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December 30, 2004

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All WW2 veterans feel this way?

All WW2 veterans feel this way?

I doubt it.

Stan, here are what some of the nutcases are saying:

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/columns/pressingissues_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000743012

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/columns/pressingissues_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000743012

some of those letters are so over-the-top, i wonder if they might be fakes sent in by bored pranksters. but then, i realize that it's easy enough to find examples of the very same rhetoric on nearly any right-wing site - though the spelling and grammar would be much worse.

My dad is a WW2 vet. He is so disgusted that he would move to Canada if he could. But he is deaf, nearly blind, and as my mom to care for.
I don't want to overgeneralize but I do think coservatives tend to err in two ways: they underestimate the power of other people's nationalism, and they tend to overemphasize winning for its own sake while losing sight of what the fight is supposed to achieve.
Anti-war peole during the Vietnam days made a terrible mistake by demonizing the soldiers. I am glad that mistake is not being made in this war.

The situation in Iraq is difficult (to understate wildly). If the US and UK just left now, there would be anarchy until another Saddam Hussein arose to take control. And, in all probability, it would be another dictator. However, if the US stays, it will only result in more death and destruction--and probably end up with another Saddam Hussein in charge anyway.

I don't think Bush can fix the situation. I don't think Kerry could have either, alone. At this point, I think the only thing that _might_ end up with a good outcome for the Iraqi people is if the UN took over. A UN peacekeeping force with no US or UK troops in it might be seen as police rather than invaders, especially if they managed to treat the people respectfully and avoid acts such as shooting up hospitals, torturing prisoners, and indiscriminant bombings. Even more important would be a clear transition to an Iraqi government. And it has to be the government the Iraqis want--whether we in the west approve of it or not. I'd hate to see religious fundamentalists take over another country, but if it's what the people want, well, as they say, in democracy you get the government you deserve. The US's role in such a peacekeeping/transition should be to pay for it. The US clearly owes a lot to the Iraqi people. It can't really ever repay--how do you make up for the death of 10s or 100s of thousands of people--but it can at least give reparations and help rebuild the society it has destroyed.

Edward,

Then what was the point of your post?

wilfred,

I can point you to democrat underground or indymedia for more nutcase examples.

lily,

My dad is a WW2 vet. He is so disgusted that he would move to Canada if he could. But he is deaf, nearly blind, and as my mom to care for.

Uhmm... If he's deaf and blind, then where does he get his news/info from? Game, set, and match.

Dianne,

A UN peacekeeping force with no US or UK troops in it might be seen as police rather than invaders,

By bin Laden? Right. UN is not the magic bullet.

Game, set, and match.

Wow, Stan! You totally PWNED that blind and deaf old veteran! You GO with your bad self! DEAF, BLIND VETERANS ARE TEH SUX0R!!

Phil,

Put the bottle down. I totally pwnded lily. Who do you think he gets his news from?

Stan LS,

That was mean to say something like that about Lily's father.

Note for the future, Edward: Any post that points out that a topic has more than one point of view from which to approach it, particularly when the viewpoint offered differs from the one held by Stan and people who agree with him, cannot possibly have a point.

I'm sure I don't know, Stan. More to the point, neither do you. Do you? if so, you may want to drop by Tacitus today and collect your Karnak Award from Bird Dog. If you don't, then your comment was, well, pointless.

Have to agree with Murat here Stan...cheap shot.

My point, since you ask, has more to do with Neuharth's position as the founder of one of the nation's most widely read newspapers AND his WWII service AND his age.

Since when does an opinion need to have universal agreement within a subgroup the author belongs to in order be worth discussing? What's your point?

Stan would do a better job of defending his position if he actually discussed issues instead of attacking an irrelevance.

"By bin Laden? Right. UN is not the magic bullet."

Agreed. I don't really care what bin Laden thinks and I only wish that no one else did either. I am concerned about what the people of Iraq think and I suspect that at this point their opinion of the US is so low that they won't trust any attempts by the US to help their society Even assuming that the US government's motives are solely good, which is probably itself a bad assumption. The UN has a chance of being seen as a neutral party there to help. There's no guarantee that it would be, no guarantee that the UN troops would act better than the US ones have, and certainly no guarantee that ex-Baathists or al Qaeda loonies would respect the UN, but there's a chance that it might work and lead to a more or less peaceful society and democratic government for Iraq. I'm afraid that I don't think at this point that the US has the least chance of being able to acheive that goal.

