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Bring them home from Iraq

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I do think that the war has made us safer, but at this point, not enough so to justify its price tag.  Moreover, the primary argument that I accept for how the war might plausibly have made us less safe is a hawkish one, not a dovish one (it drained resources that would have been much better directed at defanging the Iranian theocracy).  Everyone is going to see what they want to see in the mists of "what if" questions regarding how things might have been different had we never taken action in Iraq, though.

 

On the "chickenhawk" moniker, though, that's a duplicitous argument of the highest order.  It attempts to tilt the table of legitimate positions by saying that of the 300+ million people in the country, the only people who should be legitimately allowed to support the war are active duty military (a total pool of maybe 2-3 million); if you're not active military and you support the war anyway, you're a "chickenhawk."  That is a meritless ad hominem argument against millions.  It's also structurally identical to saying that only teachers and students should be allowed to support schools, only police should be able to support law enforcement, and so on.

 

We participate in wars as a country.  They affect all of us.  Anyone is allowed to have an opinion.

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I do think that the war has made us safer, but at this point, not enough so to justify its price tag.  Moreover, the primary argument that I accept for how the war might plausibly have made us less safe is a hawkish one, not a dovish one (it drained resources that would have been much better directed at defanging the Iranian theocracy).  Everyone is going to see what they want to see in the mists of "what if" questions regarding how things might have been different had we never taken action in Iraq, though.

 

On the "chickenhawk" moniker, though, that's a duplicitous argument of the highest order.  It attempts to tilt the table of legitimate positions by saying that of the 300+ million people in the country, the only people who should be legitimately allowed to support the war are active duty military (a total pool of maybe 2-3 million); if you're not active military and you support the war anyway, you're a "chickenhawk."  That is a meritless ad hominem argument against millions.  It's also structurally identical to saying that only teachers and students should be allowed to support schools, only police should be able to support law enforcement, and so on.

 

We participate in wars as a country.  They affect all of us.  Anyone is allowed to have an opinion.

 

How do we de-fang Iran? Are you suggesting the U.S. go to war with Iran?

 

 

 

 

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I do think that the war has made us safer, but at this point, not enough so to justify its price tag.  Moreover, the primary argument that I accept for how the war might plausibly have made us less safe is a hawkish one, not a dovish one (it drained resources that would have been much better directed at defanging the Iranian theocracy).  Everyone is going to see what they want to see in the mists of "what if" questions regarding how things might have been different had we never taken action in Iraq, though.

 

On the "chickenhawk" moniker, though, that's a duplicitous argument of the highest order.  It attempts to tilt the table of legitimate positions by saying that of the 300+ million people in the country, the only people who should be legitimately allowed to support the war are active duty military (a total pool of maybe 2-3 million); if you're not active military and you support the war anyway, you're a "chickenhawk."  That is a meritless ad hominem argument against millions.  It's also structurally identical to saying that only teachers and students should be allowed to support schools, only police should be able to support law enforcement, and so on.

 

We participate in wars as a country.  They affect all of us.  Anyone is allowed to have an opinion.

 

How do we de-fang Iran? Are you suggesting the U.S. go to war with Iran?

 

Not now.  But I certainly would never rule it off the table.  Unfortunately, both the military and the Treasury have been drained by the Afghanistan and Iraq missions, and Iran knows it.  Nevertheless, we do retain surgical strike, cyberwar, and covert operational capabilities that absolutely should be dedicated to neutralizing the Iranian nuclear program before it can obtain a fission weapon.  American allies both within and beyond the region may also have similar or complementary capabilities.

 

Anyone who believes that the Iranian nuclear program is entirely for peaceful purposes is either incredibly naive or simply on the wrong side.  Anyone who believes that a nuclear-armed Iran is an acceptable international security environment is kidding themselves even more.  It's not just that the Iranians would use those weapons--it's that many of Iran's regional rivals would also feel the need to go nuclear as soon as possible.  American security guarantees are disappointingly unreliable (no one wants to be the next group of Iraqi Kurds) and will never be accepted by regional rulers as an adequate substitute for nukes that they actually control.

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Anyone who believes that the Iranian nuclear program is entirely for peaceful purposes is either incredibly naive or simply on the wrong side.  Anyone who believes that a nuclear-armed Iran is an acceptable international security environment is kidding themselves even more.  It's not just that the Iranians would use those weapons--it's that many of Iran's regional rivals would also feel the need to go nuclear as soon as possible.  American security guarantees are disappointingly unreliable (no one wants to be the next group of Iraqi Kurds) and will never be accepted by regional rulers as an adequate substitute for nukes that they actually control.

