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Well, things have finally come to a head with Saddam Hussein and Iraq. As Americans we have some very important and serious decisions facing us. Should we support military action or not being one that threatens to divide us.
I don’t see Saddam Hussein as the type of man who will accept exile. He will, probably, hang on until the bitter end, use human shields, ecological terrorism and try to draw us in to a street war in Baghdad. I don’t see any way we can avoid conflict at this point. If we back down Hussein will continue as he has for the last 12 years or so until he will finally be able to build a nuclear weapon or some other weapon of mass destruction. What kind of bargaining power would he have then for blackmail purposes? On the other hand, if we attack, a lot of the world will view us as warmongers who want oil.
I don’t really care if you are for or opposed to military action. That’s what makes our country and way of life as great as it is. The people have a voice, if they choose to use it, and, at times, can affect policy. Unlike most of the Hollywood types that are protesting because it is the “in” thing at the moment, the general American public, who opposes the war, feels that they are doing the right thing. Good for you. Protest. It’s a right you have been granted by millions of service members who have given their lives to protect your ideals and way of life.
The people I am worried about are the soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen who will actually be doing the work. It’s hard for a service member to have to put their lives on hold, say goodbye to their loved ones, go to a hostile country they might not come back from alive without the support of America. I’ve been there first hand and nothing is more debilitating, to a service member, than seeing your own country protesting your actions while you're stuck in a hostile foreign country scared and thousands of miles from those you love. I know when I deployed, to any hostile environment; I wasn’t going for our government. I was going because of my family, loved ones and the idea of America. I know our military members are ready and speak, in interviews, like they can’t wait to go to war but this is the farthest thing from the truth. You have to act like that for your survival and sanity, believe me.
The service member is the last person who wants to go to war. Sure, it’s what we train for every day but, except for that small percentage of idiots, we’d much rather stay home with our families. I guess what I am getting at is that I hope those who oppose the war don’t take the position of our government out on the military members who are being sent to fight. To this day it thoroughly disgusts me when I see video footage of how our troops were treated coming home from Vietnam. This, like Vietnam, is going to be an unpopular war. It will be resolved much faster militarily but we will have to occupy and rebuild Iraq which could take years. We’re going to make mistakes and innocent people are going to die. This is a sad fact of war and rebuilding efforts. If you want to protest our government, fine. Just don’t turn your protests toward the people who were sent to do a job they, more than likely, didn’t really want any part of in the first place.
I know from some comments you made before what foray overseas you referred to. Maybe that experience would make for an interesting post anytime but now. Just a thought. Also, when our soldiers return this time we should throw them a huge parade like in olden times.
by Anna at March 17, 2003 4:20 PM
There was a parade after Gulf War I. At least in NYC. Down the canyon of heroes, where only a few years later we'd get to celebrate the even bigger heroes who won the World Series.
The majority of Americans are nott against the war. The last poll I'd read was 2:1 in favor of immediate action in Iraq. Sure, some of these are the same people who, when polled, say Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11, but when it comes down to it, there is is just a very vocal minority involved in staging the protests and whatnot.
There are some who might say that the real test of whether or not Bush was on the right track re: the war on terror were the mid-term elections last November. Considering that Presidents historically lose seats in both the House and Senate during their term, the fact that the Republican party gained or held majorities in Congress, and gained Governors at the State level is probably a much more telling sign than a couple of protests.
As for treating our soldiers right, it's interesting that the people who say we shouldn't harm the citizens of Iraq when we are really only after one person are the same types who spit in the faces of our soldiers during Vietnam. An Iraqi soldier is an innocent pawn, but an American soldier was a baby killer? Very strange.
by mg at March 17, 2003 4:35 PM
I support our troops in that I don't want them to be killed - but I do not support them in the act of killing. I do not support our government in ordering them to kill.
by Ralph at March 17, 2003 4:55 PM
Who will throw a parade for the babies of Iraq that have been born deformed due to the use of Depleted Uranium shells (944,000 rounds fired) last time and more than likely this time again, poisioning the water and earth like last time.
Who will give a parade for the INNOCENT people of Iraq that had 177 million pounds of bombs dropped on them in the most concentrated aerial bombardment in the history of the world.
--------------not for children----------------------
--------------not for children----------------------
I fly out to Iraq in 3 hrs to form part of a human shield and to help and protect inncocent people that are wounded.
Ever scene what it's like to see a 3 yr old girl with her ears bleeding because a 1000lb bomb was dropped near by that created a vaccum that burst her ear drums, she can't hear the next one coming all she can do is sit in agony and cling to the corpse of her mother who was torn in half by it?
