Feb 29 2008

You Can Be Anti-War And Support Continuing Our Efforts In Iraq

Published by at 10:00 am under All General Discussions,Iraq

My hat is off to Angelina Jolie. Today she penned a very important article in the Washington Post which demonstrates you can be anti-war and still support continuing our efforts in Iraq. How is this possible? It seems so obvious once you read Jolie’s words. She notes we are working towards a lasting peace, which is the goal of the anti-war movement:

We have finally reached a point where humanitarian assistance, from us and others, can have an impact.

The Iraqi families I’ve met on my trips to the region are proud and resilient. They don’t want anything from us other than the chance to return to their homes — or, where those homes have been bombed to the ground or occupied by squatters, to build new ones and get back to their lives. One thing is certain: It will be quite a while before Iraq is ready to absorb more than 4 million refugees and displaced people. But it is not too early to start working on solutions. And last week, there were signs of progress.

In Baghdad, I spoke with Army Gen. David Petraeus about UNHCR’s need for security information and protection for its staff as they re-enter Iraq, and I am pleased that he has offered that support. General Petraeus also told me he would support new efforts to address the humanitarian crisis “to the maximum extent possible” — which leaves me hopeful that more progress can be made.

UNHCR is certainly committed to that. Last week while in Iraq, High Commissioner António Guterres pledged to increase UNHCR’s presence there and to work closely with the Iraqi government, both in assessing the conditions required for return and in providing humanitarian relief.

During my trip I also met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has announced the creation of a new committee to oversee issues related to internally displaced people, and a pledge of $40 million to support the effort.

My visit left me even more deeply convinced that we not only have a moral obligation to help displaced Iraqi families, but also a serious, long-term, national security interest in ending this crisis.

As for the question of whether the surge is working, I can only state what I witnessed: U.N. staff and those of non-governmental organizations seem to feel they have the right set of circumstances to attempt to scale up their programs. And when I asked the troops if they wanted to go home as soon as possible, they said that they miss home but feel invested in Iraq. They have lost many friends and want to be a part of the humanitarian progress they now feel is possible.

It seems to me that now is the moment to address the humanitarian side of this situation. Without the right support, we could miss an opportunity to do some of the good we always stated we intended to do.

Well said. If anyone is going to let their anger with George Bush or the GOP stop them from doing what is right for the 25 million Iraqis then all one can conclude is selfishness has overruled compassion. To do the right thing in Iraq has nothing to do with George Bush and the GOP (which I believe also did the right thing in Iraq). The enemy if Iraq is not Bush but Bin Laden’s butchers. And the victims of Bin Laden’s butchers are these innocent Iraqis.

Even if Iraq was the wrong target, al-Qaeda did decide to invade it and try to destroy us through criminal surrogates. Now the vast majority of Iraqis have changed their path and fight al-Qaeda while hoping for a peaceful and free future. Folks who don’t want to fight the terrorists don’t have to, they can work to build the peace that must follow if we are to save humanity. You don’t have to support war to build peace after a war. And maybe working together will forge a new understanding of the intentions of those who fight wars and those who fight against wars, just as Angelina Jolie has demonstrated.

Is it too late to nominate Jolie for the Democrat candidate? Trust me, this kind of pragmatic approach, which puts the goal over partisan interests, is the kind of middle ground that would sweep any candidate into the White House right now. Jolie is saying we can work together for a common cause. This is what America is yearning for – a way to work together to succeed in Iraq. It is a message that should not be dismissed. To do so is suicidal – it is that potent.

Update: To reinforce the suggestion that the political landscape is moving towards reconciliation here in America (as well as in Iraq) Pew has an interesting poll out showing Americans growing optimistic about Iraq and Afghanistan:

Who is not optimistic about Iraq? Mostly those on the farthest right and farthest left would be my guess. The poll results are broad and multi-faceted. They show the Surrendercrats and SurrenderMedia are losing the American people. And the more the left and right predict doom as progress proceeds the more foolish those predictions look, and those who make them. Word of note to those interested: Americans don’t elect those they perceive as fools.

12 responses so far

12 Responses to “You Can Be Anti-War And Support Continuing Our Efforts In Iraq”

  1. conman says:


    Well said. I’m glad that you posted about this issue because it is important that we as a country move beyond the partisan rhetoric particularly for issues that are as important to us as what to do about Iraq.

    But please remember that it goes both ways. When you and other conservatives label those of us with a different view on Iraq as surrendercrats, jihadists, liberals, fools, etc. it invites the same partisan response. If your intent is to convince us of your position, name-calling is not the way to do it. It does nothing to change views and only invites a partisan response in kind. Just simply try to convince us of your opinion and leave out all of the name-calling. Given that the majority of the country continues to be skeptical of our Iraqi war strategy (even with the recent progress), I’ve never understood why so many conservatives like yourself chose to alienate this majority with such harsh and partisan language. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that the liberals/democrats do it as well and I get equally frustrated with their tactics (such as refusing to acknowledge any progress in Iraq because it is perceived as a political liability). I hate it when either side does it.

