Vietnamization of Iraq Seeps Into Georgia

Prominent Middle Georgia businessman, Ben G. Porter, sent a letter to Senator Saxby Chambliss on August 9, 2005, that he forwarded out to over a dozen prominent businessmen and elected officials. In his letter, Porter says

If our leadership waits too late to act, another great tragedy could befall our nation. History teaches us that an angry, disillusioned electorate seeks vengeance and will often punish the incumbents. The result could well be the loss of control of the government in the next two election cycles, creating another American tragedy.

I wish I could encourage our leaders to stay the course and bring this noble effort to a successful conclusion, but I am convinced that the costs, and the risks, are much too high. I pray that our leaders will act soon, very soon.

Porter says he does not want a complete abandonment of Iraq, but that we shoud pull out the troops and instead

We should support and assist the new government vigorously and generously, but with our military personnel removed from harm’s way. We should give them equipment and arms, finance large loans and help them hire a multi-national force of mercenaries (including Arabs) to train and support their police, eliminate the insurgents, and maintain law and order. We should give them technical and financial assistance to hire and protect companies that choose to work there to rebuild the civil and industrial infrastructure. We should assist them to organize and install their new government.

Porter’s comments reflect a growing anxiety that I would argue is media induced. While we are losing American soliders at the rate of one per day, we have also opened more than three thousand schools, seen a coalition of kurds, shiites and sunnis work on a new constitution, revitalized hospitals across the nation, and ended a tyranny that saw millions hundreds of thousands displaced, gassed, tortured, or otherwise slaughtered.1. Unfortunately, while we hear about the soldiers being killed, we rarely hear about any of the good.

Porter’s concerns are, I think, symptomatic of a slow August newscycle and an anti-war press that has done all it can to undermine the war effort through daily breaking news stories about dead soldiers while failing to fully or accurately report on the positive goings on in Iraq. I would suggest that Porter and those who share his concerns turn away from the local news reporters and go to places like these:

Iraq the Model

The Mudville Gazette

2005 Tour of Duty

A Day In Iraq

Black Five

Courage Without Fear

While I disagree with him, I’ll give him this — if the President is unable to change the tone of the Iraq War message, the GOP will probably get stomped next year. But, August is a no news cycle and the press gets to spend all of its time with the anti-war lefties camped out in Crawford.

1.I had originally said “millions gassed, tortured, and slaughtered,” but one of the commenters through a hissy fit and, despite his comment being deleted for profanity, he is correct, it was only hundreds of thousands who were gass, tortured, and slaughtered. To make it more accurate, I added “displaced” to the mix, having forgotten about those who lived in the swamps that he destroyed. In fact, growing up in the Middle East, some of my best friends were refugees from Saddam’s regime, all of whom had family members murdered by him. For more on why offing Saddam was a good thing, see here. Of course, some might say that link was prepared by those sinister neocons.

[EDITOR’S NOTE] The purpose of this post is not to get into the war, but to point out that some prominent Georgians are beginning to call on our elected leaders to pull out of Iraq. I personally disagree with that decision.

18 comments

  1. Bill Simon says:

    I can put up with a lot of crap from commenters, but Bill’s comment here is deleted for its profanity. The stupidity of his argument could have remained had he refrained from the profanity.

  2. kspencer says:

    I think Iraq is one of three issues upcoming that, mishandled, can fell GOP control.

    Like it or not, Cindy Sheehan’s image hurts. She’s a grieving mother – it gives her activism against President Bush a weight magnitudes greater than any others; it requires more than platitudes to counter; and it makes attempts to point out Sheehan’s activism difficult without appearing petty or vindictive. It focuses attention on the fact that the death rate WAS only one per day but NOW is over two per day and is fast approaching three per day. Locally, this is only exacerbated by the deaths in the 48th and 121st. We went for good reasons. It’s a fact, however, that some of our reasons were shown to be erroneous. We were led to believe we’d go, do the good thing, and leave. It’s becoming a bleeding ulcer, and as Erick notes unless the administration (and the party) get a handle on it, this one’s going to hurt.

