Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Number 2000

Well, after days of waiting, the anti war crowd has finally gotten their magic number. I am sure that many of them are regretting that he had to die in a hospital and not in some fiery explosion, detonated by their "freedom fighters."
I understand that many anti war groups are going to be having parties to celebrate this milestone. And all I can say is, they are totally unworthy of being in the same room, much less earning the respect that these young men and womem who have shown their valor and courage so many times over.
When you are in combat, the worst thing in the world is the total arbitrariness, and random luck that goes on around you. I always felt upset when someone was shooting in my general direction, but found it particuarly insulting to think that I may be hit by some idiot who wasn't even aiming at me, but missed his target and hit me instead. Not to mention those days when you think that this is the one. The one I won't get out of in one piece. You just know that your luck has run out. But still you go on, and more than 99 times out of 100 you were wrong, and thank your lucky stars.
Too many of my fellow citizens only have knowledge of the military from Oliver Stone or Michael Moore. They think that we were or are just the dregs of society without any motivation or ambition of our own, or just trying to escape from poverty. The condescending attitude that they demostrate is just one more insult that we were forced to take and keep our mouths shut.
The soldiers who are there deserve more than just being considered a pawn in the anti's war against George Bush. They are doing more to change the world than the anti war crowd will ever be able to accomplish. Everyone of them knows that they are mortal, as we all are, but speaking personally, I am sure that they too would rather believe that if they have to die, and no one wants to, that their death will have some meaning. To pull out before the job is done will mean that 2000 soldiers will have been robbed of any meaning to their deaths. I really hope that no one would be so selfish. Unfortunately, too many people hate George Bush so much, they are willing to rob better people than they of any meaning in their lives and their deaths.
For shame.


Matt Singer said...

They deserve more than being a pawn in either side's arguments.

From what I can tell, though, no one is planning parties to celebrate these deaths, unless vigils, an event typically held to demonstrate overwhelming sadness, can be considered parties.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think Granny Insanity, Montana's most persistent watcher on this front, is hoping for military deaths.

Steve said...

First, their deaths are being used as pawn's by the anti war faction. I see no emphasis on those who are pro-democracy for the Middle East trying to exploit these families' losses.
But as to the anti war side's use: Why for instance do they make such a big deal about No. 2000? If every death is a tragedy, (which it is) what is the fascination with this one? The reason that the Missoulian had a big spread about the number, is that there are pressure groups who want to emphasize the loss, not to just regret them. They want to use this number to force a withdrawl immediately. cf Sens. John Kerry, Durbin, Ried, Rep. Pelose, etc.
If you have a chance to remake the world, and you fail to try, or quit before the job is done, how can that be considered positively?
Now, do the people who are actually doing the job happy about the situation? Probably not. But if you read their blogs, and talk to them, they see the possibility for more of a positive change than do those of us who sit here, safely against the war.
But if you look at the soldiers and use their rates of reenlistment, it seems that they know there is a dirty but necessary job that needs to be done, and they want to finish it, and finish it right.
God bles them all.

Rocky Smith said...

Ask the soldiers themselves how they feel about this war. My nephew Justin is in Baghdad now (his second trip) and I've talked to him and many of his comrades. They don't think this is a wasted effort. And Matt- If you called him a pawn to his face, he'd punch you in the nose. None of us wanted even one to die, but trumpeting 2000 for antiwar purposes is disgusting. So are some pictures I have seen of antiwar people smiling away at one of these 2000 dead "vigils". 2000 is just a number. Pulling out so they would have died for nothing would be a real tragedy. I don't think you lefties want troops to die, but your reactions to the 2000 number being reached has often disgusted me. It's a political tool for you. Be careful how you use it.

Matt Singer said...

Rocky, Steve used the term pawn before I did and continues to use it. I've seen pro-war commentators suggest that any sort of withdrawal is an insult to the men and women who have died in Iraq. It's not.

