April 13, 2007

Screening Outside the Wire

The Washington State University Young Republicans screened Outside the Wire by JD Johannes, a former Marine, who joined the Marinesbecause:

... JD Johannes did not study hard or take his secondary education seriously, because he came from a rural, midwestern town, and because he had no other opportunities, Johannes was easily conned into joining the Marines by a high-pressure salesman in Dress Blues.

Just like U.S. Senator John Kerry said, JD Johannes got stuck in Iraq.

A synopsis of the screening is recounted on palousitics, including some barbed comments at Democrats who tried to upstage both the movie and the Iraq war veterans that were to address the audience and take questions after the film.

The young democrats expressed vivid interest in expressing opinions and produce questions to us, the WSU College Republicans. Dan Ryder and I articulated to the young democrats that no such exchange would take place in any shape or form. I was unequivocal in expressing that this documentary should leave you to derive your own opinions of the troops/war and that the WSU College Republicans did not feel qualified in hosting questions. After all, we did not serve in Iraq.

The young democrats "staged" a walkout upon hearing our truthful and legitimate response. This was a display upon epic proportions of the infantile demeanor of such a group that preaches the freedom of expression, ideas, opinions, etc. Their actions were pusillanimous in nature and a flat out slap in the face to the attendees, our organization, our great country and more acutely speaking, the Veterans of our brave service men and women present. They are a sickening disgrace. A classic display of uncouth trash.

The quote of the day, however, goes to one of the Iraq War veterans during a Q&A session after the screening to a question that was never asked.

One question that never came up was "can you support the troops if you donít support the war?" After the question and answer session ended a Vet replied, "Absolutely not, how can you support someone if you don't support what he or she is doing?"

I've wondered about that same question myself, and have yet to hear what I would consider a reasonable answer.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at April 13, 2007 09:54 AM

Can you support the troops, but not support the war? I think you can.

Supporting the troops, I believe, means respecting them as individuals; that is, respecting their patriotism, courage, and willingness to serve in harm's way. Most of us don't have that kind of grit, and those who do deserve our respect and admiration.... and our support.

On the other hand, supporting the war means supporting a relatively small handful of politicians who make policy. Those politicians have to earn that support by being wise, prudent, and correct in their decisions. I don't believe they are allowed to hide behind the troops in harm's way, and demand that our support for those troops must translate as support for the policies of Washington.

Let's be frank: everything I've read about Iraq tells me that this country has fielded an incredibly professional military organizations (guts, brains, high morale), just as everything I've read tells me that President Bush is a walking, talking disaster as a war leader.

So, yeah, I feel like I support the troops (I know that I respect them greatly), but, at the same time, I believe they were put into harm's way and asked to do the impossible by an unread man of limited integrity and ability.

It's a dilemma.

But it's not a dilemma unique to this situation. I'm certain that conservatives supported our troops in Vietnam even as they hated the no-win, hand-tied-behind-the-back war policies of LBJ. Win the war, or get out, seemed to be the conservative mantra back in those days. Could we argue that they were hurting troop morale and emboldening the enemy?

Oh, and I'm reminded of those conservatives shouting at Bush I to go all the way to Baghdad during Operation Desert Storm. I'm sure they supported the troops, even as they decried the policies those troops were enacting.

Posted by: i'mjustsayin' at April 13, 2007 11:20 AM


I've wondered about that same question myself, and have yet to hear what I would consider a reasonable answer.

The Iraqis want us to leave. 72% of soldiers think we should leave within a year.

"Support the troops" is a catchphrase you employ to stifle debate. It's the best you've got because the facts overwhelmingly paint you as dead enders.

You echoed disinformation recently about the recent Najaf rally. See here.

Posted by: Lex Steele at April 13, 2007 11:33 AM

So what's the only solution in both Vietnam and Iraq (both times) from the Left? Cut and run. Don't finish the job.

And what were the results. Genocide in Cambodia and Vietnam. Genocide of the Marsh Arabs in 91. Any bets that the third cut and run will result differently?

What's that definition of insanity again? something about doing the same things and expecting different results?

Posted by: SDN at April 13, 2007 10:25 PM

These comments are legitimate arguments, albeit that they are from the perspective of losing or that we could never have won. Look, the glass is half empty while it is half full. Only time will tell. I only know that from all the soldiers I have heard from (and that is many, as well as the families of soldiers currently serving and of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice), aside from the few that the mainstream propaganda news outlets parade out there every time they find one, this war is no loss at all. All of a sudden, everyone is a general and can determine how long it takes for people to go from oppression from a murderous regime to being able to participate in their own government. I am with the coalition, the Iraqis and their future. I do not wish that we never went there and that Saddam was still in power. There may be some Iraqis that resent or hate us, and there can be many reasons for that, but we have free Americans right here that hate this country and everything about it. We have Americans right here that hope for our defeat and root for our enemies. We have an entire political party and its supporting mainstream media that undermines our national Security, our country, our President, every day. Of course, there are many here that do not see the cause for our military success in Iraq and for the Iraqi people. These are the same people that did not and/or would not, or don't and/or wouldn't care either way about the ethnic cleansing that took place in Viet Nam and would take place in Iraq if we just picked up and walked away. They would rather support the failure of a political adversary (the President, the Republican party, an alternative ideology) than the future of a free people. And they call themselves "liberals" or, better yet, "progressives".

