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HUMMING THE HAIFA STREET BLUES


Searching curfew violators with the "assistance" of Iraqi police in Baghdad.
All parties would have rather been sleeping.
photo by Buck Sargent

Our strategy can be summed up this way: As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.
-George W. Bush, June 2005


What does it really mean to "win in Iraq?"

Am I the only one who's lost all patience for this jaded question? Especially when posed time and time again by people who've never even set boot there yet seem almost perturbed their views were snubbed by the Blue Ribbon panoply of the Iraq For Dummies study guide? (Granted, barely a dime's worth of difference between the two, but still...)

Perhaps the underlying concerns they're really trying to express with such offhanded effrontery are as follows: Are the Iraqi security forces honestly making any progress at all, or are they (and thus, we) right back where we started? Are they truly standing up or are we merely propping them up a la Weekend at Bernies 2? What happens after we finally remove the training wheels; will they fall flat on their faces? Or can we expect I.A. Joe to still be riding a Big Wheel when he's 30? The answer to all this is a resounding... kinda/sorta/maybe/not really.

The fact is none of this can be answered in an easily quotable one-sentence affirmation of optimism because it's completely dependent on which area of the country you're spotlighting. In the Kurdish north or Shiite-dominated south: Signs point to heck yeah. In the center-west of the country (i.e., Baghdad, Ramadi, Fallujah, et al.): Reply hazy, ask again later, I know nothing, please go away before someone sees us talking.

The Iraqi army as a whole is probably never going to be mistaken for The Unit, but they are for the most part capable and willing to carry out what is asked of them. It's encouraging to see them finally transition to uparmored Humvees from underarmoured Toyotas; (less so when you factor in that the enemy has since mastered converting our H1s into CO2).

But like all professional soldiers it has in recent years become a hard won point of pride for them to never again be seen as having run from a fight, especially one in which their personal honor is on the line. It cannot be understated that honor -- or what is perceived as honor -- is extremely important in Iraqi culture. The trouble has been in convincing them that allowing a tiny percentage of their society to hold the remainder in a semi-permanent state of mortal fear is (and should be considered) a fully permanent affront to their concept of manhood. Older generations of Iraqis are more used to serving as tools of a power-wielding minority than as instruments of, for, and by the people. Firing the Old Guard and starting from scratch didn't help matters. But keeping them on only would have made things worse. ("Ladies and gentlemen, this is Junta No. 5!")

That being said, what has cost us precious time and lives in the last two wasted years of the war has been the state of near total disarray that is the Iraqi police force -- where the rubber meets the road and trouble meets the rubble in this sectarian banana split.

Admittedly, there have always been some good Iraqi flatfoots on the job -- Mosul's Major Fallah (whose exploits I last recounted here) could have given Chuck Norris a run for his money. But to Ali Baba's good fortune and our continued bad fortunes, men like him on the force have to this point been few and far between. Many have no concept whatsoever of their duty to society as officers of the law. Many in positions of authority are politically or tribally appointed hacks that are so incompetent they require assistance even to read their own wall-mounted maps of their precinct checkpoints. And the number of Iraqi National Police who are not also still moonlighting as death-dealing militia members in their off time is completely up to speculation (although in the capital it often felt as if among blue-shirted Shiites it was nearly all of them).

As is now stands, many IPs haven't been out there on the streets catching bad guys because they've been too busy being the bad guys. Frankly, with all the bad juju embedded within the Iraqi po-po I don't see how they could find the energy to do much of anything else. Even with all the cars that choke the streets of Baghdad, no one's likely to get a parking ticket there any time soon. But it's still Driving While Iraqi that tends to ruin one's day.

This broken piece of the puzzle is the master key to solving this media-painted "hubristic state of fiasco" that everyone seems to agree we're now in but no one seems to agree how to solve. In Baghdad at least, the majority of the sectarian violence is tied directly to the fact that the Iraqi police forces have not been held accountable for their actions or lack thereof. They haven't been patrolling the streets or investigating crimes; they haven't been visiting neighborhoods on foot and talking with the people; they haven't even been responsive to routine emergencies much less the far-from-routine insurgency. 1-8-7? B & E? Fuggettaboutit. Dialing 9-1-1 in Baghdad only gets you Ali's Shia Kabobs: "We Deliver For Allah (NO SUNNIS, NO DOGS, NO ROUTE IRISH)".

