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She Knows A Marine...

Mary Katharine Ham has an excellent column at Townhall about the Iraq Surrender Group's report and how enthusiastic many in Washington are about it's doom and gloom assessments, which are in stark contrast to that of the Marines and others actually fighting the war.

How do people find so much to be gleeful about in such a plan? There is nothing "extraordinary" or "bold" about quitting in the face of an enemy who wants to swallow up our very way of life in one sharia-abiding caliphate by way of suicide and dirty bombing. Smiling and pretending there is honor in giving them a win does not make it so, unless you are in Washington.

I know a Marine. He sits on a low bench at Walter Reed Hospital, white paper crinkling beneath him as he works his left knee back and forth. Below the knee is about 12 inches of tibia, wrapped at the end in gauze and tight bandages while the wound heals.

His left foot took its last step in Ramadi. It landed on an IED instead of Iraqi sand. He was on his way to clear a tower of an insurgent sniper when it happened. His fellow Marines--some double amputees jogging on treadmills and lifting weights--rib him, calling the injury a "flesh wound."

Across town, Sen. Harry Reid is positively delighted by a report that suggests America "engage constructively" with the neighboring countries who likely fund many of the insurgent forces that hurt my friend and his fellow Marines.

I know a Marine, too. I married him 14 years ago and I won't even talk to him about what is contained in the ISG report because I already know what he would think of it, especially when he learned that no one on in the group was even in the military.

Read all of Mary Katharine's piece, including my favorite line "Only in a Washington TV studio, perfumed with hairspray and haughtiness, could running away before the job is done be considered tough and resolved." She is definitely telling it like it is in this one.


Comments (32)

Thanks for linking this Lor... (Below threshold)

Thanks for linking this Lorie. My son in Iraq called the ISG Report, 79 pieces of tripe.

Lorie,First of all... (Below threshold)
ryan:

Lorie,

First of all, I have to admit that I havent read the entire report as of yet; I just picked it up today and am just getting to it tonight. Should have it done tomorrow, so I will have more to say about it then.

I am impressed by the fact that you, and so many others, have already read it and made your assessment. You certainly are on the ball.

I did read Ham's post, and I have to admit that I wasnt all that impressed. Specifically, regarding the parts that you reposted here:

How do people find so much to be gleeful about in such a plan?

I dont know any people who are "gleeful" about the ISG report or any new ideas regarding Iraq. The plan doesnt sound gleeful in any way, so far. It sounds sobering, mostly, so far.

There is nothing "extraordinary" or "bold" about quitting in the face of an enemy who wants to swallow up our very way of life in one sharia-abiding caliphate by way of suicide and dirty bombing.

Ok, this kind of characterization of Iraq is WAY too simplistic, IMO. Yes, we are dealing with terrorist groups amidst the fighting in Iraq, and yes, they present a serious problem But the "enemy" isn't just one big monolithic group. We are fighting people from all sides, and in the mdddle of factions who are trying to gain power. We taking it from all sides. We are also in a country that doesnt necessarily want us to be there; they dont want to be occupied--just like we as Americans wouldnt want someone to come in and tell us what to do.

The current war in Iraq IS NOT WW II; we do not have a clear enemy that we are fighting, as we did with Nazi Germany, Italy, and Japan in the 1940s.

It's not just the good guys vs. the bad guys in Iraq, and more people have to realize that. I wish that would happen.

Across town, Sen. Harry Reid is positively delighted by a report that suggests America "engage constructively" with the neighboring countries who likely fund many of the insurgent forces that hurt my friend and his fellow Marines.

At some point, there has to be something besides war. Should we just go attack Iran and Syria, or should we try other means as well? Should we just attempt to destroy every government that we dont get along with very well? Well, that would be totally impossible.

Diplomacy plays a role, a big role, in conflict resolution. War should be the last resort, when all other avenues are exhausted.

I'm not going to completely write off the idea of attempting to make srong political and diplomatic efforts to get countries like Iran and Syria to the table. I think that would be a huge win for us if we could do that. Maybe then we could encourage more change and reform within those nations.

