Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Two Americas

There is Harry Reid's America, and then there is Lizzie Palmer's.

The full story is here.


Truth said...

Definetly an amazing video, there is no doubt of that. And I think most importantly is the fact that its designed to be without partisan bias either for or against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and instead is meant as a tribute to the troops.

Unfortunetly I think that people present the video not towards this end, but instead to do exactly what the video does not, make a political point. Both sides are guilty of this and neither side is either correct or incorrect in their views. However people across the political spectrum can come together to recognize and honor the troops. Furthermore, both sides can continue to do this while debating the course the war should take. Unfortunetly both sides have decided to score cheap political points by saying the other is unpatriotic when nothing could be further from the truth.

Dissent and debate over the war does not make anybody unpatriotic, both sides want America to continue to grow and prosper. What people should stop doing I believe is using the troops as a smokescreen, and rather than actually debate the issue be content to sit and claim that the other side hates the troops. Neither party has a platform of hating the troops just like neither party has a platform of hating America. What they do have is differing opinions which deserve to be trully debated and explored rather than shot for purelly partisan reasons.

Sarcastic Housewife #1 said...


Nic said...

hopefully lizzie will come to realize that rational people do support the troops, but that's different than supporting the war.

Michael said...

I have yet to untangle the logic of those who claim to support the troops, yet by their rhetoric give incouragement to those who wish to kill them.

Truth said...

Well Michael, its quite simple.

Almost everybody, save for a very small select few, trully do support the troops and recognize the sacrifices they make. However, what they disagree with is the mission the troops have been sent on. Let me provide an example to help illustrate the point. Lets say for some reason the president ordered US troops to invade Britain tomorrow. People, such as yourself I believe, could support the troops without supporting the mission they had been sent on.

A more realistic example can be found in Somalia when US troops were placed in the country in order to protect food shipments going to refugees. There were a number of Republicans in Congress who did not agree with the mission and argued vehemently for the President to pull those troops out. That does not mean that those Republican congressmen hate the troops, it simply means they disagree with the mission.

I certainly hope that clears it up for you Michael, please let me know if you need further clarification.

Nic said...

And I have yet to untangle the logic of those that feel not supporting a position created by our decision makers in the cheap seats correlates to wishing harm upon those that have no choice but to do as they're told by those same decision makers.

Michael said...

It's a volunteer army Nic. They signed up for for the honor of serving their country. Is it too much to ask that we not stab them in the back?

Truth said...

Michael, they signed up with the assumption that the President would not order them into a war without a strategy for victory. We're 5 years in now and the same is still true, and if the President isn't willing to change the strategy to one which actually has the chance of victory then it is up to other members of our government to come up with a plan. I personally support the plan put forth in the Iraq Study Group report, have you read it by chance?

Paul E. Zimmerman, M.A. said...

"I am fortunate enough to receive The Ridgefield Press every few weeks and enjoy keeping abreast of the local issues currently pressing in our small town. I am a U.S. Marine Infantryman currently serving in Fallujah, Iraq, and my mother usually includes The Press in the many care packages she sends me.

Since we have very limited access to telephones, The Ridgefield Press is the primary means by which I receive local news.

Almost every week, I open The Press and find an article or letter to the editors denouncing the coalition effort in Iraq. Invariably, the individuals behind these anti-war letters and rallies mask their political agendas by asserting that they "support the troops but not the war."

People like Vince Giordano, Paul Sutherland and Anne Stubbs are pictured in the April 13 edition of The Press carrying a yellow-ribboned coffin and signs that say "Bring Them Home Now." They read off the names of the dead and claim to "show support for our troops" while urging lawmakers to "bring them home." They believe that the U.S.-led coalition should never have entered Iraq and that the current effort is a never-ending quagmire that has made no progress. They believe that things are progressively getting worse and think that our forces should just pick up and leave.

They do all this under the pretense that they are supporting the troops. However, what they are really doing is using our lives and the issue of our safety and well-being as a means to achieve a political end.

