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Eight Lies about the Iraq debate

01/30/07 | by [mail] | Categories: culture/news

In Washington we're now seeing the debate that should have happened in 2002. Sadly, at that time Congress was not performing its duty to oversee the people leading us into a war. Now that Congress has changed hands and there's a Presidential election looming, the debate is in full swing. The administration that worked so hard to quell debate in the run-up to the war is not about to welcome an open and full debate on the future of the war. They've apparently come up with some talking points that they're going to repeat ad nauseam in an attempt to silence their critics. I've heard them so many times over the last week that I can tell you what the administration shill is going to say even before he opens his mouth.

Lie #1: Questioning the war undermines the troops
If the troops are fighting to defend and spread democracy and freedom, then how are we undermining them when we exercise our freedoms and promote the full functioning of our democracy? As far as I know, everyone who is questioning this war and the proposed escalation is doing so because they love the troops and want them to come home. This charge should be turned around against those who would throw 20K more lives at an obviously failed policy.

Lie #2: Questioning the war emboldens the enemy
Yes, I'm sure al Qaeda just loves it when the hear that our democracy is still functioning. My personal theory is that they're smart enough to know that they can't beat the US in military conflict, but if they make us so paranoid that we voluntarily exchange our freedom for unquestioning devotion to a draconian government, then in a sense, they win. At any rate, we need to do what is right, regardless of how it makes our enemies feel. The debate is right and this argument against it is just a desperate appeal to emotion.

“How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam -– How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”
-- Vietnam War veteran John Kerry in his 1971 appearance before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Lie #3: No one who is against the war has a plan
Although there's disagreement about details, most opponents of the escalation agree about what should be done instead: Get out. You can call it cut and run or defeat or, as seems to be the new strategy, you can pretend that this plan doesn't exist. Just this week there have been several new proposals for how to exit most gracefully. They should all be considered and debated in Congress until they have merged them together to form some sort of cohesive alternative to the Bush/McCain escalation. The President may still reject it and call it defeat, but he can't really say that there's no alternative plan. Bush claims that defeat is not an option, but sometimes you don't get to choose. Sometimes defeat happens whether you want it or not. The choice we do have is how long will we keep digging this hole? How many men and women will die in our vain attempt to salvage an ill-conceived war?

Lie #4: Talking to Iran is not worth a try
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be a megalomaniac who is generally working against our interests, but that doesn't mean he can't be persuaded to play ball. Statesmen like Jim Baker and Lee Hamilton wouldn't suggest talking to Iran if they thought there was no chance that it could help. As the old saying goes, "If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies." I don't get why sending 20K more troops to Iraq is "worth a try," but we can't be bothered to talk to Iran because we "don't talk to evil."

Lie #5: The Congress has no say
While the President is the Commander in Chief of the military, the Congress does have certain war powers. This New York Times article does a good job of discussing those powers. In my opinion, the current war has gone far beyond the original authorization for force. I think Congress should revoke that authorization and vote on a new authorization with more specific benchmarks, scope and deadlines.

Lie #6: Congress should skip non-binding resolutions and go straight to funding cuts
This may be the lie that I've heard most often. It's really more like a schoolyard taunt. The President's men are trying to bait the opponents of escalation into the potentially unpopular position of cutting off funding. I like the idea that we're actually seeing a debate and the resolutions will serve as a clear message to the President about where they stand. He'll still have a chance to do the right thing and heed the advice of Congress, the public, the military leaders that he's fired and most of the rest of the world. Bush would much rather have the decision taken out of his hands by a funding cut so he can have someone else to blame.

Lie #7: The news media is going to lose the war
Speaking of blame, I hate that I even have to address this lie. It's plainly false, but I've heard it so many times that I must respond to it. I'll admit that a lot of reporting is sensationalized and yes, perception does affect reality, but blaming the problems in Iraq on reporters is just stupid. Our government invaded a country without good reason and without a plan for stabilizing and rebuilding that country. The consequences of that were accurately predicted by a great deal of people. Reporters are simply doing their job when they tell us what's happening over there. Even if we somehow managed to keep the problems in Iraq a secret, they would still be happening. Ours are not the only reporters there, anyway. If the American media was under state control and didn't report anything that wasn't handed on a Presidential spoon (is that what they want?), the world would still hear about the trouble in Iraq from European and Arab reporters.

Lie #8: It's too late to discuss mistakes made before the war
There are still a number of unanswered questions about how we got into this war. It's late, but it's not too late to find out the truth and hold people responsible for it before they're out of office. Books like The Assassin's Gate and The Greatest Story Ever Sold have begun to reveal how badly this war was planned and justified. This is not some insignificant historical detail, it's the very essence of why we're in Iraq. It should have an effect on what we do in the future. I hope to see Congressional hearings on this subject.

