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Thoughts inspired by a rolling cliche'

Last Saturday, I took a bit of a road trip that took me within a couple miles of the Vermont border. And while on the road, I spotted a car that scored the trifecta of moonbattery:

1) A Toyota Prius hybrid that 2) had Vermont license plates and 3) a "Bush Freedom Countdown" sticker that highlighted Bush's last day in office (January 20, 2009).

That started me thinking about a couple things.

First, how many terrible, brutal, repressive, fascist dictatorships come with expiration dates, like the Bush Reign of (T)Error? It must kinda put a dent in the whole "Help! Help! We're being oppressed!" thing they have going.

Second, I think I see a hidden benefit to the 22nd Amendment. I remember when I was just entering my teens seeing just how much the presidency aged Jimmy Carter. In four years, he look like he put on about 15 years. (I know most of the country felt like his single term lasted for a couple of decades. It's amazing how much suck one man can inflict on a nation in such a short period.)

The stress that being president puts on a human being must be unimaginable. Since the Amendment limiting presidents to two terms (well, technically, ten years less one day at the maximum), I think only one president has had the health and energy and vigor to have stood more than two terms in office, and that's Bill Clinton. Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Reagan? Forget about it. Nixon? Too paranoid at the end. Ford and George H. W. Bush, long shots at best. George W. Bush? I'd give him 50/50 odds at best. Although philosophically, I disagree with the notion of term limits (people should not only get the government they want, but they should have to live with their choices), in this case I think that the backers of that Amendment did the right thing -- but for all the wrong reasons.

Third, I strongly suspect that most of the people who have such stickers (or "freedom clocks" on their web sites) are often the same people who demand a firm timetable for the withdrawal from Iraq. They don't seem to make the connection to the sense of hope and relief they feel knowing the exact moment the Bush administration withdraws from the White House, and the similar feelings the terrorists in Iraq would have if they had such knowledge.

So thank you, anonymous moonbat lady in your Prius. Your "messages" gave me pause for reflection, and some new insights.

But I don't think they're the type of insights that you were hoping for.


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Comments (42)

Normally, I think the use o... (Below threshold)

Normally, I think the use of bumper stickers is stupid. The last time I put a bumper sticker on my car was 1980 and I'm pretty sure it reflected the vast majority's opinion at the time (During the Mariel boatlift). I lived in Key West then and my husband was one of the boat captains held in Mariel Harbor for 32 days by Cuban gunships. And the only time I ever attended a protest was against the Carter admin. over the whole affair. I could tell you some stories.

The sticker said "TO HELL WITH FIDEL"

Jay, I also return... (Below threshold)


I also returned from a trip. I traveled to Fort Benning last week and watched my son graduate from Basic Training.

Every place we ate or shopped, someone there thanked my son for his service. The bumper stickers that I saw included things like "Freedom Isn't Free" , "Support Our Troops", and the like that indicated support directed at winning the GWOT.

Ironically, like you I pondered questions on my trip. I thought, "what if every community across the fruited plains rallied behind the war effort as this one does".

Where would we be today in Iraq? Those that are doing the killing there know we are a divided nation and use that as a tool to wear down the public support.

A martyr can gives his life knowing it was not in vain because there was some effectiveness by his deed. But maybe the "would be" martyr would take pause knowing there was no other result that more determination of winning by the American public.

But this I know and your hybrid driving moonbat will deny is when her count down ends, that marks the beginning of a positive legacy for President Bush. How do I know this? I know because this will not end anytime soon.

Just as those that supported isolationism during WW2 are insignificant now in the history books because what they said turned out wrong with nothing more to justify.

I obviously don't know whic... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

I obviously don't know which party will win the 2008 election. However, the image of those that you are talking about, having to reset their count down clocks for another four/eight years brings a smile to my face. On a more serious note, it is interesting that the left is always hollering about bipartisanship when they are not in power, but infact all they do is obstruct progress and sit on the side lines waiting to regain power.

Jay, the only way it could ... (Below threshold)

Jay, the only way it could have been more perfect would have been if the idiot had had a FREE TIBET bumper sticker as well.

In the words of that noted philosopher B. Bunny - "what a maroon!"