From my vantage point during our year-plus tour, I couldn't help but notice that sans our poking, prodding, cajoling and extreme sport handholding, the bulk of the Iraqi five-o really hadn't been doing much of anything except guard their own police stations, man a few token checkpoints, and occasionally kidnap, torture, and dump the bodies of the average civilians they’re supposed to be protecting in trash piles that litter nearly every road.

You see, our dilemma from day one has been with quality control: the coalition fixation with increasing the quantity of the indigenous Iraqi forces without much regard to their quality. They have been rushed into production since 2004 in a nod to our own domestic politics to an extent that fast forwarded to 2007 we now find ourselves faced with a devastatingly huge and potential Dell-like power supply recall of a shamefully defective detective force. This was never as evident in the northern provinces, but in the capital city (the linchpin on which all our efforts hinge) it was as painfully explicit as amateur porn on HDTV.

Note to Gen. Petraeus: Completely restructure the police from the ground up and the top down -- one Baghdadi in Blue at a time if need be -- and you will see a dramatic shift in the overall balance of Iraqi society. The police are the first and last line of defense for any society. The only people they are currently defending, however, are themselves. (And if you read the papers, you'll see they're not even doing a great job of that.) Purge the ranks of the Iraqi police so they cannot simultaneously undermine our efforts, and then wield the hammer of the Iraqi army bolstered with our own forces to not just dismantle but smash the Shia militias and what remains of the Sunni gangs. The U.S. Army already has a Braveheart. What we've been hurting for is a Maximus. Unleashed? Hell!

This all may sound très simplisme, but only because the Army so often insists on taking the scenic route. But there are more options at our disposal than the either/or of "my way or the chai way." Building rapport with Iraqis is important; building hundreds of precincts by instilling a framework of lasting institutional values, however, is crucial. It is the difference between the NYPD of 2001 and the NOPD of 2005. (Or to be slightly more ecumenical, the difference between the Army's 172nd of 2006 and 372nd of 2003).

Begin the hard work of fixing this one problem above all else, and you'll see immediate results. I say this because Iraq's elected leaders will finally have the monopoly on force that defines any civil government, the Iraqi people will have won their freedom of movement back, and the imperial grunts in the American military can stop spending 21st birthdays in a dry country 7,000 miles from the closest Outback Steakhouse. I'm betting the man who said "war is heck" never sampled an MRE beef patty marinated in near beer. And believe me, it's not pretty.

President Bush is our first Harvard MBA Chief Exec. He should understand the pitfalls of placing quantity over quality. But with his Decider House Rules, we're not only getting what we pay for, we're getting what we've been failing to pay for as well.


An analogy for you Buck. Arizona. We have had illegals going through our property for 3 nights. Some even lingered at our picnic table to drink beer..coors light,and left their garbage for us. So by the fourth night I've had enough. Mother/daughter, we live alone in a more or less rural area..not one house stacked on top of another. We watch in daylight hours..a pickup load of Mexican men, complete with Mexican flag covering tail gate cruising the area, slowing down to stop in front of our place. We confront them in the day light. They don't speak English. They move on. The fourth night a man lurking under bedroom window. Fed up, I call 911. Dispatcher asks me if I know who it is or why they are there? I say Mexicans probably looking to steal what isn't nailed down. OOOPS not PC although honest. He asked..didn't he..but didn't like my answer? Sheriff shows up at 1:30AM. Interrogates us. Who are you, where are you from (born in Ariz. BTW) why do you live here, full names and dates of birth. Who is the criminal here, Buck? He had to admit it was an adult man's footprints in the snow. Ignores any other evidence we provide and doesn't want to hear about the pickup. Okay. His help? He tells us to get a motion light but not to be alarmed when it comes on because wild animals set them off. He left. We look at each other and in unison say, "We're on our own." The National Guard on the border is mostly unarmed. Anyone protecting our border had better be damn sure that illegals pouring across our border, absolutely, positively, 1000%,without a doubt sure, who shoot at them or point a gun at their heads really does mean to do them harm before firing back at them. Politicians don't allow us to defend ourselves. You can go to jail for that, maybe get sued by an illegal. Sure there is a difference, Buck, between Baghdad and Arizona. They aren't blowing us up here....yet. We can relate to lawlessness, Buck, and the need for a good police force backed by a "real" government to keep the honest citizens safe. Corrupt politicians are no stranger to us. And fellow US citizens working against us is common place. Yes, we get the picture you paint, Buck. We live it. Well, like I said, at least they aren't blowing us up....yet.
Gaines and Hillman
Arizona

I've spent most of the night (January 24th, 2007) looking at your various entries. In your first few blogs you were quick to rag on peace groups that say they are looking for a quick end to the war. Yet more recently you haven't said much about these groups. This Saturday, January 27th, 2007, there will be a large march on washington put on by such groups as United for Justice and others. Also on March 17, 2007 groups around the country and the world will be protesting on the day they call the anniversary of the fourth anniversary of the beginning of the war.

