Ah Ed! So much to respond to...I love it!
Ed fires: "Sure Saddam was being a pest and violating UN sanctions but when compared to the very serious and very real threats of Iran and North Korea who are violating many of the same sanctions, I think we could have dealt with Saddam differently for the time being.On the second part, I don't know how good an analogy it is to compare this war with Israel."
Phil returns fire: The difference between Iraq and the others (Iran, N Korea) is that Hussein (sorry, but I refuse to use that tyrant's first name!) had already invaded two other countries and was not showing any inclinations that he had learned NOT to. We very well might end up using the military option with Iran and N. Korea as well. Even a war dog like me believes we must use statesmanship first, before we use the attack card. Hussein was a heck of a lot worse than a "pest," by the way.
I use Israel as an example because they demonstrate two things:
1) The definition of "success." The Israelis might never completely end suicide attacks and other Islamic violence against them, YET they have won. They exist, and they are thriving. For defeatists (like Murtha and Boxer), every time a bomb goes off, they trumpet that event as proof of our impending doom. Most of us are made of sterner stuff than that.
2) Declaring defeat, or mission accomplished, as you say, and leaving.... That is not an option to Israelis since that would mean their end. Unless we return to the isolationism of the 1930s, we don't have that option either. If we call this effort in Iraq too hard and just leave, we might as well bring ALL our troops and citizens in from ALL over the world. That is unthinkable. We must stay engaged and fight this out, forever, if necessary. Quitting is not an option for us, just as it is not for the Israelis.
Phil: "Our job as keepers of Western Civilization is to keep the pressure on these idiots."
Ed fires: When did we ever sign up for that job? I think the reason many countries hate us is because we are the global cops. I'm all for letting countries unravel because they can't help themselves. I would love for the U.S. to become a neutral country."
Phil returns fire: Oh, there's no doubt that we ARE the keepers Ed. The entire free world and much of the rest of it looks to us whenever there is a "problem." Over most of the globe, just our very presence maintains order. We are the counterbalance. I can assure you that if we weren't out here in the Pacific that China would have already over run most of the Pacific, and that is not an exageration. No one signed us up, and we didn't sign up, it's just the way it is.
Whenever the U.N. is called on to intervene in any way, whether militarily or humanitarily, it doesn't happen without us. We have the wherewithal and no one else. I'm proud of the fact that we are the keepers. History placed us in this position. Do you think there would be a Western Civilization without us Ed? How would the world look today if we hadn't finally stepped in and defeated the evil that was sweeping the world in 1941? Heck yeah, we are the keepers!
I really don't care if other countries hate us. Why would I? People despise cops because they resent the authority and the power of the police. It's a natural reaction. I have felt rage against policemen because I felt like I was being picked on or unfairly stopped or disrespected, BUT, do I want to get rid of them? Of course not! Someone has to ride herd on the world. At this time in history we are the ones doing that. We are getting some help from the Aussies, the Brits, the Canadians, and sometimes NATO, but without our leadership you can bet they and others wouldn't be the least bit willing to get involved. Just like the cops, people bash us, but they still need us.
I must speak to your comment about letting countries "unravel." For many countries that might be of little consequence, but is it really? We can't be in all places at all times, but allowing anarchy free reign is not in our best interest and on all levels. The human suffering alone that comes from that unravelling is reason enough to step in when we can, or at least to support efforts to stop it. Being the world's first mega super power comes with a lot of responsibility and we can't just shrug that off.
Phil: "This sounds horrible, but as fast as they convert them and they attack us, we have people willing and able to mow them down." --
Ed fires: Where does it end?
Phil returns fire: You make my point again Ed. It MIGHT never end! The world is imperfect. There will always be evil. There will always be crime, and poverty, and despair. Do we quit because it all seems so endless? I hope not. For every foot that we pull back, our enemies will push forward a foot. Luckily, we have folks willing to push back and to keep pushing. Never say die. Semper Fi.
Phil: "The definition of that mission is being able to ensure that a democratic Iraq, friendly to the idea of tolerance to ALL nations regardless of their religious or secular persuasion, will be able to defend itself from the radicals."
Ed fires: When their religion teaches intolerance, how are we going to accomplish this mission short of converting them to Christianity? We can maybe accomplish the last part and seem to be making progress towards it but I just can't see the first part happening.
Phil returns fire: Such handwringing. There is plenty of reason to hope that not ALL Muslims subscribe to mindless and hateful intolerance. Most Iraqis want peace and prosperity. Most of them want the best for their children. We have defeated Islamic insurgency in the past you know. We accomplished it over almost a decade of fighting in Mindanao. It was a slug match and they were tough opponents, but we prevailed. As I said, the only way we lose is if we quit.
Your always welcome here buddy! I love inviting folks over for stimulating conversation. Unfortunately, most who come here think like I do. Maybe because we all tend to be ex-military, we've lived and served all over the world, and our similar experiences have made us similar. Let me know when you're coming and we'll get together. I look forward to it!