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Boy I agree with every word in this essay.  So much I'm putting it in my LJ so I'll always have access to it


You know: If America withdrew from Iraq and Afghanistan and exposed everyone who had cooperated with us to reprisals.

As happened in South Vietnam. The negotiated peace was more or less holding after American withdrawal. But then a Democratic Congress refused to authorize any further support for the South Vietnamese government. No more armaments. No more budget.

In other words, we forcibly disarmed our allies, while their enemies continued to be supplied by the great Communist powers. The message was clear: Those who rely on America are fools. We didn't even have the decency to arrange for the evacuation of the people who had trusted us and risked the most in supporting what they thought was our mutual cause.

We did it again, this time in the Muslim world, in 1991, when Bush Senior encouraged a revolt against Saddam. He meant for the senior military officers to get rid of him in a coup; instead, the common people in the Shiite south rose up against Saddam.

Bush Senior did nothing as Saddam moved in and slaughtered them. The tragedy is that all it would have taken is a show of force on our part in support of the rebels, and Saddam's officers would have toppled him. Only when it became clear that we would do nothing did it become impossible for any high-ranking officials to take action. For the price of the relatively easy military action that would have made Saddam turn his troops around and leave the Shiite south, we could have gotten rid of him then -- and had grateful friends, perhaps, in the Shiite south.

That is part of our track record: Two times we persuaded people to commit themselves to action against oppressive enemies, only to abandon them. Do you think that would-be rebels in Iran and Syria and North Korea don't remember those lessons?




November 06, 2006
The Only Issue This Election Day
By Orson Scott Card

There is only one issue in this election that will matter five or ten years from now, and that's the War on Terror.

And the success of the War on Terror now teeters on the fulcrum of this election.

If control of the House passes into Democratic hands, there are enough withdraw-on-a-timetable Democrats in positions of prominence that it will not only seem to be a victory for our enemies, it will be one.

Unfortunately, the opposite is not the case -- if the Republican Party remains in control of both houses of Congress there is no guarantee that the outcome of the present war will be favorable for us or anyone else.

But at least there will be a chance.

I say this as a Democrat, for whom the Republican domination of government threatens many values that I hold to be important to America's role as a light among nations.

But there are no values that matter to me that will not be gravely endangered if we lose this war. And since the Democratic Party seems hellbent on losing it -- and in the most damaging possible way -- I have no choice but to advocate that my party be kept from getting its hands on the reins of national power, until it proves itself once again to be capable of recognizing our core national interests instead of its own temporary partisan advantages.

To all intents and purposes, when the Democratic Party jettisoned Joseph Lieberman over the issue of his support of this war, they kicked me out as well. The party of Harry Truman and Daniel Patrick Moynihan -- the party I joined back in the 1970s -- is dead. Of suicide.

The "War on Terror"

I recently read an opinion piece in which the author ridiculed the very concept of a "war on terror," saying that it makes as much sense as if, after Pearl Harbor, FDR had declared a "war on aviation."

Without belaboring the obvious shortcomings of the analogy, I will agree with the central premise. The name "war on terror" clearly conceals the fact that we are really at war with specific groups and specific nations; we can no more make war on a methodology than we can make war on nitrogen.

However, there are several excellent reasons why "War on Terror" is the only possible name for this war.

1. This is not a war that can be named for any particular nation or region. To call it "The Iraq War" or the "Afghanistan War" would lead to the horrible mistake of thinking that victory would consist of toppling certain governments and then going home.

In fact, it is precisely the name "War in Iraq" that is leading to the deep misconceptions that drive the Democratic position on the war. If this were in fact a war on Iraq, then in one sense we won precisely when President Bush declared victory right after we occupied Baghdad. And in another sense, we might not see victory for another five years, or even a decade -- a decade in which Americans will be dying alongside Iraqis. For a "War in Iraq" to linger this way is almost too painful to contemplate.

But we are not waging a "War in Iraq." We are waging a world war, in which the campaigns to topple the governments of Iraq and Afghanistan were brilliantly successful, and the current "lukewarm" war demands great patience and determination from the American people as we ready ourselves for the next phase.

2. We cannot name this war for our actual enemies, either, because there is no way to name them accurately without including some form of the word "Islam" or "Muslim."

It is our enemies who want to identify this as a war between Islam and the West. If we allow this to happen, we run the risk of achieving the worst of all possible outcomes: The unification of one or both of the great factions of worldwide Islam under a single banner.

President Bush and his administration have shown their grasp of our present danger by stoutly resisting all attempts to rename this war. We call it a "War on Terror" because that allows us to cast it, not as a war against the Muslim people, with all their frustrations and hopes, but a war in which most Muslims are not our enemies at all.

That can be galling for many Americans. When, after the fall of the towers on 9/11, Palestinians and others poured into the streets, rejoicing, it was tempting to say, A plague on all of them!

But it is precisely those people -- the common people of the Muslim world, most of whom hate us (or claim to hate us, when asked by pollsters in police states) -- whom we must treat as if they were not our enemies. They are the ones we must win over for us to have any hope of victory without a bloodbath poured out on most of the nations of the world.

Nation Building

Another charge against the Bush administration's conduct of the war is that they are engaged in the hopeless task of "nation-building." And this is true -- except for the word "hopeless."

But what is the alternative? I've heard several, each more disastrous and impossible and even shameful than the one before.

In the New Testament, Jesus once used the analogy of a person who was possessed by a devil. When you cast out the devil, don't you leave an empty house, swept clean, to which seven devils will now come to live, making things worse than ever?

No matter which miserable dictatorship we moved against after the Taliban -- and we had no choice but to keep moving on if we were to eradicate the grave danger we faced (and face) -- we would have faced the same problem in Syria or Iraq or Sudan that we had in Afghanistan: We had to establish order in a nation that had never actually become a nation.

