My Dear Senator Feingold,
I greatly appreciate your responding to my letter regarding the Senate vote on H.R. 1591. While your response was in fact an all-purpose form letter, it was at least about the Iraq war and your position on it. It is that position which compels this follow-up missive. My direct responses to the points made in your letter can be found below.
First, however, I would like to say that your recent display of resilient optimism in the face of what some might characterize the staggering rejection of your proposal to cut off funding for the war in Iraq is to be commended. Although the Senate rejected your proposal by a margin of 67-29, you were quoted as saying "I don't know how anyone can possibly regard this as a setback. This is enormous progress. And anyone who tells you this wasn't a big vote in our direction has completely lost any sense of the history of this issue."
A big Churchill’s Parrot hurrah for you my good Senator; advocating real progress where virtually all others see only abject failure requires vision, commitment, and courage indeed. Such courage of conviction is distressingly rare these days, particularly among political creatures. In fact, I can think of only one other politician who so steadfastedly holds true to his original hope and vision amidst a tsunami of naysayers, ridicule, and cowardice. His name is George W. Bush.
Faced with an overwhelming case to be made for our invading the nation of Iraq (see my March 15, 2007 post, IRAQ INVASION ANNIVERSARY ONLINE REFRESHER COURSE for details … and details, and details…), Mr. Bush did what any responsible Commander in Chief would do in the post-9/11 realm into which we have all been violently thrust.
However, as it became apparent during the 2004 presidential election that Iraq was beginning to prove a bit of a political anvil – as wars lasting more than a few weeks tend to do in this Age of Mediacracy – the rats began leaping from the ship. I give you, Senator John Kerry.
You, on the other hand have been consistent from the start on this issue and - though entirely in the wrong direction - your consistency in the ever-changing winds of politics is undeniably honorable and heartening.
Regarding that position; in your April 2, 2007 editorial in Salon.com regarding your fund-cutting proposal, you commit a considerable portion comparing our present conundrum in Iraq to that of Somalia 1993. We always applaud the employment of historical context in political discourse, however, when doing so, one must remember to provide the FULL context. To begin with, the rationale, mode of entry, and manner of military conduct in Somalia 1993 was markedly different than that of Iraq 2003-present. More urgently, however, the consequences of our failure in and retreat from Somalia have proven – and continue to prove - disastrous. In fact, Mr. Osama Bin Laden himself, in his interview with ABC Reporter John Miller in 1998, declared that the United States’ retreat from Somalia encouraged future attacks on America.
“After our victory in Afghanistan (against the Soviet Union) and the defeat of the oppressors who had killed millions of Muslims, the legend about the invincibility of the superpowers vanished. Our boys no longer viewed America as a superpower. So, when they left Afghanistan, they went to Somalia and prepared themselves carefully for a long war. They had thought that the Americans were like the Russians, so they trained and prepared. They were stunned when they discovered how low was the morale of the American soldier. America had entered with 30,000 soldiers in addition to thousands of soldiers from different countries in the world. ... As I said, our boys were shocked by the low morale of the American soldier and they realized that the American soldier was just a paper tiger. He was unable to endure the strikes that were dealt to his army, so he fled …After a few blows, it (America) forgot all about those titles and rushed out of Somalia in shame and disgrace, dragging the bodies of its soldiers. America stopped calling itself world leader and master of the new world order, and its politicians realized that those titles were too big for them and that they were unworthy of them. I was in Sudan when this happened. I was very happy to learn of that great defeat that America suffered, so was every Muslim.”
Mr. Bin Laden also cites our actions in Somalia in his Letter to America dated November 24, 2002, wherein he attempts to answer the question, “Why do we fight you?”
Here we might also note the United States’ retreat from Vietnam proves equally inspiring to jihadi-wingbats as reiterated in this “hang in there big fella" letter from to al- Zawahiri to al- Zarqawi, wherein he writes:
Let us also recall that for the people of South Vietnam, the U.S. leaving them to face the North on their own was hardly a good thing.
Now then, to your letter. It follows, in its entirety, with my point-by-point responses interspersed in bold.
May 16, 2007
I appreciate hearing from you about one of the most important issues facing our country today. Agreed
I strongly support our troops who have courageously answered the call to service Bully for you! but I remain deeply concerned that the President's policies in Iraq are undermining our top national security priority: fighting al Qaeda and its affiliates. Actually my dear Senator Feingold, with all due respect, the United States’ top national security priority is fighting and eradicating Islamic Radicalism of which al Qaeda is a major part, but by no means the whole. Thus we have launched a multi-tiered strategy involving diplomatic, financial, intelligence, and military operations on numerous fronts around the world with unprecedented international cooperation. Prior to September 11, 2001, (i.e. the Clinton Administration) the top national security priority for the U.S. was Iraq; not as a conventional military threat, but as a state sponsor supplying funds, conventional weapons, and yes WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION to any of the numerous Islamic radical groups - of which al Qaeda is but one - who have sworn death, destruction, and mayhem to America, Israel, et al.
By the by, who exactly do you think we are fighting in Iraq? The Iraqi Son’s of Liberty? See here, and here , and here ( let me know if you’d like more.)
In October 2002, I voted against the resolution authorizing the President to use force in Iraq because I questioned the shifting justifications for this mission and feared that it would weaken our capacity to combat terrorism. These must be awfully shifty shifting justifications because, try as I might, I cannot seem to find them. Please point out to me what is shifting here or here. Since the war began, I have repeatedly pressed the Administration to provide a clear strategy for success in Iraq and the Administration has provided that strategy again and again and again and again, and again and a strategy for defeating the global terrorist networks that threaten the United States. For this you can look here or here or virtually any Conservative blog you can find (such as, for instance, www.churchillsparrot.com ) or simply await the New York Times’ next devastating revelation about the United States’ attempts to gain the upper hand in the global war on terror.
Unfortunately, the Administration continues to pursue a misguided and open-ended military mission in Iraq that has diverted resources and attention from other places around the world where terrorist networks that threaten the U.S. are operating. Yes such as Greensburg, Kansas; New Orleans; or Fort Dix, New Jersey.
I am deeply concerned by the President's decision in January to increase troop levels in Iraq, which ignores the wishes of the American people and members of both parties. Unless, of course, it works, in which case everyone will support it. Courageous lot. In the meantime I stand with this man, and this man, and this man, among others. We must do what must be done to prevail.
I am working to bring an end to our involvement in this war. Perchance does this “end” for which you are working have anything to do with attempting to achieve “victory?” I recently introduced legislation with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and eight other Senators to safely redeploy United States troops from Iraq. To where precisely? Our bill would require the President to begin redeploying troops within 120 days and would require redeployment to be completed by March 31, 2008, with three narrow exceptions. Splendid. Gunpoint conversions, mass torture, and beheadings begin April 1, 2008 9:00 am sharp!
Senator Feingold, your no retreat no surrender disposition is truly admirable. We need more men and women like you in positions of leadership. We wish most earnestly, however, that you would apply that disposition less towards discrediting the Bush Administration, and more towards efforts to protect and preserve the Free World.