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Blame where blame is due

According to University of Texas journalism professor Robert Jensen(registration required):

The people of Iraq are better off without Saddam Hussein's despised regime, but that does not prove our benevolent intentions or guarantee that the United States will work to bring meaningful democracy to Iraq.
Jensen's statement is remarkable because at this very moment, thousands of U.S. troops are working tirelessly, and at great risk to their own personal safety, to "bring meaningful democracy to Iraq."

But it's also remarkable because it shows that even a die-hard leftist like Jensen -- someone who opposed not only our going after Saddam, but even our toppling the Taliban after 9-11 -- agrees that "the people of Iraq are better off without Saddam."

A fine sentiment, Professor, but Saddam was not about to leave on his own. He was a dictator for life, and nothing short of U.S. military intervention would have done the trick.

And it did. We removed Saddam with great rapidity and success. His regime fell in record time; while Bush's swaggering appearance on an aircraft carrier with a "Mission Accomplished" banner spread behind him reeked of hubris, it was in fact a mission that had been accomplished: Saddam Hussein no longer ruled Iraq. A few months later, he was famously pulled from his spider hole and now waits to stand trial by the very Iraqis he once oppressed.

Yet since Saddam's fall, loose-knit gangs of "insurgents" -- including ex-Baathists, anti-democracy Islamists, and foreign fighters from Iran, Syria, and elsewhere -- have continued to attack American troops and Iraqi civillians alike with a bloody wave of bombings, decapitations, and shootings. And as the toll of American and Iraqi casualties mounts, the Left knows who to blame: Bush.


Why not blame the actual people who are carrying out these terrorist attacks?

Why do we do not hear the Left cry out: "Damn those insurgents! If only they would cease their pointless attacks, Iraqis could live in peace and freedom, and our troops could come home."

The answer seems to be that Left views the insurgents as a force of nature, not as a group of individual human beings capable of making moral decisions. The terrorist who bombs a police station or beheads an elderly relief worker is not to blame for his actions -- it's just a given that he'll turn to violence when Americans are afoot, as surely as the night follows the day.

So instead of despising the insurgency for launching a needless murder spree, the Left blames Bush for stirring up trouble. We didn't have to go into Iraq, goes the thinking. We could have stayed home, after all.

To me, this seems about as right as blaming a rape vicitm for walking by herself late at night: She was asking for trouble, walking around like that. She could have stayed home.

I doubt you'd hear such an argument from the likes of Prof. Jensen. The correct response to the crime of rape is to punish the rapist. And the correct response to the insurgency is to crush it decisively -- not to attack Bush for having done the right thing by removing Saddam.


fasteddie said...

Yeah I’m glad I could read that since I represent a moderate left person. Moderate in the sense I think Colin Powell would have made a damn sight better president then Bush. You remember the Powell doctrine? (boiled down, have an exit strategy.)

“Why do we do not hear the Left cry out: "Damn those insurgents! If only they would cease their pointless attacks, Iraqis could live in peace and freedom, and our troops could come home.”

Exactly, I agree. But did you consider the master plan was for our troops never to come home,regardless? Not as large, but a regular rotation like South Korea is now. There is one thing for certain, that pre-war sales job of the troops will be home in a year, did you believe that? I never did, I knew better.

I just watched the Fog of War recently, and the one thing the stuck was empathsize with your enemy? I think that was the wording. Their must be a point to why they are attacking? What is it?

“not as a group of individual human beings capable of making moral decisions.”

Well for me it’s just evil, but they somehow find it morally acceptable for their cause. I know very little about Muslim extremism, but I do understand extremism in general. Neo-Nazis in Idaho, the Federal building in Oklahoma City. Bombing of abortion clinics. Somehow their belief systems, their reasoning allows rationalization of things that we strongly disapprove of, that horrifies us.

From the little I’ve gathered some of the insurgents are from other countries, they hate American arrogance, so want to kill, they want us out of their Holy Lands, they want to influence the future government to go their way. So it’s most about power. Then the Sunni insurgents from Iraq are now a minority and will have little say once the elections are over. (Being Democratic I know that feeling.) Not only that but they are secular, for the most part, and the Shias are more fundamentalist so they are fighting the new democracy.

I don’t have a point... okay, I really think it is a unwinable situation we have gotten into.

