Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Do we have the will to win?

Remember how you felt on September 12, 13, 14 in 2001? Pretty awful. The next attack was going to happen at any moment. Here we are four years later and there have been no attacks on US soil. What we are doing is working, we have our foot on the terrorists throats and the liberals in this country want to take it off, pick them up, give them a warm blanket. I hate to say it, but I think we need to be whacked again here at home because so many people in this country have forgotten what we are up against.

Blogger Austin Bay served in Iraq and has now gone back one year later as a journalist. He finds the changes, make that progress, striking. He's also wondering if we have the will to win back in the states...

This return visit to Iraq, however, spurs thoughts of America -- to be
specific, thoughts about America's will to pursue victory. I don't mean the will
of U.S. forces in the field. Wander around with a bunch of Marines for a half
hour, spend 15 minutes with National Guardsmen from Idaho, and you will have no
doubts about American military capabilities or the troops' will to win.

But our weakness is back home, in front of the TV, on the cable squawk shows, on the editorial page of The New York Times, in the political gotcha games of Washington, D.C.

It seems America wants to get on with its Electra-Glide life, that Sept. 10
sense of freedom and security, without finishing the job. The military is
fighting, the Iraqi people are fighting, but where is the U.S. political class?
The Bush administration has yet to ask the American people -- correction, has
yet to demand of the American people -- the sustained, shared sacrifice it takes
to win this long, intricate war of bullets, ballots and bricks.

I could not agree more with this assessment. Bush needs to get out there, get aggressive about defending what we are doing, why it is so crucial to our future and why the American people need to prepare for a generation long struggle against these savages. He has dropped the ball and the "hurry up and lose" crowd now has the momentum here in the states. Get out there Mr. President before it is too late!


At 6/21/2005 9:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post. You are right. There is a war on yet people don't seem to notice, or care. In some ways we are a victim of our own success. Bush needs to fight, that is why we reelected him, isn't it. Take the gloves off damn it! Forget about social security and focus on the war!

At 6/21/2005 10:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post, although I don't agree that we need to get hit again, is absolutely correct in its point that people have forgotten. I think the army recruiting numbers being off 40 percent from their goal last month show very well where the public is going in the US. Very few people want to go fight this war, and no one wants to send their sons and daughters to fight. Even with big bonuses, we are not meeting quotas for getting people signed up.

I do not see this as the fault of the American public. This is the fault of the Bush administration, Rumsfeld and every congressman that voted for the war and didn't send his/her son or daughter into the military. Why would anyone sign up for the military to fight a war with no concrete end in site? A war that is being run by a group of people that woefully misread the situation getting into the war and what would happen after the war. A war where the right equipment is only sent after the fact. A war based on the Bush doctrine of Sept. 20 that is ignored for politics (ie: we know where Bin Laden is and we won't get him because of politics.)

And soldiers are not paid a living wage. Stories of wounded soldiers not being supported by the government. Etc. For those who join up as patriots and country wrong or right, I applaud. But for the rest of us, volunteering for a war run by people more interested in elections and with no clear end in site, is not really appetizing. Which is why the recruiting numbers are down.

This administration needs to get serious. Admit their mistakes openly (because history sure will note going to war unprepared for the war and with no clear end goals as a huge mistake). And treat soldiers as the best of the best of our country (and pay them well and treat them well.)

At 6/21/2005 10:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with much of what you say, but wars don't come in neat little packages with start/end dates.

Were we prepared for what we are dealing with today? No, we were not, in a military or a political/public perception sense.

I just don't want to see us cut and run beofre we finish the job. The strategic significance of a democracy in Iraq is too important to the next 100 years in the Middle East.

Even with all the difficulties, leaving now would be a disaster for peace in the region and a major vistory for these sub human beasts.

We can and should finish the job.

At 6/21/2005 6:43 PM, Blogger Rantburger said...

More people like you need to beat this drum. This may be more than a "generation-long struggle," but since right after 9/11, that fact has faded into the background. As sad as it is to admit it, I think your observation that it's going to take another big blow at home to wake people up is correct. The political leadership of the country certainly hasn't got any faith in the ability of the American people to face the hard truth, and they're not out in front of this issue doing what they should be doing: leading us. From one Kevin to another: Great post.

At 6/21/2005 8:34 PM, Blogger GreggJ said...

