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Peaceful Democracies become Belligerent with bad Leaders

April 9th 2006

Peaceful Democracies become Belligerent with bad Leaders

President Bush

“Yesterday I spoke about an important example of the gains we and the Iraqis have made, and that is in the northern city of Tal Afar. The city was once under al Qaeda control, and thanks to coalition and Iraqi forces, the terrorists have now been driven out of that city. Iraqi security forces are maintaining law and order. We see the outlines of a free and secure Iraq that we and the Iraqi people have been fighting for. As we mark the third anniversary of the launch of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the success we're seeing in Tal Afar gives me confidence in the future of Iraq.” President Bush during his March 21 press conference.

“As the chorus saying 'sweeps are useless' grows, inside as well as outside the military, the U.S. military in Iraq continues its sweeps. The latest Iraqi city to get swept is Tal Afar. Predictably, the Iraqi guerillas did what they should and got out, escaping through exactly the sort of tunnel system John Poole describes in his excellent books. We stand holding an empty bag, in a city whose population we have thoroughly alienated.” Director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism at the Free Congress Foundation, William Lind in a September 19, 2005 review of Iraqi operations.

 

Every day that passes, Americans will be less welcomed in Iraq, and I wouldn't take lightly the warning of an Iraqi cleric who said, "You should leave before we force you out....An army that won't fight is one thing. Twenty million people willing to stab you in the back, cut your throat or toss a grenade in your soup are quite another. Our Army is trained and equipped to fight set battles against other armies. It is not trained to cope with a hostile civilian population. It will not do well, and if we insist on staying, the Iraqis will force us out, just as the Lebanese forced the Israeli army out.” Columnist Charlie Reese in a May 2003 criticism of the invasion of Iraq.

So who is telling the truth regarding America's occupation of Iraq? Is it President Bush, who has taken up a national campaign to tell the country all is well in Iraq, or is it the ilk of Lind and Reese who see and have seen problems with the operation since before it began? Is the president's new PR offensive driven by opinion polls that suggest his party might suffer electoral losses due to public perception of the occupation of Iraq? What could motivate Lind and Reese to make clear, critical statements criticizing the occupation when doing so is often criticized as hateful or even treasonous by the administration and its supporters?

 

Furthermore, if all was proceeding in Iraq as the President claims, that, “...the Iraqi people and our coalition continue to work together to build a stable and free and prosperous Iraq, then why the need for a political campaign to inform everyone of the obvious? Wouldn't the facts of progress speak for themselves?

Such a wide discrepancy between views respecting America's occupation of Iraq does no service to public debate or to understanding the issue. It is at this point that the side which is exaggerating its position is either committing treachery for political gain or treason with an aim to subvert the nation. Leveling a charge of treason against such as Reese and Lind is rather incredible at best and patently absurd on its face. Reese is a retired journalist who has gained a modest amount of acclaim for his forthrightness and plainly articulated views of the world. Lind has, among other things, served as legislative aide for Senators Robert Taft, Jr., and Gary Hart. He has written extensively on Fourth Generation warfare and was co-author with Paul M. Weyrich of the monograph: "Why Islam is a Threat to America and The West." His is hardly the resume of an insurrectionist.

 

Nor are Reese and Lind alone with their well-reasoned critiques of America's occupation of Iraq. Unfortunately the most reasonable investigations of the invasion of Iraq and its consequences to the country are ignored by the Limbaughs, Hannity's, and O'Reilly's of America's political culture. They direct their audiences to obsess over the horrors of Hillary Clinton and the irrelevance of Alec Baldwin.

Even the lofty platitudes given by the Bush Administration to rationalize the Iraqi operation cannot escape scrutiny. For instance his repeated claims that, “one way you spread peace is spread democracy,” was recently challenged by Matthew White in Democracies Do Not Make War on One Another...or Do They? White not only made a record of all the wars between democracies dating back to the Greek and Punic wars of the ancient world, but mathematically calculated the odds of democracies making war against each other at 19.8 percent.

The president has frequently claimed that free societies do not make war with each other, but as his claims continue to be so diametrically opposed to well-reasoned analysis, he runs the risk of leading this free society to make war against itself.  Comment on this article at our Forum

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By Bob Strodtbeck
Columnist
Bob Strodtbeck has been writing editorial commentaries since 1993.  He has professional experiences in pharmaceuticals, radio, and education.  He has also served as a church elder in an Orlando congregation where he has made his home since 1986.rvstrodtbeck@peoplepc.com

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Keywords and misspellings:  politics poletics democrat demoncrat republican repub comentary commentary


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