As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Redefining "Phony Soldiers"

While some conservatives push for Peter Pace to accept the duty of being crushed by Mark Warner in next year's Virginia Senate race, they're also smearing a general who dared to speak out. It's a curious construction, reverance for those officers of the military that don't speak their mind, and slander for those who do.

Iraq war/Bush lovers John McCain, Lindsey (DADT) Graham, and Mitch McConnell are now smearing Sanchez, suggesting that as a top general he was supposed to contradict and undermine his commander in chief during wartime by snitching to Congress and the public about Bush's incompetence.

Putting aside the irony of Republicans now suggesting that it's okay to smear our troops - their opinion on that subject changes by the week, and putting aside the irony of the fact that McCain, Graham and McConnell never once dared challenge Bush on the war while they expected Sanchez to do so - I'm equally fascinated that the GOP now thinks that active duty service members are supposed to openly undercut the commander in chief.

They're not, of course, but the GOP has to play with the hand they're dealt. If Sanchez changes his tune after leaving active duty, he must be smeared for a lack of candor. Lord knows what they're going to do with these twelve former Army captains:

As Army captains who served in Baghdad and beyond, we've seen the corruption and the sectarian division. We understand what it's like to be stretched too thin. And we know when it's time to get out [...]

Against this backdrop, the U.S. military has been trying in vain to hold the country together. Even with "the surge," we simply do not have enough soldiers and marines to meet the professed goals of clearing areas from insurgent control, holding them securely and building sustainable institutions. Though temporary reinforcing operations in places like Fallujah, An Najaf, Tal Afar, and now Baghdad may brief well on PowerPoint presentations, in practice they just push insurgents to another spot on the map and often strengthen the insurgents' cause by harassing locals to a point of swayed allegiances. Millions of Iraqis correctly recognize these actions for what they are and vote with their feet -- moving within Iraq or leaving the country entirely. Still, our colonels and generals keep holding on to flawed concepts [...]

There is one way we might be able to succeed in Iraq. To continue an operation of this intensity and duration, we would have to abandon our volunteer military for compulsory service. Short of that, our best option is to leave Iraq immediately. A scaled withdrawal will not prevent a civil war, and it will spend more blood and treasure on a losing proposition.

America, it has been five years. It's time to make a choice.

But rather than respect the advice of those closest to the situation, those who were on the ground on a day-to-day basis, they will be told that their eyes deceived them, that they have an "agenda," that they should not be trusted. And in the same breath, they will sanctimoniously say that there must not be any criticism of "our men and women in uniform." This is the new paradigm of the right: "phony soldiers" are those who disagree with the Dear Leader and his warmongers.

UPDATE: That last point that the 12 Army captains make, as MY notes, is very important. You either carry out the strategy with the amount of force required to do the job or you leave. Doing some slow drawdown in between, to save the fragile egos of policymakers, does nothing for the Iraqis and endangers the troops. The worst possible option happens to be the option preferred by most of the leading Democratic candidates. Hopefully they'll have the capacity to listen to soldiers like these once they get into office. You either have to go in or get out. And going in really isn't an option at this late date, either. So get out.

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