Are our wars driving us mad?

Recent posts on this site have explored the flimsy analytical foundation for the Afghanistan War.  The theories of the war’s advocates are supported neither by obvious facts nor a firm body of expert opinion.

There is another dimension to this.  The pro-war comments are this site have become increasingly delusional over the past 4 years.  Really disturbing.  This is speculation — just guessing — but I believe this shows what 8 years of war have done to America.  We’re locked into a seemingly endless war (as described here), whose costs exceed any likely benefit.  As so often happens, this rots our minds.  

To call this “madness” is an exaggeration, the phenomenon is a historical commonplace.  WWI is the classic example.  The original aims were quickly made obsolete by events.  The blood and treasure spent made backing down impossible.  Madness was the result.

The big lie

The primary justification given for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan remain 9-11, with frequent mentions of WWII.  The connection is never explained between these events and the invasion of Iraq and the current war against the Pasthun tribes of Afghanistan.  The enemy is just “evil” and “bad guys.”  Here is one examples.

“Yeah we had to look REAL hard for the “other evil” after Pearl Harbor and 9/11. The evil kept getting closer in proximity until their attacks on our soil made it impossible to ignore.” (sfmac, here)

The big lies about Iraq — Saddam’s connection with al Qaeda and possession of WMD’s — have been disproven.  Through repetition, much of the public remains convinced of a connection between the current war against the Pashtun people (or the Tailiban) and 9-11.  It is nonsense, as discussed in An expert explains why we must fight in Afghanistan.

A poem about the wonders of the Iraq War

 Here is a recent comment by Tom Grey.  He has a long train of comments on the FM site, which show him to be both intelligent and reasonably well-informed. 

Tom’s blog is Liberty Dad, “a world without dictators.”  Tom describes himself as “a libertarian paternalist – progressive Conservative. I want lots of choices for people, with very responsible oriented defaults. Political, smaller government oriented, pro- Christian with tolerance and against changes reducing Christian influence.”  His advocacy of foreign wars seems odd for a libertarian.

I have inserted replies into the text.

From comment #13 to A wonderful discussion about the American Empire.

Sorry FM, love your site, and it does seem true that that US free markets/ free people/ capitalism (inevitably corrupt and cronyistic)/ human rights … have been imposed by us “doing it largely by killing.” However, ALL rule, throughout history, has been imposed by the rulers, “largely by killing.”

FM:  Is this what we’ve become, imposing our way of life on other nations by killing?  I doubt that many Americans today would agree with this chilling view.  We have fought wars against folks who have done this, wars which we considered just.

In particular, in my own lifetime, the anti-war folk won the political battle about Vietnam after Nixon’s 1973 Paris Peace Treaty. What followed the success of the anti-war withdrawal of funding for our corrupt but capitalistic S. Viet allies? Hundreds of thousands of boat people fleeing the Soviet commie sponsored N. Viet rulers, taking over “largely by killing” in far greater numbers. Killing in far greater numbers than in 1973.

FM:  What’s the point here?  We fought for a decade in South Vietnam; should we still be fighting there?  Millions, perhaps tens of millions have died in wars since WWII.  Should we have sent our troops to fight and die in all of them?

In Cambodia, China commie sponsored Khmer Rhouge rulers took over “largely by killing” — 25% of the people.  You and most of your anti-war commenters fail to compare the US supported rulers and their killings, to the anti-US rulers and theirs. In fact, in Iraq the anti-US terrorist murders are usually wrongly added to the deaths the US is considered responsible for.

FM:  Is there any war that Tom does not think we should have entered?  If we followed Tom’s plan, imagine how many tens of thousands of America troops would have been killed fighting around the world.  Such as in Africa (e.g., the Congo, Sudan).  Are we responsible for the world, the wisest all-powerful king of nations?

Your far stronger point is the cost in cash that the US is paying for doing mediocre occupation / nation building in Iraq. But most anti-war folk don’t really care about the costs, except as a way to show how they’re right to be anti-war … and every death or problem is used likewise as a club in an attempt to win the ‘we were right to be anti-war’ argument. And most pro-Iraqi Freedom folk, even if they do care about the costs, get sidetracked on the above death/ moral issues of how American killers kill far fewer than the anti-American killers do.

FM:  Here he displays telepathic powers, explaing what “most anti-war” people think.  Again, what’s the point of this?

