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Grumbling in the ranks?
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Yes, according to the Washington Wire:
Vocal opposition to President’s Bush’s strategy of sending more than 20,000 additional troops to help secure Iraq has grown to include some of the troops themselves.

A group of more than 50 active-duty military officers will deliver a petition to Congress on Tuesday signed by about 1,000 troops calling for an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq. “Any troop increase over here will just produce more sitting ducks, more targets,” said Sergeant Ronn Cantu, who is serving in Iraq.

Under the 1988 Military Whistleblower Protection Act, active duty military, National Guard, and Reservists may communicate with any member of Congress without fear of reprisal, even if copies of the communication are sent to others.
I think most of you can imagine my reaction to this so I won't waste your time, other than to say I'd fire them all, even if, in reality, I couldn't do so by law (there are ways to ensure they'd feel the need to find new employment at the first opportunity without ever breaking the law).

I always remember the words of one of my best friends when he was heading to Viet Nam for his third tour when it was a very unpopular war. I asked him why and he said with a smile, "when you accept the full scholarship, you agree to play in all the games".

Anyway, in the comment section of the article, someone wondered how many troops would sign a petition that said "let's stay and finish the job".

SSG (Ret.) Robert Sims answered the query beautifully:
A large number of the troops sign petitions in support of “staying and finishing the job” almost every day… except they’re called reenlistment contracts. My thanks to every last one of them.
Mine too, SSG Sims, mine too. And to you as well.
 
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I have always felt there would be two major indications of the military’s acceptance of the Iraq War. The first is re-enlistments and, as has been indicated, they have exceeded DOD’s expectations in virtually every area. The second measure was the number of alleged "fragging" incidents. And to my knowledge, there has been only one and that occurred at the beginning of the war.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
I agree in spirit with you, McQ, however other nations certainly have a history of this sort of thing occuring. Israel is fairly famous (infamous?) for having officers (especially Air Force officers) write letters of protest to its government. In fact, the most recent episode that I recall featured several Israeli military personnel stating outright in their petitions that they would refuse to carry out orders given to assault Palestinian positions. Granted, that is an entirely different situation than the US and Iraq, but I think that it was bound to happen. The Chiefs led the way with their opposition to Bush; now the Indians are just following their example.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
I think the problem is that there are people who want to defend their country, but believe that the Iraq War is wrong. They’re caught in a bind because there are only two officially acceptable positions you can assume versus the war: cut and run, or stay the course. It’s a shame that a war gets so politicized that it’s better explained by petitions and witty responses than heroism and sacrifice. If evil were more apparent and the danger clearer it’d be so much simpler.
 
Written By: SJC
URL: http://
McQ, you are such a war-monger! You could spin a sinking ship into an exclusive new ’fun-ride’. ("It must suck to be you because you can’t jump on the new ride")

Fact: 1000 soldiers signed the petition
Your Speculation: thousands more would not

you are entitiled to your own speculation but not your own facts.

Bad war, always. Bad idea, always. Get. Over. It.
 
Written By: Rick Day
URL: http://goplobby.org
you are entitiled to your own speculation but not your own facts.
Rick, he mentioned the re-enlistment papers. Those are fact. And they are in greater numbers than this petition. Which part of that do you not understand?
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
having officers (especially Air Force officers) write letters of protest to its government.
Of course the Air Force would do this, even if it only is a FOREIGN Air Force...

I bet if we examine the 1,000-plus troops who signed we’d find a number of folks who NEVER deployed to Iraq and a large number of Joe $h*te the Ragman types. That seemed to be the case of many that "protested" Vietnam, at least as presented by Burkett and Stolen Valor.
Fact: 1000 soldiers signed the petition
Your Speculation: thousands more would not

you are entitiled to your own speculation but not your own facts
.
Incoherent as always, Rick... step away from the Bong, man....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I’m confused (again). Nowhere in what you cite does it say that the soldiers polled are refusing to fight, they are just giving their opinions. Now if they had said it was a dumb thing to do and that they were going to down tools in defiance of the job they signed up for then I would agree with you. That is not happening. as far as I can tell.

These guys oppose continuation of the war (rightly or wrongly) but they are still there plugging away at it and doing the job asked of them.

I always remember the words of one of my best friends when he was heading to Viet Nam for his third tour when it was a very unpopular war. I asked him why and he said with a smile, "when you accept the full scholarship, you agree to play in all the games".
The honourable and correct thing to do. Much respect to your friend. Nowhere in your story does it say that he was happy about it or that he might have wished that the situation could be altered such that he did not have to go.
 
Written By: Kav
URL: http://livingrealworld.blogspot.com
As a general rule, I think that it’s a bad idea for the military to get involved in politics. That kind of thing has a bad history.
 
