"Hopefully this Buck won't stopone of the best damn MilBloggers to ever knock sand from his boots." -- The Mudville Gazette



The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it.
-Albert Einstein

If my wife and I ever decide to traverse the Old Country, I’ll be sure and pack a special bag for France, one containing all the necessary accoutrements to blend in seamlessly into le haute couture. Decked out in my Texan Lucchese cowboy boots, an oversized stars & stripes belt buckle, my NRA ballcap and a George W. Bush high-fiving Jesus t-shirt, I’ll gladly mortify my better half by munching on a quarter-pound…er…royale w/cheese while asking everyone in earshot for directions to the Paris Hilton from the rolled-down window of a rented Hummer H2.

"Excusay-moi, monseniors. But do y’all happen to speak German?"
"Non, monsieur. We do not."
"Yer welcome!"

Have they forgotten their own history? Or more importantly, are we doomed to repeat it for them?

Over the past six years, an outbreak of European birdbrain flu has slowly but steadily made its way across the pond, fueling an intellectual insurgency that's raging through the fever swamps within our universities, newsrooms, and bookstore coffee bars. Those terminally infected are still relatively small in number, though in a reverse-quarantine they command immediate attention from media televirologists the world over whenever and wherever they surface to spread their contagion.

Europe’s gunboat diplomacy of yore has gone out of favor, out of style, and out of date, replaced with a nouvelle vague don’t-rock-the-boat disability. Which is convenient, considering that over the previous decade the Old World combined has budgeted less for military hardware upgrades than we have on targeting software updates alone.

Still, the domestic Barnes & Noblesse oblige crowd -- with their claptrappucchinos and their sophisticated taste for yellow (dog) journalism -- are hardly the world-weary isolationists they pretend to be. American interventionism did not appear particularly troubling to these citizen-skeptics during the previous decade when it pertained to solely humanitarian impulses; but add American security to the mix and suddenly their travel mugs spilleth over. Within the span of one electoral cycle any prevailing charitable impulses evaporated, leaving nothing but a naked desire for America and its military might to be knocked off its pedestal; to be sent packing from the Middle East with its tail between its legs, humiliated and discredited before an Islamic world that respects only strength and routinely mistakes kindness for weakness.

To believe as such is assuredly their prerogative as Americans. But with any civil liberties come civic responsibility. True, our hard-won freedoms protect the right to march on Washington, spin elaborate webs of intrigue about the powers that be, and rudely shout down invited speakers at commencement addresses. But they also protect the right to drink Zima, name your children after fruit, and wear socks with sandals. Just because you can do it doesn’t always mean it’s a good idea.

Take the liberal pullout method as it relates to the war -- cynical sixties defeatism at it’s worst. (And who would’ve guessed there were still so many G'n'R fans out there?) The same people who scoff at the idea of abstinence being taught to our children deem it perfectly reasonable for the main plank of our foreign policy platform. (In reality, they’d just as soon abort the effort as we enter the third trimester, but so far we’ve made up our minds, we’re keeping our baby.) "There are ideas so absolutely stupid that only an intellectual could possibly believe them," said Orwell, the ideological ancestor of the House of Blair. "The notion that you can somehow defeat violence by submitting to it is simply a flight from fact." Indeed, a Concorde-speed flight from fact that would behoove us to impress upon the modern antiwar Left. Representative Murtha, call your office.

We all draw our own conclusions, some just use crayon and have trouble staying inside the lines.

Hey Gray Lady, Le Monde's on the horn. They want their knee-jerk reportage back. For all you stubborn Luddites who insist on sticking with Old Media, go right ahead. Peruse your illusions.
As for the rest of us, there's been few sources of pepto dismal for this chronic casus belliaching other than the League of Extraordinary Amateurs. The meteoric rise of the milblogs has provided a notable reprieve from the mendacious mediacrity of previous American conflicts: spotlighting erroneous reporting; outing phony Ft. Braggart veterans; highlighting troop heroics that in another era would already have been greenlighted into John Wayne trilogies. Someone must have told Hollywood producers circa 1968 that discretion was the better part of valor, because they've certainly taken it to heart and never looked back.

What can we do?, you ask. We’re but a silent majority, cowed by a vocal insanity. Know thine enemy. Venture forth into the Democratic Underground lairs -- the chant rooms that drip with bile and venom. Sample the moonbat-out-of-hell message boards that seethe with hatred for all things conservative, military, traditional, patriotic, or anti-anti-American. The New England expatriates and Jon Stewart Mills ("War is a funny thing, but not the funniest of things…"); the nationalism = Nazism Kos-heads and Huffington Post-er children for Bush Derangement Syndrome -- they’re not just left-of-center. They’re left of Darth Nader.

We pledge allegiance to the flag of the United Nations General Assembly. And to the collectivist utopia for which it stands, One World Government, under (non-denominational moment of silence), dependent on the state, with licentiousness and social justice for all.

While we’re preoccupied with fostering tolerance and liberty abroad, at home it is being undermined by our own American madrasas; spreading self-hatred for our origins, our history, and the long-held traditions of our dominant culture. Mission fait Accompli!

"Incurious" minds want to know: Is our children learning? Or are they still trying to figure out what the meaning of "is" is?

If you are unaware of what precisely is being inculcated into your kids' fuzzy little heads, go ahead, ask them sometime. (Assuming you can tear them away from the X-box long enough to hold a two-way conversation.) Quiz them on what they’ve learned in school or at that really expensive college your tuition money is paying their bar tabs for. Ask them what they learn when they’re plugged into the Matrix that is our current American education system. Ask them what they think about the ideals upon which this country was founded and what they continue to mean today. Ask them what it is that we’re memorializing on that three-day weekend that falls at the end of every May.