“{T}he key assumption is” that patriotic Americans really belivethe Declaration: that all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with the inalienable rights to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

FM:  Where does he get this nonsense?  The Constitution is the defining document of America. 

  • Almost every office-holder in the USA pledges, in the words of Article I Section 2,  to ” preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
  • The oath of citizenship says “I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…” 

Neither mentions the poetry of the Declaration.  To give just two examples of why this is so, Americans need not believe in a Creator, let along that we have any inalienable rights.  As Robert Heinlein wrote in his novel “Starship Troopers”:

Life? What “right” to life has a man who is drowning in the Pacific? The ocean will not hearken to his cries. What “right” to life has a man who must die if he is to save his children? If he chooses to save his own life, does he do so as a matter of “right”?

If two men are starving and cannibalism is the only alternative to death, which man’s right is “unalienable”? And is it “right”?

As to liberty, the heroes who signed the great document pledged themselves to buy liberty with their lives. Liberty is never unalienable; it must be redeemed regularly with the blood of patriots or it always vanishes. Of all the so-called natural human rights that have ever been invented, liberty is least likely to be cheap and is never free of cost.

“‘The third “right”?–the “pursuit of happiness”? It is indeed unalienable but it is not a right; it is simply a universal condition which tyrants cannot take away nor patriots restore. Cast me into a dungeon, burn me at the stake, crown me king of kings, I can “pursue happiness” as long as my brain lives–but neither gods nor saints, wise men nor subtle drugs, can insure that I will catch it.’

Now, back to Tom. 

And we patriots really believe that most Iraqi people, if living in a fairly secure, free society, will want democracy. Enough to fight for, die for — kill for.

FM:  This is odd in several ways.

  • Tom is probably guessing, as I doubt he knows much about the Iraq peoples.
  • What is this “we patriots”?  How does he define “patriots”?  How does he know what other patriots believe? 
  • It is irrelevant.  What do dreams of the Iraq people have to do with us?
  • Tom ignores (or perhaps does not know) that that Iraq’s is a civil war.  They are fighting and killing each other; few or none are doing so in the name of “democracy.”

Tom’s friends can buy him a rifle, ammo, and airfare to Iraq.  I’ll wish him good luck (and double luck to the Iraq peoples, as an uninvited foreigner with a gun usually spells b-a-d-n-e-w-s). 

“…he won the war by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country” GC Scott as Patton.

 FM:  This is mind-bendingly irrelevant.  He does not even attempt to connect this with the Iraq War.  Also, Patton never said this.


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18 thoughts on “Are our wars driving us mad?”

  1. Your comments on Tom are almost saintly in their restraint. I used to admire him too — for intelligence and feistiness — though I profoundly disagreed with him. But it seems that the experience of being king in his own cyber realm has gone to his head. His language is cruder, his thinking is simplistic, his overall style is more ranting than reasoning. What are those Christian values you’re talking about, Tom?

  2. Nicholas Weaver

    Whats really a pitty is the initial attack on afghanistan was justifiable: the Taliban was sheltering the Al Quaeda contingent which helped organize the September 11th attacks.

    But we squandered whatever richeousness was in our cause by first trying to do it on the cheep and then abandoning the focus while we attacked Iraq, allowing afghanistan to transform from a just war and rebuilding to a war of occupation.

    Now the link between the Taliban and Al Quaeda is only one of bin Laden’s goal: Get the US mired in a war in afghanistan against a local insurgency which we may not be able to defeat.

  3. The baneful effect of wars on a civilian population is not so much madness as stupidity. The myths that war requires, and that are constantly repeated by the media and our political leaders, make us, as a whole, almost incapable of thinking. More than that, the daily spectacle of violence, delivered in the anodyne tones of the nightly news, eventually make us insensitive and careless, destroying our moral sense, and leaving us basically brutish. The signs of this are suicide, divorce, depression, and alienation in wide swathes of the population — a pretty terrible price to pay for the delusion of being right.

  4. FM, when you write: “The big lies about Iraq — Saddam’s connection with al Qaeda and possession of WMD’s — have been disproven.” {a}ren’t you committing the same overreach that you’re deriding in this article? Remember, the absence of evidence is NOT evidence of absence. Second, Halabja was gassed by Saddam’s forces (see Wikipedia). If you ONLY mean nukes when you write “WMD”, then please make that clear.
    Fabius Maximus replies: You must be kidding. We’ve occupied Iraq for over 6 years, durign which the US government searched intensively for signs of WMD’s — or evidence of WMD development programs. With no success, despite the strongest possible incentives.