I certainly dont think we need to give in to Iran or Syria, BY ANY MEANS...but I do think that we should try to at least get some kind of dialogue going. All of this trash talking sure isnt getting anybody anywhere.

Lorie,Great work a... (Below threshold)
Baggi:

Lorie,

Great work as always. Just one minor correction. Many of those on the ISG panel were in the military. They aren't right now, obviously, but they were at one time.

No one is "gleeful" about t... (Below threshold)
Frank:

No one is "gleeful" about the report. It represents a bunch of unfortunate choices we have to make about a more unfortunate reality.

Also, I know this is going to sound controversial, but the opinion the soldiers have of the ISG is about the least objective one there is likely to be so it's hard to take seriously.

As far as the tragedy of soldiers losing their lives and limbs, I think this is more wisdom in bringing them home. These soldiers need to become providers for their families once this craziness is over and it's a lot harder to do that with one leg.

Ask yourself, is a free Iraqi worth a dead or maimed American? I used to think so, but not anymore. The Iraqis have proven that they don't deserve the sacrifice of brave Americans.

ryan:You don't rea... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

ryan:

You don't reason with the tiger. You shoot it, or get eaten. In addition, our capabilities at the bargaining table over the last - oh, pretty much my life time - don't give me much hope at a succesful outcome on that front. We seem to always feel a necessity to do pretty much what the other side wants. Like giving Indo-China back to the French.

Frank:

Ask yourself if a free Europe was worth the life of one American, back in 1940.

This paper and the latest e... (Below threshold)
epador:

This paper and the latest election and its aftermath demonstrates there is a new SS - the Surrender Simians - determined to purge any backbone or resolve from the US ability to project our influence militarily anywhere in the world.

Did we shudder with SS-like horror and stop the invasion of France after the disastrous losses and blunders at Normandy beaches? Or after the mess in New Guinea and slaughter in Iwo Jima?

The SS is loading us all on a boxcar to hell running down tracks lined with jeering third rate world powers snickering at how easily they have defeated us with a few thousand terrorists and improvised devices.

We have no belly for the horror of war abroad, but how will we react when the horror returns to our own shores?

"Enthusiasm" about doom and... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

"Enthusiasm" about doom and gloom, and "glee" about the plan is what the author claims to be the response. Of course, she fails to name anyone or point out any specific examples of these claims. The piece has about as much credibility as the neocon plan for the war in the beginning.

What strikes me about so many on the right who post here is the unwillingness to recognize this fight for what it is. We have good American soldiers dying and being maimed in the name of staying in the middle of a sectarian war for power. A centuries old hatred of one another and a country that was cobbled together by the British because they couldn't figure out what to do.

'Running away before the job is finished"? We don't even know what the hell the "job" is. The president changes the description practically weekly. There is no viable plan. McCain wants more soldiers. Where are they to come from? More National Guard? More tours of duty? To stand in the middle of warring tribes of people who hate one another.

Iraq is not about terrorism. Afghanistan is about terrorism. Now you have a republican senator (Smith) who says the conduct of the war is "criminal." He has been a staunch supporter of Bush till now. Is he a coward? Is he "gleeful"? Is he "enthusiastic" about the "doom and gloom."?

It's so easy for the armchair warriors here to talk about blood and guts and power. It's incredible simplistic to conclude that if we "lose" in Iraq we will be fighting "them" here at home. That was a trite talking point Bush tried unsuccessfully to use in the past.

Hugh:Why is it tha... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

Hugh:

Why is it that nearly 80% of congress voted for the war in Iraq, but you seem to lay the entire blame on President Bush. Shouldn't everyone who voted for it share in the blame?

As to those who have changed opinions about Iraq, whether republican or democrat, they are just hypocritical politicians who are looking out for their jobs, nothing more. The old saing "if you fight and run away, you live to fight another day" is true. However, the rest of it is "and you will fight again another day".

The problem in Iraq is not that we are there, it is that we are not committed to an all out assault on those that oppose us. Fight now, fight hard and we won't have to fight another day.

I know how you'll react, ep... (Below threshold)
earl:

I know how you'll react, epador--by blogging and not joining the military.

