Dear Mr. Cheney

I was thinking about you the other evening. Manchester United and AC Milan were playing soccer on the TV. It was a great game. I enjoyed it. During halftime I fired up the interwebs and saw that 9 US soldiers had died in Iraq. ‘Oh well,’ I thought, and continued watching the game.

Then it it hit me. Young men my age are sacrificing their lives for their country whilst I get to chomp my Ikea crispbreads and enjoy the footie. It’s not fair.

Not fair for people like me, I mean.

Our grandparents happily accepted rationing, faithfully bought their war-bonds, and thumbed their noses at Jerry. Your fathers lined up to fight for freedom in Indochina. During the Falkland’s War, people in my country watched the news every night and solemnly counted our dead. But today, in this great war for freedom — the great struggle of our age — you limply ask us to support the troops and live life as normal. You asked us to shop, so we shopped. You asked us to get behind our leaders, so we did. I worry, however, that these are not real sacrifices. It is faith without real works. It is Episcopalian, and we Mormons are capable of so much more than that.

You are speaking at BYU this week, my church’s university. May I respectfully ask you to use this opportunity to enlist the Mormons to your cause. Forget the bleatings of a few gentile Mormon malcontents, and the lame protests of a handful of students who think that voting Democrat makes them edgy and cool. No, be comforted to know that the majority of American Mormons love you, your boss, your party, your Patriot Act, and your war for freedom. We believe in honoring you, sir. And more than that, we believe that the freedom you offer is God’s gift to the world, and that’s a fight we want to be a part of.

But you haven’t asked us to do anything! Mormons are do-ers. Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven, you see, and we have a sneaking suspicion that simply wearing the flag on our lapels is not enough. We want to do something big, sir. That way it won’t be just all those people who join the army for selfish reasons who will be blessed for their sacrifices. We want in. We want to serve. Blessings await.

Tell us to pay more taxes to fund the war, and we’ll pay them.

Tell us to enlist, and we will.

Tell us to support a draft, and we’ll do it. Our children are your children, Mr. Vice President. (We may have to figure out how to make our missionaries exempt, but we can cross that bridge when we come to it.)

In short, Mr. Cheney, this is a war fought in our names, one which we wholeheartedly support, and we simply want a chance to put our shoulder to freedom’s wheel. Right now most of us are doing nothing for this war, and it’s so durned frustrating. Even my own Prince Harry — an Anglican of all things, and a boozer to boot — is doing more than me!

So, I very much hope you will use your BYU speech to make the call for us to serve. If you can get the Mormons to make sacrifices, you can even extend the Coalition of the Willing to all corners of the world and Alberta. The Mormons can save this war, Mr. Cheney. We’ll go where you want us to go, we’ll be what you want us to be.

Comments

  1. (Dedicated to our own Karen in Afghanistan. And all the brave Mormons in Iraq. As to the willingness of civilian Mormons to makes sacrifices for the war, well, there’s also another option…)

  2. Ronan, I know this post is sarcastic but I suspect you are serious about the sentiment that we civilians should be sacrificing something if we truly support the war.

    I think you go overboard in saying that Latter-day Saints support the war. My guess is that many are uncomfortable with it now, even if they initially supported the idea of defending against a WMD threat when this whole issue began. I think it is inaccurate to equate Cheney speaking at BYU or the lack of drive for many Latter-day Saints to protest Cheney with support for the Iraq War.

  3. Vince Jones says:

    Ronan – you are Henry Root! Here’s my dollar – count me in on this one.

  4. You know, Ronan, there’s something to this. When the best the U.S. can muster as a last-ditch strategy to keep Iraq from falling into some kind of deeper disaster is a “surge” of 20,000 troops — not the hundreds of thousands that the original proponents of the surge concept recommended — it might be the case that our countries could use more sacrifice.

    On the other hand. Is a massive, and likely semi-permanent, incursion of Western military power into Iraq a desirable scenario for anyone? Survey data suggest that most Iraqis don’t want us around. Citizens in Western countries don’t want our troops their, either, by clear majorities. And it’s not at all obvious that even a massive military presence would be able to resolve the underlying problems in Iraq. Religious conflict, resource redistribution, loyalties to Iran and other countries, and so forth are challenges that seem hard to resolve with firepower.

    Once upon a time, George W. Bush promised that, as president, he would pursue a “humble” foreign policy. Perhaps the best sacrifice we could make would be to return to that idea — to humble ourselves, work closely with our rivals in the Middle East, and find solutions other than victory or defeat.

  5. if you want to fix Iraq, put in there at MINIMUM 500,000 combat troops. Otherwise, get out and stop fiddling around, failing, and generally making things worse.

  6. Ronan – I always appreciate any opportunity to listen to Neil Young, so thanks.

    JNS – George Bush not only promised a “humble foreign policy”, he mocked the notion of “nation building” during his first campaign. The lack of sacrifice by the average American simply means that is has taken longer for the general public to see the error of our ways in Iraq. Thank goodness the majority is now seeing the light and demanding a conclusion. Of course, they were told all along that things would conclude long before now.

    While it may seem to some that diplomacy will never bring peace in the middle east, what other choice to we have. Military action has proven its limited effectiveness.

  7. Ronan,

    I know 2 LDS guys who have died in Iraq both by roadside bombs, My HT served a tour there, and I have 2 relatives that have served there.

    I guess it depends on the LDS circles you move in if you see much of a sacrifice out of LDS people.

    I agree with Dan that the war is being fought half hearted. Your opponents in a war either need to be at your knees begging for mercy or in a shallow grave. Modern democracies seem to lack the will required to really win wars.

  8. Oh,

    And my brother has a mission comp who was also killed by a roadside bomb.

  9. So interesting to see the titles we give various “conflicts.” Ronan, you referred to the Falkland “war.” I was living in Venezuela at the time that one broke out, and I never heard of Falkland. It was “Las Malvinas.” The dicho was “Las Malvinas Son Nuestras!” (The Malvinas [Islands] are ours!”) All of the countries around Argentina carried this slogan, and it was frightening to go outside at night, when riots were ready to burst out.

    The names chosen for this particular exercise in violence (that in Iraq) vary from what you used (“War for freedom”) to the more common (and more ironic) “War against terrorism.” If we name an immoral act by a heroic title, we somehow manage to invest it with honor–or at least we can persuade ourselves that the genocide we’re involved in is ultimately heroic. Though I am certain the American soldiers are also doing good things, like building schools in Iraq (I have a cousin who served there, the price of re-naming violence so that it hides its real face under a heroic mask is far, far, far too high.