For grades K through 9, expect to get a blank stare. The Anointed Ones view unapologetic patriotism as indoctrination bordering on religion (and we all know how welcome that is in the public schools.) Besides, the teacher’s unions take advantage of these formative early years to quote/unquote: "format the hard drives." But for the learner’s permit crowd and above who‘ve actually read their unreadable history texts: if you find yourself on the receiving end of some bizzaro emotionally-charged rant elaborately weaving the Halliburton Address to the military-industrial complexity of the environmental destruction of the endangered wetlands habitats due to the increased human traffic from the underground undocumented workers railroad run by proto-feminist Sacagawea as she exercised her Womyn of Color’s Right to Choose to prevent transnational robber barons from pillaging the Native American coastal oil reserves…

Don’t write me, write your congressperson. That is, unless you happen to reside and vote in either the Uncommonwealth of Massachusetts or the People’s Republic of California. (In which case, you're probably better off writing someone else‘s).

* * *

19th century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer revealed all truth to pass through three stages: "First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. And third, it is accepted as being self-evident." The American idiotocracy worships anyone they feel speaks "truth to power," believing in their heart of hearts they remain founding members of the counterculture club for Boomers without Borders. To ex-Peace Corps commandos like Hardball's Chris Matthews, the Woodwards & Bernstein legacy is one of forever young dynamic duos of Davids hitting below the Beltway against real or imagined goliaths. But the very truths they hold dear are often illuminating in the lies of the beholder.

Need an easy to remember yardstick for measuring the military’s progress in the Middle East? Repeat after me: "No news is good news." This works on two levels. One: very little of what is reported will ever be good news, and two: good news for us but bad news for them is the inability to dream up anything “fake but accurate” to report that day. But just when you think the irrational exuberance of the Loony Tunes Left is on the verge of bursting their own conspiracy bubbles, they‘re saved by those pesky bellwethers of Ba'athist belligerence whose die-easy nature belie their die-hard intent.

But even many of the remnants of Vichy Iraq not actively fighting us are content to sit back and watch as fellow Muslim instigators foment chaos within their country, about which they do little or nothing. Some are active collaborators, others simply too afraid to get involved. But involved they already are. While we don’t expect all of them to pick up a gun, we do expect them to pick up a phone.

There can be no impartiality regarding an enemy that makes no distinctions between uniformed personnel and civilians. How do I know this? Osama bin Laden said it back in 1998, the Year of 'That Woman': "We do not differentiate between those dressed in military uniforms and civilians." In other words, banning ROTC from the WTC would not have lessened the KIA from bin Laden’s live-to-tape remake of Gone in 60 Seconds one iota. Could anything have? The FBI? CIA? INS? U-S-A? S-O-L.

The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises, maintain their neutrality.

Hotter than even the Middle East? That’s a level of warmth I never want to experience. Then again, I’m betting Dante never had to survive a Mesopotamian summer dressed up like a samurai.

Of the hundreds of myriad conflicts around the globe at any given time, Muslims are usually involved on one side or the other, or in most cases, both. Is this the ripened fruit of their once magnificent civilization? Is this all they have to offer the world? The Hammurabic code, the numeric zero, then rioting, religious war, street violence, death threats, kidnappings, beheadings, fear, loathing, and fatwas? Is there anything in the last seven hundred years they can point to and say, "Look, we did this" -- other than the Islamic Enfrightenment?

Hyperventilating over cartoon drawings only further cements the hyperviolent caricature to which the Islamic religion has in recent year succumbed. Without the West, those precious Middle Eastern oil deposits would still be just a sticky black worthless goo thousands of feet below ground. But on their own merit alone, their societies haven’t produced so much as a toaster oven.

Don’t get me wrong. I genuinely like the majority of the Iraqi people I‘ve met. Many of them are no different than you or I. But they are a complex lot, these Iraqis. For every Jalal Talibani or Ali al-Sistani there’s a Moqtada al-Sadr or a what's- his-face. But our nation has given Iraq a unique chance to start over. A rare opportunity to build up and create rather than tear down and destroy. And every so often they seem to insist on flushing it all away.

Let every nation know, whether they wish us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to ensure the survival and success of liberty.

Identifying with those words four years ago on a marble gravemarker in Arlington overlooking an eternal flame, I wondered at the time if they were the anachronism -- or I was.

I’ll admit I’m not always as confident in Iraq’s future as I may seem. There are times when I feel our nomex-gloved hands that've been rocking the cradle of civilization have developed carpal tunnels. There are some days when I would be glad to leave this part of the world tomorrow and watch from the comfort of my living room as the country self-destructs on CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, the BBC... If nothing else, it’d be almost worth the price of admission of failure just to watch those jackals try and top their own hysterical news reports of the past three years. "This just in: Iraq really is a quagmire! And this time we’re not totally full of [bleep]!"

The northern Kurds are similarly fed up with the inexplicable unrest in their nation‘s southern Koran Belt. "We should just seal ourselves off from the rest," I’ve often been told by our U.S.-contracted interpreters from Dohuk. "In Kurdistan we are safe, we are free, we are prospering. Let the Shia and Sunnis fight amongst themselves. Let them all go kill each other if that is all they know to do."

The leading cause of violent death for Iraqis is overwhelmingly Muslim on Muslim. A tennis coach and a few of his players were recently gunned down on the streets of Baghdad for the blasphemous crime of wearing shorts. (But presumably, not socks with sandals.) Which of course begs the question: What exactly were Mohammed’s views on proper tennis court attire?

But an American army doesn’t quit simply because something is difficult. When has war ever been easy? Like Iraq’s fledgling democracy, we also were born out of wedlock and nearly died during delivery. But we improvised. We adapted. We overcame. We out-Darwinned Darwin. Our own founding four-star believed that "perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages." Perhaps it's cornball to admit, but many of us still believe that. The military ranks may be chock full of cynical optimists, but no one mocks our own anachronistic idealism better than we do.

Any Middle Eastern nation replete with palaces but sans parliament buildings will never get the memo that Israel is not the source of their frustrations and America is not the appropriate outlet for their anger. Those who cannot petition their government for a redress of grievances will instead they take them out on us. The Iraqi people had been ritually abused and raised under a climate of fear for three decades. It may be that this cycle of violence can never be unlearned by those who have internalized it. But it can be broken. The next generation of Iraqi children will not despise the West in lieu of their own self-loathing, like their parents before them. Our camouflaged ambassadors -- likely the only Americans they will ever meet -- have seen to that personally.