    I alluded to three issues. The other two, briefly, are the whiff of corruption and the potential of economic woes. The former have been more than adequately discussed, I think, in early talks of Reed et al. The latter is perhaps merely my paranoia speaking, but I see the price of gas increasing and notice that house sales are declining and think there’s reason for concern. These two issues may not materialize, making it amazingly easy for the Democrats to pull defeat from the jaws of victory even if the GOP fails to change the tone of the Iraq message. If they do materialize, however – it’s not a wise thing to count on the opposition’s stupidity. Anticipating and acting would probably do a lot more good.

  3. landman says:

    GW,did what had to be done,and anyone who thinks we would have been better off with Sadaam in power has lost touch with reality.Will it cost him in popularity polls sure,but the last time I looked up the definition of leadership in Websters it didnt mention Zogby,CNN,or any other poll.The liberal media have stacked the deck in reporting whats going on in Iraq and we shouldnt be surprised,but rather ignore it and recognize it for what it is.If Bill doesnt think Sadaam makes the top ten in brutal dictators I would like him to list them and tell the millions of oppressed people that lived under his reign of terror what a great guy he was!!!!!!We should have went and we will and should stay until the mission is accomplished.Period.

  4. Erick says:

    KSpencer, I think your assessment is, unfortunately, right on the money. If the administration does not “get a handle on it” the problems will spread up and down the ticket.

  5. Erick says:

    In hindsight, minus the profanity, I get such a laugh from this theory of why we went to war, this truly is worth sharing. So, minus the first paragraph repeatedly containing a word to describe bovine excrement, here it is, unfiltered:

    Please, stop trying to feed us/me some old, tired line from the Bush neo-cons about how America swooped-in to Iraq to save millions more from being murdered by Saddam. ‘Cause I ain’t buying it, nor am I going to sit idly by and let you get away with such BS.
    The decision to go to war was based on trumped-up evidence AND, the fact that the Bush family was pissed-off at Saddam putting out an assasination hit on GHW Bush. That’s right, the life of one venerable ex-president was worth $1 trillion in GWB’s mind, and that’s the reason why evidence was manipulated and fabricated.
    BUT, now that we are there, there IS NO BACKING-OUT, and people like Porter don’t see the real danger in pulling-out. That if we do, the entire country will fall back into a worse situation than what it was before we invaded.
    No, the American troops are there to stay for, probably, ever. Deal with it.

  6. Bull Moose says:

    The four biggest issues right now appear to be the situation with Iraq, soaring gasoline prices, immigration, and imminent domain.

    Republicans MUST get on the right side of those issues and have a proactive agenda to address them.

    Just saying, STAY THE COURSE, isn’t going to cut it…

  7. Booray says:

    Mr. Erickson –

    Amen.

    We have had stunning, breathtaking success in from a historic perspective (conquered two enemy countries with a total loss of life less than 2,500, instituting humanistic democracies in our wake).

    This is one of the most bloodless major wars ever fought by the US, with all all-volunteer army that asked to be where it is.
    If this was a drafted army, I think our country would truly be torn to shreds.

    The weeping and gnashing of teeth over this shows that our country might, in fact, be as weak-willed as our enemies hope we are. I pray that is not the case, but I increasingly fear every day that is the case.

    Booray Bussey

  8. Booray says:

    To all (particularly Mr. Simon) –

    The only credible criticism of this war is NOT the failure to find WMD. It is the false pretense the entire WMD served as to justify the war.

    To this extent, Mr. Simon and I agree (GASP).

    However, he is wrong about the false pretense. It was not about “revenging daddy.” It was about injecting American power into a crucial geopolitical place, and making an example of a renegade Muslo-Arab country in the process. The end game of this was what happened in Libya two Decembers ago (their renouncement of WMD), but that quiet end game is not what sells newspapers.