  10. bbell,
    See comment 1.

  11. bbell, an interesting comment regarding the inability of modern democracies to commit enough to win wars. I guess this substantially depends on how we define “modern.” Certainly Britain won the Malvinas/Falklands war. The US and its allies won the Gulf War in the early 1990s. Peace-keeping/peace-making war efforts in the Balkans were arguably victorious, as well, although not without substantial failures along the way. There are several other examples of democracies winning wars in the last 25 years or so.

    I wonder if the basis for this idea is really the US experience in Somalia, combined with what sometimes seems like a creeping failure in Afghanistan and the obvious disaster of Iraq? These three episodes are surely significant, and they definitely suggest the potential for the US to lose in combat. On the other hand, I’d be leery of using them as a basis for generalization; other wars fought in other ways may still be victorious, and perhaps have been.

  12. Wow, Ronan. Thanks for the powerful reminder that war is real, demands sacrifice as well as the lives of young people and that we should carefully consider what the implications of supporting such endeavours are.

  13. JNS,

    In your three examples of Democracies winning military victories three things stand out.

    1. Short duration of the conflict
    2. Low casualties
    3. Limited political opposition at home and abroad

    Make it a long conflict, with higher casualties, and lots of political opposition and the democracies simply fight half heartedly.

    See Iraq, Vietnam, and the recent Lebanon war as examples.

    Essentially it seems to me that there is no stomach in the democracies for sustained war. We have softened up quite a bit.

    I think that there is a playbook to defeat a Democracy at war.

    1. Drag out the conflict thru insurgent tactics
    2. Play the media for sympathy by focusing on civilian casualties. Even make some up like in Lebanon or the Lancet study
    3. Play the race/religion/imperialism card against the democracy in the press and the UN
    4. If applicable play the ant-semitism card at the UN and in the press
    5. Wait long enough for the war to affect the democracies political process. Time big events for political purposes. (TET, Madrid bombings etc)

  14. Steve Evans says:

    Ronan, a good post — thank you.

  15. Right now most of us are doing nothing for this war

    Other than voting for representatives that we felt would push for victory in Iraq rather than retreat you mean?

    Enlisting is a very direct way to support military action, but it is not the only way. Just like joining the local SWAT team is a direct way to support emergency police intervention, but not the only way.

    This isn’t World War II, we aren’t facing an enemy that requires vast sacrifice to defeat. There is no risk of us losing militarily, the only way we really lose in the long run is if we leave. At this point it is primarily a war of will with the chief weapon of the enemy being propaganda.

    The main support that is needed at this point from the population at large is willpower.

  16. Lessons from the American Revolution, anyone?

  17. Alwuwid #15 “…we aren’t facing an enemy that requires vast sacrifices to defeat.”

    How about $500 billion of our national treasure that we aren’t even willing to pay for now with increased taxes but are asking our children and grandchildren to finance in the future with deferred payments? Would even those who still support the conflict be so happy to do so if it effected their pocketbook today? And speaking of propaganda how about statements like “We don’t want the next smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” It seems there is propaganda flowing from both sides.

    The war we ALL supported was the war against the perpetrators of 9/11. We left those guys in the mountains of Afghanistan and diverted our forces to the present chaos for apparently bogus reasons.

  18. “Lessons from the American Revolution, anyone?”

    Ray, do you mean the lessons King George and the Parliament learned in battling insurgents before finally withdrawing the troops?

  19. Ronan is right. I spent a year in Iraq as a contractor, and it’s sad to see how the only people making sacrifices for the war are military families. In previous wars, national resources were mobilized and free markets were redirected to backing the war effort. “Victory gardens” were grown. People felt involved, so they supported the effort in the face of much greater casualties than we have had in our current conflict.

    But as Mr. Cheney believes, conservation is a “personal virtue.” The Bush administration has stated that “the American way of life is non-negotiable.” As long as our way of life is treated as non-negotiable, our commitment to the Greater War on Terror will be very negotiable.

  20. bbell,

    Make it a long conflict, with higher casualties, and lots of political opposition and the democracies simply fight half heartedly.

    Your analogy fails when considering both World War I and World War II, wherein American public opinion was strongly in favor of the conflicts even though they were long and very deadly to Americans.

    The difference between World War II and say more recent conflicts is that our objectives were clear and accepted by nearly all Americans. As such, when things went bad, no one was too bothered, because most agreed the conflict was sound.

    Bush took us into Iraq divided, so it should not really come as a surprise that the country is bitterly divided over this conflict. Furthermore, in the example of our most current conflict, this was a war of choice, which World War II was not.

    Now, we do have a modern war that most Americans agree we should be fighting, and that is Afghanistan. I know of very few Americans who don’t think we should be in there full force. That is where most Americans agree is our real enemy.

    This of course adds to the further divide on Iraq. Many say (and I am one of them) that Iraq is a distraction from the REAL conflict against our enemy, Al-Qaida. As such, a war of choice against a nation that was not a threat to us, which happens to take away resources from the real conflict, yeah, that tends to really divide the nation and bring heavy scorn upon those who advocated the war of choice.

  21. #18 – Precisely, DavidH. Lessons from Sherman’s March, anyone? I could continue, but those who don’t learn from history are bound to repeat it. Crap; someone already coined that message.

  22. Mondo Cool says:

    Lessons from Alma 59 – 62, anyone?

  23. Dan,

    You are going back 60 plus years for your examples. How many WW1 veterans are alive in the US? 10 maybe? All over 105 years old

    The West is far different now then it was in 1940.

    I think we can trace our softening to the social and polical changes that occured starting in the 1960′s

  24. How about $500 billion of our national treasure that we aren’t even willing to pay for now with increased taxes but are asking our children and grandchildren to finance in the future with deferred payments?

    National treasure? I always knew that Haliburton was being paid in golden amulets and bags of rubies :-)

    I’d prefer to pay for it by cutting into other areas of the federal budget. (I lean libertarian on taxes and federal spending and would love to do this regardless but the Iraq War is a great excuse).

    Either way this is more a problem with American thinking than with the Iraq War itself. We want something but we don’t want to pay for it, or we want someone else to pay for it instead (those that are richer, our neighbor down the street, etc).

    And speaking of propaganda how about statements like “We don’t want the next smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” It seems there is propaganda flowing from both sides.