"Bush Freedom Countdown"</p... (Below threshold)

"Bush Freedom Countdown"

First stage Smug Alert!

Isn't it amazing how angry ... (Below threshold)

Isn't it amazing how angry liberals can suck the life out of....LIFE?

I think Ford could have don... (Below threshold)
observer 5:

I think Ford could have done 2+ terms. One of the healthiest presidents, with a very even temprament.

Saw a bumper sticker on a c... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

Saw a bumper sticker on a cab this morning that said "9-11 was an inside job."

Talk about a rolling advertizment that says, "I'm a moron, don't waste your money riding in my cab."

USMCOn an even mor... (Below threshold)


On an even more serious note, everything bad dems have learned has been taught them by repubs.

"everything bad dems have l... (Below threshold)

"everything bad dems have learned has been taught them by repubs."

And this is where the student outdoes the teacher?

Hughie--someone had to teac... (Below threshold)

Hughie--someone had to teach them SOMETHING as they all are airheads.

Hugh demonstrates the liber... (Below threshold)

Hugh demonstrates the liberal belief that they cannot think for themselves, they need the government to tell them what to think.

I'll tell you what really g... (Below threshold)
Farmer Joe:

I'll tell you what really grinds my gears: The bumper stickers that say 1-20-09, that look exactly like the ones that say 9-11-01. Because yeah, Bush being president is EXACTLY as bad as 9/11.

The bumper-sticker car of c... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

The bumper-sticker car of choice here in Seattle is a Subaru, the official car of lesbians everywhere! And if you're Subraru doesn't have a pro-abortion, anti-Bush, organic-farm supporting, "Pace" rainbow sticker on it, and the driver isn't a woman with a curiously short haircut, then you're just not an official Northwesterner.

(You think I jest, but this is more true than you know! LOL)

It never fails that when I ... (Below threshold)

It never fails that when I see some of these moonbat stickers on cars, the car is always dirty, old, and the person inside (I always look) looks like they haven't bathed in awhile.

I always flash them the "W" sign to irritate them. They're idiots. I like messing with 'em. :)

Well, since this is arguabl... (Below threshold)

Well, since this is arguably the worst congress and presidency ever, I think it only makes since that people would be waiting for an end. Or do you want the incompetance to continue?

I stick with the basics on bumper sticker media. Just the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

"Well, since this is arguab... (Below threshold)

"Well, since this is arguably the worst congress and presidency ever..."

At least until the next time Republicans are in power, right jp2?

Wasn't Reagan the worst?

Wasn't Nixon the worst?

Can we just assume that each Republican rule is the worst!!! ever!!! ?

Ah yes. 'Arguably'. The wor... (Below threshold)
Farmer Joe:

Ah yes. 'Arguably'. The word that means, "not really, but could be, because I say so."

"Ah yes. 'Arguably'. The wo... (Below threshold)

"Ah yes. 'Arguably'. The word that means, "not really, but could be, because I say so."

Well of course it does. There is no way to measure "worst" or "best." But the argument is strong.

My standards are this: in charge of the largest foreign policy disaster AND the largest domestic disaster in the history of our country. Full of failure and incompetence on both. That makes it easy, imo.

Nixon was at the time the worst. Very corupt, moreso than Harding. Reagan, sure he funded terrorists, but he wasn't even close to W.

Well, it's a little soon to... (Below threshold)

Well, it's a little soon to be saying these new democrats elected into power are the worst ever, but you'll probably turn out to be right. Dems in power always prove to be destructive. Good prediction.

I am a conservative, and wh... (Below threshold)

I am a conservative, and while I don't think that Bush is the worst president ever, he is, by far, in my opinion, the worst Republican one we have had since he founding of the party.

In some ways, I think he was a victim of his own devices. His loyalty to his underlings was exploited by them and his ability to have firm convictions that he acted on was so outrageous that Big Media had no choice but to act as if he had advocated killing gays to turn into "soylent green" to feed women thrown in prison for wanting to get abortions. WHy, if people have absolute morals, then some people have to be wrong!