After all this time spent in Iraq, do you still feel the same way you did at the beginning, or do you understand where these groups are coming from? I would very much like to hear from you on this opinion, if only to let those groups know what the truth is about life in Iraq. Thank you

Gaines and Hillman,

I spent a year in Arizona back in the mid-nineties. I can't even imagine how much the state's changed (or been changed) since then. I sympathize with your plight; it's nothing less than unopposed invasion. Someone once said that the day a terrorist attack occurs that can be proven to have come from the porous southern or northern border, whoever is currently in the White House will be impeached for dereliction of duty. It would be Congress's fault as much as anyone's, but the Executive Branch has specific Constitutional obligations and can take quicker action than what P.J. O'Rourke once called a Parliament of Whores. It's not a Mexican problem, it's a border enforcement problem, period. I don't care who it is on the other side that keeps sneaking across. I want to know who they are, and I want them to utilize the process we've set up for legal entry into our country. To not demand this of foreign nationals is absurd.

Artistinme82,

I haven't bothered to "rag" on any peace groups in awhile simply because it's a moot issue. I don't know if you've noticed, but the anti-war movement kind of petered out back in... oh I don't know, late 2004?

But to answer your shockingly polite question (thank you for that): Yes, I do still pretty much the same way about the war now as I did before I went. I'm a bigger supporter of it now, after having met, dined, and befriended so many of the people who's lives depend on our succeeding there. I'm also more critical of our efforts after having witnessed the efficacy or lack of the same of our overall strategy and how it plays out on the ground in real time. Though my critiques are aimed solely to inform and inspire, not to tear down or sabotage morale at home.

A few of my entries from Baghdad late last summer and fall nearly crossed the line on negativity at times, but we were going on month 13 without any assurances for when we'd be finished, and it was often personally difficult for me to stay motivated. Yet I stand by what I wrote. It was the truth then and it remains the truth today. The good, the bad, and the ugly, in no particular order. That's all I'm capable of and that's all I can promise.

One last thing,

I'm assuming your opposition to the war is couched in terms of "human rights" or some other such feelgoodedness. Nothing wrong with that, only that the end result you seek (swift departure of U.S. forces) would lead to near instant genocide and ACTUAL civil war (not the MSM-decided variety). Until Iraq is ready to hold the center line, we must stay engaged or they will tear themselves apart. We did not inject this evil impulse into their society, it was always present. The Sunni/Shia divide is an undercurrent in many other Mideast countries as well, just very well suppressed at the moment. But that is why they are so nervous about Iraq. A "strongman" (read: genocidal murderer) like Saddam can only ride the tiger as long as he did by relying on severely extreme methods. Methods that are unthinkable to Western societies. Anyone who truly cares about Iraqis should not want to ever see another "strongman" assume power there. If so, then everything we've sacrificed for will have been for nothing.

Sorry to keep messing with the typeface so much. I still can't decide if I like the white font color or not. It looked snazzy, but it was obnoxious and frankly it was beginning to get on my nerves. Decisions, decisions...

Knowing me, I'll probably be back to the white by this time tomorrow.

The white looked good, but it wasn't as easy for me to read - don't know about anyone else.

I agree in regards to the font color. At first the white looked good, but the more I saw it the less I liked. Hopefully you will stay with the darker color. When I began designing websites at my place of employment I was always trying to insert variety. This became old fast and I now stick with the basics whereever possible. I do however like the white font with the darker bars in your headings.

As with the rest, this article too is good. I always find it amazing how much some commenters like to argue with you about your position. What you write is so consistent with what I am hearing from those I know who have been there...perhaps it is because they were in Mosul before, and in Baghdad alongside you. I tend to trust those who have had there boots on the ground over any other opinion.

