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I'd rather be a chickenhawk than a chickensh*t

The big theme running around the anti-war blogs nowadays is a revival of the classic "chickenhawk" accusation. In a nutshell (a singularly appropriate turn of phrase in this context), the idea is that it is cowardly of those who support the war (myself proudly included) to do so unless we are ready, willing, and able to go and fight it ourselves -- and prove that commitment with action.

I've spoken at length at my own personal circumstances that make that impossible for me, but I won't fall into that trap here. And the argument is, indeed a trap -- a dishonorable, dishonest, fraudulent tactic that has been allowed to remain unchallenged for far too long.

I've always believed that one should limit one's arguments to the issues, not the individuals. I always try to refrain from gratuitous personal attacks when discussing matters of grave import. (I don't always succeed, but I do try.) To me, the message is far more important than the messenger, and the cause far greater than its advocate.

That belief stands in stark contrast with the "chickenhawk" argument, which tries to shift the discussion from the message to the messenger. It tries to move the topic from "is this a good idea?" to "who the hell are you to say anything?" It is an attempt to silence the opposition by assailing them personally, by punishing them for daring to have a dissenting opinion.

But it is even more fundamentally dishonest than that. It is a wholesale attempt to shift not only the topic of the argument to one side's proponents, but the entire burden of the argument on to them as well. The anti-war advocate, by converting the argument from a philosophical one to a personal one, is freed from the onus of having to marshal facts and citations for their position.

Let's see how this normally plays out:

A: "I believe that the war in Iraq was necessary."

B: "I believe that the war in Iraq was wrong."

A: "I've looked into this extensively. Because of A, B, C, D, and E, the war became the least worst option."

B: "If you believe that the war is such a good thing, then why aren't you over there fighting it yourself, you fucking coward?"

At that point, A usually falls into the trap and starts explaining why he isn't currently serving in the military. Lord knows I've done it myself on more than a few occasions.

B: "OK, so fine, you won't go. Then why don't you encourage others to sign up and go fight your war?"

Please note that at no point in the argument has B even attempted to refute any of the points that A spelled out. They are left in the dust as A suddenly finds himself not having to defend the decision to go to war, but his own personal character and choices. And B has managed to distract and silence a voice spelling out reasoned arguments without having to actually answer the facts presented.

But for just a moment let's run with the idea that the "chickenhawk" squawkers are putting forth. They toss their accusation at me. I am immediately mortified in shame. The very next morning, I race down to the recruiting station to volunteer. Once they look at me and my medical history, and once they finish laughing in my face, they formally send me away. I start encouraging others to enlist, and start getting called a hypocrite for trying to get others to do my dirty work for me. Finally, in shame, I go home and kill myself.

Just what has been achieved? I have been silenced, but have my points been answered? The Left raves all the time about "the suppression of dissent," but that is the very core notion behind this argument.

I've spelled out my reasons for believing that the war in Iraq was necessary, and some of the reasons it's working here. No one successfully refuted them at the time, but I'd like to re-open the discussion here and see if any of the "chickenhawk" squawkers would like to take a run at them again.

But please, make it about the WAR. I wasn't raised to believe that "it's all about me," and this topic is far more important than I could ever be. See if you can counter any of my points without attacking me. And anyone who takes this opportunity to bash me instead of my opinions is, in my humble opinion, tacitly admitting that they can't refute my arguments.


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» Pennywit.Com linked with One-Dimensional Discourse

» The Unalienable Right linked with Coalition of Sedition: Sign up or shut up

» Joe's Dartblog linked with "If The War Is Right, Why Don't You Go?"

» Soldiers' Angel - Holly Aho linked with New Ways to Attack Your Political Opponent?

» basil's blog linked with Breakfast: 6/28/2005

» SixHertz House of Pain linked with Put this in your pipes and smoke it, you LIbEral

» Common Folk Using Common Sense linked with Those Poor Detainees At Gitmo

» Delftsman linked with CHICKENHAWK!

» The Cliffs of Insanity linked with The Dumbest Argument Ever

» In Search Of Utopia linked with Who are the REAL Chickenhawks?

Comments (88)

IF you are not a prison gua... (Below threshold)

IF you are not a prison guard at Gitmo...

...then you have NO RIGHT to speak about Gitmo prision conditions.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, chickencritics.

What am I, that I served du... (Below threshold)
Fersboo:

What am I, that I served during Panama & GW1, but sat out GW2, even though I supported GW2? If you still think I'm a chickenhawk, then come down to 13th & L NW sometimes and we'll jawbone about it.

Unless you are the Presiden... (Below threshold)
Mr. Logical:

Unless you are the President...

...you can't speak about the President.

Unless you are a Republican...

...you can't talk about Republicans.


Unless you are a women...

...you can't talk about any women.

Unless you are American...

...you can talk about the American government.

The left is circle jerking ... (Below threshold)

The left is circle jerking to their formal push for this stance. It's called Operation Yellow Elephant.

"We support the war, so we should be fighting it."

Put up or shut up, it seems. But no debating ideas.

This ought to be interestin... (Below threshold)
mesablue:

This ought to be interesting.

/sarcasm

Or we'll just hear the WMD thing over and over again, if anything.

So how does the left reconc... (Below threshold)
Mike:

So how does the left reconcile this with their views on the war in Afghanistan?

The left constantly talks about how they were for the war against Afghanistan, but are not for the war in Iraq. I'm sure they were all first in line at the recruitment centers the day we started fighting in Afghanistan, right?

Exactly why this is more bullsh*t.

I've always thought the chi... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I've always thought the chickenhawk argument is stupid, and have said so here a few times. However, if the current trend in recruitment continues, it will get more difficult to continue in Iraq at current levels, where as you note there is no exit strategy, only a victory strategy (which is, I assume, tiring the terrorists out or something). How long until victory, and how many soldiers will be needed, and where will they come from? I don't know the answers to those questions, though I wouldn't say the solution is for everyone who supports the war to enlist, nor that if you support the war and don't enlist you're a hypocrit (I supported Afghanistan and didn't enlist, etc).

Anyone have any guesses as to how long we'll need to be in Iraq, how many troops will be needed, and where these new recruits are to come from?

Essentially the Left is arg... (Below threshold)
Tim:

Essentially the Left is arguing against civilian, democratic control of the military with the "chickenhawk" argument.

Not surprised, given their support for the Red Army and its atrocities in the 20th century.

In and effort to boost fall... (Below threshold)
IGSSS:

In and effort to boost falling recruitment numbers, tomorrow night during his speech at Ft. Bragg NC President Bush will personally ask that those young patriotic Americans who support him and this effort to fight terrorism and bring democracy around the world go to the recruitment offices and enlist for the new shorter 15 month tours of duty.

In anticipation of the large turn out, recruiting offices will be double manned to handle the crowds.

" where these new recruits ... (Below threshold)

" where these new recruits are to come from?"

The New Iraqi Army.

What the anti-war types are... (Below threshold)

What the anti-war types are doing here is the same thing they do with other policy positions: they attempt to shame the opposition, to tear away at the opposition's moral foundation to make their arguments. A long time ago, the left learned that if they are successful enough in attacking the messenger, then they don't have to worry about taking on the merits of the argument.

So try to argue an anti-affirmative action position without getting called racist. Try to argue a pro-tax cut position without getting called selfish. Try to argue against Elliot Spitzer without getting called an apologist for big business. And that is just what the white guys get called. Heaven forbid a black or a woman takes on a conservative position; they'll be called Uncle Toms or worse by liberals.

The left also learned that the right falls for this over and over again. We do this by allowing the left to frame the debate (such as Jay outlined above). Sometimes, fearful of being called names, we fail to even step up to the plate, the rationale being that tis better to abandon an argument than it is to deal with being called a racist, a sexist, selfish, and now, a chickenhawk.

