object lesson on the folly of trusting in the power of written constitutions to restrain governments, apart from the willingness and ability of the people to resist.

    Nope, just an object lesson on the folly of expecting a phony “constitutional” argument to evolve into a real one simply by repeating it often enough.

  36. If you really want to talk about counterfactual history, how about the mental adjustment some of you folks are going through to lead you to the conclusion that a significant majority of people didn’t support the war?

    This goofy crap about, well if only we had a bigger soap box, the people wouldn’t have been fooled doesn’t REALLY sound right when you say it out loud, does it? As moonbiter points out, there was a large chunk of public discussion about the war, and they all mentioned that the results of the congressional vote was all but certain. Why? Because nearly 70% of the friggin US population wanted it to happen, thats why.

    There are certainly all sorts of limits to power. Some of these are self imposed, though. If a terrorist doesn’t wear a uniform and receives aid from a ‘sovereign’ government made of one man, some argue that the limits to power are that we can do absolutely nothing about it. We just accept that the terrorist is a criminal and that the sponsoring state gets a stern warning, but then only if we have a CSI tight case. Oddly, these same people argue that they don’t want to coddle nations that sponsor and tolerate terrorists, we just picked the wrong target. Okay, say others, you would support action against Saudi Arabia? Nope. There are limits to power, after all.

    Middle eastern terrorists hit on this line of thinking years ago. As long as they don’t wear uniforms, they are untouchable – because there are limits to power. After demonstrating the limits to our power in the first WTC bombing, in Haiti, in Mogadishu, after the USS Cole, one wonders wtf exactly an appropriate response to having your cities bombed is supposed to be. Clearly, say these folks, the answer is to show middle eastern thugs that you are humble. They will leave you alone then – because they respect humility.

  37. The war happened. There’s no sense in rehashing whether or not we should have gone in. Everyone knows where they stand.

    The hot topic should be whether democracy is really the answer to their problems – at least in the short term. (Unfortunately, we’ve already committed ourselves to supporting that side.) But really, can Iraq be “free” without being a democracy? And by not being a democracy would Iraq be more stable and economically strong, from which democracy can then develop?

  38. I trust that all those who are fervently supporting this war are doing their upmost to support the president and our country and doing the right thing by enlisting themselves.

  39. yelowd hits on the question of the day:

    Is it better to stomp and run than stomp and stay? I think a case could be made that we are no worse off than before if we just leave. If I hear the anti war crowd correctly, this is an impossible mission, and there are limits to what power can accomplish. So, we should just cut and run, right? What possible value could there be in staying to fight for something that is impossible?

    If it is both possible and desirable to have a democratic Iraq, and therefore worth staying, perhaps the rhetoric on the anti war crowd should be moderated a bit to reflect that something of great value could be won here, but we don’t like the price.

  40. Scott Harris, that’s an interesting article – though it presumes an eagerness for partition among Iraqis that probably isn’t there. And I’m sure the fact that such an outcome would make “divide and conquor” more convenient never crossed the author’s mind.

    Still, there is a lot to recommend the idea of starting democracy at the local level, within a larger federation that isn’t itself initially democratic. Once democracy is well established at the local level, the regional governments can be converted. Once democracy is consolidated at that level, on to the nation level. That’s the way it worked in the English colonies/United States.

  41. “I trust that all those who are fervently supporting this war are doing their upmost to support the president and our country and doing the right thing by enlisting themselves.”

    I trust that everyone who fervently supports restrictions on murder is signing up for the police force …

  42. What he (Jason Ligon) said!

    sickofit,

    I trust you are doing the right thing by holding a “protest” in your neighbourhood.

  43. “Until that time, we are prevented by our Constitution from being there.”

    And yet, there “we” are. That’s surely an object lesson on the folly of trusting in the power of written constitutions to restrain governments, apart from the willingness and ability of the people to resist.

  44. “I trust that everyone who fervently supports restrictions on murder is signing up for the police force …”

    I love it, go ahead, you can have it both ways. No skin off your neck; But I’d really feel better if you guys were overthere and not my kids.

  45. sickofit,

    there are police officers keeping law & order in your city; teachers, builders, factory workers, fire-fighters, and hundred other professions providing goods and services for you and your kids. some of the jobs are more risky than others. As long as they are volunteering to do what they do, I don’t see what your point is.

    I am sure you are doing whatever the heck you want and your kids will do whatever they want – don’t lecture other people what they can have opinions on.

    I have never been a teacher or a union member – can I have any opinions on them?

  46. Your kids were drafted?

  47. Zorel,

    Ok, hopefully see you in the draft line!!

