Friday, November 19, 2004

Walk a mile

Babble on.

I'm still hoping John puts together a post on this issue, but in the meantime I need to say this.

The difference any day right now between a live Marine and a dead Marine in Falluja might be a double-tap into a wounded rebel in a mosque. That is a very hard and unpleasant truth. "I'd rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6" is a maxim the vast majority of us - thank heavens - can only understand on an intellectual level. The men and women serving in Iraq (and those who have served in other scary places at other scary times) LIVE IT.

Matt at Froggy Ruminations is an ex-SEAL, and he has a different perspective than most of us when it comes to combat. Of course, he's actually been there, done that, unlike most of us pundits.

Remember, in Fallujah there is no yesterday, there is no tomorrow, there is only now. Right NOW. Have you ever lived in NOW for a week? It is not easy, and if you have never lived in NOW for longer than it takes to finish the big roller coaster at Six Flags, then shut your hole about putting Marines in jail for war crimes. (via Ghost of a Flea)

Are you listening, Madame Arbour?

Personally, I think you shouldn't shoot unarmed, wounded men. I think there has to be a standard of civilized behaviour expected from professional soldiers even in the most uncivilized of situations. Most militaries and the democratic societies they serve would agree.

But I've never been in combat. I've never had a friend and comrade's life depend upon my split-second decision whether to pull the trigger or not. I've never had my wife and kids' futures with their husband and father rest upon my ability to make life-and-death decisions in the blink of an eye. And so I feel completely and blessedly unqualified to judge this Marine.

Whatever you think you saw on that video, this is not a black and white case, people. And I have to tell you, after hearing some of the vicious and uninformed bile from some on the left, it's refreshing and heartening to see that there are some honest people on the left remaining in the world who will stand up and say "right or wrong, there but for the grace of God go I".

May He have mercy upon all of us, and never put us in a situation where we will be judged by those who have not walked a mile in our dusty, sweaty combat boots.

Babble off.


At 3:53 p.m., Blogger Greg said...

I feel nothing but compassion for the Marine. How could you feel anything but that for a scared kid, hopped up on fear and lack of sleep? My anger is reserved for the idiots who put an M-16 in that kid's hands and put him in harm's way for no good reason. Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rice and W himself. Liars all. Villains all. They are the ones who should walk in that kid's shoes (preferably at night and alone). They deserve that fate far more than that kid.

At 9:08 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

I should no better than to engage in a flame war on the weekends I'm working, but frankly, I just can't help myself.

Alright Greg, I'll bite. Let's dance.

Why are "Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rice and W himself. Liars all. Villains all," and why did you leave out Powell? And since we're definitely going to be talking WMD, why aren't all the prominent Democrats, all the prominent Chretien Liberals, and the UN weapons inspectors liars too, because they all said Saddam still had WMD too.

I'm gonna be so tired by Sunday night!!!


At 8:24 a.m., Blogger Greg said...

Sorry Mike, I forgot to include Powell. He's, in some ways, the biggest villain of all. He is a guy who reportedly called Rumsfeld and Chaney "Those fucking crazies", but went to the U.N. on their behalf and lied to the world about WMD. He has since said that he was "deceived" by the rest of the Bush crew, but I think he is just covering for his own moral cowardice.

As for the liars part, well that might be harsh and you are right the rest of the world believed that Saddam might have had left over WMD. But a) they did not believe Saddam posed an imminent threat and b) they did not want to (and legally could not) blow up Iraq unless they had proof that Saddam was going to launch a strike against one of his neighbours within 45 minutes or some such time frame. Only the Bush Administration and its "Coalition of the Willing" were willing to go to war on the dubious intelligence provided by Ahmed Chalabi. As a sidebar, Chretien was, by the end, not willing to go to war in Iraq. He made it clear that he thought that the invasion was about regime change and not WMD and he was not willing to have Canada enter the regime change business (His famous "who's next" statement made that clear).

Time has proved the rest of the world right and the coalition of the willing totally, totally wrong. So liars (I sometimes get carried away) might be a bit harsh (although I suspect not), but "incompetent boobs" might be an acceptable substitute. Either way they put a lot of people in harm's way for nothing and they are the ones who should suffer for it, not the grunts on the ground.

At 6:50 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 10:29 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 9:45 p.m., Blogger Mike H said...


Sorry for the delay in posting as promised. I tried last night, but couldn't post without a User account as before. Damian set me up today, so here I am.

Anyway, do you have any reference where these quotes came from? I don't recall Powell ever saying publicly he was " deceived," and the crazies comment is also one I've not heard.

"He is a guy who reportedly called Rumsfeld and Chaney "Those fucking crazies", but went to the U.N. on their behalf and lied to the world about WMD. He has since said that he was "deceived" by the rest of the Bush crew, but I think he is just covering for his own moral cowardice."

I'm not sure I follow your logic. If Powell was " deceived" on the topic of WMD, he could hardly be accused at the same time of being a liar.