    Let me say one more thing about Iraq before I get off my soapbox because I think my view is more representative of the middle road/ moderate view on this issue. My skepticism about our Iraqi strategy is not based on my secret desire for failure for parisan reasons, my hatred of Bush or my ignorance of the issues (I follow the news on this issue very closely). I (like many others) just see the threat differently than you. You view Al Qaeda in Iraq as the primary threat and our defeat of them as the goal for victory. While Al Qaeda is certainly a dangerous force that needs to be eliminated, I’m much more worried about the Shite militias and the Sunni insurgents – they are far more powerful than Al Qaeda in Iraq will ever be. While we are not currently fighting them, our alliance is fragile. Let’s not forget that they were killing our soldiers in brutal fashion not too long ago. The Sunni Awakening groups are now starting to show signs of fracture with the US military and Iraqi government (not a good thing since we just helped armed and organized them). The Shite miltias are not our allies (they are strongly aligned with Iran), they have just decided to lay low and wait out the situation. That is why I consistently harp on political reconcilation – I believe it is the ONLY way to truly succeed in Iraq. When I see conservatives focusing almost exclusively on Al Qaeda in Iraq as the problem, declaring victory based on the military success of the surge in significantly hurting this group (AJ, to your credit, you have been more measured of late in not proclaiming victory yet), and dismissing the questions about political reconcilation – I conclude that they simply don’t understand the nature of the problem. I agree that the surge has produced significant miltiary progress, and I believe that we should continue to let it play out for now to take advantage of that progress, but I don’t think that it has come even close to solving the core problem in Iraq and I am highly skeptical of the Iraqi governments desire and ability to do what it needs to do to solve the core problem. So don’t call me a deafists when I disagree, actually listen to what I’m saying and if you still disagree convince me why my views of the primary threat in Iraq and the steps necessary to resolving it are wrong.

  2. AJStrata says:


    It’s pretty simple to gain my respect. Don’t call for withdrawal and commit to success. Notice I don’t call Jolie a Surrendercrat but instead salute her position. LOL! How hard is it to figure out?

  3. conman says:


    It’s simple? Sorry AJ, but that is a lame response that hardly convinces anyone of your position. What is “success”? Our goals in Iraq seem to change every year when we realize we cannot achieve the goals we previously set. When do you think we can declare victory and start withdrawing our troops? Since you perceive the primary threat as Al Qaeda, does that mean you believe that after we eliminate Al Qaeda in Iraq we can declare victory and start withdrawing troops? If not, explain why? How long do we wait for the Iraqis to reconcile – do you think our troops should be there indefinitely? What are we going to do if there is another major military or terrorist threat abroad (Pakistan, Afgahnistan, etc.) when our military is consummed in Iraq? You only focus on the consequences to our security if we leave, and refuse to recognize that there are consequences to our secruity, military and economy if we stay indefinitely. Your inability or unwillingness to answer these hard questions tells me that you haven’t really thought through the issue – you seem to simply fall back to the good ole knee jerk reaction “we cannot leave because they will follow us home and kill everybody”.

    I did notice that you didn’t call Jolie a Surrendercrat – that is why I applauded you for doing so. The problem is that every one of your other posts on Iraq almost always resort to name-calling and ridiculing different viewpoints. My point was that you would be better served if you took the same tone you did in this post. But I can see from your response to my comment that it is hard for you not to slip back into that mode. Oh well, I think it is your loss since it will only inhibit your ability to change other opinions that differ from yours. On the other hand, maybe the intent of your blog is to create an echo chamber for everyone who already agrees with you rather than trying to change opinions. It’s your blog, I guess you can do what you want with it.

  4. AJStrata says:


    No it really is simple. We have progressed along the path we established. Progress is grudgingly slow, but steady and unbending. And I am not here to convince anyone. I applaud Jolie because what she said and her resolve to put partisanship below progress and goals.

    She knows we can succeed. And I will continue to brand as Surrendercrats those who refuse to acknowledge our progress and delude themselves by claiming success is impossible. And so will most Americans. Because I could join in common cause with her, and if that attitude of hers was at the core of the Obama campaign he would be swept into office.

    Would’ve, could’ve, should’ve. As I said, those who ignore the unimaginable political power that lays ready to be tapped by those who make a move like Jolie are simply heading toward oblivion. Make no mistake about it – it is obvious to enough smart people what Jolie has exposed. And the country is ready to fall behind joining forces to win in Iraq and end the war in massive numbers.

    You have no idea how ready this country is – and that inability to see separates those with the vision to lead from those who are constrained to always follow behind events.

  5. MerlinOS2 says:


    My only quibble is you seem to throw the ‘far right’ out in the same bucket with the far left.

    If anything the most steadfast conservative portion of the party is the ones most strongly supporting the continued success in the the GWOT.

