Thursday, May 24, 2007

Haste Makes Waste

There's an old saying that goes: Marry in haste, repent at leisure.

Marriage is a decision that too many take lightly today and when rushed without giving the consequences an adequate amount of thought, the aftermath can be disastrous. In fact, there are other important decisions made today that carry with them, grave consequences if not thought out rationally and intelligently. Voting to send troops to war is one of them. So if I may, allow me to modify this old saying a bit to: Vote for war in haste, repent at leisure.

Today, we see two prominent candidates for the Democratic nomination for President doing what I feel is just that.

John Edwards, who voted for the decision to go to war twice (once in Afghanistan and once in Iraq), has said the following today:

"We need a post-Bush, post-9/11, post-Iraq military that is mission focused on protecting Americans from 21st century threats, not misused for discredited ideological purposes," Edwards said in remarks prepared for delivery. "By framing this as a war, we have walked right into the trap the terrorists have set—that we are engaged in some kind of clash of civilizations and a war on Islam."


There is no war on Islam. President Bush has made this clear from the very beginning. Never have those terms been used to describe this conflict. In my view, this is a gross misconception being advanced by Mr. Edwards, for nothing more than political purposes. The truth of the matter is, we are in a war against a radical ideology that seeks to destroy those that do not bow to the will of those, who wish to advance that radical ideology.

But even more importantly, the former senator has reversed his stance on a vote that he obviously did not think through, at the time it was being debated. I have said before and I will not back down on this one iota- the time to debate the validity and usefulness of this war was before the votes were cast. It's easy to stick your finger into the wind (after the fact) and determine that popular support for the Iraq campaign has dwindled. But to be one that voted in haste and now wishes to repent at leisure, significantly waters down his argument greatly.

The next candidate we have guilty of this action is Hillary Clinton. She voted for both resolutions, as well. (You can click on the previous links to the votes, if you have any doubts.) But now, she feels the need to reverse herself in the midst of the storm and really hopes that Americans will buy into her sudden change of heart, right alongside Mr. Edwards. Today, it is being reported that she has written a letter to Secretary Of Defense Robert Gates demanding that he put together a plan for withdrawal.

That's fine, I suppose it is her right to voice her opinion and she should not be condemned for that. But how far does that get her, when she also voted in haste and is now repenting at leisure? How far does it get her, when we now see that the next troop funding bill will not include language for a specific timetable, for withdrawal?

Now, I know, one can always say they were wrong and certainly has the right to change their mind (which is often done in marriage). But when we take a good look at the real situation here, what I see is plain and obvious.

Both Sen. Clinton and Mr. Edwards voted for both measures to use force, because it was politically expedient to do so at that point in time. The same can be said for Sen. Kerry and a host of others, now pressing for withdrawal. But in my view, they now are looking at the political winds that have obviously shifted and are willing to throw away their votes, as if they never meant them. Had they only known the fallout, I am sure they would have voted against these measures back then. But they didn't. But now they claim to have the answer and their version of the answer is to wash their hands of the entire situation with no thought to the potential fallout.

Look, if someone was against the war(s) from the beginning, that's one thing. I feel they and they alone have an argument. But if they voted for the war and now seek to quit without thinking through the potentially grave consequences of doing so, how much sense does that make?

Sure, if that were to happen and the whole Middle East plunges into a violent conflict as a result, it will be easy to blame it all on George Bush. In fact, that's been the MO from the beginning. And do not get me wrong here, it was his administration that was responsible for bringing it to Congress. But if there were any misgivings of misunderstandings about what it meant, the time to air them was then. By doing all of this now after the fact, is highly counterproductive.

To repent at leisure now, will certainly render the deaths of the soldiers and marines that have been killed during these two conflicts for naught, and they too will be easily blamed on George Bush. But what about those that didn't use their check and balance, at the time the troops were in Kuwait? How much should they escape when the blame is passed around?

Here's the point I am trying to make:

If you want to escape the unintended consequences of your decisions, the only way to avoid it is to make better decisions when they are presented to you. Making poor decisions in haste, because it is a popular thing to do at the time, is a sure way of making a mess of things down the road. And once you have made a commitment to that poor decision, you owe it to yourself to see it through, when it involves the lives of so many people. To say, "I quit", then take your ball and go home, will not solve the problem of your bad decision.

The Dems in Congress are in a position of authority now. They are on a co-equal basis with the GOP and the Administration. They are not in a position to dictate terms to the President. But instead of that, they should be pressing for specific solutions that can speed up the process sufficiently enough that a safe and honorable withdrawal can be done. Threatening, demanding, and repenting in leisure over a vote they made in haste, will not solve anything. It will not tame the violence, it will not get the Iraqis to take more responsibility for their own security, and it will not bring more peace to the world.


