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Looking back at Iraq

by Victor Davis Hanson

There may be a lot to regret about the past policy of the United States in the Middle East, but the removal of Saddam Hussein and the effort to birth democracy in his place is surely not one of them. And we should remember that this Memorial Day.

http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/hanson052606.html

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Comments
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(NT) (NT) thank you
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(NT) (NT) Good read
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something else to read

An Open Letter to Members of Congress and the Senate
by Karen Meredith, Gold Star Families Speak Out
May 26th, 2006

On Memorial Day, we raise our flags; we want to show our patriotism. We have a holiday from work and we have BBQ's with our friends and families. For some, it is a day to save some money at the mall- 15% off- Memorial Day sale! When we celebrate those events, we ignore the origins of Memorial Day. Memorial Day is the day that we, as a country pay our respects and remember those soldiers who were killed or who died in service to America. For politicians it is a day to participate in civic activities and to visit cemeteries. Politicians articulate our sorrow as a nation.

I want to tell you about one soldier that will be remembered this Memorial Day. 1Lt Kenneth Michael Ballard of Mountain View, California was 26 years old when he was killed in a fierce battle in Najaf, Iraq on 5.30.04. His gravestone at Arlington National Cemetery is plain. That headstone in Section 60, Site 8006 tells when he was born and when he died. It describes his valor and heroism with his medals, his 3 Bronze Stars, 2 with valor and his Purple Heart.

But you need to know more than that about Ken. You need to know this because you sent my only child to his untimely death. You are keeping our members of the military in harm's way in Iraq and you have the power to bring them home and to stop this senseless killing.

Ken was my only child. He was the oldest of 15 grandchildren. I raised Ken on my own for 25 years and I loved him a lot. So did his aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and his large circle of friends. He loved any kind of music as long as it was loud, Mexican food and driving his truck. He was so proud to serve his country as a 4th generation Army Officer. As a Platoon Leader and young Lieutenant, he loved his guys and they loved & respected him.

A mother wants to know her child is loved, but she doesn't want to find that out at his funeral when he is only 26 years old. And she surely doesn't want to watch his 26 year old friends bury their best friend. There is just something not right with that picture, but there is nothing right about this story.

A mother wants to watch her son grow to be the man he would have been. She wants to see him gaze into the eyes of the woman who will be his wife, and a mother wants to dance with her son at his wedding. She wants to hold his firstborn, counting the fingers and toes of this, her first grandchild. Would that baby have had the same cleft in their chin- just like their daddy? I'll never know because my baby came home in a box covered with a flag.

My son took an oath to defend the Constitution and to obey the orders of the President of the United States. In return, his Commander in Chief and this country owed him the TRUTH about the mission and why he and his men were going into harms way. They should never be sent into combat without suitable equipment or proper training. They should never be sent to into war without proper planning and without an exit strategy. They should never be sent into hostilities unless it is our last option. In March of 2003, there were other options.

You sent my only child to his untimely death. You are keeping our members of the military in harm's way in Iraq and you have the power to bring them home and to stop this pointless killing.

When you visit that cemetery to participate in Memorial Day ceremonies and proclaim the words of a grateful nation, look beyond the names on the headstones. Know there is a loving, broken family left behind every single one. Think about Ken. Look at his face; look at his eyes. He is one of 2463 US soldiers to die in this illegal war so far. He was the 100th soldier from California to die in Iraq. Ken is not a number, he's not a statistic. Think about Ken and the life that was stolen from our family when you vote to continue funding this war. It is time to end the lies. It is time to put up a vigorous fight to come up with an exit strategy that will end this war now. Do that because it is the right thing to do. Do it for Ken and for me. No other family should have to travel this hellish journey.

Where will you be on Memorial Day? What will you do to really honor our soldiers? I will be at Arlington National Cemetery on this Memorial Day 2006. It will have been two years since Ken was brutally killed.