But since there are some conservatives who are willing to risk being called racist or whatever, the liberals have decided to up the ante. No longer is a generic insult sufficient. From now on, we're Hitlers, we're Stalins, we're Pol Pots.

Leftist, Day 1: "Join the m... (Below threshold)
Mr. Logical:

Leftist, Day 1: "Join the military and you are a babykiller, a nazi. The war is evil, so anyone who fights is doing evil! You fascists can recruit at high schools or collages!"

Leftist Day 2: "See how recruitment is down! It's all Bush's fault!! He lost the war!"

Wash, rinse, repeat.

correction to the dialog:</... (Below threshold)
Mr. Logical:

correction to the dialog:

"You fascists can'T recruit at high schools or collages!"

How about "don't feed the t... (Below threshold)

How about "don't feed the trolls". A simple yet highly effective course of action.

By that argument, anyone wh... (Below threshold)

By that argument, anyone who enjoys the protections fothe US Army is a chickenhawk if they don't enlist. Atrios and his ilk enjoyed the protection of the US Army from the USSR, and continue to enjoy freedom from China or other enemies. At no cost to themselves! How dare they! Hypocrites!

They don't join up for the ... (Below threshold)
DelphiGuy:

They don't join up for the police and fire departments but are still willing to put them at risk when their joint falls down between the sofa as they doze off.

Are they suggesting that only veterans are able to vote for or against military actions? If so, should we only allow veterans to run for election?

Should only doctors be able to vote for/discuss medical issues? Businessmen voting on business issues? Should only those who work and pay taxes get to vote on where their tax money goes?

Their argument is immaterial, and designed solely to sidestep the issue in order to attack the messenger instead.

It's absolutely a dodge, an... (Below threshold)

It's absolutely a dodge, and not something the libs would really care to see taken to its logical conclusion. If you agree that only those who've experienced war can argue in favor of it, then doesn't that imply that only veterans can become President? After all, any President may have to take us to war someday, and hence may need to argue in its favor.

Sometimes I wonder why I ev... (Below threshold)

Sometimes I wonder why I even bother blogging--someone else always says it better.

Well put Jay Tea.

I'll say it for you, Jay, a... (Below threshold)

I'll say it for you, Jay, and I did fight this one, and the one in Kosovo, and the one in Bosnia, and the first one in Iraq, oh, and a little of that long, dull one against the Soviets, too.

This war is worth it. And I'll be around to fight the next one, too.

'nuff said.

I haven't yet heard anyone ... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

I haven't yet heard anyone on the right say that those against the war don't have the right to speak out until they join the terrorists and lop off a few heads. That's one of the main differences between the left and the right, the left is based on a dishonest ideology. I think we should ask them a few questions along the same lines, like ,"How can you support higher taxes for the rich since you lack the ambition or ability to get rich yourself and pay almost no taxes to begin with?" and "How can you support abortion on demand when you haven't been aborted yourself?" Either question makes as much sense as their "chickenhawk" question.

"I haven't yet heard anyone... (Below threshold)
Russ:

"I haven't yet heard anyone on the right say that those against the war don't have the right to speak out until they join the terrorists and lop off a few heads."

I'll say it. If they're so opposed to the war, why aren't they signing up to be human shields for the enemy? If they're so opposed to American interests, why aren't they strapping bombs to their chests?

The answers should be obvious.

One of the favorite ploys o... (Below threshold)
Omni:

One of the favorite ploys of manipulators is to turn the argument, ANY argument, into somehow being about YOU, such that you'll go from debating a point to defending yourself against what can be a non-stop flood of attacks, which are often inreasingly personal and outrageous in nature.

Call a spade a spade; if someone pulls this tactic, call them a manipulator outright... and add that if their only possible response to you is to attack you, they've obviously conceded the debate, as they clearly can't refute your actual arguments. :-)

By extension, the argument ... (Below threshold)

By extension, the argument logically implies that the only people who should be able to have input about whether or not the country should go to war are people who are/have been in the military.

More people in the military and veterans support the war than don't. So I guess the question of whether or not we should have gone to war is answered.

Actually, though, what they are mean is that you're only "allowed" to be for the war if you've been in the military. (If you're in the military, then you're a baby-killer and your opinion doesn't count anyway.) It's perfectly OK to be against the war if you haven't been in the military. This is like how men can't be pro-life, but it's perfectly OK and wonderful for them to be pro-choice.

Apparently you're only "allowed" to have conservative opinions so long as you meet certain requirements invented on the fly by people on the opposing side.

Ask them if they want to be... (Below threshold)
OC Chuck:

Ask them if they want to become a suicide bomber.

OC ChurchWe all wa... (Below threshold)
TheEnigma:

OC Church

We all watched as those brave "human shields" of the left ran for cover as soon as they knew they would forfeit their lives once the US started bombing in Iraq. The only time they wanted to be human shields was at locations they knew the US would NOT bomb.

Here's a quote from some mo... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

Here's a quote from some moonbat named Gillard says on his blog (http://stevegilliard.blogspot.com/2005/06/honest-conversation.html) :

If you will not serve in Iraq, and no one you know will serve, stop expecting someone else to do what you will not.
Ok, you lefties put your money where your mouths are, no, not there, there's no telling where that mouth has been, I mean you should back up what you say. If you aren't willing to support yourself and do things like pay for your own way stop asking others to do it for you. Apply yourself, get a job and rake in some serious cash, work like a dog and insist that it's the money you earned that goes to support those unwilling to support themselves. And don't even think about tax shelters. Give it a try. See how it feels to practice what you preach.

The majority of the world k... (Below threshold)
gordon:

The majority of the world knew that Iraq was going to be FUBAR before the war even started. The Pandora's box was about to be opened. Protests around the world, public opinion polls couldn't sway Bush.

Was it not easy to see that American soldiers would be sitting ducks in a region that was openly hostile to them? Was it not easy to see how provocative these actions were, the first non arab invader of an arab country in nearly 100 years, thereby throwing thousands of young men into the arms of AlQaeda, their greatest recruiting tool?

Was it not easy to see that American supply lines would be so long as to make them easy to interrupt and very expensive?

Was it not easy to see that Saddam as a secular Muslim and OBL as a fundamentalist weren't even on talking terms, never mind bosom buddies? Saddam had NOTHING to do with 9/11. Go after terrorists, not alleged supplier. Plenty more suppliers out there. Go after the guys who perpetrated the crime. Was that not easy to see?

Was it not easy to see that virtually no army in history has ever invaded a country and popped backed out again? Was it not easy to see that your grandchildren could be talking about an Iraqi exit plan?

Was it not easy to see that all this sabre rattling would help radical fundamentalists get elected in neighboring countries?

Was it not easy to see that America attacking Iraq would only give developing countries the idea that they needed nuclear weapons to prevent them from being invaded?
It was easy to see and that is why the vast majority of the world's population, not just the 'left' in this country are so pissed.

I don't agree with all this chickenhawk talk, it solves nothing. But it seems to be coming from railing against a policy that was so [email protected]#king stupid.

Anyone have any guesses ... (Below threshold)
kbiel:

Anyone have any guesses as to how long we'll need to be in Iraq, how many troops will be needed, and where these new recruits are to come from?

Yes, all kinds of people have guesses. Senator Kennedy thinks it's a quagmire and we will never get out of Iraq. Many others believe Rumsfeld when he states that we'll taper off our involvement after the first elections following the adoption of a constitution, if the circumstances permit it.

In any case, it's ridiculous to pin your support on this war (or any other war) on these types of questions. It's like asking a fire chief when the blaze is going to be out and how many firefighters it's going to take to put it out. At best the chief's answer is going to be a guess. Are you then going to tell him to not fight the fire if he can't answer you with certainties?