Some here have comprehension problems. I was not attacking Lily's father. My point, again for those who missed it, was that since he's blind and deaf his access to information is limited. Hence, I am assuming that he's getting it from Lily, who already has her own point of view.

So, no, Lily, I don't see it as me "attacking an irrelevance", and no Murat and Phil, I was not attacking her father.

Knee jerking galore, on this thread.

Well, I would love to see our country out of Iraq ASAP. The only problem is that you need to look at the relative performance of the Sadrists against the U.S. as opposed to the defenders of Fallujah against the U.S. to realize that if we leave now, the Salafis/Ba'athists are going to walk all over the Shi'ites with the end result being a Salafi state on tope of a huge amount of the world's oil reserves and a strong desire to kill Americans wherever they are found.

OK, OK...Stan is doing a good job of defending the right point of view more or less by himself here...let's not beat a dead horse.

I'm still waiting to hear why the column is not worth discussing if it doesn't represent the view point of all WWII veterans though.

Stan, the ball is in your court and you still haven't lobbed it back. No my dad doesn't get his opinions from me. you need to get more current in your understanding of how handicapped people can function.

Stan, I think, given your New year's comment, you are drunk blogging. I realize that you think you are being clever and witty bouncing from thread to thread, but I think you are embarassing yourself. Take a break.

My point, again for those who missed it, was that since he's blind and deaf his access to information is limited. Hence, I am assuming that he's getting it from Lily, who already has her own point of view.

Did you want "Stan" or "Stanley" on your Karnak Award?

If it makes you feel better, my father is neither blind nor deaf, and a decorated Vietnam combat veteran, and a career (28-year) Army warrant officer, and he's not a big fan of the Iraq adventure, either. But I guess since not all Vietnam vets and not all warrant officers agree with him, his viewpoint is irrelevant, as well. Is that how it works?

Edward,

I am not saying its not worth dicussing. Everything is worth discussing, I am just pointing out that he's not a spokesman for all WW2 veterans. Also, as you know, Bush enjoys a wider supports amongst veterans then in the general public.

Lily,

In my court? What did I miss?

you need to get more current in your understanding of how handicapped people can function.

Enlighten me.

I think the point of Edward's piece is that people need to assess each war idependently and not assume, because of the overwhelming support for WW2, that patriotism dictates support for all wars, nor should we assume that veterans support all wars.

Stan, I think, given your New year's comment, you are drunk blogging.

Weak.

But I guess since not all Vietnam vets and not all warrant officers agree with him, his viewpoint is irrelevant, as well. Is that how it works?

Is it? You're going to quote me now or is the above a product of your imagination?

OK, this thread has gotten way off topic.

Should we beginning discussing, nationally, whether or not to pull the troops?

Reaction to Neuharth's piece is particularly shrill because the rightwing is attempting to keep alive the meme that if one doesn't fully support the Iraq misadventure, one doesn't support the troops.

So, when you get a vet like a Neuharth or a Kerry or a Clark saying it was the wrong war or it is being incompetently prosecuted, the attacks are going to loud and vicious.

The rightwing understands the facade is crumbling.

I'm going to leave for school in a minute. I hope people do discuss the issue as Edward has framed it ( should we pull out?). I don't have a strong opinion about that. It seems like every alternative is bad. I do think that since we barged in under false pretenses to a country that did not attack us that we have a very real moral obligation to the Iraqis. I don't think we can think of ourselves only and say,"Let's get out so more of us don't die." On the other hand Diane upthread is right; it may be that we are so much part of the problem that we can't be part of the solution.

Should we beginning discussing, nationally, whether or not to pull the troops?

Should have never been there to start off, but now that we are there we should stay a couple of more years so that we have time to reinstate the Draft, find all the ChickenHawks (Republicans or Democrats) who supported this war and send them to Iraq for at least a six month tour of Duty.

Don,

Fascinating idea! So only those liberals who are for the extensive social programs should get their taxes bumped? Cool!

So only those liberals who are for the extensive social programs should get their taxes bumped? Cool!

Off topic...5 yard penalty.