    Good, we should be aggressively engaging in propaganda for the war effort. But based on what I’m seeing if we are truly taking an active role in the propaganda fight then we’re really sucking at it right now.

  25. Latter-day guy says:

    Prognostication: One more year, two years max. Either, we finish up there with the troop surge, or (more likely, IMO) the 2008 election is a reversal and we withdraw very, very quickly.

    The issue, I think, is that we were going in like saviors, not conquerors.The whole idea was liberation, we thought that everyone would be happy once Saddam had gone (that’s an enormous oversimplification, I know). Thus, we have not been nearly draconian enough.

    bbell’s right, we ought to have bombed them into cowering submission first.

  26. The West is far different now then it was in 1940.

    I think we can trace our softening to the social and polical changes that occured starting in the 1960’s

    I’d also add that the media is not behind us in this current campaign. How long would Americans have supported World War I and World War II if they were constantly being shown pictures of the negative effects of “Total War”? It speaks highly of us that we do not like to continually witness such hardship but it also plays us right into our enemies hands as they know that our society won’t be able to bear repeated carnage.

  27. lamonte,
    “We don’t want the next smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”

    You and Condi just need to duke it out and be done with it.

  28. Chris Grant says:

    Margaret Young wrote: “we can persuade ourselves that the genocide we’re involved in is ultimately heroic.

    Hurling around outlandish charges like this is an odd thing to do if you truly are interested in keeping the peace with those with whom you have political differences.

  29. Chris, without engaging much in the question of whether the Iraq war is a genocide (I think there is certainly the potential for genocide, although our presence is at least intended as a temporary deterrent), Margaret’s broader point seems valid to me. Certainly the major acts of genocide that the US has been involved in were made to seem moral or even heroic at the time. Our genocidal actions against the indigenous peoples of North America were romanticized as recently as the Westerns of a generation ago. And the genocide that was black slavery in America was justified by religion. So there’s solid historical precedent for asking ourselves if the violence we’re doing that seems good and right might have genocidal content. The answer will certainly not always be “yes.” But the question is nonetheless worthwhile.

  30. cj douglass, in the words of the president, “Bring it on!”

  31. bbell,

    #23,

    I don’t think today’s society is that different from the 1940s. If given a clear and unmuddled reason for war, they are going to be accepting of the conflict and see it out to the end.

    But this is not what the war of choice in Iraq was at all. Too much evidence is out there to show that we were intentionally misled. Not only that, but our leaders have been woefully incompetent at giving us a “victory.” Why should ANYONE be supportive of this conflict anymore, given these circumstances?

    Frankly I’m rather disturbed by those on the right who question the fortitude of their fellow Americans when it comes to war. Next time, give us better reasons and you might find more support. Or perhaps don’t start wars of choices.

  32. Aluwid,

    #26,

    I’d also add that the media is not behind us in this current campaign.

    Are you kidding? The media was complicit with the administration in the selling of this war of choice in Iraq. They’ve generally been slowly coming around to start showing the truth, but that’s more because of the incompetence of our military and political leaders.

    The equation is very simple: Give Americans a clear victory or they will turn on you. If you cannot do that, then you better not start fighting.

  33. I just do not think we have a stomach for real war anymore.

    Lets look at Afghanistan:

    What would it take to really win there?

    1. Permission from pakistan to invade the pashtun tribal areas in Pakistan. good luck with that. It would probably take a US war against Pakistan first maybe
    2. 300K troops?
    3. Burning of every village and the destruction of the agricultural economy in the pashtun areas
    4. Killing, wounding, capturing most of the military aged Pashtun men. Possibly camps for the women and children for the duration

    In other words total war. Sherman’s march, Firebombing of Dresden, Nagasaki, Soviet actions in the Eastern front etc.

    Can anyone imagine the US doing this? I cannot.

    Only a Saddam Hussein or Sudan or Al Q or PLO, is capable of these types of tactics anymore. The West is not.

  34. Good, we should be aggressively engaging in propaganda for the war effort.

    Lamonte’s point (if I can speak for him) is that the C. Rice statement came before the war to scare the public into supporting the war. For that, she should be thrown in jail.

    Also, concerning propoganda during the war – I’ve heard more than one of my in-laws state very matter of factly that “if they wouldn’t have attacked us on 9/11, we would not have had to invade Iraq.” Yes the propoganda is working quite nicely.

  35. bbell,

    Speaking of Afghanistan, how many Americans “support” that conflict?

    In other words total war. Sherman’s march, Firebombing of Dresden, Nagasaki, Soviet actions in the Eastern front etc.

    Can anyone imagine the US doing this? I cannot.

    Only a Saddam Hussein or Sudan or Al Q or PLO, is capable of these types of tactics anymore. The West is not.

    This isn’t what is needed to “win” in Afghanistan. What will be needed, definitely, are the troops currently stationed in Iraq. There are still way too many places to hide in Afghanistan. Not to mention, of course, the safe haven that Al-Qaida and the Taliban have next door in nuclear Pakistan.

    What we should have done was never taken our focus off Afghanistan until the fight there was done. But because we redirected (and continue to redirect) forces from Afghanistan to Iraq, our mission in Afghanistan is failing. Not only that, but tactics learned in Iraq are now being used in Afghanistan by our enemies. Yeah, that war in Iraq sure has been a positive move by America!

    We do have the stomach for a real fight, bbell. The problem is that we are being lied to. When our political leaders cannot be honest with us about the conflict, why should we support them?

  36. Chris Grant says:

    Re #29:

    (1) Margaret didn’t frame her statement as a question, and it’s imbedded in a paragraph that’s specifically about the Iraq conflict.

    (2) Of course black slavery was horrible, but how was it genocide (i.e., “the deliberate and systematic extermination of an ethnic or national group”)?

  37. Dan,

    I was referring both to the culture of the media as well as the reality of media technology. If color photographs, video, etc could have been sent around the world instantly (and manipulated) as it can today then World War I and World War II might have been very different. How many pictures of dead kids can someone see before they start to lose enthusiasm for a military campaign no matter how noble the cause?

  38. MikeInWeho says:

    re: 20 I’m no historian, but I’m not sure that America was very united at the beginning of WW2. Can anybody out there clarify?

    re: 13 I like your assessment of the situation, bbell. We face an enemy who is simply more ruthless and willing to accept civilian casualties. So what solution would you propose? Dwelling on how the 60s ruined everything and fantasizing about turning back the clock won’t get us anywhere.