"In the words of that noted... (Below threshold)

"In the words of that noted philosopher B. Bunny - "what a maroon!"" -cmd

Ya know, that's a rather racial comment. It's funny how few people actually know what it means to call someone a "maroon"

From Dictionary.com, check it out:


My bumpersticker:9... (Below threshold)

My bumpersticker:

Yawn. What else you got?

Darby:Only if it's... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:


Only if it's capitalized does the word infer something racial. The entymology per m-w.com is "probably from French maron, marron feral, fugitive, modification of American Spanish cimarrón wild, savage".

Your beef should be within the context cmd used it (which was, I agree, off), not with use.


Your bumper sticker should read: "F***wit on board"

Darby... the joke about mar... (Below threshold)

Darby... the joke about maroon is that Bugs is calling someone a moron while not knowing how to pronounce the word himself. One of many jokes about Bug's NY accent.
Stop looking for reasons to be offended, ya maroon. ;)

jp2 seems to have forgotten... (Below threshold)

jp2 seems to have forgotten about Pres. Carter: History's Greatest Monster.

Carter: History's Greate... (Below threshold)

Carter: History's Greatest Monster.

and chief rabbit whacker!

Aw, Jay, you should know yo... (Below threshold)

Aw, Jay, you should know you're looking at the back of the wrong car! Someone driving a Prius gives a damn about the environment, conservation, and global warming, and is hence a liberal. If you want to find your Bush-Cheney bumpersticker, keep your eyes out for and SUV belching filth into the air, its driver not giving a damn.

@Herman:Here in VT... (Below threshold)
Captain Ned:


Here in VT, the SUV is likely to be the Prius driver's other car. If you want to find a Bush/Cheney sticker, you need to look for American pickup trucks.

jp2 said, My standards a... (Below threshold)

jp2 said, My standards are this: in charge of the largest foreign policy disaster AND the largest domestic disaster in the history of our country. Full of failure and incompetence on both. That makes it easy, imo.

Hey, leave FDR alone. We handled WW2 fine. I'll give you the "New Deal" being the worst domestic disaster in the history of our country.

Oh wait...I'm sorry. Your rhetoric is so alike those of that time, that it is easy to confuse.

Hey hermanie why don't you ... (Below threshold)

Hey hermanie why don't you ask Joe Kennedy (the one that sounds like he is about to cry when he talks) how much fuel his private jet uses each trip to go somewhere to talk about tree hugging.
How many big old SUVs would it take to use that much fuel.Huh?

Petrer F.,You stea... (Below threshold)

Petrer F.,

You steal my car, and I'll smash your f'n head.

They don't seem to make ... (Below threshold)

They don't seem to make the connection to the sense of hope and relief they feel knowing the exact moment the Bush administration withdraws from the White House, and the similar feelings the terrorists in Iraq would have if they had [foreknowledge of when US troops would leave].

The question then is, if the troops stay, what should they do? Or, in other words, where's Bush's plan to bring some peace to Iraq?

I keep on hearing that the troops have to stay no matter what, but I haven't heard anything of substnace beyond that. I haven't seen a feasible plan formed by those who want our military to stay in Iraq. And I know as a ranting moonbat, it's easy for people to dismiss me as somebody who just wants to see the Bush administration get a blackeye, but hey, I've got friends and family in Iraq, too. I certainly don't want to see them come home in bodybags. Give me a decent plan and I guarantee you that I'll support it and still manage to hate Bush at the same time, since I'm a multitasking, unhinged lefty.

But there hasn't been a plan put forth. And the longer our troops stay in Iraq without a plan, the greater the need to pull them out of there becomes.

The question then is, if... (Below threshold)

The question then is, if the troops stay, what should they do? Or, in other words, where's Bush's plan to bring some peace to Iraq?

Ah, yes...another media-misled liberal automaton looking for "a plan".

Here, let me help you with that one. The plan is to do whatever it takes to allow a stable democracy to take root in Iraq. That plan has no timetable, has precious few yardsticks, and could very well mean an American military presence in Iraq for decades--which would not only not be a bad thing, but could be the best thing since the American presence in Berlin during the Cold War.

The initial plan was to win the war. We did that, handily. THE WAR IN IRAQ IS OVER. We are not losing, we cannot lose, and no matter what the weak-willed, weak-minded Democrats say or do, our victory in the war is assured, because we've already won it.

