Soft on Terror? Think Again.

February 22, 2007 by susan

How did the Dems who fought in the wars and oversaw WW2 come to be seen as incapable of defense? (With an off-point lead on the Marine Corp.)

by susan
Last night I set out to make a pot of soup to get us through the blizzard forecast for this weekend. While I chopped and shredded, I flicked on the telly to watch PBS News Hour, pausing as I always do when the names and the photos of the American troops most recently killed in Iraq silently appear, then fade from the screen. I try to look at each face, notice the age and home town, and imagine what it would be like to dig out a photo of one of my children for this heartbreaking moment of acknowledgement. And I find myself saying aloud to each one, "I'm so sorry."
I'm aware that this is a paltry gesture in the face of grievous loss, but with the gubmint unwilling to publicly mourn our war dead, we each have to construct our own thin memorials. Read on.

The PBS show that followed was about the US Marines -- their history, training and traditions -- and in light of the faces I'd just seen, and the heap o' chopping still to be done, I found myself watching it.

The first images of those young sleepy-eyed boys stepping off of the bus in the middle of the night, drill sergeants barking orders at them, gave me a lump in the throat. I shuddered at the screaming, the belittling treatment, and wondered if I'd seen any of those same faces at the end of the News Hour. And yet just about anyone who's raised teen-agers knows there are times when you wished for a drill sergeant to kick their insouciant behinds into gear. And, I think, at times the insouciant ones wish for it too. For most people, structure and discipline are easier to live with than chaos, at least until inner discipline matures and takes hold.

So what is it that draws some young people to put themselves into such a rigorous and rigid -- and in many ways, dehumanizing -- way of life?

The answers were, for the most part, what I expected. For some there was a heightened sense of patriotism, for others a fascination with "warrior" culture, and for others a desire to push themselves to their absolute limits.

But the over-arching appeal seemed to be the sense of belonging; to live under a strict code and to bond via shared hardships. As one young enlistee put it, to belong to "the most tough-ass gang there is." And my unexpected reaction as a peace-lovin' sort of gal was a grudging respect for how the Marines do that.

Before you tell me all that's wrong with the Marines, let me get to my point. (It's here somewhere.)

The retired Marines in this show, some with the stereotypical steely eyes and flat-tops you'd expect, all spoke of the need for having the smartest, best-trained, and most honor-bound men (and yes, a few good women) fight our wars, if we must have wars.

But each also noted the utter lack of romance in the reality of war, and said that anyone who's ever been in a war does NOT want to send anyone else into one.

Which, of course, brings to mind our current Commander-in-Chief and his blackguard Vice-Chief, who both cut-and-run when they were called to serve.

I won't linger on this as it's old news, but the retired Marines' point seems to be born out, at least in recent history, by Democrats like George McGovern, Wes Clark, John Kerry and Max Cleland, all anti-war "warriors" in the lexicon of the Marines.

So how did these Democrats who fought the wars come to be seen as the ones who are soft on terror, and the ones who ducked the war be seen as the ones to fight it, at least long enough to bambooze a nation into re-electing them?

Just like we allowed Karl Rove and his cronies to paint us into the corner of being anti-family (while an uncanny number of them are single with no children, or working on their third marriages), somehow we've allowed them to portray us as "not getting" the threat of terrorism.

Well, we do get it.

' We get it that George Bush's biggest foreign policy blunder in history has increased the rage towards America and made us more at risk.

' We get it that the instability he's created in Iraq and the mideast makes the consequences of pulling out of Iraq almost certainly catastrophic, matched only by the catastrophe of staying in.

' We get it that bin Laden is flourishing -- somewhere, and that new Al Q'aeda training camps are sprouting up in Pakistan.

' We get it that we are still woefully weak at home, with efforts at Homeland security floundering and underfunded.

' We get it that we have stretched our troops so thin in Iraq that we have put our capacity to respond on any other front, including the home front, at risk.

' We get it that by miring us in Iraq, by keeping detainees in Gitmo with no recourse, by allowing torture and suspending Constitutional guarantees, George Bush and Dick Cheney have stripped us of the moral authority to lead by example.

' We get it that we need to be vigilant and defend ourselves from future attacks, even if it requires military action.

It's not the war on terror we oppose; it's the stupids who are running the war on terror. We'd rather listen to those who have been to war and not those who are delusional about it.

Soft on terror? No, we want to be smart on terror, with all the diplomatic, political and economic fire power at our disposal, to paraphrase Wes Clark.

Coming soon. How Republican patriots treat our veterans.

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Comments

Babs (not verified) | February 23, 2007 - 9:22am

Home run, Soo. Especially the part about being smart on terror. A great Lakoff-style frame. SMART ON TERROR. Yessss. That and the part about "I'm so sorry." Oh, lordy, so, so, so sorry. Direct result of Deceitful on Terror and Iraq and Iran and Budget and National Debt and Taxes and Healthcare and, and, and. Interesting to watch Wes Clark work the perimeter. Heck, maybe we DO need a tough military expert (EXPERT, George, imagine that!) as part of the WH team.