Written By: Jeff Medcalf
URL: http://www.caerdroia.org/blog
It is a bit ironic that a lot of people supporting the war say "what do the troops think" and use military people who have an opinion "let’s stay and finish this" to support their position. I guess it would be convenient to have a ’listen to the troops’ argument if the troops were prevented from stating any opinion other than support for government policy.

I was taking with a Vetnam vet about the war last month, and he waxed philosophical saying that the same thing is happening that took place in ’his war.’ People don’t want to confront that the deaths, the killings, the disruption in life, the suffering, and all that people went through — losing buddies, killing other people, sometimes innocents — had no purpose. It was in vain. There was no great cause, no heroic mission, just mistakes and stupidity by the power brokers in Washington. People don’t want to admit that. They look for ways to rationalize a purpose, a noble cause, or while the conflict is still taking place, a chance for victory. Psychologically confronting reality is very difficult for those directly involved, as well as their families. For President Bush, like LBJ, having to admit that your decisions caused needless death and suffering, as well as weakening the nation, is psychologically very difficult. In such situations, people actively look for ways to try to avoid confronting reality, finding some other way to interpret the event.

Some, like my friend, confront reality and work through it (in his case becoming a peace activist). Others self-destruct, others protect themselves by demonizing opponents or finding alternate interpretations of reality (we would have only won if we weren’t stabbed in the back by...). As a nation we have to deal with reality. Perhaps listening to all voices, including those in the military who believe things are going bad and we shouldn’t be there, will help the nation reflect on this ordeal and what it means for us as a nation. We have been weakened and humbled, but I still think, if we are honest and confront our mistakes, especially the mistake in overestimating the usefulness of military power to shape politics, our best days still lay ahead.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I’m confused (again). Nowhere in what you cite does it say that the soldiers polled are refusing to fight, they are just giving their opinions.
Members of the military are denied "political speech". They are required to remain neutral. This, regardless of whether you agree or disagree would be considered political speech. It is taking a public position in opposition to that of the CiC by active duty soldiers.

I have no sympathy whatsoever for the officers involved. The way, as an officer, you show your non-support of a policy or a war is by resigning (unless, of course, you are a new officer under a service obligation). This is a loyalty issue and if you can’t be loyal, get out. And while, for whatever reason, the military may deny it at the time you offer it, that, in my estimation is how one properly and professionally conveys their displeasure with a war/policy and desire not to participate further in the ongoing operation for whatever reason.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
including those in the military who believe things are going bad and we shouldn’t be there, will help the nation reflect on this ordeal and what it means for us as a nation. We have been weakened and humbled, but I still think, if we are honest and confront our mistakes, especially the mistake in overestimating the usefulness of military power to shape politics, our best days still lay ahead.

Thank you Neville Chamberlain... just like that whole Give Peace a Chance Thing worked so well in SE Asia, right?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Members of the military are denied "political speech". They are required to remain neutral. This, regardless of whether you agree or disagree would be considered political speech. It is taking a public position in opposition to that of the CiC by active duty soldiers.
OK McQ, thanks for the explanation. I can accept the political reality even if I find the notion that troops are denied the rights of other voters distateful. I can even understand why that must be so in the context of morale and unity within the team.

I am unsure where this fits in with the prohibition that you mention:
Under the 1988 Military Whistleblower Protection Act, active duty military, National Guard, and Reservists may communicate with any member of Congress without fear of reprisal, even if copies of the communication are sent to others.
This would seem to be a loophole.

So now I am curious, is it then acceptable for troops to state that they support the war? Is that not "political speech" as well? You say they must remain "neutral". Or is the key factor here that they cannot be seen to disagree with the CiC?
 
Written By: Kav
URL: http://livingrealworld.blogspot.com
Under the 1988 Military Whistleblower Protection Act, active duty military, National Guard, and Reservists may communicate with any member of Congress without fear of reprisal, even if copies of the communication are sent to others.
Communicating with your congressman is considered a private communication (even if the Congressman chooses to send it to others as often occurs if they feel a complaint may be legitimate and need to be investigated). That system is no different than the former system where a "Congressional inquiry" would come down which had a "respond by" date and required officers in the chain of command to answer the query. The only difference between this system and the former is the law now stipulates you can’t punish the person sending the correspondence to the Congressman.

Signing a petition isn’t a private communication, it is a public statement.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
So now I am curious, is it then acceptable for troops to state that they support the war? Is that not "political speech" as well? You say they must remain "neutral". Or is the key factor here that they cannot be seen to disagree with the CiC?
Most will say they believe in what they’re doing instead of they "support the war". The military issues guidelines for interacting with the media and what is or isn’t acceptable speech and soldiers are expected to understand and abide by them. I’d have to see the specific guidance to completely answer your question.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
People don’t want to admit that.
Scott, it isn’t true.

Except insofar as abandoning our committments in Vietnam made our troops to have died in vain.

