Striking a Pose

Look, let’s just get this out there. Over the last few hours, I’ve gotten a fair amount of flak over my last post, mostly from the right wing of the gallery. For whatever reason, you seem to think that I’ve made common cause with al-Qaeda.

It’s likely that nothing I write will convince you guys of the error of that assertion, but in the interests of fair time and rebuttal, let me jot my piece.

What it comes down to is striking a pose. Over the last three years, George W. Bush has done a good job of saying the right things, and generally acting like an aggressive son of a gun. I’m not going to go into detail over all the statements he’s said, but in my opinion, he’s said the right things.

What he hasn’t done is actually do the things he said he would do. I’ve been to Iraq. Trust me—there’s no grand strategy there, beyond making it up as we go along. That’s why things are going as swimmingly as they are, and why we’re surrendering city after city to the insurgents, many of whom are thugs, many of whom just want us out of there.

It’s one thing to say you want freedom to reign. I’d like to be able to run a four-minute mile. It’s another thing entirely to enable freedom to reign over a land that’s never known it. If I’m going to run the mile in four minutes, then I have to get off my tuchis and work my arse off in order to be able to do it. Hope is not a plan.

But that’s exactly the plan we’re using in Iraq, and in the war on terror in general. You hear lots of fulminating about how we need to be steadfast, and be strong against the Islamist menace, particularly from folks like Reynolds, Lileks, Steyn, and a good chunk of the GOP.

But how? How would you guys wage this war? Words ain’t gonna cut it here. It’s hard to think that we’re being strong in this war in Iraq when we’re afraid to go into Fallujah, or we’re ceding Samarra—a town that I was in many a time—to the insurgents. What kind of strength does that show?

That’s why I’m referring to your collective stand as striking a pose. Because you strut around the room, declaiming to one and all your strength, but in the end, your sound and fury signify nothing. Especially when the man you’ve all come to idolize lays it flat out:

“I don’t think it can’t be won”.

Shoot, if you don’t think it can be won, then what in the world are we doing sacrificing the lives of my brothers and sisters in arms on the altar of this war?

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Moreover, I don’t think that I’m delusional, and wanting to tear this country down. If my country wants me to lay my life on the line, then I’m going to ask some really tough questions in my capacity as a private citizen. Especially if everything I experienced over there ran counter to what I was originally told. That is the least I can do.

I’m sick of hearing from my pals in the right hand gallery that if we don’t support the current strategy to win this war, then we’re automatically rooting for us to lose. Bull! I lost three friends on 9/11, one each at the North & South Towers and the Pentagon. If you’re going to pimp out our tragedy—my tragedy—for the sake of scoring political points and striking a pose as a manly stud, don’t do it at the same time that you’re bashing us on the head for insufficient fervor in this crusade.

While I’m at it, can we quit with the parallels to 9/11? I can see Madrid as a parallel, but what happened in Chechnya, horrible as it is, has very little to do with 9/11 and everything to do with the brutal war that has been waged in that tragic land for the better part of the last decade.

At any rate, if we differ with the President, it’s not because we lack patriotism, but because we embrace so fully. We have a government of laws, not men; yet, the GOP, in its lust for power, would have us believe that if we disagree with the current holder of the Presidency, then we aren’t patriots. “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism”, Teddy Roosevelt said.

It’s tragic that a century later, his party has chosen to forget those words.

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