The Support

As with all things Iraq, the debate for support is no different. It is not uncommon that those who support both the president and the troops will sustain an argument that the troops depend upon such harmony- and in many ways they do.

For those who do support our troops and not the president, it is a fine line that we walk. As grudgingly as we do, we cannot escape the fact that our military will do whatever we ask and does it even for those who support it the least.

Sam Rosenfeld and Matthew Yglesias write in the November issue of American Prospect about "The Incompetence Dodge” that many on the left are finding themselves conflicted with. The article also summarizes much of what was written on my previous post, Supporting the Troops But Not the President, and the comments that followed, especially for those who find themselves supporting the troops but not Bush.

Rosenfeld and Yglesias write, “Most liberal hawks are willing to admit only that they made a mistake in trusting the president and his team to administer the invasion and occupation competently.” The sum is for us on the left who argued for this war: had this administration had the competence to plan for such an invasion then things would have went much better. It’s not the players who screwed up, but the coach that drew up the play.

Oh the best laid plans of mice and men…

At a time when those on the left who supported this war are scrambling to save face, and those on the right are in complete denial of a presidency unable to produce, what are we to offer that can say yes America we still believe in thee? Can we not in the least say somehow there has to be a better way?

I once wrote a post about The Debate for Iraq. After re-reading it, I still can’t but re-argue my stance that the contradictions involved in the debate are as prevalent as the reality of the war itself. For it or against it, or caught in the middle, but do hold on to something.

Somewhere in this messed up world it must be possible to not support the political decisions that have been made and yet still support our troops. If not, then the 48% of Americans who did not vote for George Bush do not support our troops. And the 62% of Americans who do not currently support the president also do not currently support our troops. It’s ridiculous to think such. And it’s just as ridiculous to argue that support, or ones patriotism for this country and its military begins and ends with the presidency.

I do appreciate all who read and left comments.

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CaliValleyGirl said...

Yeah. I think I have to write a post about this too...it's an interesting question, and I think there are definite gray areas.

Chris said...

Gray areas indeed. And for a debate such as the questioning of one's patriotism I see nothing wrong with having gray areas.

The article in American Prospect that I link to is very interesting. I would love to see a more libertarian or conservative reaction to the article. Because I do think it argues much the same thing any conservative would say about someone on the left who is now trying to save face with the whole Iraq debacle. Plus, I am now a neocon. I took the political test that Smink linked to and the results are that I'm a neocon :) I better dust off my Bible.

avereragebusinessman said...

Nice way to make everyone have to stop and think MJ. I think the grey areas are everywhere in this and have so many conflicting emotions that it is hard to articulate.

David Schantz said...

The 11th of next month is Veterans Day. There will be events held all over the country to honor Veterans of all wars.Please take the time to attend at least one of them. While you are ther take the time to talk with some of the Veterans. Welcome them home and thank them for everything they did for you.

God Bless America, God Save The Republic.

JT said...

I hope the Dems will address the 'play' that the coach 'drew up' when the indictments come down. I mean, If the intelligence was as solid as the administration claimed, why would they want to discredit Joe Wilson? It just doesn't make sense.

The indictments are bigger than just Rove and Libby. It reaches into the core of the faulty intelligence that lead us to war.

Jeremy said...

MJ -

I'd like to further address the issue you bring up here, about supporting the troops and not the president.

I truly believe - and how can any intelligent non-sheep disagree - that what the Republicans are doing with this whole "support Bush or you're against the troops" is a completely disgusting way to force control through fear and smearing anyone who disagrees with their hawkish policies.

I'm so SICK of these conservative, non-serving scumbags smearing both anti-war protestors exercising their free speech, as well as smearing those who served (John Kerry, Max Cleeland, Wesely Clark, etc) when most of them clearly did not. I'm looking at you Dick "deferral" Cheney. I'm looking at you Bush, you draft dodging cokehead lush. I'm looking at you Bill OReilly. I'm looking at your fat ass too, Rush "O.C." Limbaugh.

Where were these same people during Kosovo, one might ask? Defending Clinton's war to the end?

Hmmm...I think not. Here are some quotes that back up what I'm saying from my web site , and honestly, should all but end this debate:

"President Clinton is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy."
-Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)

"No goal, no objective, not until we have those things and a compelling case is made, then I say, back out of it, because innocent people are going to die for nothing. That's why I'm against it."
-Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/5/99

"American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy."
-Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)

"If we are going to commit American troops, we must be certain they have a clear mission, an achievable goal and an exit strategy."
-Karen Hughes, speaking on behalf of presidential candidate George W. Bush

"I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning...I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area."
-Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)

"You think Vietnam was bad? Vietnam is nothing next to Kosovo."
-Tony Snow, Fox News 3/24/99

I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our overextended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today"
-Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)

Incidentally, Tom Delay will have plenty of time to explain that last quote to his new prison bitch.

