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Saturday, June 17, 2006

THE SUN GOES DARK

What sucks about editorials is not that any idiot can write them, it's that no matter how fraught with inconsistencies, misinformation and outright lies, 'news'papers like the Lowell Sun will print them. Well, let's take this one apart, shall we? I will direct my replies to the writer of this drivel.

Complete the mission
The Lowell Sun
http://www.lowellsun.com/editorials/ci_3949617


U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass, is the Democratic Party's most ardent Iraq war critic. That's fine. Kerry has every right to express his opinions, even though a majority of them are usually formed not on meticulous study but on the current direction of America's political winds.
Today, the winds are blowing to Kerry's back -- at least among party liberals.

Your statement regarding Senator Kerry's opinions is merely your opinion, but you have every right, as you say, to it. My assertion is that how Senator Kerry's opinions are formed is pretty much known only to Senator Kerry and those closest to him. I'm guessing that's not you. I can surmise that because, unlike President Bush, the Senator reads, he has most likely studied this quite a bit. He also cites a lot of sources. That usually points to study rather than wind position, but I really can't confirm. So, I'll just say that those of us who don't actually advise the Senator can only choose to agree with his opinions or not. I happen to agree with the Senator.


Kerry admits he made a mistake in voting to give President Bush the authorization to go to war in Iraq in 2001. That's fine. If he says it enough, it could turn it into a 2008 U.S. Presidential campaign slogan: "Correct the mistake of 2004, John Kerry's now anti-war."
John Kerry is anti IRAQ war. Always has been. He has said it over and over again, beginning in 2002 (The IWR, which Bush failed to comply with anyway, was voted on in October 2002, not 2001), and continuing today. Remember "wrong war, wrong place, wrong time"? Kerry's position on Iraq is consistent. We should not have gone there.


Remember when Kerry said during the last presidential election that he voted for the war before he voted against it."
Is that a direct quote? You know, you can't just turn words into fact by saying "Remember when". No, I don't "remember when". No one "remembers when", because he never said it. Are you referring to the 87B supplemental? As you are fully aware, there were two appropriations bills. Kerry voted for the one that would fund the troops by reducing tax cuts for the extremely wealthy. He voted against the one that would leave a burden on our children to pay for Bush's unjust and immoral war. That was a protest vote, obviously, as the supplemental passed 87-12.

If you're referring to the IWR, Kerry voted for the resolution. As he says, knowing what he knows now, he would not have, and neither, most assuredly, would many others. In fact, it is highly unlikely there would have been a resolution had the Senate been given the information that should have been provided them. Should he and others have known better than to trust Bush? Perhaps. But Senator Kerry's decision was based on assurances from Colin Powell, who he believed to be a credible source (Cobra II, pg. 130). In retrospect, that was a mistake as well, to which Senator Kerry has admitted repeatedly.

"The president promised he would go to war as a matter of last resort. He didn't. The president promised he would build a coalition and work through the United Nations. He didn't. We're paying the price for the reckless way in which this president approached this. It's a failure of diplomacy, and today it's a failure of leadership." John Kerry 9/14/2003


OK, let's not dwell on the past and Kerry's changing convictions. Too much is at stake in Iraq.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate soundly rejected Kerry's call to withdraw combat troops by Dec. 31. The proposal would have allowed "only (U.S.) forces that are critical to completing the mission of standing up Iraqi security forces" to remain in Iraq in 2007.
Six Democrats joined Kerry in backing the proposal.
Now you have John Kerry confused with Mitch McConnell. Senator Kerry's the tall one from Massachusetts. McConnell is the sniveling, weasly Republican coward. Kerry did not propose an amendment this week. That was a Republican introduced bill, but you knew that, didn't you?


While the U.S. post-invasion mission in Iraq has had its failures, it is not because of America's fighting men and women. They've done their best -- and sacrificed greatly to give Iraqis the freedom they deserve. The soldiers' successes, vastly underreported by
U.S. and global media, are truly historic.
Yes. The troops have done their best. But the Iraq war can not be resolved militarily, it must be resolved politically. That is not the work of the troops. As for "historic", please cite something to back that up. As for Iraqis having freedom, many barely have electricity any more. They do have a growing death toll, though.


The Bush administration's policies, meanwhile, have been resolute yet difficult to comprehend at times. The biggest flaws were not getting enough coalition troops on the ground once Baghdad fell and the decision to decommission Saddam Hussein's captured Iraqi Army.
I would argue that the biggest flaw was to start the war to begin with. There is a publication at the site you reference below that you might want to read.