The case for leaving Iraq isn't simply that people are dying. It is that the mission has become unwinnable and has stretched our forces too thin.

Also, Rocky, while your nephew supports the war. I know others over there and who have been there who disagree.

That, again, was my whole point. Anytime either side makes an argument about whether to say and wraps in the uniform of our soldiers, they are pretending that there is a consensus about what is working or not working on the ground in Iraq. There isn't. Neither side gets to claim to represent the soldiers because the soldiers, like America, are very much divided on this question.

Steve said...

Matt, my use of the word "pawn" was as in "don't use them as pawns." But when you say that it is not an insult to withdraw before the job is finished, I do not understand how that can be. Could you clarify for me why telling 2000 families "Sorry, we made a mistake." would not be insulting?
As to your contention that the war is unwinnable, I disagree. I think that we are winning, so long as you measure winning as changing the mentality of the Middle East from blaming America, Isreal, colonialism etc. for their failures, and turning them into an effective and democratic country.
Read Michael Yon's dispatches from Mosul, and you will have more hope than you do now. I agree that it is not easy, but when the new leadership in Iraq is able to exercise all of the decision making, we will have won.
On the other hand if you measure losing as attacks, car bombs, IEDs, even there we are winning. The numbers are coming down. Now will they ever reach zero? Probably not, since it takes so little to make and use a bomb. But when the local populace starts ratting out the terrorists (see Mosul, and to a limited extent Falluja) you have to have hope.
Maybe the difference between you and me is that you see the glass half empty, and I see it half full. Perhaps I am too much of an optimist, but I know that if we don't try, we will not change anything.
Tyrranhy has always relied on inertia of the masses and world at large. It even used to be our foreign policy. They may be bastards, but they're our bastards, doesn't make any sene anymore. If you measure improvement by gining 50 million people a chance to get out from the terror of their worst leaders, then I do consider this a success.
I don't think that you could argue that leaving 50 million people to be terrorized by petty dictators is preferable. At least I hope not.

Matt Singer said...

Steve, what I mean is that when you say (or imply) that it would be an insult to the 2,000 dead troops to pull out, you are also using them as pawns.

No matter what happens in Iraq, those soldiers aren't coming back. And the decision at this point needs to be guided by the same thinking that we would have before entering Iraq. The questions need to be whether the chances of success are good enough to warrant the additional loss of life and also whether success is best aided through an open-ended mission.

As to why people are focusing on 2,000 soldiers dead, I can say with honesty that the people who oppose the war and are making a big deal out of the number of soldiers killed care a great deal about those soldiers. That's the entire reason they're causing a fuss about it. They use the number because they hope to galvanize people into action.

I suppose you might say that Cindy Sheehan is using her son as a pawn. I don't think that's the case. I think there's a lot of well-intentioned people on both sides of this issue who desperately want to do right by the troops. I question the good faith of a lot of people in D.C. But I don't see any reason to assume that typical Americans all over the country are lying or acting in bad faith.

XB234C said...

This sums it up best for me.....


But I'm one of the bad guys...I support the Iraq War.

Steve said...

Matt said: "As to why people are focusing on 2,000 soldiers dead, I can say with honesty that the people who oppose the war and are making a big deal out of the number of soldiers killed care a great deal about those soldiers. That's the entire reason they're causing a fuss about it. They use the number because they hope to galvanize people into action."

Matt, you have to agree that there are some in this country who see defeat in Iraq as a defeat for Bush. I have said before that I wish that we would have had a Democratic President do this job, just because I think that the Democrats would suppport him no matter what, even if he or she did the exact same thing that Bush has done.

But let's pose a hypothetical. Suppose that after one more American causalty, a magic wand could be waived which would change Iraq into a successful democracy with working institutions and the rule of law. Would that one more casualty have been worth it? Most people would say yes. Now, what if it required ten causalties. Would that change your opinion? As you can see, the objective is desirable, so it becomes a question of how costly the final amount will be.