hearts and minds

March 12, 2008

Coming Home, When It’s Over, Over There

Filed under: Iraq,Politics & elections,War on Terror — Hearts & Minds @ 2:10 am

The next few months will see Wisconsin citizens and all Americans, and those standing for elected office in our Congressional Districts, grappling with or evading several big issues. Among them, none is more important than the continuing occupation of Iraq, which began with the victorious invasion five years ago on March 20.

There have been over 60,000 US casualties, and almost 4000 US dead (not counting, for some reason, the “private contractors”.) There is no rural community, no urban or suburban neighborhood, without families that have suffered devastating combat casualties in this opening decade of the new millennium. An estimated 700,000 Iraqis have been killed, and four million made refugees. No community can escape the long-term effects of the unprecedented escalating cost of the occupation of Iraq. The direct cost in US tax dollars alone of the invasion and occupation of Iraq has now climbed to over 500 billion dollars, and the water’s still rising fast.

The fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq will take place in the next few days. The people of Iraq will note the date not merely as a historical incident, but as the beginning of a foreign occupation that continues to make changes and wreak havoc on every aspect of their lives. A small but important percentage of the people in the USA will feel somewhat similarly impacted. Some Iraqis and some Americans will likely die on the fifth anniversary of our invasion, including some children whose entire lives will have been lived during this occupation. Americans just now entering the military, and bound shortly for Iraq, were themselves children in elementary school when the false reasons for the invasion were being repeated incessantly by the Administration, and going unchallenged by most of the major media and the Congress.

Military personnel are not responsible for the orders they have been issued. They are responsible for the way they carry out those orders. And there is no question that American service men and women in Iraq have carried out their orders as diligently and courageously as any generation of Americans who preceded them throughout our history.

Speaking the truth does not necessarily undermine support for the troops currently in Iraq. In the first place, military personnel are best supported by committing them to combat only when and where truly necessary. The horrors and terror of war should only be unleashed as the very last resort. And an aggressive, unjustified invasion of a sovereign nation that had not attacked us (and even had no capability to do so) violates human rights, international law, solemn treaties the US has signed – and the simple distinction between right and wrong that we have all been taught.

Troops that have been sent in harms way on a mis-targeted mission are best supported by promptly recognizing the mistake that put them there, not by rhetorically rationalizing the mistake, changing the subject, and blaming someone else. Not by swaggering and singing stupid parodies of a song (“bomb-bomb-bomb; bomb-bomb Iran”) that threatens to do the same to yet another country. Not by glib talk about keeping US troops in Iraq “for another hundred years”.

Recognizing and reacting appropriately to this continuing unjustified use of military force does not disrespect the courageous troops who have followed orders and answered the call of duty. In contrast to them, the discredited neo-con officials, including the President and Vice-President, who stepped in it by ordering the invasion of Iraq five years ago, had all managed to avoid any experience of combat themselves, when they stepped aside during the twelve long years of opportunity they had to demonstrate their personal brand of patriotism during the occupation and counter-insurgency in Vietnam.

World War I was over and won about a year and a half after the US entered the war. World War II was over and won in Europe a year after the Normandy invasion. Why do the neo-cons and the media who started this mess think that US troops have not yet won the war in Iraq, five long years after the invasion? I’ve got news for the neo-cons and the media. That war was won so decisively, within a few months, that there wasn’t even anybody left standing in charge of Iraq and its military, who could offer an unconditional surrender when it was over, over there, in 2003.

These neo-cons should honor the US troops for their quick and courageous victory. Instead they have loaded the warriors with interminable stop-loss and multiple redeployments, implying falsely to the world that the troops haven’t yet “won the war”, and can’t go home and stay home until the chicken hawks are satisfied and let them. The bosses even failed to provide military necessities, and have cut back and neglected essential services to grievously wounded veterans who’ve been returning by the tens of thousands from this occupation and counter-insurgency.

This isn’t about pushing on until victory is won. Whether the invasion should or should not have occurred, the military victory was won long ago. It’s now about an occupation, and whether it should continue.

The neo-cons can never justify the invasion of Iraq by denial and by playing the shell game with reasons for war. The reasons given to the Congress, the United Nations, and to the people, prior to the invasion, were false. Period.