Great writing!

I've linked to you here: http://consul-at-arms.blogspot.com/2007/01/re-humming-haifa-street-blues.html

Thanks Buck MUCH for your comment. Strykeraunt..we agree with you about the boots on the ground being the best info and opinion but you know...We give the commenters who argue unreasonably, usually just putting down the same old propaganda lines, and haven't been there too much wiggle room. You don't really have to be there to remember history, have good common sense, reasoning abilities, and a knowledge of human nature. Even if never there, peoople should have a better picture of reality than they seem to have. Bucks blog is absolutely one of the very best not only because he has been there ...a lot...but because he is an excellent writer, inteligent, has a good knowledge base, good education and uses all these tools presenting the truth from his vantage point in the Military. Men like Buck are few and far between. Keep on shooting it to us, Buck...inbetween playing with your fant. Thanks again.
A&N

I was going to be mean about this, but since you thanked me for my politeness, I will continue to talk that way. But I must tell you that the peace movement hasn't petered out. In fact, if you are home right now, you might want to check out what is going on in D.C this coming Saturday. And on March 17, I know that at least 1000 people in my home town are going to be taking it to the streets. Now 1000 might not sound like a lot for New York City and Washington D.C standards, but it sure is a lot for the city I live in.

It's interesting that you talk about the underlying Sunni/Shia divide in other countries. I wonder what your idea would be to get rid of that divide.

In many ways I respect that you think we are in Iraq for positive reasons, but frankly, I think your head is deep in the sand. If we truly were in Iraq to make sure that a civil war didn't happen, we wouldn't have started the war ourselves in the first place, but came in when the Iraqi's asked us to during this so-called "civil war", instead of asking us to leave.

Finally, I must tell you that I don't appriciate some of your comments about the Iraqi people themselves. Saying things like "man dresses" shows that you obviously don't care what happens to the people in that country and simply want to be there for a chance to shoot at something you think is lower then yourself.

For a full view of what my opinion on the Iraq is, I would check out my blog "Somethig Unpredictable" at http://artistinme82.blogspot.com. Otherwise, I will keep checking this area to see your responses to my comments. I find them interesting and enjoy debating back and forth with someone who doesn't go below the belt. So until next time!

Look, I'll grant you there's never a shortage of hippie throwbacks who like to play weekend antiwarrior and march around in a mass display of absolutely no consequence. It's pretty sad, actually. People watch Forrest Gump and get all misty eyed that they had the bad fortune to be born too late.

It's just so difficult winning arguments with such obvious experts on Iraq as yourself. I don't know what I was thinking with this blog. I'm just so clearly out of my league here.

But you're totally right. My usage of words like "man dress" and "haji" and the like is proof positive that I hate all Iraqis. Come on, get over yourself already. The day you risk a fingernail to help those people is the day you can claim moral superiority to those who have. You think you understand how it is over there, but you don't, and you never will unless you've been there. I realized later after coming home that I never could have either.

You smug people think you've marching for peace and love and all the rest of that feel-good bumper sticker pap, but all you're doing is making the case for genocide. For all the nostalgia about getting us to quit SE Asia in the 70s, you'd think the genocide that came about as a result of our abandonment of those people would give you pause. Maybe you just selectively choose not to remember those lessons.

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 01/26/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.

This comment has been removed by the author.

The amount of bumper stickers a person has is inversely proportional to their intelligence.

Artistinme82 apparently can read your thoughts Buck. She knows that you dehumanize Iraqi civilians before killing them. I wonder if when I make fun of girls for wearing snow boots that means I am dehumanizing them? Artist can you elaborate for me please. Everytime I make fun of something does that mean I am dehumanizing them before I inevitably kill them?

Go march in the streets, say some chants, feel good about yourself and all the good you are doing and then go home and rest peaceably in your bed, but before you do so thank the life force that you believe in that your government didn't kill you or throw you into a prison for speaking out against them. You may think that is a lame overused statement but it still happens in countries today (other than ours of course).

You wouldn't happen to live in Athens, Ohio would you? There are a lot of peaceniks here that were human shields in Iraq in 2003. If you really wanted to protest you could put yourself in harms way like we do as soldiers everyday. But then that would require too much of a sacrifice for what you believe in.

"Senator Ted Kennedy--'Peace Criminal'?

