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Thread: Confessions of a lib ... what if Bush was right?

  1. #1
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    [b][SIZE=2][color=brown]Chicago Sun-Times

    What if Bush has been right about Iraq all along?[/color][/SIZE]

    February 1, 2005

    BY MARK BROWN[/b] [img]http://images.suntimes.com/images4/columnists/brown2.jpg[/img]

    Maybe you're like me and have opposed the Iraq war since before the shooting started -- not to the point of joining any peace protests, but at least letting people know where you stood.

    You didn't change your mind when our troops swept quickly into Baghdad or when you saw the rabble that celebrated the toppling of the Saddam Hussein statue, figuring that little had been accomplished and that the tough job still lay ahead.

    Despite your misgivings, you didn't demand the troops be brought home immediately afterward, believing the United States must at least try to finish what it started to avoid even greater bloodshed. And while you cheered Saddam's capture, you couldn't help but thinking I-told-you-so in the months that followed as the violence continued to spread and the death toll mounted.

    By now, you might have even voted against George Bush -- a second time -- to register your disapproval.

    But after watching Sunday's election in Iraq and seeing the first clear sign that freedom really may mean something to the Iraqi people, you have to be asking yourself: What if it turns out Bush was right, and we were wrong?

    It's hard to swallow, isn't it?

    If you fit the previously stated profile, I know you're fighting the idea, because I am, too. And if you were with the president from the start, I've already got your blood boiling.

    For those who've been in the same boat with me, we don't need to concede the point just yet. There's a long way to go. But I think we have to face the possibility.

    I won't say that it had never occurred to me previously, but it's never gone through my mind as strongly as when I watched the television coverage from Iraq that showed long lines of people risking their lives by turning out to vote, honest looks of joy on so many of their faces.

    Some CNN guest expert was opining Monday that the Iraqi people crossed a psychological barrier by voting and getting a taste of free choice (setting aside the argument that they only did so under orders from their religious leaders).

    I think it's possible that some of the American people will have crossed a psychological barrier as well.

    On the other side of that barrier is a concept some of us have had a hard time swallowing:

    Maybe the United States really can establish a peaceable democratic government in Iraq, and if so, that would be worth something.

    Would it be worth all the money we've spent? Certainly.

    Would it be worth all the lives that have been lost? That's the more difficult question, and while I reserve judgment on that score until such a day arrives, it seems probable that history would answer yes to that as well.

    I don't want to get carried away in the moment.

    Going to war still sent so many terrible messages to the world.

    Most of the obstacles to success in Iraq are all still there, the ones that have always led me to believe that we would eventually be forced to leave the country with our tail tucked between our legs. (I've maintained from the start that if you were impressed by the demonstrations in the streets of Baghdad when we arrived, wait until you see how they celebrate our departure, no matter the circumstances.)

    In and of itself, the voting did nothing to end the violence. The forces trying to regain the power they have lost -- and the outside elements supporting them -- will be no less determined to disrupt our efforts and to drive us out.

    Somebody still has to find a way to bring the Sunnis into the political process before the next round of elections at year's end. The Iraqi government still must develop the capacity to protect its people.

    And there seems every possibility that this could yet end in civil war the day we leave or with Iraq becoming an Islamic state every bit as hostile to our national interests as was Saddam.

    But on Sunday, we caught a glimpse of the flip side. We could finally see signs that a majority of the Iraqi people perceive something to be gained from this brave new world we are forcing on them.

    Instead of making the elections a further expression of "Yankee Go Home," their participation gave us hope that all those soldiers haven't died in vain.

    Obviously, I'm still curious to see if Bush is willing to allow the Iraqis to install a government that is free to kick us out or to oppose our other foreign policy efforts in the region.

    So is the rest of the world.

    For now, though, I think we have to cut the president some slack about a timetable for his exit strategy.

    If it turns out Bush was right all along, this is going to require some serious penance.

    Maybe I'd have to vote Republican in 2008 :huh:

    [url=http://www.suntimes.com/output/brown/cst-nws-brown01.html]Chicago Sun-Times ... What if Bush has been right about Iraq all along?[/url]

  2. #2
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    Interesting read.....when it was read on the Rush Limbaugh show today. He had some interesting viewpoints on this writer and his position.

    In point of fact, Bush has already been wrong about Iraq in a number of ways:

    --Wrong about the WMD's, either in their existense or their locations (although, to be fair, the WMD's may indeed have existed and simply now be in the hands or terrorists or Iranians).
    --Wrong about direct ties between Saddam and AQ (although to be fair some indirect ties were indeed found).
    --Wrong about how to prosecute the war strategicly (although, to be fair, there is certainly no guarantee any other leader would have handled it better).
    --Wrong in how to handle postwar peacekeeping (although, again to be fair, these mistake could have been made just as easily, if not more so actually, by a Liberal president).
    --Wrong in expected insurgent activity (sorry, no fairness here, this was aplain old screwup, pure and simple).
    --And worst of all from a Public Relations standpoint.......Wrong to continually change his stated focus and reason for the war (WMD's, then AQ ties, then Iraqi Freedom and the overall War on Terror).