The boundaries on the ground in the Middle East were not formed in the traditional way -- by compromise or war. Instead, European powers drew lines that pleased their fancy. The lines did not create the hatreds that plague the region, but they guaranteed that traditional enemies would have to face each other within these boundaries.

It is in part because of the resulting chaos and oppression that groups like the Taliban and Al-Qaeda and the Shiite fundamentalists of Iran have been given an opportunity to offer the solution of returning to the core values of Islam -- as defined, of course, to their private advantage.

If we topple one government and then walk away, the result in any Middle Eastern nation would be civil war, and the probable winner would be the well-funded international terrorist groups that do not shrink from wholesale murder in pursuing their cause.

Just as Kerensky's attempt at a liberal government in revolutionary Russia was almost instantly snuffed out by Lenin's Bolshevik thugs in 1917, so also would any attempt at unified democratic government in Iraq, Iran, Syria, or Afghanistan be quickly converted into Islamo-fascism of one stripe or another.

And if that happened, Islamicist puritanism would be seen in every nation as the "wave of the future." Just as, when Nazi Germany was in the ascendant, the nations of southeastern Europe quickly made their accommodation with Hitler, since the alternative was to be swept away like Poland, France, or Yugoslavia, so also would nominally democratic nations adopt the trappings of Islamicism -- if they weren't already toppled by puritan revolutions from within.

Democracy -- the Other Hope

Wherever Islamicism has been tried, the result has been identical to Communism's miserable track record. The people are oppressed; the worst sort of vigilantes and thugs terrorize the population; the new power elite, regardless of their supposed piety and dedication to a holy cause, is quickly corrupted and comes to love the wealth and privileges of power.

When there is no hope of deliverance, the people have no choice but to bow under the tyrant's lash, pretending to be true believers while yearning for relief. In Russia it came ... after more than seventy years. China and Cuba are still waiting -- but then, they started later.

So it would be in the Muslim world -- if Islamicism were ever able to come to seem inevitable and irresistible.

You know: If America withdrew from Iraq and Afghanistan and exposed everyone who had cooperated with us to reprisals.

As happened in South Vietnam. The negotiated peace was more or less holding after American withdrawal. But then a Democratic Congress refused to authorize any further support for the South Vietnamese government. No more armaments. No more budget.

In other words, we forcibly disarmed our allies, while their enemies continued to be supplied by the great Communist powers. The message was clear: Those who rely on America are fools. We didn't even have the decency to arrange for the evacuation of the people who had trusted us and risked the most in supporting what they thought was our mutual cause.

We did it again, this time in the Muslim world, in 1991, when Bush Senior encouraged a revolt against Saddam. He meant for the senior military officers to get rid of him in a coup; instead, the common people in the Shiite south rose up against Saddam.

Bush Senior did nothing as Saddam moved in and slaughtered them. The tragedy is that all it would have taken is a show of force on our part in support of the rebels, and Saddam's officers would have toppled him. Only when it became clear that we would do nothing did it become impossible for any high-ranking officials to take action. For the price of the relatively easy military action that would have made Saddam turn his troops around and leave the Shiite south, we could have gotten rid of him then -- and had grateful friends, perhaps, in the Shiite south.

That is part of our track record: Two times we persuaded people to commit themselves to action against oppressive enemies, only to abandon them. Do you think that would-be rebels in Iran and Syria and North Korea don't remember those lessons?

Fortunately, there are other lessons as well: West Germany and Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, where liberated nations were protected. In the first two, we took on the task of nation building and transformed both political cultures into democracies. In the latter two, we tolerated strongman dictatorships for many years, but eventually we made it clear that it was time for democracy, and under our protective umbrella, the governments were transformed and oppression ended.

So ... which America is operating now in the Muslim world?

In Iraq and Afghanistan -- but especially Iraq -- President Bush is behaving according to America's best and most honorable tradition. We did not come to destroy, we came to liberate and rescue, he says -- by word and deed. We bring freedom and opportunity. Our money will help rebuild your devastated (or never built-up) economies; our expertise will help train your most talented people to be ready for prosperity and self-government; and our military will keep enemies from overwhelming you as you reinvent yourselves.

Instead of leaving an empty house, swept clean but unprotected, waiting for the devils of Islamic puritanism to come take over, President Bush has sworn that America will bring democracy, and that American soldiers will do their best to protect the decent, ordinary people until they are able to protect themselves.

The Competing Stories

Here's the story the Islamic puritans are telling: The West is full of terrible evils -- atheism, sexual filth of all kinds -- in defiance of God's will. So seductive are the wiles of Shaitan that many Muslims aspire to dress, act, and live like westerners. Only by turning to full enforcement of ancient Muslim law can Islam purify itself and resist the blandishments of the west. It's evil on one side, God on the other.

If all we had to answer them was Hollywood movies, politically correct anti-religious dogmas, and the other trappings of a West that is almost as decadent as the Islamicists claim, then we would only prove their point.

Instead, President Bush has offered something quite different. We don't want to turn you into mini-Americas, he says. We offer you, instead, democracy, in which you can choose for yourselves what parts of western culture to adopt. You will govern yourselves. It isn't a choice between wickedness and righteousness, it's a choice between freedom and oppression.

In other words, through nation-building, through the promise of democracy, Bush has created a rallying point with far stronger resonance than anything the Islamic puritans have to offer.

What is their program, after all? We'll take your sons and get them to blow themselves up in order to murder westerners! Forget the rhetoric -- Muslim parents are human beings, and there is nothing more devastating than to lose a child. The only consolation is when it seems to be in a noble cause. But because of President Bush's promise of democracy, the Muslim puritan cause does not seem noble to more and more Muslims.

Even if they live in countries (or neighborhoods) where they dare not speak up -- yet -- they do not want any of their children to die just so that the rest of them can live and suffer in slavery to a privileged, selfish class of elitist tyrants.