By Larry Elder
Human Events
Posted May 04, 2006

"If we got out," asked Tim Russert on NBC's "Meet the Press" recently, "and there was a civil war, chaos, and you saw al Qaeda moving in -- in record numbers -- would you go back in?"

Russert's guest, Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., replied, "Well, first of all, I heard the same kinds of suggestions at the time of the end of the Vietnam War. The 'Great Bloodbath,' we're going to have over 100,000 people that were going to be murdered and killed at that time. And for those of us who were strongly opposed to the war, [we] heard those same kinds of arguments."

The normally persistent Russert never challenged Kennedy's incredible assertion. Yet the bloodbath some predicted would occur -- if we withdrew from Vietnam -- did happen."

1] Our withdrawal, however, gave the Vietnamese armies under Ho Chi Minh free rein to overrun South Vietnam -- raping, pillaging, plundering, impoverishing, imprisoning, torturing and slaughtering hundreds of thousands of people.

2]The withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam also strengthened the hand of the communist Khmer Rouge in neighboring Cambodia. Their leader, Pol Pot, embarked on a bloody ethnic cleansing campaign. While the exact number of Cambodians slaughtered can never be fully known, most estimate those killed from a low of 1 million to a high of 3 million.

3] A million or so "boat people" fled Vietnam in flimsy watercraft on the South China Sea. Thousands of Vietnamese died in "re-education camps."

4] 'The Killing Fields'

5] In July 1986, The Wall Street Journal wrote, "South Vietnam was eventually conquered by the North, and Cambodia was taken over by the communist Khmer Rouge, who in trying to recreate a primitive communist agricultural society slaughtered from 1 million to 3 million Cambodians. If we take 2 million as the best estimate, then in four years the government of this small nation of 7 million alone killed 64 percent more people than died in the 10-year Vietnam War. Overall, the best estimate of those killed by the victorious communists in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia is 2,270,000. . . . "

http://hnn.us/articles/31400.html
11-06-06 MGU History News Network
What happened when Democrats in Congress cut off funding for the Vietnam War?
By Lauren Zanolli
Ms. Zanolli is an HNN intern.

"...how a Democratic Congress could stop the war, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), who is set to chair the Ways and Means Committee should the Democrats win the majority, precociously answered, “You’ve got to be able to pay for the war, don’t you?” Fellow member of the Out of Iraq caucus, Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) has stated that “Personally I wouldn’t spend another dime on the war,” and notes that Congress helped force an end to the Vietnam War by refusing to pay for it.

What happened when Democrats in Congress cut off funding for the Vietnam War?

1] Historians have directly attributed the fall of Saigon in 1975 to the cessation of American aid.

2] withdrawal of aid encouraged North Vietnam to begin an effective military offensive against South Vietnam.
Millions died in Cambodia and Vietnam because of our withdrawal and cessation of aide.

However, this is the only comparison that can be made between the two. Vietnam did not support, train,and harbor terrorists. Vietnam did not try to kill one of our presidents.

Let's look at this another way. PPut aside the oil issues and the the ususal diatribe used for why we should never have gone into Iraq. Do you think Saddam would have remained in the background when we went after Bin Laden? I don't! Second, and most importantly, look at a map of the region. Central Asia is in chaos but trying to pull it all together.Many of those nations are suspected to have much of the war materials from the old Soviet Union. They have some of the richest oil fields in the world. but can't do anything withit without going thru Russia and paying huge fees. Many of the Russian soldiers still livethroughout the region and make it hard for a total break. Nor will Russia allow them to build a new pipe line to by pass Russia. That leaves theei economy somewhat dependent on Russia and vice versa.

Afghanistan lies between this region and Iraq, by proxy, Iran as evidenced by their current actions. Radical Islamics are all over CentralAsia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran. Strategically, Iraq is the key to peace and stability in the region. However Iraq goes so goes the Middle East, Central Asia, and Turkey which is 98% Muslimand the home of the old OttomanEmpireand the precious Caliphat these nut cases want to restore and then set up world wide.

What you now have is a wedge between Asia and Europe. Europe depends on Middle Eastern oil. America doesn't need Middle Eastern oil, though many try to make us think so! The Islamic Extremists would control all the oil in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Russia would most certainly fall because they are too economicly unstable. There are presently Islamic extremists in China. In Scandanavia, the influx of Islamics is already a problem as it is in most of Europe. It isn't too hard to see what will happen to Europe as they are already trying to change the tide there because most European nation's national's birth rate is steadily declining and the Islamic rate is climbing and census results show Islamics will soon becomethe majority if the trend isn't changed.