    The compounding tragedy is that we see no mass anti-war movement in the U.S. By demanding no sacrifice (except from those who sign up to support the war), the current administration seems to have largely neutralized the opposition. The failure of the Left in this country is just stunning, and I’m part of it. We wring our hands and blather on in our blogs, then turn off the news and zip over to Whole Foods in our well-equipped cars for an over-priced take-out organic dinner. It’s disgusting, and I see it all around me here in L.A.

  39. “Of course black slavery was horrible, but how is it genocide…?” It robbed an entire race of people of their culture, their ancestry and their dignity. Not much left after that.

  40. Not only that, but tactics learned in Iraq are now being used in Afghanistan by our enemies

    Are you assuming that they copied all the tactics in Iraq minus the propaganda element? Otherwise our retreat from Iraq would be followed shortly by a retreat from Afghanistan for roughly the same reasons.

  41. Chris, there are a range of different definitions of genocide. Under many or most definitions, slavery was completely genocidal. Consider this definition, offered by Raphael Lemkin, the inventor of the term:

    Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be the disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups. (Lemkin 1944, pg. 79)

    Genocide doesn’t require mass extinction — although slavery did include mass slaughter in the process of transportation. It’s sufficient that genocide be aimed at the destruction of the existence of a national group as a group. Pulling group members out of their land, chaining them up, sending them to another continent, forcing them to abandon their native language, forcibly imposing a religion on them, changing their names, and absolutely controlling their economic and personal lives on pain of death would seem to fully fit the bill.

    Other definitions would disqualify slavery as a genocidal episode. But it’s a purely semantic debate.

  42. Chris Grant says:

    Re #39: “It robbed an entire race of people of their culture, their ancestry and their dignity.

    Terrible, terrible, terrible. But “genocide” has a meaning, and that’s not it.

  43. On the contrary, we have been asked (well not openly asked, perhaps) to sacrifice much.

    We’ve sacrificed constitutional guarantees of certain civil liberties. Please recall that the overseas eavesdropping of phone conversations was draped in the framework of “We don’t want to have to hang up when a terrorist calls someone in the United States”, when in fact the FISA and the courts it set up were already in place, and allowed overseas eavesdropping to continue for at least 48 hours while the justice department went to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to retroactively authorize domestic wiretapping. The President had us believe something that was not true. In fact, the FISC granted such wiretaps in all but about 1% of those cases.

    Writs of habeas corpus, or having a day in court to review the merits of a case against the accused have been sacrificed. There is a reason the detainees have been held in Guantanamo, legally not US territory, so that US laws do not apply, or the renditions of suspects to foreign countries where US laws would not apply.

    National Security Letters, issued to phone companies, ISPs and others, which by law and definition can not be discussed with attorneys or anyone else for that matter. Sort of like a secret subpoena. You can’t have a lawyer present, and you have no appeal or recourse.

    We’ve also sacrificed, at least until the last few months, the constitutional principle of checks and balances, with the executive branch having to answer for it’s actions to congress. Until the Democrats regained control of the House and Senate, there were no subpoenas of members of the executive branch to answer for their activities, or to explain their actions or plans. That included the Patriot Act provision that allowed the President to name new US attorneys on a permanent “interim” basis that meant the nominees would never have to be approved by the Senate in the course of normal review of executive branch appointments.

    Yes, we’ve made sacrifices here.

  44. Webster’s online dictionary defines genocide as “the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group.” I believe my interpretation fits perfectly with that definition – IMHO.

  45. #35.

    troop levels in Afghanistan are currently at there highest level since 2001. You can make a case that you need say 100K troops for Afghanistan

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6364749.stm

    My actual solution to this conflict was a direct attack into Pakistan against the Pashtuns using old school politically impossible scorched earth tactics. If everybody is dead or in a camp the conflict ends.

    Mikeinweho:

    I really do think the cultural changes in the 60′s (and vietnam of course) did lead to the inability for the US to fight a long drawn out conflict

  46. Chris Grant says:

    Re #41: Lemkin’s broad usage of the term is reflected in neither the major dictionaries nor in the official definitions recognized in international law.

    By Lemkin’s usage quoted above, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris are attempting genocide when they seek the disintegration of the American people’s “addiction” to religion.

  47. Brad Kramer says:

    “Only a Saddam Hussein or Sudan or Al Q or PLO, is capable of these types of tactics anymore. The West is not.”
    I know–we’re so weak! It’s really pathetic.
    I think we all pine for the good old days when the West knew what it took to win wars in defense of moral imperatives: Allying with Stalin, deliberately waging war against civilian populations and infrastructure, threatening (by partially enacting) the comprehensive (that is, genocidal) destruction of an entire people and culture, and, worst of all, raising taxes!!!!!
    It’s too bad Saddam Hussein isn’t around to use as an ally in the war on terror. He really hated jihadists and in terms of ruthlessness, paranoia, and sheer lust for and exercise of raw power was probably the closest thing to Stalin the world has seen in half a century. When you think about it, we shot ourselves in the foot and foreordained the failure of the war on terror the moment we drove into a spider hole the one man who understood that all niceties must be dispensed with in order to impose order on the world–and elected with like 99.8% of the vote to boot!

  48. Oh,

    And I forgot one other sacrifice. The truth, as evidenced by yesterdays hearings into the friendly fire death of former NFL star Pat Tillman, and the Hollywood staging of the rescue of Jessica Lynch from an abandoned hospital. If you recall, Tillman received a posthumous Silver Star for being shot by someone in his own unit, and Lynch was portrayed as some kind of female Rambo, when in fact she was injured and unable to resist her capture.

    These kind of things only cheapen the sacrifice that our armed services personnel and their families are making.

  49. I don’t have the motivation to continue repeating my points anymore, at least today. I’m glad to see more and more Americans turning against this horrible president. I honestly think that in the future, when we all look back at this period, we’ll be highly embarrassed and ashamed.

  50. Re: slavery as genocide. How about the resultant deaths from tribal warfare and enslavement of enemy combatants due to the slave trade. Or the millions that died during the Middle Passage? Do these numbers qualify as genocide?

  51. Now what we need is a streaker, with this letter painted on body, singing Neil Young. That’s the only way Dick Cheney will get this message. HP/JDC? SMB? Mark? (though you’ll be on a covert BCC mission already)

  52. Chris Grant says:

    Re #50: According to international law, the intent to exterminate has to be present. Generally, I would suppose that people who viewed black Africans as valuable property only viewed them to be so if they were alive.