Yes, Stan there IS a lot of knee-jerking going, mostly by you. She said he's deaf and nearly blind. I know several seniors in the same boat. Remember the accessibility options on your computer? Large print, high contrast. My grandfather used to plug a radio in place of his hearing aid while he did housework. The legally blind can read newspapers if there's enough light (blinding to the rest of us) and they have their glasses. The handicapped have plenty of ways to stay informed all on their own. It was extremely condescending of you to imply that Lily's father - whose opinions probably calcified into whatever they are long before Lily had any - is entirely dependant on her for his worldview.
What is that reply to Diane supposed to mean? Any thought to what Iraqis think is a concession to al Qaeda? I personally doubt the UN could do anything either, but mostly because the civil war everyone's so worried about is already underway; we're just in the way now.
Edward's point, for those too dense to grasp it or too partisan to accept it, was that many highly respected former veterans think war generally and/or Iraq in particular is a bad, bad thing to be avoided if at all possible. I wasn't aware that opinions had to be universal to be considered.

We should get out. Now.

We *are* the problem at this point.

Stan, i'm sure you can find a wingnut site to display equally idiotic retorts. But you're missing the main point of my link: these letters were to USA Today, the newspaper with the largest circulation in America.

Edward,

I was making an analogy to his find all the ChickenHawks (Republicans or Democrats) who supported this war and send them to Iraq for at least a six month tour of Duty.. Hence, on topic.

wilred,

But you're missing the main point of my link: these letters were to USA Today, the newspaper with the largest circulation in America.

What's difference? Anyone can mail a letter, just as anyone can post to DU/Indymedia.

Is it time to begin asking when the troops should come home?

Tough question. Initially, I was of the opinion that we were morally bound to fix what we had damaged. Now, I see there is no fix; only bad and worse options.

If we pull up stakes now, we leave a gaping vacuum in the ME that will unquestionably be filled by extremists who will long continue to create heightened levels of turmoil in the region. If we stay, we will hemmorhage the lives of our troops until we replay the fall of Saigon in 1975 with our people hanging on to the skids of helos departing the Green Zone.

Neither option is attractive and both damage our national security. As to which option we elect to pursue depends on an honest and frank analysis of the costs and benefits of both.

The problem is we have an appointed administration which will continue to pretend all's well in Iraq.

Stan LS doesn't know the difference between posting a letter/comment on a website/blog and having a LTE published in a newspaper.

I think I can take that one.

Letter/comment to website/blog: Nobody reads it before you post it; you don't have to sign it; you can use a psuedonym; you can say any damn thing you want. There is no vetting, for anything at all, including complete ignorant raving lunacy.

LTE: An editorial assistant contacts the letter-writer to make sure they actually exit and actually wrote the letter. The letter's spelling and grammar are sometimes checked. And, while there's no fact checking per se, complete ignorant raving lunacy is generally weeded out.

caseyL,

So, why didn't they weed those out?

So, why didn't they weed those out?

Because there are lot's of brainwashed idiots who believe that we are winning this war and have not been asked to sacrifice anything:

they have been told that there is no reason to raise taxes despite the fact that this war is costing a few billions a month at the present time, despite the fact that the medical care the Veterans are going to need in the future is probably going to cost tens of billions of dollars.

they and their kids are not being drafted and sent to Iraq to come back Dead, physically and emotionnaly crippled or just wounded.

Amazing how easy it is to support war, when you believe that don't have to pay for it and you will no be fighting it.

So, why didn't they weed those out?

To which "those" are you referring?

As a general note to all and sundry: in any conversation with multiple potential referents -- especially with referents of radically different political significance -- could we all make an effort to use actual nouns rather than pronouns? I literally can't count* the number of times I've been involved in a conversation that took a radical turn for the worse because of misinterpretations of an "it" or "them".

* I'm a mathematician. The sentence really could've ended there.

"But I'm reaching the point where I don't know any longer if any outcome could ever be worth all the lives lost so far ... and counting. Is it time to begin asking when the troops should come home?"

Really? I thought it was very likely to cost more than 3,000 lives just to get rid of Saddam and I thought it would have been worth it. So far as I can tell we are at 1,330 military deaths as of yesterday. We haven't even hit the realistic threshold that could have easily happened in the first two months. We have yet to hit the number of soldiers killed on average in 3 months of the Vietnam War (526 per month). We have yet to hit the number of soldiers killed per week on average in WWII (1660 per week). Personally I think we ought to be no where near the OMIGAWD WE HAVE TO GIVE UP stage based on number of troops killed.

Sebastian,

I was thinking more about the civilians. They're not fungible in my eyes.

Neither are the soldiers, it should be noted, but as you're focussing on how we're not at Vietnam levels yet, therefore we shouldn't worry too much, I'll grant that those who supported the invasion are very likely (and in most cases rightly) relieved at the casualties being as low as they are.

