Why did we go to war in Iraq?

A few days ago, I wrote a post thanking Former President George W. Bush for his unwavering support for doing what was right in our fight against terror.  Commenter hdhouse objected on the grounds that he believed that we were misled into the war:

No one disagrees that Saddam was one of the worst of the lot and justice caught up with him. That we trumped up all the other hoopla to invade Iraq when if Mr. Bush had just said, “hey..I wanna get that guy so we are going in” then it would have been something for an up and down vote.

But what Mr. Bush did was borrow the family car to go to the library and instead went out drinking.

I responded that I believed that removing Saddam and his regime was not only a valid reason for the war, but that it was a valid reason given for the war at the time as well. 

 I guess we all have different memories of our impressions at any given time, but I distinctly remember having discussions w/ my husband about getting rid of Saddam and his regime being the main, and clearly justifying, reason that we should go in during the time leading up to the invasion. WMD was still being debated at that time, but we agreed that, even if there were no WMD, it was still the right thing to do (I recall comparing it to a bodybuilder witnessing an old lady being beaten- although not perhaps required, it would be morally correct to intervene, and a moral failing not to).So, in other words, I don’t feel that I was misled that that was the plan and the goal, in the way you seem to. But memories are faulty things, and we all read them in our own ways.

I also commented that it would be an interesting project to do a media survey of the time before the war in an effort to understand what the public was told were the reasons for going.  Well, I can’t do that, exactly, but I can link to the Congressional Resolution on Iraq, which authorized the use of force.  It’s too long and legislative to really excerpt, but it clearly shows a number of reasons that the U.S. decided to go to war, only a few of which involve weapons of mass destruction. 

Of course, that was the law.  What the media actually said about it may be another story all together.

“Yeah, we waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, I’d do it again to save lives,”

Thank you, Former President Bush.  I disagree with a lot of what you did, but I don’t regret my vote for you.  I’d do it again to know that people like you are willing to save lives. 

In a question-and-answer session following his speech to the group of local business leaders, the former president also defended his 2003 decision to invade Iraq.

 “Getting rid of Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do and the world is a better place without him,” he said according to the paper.

How some people fail to see this, I do not know.  The time is gone for reasoning about it; it’s all emotion and memory, but I have no regrets. 

Added: In addition to his clarity on this issue, I admire the fact that Mr. Bush refuses to criticize his replacement, while still not equivocating on what is right.  He’s a classy fellow.

Free Speech for Assholes

I try not to say that I hate anyone who disagrees with me politically.  Sure, I make fun, possibly insult, and so on, but I don’t hate. But I’m inclined to throw that out the window for the Phelps group. 
 
You’ve heard of these pussheads, right?  Fred Phelps, and his cohorts form the Westboro Baptist Church.  They make a point of  standing around at solider’s funerals.  Soldiers. Who. Have. Been Killed. In. War. And they wave their flags and banners and celebrate the death of our brave men and women.  See, they’ve somehow gotten it into their tiny little asshole heads that God hates gays, and since America is (kind of-sort of) nice to gay people, every dead solider is just a wee little bit of God’s glorious retribution for our wrongs.  So they take it upon themselves to go to the funerals of passed on soldiers, where there are mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers and sometimes even spouses and children who have lost a loved one far, far too early, and they wave banners proclaiming “God Hates Fags.” 
 
The only good thing about the Phelps group is that it has sparked one of my now-favorite organizations, The Patriot Guard Riders.  This is a group of what would appear to be your stereotypical motorcyclists, with leather and chains, but they’re mission is to ride around to these funerals.  With the grieving family’s blessing, they do what they can to stand between the family and the Phelps assholes, hoping to separate them so the family does not have to deal with dickheads in what should be a private time of mourning.  They wave flags and even pray with the family if desired, anything to help them deal with their grief and these monsters. 
 
But here’s the problem:  There’s more to this than just a bunch of idiots exercising their sadism on a dead hero’s grief-stricken loved ones.  A Kansas father, who’s had to experience these assholes firsthand at his son’s funeral, has sued these jerks for invading his privacy and emotional damages.  Although the fallen hero’s father did win a significant jury verdict, the Fourth Circuit has overturned this verdict, stating that they had a protected right to speak.  The Supreme Court will review it. 
 
As much as I hate it, I hope the Supremes rule in favor of the Phelps monsters.  If the First Amendment failed to protect unpopular and even emotionally destructive speech, it would not be worth one of the Phelps groups filth spewing signs.  If emotional devastation is the standard by which we reject speech, we will have to allow others to decide what could be emotionally devastating.  It may be something almost all of us can agree is horrible today, but it may be something that is vitally important tomorrow.  Even assholes have First Amendment rights. 

Code Pink is full of assholes

Pardon my crudeness, but, well, anything less would just be untrue.  Imagine this: You’re a little kid, and your dad has been called overseas to serve in A WAR.  You don’t really know what that means, but you know it’s very serious, and that dad will be gone for a long time.  Worse still, you’ve heard that sometimes, in wars, people can die.  Even big, strong soliders, like you dad.  You tried to ask mom about this, and she tells you that everything will be alright, but you notice that, even though she says things are fine, she sort of looks away when that subject comes up, and seems a little bit quiet for a while afterwards.   

