Sunday, August 08, 2004

Sometimes the apple falls a long, long way from the tree

George Bush Sr. wrote in his memoirs why he didn't continue on to Baghdad at the end of the first Gulf War:

"Trying to eliminate Saddam...would have incurred incalculable human and political costs.... We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq.... There was no viable "exit strategy" we could see, violating another of our principles. Furthermore, we had been consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-Cold War world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the United Nations' mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression that we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land."

Note that at the time Saddam HAD WMDs.

When he wrote "still be an occupying power" he was writing five years after the war.

I wish the senior Bush had passed on some of his skills to his errant son.


artbyruth said...

Nice try.......I love how you are ignoring the John Kerry Vietnam debacle!! What hypocrasy!

Imagine what you would be writing if Vets were coming out against George W. Bush's time in the Air National Guard.

You would be all over it.

But because they are coming out against your boy, you are suddenly hush-hush about it.

Face it: with this book coming out, John Kerry's service in Vietnam will be his biggest flaw, next only to his voting record in the Senate.

Nice try, though, in avoiding it.......

DaveSplash said...

Only the lowest of the low, sleaziest of the sleazy, fringe right-wing cranks take what those "swift boat vets for truth" have to say. They are being discredited daily. Their "leader" goes back with the GOP to the Watergate era. Just move on.

Three more months! Three more months!

this we'll defend said...

Artbyruth - I made my typical lengthy comments on that subject at both ALa71's website and at Lefty's I agree with Davesplash in case you were wondering. And I don't consider Mr. Bush's "service" in the Air Guard in the late '60s as deserving of the same respect as serving in the Air Guard today. Natl. Guardsmen today volunteer with no "draft" motivating them and they are just as likely to face enemy fire as the regular forces (which they shouldn't be, but that again is the fault of Mr. Bush). Mr. Bush's "service," IMHO, isn't deserving of respect so much as disdain. He dodged the draft and never took a stand on Vietnam when his country was in crisis. All he cared about was his personal safety. That disgusts me.

There were four alternatives facing men of draft age during the Vietnam war:

1) Regardless of whether you agreed or disagreed with the war you could serve in Vietnam. I respect those men the most and don't care what their personal views on the war were or are.

2) If you disagreed with the war you could, if your number came up, refuse the draft and go to jail in protest instead. I think that since others were risking their lives for what they thought was right it is also right to risk your freedom at least temporarily for what you think is right. By taking a stand and doing what they thought was right these men deserve respect although their sacrifice wasn't as great as those who served. No they aren't cowards because there were other ways to avoid combat that didn't involve taking a stand - #3 and #4 below.

Thus I respect those who thought our intervention in Vietnam was the right thing to do, even though time has shown the "dominoe theory" to be wrong. I respect those who were against it and who took risks for their beliefs, such as serving anyway or risking prison.

3) I have no respect for those against the war that fled to Canada, faked medical injuries, sought continuous deferments, etc. If they felt so strongly that the war was wrong they should have tried to do something about it, such as by refusing the draft and going to prison in an effort to save others. I think their main motivation was to protect themselves rather than to serve their country.

4) I have the least respect for those who were for the war but who fled to the safety of the National Guard, sought deferments, faked medical injuries, etc. If they felt so strongly about military service they should have done something about it by going active duty. I think their main motivation was to protect themselves rather than to serve their country - and that our nation doesn't condemn them like we do those that fled to Canada is simply wrong. Instead we elect them President and Vice-President of the United States and let them blather on about how patriotic they are.

They don't deserve a combat veteran's spittle.

Kat said...

My opinion is very simple:

1) Kerry served in Viet Nam. He was a lieutenant. He was in combat.
2) He received medals that were approved by the US Dept. of Navy. They investigate. If the rules allowed for medals to be given under the circumstances, then they cannot be disputed.
3) He used a legal method to leave his duty station in Viet Nam. Some how, I don't think that he was alone in doing so. Having said that, there were many who did not. From my personal perspective, that gives them a leg up on Sen. Kerry, but doesn't necessarily diminish his service.
4) From his biography (which I've read), the article in the Boston Globe that is 6 parts and gives his history, read his testimony before the Senate in 1971, etc. I think that his service in Viet Nam shaped him in a way that may or may not be good. It would seem that he used the legal method to leave because he quickly became disillusioned with the war and reasons. He immediately joined an anti-war group VVAW, which was not the most honest group of people as several, including it's leader Al Hubbard, were proven to have lied about their service (as in never served). He did eventually resign, I think realizing that the group was either not what he expected or had gone some place he didn't agree with.
4) It shaped his views irrevocably about the government, it's actions and what he feels is appropriate action by the US in it's foreign relations. Frankly, from what I read, I am thinking more and more he is actually an isolationist. But I digress. He does several things over the next 20 years that give away his thoughts on government, intelligence agencies and their rolls in national security and use of military force. He is basically an idealist, possibly even more so than President Bush, but totally in the opposite direction.
5) In his testimony before the Senate in 1971 and in the epilogue of his book, the new soldier, he actually makes statements that he is using in his current campaign:
"I think that, more than anything, the New Soldier is trying to point out how there are two Americas -- the one the speeches are about and the one we really are. Rhetoric has blinded us so much that we are unable to see the realities which exist in this country."
6) In 1971, he went to France and met with the North Viet Nam delegates. He said it was just a fact finding mission, but later returned to stand on the steps of the Capitol and extol the 7 point peace offer from the NV. In essence, going outside of the appropriate government agencies in an attempt to force the government to make a deal with the NV and be done with it, regardless of the potential backlash. In 1985, he does the same with Daniel Ortega, goes to Nicaragua and comes back with a "deal" while the government was in the middle of negotiating with Ortega over 14mil aid package, which is later voted down and Ortega and party go to the USSR and finalize their backing from the communist regime.