This country decided that, it was nothing the enemy accomplished on their own merits, and that decision was mistake.

Your friend has internalized a lie, a false meme.

I don’t want that mistake to be repeated in Iraq.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Signing a petition isn’t a private communication, it is a public statement.
It is only a public statement if it is made public. Now clearly the intent of the soldiers was to go public (I would imagine) so in this case I agree. However in general if the petition was signed and sent _only_ to the congressmen (any member of congress it seems to say, not just their own congressman) then that is still a private correspondence in the vein of an organised letter writing campaign (but with less paper).

However, how many petitions are constructed and signed with the intention of being for limited viewing? Not many if any and so we come back around to your public statement.

One thing that troubles me is this:
The only difference between this system and the former is the law now stipulates you can’t punish the person sending the correspondence to the Congressman.
That is a might big difference. It essentially says that in the eyes of the law you are free to do it even if it becomes public.
 
Written By: Kav
URL: http://livingrealworld.blogspot.com
Scott, your "friend" may want to reflect that it was the actions of the left that made it all "in vain" and in fact helped slaughter millions of people.

But I digress.

If these soldiers want to make their opinions known, I support it no matter what side they’re on. They’re grownups who know the military policies they may be breaching, and they’re aware of the consequences. If they’re willing to accept them, I’m willing to listen to what they say.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Scott, your "friend" may want to reflect that it was the actions of the left that made it all "in vain" and in fact helped slaughter millions of people.
If by the "left" you mean LBJ and JFK, yeah, their actions created the disaster. If you are trying to say somehow that protesters and the left made the policy fail, you are simply giving one of many "stab in the back" legends that militarists often create after they fail in a war. It has no validity or truth, but it can cause one to avoid having to admit something was a huge mistake.

Except insofar as abandoning our committments in Vietnam made our troops to have died in vain.
Wow, I can’t believe people actually believe that kind of stab in the back story!

The fact is that Vietnam was a pointless war. We were defending an authoritarian, corrupt and brutal regime from a Communist insurgency that was generally popular. It was absurd. There was no national interest at stake, and as bad as the Communists were, the damage done by fighting a war there is far greater than what would have happened if the US had allowed the 1956 elections to take place.

As it was, the North would have been able to wait out the US, follow long term insurgency tactics, and watch as corrupt and unpopular South Vietnamese governments drove more and more people to dissent. The result of the victory of the North was ultimately a slow change in the Vietnamese system, which sees them now opening to the world economy and embracing reforms.

And, of course, American support for Lon Nol’s take over of the Cambodian government and his dictatorial rule, combined with American military action in Cambodia, helped make the Khmer Rouge popular and without America’s actions they would probably have never been able to come to power. The US created conditions that made the Cambodian genocide possible. Conditions in Laos were also harmed dramatically by America’s ill fated interventionism.

The one thing that makes Iraq more defensible as an error than Vietnam is that Iraq has a national interest component: oil. The big error was the same as the one in Vietnam: the belief that military power can shape political outcomes. And, since it’s obvious the public won’t support long fights against insurgents in parts of the world far away with dubious value to American interests, then policy makers have only themselves to blame if they get caught in a situation where they have to end the war because it lacks public support.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Scott, just beacuse you’re trying to minimize it with your cutsey "stab in the back" theory doesn’t make it so.

But keep repeating it long enough, you may overlook things such as the VC admitting they were using the leftists as patsies to win the war.

But whatever, you have your lil’ phrase and you’re sticking to it!
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
It is only a public statement if it is made public. Now clearly the intent of the soldiers was to go public (I would imagine) so in this case I agree. However in general if the petition was signed and sent _only_ to the congressmen (any member of congress it seems to say, not just their own congressman) then that is still a private correspondence in the vein of an organised letter writing campaign (but with less paper).
So you wouldn’t consider the solicitation of signatures for a petition to be a public process?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
...the damage done by fighting a war there is far greater than what would have happened if the US had allowed the 1956 elections to take place.
Scott, I believe the question is how bad did things turn out by abandoning the war effort.
The US created conditions that made the Cambodian genocide possible.
Right.

The one thing that makes Iraq more defensible as an error than Vietnam is that Iraq has a national interest component: oil.
It has been a while since I heard the ’no war for oil ’meme’. Thanks for reminding me how stupid it is.
The big error was the same as the one in Vietnam: the belief that military power can shape political outcomes.
Ask Saddam how our military power shaped his political outcome. Or his brother. Or his sons. And then maybe ask some of the women who hold office now. Ask them how military power changed a political abyss.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Ask Saddam how our military power shaped his political outcome. Or his brother. Or his sons. And then maybe ask some of the women who hold office now. Ask them how military power changed a political abyss.
Shape political outcomes = create a certain set of political conditions.