This is yet another diversionary tactic and demonstrates an intellectual vacuity. Either is a war is justified or it is not on moral grounds. Logistics has no play in this argument.

I usually end this sort of ... (Below threshold)
gozorak:

I usually end this sort of confrontation by suggesting that we take things one step further. That only combat active duty and combat veterans be permitted to decide such matters as who the commander in chief will be. ONly those who have seen and experienced combat firsthand should decide matters involving national defense.

What do you recommend that ... (Below threshold)
Curious:

What do you recommend that other 'chickenhawks' answer, if they do not have your health record?
There are plenty of able-bodied people who support the war, but do not want to go to war, because it is personally inconvenient: it requires sacrifice and disruption of individual life goals and family life.

You seem to be saying "necessary" = "least worst option". That's an odd definition of necessary. Am I must be reading you wrong.

How can B give any reasons when A just says: "Because of A, B, C, D, and E". Technically, the reasons of A have not been spelled out in your dialogue either. Seeing as you constructed the dialogue, it is surprising that your constructed character B did not give any reasons for why the war was wrong (do you doubt he could supply them, as in his or her views about this?). What is your rationale(s) for the war? (I don't usually read this site.) If it is democracy promotion, is that "necessary"?

Curious, I thought I spelle... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Curious, I thought I spelled it out -- the answer I recommend is "it's not about me, but the issues, you asshole." That not only provides a satisfying smackback on the personal attack, but also redirects the debate back to the issue and away from individuals.

As for my reasons, go to the links in the next-to-last paragraph of my posting.

J.

The whole chickenhawk argum... (Below threshold)
ryan:

The whole chickenhawk argument is weak...I agree with you Jay Tea.

The U.S. military has a total manpower of about 68 million people (that number comes from the CIA world fact book). The total US population is about 295 million, which means that according to the chickenhawk proponents about 227 million Americans have no say in military matters, and have no right to support the war. that makes no sense to me.

As for the war Jay Tea...Well I wouldnt ever say that getting rid of Hussein was a bad idea. The guy was a murderer, and was a problematic presence in a very important political and economic region.

I still do not like the way that GW and others went about things, by basically scaring the shit out of the American people and hyping up the war beyond what was necessary. I understand the need to get public opinion behind such a massive effort, but personally I wasnt very impressed with what we were being fed at that time to encourage support.

But then, it wouldnt look too pretty, or seem to heroic to put it bluntly...mainly that the Middle East is an extremely valuable region, and that democracy and stability there could greatly benefit the United States in the future. Pragmatics.

Hussein was a punk, a thug, and a brutal dictator. It's not like he's the only one of those around these days. But he did cross the line with the United States, and we all knew he would get it someday.

I do get tired of people who claim that the Iraq War is some kind of humanitarian mission. In my opinion that wasnt the main goal by any stretch of the imagination. It wasnt some altruistic endeavor. We certainly had alot to gain from going in there. I'm not trying to lay judgement...I'm just saying that I find it dishonest to promulgate the whole thing as something that its not. The war in Iraq is not about freeing Iraqi people.

I expect that Jay will resp... (Below threshold)
jmaster:

I expect that Jay will respond to Gordon’s questions appropriately.

But as far as the chicken hawk thing goes, I like to respond by offering a similar question in return. For example, I might ask:

“Do you support universal access to healthcare for all?”

If so, then I follow up with:

“Have you volunteered to be a no-cost medical doctor, or nurse, or nurse’s assistant? Or maybe a crisis counselor, or dental assistant, or vision tester, etc. Surely, there is somewhere in the health care environment where you can contribute. Maybe you’re better with computers. Have you offered your time to help set up a data base at the free clinic? Maybe you don’t have the time or special skills to contribute. Are you at least providing monetary support?”

A: "Because of A, B, C, D, ... (Below threshold)
Curious:

A: "Because of A, B, C, D, and E, the war became the least worst option."

Does one's evaluation of what is the "least worst option" change when one bears the brunt of the costs of a particular option? (or has him or herself experienced the costs of a similiar past decision?)

I think this is the challenge behind the chickenhawk taunt (Or, it could be made the challenge if you want to depersonalize things, as you seem to).

How many military actions d... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

How many military actions did Bill Clinton initiate while in office?

Then you can throw in FDR and Woodrow Wilson for good measure.

I missed your link, Jay Tea... (Below threshold)
Curious:

I missed your link, Jay Tea, sorry. That was my oversight.

But it seemed obvious to me that you suggested two lines of defense against the chickenhawk challenge. The "you asshole" response was the first line of defense of defense. You also said: "But for just a moment let's run with the idea that the 'chickenhawk' squawkers are putting forth. They toss their accusation at me."

You PERSONALLY have a good response: the military wouldn't even take you because you're not able-bodied. Do you think chickenhawks without your health record have a second line of defense?

Curious, I'm torn between t... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Curious, I'm torn between thinking you're a troll, a truly clueless twit, or just feeding me straight lines, but I'll repeat myself again:

I don't recommend ANY sort of defense against that attack. I recommend they REJECT the attack. Simply refuse to allow the argument to be sidetracked into a personal attack. It takes two to tango, and if one side is arguing the issues while the other is ranting and raving on personal attacks, it's pretty obvious who's winning -- and who's the asshole.

J.

I understand you reject the... (Below threshold)
curious:

I understand you reject the attack and think the first (and only) response should be not to engage the chickenhawk challenge, and turn it back to the issues.

You therefore wouldn't advocate that anyone get to the point where they have to use a fallback line like you would.

Knowing this, I was asking: Do you think 'chickenhawks' in general have a fallback defense?
I asked this because I was curious if you could "run with the idea" because of your personal circumstances. You may not be interested in answering this question. More in a sec.

RyanCongratulation... (Below threshold)
Jon:

Ryan

Congratulations on the only moderate and non-knee-jerk comment here. It is possible to be a Republican and not support everything this administration does including the choices to go to wars, or how they are conducted, for example. Similarly, as a moderate democrat it is also possible to disagree with the choice to go to war but to fully understand the critical need to win it once we're there. See how easy it is to stop playing the zere-sum game of I only win if your side loses?

The echo chamber here is not one iota better than at Atrios' site: Extremists preaching to their own damn choirs.

Jay...this is just...... (Below threshold)
JimK:

Jay...this is just...

THIS is the reason I come to Wizbang multiple times a day. If I could give you an award for this well-stated and well-reasoned argument I would.

Damn, Wiz.You just... (Below threshold)
Chad:

Damn, Wiz.

You just made me feel guilty for all the times I had to explain to some "chickensh*t" why I can't serve. Lesson learned today. Thanks.

Doesn't seem to work with my site, but I tracked you.

Jon:If this were t... (Below threshold)
fatman:

Jon:

If this were truly an echo chamber like DailyKos or DU, your comments--which were not over the line in any way, IMHO--would have been deleted and you would have been banned. (I speak from personal experience)

Ryan:

While the question of whether the war was--and is--a humanitarian mission can be debated endlessly, I firmly believe that Bush saw it that way, at least in part. Just as I firmly believe that Bush--like Clinton before him--truly believed that there were WMD in Iraq (perhaps because they were both getting their intelligence fron George Tenant). And beyond any shadow of a doubt there WERE Al-Qaeda linked terrorists in Iraq BEFORE the war. Check the following link:

http://spirit.tau.ac.il/government/robinson1.pdf

The prose is a bit ripe for my tastes--think Alan Dean Foster or Clive Cussler--but it does show that Abu Mussab Al-Zarqawi's group Ansar Al-Islam was operating in a three hundred square kilometer enclave in N.E. Iraq. They were training terrorists there and staging attacks against the Kurds. And Al-Zarqawi himself went to Iraq for treatment of wounds he suffered in Afghanistan and was still there when the coalition troops invaded. Despite a request from Jordanian King Abdullah that Al-Zarqawi be extradited to Jordan, which Saddam refused.

