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March 9, 2005

President George W. Bush and some of his advisors have walked a lonely road the past few years. If you've been alive and conscious during this time, you are probably aware of the massive polarization that has occurred in the US. You are also probably aware of the thousands of deaths and monetary costs of the wars waged. Was it worth it? Was Bush on the right path when he declared war on terrorism and tyranny?The short answer is that it is too early to tell, but the signs are very positive. Who knows if everything that has happened in the Middle East can be linked to Bush's efforts, but many can. He recently gave a speech on the current status of many of the ongoing current events. And there must be a heck of a blue moon tonight because even a NY Times article is praising his efforts, going so far as to quote praise from critics such as Senator Kennedy. Powerline has a similar commentary with a link to an article in the Washington Post containing even more praise and optimism from critics.Just a very brief roundup includes:

  • Peaceful demonstrations in Ukraine (not quite in the Middle East mind you, but a sign of global freedom) with an overturning of the elections.
  • Mostly peaceful demonstrations in Lebanon, with Syria committing to withdraw troops to regions near the Syrian border, and then a complete withdrawal afterwards.
  • Libya acknowledging it has been pursuing a nuclear arms program and allowing the international community to come in and disarm it.
  • Overthrow of Saddam Hussein.
  • Free elections throughout Iraq that beat just about anyone's predictions.
  • Limited regional elections in Saudi Arabia.
  • President Mubarak of Egypt allowing other contenders in the presidential race.
  • Pakistan and India declaring a ceasefire in the Kashmir region.
  • PMs Sharon and Abbas declaring ceasefires and working together openly to create peace in the Israeli/Palestinian Intifidah.I think a hard look shows that some things are still very messy, with a powerful insurgency in Iraq. But that look also shows you undeniable progress, with many reports that the insurgency has been greatly weakened and is fighting to stay alive. I have supported Bush in this and I continue to do so. I freely admit many things were not executed properly or as smoothly as they could have, but overall, I can't help but feel joy for all the good that has been happening.

    Posted by charr at 2:45 PM
    Reader Comments

    Bush's "success" reminds me of when Pee-Wee Herman endoed his bike off the curb, stood up and said "I meant to do that!". George is no brilliant strategist. Any good that may have come from this fiasco of a war fabricated and justified on lies and phony evidence is just pure dumb luck, though 1500 (and counting) dead Americans (not to mention tens of thousands wounded and traumatized) and trillions of debt is hardly any sane person's idea of success or cause for joy, nor is it a worthy trade for one stupid dictator that we put in power in the first place. Way too soon to breathe a sigh of relief Cameron. And forget about taking on mindless menial labor to quench your travel weary burn-out; cancel the vacation plans to the Carribean, and instead put your money where your mouth is and join up and go fight this "righteous" war you so staunchly support? Or is the actual combat part only fit for poor minorities too dumb to graduate from BYU...?Yeah, I didn't think so. War is good as long as the high and mighty that support such idiotic thinking can get someone else to fight it for them while they sit back in their comfortable blog-world and play armchair QB with the war football. Regardless, you might just find yourself getting drafted anyway to fight the Syrians or Iranians the way things are shaping up. King George said himself today that "all options are on the table" regarding the possibility of war with Iran. Troops don't grow on trees, and neither does the money that will be needed to pay for all this crazy deficit spending.

    Posted by anon at March 10, 2005 12:19 AM

    By the way, where on earth did you come up with:
    "...with many reports that the insurgency has been greatly weakened and is fighting to stay alive." baloney? Faux news?Meanwhile, this just in from Reuters:41 Corpses Found in Iraq; Blast Kills Four1 hour, 47 minutes ago