  48. There’s no draft, geniuses.

  49. i supported the invasion and have come around to the other side.

    i think people should talk about how they think and feel rather than worrying about who is a chickenhawk, a word with a very clear meaning.

    if you want to say “i told you so”, fine. thank you for opposing the war from the beginning. i have alot of respect for people who, unlike me, could see that invading afghanistan was understandable but iraq was unrelated.

    it was the emotion after 9/11, with the help of a few facts, that lead me to initially support taking over Iraq. saddam had thumbed his nose at UN enforcement of his defeat in the first gulf war by a broad coalition – over 10 years of supposedly thwarted weapon’s inspections had made the UN look ineffectual. Ok, that was the reasonable part of my support, alongside what Gore and Kennedy have correctly labeled as an abuse of the emotionas after 9/11 in the US.

    i always disliked bush, and since nixon i never voted republican. but the emotions of 9/11 and the flouted terms of the defeat of saddam in the first gulf war lead me to support the invasion.

    again, i thank the left for staying the course amidst a sea of flags on cars and bridges that seemed to be synonymous with war mongering, whilst questioning the patriotism of those who opposed it.

  50. ‘Chickenhawk’ is one of the stupidest terms. Can we retire this from circulation, please?

    The term ‘ad hominem attack’ is often misused. Namecalling, alone, is not ad hominem or logically flawed. Immature sometimes, but not illogical. But Cavanaugh’s intemperate and juvenile use of ‘chickenhawk’ is a clear ad hominem – it isn’t just a name, it’s an unsubstantiated charge used to discredit war supporters.

    Simply put, he has no basis for calling them chickens. Near as I can tell, he means that unless we fight in the military, we have no business commenting on it. Sounds to me like a prescription for military dicatatorship, not libertarian utopia.

    In other words, it’s a stupid charge that calls his whole rant into question. At least Al Franken had the nerve and consistency to challenge Rich Lowry to a fight in a parking garage.

  51. ‘Chickenhawk’ is one of the stupidest terms. Can we retire this from circulation, please?

    The term ‘ad hominem attack’ is often misused. Namecalling, alone, is not ad hominem or logically flawed. Immature sometimes, but not illogical. But Cavanaugh’s intemperate and juvenile use of ‘chickenhawk’ is a clear ad hominem – it isn’t just a name, it’s an unsubstantiated charge used to discredit war supporters.

    Simply put, he has no basis for calling them chickens. Near as I can tell, he means that unless we fight in the military, we have no business commenting on it. Sounds to me like a prescription for military dicatatorship, not libertarian utopia.

    In other words, it’s a stupid charge that calls his whole rant into question. At least Al Franken had the nerve and consistency to challenge Rich Lowry to a fight in a parking garage.

  52. and to OldFan, the person who said it’s going better than [it did] in Japan and Germany. He says that after 5 or 6 years we were showing significant progress. My question is about how the comparison can then be made when the US has only in occupation of Iraq for a year. We will compare to the post WW II era after 5 years have passed.

  53. we finally found out what a “tough week” looks like to the President. At least we have a water mark to show him in the future. i want that water mark to be visible forever… So whatever it takes at this point to stabilize (calm) the situation. Perhaps a great paradox, a dictator who will move toward democracy in say, 5 years. Stability and lack of WMD are in everyone’s interest, no ? Now that the UN weapons investigators no longer need to wonder if there ever were any WMD’s, at some point perhaps even the Whitehouse will stop wondering if there are WMD in Iraq, and we will no longer need to predict anything resembling democracy in Iraq anytime in less than 10, 20, 25 years, 100 years… The goal in Iraq from this point should be mere stability.

    I was for the invasion, and I regret it but understand how i came to believe the hype at the time.

  54. sickofit,

    how would you see me in the draft line?

    THERE IS NO FRICKING DRAFT!

    even if there were to be a draft, you would be dodging it 🙂

  55. Joe, I don’t understand your point. Surely the objection to the draft is not that it forces people to live on a military base for a couple of years. The objection is that it forces people to fight wars for the state. Guardsman are volunteers. The original militia were not.

  56. To Scott Harris:

    Is Carroll Andrew Morse really suggesting that one reason for partitioning Iraq would be to make for “a narrative structure ideally suited to American media coverage”? What has that, to use a popular British expression, got to do with the price of fish? What do Iraqi civilians care for the digestibility of “60 Minutes”?

    Soon (and this is the price of democracy in Iraq from the perspective of the US) the decision about how to govern Iraq will lie solely with the Iraqis. That means they are likely to make decisions which will not be congruent with the wishes of the US and will instead be in accord with Iraq’s geopolitical position – whatever that means.

    Partitioning is what the British did in Cyprus and Ireland and India and the Palestine, and will lead to decades of medium- to high-level conflict – it did in Cyprus and Ireland and India and the Palestine.

    And “Persia”, remember, has hardly been free from Western interference already. Resentment lingers there.

    So when I see a US marine on TV saying “This is basically an OK country, but 2% of them should be killed”, I know it’s time he came home. Iraqis are getting tired of him being there and he’s getting tired of being there. Would that we had a more effective “international peace keeper” than the UN, but we don’t, so the UN it is who must assume the r?le of policeman in Iraq. If the US withdraws now, it will save money, lives and face.

