Preempting the truth with worried mockery

| December 26, 2011 | 25 Comments

A certain self-consciousness reveals itself in this recent Ted Rall cartoon. The immediate set up for the image is three veterans sitting around a military or patriotic (likely referred to in his circles as jingoistic) bar. The scene evokes the stock conceptualization of a VFW or American Legion Post. The middle patron is missing his arm. All are wearing belligerent, seemingly ignorant t-shirts. The man on the left makes mention of the betrayal of the political class in the war, an allusion to the common theme in the German Army after the Treaty of Versailles. The second compares his treatment to that of the maligned generation of Vietnam vets. The last declares his intention to run for Congress. Perhaps, for the left, the most frightening inclination of all.

It’s the laughable paradigm in which Rall and his left-wing ilk regard us, as easily manipulated and reactionary fools, sacrificed on the alter of forces beyond our reckoning. This sort of pretentious elitism is witnessed time and again by those most divorced from the union of civic duty and personal sacrifice in the pursuit of the actual common good.

This silly dialogue reveals something else: fear of exposure.

Illustrating the cause for people like Rall’s concern is Fred and Kim Kagan’s excellent piece on the deteriorating situation in Iraq. It was precise in identifying the cause of the breakdown of peace and security for the people in Iraq since the end of the successful Bush/McCain “surge”. I’ll quote briefly:

With administration officials celebrating the “successful” withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, thanking antiwar groups for making that withdrawal possible, and proffering outrageous claims about Iraq’s “stability,” “sovereignty,” and the “demilitarization” of American foreign policy even as Iraq collapses, it is hard to stay focused on America’s interests and security requirements. Especially in an election year, the temptation will only grow to argue about who lost Iraq, whether it was doomed from the outset, whether the current disaster “proves” either that the success of the surge was inherently ephemeral or that the withdrawal of U.S. troops caused the collapse.

The withdrawal of all American military forces has greatly reduced America’s leverage in Iraq. U.S. military forces were a buffer to prevent political and ethno-sectarian friction from becoming violent by guaranteeing Maliki against a Sunni coup d’état and guaranteeing the Sunnis against a Shiite campaign of militarized repression. The withdrawal of that buffer precipitated this crisis and removed much of our leverage.

Like it or not, the timing of the moves against Hashimi et al. upon Maliki’s return from Washington has created a perception in Iraq that these actions were authorized by Washington.

After hundreds of billions of dollars and almost 4,500 American service member’s lives the Obama Administration scuttled the negotiations required to keep American forces in Iraq. After eight years of blood, sweat and treasure the end was decided by Democratic political pollsters in campaign season.

Explosions are ripping through Baghdad at a rate and ferocity not seen since 2007. The Shiite Prime Minister is purging his government of the Sunni members needed to retain a pluralistic state, literally the day after American withdrawal. The Kurds edge closer to open secession and the Iranian Quds Force establish safe houses across the country.

Peter Wehner in Commentary quite succinctly said:

What is happening in Iraq is sickening, in part because the gains came at such a high cost and in part because what is happening there was so avoidable. Obama was handed a war that was largely won. What America had given to Iraq is what the Arab scholar Fouad Ajami called “the foreigner’s gift.” But Iraq being Iraq, maintaining an American troop presence there, separate from engaging in combat operations, was necessary if Iraq was ever to become whole again. President Obama has undone much of what had been achieved there, almost in the blink of an eye. And when the history of his administration is written, it increasingly looks as if he will be fairly judged to have been the man who lost Iraq.

In an administration full of failures, this one may well rank among the highest. The human cost to Iraq and the strategic damage to America may be unimaginable. And so unnecessary.

And so, full circle, we come back to the paranoid fear of intellectual midgets like Rall. Knowing the devastating judgment an unbiased history will lay upon the Obama Administration for so callous an abandonment of the Iraqis at at the cost of so many American’s lives he attempts to preempt this searing truth with petty mockery and stumbling historical analogy. Keep your heads on the swivel and call out this caustic and hateful manipulation when you see it.