President Bush's story offers the common people hope of living decent lives and seeing their children live to adulthood, to grow old surrounded by grandchildren.

The Al-Qaeda, Ayatollah story promises them dead children and the lash.

There are, of course, fanatics who will embrace Islamic terrorism because they choose to blind themselves to the truth and embrace the noble-seeming lies of the tyrants. Al-Qaeda does not lack for recruits.

But it also does not lack for people who fear and hate them. There are few pro-Al-Qaeda demonstrations on the Arab street. The people remember the images of liberated Iraqis tearing down the images of Saddam. And they know -- because they have relatives and friends, they hear from merchants and travelers -- that in most of Iraq, there is freedom and prosperity like never before.

They're getting the story, at the level of gossip and personal anecdote, that the anti-American media -- you know, Al-Jazirah and the New York Times -- never report: The Americans really mean to give the Iraqis self-government.

You hear about the power outages in Iraq and it's always somehow Bush's fault. What nobody points out is that these outages come in places where Saddam barely offered electricity at all. The reason the new power systems can't cope is because the newly prosperous Iraqi people are buying -- and plugging in -- vast quantities of electrical appliances they could never afford to buy before! When a town that used to have two dozen refrigerators and washing machines now has two thousand of each, the old power supply is never going to do the job.

"Americans Won't Stay"

How do the Islamicist tyrants answer the obvious success and growing appeal of Bush's democracy program?

They kill people, of course.

But they also tell the story, over and over: "America will never stick it out. We'll keep killing Americans till they give up and go away, and then you will answer to us!"

Until they believe that the Islamofascists are never coming into power, many people will remain afraid to commit themselves to democracy.

Under those circumstances, the remarkable thing is how courageously the Shiites of the south have embraced democracy, and how many of them are beginning to trust that we mean what they say.

But against Bush's promises and the actions of our brave and decent soldiers, the tyrants can set the behavior of Bush's political opponents, who are doing their best to promote the propaganda of the tyrants. Every Congressman who says "We must set a timetable for departure" is providing ammunition to the tyrants in their campaign of terror.

Because even more than they fear terrorist bombs, the pro-democracy forces within Iraq and Afghanistan fear American withdrawal. Every speech threatening withdrawal is a bomb going off in Baghdad, killing, not people, but the will to resist the tyrants.

Bin Laden predicted it. The Democratic Party in America is following his script exactly.

Can We Win?

That is certainly not what most who call for withdrawal intend. They see Americans dying and they have no hope of victory. The Iraq War (as they call it) is costing lives and shows no sign of ending. Meanwhile, Iran is getting nuclear weapons, North Korea already has them, Syria and Iran are sponsoring continuing and escalating attacks on Israel -- how can we possibly "win" a war that threatens constantly to widen? Let's cut our losses, retire to our shores, and ...

And will you please stop and think for a moment?

There is no withdrawal to our shores. American prosperity requires free trade throughout most of the world. Free trade has depended for decades on American might. If we withdraw now, we announce to the world that if you just kill enough Americans, the big boys will go home and let you do whatever you want.

Every American in the world then becomes a target. And, because we have announced that we will do nothing to protect them, we will soon be trading only with nations that have enough strength to protect their own shores and borders.

Only ... what nations are those? Not Taiwan. If they saw us abandon Iraq, what conclusion could they reach except this one: They'd better accommodate with China now, when they can still get decent terms, than wait for America to walk away from them the way we walked away from Vietnam and Iraq.

We cannot win by going home. In a short time, "home" would become a very different place, as our own prosperity and safety steadily diminished. Isolationism is a dead end. If we lose our will to protect the things that support our own prosperity, then what can we expect but the end of that prosperity -- and of any vestige of safety, as well?

The frustrating thing is that if people would just look, honestly, at the readily available data from the Muslim world, they would realize that we are winning and that the course President Bush is pursuing is, in fact, the wisest one.

Mistakes

Critics of Bush love to cite the many "mistakes" his administration has made. Most of these "mistakes" are arguable -- are they mistakes at all? -- and when you sum up the others, with any kind of rational understanding of military history, the only possible conclusion is that this is the best-run war in history, with the fewest mistakes. And most of the mistakes we've made are the kind that become clear to morning-after quarterbacks but were difficult to avoid in the fog of war.

Worse yet, Bush's opponents invariably depict these mistakes as being the result of deliberately chosen policies -- a ludicrous charge, but one that is taken seriously by an astonishing number of people who should know better. The game, you see, is blame. It's not enough to say, Bush made a mistake. You have to say, Bush deliberately did it wrong for evil purposes and he must be punished.

But let's accept the fairy tale that this war has been badly run. That still does not change the fact that on all of the biggest points, Bush has made exactly the right choice -- and he has been the only one who has even seen the need to make those choices!

Take North Korea, for instance. Bush recognized instantly that North Korea, with China as its sponsor and protector, is simply beyond the reach of American power at this time. This will not always be true, but his administration is pursuing a careful, quiet, firm policy of diplomatic pressure on China to do what must be done to curb North Korean insanity.

What about Iran? The idea of a ground war in Iran -- especially when we're still fighting in Iraq -- seems impossible.

But it is also probably unnecessary. Because Iran's present government is not just hated, it is also losing its grip on power.

Not on the trappings of power -- they control the "elections" to such a point that nobody can be nominated without the approval of the ayatollahs.

But government power -- even in democracies -- depends absolutely on the will of the people to obey. And when you rule by tyranny and oppression, the obedience of the people comes from the credibility of the threat of violence from the government.

The obvious examples are Red Square in Moscow and Tiananmen Square in Beijing. In Moscow, when Yeltsin and the pro-democracy demonstrators defied the tanks, the Russian Army did not open fire. Why not? Either they refused to obey the order to shoot, or the order was not given -- but if it was not given, it was almost certainly because the tyrants knew that it would not be obeyed.

