Monday, March 20, 2006

If you knew what we know

The media, blogdom, and much of our day to day conversations are already saturated with highly polarized opinions of the war in Iraq, and I am fully aware that my voice probably adds very little value to the ongoing debate, but these are my thoughts if you care to read on.

This life long bedrock Reaganite Republican, who prides himself in never having voted for a single Democrat since filling out his first voter registration card right after the swearing in ceremony for new American citizens in 1986, strongly opposed the war from day one.

Let's set aside the morality of the war for a moment although it is replete with profound moral implications.

The most colossal mistake, in my opinion, that the President made from the get-go was his failure to secure overwhelmingly popular support for the war, and now chickens have come home to roost.

While I agree that our leaders should act out of deeply held principles in decision making, not based on the whims of the polls taken from the notoriously fickle populace, I believe popular support is the most critical ingredient in the successful prosecution of war. I don't need to tell you, if you are a student of US history, that we won every single battle in Vietnam, but the unpopularity of the war eventually did us in and the final outcome was the first war defeat in our nation's history.

People bear the costs of war with their very lives. Over 2,300 military men and women have lost their lives. Over 16,500 military men and women have been wounded in combat. Over 4,000 military men and women have been seriously maimed. The lives of these military men and women and those of their loved ones have been altered forever.

And it is far from over.

Sacrifices of such magnitude call for overwhelming and unyielding public support. We as a nation needed to be on the same page with the collective sense that we were all in this together as a people, but that was far from being the case before the invasion.

If you remember the months leading up to the war three years ago, the Bush administration's claims of the imminent threat posed by Saddam Hussein were met with widespread skepticism both here and abroad for very good reasons, which were summarily dismissed as unAmerican and unpatriotic. Much of the support for President Bush's push to invade Iraq was based on our wishful thinking that the government knew something that we didn’t.

This if-you-knew-what-we-know rhetoric from the proponents of the war did its magic and convinced a slim majority of Americans to support the invasion.

Now long vanished without a trace from Mr. Bush's vocabulary is the weapons of mass destruction.


Today, the President continues to beat the drumbeat of his wildly optimistic assessments of "progress" made in Iraq. His administration bitterly complains of how the media selectively concentrates on the negatives, and insists that the sectarian violence which has claimed thousands, if not tens of thousands, of Iraqis represents but a small fraction of the big picture.

He may very well be right. I am not in Iraq to witness all the wonderful developments that the President raves about, so I can’t say for sure. I know that.

But Mr. President, your if-you-knew-what-we-know sales pitch before the war has turned out to be baseless rhetoric, so why should we buy it again?


At March 21, 2006 11:03 AM, Blogger Oricon Ailin said...

David, I couldn't have said it better. From one Republican to another, thank you!!

I just wish we could have all our troops back home and safe. *sighs*

At March 22, 2006 10:03 AM, Blogger A thinker said...

Good article, David.

It is incredibly hard to believe how the president and others in his administration can continue to keep up the pretense that their occupation of Iraq is leading to any meaningful or beneficial outcome for the country, when the news reports plainly say otherwise. I don't know what a graceful exit strategy would be, but it would begin with admitting that we're not accomplishing anything by being in Iraq (and in fact have in many ways left the country worse off). That would make more sense. But it would take a lot of swallowing of pride to say it.

At March 22, 2006 8:00 PM, Blogger Brotha Buck said...

I am completely baffled on this subject. So much so, that I don't even opine. It's much bigger than I.

At March 24, 2006 6:34 AM, Blogger Granny said...

Thanks for your comment on isamericaburning. Sorry I haven't been here for a while.

I keep hearing rumblings about Iran as well.

It's a relief to hear it's not just us wingnuts and traitors from the other side of the aisle.

I want our troops home. Declare victory if he wants but get them out of there.

At March 24, 2006 8:28 PM, Blogger Worried said...

You are absolutely correct, David. I recall reading an in depth article about war years ago and one section I recall was that for a war to be prosecuted successfully the will of the people had to be behind it.

Judging from independent journalists reports and independent and foreign publications, Iraq is a morass of destruction and suffering; small pockets of "show" can be utilized for photo ops and propaganda to back up the lies about progress.

Glad to have to visit us; do come back. We welcome your input.

At March 25, 2006 12:19 PM, Blogger L-girl said...

Excellent piece, David.

I must point out that your catalogue of dead and wounded only includes Americans, or perhaps "the alliance". We will never know the true number of Iraqi lives lost, bodies shattered, families shattered. But they are people, and therefore worthy of our grief.

At March 25, 2006 12:31 PM, Blogger L-girl said...

I don't know what a graceful exit strategy would be, but it would begin with admitting that we're not accomplishing anything by being in Iraq (and in fact have in many ways left the country worse off). That would make more sense. But it would take a lot of swallowing of pride to say it.

I also want to echo what Granny said, above. It doesn't have to be graceful, nor does it have to involve swallowing pride, because the boys in Washington will never do that.

Let them say whatever they want, let them declare a resounding victory. Plenty of Americans will even believe it, if they see it on Fox.

Just do whatever it takes to end the occupation.

At March 25, 2006 1:39 PM, Blogger David Cho said...

I thought about that, Laura, and I agree, and I was trying to communicate that thought in the untold numbers of Iraqis victimized by sectatrian violence.

At March 26, 2006 10:14 AM, Blogger Domestic Goddess said...

While i agree with you that this is a war that we should get out of, I would like to point out that we don't see anything except what the media chooses to show us. My best friend's husband is a marine and is in Iraq for the third time, he is among those 15,000 who have been wounded (his second time there). He has often said that we don't see what is really going on. We don't see the progress that is being made because it isn't being shown. We don't see the schools that are being built, the hope that many have now.

I pray for his safety and those who are serving, and hope that this will end soon, but i also hope that we end it properly.

At March 26, 2006 12:17 PM, Blogger David Cho said...

You are probably right, DG. From those who served in Iraq (I live pretty close to a Marine base), I hear both - how things are much worse than what the news media reports and how good things happening aren't being reported.

The way I see it is this. I just don't see how all the good things going unreported can outweigh tens of thousands of Iraqis dying due to sectarian violence.

At March 27, 2006 2:38 PM, Blogger San Nakji said...

Nothing good will ever come from the deaths of thousands of innocents. They can build a million schools, but for the families of those who have died since the invasion, this will change nothing.
I am pleased to see even the most hardcore of Republicans can see the folly of their president. Let's hope he can see what a disaster messing with Iran would be...

At March 27, 2006 8:48 PM, Blogger Just Rannin' Around said...

I am a republican through and through. I also am a Christian through and through. Here are my very small thoughts on all of this.....

Our troops are still supporting the President. There is incredible amounts of information that we as a public do not have. I have to believe those that have been and are serving in those areas (my family members included) and they tell a different story than the Democratic loving media tells.

They are helping those people over there. I don't believe for one minute that if you are helping a society for the good that there is wrong in that. If nobody was ever willing to help others, this would be a miserable life full of horrible people.

We have to stand up to evil or it will take over.


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