Under-appreciated Issue #4: The Notion of “Victory in Iraq
What about the "fact” that ”the Surge has worked"?
Unlike some who hate the Iraq War reflexively, I have never been opposed to victory over there. Nor should any patriotic American. I despised Saddam and thought that Bush Sr.'s betrayal of the Iraqi people, in 1991, was a horrid stain on our national honor. But there were countless ways to erase that stain, any of them better than destroying our alliances, world leadership, finances and the U.S. Army and Reserves...
...still, despite Bushite stupidity, running the war in every worst possible way, you cannot forever stand in the way of competence. And competent describes the United States Officer Corps. Hurl them at a problem long enough and - no matter how many impediments you wrap around their feet - eventually they will succeed.
But whether or not the U.S. incursion into Iraq has “finally succeeded” is beside the point! All right, maybe there could soon be an Iraq that has a 25%-level of democracy and less than an 80% level hatred of America, while tilting so hard toward Iran that they become a satrapy of Tehran... hmmm... well, that's an improvement over Saddam. Sure. I can sort of see that.
Still, it will have happened despite the Bushites, not because of them. And the cost will have been too high. Trillions, tens of thousands of lives, the shattering of our alliances... great harm to America... and the utter demolition of something the neocons swore they were enhancing, an influential and world-leading Pax Americana.
Here’s a way to put it stark and clear: What four nations have grown far more powerful, in the last eight years?
Which great nation is weaker than it was eight years ago, in every conceivable way?
The United States of America
Which brings us to --
----- Under-appreciated Issue #5: The State of the Military -----
Any sophisticated search online will show that I was among the first, anywhere, to denounce the Bush Cabal’s relentless efforts to bully and harass the United States Officer Corps, while on-course toward demolishing the U.S. Army, the Reserves and military readiness in general.
Here is a fundamental that right wingers quail before... but that liberals (to their discredit) have failed to notice and/or scream-about.
Under Bill Clinton, all of our brigades were rated “fully combat ready.” Today? By the Army’s own metrics, none at all are.
Captains and noncoms are leaving the Service in droves... (some of them lured, at taxpayer expense, into the rightwing cult that is Blackwater Security Services)... recruitment standards have plummeted.... equipment has decayed... senior officers are bullied and ignored... the reserves have been misused and half-ruined... and nobody does large scale exercises anymore at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, where brigades used to hone their skills to defend the United States.
In fact, the U.S. Army that George Bush hurled into Iraq no longer exists.
Citations? This one says it all and, this one is frightening:
Especially telling is this recent fact:US Troops overseas donated 6x more to Obama; our troops prefer his Iraq plan by 30 pts
In case anybody needs more sources:
So blatant has been this campaign of destruction -- though heretofore largely ignored by Bush’s political opponents -- that it might just as well have been deliberate! Scores of senior retired officers have been stepping forward to support Barack Obama or lend him advice during the 2008 campaign.
Most Americans first learned during the Democratic Convention about a loose affiliation of more than 60 generals and admirals who are playing just such a role, including many former supporters of the GOP, now forced by patriotism and intelligence to turn toward a much better, smarter and stronger potential commander in chief. Apparently, a fair number of those officers went over to Obama after personal meetings in which they “read him” and saw enough substance there to believe in. That’s something to tell your favorite ostrich!
Even more valuable, I believe, would be a nonpartisan group of Unaffiliated Retired Senior Officers, who might act as a media truth squad toward both campaigns. Of course, with our alliances in tatters, the reserves ruined, and with enlistment standards at their lowest level since judges used to sentence violent young men to the Army, before WWI... and so on... it’s pretty clear that the choice would be stark and clear. And it won’t be McCain.
These are issues that should make national security a theme for aggressive democratic attacks... the same way that John F. Kennedy did in 1960. This theme should not belong to the Republicans. It should belong to a tired, abused and angry America.
- San Diego, California, USA
- October 06
David Brin’s novels have been translated into more than twenty languages, including New York Times Best-sellers that won Hugo and Nebula awards. His 1989 ecological thriller, Earth, foreshadowed cyberwarfare, the World Wide Web, global warming and Gulf Coast flooding. A 1998 Kevin Costner film was loosely adapted from his post-apocalyptic novel, The Postman.
Brin is a noted scientist, futurist and speaker who appears frequently on television (Life After People, The Universe), discussing trends in the near and far future, on subjects such as surveillance, technology, astronomy, and SETI. His non-fiction book, The Transparent Society, deals with issues of openness and security in the wired-age.
David Brin web site: http://www.davidbrin.com
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