The Islamics have already started to move in Africa. There are too few stable governments there to resist them in a number of the nations. In Africa and Russia there are several natural resources that are necessary for "all" of the developed nations for defensive purposes that are not foundanywhere else in a usable quantity. I will not name them because they may not be common knowledge. I can say that even we would be able to defend ourselves for long without these materials.

The War in Iraq is not only warranted it is necessary for reasons that have far more implications to world stability and peace than most people can even imagine.

I haven't even talkd about the Pacific theater. Don't take my word for it. Do some digging. What you will find is truly frightening! You can thank BillClinton for this mess. As a Globalists with an extreme left wife, he did nothing but allow this situation to get out of hand. He had Congress appprove a plan to do exactly what Bush did, and never followed thru on it because he couldn't keep his zipper closed!!

Whoa hold on a second. First of all, I never said I was an expert on Iraq, I don't claim to be. And I'm never going to pretend that I know what it's like to be in the middle of a war zone.

Why do you think I don't like war? Just to piss people off? It's because I don't ever want anyone knowing what it's like over there you shouldn't have to go, and I shouldn't have to fight against you going. It shouldn't exist.

Oh, and I never said that calling what the Iraqi people wear "man dresses" is dehumanizing. No, that would be making them crawl around on the jail room floor and beating them while they're still in handcuffs. But while we're on the subject of making fun of people, I wonder why you feel like you have to do it anyway. I've never made fun of a person in my life, and yes, for that, I do think I'm better then you.

And I don't just fight for peace on the weekends, and I don't just say these things without backing them up. I think the proudest American is one who can say they used their right to question their government on a daily bases.

Like I said, I dont' pretend to be an expert on Iraq, and I don't know what will happen if we leave now. All I know is that if we hadn't been there in the first place, 3,000 some American citizens wouldn't have died for nothing.

Oh, and thank you for the quotes. They will be used wisely.

artistinme:
Don't bother trying to engage Buck. Your politics (and mine) don't interest him and he feels no need to educate us in why he thinks what he thinks or how we can change our attitudes to help the rest of the world. He's here for his own cathartic regurge of all of the crappy stuff he's been through - good for him, and he's entertaining, but he isn't looking for real dialogue unless you're propping up his already ridiculously large ego. He shuns anything "warm fuzzy" unless it has to do with posting slideshows of his wife on the internet (very cute and feel good).
CNN Friend

Are you laughing yet Buck. If it weren't so pathetic it would be sort of funny...now ya got to admit that.

These two are so easy to see through it isn't funny, Buck. Do they speak Arabic? A tag teem, Buck. They hit all the good sites. Only to irritate Americans and spread their propaganda but they don't have guts enough to tell you who they really represent. Don't get taken in.

"These two are so easy to see through it isn't funny, Buck. Do they speak Arabic? A tag teem, Buck. They hit all the good sites. Only to irritate Americans and spread their propaganda but they don't have guts enough to tell you who they really represent. Don't get taken in."

1) Aren't you Anon, too? At least I signed a pen name.
2) I am American, a tree hugger, a mother, highly educated and married to an active duty military member who has been on five deployments to the sandbox in less than three years.
3) What is your definition of "propaganda"? Maybe you should learn to use the word "perspective", because based on your use of the word, Buck and his friends have us all beat since there is no dialogue and he and his "fans" verbally shoot down anyone who has a different perspective without actually trying to open the communication and convince them to change their minds. If that's not propaganda (ideas and beliefs methodically spread to hurt a group of people), well, then I need to buy your dictionary. Clearly, his intent on some level or another is to promote the beliefs of the conservative right and put down anyone and anything on the left (that's a pretty big group of people). Whatever - that's his right, and I'm not saying it's good or bad - just saying you should figure out what propaganda means.

I said what I said, because I had sincere wishes to learn from Buck, and am disappointed that he has been so quick to judge my intent without any reason other than his previous experiences with other "hippies"...and disregard dialogue - as he said, he simply doesn't have time. So much for changing the world one person at a time. I guess he's too busy fighting the "other" bad guys. artistinme should save him/herself the time and effort of pursuing knowledge from this website.