The question for me at this point (i.e., No WMD, no ties to Al Qaeda, fading hopes of the domino theory), is what's our objective in letting any more people (soldiers or civlians) die?

"Personally I think we ought to be no where near the OMIGAWD WE HAVE TO GIVE UP stage based on number of troops killed."

This need more careful analysis, a little of which Stirling Newberry of DKos and BOPNews has done. The force structure is very different from Vietnam, and the ratio of non-combat personnel (or special skills and training) to fighting troops is much different. An important question is which troops are being killed or removed from combat. If we lose helicopter pilots, since they take a long time to replace, we can be screwed at low overall loss levels. Some Newberry conclusions:

1) Vietnam became problematic when we started running out of combat-trained junior officers, and platoons were sent out with recent WP graduates.
2) Fighting troops are not yet a problem in Iraq.
3) Command and control officers are being protected, although badly overworked, and are not a problem.
4) Support personnel, especially helicopter pilots, truck drivers, medical personnel are close to becoming the reason the campaign is unsustainable.

Read an article a couple of weeks ago about a 70-yr-old doctor, reservist, being assigned to Afghanistan. He was willing and able, but Good Lord, that we needed to call him up is not good news.

(i.e., No WMD, no ties to Al Qaeda, fading hopes of the domino theory), is what's our objective in letting any more people (soldiers or civlians) die?

I still have great hopes for the Domino theory, unfortunatly it will be in reverse. The radicalized population of Iraq will radicalise the population of the neighboring States (Jordan, kuweit, Syria,etc..) and lead to greater destabilization and more anti-americanism.

What Edward said.

This war was sold as a quick cheap in-and-out. A cakewalk. Six months. Maybe Sebastian expected it to last for years and years but that is not what we were led to believe by the Bush admin.

Way upthread I said that conservatives
tend to err in two ways: undeestimate the power of other people's nationalism and make winning itself be the goal, without honestly assessing the purpose or necessity of the fighting. (Yes I know it's a generalization with many exceptions and I also know that liberals have tendencies to err in predictable directions.)
We need to stay focused on holding the Bush administration accountable. They chose to go into this war. The reasons given have all been proven wrong. The reason not given (the neocon plan as explained by Pearle and others) needs to be dragged into the open and discussed thoroughly. Most Americans have no idea that Bush has accepted a policy that assumes military involvement in a whole series of ME countries.
We must not allow ourselves to stay just for the vanity of winning. "Winning" must be clearly defined, achievable, and worth the risks to us and to Iraqis.
Maybe the American losses are acceptable to some at this point but did we ever ask the Iraqis if 100,000 was going to be an acceptable death toll for them?
The current rationalization for the war is that we are there to create democracy and democracy will spread with our military assistance to other ME countries. If Republicans are genuinely committed to creating a democracy it will be for the very first time. Previously "creating democracy" has been a slogan, not a policy. The test for Bush's commitment will come over the next year, not by contiued insurgent attacks, but because the Iraqis are likely to elect a government that will act independently, perhaps even in an 'anti-American" way.
I don't think it is fair to characterize by implication the desire to withdraw as precipitious or cowardly given lack of basis for the war in the first place. Every life lost is a life wasted.
To me the dilemna is how can we stop killing without causing even more deaths through civil war and chaos.
Sorry this post is so disorganized. I'm on vacation and obessing on blogs way too much.

Stan LS: I was making an analogy to his find all the ChickenHawks (Republicans or Democrats) who supported this war and send them to Iraq for at least a six month tour of Duty.. Hence, on topic.

It's a poor analogy. The epithet "Chicken Hawk" is typically used to describe those who support a war but take measures to avoid fighting in it themselves. The analogous group would be those who support increases in government spending but want to shift the tax burden off themselves and onto others to support it. I'll leave it to you to think about who might fall into that category in our current political climate.

The epithet "Chicken Hawk" is typically used to describe those who support a war but take measures to avoid fighting in it themselves.

Takes measures? For example..?

The analogous group would be those who support increases in government spending but want to shift the tax burden off themselves and onto others to support it.

If person A makes less money then person B, and yet advocates for social programs which will eat a bigger share of person B's taxes... Isn't person A a chicken-liberal?

Stan LS believes that disabled people only know what their caretakers tell them.

Stan LS had no idea what the difference was between a blof comment and a LTE published in a newspaper.

Stan LS has never heard the term "chickenhawk," and has no idea what it means.

How long have you been in this country, Stan LS?