    Middle East - APBy PATRICK QUINN, Associated Press WriterBAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraqi authorities found 41 decomposed bodies — some bullet-riddled, others beheaded — at sites near the Syrian border and south of the capital, and said Wednesday they included women and children who may have been killed because insurgents thought their families were collaborating with U.S. forces.
    Latest headlines:
    · Chief of Central Baghdad Police Station Shot Dead
    Reuters - 22 minutes ago
    · 41 Corpses Found in Iraq; Blast Kills Four
    AP - 1 hour, 47 minutes ago
    · Pentagon Says Its Policy Did Not Lead to Abuses
    Reuters - 2 hours, 36 minutes agoIn Baghdad, a suicide bomber driving a garbage truck loaded with explosives and at least one other gunman shot their way into a parking lot in an attempt to blow up a hotel used by Western contractors. At least four people, including the attackers and a guard, were killed.The U.S. Embassy said 30 Americans were among 40 people wounded in the blast. No Americans were killed. In an Internet statement, al-Qaida in Iraq (news - web sites) purportedly claimed responsibility for the attack on the Sadeer hotel, calling it the "hotel of the Jews."While Sunni Arab insurgents have repeatedly targeted Westerners in Iraq, Shiite Muslims, top Iraqi officials and civil servants, even Muslim women are no longer safe.Decapitated bodies of women have begun turning up in recent weeks, a note with the word "collaborator" usually pinned to their chests. Three women were gunned down Tuesday in one of Baghdad's Shiite neighborhoods for being alleged collaborators. And in the northern city of Kirkuk, a woman identified as Nawal Mohammed, who worked with U.S. forces, was killed in a drive-by shooting, police said.The decomposed bodies were found Tuesday after reports of their stench reached authorities.Twenty-six of the dead were discovered in a field near Rumana, a village 12 miles east of the western city of Qaim, near the Syrian border. Each body was riddled with bullets. The dead were found wearing civilian clothes and one was a woman, police Capt. Muzahim al-Karbouli said.The other site was south of Baghdad in Latifiya, where Iraqi troops found 15 headless bodies in a building at an abandoned army base, Defense Ministry Capt. Sabah Yassin said.The bodies included 10 men, three women and two children. Their identities, like the others found in western Iraq, were not known, but insurgents may have viewed them or their relatives as collaborators.Yassin said some of men found dead in Latifiya were thought to have been part of a group of Iraqi soldiers who were kidnapped by insurgents two weeks ago.The gruesome discoveries were among 58 new killings in Iraq announced Wednesday, including the death of a U.S. soldier in a Baghdad roadside bombing.Iraq's interim planning minister, Mahdi al-Hafidh, a Shiite, narrowly escaped death Wednesday after gunmen opened fire on his convoy in the capital. Two of his bodyguards were killed and two others were wounded."I'm fine, just sorry about the death of the guards, who were still young," he told state-run Al-Iraqiya TV. "It is a part of the crisis that Iraq is living, but we will keep going for the sake of Iraq, to get rid of terrorism and build a democratic country."Qataa Abdul Nabi, the director general of the Shiite Endowment, was shot to death Tuesday as he drove home — the second high-ranking member of the Shiite charity to be killed in a week.A car bombing targeted an American checkpoint outside a base in Habaniyah, 50 miles west of Baghdad, and another exploded near U.S. troops close to Abu Ghraib, just west of the capital.No other details were available, and the U.S. military could not be reached for comment. It was unclear if the dead U.S. soldier was killed in any of the attacks. The U.S. military said only that a soldier was killed and another was wounded by a bomb as they were patrolling around Baghdad.As of Tuesday, at least 1,509 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,149 died as a result of hostile action, according to the Defense Department. The figures include four military civilians. The AP count is five higher than the Defense Department's tally, last updated at 10 a.m. EST Tuesday. In other violence:Guerrillas struck a police patrol with a roadside bomb in the southern city of Basra, killing two policeman and wounding three, Lt. Col. Karim Al-Zaydi said.Two police officers were killed and two others wounded in clashes with insurgents in the northern city of Mosul.Police said the attack on the Sadeer hotel began when insurgents wearing police uniforms shot to death a guard at the Agriculture Ministry's gate, allowing the truck to enter a compound the ministry shares with the hotel. Guards fired on the vehicle and it exploded.The explosion carved a hole in the parking lot that was at least 30 feet wide and more than 10 feet deep. It shattered most windows in the hotel and set cars on fire.Al-Qaida in Iraq posted an Internet statement addressed to its leader, Jordanian-born terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, claiming it carried out the attack.It said: "we have fulfilled our vow to take down the Jews and Christians." In an alleged response on the same site, someone purporting to be al-Zarqawi replied, "you have relieved us by killing the enemy of God. God bless you."Another militant group, the Islamic Army in Iraq, purportedly posted an Internet video showing what it said were two Sudanese hostages abducted in Baghdad. The men identified themselves as Mohammed Hammad and Maher Attaya and said they were drivers for a Turkish company working for U.S. forces. The authenticity of the video could not be verified.