24 comments:

BEING HAD said...

You are implying that we are looking at a case of waffling again. And this is probably true. I am actually a Clinton supporter but I wonder whether the real idealism that I do feel was being Bill's presidency has given way to a softer populism as you also suggest. But it is hard to say whether there is an inherent evil there. I mean, we do tend to make softer decisions as we get older. Experience makes this so as does simply having less energy to do the big tasks. Looking at the scope of the war and the level of involvement the US has in the Middle East would probably be a daunting mess for anybody to have to inherit. Probably, this was the GOP's main idea from the beginning. But in any case, I would not throw the woman away just yet. I think she still has some real good in her.

ms. miami said...

There is no war on Islam. President Bush has made this clear from the very beginning.

las- yes, bush has made this clear, but i suspect that many fundamentalist christian groups that support him and his party do see it as a war on islam (as they see support for israel as a precursor to a 'second coming').

if i find the time, i'll try to dig up an article in which the author argued that bush is playing this crowd by stating that this is not a war against islam, but slipping in specific biblical references in his public discourse as a wink-wink-nudge-nudge for these groups.

greg said...

Is Edwards just stupid?

Is he pandering to a group of looney lefties who he thinks will get him elected?

Or is this just one more piece of evidence that there is indeed a growing leftist-islamist racist convergence?

Hard to tell. In any case, it's scary how many people believe that if we just leave al Qaeda alone, everything will be just peachy.

I may never vote Democrat again, and this is why

ms. miami said...

it's scary how many people believe that if we just leave al Qaeda alone, everything will be just peachy.

greg- who is arguing to do nothing in relation to al quaeda?

Greg said...

Here I go wasting my time trying to convince people who already agree with Idiot Edwards, but what the heck.

He said there is no war. It's "a bumper sticker," said the Idiot.

So, if it's not a war, that means no fighting. All we have to do is stop pretending there is a war, and everything will be nice. Moron. Stupid. Blockhead.

Clear enough, I hope.

I now look at my ex-friends - who are afflicted with severe cases of Bush Derangement Syndrome and who think 9/11 was an inside job and who think if we just run away from al Qaeda in Iraq fast enough, they won't chase us home - I look at them with utter disdain and disgust. I wish they would all do as they promised and move to a different country. They really are tearing down our country with their utter stupidity. They make Bush look like a genius.

Mary Ellen said...

LA

Voting to send troops to war is one of them. So if I may, allow me to modify this old saying a bit to: Vote for war in haste, repent at leisure.

The vote was to give Bush the "authorization" to go to war. Not to send our troops to war. There is a difference. They gave him the authority to get the intelligence, get UN approval and help from our allies (which he did in Afghanistan), but lied to the UN and the Senate and Congress with trumped up intel to make his case for Iraq. It was Bush's decision to send the troops to Iraq. That can't be laid at the feet of the Congress or Senate, when they have been clearly misled as to the reasons to go to war in Iraq.

More to come...working my way through the post.

Mary Ellen said...

Greg

Hard to tell. In any case, it's scary how many people believe that if we just leave al Qaeda alone, everything will be just peachy.

This is the problem. The righties keep saying that the Democrats want to "leave al Qaeda alone". That isn't true at all. When we went to war in Iraq, al Qaeda wasn't there. Now they are, but that is because we helped them to establish themselves there. We made Iraq a great big training camp just for them.

This idea that we have to fight al Qaida by going to war with an entire country with our military is a joke. That isn't smart, it's just Bush playing politics with our troops. al Qaida needs to be fought with intelligence, they aren't a country, they are a group of cells all over the world.

There are more al Qaida in Saudi Arabia than Iraq, should we "shock and awe" them, too?

The war on terror has to be fought with brains, not brawn.

Mary Ellen said...

Greg

I wish they would all do as they promised and move to a different country. They really are tearing down our country with their utter stupidity.

Excuse me? If they don't agree with Bush, they should get out of the country? Doesn't that sound a bit fascist? Please tell me I am misunderstanding what you wrote! Or should I start packing my bags and find another country to live in?

ms. miami said...

greg- sorry, i still have no better sense of who is arguing for no action against al qaeda.

ground wars aren't the only way to fight against dangerous groups and are particularly ineffective against groups that don't act like national armies.

Mary Ellen said...

