Monday, April 10, 2006

COUNTERPOINT EXTRA: Recommended Reading

Given how often Mark Hyman suggests that those who oppose the war in Iraq “hate the troops,” I don’t think it’s too far off our theme here at The Counterpoint to recommend an essay published over the weekend in Time that eloquently made the case against the Iraq war.

The writer noted, among other things, that the preemptive war in Iraq was the brainchild of “zealots” whose rationale for invasion “made no sense” and undercut efforts to destroy al-Qaeda. He charges the Iraq hawks with using 9/11 to “hijack” our nation’s security policy.

He also pointed out that policy makers betrayed the trust of the enlisted men and women on the ground through not only manufacturing the war to begin with, but then by conducting it in fundamentally flawed ways. As far as “hating the troops,” the author makes the trenchant observation that Condoleezza Rice’s recent remarks that the “strategic” decisions in Iraq had been good, but that thousands of “tactical” errors had been made suggested that the administration is more than willing to let the folks on the ground take the fall for the Bush administration’s colossal failures of imagination and policy.

The author even calls for getting rid of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and openly encourages high level officers in the military to stand up and voice their objections to the disastrous policies of the Bush crowd.

Who is the author? To believe Hyman and other like-minded people, anyone who says such things must hate the troops and despise the military. Heck, he’s probably some Chomsky-reading, patchouli burning, sandal-wearing professor of Peace and Anti-Hegemony Studies at some elitist university, right?

Nope. He’s Lieutenant General Gregory Newbold, a retired career army officer who was director of operations at the Pentagon's military joint staff.

Does that mean he can’t be mistaken about Iraq? Not at all. As Newbold notes, there are some generals who actually believed in the logic behind the war (although he makes it clear that far more members of the military’s brass were skeptical about it than one might guess). Lord knows that being a general doesn’t make you infallible in your judgments, even in military matters.

What the essay does do without a shadow of doubt is drive a stake through the heart of the asinine argument that criticizing the war is antithetical to supporting the troops. In fact, Newbold passionately and movingly argues that standing up to the neo-con agenda is precisely what should’ve been done, and needs to be done, to support the troops.

Not that this point wasn’t obvious to any rational person from the beginning. But Newbold’s eloquence and particular ethos (given his lifetime of service) does a particularly good job of revealing the intellectual bankruptcy of the Hymans of the world who hide behind faux patriotism and loyalty to the troops in order to prop up rationales for policies that weaken the country and needlessly sacrifice our men and women in uniform.


At 4:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is truly amazing are the contortions that republicans and conservatives must make to spin Bush's Iraq adventure into something that fits into ANY coherent philosophy.

Poor planning.
Big debt.
Misuse of intelligence. Interdepartmental squabbling (defense vs. state).
Outright lies.
Outright lies.
Outright lies.

Then again, the recent leak (something Georgy Porgy must clearly approve of!) of military plans to nuke Iran perhaps DOES illuminate a new coherent policy: The Middle East Armageddon Policy!

One can only conclude that Bush truly believes that we are in the "end days" and that the U.S. must nuke the Beast.

God Almighty, I was never a big fan of Bill (slick willy) Clinton, but Chimpy McFlightsuit... what a distructive administration this has been.

There are so many real problems: energy, health care, and the decline of our educational system.
But no, Bush has his own stupid agenda and his own band of morons who whip up crap like "War on Christmas" to distract and divide.

Ick and double-ick.


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