REVISIONS IN NEED OF REVISING:
WHAT WENT WRONG IN THE IRAQ WAR




War is terrible, and Kerry certainly knows that. However, disengaging from war is just as important as waging one. America must win the end game -- decisively -- or else we risk coming back in a decade or sooner. To withdraw U.S. forces now, without giving the new Iraqi government a chance to build its security forces, would be an unfathomable mistake.
Yes, Kerry knows war is terrible. Unlike most of the Bush administration, he's seen one from the front lines. Exactly how long do you propose we give the Iraqis to train their troops? We were told by the administration that as the Iraqis stood up, we would stand down. As the estimate of Iraqi troops trained is now at approximately 165,000, it seems that we should be able to bring home the same number of our own. That would be all of them.

Bush Says Trained Iraqi Troops Now Outnumber U.S.
FORT HOOD, Texas (Reuters) - President Bush said on Tuesday trained Iraqi security forces now outnumber U.S. troops in Iraq and are playing a greater role in fighting insurgents.

Additionally, if you research carefully, you will see that both Kerry and John Murtha are calling for 'over the hill' presence, so this is not a complete withdrawl, it's a redeployment. See the difference?


No question al-Qaida forces are being destroyed piece by piece. A New York Times article (Sunday, June 11) revealed how the U.S. military has captured or killed more than 100 top insurgent leaders during the past three years. A document obtained in the rubble from the bombing that killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the al-Qaida leader in Iraq, portrays the insurgency as being in "bleak" shape. In fact, U.S. and Iraqi forces have killed 102 insurgents in 452 raids since al-Zarqawi's death, while seizing weapons and shutting off financial networks fueling the insurgency.
Do you have statistics on how many Al-Quaida have been recruited since we arrived? I question your assertion that there is 'no question'.


The question now is: If al-Qaida forces are being decimated, who's behind the attacks that are killing military forces and Iraqi civilians? Obviously, Baathists loyal to Saddam Hussein and militias loyal to religious leaders. Soon enough, the interests of a unified government -- made up of Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds -- are going to figure out a way to deal with these ruthless entities. And they need our help.
When is 'soon enough'? Iraq needs help politically. That's not a function of our military. That's why Kerry calls for a political solution. As General Casey has suggested, our troop presence is fueling the insurgency. With 2,500 dead, 18,000 injured, countless Iraqi civilian casualties, and a mounting cost of war that grows by $8 billion a month, when is 'soon enough'?


Kerry would be wise to urge other international players to assist America in its exit from Iraq by pledging money and military support to Iraq. The end game is near, but it must be handled properly so that Iraq becomes a sovereign nation.
That would be this part of Senator Kerry's plan:

That it is the sense of the Senate that the President, not later than 30 days after the date of the formation of a new national unity government in Iraq, should convene a summit that includes the leaders of that government, leaders of the governments of each country bordering Iraq, representatives of the Arab League, the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, representatives of the European Union, and leaders of the governments of each permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, for the purpose of reaching a comprehensive political agreement for Iraq that addresses fundamental issues including federalism, oil revenues, the militias, security guarantees, reconstruction, economic assistance, and border security. S. RES. 470


The Iraq situation is truly complex and should not be based on emotional rhetoric.
Yes, it is. You should stop.


A good source for Kerry and others which brings home the difficult choices America faces in withdrawing from Iraq can be found in the Strategic Studies Institute report titled, "Precedents, Variables, and Options in Planning a U.S. Military Disengage Strategy from Iraq." (www.StrategicStudiesInstitute.army.mil).

It might be wishful thinking, but we can hope that the majority of U.S. senators opposing Kerry's withdrawal proposal did so after they read this remarkable and honest report.
It is critical to note this while reading the report cited:

"The information cut off date for this study was August 8, 2005."

I think it likely that the situation on the ground and our options have changed from last August. Thanks for the link, though. Here's a good one from that same site:

REVISIONS IN NEED OF REVISING:
WHAT WENT WRONG IN THE IRAQ WAR

"...critics also have neglected the larger lesson that there are certain limits to what military power can accomplish. For certain purposes, like the creation of a liberal democratic society that will be a model for others, military power is a blunt instrument, destined by its very nature to give rise to unintended and unwelcome consequences. Rather than "do it better next time," a better lesson is "don't do it at all."

And that's what Senator Kerry was telling us in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. Only you weren't listening.

Bush lied. Thousands died. Senator Kerry's amendment calls for a political solution in Iraq. Bush's plan is stay the course.

I like Kerry's.

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