LA


The Dems in Congress are in a position of authority now. They are on a co-equal basis with the GOP and the Administration. They are not in a position to dictate terms to the President. But instead of that, they should be pressing for specific solutions that can speed up the process sufficiently enough that a safe and honorable withdrawal can be done.


LA

What do you think the benchmarks are for? They are used to determine if we are fighting a losing battle or if we are making progress. What is wrong with that. You say the Dems want to cut and run and just leave a big mess (the mess BUSH started!). Not true, we want the Iraqi government to start taking control of their country, instead of taking two month vacations while OUR troops are dying over there.

Bush just veto's anything that isn't what he wants, which is to watch our soldiers die because he can't admit that he went into Iraq for his own ideology.

Mary Ellen said...

LA

LA

If you want to escape the unintended consequences of your decisions, the only way to avoid it is to make better decisions when they are presented to you.

What about when this information was made known to the Bush administration?


AP) U.S. intelligence agencies warned senior members of the Bush administration in early 2003 that invading Iraq could create instability that would give Iran and al Qaeda new opportunities to expand their influence, according to an upcoming Senate report.

Funny how this didn't make its way to the Democrats in the House. It must have gotten lost somewhere...on Cheney's desk.

Always On Watch Two said...

AP) U.S. intelligence agencies warned senior members of the Bush administration in early 2003 that invading Iraq could create instability that would give Iran and al Qaeda new opportunities to expand their influence, according to an upcoming Senate report.

Even a rudimentary knowledge of the dynamics in that region of the world could lead to that conclusion. I say "could."

Like other theories and even pieces of intelligence, there is a margin of error. Therefore, the risks of taking action and the risks of taking no action have to be weighed, and, even then, the outcome of the decision is still uncertain.

--------------------------

As LA pointed out, political expediency--and the garnering of the support of the voters--usually determines the stance of politicians. We all know that to be a fact of political life. But now we see all sorts of disingenuous posturing as various politicians attempt to wheedle votes. Do politicians not understand that how they vote and the policies they establish can affect America for generations?

Mary Ellen said...

AOW

I did point out that the vote was not "to go to war", but to give the President permission to make that decision. They put their trust in a man that couldn't be trusted! He kept intel that didn't support his ideology and trumped up or just made up intel that gave Congress and the American people the impression that SH had WMD and that we were "this close" to the mushroom cloud.

The Republicans were up in arms over Clinton lying about an affair...yet they seem to think it's ok for Bush to lie in an effort to go to war...a pre-emptive war! At least Clinton's lie didn't cause the death of thousands of US troops and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens.

Sure, Iraqi's can vote now...but how many are left to do so? I see those voter rolls shrinking daily. Heck uvajob Bush!

Mary Ellen said...

Off Topic..just a note, is anyone else having problems with the word verification? It's not a big problem, but I always have to do it twice to get my comment through, even when I am positive it is typed correctly?

Anonim said...

Word verification thing times out if you take your time typing the comment. (And thanks for not using it in your blog.)

Hey, Clinton too caused the death of 1000s of potential US troops, too!

Mary Ellen said...

anonim

When did Clinton cause the deaths of potential 1000's of deaths?

Anonim said...

Oops, that was an inappropriate comment that I knew I wasn't going to be proud of. In the Oval Office...

Mary Ellen said...

anonim

Ahhhh! I get it! I'm a little slow on the uptake today, I guess. :-D

Always On Watch Two said...

Mary Ellen,
Yesterday, on the radio show I cohost, we interviewed Allan Goldstein, a libertarian liberal. He doesn't go along with the sound bite "Bush lied, people died."

I'm not a Bushie, so it's not that position which makes me think that lying is the wrong term to use. When it comes to national intelligence, we don't know what we don't know.

Personally, I don't feel that pre-emptive strikes are necessarily the wrong move.

As to bringing democracy to Iraq, I've never bought into that one. In a democracy, power filters from the bottom up; in Islam, power filters from the top down. Iraqis has too little experience in that kind of filtering to have a grasp as to the responsibilities of democracy. Then, there are the special conditions in that part of the world--porous borders, sectarian alignments, etc.

Saddam was no angel, after all. If he could have, he'd have activated any weapons at his command. And he was also shelling out buck to those pulling off terrorist attacks in other Middle Eastern regions.

Mary Ellen said...

AOW

Regarding the "Bush lie, Soldiers Die" thing...There are plenty of forms of lying. There is the full changing of facts (forged documents in Niger), lies of exaggeration (Mushroom Cloud) and lies of ommission (cherry picking intel that only fits your scenerio). Bush was guilty of all three of those examples. So, yes, Bush lied...and our soldiers are dying.

