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Prior to opening the cesspool, in the interest of full disclosure, let me put the cards on the table in the usual fourth grade pissing match way, and then I'd urge we have a discussion beyond those terms:
- I do believe we went into Iraq for no justifiable reason
- I do see that our Iraqi campaign did not address a live threat against the US
- I also see that our Iraqi campaign served as a recruitment tool for those who oppose the US
- And, I have seen open-source (publicly available) U.S. intel documents (yes, the kind you just google,) which SPECIFICALLY examined the likely outcomes of an invasion, and which said that the Iraqi security forces had no present ties to Islamic extremists... but might CREATE such ties, and possibly be subsumed by such elements, in the case of invasion.
In other words, yes, I agree with Obama that we should never have invaded. I count myself relatively capable of holding unpopular views. But I remember at that time saying, "Yes, if all that stuff's true, we have to hold our noses and do it... but that stuff BETTER be true." So I do think that he demonstrated pretty good judgment by being among the small minority who stuck to their guns and opposed that invasion.
BUT, I am not starting this thread to discuss Obama vs. McCain. Just laying out for all and sundry where I come to this from.
What I want to discuss is what role we think the military should play going forward, and what role diplomatic initiatives should play going forward.
Should diplomacy have a "bad name" in Washington?
Most recently, we sent high-level state department folks to Iran, said that they're not there to negotiate, and then said the Iranian responses to our envoys were an effort to "buy time."
Huh? Did we just say they non-negotiated in bad faith?
Pardon yet another personal viewpoint.
The overall point is:
1) Going forward, should diplomatic initiatives play a larger role in US foreign policy?
2) Going forward, should we deploy more, fewer, or about the same number of troops on other people's soil?
3) If (2) is "same" or "more", how?
My viewpoint is this, as regards our current choices:
McCain wants to exploit the only bright spot in the demographics, the evident belief on the part of the electorate that he's good at foreign/military policy. Obama is trying to counter that.
As in all things general election, the two must drift toward the center. On Obama's part, that means he must show "more" tendency to invade people, since he started out as the anti-war guy. He's also playing "defense" on foreign policy because McCain, for better or worse, was perceived as the foreign policy guy.
The outcome: as many of my friends here on the right have said, Obama was first to talk about deploying more to Afghanistan than Iraq, based on the idea that the actual target (OBL et al.) were last seen there.
Many here allege that Obama wants US troops in Darfur, but I have seen no reports of numbers. I would not be against intervening to stop a genocide there, rather than apologizing for not doing so (see Rwanda.) But again: How many troops, for how long?
Our recent discussions do raise a salient point:
What, precisely, is the "right" level of US military intervention worldwide?
The level we have now seems to be capable of standing obligations, one major occupation (Iraq) and one minor war (Afghanistan) at the same time. This is about the breaking point, including mobilization of the National Guard and reserves, and repeated redeployments beyond customary expectations.
So to go beyond this level of overseas intervention capability, we would need to create larger numbers of boots on the ground. I personally would say we have already tried the "join the army go to college, here's a thousand bucks for signing" routine, and are at the point where a draft would be necessary.
Let us speculate the scenarios:
1) Puppy dogs and rainbows are seen everywhere, and people just love everything American. There is no need to pursuade in so vulgar a fashion as boots on the ground. We clean up a little bit in Afghanistan, the sun comes out in Iraq and stays out, a little prod and the Sudanese behave. Nothing else happens anywhere ever.
In other words there is no reason to continue our current level of involvement anyway. Anybody's policy will do.
2) Incidents of People We Don't Like continue to pop up everywhere. We keep our all-volunteer armed forces, so we can continue to pick off the People we Really Don't Like at any given time, but that prevents us from going after another guy if we really don't like him. (I.e., we get bogged down in Iraq, can't go after OBL; If the Iraq guys end up in Afghanistan, we may be able to squeeze in Darfur, but shouldn't we also hate Iran...? yadda yadda yadda)
3) The situation is fluid (as it is) and not static (as scenarios 1 and 2 dictate), and we actually cause more People We Don't Like to pop up, when we go after People We Started Out Not Liking. Of course, whether we have a net gain of People We Don't Like from this undertaking is not a settled question.
Given the possible scenarios, it would seem that the best way to make sure that we can militarily engage Everybody We Don't Like, is to re-institute the draft.
What's the sense of this forum on re-instituting the draft?
What's the sense of this forum on the notion that we can't solve every problem militarily?
What role does diplomacy play? Is it a tool that includes comprimise, or simply a system of threats that enduces People We Don't Like to change their ways, because we MIGHT get around to invading them soon?
Finally, and really the root big-dog question:
Should the U.S. regard itself as one of a number of powerful international players, or as the single pre-eminent superpower? Are we the policeman of the world? Beyond that, if it serves our interests, are we entitled to be a bad cop from time to time, if we're not getting our donut? Or does accepting the "policeman" role imply that we are not entitled to act on purely selfish grounds?
I figure a lot of our bickering is based on hating this, hating that, attacking this, attacking that, but we all have core philosophies and viewpoints on this stuff.
Let's start out on that, and then descend into bickering some more.