Category: Antiwar crowd, Barack Obama/Joe Biden, Foreign Policy, Liberals suck

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  1. Doc Bailey says:

    how sad it is that this is how the Left really see us. We who have given so much for the will of the people. We fight for each other because we believe it is Right, and because our so called “Betters” have told us it is a worthy fight.

    In the end we can only hope that divine providence has made our sacrifices worthy on the alter we call Freedom, because that way is better than any others we might know.

  2. AW1 Tim says:

    Obama is simply following the precedent set by the Democrats who sold out South Vietnam in the name of political currency, and thus condemned millions of Asians to death at the hands of communist thugs and psychopaths.

    The Democrat party is soaked in the blood of millions of innocents, from the Iron Curtain through Iraq.

  3. CI says:

    The problems that are plaguing Iraq were present and well known in 2007. No amount of blaming Obama will alter that fact.

  4. OWB says:

    The absolute truth, Tim. The party of death.

  5. NHSparky says:

    Balkanization, Part Deux. But Obama could have at least looked at history to understand that. For that, he gets a shitty grade. They KNEW what was going to happen, but Obama needs a campaign talking point, dontcha know.

  6. TrapperFrank says:

    Ted Rall a real class act, this idiot wouldn’t know the truth if it hit him in the face.

  7. Old Trooper says:

    @3: There is plenty of blame to go around, however, the arrogance of this administration and where they lay “credit” for our leaving is what rubs people the wrong way, especially when they did little to nothing in order to enable a stable Iraq upon our leaving. The same is going to happen in Afghanistan when we leave. We’ve already given the bad guys a written itinerary of when we’re leaving A-stan, so we can expect to see what’s happening in Iraq, happen in A-stan.

    History has shown us the err of our ways, but we continue to ignore it as too simple, less complicated and nuanced, because we think we are smarter and more intellectually adept these days than our forefathers. Name the last time that we had victory that did not include unconditional surrender, or complete capitulation, by the bad guys? Only when we get back to the basics will we start to see positive results.

  8. CI says:

    @7 – A written itinerary isn’t needed to telegraph intentions to the people who live there. There is no realistic option to stay in Iraq or Afghanistan for at least a generation, absorbing casualties, for causes that fall far short of threats to US national interests. Americans know that, and indigenous populations know that.

    Obama followed the SOFA. Obama also has no control over Maliki’s domestic stratagems, or those of his opponents.

    Unconventional and counter-insurgency warfare doesn’t lend itself to notions of unconditional surrender. This is not your forefathers paradigm of warfare.

  9. Joe says:

    At least he didn’t wear a flight jacket and organize photo ops on the desk of a carrier…..

  10. Old Trooper says:

    @8: It may not be our forefathers paradigm of warfare, however, it doesn’t take away the inherent truths of human nature and of warfare in general, because the basis of warfare is what? Were there attacks on allied forces by unconventional forces before the end of WWII? Yep, there were (remember the werewolf squads?). How were they dealt with? When captured, they were tried immediately and then taken out, put against the wall, and shot (not getting fat at Gitmo for years). Were there attacks even after the surrender of Germany? Yep, there were, but they were dealt with swiftly and in the same manner.

    When you make the other guy give up the will to attack you, or take away their ability to attack you, then, and only then, can you have a peaceful resolution. That is when things like the Marshall Plan can be successful. We have been trying to do all things at once and it doesn’t work. Nation building while the enemy is still active doesn’t work so well and we have found that out on too many occasions, yet we ignore it and continue down that same path (remember what the definition of insanity is). We treated the Iranians with kid gloves while our men and women were dying from Iranian munitions in Iraq and now Afghanistan. The Pakis haven’t been as helpful as they could have been because many within the regime are sympathetic to the taliban and AQ, leaving the enemy several safe havens to operate from and that means that we lost before it even started. We have become more worried about looking good than actually winning. When that happens, you might as well not even bother.

