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David Blankenhorn: Where to start with Iraq: We need to find our grounding

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  • Jack Aurora, CO
    June 30, 2014 9:35 p.m.

    @LDS Lib
    I was in basic training when Saigon fell in 1975, and I retired in 2008. I was in uniform for the aftermath of Vietnam all the way through a tour in Iraq in 2003 and more. Lies? yeah, but who told them? Foreign intelligence services? Our own intelligence services? President Clinton? All of them believed the reasons were there. My earlier post lists all the valid reasons we went there. Rwanda? An atrocity of epic proportions, but the military isn't in the business of Humanitarian response. The military is for tactical and strategic response.

    Again, you confuse the reason to fight with the tactics involved.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    June 30, 2014 4:27 p.m.

    Jack
    Aurora, CO

    That "Just War" was based on lies and deceit.

    Mormon wait until the Lamanites attacked 3 times before counter-attacking.

    Iraq and Saddam Hessein NEVER attack us, not once.

    Meanwhile in -- Rwanda
    100's thousand killed via genocide and machets.
    U.S. Humanitarian resonse? nothing

    The differennce?

    O-I-L

    An older Veteran, but old enogh to remember Vietnam,
    older and wiser - and too old to be active duty anymore,
    but still proudly serving our Country as an
    Engineer in Civil Service keeping our USAF flying today.

  • Iron Rod Salt Lake City, UT
    June 30, 2014 2:46 a.m.

    Re Jack
    Aurora Colorado

    Thanks for the clarification. An additional question. In your opinion was Al Quaida in Iraq in any size able numbers before the invasion?

  • Jack Aurora, CO
    June 29, 2014 9:29 p.m.

    @Iron Rod,
    Yes, if you read the first line of my post, I was referring to 9/11. Was Saddam directly responsible? No. Did he harbor and allow terrorists to train in Iraq? Yes. I was referring to our response in Afghanistan, and LDS Lib's proposal that we only fight if attacked. I disagree. We cannot allow being attacked to be the only criteria used to determine military involvement.

    As for polls.....I don't put much stock in polls, unless I can see the questions and can how they were asked. Also, not everyone likes to participate in polls, so often the results only reflect a certain demographic that does participate. Therefore the results can be skewed.

    I speak from experience, most others on this board speak from reading a book, never having served in combat. Most in foreign policy making positions haven't even been to the places they are supposedly the expert in. You want to fix blame? Let's see, the military fights and wins the battles, the civilians in Washington DC make the policy, and there are lots of them with input into those policies, which change with the flavor of political party. Take your pick.

  • Iron Rod Salt Lake City, UT
    June 29, 2014 7:25 p.m.

    RE Jack
    Aurora Colorado

    "we were attacked and we responded." I guess you are talking about 9/11?
    With all due respect I think most people agree that Iraq and Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11.
    Tell me your thought if you feel Saddam and Iraq had something to do with 9/11 I would be interested in reading them.

    According to current polls, 72% of those responding feel Iraq was not worth the lives and money.

    Which of the decision makers were responsible for this fiasco?

  • Jack Aurora, CO
    June 28, 2014 10:14 p.m.

    @LDS Lib, Part2
    Your desire to wait until attacked leaves out 9/11. We were attacked, and we responded. You may not like that response, but we were attacked none the less. Waiting to be attacked hearkens to the Cold War, when our troops in Germany were nothing but a speed bump and we trained to fight on the defense......and couldn't win in that scenario. I prefer the just war, where we take the advantage. In the case of Iraq, we had sanctions; Saddam got around them. We patrolled the no-fly zone, he shot at our planes. We sent inspectors, he stonewalled them and lied to us. We warned him, he thumbed his nose at us. We got several UN resolutions against him, he didn't care. He terrorized his people and his neighbors, he raped and pillaged Kuwait and showed that he would do it again if he had the chance. Cause? I think we had it many times over...

    An Iraq War vet.....

  • Jack Aurora, CO
    June 28, 2014 10:00 p.m.

    @LDS Lib,
    I think you missed the point of the Nephites and Lamanites and their wars. When the Nephites went to war for power and conquest and hatred, they were left to their own devices. When they fought under Captain Moroni for freedom, they were able to prevail. Being wicked (blood-thirsty, immoral, likely mind altering substances) caused their downfall. While I am a big fan of the tactics used(the same as those in the Old Testament), our current weapons make them obsolete. There indirect fire weapons were archery, we have artillery and air power. We have electronic intel gathering, they had eyes on spies. So, making a blanket statement such as only fight in the defense, gets you a whole lot of dead and the land laid waste. It is the reason to fight, not the tactics that make the difference.