  53. How about a streaker, carrying a copy of this letter, and wearing only an orange hunting vest?

  54. And maybe a bullet proof face guard just in case.

    I don’t know enough about specific situations currently labeled genocide but I do know if you use a word to describe too many different scenarios then it loses its meaning, power etc and we’ll end up doing less about it than we already do.

  55. Amri, Marriage is not a topic of this thread.

  56. World War I was not long for the U.S.–just over 18 months, and the first troops (and they–the first to arrive–were just a token force, to show that we meant what we had declared) didn’t arrive in France until a few months after war was declared. So, there wasn’t a long time (nor was there a long casualty list) to wear down American’s support for the war (which was not unanimous by any measure–the German-American community, for example, didn’t think much of it).

    To answer MikeinWeHo’s question, U.S. opinion before 12/07/1941 was very divided–the American First folks and others were adamant about keeping our boys out of foreign wars. That changed on December 7, and only a few nuts (including the congresswoman from Montana who voted against the declaration of war) opposed the war after that.

    Until perhaps 2.5 or 3 years later, when, after the Germans were chased out of France and the Japanese were being bombed back to the Stone Age (as, it appears, bbell believes all our enemies should be) and the American economy was more robust than it had been for 15 years and large segments of society seemed to have “moved on”–it was just those GI’s in the mud of the Huertgen forest or in the mountains north of Rome or in the filthy sands of Iwo Jima or the jungles of Luzon, and their families at home hoping against hope that they would not get that fateful telegram from the Secretary of War or the Secretary of the Navy who still felt the immediate hardship of the war.

  57. Re #38: Mike, as a pacifist but otherwise moderate Democrat, I agree with your observation that by avoiding the draft, Pres. Bush has avoided massive demonstrations against the war. I believe that the moment the draft is reinstated is the moment that a nationwide anti-war movement will be rekindled.

  58. Mr. Head,

    Thanks for the offer. Now that you mention it, there are about 50,000 people a month trying to move out of Iraq. Do you think the Elders’ Quorum could give them a hand?

  59. bbell,

    I think you’re right that America has no stomach for this kind of war. But I think you draw the wrong conclusions.

    You can rouse a democracy like America to war effectively under three conditions:

    1. Like you said, it’s a short and decisive affair like the Gulf War;

    2. A direct attack on the homeland (we will fight pretty ferociously in self-defense)

    3. The clarion call to some great moral crusade waged via total war.

    Anything less than that, like Korea, and Americans just won’t care.

    World War I and World War II were total warfare. Wars of annihilation. It was a great crusade against evil with a touch of self-defense thrown in (in the case of WWII). Let’s pray we never have to fight one of those again.

    You can’t maintain an empire by only fighting wars of annihilation or self-defense. To maintain an empire (and America is an empire, be assured), you have to fight a great number of small, unpopular, policing actions in places no one back home cares about. Call it spreading democracy if you want, we are trying to enforce a regime of world governance on the rest of the world, and it will require more than we’ve shown thus far.

    Niall Ferguson once called America an Empire with Attention Deficit Disorder. I think he’s right.

  60. The Widow at Windsor

    ‘Ave you ‘eard o’ the Widow at Windsor
    With a hairy gold crown on ‘er ‘ead?
    She ‘as ships on the foam — she ‘as millions at ‘ome,
    An’ she pays us poor beggars in red.
    (Ow, poor beggars in red!)

    There’s ‘er nick on the cavalry ‘orses,
    There’s ‘er mark on the medical stores –
    An’ ‘er troopers you’ll find with a fair wind be’ind
    That takes us to various wars.
    (Poor beggars! — barbarious wars!)

    Then ‘ere’s to the Widow at Windsor,
    An’ ‘ere’s to the stores an’ the guns,
    The men an’ the ‘orses what makes up the forces
    O’ Missis Victorier’s sons.
    (Poor beggars! Victorier’s sons!)

    Walk wide o’ the Widow at Windsor,
    For ‘alf o’ Creation she owns:
    We ‘ave bought ‘er the same with the sword an’ the flame,
    An’ we’ve salted it down with our bones.
    (Poor beggars! — it’s blue with our bones!)

    Hands off o’ the sons o’ the Widow,
    Hands off o’ the goods in ‘er shop,
    For the Kings must come down an’ the Emperors frown
    When the Widow at Windsor says “Stop”!
    (Poor beggars! — we’re sent to say “Stop”!)

    Then ‘ere’s to the Lodge o’ the Widow,
    From the Pole to the Tropics it runs –
    To the Lodge that we tile with the rank an’ the file,
    An’ open in form with the guns.
    (Poor beggars! — it’s always they guns!)

    We ‘ave ‘eard o’ the Widow at Windsor,
    It’s safest to let ‘er alone:
    For ‘er sentries we stand by the sea an’ the land
    Wherever the bugles are blown.
    (Poor beggars! — an’ don’t we get blown!)

    Take ‘old o’ the Wings o’ the Mornin’,
    An’ flop round the earth till you’re dead;
    But you won’t get away from the tune that they play
    To the bloomin’ old rag over’ead.
    (Poor beggars! — it’s ‘ot over’ead!)

    Then ‘ere’s to the sons o’ the Widow,
    Wherever, ‘owever they roam.
    ‘Ere’s all they desire, an’ if they require
    A speedy return to their ‘ome.
    (Poor beggars! — they’ll never see ‘ome!)

    Rudyard Kipling

  61. I don’t think bbell was advocating total war–he was simply saying we don’t have the stomach for it, and I would add that I do not think we have a reason for it.

    I also agree with MikeInWeHo that the reason we have not seen massive anti-war protests is because President Bush has persuaded Americans we can win this “on the cheap”, and as a result Americans have not borne the burden of a draft or even taxes for the war. The burden of paying for the war will fall on the democratic President (with a democratic Congress) beginning in 2009.

  62. Nope. Missed my point. I didn’t say bbell was advocating total war and my point was that Americans absolutely do have the stomach for it under the right circumstances. It’s just that we aren’t really well suited to lead the free world personality-wise, that’s all.

  63. MikeInWeho says:

    re: 45 I see your perspective, bbell. Maybe you’re right about the 60s. But the question remains, what’s the path forward? If your options are all politically impossible does that mean we’re just stuck? You can’t turn back the cultural clock, my friend!

    re: 61 That wasn’t quite my point. Nobody believes we’re going to win this war on the cheap anymore, yet still there are no mass protests.

