Interesting Article About the War

Choogy

Diabloii.Net Member
Interesting Article About the War

Op-Ed Columnist: The Home Team

February 8, 2004
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN


I was actually at the Super Bowl. Yup. And I too was upset
about the halftime show - but not just because of Janet
Jackson's antics. After the show ended, I said to my wife:
How can we present something to America and the world that
is this frivolous and gross when we have 115,000 U.S.
soldiers at war in Iraq, dying at one per day? I realize
this is irrational - there's no rule that says the Super
Bowl show must honor America's soldiers at war. But that
halftime show has become a kind of national moment and the
grotesque way it came out really captured what has bothered
me most about how this war is being conducted: The whole
burden is being borne by a small cadre of Americans - the
soldiers, their families and reservists - and the rest of
us are just sailing along, as if it has nothing to do with
us.

And what bothers me even more is that this dichotomy is
exactly what the Bush team wants. From the outset, it has
adopted the view that this war will be handled by the
Pentagon alone. We don't need the State Department and its
ideas about nation building. We don't need the U.N. We
don't need our traditional allies. And most of all, we
don't need the public. The message from the White House has
been: "You all just go about your business of being
Americans, pursuing happiness, spending your tax cuts,
enjoying the Super Bowl halftime show, buying a new Hummer,
and leave this war to our volunteer Army. No sacrifices
required, no new taxes to pay for this long-term endeavor,
and no need to reduce our gasoline consumption, even though
doing so would help take money away from the forces of
Islamist intolerance that are killing our soldiers. No, we
are so rich and so strong and so right, we can win this war
without anyone other than the armed forces paying any price
or bearing any burden."

This outlook is morally and strategically bankrupt. It is
morally bankrupt because 1 percent of America is carrying
the whole burden of this war. After the Super Bowl, I went
to Tampa to visit Centcom headquarters and Gen. John
Abizaid and his staff. They run the war in Iraq. I met many
soldiers there, from the women serving as analysts in the
intelligence center to the strategic planners just back
from Baghdad, who had been separated for months from their
families or knew comrades killed or wounded in Iraq.

Yet their morale, their professionalism and their belief in
this mission are still amazingly high. If you want the
antidote to all the creeps in that Super Bowl show, spend a
day at Centcom. I promise you, you will walk away with one
overriding feeling: We do not deserve these people. They
are so much better than the country and the administration
they are fighting for. We owe them so much more respect, so
much more sacrifice of our own and so much better
leadership from a Bush team whose real sin is not hyping
Saddam's threat, but sending Americans to remove him
without a plan for the morning after.

All I have to do is see what happened to the Kurds the
other day - this proud mountain people who have built a
nice little democracy and free market in northern Iraq,
only to have it suicide-bombed by Islamists - to be
reminded that this is a just war. It is a war of the forces
of tolerance, pluralism and decency against the forces of
intolerance, bigotry and religious fascism.

"But the great mistake of the neocons and this
administration," notes my friend George Packer, the New
Yorker writer who has done great reporting from Iraq, "was
to think that America could fight this war alone. We could
not win the cold war without our democratic allies abroad,
and without real sacrifice at home, and we cannot win this
one without both either. This is a huge, long-term war of
ideas that needs our public's participation and that of our
allies. But this administration has never summoned that."

We can defeat Saddam alone. But we can't build a decent
political center in Iraq alone. We don't have enough
legitimacy or staying power. We need to enlist all our
allies - including France, Germany and the U.N. Security
Council - in this titanic struggle. The Bush team has eaten
crow on W.M.D. The Europeans have eaten crow on Saddam.
It's time now to put the alliance that won the cold war
back together.

The antiwar left is wrong: however mangled was the Bush
road to war, it is a war for the values of our
civilization. But the Bush conservatives are also wrong. It
can't be won with an "idealism" that is selfish, greedy,
arrogant, incapable of self-criticism and believing that
all that matters is our will and power and nothing else.
Cant find the link...
 

AeroJonesy

Diabloii.Net Member
A rather honest opinion about the war that I think a lot of people share. War was justified, but Bush sucks. I've heard it before, although never this eloquently put.
 

Choogy

Diabloii.Net Member
Any other thoughts? General Agreement?
I thought is was just well put, and wanted to share.
 

dodomac

Diabloii.Net Member
As citizens, what else can we do but go on with our lives? In our mind we know there is a war going on, but how can it affect us if we don't have a direct link to the war (friend or family in the armed forces)? A tax or some other sacrifice would remind us of the magnitude of the war, but would ultimately be received as an annoyance. If this annoyance was great enough, the American public would have a "stake" in the war, wanting it to end. However, if more Americans want the war to end, would anti-war sentiment be received as anti-army or anti-Bush?
 
I don't like this idea that being against one particular war makes you generally anti-war and anti-everything-remotely-involved-in-war including the people fighting it and the people who initiated it. Why can't a bad decision just be a bad decision anymore?
 
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