Pre-emptive war is not a good idea, and Bush has just proved that. His lying to the American people with trumped up intel and fear mongoring in order to go to war has cost us billions of dollars, the loss of some of our finest military personnel, the limbs of thousands of men and women who will have to suffer the rest of their lives, and we lost the trust and respect of much of the world. We look weak because of Bush and that makes us vulnerable.

Sadaam was no angel is right and I have never heard ANY Democrat say that he was...but he was not a direct threat to us or his neighbors. He was contained. There are many world leaders (including Bush) who are not a threat, but they are dangerous. We can't go to war with every one. Bush/Cheney doesn't even want to do that...only the places that have oil.

Bush says he'll listen to what the commanders on the ground say. He doesn't. That's a fact which is backed up by many commanders who said they begged for more troops early on, they begged for better equipment to keep their soldiers safe, they told him this was not the way to fight a war. He didn't listen to them. Again, another Bush lie.

And let's not forget...those who attacked us on 911 was not Sadaam Hussein. It was Osama bin Laden who is still on the lose and the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. But that FACT doesn't seem to register with Bush since he still associates Iraq with 911.

Mary Ellen said...

AOW

Regarding how much Bush cares about our troops....the number of troops that have died from IED because he wouldn't let the military have the vehicles they requested to protect them is 1,106. Bush was given a blank check by Congress to run this war...lets look someday at the billions of dollars that were wasted and lost (yes...lost! the money by the truckload just disappeared!), just so Bush could go on the cheap. He also has cut benefits for our troops and their families, lied about the amount of redeployments they would have to do, and used them as props in his photo-ops.

This is why we should not do pre-emptive strikes on the whim of a delusional President.

Always On Watch Two said...

And, of course, there was The Iraq Liberation Act of 1998. I believe that President Clinton signed it into law. Excerpt:

(1) On September 22, 1980, Iraq invaded Iran, starting an 8 year war in which Iraq employed chemical weapons against Iranian troops and ballistic missiles against Iranian cities.

(2) In February 1988, Iraq forcibly relocated Kurdish civilians from their home villages in the Anfal campaign, killing an estimated 50,000 to 180,000 Kurds.

(3) On March 16, 1988, Iraq used chemical weapons against Iraqi Kurdish civilian opponents in the town of Halabja, killing an estimated 5,000 Kurds and causing numerous birth defects that affect the town today.

...

(9) Since March 1996, Iraq has systematically sought to deny weapons inspectors from the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) access to key facilities and documents, has on several occasions endangered the safe operation of UNSCOM helicopters transporting UNSCOM personnel in Iraq, and has persisted in a pattern of deception and concealment regarding the history of its weapons of mass destruction programs.

(10) On August 5, 1998, Iraq ceased all cooperation with UNSCOM, and subsequently threatened to end long-term monitoring activities by the International Atomic Energy Agency and UNSCOM.

(11) On August 14, 1998, President Clinton signed Public Law 105-235, which declared that `the Government of Iraq is in material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations' and urged the President `to take appropriate action, in accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws of the United States, to bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations.'

...

It is the sense of the Congress that once the Saddam Hussein regime is removed from power in Iraq, the United States should support Iraq's transition to democracy by providing immediate and substantial humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people, by providing democracy transition assistance to Iraqi parties and movements with democratic goals, and by convening Iraq's foreign creditors to develop a multilateral response to Iraq's foreign debt incurred by Saddam Hussein's regime.


Now, as I said, I'm not a Bushie. And I despise the photo-ops! But I'm not buying all of the anti-Bush statements out there, either.

As for cherry-picking intelligence reports, I find plenty of that going on, from all sides.

All that said, I don't think that GWB has a clue about Islam. Too much input from Norquist and Forte, IMO. Not to mention Karl Rove.

Always On Watch Two said...

Interesting post by The Anchoress

Mary Ellen said...

AOW

I don't have time right now to read through that whole Liberation Act, and I'm not sure if it was ever passed into law. I did skim it, and I didn't see anything about feeling the necessity to bring our military into a pre-emptive, full out war. I did see something about offering humanitarian help for the people of Iraq and I didn't see anything about blowing their country to kingdom come with "shock and awe" to remove Sadaam. Much can be acheived without all out force, something that this administration should think about.

Regarding the post about Gore...nonsense, I could blow a million holes through it, when I have the time!

BTW, I have a Memorial Day post on my blog today where you can leave the names of any loved ones who are veterans. C'mon over...and check it out if you like, add any names you like. Don't let the name "The Divine Democrat" scare you. ;-)