Tuesday, June 13, 2006

ROVE, OCCUPATION..."This War Is Real"...

So no Rove indictment...at least not yet...that's unfortunate because you know, he's bad for America.

So Thom Hartmann was subbing last night on the Majority Report and he pointed out that we should start referring to what's going on in Iraq as an "occupation" rather than a "war." Because by accepting the premise that Iraq is currently a war, what follows in most people's minds is that you have two options: win or lose.

But he pointed out that we won the war--easily and professionally, in a matter of weeks. But the occupation is what's killing the most people--ours and theirs. And there are no emotional code words surrounding an occupation. The options there are: stay or leave. To say "the occupation is over" actually sounds good, as Thom pointed out. So let's work on that--we've already won the war, let's end the occupation.

Some Bullshit from a State Congressperson

A conservative friend of mine forwarded me this article from the Jackson newspaper. It's so incoherent and poorly written that I just had to take it apart and send my analysis to my friend. But now I really don't have the heart to, so I'll put it up here. Here's what I wrote as a summary--before I heard Hartmann's comments (the piece is below):

This diatribe from Rita Martinson is incoherent, muddled drivel. She cites two sources to support her “argument”–Vernon Chong and Mathias Dapfner. Chong’s authorship of “This War Is For Real” is in dispute, and even if he did write it, he is no more of an authority on the subject of the Iraq war than anyone else. Likewise with Dapfner–the fact that he is a German publisher does not automatically confer credibility on him when it comes to war in Iraq. Yet she quotes heavily from these opinion pieces, citing them as though they are experts on American foreign policy.

Imagine if there were a similar letter written against the war in which the writer tried to argue that Iraq is becoming another Vietnam. In this imaginary opinion piece, the writer used an opinion piece by Michael Moore as a jumping off point to explain the writer’s point of view. Then later in the article, the writer cited the work of Garry Trudeau in Doonesbury, using it as an example of what the writer is trying to get across. Imagine that, like Martinson, this writer never once cited a fact from a nonpartisan source. Would conservatives take it seriously? They shouldn’t, and neither should liberals.

When Martinson isn’t citing opinion pieces as fact, she speaks approvingly of dropping nuclear bombs on civilians and of stifling Americans’ freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. She never quite gets around to explaining how the Iraq war is similar in nature to WWII, though she tries mightily to make such a case. I imagine that’s because everyone is aware of the similarities between Iraq and Vietnam, and Vietnam became and remains an unpopular war that we lost, while WWII became and remains a popular war that we won.

Martinson’s argument may have some validity, but she does a very poor job of establishing it. She mixes the motives of “Islamists”–in one paragraph, they want to kill all infidels, then, no, they are really fighting a “war on democracy.” Which is it? Her downfall is her failure to cite one piece of data that doesn’t come from the mouth of one of her obviously biased sources. Her piece is propaganda, nothing more, nothing less.

Here's the piece with my critique in bold

Apply the determination of WWII to win war on terror
By Rita Martinson
Special to The Clarion-Ledger

The world is at a turning point. Freedom is being challenged worldwide as never before. It is essential that we in America realize what is at stake.

Yes, we in America must realize that our “freedom” is being challenged by the neocons and the theocons who are currently in power.

Looking back at the end of World War II, we see the bold strikes made by our leaders, the American-led invasion of Normandy killing some 253,700 Nazis and Allied Forces troops and atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasake killing over 170,000 Japanese instantly, caused those forces to realize they were overpowered and they surrendered.

Oh brother, here we go again, comparing the Iraq war to WWII. This would be laughable were it not so offensive. Is Mrs. Martinson suggesting that we should drop nuclear bombs on Baquoba and Fallujah? Let us not forget that the Japanese were making overtures for a surrender before the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And let us not forget that the 170,000 killed were mostly civilians.

Lately, we are inundated by urges of worldwide press and the timid to retreat from the Iraqi war.

One article, written by retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Vernon Chong, notes the string of 11 major attacks on our country's interests since 1979, when Iran Embassy hostages were taken, throughout the 22 years before Sept. 11, 2001. He numbers some 7,581 terrorist attacks worldwide from 1981 to 2001. And all these attacks were made by terrorist Muslims.

First of all, Vernon Chong did not write the piece Martinson is referring to. Second, the “Chong” article does not acknowledge American intervention in Middle Eastern countries (or anywhere else in the world) both before and after 1979. Third, the number of terrorist attacks is not backed up by any source other than the author’s say-so. Fourth, “Chong” never says these attacks were all perpetrated by Muslims, and rightly so, because many terror attacks have been carried out by non-Muslim groups, including by the United States.

We are now at war with these terrorist Muslims, but Chong asks the important questions: Can we lose this war? And: What does losing mean?

