GWOT, Iraq, and money where the mouth is

The emergency spending bill for the GWOT is on the table again so it may be a good time to take a look at some thinking on the factors involved.

The Gateway Pundit wonders How Will Democrats Tell 40 US Allies Iraq Was A Mistake? “How exactly will democrats tell 40 US allies that Iraq was a mistake and that the US is pulling out and going home or to Okinawa? … How will democrats direct US soldiers and marines into the next battle when they are not willing to finish the job or accept the sacrifice?”

Shrinkwrapped talks about a Dirty Liitle Secret“The dirty, little secret, more accurately, the hidden pang of anxiety and fear at the heart of the anti-war movement, is the question of our courage. … Why is this important today? Defensive rationalizations and intellectualizations are used to keep us from knowing uncomfortable things about ourselves. … the only way we can lose this war is by abandoning the fight. Our enemies know this and count on it. We should not rationalize our failure of will as a triumph of morality; we did that once and it was the height of immorality.”

Wretchard describes the First Iraq “Although history never quite repeats itself, current events often resemble earlier occasions so closely there is a temptation to draw lessons from them. Imagine a time when America found itself in a war against a foreign foe whose strategy was to inflict a constant rate of loss on the army; invited US and British reporters to feed antiwar elements with atrocity stories; when US commanders who expected a quick war against a corrupt and oligarchic native elite found they had roused the countryside against them. Imagine a time when the issue of this war was central to an American Presidential election, caused a split in one of the major parties and planted the seeds for a world war. Not Iraq. The war was Philippine-American War and the election that of 1912.”

David Ludden talks about how Thomas Kida’s new book, Don’t Believe Everything You Think, is Not Very Comforting“we prefer stories to statistics … we seek to confirm rather than question our beliefs … [we have] a general misunderstanding of the role of chance and coincidence in shaping events … [we have a bias towards] Trusting the reliability of our senses … we have a tendency to oversimplify our thinking … we need to be aware that our memories are faulty … Don’t Believe Everything You Think provides an excellent review of the literature on the psychology of belief, touching on all the standard topics of paranormal and pseudoscientific thinking. However, Kida also discusses important topics not always covered in the skeptical literature. For example, Kida’s examination of the role of the media in perpetuating pseudoscientific thinking among the general public is excellent. Furthermore, Kida’s examples of fallacious thinking in investment and finance are new to the skeptical literature and likely to challenge the assumptions of even the hardest skeptic. Kida’s demonstration of the folly of financial forecasting is thoroughly convincing, and readers of this book will be asking their stock brokers and financial analysts some hard-hitting questions.”

Michael Yon brings up the ghost of Cambodia in No Darker Heart – “The remains that seep up through the mud under my feet in this Killing Field are from a different war, but they echo a mournful reminder of how jarringly common it is for societies at war with themselves to descend into madness.”

Seeds of Intellectual Destruction“It’s always amazed me how quickly the American left managed to twist the 9/11 attacks into a club with which to beat their own country … The Iraq War was a godsend for the American left, something they’d have had to invent if it hadn’t happened on its own. It allowed the entire War on Terror to be chopped and fit into the already existing intellectual template, enabled all the old slogans to be revived, all the dusty concepts to be trotted out anew. It has turned the overall war, one of the most justified conflicts in this country’s history, a belated defensive response against an ugly and murderous enemy, into the traditional shadow play of murderous military officers, bloody-handed CIA operatives, and cackling businessmen, all overseen by a bulging-browed Karl Rove, operating from some Goldfingeresque headquarters buried far beneath the Crawford ranch. The result is a nation slowly edging toward the same paralysis that afflicted it during the 1970s.”

Russ Vaughn remembers about what is Good Enough to Die For“My belief is that a lot of Vietnam War protestors were rightfully fearful of the physical perils of combat, as were all those of us who chose to serve there; but where we tamped down those fears and continued the mission, they wrongfully used a contrived moral outrage against the war as convenient cover to conceal their cowardice.”

J.R. Dunn On Going Roman“Much in the way of criticism of the United States comes in the form of accusations of imperialism. … Domestically, this takes the form of hegemonism, with the U.S. viewed as the primal source of global iniquity. Internationally, it’s a major component of anti-Americanism, in which the U.S. is taken as the embodiment of an overpowering modernity, in whatever form – economic, political, cultural — the onlooker finds most threatening. … the critics should be wary of screaming too loud, of conspiring too well, of undermining us too thoroughly. Because if they succeed, if they do get what they insist they want, then the result may well be something they never conceived, and it will be their desolation, and our peace. “ — Also check out his thoughts on Breaking the Hold of Hegemonist Doctrine“Hegemonist doctrine is a major factor in the rush toward abandonment of American responsibilities in the Persian Gulf.”

At Winds of Change, Nitin Pai describes The clash of convictions and the remaking of the world of wars“The outcome of modern wars is decided in the mind … This poses a special challenge to open and secular democracies where there is no supremacist religion or ideology that has an irrational hold on the mind, and the media is more susceptible to manipulation by cynicism, populism or worse, by enemy interests. … What this means, in effect, is that citizens have become combatants in the war of convictions. The side that believes that it has won wins. The side that believes it has lost loses. “

As the debate continues, the real issues may become more clear. This message is not a simple one. It has whispers from ghosts of the past, angst from conflicting values and desires, and the ongoing struggle to connect idealism with reality to create effective goals. The struggle is as much within as without.

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