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Friday, August 24, 2007

Rep. Baird's recent hawkish turn

Democratic Congressman Brian Baird, in an OpEd in the Seattle Times calls for giving American troops more time in Iraq.

I think the Congressman, who apparently opposed the original invasion and has been a vocal opponent, is spot-on in his reasoning about why we should continue to fight this war the way we are now fighting it. It is a good feeling to have somebody that opposes your view decide, after personal investigation, that your view is the correct one after all. It's such a good feeling that long-time supporters of the Iraq invasion might refrain from criticizing some of what the Congressman says while he is agreeing with our current position. That would be a mistake. He is right about what he is right about: we must stay in Iraq for the time being. He is however decidedly wrong, I believe, in some of his other comments and those demand some response:

"We dismantled the civil government, police, armed forces and the nation's infrastructure."

Bullshit. We certainly blew up some of the infrastructure. We pay guys to do that sort of thing in a war, and they do it pretty good. I think we also did disband much if not all of the Iraqi army. The officer corps were all Saddam supporters and right after the invasion he was still at large, you may recall. But I do not believe we wholesale dismantled the civil government and police. Those guys just stopped coming in to work and we couldn't get them to show back up.

We closed critical industries and businesses, putting as many as a half million people, including those who best knew how to run the infrastructure and factories, out of work and filled with resentment."

What is he talking about here? What critical industries did we "close"?

"We left arms caches unguarded and the borders open to infiltration."

The arms caches were, uh, hidden on purpose before we got there. And there were so many of them it was simply not possible to guard all the ones we actually found. Nor was it possible to seal the entire border. Ask our Secretary of Homeland Security, or for that matter anyone that lives in El Paso.

"We allowed schools, hospitals and public buildings to be looted..."

Allowed? We were supposed to, what, machine gun the looters? Use deadly force on civilians that were tearing up symbols of an oppressive and evil-acting government we had so much trouble with that we actually made war against it ourselves?

"...and created conditions that fanned sectarian conflicts."

You know, I can never keep this one straight. One week I hear we shouldn't have gone into Iraq because we "created conditions that fanned sectarian conflicts" and the next week I hear we shouldn't have gone in because of the ancient and implacable sectarian enmity that has always existed there and that we can't do anything about. We didn't "create" Sunnis and Shia. We didn't "create" al-Qa'ada. Or Iran. Or Syria. Or, for that matter, ancient Arab tribal and clan culture. Give me a frick'n break with this "created" crappola. The place was a cesspool when we went in. We knew we were going to be working in doodoo, and that it would smell bad and it would make us sick. That happens when you have to go into a cesspool

Anyway, I'm glad the congressman realizes we need to stay longer but he shouldn't get a free pass if he is re-writing recent history.

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