In neither case am I indicating that Kerry has communist ties, but what I am saying is that it would appear that Kerry believes that our national security is predicated on non-involvement (sort of wilsonian or chamberlain) and feels that diplomatic endeavors should really come first, second and third and military action is truly the very last option and should not be used to shape the world, but should be totally left as a defensive mechanism. Which, is almost utterly against the general belief of the socially concious left which believes it could be used for "humanitarian" efforts, which I don't think we will see much offering in that if it puts the troops in potential of harms way (like Somalia).

I could go on, but I am interested in what your thinking is on this subject.

artbyruth said...

No one is mentioning George Bush's one is saying that it deserves the same respect as Kerry's service.

John Kerry is running on his military record, so it is fair game. If George Bush was running on his Air National Guard record, then it would be fair game too.

You need to read this letter posted on Blackfive's blog:

It is by:
Maj.Mark A. Smith
United States Army-Retired
Former Prisoner of War

Read it, please!

Sorry, but your boy, Kerry is burying himself with this story. As I wrote in my blog: he should have just SHUT UP about Vietnam!

Regarding what you wrote on Senior Bush:

"I wish the senior Bush had passed on some of his skills to his errant son."

As usual, you and other Dems seem to conveniently forget one little difference between the two Presidencies: September 11, 2001.

Remember that day?? George H.W. Bush never had to deal with such a tragedy nor had any US President since FDR.

It is so easy for Kerry to forget that day since it hardly affected his life ( Although I am sure Teresa's stocks went belly-up). But we are not the President and he does not have that luxury to just sit and wait until Hussein arms al Queda with some chemical weapons and attacks us. John Kerry has that luxury. GWB does not.

I am sure that Bush Sr. has since changed his views toward ousting Hussein and this War on Terror. I know he stated he was proud of his son and glad Hussein was captured. And his statement was not followed with "but...."

I leave that to the Dems.

vrangel said...

Benedict Arnold was a war hero too.
Commanded first swiftboats attack in history of warfare.
Tell me he should have been Pres. instead of G.W.

I also find it ludicrous that 4 months in Vietnam 35 years ago somehow means more today than 20 years (and counting)in Senate .

As far as Iraq is concerned we didn't need it back in the nineties.
After 9/11 we had to start transformation of ME or keep fighting terrorists to no end kinda like war on drugs.
We had to start somewhere and Saddam won the lottery.

This is a war situation, not a court of law situation. No WMD? Who cares. Saddam indicted on trumped up charges ? Big deal. What matters is that G.W. got the ball rolling. And as a result we are where we want to be : right at the heart of the arab world. Iraqi revolution will result in new order, then we can debate about our next step.

ALa said...

vrangel -succinct and great -made only better by the fact that Kerry has mentioned Benedict Arnold by name-- to label companies that are going 70% of the Heinz Corp. --I am now going to bed smiling...

Peter V said...

this we'll defend needs to read the WSJ more and the NYT and LAT less. Read Ayn Rand more and Micheal Moore less. What turns a independant determined selfsufficient fighting man (an 11B) into a shill for the nanny state and the democrap party. An untypical path for a left coast liberal. I guess it's the fact that you and your fellow ambulance chaser Johnny Edwards are looking to sue your way to wealth.

The last good democratic president was Harry Truman and the last good republican president and arguable one of the five best president was Ronald Reagan.

vrangel said...

Yeah Peter V, sure way to pull people to your side is by ... insulting them ?

this we'll defend said...

Peterv: "nanny state?" "Democrap party?" "ambulance chaser?" Demonizing your opponent instead of addressing the issues is what you do when you don't have a case - lawyers do it all the time. If you can't attack the truth of the testimony then attack the witness. It is wrong in court and it is wrong in politics. My guess is that, since you call me a "shill," right or wrong or truth or what is in the best interests of all of the people of the United States all mean very little to you. You care only about what is best for you and those who share your interests, and you view loyal Americans who don't share your views as the enemy, or stupid, or misinformed.

For your info, my political views haven't changed since I enlisted. I read the WSJ, Financial Times, The Economist, the NY Times, Intl Herald Tribune, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, National Review, and the New Republic. I think Ayn Rand's writing are full of crap. I am a Christian. And if you wish to imply I am a parrot for the left wing or that I am uninformed you might want to use facts instead of simple-minded insults. You'll get a much better response from me when you seek to engage in a civil and informed debate on the issues instead of 3rd-grade name-calling and talking over each other. Elections should be about what is best for America more than about winning or beating the "other side."

artbyruth: You claim that the 'war president' who landed on the aircraft carrier, who has given more speeches on military bases than any other, who constantly makes blatantly political speeches to military audiences (who are not permitted to engage in politics while in uniform), is not the one who made military service an issue. I of course see it a little differently than you do.