Sorry, USMC Pilot, but we are never going to live in a world without bad guys. I'd like you to concretely state your plan for the military--continue to fight and die until nobody hates the United States? If so, will you be okay with conscription being imposed on the populace (including your children, if you have any)?

History is not a grand Hegelian unfolding of God's Idea; it is a series of conflicts between civilizations. If you think it is written upon the fabric of the universe that Captain Enlightenment and his sidekick Liberal Democracy will always emerge victorious, then you should probably avail yourself of some world history.

USMC:You don't ... (Below threshold)
ryan:

USMC:

You don't reason with the tiger. You shoot it, or get eaten. In addition, our capabilities at the bargaining table over the last - oh, pretty much my life time - don't give me much hope at a succesful outcome on that front. We seem to always feel a necessity to do pretty much what the other side wants. Like giving Indo-China back to the French.

Ok, here is my question for you then: WHO IS THE TIGER? Can you answer that? Because I have been reading book as much as I can about this entire subject (World History, Middle Eastern history, Iraqi history, Gulf Wars, etc.) and I can't say that I can name some clear enemy who we need to take out.

We're stuck in the middle between rivals, and our job is to get them to lay down their arms.

Do you think that the enemy is ALL OF THEM? All of the Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds who are battling it out?

If you want more info, then read some more. I won't even PRETEND to be some kind of expert on all of this, but at least I read as much as I can in an attempt to gain SOME KIND of understanding of what's going on.

Woodward's book was good and informative about the US role, and problems. And I dont think that he overtly bashed Bush by any means...to me the book showed Bush's inexperience, but also the fact that he wasn't given the most accurate information. Woodward described the way that Bush's advisers didn't work well together, let alone advise Bush in many cases.

Then go read a general history of the Middle East. it helps to understand how we got here, and maybe why.

I'm on page 33 of the report that so many on this site decry as garbage. So far, it's pretty informative; at least in terms of assessing the political, military, and economic problems that are stalemating Iraq right now. Before you bash it, try reading it.

We can't go around blowing everyone up--that would not accomplish the goal that the US wants in Iraq. Of course, if we wanted to, the US military could level the place, and "win." But that would mean killing a large portion of the very people who we are supposedly trying to assist. Think about it.

Of course we have to negotiate and engage in political and diplomatic efforts. We can't just go kill everyone and pretend that's some kind of humane, let alone sane, solution.

earl:"Fight now, f... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

earl:

"Fight now, fight hard and we won't have to fight another day."

Sorry, not clear with my meaning. Of course we will continue to have conflict, as is human nature. I mean to imply that we will not continue to fight the same enemy over and over again.

ryan:

The enemy are those radical muslisms that feel Alla has granted them authority to kill everyone on earth that doesn't agree with their particular brand of religion. Victory is when you kill or render them incapable, or unwilling, to continue the fight, and everyone who gives them assistance.

We botched the war in VietNam when we didn't bomb the hell out of Hanio, right from the gitgo, and we botched the war in Iraq when we didn't shoot everyone with a gun, right from the gitgo.

epador:Did we s... (Below threshold)
ryan:

epador:

Did we shudder with SS-like horror and stop the invasion of France after the disastrous losses and blunders at Normandy beaches? Or after the mess in New Guinea and slaughter in Iwo Jima?

Bad comparison. The invasion of France was a completely different situation, where the local population was working with us, of course. And the Germans represented a clearly defined enemy as an invading force which occupied France.

Now imagine if we had invaded France, pushed the Germans out, and then all of a sudden French factions started attacking us and each other in a brutal power struggle. If that had been the case then you might be able to use it as a comparison to Iraq. But that's not the case, is it?

The SS is loading us all on a boxcar to hell running down tracks lined with jeering third rate world powers snickering at how easily they have defeated us with a few thousand terrorists and improvised devices.

Interesting language, very colorful, but a pretty shoddy assessment of what's going on. Terrorists are in the mix over there, but they arent the majority or the major force of destabilization. They contribute to it, but they arent the main cause. Shias, Sunnis, and Kurds are going at each other's throats while we stand in the middle trying to get them to stop.

