15 August 2005 at 9:34:07 PM
Doubt on war grows in U.S
"Two or three years ago, when everything started, I thought it was a good idea," said Laura French, a Republican from Evan City, Pa. "But now I think enough is enough. It's time to come home."
It is not only the growing death toll that has eroded American support for the war, according to those interviewed, but also the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. And it's the failure to capture Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"A couple of years ago, I thought the invasion of Iraq was justified," said Victor Diaz, a 30-year-old consultant in Los Angeles. "I believed the reports that stated Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and figured it would only be a matter of time before they were found."
Growing doubts could make it difficult for Bush to maintain support for a continuing presence of nearly 140,000 troops....
Calls for withdrawal are coming from some of Bush's staunchest supporters. Clyde Graham, a retired trucking industry salesman in Wexford, Pa., twice voted for Bush.
"At the time, I felt we should stay the course," Graham said of the 2004 election. "I'm questioning that now."
The war cost Bush the vote of Graham's wife, Margaret, also a Republican, who supported Bush's election in 2000 but not his re-election.
"New things are cropping up all the time to frighten us," she said. "They don't frighten me, they annoy me - sending all our boys over there in a useless war."
Pennsylvania has lost 87 soldiers and Marines in Iraq.
James Wolcott Takes On John McCain
On Fox, his eyes are less lasering, his jawline more relaxed, but a choleric hawk he remains, so fanatically hawkish that he opposes a drawdown of US troops in Iraq: "We don't need to withdraw--we need more troops there," and should reinforcements be unavailable, we should maintain current troop levels so that the newly trained Iraqi units aren't replacements for departing US troops but a "supplement" to them.
Chris Wallace pointed out that the leaks and hints coming from the military brass and the Def Dept are signaling withdrawal at the same time the President is refusing to set deadlines and timetables--why is that?
"I have no idea."
Gee, I do, and I'm not a Senator who sits on the armed services committee. Every sentient adult and many adolescents KNOW why the military wants out, and Lawrence Korb lays out why in the Daily News:
"[E]ven if we wanted to keep about 140,000 ground troops in Iraq through 2006, we cannot do so without breaking the all-volunteer Army.
"Gen. Maxwell Taylor, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for President Lyndon Johnson, said that while we sent the Army to Vietnam to save Vietnam, we had to withdraw to save the Army. This is where we are today.
"If Iraq were a war of necessity, the U.S. would simply send sufficient ground forces there for the duration. But, since it is a war of choice, fought by volunteers, the active-duty soldiers spend a year in Iraq and at least a year at home before going back.
"And the Army does not want to order a soldier to be sent back a third time. By the end of this year, nearly every active-duty soldier will have spent at least two tours in Iraq.
"Moreover, since the active-duty Army was too small to implement effectively Bush's preventive war in Iraq, the administration has had to rely unduly on the National Guard and Reserves. Part-time soldiers make up about 40% of the troops in Iraq. In order to keep so many reservists there, the Pentagon has had to violate its norm of not mobilizing reservists for more than one year out of five.
"Sending soldiers back for a third time will ruin the Army's retention rate, which so far has held up. Staying in Iraq through 2006 will completely undermine the Army's recruiting, which despite massive increases in enlistment bonuses is already a disaster. Keeping 50,000 reservists in Iraq throughout 2006 will force the administration to ask Congress to repeal the law that forbids reservists from serving on the active duty for more than two years."
McCain will hear none of this defeatist talk. "We can't afford to fail," he emptily intoned, and then cleaved to Bush, claiming that Bush is no cold-hearted monster with no time for a Cindy Sheehan, no:
"He cares, and he grieves."
Message: He cares. Bring 'em on. Watch this shot.
It was also clear from the tone of McCain's remarks that he favors military action against Iran. It's difficult to think of any military action he wouldn't favor.
This man is too dangerous to let anywhere near the presidency. He's simply Dick Cheney with a better backstory.
Papers Increasingly Note Antiwar Views in Covering Funerals of the Fallen
NEW YORK In a departure from past policies, newspapers around the country, with the U.S. death toll in Iraq again soaring, increasingly are reporting the antiwar sentiments of family members of the deceased in their coverage of funerals. The latest example comes from the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader on Sunday.
It concerns the funeral of Lance Cpl. Chase Johnson Comley. The story notes that “in a departure from the norm in Kentucky -- one of the reddest of red states -- some of Comley's relatives, including a few sitting in the front pews, have spoken out strongly against the Bush administration and the war that took the 21-year-old Marine's life.”
Comley's grandmother, 80-year-old Geraldine Comley of Versailles, described herself as a former Republican stalwart who is "on a rampage" against the president and the war.
"When someone gets up and says 'My son died for our freedom,' or I get a sympathy card that says that, I can hardly bear it," Geraldine Comley said. She added that she would like nothing better than to join Cindy Sheehan, who has been holding a protest outside President Bush's ranch in Texas.
Her daughter, Missy Comley Beattie, also was critical of Bush and the war in a column she wrote for Friday's Herald-Leader.
"I've never seen my father cry, but I've heard him cry this week," she said in an interview. "And he will look at the picture of Chase that's on their hearth and say 'George Bush killed my grandson.'"
Richard Bradley: Are the Bush Twins AWOL?
Thanks in large part to Cindy Sheehan, people are starting to raise the issue of why Jenna and Barbara Bush aren't serving in the military. It's a tough question, but I think it's a fair one. The President of the United States is calling on American young people to volunteer to go to war, but his own daughters, who are certainly of the appropriate age, are better known for their drunken nightclub escapades than for any acts of patriotism.
There's a precedent for prodding Bush on this question. Back in 1993, when Bill and Hillary Clinton moved to Washington, they decided to enroll Chelsea in a private, rather than public, school. Because the decision seemed to contradict the Clintons' stated faith in public schools, the press asked the Clintons about that decision, and they had to defend it—publicly. (And unlike the Bush daughters now, Chelsea was a minor.)
It's pretty simple, really. The military doesn't have enough soldiers; the president believes that this is a good and just war; he has two daughters who could enlist in the military, but haven't. These things don't add up.
So here's a question I think a White House reporter should ask the president: " President Bush, if your own two daughters won't enlist, how can you expect anyone else's children to join the military?"
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