    Of course we have to abide by the host government, but really; how hard did the administration try to convince them of the coming problems? We knew a few years ago that Maliki was more interested in Shiite domination since he wouldn’t allow us to take out mookie and his band of merry marauders. So, the conclusion one could draw is that this was the endgame in the first place; right?

  11. Old Trooper says:

    @9: You’re just jealous.

  12. CI says:

    @10 – By and large, your examples are only applicable to state v. state warfare. Not remotely the same paradigm as COIN.

    Your last paragraph is a salient point. We knew at the time of the SOFA agreement, what Maliki’s designs were. There was no convincing needed by the Obama Administration. The uptick in violence plays right into Maliki’s strategy.

  13. Old Trooper says:

    Well, CI; is Pakistan a state? Is Iran a state? Our stated mission, after 9/11, was to go after states that harbor or aid terrorists. Seems to me there are 2 right at the top of the heap; no?

  14. CI says:

    Well…sure…if we were engaged in open conflict with Iran and Pakistan.

  15. NHSparky says:

    Joe–as opposed to photo ops in the Situation Room, pretending to be all give-a-fuckish about getting Bin Laden when in reality he couldn’t make up his fucking mind for 16 hours? Or heading over to Dover for a photo op in front of dead servicemen?

    That kind of decisiveness and planning?

  16. Old Trooper says:

    @14: I posit that we should have done more to keep Iran and Pakistan out of the harboring and support business, but we aren’t interested in doing so. It wouldn’t have had to include full on war with either of them, but I think we could have gotten the message across anyway. We don’t have the stomach for it, or the intestinal fortitude required to see it through and that is what they all see in the region and around the world. If we don’t have the will to achieve real victory, then we shouldn’t be involved in the first place. That is why I was against us going into Iraq and was against spending so much time, lives, and treasure in Afghanistan; we didn’t have the collective will to win and have become more interested in COIN than victory.

  17. CI says:

    @16 – Valid points…….and I’m in agreement with you.

  18. 2-17 AirCav says:

    @10. “Nation building while the enemy is still active doesn’t work so well….” Well, tie me up and call me doggie. Like most self-evident truths, that one is simple and straightforward. No analysis is needed. No nunced phraseology is required. No soft landing is sought. There it is and, man, do I like it.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Democracy still has a long way to go in Iraq anybody can see that. We don’t have to station troops there to act as a buffer between all the tribes for them to work out their hostilities. We can sit in Kuwait to keep the Iranians in check while the Iraqis solve their own problems. They need to work out some profit sharing agreement for their oil revenues and most of the killing would probably stop. In Afghanistan we need to get out of there for the same reasons, too many different tribes that hate each other for democracy to work. Also, it costs to much to keep the supply lines open for our troops. Plus, Karzi is too much of a dope addict to be an effective leader. We need to kiss India’s ass to keep the pressure on Pakistan militarily and diplomatically. That’s why the Taliban let AQ into the country in the first was to keep the Indies in check. We need to get back to the laws of war make Pakistan’s enemy our friends cause they ain’t doing nothing for our cause.

  20. UpNorth says:

    Hey, Joey, you mean like in this picture? http://www.signonsandiego.com/photos/2010/mar/28/136991/
    And, if you look around, Joey, you can find all kinds of photos taken of Obie, at photo ops, while he dons a military jacket, on his manly frame, and shows the troops just how much he really cares about them. Hack, cough, gag, spit. I knew I couldn’t get that out without a reaction.

  21. Cedo Alteram says:

    First, never heard of “Discoverthenetworks” before, but looks interesting, will keep an eye on.