Really? I thought it was very likely to cost more than 3,000 lives just to get rid of Saddam and I thought it would have been worth it.

Not to be rude (really) but it's immaterial what you think would be an 'acceptable' number of US casualties to remove Saddam. Again, please note I'm not trying to be rude but I don't know of any other way to remark on what I consider an ill-informed and callous remark.

This misadventure was sold on the basis of lies; it was a war of choice, not necessity. Mission accomplished, anyone?

Phil Carter and Owen West have an article in Slate which places casualty rates in perspective.

Again, I'm sorry if I violate the Net Nanny rules but I find it offensive one could easily dismiss our problems in Iraq with a blithe 'Gee, I was expecting more deaths--we're ahead of the game.'

Stan LS believes that disabled people only know what their caretakers tell them.

Depends on a disability.

Stan LS had no idea what the difference was between a blof comment and a LTE published in a newspaper.

I see no difference. In both cases you have people expressing themselves.

Stan LS has never heard the term "chickenhawk," and has no idea what it means.

I've heard it used before.

How long have you been in this country, Stan LS?

Well, since you are alrady insinuating something I'll let you take a guess.

casualties are somewhere around 10,000. for the chickenhawks casualties include wounded.

Sebastian,

"I thought it was very likely to cost more than 3,000 lives just to get rid of Saddam and I thought it would have been worth it."

You seem to be defining 'lives' as 'American lives'. Is that correct?

Stan, you need to take a breather. Most of your comments for the last week have been content-free and/or perverse sniping with about an 80% chance of derailing the thread. Are you trying to degrade the conversation?

Are you trying to degrade the conversation?

That's it! You got me! :(

Stan LS: Takes measures? For example..?

First, I think the "Chicken Hawk" label is often used in a morally simplistic fashion, and I try to avoid it, myself. Having said that, I don't think I need to give you examples of the ways in which folks have historically avoided military service, right or wrong. Perhaps you are simply trying to get me to justify the use of the label so you can draw me into an argument over the TANG or some such nonsense? Thanks, but no thanks, Stan.

If person A makes less money then person B, and yet advocates for social programs which will eat a bigger share of person B's taxes... Isn't person A a chicken-liberal?

This is an improvement on your original formulation, though you are still ignoring the role of marginal utility. I'm not really qualified to make the case for considering marginal utility in taxation (i.e. the case for progressive taxation). I can only say that I find such arguments very convincing, and I would not be shocked if you didn't.

Stan LS: That's it! You got me! :(

Well, you succeeded.

I think at this point you'd be hard pressed to find many Iraqis who think "getting rid of Saddam" was worth what's happened to them, and to their country, since then. For an American to blithely dismiss the death and destruction as "worth it" - esp. an American who isn't over there fighting - strikes me as moral idiocy.

I've been trying to think what the tipping point was, when Iraqis lost faith in American intentions. For a while I thought it was the atrocities at Abu Ghraib, or the first assault on Fallujah. But maybe, as some have said, it was right after the invasion, when Iraqis saw US forces do nothing to stop the looting.

Whenever the tipping point was, it has certainly long since come and gone. We have to leave, not only because we're not doing any good there anymore, but because our very presence undermines what we claim to be there for.


"You seem to be defining 'lives' as 'American lives'. Is that correct?"

I also would not have been shocked if we had to kill more than a third of Saddam conscript army. Which would have been (depending on estimates) 1/3 of about 350,000. Plus I would have expected it necessary to kill at least half of the Republican guard. That is 1/2 of about 60,000. I also would have expected to kill nearly all of the Special Republican Guard--about 15,000. I would have also expected the need to kill at the very least half of Saddam's fedayeen--which he put at 40,000 but was probably more like 20,000. The fact that so many people abandoned their uniforms and fight behind civilians is not dispositive in the OMIGAWD factor as far as I am concerned. And if we act like it is, we only encourage terrorist-tactic warfare. I'd prefer not to.

Also, nearly anyone killed now gets called a civilian by people like Lancet and the NGOs unless they are wearing an American uniform.

So what's your estimate of the number of actual civilian deaths? What was the number which determined whether or not it was worth it?

Also, nearly anyone killed now gets called a civilian by people like Lancet and the NGOs unless they are wearing an American uniform.

Considering that his Excellency L. Paul Bremer disbanded the Iraqi Army, how can any Iraqi casualty not be a civilian?

If they're killed in the process of shooting at Americans and/or election workers, they don't count for purposes of my question. By civilian we really mean non-combatant.

