Friday, May 28, 2004

Why is John Kerry calling for more troops?

Why is John Kerry calling for more troops?

I'm not saying he shouldn't, but I believe he needs to explain a lot to the American people first. Without a new U.N. resolution with U.N. peacekeeping commitments and/or commitment from NATO to contribute troops on a multilateral basis, I don't believe we should be discussing sending more loyal troops into this hell of a mess.

In Wisconsin today, John Kerry called for more troops to relieve the over-extended National Guard and reservists in Iraq...20,0000 MPs, 20,000 combat troops. Without giving specifics, he said he'd pay for the added troops by making cuts elsewhere in the Pentagon budget.

None of it sits right with me. While we are lost in the woods of civil chaos in Iraq, I don't want to hear about sending more of our loyal troops into a mess that has gone out of our control. I would feel much better hearing someone (like Kerry) who wanted to lead my country tell me they planned to move our limited number of troops out of the Iraqi cities (where they do not belong) and off to the western and northern borderlands to stop the flow of outside antagonists..with Special Forces to guard the Iraqi "Ho Chi Minh trail" search for those in legion with Osama Bin Laden. Conventional combat should have been over after Saddam's regime was taken out.

I want to hear someone say we must work to bring Iraq back into the community of nations, not through destruction, but through constructive action worldwide.

I want to hear a Presidential candidate say he (or she) is willing to commit to a plan to bring our troops home.

No one is saying that. Why not?

You don't simply add more fuel to a fire.

I'm not comfortable with the idea of sending more troops into harm's way.

I'd be more comforted with the idea of getting the troops already IN Iraq OUT of harm's way and put into a place where they can make an effective strategic difference.


Philosophers and the Iraq war

Philosophers and the Iraq war

From TPM Online- Joseph Chandler asks:
Where were the philosophers when the US and UK went into Iraq?

- Most of the evidence points towards a strong trend of opposition to the conflict among professional academic philosophers. The clearest sign of this came when the American Philosophical Association eastern division passed a motion opposing war.

- Anecdotal evidence certainly does suggest that British philosophers were generally against the war, although perhaps not as interested in it as one might expect.

- There have not been many philosophers who have made their voices heard in public on the war, whether by choice or simply because the media takes no interest.

- It has been left to Roger Scruton to provide a lonely public voice of a philosopher generally supportive of the war.

- If there is an overall picture, then it is one of philosophers being much more opposed to the war than in favour of it, but not on the whole feeling as strongly on the issue as might be expected.

- If--and it remains a big "if" – this war turns out to have made the world a safer and better place, philosophers will be forced to reconsider the centuries-old principles of just war theory. And if it doesn’t, then the philosophical community can feel vindicated about the stand it took, albeit rather quietly.


Ref - See: Immanuel Kant and the Iraq war by Roger Scruton [LINK]

Press Stories on Iraq Hardly Reliable

Press Stories on Iraq Hardly Reliable

Yesterday the big headline was the al-Sadr-U.S. truce. It got "top-billing" on the ABC News Headlines last night and it was cautiously presented as one of the first (few) positive days in Iraq.

And's like yesterday never happened.

I'm beginning to find it absolutely impossible to believe the stories coming from the White House Press these days. I don't really blame the writers..they're only reporting what they're fed. So many stories have gone down the sink soon after their reporting, though. In today's fast-paced competetve technological atmosphere, I hope journalists learn important lessons from making hasty reports. While it isn't their job to opine, it is their job to ask the right questions and to remain skeptical.

The lesson I've learned is that you can't believe what you read when a desperate and arrogant administration is putting out any story that makes them look like they have no problems. They have a busload of problems.

Jim Hoagland wrote a column I think we all should read...especially the Bush administration. It's time for Bush to get real. See Five Points of Reality That Bush Overlooked.


Your talented speechwriters built this address around a five-step "plan." May I offer five realities I think you slighted but must still address if you are to dispel rising skepticism, including mine?

• The decision to concentrate power in the hands of the Coalition Provisional Authority rather than establish a provisional Iraqi government a year ago has had disastrous results. As Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani and others have said, that step "turned an army of liberation into an army of occupation" resented across Iraq. Liberation was successful, and ousting Hussein was a justifiable action. Denying power to Iraqis once he was gone was not. You must face that.

• Continuing to insist that a real transfer of sovereignty will occur on June 30 to what is at this point an unknown and untested Iraqi leadership is damaging your credibility. That entity would have power over U.S. troops and actions in Iraq if your assertion were true. Tell the American people and the world what you really intend to happen.

• Abandon the pretense that all goes well in the mission of U.N. negotiator Lakhdar Brahimi, who has spent most of his recent mission in Baghdad hunkered down inside the U.S.-protected "Green Zone." Your aides let you tell the nation Monday night that Brahimi would announce an interim government "this week," even though Baghdad sources say his choice of a Shiite to be prime minister has run into serious opposition. Brahimi's spokesman, Ahmed Fawzi, said on Monday that his boss is as much as a week behind his May 31 deadline. You should have known that before you spoke.

• NATO allies will not take up new burdens in Iraq while you are in the middle of a reelection campaign. Why would countries such as France and Germany risk that? Preemptive war may well be justified. But there are costs for firing the first shot. Accept the fact that you will now pay a price and proceed accordingly.

• Most important, move away from the obsession with secrecy that is a cancer at the center of your administration. Sept. 11, 2001, did change the world, and the Geneva Conventions do look outdated in places. Engage the nation and then the world in the debate about the changes -- and sacrifices -- that need to be made in fighting a war against terrorists. Don't confine that discussion to secret memos and directives.

Those directives and your own great confidence in the paramilitary warriors of the intelligence world helped bring you the Abu Ghraib scandal. You need the nation's engaged, informed support to rescue Iraq -- and yourself, Mr. President.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt WIll Stiff G8 Summit

Saudi Arabia and Egypt WIll Stiff G8 Summit

Saudi Arabia and Egypt are thumbing their noses at Washington's "Greater Middle East Initiative". Tunisia, Qatar, and Morocco will probably not attend, either. Egypt's particular concern is the dissolving of the Arab identity under the American plan. Other Arab states (as well as some European states) have been at odds about how the Initiative fits in with the Arab-Israeli peace efforts and the conflict in Iraq. King Abdullah of Jordan will attend and stress that he believes the Palestinian issue is an essential part of achieving reform in the region.

The Bush administration, in my opinion, is unrealistic in thinking they will get very far with this Initiative while failing to address obvious issues, especially the Arab-Israeli conflict. There are so many misgivings right now and so much Arab fury over the Iraq conflict that NATO is strategically avoiding issuing invitations to Middle East nations, including Israel, to its summit in Istanbul next month. The region is burning. [LINK]