A Senator Who Actually Knows His Rump From a Foxhole Tells The Truth About The War
He's also a combat veteran who retired as a colonel after 37 years in the Marine Corps, during which he earned the Bronze Star, two purple hearts, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. Because of his expert and firsthand understanding of military issues, he's particularly well-respected by the military brass themselves.
Here's what he recently -- literally with tears in his eyes -- said about Iraq:
"The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion. The American public is way ahead of us. The United States and coalition troops have done all they can in Iraq, but it is time for a change in direction. Our military is suffering. The future of our country is at risk. We cannot continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf Region. ...
For two and a half years, I have been concerned about the U.S. policy and the plan in Iraq. I have addressed my concerns with the Administration and the Pentagon and have spoken out in public about my concerns. The main reason for going to war has been discredited. ...
I have been visiting our wounded troops at Bethesda and Walter Reed hospitals almost every week since the beginning of the War. And what demoralizes them is going to war with not enough troops and equipment to make the transition to peace; the devastation caused by IEDs; being deployed to Iraq when their homes have been ravaged by hurricanes; being on their second or third deployment and leaving their families behind without a network of support."
Neoprogressivism should have a platform plank identical to that advocated by George Washington and by old-school conservatives and the original Progressives: that we maintain an overwhelmingly strong military capacity, and do everything in our power not to use it.
Support the troops? Not by cutting the per-troop funding of the VA. Not by stretching them too thin and sending them back for second, third, fourth, even fifth tours of duty. Not by abandoning their families at home. And never, not ever, sending them to war based on false pretenses, or without a clearly defined mission and exit strategy.
(In a comment to an earlier post, OsakaJack asks where Colin Powell is. The last sentence above is the Powell Doctrine. No one in this administration can articulate what our mission and exit strategy are. Powell wasted his tremendous credibility making a false case for war before the U.N., then was driven out of an administration that chose not to follow his advice on how wars should be conducted. He's embarrassedly licking his wounds, wondering how he went from being the potential first black President, to being the goat. That's where he is, and it's his own damned fault.)
I'd love for someone to disagree with me, and clearly state our mission and exit strategy, but I don't think we have one. Under Comments, I'll post more discussion of why I think we've failed to meet Powell's stipulations, and why unfortunately we do need to leave Iraq pursuant to the First Rule of Holes.
SUPPLEMENTAL, MON. NOV. 21: Remember the furor when the most junior Republican Congresswoman read a letter from an officer in Iraq, basically calling Murtha a coward? Well, I'm shocked -- shocked! -- to learn that the officer in question is a longstanding religious-conservative-lawyer-wacko. At long last, Congresswoman Schmidt, have you no shame?