Wait, I thought our soldiers are not signing up despite "big bonuses" that are being offered. Or is it because they are not being paid a "living wage?" Which one is it? How can one take such an analysis seriously when it is replete with such a flagrant contradiction? As for the lack of sufficient funding for our troops, help me out...Which party voted almost unanimouly against the $87 million to fund the war? Which party and preidential candidate have for the last 3 decades consistently voted to gut the military and intelligence? Which Party attempted to throw out overseas military votes in 2000? Don't even go there...Liberal Democrats are doing everything possible to ensure that America loses in Iraq and in the WOT in general. As to "treating them well" I believe that it starts with having the #2 political figure in the Dem party ceasing his inane comparisons of American soldiers to Nazis, Stalininst Communists, and Pol Pot...That would be a good start.

At 6/23/2005 4:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wrote the post about living wages and bonuses and such.

First off, one of the reasons why nothing gets done in the country is that people jump to conclusions way too quickly. I would recommend not considering every problem as being democrat vs conservative. I voted for Bush in the last election and am officially neither party anymore.

I'll help you here a bit, though, since I am a nice guy and it seems like you may need some.
- If a person gets a bonus, say $30K, they are happy. But can't really live off of that for very long. A soldier even after getting that nice big bonus, is still getting paid almost nothing on an ongoing basis. Below poverty level. They can't save any money and build for the future.

So, yes, you can get a bonus and still not get paid enough to make soldiering seem like a good option. Have I helped you past the replete with flagrant contradictions there? Or were you thinking they were getting NFL size signing bonuses?

And my basic point, which you obviously missed by having some sort of all democrats should be killed episode, was that the military should be taken care of. Soldiers need to be paid better. We should have been better prepared for the peace (with the right equipment, extra funds, etc.)

And yes, I blame the Bush administration for mismanaging the war so far and not fixing the military. Last I checked, they have been in charge for 5 years. I expected better pay for soldiers, better equipment, better benefits for wounded soldiers, etc. One of the reasons I was happy they were elected was that they were going to fix the military. They haven't, and Rumsfeld has proven to be a poor choice (he lost me when he said nothing good every came from a draft. Stupid comment all around.)

Do not confuse people disagreeing with the current administration as being rampaging liberals. If I had meant to say liberals would run the military better, I would have said that.

George Bush right or wrong is not a healthy way to go through life. Listen to Jay Severin (sp?) to see how you can be a conservative and not be a blind follower. He is a better choice than John Kerry by far. But that does not mean he is infallible. Fix the military and come up with an exit strategy for Iraq. Because if we are still there in 2008, you better be prepared to see a democrat win the presidency.

At 6/23/2005 8:54 PM, Blogger GreggJ said...

"the reasons why nothing gets done in the country is that people jump to conclusions way too quickly" No the reason that very little gits "done in this country' including SS reform, HSAs, permanent tax cuts, strict construcitonists appointed to our federal judiciary, restrictions on abortion on demand, extending the Patriot Act and other issues of import is that liberal Dems have been inexorably vilifying the President personally with ad hominem attacks and obstructing his agenda of winning the war on Terror for naken political gain.

"Soldiers need to be paid better. We should have been better prepared for the peace (with the right equipment, extra funds, etc.)"

The Joint Chiefs and NSA as well as the State Department and 9-11 Commission would not concur with your assertion. As Rumsfeld explained yesterday, the president explained to the nation that the WOT would not be a quick and easy battle but would require resolve and patience for the long term. While there have been casualties, there are casualties in every war- except for the ones where we had no national security interests that Clinton involved our country in (Kosovo, Bosnia, et al.) Again it has been almost without exception liberal Democrats who have opposed funding the WOT and have given fodder to the jihadists with their coparisons of our military to Nazis (Gitmor and Abu Gharib).

"One of the reasons I was happy they were elected was that they were going to fix the military. They haven't, and Rumsfeld has proven to be a poor choice"

I don't know quite what the definition of "fix the military is" but again we are winning the WOT with the lowest number of casualties in any major world combat in history. We are fighting fanatics who must be exterminated and the constant drumbeat of "quagmire" and "cut and run" from the left does little in our effort to accomplish our goal. I don't know if you have ever served in the military, but I know many that have and will be interviewing on our show in a week the top mil blog in the country. It will be interesting to see what he has to say. Also, anybody in the armed forces will tell you that Rumsfeld is lionized among soldiers and vets. Perhpas Bush should consider replacing him with ex SOD Cohen? or perhaps Sany "Burgler' who was being considered by Kerry.