My primary concern is the assertion that these individuals support the troops in Iraq but not our mission. It boggles my mind that this logic is actually utilized on a large scale.

Supporting the troops but not the war is like saying that you support filmmakers but not making films. One cannot claim to support an individual in a given profession but not support what the said profession entails. This is essentially a slap in the face to those in the service.

How protesting the job we are doing in Iraq while demanding our withdrawal constitutes supporting us is beyond me.

Furthermore, I am particularly interested in how these people support us, specifically. I have never once received a letter from an individual who claims to "support the troops, not the war." Not a single Marine I know has received anything that could be considered remotely supportive from any of these people or the groups they represent. We have received phone cards, hygiene supplies, food, etc. from members of state and local government, radio stations, schools, private individuals and organizations, but never once from any group claiming to "support the troops, but not the war."

I ask again: How can these groups claim to support our troops while telling us that what we are participating in is wrong?

How can they support us if they are essentially saying that our blood and sacrifices have all been given in vain?

How can they support us if they say that our comrades and brothers who have been wounded or killed in action have done so for a hopeless and morally questionable cause?

I reply to the questions I pose with a simple answer: They can't. As a matter of fact, I assert with a considerable degree of confidence that their efforts make our already difficult job even more difficult. I'll go so far as to say that their rallies and protests cost more and more servicemen their lives and limbs every day.
I support my assertion with evidence gathered first hand. I see the Iraqi people every day. The protesters do not. I speak with the Iraqi people every day. The protesters do not. I don't sit behind a desk and do paperwork or resupply efforts in the military. I am an Infantry Marine and I walk the sewage-filled streets of this city every single day.

In Fallujah, the people watch Al Jazeerah. However, they also watch CNN. A lot of them fear that the United States will soon cut and run. The people of Iraq see when our country is divided. When they see rallies to "Bring The Troops Home," they see that as a sign that we will end our efforts prematurely.

Furthermore, they know that the insurgents will not end their efforts early. That leads them to the conclusion that when we leave, the insurgents will still be there. Therefore, if they help us, their lives and the lives of their loved ones will be in great jeopardy the minute we leave - if we don't finish the job.

Much that they see on American television leads them to believe that we intend to abandon our efforts before the new Iraqi government is capable of defending itself and its citizens.

The actions of these aforementioned organizations and the heavy media coverage their rallies often generate serves as fuel for the insurgency. Insurgents believe they can drive us out through the idea of "death by a thousand cuts." The longer they persist in their efforts, the more the American public becomes disenchanted with the coalition effort.

The insurgency sees this as a result. These criminals will continue to kill Iraqi civilians, Iraqi Police, Iraqi Army and coalition forces so long as they see that their efforts are alienating the American public from its military.

And for those of you that aren't up to speed with the situation in Iraq, the insurgents attack and kill established public services (such as Iraqi police and Iraqi army) more often than they attack coalition forces. As a matter of fact, an explosive-laden insurgent blew himself up last week outside the Iraqi police station that is attached to our compound.

The insurgents aren't fighting simply to drive America out of Iraq. They are fighting to destroy any semblance of the Iraqi government so that they can impose their will on its people.

Publicly protesting our efforts in Iraq fuels the insurgency. Doing it under the pretext of "supporting our troops" is disgraceful.

Let me now emphasize that I respect an American citizen's right to voice his or her opinion in a public forum. Such a right is granted in the U.S. Constitution.

However, voicing one's opinion in such an irresponsible way is something I do not support. Additionally, using deployed service members as a mask to serve your purely political purpose is downright shameful. If your desire is to protest the war, then protest the war, but don't use me or any reference to our troops as a tool to bolster your purpose.

I'll summarize by saying this: Organizations such as The Ridgefield Coalition to Stop the War do not support our troops. No matter what they say or what is printed on the signs they carry, they effectively do the opposite of support us. They downright hurt us.

Such organizations damage the morale of the men and women in the armed forces and progressively cause them to believe less and less in the mission at hand. The conditions here are difficult as it is. Opening a month-old edition of The Ridgefield Press and reading an article about an anti-war demonstration that uses our troops in an effort to mask its true cause doesn't help.