In other words, the government had lost the ability to inflict deadly force on its own population.

In Tiananmen Square, however, the government gave the order and the troops did fire. As a result, the tyranny continued -- and continues to this day.

Tyrannies only continue in power when they can give the order to kill their own people and be obeyed.

In Iran, there have been several incidents in the past months and years where troops refused to fire on demonstrators. This is huge news (virtually unreported in the West, of course), because of what it means: The ayatollahs' days are numbered.

If President Bush invaded Iran on the ground, bombing Iranian cities and killing Iranian soldiers, he would accomplish only what Hitler did by invading Russia -- uniting an oppressed people in support of a hated tyrant.

But, as was pointed out in a pair of excellent analytical pieces in the most recent Commentary magazine, we don't have to do anything of the kind.

Oil Is Our Weapon, Too

Iran's ace-in-the-hole is not its nuclear weapon -- in their rational moments, even the most rabid of the ayatollahs must understand that if they ever used (or allowed someone else to use) a nuclear weapon, we would destroy them, period. That nuke is meant only as a deterrent -- it can't be used any other way -- and while there's a remote chance that Iran might allow their nukes to be put into the hands of some terrorist group, it would have to be a group they control absolutely. In other words, it would not be Al-Qaeda. (Though Hezbollah would be bad enough.)

The real threat from Iran is their ability to shut down the Persian Gulf and cut off the world's supply of oil from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, and the Gulf nations.

That would not really bother the United States -- gas prices would shoot up on the open market, of course, but we can get by on oil provided by non-Gulf sources.

Not so for the rest of the world, though. And Iran is poised, with small boats and thousands of missiles, to shut down all oil production and transportation in the Persian Gulf.

What few seem to realize (according to the article in Commentary) is that Iran is far more dependent on oil revenues than we are on getting their oil. When President Bush determines that he has given the Iranians ample chance to demonstrate to the few rational statesmen left in Europe that there is no possibility of meaningful negotiations with the tyrants of Tehran, his obvious course of action is to shut down Iranian power in the gulf and seize their oil assets.

If we strike first, we can eliminate their ability to do mischief in the gulf quite readily. Their forces, however numerous, are pathetically vulnerable. Unlike their dispersed and shielded nuclear development capability, their military forces in the gulf are in obvious and accessible positions.

So are their own oil assets. They are as dependent on the Gulf to reach the world oil market as any of their neighbors. If we seize their oil platforms, destroy their shipping, and impose an absolute blockade on Iranian shipping in the Gulf -- while eliminating their ability to damage anybody else's shipping -- how long do you think the tyranny would remain in power?

Here's a hint: They'd run out of money very, very quickly.

Here's another hint: Their military is already refusing to obey their most outrageous orders. When the military finds themselves saddled with a government that has brought the destruction of most of their oil revenues, all because of their insane determination to take on the United States, how long before the ayatollahs are arrested and sent home? Or else made irrelevant by placing a "committee of public safety" above them, to veto their decisions and make peace with the West?

Maybe it wouldn't turn out that way. But it's our best chance -- and that's the chance that Bush is obviously preparing for. He has made no attempt to prepare the American people for an invasion of Iran. But he has made it crystal clear that Iranian misbehavior will not be tolerated -- and that regime change is the desired outcome.

If Iran's ayatollahs were toppled, how long would Syria continue to misbehave? Answer: About fifteen minutes. Syria is a poor country. They are only able to make trouble because they have Iran's support.

Shiites and Sunnis

Here's the other asset we have that no one seems to take into account when judging Bush's conduct of the War on Terror: We are really caught up in an ancient civil war between Shiites and Sunnis.

Al-Qaeda on the Sunni side and Iran's ayatollahs on the Shiite side have both been playing the same game all along. They don't seriously think that they can conquer the United States (yet) -- so why have they been provoking us?

Because they're belling the cat. Or poking the bull with sticks. Why? Because they are performing on the stage of world Islam, putting on rival plays. Both plays have the same message: Look, we're the heroes who have God on our side, because we're the ones who have provoked the great Shaitan and gotten away with it!

Iran's Shiites had the upper hand for quite a while, bringing down one U.S. President (Carter) and getting another -- tough-guy Reagan -- to withdraw the Marines from Lebanon and then come begging to Iran's door in his stupid, cowardly arms-for-hostages deal.

Then Al-Qaeda had the upper hand in their play, showing the Muslim world that it was the Sunnis who were blowing up American boats and embassies and, finally, the twin towers in New York City itself.

It's all theatre. It's all an effort by Bin Laden to restore the Caliphate with himself, of course, as Caliph -- spiritual dictator of the Muslim world. The goal? Not just to unite Sunni Islam under a Caliph again, but to then make war on and crush Shiite resistance. That is the prize. Only when it is won would a united Islam be ready to conquer the rest of the world, finishing the task that was left unfinished by previous waves of Muslim conquest.

Meanwhile, Iran's ayatollahs are trying to show the Muslim world that it is they, the Shiite leaders, who have God on their side. That was what the recent campaign in Lebanon was all about -- to steal the glory back from Al-Qaeda.

But wait. It's even more complicated than that. Because there are other divisions within the Muslim world. Iraqi Shiites have no love for, and do not accept the authority of, the Persian clerics. Arabic-speaking Shiites have no desire to have Farsi-speaking Shiites rule over them.

So we have an amazingly convoluted situation in the middle east. Iran and its puppet, Syria, are cooperating support of the Sunni resistance in Iraq. Why? It's not because Syria's rulers are nominally Baathist as Saddam was -- Baathism is dead. Instead, it's the ancient tribalism that is at the fore. Syria's rulers are members of a tiny religious minority that is an offshoot of Shia, and thus they help Iran maintain access to its Shiite allies in Lebanon partly in order to shore up their own position vis-a-vis their own mostly-Sunni population.