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Swallow (not verified) | February 23, 2007 - 4:36pm

Fighting the Iraq war here at home,
BY PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Text in (Parentheses and bold are mine)

WASHINGTON -- If the Bush-Cheney administration is unwilling to withdraw from Iraq, and Democrats and a growing number of Republicans are unwilling to invest any more blood and treasure to achieve victory, what is the likely future -- for us at home? (not to rosy that’s for sure)

As war deaths rise over the next 23 months, opposition to the war will grow, acrimony will grow, bitterness will grow, and recriminations will escalate. ( can we say Vietnam Kent State protests demonstrations I don’t think so cause like those are bad words)

Republicans have already split over the surge, with the opponents being called cowards by their colleagues. Democrats will soon divide over whether to cut off funds. For Harry Reid cannot long hide the division in the Democratic caucus, and Nancy Pelosi and John Murtha are prepared to fight it out with fellow Democrats in the House. ( Ah a good fight in the house amongst Dems that’s sure to be a no brainer hic snort)

A sure sign this war is unlikely to end well is the scavenger hunt in the War Party to fix responsibility for failure on anyone but themselves. In Vanity Fair, the ''cakewalk'' crowd renounces Rumsfeld and Bush. The war was an integral part of our brilliant strategy, they say. But we cannot be held responsible for the incompetence of those charged with carrying it out.( I just love the brilliant strategy bit and who gave the Shrub the power to carry it out before impeaching the bastard?)

The John Edwards Democrats say: If only we had known then what we know now, we would never have voted for war. And they apologize. (well Thanks a bunch John you knew and you did it anyway,and apology not bloody well excepted)

But questions remain unanswered. Why did you get it wrong and vote for Bush's war, when Russ Feingold, Ted Kennedy and half the Democratic Party got it right and voted No? ( They said that? Guess we were all just to deep in Shrubs Omnipotence to Hear (We Bad).

And if Edwards & Co. were fatally wrong on the critical vote of their careers, approving the greatest blunder in U.S. history, without doing due diligence, how are they qualified, and why should they be rewarded with the White House? ( well duh they shouldn’t we guess sort of maybe)

The McCain Republicans blame the failures on Rumsfeld for not stopping the looting in Baghdad, or on Paul Bremer for disbanding the Iraqi Army and purging the Baathists, or on the generals for fighting the war the wrong way, or on the Pentagon for not demanding the troops needed to win. (And the point is exactly what? It was a fuckup from the getgo ,whoever was there they shouldn’t have been,and what ever they did they shouldn’t have done it pretty simple really. Even McCain should be able to figure that one out,oh what am I thinking McCain figure something out,now that’s just plain silly).

The White House is preparing a case that the war has gone badly because Syria and Iran have provided terrorists free passage into Iraq and the most lethal of the weapons killing Americans. And not only the U.S. naval and air buildup in the Gulf, but reports of attacks on the Republican Guard in the non-Persian, non-Shiite regions of Iran suggest someone has decided that Tehran will pay a price in blood for meddling in Iraq. ( Ah shucks ain’t it a bugger when a bunch of people who have been attacked and their country blown to flinders with their resources stolen., start to fight back and tell yuh tuh get the fuck home and leave them the hell alone. Not only is that not nice of them it’s just down right unfair)

The Iraq Study Group blames no one for the disaster, but urges that we turn around and get out, the idea being that if we cannot save Iraq, as least we can save the American establishment from a political civil war breaking out here in the USA. (Which simply means the shits gonna hit the fan and WASHINGTON is gonna be knee deep in it when the people back home find out just how bad we fucked up on EVERTHING)

The real regime crisis that is coming may be right here in The Good old USA

It’s not for nothing all those fema camps have sprung up all over the US
Stay tuned America for Prime time Bad News

Swallow

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Perhansa (not verified) | February 23, 2007 - 4:50pm

We know that diverstiy is essential to biological survival. The greater the biodiversity the greater the chance of survival. The less biodiversity (i.e., the more homogeneity) the greater the odds of extinction. It works the same way with creative thinking and problem solving. The greater the diversity of input, ideas, experience, feedback, perpectives the better the solutions. The less diversity the worse the solutions. Homogeneity and myopia eventually lead to failure largely due to diluted, limited thinking and a lack of material to work with, adapt, and evolve. This nation has a wealth of living servicemen with a great diversity of experience, ideas, and opinions to draw upon for this war in Iraq and the efforts to combat terror. The best solutions (smart on terror) will only come about from a spirited and honest exchange of ideas whether republican, democrat or other in origin. Unfortunately, openness, honesty, diversity, and spirited respectful exchange don't seem to be in this adminstration's lexicon nor MO. You either have a recipe for "success" (whatever agrees with what they've defined as success these days) or "failure" (everything else). I too feel a deep sense of sadness and responsibility when I see the faces of the young lives that will never be lived out on PBS each night and I know it won't end...it can't end until enough people stand up and say "We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore" and we take it into our hands to do something because it's clear this adminstration NEVER changes no matter how many times they shuffle the deck chairs...but then we do have other pressing issues...we need to find out who fathered Anna Nicole's baby and we want to see Brittney make it through rehab...oh and another season of American Idol is underway. Best of luck to Prince Harry...he could be running with the Bush girls.

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paul miller (not verified) | February 24, 2007 - 6:17am

We survived round 1 of superstorm 2007!! - There must be anywhere from .3 - .6" of snow on the ground, almost can't even see my lawn in some places - hope your soup got you through.

The headlines say limiting the war powers of Bush/Cheney will bring a constitutional showdown - the dems better be willing to fight this one because Big Time is leading us towards his perverted dream of war in Iran.

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