Tuesday, July 22

Who's Unpatriotic Now?

Throughout this ugly episode known as Iraq War II, my whole concern was always why these guys who never participated in warfare (the Bush administration) were so intent on sending our troops into what we were told were the maws of death. Biological weapons, nukes, nerve gas...the very things that we were going to disarm Saddam of were no doubt going to be used on our guys. Hey, Saddam had nothing to lose once the gauntlet was thrown down by our president. I was downright scared for our soldiers.

That concern of Americans like-minded as myself was grossly misinterpreted as being anti-American and not supportive of our troops by the right. I've already taken up this foolish mindset earlier.

Paul Krugman of the NY Times takes up this issue, and adds to it the frightening administration outing and discrediting of a CIA operative - the wife of former ambassador Joseph Wilson - as a rather untidy defense of their sloppy actions.

Krugman asks who the real patriots are now in this great article.

And the war will have devastating effects on future recruiting by the reserves. A widely circulated photo from Iraq shows a sign in the windshield of a military truck that reads, "One weekend a month, my ass."

To top it all off, our insistence on launching a war without U.N. approval has deprived us of useful allies. George Bush claims to have a "huge coalition," but only 7 percent of the coalition soldiers in Iraq are non-American — and administration pleas for more help are sounding increasingly plaintive.

How serious is the strain on our military? The Brookings Institution military analyst Michael O'Hanlon, who describes our volunteer military as "one of the best military institutions in human history," warns that "the Bush administration will risk destroying that accomplishment if they keep on the current path."

But instead of explaining what happened to the Al Qaeda link and the nuclear program, in the last few days a series of hawkish pundits have accused those who ask such questions of aiding the enemy. Here's Frank Gaffney Jr. in The National Post: "Somewhere, probably in Iraq, Saddam Hussein is gloating. He can only be gratified by the feeding frenzy of recriminations, second-guessing and political power plays. . . . Signs of declining popular appreciation of the legitimacy and necessity of the efforts of America's armed forces will erode their morale. Similarly, the enemy will be encouraged."

Well, if we're going to talk about aiding the enemy: By cooking intelligence to promote a war that wasn't urgent, the administration has squandered our military strength. This provides a lot of aid and comfort to Osama bin Laden — who really did attack America — and Kim Jong Il — who really is building nukes.

Our troops are still dying while Saddam and bin Laden live on. This isn't brain suregery, folks. It's an outrage.