    In the real world nobody of sense uses the “absence of evidence is NOT evidence of absence” rule (except in some narrow technical applications, or exercises in pure logic). You could just as well use it to justify the possible existance of the Easter Bunny.

    The definitive report on Saddam’s WMD’s was by the Iraq Survey Group released 30 September 2004 — (Wikipedia, DoD press conference transcript, full report) — who said:

    “While a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions have been discovered, ISG judges that Iraq unilaterally destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991. There are no credible indications that Baghdad resumed production of chemical munitions thereafter, a policy ISG attributes to Baghdad’s desire to see sanctions lifted, or rendered ineffectual, or its fear of force against it should WMD be discovered.”

  5. Along with 9-11 the pro-war crowd continually brings up the gassing at Halabja. The wiki link referenced in comment 4 briefly mentions Stephen Pelletiere, but it does not mention his full report which he outlined in an op-ed in the NY Times. His op-ed acknowledged the Kurds were gassed, but raised questions surrounding the circumstances. “A War Crime Or an Act of War?“, Stephen C. Pelletiere, op-ed in the NYT, 31 January 2003.

    Published just two months prior to the invasion, I don’t recall that it generated much debate or any significant counter arguments. Contrast this response to that of the Wilson op-ed on yellow cake. If Pelletiere was materially wrong, why was he not called out like Wilson?

    Finally, it would have helped the pro-war cause had Saddam been convicted of crimes relating to Halabja. Why he was not tried for this given the whole world knew he was responsible, I do not know.

    Without even being tried for Halabja, and without a forceful rebuttal of Pelletiere, I don’t see how the pro-war crowd can continue to use Halabja as a case for war.

  6. “War is the Force that Gives Us Meaning”, by Chris Hedges. Not a perfect book, but a great title, and great opening chapter.

    War and patriotism are twins, and both drag us back to the crowd emotions of a high-school spirit rally.
    FM Note: See the Wikipedia entry for Chris Hedges. Excerpt from the book:

    “War and conflict have marked most of adult life. I began covering insurgencies in El Salvador, where I spent five years, then on to Guatemala and Nicaragua and Colombia, through the first intifada in the West Bank and Gaza, the civil war in the Sudan and Yemen, the uprisings in Algeria and the Punjab, the fall of the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, the Gulf War, the Kurdish rebellion in southeast Turkey and northern Iraq, the war in Bosnia, and finally Kosovo. I have been in ambushes on desolate stretches of Central American roads, shot at in the marshes of southern Iraq, imprisoned in the Sudan, beaten by Saudi military police, deported from Libya and Iran, captured and held for a week by the Iraqi Republican Guard during the Shiite rebellion following the Gulf War, strafed by Russian MIG-21s in Bosnia, fired upon by Serb snipers, and shelled for days in Sarajevo with deafening rounds of heavy artillery that threw out thousands of deadly bits of iron fragments. I have seen too much of violent death. I have tasted too much of my own fear. I have painful memories that lie buried and untouched most of the time. It is never easy when they surface.”

  7. Halabja . A refugee Turkish Kurdistani friend told me Turks bad, Saddam good , gassed people were bandits and US provided the gas . Not intended as evidence , just that every argument has at least 2 sides.
    Christian values : Thou shalt not kill . I think Islam allows you to kill in defence of yourself , your family and your community .
    Human Rights : The Book of Job , Islam : there are no human rights . It is up to each individual to choose to follow the commands of God as expressed through His messengers , or to succumb to the temptations of Satan in the desert . To legislate for human rights is to take away each individual’s choice. Your life is a finals exam .
    Perhaps !

  8. “there are no human rights” (an)

    Not sure what your point is. Someone recently advanced the same opinion (not sure if on this site.) It’s a terrific topic for discussion. FM should take it up. My view is that rights are not inalienable or “god-given”, but part of the social contract. They don’t exist in a state of nature, but when we give up our natural “freedoms”, to the state, we get something back — a promise to protect each of us in certain ways. In other words, “rights” are the subject of negotiation between citizens and their state.
    Fabius Maximus replies: One concept of “human rights” is briefly — and adequately, IMO — dispatched by the Heinlein quote in this post.