    An Iraq War vet....

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    June 27, 2014 10:27 p.m.

    Republicans and Democrats both voted for the intervention in IRAQ.

    The Bush Administration did a good job mis-representing the alleged facts to the representatives of the American people.

    The Representatives of the American people fell for the mis-representation.

    No more nation building...or specious preemptive wars.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    June 27, 2014 7:57 p.m.

    " But for me the main moral of this story is the importance of restraint. We didn’t understand Iraq in 2002 and we don’t seem to understand it much better now."

    Right. Restraint is important.

    The default state should be neutral, and not striking out at every windmill or innocent bystander you see.

    Restraint = DIPLOMACY. And if that fails, then perhaps military force, but ONLY if we can clearly see WHY we should fight.

    When we act that aggressively, we can be easily played.

    The US is big and strong, and we know we can lick ANYBODY in a heads up match, but when we are too aggressive, that makes us susceptible to slick international judo, and we are played like fools.

    The Middle East has been doing the old rope-a-dope, like Muhammad Ali, and we've been punching ourselves out.

    We need to smarten up.

  • Thomas Meyer West Point, NY
    June 27, 2014 5:14 p.m.

    I agree with almost all of what is written. One point of disagreement is that many just war theorists accept the permissibility of preemptive war (like the 6 day war), but reject preventive war (which many consider the second Iraq war to be).

    It seems the reasons not to answer the Iraqi government's call for help might be, in Just War terms, that there is no probability of success and that the government may not be legitimate.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    June 27, 2014 3:19 p.m.

    Many people I know, including my youngest son, fought in Iraq. They all came home saying similar things and that is that America didn't understand the people or the internal conflicts of the middle east before intervening in them. They acted as if it was Europe in 1944. Making sure that what we are doing is making us safer rather than making matters worse should be the first guiding principles of any actions we take now.

  • David Centerville, UT
    June 27, 2014 2:15 p.m.

    Did Bush go to war upon the principle of pre-emption?

    Or was he enforcing UN declarations, which had been abused and broken by Saddam repeatedly?

    The answer is both.

    War with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban was a correct response to 9/11.

    War with Iraq upon the principle of preemption was not a correct response. But, enforcing UN sanctions and declarations against Iraq was justified, and supported by Democrats and Republicans. If one party was wrong, both were wrong.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    June 27, 2014 11:12 a.m.

    The cruel irony of our Iraq involvement is that it opened up a front that in twelve years has gone from having no connection to the war on terror to potentially becoming militant Islam’s biggest gain and greatest triumph. Explain that for us, Mr. Cheney.

  • Hemlock Salt Lake City, UT
    June 27, 2014 10:58 a.m.

    Bush tried to impose a Jeffersonian democracy on an Iraqi society dominated by religious fanaticism and tribal loyalties. Obama has/had the same fantasy in Afghanistan. Leave it alone, you can't improve something by making it worse.

  • Aggie238 Logan, UT
    June 27, 2014 10:52 a.m.

    I wholeheartedly agree with the author. Well, almost wholeheartedly, but I digress.

    Where to start with Iraq? Don't.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    June 27, 2014 10:50 a.m.

    @ LDS liberal

    Exactly. I cannot tell you how many fellow LDS forget to read this part of the Book of Mormon. It's towards the end, so maybe they just skim through it. But it's one of the most important lessons of the entire book!

    The Nephites were protected as long as they only fought in self defense. But as soon as they invaded the Lamanite nation, they were swept up.

    And unlike many armchair commanders, you have actually served in our armed forces. You know what war is like.

    I encourage the pro repub war chickens to actually join. We have the lowest enlistment rate in the country. Even Alaska has a higher rate! So I suggest we get off our computers, war isn't a game of Starcraft or Call of Duty, and put our money where our mouth is. If we want to wage war, it's only fair that some of you slap some skin into it. Serving a mission and then getting married at Byu doesn't count as military service.

    We can't have noble folks like LDS liberal pulling all the weight!

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    June 27, 2014 10:42 a.m.

