Thursday, August 25, 2005

Observations on the Peripheral:

Iraq, Vietnam, Hippies, Global War and Idiots

While I've been busy this last week with personal things, I've still caught the news and kept informed as much as possible though I had to make an effort to go back and catch up on the military and political blogs to get more of the details and things we don't see on the news...or things we see too much on the news.

I had vowed not to mention a certain woman on this blog to several other bloggers and friends. No, not that other person whom I named once and said it was enough, but our most recent embodiment that camped out in Crawford, Texas with a bunch of hippies and other suspect characters. I am now breaking my vow of silence on this matter because I can't seem to escape her on the news channels.

Our local station, KCTV5, a CBS affiliate, Tuesday evening brought the news that more soldiers were dead and wounded after an IED attack and then promptly went into coverage of Cindy Sheehan and her demands to know "why her son had to die".

Nice contrast.

It doesn't matter what answer is given because that is really not the point of Ms. Sheehan's vigil. Frankly, I do believe that the media is giving her more attention than she deserves and that the President is under no obligation to meet with her again or exhange any messages with her considering she is using her guise as a grieving mother to force the president to acknowledge her anti-war and anarchist rhetoric.

Yes, she's a mom of a fallen soldier, but so are over 1860 other mothers out there as well as the over 10k mothers and fathers, wives, husbands, and children of wounded or killed soldiers. Ms. Sheehan is one of many. She's also one of many throughout history who have lost loved ones and wondered why. I've often thought of the phrase "popular war" being the worst misnomer of any American war in history. World War II may have been supported, but war is hardly "popular" like a prom queen or president of the Student Body.

In long wars, in every war, people have suffered, their loved ones died and they have wondered "why". Why do people have to fight and kill? Why their son or daughter and not another? Why now? Why do evil people seem to pop out every few years and force themselves on the rest of the world?

These aren't really new questions it's just a matter of modern media that the question gets any time because the modern media has taken its role as the arbiter of moral and ethical questions and guidance counselor to a new height. So, Cindy Sheehan keeps getting her face on the daily news in an effort to prick our conscience as if we would have no conscience without them.

The same way Ted Koppel or CBS nightly news puts up the pictures of fallen soldiers and gives a sentence about their rank, branch of service and what they wanted to be when they grew up or came home. Just in case you have forgotten that it is real people, young and old (though mostly young) dying in a war that some people question.

Strangely, or not so strangely, we don't get the same benefit of showing images of attacks on America 9/11 or video of Saddam standing on his balcony, wielding a gun or sword and threatening death to America. Nobody shows an investigative report of the hundreds of mass graves in Iraq and very few ever reported the information that Dave from the Greenside gave us from his base outside of Fallujah where he reported the daily occurances of finding dead bodies floating in the river decapitated by the Islamists in the city, or the children brought to be treated or the tortured victims in the Islamist's make shift jails and torture chambers.

Since the recent victims of the beheading were not American or foreign workers, it was apparent that the media did not find that information newsworthy.

God forbid that we must find out the true nature of the enemy and be worried about what it means to us and every nation threatened by such forces. I also note that no one has done a comprehensive report of the Islamist terrorist activities around the world. That might also give the impression that we truly are in a Global conflict.

(red dots on map represent actual Islamist terrorist attacks, areas where Islamist movements have manifested, areas used as staging/training areas and areas where Islamists terrorist have been arrested on suspicion of planning attacks)

I placed these red dots on the maps from memory of news reports. I'm sure if I researched it more thoroughly, I'd have a lot more red dots on this map. When I look at the maps and put them together, it strangely looks like a global war. Then again, I'm just some hick from Missouri. What would I know about maps and wars or reading news reports? I'm sure some hippie guy in a tie die down in Crawford could explain these all away as part of the "freedom fighters against American Imperial Hubris". Although, I'd be mightily interested as to whether we are planning to take over Bangledesh or Kashmir or Sudan or Chechnya or Thailand, etc, etc, etc any time soon.

Of course, if anyone actually acknowledged this map, they'd have to mention that the enemy were Islamists. Then someone would actually have to take the time to explain who they were and what they wanted besides the little sound bites we get clipping out the paragraphs that demand our withdrawal from this place or that and threaten to kill more people if we don't.