Maybe that professor meant, that it wouldn’t work. Not that soldiers are there working. I admire their commitment, but also think they shouldn’t have been sent.

Yeah Saddam was a murdering asshole, the Iraq people celebrated, now they want us out. I have many questions about this, my reading of history and knowing that Bush was twisting things to get everyone onboard, made me reject the war before it started. I may be wrong, but it’s turning into: a quagmire. A deficit, where money could have been better spent, and a death trap for troops.

You say Iraqis are better off, many Iraqis actually disagree. I've been reading what they have been saying, I read the pentagon knows we have lost the mind's of the people, they don't believe in us.
Personally I think they would be better off,are better off, so don’t understand exactly why.
The elections don’t seem to me they will be a success.
You know another one of the reasons insurgents may be fighting? Because they don’t want us to invade Iran. It would be almost impossible, with how thinly stretched our military is now. We could do it, but it would finish off any lip service to the ‘moral highground’ some hawks see themselves on. We could do it like a game of Risk you know you pile up your pieces to invade, but have to leave behind very little to protect the country you already occupy when you take the next country. Then we could do North Korea next. It would turn into, they keep popping up and we keep flying around the world knocking back down.

Maybe it will all work out, I have many doubts, in making a new Iraq it's not the concept its the execution. I believe Bush is bungling it. He can’t spin what will happen over there. I think it was a big mistake Kerry wasn’t given the job, at least he was a real soldier, and he is honest. Overall it has to work, but I think it won't. It has not been better for America, and will not be.

Afghanastan now that can work and I was all for going after the Taliban.

Peace hope it come sooner then later, and peace to you tokyo guy. ( you like Japanese girls doncha?! ha)

GaijinBiker said...

I didn't post a response to this because you raise some big issues that could take pages and pages to fully address. Basically, I don't have a problem with keeping troops in Iraq for years, decades even, like in South Korea, once the fighting has ended. But to get to that point, first we need to win the immediate battle against the insurgents.

What they think of as their cause really doesn't make a difference to me: We must defeat them, regardless.

Elections are important even if the first ones are not smooth, because the more we transition over to an elected Iraqi government, the more the Iraqi people will feel like they have a stake in their country and it is not just America calling the shots.

And when democracy catches on in one country, it generates a "ripple effect" in the region, where a popular uprising could topple the government in Iran without any direct American military intervention.

North Korea is another issue entirely, so let's leave that to one side for now. (We're not going to invade NK with troops any time soon, regardless of whether we're in Iraq. The logistical and political issues are completely different.)

At any rate, all the good consequences of being in Iraq -- a stable, elected government in Iraq, a ripple effect throughout the despotic regimes of the Middle East -- require us to first stamp out the insurgents (who, it is worth noting, are not so much a single "insurgency" as a grab-bag of foreign mercenaries, Al Qaeda, former Baathist's, and Islamic fundamentalists.

It is clear that America is offering a better future for the people of Iraq than the insurgents. All they can do is create another fundamentalist-Islamic hellhole of a failed state. It would be nice to have the media recognize this fact instead of looking for every opportunity to attack Bush and trying to undermine our chances of success in this very difficult, but critically important, effort.

fasteddie said...

Well what you say is true, the insurgents do not offer a better life for the Iraqi people. We agree democracy is the best form of Government.

You agree with the Neo-cons, a true believer.The domino effect for good. It sounds great too bad it is based on illogical theories: "We will make war to prevent war." Forgive me, that's my Orwellian take on preemptive war. As far as the criticisms of the President, you equate these as unjustified attacks? I see them as part of the democractic process we both admire.

The question remains, can it work? Can the insurgents be defeated, and the Sunnis engaged in the creating of the new government? Or will the violence stretch on for years while the Iraqi people increasingly blame the U.S. and want us out, and we grow sick of the futility of a lost cause? Is this a rhetorical question? No, I am honestly absorbed with what is happening. I wish for success, and peace, the sooner the better. I am highly doubtful it will happen. I will be the first to give credit to Bush if it does. Alas you have gathered, I am not a true believer, I am a idealist with no illusions(a realist?)


fasteddie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
fasteddie said...

I would have made it a link, but haven't figured that out yet. Just adding this to my comments above.



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