    So while Bush may indeed have been right in making the overall decision to go to war in Iraq (a point yet to be proven out, only time will tell) he was still wrong in a number of the ways he had the war prosecuted. A more competant leadership should have been able to rally all Americans to this cause, and limit the number of "public relations" disasters that have befallen this endeavor sice the start of hostillities. Of course, given the options the other party supplied, one can assume equal, if not worse, errors in tactics and judgement would indeed have been made.

    Of course, I must be a traitor for thinking Bush or others in our current leadership may have made errors in judgement regarding this war. For some, it isn't enough to support the War on Terror anymore.....if you do not support every single aspect of this action without question, many will have your head on a plate for that very questioning of the (to them) unquestionable leader. :rolleyes:

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    it would not be hard to swallow at all - if Bush was right i will be pleased as punch - all i want is this country to remain #1 in the world... if it means me being wrong that's a very small price to pay.

    the other question needs to be asked - CONS, what if Bush was wrong?

    see if im wrong the world is safe and America is tops

    if you guys are wrong then 1500 men died for nothing. the CONS have way more at stake with this whole exercise...

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    Although I don't usually agree with bitonti's posts, I do appreciate them. This board would be boring to read if everyone agreed all the time.

    IMO this is not a black and white thing that can be measured like a first down to see if bush was right or wrong.

    It is the things that will NOT happen that make much of this war effort a success. The disruption of the terrorist networks and training bases that will prevent additional acts of terrorism on US soil cannot be measured quantitatively like a scoreboard.

    The statement made with aggressive response to 9.11 may prevent future acts of our skyscrapers being blown up, but that is also something that will not be proven, because those negatives cannot be proven.

    Capturing or killing many known terrorists (ie the deck of cards) and keeping the remaining leaders on the run can also not be measured. It still comes down to your perspective. If you think we are doing the right thing, you will see that. If you think it is wrong, you will see that.

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    my problem with using terrorists killed/captured as a measuring stick is that there is not a static amount of terrorists - and this is where the "war" comparisons really break down IMO

    if i am at war with the Japanese and I kill 1000 soldiers, those guys aren't coming back... yeah technically if the war drags on over another 6 months or a year those guys will be replaced but eventually even that well of suitable replacements will dry up

    if i am "at war" with terrorists and i kill 1000 terrorists, the enemy's numbers could be reinforced in a matter of weeks through new local recruits and (more likely) trouble-makers coming from near and far to join the action.

    new terrorists get created every-day, and while i know no-one wants to hear what i am about to say - sometimes we DIRECTLY create these terrorists through our fighting of other terrorists.

    For example... imagine the US drops a "precision" bomb on a house in Fallujah - if some law abiding Iraqi citizen is in the next house over with his wife and kids, and they don't survive the blast, more likely than not our bomb just created another terrorist - a man that is so distraught with his life crumbling around him that he would kill himself just to hurt those that hurt him.

    That's my problem with this whole exercise - we are all assuming that "terrorists killed" is some great stat to point at and be proud of but the real stat we have to watch is "terrorists created." - and Bush hasn't been running the war well enough that we can completely discount the latter statistic. Middle Eastern public opinion of the US is at an all-time low.

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    [quote][i]Originally posted by bitonti[/i]@Feb 2 2005, 10:54 AM
    [b] my problem with using terrorists killed/captured as a measuring stick is that there is not a static amount of terrorists - and this is where the "war" comparisons really break down IMO

    if i am at war with the Japanese and I kill 1000 soldiers, those guys aren't coming back... yeah technically if the war drags on over another 6 months or a year those guys will be replaced but eventually even that well of suitable replacements will dry up

    if i am "at war" with terrorists and i kill 1000 terrorists, the enemy's numbers could be reinforced in a matter of weeks through new local recruits and (more likely) trouble-makers coming from near and far to join the action.

    new terrorists get created every-day, and while i know no-one wants to hear what i am about to say - sometimes we DIRECTLY create these terrorists through our fighting of other terrorists.

    For example... imagine the US drops a "precision" bomb on a house in Fallujah - if some law abiding Iraqi citizen is in the next house over with his wife and kids, and they don't survive the blast, more likely than not our bomb just created another terrorist - a man that is so distraught with his life crumbling around him that he would kill himself just to hurt those that hurt him.

    That's my problem with this whole exercise - we are all assuming that "terrorists killed" is some great stat to point at and be proud of but the real stat we have to watch is "terrorists created." - and Bush hasn't been running the war well enough that we can completely discount the latter statistic. Middle Eastern public opinion of the US is at an all-time low. [/b][/quote]
    Sorry bit. Appeasement never has nor never will work with these sick m-ther-f--ers. Violence is the only thing these animals understand. It is going to be a long haul (not Iraq specifically, but this war AIMED AT US by radical Islamists), and while you are correct when you say that our actions can lead to creating new terrorists, sooner or later the attrition rate will make at least some of these assh-les wise up. The problem is that too many of these stone-age scum will never be happy until all Americans or even western culture are dead, or we're all bleating like goats out of a minaret 6 times a day and wearing towels on our heads. And that's as likely to happen as them giving up their backwards-ass beliefs. We can't end the war on terror. We can only fight it.