Someone might actually have to explain our foreign policy and what it means to the future verses what and where the Caliphate was and why these countries under attack had anything to do with that.

It's all too hard apparently. Much easier just to do two minute clips about this attack or that, this message or that, etc.

For Ms. Sheehan, I have sympathy; to a degree. She did lose her son. But as has been pointed out by several and reported here by Blackfive, her son was not some scared little boy who didn't know what he was doing. He was a man serving in the best tradition of the military and volunteered to go on the mission to rescue his fellow soldiers. A mission he did not have to go on.

Volunteer. Mission. Duty. Honor. Sacrifice.

These are things that her son understood. Things that apparently Ms. Sheehan cannot reconcile nor can we reconcile with the image of Ms. Sheehan and her bizarre statements about why we are at war. Neither can I reconcile her statements with her previous visit with President Bush nor with the image and reputation of her son which seems incongruous with his mother's political views, past and present.

I've got to say, as my first and last statement about Mrs. Sheehan, the only thing I feel for her is pity. Pity for the death of her son. Pity that she did not really know her son because he was light years away from her in mind and body. Pity because she cannot reconcile and move from her grief. Pity because she has caused herself to be divorced when she most needed support for her grief. Pity that her actions have caused her mother to have a stroke. Pity because those around her whom she now thinks are the base of that support will one day be gone and she will be left with no one and nothing (which is the case in most causes du jour). Pity because she will one day be alone with her grief and still not be able to reconcile the answer to her question when her own boy gave it to her in his actions.

The last pity I have is for her son, who was honorable and self sacrificing, something we could wish for our own children, whose name will now be forever immortalized in history, not as a brave man, but as the poster child for every anarchist and bizarre group that has hitched their wagon to the "Peace House" and Cindy Sheehan.

I wonder if she knows, while she mourns her sons death and associates with these strange bedfellows, that some of her supporters have wished the death of a soldier? Another mother's son? Because he did not agree with her.

Is that a good reason? If yes, then who is the bloodthirsty warmonger?

And if he dies, will she personally go to the son's mother and express her sorrow and regret, or feel smugly satisfied or maybe she believes it's not her fault? The whole affair is rather sickening and, yes, pitiful. It is a sad realization that this is the far left, hypocrites who plant crosses on the side of the road in Crawford, Texas and yet every death they claim as vindication seems to bring them smug satisfaction, another rung on the ladder to stand on and wave their flag of self importance while the rest of the families go on.

This woman has allowed herself and her son to be used in that manner.

Thus, this is the first and last she gets from me; pity.

Chuck Hagel on the other hand, is an idiot. He recently claimed that Iraq was turning into Vietnam or was Vietnam. As another has recently said, one wonders if he really thinks his experiences there actually hinder or improve his ability to compare and state such fallacies?

Although, he is partially correct in his language, the base of his analysis is wrong.

Iraq does have a few things in common with Vietnam. The first of which is that it is a battle in a global war against an evil and totalitarian ideology. Something that the revisionists of history have tried to erase from the reality of Vietnam and the thing that the media and current pundits have tried to erase from the explanations of Iraq.

Vietnam has been surgically removed from the global struggle against Communism in history and placed in its own category, as if it were a stand alone conflict with causes that were strictly limited to Vietnam. The reality of every war is that it has its roots in previous history and previous war. No war really stands by itself without knowing the history that led to it. We like to think WWII started with Pearl Harbor, but that's an egotistical and simplistic explanation for a war that technically began a few years earlier and in which our own ships and people had been targeted long before December 7, 1941. And whether one believes Vietnam was won or lost or a draw, whether it was through politics, media or battle tactics, it did have its purpose in the greater struggle. It did serve that strategic purpose, regardless of outcome of the battle space.

Of course, to understand this, you'd have to know your history pretty well and as Leno has proved on his Tonight show, there are a lot of people who don't even know who the first President was or who liberated the slaves, much less anything about world history. First you'd have to know that the conflict grew out of an economic philosophy called Marxism and to understand what Karl Marx predicted as the future in a post Industrial Revolution world. You'd have to understand the revolutions of Europe and know what the year 1848 meant. Then you'd have to know who and what Lenin was, who Tolstoy and Trotsky were, how Stalin came to power and his philosophy.