Now we are policing the area (in the best interests of America and the world at large), while a stable, world-friendly government can be properly and completely established in the heart of the Middle East. It doesn't take a genius to understand not only the opportunity for such a thing, but the absolute necessity of it. You need only look at a map of the region.

I wish Republicans/Conservatives would stop talking in terms of win/loss in Iraq. It's understandable when Dem Libs do it--losing is so ingrained in their nature--but intelligent people know better. The war is already won. Now we're there to maintain...and that has no "plan" besides allowing the process to work.

Coolman,I know you... (Below threshold)


I know you think this is 1946 but unfortunately thousands and thousands of folks are dying monthly in this war we won. That didn't happen in 1946. Read the news, even conservative news and you might get in touch with reality.

The "war" we we won was a battle to oust Hussein. Even your boob of a president hasn't gone totally off the deep end and declared the "war" as "won". Well at least he hasn't today, but I suppose there's still time today. What we are in is the middle of a goddamn civil war between warring tribes. Yeah, stay the course. That's the friggin answer.

My bumpersticker has a big ... (Below threshold)

My bumpersticker has a big GOP elephant leading four little ones. The text:

I'm raising my children RIGHT.

Since I live near Boulder, Colorado, home of many, many Subarus and not too many kids, you can guess this stops people in their tracks.

Oh, and Hugh, honey, why don't you prove that "thousands and thousands dying every month" meme. And don't use the AP reports from Jamil Hussein who apparently doesn't exist, and the deaths he reports that apparently don't happen.

The death toll in Iraq is far less than what Hussein was killing every year. Heck, we probably have fewer deaths in Bagdad than his paper-shredder numbers. (And one has to ask: Feet first deaths, or head first deaths, or a combination of both?)

Bonnie "sweetie": ... (Below threshold)

Bonnie "sweetie":

"Lil" "darlin" If you just stopped listening to right wing radio you might now some of the facts. I don't need to "prove" anything. If you are as delusional as George Bush, well then there's medication for that problem. Trying reading and researching and you'll get an accurate estimate.

I know you think this is... (Below threshold)

I know you think this is 1946

No, sadly this is nothing at all like 1946. In '46 America wasn't nearly so populated and manipulated by weak-willed, weak-minded liberals
and other wussies. In '46 we confronted, engaged and annihilated our enemies...we didn't coddle and abet them. In '46 even Democrats had some sense of pride and self-preservation.

This is nothing at all like 1946. America was chock full of heroes in '46.

Now we just have cowards like you and your ideologically unsound liberal brethren. And what a shameful state of affairs that is.


Coolman:Ah, yes... (Below threshold)


Ah, yes...another media-misled liberal automaton looking for "a plan".

So, here we go again? Not that we've ever chatted before, but you catch my drift..

Though, last time I checked, I didn't see any signs of myself becoming an automaton.. Hm. Anyways.

Here, let me help you with that one. The plan is to do whatever it takes to allow a stable democracy to take root in Iraq. That plan has no timetable, has precious few yardsticks, and could very well mean an American military presence in Iraq for decades--which would not only not be a bad thing, but could be the best thing since the American presence in Berlin during the Cold War.

Honestly, Coolman, that's kind of what I was thinking, too. And this plan is also the problem. For the past couple of years, I have said that for victory to be achieved in Iraq (I know, I know, you said that we already won because we toppled Saddam's regime, and if that's you're definition of victory then I can't argue it; it's not my definition of victory, though) we will probably need a few hundred thousand troops in the region. To make a comparison to Vietnam (I know, I know, by throwing out such a comparison now I sound like a real "automaton," but hear me out), South Vietnam was as large as half of New Mexico and at the height of the Vietnam War, the total amount of troops there was 1.3 million. There were the 573,000 American forces, then add to that troops from other countries and South Vietnam's ARVN. That's a lot of boots on the ground in such a small geographic area, and even though we didn't get our asses handed to us militarily, we still didn't achieve the goal of restoring the peace, either. Now fast forward to Iraq, a country a little bit larger than California, which is a few times larger than the whole of New Mexico, and then add into the equation that we have less than 150,000 troops in Iraq. Do the math.

