Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Dialogue with

We welcome Patrick of of Washington State to our discussion. One set of money quotes:

Look, Bush has stuck with Iraq. He has to talk about it and what would happen if troops were re-deployed. He openly acknowledged in his speech today that his critics aren't un-patriotic or "appeasers" and that they're mostly decent people--but their dead wrong in their support for an immediate pull-out.

I don't know what more you want to hear from the President, but in terms of being concerned about the war effort--I'm right there with you. I think we're closer to failure than we've ever been, and that makes the road ahead even tougher.

And here's what we want to hear from the President:

I urge all real Americans eligible to serve (healthy heterosexuals 41 and under) to consider volunteering for military service in the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), even if you plan other careers later in life. Your country needs you now.

And I've also decided that the Clinton Administration "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy actually hurts our military readiness. I am therefore asking Congress to repeal it without further delay.

If President Bush really wants to WIN the GWOT, he can at least say - and mean - these two things. And he can say the first before the College and Young Republicans - let leaders lead!


At 07 September, 2006 02:10, Blogger Patrick said...

Karl- thank you for being so civil in this dialogue. I would like to advance an argument that some would say arises from the "liberal worldview". I'm interested to see if you think it's credible--or whether you are inclined to pooh-pooh it.

Perhaps young conseratives ARE actually helping to win the GWOT--by fighting on the front lines of the world of ideas?

Now I know in this instance there was some tough rhetoric advanced about invading/attacking Iran--but my point is that working in a leadership role training the next generation of leaders, or working to win hearts and minds--isn't that also a valiant form of fighting for your country?

This argument is predicated on the notion that we can't win a "war on terror" where "terror" is an idea, or ideology--exclusively by military means.

Tell me what you think, and again, thank you for the civil discourse!

At 07 September, 2006 11:44, Blogger robash141 said...

Bell,I think its disgusting that you would insult my service like you did in your letter and then try to hide behind some fig leaf of "civility".
Appearantly civil discourse is a just a one way street for you.

Let the oldsters debate.

Young people, if they are physically and mentally capable, should get out there and fight if they believe in the war. If they not willing to fight , they are contemptable cowards like Mantova

At 07 September, 2006 16:49, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enlist? Why you are kiddin. I thought this was a "Tax cut for me, Iraq for you" kind of war.

At 07 September, 2006 18:40, Blogger Sadie Baker said...

Unfortunately, the war of ideas is suffering from no shortage of volunteers. If anything, it is grossly overstaffed.

Meanwhile, in the real war, our armed forces have had to implement a backdoor draft, retaining true patriots who have already served for longer than their original terms. And they have begun scraping the bottom of the barrel, accepting drug dealers, criminals and other people who have no business wearing a US uniform.

If you were serious about the "war of ideas," then you would recognize the value of credibility. Words without credibility are worth nothing. The "ideas" of a yellow elephant carry no weight.

It wasn't always this way. The economic elite of our country used to volunteer for military duty as a matter of honor. It was understood that "follow me" was a far more powerful cry than "charge."

But the Republicans have broken this tradition. The current Republican leadership has virtually no military experience, and the younger generation seems to be following in their footsteps.

And this is bad because history shows that when the civilian leadership lacks personal military experience, our country tends to gets into offensive, unneccessary wars.

At 08 September, 2006 11:01, Anonymous Anonymous said...

-war of ideas?


If you are so convinced that we are going to make a difference in Iraq when it comes to fighting terror...go, enlist and help those who have the guts to put thier very lives on the line for thier beliefs.

If the Army could take a (then)31 year old female like me (I am now 44-and a veteran), they can take you.

Take your war of ideas where they matter...if you are so enamored of the war.

At 08 September, 2006 14:58, Blogger Karl said...


You are correct that Winning the GWOT will take more than the military. Not everyone can serve in our military, and people everywhere need to do what they can.

Lots of non-military, including diplomats and humanitarian aid workers (NGO types) are with our military on the ground in dangerous places. They're not exactly in the same harm's way as infantry soldiers/Marines (nor are support troops and HQ types), but these non-military are certainly out there on the ground engaging with real foreigners and winning hearts and minds, as you put it.

But I very much disagree that Mr. Mantova & Co. are actually helping to win the GWOT by, as you put it, "fighting on the front lines of the war of ideas."

Here's why:

There's something very wrong with crowds of young, military-age men at "pro-war" rallies when our Army is having serious problems in recruiting. It has to do with political leadership, which flows down to the 'leadership' that Mr. Mantova is supposedly trying to share or something. It just doesn't work.

Leadership means credibility and respect and must be earned. Military service is one way to demonstrate this to others. The recruiting problems show that Mr. Mantova & Co. are clearly more needed in Iraq and Afghanistan than safely back home. As the comments above indicate, nobody respects Mr. Mantova as a would-be 'leader' precisely because he refuses even to consider volunteering. So, if he thinks he's helping to win the GWOT, actually, he's not.

Of greater relevance is his refusal even to engage in the war of ideas. I've been waiting to hear from him for a long time. If he had contacted a recruiter but was not accepted for military service, he'd be off the hook, but he also would have told us that. He never responded.

This actually proves his ineffectiveness at what he is ostensibly doing to 'fight' the "war of ideas." If Mr. Mantova is such a wuss that he can't even debate the ideas in his own op-eds in the Eureka Reporter, I doubt he'd be able to make it through basic training, even with today's relaxed standards.

'Hope this helps.

At 10 September, 2006 10:59, Anonymous Craig said...

Patrick thinks he can wriggle his way out of this ethical dilemma by proposing to fight a "war of ideas."


Our men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan don't need "ideas," they need fresh boots on the ground so they can get a much-needed break and come home to their families and their regular lives. They certainly don't need a "war of ideas" that mostly involves right-wingers smearing vets, their families, the anti-war crowd and anyone else who disagrees with Bush.

Look, if Patrick and his ilk are too cowardly to serve on the front lines, let them just come right out and admit it. At least let them find other ways to support our troops - enlist in a non-combat position, volunteeer for the USO or at a VA hospital. Let them hold a fund raiser to buy equipment for our troops. Heck, let them do the bare minimum of what Karl always suggests: encouraging their relatives and friends to consider volunteering.


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