    If upwards of 70% of the population agrees with Harry Reid and realizes the war is already lost militarily, yet the President persists in sending hundreds (thousands?) more of our young soldiers to an early grave….. why is there so little outrage??? Because the young people getting killed are mostly from poorer, conservative communities, that’s why. It’s shameful.

    I’m so proud of Reid and Pelosi this week. Finally somebody is willing to go toe-to-toe with the Bush/Cheney group and not be bullied by this “you’re demoralizing our soldiers and emboldening the terrorists” rhetoric. That’s one bluff that should have been called a long time ago!

  64. One thing about the “you’re demoralizing our soldiers” argument, is that no one seems to bother to ask the soldiers what they find demoralizing.

    Of course, under the military code of conduct, soldiers aren’t allowed to weigh in on political issues anyway, so there is conveniently no one out there to contradict the GOP talking heads when they start acting like experts on what our soldiers think.

  65. You gotta pull back the claws, boys and girls. After tomorrow it’ll be Honorary Doctor Cheney.

  66. One thing about the “you’re demoralizing our soldiers” argument, is that no one seems to bother to ask the soldiers what they find demoralizing.

    Sure they do, on the conservative side of the house anyway, here are messages from soldiers that weren’t too excited with Senator Reid’s comments over the past week:

    http://michellemalkin.com/archives/007345.htm

    http://michellemalkin.com/archives/007349.htm

    One example:

    To be brief, your words are killing us. Your statements make the Iraqis afraid to help us for fear we’ll leave them unprotected in the future. They don’t report a cache, and its weapons blow up my friends in a convoy. They don’t report a foreign fighter, and that fighter sends a mortar onto my base. Your statements are noticed, and they have an effect.

  67. Hannah G says:

    I just wanted to point out that there *have* been massive protests against the Iraq war. These protests, especially those occurring before the invasion of Iraq, have been larger than those against the Vietnam war (and the really large ones of those were after six or seven years of war). It’s true, perhaps, that the more recent protests are less militant (and that is probably because there is no draft) and it’s not coupled with a broader societal transformation, as was the climate of the 1960s.

  68. No, be comforted to know that the majority of American Mormons love you, your boss, your party, your Patriot Act, and your war for freedom.

    That’s a bigger indictment than Hugh Nibley ever dared to serve up. If only it weren’t true.

    bbell #23 — I think we can trace our softening to the social and polical changes that occured starting in the 1960’s

    I think we can trace a lot of it to the internet, where a large number of people in the world have almost immediate access to the thoughts and experiences of almost anyone else in the world with access. When wars were fought a half a world away, and it took days for news to travel back, and journalists weren’t “embedded” with the troops so that coverage of the war was done at a distance, it was the equivalent of a tree that fell in the forest with nobody there to hear it. Did it actually happen?

    Now we can see the blood, guts and gore of the war occupation in close to real time, and, surprisingly (or not), most average people don’t seem to have much of a taste for seeing and hearing dead and dying women and children on an hourly basis.

    The writers of the Book of Mormon knew what to do: they wanted people to hate war, so all they had to do was tell the truth about “the work of death”.

  69. I’ve been to 5 anti-Iraq war protests since 2003 (in SLC, Boston, NYC and Albany). They do feel mostly ineffectual and sometimes they got lumped in with other protestable issues, which I think makes them entirely useless. Local news coverage is minimal, any other coverage is non-existent.

  70. MikeInWeho says:

    re:65 Could they make him an honorary member of the Church as well? Is there such a thing as baptism for the un-dead?

  71. kristine N says:

    I don’t know, I think we had plenty of stomach for fighting immediately after 9/11. I think Bush squandered that on Iraq, which, in addition to being long and drawn out, is also difficult to comprehend (who are the bad guys, and how do you tell them from the good guys?) and offers few benchmarks for success. Immediately after 9/11 I think America was just as mobilized to fight as it probably was after Pearl Harbor, and at that point I think we would have sacrificed a great deal. If it were ever to happen, Bush should have reinstated the draft at that point. I suspect that time has passed.

  72. StillConfused says:

    My foster son is serving in Iraq now as his wife and baby are at home. He and all of our soldiers there have my unconditional support.

  73. We’ve protested every conceivable protestable issue to death for the last forty years. That’s why protests are meaningless nowadays.

    Aluwid,

    I agree with your notion on the media. Our morale would have crashed during WWII if we’d gotten the inside scoop on civilian casualties — I mean full-on vivid technicolor (or it’s digital equivalent) like we get nowadays. What would have been our reaction had we seen, in real time–through the intimate eye of the camera, the horrific civilian suffering caused by the bombing of Berlin or the Tokyo fire bombings? The hardiest civilian stalk of that famed generation would have weakened in the knees.

    Ronan,

    Join the army.

  74. StillConfused,

    blessings.

    Margaret,

    I, too, was in Venezuela during the “Las Malvinas” incident. Boy, did the Venezuelans hate Reagan for supporting the British.

  75. MikeInWeho says:

    re:73 Yes but on the other hand, the Nazis could not have hidden their genocide as well as they did either. They might have been stopped (by the Germans themselves) much sooner if our communication systems had existed back then. Or perhaps everyone would have wound up nuking each other, since emergent lethal technologies would have been spread such more readily as well.

  76. Chevere, Jack! Where were you living? I was in Puerto Ordaz, and it was scary after sundown.

  77. Margaret

    I think I was in Valencia at the time — yeah pretty sure. The other two places I served (mission, of course) were La Isla de Margarita (I was one of the lucky ones) and Acarigua (south of Barquisimeto). Fun!

    Mike in West Hollywood,

    Yeah, the anaologies only go so far. But then again, the world isn’t doing a whole lot about Darfur, are they?

  78. Ugly Mahana says:

    To those who oppose the war:

    Do you really mean that we should pull out of Iraq completely? Right now? What will happen to the citizens of that country? Do we have any responsibility towards them? If so, what? What will happen if we leave?

    I would love to see our engagement end. But I cannot justify the horror that would ensue if we just up and left. While I disagree with Bush et. al., and think that he abused the democratic war-making system prior to attacking Iraq, I despise his opponents for refusing to propose a solution that does not involve collective bad-faith.

    Insisting on a deadline for withdrawal is not a solution. It is a ploy. In effect, the Democratic leadership is saying to the President “you broke it, you fix it.” The President responds “this is how I think it should be fixed: troop surge, etc.” The Democrats: “Nope. Not good enough. The American people hate you.”

    I think that last line is useless.