These aren't the only lies, but they're the lies that I'm hearing the most right now. In time they may be abandoned like so many of Bush's earlier lies (Don Rumsfeld is doing a fine job, I listen to my generals on the ground, etc). There's one other thing I've noticed about this. Bush's influence in the Congress has slipped to the point that he can't even get any big names to go tell these lies for him. On all the interviews and debates I've seen, the person taking up the Administration position is someone I've never heard of. With the exception of McCain, Bush is having a hard time finding anyone to support him. And McCain has to support this plan because he came up with it.

Here's to speaking truth to power and bringing our brave men and women home.



1/Qustioning the war is your right, but it does undermine support for the troops and supplies propoganda for the enemy who uses it to recruit more people to kill us troops. You “support” feels like hatred to most of us troops. If thats what you call support, you can keep it.
2/ See #1
3/ Defeat is not a viable plan. Try a REAL plan.
4/ Irans stated goal is the destruction of the USA and israel. How the hell do you talk to that?
5/ True. At which point congress takes the blame for the result.
6/ See #5
7/ The media is part of the problem in iraq. They are outright lying to you. They present enemy propoganda as fact. I know this because i saw it first hand over there.
8/ Its not that its too late, its that it is meaningless and will not solve any problems. These “lies” you speak of actualy have never been proven to be lies. Again that is media manipulation.

Sgt usar [Visitor]  01/31/07 @ 13:16
[Member]  http://www.brendoman.com/01/31/07 @ 13:25

1 - Sorry, but questioning whether or not the U.S. should be in Iraq has nothing to do with hating the troops there. I know many soldiers who are also questioning.

2 - How does questioning the war embolden the enemy? You say it gives propaganda for the enemy. Do you really not think that the mere presence of the U.S. is Iraq is a far worse kind of propaganda that emboldens the enemy?

3 - Getting out does not equate with defeat.

4 - And starting a nuclear war will be better? If the US attacks Iran, Iran attacks Israel almost immediately. Are you willing to “sacrifice” Israel in order to attack Iran? I know that I would rather try talking first.

5 - Congress takes the blame for putting an end to Bush’s failed policy? Maybe, but fewer people probably die.

6 - Congress would have no blame if they pass a resolution, which may be why the refuse to do anything more than a non-binding resolution.

7 - Can you give examples of how the media is lying? Can you give examples of their presentation of “enemy propaganda?” I don’t doubt that progress has been made in many places. But I would like to see some evidence of some of your assertions.

8 - It is far from meaningless. First of all, figuring out what went wrong (hopefully) prevents the same wrongs from occurring again. Secondly, people can and should be held accountable for their actions - actions which have led to thousands and thousands of people dying. And these lies have never been proven to be lies? No WMDs. No imminent threat. No link to al-Qaeda or 9/11. Are you trying to assert that these justifications are true?

[Member]  http://www.mindfulmission.com01/31/07 @ 14:15

I think there should be a number 9 on this list: The war was meant, in whole or in part, to liberate the iraqis from a tyrant or to stop a decade-old genocide. The genocide is a decade old & no longer susceptible to being stopped (since it was already over). The current and past administrations have cozy relationships with tyrants the world over - they are not motivated to end tyranny.

smijer [Visitor]  http://tete-tete-tete.com01/31/07 @ 17:21

the first comment is what we can call a typical “i see too much TV, i never went out of my village in my life, news report are not fake if they say it on TV it’s because it’s true” kind of mentality that is going to kill America from the inside if some of you people don’t wake up and do start to win your congress and democracy back ! the land of the free is not free anymore, because paranoia and bad-information is already part of everyday life for too many bad-informed citizen, something must be done to stop the Next Iran War and start questioning why Israel are so afraid of Iran when they rule out the zone with their 100 nuclear war heads…


Ben borges [Visitor]  http://blog.buzzworkers.com02/01/07 @ 05:43

At ease there “Sgt USAR,” I can see your rank is already going to your head. I would’ve hoped with your rank you might be able to put something forth that was more than rhetoric and you just put forth more… rhetoric.

I am going to specifically address you in hopes you’ll reconsider your positions.

“1/Qustioning the war is your right, but it does undermine support for the troops and supplies propoganda for the enemy who uses it to recruit more people to kill us troops. You “support” feels like hatred to most of us troops. If thats what you call support, you can keep it.”