I also would not have been shocked if we had to kill more than a third of Saddam conscript army. Which would have been (depending on estimates) 1/3 of about 350,000. Plus I would have expected it necessary to kill at least half of the Republican guard. That is 1/2 of about 60,000. I also would have expected to kill nearly all of the Special Republican Guard--about 15,000. I would have also expected the need to kill at the very least half of Saddam's fedayeen--which he put at 40,000 but was probably more like 20,000.

120,000 Conscript + 30,000 Republican Guard + 7,500 Special Republican Guards + 10,000 Fedayeen for a whopping total of 167,500 Iraqis defending their country against a foreign invaders, not counting the collateral damage which would pratically be 100% Iraqi.

Just a tad bloodthirsty aren't you?

By civilian we really mean non-combatant.

What proportion of the Iraqi Population is under the age of three? since as far as I can tell those are the only non-combattant in Iraq.

Hi. I was away until yesterday night, with a brief flicker of internet access in the middle, which did not allow me to play bad cop. So I have no idea who started what, and I really don't want to read all the comment threads to find out. So:

People. Stop it. No more snarks about people's disabled relatives, how long anyone has been in the country, etc., etc. Make points. Argue your cases with passion. Care deeply about the issues, and let this shine through in your posts. But leave the insults out of it.

Next time, I will name names and snarl and growl and do my very best alpha bitch imitation. If that doesn't work, I should warn you: I have been with my nephews, and that means I have just spent a week or so remembering my entire stock of knock-knock jokes. With time on my hands and such lethal weapons, it won't be pretty. Spare yourselves and your fellow commenters. Be civil.

"I have just spent a week or so remembering my entire stock of knock-knock jokes."

Surely the use of such weapons of cortical destruction is banned by the Geneva Convention.

I just used one on another thread. Go ahead and bring me up on charges in the Hague :)

I think at this point you'd be hard pressed to find many Iraqis who think "getting rid of Saddam" was worth what's happened to them, and to their country, since then.
FWIW, I seem to recall various polls which have said that, at least over the last year, a majority of Iraqis think that it was worth it. People anticipate that this figure will decline as the occupation wears on, but it's not a minority yet, as far as I know.

To address the main point (which was probably lost somewhere), the simple fact of the matter is that now we are engaged in this enterprise, we cannot withdraw from Iraq. This was, in fact, one of my reasons for opposing the war in the first place -- I suspected that we simply would not have the stomach and capability to choke down everything we bit off.

The choice was, way back when, between beginning a long and painful occupation and not beginning it. Now that we have started, however, we cannot simply withdraw all the troops. What will we leave in their place? How will Iraq get rebuilt? How will we protect our own security interests? We are damned if we do and damned if we don't, no question, but this is war and the damnation we currently face is less than the damnation we would bring about by abdicating our responsibilities here. Even if all we can do for the next five years is prevent total anarchy erupting in Iraq, that's preferable to the alternative.

hilzoy
Did you do my favorite knock knock joke for your nephews?

'Ok, I got a great knock knock joke. You start...'

preparing my children for the meta-language battles of the future, I remain,
liberal japonicus

By the way, Stan LS, I think you ought to know that this:

All WW2 veterans feel this way?

coupled with this:
Then what was the point of your post?
is a dangerous game to play. Can you get unanimous consent among any given demographic for every issue that floats your boat. "All economists feel this way?" "All soldiers feel this way?" "All women feel this way?" "All conservatives feel this way?" The answer, of course, is no to all of these. I'd worry that you opened a way to sideline yourself into utter irrelevance in all future arguments, right there.

The basic problem as I see it is that we don't have enough troops to do the job right and no effort is being made to expand the size of the military to enable it to be done right. I pretty strongly opposed going into Iraq because I was pretty sure we'd end up as we have.

That being said, speaking as a historian, our casualties have yet to hit a level where they bother me tremendously. The question, rather, is whether or not we are likely to succeed on our present course. I have absolutely no faith in the Bush administration to achieve success in Iraq. Any level of casualties to gain a failure is too high.

At the same time, I am reluctant to simply pull out, as that would simply render all the deaths a complete and pointless waste. But if we don't pull out, more people will die pointlessly, as I am inclined to think that unless the Bush administration is willing to commit more resources to Iraq or miraculously convinces other countries to do so, we won't pull it off.

We won the war, but unless we're willing to put more into it, we're going to lose the aftermath.

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