Sunday, August 28, 2005


This Song's An Oldie

Kirk at Songs from the Emperor’s Tailor puts out some tired refrains in response to Caelestis's fine post, which I linked to here after seeing it posted prominently at Mudville Gazette.

(That's a bit link-rich, but fully attributed.)

Why remark on the staleness of Kirk's rhetoric? I guess because of how rudely he responded to a very poetic post of a fine MILBLOGGER, the fact that he linked it back to Mudville, and well, because I'm tired of hearing the same old tripe. So here we go, a-fiskin':

Tired old tune number one:
But - he isn't in the military. He is a mercenary. Oops, I mean a contractor. So he's making, what? 20 or 30 times as much as a GI? Oh, and he can leave whenever he wants.
Kirk, in the 30 some years since Vietnam, pay and benefits for Soldiers have improved considerably. Base pay is very much higher, housing allowances usually exceed total cost of housing (except in the most expensive Metropolitan areas, and who can afford to live in Manhattan, anyway?). For Soldiers in Iraq, they also earn additional combat, hazardous duty pays, and all income is tax free.

From what I am able to discern about Caelestis, he may indeed be one of the better compensated contractors here -- he has an area of expertise highly technical and involving a security clearance, so he may make as much as two to three times what a Soldier of equivalent experience makes. Of course, he's prior service, so he left the military, and decided to pursue a military related career as a civilian. Many Soldiers do, many will, and the compensation reflects that not many people choose to put themselves in harm's way, if not compelled by a service obligation.
America is in Iraq because of the oil and for revenge following a plan based on faulty intelligence, myopic analysis and planning by yes-men who have never been to war.
For supposedly well-educated Americans, this creaky old melody is just plain dumb. We deposed Saddam Hussein, we are helping to create Democracy in Iraq, we have no control over oil, American oil companies have no great advantage in seeking oil contracts, the profits remain with the Iraqis, and there is no cost benefit analysis that can demonstrate that this financially benefits our government or American Corporations.

The benefits of toppling a brutal, terrorist supporting and sponsoring hater of America are almost entirely related to National Security in the face of global terror networks seeking ever greater levels of destruction and death.

The faulty intelligence so frequently cited was acknowledged and accepted by an overwhelming majority of western governments, the UN Security Council, and our own Congressmen and women. Links between Saddam and Al Qaeda are numerous and substantial. Saddam has weapons of mass destruction, and has either hid them, sold them, moved them, or perhaps even destroyed them in the months we allowed him while we patiently worked through the lethargic (and we now know, also corrupt) UN sanction and monitoring processes.
Think about that - none of those guys has actually been to war. Except for Colin Powell. The man who had been to war, the person on the Bush team who actually wore a uniform in the field, was marginalized and ignored while spin doctors and autocrats assured us of what would and wouldn't happen. And those guys were wrong. I mean, up and down wrong. Not a little wrong. They fucking blew it.
Colin Powell served the military with distinction. And he is widely regarded in military circles as overly cautious, a very reluctant warrior, a General who promoted the idea that you should never engage unless you were virtually certain of overwhelming victory. By such standards, we would have sued for peace or walked away from every major war we have fought in our history, save perhaps the actions in Panama or Grenada. Measured use of force, and all that.

We have had astounding victories in the field. We took out the Taliban and Saddam Hussein in time frames and with so few losses and collateral damage as to be unparalleled in history, by any Army in the world. It is true that building a democracy in a basket case such as Iraq has not been easy, there have been setbacks, but no one who watched history unfold on 30 January of this year could think that this effort has been anything but an outstanding achievement. The Soldiers who are fighting this war are re-enlisted in record numbers, and helping the military exceed re-enlistment quotas. Does this sound like the poor, misguided minions who have so spectacularly failed in their objectives, in Kirk’s view?
George Bush needs to leave. His administration needs to leave. Because they have failed miserably. They have failed the Nation and they were unacceptably slow to support the troops when they needed it.
You will not find a significant number of Soldiers on the ground who will agree with this assessment. Something close to 75% of Soldiers supported President Bush in the last election. They may not all agree with the war, or how we're fighting it.

(Many want us to be tougher, meaner, and less careful about civilian casualties, I might add. America has always had a "Nuke the Bastards" attitude about our enemies, and Soldiers reflect these views no less than their civilian counterparts in the heartland.)

But there is one thing a huge majority of Soldiers know in their hearts. This President is proud of them, cares for them, fights for them, and tremendously respects their service, and sacrifice. Those that hate him will never see it, for their own antipathy blinds them.
Were Bush capable of actual leadership a meeting between him and Cindy Sheehan early on at Crawford could, could have been a moment for actual healing and unifying much of the divide in the country.
This is really offensive, completely false, and based on the ignorance that Sheehanoia and the Moveon.Org manipulators are spreading. President Bush did meet with Cindy, and the people behind her efforts now want nothing less than complete surrender. They have not had any interest in a serious discussion of National Security, nor any kind of realistic discussion about preventing or protecting ourselves against 9/11 style terrorism, or even worse, Nuclear terrorism (that comes next).

Those of us who support our efforts in Iraq would love to come together for healing. The problem is, the only condition these people will accept is total surrender, pulling out, removing our President, and admitting that 9/11 and anything bad that ever happens to us is our own fault, not the fault of the terrorists.

Links: Right Face!

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