Tuesday, April 8, 2008

General Petraeus vs. 2 Men and a Lady

Today General Petraeus reported to Congress the progress of the surge. I watched some of it and made a point to watch our fearless Presidential nominees question the General. There was some comic relief by some protesters causing a ruckus in the back of the room. I know protesting is a right we as Americans enjoy and I am glad we have that right, but I also have the right to say that most protesters are mentally ill. Not because of their politics, but because of the strangeness in the way they choose to make a point. Borderline "Carrie" characters.
The big three all showed up. Hillary, Obama and John McCain were there to question the General in the form of a speech. They all did the token "thank you for your service" comment, although I think John McCain meant it and the other two did not. Why? Because I am voting for him and he can do no wrong. duh.

Hillary Clinton had a hoarse voice and tried to sound respectful unlike the last time she questioned the General. Last year when questioning him, she acted like she knew more than he did and basically called him a liar. Her famous last words were that the General who was in Iraq and reporting non-partisanly (I may have made up that word. I do that a lot) had a "willing suspension of disbelief" on what was really happening in Iraq. Seems pretty self-assured to know more about military operations when you are a Senator and all you do is say yes or no to proposed laws. This time she tried to sound more humble and "politely" disagreed with the General who again is in Iraq running things. I am not going to lie. I was so stinking bored with her little speech that I barely paid attention to what she had to say. I did catch a blurb about her disagreeing about blah, blah, blah and something to do with a whatchamacallit doohickey timetable question. Sorry I was dozing off just trying to recall what she said. I suppose you could say she said nothing. She really is at her worst when she is trying to portray herself as a nice person. I prefer the wench Hillary to be honest. We know her. Nice Hillary is so creepy. She is like the serial killer who lived next door who seemed like a nice person until chopped up people were found in her refrigerator.

John McCain is not the most exciting speaker either, but I find it easier to listen to him because I agree with him more. That's just the way it is. I am a partisan, I don't dispute it. He said that when we leave Iraq, we should leave success and freedom, not chaos and possible genocide. Though the progress is minimal, progress has been made and more needs to happen before we can rightfully call it quits. It really is the only ethical thing to do. That was not a direct quote but I paraphrased what I got from his little speech. He has more moral authority to speak on this subject than any of the three. He appeared more Presidential to me. And yes I am prejudice.

Barack Obama came in like a rock star and even Joe Biden said that if anyone cheered he would have to ask them to leave. Seriously, enough already with the Obama fan club. Obama was much less of a "hard-ass" than he was last time. It only took him 5 minutes to get to the point of his questioning. This is going to shock everyone but he had to tell us how right he was on voting against the war in the first place. Yep, Obama Nostradamus voted no to the war. Didn't his mother tell him that the "I told ya so, I told ya so" kid is always the most unpopular? It really is annoying and quite frankly who cares. We are all shocked he even decided to show up to vote at the time. He finally gets to his point after someone has to put his arm in a sling from patting himself on the back too hard. He asks the question "Why does the definition of success have to be so high?" The General and the ambassador tried as hard as they could to state that it is too complex to answer in a short time. So Obama strenuously asked the question again and the answer was the same. I don't think it was a bad question. I actually thought it was valid, considering he is pushing for withdrawal under his potential Presidency. I give him kudos for asking a good question. He at least tried to establish some credit to his position rather than treating the General like an idiot who doesn't have a clue. Nice job Barack.

