Thursday, November 16, 2006

John Glen said what?

I received an email recently recounting some statements regarding Iraq and the War on Terror (btw, always put Terror in capitals... otherwise the Terrorists win). They were reported to come from John Glen, US Senator and former NASA astronaut and pilot. Whether or not they are actually from him, I found the quotes hilariously wrong in a number of ways. They represented an obtuse point of view that so often is perpetuated without critical thought. Some of my rebuttals are posted here, along with the comments in thier entirety. The original comment is in italics; my thoughts are in regular text.

When some claim that President Bush shouldn't have started this war, state the following:
a. FDR led us into World War II.
b. Germany never attacked us; Japan did. From 1941-1945, 450,000 lives were lost, an average of 112,500 per year.
-->There is substantial evidence that the two sides, Japan and Germany, were collaborating on how to divide the world between them. There was a fair amount of communication going on, even if there was no explicit cooperation. And while Germany never formally declared war on the USA, before our entrance into the war there were numerous attacks on civilian ships and supply vessels in the Atlantic that today would garner the term “terrorist.” These attacks were against the United States, and it is wrong to say that Germany never attacked us.

1939 - Sept 3 . Submarine U-30 torpedoes British passenger liner Athenia without warning in the belief that she is an armed merchant cruiser; 28 American citizens are among the dead.
Sep 10. U.S. freighter Wacosta, bound from Scotland to New York is stopped by German submarine for three hours.
1941 - Jan 30. Germany announces that ships of any nationality bringing aid to Great Britain will be torpedoed.
May 21. Unarmed U.S. freighter Robin Moor, en route to South Africa and Mozambique, is stopped and sunk by German submarine U-69 (torpedo and gunfire) about 700 miles off the west coast of Africa. First American merchantman sunk by a U-boat in World War II. Crew given food and directions by submarine.
Sep 7 . SS Steel Seafarer bombed and sunk in Red Sea.
Oct 17. Kearney (DD-432) escorting a convoy was attacked by U-boat off the coast of Iceland with 11 killed.
Oct 19. Unarmed U.S. freighter Lehigh is torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-126 off Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Oct 28. Oiler Salinas (AO-19), in convoy ON 28, is torpedoed by German submarine U-106 about 700 miles east of Newfoundland.
Oct 31. Reuben James (DD-245), an older destroyer on convoy duty west of Iceland, was sunk by U-boat with loss of 115 men.
Oct 31. DuPont (DD-152) is attacked by U-boat, but missed.
Dec 2 . German submarine U-43 torpedoes and sinks unarmed U.S. tanker Astral and her 37 man crew.
Dec 3 . Unarmed U.S. freighter Sagadahoc is torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-124 in South Atlantic.

c. Truman finished that war and started one in Korea. North Korea never attacked us. From 1950-1953, 55,000 lives were lost an average of 18,334 per year.
d John F. Kennedy started the Vietnam conflict in 1962. Vietnam never attacked us.
e. Johnson turned Vietnam into a quagmire. From 1965-1975, 58,000 lives were lost, an average of 5,800 per year.
-->The whole of the Cold War can be summed up in one word: mistake. Our strategy was mistaken, our motivation was incorrect, our reasoning flawed. The projections we created never panned out. I think it is a common belief now that our involvement in Vietnam was not warranted, undesired by the Vietnamese, and ultimately was a waste of time.

f. Clinton went to war in Bosnia without UN or French consent. Bosnia never attacked us.
-->There was genocide happening on a rather large scale. It was evident that this needed to be done to help pacify the situation. (As we should be considering doing in Darfur, Sudan right now.) The UN swiftly came into the situation, as did NATO, to help negotiate a long-standing peace-keeping mission. I don’t see NATO or the UN offering to come in and aid in “peace-keeping” in Iraq. Also, Bush 41 was very hesitant to help the Kurds out, when the gassing was going on. If we had gone in then, with that clearly defined mission of helping stop a genocide, we would have garnered more support around the world. A decade late does not help your image.

He was offered Osama bin Laden's head on a platter three times by Sudan and did nothing. Osama has attacked us on multiple occasions.
-->The history of Osama bin Laden is large and varied. Yes, Clinton missed an opportunity to get him early on. But then again, it was the Reagan era that first trained and equipped this man (not entirely unlike Hussein himself), so there is plenty of blame to go around.

g. In the years since terrorists attacked us , President Bush has liberated two countries, crushed the Taliban, crippled al-Qaida, put nuclear inspectors in Libya, Iran, and, North
Korea without firing a shot, and captured a terrorist who slaughtered 300,000 of his own people.
-->"Liberated" is such a loose term. Afghanistan is still without some basic necessities, and there are substantiated reports that the Taliban is becoming stronger, bolder in the South and Eastern provinces. The chaos that is engulfing Iraq would hardly be called a “liberated” area of the world. The inspectors, while a good step forward, have hardly been able to arrest the progress that Iran and N. Korea have made in their nuclear programs. Bush lamblasted UN inspectors in 2002 and 2003 when making the decision to invade Iraq. Does he hope now that they will be more effective in even more extreme countries?

Here are links to very recent articles detailing the increase in attacks by Taliban.

The Democrats are complaining about how long the war is taking. But It took less time to take Iraq than it took Janet Reno to take the Branch Davidian compound. That was a 51-day operation.
-->Yes, however you must also take into account the severity of casualties that have resulted from each decision. The Branch Davidian compound was a stand-off, where the lives of 27 children were weighed against the benefits of running in, guns blazing. There was a large effort to try and negotiate a way out of that situation before resorting to combat methods. It was not war. The US went into Iraq without the regard for the Iraqi army or civilians that the FBI displayed when trying to release the Davidians at the compound. The FBI ended up killing 76 Davidian members, including their leader. Since January 2005, over 19,000 Iraqi civilians have died. The comparison is erroneous.

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