Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Meaningless Thoughts

U.S. sees spike in Iraq deaths

"U.S. military deaths in Iraq have increased sharply in April after reaching the lowest level in two years last month. The increase was fueled largely by recent fighting in volatile Anbar province, west of Baghdad.

The U.S. military said Sunday that four Marines died over the weekend. In the first half of April, 48 American troops died in Iraq, according to Pentagon statistics."

Iraq's civil war is underway

"Despite President Bush's repeated denials, the figures are clear: 900 sectarian killings in a single month in Iraq means a civil war is well under way.

Iraq is a nation of 25 million people. In the United States, that level of killing would proportionately equal almost 11,000 people killed in riots, reprisal killings and sectarian clashes in a single month."

Retired Generals Call For Rummy's Head
One wonders where these guys, other than Zinni, were before the war started. Doug MacArthur, God bless him, had the fortitude to speak the truth about Truman's no-win war in Korea. Shouldn't these fellas have done the same?

In a similar vein, why didn't Colin Powell tell the truth earlier?

"I queried Powell at a reception following a talk he gave in Los Angeles on Monday. Pointing out that the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate showed that his State Department had gotten it right on the nonexistent Iraq nuclear threat, I asked why did the President ignore that wisdom in his stated case for the invasion?

'The CIA was pushing the aluminum tube argument heavily and Cheney went with that instead of what our guys wrote,' Powell said. And the Niger reference in Bush's State of the Union speech? 'That was a big mistake,' he said. 'It should never have been in the speech. I didn't need Wilson to tell me that there wasn't a Niger connection. He didn't tell us anything we didn't already know. I never believed it.'

When I pressed further as to why the President played up the Iraq nuclear threat, Powell said it wasn't the President: 'That was all Cheney.' A convenient response for a Bush family loyalist, perhaps, but it begs the question of how the President came to be a captive of his Vice President's fantasies.

More important: Why was this doubt, on the part of the secretary of state and others, about the salient facts justifying the invasion of Iraq kept from the public until we heard the truth from whistleblower Wilson, whose credibility the President then sought to destroy?"

A fantastic column by Michael Kinsley on the unintended consequences of mindless, meddlesome interventionism--all in the name of freedom, don't forget:

"So, after more than a half-century of active meddling -- protecting our interests, promoting our values, encouraging democracy, fighting terrorism, seeking stability, defending human rights, pushing peace -- it's come to this. In Iraq we find ourselves unwilling regents of a society splitting into a gangland of warring militias and death squads, with our side (labeled "the government") outperforming the other side (labeled "the terrorists") in both the quantity and gruesome quality of its daily atrocities. In Iran, an irrational government that hates us with special passion is closer to getting the bomb than Iraq -- the country we went to war with to keep from getting the bomb -- ever was.

And in Afghanistan -- site of the Iraq war prequel that actually followed the script (invade, topple brutal regime, wipe out terrorists, establish democracy, accept grateful thanks, get out) -- the good guys we put in power came close a couple of weeks ago to executing a man for the crime of converting to Christianity. Meanwhile, the bad guys (the Taliban and al-Qaeda) keep a low news profile by concentrating on killing children and other Afghan civilians rather than too many American soldiers."

Richard Land continues to baptize the war in Iraq. If you can read this without 1) vomiting, or 2) numerous outbursts of uncontrolled belly-laughter, you're a better man than I. Here are a few choice quotes, but read the entire thing if you are able.

On progress in Iraq, Land says that things are going just swell.

" I think that the progress in Iraq has been very encouraging."

So why should we be about the business of waging war for democracy? Land bases his support for messianic warfare on the principle that because as Americans we have been given much, we owe much to the rest of the world.

"But we have been given much. And to whom much is given, much is required. And I believe that makes it incumbent upon us as Americans to help others when we can to secure the same freedom that we have. The idea of American exceptionalism is not a doctrine of empire, it's not a doctrine of domination, it's a doctrine of responsibility and obligation. We have a responsibility and an obligation based upon the blessings that have been showered upon us as a nation and as a people to help others when we can."

Apparently, Land believes that the primary foreign policy error of the 1990's was failing to invade enough countries.

"I argued for intervention in Rwanda. If we had intervened in Rwanda, it would have taken probably 10,000 Marines to save about 750,000 Africans from being hacked to death. I think we're morally culpable for not having done so. I think we should have intervened in Bosnia, and I argued in 1991 that we should have. One of the biggest tests that we face as an international community today is not how we deal with aggression from one state to another, but how we deal with a state that is committing crimes against humanity and is acting in an aggressive way that amounts to genocide against its own people. I argued for American-led NATO or U.N. intervention in Bosnia, and I argued for the same thing in Kosovo."

Since we didn't go into Rwanda, we need to do a little penance and be sure to head into Sudan, too.

"We could stop what's going on in Darfur, and I believe that we should. I would not use American troops, except as a last resort, but I would use American logistics, and I would use American leadership to say, we must do this. This is not the kind of thing that human beings should allow to happen to other human beings in the 21st century. We as an international community must act to stop it."

Even if Iraq devolves into a bloody civil war, we need to stay the course and find "moderate Iraqis" to run the show.

"The consequences of failure in Iraq are horrific for the security of the United States, and for the security of moderate Islamic regimes and moderate followers of Islam around the world. The consequences of failure in Iraq are too horrendous to allow failure to happen. So, I would argue that it must be the policy of the United States to help bring about a stable democratic government in Iraq and take whatever steps we can, along with moderate Iraqis, to ensure that civil war doesn't happen."

Oh yeah, one more thing. If you don't like the Bush Doctrine, it's because you're a racist.

"For me, the overriding argument was always the President's argument that after 9/11, we had to acknowledge that the way we'd been doing business in the Middle East for the last 50 years, under both Democratic and Republican presidents, was erroneous and wrong. We had been supporting fascistic and oligarchical regimes, first in the name of anti-communism, and then in the name of stable oil supplies, but these repressive and terrible regimes were the breeding ground for terrorism.

The only way to adequately address long-term the question of radical Islamic jihadism was to help build stable democracies in the Middle East. The idea that Arabs don't want stable democracies is, in my opinion, at root a racist belief."

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