While military force can be used to break something, military force can’t put Humpty Dumpty together again. The incredibly difficult problem now challenging the troops on occupation duty in Iraq, is how do you occupy and “pacify” a country that has been unjustly invaded? How can an insurrection that arises from an unjust invasion be ended without mass murder and terror? Should we even try? If America were so invaded and occupied by a foreign power, wouldn’t you fight and resist the occupation, and join and support, even organize an insurrection? What self-respecting patriot would not do so?

Please do your part, as you see fit, to commemorate this anniversary, to end this tragic occupation, and to bring our troops home now (along with all the contracted mercenaries). Whatever else you do or do not do, whether you agree or disagree with my previous points, please click the link in this sentence to the Disabled American Veterans web site and support our disabled vets in any and every way you can.

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15 Comments »

  1. I wholeheartedly support the information brought up in this doctrine. It is
    my sincere hope the politicians can postively act the concerns expressed.

    Comment by Dennis G — March 12, 2008 @ 8:51 pm | Reply

  2. The White House’s foreign policy for (the) last five years along with Bush’s veto of the anti-torture legislation leaves a sad legacy for us and our grandchildren to clean up!

    Comment by Joe Z — March 13, 2008 @ 8:41 am | Reply

  3. Your article is very well written, researched and meaningful. But hindsight is 20/20. I believe our administration and most of the American people were so incensed over the attacks against us on 9/11, that we wanted to continue to pursue our enemy Osama Bin Laden and his cult of extremists. We should have kept after him in Afghanistan and into Pakistan where he hides. Our invasion of Iraq to depose a vicious dictator (although he no longer had weapons of mass destruction in 2002, he did at one time and used them against his own people as well as invaded Kuwait) and bring democracy, liberty and the freedom to pursue happiness to the people of Iraq, stirred up a hornets nest of Islamic Extremists who have swarmed down on the people of Iraq causing hundreds of thousands of casualties and making life unbearable for Iraqi Citizens. It’s not the Iraqi people who did this.

    But what is the answer to cleaning up this mess going forward? Or is it even possible to clean up? Should we pull out now or stay longer to give the Iraqi security forces a chance to build up so they can provide security for their fledgling democracy. I’m not sure either strategy will leave the Iraqi people with a peaceful future. It sure is hard to predict the future. I guess only God knows. But you make a good point, ‘While military force can be used to break something, military force can’t put Humpty Dumpty together again.’ Only the people of Iraq can do this.

    In closing, thank you for providing the link to the DAV’s site for their petition to support our disabled Veterans as they come home. Our American Soldiers did and are performing valiantly as they have in every generation when called upon by our government. I’m proud of each and every one of them. They really need our support and understanding. I know this will be my number one cause to support going forward.

    Comment by Paul L — March 17, 2008 @ 10:23 am | Reply

  4. Your column on the five year anniversary of (the invasion of) Iraq was direct and on point. Keep up the good work. I enjoy your insights.

    Comment by Mike C — March 27, 2008 @ 11:01 am | Reply

  5. (The following appeared April 3 as a guest column in the Ozaukee News-Graphic, replying to “Coming Home When It’s Over, Over There”.)

    Agreed, as citizens we should support our troops in every way possible. End of agreement.

    As a conservative, I have my own deep concerns about this war, neo-cons principles and the Bush administration. They differ from the author’s approach. There are legitimate opposing views on the Iraqi War as there have been about our past wars.

    Opposing views in the Congress, honestly presented, can add constructively to policy deliberations; and at the citizens’ level could help us understand critical events in American life making us more effective citizens.

    Failure to recall even the immediate past accurately and repeating untrue accusations does nothing constructive. To the point.

    The editorial:

    – States the false reasons for the invasion were being repeated incessantly by the Bush administration to the Congress, the United Nations and to the people, prior to the invasion;

    – Implies the war and continued use of our troops in Iraq is part of the decision made five years ago or even more recently;

    – States the war is an aggressive, unjustified invasion of a sovereign nation violating human rights, international law, treaties and simple right and wrong.

    The column seems to repeat the liberals’ and antiwar crowd’s scripts that there was willful intent to misinform and mislead or lie to Americans and the world about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD); and lie about its link to al Qaeda.

    Let’s look at statements made and actions taken on both of these issues before 2000.

    Congressional Findings published in late 1998 included the following:

    – On Sept 22, 1980, Iraq invaded Iran, starting an eight-year war in which Iraq used chemical weapons.

    – On March 16, 1988, Iraq, using chemical weapons, killed an estimated 5,000 Kurds.