If a future prosperous Iraq never throws a parade in our honor, never remembers the sacrifices of those who paved the way for their newfound freedom and prosperity; if the greater Middle East fails to note which country has been the most relentless defender of Muslims worldwide in the history of the world -- Lebanon, Kuwait, Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan... Even if 40 years hence the Mid East pulls a Japan on us and starts building better cars, exporting more electronics, and buying up all the primo real estate on our own shores -- bully for them. We don’t work for tips and we don’t need anyone’s gratitude. Veterans know what they did and why they did it; they don’t need to wait around for Tom Brokaw to write a new bestseller in order to feel proud of their service.

If there must be trouble, let it be in my day that my child may have peace...

Less than one one percent of the American voting populace currently serves in the combat arms, about the same percentage as the tiny sliver of troop misconduct that white-collar memesters delight in painting the rest of us with the same tainted brush. (Haditha: Coming soon to bumper stickers everywhere).

But as we approach the one millionth uniformed customer of the three-year-old war ("Iraq: over a million served"), it bears reiterating that our nation’s most basic responsibility is to provide for the common defense by supplying the manpower needs of its military. (That includes you too, 90210.) The government’s job is just to sign the checks. Yet recruiters continue to be harassed off campuses and embattled in public venues even as our so-called elites prattle on about enlistment shortfalls and the need to bring back the draft for thee but not for me.

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy...

We fully realize that you don’t want your children to have to face the prospect of dying in some far-off foreign land. You know, we don’t particularly relish the idea ourselves. But we also don’t want to see any more of our fellow citizens being incinerated, perhaps next time by a French-made Airbus piloted by French-bred Arab immigrants who received their terrorist training in French-fubarred Algeria. That’s why we’re serving now during this unusually turbulent era: so that our own families will not have to face that prospect thirty years hence at the mall or in a high-rise office building or on their way to work in a subway tunnel. If America’s building safety codes are updated in the near future to reflect a new parachute and gas mask requirement, then you will know we have failed.

One can’t help but wonder what percentage of French schoolchildren -- or French adults, for that matter -- could identify the significance of June 6th in the annals of our two nations. (For those of you scratching your heads, wondering what Father’s Day could possibly have to do with the only country glad to see Lance Armstrong retire -- you owe your American heritage approximately 2,500 pushups. Start now.) Ditto for Omaha and Utah Beaches, the 101st Airborne, the Marshall Plan... I wonder how many realize that a brigadier general and son of a former American president landed with the opening waves of Allied troops on D-Day, earning the Medal of Honor for rallying his men to press in the face of murderous enemy fire? Cricket, cricket...

Following the Second World War, both Germany and its snooty neighbor lived under the umbrella of America’s protection for nearly half a century. We didn’t birth them, but took them in when no one else would and with the Soviet bear salivating at the door. For fifty years we nurtured, protected, and ultimately, spoiled them. And like any overindulged teenagers, naturally they came to hate their guardians. "You’re not our real parents!"

Some things never change.

Lucky for human freedom, America never will:

It is not in our nature to seek out wars and conflicts. But whenever they have come, when adversaries have left us no alternative, American men and women have stood ready to take the risks and to pay the ultimate price.

People of the same caliber and the same character today fill the ranks of the Armed Forces of the United States. Any foe who might ever challenge our national resolve would be repeating the grave errors of defeated enemies.

Because this nation loves peace, we do not take it for granted. Because we love freedom, we are always prepared to bear even its greatest costs.

President George W. Bush
Memorial Day Address, Arlington National Cemetery
May 28, 2001

Early in 2005, I posted a text about the French perspective on this war. The title was «Mixed Feelings (or How Hating Bush Does Not Mean I Hate Americans)».

I was hoping people like you might look at it, people who are quick to talk about how they defend freedom and democracy, yet insult those who dare disagree with their views.

I am not kidding myself: there is obviously no convincing you that things might have been done differently. I am only hoping to show you a piece where I attempted to be respectful of other people's opinions, something you don't seem too concerned about—that would make you feel too wimpy, maybe?

Here we go:
«I agree with the Liberals when they accuse Bush of having started a war based on lies.

That's it. All the rest is rhetoric. Bush said: "Saddam has WMDs, I have the evidence: he is a threat to our great nation, I'm gonna kick his ass before he hurts us."

That was a lie. Bush used 9/11 to finish Daddy's work, which was a whole different matter. And he started a war for reasons that were not those he sold us.

So I am one of the many French people who were happy not to take part.

Now, most Americans seem to want that war, even if it was started by a lying bastard. I suppose they don't believe he really lied. Or they think that the end justifies the means: "If lying gets us rid of that evil prick Saddam, so be it, let's lie and get rid of him. He killed thousands, maybe millions, good riddance! It's the right thing to do."

You see, I don't agree with this logic, but I understand it, and I can respect it. I respect that people are putting their lives in danger for no personal benefit, because they believe it's the right thing to do.

Indeed, that logic once saved my country, hence it saved my own insignificant little butt: thank you America.

As grateful as I am, I don't believe I should be expected to give away my freedom to the children of the very people who died so I could be free... For that I am called ungrateful scum. Oh, well.

If you don't mind, Bush Lovers, I would like to defend myself. The reason why we believed that war was a bad idea (other than our government's shady deals with Saddam, which I know little about but am sure are a factor... as I believe oil is a factor for anybody who takes any kind of action in the Middle East, so let's not waste our time insulting each other over it, we're all guilty of that one), the reason we disagreed is this: without prior aggression from Saddam, without UN approval, that war was illegitimate.

I know the UN is corrupted and often inefficient, I agree that it's in dire need of reform. Yet it's the closest thing we have to a global democracy, it's a symbol we need to respect if we don't want to keep polarizing the world: Rich against Poor, North against South, East against West... Us against Them. It's our only hope to finally live in a better world.

Those of you who believe a better world means a world without Muslims, you're a lost cause as far as I'm concerned, let's keep ignoring each other.

I'm writing for Bush lovers who are prepared to live with people with different values and different beliefs: you're not all fascist pigs, are you? Some of you do believe in freedom, not just as a convenient tool of propaganda, but as the best way to insure that our nations are governed responsibly?