    Hence, the media’s obsessive reporting on American military losses (something also driven by a new, more sinister form of anti-war activity by the media – rather than attack the military as in Vietnam, use military deaths to undercut the military mission – anti-war activism dressed up in patriotic clothing).

    Booray Bussey

  9. Erick says:

    Booray, I don’t think WMD was “a false pretense.” At the time, all major powers, including France and Germany, believed Saddam had WMD. It might have been an intelligence failure, but it was not a “false pretense.”

  10. kspencer says:

    Bull Moose, I like yours, but I still really think corruption is going to be a significant issue nationally and in Georgia.

    Georgia’s going to suffer from a double whammy. Cagle’s going to play Johnny One-Note about Ralph’s connection to Abramoff. Abramoff is probably NOT going to go quietly into that dark night, especially now that he’s been indicted (though not yet for the Indian stuff). The result of Cagle will be a starting point for Cox or Taylor (I’m betting on the former). She then stirs into the pot that Reed started Perdue’s conviction on ethical violations (sure, they’re petty, but they were convictions). I’d be unsurprised to see snide reminders that Shrenko was a Republican as well. Then comes the double whammy – the national front. Allegedly some of Ohio’s coingate ran through the Peach State, and Delay’s tied to Reed more directly. Those two will be the Dem double-tag in 2006 – the attempt to say “it’s not isolated, it’s habitual. Bet on the Dems playing the same card the Republicans played in 1994, the only question being whether they can pull it off. Add in Kentucky and California for the Dem hand, but the GOP’s got the point that both Tennessee and Pennsylvania include Democrats as well. (The “everybody’s dirty” defense.) If Fitzgerald brings indictments against administration officials as well – that is, anyone within two steps of the president (cabinet chiefs of staff, assistants to special assistants, that sort of thing, or higher) then even if everyone is cleared it’s going to require some significant damage control. No, the issue of corruption is going to be significant – if not in 2006, then in 2008. Bet on it.

    Gasoline is only part of the economic problem. I mean, there’s a lot of talk of giving up this or that or driving a little more conservatively, but while everyone’s complaining there aren’t many who are blaming – or rather, there aren’t too many blaming. The big question mark in the gasoline area is the unexpected. Right now supply is just about matched to demand on a global scale. Anything that cuts supply by more than a fraction will cause a nasty surge in prices for at least the duration of the cut, and possibly as a residual period. I’ve three examples that get bandied about elsewhere: Another one-two punch of hurricanes in the gulf; Another “Venezuela Strike”; and an attack on Iran. Any one of those results in prices popping over $3 (current nominal $2.50) within a week or so. And I don’t expect the blame to begin till the $3 barrier is broken. But as I said, it’s not the only problem. The current housing situation isn’t one to face with complacency, either.

    It’s not the affordability index that’s climbing upward that concerns me. No, it’s the increasing foreclosure rates. And the increasing time-on-market rates. And the reports that lenders are going to start tightening their rates. Oh, and the fact that the leading edge of those interest-only loans are approaching their due-dates for refinancing – time to start paying pipers, all with the interest rates creeping upward.

    Neither housing nor gasoline are quite over the edge. It’s just that they’re showing signs of having no more slack – of having no resiliance if something gives them a bump. And there are plenty of opportunities for a bump here and there.

    Actually, I’m not so sure Immigration is such a big deal. I mean, it’s noisy, but it’s not (yet) at anything resembling a crisis point. There is time to defuse it in any of several ways — heck, I think there’s time to try more than one and recover if the first one or two don’t work right. This isn’t to say we can do nothing forever, and it isn’t to say that someone doing nothing can’t get beat over the head with the issue. It’s just that I don’t think it’s got quite the immediacy of Iraq and corruption and the economy. Yes, it’s a big issue. Big enough that it might work as a distraction from the other ills. But not so big that it’s “got to be dealt with or else”.

    And eminent domain, I think, falls into a similar category. er, no, there’s one important difference there. The parties in power need to pass laws restricting it or they’ll be beat over the head and shoulders with their failures. That’s the essence of what the court said, after all: “The Constitution doesn’t put in a stop, so it’s up to the legislatures and Congress to put in the stopping points.” It’s not a crisis if it doesn’t happen, just an opportunity for those out of power (in each state and nationally) to attack the ones who fail to legislate limits.