    – In 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait and after Desert Storm, accepted ceasefire conditions of UN Security Council Resolutions to permit dismantlement of its weapons of mass destruction.

    These are part of the background to Republican and Democrat worries about WMD before 2000. And let us not forget the 1993 attack on New York’s World Trade Center and the other subsequent attacks on the U.S. before 2000.

    With respect to Iraq’s WMD, President Clinton, members of his administration and other Democrats had clear convictions.

    President Clinton, speaking of Saddam: ” He will deploy them and will use them Iraq is a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists, drug traffickers or organized criminals who travel the world among us unnoticed. If we fail to respond today, Saddam, and all those who would follow in his footsteps, will be emboldened tomorrow by the knowledge that they can act with impunity. Some day, some way, I guarantee you he will use the arsenal.”

    Vice President Al Gore: “Saddam’s ability to produce and deliver weapons of mass destruction poses a grave threat …”

    Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security advisor: “(Saddam will) use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has 10 times since 1983.”

    Harry Reid: ” (Saddam) is too dangerous of a man to be given carte blanche with weapons of mass destruction.”

    Nancy Pelosi: “Saddam Hussein certainly has chemical and biological weapons, there is no question about that.”

    (Yes, these are the same people whose braying in the past few years accused President Bush of lying about Iraq’s WMD.)

    One result of these worries was the Iraqi Liberation Act. Certainly it is not a declaration of war but it established U.S. goals for a “sovereign nation” that the column author pointed out had not attacked us and had no capability to do so.

    The purpose of the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act is clear: “to establish a program to support a transition to democracy in Iraq.”

    It states further, “It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq, and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime.”

    In support, President Clinton said, “I categorically reject arguments that this is unattainable due to Iraq’s history or its ethnic or sectarian makeup. Iraqis deserve and desire freedom like everyone else.”

    The act passed the House by a vote of 360 to 38 and passed the Senate without a single vote in opposition. Such was the information and the temper of policy makers before 2000.

    Another result of the worries and findings cited above were military attacks against the “sovereign nations” of Afghanistan, Sudan and Iraq.

    The CIA monitored a plant in Sudan, intercepted telephone calls between Iraqi scientists and the plant’s general manager and gathered soil from the area around the plant finding high levels of EMPTA, a key ingredient for the deadly nerve gas VX. A Clinton senior intelligence official advised reporters the only known nation using EMPTA for nerve gas was Iraq.

    Thirteen days after U.S. embassies were bombed in Kenya and Tanzania, the Clinton administration launched cruise missile strikes against al Qaeda targets in Afghanistan and Sudan.

    Clinton administration officials explained the attacks were in part retaliatory and in part pre-emptive; and that monitored phone conversations between Bin Laden’s deputies warned of more attacks against U.S. interests.

    Clinton justified his actions, in part, by pointing to the link between Bin Laden and Iraq.

    Clinton on Operation Desert Fox: ” Earlier today, I ordered America’s armed forces to strike Iraq’s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs with the unanimous recommendation of my national security team.”

    There followed four days ( Dec. 16-19, 1998 ) of bombing by U.S. and British air forces.

    Using the column author’s logic, since Afghanistan, Sudan and Iraq had not attacked us and had no capability of attacking us. These military actions constituted an aggressive attack on sovereign nations and must have violated human rights, international laws, etc. Did the author of the column condemn the missile strikes and bombing?

    Were the Democrats lying about Iraq’s WMD before the 2000 elections? Were the neo-cons lying? Probably not, but it is clear they were both using erroneous intelligence including that from the CIA during the Clinton administration. But remember, U.S. intelligence findings were like those from intelligence agencies in Great Britain, Germany, France and Russia and by the UN. These findings were the basis of a dozen or more UN resolutions from 1990 to 2000.

    The conclusions reached before 2000 strongly influenced what followed. To ignore that recent history or to repeat untrue accusations when we, as a nation, are trying to understand our current situation does a disservice to your readers.

    Acknowledgements: “Patriot Post” and “Weekly Standard.”

    Comment by Lee Jost — April 17, 2008 @ 6:13 am | Reply

  6. (This letter appeared March 27 in response to “Coming Home When It’s Over, Over There”.)

    I appreciate that the News Graphic is willing to publish local columnists from all parts of the political spectrum. It doesn’t take long for your readership to pigeonhole your columnists from left to right.