To you, I would like to say that our opposition to the war is not about raging pacificism. We're happy Hitler got what he deserved, and we're not saying Saddam didn't deserve the same treatment. But, to quote a guy we can all agree to love:
« "Deserve" 's got nothing to do with it. » (for the really isolated: Clint Eastwood, before blowing Gene Hackman's head clean off, in Unforgiven). My point is, before you kick a dictator out of the way, you have to know you're not paving the way for anarchy and chaos. We all cherish democracy, but it is naive to believe that every country is ready for it. That, my friends, is wishful thinking. In many countries, freeing people amounts to declaring civil war: see Rwanda, see Ivory Coast. In Algeria, an Islamist party once won the elections: the good people wanted an islamist republic just like Iran's — are you freedom lovers really going to tell me that such a "democracy" wouldn't also be a tyranny?

Well, that's just what we were afraid might happen to Iraq: free of Saddam's goons, the Iraqis might cut each others' throats or elect some fanatics... some progress!

(Another option would be to replace a hostile dictator by a friendly one, like Saddam used to be, in the good old days when he actually used chemical weapons but we didn’t care because it was on his people... If that’s what this is about, please don’t talk about freedom.)

So we believed we could only get rid of Saddam if he attacked first, like in 1990: France was with you in that war, just as France is with you right now in Afghanistan. Otherwise, we had to wait for his regime to collapse, just like it happened in the USSR.

Declaring war without UN support, without a coalition which would have included Arab troops, like in the first Gulf War, without prior aggression (9/11 doesn't count, that was somebody ELSE, people) was a mistake, because in the Arab world it looked like you attacked a Muslim just out of hatred of Muslims. North Korea was more of a threat (still is!), yet they were not Muslims, and they were not attacked... draw your own conclusions, sons of Allah!

In my book, that's being counterproductive: Bush has been recruiting for Al Qaeda, all this time I thought they were the enemy.

Next time, who decides who's bad? Who decides who's a threat? What if someone lies? What if the intelligence is wrong?

Nah, that's waaaay too paranoid.

Bush is taking us all back to the dark ages: the strongest man rules. That, my friends, is the law of the jungle.

Gee, I can see how that picture would be appealing to some Americans, given the side of the fence you'd sit on... just don't bullshit us about freedom.

Now, I don't mind if you disagree with this point of view (Freedom!). But please, see that it’s not a traitor’s point of view, it’s not a back-stabbing, ungrateful prick’s point of view. If Saddam had attacked first (which we’re convinced he would never have done, but we’ll never know, will we?) France would be with you in Baghdad.

The problem is you are in that war because Bush chose to take you in. CHOSE. To me it is unforgivable, it’s what the bad guys do. That man is the scariest man in History because even if he means well (which is open to discussion), he behaves like he can’t be wrong, and he’s got the most terrifying arsenal anyone has ever had. You bet your ass I’m scared.

Me, grateful little froggy, I am scared of the U.S.

And I am sad that my country and yours can't seem to call each other friends anymore. I love your country, I love mine. I feel like when my parents got divorced, dammit!

(As Americans, I'm pretty sure a lot of you feel the same way, because it seems that Democrats and Republicans are hardly on speaking terms these days... That's not my idea of a healthy democracy.)

I would just like to go back to being able to agree to disagree: to be honest with you, my president is just as obnoxious as yours, they share the blame. But us, we're regular guys, we should keep it nice, because in the end it's guys like us who do the bleedin'...

(Yeah, you're right, I never personally did any bleeding. Hopefully you know what I mean.)

Hey, during the campaign there was a site called "republicansforkerry.org". A guy by the name of Eisenhower wrote for these people. Well, that is a name that, as a Frenchman, I cannot hear without respect and gratitude: you should check out what this dude has to say.

P.S. Oh, by the way, I don't see the contradiction between not wanting that war and hoping you'll win it. Now that it's done, a happy ending, for everybody, would be a democratic Iraq, full of free, grateful Muslims, who would enjoy bitching against you at the UN or on sites such as this one: way better than killing good American people, if you ask me.»

The rest of the story

SGT: "Excusay-moi, monseniors. But do y’all happen to speak German?"

FROG:"Non, monsieur. We do not."

SGT: "Yer welcome!"

FROG: "Please pass my thanks to your father. Or maybe your grandfather?"

SGT: "Smart-ass!"

FROG: "Pardon, my friend, may I ask a question?"

SGT: "Shoot."

FROG: "All I want to do is ask a question. I have no wish to shoot you."

SGT: "Can’t you understand English? Ask yer damn question."

FROG: "I am so sorry, but I was not certain if you were an American or whether you are a British citizen."

SGT: "I’m an American, and proud of it."

FROG: "You’re welcome."

SGT: "What the hell?"

FROG: "I was referring to the Marquis de Lafayette. But for him, you would be a British citizen."

SGT: "The Marquis de What? Is that some French faggot?"

FROG: "Oh, pardon. You have not read your history."

SGT: "Reading’s for faggots. I know all the history I need to know. All the way back to January 20, 1981."

FROG: "1981? Why 1981?"

SGT: "Because that’s when Ronald Reagan became president. You’d be speaking Russian by now if Ronald Reagan hadn’t become president."

FROG: "So you are unfamiliar with 1962, or 1954?"

SGT: "Like I said, books are for fags."

FROG: "I am so sorry. In 1954 the French were defeated in Vietnam and in 1962 the French were defeated in Algeria. I am so sorry that Americans never knew. You might have learned something."

SGT: "We don’t need your stinkin’ history. We do things by our gut."

FROG: "Oh yes, the gut. We French love the gut! You have eaten here, no?"

SGT: I don’t need no stinkin’ frog food. I go to McDonald’s. Love them craw-sants. You know them curved things? Good old American food."

p.s.: friendly frog, don't despair. The Liar-in-Chief is now one of the most despised men in America. A recent poll picked him by far as the worst president in the last 75 years.

The opposition will be sweeping the off-year elections this fall. The Iraq War is, quite tragically and soon to be very painfully, lost.

Every American will bear heavy costs from the defeat. The after-effects are going to be much worse than they were from Vietnam. But perhaps at long last the far-right will learn its lesson about the limits of U.S. power and arrogance.

