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Why Anna Quindlen is Wrong


Anna Quindlen has written an op-ed on MSNBC.  Itís also her syndicated column this week.  This column makes a bold, yet inaccurate, comparison of the Iraq war to Vietnam.  Itís full of emotional references to the Vitenam Veteransí Memorial in Washington.  Having been there, that memorial is indeed an emotional, and sacred, place.  I do not, however, see the memorial as an admonition against foolish wars.  Itís a memorial to brave people who faced one war on foreign soil, and came home to be viciously abused by people holding the very sentiments that Ms. Quindlen expects.  Itís a memorial to people who were forced to fight two enemies.  Since Ms. Quindlen complains that we are "incapable of learning from our mistakes," this is a biting issue.  I see the extreme Left repeating history, but not of inadvertance.  Theyíre doing it intentionally to attempt to score political points. 


"The main mistake of Vietnam was the anti-war "protesters," who directly attacked the soldiers as well as our leaders.  This piece of history seems not to make it into Ms. Quindlenís diatribe.  And thatís not the only error or omission."


The main mistake of Vietnam was the anti-war "protesters," who directly attacked the soldiers as well as our leaders.  This piece of history seems not to make it into Ms. Quindlenís diatribe.  And thatís not the only error or omission.  Letís review some of the statements in this op-ed:

  • "The president wanted this to be about policy, not about people."  How wrong can a single statement be?  This war is about people, over 3,000 people, murdered by irrational extremists who want to exterminate every single American from the face of the Earth, or in the alternative, convert us all to Islam and impose Shariah law upon us.  Am I making this up?  Todayís news contains reports of Iranian demonstrators, chanting "Death to America, Death to Israel,"  coming out in support of a government officialís statement that Israel should be wiped off the face of the Earth.
     
    This war is about preventing us from ever being attacked again by any terrorists.  That is the sole goal.  And, so far, since weíve been strong in our resolve, weíve succeeded, Thanks to God and our President.
      
  • "Even that did not go well. The policy became a moving target. First there were weapons of mass destruction that were not there and direct links to the terrorists who attacked on September 11 that didnít exist."  Apparently Ms. Quindlen forgets the actual facts.  History does not commence as of the date that this op-ed was typed into the computer.  Saddam Hussien was offering $25,000 to the family of each suicide bomber that attacked Israel.  That in and of itself is a direct connection to terror.  Hussein was in talks with Al Qaeda.  Why? Perhaps to get weapons to use against us?  If there were no WMDís in Iraq, why did Iraq stonewall the weapons inspectors? 
     
    Remember that Hans Blix, the UN inspector, said the following in the last report before the Iraq war: "Iraq, with a highly developed administrative system, should be able to provide more documentary evidence about its proscribed weapons programmes.  Only a few new such documents have come to light so far and been handed over since we began inspections.  It was a disappointment that Iraqís Declaration of 7 December did not bring new documentary evidence."  From what we know now, the WMDís probably have been moved out of Iraq into Syria.

    Now, we know that the "insurgent" terrorist al-Zarqawi is a part of Al Qaeda.  Heís beein in Iraq for years.  Heís in close contact with Al Qaeda #2 man, and 9/11 architect al-Zawahiri.  Some dispute the quality of the alleged letter from the latter to al-Zarqawi, but it is irrelevant.  Al Qaeda is conducting operations in Iraq.  As Sen. John Warner said, it is far better to fight terrorists in the Mideast than the Midwest!
     
  • "The removal of Saddam Hussein was given as the greatest good; it has been done. Then it became the amorphous goal of bringing freedom to the Iraqi people, as though liberty were flowers and we were FTD. The elections, the constitution, the rubble, the dead. Once again we were destroying the village in order to save it."  The first sentence is true.  A man who was a genocidal despot in the same league as Pol Pot, Stalin and even Hitler (I mean no dimunition of the demonic Shoah by this comparison) now sits in prison awaiting the start of his trial.  Were it not for George W. Bush, and our heroic troops, heíd still be filling up the mass graves.  Heíd still be paying $25,000 per suicide bomber to their families. Saddamís sons would still be using citizens like target pigeons and raping the women of Iraq.  How is this "destroying the village in order to save it?"
     