    All of them are certainly entitled to their own opinion. What they are not entitled to is their own facts!

    Columnist Clyde Winter is easily pigeonholed as being to the left of George Soros and MoveOn.org. and a member of the “blame America first” cabal.

    I haven’t found him supporting of his country’s position on any subject he has addressed, except in supporting our disabled veterans. That’s OK – it’s his opinion, but when he uses data like 700,000 civilian Iraqis killed since the date of the coalition invasion on March 18, 2003, he loses all credibility.

    The success of the “surge” has cut the American death rate substantially, undercutting the “blame America first” crowd.

    With light at the end of that tunnel they need another “straw man” and 700,000 civilian Iraqis killed is a breathtaking and humongous number on which Winter can hang his call for the end of the Iraqi occupation now, before that success destroys his position.

    The truth is that the 700,000 civilian Iraqis killed statistic is an out-and-out falsehood. Review of neutral sources finds that the maximum number is less than 100,000. The Iraq Body Count group provides an estimate of between 82,249 to 89,700. You can check this reliable group’s approach at http://www.iraqbodycount.org for yourself.

    And remember, about 95 percent of the civilian Iraqis killed resulted from insurgent action, not coalition action.

    Finally, when I checked Winter’s references, I could find no reference to 700,000 Iraqi civilians killed in the conflict. The first reference is the Center for Public Integrity where disgraced reporter Dan Rather is a major spokesman – and criticism of the Bush administration is a core belief.

    The second is the National Priorities Project whose whole emphasis is centered on the cost of the Iraqi conflict by displaying a continuous counter.

    Nowhere can one find a reference to any other federal expenditure such as farm subsidies or earmarks.

    The last reference, however, the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Web site, is a positive experience where emphasis is on the necessity for excellent medical care for our returning disabled veterans. As a member of the DAV myself, I wholly support DAV’s position.

    Finally, let’s hope that Winter will have an epiphany and move over closer to the middle of the political spectrum using accurate data.

    Comment by Warren S — April 20, 2008 @ 9:36 am | Reply

  7. (This letter appeared March 27 as a response to “Coming Home When It’s Over, Over There”.)

    Several points need to be addressed regarding the ( March 20 column) written by Mr. (Clyde) Winter.

    We never hear what the left thinks will happen if we unilaterally leave Iraq.

    If we leave without first ensuring a stable military presence, maintained by the Iraqis who are more or less friendly to us, what, pray tell Mr. Winter, do you think will happen?

    Here is a best guess at what will happen if we do as the left wants. First, the remaining skilled workers will leave. Many have left for Syria and other countries, but some have remained. There will be no medical staff, no teachers, no police. In essence, the remaining wheels of society will fall off.

    Second, the Iranians, now emboldened to act as they please, will move en mass into Iraq. No, not with tanks and airplanes, but with their hard-line militaristic forces that are already the main cause of U.S. casualties. Shi’a Islam will become the de facto government, with a quick establishment of an Iranian-friendly, American-hating regime firmly entrenched.

    Third, neighboring countries will be positioning themselves for offensive and defensive maneuvers. The Turks will cooperate with the Iranians to finish what Saddam Hussein was not able to do – eliminate the “threat” of a Kurdistan Republic by whatever means necessary. The Syrians, free to do as they will with their friends the Iranians now on their border, will destroy the fragile democracy in Lebanon and install Hezbollah as the “legitimate” government.

    The Jordanians and the Saudis, not exactly friends with the Iranians, will ratchet up the war machine and may even press for their own nuclear weapons.

    Does anyone doubt that most – if not all – of these are likely?

    Well don’t bother the left with these small details, they are just overwrought with concern about the occupation of Iraq to even think about these things.

    (Editor’s Note: It should be mentioned the current Iraqi government the U.S. helped establish is already dominated by Shiites and has cordial relations with Iran.)

    Comment by Guy T — April 20, 2008 @ 9:41 am | Reply

  8. Whenever two people meet, there are really six people present. There is each man as he sees himself, each man as the other person sees him, and each man as he really is.” (William James)

    My April 17 column, “3 Up, 3 Down – Ozaukee County Softball” replies to the previous three reader comments.