It's going to be very difficult for the rightists here to do what they did after Vietnam and blame the defeat on the news media or the opposition, because those elements have given Bush everything he asked for but he lost anyway. There will be nowhere for them to hide this time.

Big majorities of popular opinion here are dissatisfied by the war and by the right-wing politics of the day. It will be a painful period, but change is coming. Hang in there.

I do respect the Friendly Frogman's right to express his opinions - however, I can't let his points go unchallenged.

To say that President Bush lied is to say that he deliberately and knowingly decieved people - I think that is going too far. At worst, Bush was mistaken that Saddam had WMD at the time of invasion. At best, Bush was correct, but the WMD were moved to Syria during the 8 months of "rushing to war" while Bush was trying to diplomatically seek U.N. approval to conduct operations for enforcement of U.N. sanctions and resolutions and so forth. The U.N. as well as France and Russia - permanent security council members both - had a vested interest in continuing all these Oil for Food Contracts with Saddam's Government - hence their stonewalling.
But, back to the current subject.

We do know that Saddam Hussein wanted to restart his WMD program when the failing U.N. Sanctions [in place since 1991] were finally down. We do know that during the March 2003 invasion - Iraqi Generals in charge of Divisions thought the other divisions had WMD at their disposal which they did not. We do know that many intelligence agencies both in the United States and the world as well as Republican and Democratic politicians considered Saddam Hussein to be a threat before the March 2003 invasion happened because of the WMD issue. But, let's take a step back as to why Bush decided to invade Iraq.

The answer is 9/11. But it isn't just because terrorists used planes to crash and destroy the World Trade Center and to severely damage the Pentagon - the hijackers professed that their deep desire to carry out their missions was due to their Muslim faith. Now, Bush has called the subsequent Age the "War on Terror."

The truth is that it is a war on the complex factors that cause Muslims to justify terrorism to foster jihad for the purpose of subjugating non-Muslim lands and peoples. Bush desperately wants Islam to be a religion of peace in the sense of not wanting it to be a fighting religion, however, Islam is a religion of peace in the sense that where Muslims prevail - there exists a overall submission to either the religion or the laws of the religion. Bush wants to tackle the underlying factors that create acceptance of terrorism - poverty, lack of freedom, etc., while respecting what Islam is. In short, he wants to create the path and the road to democratic representative governments for Islamic countries because he believes that such governments will not wage war on like minded governments. So, after Afghanistan, Bush looked for another target in the Middle East proper on which he could try this experiment. Iraq was chosen for many reasons - failing sanctions, the Army was relatively weak, Saddam was a despised strongman, etc. A good candidate to send a message to Muslim lands that dictatorships and tolitarian states were not acceptable anymore.

So Bush went to war in March 2003. Ever since then, Iraq has been the first battlefield in which U.S. Troops are trying to build a democratic society in a Muslim land - the first Bush Experiment. Progress is being made, but there is much violence because many people want to see this experiment fail.

It might have made more sense to pick Saudi Arabia from whence the 15 of 19 hijackers came from or Iran - which is the leading sponsor of terrorism in the world. World politics would have been apopeletic about such a choice if they weren't yet about Iraq. But then again, Japan attacked the United States drawing us into WWII, but we chose to fight Germany first instead because of our special relationship with Britain and that the U.S. was waging an undeclared war with Germany already in the North Atlantic. When 9/11 occured, the U.S. already was fighting an undeclared war with Iraq by getting shot at while enforcing the decade old no-fly zones during the Sanctions. Something had to give.

A couple of final words, to cherish democracy is to understand the rights, responsibilities and history behind the practice of democracy. One wouldn't hand the keys of the car to a teenager unless he learned how to drive. So, the qualification of a vibrant democracy is a majority populance that wants to practice it. Bush believes, as I do, this applies to everyone on earth - but they have to learn and begin practicing some ideals such as respecting freedom of speech, religion, etc. and that's not easy if there does not exist a tradition of such respect.

Finally, I am glad that Bush CHOSE not only to go to war without the U.N. or the Arab countries alliance - he also chose to lead the country into a bold new direction in Foreign policy of which I just explained. I want to reassure you not to be scared of the United States. I'm more surprised that you are not scared of all these Muslim immigrants that is going to turn France into Eurabia within 20 years - then, only then, will the U.S. cast a wary eyebrow in (what was) France's direction. Indeed, now that I remember it, Chirac was concerned enough to threaten nuclear retaliation should a terrorist attack happen on France's soil.

Very good blog Buck Sargent. Cleverly written and we actually got it. Get it? You are the best. Please keep up the good work and remember - safety first! The comments you get always prove the truth you present in your blog.
Americans first. A&N

What's all this "fag" stuff about, Willy? You've repeatedly fabricated quotes for Buck Sargent in which you pretend he uses the term, just curious as to why.

While I'm at it, what's all the "Frog" stuff? Do you always refer to the French as "Frogs?"


Well written, sir. I think you've found a new profession, should you choose to leave the Army. I expect to see you on the staff of NRO in the future. Stay safe, smoke the bad guys and don't bother listening to lame-ass, defeated, has-been socialist french TOOLS who comment on your blog.
D. Smith

ww, thanks for lending me a sympathetic ear... but you really misunderstand me if you think that an American failure in Iraq would make me happy: it would be the victory of chaos, and we would all be losers...

I really meant what I said about wishing for America to succeed in establishing durable democracy in Iraq... I just never believed it was possible the way it was done.

First "Anonymous", thank you for a thoughtful, respectful, convincing argument. I wish your president could have made his case so nicely! (I have a feeling you may give him more credit than he deserves...)
It would be very pleasant, don't you think, to see the professionals have this sort of conversation instead of throwing partisan jabs at each other?

One thing I resent is how prompt the Right is to call those who disagree with this war "traitorous", as if opposing the war amounted to wishing for Islam to take over the world. (D. Smith, you are so eloquently despicable, it's almost delighful to be insulted by your kind.)