So while I'd like to believe that increasing our military presence by, pulling a nummber out of my butt here, 50,000 troops would be enough to quell the violence, I see no way for myself to believe that. It looks like we're going to need a lot more troops.

The conversation could go a couple ways here. Let's go my way, first.

To sustain a force of, say, 400,000 troops in Iraq (A number which I think is too little, but still), the government needs a plan to procure such a military force. We can't keep these soldiers in the country for extended periods of time and expect them to be happy, either. Tours of duty will end and the boots will have to be replaced with a new pair. So the Army will need to have at least 800,000 soldiers committed to Iraq -- to be safe, I'd make it 1,200,000 to give soldiers one tour of duty every three years. And that's the number of soldier that we would need to commit just to Iraq, but also have in case of an emergency with another country. At this point, the plan to win the peace in Iraq becomes very domestic: how do we raise the strength of the military to such a level? Without making a widely unpopular choice like reinstituting the draft?

The conversation could also go the other way. I'm not the only person thinking about this, everybody has an opinion. You may disagree with everything I have to say here. In that case, I'll assume that you have a different plan to bring about your goals "to do whatever it takes to allow a stable democracy to take root in Iraq". And if it's a good plan, then I'm interested in hearing it.

Automaton out.

tasFirst let me su... (Below threshold)


First let me summarily withdraw my "automaton" reference. I may be struck by a conservative bolt of lightning for saying this, but it appears you're the rare Lib--someone who actually gives thought to a subject rather than simply repeating talking points offered up on a dumbed-down basis and relying strictly on an impossible-to-defend ideology that fails to take simple human nature into account. I have no quarrel with anyone who truly uses his brain to weigh and measure all the facts, and draws his own conclusions. I may wonder at one's brain power when they reach the wrong conclusions, but it's at least a plus to see they've at least tried to think something through.

To further confound you, I'm also not going to disagree with your statement. Based on your logic, you are absolutely correct. However, you're comparing your apples (the fight to stem communism in 60s/70s Asia) to my oranges (the effort to support an emerging government in a keystone location in the present-day Middle East). As appropriate as the Vietnam comparison might seem on the surface, there are myriad differences. The primary of these is that in Vietnam we were facing an organized, state-sponsored enemy supported by not one but TWO world superpowers hell-bent on seeing to our defeat and further aided by a fairly unified home-grown guerilla force for whom we were the only target. Our reasons for being there were suspect at best, and we approached the whole affair in exactly the way you are suggesting now (piecemeal, with a few more troops, a few more troops, a few more troops...); this half-assed effort gave rise to increasing anti-war sentiment at home, and truly initiated the slide into the kind of worldwide anti-American sentiment we struggle with even to this day.

The Iraqi affair doesn't compare. As much as Iran and Syria would like to think of themselves as major players on the global stage, they certainly aren't the USSR and China of the 60s and 70s. As much as the terrorist units and other "forces" in Iraq would like to think of themselves as state-sponsored and organized, they are neither, and more often than not they are their own targets. In fact, the factional fighting in Iraq often leaves us out of the equation entirely. The motivations of these combatants is entirely different from those experienced in Vietnam. The Vietnamese felt they were fighting for their homeland against an enemy invader...and with as many forces as we had on the ground in such a small geographical area, for no measureable reason besides ideology, one can easily see how it would have appeared this way. In Iraq, factions who have been fighting one another for centuries are still at it; our presence neither prevents nor abets this. But the leaders of these factions aren't stupid, and they know the CNN cameras are rolling, so they are going to assert that they are "at war with the infidels" in the hopes that the whole anti-war (at home) and anti-American (everywhere else) sentiments can be brought into play again (and it's working). Realistically though, we're not even a major player on that stage. At most, we may from time to time act as a lightning rod, and in truth this may be a necessary evil. If our presence does nothing more than provide a sort of "sparring partner" for the insurgents while the actual government takes root and gets up to speed, then that in itself is a great accomplishment. If you'd like to have a clearly defined mission "goal", that one is as good as any.

