|Quoting MD-90 (Reply 75):|
Even the fake patriots are deciding that it's not worth the cost in lives and money and it's making the USA's position in the world worse off.
UH60 is in Iraq, fighting the fight. He's been shot at, and he's medevaced wounded troops. Who are you to tell him that it's not worth the cost in lives?
|Quoting Flynavy (Reply 81):|
How many people have to DIE before it becomes wrong?
I'm glad someone asked this question. Where do we put the price tag on freedom? What is an unacceptable price to pay for the possibility of making a quantum shift in the Middle Eastern whirlpool of dictatorship, tribalism and violence, which will ultimately benefit everyone in the world? 1000 lives? a million? None?
In WWII, the US lost some 400,000 troops in 3 and a half years (a rate 100 times greater than the Iraq war), many of which died not against Japan, who attacked the US, but Germany, which never actually threatened us. Was that not worth it? Other nations on the allied side put together lost 62 million people. Was it not worth it?
Granted, Hitler was a bigger threat than Saddam and Al Qaeda. But the possibilities in Iraq are arguably even more important than those of WWII.
The Middle East is a backwards part of the world. Millions of people blessed by oil reserves, and therefore money and power, but caught up in a 12th century mentality where people who are not of your religion or tribe are worthless at best, and deserve to die at worst.
Bush's strategy, pushed by the "neocons" like Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld is to force a dramatic paradigm shift in the region, one that would not be possible through peaceful means, showing that Muslim Arabs can indeed move into the 21st century with a representative government which would eventually eliminate the desire of any one tribe to want to kill their neighbors. It's idealistic, yes. But considering the benefits that such a development would bring over the next century or two, isn't it worth a try?
The way I see it, the people who are anti-war/anti-Bush in this case are so for one or more of the following reasons:
1) You believe the people of the Middle East are beyond all hope of living in a modern, civilized manner. Bush's strategy has no hope of succeeding because, basically, they are inferior.
2) You are against fighting for anything. All I can say is that people who hide and refuse to fight end up shamed by history (Chamberlain), those who seek out wars of conquest are defeated (Hitler, Napoleon), but those in the middle, who do not intentionally seek a fight, but who are not afraid to rise to a challenge for a worthy cause, those are the leaders whom history may regard as great (Churchill, Roosevelt, Lincoln). Even Gandhi and King would be considered part of the last group - as they refused to submit, retreat or ignore their enemies.
3) You have some pathological hatred for Bush, because of his religion, because he is anti-abortion, because he is not an environmentalist, whatever.
4) You are a moral relativist, who thinks that there is no good or bad. Saddam or Iran have just as much a right to do what they like as anyone else, and we should not interfere. People who believe this are generaly also people who believe that child molestors simply need therapy.
I would suggest you examine your beliefs and figure out if you fall into one or more of these categories.
Personally, I think that this neocon concept of changing the Middle East might work. Say a 50/50 chance over the long term. If it does succeed, which in itself assumes that Bush's successors don't bail out, in a hundred years, Bush might go down in history as a visionary president on par with Jefferson and Lincoln. If it does not succeed, either in spite of his successors' efforts or even if they cut and run, Bush will go down as a complete twat.
In terms of probability, I would calculate them as follows:
Chance of success of strategy: 50%
Cance that Bush's successors will continue to put all necessary effort to support it over the next 10-20 years: 60%
60% x 50% = 30% overall chance of success, in my opinion.
Now, the neocons would have had different numbers before the war. They might think the strategy had a 90% chance of success, and that initial success would ensure that the policy would be followed up, with a, say, 75% likelyhood. That would give a 67% chance of success. Those are bettin' odds, as they say, and that was part of the rationale of the war. But they did not count on the insurgency, and the vehemence of the peaceniks at home. Now the math changes, and the math is closer to mine.
Knowing what I know now (including the lack of WMDs), and figuring a 30% chance of overall strategic success, I would not have invaded Iraq. But we did, and we are there, and I think the largest part of the fight is behind us. The Iraqis are more and more capable of fighting their own fights, and will in the next few years no longer need direct military assistance (until then, Bush and his successor will have to remain 100% commited). After that, it is simply a question whether the democratic government of Iraq will survive, and whether other Middle Eastern nations will look at it and go, "Hmmmm..."
As they say in the military, "If it works, you're a hero, if it doesn't you're a bum." That's what Bush has committed to as his legacy, and we won't really know for years what the answer will be.
But abandoning the strategy now, or when the next president comes to office in 2009, would be like making 90% of all your house payments, and then refusing to pay the last 10% and having your home siezed. We've already paid the heaviest cost in blood and treasure. We have to see it through to the end and pray that it will have been worth it.
The only thing you should feel when shooting a terrorist: Recoil.