Vision, Mission, and Strategy

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Daily Archives: May 10, 2007

According to this article they do:

Republicans Retreat From Their War History

We all know that when it comes to war, Republicans are strong and resolute, while Democrats are weak and craven. We know because Republicans tell us so.

Those have been the constant GOP themes in the congressional debate over the Iraq war. House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio accused Democrats who want to mandate withdrawal by a certain date of proposing “a timetable for American surrender.” They were cheering for “defeat,” charged Arizona Sen. John McCain. President Bush vowed that unlike his partisan opponents, he would not “cut and run.”

During last week’s Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Library, Rudy Giuliani cited the 40th president as a model of fortitude in dealing with enemies. Among “the things that Ronald Reagan taught us,” he declared, is that “we should never retreat in the face of terrorism.”

No one present was impolite enough to mention that far from spurning retreat in the face of terrorism, the Gipper embraced it. After the 1983 terrorist bombing in Beirut, which killed 241 American military personnel, he recognized the futility of our presence in Lebanon and pulled out.

What the writer failed to mention is they were pulled offshore so as not to be an easy target. They didn’t withdraw from the area until 1984.

Boehner portrays himself and his colleagues as brave patriots who would never accept anything less than victory in war. But in 1993, when things got tough in Somalia, he voted for withdrawal. John McCain likewise favored “defeat” in that conflict. He opposed a timetable for withdrawal not because he wanted U.S. forces to stay but because it would take too long. Our soldiers, he insisted, should leave “as rapidly and safely as possible.” Or, you could say, cut and run.

At the same time, Democrats were warning of the dangers of retreat. Among them was a senator from Massachusetts named John Kerry.

Both times, the Republicans favoring withdrawal had the right idea. In neither case was our intervention justified, and nothing at stake in Lebanon or Somalia was worth the cost in American lives.

What the writer fails to mention is this was a NATO organized mission and our troops were there with NATO. When NATO pulled out that meant the U.S., too.

They also favored an outcome short of victory in the Kosovo war of 1999, when the GOP-controlled House voted down a resolution supporting the president’s air campaign. Most House Republicans also supported a measure calling for the withdrawal of American troops from the Balkans.

This is just plain wrong and I don’t have to research anything to show that it is. Why? Because my son was there, not once but twice. He didn’t even enlist into the Army until late 1999… Not to mention the 3 tours in Iraq on top of that.

Back then, House Republican Leader Tom DeLay said, “The bombing was a mistake,” and urged Clinton to “admit it, and come to some sort of negotiated end.” Can you guess the title of DeLay’s new book? “No Retreat, No Surrender.”

Who, exactly, were we retreating from and surrendering to?

… In those instances, the presidents came to grips with the unpleasant truth that sometimes, you can’t achieve the desired outcome without an excessive sacrifice, if at all. But when it comes to Iraq, Republicans insist we should be ready to pay any price in pursuit of a victory that has eluded us for so long. In their view, weighing the costs against the benefits, or acknowledging that we don’t have a formula for success, is tantamount to appeasement.

It’s only eluding us in the minds of those who don’t look at the whole picture of what has happened in Iraq.  In addition, exactly, what excessive sacrifices have been made? The only sacrifices are those of the military members’ families. For the rest of us, the economy is booming, you get up, go to work, do your recreational things on the weekends, and live your life pretty much as you always have. So, again, where’s the sacrifice?

What Republicans stood for in the past was a sober realism about the limits of our power and our good intentions. That spirit is absent today. They act as though slogans are a substitute for strategy. What they claim as steadfast resolve looks more like blind obstinacy.

It’s silly to say victory is the only option unless you actually have a way to achieve it and are willing to commit the necessary resources. The administration and its allies on Capitol Hill insist that this time, they know what they’re doing. But they said the same thing at every point along the way, and if they had been right, the phrase “Mission Accomplished” wouldn’t be a national joke…

It’s only a national joke because it was taken out of context and perpetuated a myth that plays into the Democratic political game. They will use these tactics over and over but when the same is applied to them, they rail and whine about fairness.

I repeat: It’s only lost because no one is looking at the whole picture of Iraq. They take some small part, put it under a microscope and call the whole a failure because of that one microscopic look. We were told and told and told, this would be a long and hard war. Just because it didn’t turn out to be that hard for us sitting back here at home with our computers and life going on as normal doesn’t mean it’s not hard for the military over there or for the Iraqi people who have asked us to stay. I can’t help but wonder why all these people who haven’t had to sacrifice a thing wish to make the going as difficult as possible for these brave women and men with the doomsayer and pathos of defeat which only they have conceded.

Read full article.

May 2007


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