    1) “After hundreds of billions of dollars and almost 4,500 American service member’s lives the Obama Administration scuttled the negotiations required to keep American forces in Iraq. After eight years of blood, sweat and treasure the end was decided by Democratic political pollsters in campaign season.” Hey CI, you know if anyone else around here has made the exact same point? *Cough* *Cough*

    10#”When you make the other guy give up the will to attack you, or take away their ability to attack you, then, and only then, can you have a peaceful resolution. That is when things like the Marshall Plan can be successful. We have been trying to do all things at once and it doesn’t work. Nation building while the enemy is still active doesn’t work…” Out… fucking… standing…. That quote CI, is exactly how insurgencies are subdued in a nutshell. I think OT meant that on a nation state to nation state basis but it is a good explanation here too in a microcosm.

    19#”Democracy still has a long way to go in Iraq anybody can see that. We don’t have to station troops there to act as a buffer between all the tribes for them to work out their hostilities. We can sit in Kuwait to keep the Iranians in check while the Iraqis solve their own problems. ” In total agreement, I’ve made same point many times.

  22. CI says:

    @21 – “Hey CI, you know if anyone else around here has made the exact same point?”

    Your authorship of a previous point is duly noted, however the points continue to be decidedly lacking in substance and context, making them little more than campaign talking points. The original SOFA negotiated by the Bush Administration [which none of the leading voices seem to be acknowledging as insufficient] was originally envisioned by the US as not having a fixed timetable. Iraqi political desires quelled that notion. Obama was under no imperative to even reopen negotiations, but did so anyway, after it took until August for the Maliki regime to receive CoR approval conduct these negotiations for US trainers. This approval came following the Iraqi Ambassadors statement of “You’ll see it when you see it. Americans want everything now or yesterday. We don’t do it like this. We do it in our own sweet time.”

    Aside from the basic notion of whether it would be in our interest to stay beyond 2011, the truth is a miles away from “After eight years of blood, sweat and treasure the end was decided by Democratic political pollsters in campaign season”.

  23. Old Trooper says:

    @17: I guess the biggest thing for me is when Vietnam ended. My dad, 2 of my cousins and 2 next door neighbors were all in that one and to see what happened at the end still makes me sick, because we farted around, “experts” like Cronkite said we had lost during Tet, even though everyone, including the NVA knew we won Tet, etc. We weren’t really serious about Vietnam and the stated mission never happened. The only way we even got the North Vietnamese to the negotiation table is when we let go in Linebacker and Linebacker II (which ended our involvement in Vietnam). I believe if it would have been done at the beginning of the war, instead of 7 1/2 years later, the outcome would have been much different. As it was, the North never stuck to the agreement and we, as a nation, left the South Vietnamese hung out to dry, because we didn’t hold up our end, either, and the South folded, which was what we were suppose to prevent in the first place. We did it in the Gulf War when we stopped at the Kuwait border (I said then that we would be back in a matter of a few years) and we are doing it now in Afghanistan.

    I’m a believer in the school of warfare that says “do it swiftly, with extreme violence, and then get out”. I like the KISS principal.

  24. CI says:

    @23 – Next year I will have reached the age where I will have spent half of my life in the Military. I fully understand the desire to have a sense of victory. It’s a need on many levels, exacerbated by loss and tragedy. And I can also find agreement with going in and doing it right, quickly and thoroughly.

    But if we were going to invade Iraq anyway [in 2003]…..is there really alternative CoA that would have produced a different outcome? Don’t get me wrong, the CPA was a goat rodeo from day one, but the underlying sectarian and nationalist issues would have still existed. If I understand your last point, getting out after deposing the Saddam regime probably would have made more sense. I don’t think it would have changed the outcome for Iraqi’s much, but it would have opened our avenues to pursue al Qaeda more than we have [still].

    The domestic will here in the US had to be ginned up in the first place, with recent fears from 9/11 playing a key role in popular support. But that support always had a shelf life.

  25. Old Trooper says:

    @24: “But that support always had a shelf life.”

    Very true.

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