The US won its war with Iraq, it defeated Saddam’s military, and destroyed that regime. Military power can destroy governments and overthrow leaders. It can end a political system.

But shaping political outcomes goes beyond a military’s capacity. If Iraq was in a condition conducive for democratic development, the US military may have been able to provide a transition period. But the fact is that Iraq was never in a position to become what the US wants it to become, building a modern democracy is a long process.

Think of it this way: what if a government decided to invade the US in 1830 because of slavery, the lack of womens’ rights, and other things normal back then which now are unacceptable? We not only can’t expect other country’s to change quickly, but we can’t expect them to jump to a place it took us two centuries to reach. Iraq has a long road ahead. There is little we can do except to install an authoritarian ally (like the Shah in Iran). But that probably just pushes the problems to a later date, like it did in Iran.

Both Vietnam and Iraq were idealist/liberal wars. I don’t think that kind of war works very often, and it can be very dangerous (Clinton’s war against Serbia was similar, and really it was a failure too, even though the Clinton PR machine made it seem like a success).
-scott
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I can’t address the legalities involved, but some things about this debate really irk me:

-Citing the enlistment rates as proof of how gung-ho youth are to enlist. This ignores the increased enlistment bonuses and the lowered standards

-Citing the ’honor’ of the dead as a reason for continuing a war. By this reasoning, we have an endless commitment to continue any war at all, after the first soldier dies.

-Ignoring the fact that it’s the same soldiers going back for return duty or having to stay for extended duty. It’s also the same narrow sector of families who pay the price: increased divorce rates and mental problems galore.

-Citing how the enemy exploits opposition to the war in the US. Every side exploits everything they can. Any war is a PR war. What were all those Bush photo ops in front of troops about?

-Ignoring the reasons why many soldiers who want to continue feel that way. There is an inherent psychological push-back against admitting failure, like couples staying on in bad marrieages. Of course, there is an inherent wish to succeed and to be the victorious heroes. This should not be the basis for policy decisions, however. It just tends to reinforce the initial decision to go to war, whether that decision was bad or good.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
If you are trying to say somehow that protesters and the left made the policy fail, you are simply giving one of many "stab in the back" legends that militarists often create after they fail in a war. It has no validity or truth, but it can cause one to avoid having to admit something was a huge mistake.
The biggest "stab in the back" was in not providing air support in ’75.

Post ’69, the communists were only going to win by invasion using conventional forces, and their ’75 invasion would have been a painful defeat if they had faced US air.



 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
The fact is that Vietnam was a pointless war. We were defending an authoritarian, corrupt and brutal regime from a Communist insurgency that was generally popular. It was absurd. There was no national interest at stake, and as bad as the Communists were, the damage done by fighting a war there is far greater than what would have happened if the US had allowed the 1956 elections to take place.
I agree you, Professor Erb, however I believe that this conclusion has the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. At the time that the policy decisions were made to commit the US to expanding its presence in SE Asia, the worldwide and domestic situations were very complex. The US was operating under the Domino theory and policy was shaped around said theory. Also, the US was emerging from the Red Scare, the fallout from the Korean War, and the fear of losing more Asia nations to Communist domination. In addition, the military and political leaders at the time were haunted by their failure to satisfactorily deliver an outright victory in Korea and wanted another opportunity to prove themselves. In short, many factors contributed to the beginning of the conflict in Vietnam and the policymakers of the time had to take them into account. We can safely look back at the history of that tragic war without being influenced by the above named factors and we are thus more objective.
And, of course, American support for Lon Nol’s take over of the Cambodian government and his dictatorial rule, combined with American military action in Cambodia, helped make the Khmer Rouge popular and without America’s actions they would probably have never been able to come to power. The US created conditions that made the Cambodian genocide possible. Conditions in Laos were also harmed dramatically by America’s ill fated interventionism.
I disagree with your assesment of Cambodia. Had we not intervened in SE Asia, the North Vietnamese communists would almost certainly have unified their country by conquering the South. With that much power and no significant check, it is highly likely that they would have intervened in Cambodian (and potentially Laotian) affairs either by direct action (military conquest) or covert support of the Khmer Rouge and Pathet Lao. Cambodia was going to fall to communist conquest without either outside support of its government against the communists or a direct check on the power of communist Vietnam by another major power.
The one thing that makes Iraq more defensible as an error than Vietnam is that Iraq has a national interest component: oil. The big error was the same as the one in Vietnam: the belief that military power can shape political outcomes. And, since it’s obvious the public won’t support long fights against insurgents in parts of the world far away with dubious value to American interests, then policy makers have only themselves to blame if they get caught in a situation where they have to end the war because it lacks public support.