    I think you’re right – they can all be important issues. It’s just that I think my three are inevitable, while the others can be finessed. Regardless, if the party in power stays the course, they’re going to discover the course leads over some very rough roads.

  11. Bill Simon says:

    Erick,

    The folks running this war are worse than the Keystone Cops. Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush, Wolfowitz (who has taken his leave of responsibility clutching his Medal of Freedom), etc., etc. are a bunch of numbskulls.

    Saddam Hussein could have been taken out with a sniper’s bullet because we had intelligence on the ground that was working towards that direction. Instead, Bush decided to heck with the idea of using black ops to take care of the problem, let’s just invade and the Muslims will greet us as the French did in WW II.

    Well, didn’t happen quite that way, did it? Noo..but, heck, we sure can mount a big ‘ole sign saying “Mission Accomplished” on a battleship and Bush can get his photo-op for all to see.

    Now we hear the body armor isn’t quite up to snuff for the troops in Iraq. Gee…but, we built some schools there. Wow. Let’s celebrate the schools and playdown the lives lost and their families having to suffer.

    You don’t like profanity, Erick? Well, how about the profanity of an incompetent administration? How about the profanity of an administration relying on the information from one agent, nicknamed “Curveball” who told them Saddam was buying nuke equipment and they relied on that ONE source without verifying it through other means? All that demonstrates to me is sheer incompetence in our intelligence and intelligence-gathering.

    I’m sorry if I use a bit of (sniff! sniff!) “profanity” to describe my anger about something. I’m sorry my profanity offends you, Erick. But a president who relied on crappy intelligence doesn’t begin to offend you? Or, are you too much of sychophant to buy everything Bush and Company can dish-out?

    Signed

    A Conservative Who Thinks

  12. Chris says:

    While I don’t think the situation is as bad as portrayed, perception often equals reality. If the news reports coming out of Iraq is body counts and failed constitutions that is going to hurt us no matter what is really going on “over there”

    I’m starting to think the best thing to defuse the situation, and help save the GOP’s chances in ’08, is to begin disengaging from the civilian Iraqi population. I’m thinking we should build one big honking Ramistein-esque base in the middle of the desert and provide intel and air-support to the provisional govt. This lowers the body count and denies the terrorists foreign targets to shoot at. They’ll start to lose popular support once the only people they blow up are fellow Muslims.

    Of course the flip side is that anything short of sunnis and shites holding hands and singing kumbaya is going to be used by the anti-war left and libertarian kooks as prima-faca evidence of total failure of the Bush Admin and the doctrine of pre-emption,….

    But that’s why I’m glad I don’t have to make those decisions

  13. Chris says:

    Saddam Hussein could have been taken out with a sniper’s bullet because we had intelligence on the ground that was working towards that direction. Instead, Bush decided to heck with the idea of using black ops to take care of the problem, let’s just invade and the Muslims will greet us as the French did in WW II.

    He could have been taken out, but then the even more unstable Uday or Qusay would have taken over. Now you need three bullets – all at the same time – because once the first one is taken out the other two go to ground. Nor would a bullet find the WMDs (which as was pointed out above – everyone agreed they had) or provide the economic connectedness that a total regime change would offer.

    I’m a big proponent of getting rid of that silly ExecOrder prohibiting assasinations, but in this case it wouldn’t have accomplished what we needed.

    Nothing else in the above comment is really worth a rebuttal.

  14. Tater Tate says:

    I’m sick of all the “there were no wmds” b.s. Anyone who thinks he did not have or use wmds should simply talk to the Kurds, or read the well documented evidence. The man is responsible for murdering tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of people, mostly his own.

    I am worried about the public’s response to this war, but it saddens me that we don’t have the stomach to do what is right any longer. Every life is precious, but freedom is too, and freedom is not free.

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