I think all the news agencies portrayed the hearing fairly. The General said it was a "fragile progress" and that much more needed to be done before more troops could be sent home. McCain was right in stating that the conflict was so mishandled that it was at the moment being dug out of a hole and that takes time. One good thing that came out of the hearing was that the General and the ambassador are heading back to the Iraqi government asking for more financial support from them. This was a good point.
For me as a supporter of the war, I feel as though too many people look at the conflict as a mistake because it has been mishandled. I am not talking to people who were against it from the beginning. Consistency has more merit than supporting it and then not supporting it because we didn't kick some ass in 4 months and come home. Iraq is too broad a subject to tackle in this post. Let me just say that if you disagreed with the war from the beginning, fine, we all stipulate that you rule. Now back to earth. We are there. Wouldn't it be better to all band together and say let's look at the situation as it is and not in a vacuum? We can't go backwards.Until Al Gore invents the time machine we are there. Politicizing the conflict to continue to press on the Bush retard button is getting old and we all get it. If you truly believe that coming home is best no matter what the consequences may be, then I can only believe that you refuse to see the full picture. In the words of General Petraeus "War is not a linear phenomenon. It's a calculus, not arithmetic." You can't put a band-aid on a wound that requires 30 stitches. Let's not simplify a complex situation into a political slogan of promises clothed in irresponsibility. Troop withdrawal is too simplistic to shout on the stump as a foreign policy position. It may sound good in theory and tug at our heart strings to bring home our troops, but is it right, ethical and in our best interest. We all have to ask ourselves these questions. Honestly and not politically.


Mike said...

It was nice of Petreaus to confirm that the surge has failed.

I don't think that troop withdrawal is too simplistic. "Stay the course" has given us 5 years of failure. It's time to come up with a new strategy.

Nikki said...

Hi Mike...Oh to the contrary, he said it was working... and I quote "while noting that the situation in Iraq remains complex, difficult and sometimes downright frustrating, I also believe it is possible to achieve our objectives in Iraq over time though doing so will be neither quick nor easy". Though most of the dems tried to get him to go more negative he did not, though he was realistic. Stay the course hasn't been the objective for quite some time. I find it interesting that down the road when Iraq is a mess because of withdrawl most opposing opinion would not be willing to take responsibility for that action. If you sat where the President sits would you really be willing to withdraw cold turkey and ignore possible consequences? :)N

Mike said...

Hey, Nikki. It's nice that Petraeus has confidence that we will be able to achieve our goals at some point sometime in the future. I notice that he didn't say that we are achieving them. Splitting hairs, perhaps.

How much worse would Iraq be if we pulled out? Since we've liberated them, they've experienced the near-total destruction of their infrastructure, the decimation of their already battered economy, lawlessness, sectarian violence, ethnic cleansing, the formation of at least one major terrorist organization, and an increase in the influence of Iran. So what, exactly, are we saving them from?

The only chance for "winning" in Iraq must include a total withdrawal of all US troops. Unfortunately, the conservative media has decided that any talk of withdrawal is the same as surrender, so it's going to take someone with the guts to withstand the political hatchet job to get us out. Hmmm.. Nobody comes to mind. Maybe I should run. :)

namaste said...

"...most protestors are mentally ill." LOL! oh so true it is!

i read your note about seeing no activity on my blog all day. that's how i feel when you're missing in action too. i'm gonna have to take a pass on this war debate. you already know how i feel about the war. and you know how i love debating- NOT! all the members of the big 3 appear to be as tired of themselves and campaigning as we are. god love em!

call me anytime, girlie. we're due for a chat. hugs!! :D ~m

Nikki said...

Mike, conservative media? Ok that is a whole other topic. I think you are right withdrawal is not surrendering but it is leaving things unfinished and ustable. Like I said before I know that if you could go back and NOT go in at all that would be great, it isn't an option. Isn't it better to leave the country in a stable condition? Doing so would make the region a bit more stable as well would it not?? All of the problems you listed are indeed going on, some for thundreds of years before we got there, and that is my point it is all too complex to leave high and dry. And if you run for President and you ask me to be your running mate then I guess I will vote for you...speaking of such a topic Obama/Bloomberg is being thrown around. yuck. sorry a littl ADD...:)N

Maria, It wasn't just you MIA it was the whole blog world and of course I was watching a pot of cold water try to boil. hahaha. I know you hate debating and I appreciate your comment anyway!! chat soon :)N

Khaki Elephant said...