    For another perspective, consdier the irrational belief in the diametrically opposing ideas of human rights and multiculturalism. From Allan Bloom’s “The Closing of the American Mind” (part II, chapter 5 — Culture):

    Here we live with 2 contradictory understandings of what counts for man. One tells us that what is important is what all men have in common; the other that what men have in common is low, while what they have from separate cultures gives them their depth and their interest. … {T}he Ayatollah was initially supported by some here because he represented true Iranian culture. Now he is attacked for violating human rights. What he does is in the name of Islam. His critics insist that there are universal principles that limit the rights of Islam.

    … Why can’t there be a respect for both human rights and culture? Simply because a culture itself generates its own way of life and principles, particularly its highest ones, with no authority above it. If there were such an authority, the unique way of life born of its principle would be undermined.

  9. My point was that ( perhaps ) Christianity and Islam did not initiate Human Rights . Jesus ( in a fairly orderly society ) and Mohammed ( in a tribal society ) told their followers how to act to their fellows . Its the do-er who has the choice , not the done-by who has the rights .
    In herd animals , however , you see some wisps of selfless behavior . Babysitters , sentries , scouts , peacekeepers .There is safety in numbers , so although each individual has no ‘ rights ‘ , it does have a value to the other herd members .
    So I suggest Human Rights are not from Christian Values , but from Darwinian survival strategies …

  10. Anna, Jesus was a revolutionary. In today’s terms an ‘insurgent’. He lived in a brutal dictatorship under Rome, with their local agents ensuring their personal wealth and position. Corruption and oppression was endemic. He rebelled against Rome, the Israeli elite and the religeous elite .. so they killed hom after a lot of torture .. SOP.

    Basically he rebelled against the established order (as did Mohammad and Ghandi and ….) and paid the price. If Jesus appeared tomorrow in many countries he would be locked up, if he was lucky, and probably tortured for a long time before being killed. But Jesus did lay down some rules for human behaviour (rights) again as did Mohammad … et al.

    “The past never exactly repeats itself, it rhymes”.

    On your other point: humans are social animals. The sad thing is my dogs have better social rules governing them than humans do.
    Fabius Maximus replies: This is absurd.

    First, Jesus was not an insurgent in any meaningful use of the term. From the DoD dictionary: “insurgency — An organized movement aimed at the overthrow of a constituted government through use of subversion and armed conflict.” Jesus explicitly did not advocate armed conflict. Jesus is an insurgent in the sense that most philosophers are insurgents, as is anybody who hopes for a better world. Ditto Ghandi. Unlike them, Mohammad was a warrior, a conqueror.

    “Rome, with their local agents ensuring their personal wealth and position. Corruption and oppression was endemic.”

    Was Rome better or worse than average in the ancient world? Note that in the barbarian kingdoms that replaced Rome “corruption and oppression” were the norm, words without meaning — like “water” to fish.

    “The sad thing is my dogs have better social rules governing them than humans do.”

    So do a flock of birds, because animals are (in this sense) robots. Their “rules” are coded in. Humans have a far wider range of possible behavirors, which allows social evolution. Also, in what way is the dominence hierarchy of pack or herd not “oppression.” The life of the lower status members is not so hot, often denied even sex.

  11. One problem with Halabja as part of a casus belli, besides the fact that it had happened 15 years prior to the war, is that the U.S. was supporting Saddam to the hilt during this period, including providing WMD components, battlefield intelligence (including for targeting of chemical weapons) and military advisors. Plus some special forces operations. This wikipedia entry lays out the history for those unfamiliar. This, IMO is why Saddam’s trial focused solely on Dujail. It was one of his few large-scale crimes in which we were not complicit, and subject to embarassing revelations concerning our involvement.

    Incidentally, I found this section of the Wikipedia entry rather interesting:

    Iraqi military personnel received various types of guidance from their American counterparts on U.S. soil. According to Roque Gonzalez, an ex-Special Forces officer who is multilingual, Saddam’s elite troops received instruction in unconventional warfare at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. “The idea was that, in the event of an Iranian victory, the Iraqi soldiers would be able to wage a guerrilla struggle against the occupying Iranian force”, writes Barry Lando, former investigative producer with 60 Minutes. Author Joseph J. Trento adds, “We were training thorough the Green Berets, we were [giving] counter insurgency training, because we were afraid that if Iran overwhelmed Saddam’s army, that the units might have to go underground and operate underground, and so they received training in being able to operate as guerillas.”