Jay Tea, back to your prima... (Below threshold)
curious:

Jay Tea, back to your primary response:

Yes, it would be silly to say that if you don't enlist, you are AUTOMATICALLY not entitled to have your ideas evaluated. I don't think the chickenhawk claim NEED depend on that (even if in practice it does).
I don't see how it MUST be a personal attack to ask: if you really think this is the 'least worst option', why don't you bear some of the costs? Or to say your not doing so casts some doubt in some cases. If your expecting someone else to bear the burden for a policy you advocate, a policy that can affect real individuals, then why do you insist it is ridiculous to 'shift the burden of proof' to you? It would unreasonable to say your opinion CANNOT count, but it is not unreasonable to shift the burden.

You have a good fallback answer personally: you can't. Ought implies can. But people generally do not have that answer.


Anyway, thanks for applying the principle of generosity and not assuming I must be a "truly clueless twit". If you think my motives are relevant, I was against the war. I think war proponents should have a good and appropriate response to the chickenhawk challenge. Your answer is to refuse the challenge, and if your reasoning is sound, than you have a good answer.

So though I was against the Iraq war, I'm not offering the chickenhawk challenge to you, and I haven't done that to anyone yet. You offered reasons why it should be rejected basically as an illegitimate personal attack. I wonder whether your reasoning for WHY it is illegitimate is sound.

I think your argument boils down roughly to 'the chickenhawk challenge is an illegitimate personal attack' and the response should be 'you asshole'. I have disputed your premise (that it must be illegitimate, not the claim that IF it is illegitimate, your recommended response is appropriate).


Also, looking at your links, you're what I would call an 'old school' defender of the Iraq war.

You don't defend it based on democracy promotion, at least as far as I can see. Even if you don't think what I say about the chickenhawk challenge applies to you (because you really have laid out why the Iraq war was necessary), doesn't what I say apply to those whose main justification has become democracy promotion? If so, isn't there a category (and a large category) or war supporters who it is possibly legitimate to offer the chickenhawk challenge to?

Same thing with one poster's comment about how the war was for pragmatic purposes: if someone supported the war for those reasons, would it a personal attack to ask them why they were not willing to risk your life for pragmatic purposes? Can you see how it wouldn't necessarily be a personal insult to say that to someone who claimed on the basis of pragmatism that the war was 'the least worst option' (for whom?)

I would further challenge you that most of your justifications for war are not necessary reasons for war. They may amount for a case for war, but not all things considered. If we didn't have enough troops to secure the peace, we should not have gone in. Maybe in this case, you can say: hey buddy, we have enough troops, no big deal. But you seem to adopt the general line, that any attack on the chickenhawks must be illegitimate and personal in all circumstances. That seems to me untenable.

Whoever said "Either is a war is justified or it is not on moral grounds. Logistics has no play in this argument" is an idiot if he/she believes that to be true in all circumstances. And the firefighter example is stupid as a generalization. Yes, we can still attack a fire if we don't know whether it will take 30 or 50 firefighters to stop it. But if we know it will take 100 firefighters to stop it, and we send 10, is that a good decision?* Perhaps there is something to be said for noble sacrifice on a hopeless quest. But if you believe that, I hope you would not consider it a personal insult if I said you should show it, were you able too.


* I'm not taking a stand on which number of firefighters best matches Iraq.

FatmanThanks for y... (Below threshold)
Jon:

Fatman

Thanks for your thoughts. I guess i am not famililiar enogh with DU or the others that I didn't realize I could be banned from comments there. I guess I appreciate not facing that danger here with my crazy talk.

My point was that my admittedly very small sample of the comments here had the exact same flavor of "[insert opposing party's name here] are stupid, they have no valid points and as a result engage solely in ad hominem argument like calling someone a chichenhawk or chickensh*t." That stuff tires me out or enrages me alternatively.

I couldn't resist the urge ... (Below threshold)

I couldn't resist the urge to critique some of your reasons for supporting the invasion here. I agree that calling you a chickenhawk is unfair, but it's not like the opponents of the war are without just cause for opposing it. Out of curiosity, what is your position on Bush's refusal to stop the Saudi's funding of Wahabi indoctrination and programs on American soil? To me it is morally equivalent to refusing to shut down KGB recruiting stations operating openly on American campuses during the cold war (well if that actually happened)

fatman:I firmly... (Below threshold)
ryan:

fatman:

I firmly believe that Bush saw it that way, at least in part. Just as I firmly believe that Bush--like Clinton before him--truly believed that there were WMD in Iraq (perhaps because they were both getting their intelligence fron George Tenant).

Well, I think that Bush wasnt all that gung ho about going right into Iraq...from what I read he had to be talked into it (especially in the Commission Report). Indeed, he may have looked at the situation in more humanitarian terms...that I cant claim to know. From what I have seen and read, it was guys like Wolfowitz and Cheney who were more hell bent on invading Iraq at that time. They had also been after Clinton to do the same thing for years before that. The PNAC types were concerned about the political/strategic/economic aspects of the Middle East, and securing that area ASAP. Thats the impression that I get. Again, it seems to me that Bush was persuaded to go along with that program, even though it may not have really jibed with his particular beliefs or desires.

I dont see Bush as the evil warmonger that many lefties like to characterize him as. I just dont see it in the guy. I honestly think that 9/11 freaked him out, and that he finally went into the Iraq war thinking it was the right way to go.

Overall though, I dont really see this as being some humanitarian exercise at all. There is a reason why we're not going into Sudan, and why Rwanda was allowed to happen. The political/economic gain or incentive just isnt/wasnt there. I have a hard time putting war into the Humanitarian category. Even the so called "Good War" WW II wasnt free of self interest, of course. Long ago, Rome sacked other places to benefit itself and its populace. Thats what war is for, and has always been for, ultimately, IMO. Material, political, or economic gain.

WMDs...I agree that Bush and Clinton more than likely believed that Iraq had those weapons. But they also knew that they only had the technology to deploy them in the immediate region. During the days leading up to the war, at times it sounded as if Iraq was capable of launching nukes at the US or something. The scenario was exaggerated, and ridiculous.

Thanks for the link. I'm gonna read through that and get back to you on it.

MikeT:Checked out ... (Below threshold)
fatman:

MikeT:

Checked out your link and it is fascinating reading. If what you say about the Wahabi indoctrination and programs is accurate, it's reprehensible and indefensible. But not suprising. The fact is, we're not going to do anything to offend the world's largest supplier of crude oil. The only thing that DOES surprise me is that people (not necessarily you) act so surprised when Saudi treachery is brought to light, as if they haven't been doing the same thing to us for thirty-five years or more.

MikeT - While the ... (Below threshold)
DelphiGuy:

MikeT -

While the other side may have valid reasons for opposing it, there are plenty of good reasons for it. We should agree to disagree, and drop the issue, but since we are already in Iraq, we 'got our way', so somehow we 'won' and therefore it seems the issue is now a debate to the death.

As for curtailing Saudi funding in the US, I would love to see it stopped, however, I don't believe there is any legal basis to stop it :

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"

As soon as Bush opposes it, the ACLU will be on the case charging oppression of religion, the left will waffle on about Bush removing Islam because it is conflicting with his new US theocracy, and the muslims in the world will probably riot and kill a few people.

I agree that it is akin to having KGB offices in the US, their Terrorist ideology is wrapped in a religion which is protected in the US. One good example of them using our fairness against us.