CNN Friend

Look, I love a good argument as much as the next guy, but it just gets old beating the same horse to death every time some new liberal comes across my sitefeed. I already spent a year and a half fighting this fight; can't I take a breather? Is that okay with you two?

Besides, I can usually spot the people who are reflexively incapable of reasoned logic and while it may be occasionally good for a hoot to toy with them, in the end it's just pointless. Be honest, is there anything I could possibly say that would change your perspective? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Artistinme82, you should change the name of your blog to "Something Quite Predictable" because that's all you milblog trolls ever are. You rarely surprise me with anything you have to say. The worst part about it is just how boring it gets after awhile. Please come up with some new material, people. The WMDs and oil and Abu Ghraib etc., etc... Are you people still going to be ranting about this garbage in ten years? Gawd. Whatever happened to "MoveOn?"

Look, if you enjoy reading what I write, glad to hear it. But otherwise quit pestering me just to make yourself feel superior. All these ever-so-salient zingers you've been getting in I've already heard about a million times over from others just as perpetually befuddled as you. That's fine: you think that if we simply refuse to fight then the rest of the planet will immediately lay down their arms while linking arms, joining together and singing We Are The World.

Good theory. I especially liked it the first time around back when it was called the Carter years.

Oh, but I did enjoy the "five deployments in three years" aside. Must be the John Kerry math at work there.

Oh my goodness, you can't buy entertainment this good. Nothing like a lib rant with morning coffee. I should have read this before posting on B5, but I find it ironic that a person who placed his body between good Iraqis and those trying to kill them is attacked for calling them "mandresses". Are you people insane? Your ideas are pathetically, sadly, tragically wrong. The violent peaceniks out there today will be wishing the most venomous, ugly end to Bush, neocons and anyone who disagrees with them. They are aging hippies grasping at one last chance to relive their golden Woodstock years. Same cast of characters, a little greyer and more wrinkled, paunchier, and fewer brain cells. Anyone who stands up to defend this country is the enemy. Anyone who attacks America is noble and pure. This will be a day of mouth-foaming, apoplectic, agin' ragin' hippies still stuck in their adolescence, flailing against the "establishment". You'll smell pot wafting, you'll see pony tails with receding hairlines, lots of threats and wishes for violence against Bush. These are the baby boomers we will be supporting in their cushy retirement for decades to come. We must work tirelessly to give them the medical care, recreational opportunities and services they're infantile psyches must have. They are sandwiched between two Greatest Generations, and are desperate to find some meaning in their affluent, safe, soft, pink lives.

Buck:

Great post; good overview and practical advice on what
needs to be done regarding the Iraqi police situation,
and how to do it.

My dad was a small town marshal who considered himself
a 'peace' officer first and foremost, as opposed to a
'law' enforcement officer which seems to be the view
of most cops nowadays. He wasn't the only honest and
ethical person I've ever met, but he was the best and
taught me through his actions what it means to stand
tough when everyone else is simply out for themselves.

A 'peaceful' society is dependent on such dedicated
honest men who are willing to stand between the honest
citizen and the lawless. The sheriff in the first
comment above is a good example of how a police force
failing to fulfilled it social obligations creates
uncertainty and fear instead of security -
unfortunately, an all too frequent situation in the US
of A now days, thanks to our dear lib fellow citizens.

The situation in the Arabic sectors of Iraq is of
course an extreme case of a dysfunctional police
community; however, success can be achieved as there
are always good men to be found anywhere if you look
hard enough. You are correct that it might have to be
done one man at a time, but if that's what it takes,
then that's what it takes.

Regarding those who seem to take issue with your
support of the war, the simple fact that nearly seven
million pro-US Kurds are now living in freedom without
worrying about getting gassed or blown to bits while
they build new homes, schools, and a vibrant economy
justifies all the costs we have endured. And yes, that
includes the brave men and women who have lost their
lives achieving this success. Its too bad Bush and
everyone else views the Kurds, who are the most decent
people in the region, as the invisibles.

For those of you who might think I am too flippant in
my attitude toward those who have died, I paid my dues
in another war and understand the truth behind that
old cliche: 'Freedom is not Free'. Some are willing to
die for their country and to help achieve freedom for
others. We all have to die sometime, and dying for
honor and liberty is as good a way to go as most. The
least a country and its citizens can do is to honor
that sacrifice; and those who can't bring themselves
to do that much, then unlike the freak Cindy Shehaan
who has dishonored everything her son stood for, its
best to just shut the hell up.