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    [quote][i]Originally posted by shakin318[/i]@Feb 2 2005, 11:10 AM
    [b] Sorry bit. Appeasement never has nor never will work [/b][/quote]
    when in that post did I ever recommend appeasement?

    see that's typical - please don't assume that just because i don't support the current activities that i support no activities at all...

    of course we have to fight it but there are smart ways of fighting and stupid ways of fighting. History has proven time and time again that fighting a guerilla war without overwhelming troop counts is stupid.

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    Bit, terrorists do not have an infinite supply of resources.

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    [quote][i]Originally posted by bitonti+Feb 2 2005, 11:32 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>[b]QUOTE[/b] (bitonti @ Feb 2 2005, 11:32 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-shakin318[/i]@Feb 2 2005, 11:10 AM
    [b] Sorry bit. Appeasement never has nor never will work [/b][/quote]
    when in that post did I ever recommend appeasement?

    see that&#39;s typical - please don&#39;t assume that just because i don&#39;t support the current activities that i support no activities at all...

    of course we have to fight it but there are smart ways of fighting and stupid ways of fighting. History has proven time and time again that fighting a guerilla war without overwhelming troop counts is stupid. [/b][/quote]
    Sorry if I took it the wrong way...although I&#39;m sure I remember you advocating "addressing the root causes" rather than fighting, which to me means naively kissing ass in a We Are The World/Unicef/Meals On Wheels approach that in my estimation would only make them think we&#39;re soft -- and encourage them to plot even sicker ways to f us up.

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    [quote][i]Originally posted by bitonti[/i]@Feb 2 2005, 09:54 AM
    [b] Middle Eastern public opinion of the US is at an all-time low. [/b][/quote]
    Yeah, I&#39;m sure they loved us better when we turned the other cheek after Khobar Towers, the USS Cole, the embarassment in Somalia, and the first WTC bombing.

    Then we got a President who wouldn&#39;t let it slide after 9.11, and the Arabs don&#39;t like us so much anymore. Oh well.

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    [quote][i]Originally posted by jets5ever[/i]@Feb 2 2005, 11:43 AM
    [b] Bit, terrorists do not have an infinite supply of resources. [/b][/quote]
    agreed - but they never had REAL resources to speak of - yes the 9-11 guys had some backing but these guys on the ground in Iraq have no such luxury -

    when someone is willing to kill themselves to make a point, the importance of resources dwindles... if you want to live taking on a US Bradley vehicle you need a tank - if you don&#39;t care if you live then a common car filled with TNT would do just fine...

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    [quote][i]Originally posted by Jets&Canes+Feb 2 2005, 12:02 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>[b]QUOTE[/b] (Jets&Canes @ Feb 2 2005, 12:02 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-bitonti[/i]@Feb 2 2005, 09:54 AM
    [b] Middle Eastern public opinion of the US is at an all-time low. [/b][/quote]
    Yeah, I&#39;m sure they loved us better when we turned the other cheek after Khobar Towers, the USS Cole, the embarassment in Somalia, and the first WTC bombing.

    Then we got a President who wouldn&#39;t let it slide after 9.11, and the Arabs don&#39;t like us so much anymore. Oh well. [/b][/quote]
    maybe if you love George Bush so much you will hold him to a higher standard than Bill Clinton?

    sorry but "better than Clinton" isn&#39;t the same as "doing a good job."

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    [quote][i]Originally posted by shakin318[/i]@Feb 2 2005, 11:52 AM
    [b] Sorry if I took it the wrong way...although I&#39;m sure I remember you advocating "addressing the root causes" rather than fighting, [/b][/quote]
    over the years I have advocated many things, and i have been wrong several times - for the sake of simplicity and practicality we should probably keep this discussion in the present tense. As i told 5ever yesterday I am not consistent and if people are expecting me to be then they are going to be dissapointed.

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    [quote][i]Originally posted by bitonti+Feb 2 2005, 11:06 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>[b]QUOTE[/b] (bitonti @ Feb 2 2005, 11:06 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> [quote]Originally posted by Jets&Canes@Feb 2 2005, 12:02 PM
    [b] <!--QuoteBegin-bitonti[/i]@Feb 2 2005, 09:54 AM
    [b] Middle Eastern public opinion of the US is at an all-time low. [/b][/quote]
    Yeah, I&#39;m sure they loved us better when we turned the other cheek after Khobar Towers, the USS Cole, the embarassment in Somalia, and the first WTC bombing.

    Then we got a President who wouldn&#39;t let it slide after 9.11, and the Arabs don&#39;t like us so much anymore. Oh well. [/b][/quote]
    maybe if you love George Bush so much you will hold him to a higher standard than Bill Clinton?

    sorry but "better than Clinton" isn&#39;t the same as "doing a good job." [/b][/quote]
    I like his response to 9.11, but that doesn&#39;t mean he is immune to criticsm. And he had a much better response to an attack on US soil than Gore would have had imo.

    He is doing a much better job on this issue than Clinton would have, but there are other areas where I disagree with him, like the environmental issues.

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