The entire controversy over Iraq's WMD and whether the Bush administration " lied " has been propagandized by the Left, and to a large extent it's been a very successful propaganda campaign.

One of the shortcomings of human nature is our tendency to quickly forget events, even those of fairly recent occurrence. As I mentioned to you in my first post, the " Bush lied " canard cannot gain credence without this human shortcoming, as it relates to people failing to remember the numerous statements of Democrats, Canadian Liberals and other world leaders concerning their certainty that Saddam still possessed WMD.

But it isn't just what Bush's predecessors said about Saddam and WMD that is so hypocritical, and fatal to the accusation that " Bush lied." It's also what these people DID in relation to the issue of Iraq's WMD. After repeated lying, obstruction and deception by Saddam's regime in relation to UN weapons inspections, Bill Clinton essentially instigated the removal of inspectors, and bombed Iraq for 4 days in December 1998. Now, these bombings weren't simply random retaliatory bombings. Clinton made it clear that the U.S and Britain were bombing WMD RELATED SITES. If you read over Clinton's speeches in February and December 1998 on the subject of Saddam and WMD, you will see that he was saying much the same thing that Bush was 4 years later.

If we've now arrived at the new, manufactured group-think propagated by the Left, that Saddam was telling the truth all along, and had disarmed back in 1991 as he claimed, then the Left also paints itself into a corner on their "Bush lied" premise. The reason should be obvious; it was Clinton who not only " lied " but lied first, and acted on that lie by bombing sites that couldn't possibly have been associated to WMD. Bush was only doing what Clinton had already done (albeit to a much greater degree, by overthrowing Saddam). But clearly, Bush could point to Clinton's actions in 1998 as justification for still believing Saddam retained a WMD capability.

In essence, what I'm saying is, on the pure, isolated question of whose lies were more egregious, it has to be Clinton, not Bush. That being said, I don't think either President lied. At worst, they were mistaken. Defenders of the policy of regime change have repeated endlessly that an honest belief in something eliminates the charge that the person was lying. This is a basic, universally accepted tenet of human behaviour. Yet this has gained little traction, largely because the Left works hard to shout down universally accepted tenets, along with logic and reason from the debate, before it sabotages their propaganda.

In my opinion, neither were even mistaken. I believe there is a compelling case that Saddam still retained Anthrax and VX, the two deadliest WMD agents, up to or shortly before regime change. If you feel inclined, check the thread here at Damians' blog from the 9th of October, titled " How would Kerry have known? Myself and Doug thrash this very question out.

On the question of Chalabi's " dubious intelligence," it's worth mentioning that Chalabi and other members of his INC were highly regarded by the UNSCOM weapons inspectors (those in Iraq from 1991-1998) with regard to the quality of intelligence they provided to the inspectors.

As far as Chretien goes, the man was completely in support of Clinton's December 1998 bombing of Iraqi WMD sites. He's no better off in the " liar" department than Clinton if the Bush haters want to play that game.

My final point I wanted to make deals with this comment from you:

"Time has proved the rest of the world right and the coalition of the willing totally, totally wrong."

I think it's far too premature to make that pronouncement Greg. I'm still very optimistic the security situation will be resolved in Iraq, and some semblance of a functioning, benign society will emerge in Iraq. As I've posted elsewhere, the betterment of life for the average Iraqi has a big say in whether regime change was " right " or not.

The Left needs to be confronted with the irrefutable truth that their position on Iraq always reverts back to a belief that the status quo, with Saddam still in power, was preferable to what has occurred through regime change. It is very revealing, in relation to the dishonesty of their position, that the Left so often seeks to deny this truth when forced to debate it.

Those who sought to keep Saddam in power must accept the stark reality of the open-ended oblivion they were consigning the Iraqi people to. Virtually all of the acknowledged experts on Iraq concede that there was no reasonable or imminent prospect of Saddam's genociadal rule being eliminated by the Iraqi people. Moreover, there were no other possibilities for ending Saddam's rule, other than foreign intervention. Even if the Iraqi people were somehow able to assassinate Saddam and his sons, they would still be faced with the titanic struggle to destroy the Baathist/Sunni power structure still in place. The resulting civil war would certainly have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, with absolutely no guarantee of success. It is the coalition military forces who are doing this very work in Iraq, crushing the Baathist holdouts, and doing so with far fewer innocent deaths than would have occurred without foreign intervention.

If one accepts the belief that the Iraqi people were entitled to a chance at something other than a fear ridden, subsistence level existence, than regime change was the only way to bring it about. As I said on another site this weekend, the dilemma of Saddam and Iraq was devoid of any easy, clean solutions. The decision by Bush to invade was the best of a bunch of less than appealing options. The favoured option of the anti-Bush Left, maintaining the status quo and consigning the Iraqi people to the scrap heap, was the worst of these options.


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