Sorry for the sidetrack...

ryan:I won't argue... (Below threshold)
fatman:

ryan:

I won't argue with you that political/strategic/economic reasons played a large part in the decision to go to war. The point I was trying (poorly) to make was that, pre-9/11, the combination of Saddam Hussein, WMD and terrorists--Al Qaeda linked or otherwise-- was for some insane reason considered "tolerable". POST 9/11 it wasn't.

"The majority of the world ... (Below threshold)
2BrixShy:

"The majority of the world knew that Iraq was going to be FUBAR before the war even started. The Pandora's box was about to be opened. Protests around the world, public opinion polls couldn't sway Bush."

Why is this pinned on Bush? As of 1998, regime change in Iraq became official US public policy. Also check Hussein's original agreement with the UN that caused a cessation of hostilities- he was in clear violation, as evidenced by the 17 subsequent resolutions. Given the UN bribe scam currently being discovered, I'd not bring up France/Germany/Russia's opposition at this point.

"Was it not easy to see that American soldiers would be sitting ducks in a region that was openly hostile to them? Was it not easy to see how provocative these actions were, the first non arab invader of an arab country in nearly 100 years, thereby throwing thousands of young men into the arms of AlQaeda, their greatest recruiting tool?"

Uh, two paragraphs down you say there's no connection between Hussein and Al Q- which is it?
Also, where do you get this "thousands of young men" idea from? Do you have rosters or something?

"Was it not easy to see that American supply lines would be so long as to make them easy to interrupt and very expensive?"

Yes, these ruptured supply lines stretched the conflict out to two weeks as opposed to ten days.

"Was it not easy to see that Saddam as a secular Muslim and OBL as a fundamentalist weren't even on talking terms, never mind bosom buddies? Saddam had NOTHING to do with 9/11. Go after terrorists, not alleged supplier. Plenty more suppliers out there. Go after the guys who perpetrated the crime. Was that not easy to see?"

You make the assumption that the perpetrators were not being pursued at the same time Bush was executing Clinton's public policy (i.e. regime change)- why do you make this assumption? Also, your premise directly contradicts the one made two paragraphs previously.

"Was it not easy to see that virtually no army in history has ever invaded a country and popped backed out again? Was it not easy to see that your grandchildren could be talking about an Iraqi exit plan?"

Dunno what you mean by "popped back out again", though Israel comes to mind after they cleaned Egypt's clock. Won't address your conjecture about grandchildren, though I believe it might be applied more aptly to the troops in Kosovo and Bosnia at this point. (Thanks, Bill! Suppose it's true you didn't say WHICH Christmas the troops would be home by, so it technically ain't a lie)

"Was it not easy to see that all this sabre rattling would help radical fundamentalists get elected in neighboring countries?"

Oh, you mean like in Lebanon? Oops, wait a minute....

"Was it not easy to see that America attacking Iraq would only give developing countries the idea that they needed nuclear weapons to prevent them from being invaded?"

Iran was already pursuing nukes before Bush put official US policy in action/enforced UN terms of surrender. Or are you referring to Kadaffy- he abandoned his nuclear aims, didn't he?

"It was easy to see and that is why the vast majority of the world's population, not just the 'left' in this country are so pissed."

So far, your "easy to see"'s aren't doing so well. I'll give you the majority- though given propaganda throughout the world, I'd bet it's not near so vast as you'd like to think.

"I don't agree with all this chickenhawk talk, it solves nothing. But it seems to be coming from railing against a policy that was so [email protected]#king stupid."

Well we agree on the chickenhawk talk. As for the policy, you'll have to take that up with the previous administration and the congress that enacted it..... Bush just executed it.

Back on topic:For a ... (Below threshold)
Opinionated Vogon:

Back on topic:
For a perfect example of the chickenhawk argument embraced by the left (via instapundit this morning) read the first comment to this fisking of kerry .

Jay:I have two poi... (Below threshold)
Oleg:

Jay:

I have two points to make.

1) The chickenhawk tactic is in fact pointless and counterproductive. It is similar to calling liberals communists, or gitmo guards Nazis. It reduces the argument to name calling. That I agree with you on. However...

2) I have yet to see a convincing argument to come from the conservatives that makes Iraq a unique case when it comes to every single point you made in your posts about the war before. Saddam, IMO, is still the most qualified individual to run Iraq and, if the war was about oil, the easiest way to get to oil was to drop the sanctions.

Gordon says, "the first non... (Below threshold)
D-Hoggs:

Gordon says, "the first non arab invader of an arab country in nearly 100 years"

Are we forgetting a little ten year invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets? How about the Israeli invasion of Lebabnon in '82? And hmmmm, didn't the US invade Afghanistan just two years before Iraq?!

Oleg says, "Saddam, IMO, is still the most qualified individual to run Iraq"

WTF?! So murdering millions of people makes you a qualified leader?! That is one of the more ignorant comments I have ever read.

D-Hoggs: When Sadd... (Below threshold)
Oleg:

D-Hoggs:

When Saddam was in power there was no such thing as daily suicide and car bombings. He was a strong leader for what Iraq needed. He squashed uprisings, he kept religious factions in check, and kept Al Qaeda out of the country.

Oleg

Are you joking Oleg or are ... (Below threshold)
D-Hoggs:

Are you joking Oleg or are you just completely retarded? Do you care at all about the millions he tortured and murdered? Obviously you don't seeing as you think he was strong for what Iraq needed. I wasn't aware that Iraqis NEEDED to be tortured, raped, murdered and buried in mass graves. Get a grip man. And he absolutely DID NOT keep Al-Quaeda out of the country, this has been proven time and again.

Oleg:If the war wa... (Below threshold)
Peter:

Oleg:

If the war was about "blood for oil" and keeping oil cheap, please explain why—using current economic indicators and citing company-profit reports—the current per barrel price of $60.34. (I think it's gone down a tad today.)

To Jay Tea's point, once again the left makes blanket and diverting arguments. Why can't stay on point? What is so hard about stating fact instead of conjecture? I never understood it, even when I was liberal back in the 80s and early 90s.

"Frustrating" is the only word that comes to mind.

I've recently written a few... (Below threshold)
Chad:

I've recently written a few letters to the editorial page of my local paper. Both of the last two were along the lines of "Support for the Iraq War"(As the editor titled the latest) After these letters were published I received what I jokingly refer to as "hatemail". Both came without return addresses, and no signature. Both questioned my intelligence, personal courage, spouted unfounded accusations, and here's my favorite, "grow some hair on my tiny balls and call the recruiter to enlist". Funny thing is I have been an enlisted soldier for 10 years, and volunteer for duty in Iraq monthly. I'm a full time (AGR for those of you in the know) reservist, and am more than willing to do my part, Uncle Sugar just hasn't seen fit to send me yet. I guess my MOS just isn't in great demand in the theater. I'd be happy (yet apprehensive) to ride into battle with the brave men and women that I call fellow soldiers. The chickenhawk argument is a fallacy used to distract the attention of the argument away from an intelligent and reasonable discussion. That's all it is.

ryan:Regarding our... (Below threshold)
fatman:

ryan:

Regarding our failure to intervene in Rwanda, there's no denying that everyone (the U.N., the U.S., the E.U., other African nations, etc.) screwed up big time. No apologies, no justifications.

As for Sudan, the reason we aren't there is because we're stretched too thin as it is. (Which, incidentally is the only VALID reason I've ever heard for opposing the war in Iraq, IMHO.) That does not preclude the U.N. from taking military action, if they deem it necessary, using troops from Russia, China, Pakistan (I woudn't send troops from India, though), the E.U. (not Britain--they're stretched as thin as we are), particularly the Scandinavian countries. Except, of course, that it's highly unlikely that any of those countries would agree to do it.