    As Ms. Quindlen has noted, Iraq has had Elections and now has a Constitution, which was this week approved by a 78% margin, in a time frame that is but a small fraction of the time it took to draft and ratify our Constitution.  How is this "destroying the village in order to save it?"
     
    There is rubble and there are dead.  And nothing in my statements should be taken as an attempt to minimize these casualties.  However, the benefits outweigh the costs.  Fewer people are dying now than under Saddam, because the bloody tyrant who killed in secret has been stopped.  The murders now are being conducted by terrorists, wrongly called "insurgents" by the press (which apparently cannot stomach the concept that our President can do anything right).  But even these terrorist acts could not keep the people from choosing freedom for themselves. 
     
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -- Thomas Jefferson.  The Democratic party claims that it inherits the mantle of Jefferson.  However, Ms. Quindlen, who urges the leaders of the Democratic party to visit the Vietnam Memorial, seems to think that it is better for the Iraqis, and the entire Middle East for that matter, to live under despotic Islamo-fascist rule than to expend a single life to bring liberty to the Iraqis.
     
    When it comes to the flowers of Liberty, we are FTD and we should be damned proud of it!
     
  • "What was the cause, the point, the strategy? And suddenly many Americans started to realize that there was no good answer."  Well, Iíve got good answers right here, as explained above. 
     
    The cause?  9/11 and Saddamís refusal to disclose his WMDís or prove their complete destruction.

    The point?  To establish Liberty in the Middle East.  To remove a genocidal despot.  To keep the WMDís out of the hands of terrorists.  "And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation in every region now has a decision to make: Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists."  -- George W. Bush, to the Joint Session of Congress, September 20, 2001.  Well, Saddam was stonewalling Blix and the inspectors.  He was openly and publicly paying $25,000 to the families of suicide bombers.  He was providing aid to terrorism.  He was also providing safe haven to terrorism.
     
    The strategy?  To make Iraq into an example of Liberty in an area that does not (yet) fully understand how Liberty works.  Take out the terror sponsor and turn Iraq into a liberty loving island of freedom, and in so doing, let the rest of the Middle East see the way to the end of terrorism.  Iran is now wedged between two free countries.  Why are the mullahs in Iran desperately seeking nuclear arms?  To keep Liberty out.
     
  • "The Vietnam Memorial stands, in part, as a monument to blind incrementalism, to men who refused to stop, not because of wisdom but because of ego, because of the fear of looking weak. Not enough troops, not enough planning, no real understanding of the people or the power of the insurgency, dwindling public support. The war in Iraq is a disaster in the image and likeness of its predecessor."
     
    We have refused to stop because these extreme thugs killed our innocent people!  Why do people refuse to remember, or actively conceal, the basis for our actions? 
     
    Not enough troops or planning?  Our troops successfully dethroned the despot.  The people have just ratified the new Constitution, one that they wrote on their own, by a huge margin -- 78%.
     
    No real understanding of the people or the power of the [terrorist] insurgency?  The people, with a 78% vote just ratified the Constitution that they wrote!  The terrorist "insurgency" has nothing to do with anything but the terrorists trying to deny Liberty to the people, for they know that Liberty is their demise.
     
    Disaster?  I dispute that Vietnam was the disaster that Ms. Quindlen makes it out to be.  It was a poorly chosen war, attempting to shore up a government with no popular support.  Vietnam voted for Communist Ho Chih Minh, and John F. Kennedy escalated our involvement, and Lyndon Johnson went in full-tilt, into a war that the people of Vietnam did not want and the people of the U.S. did not understand.  It took Richard Nixon to get us out of the war.
     