It should also be noted that warfare is vastly different now than it was in the Vietnam era. The Vietnamese were able to effectively employ antiquated, even silly weapons against us, which at the least had the effect of lowering morale in the field and at home (mostly at home). But you pointed out yourself a fact that is almost completely lost in these days of Oliver Stone-ish revisionist history--that we really didn't lose militarily in Vietnam. We simply stopped...gave up...cut and ran..."redeployed"...or as I prefer to think of it, we "pulled a Murtha".

Now fast-forward to today and take a close look at the results of "our" efforts and "theirs" in Iraq. We haven't lost a single engagement. In almost four years of fighting barely 3000 American soldiers have been killed, and the "bloodiest months" (as the liberal media likes to call them) account for American casualties numbering only in the hundreds. By comparison, more than 30,000 Iraqi troops have been killed, and almost 700,000 civilian (which is to say, non-uniformed) deaths have been reported. Take the knee-jerk, peacenik reaction away and ask yourself how the landscape in Vietnam would have changed if we went into that struggle with the armor, weapons and technology that we employ today? YET THE IRAQI INSURGENTS ARE STILL USING THE TOOLS OF WAR THE VIETNAMESE WERE USING FORTY YEARS AGO, or worse. To fix this concept in your mind, ask yourself this--what has been the most effective killing device the Iraqi insurgents have been able to employ? The "improvised explosive device" planted in darkness beside the road--thats right, a kitchen-made bomb that any seventh grader could construct! That's been the best they can do...but CNN makes it sound like they're offering devastating force against us. We haven't lost a battle there, haven't even been seriously engaged there since the end of the actual war, and even counting the "serious engagements" of the actual war itself, we've lost fewer Americans to violence in the four years we've been in Iraq than have been lost to violence IN ANY MAJOR CITY IN THE UNITED STATES in the same period of time.

But I'm straying from the subject. Here's the short answer to the "question", so to speak. The "plan" IS being worked! It is (in its simplest form) to breathe life into a democratically-elected, free-market government that is sane and (as) stable (as a Middle Eastern government can be), and friendly to the United States and the rest of the world, and located SMACK DAB IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BIGGEST HOTBED ON THE PLANET. Our military "plan" is to provide aid, training, and a presence... and in that environment, in today's world, with today's military capabilities, this is enough. The downside is that our troops are going to be called upon in that "lightning rod" capacity I discussed earlier. This puts them in harms way for no clear-cut and measureable purpose, but an important one nonetheless. Anyone who can look past points B and C, clear into Q, R and S can readily see and understand this if they have the intelligence and desire to do so. "Stay the course" seems like a worn-out cliche uttered a couple of thousand too many times by the President--which it is. But it is nonetheless the correct thing to do. And don't forget that we've been "fighting" with the gloves ON for the last several years. Should we ever need to bring hell down upon those people, we can simply slip them off.

Now, here's where the difference between whether we've "won or lost" already is much more than a semantic argument. Because these concepts require some ability to actually think (and often, in an abstract way), and because the majority of Americans apparently can't seem to do that on their own, we have to break the actions in Iraq down to more simple terms. The Iraq war is over. We won. We were victorious because we accomplished the mission goals of the war itself.

Yes, we are still in Iraq, but what we are doing now is NOT war. It's also not "peacekeeping" or any of the other silly things that people will want to call it. We are aiding the elected government, in the best interests of America and the world at large. Yes, soldiers and others are dying, and that is unfortunate. It's also necessary now, in the hopes that it prevents truly collossal warfare in the future. I call it a police action because that's the closest thing it can be compared to, but we're not really policing so much as "having Iraq's back" at the moment--and that's a noble and necessary thing.

Coolman, thanks for recanti... (Below threshold)

Coolman, thanks for recanting on the "automaton" statements. Often political arguments these days can boil down to sloganeering, and I've been on the wrong end of too many of those threads. And, honestly, either end that immediately starts lobbing insults is the wrong end and it's upto the people participating in the discussion to shift gears. I wasn't sure what your response to my comment would be, so I see no reason to fault you for coming at me with labels first. Seeing such is so routine in the blogsphere that it's many people's first reaction these days.