    Saddam kept relative tranquility in Iraq via fear and force.

    Those bashing Obama for abiding by Bush's agreement to leave in 2011 somehow think Iraq was on the fast path to a full-functioning, stable democracy.

    As soon as we left, Maliki replaced competent military leaders with political hacks, following Saddam's model, abandoning ours.

    Were we supposed to babysit Iraq for a hundred years?

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    June 27, 2014 9:48 a.m.

    Where to start with Iraq? Stay out. 11 years ago, and today.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    June 27, 2014 9:34 a.m.

    The Nephites were not destroyed for Same Sex Marriage, Drugs, or Socialism....

    The Nephites were destroyed for PRE-emptive wars against the Lamanites.

    They attacked, without being attacked.
    They also "justified" it.
    They loved War more than Peace.
    They fell into anarchy by filling their lives with fear, hatred, and revenge.

    Their hatred of others [Lamanites] became so great,
    that winning and going home was no longer the ends...

    They went on the OFFENSIVE,
    Attacked before being attacked,
    Enemies were defined by location and race -- not actions,

    Their hatred led to rape, pilliage, and near the end - eating those they killed.

    If ISIS in Iraq ever attacks the United States, call me.

    These cries of pre-emptive wars,
    fuled by hatred of a people in a place,
    is the final warning of the Lost civilization in the Book of Mormon.

    BTW -- In the End,
    The Nephites themselves were destroyed,
    and God allowed those heathen Lamanites to survive....

    So I say --
    God bless the Lamanites,
    Allah bless the Muslims for the same reason.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    June 27, 2014 9:21 a.m.

    "Perhaps. But for me the main moral of this story is the importance of restraint. We didn’t understand Iraq in 2002 and we don’t seem to understand it much better now. We’ve made some heavy footprints there, but the idea that U.S. power can decisively influence Iraqi sectarianism seems from the beginning to have been largely a fantasy."

    Enough said.... didn't have an understanding to start with. Didn't have an exit strategy either. And we still don't have a coherent strategy... nor do I think we will in the near future. It seems the best we can achieve at this time is a policy of containment.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    June 27, 2014 7:53 a.m.

    " the idea that U.S. power can decisively influence Iraqi sectarianism seems from the beginning to have been largely a fantasy."

    This is the core of the problem that advocates for continued involvement just refuse to accept. Volumes have been written why this is true in Iraq and Mr. Blankenhorn gives us moral justification for it's acceptance.

    A letter writer today made the case for continued involvement saying that despite the origins the reality of today is what we have to deal with, and then went on to simply recount the obvious. What he and others like McCain refuse to believe is that our military force will not now nor will it ever permanently effect the local sectarianism.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    June 27, 2014 7:40 a.m.

    And yet there are still letter being published by this paper they cannot see what this op-ed sees. Some still proclaim Bushs' greatness and blame Obama for Iraq.

    Hilarious how some letter writers value party and ideology over people.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    June 27, 2014 7:40 a.m.

    A principled statement. Meanwhile, my Republican friends want to see more blood shed. American blood.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    June 27, 2014 7:21 a.m.

    Iraq and Afghanastan represent the sewer of the world and humanity for the most part and the US should have NEVER gone there a second time. That was a mistake and so was Afghanastan. Thinking we could somehow bring democracy to these 7th century war lords was a pipe dream from the start. What does the US do now?

    First - withdraw ALL troupes. Continue with the satalite drone program blowing up terror camps when ever we can.

    Second - Retool our military. Reverse the current direction Obama has taken the defense department and instead REBUILD and RETOOL in a BIG way. We live in a very dangerous world and we can't aford to be weak. As Reagan wisely said - peace comes through strength and he was right. If you stay strong you avoid war. Weakness breeds conflict. We need several more naval battle groups to patrol the oceans and we need a bigger army and special forces. We may never need them for war but a deterant is priceless.

    Third - become energy independent at home. We have the oil at home to rid ourselves of middle east oil.

    Forth - ELECT A GOP PRESIDENT.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    June 27, 2014 6:16 a.m.

    Thanks for the article.

    12 years!
    12 years I've taken a daily beating by Neo-Con Bush supporters over this.

    And here it is -- History proves us right, and them wrong!

    But -- their PRIDE (the Devil's tool of destruction) will never let them admit it.