I have and it's not pretty (I've seen a lot worse to, but that's not for discussion).
Thats the reality of a US led Airstrike.
So cheer as hard as you can when they come home.
Fuck your bullets.
(and yes the email address is real should any of you feel like sending me a comment but at this time I have better things to do like get ready to help dying people, not cheer about it).
by UK at March 17, 2003 5:04 PM
You make a good point Ralph. The majority of the troops, currently serving, volunteered in the hopes that they could serve their country without having to kill anyone. At least that was the general concensus when I was in. We, as military members, are sent where our government deems it necessary. We don't have any say in where we are going or what we will have to do when we get there. That is just the way it is. Most of the time battles are fought, for the soldier in the field, on a personal instead of political level. I know I, personally, didn't agree with our government's policies in Somalia, Haiti, or Bosnia. I went and served though, along with many others who felt the same. What it, inevitably, comes down to is do you want to make it back home to your family and friends. If you do, and there are soldiers on the other side trying to kill you, you do what you have to to make sure you're alive at the end of the day.
While I totally respect your stance of not supporting the troops for killing, don't make a situation they're already going to have to live with, for the rest of their lives, worse by protesting them personally. Protest the reason they were sent in the first place and the leaders who sent them.
by Ezy at March 17, 2003 5:08 PM
Good for you UK. I hope you do some good and save some lives.
by Ezy at March 17, 2003 5:15 PM
My friend Marc is a Marine Corps Sniper. When he joined, he told me he did so because he felt the urge to kill. After a few years, he told me he didn't feel it anymore.
I don't blame anyone for joining the military. Hell, I can sit and discuss the specifications for various hardware with the best of them and have the same ability to ruminate over ancient battles from Thermopylae to the Alamo on down. I understand that the soldiers going overseas are just following orders. (I don't like that phrase. It's been used to justify too much.) I've seen polls that agree with MG about how many support the war and polls that peg it at close to even, but that's not really the point, either. I know the costs, both financial and otherwise, that soldiers have to bear are at times massive and I'm sorry that they have to be there.
In the case of Vietnam, some soldiers *were* baby killers. My Lai happened. Was it fair that a whole army was tarred with that brush? No. Will it be fair when thousands of Iraqi babies die because Saddam Hussein's in power? No. It's not fair. It's never fair.
The people I blame for this war are the ones who won't let anything else happen, not the army. Tommy Franks may be a lot of things, but he's always been straightforward about what the military is doing...from his admission that the military plan doesn't even involve Saddam Hussein and thus might not even affect the man to his discussion of the costs in Afghanistan, he's shown a level of candor our President can't match. I blame Hussein and his cronies and Bush and his cronies.
But in the end, Marc and others like him will be the ones who bear the burden here. Should we have brought back the draft? Should all men of reasonable health under 45 have been required to take physicals and suit up for combat? Would that have made this a much less popular war? Can't say, don't know.
I have never served in the military. I don't know what it is like. I'm glad that I was afforded that luxury. I'm also glad I have no children, because I'm very afraid they won't get that same luxury.
by Ezrael at March 17, 2003 5:34 PM
Look, you never know what to believe on the Net. But UK is a pretty frequent and adamant commentator when it comes to war talk. So I believe him about flying TO Iraq soon. And that is one of the most frightening things I've heard in 43 frightening years. Er, 44.
by Anna at March 17, 2003 5:36 PM
I don't think anyone is cheering for a war. At least no one involved in any of the serious discussions on this site. I think it just sucks that this war is going to happen. That doesn't mean I don't think it should happen. It's very easy to say that war is bad because people will die. Bombs will fall and people will die. There isn't much of an arguement against such a statement.
I'd love to live in a world where everyone went around hugging instead of shooting each other, but that world doesn't exist. It will never exist. In the real world, sometimes truly awful things need to happen in order to get past something worse. The simple truth is that 10 times as many citizens have died as a result of sanctions in Iraq as died during the first Gulf War. The citizens of Iraq will continue to die because Saddam Hussein doesn't give a shit about their welfare. He's got his palaces, all the food he'll ever need, and an endless supply of funny hats and cigars. Say this war is about oil, say this war is about revenge, say whatever you want about this war, but when it is over and sanctions are lifted, people will stop dying.
Americans, British and Iraqis will die during the war, whether innocent or guilty. But are we going to sit by for another decade and let hundreds of thousands more people die while Saddam Hussein gets richer, or are we going to take a stand?
by mg at March 17, 2003 5:36 PM
Well, if the last Gulf war is any indication, more Americans will die in traffic accidents in theatre than by gunfire, and more British soldiers will die from being shot by Americans than by Iraqis.