    In the third comment, Paul L said, “Your article is very well written, researched and meaningful. But hindsight is 20/20…”
    It is true that most Americans were understandably too busy raising their families, making ends meet, and so forth, to look carefully at the buildup to the invasion of Iraq. And most Americans trusted the major media corporations and the sound bites from those running the show. But this article is not hindsight on my part. My published column has included sixteen articles about this matter, and the first two were published six months and three months before the invasion. Literally millions of people protested actively against the invasion before it happened. There was a great deal of solid, credible information available. It didn’t require hindsight to see that something very wrong was happening. It required some attention to sources of information other than the U.S. major media, and other than those running the show, neither of which passed the sniff test (even before Congress voted and Bush decided) if you had the time or were interested in paying attention.

    Comment by clydewinter — April 20, 2008 @ 9:52 am | Reply

  9. […] in the Ozaukee News-Graphic regarding the continuing occupation of Iraq. This column continues that important discussion, and asks that you contribute to it, as well. Three readers (comments 5, 6, and 7 in this […]

    Pingback by 3 Up, 3 Down - Ozaukee County Softball « hearts and minds — April 20, 2008 @ 5:53 pm | Reply

  10. When I read it I have never AGREED as much as I did with your writing. It paralleled my thoughts on this important issue… hit the proverbial nail right on the head in my view. It crystallized a very confusing issue in just a few paragraphs.

    Comment by Bob W — April 21, 2008 @ 12:38 pm | Reply

  11. Great feedback, It is very comforting to know that Warren S sees the light at the end of the tunnel in Iraq. He’s the first and only one. He should know that it doesn’t matter if it’s 20000, 200,000 or 700,000 DEAD-there is real real blood being shed each day. Today we only lost three, and the Iraq’s 40. Not to bad for a monday.
    As for Guy T-what the left thinks will happen if we leave Iraq-Whatever it is
    Haliburton, Blackwater, Cace, KBR, and Pace won’t be there to make any more money and our troops won’t be there to die. Robert M

    Comment by greg D — April 28, 2008 @ 11:52 pm | Reply

  12. Lest we forget in our busy lives,
    1. There were not weapons of mass destruction;
    2. 3,967 American service members have died since the start of the Iraq war.
    3. Over 30,000 soldiers have been wounded in action with up to 31,000 treated for non-combat injuries and illness as of March 1 – post traumatic illnesses that are reflected in increasing suicides recently reported;
    4. Veterans’ medical care (currently inadequate), reaching an estimated $250 billion to $650 billion;
    5. More than 3.9 million refugees of Iraq, almost 16% of the population – two million fled Iraq while approximately 1.9 million are internally displaced people (note: 69 people from Iraq have been granted refugee status in the US);
    6. Over one million violent deaths of men, women and children in Iraq since the start of the war;
    7. Around $491 billion spent on the war as of February 2008, with another $190 billion requested by the Bush administration; this is the government’s estimate. Another estimate puts costs up to 3 trillion.

    The only figure that I can say is NOT an estimate is the number of dead. It is painfully difficult to find figures that give actual accounting for this war. However, the estimates reflect how seriously we should consider our government’s actions in Iraq.

    And you think this is it? Think again. First, as of mid-2005, the U.S. military had 106 operating bases in Iraq, including what the Pentagon calls 14 “enduring” bases – plans are to consolidate these into four mega-bases. Second, American oil companies are now negotiating deals in hopes of increasing crude oil production – this is what these companies have been waiting for. This feeds our oil needs, generates great profits for a few corporations while Americans and Iraqis pay.

    As Regan asked, “Are you better off today than you were [five] years ago?” I personally cannot see how we (the general public), soldiers who have given life, limb, and mind for this war, the Iraqi’s, the United States, or the Middle East have benefited from this war. Those of us at home have sacrificed nothing unless we have family who have been sent to fight in the Iraq. People whine about taxes but continue to support this war, pouring billions of dollars, millions each day, into the war “machine.” Make no mistake, there are many who profit mightily from this war financially and want nothing else but to continue in Iraq – with an eye on Iran. We, the people, will be paying for this war for a very long time.

    So, on this fifth anniversary of our incursion into Iraq, think about how your government is representing you by supporting a war and occupation projected to continue until 2012 and beyond. We are each personally responsible for this war because while many of us grow increasingly weary of the never ending rhetoric from Washington about “winning” and strongly oppose our government’s actions in the Middle East, we continue to stay silent. We should a) call our senators and congress members to voice our opposition to legislation that continues to fund the war, b) talk with your family and friends about the war – the topic cannot be ignored, c) make your opposition to the war known through letters to the editors, signs, marching, and d) vote for candidates that promise to end the war.