And yes, I worry about the evolution of French society. One thing I know is it does need to evolve. I'm hoping we can learn to live together instead of having each side perpetually trying to defeat the other... yeah, I know that sounds naive.
But thinking you can bully muslim fanatics into submission is pretty naive too... the anti-war side's hope is to turn them into muslim moderates—a task pretty hard to accomplish for christian fanatics... (no mention of W's Bible-thumping in your oh so pragmatic entry, by the way. I would really enjoy your take on that, because I frankly don't get it.)

OK, bye guys, this was fun.

You don't get the Bible-thumping because in reality it's pretty much irrelevant or a fantasy of the left.

As for bullying muslims... I had a lengthy conversation with an Irishman a bit ago who'd lived and worked in Saudi at one time. He was absolutely clear that in order to deal with the locals it was vital to never back down. They push, you had to push back. Failing to do so meant they'd despise you.

Now, bullying *me* would get you no where because I don't inhabit that sort of a macho culture. I'd say that in general the West doesn't operate that way... not even people from Texas.

Wanting to show people how to live together peacefully by example isn't going to work when the other side has different "body language."

Don't you just love it when trolls make your case for you with their unhinged commentary?

To be honest, I don't really hate the French. I just find them sad and pathetic, like much of Western Europe.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything."
-Alexander Hamilton

Hi Buck

Not only the French but a lot of idle hands make trouble in Europe

From Larry Kudlow at National Review

"Indeed, at the heart of the French problem is a statist-run socialist economy that is massively overtaxed and overregulated. France’s public government sector, for instance, accounts for more than 50 percent of GDP. In other words, private business in France is in the minority.

Added to this, France’s top personal tax rate is 48 percent, with a VAT tax of nearly 20 percent. So that means French laborers face a combined 68 percent tax rate on consumption and investment. No wonder France has created less than 3 million jobs over the past twenty years, compared to 31 million in the United States. Economic growth in “cowboy capitalist” America has exceeded that of France’s worker paradise by nearly 50 percent.

In a dramatic speech to the European Parliament last summer, British Prime Minister Tony Blair hit the mark when he criticized all Western European economies for their inability to compete on an acceptable global level. Asked Blair, “What type of social model is it that has 20 million unemployed in Europe? Productivity rates falling behind those of the USA? That, on any relative index of a modern economy — skills, R&D, patents, information technology — is going down, not up?”"

Makes the USA look pretty darn good I`d say

Best regards from all your friends in Canada at 54thbattalioncef.ca

Trash me all you want, guys, I’m a worm.

But, to stay on topic, I’d be curious to read your take on this citizen soldier:
«SAS soldier quits Army in disgust at 'illegal' American tactics in Iraq
By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent
(Filed: 12/03/2006)

An SAS soldier has refused to fight in Iraq and has left the Army over the "illegal" tactics of United States troops and the policies of coalition forces.

After three months in Baghdad, Ben Griffin told his commander that he was no longer prepared to fight alongside American forces.
Ben Griffin told commanders that he thought the Iraq war was illegal

He said he had witnessed "dozens of illegal acts" by US troops, claiming they viewed all Iraqis as "untermenschen" - the Nazi term for races regarded as sub-human.

The decision marks the first time an SAS soldier has refused to go into combat and quit the Army on moral grounds.

It immediately brought to an end Mr Griffin's exemplary, eight-year career in which he also served with the Parachute Regiment, taking part in operations in Northern Ireland, Macedonia and Afghanistan.

But it will also embarrass the Government and have a potentially profound impact on cases of other soldiers who have refused to fight.

On Wednesday, the pre-trial hearing will begin into the court martial of Flt Lt Malcolm Kendall-Smith, a Royal Air Force doctor who has refused to return to Iraq for a third tour of duty on the grounds that the war is illegal. Mr Griffin's allegations came as the Foreign Office minister Kim Howells, visiting Basra yesterday, admitted that Iraq was now "a mess".

Mr Griffin, 28, who spent two years with the SAS, said the American military's "gung-ho and trigger happy mentality" and tactics had completely undermined any chance of winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi population. He added that many innocent civilians were arrested in night-time raids and interrogated by American soldiers, imprisoned in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, or handed over to the Iraqi authorities and "most probably" tortured.

Mr Griffin eventually told SAS commanders at Hereford that he could not take part in a war which he regarded as "illegal".

He added that he now believed that the Prime Minister and the Government had repeatedly "lied" over the war's conduct.

"I did not join the British Army to conduct American foreign policy," he said. He expected to be labelled a coward and to face a court martial and imprisonment after making what "the most difficult decision of my life" last March.

Instead, he was discharged with a testimonial describing him as a "balanced, honest, loyal and determined individual who possesses the strength of character to have the courage of his convictions".

Last night Patrick Mercer, the shadow minister for homeland security, said: "Trooper Griffin is a highly experienced soldier. This makes his decision particularly disturbing and his views and opinions must be listened to by the Government."

The MoD declined to comment.»

blah de blah de blah balh blah Propaganda is so boring! Honestly Buck. You do seem to bring out all the old socialists from under the rocks.

friendly frogman, I never conveyed a belief that a U.S. defeat in Iraq would make you happy. I happen to think that such a defeat is coming. It won't make me happy either, because I think it's going to be very costly.

The only real question in my mind is the timing and shape of the coming defeat. A friend and I were discussing it last night. I said I thought it could come within a matter of months, as it becomes ever clearer that the U.S. and the Iraqi "government" control nothing. Even Fox News will have to throw in the towel, I argued.

My friend argued that the Bush administration will pump out enough propaganda to keep up appearances until the November elections, after which point they will declare the mission over and said they're handing it over to the Iraqis themselves.

One way or the other, both of us expect that the U.S. footprint's going to change in a big way by the end of the year. Another issue is what residual forces will remain. I'm tending to think the U.S. will try to pull back to its embassy in the Green Zone and to the Halliburton military bases being contructed around Iraq to facilitate attacks on Iran and control of the oil fields.

What I'm not sure of is whether that level of occupation will be tenable, i.e., whether the U.S. will be thrown out of those enclaves. My friend expects the Bush admininistration to allow (generate?) another "terror attack" in the U.S. this year to bolster support for its intention to attack Iraq, but I argue that they know it would backfire.