I find two errors in your theory, here. One, it stipulates 20/20 hindsight on the part of the observer and fails to attribute any credit to the factors which contributed to the Administration’s decision to intervene in Iraq. 2002 was a year full of significant domestic and international events which had definite effects on the US government’s decision making process regarding Iraq. We could list them all and analyze them, but that would take far too much room for a blog comments section and would also be fairly pointless. We must instead deal with the reality on the ground as it exists in 2007. Secondly, you mistake correlation with causation. Yes, Iraq’s largest natural resource (and one of the few reasons why anyone has any interest in it) is oil. Anyone who denies significant US interest in Iraq’s oil is being deliberately disingenuous. That does not, however, mean that the US’ primary motivation was Iraqi oil. I honestly believe that the Administration’s primary intent was regime change. They added to that argument by associating Saddam with WMD’s and the desire on his part to use them. I don’t believe that the idea of American hegemony or subconcious imperialism was present in the minds of President Bush or his staff. So, yes, US interests in Iraqi oil overlap (have correlation) with national security issues, but are not the primary motivators (causes) behind our national security policy.
If Iraq was in a condition conducive for democratic development, the US military may have been able to provide a transition period. But the fact is that Iraq was never in a position to become what the US wants it to become, building a modern democracy is a long process.
Agreed.
I don’t think that kind of war works very often, and it can be very dangerous (Clinton’s war against Serbia was similar, and really it was a failure too, even though the Clinton PR machine made it seem like a success).
And agreed. At least one honest leftist called Clinton on this during his time in office : Amy Goodman. His response to her was, shall we say, laughable.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
The biggest "stab in the back" was in not providing air support in ’75.
Good point, Don. Debating the rightness or wrongness of the Vietnam War (and the strategic decisions behind it) became irrelevant the first day US troops were committed. Once that happens, an entirely new dynamic must take over. No longer should we be questioning the administration and their decision to go to war. Rather we should focus on clearly defining the mission, achieving it in the manner least likely to cause US casualties, and then setting definite goals for the departure of US military personnel. Anyone who claims to "oppose the war, but support the troops" has to absolutely live by that philosophy. Otherwise, one becomes no better than the fact-denying warhawks and the poseur anti-American affective leftists.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Citing the enlistment rates as proof of how gung-ho youth are to enlist.
No, it’s citing re-enlistment rates as proof of how the people who have been there and seen what is going on believe that their actions there are worthy and their goals are possible to meet.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
No longer should we be questioning the administration and their decision to go to war. Rather we should focus on clearly defining the mission, achieving it in the manner least likely to cause US casualties, and then setting definite goals for the departure of US military personnel.
In 1975, we were already gone so I do not see how your comments apply.

Throwing away a victory is not defeat.

 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
"it’s citing re-enlistment rates as proof of how the people who have been there and seen what is going on believe that their actions there are worthy and their goals are possible to meet. "
——-
Like I said, there are a multitude of reasons why quitting goes against the grain, not only in war but in private lives, as well.
I think it is disingenious to suppose that those with personal involvement in the mission, whatever that is, are in the best position to gauge the wisdom of the overall polcy decision. Certainly, those with personal knowledge have valuable information to offer, but their judgment calls are subject to personal experience and interpretation. The same is true for soldiers in opposition.

Someone has to step back a ways to get the best view of the whole picture. We should ease off overinterpretation as we pursue our own personal views.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
"(there are ways to ensure they’d feel the need to find new employment at the first opportunity without ever breaking the law)."

I am sure they are aware, unless they are complete morons, that their military careers are at an end.


"It is a bit ironic that a lot of people supporting the war say "what do the troops think" and use military people..."

It is more than a bit ironic that I actually find that you have made a good point. Not that I agree with the conclusion, but it is a good argument.*Darn!*

***************************

"Except insofar as abandoning our committments in Vietnam made our troops to have died in vain."

Chicken, egg, etc.

************************

" It has no validity or truth,..."

There you go again. Of course it has some validity. That is why the Communists use that particular strategem; it works.

"and without America’s actions they would probably have never been able to come to power. The US created conditions that made the Cambodian genocide possible."

More nonsense. The Cambodian genocide was a logical conclusion of Marxist idealogy. As I recall correctly, even Pol Pot justified his extreme measures with reference to Marxist idealogy and the failure of Soviet and Chinese Communism, because of their bourgeois sentimentality and unwillingness to take the necessary measures to create a Socialist paradise, not because of the actions of the US. "You can’t make a silk puirse out of a sow’s ear", and you can’t make a good Communist out of someone who has been raised in, and thus corrupted by, a Capitalist society. The corruption must be removed in order that the society shall prosper, just as a gangrenous limb must be amputated in order for the individual to survive(not that the individual has any particular significance).

It is ludicrous to suggest, given the Marxist/Communist record, that they are in any way reluctant to use violence and brutality unless forced to.

*******************************

"Members of the military are denied "political speech". They are required to remain neutral."