 

You could make all those arguments for Pakistan and North Korea, but we're not invading them any time soon. And you could really make those arguments for Russia 50 years ago, but just imagine the catastrophe had we invaded.

 

Also, to an earlier post, the term chickenhawk is perfectly appropriate for the spineless, egotistical maniacal politicians who get so worked up about putting more money into the military and sending troops to questionable and often unnecessary missions despite no personal stake. There are many profiteers and promoters of America's wars, generally but not always Republicans - Cheney, Limbaugh, Gingrich, Bachman - who are so eager to send Americans into battle yet would never in a million years even consider doing the same. They are the worst kind of American, the fake patriots, and chickenhawks frankly make me physically ill. They really should be called chicken$hitts cause that's what they really are.

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America's 100 million Republicans did not support the war in more than words.  The young among them certainly did not volunteer in numbers that indicated support.  Rumsfeld enforced "stop loss" to keep active duty soldiers well past the end of their enlistments.  Rumsfeld called up people who had been discharged years ago by the seldom used "inactive reserve" provision.  Navy seamen were forced into the Army to drive trucks in convoys in Iraq.

 

I am quite sure that nobody on this thread talked any of their young family members into enlisting back in 2002-2004.  Despite the fact that our freedom needed to be "defended"*.

 

*There may be some sarcasm in this post.

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America's 100 million Republicans did not support the war in more than words.  The young among them certainly did not volunteer in numbers that indicated support.  Rumsfeld enforced "stop loss" to keep active duty soldiers well past the end of their enlistments.  Rumsfeld called up people who had been discharged years ago by the seldom used "inactive reserve" provision.  Navy seamen were forced into the Army to drive trucks in convoys in Iraq.

 

I am quite sure that nobody on this thread talked any of their young family members into enlisting back in 2002-2004.  Despite the fact that our freedom needed to be "defended"*.

 

*There may be some sarcasm in this post.

can you tell us where you got your statistics about party affiliation among military personnel?

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If anything you say is true boreas, than reinstituting the military draft seems appropriate to help protect your rights.

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If you're in the Middle East and hate freedom, it would probably be a lot easier to attack Europe. Hell, attack Russia. They're free now and they're poor. India is also a free country that's somewhat close by. Japan is a free country not much farther than the U.S. that doesn't have a fully functioning military. A lot of these countries have laxer drinking, drug and sex laws than we do! And, they loan out tons of money while collecting interest.

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If you're in the Middle East and hate freedom, it would probably be a lot easier to attack Europe. Hell, attack Russia. They're free now and they're poor. India is also a free country that's somewhat close by. Japan is a free country not much farther than the U.S. that doesn't have a fully functioning military. A lot of these countries have laxer drinking, drug and sex laws than we do! And, they loan out tons of money while collecting interest.

 

The "hate freedom" trope is shallow and used more by the antiwar ilk to mock defense hawks than actually used in serious policy circles.  It contains a grain of truth, however: the mere existence of a hyperpower that is not only non-Islamic but treats religious pluralism as a foundational principle is a threat to the legitimacy of their ideology.  It has to seriously grate on them that the mightiest power on Earth is governed almost entirely by people who would be <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhimmi">dhimmi</a> in a sharia state.

 

I'm still not convinced it's the role of the U.S. military to try and protect that region of the world.

 

There is certainly some truth here; we don't have the will or the resources to be the world's policeman.  However, it is absolutely the role of the U.S. military to protect American interests in that region of the world.  A non-nuclear Iran is one of those interests.

 

Also, to an earlier post, the term chickenhawk is perfectly appropriate for the spineless, egotistical maniacal politicians who get so worked up about putting more money into the military and sending troops to questionable and often unnecessary missions despite no personal stake. There are many profiteers and promoters of America's wars, generally but not always Republicans - Cheney, Limbaugh, Gingrich, Bachman - who are so eager to send Americans into battle yet would never in a million years even consider doing the same. They are the worst kind of American, the fake patriots, and chickenhawks frankly make me physically ill. They really should be called chicken$hitts cause that's what they really are.

 

Would you want Cheney to have your back in a firefight?

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Iran is coming for your guns and bibles, Dan!  Hide in the bomb shelter ASAP

 

My house was built in 1960. It has what I assume is a bomb shelter in the basement!  Foot thick concrete walls and steel framed door!  I'm heading there now!