I would note that prior to "liberating" Iraq, Hussein's regime (and I mean Saddam, not Barack) had invaded Iran, gassed their own people, attacked Israel twice, invaded Kuwait, fired missiles into Saudi Arabia, rewarded families of Palestinian suicide bombers with $10,000 stipends, fired on U.S. jets, attempted to assassinate a former U.S. President, established torture cells and rape rooms for political dissidents and wore berets. Since the "liberation" there are additional open schools and universities, curriculum for children that doesn't include continued references calling for the destruction of Israel and the "Great Satan," an electrical grid that provides electricity to areas that have been without it for years, food for the Kurds, actual elections, and fewer berets.

What I really find interesting is that the people who are actually there tend to tell a different tale than those who roll their agenda from Washington and parts unknown. In the last presidential election, while the country was split pretty much 50/50, the military and their families supported Bush by a nearly 70/30 margin according to Zogby. The majority of those putting their necks on the line think we are doing the right thing (Michael Moore's assertions aside). And that 70% tend to tell of a majority of Iraqi men and women who thank them for their service and children who hug them.

No doubt the war has been mismanaged, but we all knew this would be a long endeavor if we were going to attempt changing the paradigm in the Middle East. I happen to believe that we have the strength to do so, I just wonder if we have the will.

Nikki said...

Hey Khaki, thanks for the comment. I have been contemplating an Iraq post for quite sometime, quite frankly it exhausts me to think about it, and I think that most liberals forget that they used to be for the human rights side of war...Bush isn't the best at communicating, but most Americans don't want to hear. If it isn't Africa or the elite causes it goes in the we are against column. Most countries with tyrants would welcome US intervention...Iraq I think does, but the in-fighting is not a result of the war it is a continuation of a previous conflict. Thanks for the great comment and welcome to the jungle! :)N

Khaki Elephant said...

You know, I've also been thinking about writing my thoughts on Iraq but haven't yet for the same reason: it is so exhausting and I have yet to find the energy. Whether you support the actions in Iraq or not, it's tough to put blood and war into words, especially when you know people who are there or have made the ultimate sacrifice. . . as so many do.

Nikki said...

I also have wanted to tackle the oil for food aspect of it...another subject of course. It is soooo exhausting being right all the time!!hehe :)N

Mike said...

Khaki said: "What I really find interesting is that the people who are actually there tend to tell a different tale than those who roll their agenda from Washington and parts unknown."

Interesting. So you're in Iraq, then? No? Does that invalidate your opinions on Iraq? Why are your opinions more valid than those you disagree with? Why is it that I, as a liberal, don't know what I'm talking about because I get my information on Iraq from the Internet, but conservatives who also get their news from the Internet have some crystal clear view of what's really going on over there?

Let's see if I understand your argument: Saddam was evil, so it was OK for the Bush regime to lie us into an illegal war, destroying 90% of Iraq's infrastructure, opening the door for terrorist organizations and warlords, and killing tens of thousands of civilians. Is that right? If Saddam invading other countries is a justification for the war, would you support another country invading the US? How big of a threat to global stability has Bush been?

namaste said...

[dancing a jig] go mike! go mike! it's your birthday! it's your birthday! :D


Nikki said...

I really need clarifying on this Bush lied thing...(this same topic is going on on Mike's page too if anyone is interested click on The Pluribus Driver link) I understand the opposing view, but I don't think the lying claim is fair. Why would Bush lie? :)N

Mike said...

Nikki, I think I'll have to make Bush's Iraq lies the topic of my next post. There's too much for a comment, and I will of course need to document my findings. Stay tuned! :)

Nikki said...

Mike I want to know the motive behind the lies...even a in a court of law when a murderer is being prosecuted, the DA has to prove motive. What is his motive and what has he benefitted? We could dispute all day long the lies. I want to know if you really think he is evil enough to start a war based on what personal gain such as money or whatever. I can see that he has gained nothing. I can accept an argument of he is a retard and can't read an intelligence report. fine. I need motive. Please don't list the lies. I will have to implode. They are all so old. :)N

Khaki Elephant said...