True in theory, but in the real world they do as they wish. Not to say that it is right. The Sergeant mentioned in your link, Ronn Cantu, has his own anti-war website(soldiervoices). There are others.

http://www.soldiervoices.net/
http://www.ivaw.org/user/121

I couldn’t find any more on this petition, is there something else available?

My concern is, if the report is accurate, how is it that their superiors in the chain of command were unaware of the attitudes of their subordinates? If it is just a few isolated individuals I could understand, but if this represents a significant percentage of a unit or units, it is worrisome. More information is needed.



 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"No longer should we be questioning the administration and their decision to go to war. "
——
Wow!
So, basically, it’s shut up, sit doen, and do as you’re told.

Au conctraire, I think voicing discontent is a very useful factor in pursuing a war. It might even make the most recalcitrant of administrations to reconsider their overall strategy.

It’s impossible to think of a war the pages of QandO would not support, but let me dream.
Let’s say a far left president engaged in a war to defend a far left foriegn governemnt. Can I assume there would be no criticisms while the war raged?
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
It’s impossible to think of a war the pages of QandO would not support, but let me dream.
Heh ... well then despite all the time you spend here, you don’t know much about QandO.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Citing how the enemy exploits opposition to the war in the US. Every side exploits everything they can. Any war is a PR war. What were all those Bush photo ops in front of troops about?
True but you gotta admit, it’s quite the coincidence that since (and including) Vietnam, in every conflict, or cold war, our enemies have found much common cause with the anti-war left.

Care to disagree?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
SHARK: "...enemies have found much common cause with the anti-war left.
Care to disagree? "
===
The creep, certifiably crazy, living in my neighborhood agrees with you on every point; in fact, he rants about it constantly while sitting on a street bench. I could claim that crazy people share your views. Will that make you reconsider?
Enemies and friends alike choose sides in our debates according to their own self interest.
It is we, who should decide what’s best, regardless of who else suuports or opposes that decision.

If you refer to Cindy Sheehan just one more time, I will consider referring to you as Pat Robertson.

You have an excellent sense of humor. Recapture it, and I will overlook a lot of the other stuff.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
Good point, Don. Debating the rightness or wrongness of the Vietnam War (and the strategic decisions behind it) became irrelevant the first day US troops were committed. Once that happens, an entirely new dynamic must take over. No longer should we be questioning the administration and their decision to go to war. Rather we should focus on clearly defining the mission, achieving it in the manner least likely to cause US casualties, and then setting definite goals for the departure of US military personnel. Anyone who claims to "oppose the war, but support the troops" has to absolutely live by that philosophy. Otherwise, one becomes no better than the fact-denying warhawks and the poseur anti-American affective leftists.
The benefit of our form of government is that if we are misled into war, or if a leader makes a bad decision and time proves that a choice for war was a mistake, then we can pressure the government to end it, so fewer people die, are wounded, and fewer lives destroyed than absolutely necessary.

Moreover, I put civilian casualties as more important than US military deaths, since by ethics of jus in bello, innocents are to be protected, they did not choose to put their lives on the line.

It is perfectly valid to say "I believe this war immoral and wrong, I believe the deaths it is causing are unnecessary, we shouldn’t have started and should leave. HOWEVER, the way in which it is done matters. The anti-war protests against Vietnam were self-defeating and uncritically anti-American. Despite a few on the extremes, the anti-war movement in Iraq — and young people in general — are much more productive and positive in their opposition. I think that’s one reason why support for the Iraq war is far lower than support for the Vietnam war ever was. I’ve read German propaganda in the early forties talking about the duty to support Germany and the war effort, even if one opposed the Nazis originally. In a democracy, we have the right and duty to question the government, even in times of war. And, of course, Iraq isn’t really a war, we already won the war. It’s more assistance at stabilization or nation-building, in a rather precarious situation.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Moreover, I put civilian casualties as more important than US military deaths, since by ethics of jus in bello, innocents are to be protected, they did not choose to put their lives on the line.
Yeah, let’s see, Dresden, Berlin, Hamburg, Hiroshima, Tokyo...usw.

Oh, you mean civilian casualties in THIS war.
In a democracy, we have the right and duty to question the government, even in times of war
Clue to Scott - military personnel aren’t in a democracy professor.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
In 1975, we were already gone so I do not see how your comments apply.
We were mostly gone in ’72, when American airpower and ARVN ground forces nailed the invading NVA but good.

The same thing could have been done in ’75.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
True but you gotta admit, it’s quite the coincidence that since (and including) Vietnam, in every conflict, or cold war, our enemies have found much common cause with the anti-war left.
If the troops in Iraq harming terrorists faster than the terrorists can recruit, then yes the anti-war left is in common cause with the enemy. If however the terrorists are growing stronger whilst the troops are operating ineffectively in Iraq, then the anti-war left is perhaps opposing the enemy by calling for withdrawl.