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Iraq Troops Return in Time for the Holidays

 

One of the last large groups of soldiers comes back to its base in Washington on the last charter flight from Iraq.

 

Slide show: http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,2101760,00.html#ixzz1fsmEx5gx

 

http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,2101760,00.html?iid=pf-article-moreontime

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President Obama met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Monday to discuss the end of the Iraq war and the steps necessary to realize a new phase in the relationship between the two countries.

 

Since the President has taken office, nearly 150,000 U.S. servicemembers have left Iraq, and hundreds of bases have been closed. Before the end of the year, the last of our troops will cross the border and return home. After nine years, the war is over.

 

The President and the Prime Minister met at the White House -- first for a bilateral session in the Oval Office where they were joined by Vice President Joe Biden, then for a joint press conference.

 

Before answering questions from reports, President Obama said:

 

Today, I’m proud to welcome Prime Minister Maliki -- the elected leader of a sovereign, self-reliant and democratic Iraq. We're here to mark the end of this war; to honor the sacrifices of all those who made this day possible; and to turn the page -- begin a new chapter in the history between our countries -- a normal relationship between sovereign nations, an equal partnership based on mutual interests and mutual respect.

Iraq faces great challenges, but today reflects the impressive progress that Iraqis have made.  Millions have cast their ballots -- some risking or giving their lives -- to vote in free elections. The Prime Minister leads Iraq’s most inclusive government yet. Iraqis are working to build institutions that are efficient and independent and transparent.

 

Nearly 4,500 Americans lost their lives in the Iraq War. After the press conference, President Obama and Prime Minister Maliki visited the Arlington National Cemetery where they participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

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Thanks to Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur and Congressmen Dennis Kucinich, Sherrod Brown, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Tim Ryan, and Ted Strickland who showed real courage and voted against the Iraq War resolution.  Thanks to Trinity Cathedral and Christ is King Church for hosting the anti war rallies.  Thanks to Mayor Jane Campbell and State Representative Mike Skindell for speaking out against the war nine years ago.  Thanks to Cleveland Councilman Jay Westbrook for his speech against the war and thanks to Cleveland City Council for passing a resolution against intervention before "we" went in.

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Yes, in spite of those who voted against it, President Bush successfully waged war against Saddam Hussand made today possible! 3 cheers for the Bush administration!!

 

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Looks like our "allies" in Iraq are pretty happy with our troops coming home too.

 

 

http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/12/14/hundreds-in-fallujah-burn-u-s-flag-to-celebrate-troops-pulling-out-of-iraq/

 

Hundreds in Fallujah burn U.S. flag to celebrate troops pulling out of Iraq

 

"Hundreds of Iraqis set alight U.S. and Israeli flags on Wednesday as they celebrated the impending pullout of American forces from the country in the former insurgent bastion of Fallujah."

 

Kind of reminds me of our Palestinian friends partying on the streets after 9/11, then badly lying about the footage coming from a football game. Good to see we're still spending so much money on those INHUMANS.

 

 

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A few weeks ago on a different site someone asked "was it worth it?", this was my response.

I don't know if it was worth it for the country.

 

I know that Clinton was President when I signed up, and no one knew who Al Qaeda was. I know that I reenlisted after 9-11 "to get Bin Laden" in what I considered a justified war. I know that I wasted a total of 445 days removing a dictator and looking for WMDs in a country that didn't attack us and had allowed inspectors in to show that they didn't have WMDs.

 

I had friends hurt (thankfully just hurt). I saw several marriages destroyed by the separations. I got to see a 22 year old kid sitting at a computer in Baghdad open an email with the first pictures of his newborn daughter 3000 miles away. I sat beside an 18 year old when he was told by a chaplain his mother didn't make it and had died ("but you get to go home for her funeral"). I saw an 8 year old Iraqi boy, that I had given a stick of gum to earlier the same morning, take his last breath after a car bomb literally tore him in half (I'll never forget how much blood came from a body that small). I saw an insurgent try to pray to his god not too differently to how I prayed to mine, after a bullet that I fired wounded him (he died later that day from his wounds). I saw myself and my friends changed in ways that I don't want to think about. I saw my love, respect, desire to serve my country disappear. I still wake up now and then thinking about that place. 

 

Was it worth it? I'll let someone else answer the question on behalf of the country. I think I know too much about what was spent to accomplish the ends to be able to compare it to "gains" that come from the war.