Jay Tea:Just re-re... (Below threshold)
fatman:

Jay Tea:

Just re-read my comments in this thread and realized how far off topic I had at least helped drag it. Sorry. I'll try not to do it again.

fatman:The poin... (Below threshold)
ryan:

fatman:

The point I was trying (poorly) to make was that, pre-9/11, the combination of Saddam Hussein, WMD and terrorists--Al Qaeda linked or otherwise-- was for some insane reason considered "tolerable". POST 9/11 it wasn't.

That is something that I have wondered about also. One reason might be the fact that GW I had just gone down in the early 90s, and the American people probably wouldnt have been too supportive of another war right afterward, especially in the same place. Hussein never left the priority list, but the time had to be right to go back in. 9/11, apparently, was that time.

Of course we dealt with Hussein in the 80s, and he was our little buddy in the region for a time. As long as he played by our rules, we didnt seem to concerned with his methods. That is something that bothers me, and something that I really disagree with. It's not the first time that we have lent support to a nasty dictator who met our needs for a short time period. I dont think that the temporary gain was worth it, and Hussein certainly came back to bite us in the ass. Also, when I hear all the indignant talk about Hussein's crimes today, honestly the fact that we worked with the fucker in the 1980s is pretty embarrassing and ironic. Preferably, we wouldnt associate ourselves with such thugs, for any reason.

So I can add on to your question...why was it okay to have diplomatic relations with Hussein in the 80s when we knew that he was a bastard then??? Politics and strategy. The humanitarian aspect wasnt as big of a concern then, or now. It's not a pretty view, but thats how I interpret it.

Regarding our failure to intervene in Rwanda, there's no denying that everyone (the U.N., the U.S., the E.U., other African nations, etc.) screwed up big time. No apologies, no justifications.

I agree totally.

As far as Sudan goes...I think that if there was something to gain from going in there, then we would be there in some form. I personally believe that we arent there because there isnt much that our nation will get out of stopping the violence that is occuring there. Most of the wars that I have learned about in the past were not undertaken for altruistic reasons.

I agree with you that those other countries arent going to be heading there either, and for the very same reason that I stated above. It sounds really cold, but they arent going in there unless there is something to be gained...genocide or not. Rwanda is a case in point, where 500,000-800,000 people were killed in 100 days and the rest of the world just sat back and watched. Sudan seems to be the same kind of thing.

I think that the fact that our military is overstretched COULD be a reason why we are not in Sudan, but isnt necessarily THE reason. When Rwanda went down, our military certainly wasnt stretched as thin, and we were just as uninvolved.

2BrixShy:Why is... (Below threshold)
ryan:

2BrixShy:

Why is this pinned on Bush? As of 1998, regime change in Iraq became official US public policy.

Thats a great point, one that undermines the idea that the war in Iraq was all Bush's idea, or all his fault. Hussein had been a problem since the day he rolled into Kuwait, as far as the US was concerned. Gulf War I didnt really take care of him, and we all knew that there would be a time when we went back to deal with him again...it was just a matter of when.

Dictators who defy the US openly make themselves targets, and thats exactly what Hussein did. Dictators and authoritarian regimes that toe the line generally get left alone...Saudi Arabia and Pakistan come to mind. (By the way, I do know that Pakistan is now nominally a "democracy", but I would hardly consider the country to be a beacon of freedom and human rights. The recent political history of those in power is still pretty shady.)

Jay Tea wrote in <a ... (Below threshold)
s9:

Jay Tea wrote in Casus Belli: The main justification for the war is simple -- Saddam Hussein had repeatedly violated the terms of his surrender during the first Gulf War

Everything else in that essay is just an explication of this basic legal argument.

And let's be clear, it's just a legal argument. Basically, Jay wants to justify the IraqWar™ by making an appeal to a legal authority he regularly disregards whenever he finds it inconvenient. "Saddam violated a treaty!" Yeah? Since when do we care about international law?

He offers no moral justification for War™, so I don't have an opportunity to criticize his thinking there other than to point out the obvious lack of a moral viewpoint. Likewise, he offers no technical argument that makes any sense, e.g. "weapons of mass destruction," support for stateless global terrorism, etc.

Jay isn't really offering a casus belli, i.e. a justification for war— he's putting forward an excuse. A real justification for war would, necessarily, as a matter of first principles, translate into a call to arms. Now, at the risk of making this sound like a personal attack again— Jay has told us at some length why he feels he shouldn't have to answer that call to arms, but he tends to get really pissy when you ask him to tell you why he thinks you, personally, should answer it yourself when he has better things to do with his time.

He may be out of shape, and medically unfit for most of the glamorous billets where he would have the chance to be a hero, but many of his readers— readers like me— are prime A-1 draft bait. If he wants me to quit my job, leave my family, join the corps, and go fight his IraqWar™ for him, he needs to offer up more than a cheap legal theory for why he thinks it isn't a war crime. He needs to tell me why it's worth my time when it clearly isn't worth his.

The short answer is easy:</... (Below threshold)
Robohobo:

The short answer is easy:

"Let's play DD214 Poker!"

(For those who don't know, a DD214 is the separation document issued to a serviceman or servicewoman on separation from service.)

That does not make the contributions of those that cannot serve less meaningful, but may cut short the 'Chickenhawk' talk.

The HOBO

Draft bait? Maybe. Prime? H... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

Draft bait? Maybe. Prime? Hardly. And just in case you haven't noticed, there is no draft, nobody wants one but a few lefties in congress and they aren't going to get one passed.

bullwinkle writes: <... (Below threshold)
s9:

bullwinkle writes: And just in case you haven't noticed, there is no draft, nobody wants one but a few lefties in congress and they aren't going to get one passed.

Really? I'm just SHOCKED to learn there is no draft.

Just in case you're a dimwit, the phrase "draft bait" is a figure of speech. It means, somebody who could be pressed into fighting if necessary, as opposed to guys like Jay who are basically good for guarding the Strategic Beer Reserve in case the enemy makes a deep strike at our precious supply of backup refreshments.

2brixshyYou are sayi... (Below threshold)
gordon:

2brixshy
You are saying Clinton started the Iraq war? Oh please, I thought crack pipes were only used by liberals.
An openly hostile country or region also does not have to be riddled with Al Qaeda to be openly hostile. There's no Al Qaeda in North Korea but I wouldn't fancy your chances if you were dropped in the middle of it.

Ghadaffi was already changing in 2000, as witnessed by Tony Blair's visit with him in Tripoli. This was before Bush even came to power.

The rest of the world are the victims of propaganda? Through all their different media outlets, all their different languages, all their different continents and religions, they are the victims of propaganda? Call me with the number of that PR firm, I need them. I would contend that it would be much easier for you to be that victim.

If you've stepped outside these borders recently I don't think it will take you too long to find that Bush is universally hated. He was even booed at the Pope's funeral for God's sake.And the muslims were'nt even there.
D-Hoggs, apologies.

ryan:I really do t... (Below threshold)
fatman:

ryan:

I really do think that the reason we haven't gone into Sudan is strictly a question of manpower. But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong (stealing from Dennis Miller). As for Rwanda, don't forget that the Rwandan genocide occurred about a year after the debacle in Mogadishu, and Clinton may have been more than a bit gunshy about getting involved in another humanitarian military operation, though that didn't stop him in Kosovo. That doesn't excuse it; it may explain it.

Re: our dealings with Iraq in the eighties. I don't know how old you are, so I don't know how well you remember that time. I remember it vividly. We hated the Iranians with a passion (at least most of us did), and anybody who was an enemy of theirs was a friend of ours, even Saddam Hussein, who had just come to power in 1979. As the decade wore on we did start distancing ourselves from him (see Iran-Contra, which I still shake my head over) as we realized just what we had crawled into bed with.

ryan:As for going ... (Below threshold)
fatman:

ryan:

As for going after Saddam being more acceptable after 9/11 than before, the point I was trying to make (still poorly) was that before 9/11, CW held that we could contain Saddam with sanctions, no fly zones, etc. After 9/11, that argument finally got kicked to curb, where it belonged.