The motive was oil of course. Well, oil and Halliburton's interests. Well, oil, Halliburton's interests and that they tried to kill his daddy. Well, oil, Halliburton's interests, that they tried to kill his daddy and that Rumsfield wanted to. Well, oil, Halliburton's interests, that they tried to kill his daddy, Rumsfield wanted to and that Bush is really dumb. Well, oil, Halliburton's interests, that they tried to kill his daddy, Rumsfield wanted to, Bush is really dumb and the Jews control America.

Khaki Elephant said...

Mike, my point is not that your point is invalid, but that the predominant portrayal on America television conflicts with the predominant portrayal provided by those who are there. It is an interesting disconnect.

I happen to enjoy listening to liberal ideology, it reminds me of my innocent childhood when I believed in the tooth fairy. Just kidding, just kidding. In my opinion it is the dialogue between opposing views that creates long-lived solutions. I would argue that many of the problems in my beloved Detroit are due to the fact that the city government essentially functions as a one-party system. There is no real political discourse there so it is difficult to grow as a community.

Mike said...

Nikki, George Bush has gained nothing from the war. He will go down in history as one of the worst presidents ever, with the Iraq debacle being his crowning achievement. It is unfortunate, in a way, that he is going to be tarred by Iraq, since I believe that he wasn't even interested in going to war, at least not to start with.

Bush's administration has been run by the same group of neocons that worked for his father back in '89-'92. They were terribly upset that Pappy Bush didn't drive on to Baghdad during the Persian Gulf war. In fact, they even went so far as to try and get Clinton to start a war with Iraq back in '98. Once their boy got put into office, they started working him over until he was convinced that God told him to invade.

If you want to know why the neocons wanted to go into Iraq, I'd say look at who benefited from it. Hundreds of billions of dollars to military contractors. Permanent military bases in Iraq. A US-friendly puppet as president. Most important, though, the Iraq war was supposed to establish a "New American Internationalism" as PNAC put it. Reinforce the notion that America is the one superpower and if anyone wants to deny it, we'll stroll in with 7,000 tons of high explosives and 50 million rounds of depleted uranium that says otherwise.

Mike said...

Khaki, I'm not surprised that the soldiers think that we're doing the right thing in Iraq, and that the war is still winnable. What else are they going to think? If someone is dragged out of their cushy job, given a few weeks of training, and thrown into a minimum of 15 months in a meat grinder, they would have to convince themselves that it is a just cause. How can their family say that it's a mistake to be there when every day they have to wonder if their son/daughter/wife/husband is coming home alive and in one piece? I would think that the only way to get through it (for those in country and their families) is to believe that it is a noble cause and is winnable.

That, however, doesn't make it so.

As for your other point, living near Chicago for most of my life, I know all too well how corrupt and ineffectual an entrenched party can be.

Nikki said...

Mike, History is not here yet so unless you have a crystal ball your opinion is what it is, opinion. The same arguments you used to describe the reasons for a war with Iraq could be used to describe Al Gore and his billion dollar industry of "green" movement. He is raking in the dough by using scare tactics and getting rich off of his scientific theory. I don't see that as any different than contractors helping to rebuild Iraq and making money. Going "Green" is also a money maker. The puppet George Bush is a good one. I take it you have been in on the meetings with George and the boys convincing him to attack? And I like how none of these threats are real and how Hamas should be treated with kid gloves. Do you believe there is a terrorist threat at all? It seems as though all Presidents have had to deal with Iraq, but Bush is the one who made up the Iraq rhetoric, when I could post clips all day long from former Presidents and Vice Presidents who called Sadam a terrorist himself. The reason the Iraq topic is so strenuous is because it goes back to a middle east that wants to be as the U.S. only it would be the United States of Arabia, and Sadam was the head of the movement and wanted to be its leader, he started that process with the invasion of Kuwait. The problems in the middle east go back hundreds of years and in my humble opinion taking out the first of a long line of tyrants is a good start. Great job George for having the guts to start a process of liberation. Courageous in my book. :)N

Khaki Elephant said...

