Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
Where’s the bright line in the war debate?
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Kevin Ferris notes that Robert "Buzz" Patterson, a retired Air Force Colonel and former White House military aide, has authored a book that is anything but nuanced or subtle. From the title on, it is red meat for the right.

But he asks some questions, or at least Ferris poses some questions, which need answers because they get to the crux of the argument between those who think that opposition to the war is nothing more than debate and an exercise of our 1st Amendment rights and those who think what is said at times goes too far and causes morale problems, a feeling of abandonment and isolation within the military, and, in some cases, gives the enemy hope of eventual victory.
In reaction to media coverage and leftist opposition of the war an Army master sergeant said:

"The enemy is becoming the very people whom we defend with our lives. And they do not realize it. But in denouncing our actions, denouncing our leaders, denouncing the war we live and fight, they are isolating the military from society . . . and they are becoming our enemy."

And that was said two years before Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) declared the war lost, or questioned the competence of Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and the reliability of Gen. David Petreaus, whom the Senate unanimously confirmed this year to lead the change in strategy in Iraq.

Patterson asks in the book, "What country sends its men and women to war through national decree knowing some will give their all in sacrifice —- yet withers in resolve at the first signs of difficulty and abandons the will to fight?

"What country's duly elected politicians, often from both sides of the aisle, shamelessly exploit a conflict they voted to authorize and, in doing so, barter the sacrifice of American soldiers for political capital?"
OK, a couple of points here ... yes, he (and those he quotes) uses inflammatory language, but it is an emotional subject, especially to those in the military. So whether you like the way he said it or not, he reflects a lot of the thinking from the military. I'm not sure how to explain it, but when you're out there risking your life in some desert pest-hole and trying to do the job you've been tasked to do, you expect those who agreed with the task to support you. You expect whatever debate was going to occur to have occurred before you were sent in to do the job.

That's the job of the Congress ... to debate and decide. You won't find anyone in the military who would argue otherwise. But once the decision is made to go to war, the military expects the country to mobilize and support them until they're able to finish the job. What they don't want to see is their effort turn into a political football.

I respectfully disagree with Gen. Pace (I believe that's who said it) that such "debate" doesn't have an effect, because I've seen the effect first-hand when a similar "debate" took place. I think Pace was trying to be more diplomatic than direct when he made the statement. It does have an effect ... a profound effect ... on the morale of troops in the field.

And while I shrink from the characterization of those on the anti-war side as 'the enemy', I do believe they do great harm, when, as political leaders they call military leaders incompetent and claim the effort is "lost".

I guess what it boils down to is I think there is a rhetorical line which shouldn't be crossed. Do I think that once troops are committed that they are committed until we either win or lose with no chance to change it or withdraw if necessary?

No, of course not. What I am attempting to say is if we're going to talk about a war, and even oppose it, we need to be mindful of the effect that debate is going to have on both those we've committed to battle and our enemy. I think that line has been crossed in many cases by those opposed to this war and I think some of what has been said is both irresponsible and shameful.

If it continues, the net effect is going to be very similar to the one which occurred after Vietnam. An isolated and bitter military who again feels it was let down by the very people that sent them to war. And all the clapping and tears from those watching them walk through the airport on the way to the war isn't going to change that one bit.
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
"You expect whatever debate was going to occur to have occurred before you were sent in to do the job."

Exactly. However, it didn’t occur before we went to war. Everything in the run up to the war was pushed forward and MSM was the biggest cheerleader. Also, much of the intelligence and rhetoric (not getting into whose fault it was, right now) lead most of the American people to believe a) Iraq was a near term, real threat; and b) that the invasion wouldn’t be that hard (Rumsfeld had it listed as "months").

Both of those turned out to be very wrong, through no fault of the military. The second point was ridiculous on its face, but getting honest assessments would have dampened support for the war in the run up.

That being said, I’m of the opinion that "we broke it, we bought it", meaning even though I was against it from the beginning, I think leaving now is an even worse idea. But many of those pushing for it to end now see it getting worse if we stay, rather than better.
 
Written By: Tito
URL: http://
the military expects the country to mobilize and support them until they’re able to finish the job.

Such an expectation is utterly irrational.

What was the job in Vietnam? One version was to create a bulwark against Communism without starting WWIII with either China or Russia.

Unfortunately, somewhere along the way it became clear to a majority of the country, but not Westmoreland, that the Vietnamese people weren’t buying what we were selling. The opposition was right.

What is the job in Iraq? Depose Saddam? Done. Search for WMD? Done.

Create a unified, secular state in the heart of the Middle East as a bulwark against radical Islam? Once again, they’re not buying what we’re selling.