-
Karen Meredith
Proud Mom of Lt Ken Ballard- KIA 5.30.04
www.ltkenballard.com
www.GSFSO.org Gold Star Families Speak Out

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With all due respect to Mrs. Meredith...

What did she think the military was for? ANY war that has EVER been fought can be objected to on some grounds or other.

Would it not also be a tragedy if her son had been killed stateside on base or as a civilian in a car accident?

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I didn't read your reply

before I posted mine....we have pretty much the same line of thought on this.

TONI

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re: With all due respect to Mrs. Meredith...

She feels her son died needlessly. My older brother is on his second tour, I would feel the same if anything happens to him. By the way, take a look at the polls and you will see that the majority of Americans feels the same.

From WMD's, to Fight them there so we don't have to fight them here, to Democracy in the Middle East. No wonder this Mother feels so bitter. Americans have lots of questions still not answered. But more and more of the real reason we went in Iraq is coming fourth.

America wanted to show the world how strong it was so (Bush) where using strong words like "either you are with us or you're against us". We didn't want to listen to any nations advise not even the UN, we wanted to rush into war. Rumsfeld wanted to show that we can take care of Iraq with very little troops. The irony now is, Bush and Blair is begging for other nations and the UN to help!

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With all due respect to you

Your information, including your poll, is not factual....and in fact, most countries (although they didn't enter into the Iraq war on a physical basis) contributed toward the war in Iraq based on the same information we were given at the time. And the majority of Americans DON'T feel the same way you do.

The media that takes polls takes the polls in areas where they already know how the people feel so the polls are slanted to the point of the view that the media wants to have shown on tv and in the papers. If they took those same polls in areas of the country where they know the President and the war were supported heavily, you would have just the opposite results.

What do you feel is the real reason we are there....and please don't insult our intelligence with 'we wanted their oil' or that it was revenge for Saddam trying to kill 'daddy'.

TONI

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How about the Polls from our troops......

Which shows support for Bush and the war has dropped
http://www.militarycity.com/polls/


"What do you feel is the real reason we are there."

This Iraq agenda was on the table long before the attract on the Twin Tower, Pentagon. The WMD issue was just a front to make the case for war on Iraq. Without this so called treat to the US (WMD, Uranium, ties to Bin Laden etc., which all came back to be false), it would be Illegal for war.

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1998, Bill Clinton, was he lying??

The UN had sanctions on Iraq, were they lying? Tired old arqument that's been completely shot down

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Polls from our troops? Not hardly

According to your source, the following first 2005 paragraphs....bolded emphasis is mine for topics to discuss further.

Troops sound off
Support for President Bush and for the war in Iraq has slipped significantly in the last year among members of the military?s <b>professional core</b>, according to the 2005 Military Times Poll. <b>Only a handful of those serving in the military currently will go on to become professional career military personnel, so polling only the career personnel hardly represents an honest poll.</b>

Disconnect cited between troops, civilian leadership
<b>From Congress to the White House to the Pentagon, the career-oriented heart of the military appears increasingly estranged from its leaders in Washington</b>, according to results of the 2005 Military Times Poll. <b>Military personnel high up the ladder have NEVER liked dealing with civilians who think they know better at how to run a war lol</b>

?Mission? a factor in generally high morale
<b>Four years of combat have done little to dent the morale of the professional military</b>, results of the 2005 Military Times Poll show. <b>This is a contradiction of your entire theory if four years of combat HAS NOT DENTED THE MORALE or did you not understand the sentence the way it was written?</b>

Dowload raw poll data
Contact Robert Hodierne at rhodierne@atpco.com or 703-750-7444 for access to the data. <b>I wouldn't write to this man for anything....if he's GOT the data to back up his poll, he should have submitted it freely, otherwise it's just made up garbage that can't be disproved by anybody with logical and rational thinking.</b>

How we did it
On Nov. 14, we mailed questionnaires to <b>our list of active-duty subscribers</b>. The poll has come to be viewed by some as a barometer of the <b>professional career military</b>. <b>I strongly suspect that our TROOPS are NOT subscribers....they have more urgent things to deal with at this time...so this list can't be very long unless there are professional career military who receive it, and again, a poll among just those chosen few hardly represents a whole picture</b>

Also, as a final comment......this 'poll' is not current at 6 months old already among a specific group of what the site claims are subscribing members without giving out how many that actually is. Hell, they could have five for all I know and three or four are shills who write the stories and maintain the site.