So why are these Shiites and crypto-Shiites supporting the Sunnis in Baghdad?

Because anything that keeps America distracted is good for them. And if the Americans do pack up and go home, then the Shiites can claim the victory -- even though it's mostly Sunnis who are blowing themselves up in Israel and Baghdad.

Besides, the Sunni insurgents in Iraq are keeping the Iraqi Shiites off balance. The last thing the Iranian ayatollahs want is for Iraq to become a democratic nation with a Shiite majority, because at that moment it will be the Iraqi Shiite leaders who will have the most credibility as leaders of the Shiite wing of Islam.

So the leadership of the Iraqi Shiites are perceived as rivals by the ayatollahs of Iran. Thus the Iranians support the Iraqi Shiites' enemies -- providing the weapons that are used to murder Shiites in Iraq.

It's an astonishingly twisted game -- and as long as we don't do anything really, really stupid, like withdrawing from Iraq, all these various treacheries will inevitably lead to the fall of the tyrants in Iran, and therefore in Syria, and therefore the taming of Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Bush's game is to keep from letting any of these faction unite, while preparing to deliver strategic blows that can bring down the ayatollahs at relatively little cost.

Every action has repercussions. Just as our withdrawal from Iraq would terrify and silence our allies everywhere, and embolden our enemies, so also would the fall of the ayatollahs -- particularly if it is as the result of an American intervention in the Gulf -- make waves everywhere. Democracy would be perceived as the wave of the future. Our friends in many countries would feel free to speak up for democracy and pro-American policies -- and their enemies would be afraid to silence them.

North Korea might go through a paroxysm of defiance -- but they would still understand the lesson. America will not be bullied by tyrants. We will stand for democracy, destroying our enemies at the "time and place of our choosing." Negotiations with North Korea would instantly take on a very different tone; and China's attitude, too, would become considerably more cooperative with us.

This is the victory that awaits us -- and it remains possible for two reasons only:

1. America's brilliant, brave, and well-trained military, which projects not just power but decency and compassion wherever our soldiers go, and

2. President George W. Bush, who, regardless of his critics and detractors, has steadfastly pursued the only course that holds the hope of victory without plunging us into a worldwide war with a united Islam or isolating America in a world torn by chaos.

Those are the scylla and charybdis that threaten us on either hand. If we do not win this containable war now, following the plan President Bush has set forth, we will surely end up fighting far bloodier wars for the next generation.

And the rhetoric of this election proves that we have precious few politicians in either party who have the brains, will, or courage to be taken seriously as alternatives to George W. Bush in the guidance of our nation through this dangerous, complicated world.

If we, the American people, are stupid enough to give control of either or both houses of Congress to the Democratic Party in this election, we will deserve the world we find ourselves in five years from now.

But Bush, being the wise and moderate politician that he is, may actually be able to continue his foreign policy despite the opposition of a Democratic Congress.

What really scares me is the 2008 election. The Democratic Party is hopeless -- only clowns seem to be able to rise to prominence there these days, while they boot out the only Democrats serious about keeping America's future safe. But the Republicans are almost equally foolish, trying to find somebody who is farther right than Bush -- somebody who will follow the conservative line far better than the moderate Bush has ever attempted -- and somebody who will "kick butt" in foreign policy.

So if we get one of the leading Democrats as our new President in 2009, we'll be on the road to pusillanimous withdrawal and the resulting chaos in the world.

While if we elect any of the Republicans who are extremist enough to please the Hannity wing of the party, our resulting belligerence will likely provoke Islam into unifying behind one of the tyrants, which is every bit as terrifying an outcome.

I hope somebody emerges in one of the parties, at least, who commits himself or herself to continuing Bush's careful, wise, moderate, and so-far-successful policies in the War on Terror.

Meanwhile, we have this election. You have your vote. For the sake of our children's future -- and for the sake of all good people in the world who don't get to vote in the only election that matters to their future, too -- vote for no Congressional candidate who even hints at withdrawing from Iraq or opposing Bush's leadership in the war. And vote for no candidate who will hand control of the House of Representatives to those who are sworn to undo Bush's restrained but steadfast foreign policy in this time of war.

First appeared in print in The Rhinoceros Times, Greensboro, NC
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( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
smoemeth
Nov. 7th, 2006 09:00 pm (UTC)
Wow.

I don't agree with a single word in this screed, and my blood pressure is through the roof just reading it. The future of America, and quite possibly the world, depends upon ending this war as quickly as possible. That's why this election is the most important midterm one so far in our lifetime. If the Democrats don't retake Congress and bring back the checks and balances that our government was built upon, and rebuild our Constitution again after it has been so completely dismantled in the past 5+ years, all may be truly lost.

But that's the beauty of democracy, isn't it? Differing opinions and points of view coexisting, and the people having the final say. (Well, where they are allowed to, anyway -- the disenfranchisement stories are already proliferating today in alarming numbers.)

No matter your political stripe, GET OUT THERE AND VOTE TODAY. Democracy: use it or lose it.
new_iconoclast
Nov. 7th, 2006 09:27 pm (UTC)
Hyperbole aside . . .
The future of America, and quite possibly the world, depends upon ending this war as quickly as possible.

I was opposed to starting the war, and I go back and forth on how to end it. Getting out is not nearly as easy as getting in, and I agree with Card in one major respect - having gotten into Vietnam, we got out and ultimately cut support in a craven and despicable manner. I hear opponents of the Iraq war say what you have said above all the time, but not one of them - not one - can ever tell me coherently why that statement is true. Asking "why?" usually unleashes a wild anti-Bush rant or some other irrelevancy. Can you explain it, calmly and without resorting to what a world-class asshole the President is? Because I'd really like to believe it, but I don't think this war is quite that big a deal.
smoemeth
Nov. 7th, 2006 10:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Hyperbole aside . . .
First, I think everyone should read last week's Newsweek cover story, which presents a clear and logical plan for how to salvage what we can in Iraq without leaving it high and dry.