I think the only issue where the President holds a decisive lead in the polls is national security, and thus Mr. Kerry is highlighting his military service to show that he is willing to do what it takes to serve this country, including risking his life instead of merely risking the lives of others. Mr. Bush's safe TX Air Guard service looks pretty bad by comparison. Now there are dishonest and despicable efforts to discredit Mr. Kerry's honorable service in Vietnam - efforts Mr. Bush has shamefully refused to condemn. Yes, Kerry's record is "fair game" - but not when those who seek to discredit it use lies and misrepresentions to do it. Kerry has not lied about his record, Swift Vets have lied about it, and you think that is ok because his record is "fair game." I do not. Neither should you.

VRangel: 9/11 didn't make Saddam more of a threat than he was on 9/10. It didn't result in a change of views for those who already understood that we live in a dangerous world. It changed the views only of those who weren't aware of national security realities on 9/10 - including our uncurious president. Military professionals were already aware of the threat - the embassy bombings, USS Cole, Khobar Towers, etc. being only the most recent attacks prior to 9/11. 9/11 did point out to the general public that our efforts against terrorists seeking to harm us needed to be stepped up. Instead we stepped up our efforts against Saddam. You justify that by referencing 9/11. I criticize the invasion of Iraq by referencing 9/11. The terrorist threat isn't the only one out there, and Saddam was not a threat that was made better by invasion - yes he is out of power, but now we are tied down in a lengthy occupation and billions of dollars are going to Iraq that could be better spent in other places, not to mention the blood we have shed. There are other threats - one of them being the war against the terrorists who attacked us.

You write "No WMD? Who cares." I care. I care very much. I think it is pretty important that our leaders make good decisions and such a glaring error is inexcusable. As I've posted on other pages, the question wasn't whether Saddam had WMD - the question was whether Saddam presented a threat to the US that justified an invasion. He did not even if he had WMDs - and the fact that he didn't even have them makes it even clearer that the President was wrong. Many, many people told him he was wrong prior to the invasion. He ignored them, but when it turned out that no WMDs were there he blamed the CIA instead of admitting that many, many people counseled against an invasion, including then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Hugh Shelton, then Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki, and his Secretary of State former Gen. Colin Powell. But you don't care.

You say "we are where we want to be : right at the heart of the arab world." With due respect, had the President told the American people that this is where we wanted to be prior to the invasion he would not have been given the authority to invade. I don't want to be at the heart of the Arab world, under fire, while other very real and dangerous threats are left unchecked so we may embark on a crusade to install democracy in a nation that has no history of it. I would rather our troops were used to defend OUR national security, making us safer here at home and abroad. That has not been the case, and any argument that years down the road we will have some sort of "dominoe" theory of democracy effect is wishful pie-in-the-sky thinking. RPGs and US dead are daily proving the neo-con plans were irrational and irresponsible.

But thinking that way isn't what PeterV claims to expect from a "independant determined self-sufficient fighting man." Perhaps I would be more independent if I just repeated everything the administration says?

this we'll defend said...

Thank you VRangel. I should have been more restrained in my reply to you - I hope you undertand that I appreciate your opinions and enjoy debating with you. You are civil and you should read my reply to you in the same tone. I like discussing the issues with bright, informed people who may not agree with me.

vrangel said...

Politics is an art of a possible.

Politicians have to herd all those different constituencies you know.

As a good politician Bush was saying different things in order to reach different groups. If he just kept saying WMD...Saddam is a threat...etc I would be against it myself.
But he also sent a message to people like me by talking about strategic need to transform ME .
I was sold. I didn't care about the rest.

Press covered it only briefly, maybe you missed it at the time and now mistakenly believe that Bush team was only talking about WMD and stuff.
It was covered pretty well on neocon blogs (I prefer term neointellectuals ).

I followed it pretty closely and can tell you that case for war rested on three arguments:
1.WMD, threat, links etc
2.liberation of oppressed
3.need to transform ME

I didn't care about #1, somewhat cared about #2, really cared about #3.
#3 and #2 (in that order) won my support. That's how politics is done.

I don't see anything dishonest about it. That's the way things work.

In your profession there are rules too.
You don't tell to the judge : You Honour, here are three things that could really hurt my case...

The fact that you never say that doesn't mean you are dishonest. So give Bush a break, he is a politician and he is playing by the rules .

vrangel said...

By the way neo-intel blogs never stopped talking about war strategy .
To get yourself up to date go here :


this we'll defend said...

VRangel - good post. I disagree with you and think that the WMDs were a red herring to build support for the other "reasons," and that the other reasons would not have commanded support because they were too risky and dangerous. But that is my opinion. I respect yours.

vrangel said...

I happily concede that point. Red herring it is.