|William Scott Scherk:|
John: You don't think pulling out militarily from a region that is known to have active al-Qaeda operations to be considered surrender?
Well, first -- I don`t accept the premise that Al Qaeda is the most important target of US forces, nor the administration's foremost justification for continued occupation of Iraq (to add context to that, John, yes, in my opinion Al Qaeda is truly an enemy of the West, and represents the same ugly fanaticism that Canadian forces fight in Afghanistan today).
William, please help me out here, if you don't think al-Qaeda ought to be the most important target for US forces, but you still think they ought to be a target for US forces, what is your point?
Secondly, I don't accept that ending US military occupation in Iraq means pulling out militarily from the region. US forces and bases dominate the region and will continue to dominate, with overt bases for US forces in Turkey, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, & Pakistan, and in the Emirates, and with reputed further secret facilities in Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Djibouti . . . not to mention the standing bases at Diego Garcia and in Italy, and the massive floating base of the US 7th Fleet.
If all US forces pulled out of Iraq immediately at 9 am tomorrow, the US regional presence would be still be awesome and thunderously powerful, in my opinion.
So, to answer your question, in context, no -- withdrawal does not simply equate 'surrender' to me (if you allow a comparison, should I consider Reagan`s 1984 withdrawal of US forces from Lebanon to be surrender -- even though the civil war there raged on for another 11 years?)
Pulling out of Iraq but staying in the region as an awesome power as you say is a red herring. It's still surrender. It would be surrendering to outside of Iraq's borders. If Iraq is left to be slaughtered by Islamo-fascists, and if al-Qaeda scores a victory from this, it doesn't matter that we hold a large military prescense in the middle eastern region. So I don't understand what you are saying here. What is the point to having a military prescense in a region if a country is unwilling to apply those forces to combat the enemy that is right next to them? And what if Islamo-fascists take power in Iraq? Would you be more open to the idea of US forces re-entering Iraq at that point? If you would answer yes to that question, then why? What would have been the point of leaving? Or would you be content with a regime taking power harboring terrorists and most likely committing a democide? I ask that rhetorically of course as I suspect you wouldn't want that to happen, but I hope you realize that is what abandonment would most likely mean.
In any case, I hope you won't misunderstand me: this passage hits: "I find this kind of depraved indifference to the Iraqis [leaving them to be fucked up the ass for a few decades] to be a bit troublesome [ -- ]considering [that if] the US is the reason [the Iragis] are in the current state of affairs they are in, do we not have an obligation to fix the situation?
We? meaning we America, or we the West?
Canada is a target for al-Qaeda as well. Muslim extremists hate you too and if able would slit your throat as well as mine. If the US loses, Canada loses. Canada cannot absolve itself from responsibility by choosing inaction. That Canada did not lend troops to support the US in securing Iraq will have consequences for Canada if the US loses. As I've stated before, if the US pulls out of Iraq, al-Qaeda or a like minded Taliban-like government will take power in Iraq. Everyone loses including Canada except the Islamo-fascists. As a free nation, Canada has a moral responsibility to stand with other free nations, as my hero Ben Franklin said, united we stand, divided we fall. But you bring up a good point, it is infuriating to me as an American that many Canadians stand by criticizing the US, when the people who are truly suffering are the Iraqis themselves. Why don't those Canadians who criticize the US help Iraq (help as in advocate to their government to mobilize the Canadian military to Iraq) and provide security if they are so damned concerned about what the US is doing? Why don't they step up to the plate and help make Iraq secure? The invasion already happened, all that these Canadians (the ones that seek US failure in Iraq) are doing is trying to punish George Bush for his arrogance, to teach him a listen in humility perhaps. But what are the consequences of teaching our President a listen in humility? Unimaginable slaughter for the Iraqis? A terrorist government ceasing power? Is it worth abandoning Iraq to that future if it is to just humiliate one man to the detriment of us all?
I struggle with this, John. I waver. I don't know a solution to your dilemma and suggest it is a false dilemma -- I observe that your president and his war policies have lost the support and confidence of the US people. It seems altruistic to 'fix' Iraq, to obey the truism 'you broke it, you fix it' . . . truly, my heart aches for the choices Americans face.