  57. John, serving in a militia is not a full time responsibility, nor does it put you in physical danger. The only time a militiaman is in physical danger is when the country is invaded, and in that case, you’re already in danger.

    Joe, that is an interesting take on what a militia should be, but it is not what the Founders believed, which is what we were discussing. When the War of 1812 came along, most of the surviving Founders thought that the various state militias would perform well against the Brits and in an invasion of Canada, even though the U.S. had not been invaded. Moreover, deploying of the militia certainly makes service in it a “full-time job,” at least during the deployment. Of course, they were quite wrong about all this: militia units were woefully unprepared, and often unwilling, to do what Madison and Co. wanted them to do.

  58. Tim C, I’m gobsmacked by the sheer dumness of your argument – or lack of it.

    Let’s see…’chickenhawk’; I went through that one here, but let’s summarize:

    No one who could be and isn’t serving should speak out on Iraq;
    No one except women of child-bearing age should speak out on abortion;
    No one who isn’t poor should speak out on welfare;
    No one who isn’t in school should speak out on education;
    No one who isn’t (I can’t decide on this one between ‘a criminal’ and ‘a victim of crime’) should speak out on criminal justice.

    And the sheer difficulty we’re experiencing there is absolutely unprecedented:

    It took 4 years from the end of hostilities to start the turnaround of the German economy.
    We started to implement a plan that would have turned Germany into Southern France, and turned 180 degrees and helped Germany reindistrialize.

    That’s how things work in the real world. They progress in fits and starts, change and turn, and most of all, they take time.

    The forces that oppose us are convinced that they are more patient than we are. They are convinced that if things in Iraq aren’t perfect – if the power isn’t on and unemployment ended and all the Iraqi women listening to NPR by September – well, it’ll be a quagmire then. And then what’ll we do?

    A.L.

  59. The point of the article I refered to is that whether Iraq was partitioned or not would be totally up to the Iraqi’s. It makes no requirement to partition Iraq, but also does not prohibit it.

    Our only point would be to recognize as sovreign “states” groups that organized and operated peacefully and civilly. The individual “states” or “provinces” if you will could choose to join themselves together as a united Iraq. Or they could choose to remain separate. And uncivilized, unpacified regions would not be given sovreignty until they stopped fighting. Then they could join the other groups as new “states” similar to the process we have in our constitution for turning territories into states.

    The key is to create a system that rewards those who act properly and not hold them back because others persisted in being belligerant. Also, even the belligerants would not be permanently stigmatized under a system, and might see the benefit in laying down their arms.

    The media narrative would be simply a fortunate side effect of such a policy, not the purpose of the policy. The real purpose would be to live up to our ideals of personal freedom by allowing the Iraqi’s to choose their form of government, and whether or not to remain united as Iraq.

  60. “at least during the deployment.”

    That’s a pretty big exception. Unless there was a war going on that they got called up for, they go about their lives. Your definition of full time soldier would include National Guardsmen, and that’s not accurate.

    Scott, look at the American Civil War (and the support in Europe for secession, and the attempt by France to invade American territory on behalf of the Confederacy.) Once you have those sovereign states, some kind of split over an issue or set of issues is inevitable. Federalism has only ever been a transitory phenomenon – if you’re not part of the same sovereign country, you’ll end up part of separate sovereign countries.

  61. “Surely the objection to the draft is not that it forces people to live on a military base for a couple of years.”

    I don’t care if they’re sorting mail in Albequerque. If they’re drafted against their will, it’s involuntary servitude.

  62. It seems that many people here have many beliefs. A belief, however, is just an opinion that you take as fact, and everyone elses beliefs are just opinions. Unless… they agree with you.

    The fact is that WE live in democracy. Not everyone does, and it takes a certain way of thinking to live under this form of government. When a general society does not think in this way, a democracy is doomed. You have a society who holds extreme monotheistic beliefs, where they have been ruled by their religion for about 1400 years. The don’t think like US citizens do. So just let them be.

    This war was also fought before. The British tried to do this same thing in Iraq also. They also had the same exit stratagy. Put in place a religious leader that they could control, and leave a little bit of the military there. The people remember this. They probably are still a little bitter, and don’t appreciate us doing it to them again.

    The truth is we never asked the people what they wanted, so don’t say we are freeing anyone, or that we are there for the people. If that were true, we would have taken more time figuring out what we should do.

    Also, if people who attempt to post know nothing about Islam, then perhaps you should start educating yourself. Learn about the Sunni, Shiites, and other history.

    One last thing… don’t write when you are angry. Your words come out angry and you lose all crediblility due to your extreme emotions. All on here who resort to swearing and other angry remarks are not in a state of mind to think logically. They are just venting. Wait till you can say something worth while. Then you’ve earned the right to be listened to.

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