Thursday, June 29, 2006

Ed Abbey Fires Back and I Return Fire . . .

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!


Ed said...

Round Two

Iraq invaded two countries before the first war which was before Iran and North Korean became theats. At the time of this war, Saddam was simply being a pest while the two afore mentioned countries were theats.

My definition of winning is being able to go to a cafe or use a bus without worrying if it will be my last act. Israel hasn't won by my definition. They built a wall to prevent the enemy from attacking and as recent events show, even that hasn't worked. We don't have the option of building a wall around Iraq.

I've never said that we shouldn't look after our own best interests when it comes to global affairs. World War II was in our best interest and I was for that. Afghanistan was in our best interest and I was for that. Somalia, Darfor, other African crisis, and many of our troops scattered around the globe are no longer in our best interest. Bring them home, give them a beer and give them a useful job that is in the best interest of the country like guarding our borders. Note that I did not say bring home the troops from Iraq. Although I think going there this last time wasn't in our best interest, fixing up what we broke so it doesn't continue to be a breeding ground for terrorism is.

PhilippinesPhil said...

And as Billy O says, I'll give you the last word....for now.

Ed said...

Is it wrong to say that you are the light of my day when we get into these discussions? You remind me a lot of a college chum that used to hang out with me in the student union when we had a couple hours to kill between classes. We debated endlessly and rarely agreed on anything other than we loved our debates.

PhilippinesPhil said...

You would have loved it here last night... had a couple buds over and we talked way into the night... My retired navy diver pal feels exactly as you do about the war in Iraq, or close to it.. He tells me he's merely trying to "recalibrate" me. Before we knew it, it was almost 2300! Time flies when your having fun!

Nick Ballesteros said...

Just dropping in to say, I met this Italian guy whose booth was beside ours in a recent Cisco Systems seminar. He served the Marines as part of their computer network security adminstration. He was a jolly fellow who is either in California, Hawaii, or Cebu. He was such a nice fellow that when it was his turn to do his presentation on network security and he was being introduced, I was surprised that he once served the military.

Anyways, good to be back here. Quite hectic at the office these days.

PhilippinesPhil said...

Your funny Wat! You were surprised that he was such a pleasant jolly fellow because he had been a Marine? I'm still chuckling Wat.... I hope from now on, when you think of Marines, you remember that happy personable guy from the presentatiion. Hey, you shouldn't have been surprised, Marines are good guys! (Just ask any Marine; he'll tell ya!)

It's also typical that the guy was originally Italian, that's America! We are YOU! Unless, he was an Italian Marine; do they even have them?

I hope your being busy at the office is a good thing...job security?

Starling said...


I enjoyed reading this conversation between you and Ed. As someone living and teaching in the Middle East, albeit at an American univeristy, I can aver that not all Muslims "subscribe to mindless and hateful intolerance." My opinion is that such people are a minority, a vocal one, but a minority who would gladly impose their will anyone who opposes them.

Ed said...

I wish I had been there Phil. I'm in need of a good political oriented chat right now. Most of my friends are brain washed by their respective parties and refuse to be questioned as to why they believe something they have been told. I, on the other hand, question everything I'm told.