The very idea that the public must continue to support presidential policies that are contrary to the nation’s interest, in order to keep up troop morale, is utterly reprehensible. As you have pointed out any number of times, we field an all-volunteer armed forces. Citizens who choose to serve should know that there are deep divisions within this country on the appropriate use of military force, and should expect that any use of force will be criticized.

It seems to me that the person with the greater contempt for the military is you, mcq, because you feel that soldiers are so fragile that the public should give up one of its most cherished liberties during time of war, no matter how irrational the president’s policies are.

 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
Actually, there was quite a bit of debate in America before the war. And the invasion only took weeks to accomplish, it is the subsequent occupation/nation building that is proving a tougher nut to crack.

And that will always be the case, it’s easier to destroy than to build.

The flip side to this argument is that the rhetorical line that’s been crossed helps the enemy in their efforts. At recruitment, and in sustaining their action against us. Their entire aim is to get us to quit by sapping our political will. Something which is proving all to easy for certain quarters of our population.
 
Written By: keith_indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
"...all to easy for certain quarters of our population."
Referring, of course, to the "quiche-eating surrender monkeys".
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
Referring, of course, to the "quiche-eating surrender monkeys".
I didn’t know they ate quiche...

I’m suprised the charge of "how dare you question my(our) patriotism" hasn’t come out yet...
 
Written By: keith_indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
McQ,

Were the members of the right-wing wrong then, when they "debated" to end the war in Kosovo, on the floor of the Senate ??
 
Written By: Ivan
URL: http://
If it continues, the net effect is going to be very similar to the one which occurred after Vietnam. An isolated and bitter military who again feels it was let down by the very people that sent them to war.
Here’s the rub. There is certainly blame to be assigned for where we are now, and the hawks blame the doves for not supporting the war, and doves blame the hawks for getting us into the war in the first place, but really, if you look at what the smartest people in government were trying to tell the administration BEFORE the war, the current situation was a foregon conclusion, falloff of national support and all.

So is it the fault of the American people doing what they were predicted to do, or is the fault of the people who prosecuted this war who should have been in full knowledge that this is where we would end up if their assumptions were not perfect?

The administration based this entire operation of best case scenario assumptions. Any military man would tell you to plan for the worst.

The military is stuck in a bad place, as the American people turn on the carpenter, the hammer he wields get’s a bad deal though they are just a tool doing what hammer’s do as well as any hammer could.

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Oh, and forget the "how dare you question my patriotism" bit, I think that those who supported this ill conceived adventure have a lot more to answer for.

 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Patterson asks in the book, "What country sends its men and women to war through national decree knowing some will give their all in sacrifice — yet withers in resolve at the first signs of difficulty and abandons the will to fight?

"What country’s duly elected politicians, often from both sides of the aisle, shamelessly exploit a conflict they voted to authorize and, in doing so, barter the sacrifice of American soldiers for political capital?"
Uhh… This one.

It’s this country that does that.
And you best have enough pop-bottle rockets to help celebrate that tomorrow.
And how dare you question the patriotism of those who “sends its men and women to war… yet withers in resolve at the first signs of difficulty and abandons the will to fight” and elects politicians, often from both sides of the aisle, that “shamelessly exploit a conflict they voted to authorize and, in doing so, barter the sacrifice of American soldiers for political capital”? (Keith, … happy now?)

As Keith rightly points out,
And the invasion only took weeks to accomplish, it is the subsequent occupation/nation building that is proving a tougher nut to crack.
First of all, there are those who believed from the beginning that this was a pretty goddamned tough nut. Also, one doesn’t have to possess too many marbles to know that this country doesn’t have the stomach for a long drawn out occupation with little to no signs of improving. And I would argue that this country has never had the stomach for such fruitless endeavors. I would also argue that it is a just position.
I mean, come on, how many times do we have to go through this?
What is the job in Iraq? Depose Saddam? Done. Search for WMD? Done.
Exactly.
Now, given that the immediate “threat” has been dealt with, we are asked by some, and by others we are expected, to blindly throw our weight behind a highly questionable and expensive foreign policy exercise with little question, while asked to depreciate the incompetence and corruption from the administration and others in the government.

And if we don’t do as we are expected, then the consequences of such insolence rests with us.

Sorry, people. I aint buyin’ that bullsh*t.

I don’t think that is what McQ is saying, so I believe that some here in the comments have misconstrued.
What I am attempting to say is if we’re going to talk about a war, and even oppose it, we need to be mindful of the effect that debate is going to have on both those we’ve committed to battle and our enemy.
Reasonable.

However,
I think that line has been crossed in many cases by those opposed to this war and I think some of what has been said is both irresponsible and shameful.
Maybe. There are certainly those politicos that deserve such consternation, and there are those who are, undeservedly, most vocal and recognized that spew counterproductive rhetoric to benefit their own ends. And I myself admit to a time or two that I have thrown standards to those who do not bare. (you see, the trick is to catch me between the third and fourth stout. That is when I am more temperate and less belligerent.)