You'd actually have to have some grasp of of the different economic structures like Communism, Socialism, and Capitalism. If that is too much, you'd have to know something about the Bolshevik revolution in Russia and how it spread throughout Europe, lending to the history of WWI and then Russia's expansionistic plans which it tried to implement first with Nazi Germany and then with the allies in post war Europe. Maybe you'd have to know something about China's post war revolution that eventually installed Mao and his "cultural revolution". How about the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Airlift? Do they still teach that in school?

That may still be too much. Maybe just a few numbers including the number of people killed by Stalin and Mao as they struggled to install their version of "utopia" across vast regions and countries. Then there would be the Korean War, the expansion of Communism and Socialism, equally deadly, throughout Asia, Africa and even South America. Let's not forget Cuba and the Cuban missile crisis.

I've always been amazed that people think of the Cuban Missile Crisis as separate from the history of Vietnam. The failing of most not recognizing the USSRs expansion and strategic goals to encircle the United States with Communist or client states from which it could launch either economic or military assault on the US. Cuba was right at our door step, a few miles from the Florida coast. People weren't building nuclear bomb shelters for nothing.

Vietnam is like Iraq in these cases because there is a broad relation through historical movements and activities that led to it being strategically cast as a major battle in a global war, not as stand alone wars with their own specific purposes, devoid of relationship to anything else. However one classifies Vietnam, it served its purpose, draining resources, men and money from China and the USSR, all of which kept Communist governments from being able to fully fund and effectively support large movements in South America and other areas around the globe that would directly threaten our security both economically and physically.

This issue was clearly lost on people like Sen. Kerry and others who demanded the withdrawal of funds from counter insurgency groups in South America during the 80's. Frankly, they couldn't see the forest for the trees. The same problem that affects them now. Including the right honorable Mr. Hagel with his Vietnam analogy.

To truly comprehend the purpose of Iraq, you'd have to know a lot more about the history of the Middle East and Islamist movements, the strategy and purpose of the enemy and how Iraq directly effects that and is part of the global war, a battle space, alongside of and not separate from Afghanistan and the war on Islamist terrorists.

I also find amusing the demands for a single reason for the war in Iraq. Whenever one talks about freedom and democracy in Iraq to someone from the opposition or anti-war crowd, they counter and shout "bah humbug" claiming that the President has changed his reasons for war too many times. They want a single reason for war in Iraq. As another recently commented, they want an "either/or" situation when it isn't. It is an "and" situation. Just because one of the "and" reasons didn't pan out, it doesn't negate all of the other reasons and strategic purposes. It's just something for them to latch on to to satisfy their own need and reason to oppose it.

This is because they have a narrow view of the world and strategies to fight the global war. This is because they are afraid of what it means to recognize that this war exists. They want to limit it to a few men like Osama Bin Laden and Zawahiri hoping that if they ignore the rest it will desist from a over boiling pot to a simmer. Even pots on the stove at simmer that aren't watched and addressed once in awhile will lead to a burnt mess and possibly a kitchen fire or worse, burn your house down if you don't have a fire alarm and extinguisher handy.

The reasons for war are: Saddam was a threat to the region having already invaded a neighboring country in 1990 and attempting to rebuild his military stealthily in order to regain his position of power in the region AND he was a murdering scum bag who killed hundreds of thousands of his own people and put them in mass graves, men, women and children AND he had used WMD against domestic and foreign people AND he refused to adhere to UN resolutions for eleven years to destroy all said WMD AND he had violated the terms of the 1991 ceasefire on multiple occasions AND he had abused the oil for food program to buy weapons (WMD or not) strictly prohibited by the ceasefire and sanctions AND he had enriched himself at the expense of his people AND he had sought connections with terrorist organizations AND he had provided money and resources to terrorist organizations AND he had provided training within Iraq to terrorist organizations AND Iraq was harboring known terrorists and organizations AND he had attempted to assassinate a president of this country AND he routinely threatened the United States with attack AND Iraq is centrally located within a volatile region AND it provides a strategic center within this region both politically, economically and militarily AND spreading democracy and freedom in Iraq has a direct impact on the social and political construct of other countries in the region AND terrorist organizations have decided to fight us in Iraq which allows us to do as they had planned, make them fight on land of our choosing, use their resources and money AND bring the war to their doorstep where people of the region can really see what the war and these people are about AND it caused the enemy to have to split its resources to cover two fronts AND it took away Afghanistan as its single battle space where they were already entrenched having ready made supply routes, weapons depots, bases of operation and support among the population.