This is certainly a complex issue. But it doesn't absolve oneself from making a decision. While the issues are complex, the decision to stay or leave is simple. The consequences of either are foreseeable. Abandonment will most likely mean a terrible anti-west Taliban-like government will cease power, staying means hope for the future of a stable pro-west Iraq, which the latter is a far better alternative than the former. By fixing Iraq, the west will benefit. It is not an altruistic view as it is in our self-interests to make sure one of the largest oil reserves in the world is controlled by pro-west Iraqis and not al-Qaeda or some Islamo-Fascist variant. If a situation is made worse, and your self-interests have suffered, there is an obligation to fix that. Fixing something that is broken is not altruisitc, it is purely ethical considering that not fixing it means terrible consequences to yourself and to those around you. I'm glad you are wavering in your view, it suggests you have a conscience and you are realzing the reality of what abandoning Iraq will mean. You obviously have a soul (and I mean soul in the most secular non-religious meaning) and realize that the Iraqis don't deserve the fate they would most likely get from US abandonment. Depraved indifference to the world around me is something I can not personally live with and I suspect you feel the same way?
If it is true that, as you note, polls or referenda or surveys showing solid opposition to the occupation are meaningless to or ignored by your present leadership, well . . . what can that mean for American unity at home, and leadership abroad? You may ask yourself why GWB was not able to assemble the world's backing as was GHWB . . . and what this means to the moral power of the US mission in Iraq.
There is no doubt our leadership has failed us. But my intent is not to wallow in that failure but to try and convince others why punishing the President by abandoning Iraq only serves to the detriment of us all. I don't care if it is the Democrats that take power and continue fighting this war, so long as someone is committed to fighting it. That I am in the minority does not make my position wrong. That a majority of Americans want to abandon Iraq I would be skeptical of anyways as many polls tend to mislead the public. It depends how the question is phrased and how well the sample population is. All the opinion polls said Kerry would win the election as he had the majority but lo and behold he lost. So I'm weary of making blanket statements on what Americans think. Since it is a complex issue, many Americans have a variety of opinions on Iraq. But again it is not what the majority wants, it is what is right. To use an analogy (I know you don't like them but they help illustrate my point) If the majority wants to vote Communist, they have no right to vote in a government that would strip man of his rights. It wouldn't be the right thing to do. So a majority opinion isn't relevant to what a leader ought to do.
Of course many utilize wanton and despicable terror against civilians, and are also enemies of the occupation forces, but if history is our guide, no external force can contain or repress civil war. I also don't know that US self-interest will sustain a decades-long commitment in Iraq (as with Korea) when the people under occupation who are NOT terrorists also want the foreigners out of their lands.
William I would disagree that the majority of Iraqis want the US to leave. The elected government of Iraq has voted to allow for a continued US presence. A lot of polls I've seen have shown that the majority of Iraqis are confliced on this, they say they'd rather have the US not be there, but then the very next poll say they wouldn't want them to leave. So the opinion is they wish the US wasn't there, but they would like them to stay. A contradiction? Certainly but I think they understand what US abandonment would mean to them. They would just rather the situation be they themselves are self-sufficient enough to provide security for themselves.
In addition, it is a popular myth that insurgencies historically are militarily successful. When they have been successful it was due to a lack of morale by the forces fighting the insurgency. In fact historically according to a Pentagon study, only 41% of insurgencies have been successful. One very famous insurgency that was defeated (in yes a civil war) was the British defeating the communist rebels in Malaysia. Here's a link to the USA today article discussing this:
This war can be won, it's been done before.
If I could ask you anything in this thread, it's that you read my messages over several times, and offer me linquistic charity, as I will do you ('linguistic charity' == accept the least noxious meaning of a conversation partner's utterances -- without the communication clues given by tone of voice, expression, and so on, we can often believe the worst, and take the worst implication as the intended meaning. I won't do that to your words if I can help it).
William no offense, but I find you often like to shift the argument to unrelated or irrelevant issues. You disagree with premises I make and restate them in a way that doesn't necessarily mean the conclusions I make are wrong. For example disagreeing that al-Qaeda is the number one target for US troops. Having this position is a red herring and just shifts the issue to a meaningless debate of who is the biggest threat to the US. A debate I honestly don't care to get into nor is relevant to the issue of Iraq. Attacking one's enemy is not a zero-sum game, we can attack several of them simultaneously.(If you want we can start a new thread on that issue) Or that pulling out of Iraq still means a large US military prescense in the Middle East also a red herring and a irrelevant to whether the US should stay or leave Iraq. In that case it seems you had issue with the word "surrender", but I don't know what would be a more appropriate term for withdrawing from a known enemy stronghold? Maybe retreat would be a better term?
I'll take your words William the only way I can, literally. And I will try to be as fair as I can in how I interpret them. All I ask is you try to keep focussed on the issue at hand and not shift the debate.