We are not at war with terrorist Muslims. Iraq is not and was not a “terror” state–under Saddam, Iraq was a secular country. Also, none of the hijackers on 9/11 were Iraqi or Afghani.

Reviewing the last question first, losing means that we and other free countries will continue to be attacked, as these radicals want us dead, not quiet. By making the U.S.A. impotent, other nations would be picked off, one by one, and their "appeasement" will be translated into "weakness."

This is incoherent nonsense and avoids the real question–what does “winning” mean? Bush has drawn up a “Strategy for Victory” that is intentionally vague and all but meaningless. He says that when Iraqis “build a free society with inclusive democratic institutions,” the U.S. cleans out “areas controlled by the terrorists and Saddam loyalists,” the U.S. helps build “capable and effective Iraqi security forces,”
and the U.S. helps “rebuild their infrastructure, reform their economy, and build the prosperity that will give all Iraqis a stake in a free and peaceful Iraq,” then we can withdraw.

All of those objectives are very subjective, i.e., how prosperous must Iraq be before we can withdraw? Bush doesn’t say. He doesn’t like timetables for leaving, but timetables for staying are fine with him–he implied that the U.S. will be in Iraq until at least 2009, when his successor is sworn in.

As to the first question, losing the war is simple. All we must do is continue to separate and divide our support. Insisting on political correctness in profiling terrorists, holding anti-war demonstrations, constantly criticizing our president and his Cabinet, and giving prisoners of war privileges of defense all help undermine the effort to bring freedom to Iraq. And we will lose.

Here Martinson fulfills her opening statement and proves that freedom is “being challenged” here in America. Without saying it directly, she is advocating the abrogation of American’s rights to free speech and free assembly and is suggesting that we break internationally accepted norms of behavior. In short, her whole philosophy is anti-liberty, anti-constiutional, and anti-American.

When that happens, the Muslim terrorists will have gained their mission: to kill all infidels - all non-Muslims, not just Americans.

This is an unbelievable conclusion–that if America “loses” the Iraq war by exercising our bedrock civil liberties, we will have signed our own death warrants. This is the worst, most offensive kind of fearmongering–i.e., exercise your right to free speech and you’ll kill us all.

An article written by Mathias Dapfner, CEO of the German Publisher Axel Springer AG, places blame on the timidity of Europe in the face of the Islamic threat. In it, he names many of their cowardly acts, such as standing by during the Nazi war crimes; helping to legitimize Communism in the USSR, East Germany and the rest of Eastern Europe; and watching Kosovo's crimes of genocide.

Dapfner writes disgustedly of Europeans standing by while Saddam Hussein tortured and murdered over half a million of his own countrymen. He commended Ronald Reagan and George Bush, the only two recent presidents he considers courageous, for standing firm against terrorism for Americans and the rest of the world.

Here Martinson really shows her incoherence and complete misreading of history and complete misunderstanding of reality. And actually, her misunderstanding is really someone else’s, this Dapfner person. The idea that Reagan and Bush “stood firm” against terrorists is laughable–was Reagan standing firm against terrorism when he withdrew from Lebanon after the “terrorist” attacks there? Was Bush standing firm against terrorism when he did not remove Saddam from power in the first Gulf War? Was Reagan standing firm against terror when he aided the contras, or when he played both sides in the Iran-Iraq war? Was he standing firm against terror when he sent Donald Rumsfeld in 1983 to assure Saddam that he was still our boy?

Bush has only the Social Democrat Tony Blair by his side in recognizing the danger in the Islamic war on democracy. Dapfner calls out: "Europe, thy name is Cowardice! God Bless America!"

Now Martinson is letting her confusion really show–here she says the Muslims are fighting against democracy. Just a few paragraphs earlier, she was trying to convince us that Muslims are at war against infidels. Which is it?

And by the way, negotiating and using diplomacy are not “cowardice” or “weakness.” Compromise is not weakness, it is fairness.

Some in this country call the president to task for putting us in the war with Muslim terrorists. There are those who infer Saddam has not been proven to be connected to the terrorist movement, who don't recognize he clearly terrorized his own people, invaded Kuwait, hid WMDs from the time Desert Storm ended. Some say the president has "led us into the wrong war, at the wrong time and with the wrong enemy," and some Americans would like to join hands with the timid Europeans to stay out of harm's way.

These I would call cowards to the third degree. This war is for real, and to quote Gen. Chong, "to get out of difficulty, one must go through it." Hopefully we can do so with the unity and boldness of our country's leaders from another wartime, and with their success.

Again, Martinson really has blinders on when it comes to these issues. Many calling for the end of the war in Iraq are “our country’s leaders from another wartime.” Many are conservatives–true conservatives, not neocons or theocons.

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