March 18, 2004

One More Round on Iraq

I love the Foreign Minister and I'd gladly drink from the boot with him, but, politically speaking, he's been a ranting lunatic since I've known him and I'm not going to try and change his mind about anything. I will, however, take the opportunity to correct a few of his assertions and identify a few logical fallacies. Maximum Leader, if you could edit my posting to delete this sentence and embed my links, I'd be most grateful; we'll get that blog training underway in the near future, I promise.

Between 1998 and 2002, military on-duty accidental deaths averaged 123/year. As of Nov 4th, the count for 2003 was 225, with 83 credited to Iraq. ( Of course, those 123 accidental deaths a year are still happening regardless of operations in Iraq. Just over a year's worth of operational fatalities in Iraq have been much higher of course: 571 dead and a staggering 2,825 wounded, as of March 17th, 2004. ( There is no comparison between the daily casualties we're suffering on the ground due to combat operations and the accidental deaths elsewhere. Frankly, while I'm sure it was unintentional, I found the Foreign Minister's dismissal of Iraq casualties as a 'fait accompli' insulting to the sacrifices our troops are making. He also engages in a logical fallacy by assuming that terror organizations are focusing on our soldiers in Iraq at the expense of 'soft homeland targets.' Following the same logic, Spain's troops in Iraq should have prevented the attack on Madrid.

COST OF 9/ll vs IRAQ
With some room for debate, the economic costs of 9/11 are estimated at about $54 billion ( I say some room for debate, because that figure includes an estimated $8 billion for infrastructure improvements and a business stimulus package unrelated to the attack. Estimates for rebuilding Iraq fluctuate wildly but realistically average between $500-600 billion ( By the Pentagon's own estimates, military operations are costing about $4.7 billion/month ( For a running total of costs, go to, which is based on estimates from the Congressional Budget Office; it currently stands at well over $106 billion.

The Foreign Minister's lack of historical perspective is an embarrassment to his portfolio. There is no parallel between the defeat of Germany after WWII and the defeat of Iraq. The Allies received a formal German surrender after years of conflict across the European continent. The weary and defeated German army returned home and assisted with the rebuilding effort. Iraq never surrendered -- all of the leadership fled -- and the military simply disappeared into the countryside, along with all of their weapons, ordinance and whatever semblance of organization still existed. Surprise! These individuals are considered a major aspect of the insurgency we're currently fighting. Vietnam is a better comparison, but not based on your trite suggestion that we lost it because of 'appeasement monkeys' back home. Initially during the Vietnam conflict, American public opinion strongly supported continued military operations, and both the politicians and the new media reflected that viewpoint. Public opinion shifted after the 1968 Tet Offensive because the scale of the attacks suggested a level of insurgency that was inconsistent with what the U.S. government had been reporting. Even if the public had remained blindly in support of the war in Vietnam, the fact is we were attempting to prop up a corrupt and inept government against a popular revolution. Read just a little about Ahmad Chalabl in Iraq and draw your own comparisons.

Does America really want a self-governing democracy in Iraq? Most Shiites (the vast Iraqi majority which was oppressed under Hussein) favor a religous-style theocracy like...Iran. They're also itching for revenge on the minority Sunnis, who made up the basis of Hussein's government. The Kurds in the north actually favor in independent country, which unfortunately includes a significant portion of our NATO ally, Turkey. If the Kurds don't get granted near autonomy, they are likely to start a civil war. Iraq was not and is not a stable country like Germany or Japan, and concern over these consequences was a probalby THE major factor in Bush I's decision not to remove Hussein from power in 1991.

Everyone on the blog, including the normally rational Minister of Agriculture, has displayed a knee-jerk reaction to the recent Spanish election. The basic fallacy is automatically linking the 'War on Terror' to the 'War in Iraq.' Al Queda's objective is the complete collapse of western civilization. Of course they are not going to respond to appeasement. They are going to continue attacking us no matter what we do. We have to hunt and kill every member of their organization, and I've always been in favor of taking the fight to them (as the record will show, I was and still am in favor of operations in Afghanistan -- I wish we hadn't curtailed them when we shifted resources to Iraq). But withdrawing from Iraq isn't like ransoming hostages. The point is, as far as Al Queda is concerned, it really doesn't matter if we or the Spanish or the Poles are in Iraq or not. The war in Iraq was a bad policy before the Madrid attacks and it remains a bad policy after the attacks, irregardless of what Al Queda says or does. The Spanish socialists were opposed to the Iraq war before the election and have maintained their position since. The incoming government has promised a strong crackdown on terrorism and I believe them. The Spanish are not idiots: they have been and will continue to be strong allies in tracing the terrorist networks in Europe and arrested their members. But it is only U.S. policy that has tried to make the Iraq war the primary front against terror. We can fight terrorism without getting bogged down in Iraq; my hope is that our country will undergo a similiar re-examination without first experiencing such horrible tragedy. Under the circumstances, I find the dismissive tone and insulting choice of words to describe the Spanish voters as grossly inappropriate.

Finally, consulting with our Allies in matters of international affairs, which Kerry has promised to do and Bush has ineptly refused to even consider, isn't stupid or weak: it's called LEADERSHIP. A good leader always consults with others, particularly his subordinates, even if the final decision remains his alone. If we want other nations to follow our lead, we need to start acting the part. The Foreign Minister's display of jingoism is an embarrassment, and I request that the Maximum Leader revoke his portfolio. Give him something less problematic, like the Ministry of the Interior or Homeland Security, and let him start fresh.

Incidentally, my own portfolio as Minister of Propaganda refers to my professional work as a member of the liberal Hollywood elite. The political blogging is just for fun.

UPDATE FROM MAXIMUM LEADER: Links were activated. And politcal blogging (even among friends) is lots of fun. Thanks for joining. Even if you do get fan mail.


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