Second, this is a classic Orwellian war without end. "War on Terror", as Card conceded, might as well be "War on Nitrogen", for all the concrete sense that makes. Terrorism has been with us for as long as humans have gathered together in some semblance of civilization, and the simple fact is that it's not going away.

The US occupation of Iraq has been an incredible boon to the recruitment efforts of Al-Qaeda and other radical Islamist groups. This war has created more terrorists than it could ever hope to destroy. Extremists are like the mythical hydra: chop off one head, and two regrow to take its place.

But that's not the only problem. Since the removal of Saddam Hussein from power in the total absence of a US plan to secure the country for the long haul, Iraq has slid into a sectarian civil war. Hussein was a brutal despot, there's no doubt about that, but one thing his rule did was keep the Sunnis and Shi'ites in Iraq off each other's throats. Now this centuries-old conflict (that makes the "troubles" in Northern Ireland look like a playground scuffle) has flared up again. Sectarian violence in Iraq could well spread beyond its borders, particularly if refugees flee to already-unstable countries like Syria and Iran.

How bad could things get? Well, we already know that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, but they're not the only country in the region wanting to go there. The longer the United States stays occupying Iraq and fomenting anti-Western sentiment in the region, the more in danger we all become.

That's why this war is doomed to go on for a very, very long time if we don't take concrete steps to end it now. Iraq's Sunnis and Shi'ites need to be given their own space so their civil war doesn't go nuclear (literally), and the US needs to let them autonomously control their own destiny. And on a broader level, we need to look at why the extremists hate Western civilization in general, and American imperalism in particular. If America stops trying to rule the world, the rest of the world just might be happier to let us peacefully coexist.
fallenpegasus
Nov. 8th, 2006 12:22 am (UTC)
Re: Hyperbole aside . . .
You seem to think that doing this will end the war, either in Iraq, or in the world.

And if you don't think there is a war, you're an idiot.

And if you think the US started it, you're a bigger idiot.
tiwonge
Nov. 7th, 2006 09:06 pm (UTC)
I was listening to the radio, and they said much the same thing about Nicaragua. We supported the Contras against the Sandinistas, but once the Contras came to power, we didn't support them. They couldn't do much without our support, and conditions never really improved. And now? Ortega's about to be elected.
(Deleted comment)
jatg
Nov. 7th, 2006 09:52 pm (UTC)
First of all, having lived in Canada, I have no illusions about how nice and polite Candians are. ;)

1. The whole "Bush lied" cannard needs to be laid to rest. Faulty intelligence is not the same as lying. Nobody was screaming that Clinton or Blair or anybody else was lying when they looked at the intelligence and determined the exact same thing.

How many UN resolutions was Saddam breaking before the US and its allies went in?

The nations infrastructure is doing remarkably well in spite of everything happening in Iraq. Do you know how many new businesses have been created in Iraq since Saddam fell? Did you know over 25% of all the newly elected offices (in elections that naysayers said would never happen) are seats held by WOMEN?

...and some of the worst abuses of human rights in the last 50 years? Give me a freakin' break. Talk to the thousands of his own people Saddam had tortured & killed. Last I checked Pres. Bush wasn't executing the soccer team for having a poor showing or employing professional rapists.

The worst thing happening to the prisoners at Club Gitmo is they're gaining on average about 20 lbs while they're there.

What I find amusing is the slogan I hear from the left is "No WAR (unless a democrat is president.)

The biggest reason we're in this mess is the US hasn't cleaned up after itself in the past. Summarily pulling out would leave a disaster beyond reckoning. Islamofascists don't like Canadians either.

clymerchick
Nov. 7th, 2006 10:26 pm (UTC)
Faulty intelligence is not the same as lying- HOWEVER, cherry picking your "intelligence" and manipulating it IS.

Read the Downing Street Memo.
smoemeth
Nov. 7th, 2006 11:01 pm (UTC)
The whole "Bush lied" cannard needs to be laid to rest. Faulty intelligence is not the same as lying. Nobody was screaming that Clinton or Blair or anybody else was lying when they looked at the intelligence and determined the exact same thing.

Not faulty intelligence: falsified intelligence.

No one denies that up until 1991 Saddam Hussein did have (and used) chemical weapons. (The joke that "Of course we know Saddam had WMDs -- we still have the receipts" isn't really that funny in context.) But the fact is that the First Gulf War destroyed most of whatever arsenal Iraq had, and what may have survived wasn't replaced and would have been rendered useless over time by the late '90s.

Oh, and just a few of Bush's other lies...

Do you know how many new businesses have been created in Iraq since Saddam fell?

No ... do you?

How does that explain the almost 50% unemployment rate around Baghdad (national average: 27%)?

Did you know over 25% of all the newly elected offices (in elections that naysayers said would never happen) are seats held by WOMEN?

This doesn't shed light on the true plight of women in Iraq today.

Prior to the US occupation, women walked around freely, dressed as they wanted, attended the university of their choice, and held all sorts of professional jobs. Now,

The sight of Iraqi women walking in the streets of Baghdad is now rare, as is the sight of a woman behind the steering wheel of a car. Thousands of Iraqis have prevented their daughters from returning to schools and universities. Others allow them to attend, but accompany them to the institutions which are guarded by armed security personnel. With some fatwas having been issued by Islamist clergymen decreeing that women should don the hijab, those women courageous enough to want to return to work are unsure of how to proceed out of fear of retribution. (full article)

Last I checked Pres. Bush wasn't executing the soccer team for having a poor showing or employing professional rapists.

No ... just destroying the Geneva Conventions and turning America into a torture state. Baby steps.

The worst thing happening to the prisoners at Club Gitmo is they're gaining on average about 20 lbs while they're there.

OK, this one renders me almost speechless.