Girl on the Blog said...

MJ... I am so darn glad you are back... I don't know what to say except... another great post...

"At a time when those on the left who supported this war are scrambling to save face, and those on the right are in complete denial of a presidency unable to produce, what are we to offer that can say yes America we still believe in thee? Can we not in the least say somehow there has to be a better way?" LOVE IT...believe I will be linking my next post to this entry...

Jolly Roger said...

I believe, personally, that the finest measure of support for the soldier is to make sure the soldier does not have to go into harm's way unnecessarily. And that if the soldier does go into harm's way, that he or she has the best of whatever we have to offer in the way of protective gear.

I'll leave it at that-I don't really know how one can argue with either point.

Chris said...

businessman, I agree it's full of grey areas. And if we are to have a debate about patriotism I prefer the argument to be loaded with grey areas. If not, then, those who oppose the president also become anti-americans and enemies. I'm sure Karl Rove loves for the debate to head in that direction, but it's not healthy, and totally un-American if I do say so myself. Thanks for reading.

Schantz, thanks for the heads up. I will for sure do as you say. I'm sure I will give my dad a call and take him out for lunch.

JT, it does appear the indictments and the investigation is growing by the day. Forged documents in the state department pertaining to Africa and WMD is huge. I suppose my parable about the coach and the team is that a coach can't win a game but he sure can lose one. Thanks for reading. I tried to leave a comment on your site today but I think haloscan ate it.

To all: as many of you will notice I had to add the word verification to the comment section. I didn't want to, but was forced to. I figure if people are going to type a comment, then they will at least enter six extra letters when they sign the post.

Thanks to all for sticking around.

Chris said...

Jeremy, thanks for reading. I do like your quotes that you have listed. I will check out your site.

girl, thank you. You are very kind. I don't think I deserve the readers that I have. I try to keep this place going, but I'm not sure how much longer I have in me. I know these next two months are going to be gruesome for me. I do appreciate your kind words and your links. Thanks again.

jolly roger, thanks for reading. And I do agree.

Jack Davis said...

Don't ever joke about becoming a neocon. You'll be agitating for war with Syria next post. I'll have to find a new blog. :-)

Seriously, the New Republic had an excellent take on the war:
What all of us--and particularly people like Sheehan and Qualls, who have paid a direct price for this war--are owed is an honest assessment of the situation in Iraq and a strategy for the war that is informed by that assessment. That we still lack both is a tragedy as deserving of our attention as Cindy Sheehan's.

As TNR implies, there seems to be no exit strategy or plan to win the war. Worst case scenario: the Bush administration has given up, but just can't admit to the American public they screwed the war up so utterly and completely.
There are no good answers. Leaving early could lead to civil war in iraq, but staying could also lead to the same problem. I wish for a crystal ball.

Alice: In Wonderland or Not said...

Nice post MJ.

I know I can't support the government and my quandry comes with not supporting it even at the time. Knowing however that the soliders there are in no way responsible but to protect our country and therefore me and that they had no choice , I can support them and not out governement.

I'm glad your back and will miss you when your gone for good but don't get stressed out about it.

CaliValleyGirl said...

This is totally off-subject, but I just wanted to point out that "gray" and "grey" are both correct. The former being the Americanized version of the British latter.

I am anal retentive about spelling, even though I am not always good at it. And I cringe when I see my mistakes. SO just wanted to point out that gray is okay.

You like that?...we are discussing supporting the troops, and I manage to point the attention to spelling...nice, huh? It's a distraction technique - I learned it from the neo-cons: deflecting from the real issue...;-)

Okay, I will get around to posting that supporting the troops post.

Graham said...

Great post MJ,

Personally, I do think the discourse has generally changed for the better since the 04 election. As I was commenting to somebody else today, Kerry stood up in the foriegn policy debate with Bush and won on substance, and on solutions, while impressively critiquing the Adminstration's policies regarding Iraq, and even Afghanistan.

I don't think anti-war sentiment is so inherently perceived as an attack on troops quite the way it was in 02 and 03. But, the larger question you ask about a new type foreign policy is a more difficult one. Personally, I think it would be wrong to include as part of that the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq, and anything less than an aggressive pursuit of terrorism throughout the world.

M said...

You're right on as usual, MJ. To me, calling those who don't support the war anti-American, or saying they don't support the troops, is just as asinine as the tendency to call anyone who disagrees with Sharon an anti-Semite.

It's done all the time. Are you a Republican who wants to raise taxes? You're a RINO, bitch! Feminist for Life? A contradiction in terms, of course! Ugh. I wish more people saw the shades of gray that we see.

Kent said...

All of this is completely moot. Liberals can oppose Bush, the war, the mission of the troops and it only continues to make them look stupid.

As the Left continues to marginalize itself, think on this:

The New Iraqi Constitution passed with 79% Iraqi voter turnout.