Posted by: DJ at April 13, 2007 11:24 PM

Part of the problem about devise tactics is that they work best only when you are in the majority. Now that only 33% support Bush when you say all Democrats are supporters of terror it only serves to encourage the jihadists. "Yeah I read that 70% of the Americans are supporting us" NOT!!!

Posted by: John Ryan at April 14, 2007 04:23 PM

Regarding Vietnam, please bear in mind that the U.S. poured billions of dollars and tens of thousands of American lives into propping up the regime in Saigon. Unfortunately, for all that support, Saigon remained corrupt, and, worse, ineffecient, and its army, by and large, lacked the skill and ferocity of the VC and NVA.

In other words, we only Cut and Run when we realized that Saigon had squandered everything provided by the U.S. Also please consider that the highly-effective U.S. military had wreaked tremendous damage in South Vietnam, and accumulated huge body counts of VC and NVA. In the end, none of that mattered.

What happened in South Vietnam after the U.S. withdrew was bad enough, but it was far less bloody than Washington had predicted, and certainly did not rise to the level of genocide, as claimed above. Yes, there was genocide in Cambodia.... but how exactly was the U.S. supposed to stop the Khmer Rouge? Endless war in Southeast Asia? To what end? And how would such an endless war benifit the United States?

There's a lot of bad guys and bad places in the Third World. Why not endless war throughout the Third World? The U.S. cannot afford to be the world's policeman, and does not have the stomach for the job, anyway.

I'm rambling......

Posted by: i'mjustsayin' at April 15, 2007 04:47 PM

i'mjustsayin' said: "What happened in South Vietnam after the U.S. withdrew was bad enough, but it was far less bloody than Washington had predicted, and certainly did not rise to the level of genocide..."

So how bloody did Washington predict it would be if roughly 2.5 million South Vietnamese slaughtered didn't reach the level [of genocide]? According to your way of thinking the United States should never have destroyed the Nazis either.

And when you say, "The U.S. cannot afford to be the world's policeman, and does not have the stomach for the job, anyway." All I can say is speak for yourself. You obviously don't have the stomach for it.

"The tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
-- Thomas Jefferson

Posted by: DJ at April 15, 2007 10:41 PM

They would rather support the failure of a political adversary (the President, the Republican party, an alternative ideology) than the future of a free people. And they call themselves "liberals" or, better yet, "progressives".

I consider myself a liberal, but I'm not sure it means the same thing as you think it means.

Peope I know who think this war is a futile effort include military, retired military, active intelligence, former federal law enforcement and a whole bunch of average citizens just like you and me. Not a one of them hope or want Bush to fail. Predicting failure and then pointing out when your worst predictions come true is not a thing that gives me comfort.

As for not supporting the future of a free people, that's something the people themselves have to choose. It's not a gift we can pass along and then suddenly animosities that go back to the fifth century will vanish like a fart in a sea breeze. That's not going to happen.

I've stated in other threads the disaster I predict it will be if we pull out, but I've also said that I think this surge is far too little and far too late.

If we were serious about fighting this war, and this is just me, I'd put another 400K troops in there, create safe training places for the Iraqi military and police, draft a boatload of young American men and raise taxes to pay for it.

But that's not going to happen. And that means we're not serious about fighting this war. So if we're not serious, how can you ask your brother to pay with his limbs or even his life?

Vietnam? The VC and NVA weren't going anywhere and they'd demonstrated by kicking Japanese butt and French butt that they were willing to do whatever was necessary for as long as it took. The American people, for good reason, weren't willing.

My father was a staunch supporter of that war until he had two sons in uniform. He'd lost his brother and countless friends in one war, a good war, a war worth his sacrifice, and he would have and did send his boys off to serve. But when the reality of that homebound box hit home, he started asking why. It didn't make him a cut and run American. It didn't take away his patriotism and sacrifice. It made him question why and the answer he got was not one he wanted to hear, not worth his potential loss.

No American, left or right, wants our president to fail. Because if he does, it means we sacrifice our fathers, brothers and sons for a mistake.

I'm a liberal, but I take a back seat to no one when I say I love this country.

But I mistrust this government. And that's a whole different thing.

Posted by: David Terrenoire at April 15, 2007 10:54 PM

DJ, the 2.5 million victims you cite were murdered by the Khmer Rouge. You are conflating, for obvious reasons, the genocide in Cambodia with what happened in South Vietnam after the communists prevailed in 1975.

Oh, your crack about who has the stomach for endless war and who doesn't was a bit ridiculous. So, again: how many years and how many lives should the U.S. have invested in an optional war like the one we fought in Vietnam?

Incidentally, David Terrenoire is the best thing about this website.

Posted by: i'mjustsayin' at April 16, 2007 01:03 AM