Just one example of many

What I find amusing is the slogan I hear from the left is "No WAR (unless a democrat is president.)

For the record, I am a pacifist across the board. I protested Clinton's Sudan bombings, and wore out printer cartridges writing to the White House and my Congressional delegation speaking out against every military operation that took place between 1992-2000. No War. Period.

(Also for the record, I am only a registered Democrat so I could vote against Joe Lieberman in the Connecticut primary this summer. I plan to switch back to Unaffiliated as soon as I can. I don't believe in political parties -- people should be forced to think for themselves.)
saladbar
Nov. 7th, 2006 09:21 pm (UTC)
Orson is under the illusion that Bush is some Master Strategerist with a master plan for Iraq and that we are winning hearts and minds by the millions across the Muslim world. I think he should stick to his science fiction writing (and not call himself a Democrat)!
jatg
Nov. 7th, 2006 09:44 pm (UTC)
I think he should stick to his science fiction writing (and not call himself a Democrat)!

Wow. How incredibly open and tolerant to different ideas you are.

I'm curious what exactly in Card's essay you disagree with because he seems have his history nailed down pretty darn well.

Reasons for going into the war aside... it's not just a simple matter of pulling out and all will be well in the world. Summarily pulling out would be a disaster far worse than going in in the first place.

At anyrate, yay for opinions and voting.
saladbar
Nov. 7th, 2006 10:21 pm (UTC)
How am I intolerant for stating my opinion? Historical I respect the guys opinions fine, but his unwavering jingoistic attidute toward Bush I find embarrassing.

He thinks we should stay the course, that is arguable, I'm not really going to argue that. I think we are doomed if we stay, doomed if we leave. Yet Iraq seems uncapable for the long run of defending themselves. How long do we stay? Forever is too long for me.

Exactly in Card's essay I disagree with? Not everything, but a few points here make me think he is delusional:

In other words, through nation-building, through the promise of democracy, Bush has created a rallying point with far stronger resonance than anything the Islamic puritans have to offer.

Promise of democracy? A rallying point? He seems to think occupation of Iraq is winning hearts and minds by the millions across the Muslim world. It is not. All information points to the contrary. I can cite those if you want when I get off of work.

The reason the new power systems can't cope is because the newly prosperous Iraqi people are buying -- and plugging in -- vast quantities of electrical appliances they could never afford to buy before!<./em>

He thinks they keep buying electrical devices even though they don't have any power to run them? Cite please.

Most of these "mistakes" are arguable -- are they mistakes at all? -- and when you sum up the others, with any kind of rational understanding of military history, the only possible conclusion is that this is the best-run war in history, with the fewest mistakes.

A few mistakes? Best run war in history? Do I seriously have to argue this? We would be greeted as Liberators? Iraq would "pay for itself"? Has this happened? Has this plan worked? Generals are retiring and going against the man, now, how can that be considered best run war?

Bush, being the wise and moderate politician that he is, may actually be able to continue his foreign policy despite the opposition of a Democratic Congress.

Wise and "MODERATE"? You believe Bush is a moderate? And why if he has felt this way about Democrats since Vietnam yet he still continues to insist he is one?

jatg
Nov. 8th, 2006 12:07 am (UTC)
How am I intolerant for stating my opinion?

Well, mostly because you dismissed his opinion with a "stick to writing science fiction." You want respect for your political opinion, don't cavalierly dismiss others.

From the Iraqi blogs I read, most of them are paranoid that the US is going to pull out and leave them to their fates from the "Islamic puritans." Until they're sure we're not going to leave (like the US has done before) of course they're going to cower.

There are a lot of things Bush is moderate on to the point it's really ticked off his base. The big issue though, no he's not...but then there never really has been a "Great Moderates in History."

Here's the thing... I enjoy talking politics but generally on other people's LJ, I figure, it's their space, they can say what they want. F'instance I quietly held my tongue when you waxed orgasmic over how much you missed Bill Clinton.

My fault...I should have said, "I'm keeping this for my own records and it's my LJ."

Maybe I should really tick people off and write about how I think Bush is going to be viewed as one of the greater presidents in US history and one of the great leaders of the world and did what he thought was right in the face of severe public criticism instead of appeasing and passing the problem on to future generations. Like Lincoln & Churchill and Truman.

saladbar
Nov. 8th, 2006 03:51 am (UTC)
I read it over and that was my opinion. If I had said "I'm not reading it" that would be cavalierly dismissing it because of his reputation.

You were more than welcome to state your opinion on Bill Clinton when I wrote about him. I fully understand posting something publically is equivalent to pulling ones pants down. So I shouldn't respond to your political posts? That's OK, but you should have made that clear that you didn't want dissenting opinions.

Just please, please, don't compare BUsh to Lincoln.
deronimo
Nov. 8th, 2006 04:14 am (UTC)
Maybe I should really tick people off and write about how I think Bush is going to be viewed as one of the greater presidents in US history and one of the great leaders of the world and did what he thought was right in the face of severe public criticism instead of appeasing and passing the problem on to future generations. Like Lincoln & Churchill and Truman.

bwhahahaha! You went and did it.
deronimo
Nov. 8th, 2006 06:23 pm (UTC)
Have you even read his books?!
deronimo
Nov. 7th, 2006 11:50 pm (UTC)
Thank you, for posting this Jett!!
I hate war, but I agree with Mr. Card's writing.
Mind if I also put it in my journal?
jatg
Nov. 7th, 2006 11:53 pm (UTC)
Sure...it's not my essay!

(and thanks for making me feel I don't just have moonbats on my flist) ;)M/i>
deronimo
Nov. 8th, 2006 04:12 am (UTC)
I know! Suddenly this venom aimed at Jett. What's with that?
saladbar
Nov. 8th, 2006 05:07 am (UTC)
WHen and where was venom aimed at her specifically?
deronimo
Nov. 8th, 2006 06:23 pm (UTC)
What you're saying is that all your venom was aimed at Card and Bush.