The American force will drop more bombs on one of the most bombed places on earth, because Iraqi civilian lives (collateral damage inevitable in bombing) are worth less than soldiers that have volunteered to potentially die for their country. Because, after all, the American forces could go in without the bombing first, a few more casualties yes, but way less collateral damage.
Of course that highlights another key difference here. The vast majority of the Iraqi army is conscripts. None of the (current) American army is. How many of them really want to be fighting this war? If this is really about removing a tyrant instead of waging war on a population wouldn't a airborne op (al a Mogodishu or Market Garden) be more surgical? Less "collateral damage" while still accomplishing the stated aim? Oh yeah, that would also mean more American casulties... gotta rule that out too...
In case you can't tell, the American way of waging warfare in the current era is what I find most objectionable. It's the way of the bully and the coward. Stand back and hit at a distance where the other side can't hurt you, even if that means
If the American's are truly wanting to take a stand, they should be actually willing to risk some american lives to save the lives of innocent civilians in Iraq.
by ChuckWoolery at March 17, 2003 5:59 PM
I agree that the sanctions didn't work.
I think we should have removed him at the time (which we didn't for reasons many and conflicting). Starving his people for his crimes was insane of us. Keeping him around was idiotic. But the fact remains that this will be our first expedition into the realms of proactive war, the same kind of warfare we took such umbrage at when the Japanese did it to us. They had plenty of valid reasons to fear the US at the time (we were cutting off their flow of resources, we had enormous military resources in the Pacific, we were openly in opposition to their plans in China to the point where some US Citizens were actually volunteering to take part in military action against them) and so they attacked us first.
The United States of America has never attacked first. The closest we got was Vietnam (since we now know that the Gulf of Tonkin resolution was arrived at under false pretenses) and in the case of Desert Shield/Storm, no one can argue that Iraq's invasion of nominal ally Kuwait wasn't a first attack.
This is different. I didn't support the invasion of Afghanistan, but since that nation was the one holding Al Qaeda for so long I at least grasped the rationale for it. Iraq did not attack us. In fact, we've been attacking them since the last war ended, as MG himself noted...the no fly zones have been rigorously enforced by US and British planes. I don't even have a problem with that, since the Iraqis are idiotic enough to target our planes with their radar and to send jets for us to shoot down, even though it does also cost civilian lives.
Throwing it all at Hussein's feet ignores our own responsibilities. The man's a thug and a pirate and a grafter who diverts money from humanitarian aid and oil for food programs...and Cheney and Rumsfeld and their buddies do business with him until they're under scrutiny and then blandly act as though nothing happened. We've been propping this guy up. We told the Kurds to rebel and then let them die. In the mid-90's (under Clinton, so that I might be an equal opportunity President basher) we had a chance to support a cabal of Iraqi's who wanted to overthrow Hussein and we didn't take it.
Sure, once we're done killing people in Iraq, the killing will stop. At least until the terrorist strikes start. That's not the issue. How noble we feel we are for rescuing the Iraqis from a plight we cast them into at the hands of a man we provided weapons and anthrax to isn't the point, either. Whether or not the UN sanctions could eventually have toppled him, whether the inspections were finally working, whether this is a greedy grab for power or a mission with the best of all possible intentions doesn't change the fact that we are throwing away America's best legacy, the ideals of Washington and Madison and Monroe that we should not inflict our views on other nations save in the most extreme of threats to the world and ourselves, that we should not become the aggressors.
We do not need to attack tomorrow. We will, but we do not need to. We will kill in the name of putting an end to killing, we will place into power a government we will be required to support, and we will find ourselves in terra incognita. Is it a good situation? No. Are the people of Iraq suffering now? Yes. There are a great many countries where madmen are torturing their populace with despotic rule. Do we invade them all? We can't free the world. Hell, we haven't even been able to free all of our own citizens.
by Ezrael at March 17, 2003 6:08 PM
Maybe the difference between the leaders in Iraq and the leaders in the United States is that one side cares about its citizens, and the other side doesn't. If Iraq abided the 1441 there would be no war. If iraq abided the nearly 20 previous resolutions, there would be no war. It's presumed that Bush's speech tonight will provide an ultimatum to Saddam to leave the country willingly or there will be a war. Iraq has had every opportunity to avoid war. They've choosen this path. Why should the United States care more about Iraqi citizens than American soldiers when Iraq doesn't care about their citizens at all?
by mg at March 17, 2003 6:12 PM
However, I strongly disagree with the idea that American soldiers should be asked to fight with one hand tied behind their backs and risk higher casualties in order to avoid civilian casualties. It's war. It's evil and stupid, but you don't fight it by halves. If the Iraqi army wants to avoid such casualties, all they have to do is shoot Hussein. He can't kill them all.