"Do not confuse people disagreeing with the current administration as being rampaging liberals. If I had meant to say liberals would run the military better, I would have said that. "

I never implied that or stated that directly. Nevertheless, it is a point of fact that the vast majority of those who "disagree with the current administration" mostly consist of "rampaging liberals" (Your term not mine). To deny this is ludicrous. Liberals have again demonstrated by their words and deeds why that can't be trusted with our national security.

"Listen to Jay Severin (sp?) to see how you can be a conservative and not be a blind follower. He is a better choice than John Kerry by far."

I listen to Severin every blue moon, and he is not a conservative in many regards. He is a conservative in the same manner as Pat Buchanan except that he is not pro life and has a very tendentious understanding of Constitutional law and history (unlike Pat) He is also ann isolationist and fails to understand the rudimentary beniefts of Pareto free trade. He is also wrong about his prognosis of the WarOnTerror in my opinion. He is advocating an untenable position of using massive force which would kill thousands of Iraqui civilians. Severin knows as much about armed combat as he does economics...Zip.. He defers to me every time I am on the air on virtually any topic we discuss but mostly economics and trade. He should stick to political prognostication with his 20 years of experience he is always touting. But then again why should we listen to a guy who told his audience for many months that Bush was "definately" going to lose?

At 6/24/2005 4:44 AM, Blogger Dean Esmay said...

The notion that the military is woefully underpaid is false. The longer you're in the more you're paid, and along with your pay comes from the fact that all your chow is free, your housing is either free or substantially subsidized, your medical care is free, subsidized low-interest loans are available for many things, and there are savings programs in place where the government will match you dollar for dollar.

You won't get rich but you're hardly poor if you make the military your career--or just a short part of your career where you get substantial free training and experience.

I would agree with the notion that there are some holes in how we're taking care of veterans. But I'd also note that not making recruitment numbers this quarter happens to come after most of the branches had been EXCEEDING their recruitment goals for the last two years. So they've had a lousy patch. There are several ways to address that, it's hardly something to panic over just yet.

At 6/24/2005 9:34 AM, Blogger The Optimist said...

Dear Gregg J:

You and I definitely disagree on the fact that things are not so clear cut. Not every liberal is evil, and not every republican is good. Yes, I agree with your point that the majority of the democratic party in Congress are just criminally stupid and see the WOT as nothing but a political battle to be won. I just don't see that as an excuse for what I see as failings by the Bush administration in making the military more powerful, better equiped for wars in this century and given the freedom to do what needs to be done. And do you believe that Rumsfeld and his staff were right about how they planned for the peace? And do not say that liberals are the reason why Rumsfeld planned for an easy peace and was unprepared for this insurrection.

Do you believe that regular soldiers are paid well enough?

Do you believe that we had enough armored vehicles?

Do you believe that Rumsfeld and his group were prepared for what the war in Iraq has turned into?

No, I have never served. But I am very pro-military. I believe that every soldier should be paid as well as any policeman. I believe we are the richest country in the world and there is no excuse for not having every vehicle armored. I want soldiers who serve our country to be taken care of for life. They are fighting for me and my kids and they deserve it. I want the Bush administration to treat every soldier like they were the Bush twins.

Dean: It seems like you maybe are from the military. Am I mistaken in my belief that the vast majority of people in the army are not career army? So what would a person who signs up for say 4 years, doing his duty because he feels the WOT is important, make in salary? I see that Pat Tilman was making $32,000 a year (if memory serves me correctly), and that makes me want to cry.

It is not unamerican to question how the elected officials are running the military. In World War II, there are plenty of instances of soldiers and civilians fixing mismanagement (forcing medics and non-combatants on the front lines to get combat pay, the fight to get the Tuskegee air squadron into combat and respected, the fight to get the Nissei division into combat roles, etc.)

So in the end, we probably agree on most subjects. I am an extreme social conservative. I just do not feel that this war is being well run, and do not see the dedication to soldiers that I expected from a republican president and Congress.

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