Bob's Links and Rants

Welcome to my rants page! You can contact me by e-mail: Blog roll. Site feed.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Escalation needs no rationale, and the old mantra that never was

You want more troops, you've got more troops. You want less troops, we'll have less troops, but please give me the rationale why.
-- Idiot-in-Chief, babbling to conservative columnists on Wednesday. Obviously they don't need a rationale if they want more troops.

There are 18 pages of his nonsense, and I certainly haven't read it all; Billmon has some choice selections. But here's one scary part I spotted (emphasis added):
Abizaid, who I think is one of the really great thinkers, John Abizaid--I don't know if you've ever had a chance to talk to him, he's a smart guy--he came up with this construct: If we leave, they will follow us here. That's really different from other wars we've been in. If we leave, okay, so they suffer in other parts of the world, used to be the old mantra. This one is different. This war is, if they leave, they're coming after us. As a matter of fact, they'll be more emboldened to come after us. They will be able to find more recruits to come after us.

Abizaid clearly sees this struggle--he sees the effects of victory in Iraq as having a major impact on other parts of the Middle East. He also sees the reciprocal of that, a defeat--just leaving--the only defeat is leaving, is letting things fall into chaos and letting al Qaeda have a safe haven. And he sees it as a--he sees that as an accelerating effect to creating incredible hostility toward people that are moderate in their view. They may not necessarily be as democrat as they want, but they're moderate in their view about the future.
When I started this post, I was planning on highlighting just one phrase: "The only defeat is leaving." Yikes. By that standard, Custer didn't lose at Little Big Horn. If W can't think there's any way to lose in Iraq except by leaving, that's very bad news for Iraq, for the troops, and for us.

But then there's this little section which demonstrates Bush's encyclopedic ignorance:
If we leave, they will follow us here. That's really different from other wars we've been in. If we leave, okay, so they suffer in other parts of the world, used to be the old mantra.
The old mantra. FDR was all the time talking about cutting and running during World War II, leaving the rest of world to suffer under German and Japanese totalitarianism, as you can readily see in this fireside chat of July 28, 1943:
The world has never seen greater devotion, determination, and self-sacrifice than have been displayed by the Russian people and their armies, under the leadership of Marshal Joseph Stalin.

With a Nation which in saving itself is thereby helping to save all the world from the Nazi menace, this country of ours should always be glad to be a good neighbor and a sincere friend in the world of the future.
In every country conquered by the Nazis and the Fascists, or the Japanese militarists, the people have been reduced to the status of slaves or chattels.

It is our determination to restore these conquered peoples to the dignity of human beings, masters of their own fate, entitled to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. We have started to make good on that promise.

I am sorry if I step on the toes of those Americans who, playing party politics at home, call that kind of foreign policy "crazy altruism" and "starry-eyed dreaming."
Of course, a few years later we felt a little differently about Uncle Joe and the commies, but our leaders still kept repeating that "old mantra" about cutting and running, leaving the people of the world to their fate. You know, commie-lovers like Joseph McCarthy, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Or Richard Nixon, who spares me the trouble of finding Kennedy and Johnson quotes:
In January I could only conclude that the precipitate withdrawal of all American forces from Vietnam would be a disaster not only for South Vietnam but for the United States and for the cause of peace.
For the United States this first defeat in our nation's history would result in a collapse of confidence in American leadership not only in Asia but throughout the world.

Three American Presidents have recognized the great stakes involved in Vietnam and understood what had to be done.

In 1963 President Kennedy with his characteristic eloquence and clarity said we want to see a stable Government there, carrying on the struggle to maintain its national independence.

We believe strongly in that. We are not going to withdraw from that effort. In my opinion, for us to withdraw from that effort would mean a collapse not only of South Vietnam but Southeast Asia. So we're going to stay there.

President Eisenhower and President Johnson expressed the same conclusion during their terms of office.

For the future of peace, precipitate withdrawal would be a disaster of immense magnitude. A nation cannot remain great if it betrays its allies and lets down its friends. Our defeat and humiliation in South Vietnam without question would promote recklessness in the councils of those great powers who have not yet abandoned their goals of world conquest. This would spark violence wherever our commitments help maintain the peace -- in the Middle East, in Berlin, eventually even in the Western Hemisphere. Ultimately, this would cost more lives. It would not bring peace. It would bring more war.
President Richard Nixon, November 3, 1969

And then there's the Great Communicator, Ronald Reagan, repeating that old mantra about how it's okay to leave Central America, let them suffer, so what, no threat to us:
If Central America were to fall, what would the consequences be for our position in Asia, Europe, and for alliances such as NATO? If the United States cannot respond to a threat near our own borders, why should Europeans or Asians believe that we're seriously concerned about threats to them? If the Soviets can assume that nothing short of an actual attack on the United States will provoke an American response, which ally, which friend will trust us then?
The national security of all the Americas is at stake in Central America. If we cannot defend ourselves there, we cannot expect to prevail elsewhere. Our credibility would collapse, our alliances would crumble, and the safety of our homeland would be put in jeopardy.
-- President Ronald Reagan, Speech to Congress, April 27, 1983

What a genius that Abizaid is, coming up with a "construct" which uses the same scare-mongering rhetoric used by every war-mongering world leader in history. And what an idiot Bush is, to believe there is anything original or brilliant about it.