Aside to gordon: I... (Below threshold)
fatman:

Aside to gordon:

I will start worrying about what the rest of the world thinks of ANY U.S. president when the rest of the world starts voting in U.S. elections. (Though given the current rates of immigration--legal and illegal--to this country, that may not be as preposterous as it sounds.)

Damn page ate my first draf... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Damn page ate my first draft of this...

An amazing contrast is emerging. I have a knack for completely separating myself from issues, to the point where I often support positions that are directly opposed to my own self-interest. It borders on the self-destructive.

s9, however, seems to reduce every single issue to a single question: "is it good or potentially bad for me?"

It's like someone took all my ego, all my self-identity, all my self-interest and dumped it into s9.

By the way, s9, here's a little reality for you: there is no draft. There hasn't been a draft for 30 years. And there ain't gonna be a draft any time soon.

But if you wanna look back at the causes of the war, let's look at one single determining factor: Saddam himself. If he had actually abided by the terms of his surrender from the first Gulf War, the sanctions very well could have been lifted years ago. Instead, he played "cheat and retreat" over and over while he funneled BILLIONS of "Oil For Food" money into bribing key individuals in the UN, Russia, France, Germany, the UK, and even the US (remember Scott Ritter's movie deal, anyone?). He was betting that he could leverage those bribes into a solid block against further action, while hyping the "sanctions are killing thousands of Iraqi babies each month" propaganda.

And he also attempted to assassinate a former president of the United States for actions taken in the course of his official duties. For that alone I can never forgive Bill Clinton. If only for his own self-interest, he should have retaliated much more firmly than a couple missiles into a couple government buildings (at night, when they'd most likely be empty).

And if Gore had been elected in 2000, and 9/11 had not happened, it might very well have worked.

So, s9, I hate to be the one to tell you what your mother should have told you when you were younger, but it's NOT all about you. You are not the center of the universe. Not only are some things bigger than you, but nearly everything is. Get over yourself.

J.

D-Hoggs: Saddam torturing, ... (Below threshold)
Oleg:

D-Hoggs: Saddam torturing, raping and tormenting millions of his own citizens is hardly our problem as long as he doesn't bother us. There are plenty of other countries were government sponsors torture, rape and persecution that we do nothing about. All of these arguments above fail to convince me that Iraq was uniquely [in comparison to Saudi Arabia, China, Iran, North Korea, Russia, etc.] positioned to be attacked. Please tell why, of all the countries in the world that violated UN sanctions, Iraq had to be attacked.

Oleg

I think you missed the call... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

I think you missed the call on s9 Jay. He doesn't have the mental capacity to determine what is best for him, he's a Kerry supporter and Kerry has argued for MORE troops on the ground since the war began. The only we can reasonable expect have more troops on the gorund in Iraq is through a draft. s9 is blindly anti-Bush, no matter how the results work out for him. He would rather be drafted by Kerry than defended and allowed to walk the streets here safely while others fight the war for him. s9 reduces every issue to whether he can find some reason that he can justify his hate for what he lacks the even the capacity to even understand. That's the driving force behind liberalism, just like the stem cell debate, Bush is against spending tax dollars on what amounts to corporate welfare, the government isn't in the business of making drugs, any fruits of the research will bring profits to those evil drug companies but every "corporations are evil" leftist has come out supporting corporate welfare. The only reason they can give is because Bush is against it. Had Bush been for it they would be attacking him for being in the pocket of the drug companies. When your ideology is based on dishonesty you have to be dishonest to support it. s9 has given us another fine example of that, again. Between that and his self-proclaimed prime worth to our military he's so laughable I look forward to his response to this. Should be good for a few more guffaws.

bullwinkle writes: <... (Below threshold)
s9:

bullwinkle writes: I think you missed the call on s9... he's a Kerry supporter...

Wrong. I advocated boycotting the Presidential election in 2004.

bullwinkle continues: He would rather be drafted by Kerry than defended and allowed to walk the streets here safely while others fight the war for him.

Excuse me? Allowed? No, that's bullshit. I don't want to be drafted. I would strongly, possibly even violently, oppose the draft. But nobody allows me to "walk the streets here safely". I don't have to get permission to be safe from anyone. Jeez.

bullwinkle writes: Between that and his self-proclaimed prime worth to our military he's so laughable I look forward to his response to this. Should be good for a few more guffaws.

Oh? Is there some reason you think the military should refuse my offer of service? I can't imagine what it would be— I am in perfectly good health, I have an excellent psychiatric history, no criminal record, I have a college degree, and I'm young enough to serve. Isn't that the profile they're supposed to be interested in recruiting?

Jay Tea writes: I... (Below threshold)
s9:

Jay Tea writes: If [Saddam] had actually abided by the terms of his surrender from the first Gulf War, the sanctions very well could have been lifted years ago. Instead, he played "cheat and retreat" over and over while he funneled BILLIONS of "Oil For Food" money.

For this, you want me to give up my career, leave my family and risk my life in a war? Over a few billion dollars worth of corruption in a U.N. programme that never should have been created in the first place? Because Iraqi air defenses returned fire at American and British aircraft when they were being bombed during the so-called cease-fire? Do you even realize how silly this sounds?

Jay Tea writes: And he also attempted to assassinate a former president of the United States for actions taken in the course of his official duties.

I don't know whether I should believe that's true. I understand that American intelligence people made a determination to the effect that Saddam ordered the Mukhabarat to assassinate Bush[41] in Kuwait. But then, American intelligence people made a lot of false determinations about what Iraq was doing. Do you need to be reminded, yet again, that there was no weapons of mass destruction related program activity in Iraq?

And I'm not sure I should be all the pissed off about it. After all those years of the CIA trying to assassinate Fidel Castro, the U.S. doesn't have much high moral ground to stand on when complaining about foreign intelligence services plotting to assassinate heads of state. Now, if the Mukhabarat had succeeded, it might be another story. But they didn't. And you still want me to go to war over it?

Come on. You can do better than that, can't you?

Whisper to fatmanW... (Below threshold)
gordon:

Whisper to fatman

World opinion of an American President doesn't matter?

Did it matter when bush Snr was putting together a coalition in Desert Storm?

Does it matter when this admin is trying to work with other countries intelligence agencies?

Does it matter now when you need them to help in Iraq?

Does world opinion matter on any decision the President makes on anything other than his domestic Agenda?

Usually your arguments are well put together and coherent. This comment reeks of arrogant, jingoistic naivety.

We need a new Godwin's Law ... (Below threshold)

We need a new Godwin's Law to deal with the knee-jerk invasion of lefty trolls to every thread on every conservative blog with the "why don't you enlist" whine. I'm tired of even bothering to link back to the many refutations of this point. Heck, we'll make it Crank's Law if nobody else wants to claim it: every time a left-wing blogger or commenter cries "chickenhawk" or complains about war supporters not fighting the war, the left-winger has lost the argument.

Crank writes: We ... (Below threshold)
s9:

Crank writes: We need a new Godwin's Law to deal with the knee-jerk invasion of lefty trolls to every thread on every conservative blog with the "why don't you enlist" whine.

Meanwhile, you guys still can't come up with a good reason why anyone else should enlist to fight this war for you.

Cheap appeals to jingoism are just that. Try making a rational argument. Maybe you'll be able to do better than Jay Tea has so far. "[paraphrasing] Join the Corps and fight in Iraq! You'll be helping show the world that Saddam Hussein can't steal billions of dollars from the U.N. "oil for food" programme and get away with it!" Hooray. Where do I sign up? Ugh.

