Monday, October 17, 2005

Buy Our War or We'll Shoot This Dog

The story on Iraq is shifting again. From NYT's David E. Sanger:

Administration's Tone Signals a Longer, Broader Iraq Conflict

For most of the 30 months since American-led forces ousted Saddam Hussein, the Bush administration has argued that as democracy took hold in Iraq, the insurgency would lose steam because Al Qaeda and the opponents of the country's interim government had nothing to offer Iraqis or the people of the Middle East…

…But inside the administration, that belief provides less solace than it once did. Senior officials say the intelligence reports flowing over their desks in recent months argue that even if democratic institutions take hold, the insurgency may strengthen…

…Mr. Bush's own way of talking about the future, in Iraq and beyond, has undergone a subtle but significant change in recent weeks. In several speeches, he has begun warning that the insurgency is already metastasizing into a far broader struggle to "establish a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia." While he still predicts victory, he appears to be preparing the country for a struggle of cold war proportions.

So now we're fighting them over there so we can keep fighting them over there forever. Stand by for more "stay the course" talk.


Marine Lieutenant General James T. Conway gives us an earful of it in this month's issue of Proceedings magazine. "Tell it to the Troops" is a standard compendium of familiar talking points, mantras, and blame shifting:
…Our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines realize that the biggest threat to mission accomplishment does not depend on what the Iraqis do—rather it's what their fellow Americans do. As in any democracy, the support of the population is the center of gravity for continuation of war. Our forces in Iraq know this and so does the enemy. The insurgents realize full well the only chance they have of defeating the U.S. military is to weaken the will of the American population—and every facet of their strategic communications effort is focused on that aim. The insurgents maim and kill the less protected Iraqis—but their real target is that portion of American public opinion that is shaped by the news media. They openly cite our premature withdrawals from Vietnam, Beirut, and Somalia as a national tendency to cut and run if the cost is too severe—and hope to force a repetition in Iraq.

In other words, "Buy our war or we'll shoot this dog."


As in Vietnam, the failures of Iraq are the direct result of the dishonest, incompetent policies and strategies of America's political and military leadership. For our politicians and generals to shift blame to the media and lack of "public support" is disingenuous at best, and "real" American's shouldn't put up with it.

In a free society like ours, public "allegiance" to government is something earned, not owed. In its conduct of the war in Iraq, our government has done nothing whatsoever to earn our respect, trust, or support, and it has shamefully abused its stewardship of the men and women in our military.

And it sure as heck hasn't made us any safer.


  1. Anonymous7:53 AM

    Another shifting of the goalposts. For the last 10 months Americans have been led to believe that the acceptance of an Iraqi constitutionwould signal the beginning of the long-awaited drawdown. Now the other shoe begins to whistle as it hurtles through the air. I guess those 14 enduring bases aren't quite finished yet.

    And I would have thought a LTG would be old enough to have remembered way back during the VietNam era when the people emphatically signalled their opinion that patriotism among civilians does not equal unquestioning loyalty.


  2. Anonymous10:16 AM

    Apologies, but I'm not familiar with that term. I only know it in one frame of reference.

    Knowing you, you have another definition for it, so please make me smarter.


  3. Oops! When I use the term, I mean "Wacked Out General."

    For what it's worth, I wasn't aware of the "racial epithet" meaning. Looks like I'm the one who needs to get smarter. Guess I better be careful about using made-up words on the blog, huh?

  4. William Bollinger11:22 AM

    And here I am thinking you meant he hadn't crossed the equator and joined Neptune's Realm yet. Shellbacks forever!

  5. LOL! That's what I thought the "official" definition was.

    But come to think of it, he's probably that kind of wog too. East coast guy, spent half his career in DC.


  6. Yeah, I'd read enough British Lit. to know your 1st usage was a racial epithet. Spell out your acronyms for us non-military types, please...!

  7. fbg464:23 PM

    I'm having a hard time figuring out who the good General has more contempt for -- the Marines and GIs in country, or the rest of us.

    He's spent enough time in the bush to know that when the deal is going south, the people on the ground are the first to know, and they don't have to call home to find out -- they're living the slow motion train wreck that is Iraq 24/7. They're the ones with insufficient everything who are losing anywhere between 3 and 10 a week. They're the ones walking around in body armor in 120 degrees.
    If the place is a mess, they know it first because they're living it. They don't need to email home to find out.

    The kind of drivel Conway is putting out is what you'd expect out of some staff general in The Green Machine; I'm mildly surprised to hear it from a USMC combat vet. Oh well, I guess no one immune from the "Cooperate and Graduate" mentality which has been on display from every branch of the military for the last five years.

  8. William Bollinger4:34 PM

    Hey, nothing wrong for the east coast (outside the belt, anyhow). I rode USS America from Norfolk, thru the ditch to Perth to get mine.

  9. fbg,

    I didn't post a link to the rest of the article because it's behind a firewall, but your head would explode at what else this guy has to say. Lots of stuff about "if you asked the troops, here's what they'd tell you." It's pretty disgusting.

    And there's another article by a retired Army general that's even worse.

    Of course, both these gents have the ubiquitous 9/11 references.


    America? Man. She's been retired for a few years now.


  10. William Bollinger7:49 AM

    Yep, I'm an old fart. Actually, she's on the bottom somewhere off the coast of North Carolina. They used her in a sinkex. Hopefully they learned some good stuff from her destruction and sinking.

    Sad as it was, it seemed somehow appropriate that bush would sink America.

  11. Good one, William.

    I was actually kind of surprised they could actually sink her. Wonder if they did some cooperative flooding.

    Yeah, I hope they did learn some good stuff from it.

  12. William Bollinger11:27 AM

    From what I understand, she held up reasonably well to the "attacks", and was intentionally scuttled in deep water to prevent others from identifying what worked and what didn't.

    America had a long list of firsts to her name. The sinkex adds a few more to the service she performed for our country. I'm damned proud to have been part of those firsts, and part of a very fine ship and crew.

  13. A good way for her to end her service life, I think.


  14. William Bollinger3:23 PM

    Sure beats the dogsnot out of Alang.