Please do not feign support while effectively telling us that we are fighting for an unworthy cause. I think I speak for an overwhelming majority of our troops when I ask organizations like The Ridgefield Coalition to Stop the War to discontinue using Marines, soldiers, airmen and sailors as a means to serve a political end.
You are neither supporting us nor honoring us. You are doing the exact opposite."

Anthony Ippoliti, USMC

Truth said...

Paul let me ask you something, if the President ordered US troops to attack Britain tomorrow would you say the same things you are saying now about needing to support the mission, or might you say that while you support the troops you want them brought home?

Also, let me ask you what were your thoughts on the US forces in Somalia, because I know a good majority of Republicans in Congress at least opposed that action, were you with them in that opposition?

The reason I ask is becuase I want to see if your line of reason holds true to all conflicts or if you are justifying your current support for this conflict with some sort of double standard.

Paul E. Zimmerman, M.A. said...


You might try dropping the attempt to ignore the fact that our forces are presently fighting people hostile to the very existence of our nation in coming up with these ridiculous, non-equivalent counter examples. If you "support the troops" but you don't support their fight against such people, then you need your head examined.

Michael said...

Truth, you really "don't know much about history" do you. It was George Bush the Elder who first deployed US troops to Somalia. It was Bill Clinton who squandered their lives.

Barenjager said...

One of the major problems in this country today is that Lizzie is wrong. For the most part, the people serving are not the brothers, sisters, fathers or neighbors of the average American. They are a rarer breed to which far too few in this country can actually relate.

There is no common frame of reference which leads to understanding between those who have served (or thier immediate families) and those with little to no connection with the military.

It's far easier to pay lip service while undercutting those whom you do not know than those you count as friends and family.

Nic said...

"Furthermore, I am particularly interested in how these people support us... Not a single Marine I know has received anything that could be considered remotely supportive from any of these people or the groups they represent."

Apparently Anthony Ippoliti didn't get my package, but I did sent one. We had a donation drive here at work for the troops and I sent some stuff their way. So, tell me, how is that not supporting the troops? How is that stabbing them in the back?

Despite being "volunteers," the troops don't have the luxury of making their own choices. They do what they are told with faith that they are not being misled. But what if I feel they are being misled? Do I start rallying against the troops or the decision makers? Get it?

Truth said...

Paul, I asked those questions becuase I believe that you would not support/did not support either of those missions. The reason that I presented that was to show how even you can find yourself disagreeing with a mission while still supporting the troops. In addition Paul I have heard stories from friends of mine who have family serving in the military and say that their brothers or sisters who are currently in Iraq and do not share this mentality of "you have to support the mission to support the troops". They themselvese don't support the mission they have been sent on, does that mean that they hate themselves and the rest of the troops? Furthermore if you are correct and speaking out against our leaders is somehow the same as providing military aid to terrorists then I'm sorry to say that the terrorists have already won, as the long-held American right to criticize the government has somehow been replaced with blind obidience.

Michael, it was under Clinton that the troops were withdrawn you are correct. However there was a large Republican contingent in Congress which also called for the withdrawl of troops, does that mean they hated the troops?

Barenjager, I think you are absolutly correct with your statement however I would like to add a sentence to the end of yours. It is far easier to send troops to die when you do not count them as friends or family.

Michael said...

When George Bus the Elder sent the troops into Somalia, there was plenty of Republican opposition then. Bush was responding to the wailing of liberals in the first place.
Once they were there however, it was Bill Clinton and his secretary of defense, Les Aspin who tied their hands and deprived them of armor.
The movie Blackhawk Down was unfortunately edited and those references removed. The original mission for the soldier in Blackhawk Down was the capture of Mohammed Said, a particularly troublesome warlord. As he was typically attended by a huge contingent of bodyguards, capturing him was not practical, particularly as Clinton refused to supply the soldiers with armor. Several times, our snipers had him in the crosshairs, but were required to call the Whitehouse for permission to fire. The permission was always denied. Les Aspin himself admitted this on "This Week." I heard him say it myself.
It's also worth noting that within two weeks after the Blackhawk Down incident, US helicopters were ferrying Said around Somalia and US soldiers were serving as his bodyguards - at the orders of Bill Clinton. Again, Aspin admitted this on that same This Week program.
Under such conditions, is it any wonder that Republicans wanted the soldiers out of harm's way?

