Friday, January 26

Walking Away From Your Problems

Americans are good at walking away from problems.

There is no shortage of examples of Americans who succeed in digging themselves out of holes against tough odds, but for every one who strives to meet his obligations, there is at least ten others who will not bother and instead will just walk away from most any problem.
  • Want some new gadget but can't afford it? No problem, just charge it.
  • Too much debt? No problem, just declare bankruptcy.
  • Accidentally get pregnant? No problem, just get an abortion.
  • Family problems? Don't even try to work it out. Just get a divorce.
  • Accidentally buy too much house? No problem, just let the bank foreclose.
  • Too much homework? Just drop some classes and stretch school out to six years.
People find it easy to walk away from problems mostly because they never bothered to take responsibility for their actions, their mistakes, and the resulting mess. It is always someone else's fault.

Now this behavior is creeping into the way that we as a country act and behave.

Most everyone (according to the polls) is against the war in Iraq, now. However, that was not so when the US went to war back in 2003. When we went to war, we were then liable to finish it. This is a tough one to walk away from. Changing your opinion does not change the fact that there are over 100,000 troops in Iraq.

Of course with a Presidential Election right around the corner, all these Congressmen with presidential aspirations are trying hard not to blatantly foster defeat in Iraq so as not to have to deal with 'cut and run' accusations while on the campaign trail.

This does not mean that they are not trying to hobble our chances even more by condemning the President's plans to send more troops and even calling to enact limits to the number of troops that can be fighting in Iraq. This is certainly a way to quit without having to say so, while at the same time making sure the President has a losing situation to deal with.

It's not enough that the US Military already has to honor rules of engagement fighting an enemy that leverages it's limited resources by breaking the very rules that we honor. All the while having the media publicizing every wrong move you make, while ignoring the crimes of those we are fighting against. The enemy has no cap on the number of terrorists that they will commit to their fight nor the amount of money that they can obtain to further their cause. Nor are they answerable to any Government or beholden to any international agreement, like the Geneva Convention for the treatment of prisoners. In fact, it is the breaking of these internationally accepted rules, such as the beheading of prisoners, that gets them the publicity they desperately seek.

One excuse from walking away from Iraq being thrown about is that the violence in Iraq is part of a Civil War. That is a load of bull. If that is so, then why are these very same people calling for dialog with Iran and Syria as one way to reduce the violence in Iraq. If it was a civil war then there would be nothing that the US or Iran could do to stop it. As we all know, it is Iran that is fueling the violence in Iraq and it has managed to produce the very result that they were seeking, infighting within the US. If anything, Lebanon is facing a civil war and there is no talk of abandoning that country. Instead, there are calls to give over a billion in aid. Why is the civil war in Lebanon different from the 'civil war' in Iraq?

This all reminds me of the opening of the John Wayne movie THE GREEN BERETS. A reporter asks about why the US should be involved in an 'internal' Vietnamese conflict. The Sergeant fielding the question then tosses a weapons and ammunition from a half-dozen Communist countries on the reporters desk to dispute the claim.

One problem that many Senators have is that they are on record voting for the war. Take this recent comment by Senator Hagel:
Yep. He said, "That's what we're going to do." But the more I look back on it, the more I think that the administration knew there was some real hard question whether he really had any WMD. In January of 2003, if you recall, the inspectors at the IAEA, who knew more about what Saddam had than anybody, said, "Give us two more months before you go to war, because we don't think there's anything in there." They were the only ones in Iraq. We hadn't been in there. We didn't know what the hell was in there. And the president wouldn't do it! So to answer your question--Do I regret that vote? Yes, I do regret that vote. - Huffington Post
In other words, the good Senator here was not doing his job back in 2003. Regret the vote all you want Senator, but you are responsible for our troops being in Iraq now. Call it a mistake if you want, but that just makes you all the more responsible for ensuring that what happens from this point is done right. Sure the President did not want to wait. But it was the Senate's vote that get him the authority to go ahead without waiting.

I wonder, what would Senator Hagel have done if the UN Weapons Inspectors would have finished their search and given Saddam a clean bill of health. Is he really insinuating that the UN was only months away from dropping sanctions on Iraq? I guess Saddam should not have fought the inspectors for years, then the inspection team just might have had those precious two months to finish their job. I guess Saddam's lying about his weapons programs also cost the inspectors some years. Bribing some of the Security Council Members also surely dragged out the sanctions and the inspections. I could go one, but why bother since nobody cares about whether Iraq was guilty, that would require taking some responsibility. However, for Hagel to suggest that the current situation could have been avoided if we had just waited two-more-months is just idiotic, even for a Senator.

Next we have Senator Clinton who claims that the Iraq War suffers from lack of Congressional Oversight:
Senator Clinton: Thank you Mr. Chairman and thank you very much general for your lifetime of service and for taking on this very difficult assignment. I want to begin by associating my remarks with those of Senator Collins.

We are in a dire situation, using your adjective, in part because the Congress was supine under the Republican majority, failing to conduct oversight and demanding accountability, and because the President and his team, particularly the former Secretary of Defense, refused to adapt to the changing circumstances on the ground.

If this hearing were being held three years ago, I would have a much higher degree of optimism. It has nothing to do with the loyalty, the warrior skills and the leadership of our men and women in uniform. It has everything to do with the years of lost opportunities and the failures of the Iraqis to step up and take responsibility for their own future.
A sensible person would think that the Democrats, now that they are in control, plan to solve the problem by doing the oversight they claim was lacking when the Republicans were in charge. Nope, instead of doing any oversight, they are going to instead demand withdrawal of troops because Iraq is a mess and we have 'lost opportunities'. That is just sad. The funny thing is that comments like that manage to piss of not only those who are in favor of finishing the job in Iraq, but also those who are pushing for an immediate withdrawal regardless of the cost. Not to mention our allies who are depending on us.

This is not about 20,000 more troops either. This about winning in Iraq. If we want to win, then we need to pay what it costs. And in addition to money, it will cost lives. The trick is to make sure that the money is spent smartly and that the number of lives lost is kept to a minimum. It will also cost friends around the world, but it is this type of thing that shows you who your friends are.

With all of the current discussion about Iraq, one important fact is being neglected, in that it is the terrorists who have decided to escalate their activity in Iraq, not us. So the only relevant question is whether to react to the escalation or to cede the ground to the enemy, who apparently wants Iraq more than our Congress does. One problem with walking away from problems, especially this one, is that it is sure to bring more trouble later on. Do we really want to give Iraq to Iran? Why does our Congress think that's a good idea and why would any of them do that and want to be President? Just what kind of problem do they think they are going to inherit if they win?

The piper will have to be paid at some point, and the price might be much higher if we walk away now.

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