Quit trying to caste this war as some simple conflict with two easily discernible sides. We are up against more than just a few thousand terrorists--we have tens of thousands of pissed of people with sectarian allegiances who arent giving any ground.

What the hell are we supposed to do with that? Kill everyone? Use your brain.

We have no belly for the horror of war abroad, but how will we react when the horror returns to our own shores?

Oh, bullshit. Tell that to all the people who have been over there for three years. We're over there in some massive political and military shit-storm, and you're here acting like the US is full of a bunch of cowards. Not the case. Maybe some of us here just want to come up with some kind of rational plan to go forward, instead of sitting back here in the States flinging useless unending stereotypical nonsense about Islamofacism.

We need to figure out what then hell is really happening there so we can find a way to end the goddamn violence, if possible.


USMC:The enemy ... (Below threshold)
ryan:

USMC:

The enemy are those radical muslisms that feel Alla has granted them authority to kill everyone on earth that doesn't agree with their particular brand of religion. Victory is when you kill or render them incapable, or unwilling, to continue the fight, and everyone who gives them assistance.

Ok, well, that's the usual generalized "enemy" that many of you on here rant about. But how does that apply to the situation in Iraq? Yes, there are terrorists who a part of the mix there, but they arent the major problem that we face. We are dealing with Sunnis, Kurds, and Shias who are killing one another left and right. Terrorist groups like Al Qaeda are there trying to destabilize as much as possible, but they arent the biggest problem there.

Get outside of the Rush Limbaugh stereotypes of what this war is all about and start talking about specifics.

3,000 Iraqi civilians are killed every MONTH in this war...that would be like us having a 9/11 every month. And they're killing each other over there, by and large. The US military has the almost impossible role of trying to stop all that infighting.

The enemy is civil war, pal.

We botched the war in VietNam when we didn't bomb the hell out of Hanio, right from the gitgo, and we botched the war in Iraq when we didn't shoot everyone with a gun, right from the gitgo.

Ya right, that's what we should have done...gone around shooting everyone, like that would have done the trick. So when familied took up arms to protect themselves and their neighborhoods from violence, the US military should have just blazed through and executed them all? Asinine.

And what about now? Should we go in and shoot everyone with a gun over there, including the police and Iraqi troops that we have trained? You really think that would make things better or solve any problems?

Seriously, you can do better than that. I think that we can come up with something better than "We should go over there and blow all them evil people up."

Oh cmon. USMC.......what's ... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:

Oh cmon. USMC.......what's this fight now, fight hard rhetoric.

Your black and white view of every situtation most always solved by the use of force is tired and old fashioned.

Todays "sacrifices" should no longer be borne by soldiers uaing bombs as their messages. Every single world citizen must begin to include, accept and be tolerant of others. Jew or Arab, Catolic or Protestant, Mormon or Methodist. The US has not been chosen by God to liberate the rest of the world of their suffering by force and nation building. Much more will be accomplished by compassion and cooperation.

Iraq has become the perfect example of this. Continuing to support the reasoning that this is necessary for our national security is a smokescreen. This is about gevernment for the few at the expense of the many, including you.

Anyone with a computer knows this war was started and ill conceived by the oil barons and it's now feared that since the only results in Iraq are bad options and levels of failure, when we withdraw, not if, the Sunni's will be supported by the Saudi Arabians who just so happen to be the real country of origin of the 15 hijackers that GW Bush was so hands off. Prepare yourself. This will be a part of the situation .

WHY? You know the answer to that question and all the others that relate to this quagmire that this group has us mired in.

WHY do you insist on continuing using old fashioned methods of death and destruction to solve New Age problems brought on by our own interventions that have brought such distrust and hatred towards the US?

WHY are you so unwilling to accept responsibility for what the US has done to bring this upon ourselves?

WHAT have you planned to "sacrifice" in order for the US to reduce our need for Mideastern oil? How quickly would their governments change their ways if the oil revenue stopped flowing?

How many studies and people need to stand up and let you know....stay the course has been a failure. Worst president in history. Down to 30% approval rating of hangers on.

My god, man.......think.

