Thoughts on the President's speech

I finally found time to sit and listen to the speech (while reading the transcript). First, my thoughts as the spouse of a soldier who is deployed...screw the extensions. Screw the surge. Screw Iraq. Bring my husband home.

*whew* Ok, now that that irrational train of thought is purged from my brain, let's look at this rationally.

Past Troop Surges in Iraq Produce Mixed Results

I was listening to Hugh Hewitt on the radio yesterday and he had Rowan Scarbrough on. Mr. Scarbrough had a lot to say that I agree with - most of which is summed up in the article above.

The President had a lot to say this evening that I agree with. Some that I was even saying "YES!" out loud to. The question is whether we will actually follow through on what needs to be done. Personally speaking, I don't think you can win a war with one hand tied behind your back. Which is where we sit right now. Hopefully, some of the bondage under which our military has been operating will be loosed and maybe THEN we can start kicking butt and taking names.

My concerns are that we are putting too much faith in the Iraqi Army and National Police; that we are relying too heavily on al Maliki's word that he will crack down on the death squads on BOTH sides of the ethnic equation (until now, the crackdown has been on the Suuni death squads but not on the Shi'a side of things); and that we have not addressed the support that the insurgency is receiving from both Iran and Syria. I understand that we do not want to expand the war into those two countries but I firmly believe that something needs to be done about the flow of support from those two countries from WITHIN Iraq. Then again, if we can't secure our border with Mexico, I don't see how we can expect Iraq to secure its borders with those two knuckleheads.

I don't believe in doing things half-assed. Either do it right or don't do it at all. Half-assed is what got us INTO this situation in the first place. Had we done this right back in '91, I don't think we'd BE in this mess right now. And yes, it is a mess.

My friend Heather gave me a recipe for yeast rolls. The first time I made it, I was not aggressive enough with my use of the flour or in kneading the dough. I wound up stuck in an icky, gooey mess that took me days to clean up. Had I done it right the first time, things would have worked out but I was timid and it nailed me. The same could be said for the Middle East.

The President said,
The challenge playing out across the broader Middle East is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of our time. On one side are those who believe in freedom and moderation. On the other side are extremists who kill the innocent, and have declared their intention to destroy our way of life. In the long run, the most realistic way to protect the American people is to provide a hopeful alternative to the hateful ideology of the enemy, by advancing liberty across a troubled region. It is in the interests of the United States to stand with the brave men and women who are risking their lives to claim their freedom, and to help them as they work to raise up just and hopeful societies across the Middle East.

I'm not sure I agree with this approach. Just as I believe that the "raise their self-esteem and they will be well-behaved children" method is crap, I think this is crap too. You do not thwart violent ideologies that wish to see the destruction of your way of life with motivational videos and conferences. You treat it the same way you treat a defiant child - with a firm hand and uncompromising limits. Period. While I agree that spreading Democracy across the Middle East is in the best interest of the United States, her allies, and pretty much the rest of the world, I don't think it's going to do us any good if we can't get CONTROL of the situation in the short term in order to make the long term progress we seek. I cannot teach my 2 year old how to resove a conflict with his sister if he is trying to beat her up with one of his tractors. I first must get control of him before I try to teach the lesson. Otherwise it is a waste of my time and energy (and resources).

There was one line in the President's speech that I am sure will be overlooked in the face of all that was presented (and all that will be debated ad nauseum through the end of the month at least):

We can begin by working together to increase the size of the active Army and Marine Corps, so that America has the Armed Forces we need for the 21st century.

ThankyouverymuchSlickWillie. Yet another fine mess you've gotten us into (ala Haiti, Bosnia, Somalia, and not taking care of ObL when you had the chance as Sudan offered him up on a silver freaking platter...). Now we are left to rebuild what YOU tore down. Oh yeah, the economy did great under you. But at what expense? Look where it got us. Thanks a lot, asshole. We're left to clean up YOUR backyard mess in the face of the Category V hurricane that showed up on 9/11. Can't tell you how much I appreciate THAT ONE.

With regard to the "surge" and how it will affect the units already deployed and those that are facing deployment...everyone get your panties out of their wad. Put out the flame on your tampon string. From everything I've read so far, the "surge" will come from 5 main brigade-sized components (via Yahoo! article...I'll post the link when I find it):

According to the military official, who provided no dates,

_The 1st Brigade, 34th Infantry Division, Minnesota Army National Guard, will stay longer than planned in Iraq;

_The 4th Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, based at Fort Riley, Kansas, will deploy to Iraq earlier than planned;

_The 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, based at Fort Lewis, Wash., will deploy early;

• The 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, based at Fort Stewart, Ga., will deploy early;

• And the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, based at Fort Benning, Ga., will deploy early.

Like a friend of mine said earlier today, "if he (her husband...and mine) gets extended, he gets extended. I don't have to like it but I'll deal." That pretty much covers it. Boring and mundane military life ended on 9/11. At least in my opinion it did. These days, anything goes. As a military spouse, you have to be aware of that. Doesn't mean I won't throw myself on the floor and kick and scream. But I also realize that this is his duty. He signed up for this. He gave his word. And I cannot tell you how much I respect him for that.


- hfs

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