 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
And, of course, Iraq isn’t really a war, we already won the war. It’s more assistance at stabilization or nation-building, in a rather precarious situation.
I very much agree.


 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
If however the terrorists are growing stronger whilst the troops are operating ineffectively in Iraq, then the anti-war left is perhaps opposing the enemy by calling for withdrawl.
It’s not so simple.

Even if the terrorists are growing, we still want to ensure that the Iraqi government can handle the problem when we leave. Letting Iraq fall into anarchy or become an Iranian client state would represent real terror growth.

Aside from that, we shouldn’t let this play out as a perceived defeat of American arms. That would send the message that terror can pay, after all (that was the message we sent after the Beruit bombing and after blackhawk down incident).

So even if the terrorists are growing, that doesn’t mean the anti-war left is opposing them. As an aside, the radical anti-war left is marching with Islamic radicals. The "enemy of my enemy is my friend", indeed . . . (guess we know who their enemy really is).
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
The creep, certifiably crazy, living in my neighborhood agrees with you on every point; in fact, he rants about it constantly while sitting on a street bench. I could claim that crazy people share your views. Will that make you reconsider?
Enemies and friends alike choose sides in our debates according to their own self interest.
It is we, who should decide what’s best, regardless of who else suuports or opposes that decision.
Yes, but C***y S*****n has "absolute moral authority" and speaks for a large segment of the Dems, or so we were told by the media when it was convenient for them to breathlessly chronicle the every action and utterance of "peace mom"

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
It is perfectly valid to say "I believe this war immoral and wrong, I believe the deaths it is causing are unnecessary, we shouldn’t have started and should leave. HOWEVER, the way in which it is done matters. The anti-war protests against Vietnam were self-defeating and uncritically anti-American. Despite a few on the extremes, the anti-war movement in Iraq — and young people in general — are much more productive and positive in their opposition
So Scott, "Bush lied" "war for oil" "war for neocons/Israel" and the ever popular "HALLIBURTON!!!" are positive and productive? Because I see precious few protests where the dominant theme isn’t one of those above statements.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Responses to different people below:
So Scott, "Bush lied" "war for oil" "war for neocons/Israel" and the ever popular "HALLIBURTON!!!" are positive and productive? Because I see precious few protests where the dominant theme isn’t one of those above statements.
I don’t like those protests, personally, nor slogans. But most people I know who oppose the war are involved in more grass roots efforts, and I don’t think most young people these days really get into protests. It’s almost like a professional protest class out there (anti-globalization types, etc.), but they aren’t all over college campuses or anything. I know colleagues who wish young people would be "more active," but I think they are — but they’re actually helping people and doing things other than waving signs and yelling slogans.

Moreover, I put civilian casualties as more important than US military deaths, since by ethics of jus in bello, innocents are to be protected, they did not choose to put their lives on the line.
Yeah, let’s see, Dresden, Berlin, Hamburg, Hiroshima, Tokyo...usw.

Oh, you mean civilian casualties in THIS war.
No, those were wrong in WWII too — and you forgot Koeln.

More nonsense. The Cambodian genocide was a logical conclusion of Marxist idealogy.
But the Khmer Rouge would most likely have never come to power without the conditions created by American involvement in Cambodia and the region. You can’t blame the genocide on the US because those who perpetrate it out of some ideological delusion are to blame, but we have to take some responsibility for creating conditions that gave Pol Pot and his ilk a chance to cease power.
Even if the terrorists are growing, we still want to ensure that the Iraqi government can handle the problem when we leave. Letting Iraq fall into anarchy or become an Iranian client state would represent real terror growth.

Aside from that, we shouldn’t let this play out as a perceived defeat of American arms. That would send the message that terror can pay, after all (that was the message we sent after the Beruit bombing and after blackhawk down incident).
The problem is that politics is the art of the possible, and I don’t think we have the capacity to shape the result. Ultimately, it may be far better for national security to cut our loses, get the country united again, and recognize that combating terrorism requires more than just military power, but a sophisticated multilateral strategy. Counter terrorism is a well developed field, and military options are only a small part of counter terrorist tactics.

Right now I think Bush is setting up a "peace with honor" moment. The US surge will deal mainly with Sunnis and "al qaeda in Iraq," groups that the Shi’ites and al-Sadr dislike anyway. Meanwhile Maliki is likely going to send Iraqi troops into places like Sadr city and ’establish control,’ but it’ll be a ruse, as the Mahdi army simply goes into hiding. I doubt there will be large caches of confiscated arms or any kind of defeat of the Shi’ite militias. They want the US out, Maliki thinks that with the Shi’ite majority and a last American attack on the Sunni insurgency, they can maintain power. They also realize that until the Americans go, the Iraqi government will look like it’s in the hands of a colonial master — they need the US to go in order to gain domestic legitimacy.