    If they want it to end for real, and not just as political hay, then they should propose a solution. Work up something else that will not result in catastrophe. Bush, much like Saint FDR did during the great depression, is trying something.

    What can we do to prevent horror from occuring when we leave? How is this different from what we are doing already? If more is required, would you support increased efforts? Do you call for increased efforts because you want the war to end, or do you call for them because you hope that it will bring on the lynch mob that will force Pres. Bush out of the White House? And then what?

  79. Ugly Mahana says:

    BTW:

    Despite the ascerbic tone of my previous comment, I really would like to know what other real options there are. It’s quite likely that I am simply not aware of these options. Enlighten me. Please.

  80. pdmallamo says:

    #78 Here’s how you do it: Partition the country, Bosnia-style; call in the UN to patrol the new borders, Bosnia-style. The fighting will stop, Bosnia-style.

    Iraq, like Yugoslavia, no longer exists, except in the strange minds of the hopeless Bush/Cheney cabal, which includes, I am very sorry to say, many Latter-Day Saints.

    But then again, we always have had a thing for right-wing dictators.

  81. Oh, I don’t like the idea of pulling out. The US will look incredibly weak which will embolden mischief-makers like N. Korea and Iran. Furthermore, I have no doubt that Iraq will turn into a genocidal bloodbath once our troops leave. It will be very, very ugly.

    Nonetheless, the US must pull out of Iraq ASAP. Not for the benefit of Iraq or the Iraqis that we have served so poorly.

    No, we have to pull out because we are hemorrhaging the American empire in Iraq. It is bleeding us to death. It’s not a matter of what we can do for the Iraqis anymore, we can’t help them anymore. We blew it. And things will get much, much worse globally if American power and influence continues to decline. When the British Empire went into decline we descended into two world wars before a new superpower managed to arise and intimidate the nations into semi-peaceful submission. American empire is similarly in decline, and if we don’t check the downward spiral we will be looking at another world holocaust.

    Bush had his chance. He blew it. That ship has sailed. Regardless of whether there is a chance of things improving in Baghdad, the US and the world cannot afford to make the Iraqis happy.

    Now it’s time to cut our losses, retreat, lick our wounds and hope we learned something from this fiasco. We can’t save Iraq without jeopardizing everything generations of Americans have worked for for the last century. Time to pull out and accept responsibility for the genocide which will, no doubt, swiftly follow.

  82. pdmallamo,

    Bosnians and Serbs don’t have massive oil reserves to fight over either.

    Who gets the oil?

  83. Seth R. #82,

    We do! Duh!

  84. Could they make him an honorary member of the Church as well? Is there such a thing as baptism for the un-dead?

    Funniest. Comment. Ever.

  85. Latter-day guy says:

    Seth R.,

    Aren’t you contradicting yourself?

    Compare:

    …if we don’t check the downward spiral [ie: withdraw?] we will be looking at another…holocaust…

    with:

    Time to pull out and accept responsibility for the genocide which will, no doubt, swiftly follow.

    Or are we just choosing between holocausts?

  86. BYU’s protests got a mention in The Economist.

    “Dick Cheney is so unpopular that he has provoked protests even at Brigham Young University, a Mormon redoubt which is as conservative as they come.”

    Harsh.

  87. Re 66:

    Nope.

    I’m saying that if we cripple the US by remaining in Iraq, it will lead to greater instability in other regions of the world.

    The Korea-China-Japanese triangle, Afghanistan, Pakistan-India, Russia-China, India-China, Russia-Ukraine, Saudi Arabia-Iran to name the main world tensions. All of these relationships will be, and are, destabilized by continued US ineffectiveness. Iraq is, frankly, small potatoes compared to what will happen if things go pear-shaped in any of these important diplomatic and military flash-points. World War III is a real possibility.

    The US has to get out of Iraq and recoup its losses. If we continue to hamstring our military in Iraq, we risk destabilizing the rest of the globe.

    Iraq – bad. Yes.

    But much worse for the rest of the world if we don’t get out.

  88. Ugly Mahana says:

    Seth:

    How would the meltdown that you predict in Iraq if (when?) the U.S. withdraws affect the other tensions you mention? If we leave Iraq, will we have enough credibility to impact those relationships? Or is withdrawal the first step to the new isolationism?

  89. If we leave Iraq, will we have enough credibility to impact those relationships?

    I don’t think most Americans have any concept how little credibility the country has already. There is almost none to lose.

  90. Ugly Mahana says:

    Seth posits that leaving Iraq will result in a genocidal bloodbath. He also states that we must withdraw because there are other world tensions that (presumably) we must preserve some ability to affect. Norbert says that even if we withdraw we will not be able to affect those tensions becaues our country has little credibility. Ergo we should trigger a genocidal bloodbath (Seth’s term) because … ?

  91. Ugly Mahana says:

    And I agree that all of this should have been thought about prior to entering Iraq. However, what do we do going forward?

  92. I am publicly with UM on this. While I think it was dumb to get involved, now that we are, we need to find a way to enforce stability on a populace that isn’t particularly interested in it. Frustrating.

  93. kristine N says:

    From the polls I’ve seen, most Iraqis don’t want their country divided into sections. They also don’t want American troops in their country any more, and a lot of tribal leaders and normal Iraqis have joined the elected governments’ military to stop the genocide.

    Charles Krauthammer wrote an editorial a while ago stating we should stay in because the Iraqis are starting to take more responsibility for their own defense. I don’t quite agree with the logic, but it is heartening to hear the Iraqi people want their country to work as a single country and many are being proactive about making the country work.

  94. Last Lemming says:

    I’m pretty much with UM too, but my goals are less grandiose than HP/JDC’s. Instead of “enforc[ing] stability on a populace that isn’t particularly interested in it”, we should focus on two goals:

    1. Keeping the Kurds out of it–they seem interested enough in stability; and
    2. Minimizing the influence of Al-Qaeda and Iran in the resulting fight. A bloody civil war will be tragic, but a bloody regional war between Sunni and Shiite fanatics would be disastrous.

  95. Ugly Mahana,

    It’s a catch-22 really and I can’t tell you how angry I am at our administration for putting us in this position.

    Too many things in our global system depend on continued US hegemony. US military, economic, and diplomatic clout is vital for preserving countless interests across the globe.

    We’ve already seen hints of it.

    1. N. Korea’s recent posturing is largely possible because they know the US is too weak to even contemplate increased military pressure, they also know that diplomatically we’ve lost a lot of the credibility that we might otherwise have used to influence Korea’s neighbors effectively.

