This news just out of Iraq about the death of 31 Marines when a CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter went down. No word yet as to whether this was an accident, or whether it was brought down by hostile fire.
Fox News and other stations are already asking whether or not our armed forces have equipment good enough to support their safe presence in Iraq.
I don’t buy the line from some on the left that these soldiers made their own calls regarding military service and should suffer quietly the consequences of their enrollment as spear-carriers for American empire. Those whose criminal negligence led us into this botched war in Iraq are not the soldiers — but rather those in civilian leadership.
If we have not armed our soldier’s vehicles with appropriate armor, if we are transporting them in ‘ancient helicopters’ as one commentator just said on Fox, then America is yet again showing the world — friends and enemies alike — our LIMITS.
This is such a mistake because other powerful players will not be able to resist their ambitions and will move to secure territory, dominance over ethnic minorities within their borders, the ingredients to a wide variety of WMDs, and many other nasty goals because America has knotted up its attention and military capacity in Iraq.
Friends will not trust our ability to deliver on our commitments — and foes will be more cavalier in their goals, thinking that America, while it talks a tough line, simply has too many self-inflicted constraints on its actions.
It shouldn’t be this way. I feel badly for these killed Marines and their families — and for the many other victims of this war.
John Kerry was right when he said that our engagement in Iraq was the “the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time,” but was wrong to not throw it back in Bush’s face when the President kept taunting him with these words.
Kerry should have stood his ground. Rahm Emanuel should be bolder. Howard Dean, who may be the next Chair of the DNC, never had to evolve to this position.
Democrats, in their efforts to adopt a new toughness in their foreign policy as Peter Beinart has suggested, need to avoid being seduced by the cosmetics of “toughness” which confuses attitude with effectiveness. The smart thing to do was to hide the boundary lines of American military and financial capacity. Bush and those who supported his decision made a stupid and ill-informed choice because American interests have been terribly undermined by showing all our limits. American power is deflating because of these unwise decisions.
And more than 1,300 Americans are dead, more than 10,000 wounded — and with deaths and casualties on the Iraq side two orders of magnitude greater.
So, I salute those Marines who died. They should not have been there — not under the terms they are there now.
But the Dems are rolling over, with lots of theatricism and cat-calls about the war and its proponents, but they still give the President everything he wants — including Condi Rice’s confirmation as Secretary of State this morning.
— Steve Clemons