30%? So what if Americans h... (Below threshold)
earl:

30%? So what if Americans hate America? Freedom's on the crawl, c.b., and the President doesn't care about polls, 'cause he's on a mission from God and facts on the ground ain't gonna change his mind. His ability to think only in wishful, ideological/teleological terms, disregarding reality and its liberal bias, is actually a sign of brilliance. He's Dr. Pangloss with a cowboy's swagger and a frat boy's sense of humor. He inspired me to recently tattoo an American flag on my face to show the nation's majority of filthy hippies and Hollywood elites whose team I'm on.

Say, wasn't Halliburton making civilians drive empty trucks through the desert to ring up the taxpayers' bill? LOOK OVER THERE! William Jefferson had ninety thousand dollars in his freezer! That's right, you've got your eyes on the ball, ye Republican übermenschen.

Great post, thanks. Don't ... (Below threshold)

Great post, thanks. Don't know if you've seen these two pretty shocking videos from Iraq yet or not (kid chasing bottle of water, car getting crushed), but both star the US Military and put it in a very negative light. I have them up on my site at www.minor-ripper.blogspot.com ..You have to wonder what these soldiers were thinking when videotaping this stuff...

Got it all solved--just sen... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Got it all solved--just send "pucker puss" (lee lee), ryan, earl ,c'behavior and the like over there and let them "pucker" up as much as they sound in their posts. Asskissing solves it everytime.

jhow66:Great contr... (Below threshold)
ryan:

jhow66:

Great contribution there, genius.

If you have disagreements with anything I say, by all means express them.

Of, you can just continue flinging stupid insults from the sidelines. Your choice.

jhow66:Great contr... (Below threshold)
ryan:

jhow66:

Great contribution there, genius.

If you have disagreements with anything I say, by all means express them.

Or, you can just continue flinging stupid insults from the sidelines. Your choice.

sorry for the double post t... (Below threshold)
ryan:

sorry for the double post there.

Arguing a war by appealing ... (Below threshold)
pennywit:

Arguing a war by appealing to emotional attachment to the veteran is a bit dicey. For every Marine that Lorie or Mary can produce, somebody who disagrees can supply an example like Jeff Lucey.

I've read a number of profiles of Iraq veterans, and the message I've carried home is that many veterans have an attitude toward the war that is more complicated than what we civilians have ... and is tempered by actual time spent in the theater.

At the end of the day, I don't think citing one veteran or another is particularly helpful in deciding Iraq policy, except as assessing the costs or benefits to America and its interests.

If we're going to evaluate the Iraq Study Group's recommendations, or any other policy prescription, shouldn't we try to be dispassionate?

--|PW|--

Pennywit:I agree w... (Below threshold)
ryan:

Pennywit:

I agree with you. I was thinking the very same thing about the post here; anyone could try to augment what ever point they are trying to make in this way by interspersing stories from soldiers who have been there. As a group they have informed opinions, but by no means are they all in agreement about the war. So one can use this tactic to try "proving" either side of this argument.

I also agree with you that we should attempt to be somewhat dispassionate when assessing the ISG report. Or we should at least try to be as dispassionate--calm, reasoned, and impartial--as we can.

Thanks for the reasoned reply here PW. There needs to be a little more of that around these parts...

It's actually a fairly stan... (Below threshold)
pennywit:

It's actually a fairly standard ploy. You pick your cause and then try to find a politically invulnerable constituency that short-circuits your readers' reason by appealing to a deep-seated emotion. If I were in a campaign, I'd deploy it in a heartbeat. Doesn't mean I like it, though.

--|PW|--

ryan thanks for the genius ... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

ryan thanks for the genius tag-I already new that though--havn't seen anything that had any substance that you posted yet so what would there be to disagree about? Glad you gave me a choice but then what the poo poo does it matter what you give "club" member?

For those who don't believe... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:

For those who don't believe Mary Katharine or me about some being gleeful about the report, you either didn't read her piece in its entirety or you haven't watched any of the news coverage.