Once the US leaves, the militias will likely re-emerge, Iraq will be closer to Iran, and the chance of civil war remains. But perhaps for a while in late 2007 President Bush will have a face saving way out, a period of relative calm to declare victory and leave. Then it’ll be up to the Iraqis.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
It’s almost like a professional protest class out there
Scott, on this we have full agreement. HOWEVER, you cannot slickly slide off the attacks I mentioned ("Bush lied" "war for oil" "war for neocons/Israel" and "HALLIBURTON") onto the professional protest class, since all of those stances have been part and parcel of the Democrats attacks on the President and the war.
By your own admission, these attacks are negative and counterproductive. The left has to own that stigma.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
"True but you gotta admit, it’s quite the coincidence that since (and including) Vietnam, in every conflict, or cold war, our enemies have found much common cause with the anti-war left."

Well of course they have. Our enemies are not entirely stupid, so why should they ignore any help they can get?

"But the Khmer Rouge would most likely have never come to power without the conditions created by American involvement in Cambodia and the region."

I do not agree. The corrupt and inefficient Cambodian government could not have survived without US aid, just as the Diem gov’t. would probably have lost in SVN without US aid. Where, for example, would the Cambodian gov’t. have gotten arms and training if we hadn’t supplied them? The Khmer Rouge certainly had a good supply.

The United States is in no way responsible for the attempt by Communists to take over (insert country of choice). That is what Communists do. They are an evangelical secular religion whose stated goal is to take over the world. There is absolutely nothing we can do to prevent them from trying. You might as well blame liberal democrats for creating the moral majority.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
In 1975, we were already gone so I do not see how your comments apply.
As Don pointed out, had US intervention occurred in 1975 (per out stated promises to the South Vietnamese government) the air power advantage would most likely have allowed the South’s military to successfully blunt the NVA invasion.
Wow!
So, basically, it’s shut up, sit doen, and do as you’re told.
Hardly, Laime. I was rather suggesting that instead of spending all of their energy and time on impeachment rallies and neverending investigations, those honestly opposed to the war should focus on pressuring the Administration to propose tightly defined objectives, set realistic goals, and insure that the minimum amount of US lives are lost. Once the nation has gone to war, it’s time to move from "We shouldn’t be involved in xyz" type arguments to "Why aren’t our objectives more clearly defined" type arguments.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
I do not agree. The corrupt and inefficient Cambodian government could not have survived without US aid, just as the Diem gov’t. would probably have lost in SVN without US aid. Where, for example, would the Cambodian gov’t. have gotten arms and training if we hadn’t supplied them? The Khmer Rouge certainly had a good supply.

The United States is in no way responsible for the attempt by Communists to take over (insert country of choice). That is what Communists do. They are an evangelical secular religion whose stated goal is to take over the world. There is absolutely nothing we can do to prevent them from trying. You might as well blame liberal democrats for creating the moral majority.
Of course the US can’t be blamed for the Khmer Rouge acts of evil. However, by supporting Lon Nol coming to power, and then running 3600 bombing missions, including horrendous errors like the Neak Loung bomb drop and invading Cambodia, the US managed to increase animosity to both America and to the pro-American Lon Nol government. If there hadn’t been a US intervention in Vietnam, things certainly would have played themselves out differently. One can’t prove what exactly would have happened, but I think the possibility that we helped create conditions where such a thing could happen should be considered as a warning of the possible consequences of intervening in other peoples’ conflicts.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Scott, on this we have full agreement. HOWEVER, you cannot slickly slide off the attacks I mentioned ("Bush lied" "war for oil" "war for neocons/Israel" and "HALLIBURTON") onto the professional protest class, since all of those stances have been part and parcel of the Democrats attacks on the President and the war.
By your own admission, these attacks are negative and counterproductive. The left has to own that stigma.
I’m anti-ideological, and do not identify with the "left" or the "right." I was as vehement in my criticism of Clinton in Kosovo as with Bush in Iraq. I am not especially impressed with the Democrats (though Obama, Edwards and some of the newer faces are intriging) in terms of domestic or foreign policy.

The problem is that in a complex world if you start with an ideology you can almost always interpret reality into your belief system. Most people simply choose a lens through which to interpret reality (socialist, capitalist, right, left, whatever), and then protect their interpretation from alternate interpretations. The result is ideology-based understandings of reality, where rather than a critical assessment of issues and a comparison of how different theories might interpret them, people simply defend their own "ism" or "side" of the debate, and look to pundits and politicians from their "side" for clues on what position to take on various issues.

That’s why, even when I disagree with them, I find the centrists and pragmatists much more honest — they seem to break through the ideology and try to look at issues from various perspectives, finding creative solutions or compromises.

So the "left" owning a stigma? Maybe. But the right has a lot of stigmas too. I’ll take neither side.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
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