    Posted by anon at March 10, 2005 12:38 AM

    You've unleashed some uncalled-for venom here. When someone resorts to name-calling and personal attacks, they lose all credibility in my mind. It appears that you have intentionally turned a blind eye towards positive evidence, so there is little point in trying to discuss anything. You can search long enough on the Internet to find whatever most pleases you. I've gone with two left-leaning papers here that acknowledge the good that is happening.Also, it appears you know me; why do you hide your identity?

    Posted by Cameron at March 10, 2005 9:29 AM

    "Or is the actual combat part only fit for poor minorities too dumb to graduate from BYU...?"I know it's pointless talking to you, Anon, but I just had to say, I take offense to that comment. My Father was in the Air Force for over 26 years (I'm going to hazard a guess that he was in the military longer than you've been alive), and he graduated from the University of Arizona with a Masters degree. I'd also like to mention he's white - hardly a minority. He risked his life as a jet fighter navigator, patrolling the Iron Curtain and surveying the troops in Bosnia. Was he dumb to do what he did for our country?
    I've known a lot of soldiers, I go to physical therapy at Walter Reed, the same clinic where the majority of the amputee soldiers go when they come home. They're proud of their service, and they're hardly 'dumb.' They know why they served, they know why they risked life and limb, and they're proud to do what they can to fight for the freedom of a nation, whilst ensuring our own remains steadfast. For every one of those 1,500 soldiers that died, Saddam tortured and killed another several thousand individuals. The sacrifice made by the soldiers of the United States military should be met with humble gratitude, not haughty venom. Disagree with political policy all you want, but don't you dare insult the soldiers.

    Posted by Heather at March 10, 2005 9:22 PM

    That was a good answer, Heather! What do you go to physical therapy for? Are you able to go there because your dad was in the service? There's a new book out by a soldier who lost his leg in Iraq and recuperated at Walter Reed and now he's going back to command his troops in Iraq (he's a captain in the Army). It's called Back in Action.

    Posted by Ellen at March 11, 2005 4:46 AM

    Ellen - I go to physical therapy for something called an Arnold-Chiari Malformation; my brain stem is 8mm too long and protrudes into my foramen magnum. This restricts the flow of cerebral-spinal fluid, which causes some of the worst constant headaches you could ever possibly imagine. My case can't be treated safely with surgery, so I have an on-going prescription for narcotics and the Walter Reed Physical Therapy clinic has been using me for a medical study on accupuncture. Surprisingly the accupuncture has helped dull the pain a little bit, and along with that I get to meet a lot of the soldiers while I'm sitting in the waiting room. I'm always surprised with how dedicated they are, and seemingly unfazed by the hardships they've had to go through. I'm an amputee myself (nothing as dramatic as their situations - I just lost my big toe), but I think I have at least a little understanding of the pain they go through. They're always very proud of their service and their sacrifice. It irritates me when people belittle that by saying the soldiers didn't know what they were there for, or were too ignorant to understand it, or worse, they portray the military as a bunch of trigger-happy violent morons. I've lived with the military all my life, and that couldn't be farther from the truth.
    And yes, I go to Walter Reed because my Dad was in the military so long. He's retired now, but it's part of his retirement benefits that his dependents get military health insurance until a certain age. It's a nice deal, the military's taken very good care of my family.

    Posted by Heather at March 12, 2005 7:21 PM

    I don't know you, I just read enough of your blog to make some educated guesses. You pushed enough of my buttons with that dumb blog entry that I couldn't keep quiet.Heather, no offense meant, the part about "dumb minorites" is called s-a-r-c-a-s-m. I was poking fun at Carribean-crusing well-off white boys who think its just fine to send their "minority" (race, social status, etc.) bretheren off to do their dirty work for them (your dad is the gross exception Heather; most folk in the military are from the poor side of town). And they are not taught to think or question authority -- it's part of the training: "The enemy is not human, and it's okay to put a bullet in its head". "Don't listen to the wicked media. This war is about fighting for your country! It's about patriotism, mom and apple pie! It's about 9/11!"...Y'all don't get it. "Support our troops" has nothing to do with despising the military (you apparently read whatever meaning you want into my words) -- it has to do with the commander in chief making one bad decision after another, and these poor boys dying for it.

    Posted by Anon at March 13, 2005 6:18 PM

    Well Anon,
    You are of course entitled to your opinion, though I would have to disagree with your understanding of the military and economics.

    Posted by Cameron at March 13, 2005 7:15 PM

    Anon, you just repeated everything offensive that you said was "sarcasm" before, thus proving my point.

    Posted by Heather at March 14, 2005 7:03 AM

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