I could go on AND on.

This isn't an "either/or" situation or decision on why Iraq was a chosen battlefield. None of these reasons alone stand as THE reason to go to war in Iraq. It is an "AND" situation and all of them together make war in Iraq necessary as a battlefront in the larger global war.

So, Iraq is like Vietnam in the simplest and broadest view that it is part of an overall global struggle to insure the security of the United States. It has no single purpose or reason but a conglomerate of reasons and strategic significance in the greater war. It is not a single war, standing alone outside of history, but a battle. Bringing Democracy and Freedom is not "THE" purpose of the battle, but "A" strategy, a weapon if you will, in the "BATTLE" for this front in a global war. A war that was brought to us on September 11, 2001 that began on the streets of New York, at the Pentagon and in the air over Pennsylvania.

If you want other broad similarities between Iraq and Vietnam, I suppose you could point to the fact that they are limited wars, since we are not attacking Iran, Syria or Saudi Arabia (to name a few) for supporting the guerillas. However, none of these countries can even come close to the support the USSR and China gave the North Vietnamese. I suppose you could point to the fact that it is a guerilla war, yet the guerillas do not control any one area of Iraq nor enjoy broad popular support among the population. Further, there are far more foreign personnel involved in the battle then in Vietnam on a percentage basis.

Far less forces are involved from either side. Far less casualties from the Coalition have been taken. Large-scale battles inflicting large numbers of casualties do not take place involving enemy guerilla and regular forces against our forces. There’s no jungle. The enemy cannot move the amounts of men and supplies across borders and spaces that the Vietcong could through the jungle. We aren’t using napalm. We don’t have daily bombing raids on enemy cities.

The political situation is nowhere near the chaos and insanity of Vietnam. The citizens are far less removed from their government and political issues. The citizens are more highly educated and literate. The economy is based on a significant commodity (oil) as opposed to rice and other agriculture.

There are far too many significant differences.

Therefore, I have no qualms about calling Mr. Hagel an uninformed idiot.

Speaking of uninformed idiots who should be retired by now, what was that Pat Robertson thing? Don't get me wrong, I was sitting around last week thinking that Chavez was a menace and maybe he will get offed in a nice quiet coup that re-instates real democracy, but I was thinking an internal effort, not external. And, of course, I don't have a television program watched by hundreds of thousands either.

However, I have to say that Pat Robertson has always reminded me of my crazy great uncle who is in a nursing home in the middle stages of Alzheimers who says lots of interesting things that no one really pays attention to. We just nod our heads and say, "that's nice".

I am quite unsure how a statement from Pat Robertson rates the news coverage it gets anymore than Ms. Sheehan's continued idiocy. Chavez and his cronies are threatening legal action. I'm not sure what he thinks he can do. Cry to Larry King that he is misunderstood and he really didn't touch that little boy at Never, Never Land?

Ooops...wrong scumbag, but I'm sure you know what I mean.

As for other idiots, scroll down to see what Muqty Mc Sadr is up to these days.


Anonymous said...

I appreciate the map--it's an effective visual.

This left-leaning non-interventionist is opening her eyes, looking to past and future, listening to the reasoned supporters of this war, and changing her mind. I can't be the only one.

Kat said...

Thank you. I have been wondering why no one has put a map up before. Maybe it's too scary to contemplate?

But it is an effective reminder that Iraq is not a battle in a bubble considering all the other areas of contention.

And, no, you are not the only one who is beginning to think there is something more going on.

I was you before September 11. I just spent several months afterwards reading all the jihadist documents and looking up information on movements and attacks.

My eyes are wide open now.

If you want to meet another "ex-liberal", you can go to Donal's site at

he's on the side bar. He and I had many discussions about this war and it's purpose. He might have more insight to share and a more recently converted.