For the past thirty years or so, I have also worked in
SE Asia first with refugee groups fleeing the libs'
communist heroes, and later in development projects to
try and fix the total mess the party line did to their
economies - very similar to the disaster that over
took the Iraqi infrastructure under Sadaam.

For me, all the 'peace-activitist' freaks, from the
vietnam war years up until today, together are not
worth a single life of the hundreds of thousands lost
in the genocide that occurred after the great US of A
abandoned its friends and allies in SE Asia. A
repression which continues to this very day as the
Montangards and others are persecuted by secret
police, driven off their tribal lands to make way for
coffee plantations and excess Vietnamese population
growth, forced to endure sterilizations when they go
to a clinic for medical care, etc.

So, for all of you 'peace-freaks' who can't wait for
the middle east genocide to get into high gear, why
don't you just hop a plane and fly into peaceful Erbil
and tell it to the Kurds face to face. I'm sure
they'll be glad to give you a one way ticket to Syria
or Iran where you will be among friends.

-Harlow S.

Thanks Harlow!

I agree Harlow...great post. Thank you for your service and continued dedication.

Jordan~
An accident of birth - the only thing that unites us - made me a baby boomer... We're not all left wing (fill in favorite word here). And, not all left wing ___'s are baby boomers.

To the ANONS -
Why do you think that any of us "like war"? I detest war. I have friends whose names are carved into black marble in DC. But, I am aware of history. And, there is no such thing as a time without war, because men are driven by the quest for power and most use it for oppressive and evil things. When a President proposes war and Congress authorizes war - on a bi-partisan basis, I might add - we are obligated as citizens to support the men and women who are willing to fight for us. And, good Americans want America to win. That doesn't mean you have to like war or love the idea of it, but to root for America to loose is unAmerican and there is a lot of that going around.

When you get stuck in the "if we are nice, they will like us" syndrome, you are being foolish. That doesn't even work on the playgrounds of America. Bullies are everywhere. Bullies with power are destructive and want more power.

egads - I shouldn't have read the comments -

My question to your anti-everything commenters is - If you find Buck's entries so appaling, why do you read it? If your purpose is to change his mind, you might be more productive hitting your head against a wall.

I just read the following information on a mil blog out of Afghanistan...

"The days are counting down for us, but with the recent announcements of the 10th MTN being extended here, all of us know nothing is for sure until it happens. I am not going to get too happy about being a double-digit midget as some of the 10th MTN soldiers were in the air when the order came down. They got to spend a few hours with their families and then had to load back up and come back."

I cannot believe they the military did a repeat. I guess I was expecting too much to think they would not pull the same that they did with the 172nd.

Buck-

The website is outstanding and your posts are better than ever.

I am confounded by assertions here that you have somehow altered your stance, and that you are ignorant to the opposing view of this war. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together can comprehend what you have been saying all along.

Truthfully, I often wonder which you will find/have found more exhausting: Fighting in a war against a brutal enemy in temperatures that rival the weather in hell,while sleep-deprived and showerless for two weeks, or combatting the idealogy of "let's hug it out".

Keep up the good work.

Actually, I liked the white typeface better at first, but this sort of deep-blue off-black is good too...and a little more subtle.

To Buck, Jordan, T.F Bogs,

One last comment as I prepare to put some of your comments into a well formed article. First, please explain to me why does a person have to listen to your logic in order to be logical? Second, I'm not old enough to have a golden era yet. I don't have a single gray hair on my head. I did not live through Vietnam, so I therefore won't pretend to understand the politics of that era.

However. This does not mean I am a child either. I am 24 years old. Old enough to vote, and old enough to have figured out what I believe is true and right and good, and I believe this war is nothing close to good, and has never been based on the truth. Therefore, it shouldn't have happened in the first place, and it should be stopped as quickly as possible.

Finally, many of you have accused me of believing that I am above you. I have never, nor will I ever, believe I am above anyone. I believe we were all created equal, in who ever's eyes you believe in. And in that equality as Americans, it is not only our right but our duty to question our government and to try to stop it when we feel it is doing something wrong. That's all I'm doing.

I thank you again for helping write an article that I'm sure will be interesting to those who read it. Oh, and to CNN Friend, thank you for your support. Until next time then, I wish you all Blessed be.

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