For those criticizing the inclusion of emotion into the debate, wouldn't that be a lovely thing to follow in general? How many Democrats have been elected due to their plea to emotions, rather than facts? I think it would be lovely to consider the specifics of the recommedations, rather than all the emotion that has been engaged in by those hailing the fact that the report shows the Iraq war as a failure. For many, that proves that the report is gospel (if they believed in such things as gospel, that is). Rather than hear any explanation about how the recommendations could possibly have a snowball's chance in hell of working, I have heard praise for its honesty (ie. Bush bashing). By all means, let's remove the emotion, including the ectasy of those so taken with the negative words for the Bush policy that they can't see how unlikely the recommendations are to lead to anything other than defeat.

Well Lorie I was one of tho... (Below threshold)
Hugh:

Well Lorie I was one of those who don't believe you and I read her piece in its entirety and challenged you to be specific about it.

As to your point about emotion in debate. What the hell do you think Mr Bush and his communications team have done since 9/11? There's plenty to criticize Bush about, but I don't criticize him for that. For god's sake that's one of the main tools of a leader, to rally people. they don't do it by reciting "facts". What do you think Reagan did on a regular basis? "Mr Gorbachov tear down that wall." You can't have it both ways Lorie.

Lastly,I agree. The debate should be about the recommendations and the solution. You mention the word "defeat". Well, it's clear Mr Bush and his policies are leading us directly there. Some of you folks talk as if the current conduct of the Iraq war is successful. That's delusional - even our military leaders and the Secty of Defense don't believe that. Then what i hear here is just keep on killing , or unleash the military or bring in more troops. Sound military advice from armchair generals.

James Baker was the member ... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

James Baker was the member of Bush 41's cabinet that convinced Bush that he could get away with raising taxes even though he had made a campaign promise not to ('read my lips - no new taxes') according to Bill Bennett, who was head of the RNC at the time it occurred.

Baker ... Good judgment ?

Lorie:For those... (Below threshold)
ryan:

Lorie:

For those who don't believe Mary Katharine or me about some being gleeful about the report, you either didn't read her piece in its entirety or you haven't watched any of the news coverage.

I read both of your posts, and yes, I have watched the news coverage of the ISG report. Like the quotes that Ham has in her post, there are certainly a good number of people who are hailing the report like it's the end all answer in Iraq.

I still dont think that "gleeful" is quite the right word though; I think that many people want some kind of change, some kind of solution in Iraq, and they are hedging their bets on the results of this report.

The report, to me, isn't all that ground-breaking. It does have some details about the situation--what different groups are doing and why--that were informative. The recommendations...well, they dont seem to be the magical solutions that some people hope they are, and I certainly dont take them as gospel. There are good things in the report, and not so good things. The one that I disagree with the most is the suggestion to remove troops by a specific period of time; that's just illogical.

But I do think that many people in the general public could benefit from AT LEAST reading the assessment part, so that they gain a little better understanding of the political/economic/military situation over there.

So I understand why you get upset with people who just blindly agree with the findings. I, on the other hand, get a little irritated by people who blindly DISAGREE with the report, even though they clearly havent read it.

jhow66:ryan tha... (Below threshold)
ryan:

jhow66:

ryan thanks for the genius tag-I already new that though--havn't seen anything that had any substance that you posted yet so what would there be to disagree about? Glad you gave me a choice but then what the poo poo does it matter what you give "club" member?

Well, just let me know if I happen to write anything with substance.

Mike:James Bake... (Below threshold)
ryan:

Mike:

James Baker was the member of Bush 41's cabinet that convinced Bush that he could get away with raising taxes even though he had made a campaign promise not to ('read my lips - no new taxes') according to Bill Bennett, who was head of the RNC at the time it occurred.

Thanks for the biographical background, Mike. Now, what specific parts of the ISG report did you read and disagree with?

Lorie:Not to toss ... (Below threshold)
pennywit:

Lorie:

Not to toss too much fuel on the fire here, but what conditions would constitute "victory" in Iraq? My question is about 15 percent sarcastic, but it's also 85 percent genuine curiosity. If we're goint to talk about "victory," I'd like to see what you have in mind.

--|PW|--

Pennywit:Good ques... (Below threshold)
ryan:

Pennywit:

Good question there.

Lorie:

I too would be interested in hearing what your definition of victory in Iraq would mean.




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