So, you’re a little bit sad, you miss your daddy, and you feel a little bit scared to boot.  But, it’s Halloween, and you’re a little kid, so you’re mostly able to put it out of the way and focus on candy and costumes.  Plus, you get a special treat this year; the President (who you understand is a Very Important Person) has invited you to visit the White House to get candy this year!  So you put on your costume and get your candy bag ready, and you wait in line in eager anticipation of shouting “Trick or Treat!” to the President of the United States.  Then, while you’re waiting, you see this:

Dressed as ‘zombie soldiers’ killed in combat, ‘ghosts of war victims,’ witches and healthcare fairies, members of Code Pink menacingly paraded in front of a captive audience of children one block from the White House, who waited along the sidewalk in front of Decatur House just off Lafayette Park for a Halloween party hosted by President Obama. Last Saturday, the President hosted several hundred military families for trick or treating. Also invited were children of White House staff and about 2000 children from eleven D.C. area elementary schools.

 In a press release published at their website, key Obama ally Code Pink  – a group co-founded by one of Obama’s top funders Jodie Evans, announced they were targeting military families for what can only be called psychological abuse by conducting a macabre protest of the war in Afghanistan as the families waited in line to enter the White House grounds.

Is this going to convince anyone to change their minds on the war?  No.  Is this going to save any Iraqi or Afgan lives?  No.  Does this serve any purpose other than emotionally abusing a bunch of innocent kids and proving that Code Pink is fully cowardly attention whores who get their rocks off doing it?  Not a bit. 

 Bunch of fuckin’ assholes. (Obligatory pre-emption to anyone who wants to accuse me of not supporting free speech: I never said anything to suggest that these jackasses should be prevented by the force of law from performing their crap.  But there are similarly no limits to my freedom of speech to call them out on it.)

Absolutely Fabulously Inappropriate

Michelle Obama is, in my opinion, a very lovely woman who often dresses in a very unflattering way.  So, I was really impressed by the dress I’m about to show you.  In fact, I was so impressed that, although I rarely consider fashion worth blogging about, when I first saw the picture over at Cynthia Yockey’s, I was tempted to blog a well played Mr. President, just for having this smokin’ hot of a wife:

 Barack and Michelle Obama at the ceremony to award a posthumous Medal of Honor to the family of U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Jared C. Monti.

Then, I read the caption.

Barack and Michelle Obama at the ceremony to award a posthumous Medal of Honor to the family of U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Jared C. Monti.

Good God, woman!  I can only hope, hope that there was some confusion, that she did not know that she was going to this event, or the nature of the event, or through some error she had only packed one reasonably dressy item and this was it, or she spilled coffee on everything else that she owed that morning, or something.  I simply choose not to accept that the first lady of the United States of America deliberately chose a splashy cocktail dress to wear to a ceremony honoring a fallen solider.  It is simply not right.  This is a fabulous dress to wear to some semi-formal awards banquet or dinner, it is a killer dress for date night, it would look delightful at a party.  I’m sure that there is no etiquette demanding that a person wear black to an event honoring a fallen solider, but something reasonably conservative would have been appropriate, no?

By the way, here’s an actual fitting tribute to the brave young hero whose memory she disrespected at that event.

Ouch! (and Darn!)

As I noted before, the great and grand hope of President Obama would be that EUROPE WOULD LIKE US AGAIN!  Now, I stand by my statements that it doesn’t matter what Europe, or anyone else thinks, but it would have at least been nice if he could get them to, you know, stand beside us and fight a little or something.  But it was not to be:

Barack Obama made an impassioned plea to America’s allies to send more troops to Afghanistan, warning that failure to do so would leave Europe vulnerable to more terrorist atrocities.

But though he continued to dazzle Europeans on his debut international tour, the Continent’s leaders turned their backs on the US President.

Gordon Brown was the only one to offer substantial help. He offered to send several hundred extra British soldiers to provide security during the August election, but even that fell short of the thousands of combat troops that the US was hoping to prise from the Prime Minister.

Just two other allies made firm offers of troops. Belgium offered to send 35 military trainers and Spain offered 12. Mr Obama’s host, Nicolas Sarkozy, refused his request.

Poor Barack pulled out all the stops to convince them to do more.  He tried hope:  

The derisory response threatened to tarnish Mr Obama’s European tour, which yesterday included a spellbinding performance in Strasbourg in which he offered the world a vision of a future free of nuclear weapons.

He tried lecturing:

Mr Obama – who has pledged 21,000 more troops to combat the growing insurgency and is under pressure from generals to supply up to 10,000 more – used the eve of Nato’s 60th anniversary summit to declare bluntly that it was time for allies to do their share. “Europe should not simply expect the United States to shoulder that burden alone,” he said. “This is a joint problem it requires a joint effort.” 

 He even tried outright threats:

He said that failing to support the US surge would leave Europe open to a fresh terrorist offensive. “It is probably more likely that al-Qaeda would be able to launch a serious terrorist attack on Europe than on the United States because of proximity,” he said.

But, alas, no more help from our friends abroad than when that detestible, mentally retarded, chimpy, cowboy (spits on the ground in disgust) was in office.  This must be Bush’s fault, somehow.