This is faulty binary thinking. Tying in support for the war with the soldiers is a strawman. Of course people support all Service Members but it’s certainly not their obligation to support the war and policies of which got us in this mess in the first place. I am a soldier but emotional arguments like yours can only go so far.

Questioning the war does not embolden the enemy. Bill O’Reilly himself states we should’ve never invaded in the first place. How do you like them apples? Listen, linaear binary thinking is too simplified; we’re talking of a very complex thing here. You need more than rhetoric as it’s going to be hard to get folks to listen to you. It was indeed difficult for me to read and digest your remarks and not because I didn’t simply disagree with them but because they’re so far off.

“3/ Defeat is not a viable plan. Try a REAL plan.” This leads me to believe you really haven’t given much thought to this entire matter. Instead, pride and testosterone and bravado have taken over. Listen to reason. The war is lost, it was lost the moment our administration decided to exagerate and fabricate evidence to get us in this entire mess in the first place. Col. Anne Wright, Lt. Col. Wilkerson and other defectors share the same sentiments of this purposefully fixed evidence.

“5/ True. At which point congress takes the blame for the result.
6/ See #5″ Rhetoric. So how do you feel about this administration not telling us the truth in regards to “evidence.” At which point will they take blame? What about improper training? VA bens? Nontesting for DU? Inadequate bens for PTSD’ers? When will this administration take blame for the chaos they’ve started over blatantly false pretenses?

Tell me, enlighten me, do you really think a temporary 10% increase in more troops will make things rosey again? That is what they were during Husseins rule? Sure, we can all agree he was a ruthless dictator but there was order and nothing close to the chaos we’re witnessing now which was caused by the US’s and Britain’s policies.

“7/ The media is part of the problem in iraq. They are outright lying to you. They present enemy propoganda as fact. I know this because i saw it first hand over there.” Can you be a little less specific here? Throw us a bone here. Sure, yeah… the media isn’t perfect. Any of us here will vouch for that no problem. But will you as easily and readily admit that our administration has lied to us? The evidence is there, finally a majority of Americans see it as history and fact now so my point remains, will you as readily blame the media see that it’s a two way street?

“8/ Its not that its too late, its that it is meaningless and will not solve any problems. These “lies” you speak of actualy have never been proven to be lies. Again that is media manipulation.” More rhetoric. Meaningless to get us into another mess? To review history ad nauseam is meaningless? Tell me, exactly what planet are you living on?

The rough definition of an idiot is a person who keeps doing the same thing and expects a different result.

Don’t be an idiot, don’t let your rank go to head. Afterall, it’s only rank… brass, clothe, pieces of colored ribbon. I can tell you honestly at the very beginning of this war I did support it but only briefly. That’s not “hatred” for the troops… I am one of them. That’s not unAmerican. I am American and I’ve put in my time and certainly have the paygrade to prove it. My opinions don’t undermine the troops, it’s the failed policy, as put forth by John McCain, that undermine the troops.

You seriously need to do your homework. I almost didn’t pay you any mind, but seriously and respectfully you really need to do your homework and study hard. I bounce back and forth all the time.

I’m at the point that I just totally dislike any and all politicians. I dislike DC, having personally been there and walked the halls of congress, that it moves atrociously slow while citing it’s a messy and expensive process. I cannot stand career politicians. I cannot stand Generals who for fear of the careers will tell their leaders that all is well and rosey meanwhile things are going to hell in a handbasket. See General Casey’s statements today at the Armed Services Committee.

This isn’t to say that we don’t work hard. I’ll bend over backwards for my soldiers but I’ll be damned if anyone over my watch is given an irresponsible order. You bet I’ll speak up, it’s my responsibility as a citizen and more importantly as an NCO. I love my country, I’ll die for my country. It’s my duty to speak up when things go awry and they are going awry, we have been duped. It’s time to make things right, it’s time for service men (like you and I) and women to speak up.

That is all.

And just to reiterate… there’s several plans out there to get us out of Iraq.

McGovern’s “Safe and Orderly Withdrawal Act”

HR 508, “Bring the Troops Home and Iraqi Restoration Act", Woolsey, Lee, Waters

HJ Re. 18 which calls for redeployment, Murtha

HR 455 “Protect the Troops and Bring Them Home Act” by Nadler, this calls for the safe and orderly withdrawal of US Forces from Iraq by 31DEC07.

There’s more I’m sure.

Right on! I found your site thru b2evolution. I agree with most of your posting and believe it to be deeply thoughtful, unlike most (might as well say all) of our liberal friends.

Bob Rutledge [Visitor]  http://mrrutledge.com/04/23/07 @ 22:07

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