 

Again, more died on US roads in a few months time.  Its a tired arguement for an all volunteer army.

I don't cheer for roads either. And while I proudly volunteered to serve my country and defend it against all enemies both foreign and domestic, it's really hard to legitimatly consider the Iraqi people a threat that needed defended against. Saddam was an a-hole, and I do think that he eventually needed to be removed from power, but there was no need for the US to do it. And even if we did have to do it, I think we've seen several examples in the last few years of ways to take someone out that don't require an all out war.

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^^Your empathy for our troops is stunning.

 

And stop-loss has changed the fundamentals of an all-volunteer army. In short, it's not.

 

 

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I understand the point about stop-loss, but also understand that that is part of what a volunteer volunteers for.  Nevertheless, that fact doesn't change the fact that we put a significant social strain on the force with extended foreign deployments extended further by stop-loss orders.  The "they signed up for this/no they didn't" debate really doesn't matter as much as some talking heads want to think.

 

After all, soldiers volunteer to assume the risk that they will be shot and wounded or killed.  Yes, they "signed up for that."  No, that fact does not give anyone the right to shrug their shoulders at injuries or deaths sustained in the line of duty.  Part of the country's side of the bargain needs to be, and remain, taking care of the injuries of the wounded and taking care of the families of the fallen.  America is also obliged to do what it can to reduce the risk of injuries or deaths, at least to the extent that doing so is consistent with military objectives.  (The latter qualifier is necessary to preempt the usual shallow antiwar retort that one should simply reduce that risk by never sending anyone into battle in the first place.)

 

I think the same logic applies to invocation of the stop-loss power.  Yes, it may be necessary.  Yes, it's part of what a volunteer signs on for.  No, that does not mean that one should shrug at the invocation of that power, or take steps to minimize the need for it.

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While every situation is different, I would surmise that many soldiers, the ones who were induced to join the military for patriotic, financial or other reasons, were not made aware of the ramifications of stop-loss, or even what it was. They were not told in detail what could, and would eventually, happen with them even after they satisfied their obligations.  Stop-loss has fundamentally changed and uprooted the lives of these servicemen/women and their families, and this is not what they signed up for. In principle this is a backdoor draft and beyond what these kids were told.

 

It's no different than bankers' being culpable for swindling and tricking families into getting mortgages they can't afford. Sure there's the argument for personal accountability, but there's also one for ethics, and there is a massive underlying deceit. How much time do you think the recruiters really spent discussing stop-loss to these kids in 2002?

 

It's involuntary, indefinite, and I'm pretty sure an 18-year-old would not have intended to potentially spend the next 50 years of his life in some crazy Arab nation because of some mentally challenged president's thinking he's Rambo, no matter what he signed.

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Keith, thank you for your service and sacrifice.  I do respect your opinion and as you said Saddam had to go. I just think we had to do what others wouldn't.

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You sign up for the military, you have an eight year obligation at minimum, including reserves. But stop loss goes beyond that

 

 

http://usmilitary.about.com/od/deploymentsconflicts/a/stoploss.htm

 

Military STOP LOSS

 

"STOP LOSS, on the other hand, means extending a military person in the Guard or Reserves, or on active duty, beyond what their normal separation date would be. Those who join the military agree to this provision under paragraph 9c of the enlistment contract states:

 

In the event of war, my enlistment in the Armed Forces continues until six (6) months after the war ends, unless my enlistment is ended sooner by the President of the United States"

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Six months after one's war ends....well, what if we're at war for 10 years. 20. What about the War on Terror? Would that apply? There are a lot of demented people in Washington and the military that probably would interpet this clause to keep soldiers in these ill-defined wars for decades.

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You sign up for the military, you have an eight year obligation at minimum, including reserves. But stop loss goes beyond that

 

Thanks, I had originally misread it.

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It's no different than bankers' being culpable for swindling and tricking families into getting mortgages they can't afford. Sure there's the argument for personal accountability, but there's also one for ethics, and there is a massive underlying deceit. How much time do you think the recruiters really spent discussing stop-loss to these kids in 2002?

 

I have to say that I'm still not really seeing this analogy.

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Again, more died on US roads in a few months time. 

Nobody died "on US roads" last year because the President told them they were about to be attacked with nukes or "WMDs".

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Again, more died on US roads in a few months time. 

Nobody died "on US roads" last year because the President told them they were about to be attacked with nukes or "WMDs".

 

Nobody died in Iraq for that reason, either.

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