Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I was happy to participate in an anti-war vigil last night in Asheville in front of city hall that maintained a proper tone of solemnity (I could have done without the maudlin, roaming wooden flute player). There was an interesting mix of people there: Highway blogger Jonas Phillips, Swami Virato, Bill Bailey, one police guy, media photogs, and my favorite old-time mando-playing grey-haired chick.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that:

Some 150 people held a vigil Tuesday night at City-County Plaza, calling on Congress to end the war in Iraq by September. The event, sponsored by the Asheville chapter of and other various peace groups, featured a reading of the names of soldiers killed in what the organization calls an “unwinnable religious civil war in Iraq.”

This nonsense -- the war -- has gone on long enough and no claims of "good news" or of success in this perpetuation of military adventurism can be declared valid.

In an apparent effort to shine light on neglected good news from Iraq, a recent viral email has been circulating which proudly touts this so-called "good news" in the war there:

  • Did you know that 47 countries have re-established their embassies in Iraq?
  • Did you know that 3,100 schools have been renovated, 364 schools are under rehabilitation, 263 new schools are now under construction and 38 new schools have been completed in Iraq?
  • Did you know that 25 Iraq students departed for the United States in January 2005 for the re-established Fulbright program?
  • Did you know that the Iraqi Navy is operational? They have 5 -100-foot patrol craft, 34 smaller vessels and a naval infantry regiment.
  • Did you know that the Iraqi Police Service has over 55,000 fully trained and equipped police officers?
  • Did you know there are more than 1100 building projects going on in Iraq ? They include 364 schools, 67 public clinics, 15 hospitals, 83 railroad stations, 22 oil facilities, 93 water facilities and 69 electrical facilities.
  • Did you know that 96% of Iraqi children under the age of 5 have received the first 2 series of polio vaccinations?

How can any of the above developments be considered success in our defense against Islamic Totalitarianism? They might, however, indicate success if our goal in that country were nation-building. But that was not, and should never be, the goal of military deployment.

Running counter to the so-called “good news,” we also have this information from the Washington Monthly that measures percent of change from Summer 2006 to Summer 2007. Did you know:

  • Iraqi Military and Police Killed - Up 23%
  • Multiple Fatality Bombings - Down 25%
  • # Killed in Mult. Fatality Bombings - Up 19%
  • U.S. Troop Fatalities - Up 80%
  • U.S. Troops Wounded - Up 45%
  • Size of Insurgency - Up approx. 250%
  • Attacks on Oil and Gas Pipelines - Up 75%
  • Diesel Fuel Available - Down 22%
  • Kerosene Available - Down 11%
  • Gasoline Available - Down 24%
  • Electricity Generated - Down 4%
  • Hours Electricity Per Day - Down approx. 14%

All claims of "success" must be placed into context.

We are engaged in a contrived, self-sacrificial, non-defensive war initiated under cloak of trickery. I fully support genuine defensive war. But what legitimate national defense purpose is being served by our continued presence in Iraq?

I don't think I have changed my position on the present war in Iraq. I have always been suspicious of America's ability to wage an actual aggressive war against the enemy instead of a politically-correct war. I think the enemy should be engaged with overwhelming military force. President Bush's problem is that he cannot properly identify the enemy and cannot even fight the wrong enemy correctly. The main source of Islamic Totalitarianism is Iran.

I have always thought it to be good that we claim some air space in the region and I applaud those times when we can disrupt terrorist networks and kill their leaders. If we would just do that, our presence in Iraq could be justified. To the extent that we are not doing that, which is considerable, I cannot pretend to be a cheerleader for military adventurism that serves no national defense purpose.

I differ from other anti-war types in that I am pro-American and carry no particular animus toward George Bush. He has simply failed at home and abroad. Why secure the borders of Iraq and neglect our own? Why bring majority-rule democracy to a nation that embraces primitive anti-Western principles?

President Bush started this engagement with a tough stance saying that if you're not with us you're against us, and that any nation that harbors a terrorist is a terrorist nation. Now we are nation-building, intervening in a sectarian shooting war, appeasing barbarians and building schools, etc. Bush supporters can point to so-called successes that bear no relationship to the goals of national defense. Success, in national defense terms, means eliminating the threat; not playing footsie with warring tribes while American service-members die.

This charade has gone on long enough. Either crap or get off the pot. It is George Bush who is strengthening both the enemy and his critics.

Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute deftly points out:

"President Bush has rejected the lessons of World War II and the goal of U.S. security. Instead of eliminating the threat from states that support the cause of Islamic totalitarianism—particularly its main sponsors in Iran and Saudi Arabia—he sent Americans on a mission to bring the vote to secular Iraq. Instead of crushing and demoralizing our enemies, Bush made our top priority protecting Iraqi civilians, Iraqi infrastructure, and Iraqi religious shrines—sacrificing American troops to that end. Instead of demanding that Iraqis embrace a pro-Western and, thus, non-threatening government, President Bush declared that they have the right to elect a government of their choosing—including a hostile, Islamic state." -Yaron Brook, ARI


WLOS News 13 news coverage of the anti-war vigil, City-County Plaza on August 28, 2007.


"No Substitute for Victory: The Defeat of Islamic Totalitarianism" by John David Lewis, George Mason University, April 24, 2007

“Just War Theory vs. American Self-Defense" by Yaron Brook, National Press Club in Washington, D.C., March 14th, 2006.