"So I shouldn't respond to your political posts? That's OK, but you should have made that clear that you didn't want dissenting opinions."- Your Quote. Not exactly a kind thing to say, when a few posts before that she posted
"At anyrate, yay for opinions and voting."

You've got a very harsh and angry tone in every single post. Whether or not you meant Jett in your crossfire, you don't seem to mind.
saladbar
Nov. 8th, 2006 06:31 pm (UTC)
I can not fathom how you see that as angry. Probably not kind, but not mean spirited, and, yes, the harshness was aimed at Card. I just want clarification on how to act in the future FOR HER. I won't debate her if she doesn't want to. I don't really want to debate unless the other person feels fine with it. If she wants to be able to post this in her LJ without my comment I am very respectful of that, I just need for her to clarify AND I WILL DO WHAT SHE WANTS because politics is only one tiny part of a person. How you possibly can see that as venom? Venom would something far different, believe me.

deronimo
Nov. 8th, 2006 06:58 pm (UTC)
If you don't see anything you posted as having angry overtones, I'd hate to see you angry!

Anyhow, sorry if you yourself felt attacked. I adore Jett and don't like anything said to her unkindly.
saladbar
Nov. 8th, 2006 07:03 pm (UTC)
I don't think you can correctly read overtones in helvetica type. I never felt attacked and never wished to attack her personally.

However, I am glad Jett has someone defending her so. It is good to have people like that on your side.
kimnrowdy
Nov. 8th, 2006 12:40 am (UTC)
Irregardless of if we should pull out of this war or not, the biggest problem with the current presidency is that they have been unable to adequately communicate to us, the American People, what we need to know about this war. So much of this boils down to horrible communication. The members of the military understand what is required of them, but the American people have no clue. I think that is the cause for so much disagreement on this entire issue.
elanswer
Nov. 8th, 2006 07:03 am (UTC)
Mr. Card has a great argument going there, and some of his observations are spot-on. However, many of his opinions seem to be based upon things he may believe to be factual, but in fact are not.

I just kinda wanted to call him on that, and I suppose to remind folks to take everything with a grain of salt (or sand).
pixiepilot
Nov. 8th, 2006 07:16 pm (UTC)
It's a bit late, but Jett, thank you for posting this. I read it and was so happy it had been written. As for many of the false claims Democrats and other liberals like to throw around, most of them are neatly answered in this fantastic essay by Bill Whittle. A few snippets for the interested:

"Here is a pretty decent encapsulation of what both Republicans and Democrats had to say about Saddam and WMD’s. You will find Bush’s and Rumsfeld’s rhetoric somewhat less adamant and warlike that that of Mr. and Mrs. Clinton, John Kerry, John Edwards, Al Gore, Robert Byrd, Nancy Pelosi, Hans Blix, Madeline Albright, Sandy Berger and all the rest. These were elected representatives who studied the same intelligence that the White House did, and came to the same conclusion.

"Unfortunately for them, Al Gore in his unbridled enthusiasm went and invented the Internet, and so now there is a record of what they said and when, available to the great unwashed masses. It shows a group of people deeply concerned about what was a pressing threat to this country. And now, almost all of them claim they were lied to? Are they capable of reading intelligence reports themselves, or did Bush have to read it to them aloud, with them seated at his knee in My Pet Goat fashion, skipping the parts he didn’t think would make a good sell? Some people say that they did not get the same intelligence that Bush got. To the degree that is or isn’t true, the record shows that it was the more outlandish claims that were not included, so that the intelligence that led them to come out against Saddam and in favor of military action was less provocative than the intelligence the President and Secretaries of State and Defense saw." (Emphasis mine.)


"On the day of the last Iraqi elections -- the day they ratified the constitution the press said these people would never ratify -- CNN's lead story was about nasty rain showers sweeping the southeast. About these historic elections there was heard not a peep.

"Iraqi TV has a version of American Idol. Did you know that? They produce hundreds of hours of comedies, game shows – all that stuff. Sounds a little arcane for Iraq, you say? A little normal? That’s because people who believe they are smarter than you have decided that such stories of hope and success do not fit the narrative needed to teach you poor ignorant slobs the lesson that you are supposed to be learning, and that lesson is that George Bush is a murderer while Saddam was a statesman, and that Iraq is a failure fueled by the blood of poor, innocent, child-like soldiers too stupid to realize that they are dying to line the pockets of Halliburton.

"My critical thinking skills, such as they are, tell me that you might be able to corral an army and send it over there under such false pretenses. What I cannot explain is why so many people in the military re-up, two or three or four times, to go back and fight for this oil-soaked lie that people here maintain is the truth, despite what the people who have actually been over there have to say about it.

"This is an all-volunteer military. Why would so many of these people keep returning to such danger, and put themselves and their families at such terrible risk, for a lie or a mistake?"

The rest of it is just as informative and lays a lot of the well-used (and over used), baseless complaints this administrations' detractors have to rest. It's a very good read.
jatg
Nov. 8th, 2006 10:41 pm (UTC)
Phew... like I said to another commenter above...thanks for making me feel like my flist isn't full of moonbats. ;)

It's going to be an interesting next 2 years, that's for sure!

I don't think the Dems won this election so much as the Republicans LOST. The whole conservative base is so ticked at the party in general... what happened to the gang of 94 and the Contract With America?!
pixiepilot
Nov. 9th, 2006 05:52 pm (UTC)
It's true. I'm not happy with the Republicans for dropping the ball and being dang irresponsible fiscally. I'm still hoping for a good next two years where they can really overhaul Social Security before it dies under it's own weight, as well as sink a lot of social spending that just isn't the job of the government. The last really big thing is a judiciary that's actually does it's job instead of trying to be the legislature as well. We'll see what we can still get done, I guess. ^_^
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