    2. Iran is the exact same problem. We have so little credibility left in the Middle East that the EU gets jumpy if we even so much as suggest looking at Iran funny.

    3. We have estanged ourselves diplomatically from one of our most important economic allies (the EU) such that when we call for economic sanctions, it’s no longer certain that we’ll get them. When we need forward airbases and military supply depots in Germany, we now can’t have them. When we wish to present a united front of opposition to bad behavior in Iran, we have a hard time getting it.

    4. Russia has been reasserting its dominance throughout the Caucasus, Central Asia, Ukraine, and elsewhere. The recent belligerence of Russia in blackmailing the EU and Ukraine by shutting off its gas pipelines has been made largely possible by the lack of options the US now has to pressure Putin to behave himself. His strength today is largely due to the power vacuum left by a crippled US.

    5. China can pretty much dictate terms and do whatever it damn well pleases right now. The US has so little prestige, diplomatic clout, or yes, even military pressure available that China has much more free range of action. If China were to start blockading Taiwan today and militarily posturing, do you think we would have half as much room for response as we did in the 1990s?

    By the way, with an absence of US power in the region, China has been moving to establish political and economic power throughout Africa. The US has, at present, no real response to this.

    6. Japan is rearming because of our weakened troop presence in the Korean peninsula. Our diplomatic and military influence over that situation has been severely weakened and troops have been pulled out to compensate for Iraq. Japanese nationalists are becoming increasingly vocal and challenging half a century of pacifism. Japan already has the most modernized and powerful navy in the Pacific Rim outside of the US. What do you think China thinks about that? What if both countries enter an arms race? What are we going to do about it?

    When the policeman is absent, the neighbors start eying each other much more cautiously and suspiciously.

    7. Peace between Pakistan and India is largely premised on the coercive and diplomatic clout of the US. Whatever trust both countries have for each other is largely made possible by the knowledge that if their neighbor started something, the US would drop the hammer.

    8. The triangle of power between Russia, China, and India is not as stable as you’d think. China and Russia are historical enemies and share a very long border, jam packed with unstable ethnic groups. India and China are also historical enemies, economic rivals for dominance in Asia. And all three are nuclear-armed.

    9. Afghanistan could be stabilized if we were to dedicate the troops we have in Iraq toward the effort.

    10. We have set back our prospects of a prosperous trading pact with South America back 10 years through our neglect and global humiliation. And forget about doing anything with Cuba and Venezuela.

    11. We don’t do anything about Darfur, Sudan because, frankly we can’t do anything about it. A military adventure is out of the question (financially and manpower-wise). And since China feels comfortable thumbing its nose at a weakened US while economically supporting the Sudanese government, a meaningful Security Council resolution is unlikely, as are effective economic sanctions.

    12. Our ability to fight transnational organized crime has been completely undermined by our incredibly stupid rendition programs. Now our most valuable partners are too suspicious of us to cooperate fully.

    13. Turkey and Iran are increasingly nervous about the instability in Iraq. Both share a border with Kurdistan and have angry, oppressed, Kurdish minorities within their countries. Incredibly unstable situation. I’m just waiting to see who invades who first. Once again, the US will be largely powerless to say “stop.”

    You see how this is interconnected?

    The problem we have right now is so much bigger than Iraq. The potential for violence within a vacuum of US power globally is so much greater than what we are seeing in Iraq. Continued involvement in Iraq is crippling us and we need to pull out and start paying attention to a very dangerous world that we have been utterly neglecting for the past 7 years.

  96. The problem is that there isn’t anyone in Iraq with a greater vested interest in a stable, united Iraq than the US. The Kurds and the Shia don’t need it because the oil is in the areas that they control. The Sunni would like it, but they are going to be the victims of retribution by both the Shia and the Kurds because the Sunnis benefited under Saddam’s regime. Iran would like it to be dominated by the Shia. Every other neighboring country would prefer to have Sunnis in power. Whatever stability the Kurds enjoy, they enjoy it solely because of the US presence. Take that away and Kurdistan is invaded within a few months by Turkey, Syria, and Iran, who have no interest in an independent Kurdistan. Unification means that all sides must cede some power over their self-defense to groups who are their sworn, deadly enemies. However, all sides what unification, because all sides want control of all the oil. It is a messed up situation.

    Seth, I don’t think that your analysis is off, but I also think that our ability to dramatically influence world events is minimal at this point. The kind of world events that we would like to influence, we simply can’t (as Iraq has shown). We are no longer really a superpower. The window for being one is long closed.

    Instead, we need to be seen as a country that tries to honor its agreements and a country that does not abandon causes simply because they have become (or always were) unpopular. Or, if nothing else, we need to be a country that doesn’t leave lambs surrounded by wolves to fend for themselves.

  97. Further, I would compare the world situation right now to the european situation in the late middle ages, early enlightenment. The world doesn’t have A power anymore, nor does it have two. China, India, Russia, the EU (especially Britain and Germany) are all about as powerful as we are. In a local sense, Venezuela, Brazil, and Mexico are equal powers to the US. We are simply not THE superpower anymore.

  98. HP, the only realistic goal the US has left in Iraq is to get out in such a way that Saudi Arabia and Iran don’t end up going to war against each other. That’s about my only real concern right now.

  99. HP, I don’t think a world with modern weaponry can afford that kind of instability and uncertainty.

  100. Ugly Mahana says:

    How does “gett[ing] out in such a way that Saudi Arabia and Iran don’t end up going to war against each other” differ materially from what the President is doing already?

  101. Seth,
    I don’t think that the world has any other options. Unless we are willing to go nuclear somewhere, operating on an assumption that no other country will retaliate, it is simply where we are. We don’t have the military, financial, or social clout or ability to create any other sort of world at this point.

    Also, what UM said.

  102. Please tell me this article is satire.

    Oh please tell me this is satire.

  103. Ugly Mahana says:

    Nope. Not satire at all. Mormons, much like the FBI, do not know how to laugh. Now, if you will just look at this flashy-thingie, it will all go away.

    Don’t you feel better now?

Trackbacks

  1. [...] also has a great post about the Cheney protests and alternative commencement. Also check out Ronan’s letter to Mr. Cheney over at BCC.  All these posts are worth [...]

  2. [...] also has a great post about the Cheney protests and alternative commencement. Also check out Ronan’s letter to Mr. Cheney over at BCC. All these posts are worth [...]

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