    There is no dispute that the Left wants to turn this war into another Vietnam in the minds of the people.  However, in their effort to avoid the extremely bad press that comes with their Vietnam-era strategy of going to the enemy and cozying up (ala Jane Fonda), or calling our troops "baby killers" upon their return home, they try the ineffective and intellectually impossible strategy of "We support the troops but not the war."  As I have repeatedly stated, it is impossible to support the troops without supporting the war!  If one attempts to do so, it gives the enemy aid and comfort, and emboldens them to further attacks.  They think that we cannot stomach any casualties to fight for that in which we believe, and that attitude gets our soldiers killed
     
    I think that I have successfully proven that "Bush Lied, Soldiers Died." is a false statement.  Hereís a statement with far more basis in fact:  "Left wingers talk down the war, Soldiers die."
     
  • "Does anyone doubt that the continued prosecution of this war has to do with the personality of the commander in chief, a man who is stubborn and calls it strength, who wears blinders and calls it vision?"  What blinders?  Did he blind himself to the rewards for suicide bombers?  Did he blind himself to the continuing deception on WMDs?  Did he blind himself to the classified intelligence on Iraqís ties to al Qeada? 
     
  • "When he vowed to invade Iraq, the advisers he heeded were those who, like him, had never seen combat. The one who had was marginalized and is now gone." So what.  He is the duly elected President of the United States.  Bill Clinton did not even serve in the National Guard.  He went to Oxford in England.  However, we did not complain when he went into Kosovo to stop genocide.
     
  • "The investigation of who leaked what to whom, of what the reporter knew and how she knew it, may be about national security and journalistic ethics, but at its base it is about something more important: the Nixonian lengths to which these people will go to shore up a bankrupt policy and destroy those who cross them on it."  This is a ribald attempt to link the CIA outing scandal to the Iraq war.  It deserves no comment, but if I fail to rebut it, that failure will be seen as conceding the point.
     
    The indictments are coming out any minute as I type this.  However, letís get straight to the point:  Nobody is being indicted for outing Valerie Plame.  Our President has more than enough information to prove, even though he should not have to do so, that he had valid reasons to attack, to prevent the expansion of terrorism and to seed more Liberty into an area known for despotism.


"[T]he term íAmerican Empire,í at least to me, is an undeserved epithet.  We do not conquer countries and put them under our rule.  We liberated Iraq, and the Iraqis are taking over their own country, and prosecuting the despots.  I belabor the point, 78% of the people of Iraq have chosen Liberty."


Ms. Quindlen says that the "American Empire" suffers from "American arrogance, which the [P]resident embodies" and that is why we are in Iraq.  She laments our belief that the American system is the best system on Earth, and our alleged attempt to mend rivaries that supposedly predate the birth of Jesus Christ (this is interesting since Islam did not arise until about 600 AD).  To rebut, the term "American Empire," at least to me, is an undeserved epithet.  We do not conquer countries and put them under our rule.  We liberated Iraq, and the Iraqis are taking over their own country, and prosecuting the despots.  I belabor the point, 78% of the people of Iraq have chosen Liberty.  It is not arrogance to use oneís power to free the suffering.  It is also not arrogance to consider the American Republican form of government to be superior to a genocidal despotic regime.

Finally, Ms. Quindlen states that Lyndon Johnson "had the good sense to be heartbroken" by Vietnamís dying soldiers.  Considering that 30 times more soldiers died in Vietnam than in Iraq and Afghanistan combined, he had some reason.  President Bush was first heartbroken by our dead civilians who were attacked, without cause or warning, on September 11, 2001.  He then made the decision that this threat must be eradicated, forever.  He then devised a plan to do that by supplanting Middle Eastern despotism with liberty.  And that plan is working well, no matter how much the press tries to hide that fact.

Ms. Quindlen, for the reasons stated above, I disagree with your premise and your conclusions.