  12. Great post FM, highlighting an important impact of protracted warfare mentality on a populace’s frame-of-reference.

    I believe an origin of much of the circular and irrational perception of the nature of America’s conflicts comes from the convergence of American ideals with foreign warmaking in popular narratives regarding our national character, largely centering around WWII and, to some extent, the Civil War. The idea of furthering our ‘universal’ values through armed conflict has become synonymous with much of the ‘can-do freedom-loving’ ethos behind what passes for ‘patriotism’, when in reality the idea of ‘bestowing’ freedom on a foreign people through force is at it’s core both deeply flawed logically and, in many cases, blatantly false historically.

    But it makes for cozy storytelling, and in the end most of our national dialogue boils down to what can be packaged and sold as popular commodity in the media-space; Saving Private Ryan is much more marketable than Charlie Wilson’s War, and the implications and themes embodied in these contrasting narratives bleed over not only into people’s personal self-perceptions and value-sets, but the very framework of dominant discussion of our current conflicts in the mainstream media.
    Fabuis Maximus replies: All good points. Your 2nd paragraph is esp telling. Consider the Battle Hymn of the Republic. It’s a powerful song, and worked well as a theme for the Civil War and WWII — but disasterous if used to support foreign crusades — as seeen in WWI and Vietnam.

  13. SFC Mac is back again with more falsehoods and dubious reasoning. For a previous example — low-grade propaganda, suitable for the ignorant — see An excellent example of “do it yourself” propaganda (25 January 2009). This combination of sneering attitude AND poor evidence (ranging from weak to false) is almost delusional. Replies are inserted into the text.
    FM: “The big lies about Iraq — Saddam’s connection with al Qaeda and possession of WMD’s — have been disproven.

    Really? Coulda fooled Saddam. Again:

    The UN admitted that Iraq had over six tons of anthrax, most of it weaponized, right up until the invasion. Some of the weapons were looted before we made it to Baghdad and are probably in Syria. The inspectors confirmed the existence of WMDs, took pictures, destroyed some, and shipped others outside the country. The Republicans and Democrats knews this. Companies from Russia, Germany, and France sold Iraq the equipment and material to make the weapons. We also discovered labs, construction facilities, and launching devices numerous times since the invasion. You can easily reference the other posts I’ve made regarding the WMDs found and the documentation supporting the discoveries.

    *** You give no citations for this. I assume it is, as in your previous comment, referring to the early 1990’s. That material had a lifetime of probably 3 years, and would have degraded away by 2003. Your previous comments were nonsense; anyone interested can go back and see the links I provided — mostly to US government reports — which show this.

    A few more examples of his terrorist ties:

    Saddam also provided financial support and weapons, amounting to “a state-directed program of significant scale.” In July 2001, the regime began patronizing a terror cartel in Bahrain calling itself the Army of Muhammad, which, according to an Iraqi memo, “is under the wings of bin Laden.” Link.

    *** The link you gave is broken, but probably goes to “Saddam’s Terror Links“, editorial in the Wall Street Journal, 24 March 2009. It uses short carefully selected quotes to give a slanted version of this 5 volume report: “The Iraqi Perspectives Project — Saddam and Terrorism: Emerging Insights from Captured Iraqi Documents“, Joint Center for Operational Analysis (JCOA), 20 March 2008. The actual conclusions of the report were clear. From they opening two paragraphs of the Executive Summary:

    “Despite their incompatible long-term goals, many terrorist movements and Saddam found a common enemy in the United States. At times these organizations worked together, trading access for capability. In the period after the 1991 Gulf War, the regime of Saddam Hussein supported a complex and increasingly disparate mix of pan-Arab revolutionary causes and emerging pan-Islamic radical movements. The relationship between Iraq and forces of pan-Arab socialism was well known and was in fact one of the defining qualities of the Ba’ath movement. But the relationships between Iraq and the groups advocating radical pan-Islamic doctrines are much more complex. This study found no “smoking gun” (i.e., direct connection) between Saddam’s Iraq and al Qaeda.”

    *** Now back to SFC Mac.

    Former head of the bin Laden unit at the CIA Michael Scheuer, writes in his 2002 book, Through Our Enemies Eyes, that Bin Laden “made a connection with Iraq’s intelligence service through its Khartoum station.” Link.

    *** The link is subscription-only. First, the “connections” Scheuer describes in his book are tenuous — nothing like operational coordination or support. More are “connections” in the sense of “discussions.” We too have probably had discussions with al Qaeda, as we did with the NAZIs in WWII and the USSR during the cold war. At the very least to seek information about motivations and locate potential double agents.