Barenjager said...

First a bit of information: We don't send troops to die. We send them to do a job but we don't send them with the intent that even one will die. Death is an unfortunate consequence of doing a dangerous job but it isn't the aim.

Secondly; if we were to send troop in with unflinching support and the will to win rather than whining about things, far fewer would die. We would actually wage war, subdue the enemy and break his will to fight then throttle back. This didn't happen because all the bleeding hearts in congress and the press whipped our lackluster, spineless President into submission and allowing the current situation to develop.

If it were up to me, four years of ENLISTED service in the ACTIVE Army (combat arms), USMC, or SOF of the other services would be a prerequisit for holding national office. Service (officer or enlisted) or marriage to a service member/veteran of any of the uniformed services would be required for eligibility to vote or serve on a jury.

Now that would change the way business is done and make sure we weren't setting ourselves up for failure.

Paul E. Zimmerman, M.A. said...

Heh... ok, "Truth"y. Our leaders are saying, "go fight the terrorists." You need to question that? Wow.

Truth said...

Paul you still have not answered my questions; did you or did you not support sending troops to Somalia, and would you or would you not support a mission to invade Britain if it were ordered by the president tomorrow?

Barenjager, you are correct in saying that we don't send people to die, I only meant that its easier for us to continue to accept casualties if we don't know the people dying. However I'm not entirelly sure what you would have us do in Iraq that was held back in the original years by either Congress or the press, and Congress was controlled by the Republicans and the press tended to defer to the president in the beginning of the war.

And Michael, what you are saying about Somalia is true, but I ask the same question I have asked to Paul, do you think that the members of Congress (both Democrats and Republicans) who opposed sending US troops to Somalia hated those troops. Because it sounds like you are saying they were justified in their criticism becuase the President wasn't providing the troops with things such as armor support, which is true. However if you will not that is one of the reasons people are saying we should get out of Iraq, because the troops don't have the basic necessities such as headlamps and body armor (this criticism comes directly from troops in Iraq by the way).

The only point I am trying to make here is that it is possible to criticize a mission without criticizing the troops, and to do so I have brought up examples I believe of where a number of people here have criticized the mission and argued for a pullout of US troops before the mission was completed. That doesn't mean you hate the troops, just that you disagree with the mission they have been sent on.

Barenjager said...

I would have had us make WAR on the Shia militias, remove vocal opponents from the stage, respond to mortar attacks with aerial bombardment and artillery fire, patrol with armor supported infantry and respond with overwhelmng firepower when fired upon. Those are a few of the things I would have had us do. That's what the Army and Marines do well. That's what they train for.

Before anyone gets all wound up and their heart starts to bleed about "collateral damage", let me remind you that's what it took to subdue Germany, Italy and Japan. You must break the people's will to fight. Just like us, if the fighting and dying is done away from our sight and we aren't personally suffering, war remains an abstract concept and is much easier to support.

If you make war horrible enough, the antagonists will find their own way to make peace. Our military is designed around that concept. I'd simply have them do the job they are trained for instead of the half measures they've been restricted to since the beginning.

Michael said...

There is a difference between opposing the Somalia, or for that matter, the Kosovo deployments. In those cases, opposition did not encourage or embolden the enemy. When Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi demand surrender, they are rewarding enemy. It's treasonous.

Barenjager said...

Michael is correct in his assesment of Pelosi and Reid's actions. They constitute treason. In addition, we have a few politicos who have committed espionage and a whole bunch guilty of sedition. The press and general public who have no access to classified information, agents of foreign governments or influence over US military or other government personnel are guilty of simple ignorance, stupidity and cowardice when it comes to the expression prevailing opinion.