Saturday, May 27, 2006

Con-fusion

I don't know if I can really call myself a "Milblogger". I'd like to be included under that prestigious umbrella, being likely candidate for a 20-year career in the Navy (a little over 12 years to go!), but my interests don't lie solely in my service. I'm an average guy with a lot of things on his mind who just happens to command rough men who stand ready to do violence on your behalf while going down to the sea in ships.

So my focus hasn't really been on the Iraq front of the Global War on Terror. Victor Davis Hanson has an excellent perspective on Iraq, which he lays out this weekend, which I recommend (I always recommend VDH, make him a regular read, link him on your blog, whatever it takes). The points he makes are points I've also made in conversations with short-sighted folks. A Turkish girl about a year ago insisted my perspective would change if I read about the history of Iraq, which I did; and it solidified my conviction that we have absolutely done the right thing.

So I'm galled that, just when I'm beginning to think the administration has is together, the Honorable Commander in Chief starts admitting "mistakes were made", throwing kerosene on the dying embers of criticism. It's not that mistakes weren't made, that much should be obvious to any observer. What the armchair quarterbacks don't get is that this whole leader-of-the-free world thing isn't as easy as it looks on TV. Mistakes and setbacks are a fact of war - nitpicking every single one does nothing for the cause. Then again, for people who like to keep count of the number of dead soldiers, the cause doesn't mean a whole lot.

Some people liken the Global War on Terror to the War on Drugs (i.e. c'mon, you can't seriously declare war on terror). I've personally, er... participated in the War on Drugs and have found it to be, yes, part of the GWOT. Why else would we be pouring money into Afghanistan to encourage the farmers to find something better to do than growing poppies (as just one example). Also while I was in the eastern Pacific looking for drug smugglers in 2002, international links were being uncovered between regional and international terrorist organizations, the South American drug trade and other organized crime (slave trade and piracy among them). Hopefully I can dig up some references to these relationships.

This is why our neglect of the border and the populist revolution in South America disturbs me. Especially since Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba want to cozy up to Iran.

So what I'm trying to say here is that even though the media at large paints a picture of Iraq and Afghanistan and al Qaeda being separate events and tries to make it sound like the President and his administration are alternately complete fools or persuing some nefarious agenda all their own (or, remarkably, both at the same time). All the while, we have succeeded and will continue to do so.

The ultimate cause that we're fighting for, maybe it's a bit of a high concept for some, because it involves such a paradigm shift from pre-9/11 thought. We thought the world had turned into a wonderful utopia and enlightened place. Or maybe we just thought it was as good as it would ever get. It turned out that the world never was a safe place and rather than dealing with our problems and our enemies, we just ignored them in the hope that they would leave us alone.

People need to realize that nobody knows how to do this perfectly, how to completely stop fanatical lunatics from flying airplanes into things (something we dicussed on my first ship following the USS Cole bombing), how to keep violent and savage people from dominating others. What I do know is that what we were doing before, nothing, only worked for the people who have freedom to take for granted. I do know that is wrong to allow the world to remain a hostile place and leave its problems for my son and daughter to solve.

Setting events in motion now guarantees their freedom from fear of terrorism in 50 years, just as we have nothing to fear from Germany or Japan today thanks to the heroism of our grandfathers. The world is too big to keep everyone from harm, but with Iraq and Afghanistan, the seeds have been sown for a potential change in the way that region operates. This is a long-term change: it took a lot of time to screw up the Middle East and it's going to take a long time to unscrew it.

EDIT: For months I had meant to make reference to this, but at this point, I think I'm just going to supply the links to the famous "Documents Recovered in Iraq That Seem to Indicate Links Between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, That the Pentagon Was Sitting On." This link will be conveniently in the sidebar for you to preuse at your... uh, convenience.

Not like a silly little thing like evidence will sway the believers in the Bush = Hitler philosophy. I wonder who they'll hate in 2008?

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1 Comments:

Blogger Lone Pony bloody well said...

I consider you a Milblogger because you are in the service. The personal stuff is bonus. :-) I told you a long time ago, I wanted to hear your opinion because you are in the Navy.

Anyway, what really hit me hard was this: "I do know that is wrong to allow the world to remain a hostile place and leave its problems for my son and daughter to solve." (clapping) That's what gave me the guts to fight the things I needed to fight. Blog on Sir.

27 May, 2006 16:28  

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