9, 2004 #01: Political
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author, Jim Wrenn.
in Kuwait challenge Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld; Two rights make a wrong to be righted;
Hillary Clinton claims to have had answer all along-- Commentary.
At a "town hall" meeting in Kuwait with National Guard and Reserves troops being deployed
to Iraq, several troops challenged Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on several issues. One
focused on the fact that many units must function with un-armored HumVees and transport
vehicles; another focused on the Defense Department's use of "stop loss" orders to extend
active-duty obligations of troops beyond the length of service for which they volunteered; another
focused on delays in receiving travel-expense reimbursements. See here
Rumsfeld answered with words likely to become his most-frequently quoted language for the
foreseeable future: "You go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want, or wish to have, at a later time."
Critics of the decision to launch Operation Iraqi Freedom will incessantly quote those words to
characterize the war in Iraq as an "elective war." Critics of military policy from
1992 through 2000 will cite those words as a reminder of the drastic cuts in our military during
The military sensibly designed the HumVee as a dramatically up-scaled replacement for the jeep--
not an armored transport vehicle. Certainly anyone could have theorized that our forces might
become involved in urban warfare posing higher than expected risks to those traveling in un-armored
vehicles. Certainly such planners could have decided that all military vehicles would
be armored vehicles. How many Congressmen and Senators would have decried such plans as being
designed to create a "gold-plated military" (a favorite phrase of the leftists who are now
so eager to decry the fact that all HumVees aren't armored)?
Congressmen and Senators only
make those kinds of statements when we are not "at war," but when we are
"at war," they all demand to know why we don't already have all the "gold
plated" equipment our troops need. Peacetime military planners must live with budgetary
constraints imposed by the no-gold-plated-military mentality; wartime military planners must cope
with the same politicians making hindsight accusations about the military's failure to persuade them
to authorize gold-plated equipment.
Few of the current critics of the "stop loss" policy were heard to be
opposing the dramatic reductions in the size of the military in the years from 1992 through
2000. The few who did voice such opposition then and are now expressing consternation over the
"stop loss" policy are at least coupling such expressions with reiteration of what caused
the problem-- i.e., excessive cuts in the size of the military in those years. The rest
express their criticisms as though the war were to be something we could put on "pause"
while we enlarge the military or as though expressing such criticism is a "policy."
Those critics viewing Operation Iraqi Freedom as an "elective war" characterize these
problems (such as un-armored HumVees and "stop-loss" orders) as evidence that
Bush/Rumsfeld/Cheney should not have launched Operation Iraqi Freedom. They compare what
"is" with what they naively wish "would have been" if only Bush/Rumsfeld/Cheney
were to have "let inspections and sanctions work" rather than going to war to topple
What they naively ignore is that if inspections were to have continued, the
inspectors would have found no "stockpiles" (for the same reasons for which we haven't
found them-- i.e., they were removed during the months preceding the war or they had been
destroyed). Failures to find such stockpiles would have accelerated the collapse of the
"sanctions" even if we were to have vetoed such action. For us to have maintained
forces in the region as a means of deterring, containing and monitoring Saddam Hussein would have
fueled the barbaric rage of al Qaeda just as much as our relatively token-size deployments (and
no-fly zones) fueled enough barbaric rage for al Qaeda to launch the 9-11 attack. With the
collapse of sanctions, by now Saddam Hussein would be swimming in money and would have significantly
reconstituted virtually all his WMD programs. Additionally, a dictator daring enough to have
given his blessing to an attempted assassination of George Herbert Walker Bush would have had no
compunction whatsoever against covertly providing WMD assistance to the "enemy of his
enemy"-- i.e., to al Qaeda-- for use against us and/or our allies.
Stopping Hitler before
he invaded Poland would have been "elective" but would have saved millions of lives.
Yet those who knew that to have been the correct course of action then could never have
"proven" then that the failure to stop Hitler then would ultimately cost millions of lives. We
have the benefit of lessons of history they learned the hard way. Bush/Rumsfeld/Cheney rightly
"elected" to confront danger now rather than choosing to allow it to grow in magnitude and
attain imminence until even the most ardent critics would view war as a necessity rather than a
choice but at a time when the risks and casualties would likely be far greater.
Wrenn, Editor at PoliSat.Com.
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Questions for Americans:
we be at least as generous in supporting the families of our troops killed or injured while
serving our country in Afghanistan, Iraq, in America and throughout the rest of the world as we were
for the families of the victims of 9-11? Here are some suggestions:
American Heroes* *Support
Fallen Heroes Fund*
we recognize that many, if not most, instances of foreign anti-Americanism in the late 20th Century
(like most of the foreign anti-Americanism today) focused reactionary rage against maintenance of,
and willingness to use, human-rights-respecting power against forces that oppose liberty and favor
the "stability" of the status quo? See a retrospective
on Ronald Reagan. Shouldn't we recognize that despite arguments to
the contrary by devotees of the United Nations that the world remains a yet-to-be-civilized place in
which the wise exercise of human-rights-respecting power more than intellectual sophistry can best
assure the survival of liberty?
we recognize that "property rights" are among the most fundamental of "human
rights" and are therefore vital to the survival of liberty? See "'Life,
Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness' versus 'Life, Liberty [and] Property.'"
for secular thinkers:
secular thinkers be at least as respectful towards ordinary people of faith as George
Bush is towards ordinary secular thinkers, and shouldn't ordinary secular thinkers
repudiate fanatical secular fundamentalists at least as firmly as Bush repudiates fanatical
religious fundamentalists? Shouldn't secular fundamentalists learn to recognize the
unscientific nature of their own leaps of faith before throwing stones at unscientific leaps of
faith by ordinary people of faith? See satire/commentary about Secular
Fundamentalists and Religious Fanatics.
people professing to be secular thinkers learn to understand the difference between science and political
science (i.e., politicized science)? Shouldn't radical environmentalists learn
to understand that their views are little more than modern forms of pantheism?
See Satire/Commentary about Pantheopians. Shouldn't they learn
to objectively and scientifically scrutinize theories such as Global Warming at least as rigorously
as they scrutinize "creationism"? See "Global
Warming or Scientific Flatulence?" See also the commentary on proposed "climate
stewardship" legislation and the animated illustration, "Goblins
of Globalized 'Warming.'"
people professing to be secular thinkers learn to understand that what science reveals about human
evolution supports, rather than undermines, the sensibility of a rebuttable presumption that
monogamous, heterosexual marriage best serves the interests of children notwithstanding the
sensibility of recognizing civil unions to accord comparable (but not identical) privileges
to mutual-support partnerships? See commentary "Evolution
versus Revolution" and the animated illustration, "Devolution
for people of faith:
people with faith that a Deity created free will recognize that compulsory piety would be offensive
to such Deity?
people with faith that a Deity created free will recognize that political compromises limiting the
power of government to compel conformity with theocratic doctrines over which other people of faith,
as well as secular thinkers, can reasonably disagree would not be offensive to such Deity?
See commentary about our Founding
Documents, the Constitution and the Creator.
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