We agreed that the biggest danger of all is that this November's voting will be rigged like it was in 2004 in Ohio and Florida. Three voting machine merchants have supplied new machines that will tabulate millions of votes this year. The companies are Republican owned; there is no audit function built into the machanisms; they are easily hackable.

This will be an interesting year here.

Buck Sargent, congratulations on another fine post. I missed your regular posts the last week or so, but now I see why.

It is somewhat depressing to see individuals such as Frogman comment on the situation while remaining "stuck on stupid". Their points of discussion never seem to change, regardless of how often the facts dismissing their claims are presented. It's like they don't listen at all, or can't deal with being wrong, or perhaps can't process raw data and reach reasonable conclusions. This may be a universal problem with liberal thinking. Frogman even defeats himself with his own arguments, but can't see it; maybe he's living in his own fantasy world, or perhaps under a rock.

I read the entire authorization Congress approved prior to commencing operations in Iraq. It was lengthy, yet I don't remember a reference to WMD; if it was there, it must have been a small reference.

His reference to the UN as a global democratic governing institution was also laughable! When has it ever been such an organization? For that matter, how often have liberals ever required the UN's blessings for operations? Bosnia (talk about a no plan quagmire)? Cruise missle attacks? How could we ever expect the UN to act in our best interests when it is populated with so many totalitarian members, including known foes with veto power on the Security Council? I suppose Frogman just wants us to voluntarily consign ourselves to the whims of an ineffective, corrupt, unaccountable institution that has no regard for the freedoms and rights we hold so dear.

I think your article spells out our priorities very well. For our own good, I hope we never embrace the values Frogman wants us to embrace. We would find ourselves in one mess after another, just as the European continent has in the past. Great Brittain has long been their enclave of hope and sanity, yet even they haven't always been a certainty in that regard, either. It always seems to be a close toss-up in either GB or the US whether reason will prevail.

I'm sure grateful for you and your men. Best to you, and Hook 'Em Horns.

Well, let me clear up some issues for the frog.

There is a UN mandate that exists today. Any soldier in the British Army that refuses to serve on the grounds that it is an illegal war because the UN has not issued a directive is mistaken.

In fact, if I am not mistaken myself, Lt. Kendall-Smith was convicted at his courts martial. Further, his reasons for not wanting to return, while dressed up in pretty rhetoric to try to win over the British public (as if they have anything to say on or can influence a courts martial based on military law). His reasons were personal and he needed a way to make it non-personal if he was going to avoid punishment for failure to show up for deployment and for not returning his equipment issued for the deployment.

You see, military justice isn't generally about the political, but about the strict rules that are meant to maintain discipline in the forces. While you may see him as some ideological hero, the fact is, his refusal to go at the last moment meant his unit most likely deployed with out his position, which was a medical officer I believe, meaning that other soldiers might suffer due to two less hands able to treat and care for them.

On top of that, someone who was not scheduled to go had to go in his place, leave his family behind and put his life at risk in order to care for these men.

That is why politics, beyond those that direct the army to commit war or not, are not supposed to be part of a soldier's decision making for falling orders. It is about the faith between soldiers and holding up one's oath.

Now, I may be mistaken again, but, I would bet that neither the British nor US oath has any language that indicates they must follow orders from the UN or will not participate in war without the UN's approval or that war is illegal without the UN or any order (including an order to ship out and treat his fellow soldiers and probably Iraqi civilians) is illegal if the UN does not first approve the actions.

I have heard all the arguments about UN charters and sovereign borders, but the most interesting part of those arguments is that they often leave out the very long and convoluted exceptions to this sovereignty.

As for the UN being the closest thing to a world democratic institute, I nearly spewed my drink. For all you acceptance of its corruption and ineffectiveness, to call it anything resembling democratic is, excuse me for saying so, ideological blindness or very wishful thinking.

On the other hand, I do not want a world government, thank you. I would prefer more democratic nations to work with. If your dream is for a world government and you believe that the UN is it, then I will not complain about it's ineptitude and incompetence, since I prefer a weak UN that does not think its job is to rule the world. Particularly because, for the talk of a democratic institution, 60% of its members are totalitarian states who don't even have a blushing acquaintance with democracy.

I would just as soon it stay in its current condition.

As for Iraq, it was, as noted above, a ready made target for many reasons. I find it disingenuous that anyone focuses solely on the WMD though that was a significant presentation to the UN. the reason being that the UNs involvement in Iraq was all about sanctions and WMD, not about Saddam's continued support of terrorist organizations with monetary, material and moral support or about his continued oppression of his people.

to conflate that presentation as the only reason given for war as opposed to the reason the US was trying to get the UN to move against Saddam, is revisionist history.

Iraq war is not about 2002 or even 2001. Without its entire history, without the inclusion of the mass graves, the shia massacres, the use of chemical weapons in the past, the 11 years of stealing, with UN approval, money, food and medicine from his people while storing away billions in private bank accounts, all the while killing his people in one fashion or the other while his two mongrel, rabid sons used Iraqi people as disposable play things, etc, etc, etc. It's about 11 years of routinely targeting UN MANDATED FORCES. It's about continuing threats to the region and the US. It's about Saddam and the Iraq that existed under him, not about 9/11 alone or revenge or oil. It's about finishing a job.

It's about Iraq from 1992 to 2002.

As for lack of terrorists, whether sanctioned or otherwise by the state of Iraq, were in Iraq before the war began. I was just reading translated documents from a jihadist website and it was the story of a Saudi who travelled to Syria, set up a camp in Al Anbar, proceeded to set up four more camps and transport, train and equip almost 100 men. This was written by a jihadist for consumption of his Islamist public on a jihad website. He was hoping to inspire people to do the same while talking about how one of his camps had been infiltrated and destroyed but, heroically, he was able to move the rest of the camps and protect his other people.

All in April 2002.

Why might you ask? Were we planning war in April 2002? Was it a foregone conclusion? Why would jihadists go to Iraq to build camps and train when we were in Afghanistan waging the major war at that time?