    Comment by Amy O — May 14, 2008 @ 6:47 am | Reply

  13. (Here are comments on four of the points made in Amy’s letter.)

    Your “lest we forget” opening might have also stated that, “There was no connection between Iraq and the terrorist attack in the US on 9-11-01.” That, and the allegations of WMD’s that you mentioned, were the two, and only two reasons given for invading Iraq prior to the invasion.

    You stated that, “the number of dead is NOT an estimate”. I think what you meant by “number of dead” was the number of U.S. military dead, which is all many Americans seem to think is of any consequence. But a very important violation of treaties that the USA has signed, has been committed by this Administration. The USA has failed to even attempt to record or account for deaths (let alone other casualties) of people within the occupied country. Cheney (or was it Rumsfeld?) made it explicit by asserting that, “We don’t do body counts.” That’s a clear and continuing violation of international law. The only counts of the number of dead are indeed estimates, and none have been made by US authorities. (There are no reports of private contractor and mercenary dead, either.)

    Current taxes are not paying for this invasion and occupation. The bill is being put on the tab for future generations to pay. If US citizens were actually paying for it financially as we go, you would certainly hear more than whining about taxes.

    Thank you very much, Amy, and congratulations for saying explicitly that, “We are each personally responsible… because… we continue to stay silent”.

    Comment by clydewinter — May 14, 2008 @ 6:54 am | Reply

  14. Thanks so much for your articles, Clyde, and the responses, which I read with interest. No one has mentioned the number of refugees (some 2-3 million, both inside and outside Iraq) which this occupation has caused. Aren’t these people who have “fallen off the wheel”?

    It’s interesting that those who favor the occupation state that we had “no choice” but to take out Saddam Hussein because of his terrible actions as a dictator. What about the dozen or so other terrible dictators, in Africa particularly, who are and have terrorized their own people — do we also have a “duty” to take them out militarily? If not, then we can only assume we attacked Iraq to get at the oil, and not for other higher reasons.

    To engage in an occupation, the cost of which will be paid by our children and grandchildren, is unebelievably irresponsible, no matter what reason we give. And the cost is rising each hour! But we must give our young people hope, so I like what Charles Knight has written in Campaign for America’s Future as steps in withdrawing from Iraq:

    “1. Set a date for complete withdrawal in order to change the political dynamics inside Iraq;
    2. Prepare for the change in Iraqi politics and influence it toward national reconciliation;
    3. Invest heavily in activities that mitigate and ameliorate as much as possible any negative consequences that may emerge’
    4. Undertake a “new diplomacy” in the Middle East that seeks accord with all of Iraq’s neighbors in support of a stable and prosperous Iraq and make this regional accord the highest of priorities for U.S. policy;
    5. Prepare and encourage the international community to take up a limited and critical set of security roles in Iraq when the U.S. leaves.”

    This will require sacrifice and money, on the part of the U.S., but considerably less than it is costing now, and we would have the support of the international community. Some Muslim majority states, and other wealthy nations will be called upon to make a sacrifice of treasure and/or blood.

    We must continue to urge our representatives in Washington to oppose funding, as the House just did. Above all, we must learn that not all problems can be solved by waging war!

    Comment by Marliss R — May 17, 2008 @ 6:11 pm | Reply

  15. I agree substantially or completely with Marliss, Amy, Greg, Bob, Mike, Paul, Joe, and Dennis, and thank everyone for sharing your insights on this problem. I can find points of agreement with Lee, Warren, and Guy, and thank them also for contributing their thoughts.

    This is my response to the last comment:

    International law does not allow any nation to invade or occupy another country because it is led by what the invading nation decides is a terrible dictator, and because it wishes to establish a different form of government there. That is not a legitimate reason for war. And that is not one of the reasons stated to justify the invasion before it was undertaken.

    I think it takes rather extraordinary chutzpah (or arrogance) for anyone to think that we have a right to set out complex political goals or conditions that must be met before we end the occupation of Iraq. This is not a criticism of Charles Knight’s five points quoted above by Marliss. But my view is in the concluding paragraphs of “3 Up, 3 Down – Ozaukee County Softball” to the question, “What do you think will happen if we just leave?”

    The appeals at the conclusion of Marliss’ and Amy’s comments are an excellent way to conclude this conversation for now.

    Comment by clyde winter — May 18, 2008 @ 10:18 am | Reply


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