  6. conman says:


    I love how those who claim to have the “vision to lead” are so quick to forget their mistakes of the past. The same so-called visionary leaders told us we had to invade Iraq to get rid of the WMDs and terrorist. We were told the war would be relatively quick (6 months) and not too costly ($50-60 billion). We were told intially that our troop strength was sufficient and our troops were adequately equiped to handle the job. We were told that the Iraqi elections would solve all of the problems. We’ve been told many times that there was progress and simply had to be patient, only to see the situation deteriorate. They have been wrong about all of these “visions” for 4 years. Now that the surge has produced tangible military results for the last 6 months, we are told – see, we were right all along! You don’t know what you are talking about and we are the only ones with the vision to lead! Truly remarkable.

  7. The Macker says:

    Our “goals” in Iraq haven’t changed. Our strategy has adjusted as in all wars.

    The anti-war pacifists can’t be reasoned with. Look how civil GWB has been and to no avail.

    You claim to have been “misled.” I wasn’t. Your pop media sources have misled you and completely distorted the Administration’s

    Get new sources.

  8. conman says:


    The goals haven’t changed? Are you kidding.

    2003 – Our goal was to take out Saddam in order to secure the WMDs. Oops, no WMDs.

    2004/2005 – Our goal was to create a sustainable democracy in Iraq that would spread like wildfire throughout the Middle East. Oops, turns out that creating a sustainable democracy requires more than simply holding elections.

    2005/2006 – Our goal was to train the Iraqi security forces so that Iraq that could sustain, govern and defend itself. Oops, it turns out that the Iraqi security forces are incompetent and are being used to kill their own people and settle ethnic scores.

    2007 – Our goal was to create a military surge for the specific purpose of creating breathing space to allow for political reconciliation. Bush adopted specific benchmarks and claimed we would hold the Iraqi government accountable to these benchmarks. Oops, the surge is successful in providing the breathing space but the Iraqi government can’t get its act together to meet the benchmarks.

    2007/2008 – Our goal is to take out Al Qaeda. We really didn’t mean it when we said that we would hold the Iraqi government accountable to the benchmarks – they were optional. We aren’t too worried about political reconciliation, they will get around to it eventually. We aren’t too worried about the Sunni insurgency that used to kill our soldiers any more, so arming and organizing them is no big deal because now they are our friends. We aren’t too worried about the Shite militias anymore, so long as Al Sadar is gracious enough to extend ceasefires. Don’t worry, once we rid Iraq of Al Qaeda everthing will fall into place Sunnis/Shites/Kurds will be holding hands and singing in the streets!

    In all seriousness, what do you think the current goal is? Please tell me when you all think we can declare victory and bring our troops home? I repeatedly ask that question of conservatives and never seem to get an answer. AJ simply ducks the question and says we can withdraw our troops when we “succeed” without explaining what that means.

    As for who has done the misleading, I’m not surprised you fall back to the ole blame it on the media. The media simply reported what the Bush administration told it. Read the book Hubris (or any book about the run up to the Iraqi war) and you will find citations to Bush administration public statements and testimony before Congress both before the invasion and shortly after on all of the promises I noted in my previous comment – every single one. The goals I’ve noted in this comment you can find in the White House website archives – they are right out of the horses mouth (Bush). The real sin of the media was failing to do its job and check into the Bush administrations claims on this issue rather than accept them at face value.

  9. ivehadit says:

    I know George W. Bush. I listen with my own ears when he speaks and I will read only what he writes and maybe what Karl Rove writes. That’s it. The rest I ain’t interested in their spin…right or left.

  10. The Macker says:

    WMD’s were never THE stated reason, but one of multiple reasons.

    And make no mistake, we interrupted his WMD programs.

    His removal was the key reason, qnd we succeeded. Facilitating a consensual government in Iraq that can resist threats from enemies is our goal.

    Clearly the media hasopposed this war from the beginning, making it more difficult.

  11. VinceP1974 says:

    Our invasion also had the side-effect of Libya giving up their program. So now that’s two countries off the prolifieration list.. Iraq and Libya.

  12. owl says:

    As for who has done the misleading, I’m not surprised you fall back to the ole blame it on the media. The media simply reported what the Bush administration told it. Read the book Hubris (or any book about the run up to the Iraqi war) and you will find citations to Bush administration public statements and testimony before Congress both before the invasion and shortly after on all of the promises I noted in my previous comment – every single one.

    This is the crap that makes me CRAZY!!!! Listen up. Some of us really did not need someone to hold our hands and ‘tell us what to think’ about Iraq. I supported going back and taking out our sworn enemy that thought it was cool to shoot at our planes while paying terrorists families if they would blow up a few Israel children. I did not need one single soul to help me form the opinion that if he was doing that………..he would pay a few to blow up some Americans as soon as he got turned loose. I did not need one person to convince me that the grand UN was ready to turn him loose. Only the election of George W Bush kept it from happening.

    But if you insist that we must form our opinions from our Presidents, then let me tell you that President Clinton did a fine job of that one. Long before GW Bush even came on the scene.

    What I detest more than anything I read is the dishonesty of the entire LIE put out there by the Denial Crowd.