    Second, Scheuer later provided more detail on this subject. From the transcript of “Meet the Press” on 24 November 2004:

    MR. RUSSERT: You’ve talked about Iraq being a recruiting tool for al-Qaeda, that you said the invasion of Iraq was not a pre-emption, it was an avaricious, premeditated, unprovoked war against a foe who posed no immediate threat. But I want to bring you to an interview you had on Tuesday on “Hardball” where you said, “The only part of [the case for the war in Iraq] that I know about is that I happened to do the research on links between al Qaeda and Iraq.” Question: “And what did you come up with?” Scheuer: “Nothing.”

    If you go back and read your first book, “Through Enemies’ Eyes,” you seem to lay out a pretty strong case of connection between al-Qaeda and Iraq. Let me show you page 190: “In pursuing tactical nuclear weapons, bin Laden has focused on the [Former Soviet Union] states and has sought and received help from Iraq.”

    This week’s new Weekly Standard lays out this one: “There’s information showing that in ’93-94, bin Laden began” working “with Sudan and Iraq to acquire a [chemical-biological-radiological-nuclear] capability.”

    And this: “We know for certain that bin Laden was seeking [chemical-biological-radiological-nuclear] weapons … and that Iraq and Sudan have been cooperating with bin Laden.”

    MR. SCHEUER: Yes, sir.

    MR. RUSSERT: So you saw a link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden?

    MR. SCHEUER: I certainly saw a link when I was writing the books in terms of the open-source literature, unclassified literature, but I had nothing to do with Iraq during my professional career until the run-up to the war. What I was talking about on “Hardball” was I was assigned the duty of going back about nine or 10 years in the classified archives of the CIA. I went through roughly 19,000 documents, probably totaling 50,000 to 60,000 pages, and within that corpus of material, there was absolutely no connection in the terms of a–in terms of a relationship–in the terms of a relationship…

    *** Back to SFC Mac.

    Last I checked the Islamic terrorists manufactured across the Middle East are bad guys. What makes you think they’re not? But then, you haven’t divested yourself from the nihilist fantasy that America somehow “created” them.

    *** What makes you believe that I think they are not “bad guys”, or that “America somehow created them”? Do you have any evidence for such weird statements?

    The reason you have (some) trouble finding people who suuport the WOT is because you draw (mostly) leftwingnuts like a human bug light. BTW: To understand COIN OPs try looking at this: link. It’s Army FM 3-24 COIN Manual.

    *** FM 3-24 is frequently mentioned on this site. There are seven posts discussing it (link). You’re batting zero. Perfection, in a sense.

    For the results of how it’s applied, you can always refer to Bill Roggio’s and Michael Yon’s dispatches. Do a search on their websites for “COIN”.

    *** This proves what I have suspected — you comment confidently about this site, but have not read it. As I noted in reply to your comment here, both Roggio and Yon have had their valuable reporting featured on this site many times.

    Afghanistan is the next major focus because of the presence of the remnents of Taliban and Al Qaeda and its proximity to safe havens like Pakistan and Waziristan.

    *** In what sense does Afghanistan have “remnents of Taliban”, and why should we care?

    The war of retaliation against Islamic terrorism goes beyond Iraq and Afghanistan.

    *** Retaliation against Islamic terrorism? A, that’s childish. B, its operationally absurd — insurgent groups thrive on opposition from what they can portray as foreign oppressors (foreign infidel opporessors in our case). Kilcullen discusses this at length in his new book The Accidental Guerrilla.”

    Speaking of Iraq: “American Troops Pull Out From Major Iraqi Cities“, posted at SFC’s blog.

    *** Yes, as I forecast back in March 2007. Too bad we gained nothing from this great expenditure of blood and money.
    The Iraq insurgency has ended, which opens a path to peace, 13 March 2007
    Beyond Insurgency: An End to Our War in Iraq, 27 September 2007
    Iraq, after the war, 20 May 2008
    Slowly the new Iraq becomes visible, 18 July 2008

    Fabius, the only people being ‘driven mad’ is the leftwing anti-war crowd who has less of a problem with Islamic terrorism and its Middle Eastern breeding ground, than what it takes to stop it. As I’ve mentioned I’m a former Soldier,Iraq war veteran, and Intelligence Analyst. I have no problem with what it takes.