Because they knew what we knew. That Baghdad was the center of the old Caliphate. When your central thesis is the development of this caliphate and you are exhorting your followers based historical stories of Muslim expansionism and referencing the Quran, Baghdad has a symbolic meaning far beyond Afghanistan or Palestine and Jerusalem. It's the heart of this wishful Caliphate and to lose it early on would, in fact, mean discrediting their ideology and putting a dagger in the heart of their Caliphate.

There is an old saying that says whoever holds baghdad, holds the Caliphate. that is why, historically, whenever there were revolts or invasions (such as the mongols), the first place they drove for was Baghdad.

And, if you pay attention to anything that the Islamists say, at least three times bin Laden and Zawahiri have indicated the importance of Baghdad as the center of the battle and as the center of the establishment of the Caliphate.

So, like it or not, Iraq is the second front in this war.

There are other reasons that make it a viable and probable target which I will address when I return. But, my final point here is simply that, insisting that the war was illegal is an ideological front that people need to use because they have no moral reason to defend Saddam and his mass murdering regime.

One cannot equate "legal" concepts with "morality". Mafioso are routinely set free on legal technicalities, but one would be hard pressed to call such actions or people "moral". at one time, it was legal to segregate blacks and whites in this country, but no one would call that moral.

In Germany, the laws stripped jews and other non-Germans of citizenship, forced them to wear marks and finally put them to death. That was the law. Did the law make it morally right?

The fact that you have no moral reason to oppose Iraq forces you to fall back on the legal. For all the accusations of lies to start the war, you have no proof that it was a lie and, if you did, that proof would quite possibly lead to the demise of your own moral rectitude.

someone once said that Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels, but I disagree; the law is the last refuge of scoundrels.

So, excuse me if I find your demands for legality based on approval from a corrupt, inept, inefficient and full of representatives from totalitarian nations less than a good argument for the morality of war.

This post really needs to be passed along, a member of Milblogs over at Mudville Gazette or maybe Matt at Blackfive himself...you deserve to have this exceptional piece read by as many as possible. I'm gonna try and find an appropriate thread to put a link into over at FreeRepublic as soon as possible.

Amen, Buck, Amen.

You always outdo yourself and I will repeat that it is a privilege to be able to read and respond to such musings from yourself and your fellow men and women in uniform.

God bless.

Thanks from future cadet:

Hello Sir,

My name is Kyle S., I am 18 years old and I will begin my four year journey at the United States Military Academy in approximately 20 days. Upon graduation I plan to go into either the infantry or armor branches. I would like to thank you for writing your blog and sharing your thoughts with the world. You and men like you have inspired me to play my part in the War on Terror. Reading your blog reaffirms my beliefs and solidifies my love for my country. The positive attitude exhibited by you is truly awe-inspiring. I would like to share with you two things which are related to your latest blog entry.

First of all regarding Haditha:

I was watching CNN (something I have trouble doing for more than 5 minutes) and their teaser preceding a commercial break for the "refresher course in ethics" story was something to the effect "The U.S. Military announces it will be giving all troops in Iraq a refresher course in ethics. But the question now is will it make a difference?" This is a perfect example of the nauseating liberal media engaging in its anti-military role. The fact that they insinuated that Haditha indicates a large scale problem in the military as a whole sickened me. It seems to me that men and women who volunteered to serve their country know more about ethics than politicians or journalists. This before the investigation is completed.

Secondly in regard to the poor treatment of recruiters:

At my high school when the recruiters show up and set up their little table one of the history teachers stands next to them chanting anti-war slogans and holding up anti-military signs. She even argued with a marine who had been to Iraq and told him the war was "for oil." Luckily a few students at my school are joining the military and they challenged her ridiculous actions. In addition two students stood behind her holding "support our troops" signs. A good sign I hope, especially since I live in Massachusetts.

I would like to repeat that your words have a profound impact on me. Thank you sir for your service, it is genuinely appreciated by so many Americans. Please continue to share your thoughts.

Thank you and stay safe,


Excellent post, Outstanding writing...

Continue the Mission.

Papa Ray

I'm just a mom who gets to tuck in her 2 beautiful, intelligent kids every night in our country, free from fear of gunfire or terrorists.
I'm just a wife, who has her husband by her side.
I'm just a daughter, whose father never saw the terror of war.
I'm just a sister, whose brothers never chose to enlist in military service to our great nation.
I'm just a woman who is more than thankful for you and all the other citizen soldiers like you.

You and your families are in my prayers. Regardless of whatever hooey you hear, please know that you do indeed serve a grateful nation.

I love America. I love Texas. I love our soldiers. Prayers everyday for you and your comrades.

Not everyone liked this post:


Please don't flame this person. I just stumbled across it and thought it was an interesting, albeit rather limp, perspective.

Remember the 90's and how screwed up they were? Remember the most sought-after voting block at the time? Soccer moms. Sort of a moment of clarity for me here.

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and speculate that soccer mom's (or the soccer mom mentality, at least) are why we refused to answer al-Qaeda's numerous provocations until it was too late. Peace at any cost turned out to have quite a markup.

(I apologize to any soccer moms out there who aren't the stereotypical "feel everyone's pain" pansies.)

Yes, sir... excellent post. Thank you, and thank all your soldiers, for everything you do for our country. We truly do appreciate you, and we are dang proud of you.

Thank you a million times over.

"Momma Kat"

Yes, sir... excellent post. Thank you, and thank all your soldiers, for everything you do for our country. We truly do appreciate you, and we are dang proud of you.

Thank you a million times over.

"Momma Kat"


Just like the off limits list when pulling into a foreign country I headed straight to this site. her message is basically this- "You can disagree with people but be nice about."

What kind of Leo Buscaglia crap is that? She is offended at Buck for his offense at people who undermine our military, our way of life. What really got under this woman's skin was Buck's tone and the forum in which he vented.

Now hear this:
Blog's are not the forum to vent your political views, social commentary or your feelings (if they are negative and icky). Go talk to a rock or some other inanimate object that won't 'feel' bad for hearing your comments. Tree's and plants do not count because negativity is transmitted to them and they will feel your negativity (This does not apply to cannabis)

I made a comment, Buck, but I was polite.


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"Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed." -- Abraham Lincoln