TONI

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How many times have we been told that such a 'poll' is not

'scientific', and therefore has no credibility? DK! Where's your usual comment?

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I requested the raw data. Do you think I'll get it?

I don't. However, something you posted rings all manner of familiar chords:

Military personnel high up the ladder have NEVER liked dealing with civilians who think they know better at how to run a war.

Now, I will quibble with you on one point: The people who commissioned this poll - the Army Times Publishing Company - is a company that has the "unofficial, authorized" franchise for the military. The papers that that company publishes are widely read among the career force. The question that only the raw data will answer is: WHY does the Administration get such low marks?

I suspect that the answer is: Military personnel high up the ladder have NEVER liked dealing with civilians who think they know better at how to run a war,

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no problems with 03-04 polls?

yes polls can be shaped by the question. who knows where this radical publication acquired these results. it is admitted to being read by some in the services.
the polls ask the same questions in all three examples.
the 05 annual poll is 6 months old. maybe because it is an annual poll using december as the last month of a year. we could poll the american people and ask if that should change. new year's day in may might be more pleasant.
maybe a se visitor could show graphical trend-lines, pictures are much easier to understand. I thought this poles link would offer some thoughts on the subject.

words of pope john II

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I have looked at the...

data which is downloadable from the poll site in the above post. This is what I notice at first glance

1215 - # of responders
472 - # of responders to not deploy to the middle east
1000 - # of responders who would recommend others to a military career
850 - # of responders who would if asked today re-inlist extend commitment
683 - # of responders who believe the US should have gone to war
656 - # of responders who approve of GWB's handling of Iraq
734 - # of responders approve of GWB as President
751 - # of responderswho think criticizing the military weakens our country
705 - # of responders who believe soldiers have the best equipment available
581 - # of responders are enlisted
536 - # of responders are officers
108 - # of responders failed to respond to enlisted/officer status

I will continue to analyze this data because it paints a favorable picture of the war and the President in general.

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I don' t care about polls...

I think for myself. My opinion stands.

When you are in the military you don't have the luxury of deciding whether a policy is correct of not. That job falls to the President. As it happens I believe he made the right decision.

You have your opinion; I have mine. Truthfully, I don't think much of yours, but you are entitled to it.

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You should

"When you are in the military you don't have the luxury of deciding whether a policy is correct of not"

Correct, but idealy you would like it to be wouln't you?
You would like there to be an adequate amount of body and vehicle armore correct? You would like there to be strong support from other nations so you would'nt have to serve 3 tours correct? You would like there to be less casualty right? And the most important, how about a Comander in Chief that's incompetant so we can have good planing before we go blazing?

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NO!!

The military is not and CAN NOT be a "democracy".

The President did NOT draw up the war plans.

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Hey, you almost had what you wish for

Copied and pasted from your own post, hon....

<b>how about a Comander in Chief that's incompetant so we can have good planing before we go blazing?</b>

You almost HAD an incompetent President when Kerry came so close...you almost HAD one with Gore. Neither one of them had a plan either...or at least one they could keep grasped in their hands.

LOL

TONI

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(NT) (NT) Crap, I forgot I had to use brackets for bold here.....
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Who me?

"You almost HAD an incompetent President when Kerry came so close...you almost HAD one with Gore. Neither one of them had a plan either...or at least one they could keep grasped in their hands."

I stand neither Left nor Right, but firmly in the middle where I see faults from both sides, can you do the same? Why must we always defend Bush and his decisions by bringing up Clinton, Kerry, Gore, Hillary?