    *** Since almost nothing you post is correct, I wonder how much of this self-description is correct.

    The “Bush lied” mantra is hackneyed and quite frankly, kinda strange for a guy who holds himself and this site in such high self esteem.

    *** You have not disproven anything I’ve written, nor even presented anything of substance.

  14. @KCN:

    It wasn’t Halabj that prompted the Iraq invasion. Try reading U.N. Resolution 1441 sometime.

  15. There’s probably no point in arguing about the weapons of mass destruction thing. Nobody knows for sure exactly what Saddam had just before we invaded. The point is that it doesn’t matter. No matter how huge a stockpile of war gas or anthrax—or even nukes—he might have had, he would not have used them against the U.S. (nor against the U.S. protected state of Israel). To do so would have been simply suicidal. Saddam was into enjoying his power, and using his golden toilets. Nothing was further from his mind than suicide.

    It’s common knowledge that Iraq used poison gas against the Iranians (and the Iranians replied in kind), so it’s a given that Iraq had war gas, at least during that war. Why weren’t we worried about that horrible gas then? Why weren’t we worried about the gas weapons Iran had (and probably still has)? I can only suppose that we weren’t worried because we weren’t told to be worried.

    It’s almost as though the government can make us worry on command, whenever it’s convenient to do so, and regardless of whether there’s any sense in it. Just like we’re now supposed to be worried about the atomic bombs Iran might be making…but not about the nuclear bombs Israel already has. Why is that?

  16. SFMac , One of your refs was gone , one insecure , the next too big for my slow gogglebox to have time to download and the next an opinion . But if there was all this stuff , why wasnt it paraded in the redtops ? We’ve just had a denouement of MPs expenses and every biscuit , every duck house has been exposed to radiant light . Why no parade of guns , missiles , testubes , writhing rats , launch pads , satellites in the media ? Even the Tamil Tigers managed to provide a submarine ( of sorts ).

  17. FM: “Is this what we’ve become, imposing our way of life on other nations by killing?”

    Since WW II, certainly yes. Some. Either ‘Universal Human Rights’ are worth fighting and killing for, or they’re not. I think they are. Some.

    FM: “We’re locked into a seemingly endless war (as described here), whose costs exceed any likely benefit.

    Most of the USA has been allowed to forget the Killing Field cost of NOT fighting in Vietnam after 1973.

    Whether it is AQ, the Taliban, rogue Pakistani gov’t agents, or Iran, if a nuke is used against an Israeli or Western city, or a S. Korean one, it will be rightly considered a failure of anti-war folk: not enough war to stop it. I want the minimum war to stop a nuke from being used. Neither I, nor FM, nor anybody knows what that minimum is. It’s not clear to me how much FM is willing to bear, in costs, to avoid the nuke being used.

    When the form of argument is that “Pol Pot, er, Saddam, er, Bin Laden’s replacement, or whoever is not going to use nukes”… I remember Cambodia and how the anti-war left accepts Killing Fields. “It’s just a Civil War”.

    We’re doing a mediocre job of nation building, now — McArthur did a much better job on Japan after WW II. I wish there was more blogosphere talk on doing a better job of nation building, rather than almost only on the question of whether we should even be doing nation building.

    fm: “Iraq’s is a civil war. They are fighting and killing each other; few or none are doing so in the name of “democracy.

    The Iraqi Security Forces are doing it in the name of Iraq, and the democratically elected (corrupt, semi-incompetent) Iraqi government. Remember the purple fingers? Iraqi votes really did make a difference in who got how much power. That’s close enough to democracy for me. And better than the anti-communism of the US in Vietnam (specifically NOT democracy, since commie Ho Chi Minh would have won); but communism really was and is evil. So is Islamo-fascism, and terrorists who target civilians.

    Force will decide either who rules, or what election rules will be binding.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Tom is entitled to his dreams that “human rights {of other peoples} are worth fighting for.” But of course neither of our current wars were sold to the American people in such as fashion, as polls (and common sense) show that they would have then been decisively reject. Both instead have been sold by fraudulent means.

    Tom is also entitled to his delusion that our wars prevent a nuke attack on America. There is not the slightest evidence of this, and even some indications that our wars make such an attack more likely (by deeping the engagement with fundamentalist Islam).

    What Tom and his fellow-travelers never mention is the cost of our wars, the incredible expenditures — mostly borrowed from non-allied foreign nations. I suspect that future generations of Americans will curse these people, as among those who have saddled American with such insane debts.

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