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My core philosophy has been called out-dated by those who believe that the US and our view of ourselves is the unquestionable authority on what is right and who is good. Any society that believes that - while having to co-exist with other societies who deny that philosophy - is doomed to unending conflict and, ultimately, downfall and corruption. It's that inflexibility and arrogance that runs counter to what we know as truth throughout human history: empires rise and fall, political borders are drawn and are erased, religions and governmental philosophies are devised by men and morph into other religions and philosophies that become unrecognizeable compared to the "original". We are in a constant state of flux. Given that, it becomes clear that the best possible goal for humanity is to unite, embrace our commonality, and reject the myths that have been thrust on us by the power-crazed minority of our group.
But here we are....functioning in much the same way as we have for millenia. We ignore the teachings of our greatest thinkers. We revere those who pretend to be "strong" and "resolute" because we refuse to be ourselves. We haven't evolved behond the days of empires and kings as much as we like to think.
Our government has behaved like punks for 50 years. We have lost our moorings and traditions because of fear. We have been told by the corporate military that it is our duty to protect everyone from themselves. We need to indoctrinate them in our ways of democracy and conformity. They can not have the same weapons as we do unless they are too badazz or like us. Above all, they must trade with us and buy our stuff and culture. To enforce that philosophy, we have projected our weapons around the globe into positions that are strike-capable within hours. Today, our array of weaponry is so overwhelmingly powerful and mobile that no one dares reject our demands. We beat up the weak countries with economic sanctions, military destruction, and political isolation. And we wonder where these people come from who want us to go away? So in answer to the selection of scenarios, I see the most likely being, "we actually cause more People We Don't Like to pop up, when we go after People We Started Out Not Liking".
Going forward, we should deploy far fewer troops overseas. My personal opinion is that we should have NO military permanently deployed on foreign soil and we should never dispatch troops without the approval of the people. I understand that that is not realistic now, and it may not be in my lifetime, but I think that should be the ultimate goal. We can and should do it, because the alternative, IMO, is unending exercises in whack-a-mole diplomacy at the point of a gun. That has always backfired in history. We have to be willing to trust other people more than we do. We have to stop buying into the fear the media generates on a daily basis. We have to project ourselves diplomatically as we have in the past. Even if it only works as well as smashing countries with the military, which isn't that well (or efficient) at all, it beats the hell out of washing the blood of innocent children from our national conscience while getting the same result. The great men who founded this country had a vision of our role in the world, and it bears no resemblance to that held by the pretenders we call "leaders" today.
Last edited by wistahpatsfan; 07-23-2008 at 05:40 AM..
We went into Iraq to "Get Saddam" most of the world wanted him dead including Kerry/Kennedy/Hillary etc, we got him but the whole thing turned into a nighmare, we under-estimated those people, regardless of who was getting killed we should have left after Saddam was dead, the hell with the rest of those people if they want to slaughter each other than let them.
America should now stay the hell out of other country's internal affairs, let them all kill each other but warn them well, One Wrong Move Against America And They Will Pay Dearly, let the Crooked UN handle the Savages of the Middle East and the Third World Dumps, keep our military home to guard our borders and our own country.
If our New Messiah President dares to send One American Soldier to Darfur he should be Impeached the very next day and he should leave Washington on a Helicopter just as Nixon did, soldiers dying in Darfur as just as dead as soldiers dying in Iraq.
NO MORE WAR.
Harry Boy (Genius)
In The Absence Of Law And Order Society Will Surely Destroy Itself
The war in Iraq is basically over, so we should draw down as quickly as circumstance on the ground allow. Based on the continuing development of the Iraqi forces and their ability to take care of the situation internally. Does the Iraqi's want some presence as a trip wire against Iranian interference?
In Afghanistan/Pakistani tribal regions, the Pakistani's are claiming there are 10k foreign fighters (ie Al Queda) in the tribal areas. This could be Al Queda's last stand. We should talk with the Pakistani gov about the ability to do 'hot pursuit' in the event of attackers going back across the border from Afghanistan. Also special ops and predators working to hit Al Queda targets in the tribal regions. Don't know how youtake out the reported training camps in the tribal areas?? Does the gov allow limited ops that neither side acknowledges??
Based on talk with Pakistan that defines (whether public or not) the rules of engagement, let Patraeus develop the strategy to destroy Al Queda.
Syria has signaled that they would be willing to separate from Iran. We should look to diplomacy and carrots to engage Syria. In particular try to get them to neutralize Hezbullah. The downside to that is leaving Assad in power.
Iran is the biggest problem. They have blown off the Europeans in terms of trying to work with them to stop their efforts to enrich Uranium. The wild card is how the Israeli's will react if their intel indicates Iran is close to getting nuclear weapons. That could be very dicey. I hope we are helping those who seek to over throw the gov internally.
Ideally we can get some time to rest our military which has had a lot of demands on them since 9-11.
"Some guys play in all-star games, some guys don't. I don't know who picks all those all-star teams. In all honesty, I don't know who picks the combine, for that matter," Belichick said. "How does (Miami-Ohio offensive lineman Brandon) Brooks not get invited to the combine? How did Vollmer not get invited to the combine? I don't know. We can't really worry about that. We just have to try to evaluate them the best we can."
BTW, as long as we have troops in harm's way, far from home and family overseas, there should be a draft. No family, school, work or class exemptions. No letters to the draft board begging the rich kids out. The draft age should be from ages 18 to 38. Men only. We'll then see how many chickenhawk cheerleaders we're left with in the media and Congress after a month or so.