We spent all the money we did on technology to make war safer for our own side because that is what armies have always done and will always do. The fact that this war is probably not (in my view) justified does not translate into the idea that we should fight it poorly. We owe it both to the Iraqi people and our own soldiers to win as quickly as possible. (Granted, the current battle plan borders on out and out Dresden levels of destruction for Baghdad, but even that hideous display of strength is better than six months of continuous warfare throughout the whole Persian Gulf region...quicker is better.)
See how contadictory I can get?
by Ezrael at March 17, 2003 6:16 PM
Wow Ezrael, I agree with you 100%. Brilliantly reasoned and elequently spoken. Except, based on the same set of facts, we come to different conclusions. You say we should have removed Hussein in '91, but we didn't, and we shouldn't fuck things up more by going in now. I say we should have removed Hussein in '91, but we didn't, and we have a moral obligation to go in now to correct that mistake. We have a fundamentally different view of the world, which I'm sure extends well beyond this single issue. We're not going to come to any kind of agreement on this, even if a hundred years passed and a million words were shared. I've got to thank you for commenting though, you've renewed my faith that people in the anti-war movement can be reasoned, intelligent and informed.
by mg at March 17, 2003 6:30 PM
Chuck, while I see your point, and it's a good one, not one military leader is going to risk American soldiers while we have the technology to prevent losing more of our guys. That's never going to happen.
While it doesn't seem fair show me, in history, where a country, or countries, that had superior military equipment didn't use it on their enemy.
We used nuclear strikes to end WWII. Hitler used V2 rockets and developed jet fighters. The Romans used superior military tactics. The list goes on.
by Ezy at March 17, 2003 6:31 PM
Um, UK, do you have a Family? Or are you just really, really, rich and spoiled? Unsung Hero? Doubt it. Didn't some brit step down as a protest today? Your House of Lords sounds like a scene from planet of the apes. Yeah, War sucks. I agree. But what I really want to know is, did you just break up with your girlfriend or something? You know you ain't gonna prevent anything. Yeah, a few pat on the backs from Iraqis, but inside, their saying you brit-fuckers started this whole imperialist thing. I don't have much to say as of now, but don't go to Heathrow. Stay home, even if you're suicidal and all broken-hearted, and just maybe, poor. I'll email you when I have something serious to say. Good Luck. The middle-east is a fun area. If you see a Jew named Rozzi Spegal who just opened up a shop in Old Jerusalem, tell him I want my Shekels back, and that I will return to get what is my birthright, because you'll probably be forced to land in Lebanon or Israel. But it's the THOUGHT that counts right, UK?
by LOCKHEED at March 17, 2003 7:17 PM
Yes, thank you Ezrael, for also commenting without insulting or belittling.
by MrBlank at March 17, 2003 7:58 PM
Hey MrB, I have the feeling that comment was directed at me. I hope I've done a good job of making my responses appropriate to the original comment. I'm as polite as possible here, where people are serious and respectful, but will gladly call someone an ass over at the 2 year-old Osama naked posts, or if it's obvious someone is just trolling. If it doesn't come off that way, I totally apologize. I know today I've been a littl wound up. Which is why I'm going to refrain from making any political comments in the near future. I don't want to say something in anger or frustration that I normally wouldn't. And, right now, I am angry, frustrated, sad, and generally pretty depressed about what's likely to begin about 45 hours from now.
by mg at March 17, 2003 11:49 PM
My comment was for Ezrael, but I can say the same thing about you too, MG. Heck, I think most of the frequent commenters on the war topics are doing a good job.
by MrBlank at March 18, 2003 12:52 AM
Me too. As usual I agree w/ Mr. B. But now that it appears to be a done deal, it seems like all you can do is support our troops and hope for a minimal amount of untoward carnage.
by Anna at March 18, 2003 7:55 AM
Ezrael, thanks for the intelligent, well spoken opposing opinion. You've made me look at another side of reasoning with well thought out comments and facts to back them up, unlike UK and some others who are just disrespectful.
Amen Anna. Saddam Hussein can still avoid war but he won't, in my opinion. He wants to be a martyr. Hopefully, some of his neighbors or someone inside his own cabinet will talk some sense into him. I doubt it though.
by Ezy at March 18, 2003 10:29 AM
In some more stroking of bad samaritans & commentors, I really appreciate everyone here that's taking the time to explain their logic. It gives much greater understanding, I think, to both sides.
by Linz at March 19, 2003 1:07 PM