But what I find typical, is that those who question the policy are unequivocally felled within the muck and stagger of those to which McQ and others agree to be “both irresponsible and shameful.”
And that is unfortunate, being as my experience has taught me that the majority of those who disagree with the policy – which of course are becoming the majority of everyone – refrain from such inflammatory rhetoric and simply believe that it is the will of the Iraqi people that is the culprit, not the will of the American people. One must learn to separate these.

A nation building exercise such as this, is a two way street. Without a little give, there will be no take. It is not the fault of the American people that they are beginning to run short on fuel for the fire.
So please, cast stones to those with sin… the corrupt, incompetent, and deceptive administration and it’s supporters, and the policy agreed to by both Republicans and Democrats alike.
If it continues, the net effect is going to be very similar to the one which occurred after Vietnam. An isolated and bitter military who again feels it was let down by the very people that sent them to war. And all the clapping and tears from those watching them walk through the airport on the way to the war isn’t going to change that one bit.
That is most unfortunate.
I imagine the military will bounce back.

But the American people were sold a lemon. And we’re bound to take a bath on it, but we want a return.
Patterson asks in the book, "What country sends its men and women to war through national decree knowing some will give their all in sacrifice — yet withers in resolve at the first signs of difficulty and abandons the will to fight?
Uhh… This one.
This is now apparently what the people want. It is the will of the people.
So you can take your “withers in resolve” and shove it straight up your ass.

And I find it appropriate that on this eve of Independence Day, to say this…

This is America. Love it or leave it, chump.

…You see what just happened … I just started my fifth stout. My most humble apologies. I guess I just need to learn to type faster.

Cheers.


 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Were the members of the right-wing wrong then, when they "debated" to end the war in Kosovo, on the floor of the Senate ??
What "war" in Kosovo?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
…You see what just happened … I just started my fifth stout. My most humble apologies. I guess I just need to learn to type faster.
5th stout? At 10 am? Ah well, the sun’s over the yard arm somewhere, isn’t it Pogue.

Made a spectacular beer run today, about 120 bucks worth. I think I need to celebrate tomorrow.

Give the bees a hug for me Pogue ... always good to see your ornery self. And for once, you almost got it right. You’d have probably been dead on had you been into your 6th.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Sold a lemon, Pogue? By whom? The laundry list of Democrats who voted to make regime change the country’s policy in 98... without the stones to actually do anything? The "loyal opposition" who hamstring our troops as much as they can by insisting that we follow rules of engagement that John Wayne and Rambo couldn’t win with, and our enemies will never restrict themselves to? The lying suckweasels of the MSM, who accept jihadi propaganda unquestioningly? The so-called anti-war movement, who would rather we lose than win?

Oh, and as for loving it or leaving it, I’d rather take it back... by whatever means necessary.
 
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
Pogue ... always good to see your ornery self.
Well thanks, McQ. And $120 worth of suds, huh… take it easy, man. What am I saying!! You’re an old pro. Have fun.
And for once, you almost got it right.
Well I continue to learn from the best. You almost get it right all of the time. ;)

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Sold a lemon, Pogue? By whom? The laundry list of Democrats who voted to make regime change the country’s policy in 98... without the stones to actually do anything? The "loyal opposition" who hamstring our troops as much as they can by insisting that we follow rules of engagement that John Wayne and Rambo couldn’t win with, and our enemies will never restrict themselves to? The lying suckweasels of the MSM, who accept jihadi propaganda unquestioningly? The so-called anti-war movement, who would rather we lose than win?
Umm… among others…
Yeah!
Oh, and as for loving it or leaving it, I’d rather take it back... by whatever means necessary.
You forgot to add… “Chump.”

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
What country doesn’t?

 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Well I continue to learn from the best. You almost get it right all of the time. ;)
Well hang in there ... maybe someday you can be that good with only on 2 stouts. Speaking of stout, just downed a very nice Victory Imperial Stout.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Hey Q, Did you ever get a chance to try the The Legendary Hobgoblin Strong Dark Ale?

I am sure you have tried Old Speckled Hen, but if you haven’t, it’s a keeper... er, a drinker.

Cheers
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
On your recommendation I picked up a six pack of The Legendary Hobgoblin Strong Dark Ale yesterday. And I have had OSH and agree. BTW, have you ever tried "Old Peculiar"?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
BTW, have you ever tried "Old Peculiar"?
Not yet, but I’ll be looking for it.

Happy Independence Day... and remember, fireworks and Guiness don’t mix... but there’s 7684 other beers that go well with pyrotechnics.
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider