Saturday, February 24, 2007

What if we win?

Could the President’s new path forward be working? There are some early signs of success, but it is still too early to tell. There have been some significant clashes between US forces and insurgents, militia leaders have fled or gone underground, and the Iraqi government is saying that there has been a decline in the number of dead bodies the police forces are finding each day. At the same time, the terrorist are now using their own form of a dirty bomb.

I think whether you believe in the surge or not, most people hope and pray it works. Americans want success in Iraq. Americans don’t like to loose. Based on the comments from many Democrats, I wonder if the Democratic Party wants success, or is hoping for a defeat. The Democrats have announced they are going to try to prevent reinforcements from going to Iraq; and they are going to try to prevent the President from doing what he thinks he needs to do to win. To me, that doesn’t sound like the Democrats want a victory in Iraq. They either want defeat, or at best, just want us to leave. Which brings the question, what happens to those Democrats and Republicans who are against the war right now, and against the President’s new path, if we do win?

Most Democrats and a few Republicans seem to be betting their political career on a failed war in Iraq. I believe these elected officials are doing everything in their power (knowingly or not) to bring about the same end to this war that Vietnam suffered from. The US didn’t loose in Vietnam, we gave up. In Iraq, we can win, but we will have to stay with it, probably into the next presidency.

If the President’s policy works, then those Democrats like Murtha, Reid, and Pelosi who are doing everything they can to try and bleed our forces dry will be in a tough spot. In an interview this week, Vice President Cheney pointed out we have had successes in Iraq. We have removed Saddam from power. We have had elections in Iraq. There is a constitution written in Iraq. Saddam had his day in court, and was executed. If we are able to defeat the terrorist and insurgents now battling us in Iraq, and leave Iraq with the democratically elected government able to handle its own affairs, then we will have done something incredible in Iraq. The Democrats (and some Republicans) will be on the record saying there is no way for the surge to work. They will be on the record saying we should run away from Iraq. Will that affect their re-election chances? Will it affect the chances of a Democratic Nominee winning the White House in 2008 or even in 2012?


Matthew said...

Andy - once again I feel I must accuse you of being overly simplistic.

You said that the "US didn’t loose in Vietnam, we gave up". Really? What would a loss have been? EVERY American soldier dying in the jungle? Perhaps the North Vietnamese annexing California for their troubles?

We LOST in Vietnam because we entered a military conflict and eventually recognized that the value in withdrawing far outweighed the consequences of fighting. We lost the war, Andy, but we won back American lives and a small piece of our national pride.

And, uh..."there are some early signs of success"? Our soldiers have been doing great things every day since arriving in Iraq -- training Iraqis to defend their own country, disarming IEDs, restoring infrastructure, etc. Our soldiers are heroes, and to claim that any Democrat wants them to fail is about as insulting as calling our mothers a c*nt. But for every reassuring success the brave men and women have achieved, there have been too many nasty failures. Two IEDs are armed every time we remove one; suicide bombers strike with frequency and intensity against military and civilian targets alike…do I really need to continue? It makes me sick!

Choosing to look at only their successes is a great way to feel good about the troops, but I argue that refusing to see their failures (or, more accurately, the failures of their military and especially civilian commanders) is dangerous and dim-witted. And that, my across-the-aisle friend, is called not supporting our troops.

RoseCovered Glasses said...


Politicians make no difference.

We have bought into the Military Industrial Complex (MIC).

Through a combination of public apathy and threats by the MIC we have let the SYSTEM get too large. It is now a SYSTEMIC problem and the SYSTEM is out of control.

I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak.

There is no conspiracy. The SYSTEM has gotten so big that those who make it up and run it day to day in industry and government simply are perpetuating their existance.

The politicians rely on them for details and recommendations because they cannot possibly grasp the nuances of the environment and the BIG SYSTEM.

So, the system has to go bust and then be re-scaled, fixed and re-designed to run efficiently and prudently, just like any other big machine that runs poorly or becomes obsolete or dangerous.

This situation will right itself through trauma. I see a government ENRON on the horizon, with an associated house cleaning.

The next president will come and go along with his appointees and politicos. The event to watch is the collapse of the MIC.

For more details see:

Andy D said...

Matthew, there is only so much space here. However, we could have won Vietnam. The Congress chose not to. They withheld funding and what happened in Vietnam is the result. I don’t believe many people have a lot of national pride about Vietnam right now. Study your history.

I said there are some early signs of success. I did not say that we are about to win the entire thing and I did not say that things were perfect. I assume that anyone reading this blog has paid a marginal amount of attention to the news and is well aware that we have had setbacks in Iraq. Murtha has said he is going to introduce a bill that will make it impossible for any more troops to go to Iraq. If Murtha isn’t willing to give the troops in country any replacements or reinforcements, what does that sound like to you?

I have heard from soldiers in Iraq that we have some 50 convoys a day. Of those convoys, most are anywhere from 5 vehicles and up. On average, two or three of those vehicles MAY get hit by an IED. While that doesn’t say things are perfect in Iraq, it does say things are better than what the media or the Democrats would have us believe. There are bad things going on in Iraq, and like you said, there are good things as well. Does that mean we should give up and run away?

As a final note, I don’t approve of insults to individuals on this site or foul language. If you can’t make an effective argument without resulting to insults, you really aren’t welcome to comment on here. If you can comment and stay civil, then I welcome you to post here regardless of your political beliefs.

familyman said...

Hey Andy, a couple questions -

You say we didn't lose in Vietnam, we gave up. In war, what is the difference between losing and giving up?

You say we can win, but we will have to stay with it, probably into the next presidency. But what happens if we haven't won by the end of that presidency, do we stay with it into the next? And the next? Where do you draw the line?

Andy D said...

All very fair questions.

The difference between loosing a war and giving up a war is whether or not you were beaten on the battle field. We weren’t beaten on the battle field in Vietnam, we lost the will to fight here in America, and because of that we left the battle field. The North Vietnamese were then able to take what they couldn’t get with a battlefield win.

How long do we stay in Iraq? I think that is a very tough question. I don’t think we should be there until the end of time, but I do think we will probably have a troop presence there for quite some time. My definition of winning in Iraq is when the Iraqi government is able to police themselves and defend themselves with very limited or no help from us. I think when Iraq is able to reach that point, we pull out. However, much like Germany and Japan after WWII, we might have a base or two in Iraq that we have troops at, but I would expect those troops to have very limited if any involvement in Iraqi affairs.

I think as long as we continue to make progress, and there is a potential to win, we stick with the war. We have lost a lot of credibility world wide from withdrawing early from other engagements. Our critics have sited Vietnam and said we don’t have the will to stick with a long war. I think it is time to get some credibility back in that area so that the next group to attack us thinks twice about it.

familyman said...

What do you think about reinstituting the draft? Because if things continue in Iraq the way they've been going for the last few years, the military is going to have a hard time coming up with the soldiers it's going to need.

Andy D said...

I have written before that I think the draft is a bad idea. I still hold to that opinion. Our military is an all-volunteer military and I think that is one of the reasons that it works as well as it does. I have seen and heard comments by many of the leaders in the military and they all say that a draft would be a bad idea because it introduces people who don’t want to be in the military into our fighting forces. The last time I checked (about a month ago) our armed services were hitting their recruiting and retention goals. We may need more soldiers in Iraq, but at this time, I don’t think we need them bad enough to draft them.

familyman said...

When the Democrats were introducing and debating the non-binding resolution you dogged them for not having the guts to introduce something binding and accused them of playing political games. Now that they are talking about taking concrete steps to limit the ability of the president to send more troops, you're basically calling them quitters.

As of last week polls showed that a majority (about 63%)of Americans don't support the surge.

So, are the representatives in congress not supposed to represent the opinions of their constituants? Even if the majority of Americans don't want the surge, congress is still supposed to go along with it?

If Bush says do it, we do it? Damn the American people and their opinions?

Andy D said...

You are 100% correct. When the Dem’s wanted a non-binding resolution, I criticized them for not going all the way. I said if they felt it was that important, they should do something other than a non-binding resolution. I am also now criticizing them for trying to take funding and support from the troops. I criticized them for not following through on what they believed, and now I am criticizing them for following through on what I feel is a bad idea.

I have seen many stats on how many Americans support the troop surge or how many Americans want a new direction in Iraq. I will accept your number. There are times when a representative has to make a decision that may be unpopular, or even go against, what their constituents want. A Statesman understands when he or she needs to follow the desires of their constituents, and when they need to vote based on information that their constituents may not have.

In this case, I believe we give the President the chance to follow his way forward in this war. The Constitution says the President controls how we fight a war. Imagine if Lincoln had to answer to the Congress for every decision he made during the Civil War. A President simply cannot follow the wishes of any collective body when fighting a war. The Commander in Chief has information that is not available to everyone and has to fight the war with that information. During the Civil War, there was a large block of people who wanted Lincoln to make peace with the South and allow them to form their own country. Should he have done that?

RoseCovered Glasses said...

Let's get to the real issues here:

Andy D said...

Did you include the correct link rosecovered?

Matthew Smith said...

To: Andy D
RE: insults and foul language

I encourage you to read my comment again. The foul language in question was used to make a point, and in respect to you and the general tone you have established in this space, I censored myself. I was not calling you or anyone else “the c word”; rather, I stated that saying a Democrat wants the troops to fail is an insult on par with calling our mothers one of the nastiest words imaginable. I suppose I could have written "calling our mothers a ¢$#%", but I chose to be a bit more adult to make my point. While I have no remorse over my word choice, I resolve be more family-friendly in the future.

As far as insults go, the worst things I wrote were that your stance was "simplistic" and the generic Republican talking point was "dim-witted". As you have probably recognized from reading my blog, I toned down my usual fiery tone because you clearly laid out ground rules on your blog (I enjoy insults and profanity, but will always respect the house rules when playing in someone else's sandbox). I think that pointing only to success while turning a blind eye to failure is the greatest disrespect we can show our troops. There are a lot of terrible words that can effectively communicate this belief, but I chose "dim-witted" instead. Is this not being civil? Please clarify.

I appreciate having a forum to disagree with a conservative, as I come across few in my daily life. I appreciate it when you comment on my blog and hope to continue leaving my liberal thoughts in this space. What I don’t appreciate, however, is your insinuation that my arguments rely on profanity to mask their ineffectiveness. That’s not civil disagreement – that’s just an outright lie.

(I can't post here from my office so I apologize for my delay in responding).

Andy D said...

Thanks for the response Matthew. And you are correct, you do have a different tone here than on your own blog, and I appreciate that. Having walked away from other forums that sink into simple name calling on both sides, I am constantly on the watch for it here. If I read more into your statement than you intended, I sincerely apologize and hope you feel free to comment on here when you see something that strikes you.

Simmons said...

We lost in Vietnam. We pulled our troops out and never accomplished our goal. What else do you need before you consider it a "loss"?

Andy D said...

I agree that we lost, but only becuase we lost the will to fight. We never lost on the battle field, only at home.