So I got an email apparently in response to my post below quoting The Poor Man. I've asked the sender, David, if he minds if I quote his email and reply on the blog, to which he said he'd enjoy and appreciate a public response. So here goes:
I hate when people like you try to discredit the work we are doing. We are getting oil for our country, and killing people that hate us every day! Not only are we killing them on their homeland, since 2001 we have not had another attack!! You are so ignorant, obviously what we are doing is helping, the world is seeing the evil in the middle east. 1.Oil 2.Killing Terrorists and arabs that hate us 3. Spreading democracy
Do you not care about these things?
There are quite a few things to say here. First of all, for the record, David is not in the military. His use of "we" here is in the national/royal sense. I just point that out for clarity.
Now, I don't mean to be insulting, but his email is a textbook example of the kind of confusion that George W. Bush and his group have intentionally created among the Public. This is what happens when a war president and a subservient media collude to spread propaganda. So let's pick at it a little.
First off, here's something that sadly still needs repeating:
1 - IRAQ HAD NO INVOLVEMENT IN 9/11
That's not negotiable, ok? Al-Qaeda was not operative in Iraq. Zero out of 19 hijackers were Iraqi. Saddam Hussein was, in the words of OBL, a "socialist infidel devil" who had jihad proclaimed on him. There is no credible evidence of productive ties between Qaeda and the Ba'ath government in Iraq, and quite a lot of evidence that they hated one-another's guts.
See, when you say we're attacking "them" on "their homeland" with reference to 9/11/2001, I have to call bullshit. The vast majority of insurgents are native Iraqis, not foreign fighters. The people we are killing, and who are killing us, never had the means or intention to directly attack New York, Washington DC, or any other area of the United States.
Though I'll be that they might think a little differently now (see point #2).
I understand the desire to hit back. I live in New York. I take it rather personally, to be honest. But if you think that attacking Iraq is any sort of meaningful counter-punch to the attacks on the WTC and Pentagon, you're sadly mistaken. You're falling victim to propaganda. Get with it.
2 - THE WAR IS A WINNER FOR TERRORISTS AND A LOSER FOR US
Since we started this, terrorist attacks worldwide are up by every measure. There is no greater drive to recruitment, financing, and tactical support than our continued occupation of Iraq. Beyond that, the insurgency is growing every year, and producing talent for the other side. The Pentagon is already going nuts over the possibilities that Iraqis who are getting on-the-job training on how to defeat US forces in Iraq will spread their tactical knowledge around the region, creating further instability. It's not a good situation, and our occupation is making matters worse.
At the same time, our military is being degraded by the occupation. Get that? This war is making us weaker. It's costing us. They're getting more recruits, more effective tactics, and better equipment. They're getting stronger. The only way to defeat the insurgency is on a moral basis, and after all that's happened I do not believe we can prevail. Our occupation will never be tolerated and we're not going to kill them all.
That's not possible. You can't kill everyone who hates you. You can't even kill everyone who means you harm. If you don't understand what I mean, go play the September 12th Game for a couple minutes and think about it.
And just so you're not confused, I'm not happy about this. I am pissed off beyond belief. What we are doing is not working, and simply insisting that we keep doing the same things and hope for different results is fucking crazy.
3 - BLOOD FOR OIL IS NOT AN ENERGY POLICY
We're not getting any more oil from Iraq than before we invaded. In fact, we're getting less. Wanna know why? It's hard to pump oil when there's a war going on. Beyond that, given the cost of $200B+ (and counting), not to mention whatever 2,000 lives and 10,000 cripples are worth (I'll leave that math to you) do you think that maybe the strategy of bombing another country and taking their shit might not be the best one for us to solve our impending energy crunch?
The oil problem is very real, but invading oil-rich countries and taking their shit is an imaginary solution. It's never going to work, not to mention that it's morally bankrupt. The gravity of the energy problems demands better thinking. Check your head.
4 - YOU CAN'T GIVE PEOPLE FREEDOM
My friend JD did seven or so tours in the Middle East, and the first thing he told me when we got together after his first stint in Iraq was, "You can't give people freedom. Freedom can only be taken." Take that to heart.
The idea of spreading democracy is nice, but the military is not an effective instrument for doing it. The military kills people and blows shit up. There will be no meaningful democracy in Iraq for a long time, certainly not as long as the government and its rule of law are propped up by US troops. If you follow developments on the ground there and you listen to the stories from troops coming back, you'll understand this.
I'd also like to point out that the goals of "getting oil for our country" and "spreading democracy" are contradictory. If we're serious about Iraqi democracy, then we have to assume they'll sell their oil to whoever they want, and given the political climate that's more likely to be China than us. If, on the other hand, we're serious about "getting oil for our country," what the fuck do we care what a bunch of A-rabs have to say about it?
To bring it all back home, the war was a mistake when we started, it was handled very badly, and was never likely to work out the way Bush, Cheney and all those other folks said. The only question is when we will leave and the only responsible answer is "the sooner the better."
You seem like a sincere person, David. But you're badly mistaken about the war. In the contemporary media environment, I don't know where to point you for "unbiased" news and commentary, but I suggest you take in a more balanced diet of information and try to think things through more.