Muttered to gordon: <... (Below threshold)
fatman:

Muttered to gordon:

Then I guess that on this subject at least, I'm arrogant, jingoistic and naive.

Oleg: You still wo... (Below threshold)
D-Hoggs:

Oleg:

You still won't answer the question. I have not once denied that there are not other coutries in the world that violate UN sanctions and have horrible, murederous leaders. But that has nothing to do with what we were discussing. I want to know what in the hell is going through your mind when you say that Saddam is exactly what the Iraquis NEED?!! Please, answer my question, do the NEED to be tortured, raped and murdered? You yourself said, "Saddam torturing, raping and tormenting millions of his own citizens is hardly our problem as long as he doesn't bother us." So you know he did these things and still think that he is somehow what Iraq needs!! I just can't understand what in the hell you are thinking.

D-Hoggs:Perhaps th... (Below threshold)
Oleg:

D-Hoggs:

Perhaps the people of Iraq are neither ready nor are interested in a democracy. Saddam came to power because he demonstrated strong leadership. Removing him from power created a vaccuum that is threatening to suck the country into a civil war. He was the necessary evil that held Iraq in one piece.

That said, by the time we attacked him he was a toothless lion.

Oleg

Oleg:I think I und... (Below threshold)
ryan:

Oleg:

I think I understand what you are trying to say about Hussein, but the way you are saying it makes it sound like you feel that he was a beneficial leader, which he certainly was not. They guy was corrupt, and cared more about power than he did the people of Iraq.

It's common, however, for such thugs to be the ones who hold desparate countries like Iraq together, which is what I think you are saying. Strong arm tactics like theirs keep nations together through fear and intimidation.
They also create an environment that breeds radicalism and terrorism.

Perhaps the people of Iraq are neither ready nor are interested in a democracy.

I dont think it has anything to do with whether they are ready or not, but more to do with whether the opportunity exists. They have been decimated by war and corrupt leadership, and freedom isnt exactly abundant. I certainly doubt that the people of Iraq are not interested in having a say about their destinies...saying that they are just not interested in democracy or self determination doesnt make any sense to me. You really think that they dont want to choose who leads them???

Saddam came to power because he demonstrated strong leadership.

Saddam came to power because he was willing to kill people to do it. If thats what you mean by strong leadership...


fatman:I was prett... (Below threshold)
ryan:

fatman:

I was pretty young in the 1980s, but have spent alot of my time the past few years reading about the whole Iran-Contra affair, the Iran-Iraq War, and all of that. I remember seeing North on TV, but I really had no idea what the hell was going on. I must have been about 12 years old when that was going down (I'm 30 now).

As far as I know, we did indeed hate the Iranians with a passion, and we buddied up with Hussein for convenience, since he hated them as well. That is what I would chalk up to political and strategic positioning on our part.

Interestingly, we werent all that concerned with Hussein's human rights record at that time, which supports the idea that humanitarian goals are often supplanted by other goals.

We basically wanted to help Iraq kick the shit out of Iran, but also didnt mind if Iraq got torn up in the process, especially as the 80s wore on and Hussein became more of a pain in the ass. Gulf War I attempted to finish what the Iran-Iraq War started, but didnt really work...so GW II had to happen, and finally the remaining major military power of the region was removed.

The whole Iran-Contra ordeal was amazing. We sold weapons to Iran at inflated costs, in order to raise funds for arming terrorist forces in Nicaragua...who were created to fight the radical Sandinistas in a not so legal war. Very convoluted, to say the least. We sold weapons to the very people who we were helping Hussein to fight against...still something that is hard to grasp. The best answer I have ever seen is that we wanted both of them to get decimated by the war, which did in fact happen.

In my opinion, the decision to align ourselves with a murderer like Hussein doesnt help our credibility, especially when 20 years later we are harping about the crimes the guy committed. We knew what he was all about, and we sided with him anyway. Maybe it would be best not to associate ourselves with dictators like him in the future, since we are supposed to be all about democracy, freedom, and human rights. But that would be in a perfect world, of course.

fatman:As for R... (Below threshold)
ryan:

fatman:

As for Rwanda, don't forget that the Rwandan genocide occurred about a year after the debacle in Mogadishu, and Clinton may have been more than a bit gunshy about getting involved in another humanitarian military operation, though that didn't stop him in Kosovo. That doesn't excuse it; it may explain it.

The official line included the whole fear of a repeat performance of Mogadishu, but I'm not sure how much I buy that one. The way that Clinton et al. handled what happened in Rwanda really pisses me off, so I really have zero desire to justify any of it.

True, this country does hav... (Below threshold)
fatman:

True, this country does have a long history of siding with brutal dictators such as the Shah of Iran and Anastasio Somoza Debayle of Nicaragua (the enemy of my enemies is my friend), but even that doesn't completely explain why we paired up with Saddam Hussein.

Try to imagine the feelings in this country towards Japan after Pearl Harbor. Such feelings toward Iran may not have been quite as wide spread, but they were every bit as virulent. I don't think the "pox on both their houses" attitude (did I mix a metaphor there?), really entered into it at first, at least not among the general public.

As for Iran-Contra, my problem was with the way it was done, not with the fact that it was done. I thought that the Reagan administration was right and the Sandinistas were a communist front, determined (with aid from Cuba) to spread the revolution through out Central and South America. But selling weapons to the Iranians? Jeez. On the other hand, it was Congress that cut off aid to the Contras; proof, I think, that we need ONE Secretary of State, not five hundred thirty five.

As for Rwanda, I assure you that I wasn't trying to justify Clinton"s (or the world's) response or lack thereof; refusing to act because something might happen to embarass you isn't justified.

Gotta go; talk to you later.

"When Saddam was in power t... (Below threshold)

"When Saddam was in power there was no such thing as daily suicide and car bombings. He was a strong leader for what Iraq needed. He squashed uprisings, he kept religious factions in check, and kept Al Qaeda out of the country."

Yeah Riiiight...300,000 plus and climbing found in mass graves...THATS how he squashed dissent.

As far as Al Quida goes, explain Salmon Pak to me then. Not to mention Saddam's support of Hammas and a number of similar terrorist groups.

He was a hub supporter of terrorism, and if we are to be serious about fighting terrorism, he HAD to go.

Oleg, Saddam came to power ... (Below threshold)
D-Hoggs:

Oleg, Saddam came to power through murder. That is NOT strong leadership. I could murder as well and that makes me niether strong, nor a leader. And an evil that murders, tortures and rapes, is NEVER necessary. Further, by the time we attacked Saddam, there were still many suffering and dying under him, guess a toothless lion is still very dangerous after all. You have some REALLY warped views.

The issue here is cr... (Below threshold)
Karl Olson:


The issue here is credibility of our national leadership.

If our leaders cannot even persuade their strongest military-age supporters to serve when our country clearly needs them, then how can anyone expect our leaders to persuade all Americans to continue to support our intervention in Iraq?

-

Jay Tea, In strict terms, o... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea, In strict terms, of course, logic is on your side. The war may or may not be a good idea, but that has nothing to do with your ability or willingness to fight in it.

But this really isn't about logic, is it? It's about commitment. Some on this thread have suggested sarcastically that perhaps only soldiers should get to vote on the merits of the war. In a way, that's where we already are. The war goes on only because soldiers are patriotic/scared/professional/concerned/foolish enough to keep fighting it. If they give it up, the war's over, and we lose. What the rest of us think doesn't mean jack. That's why I don't have much use for people who cheer the war on so long as they don't have to serve, their taxes don't go up, and they can keep driving their Hummers.

Personally, I would never vote to wage a war that I would be unwilling to fight in myself. I don't argue that my position is logical. But I won't ask others to bear a burden that I am unwilling to carry.




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