Happy Memorial Day Happy

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Read what you wrote...

You said we should have an INCOMPETENT President. Get it?

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I only defend Presidential actions

that I agree with no matter who is seated in that hot chair....I also swing politically in both directions.

You were the one, among others here, who have called our current President incompetent; whereas I don't see the same view from where I sit. My son IS military, as are other members here with family in service to our country, and the decision to go to Iraq was made using the same information other countries had.

Unfortunately, some members here prefer to lay the entire 'blame' for our being there strictly at the feet of GWB when it was a joint decision made not only with other countries, but with our OWN CONGRESS. Now, when you consider how close it is to election time again, not just for the President but most Senators and Congressional seats, it is no wonder that they are all jockeying for public favor and switching positions.

We CANNOT pull out of Iraq until the time has come that we are no longer needed....rehashing the same garbage over and over, whether correct or incorrect based on media reports rather than true facts and data, is ridiculous. We come home when it's time...not any sooner just because a few seats are up for grabs politically.

Consider the sources for the propaganda that is consistently being circulated. Remember the old saying....believe half of what you read and none of what you hear and somewhere in there you will find the truth. Embellishment to slant it in the direction you want it to be does no one any good, and the media and politicians are the best at that deception.

There are many things that Bush has made decisions to do or suggestions for Congress that I totally disagree with, but the stuff I do agree with him about far outweigh the negatives. Unfortunately, those issues I have disagreements with rarely make it to the media or here in SE in order to debate them. Most of what turns up here are the same old arguments from four years ago and I can hardly believe the same people are the ones who keep bringing it up.

When you said you wished for an incompetent President, I knew it was a typo on your part as you hurried along with your thoughts being put on paper; I just found it amusing and tried to make light of it the only way I could find that I agreed with. Incompetence is Kerry looking in a mirror....many still haven't figured it out or refuse to.

TONI

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Toni

I don't care about how many countries that got the same info. We were the ones that rushed in without proper protection/troops and training and with faulty info.

I love by brother and if he where to die in this needless war (IMO) It will forever in my mind be unjustly so! He feels the same BTW! Faulty intelligence has gotten us into Iraq, now we need to find a way to ****!

I wish your son all the best especially on this day and hope he stays safe.

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We will get out when the mission is done...

Just bugging out irrationally would be the worse thing to do. The invasion was long overdue in my opinion. Shbpould have been done long ago.

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ok

why bcause you dems had no one better to run the country kerrys war records a lie and who else?
bush has balls to fight the right fight not talk to the enemy

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Incorrect
Correct, but idealy you would like it to be wouln't you?

No. That would be disastrous. Someone has to make the decisions and the others need to follow. You cannot run an army as a democracy.

You would like there to be an adequate amount of body and vehicle armore correct?

Of course, and that problem is being or has largely been solved. No army in history has EVER gotten every detail right. This military has gotten most of them right.

You would like there to be less casualty right?

Casualties are very low compared to any other war we've been in except for Grenada and the first Gulf War. Bet you didn't know that. The media certainly never mentions it.

You would like there to be strong support from other nations so you would'nt have to serve 3 tours correct?

Sorry, but that makes little sense. I think we are better off without ''support'' from some nations. We DO have other countries in there you know. I doubt it would have any impact on the number of tours at all. We would stil be doing the heavy lifting.

And the most important, how about a Comander in Chief that's incompetant so we can have good planing before we go blazing?

You don't know what you're talking about, IMHO.
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you could have had kerry

we be lost as hes a proven coward

and how i know i served in nam same time when he saiad all soldiers commited atrocities

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I must have missed the reports that we are begging the UN

or anyone else for help. Is this on bended knee?

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If you with us, you are against us

in the war on terror.

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you may want to ask
My older brother is on his second tour, I would feel the same if anything happens to him.

Appearently your brother doesn't share those feelings.
BTW, I thank your brother for my freedom, let him know for me when you ask him how he feels about what he is doing.

Don Erickson

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