Mike, I must say that you gave a rather Obamamian take on American soldiers. If you read the the Pentagon's statistical response to John Conyer's accusations you know that the average American soldier has a higher education level and family income than the average American citizen. They are not simple rubes doing what they're told and believing what they must. They are the cream of our country with the ability to consider their situation with intellectual honesty. To assume otherwise is . . . well, Obamamian.

As for history, if we decide to turn tail now I'm afraid you'll be right. But if we stay the course we can change history. Islamic fundamentalism didn't start after America liberated Iraq. It didn't even start with 9/11. If you're old enough you may recall that terrorism around the globe was standard fair in the 70s, basically until Reagan took office and decided to meet force with force. And then there were all of the attacks during the Clinton administration (the embassy bombings held a special interest for me since my wife was working for the American Embassy in Germany at the time and I was playing third base for their softball team). The threat has been growing exponentially for years and it is time to act. If you get a chance, read Steyn's "America Alone" it's worth the time.

And yes, I understand that Iraq didn't attack the towers in NY, but Saddam's regime was an extraordinarily dangerous terrorist power (see my first post in this string for just a few of their efforts)

Mike said...

Nikki, you asked for the motive, I gave the motive. If you disagree, that's cool. I just calls em like I sees em. Regarding Al Gore, I don't recall seeing him push our country $750 Billion deeper in debt to fund his climate change hoax.

The notion that a democratic Iraq will be the starting point for democracy to spread across the Middle East is one of the lies pushed by the Bush administration that the conservative media hasn't called them on. If we went to war simply to oust a dictator and create a democracy so that it could be a shining example and the rest of the countries will follow, why didn't we just point to Iran, which has been democratically electing its president for a long time, and say, "Hey, Middle East, look at them!"?

I believe there is a terrorist threat. I also believe that it has been greatly exaggerated, and that it cannot be defeated militarily.

Mike said...

Khaki, are you suggesting that soldiers get to decide which missions are honorable and then go or not go, as they see fit? Do soldiers get to decide if they are sent to Iraq? Is there a check point in Kuwait where each soldier is asked, "do you think the Iraq war is right and just?" I know less about the military than anyone, but I know that the people in uniform follow orders, period.

The reason that terrorism went down under Reagan is that his administration started working with the terrorists, thus they weren't called terrorists anymore. For examples of this, see: Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan, Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and the Contra "rebels" in Nicaragua (among others, I'm sure.)

Do you have any statistics to back up your claim that terrorism has gone down because of Bush? According to this 2006 report, "terrorism has surged since 2003."

Nikki said...

Hey Mike, I know you call them like you see them and that is what I like about you. You are a straight up guy and I love that you read my blog and we really agree on very little! :)n

Khaki Elephant said...

Mike, it's true good soldiers do follow orders, but that doesn't mean they agree with them. For example, soldiers followed Clinton's orders to bomb Baghdad, bludgeon Bosnia, attack targets in Sudan and Afghanistan and take action in Somalia but those soldiers didn't vote for him afterward. They did vote for Bush after Iraq.

As for Reagan, he effectively neutered the most vicious terrorist of his time (Momar Khadafi) and stymied the growing Fundamentalist Islamic State (Thank you Jimmy Carter for creating that for us). For a good read on Reagan's role in slowing the growth of terrorism, check out Benjamn Netanyahu's book "Fighting Terrorism." Admittedly, the Reagan administration provided some support to Afghanistan (the support to Iraq is greatly exaggerated by liberals, most of their cash and armament during the 80s came through oil deals with China and Russia) but I've read your blog and know that you understand the global complexity. Sometimes it's an ugly necessity to pit one villain against another and helping the lesser foe. The bloodiest regime in the world, the USSR, was in Afghanistan and had to be stopped. If only things were simple.

As far as Bush, when I speak of his impact on Terror, I'm talking about the impact of terror attacks on American interests. Since "terrorism" is ill-defined when it comes to statistics and can be spun any way you please, I tend to focus on the fact that we haven't been chased out of countries (like Yemen and Somalia) or had effective attacks on U.S. soil since Bush picked up his stick.