As far as Iraq goes, I'm going to keep this comment brief because I know that neither of us is going to change the other's mind. Debating the military aspects of Iraq, comparing it to Vietnam, and saying who's winning or who's losing... That could be an endless discussion. Going back to Vietnam, it would be correct to say that, militarily, the US did not lose. Not even during the Tet Offensive did we lose militarily. But if we didn't lose, then what's victory? We killed a couple million Vietnamese during that war compared the the just under 50,000 soldiers killed, so if we base our metrics on attrition, then the US military achieved a massive victory. But then you have to take into account the morale of US citizens and the morale of our enemies... With Tet, the LBJ administrationa nd military kep in telling the media that we're winning in Vietnam, they kept setting the public's expectations for a military victory soon, then the Tet Offensive happened and the public said, "Uhm, what the hell?" At that point, it didn't matter that US forces were able to push back the Vietnamese and again take over the positions that they lost during the initial offensive because, before that attack, the expectations we're set by the government and no citizen expected to see such an attack.

With Iraq, before the war started the Bush administration tried setting our expectations by telling us that the war would be a "cakewalk," Saddam had weapons of mass destruction that would be easily found, the Iraqi people would greet us as liberators and easily adopt a democractic government, democracy would spread around the Middle East... When none of this happens, it's tough to go back to the American people and say, "Well, technically, we're still winning." Winning what? And how? Sure, the Iraqi insurgents can't beat us militarily; they can't kill every single last US soldier in the region. But what does that mean in the face of an insurgency that just doesn't seem to quit? Roaming amongest different groups of people who've been at each other's throats for centuries? If we can't lose but can't achieve victory, then what?

I understand what you're saying about just staying the course in Iraq, keeping our soldiers there to take the punches and waiting it out. But I don't think that strategy is going to work. Our soldiers seem to serve as a lightning rod for more than just punches. Since the conflict started, we've seen the Palestinians elect Hamas and Hezbollah starting to further consolodate their power in Lebanon, edging that country closer to a civil war. And with the government in Israel not becoming any less hardline anytime soon (I really have to wonder if Ariel Sharon would have gone to war with Lebanon), it seems to me like we're playing with fire right now. Our presence in the Middle East angers many of the players in the region, and just by staying in Iraq might cause more harm then any good that we're trying to provide.

That said, I can't say that I know what to do about Iraq that will solve all of its problems. I don't think any such solution exists. ANd, honestly, taking a broader vier at Iraq we might be able to say that the civil war there has been a cold war for the past few decades that flared hot a couple of times when Saddam was in power, and really started burning after we took out his government. In retrospect, Great Britain made a mistake after WWI when they drew one nation line around the Kurds, Arab Sunnis and Arab Shia. Saddam's ironfisted rule kept the country together, but the price was a regime of torture and genocide. And even during his regime, the Kurds and Shia were able to procure their own militias. A possible civil war has been brewing in Iraq for a while, a situation that the Bush administration didn't seem to pay much mind to before or after they invaded. Even with our troops still in Iraq for, throwing out figures here, another 5 to 10 years, who's to say that it still won't stop the civil war from taking place and the country from breaking apart? And who's to say that the country breaking apart wouldn't be a good result for the US? If we get a pro-western Kurdistan and we're able to befriend a Sunni state, then two out of three isn't half bad.

I can't argue with much of ... (Below threshold)

I can't argue with much of anything that you've said, because the fact is that neither of us knows exactly what the outcome will be no matter how things go from here. Nobody does, and those who claim to are either collossally arrogant or monumentally stupid, or both.

But here's the thing, as I see it--and this is the only measuring stick I ever use in a situation like this. Let's say that your contention is correct, that leaving may have the same results (positive or negative) as staying. Let's say it's a coin toss, either way.

The only question, then, is...which is the right and responsible thing to do? I believe we were right to go in to begin with. I believe we are right to make the effort to establish some stability in the region. I believe we are right when we say that democracy is better than any other alternative. And I believe it would be wrong to abandon any of those concepts/principles/ideals/"missions"--especially in a cowardly way, or in any way that bows to public pressure brought to bear by people who haven't even considered the situation (and are only spouting the diatribe they've been conditioned to by a terribly biased media).

I also happen to believe that things will work out better in the long run if we stay...but were I to concede that it could go either way, I'd defend my decision to stay the course based on the fact that I truly believe it's the right thing to do.






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