Woke Up this Morning and I Got Myself a Fisk
Yesterday I got angry, today I decided to get mean and get help. I couldn't sleep this morning thinking about how badly biased, patronizing, and out of touch the KINK-FM commentary about deploying the Oregon Guard was. Since the author of this epistle refuses to discuss his lapses with me, I've decided to discuss them with you and try to get your assistance. Please visit the KINK site and leave your comments about their editorial. Please be respectful and serious, because that is the best way to drive the message home.
Yesterday I had to prod the general manager to get the transcript published on the web site. KINK normally posts its broadcast editorials, but for some reason they were three weeks behind on doing so. This is probably due to a change in web page software, we all know what that's like, but it didn't improve the quality of their expression to have that lapse. Here's what they had to say:
The Oregon National Guard has been alerted that half of its members may be headed to Iraq or Afghanistan in 2009. KINK Considers a wake-up call reminding us that we are fighting two wars.
A lot of us never went to sleep on this. As a Navy Reservist, my unit is scheduled to activate for duty in 2010, so perhaps my alertness is heightened. I am a little bit troubled that news people are getting drowsy because of the recent successes; maybe the problem isn't the government's, though. For instance, CentCom publishes exciting news about their area of operations all the time. “SIX KILLED, 10 DETAINED AS COALITION FORCES TARGET AL-QAEDA LEADERSHIP, FOREIGN TERRORIST FACILITATORS” Even when it's not in all capitals, that's a pretty hard to sleep through headline. Maybe it's not the news that's sleepworthy, just the newcasters.
The U.S. is fighting two wars--one that we started, one that we didn't.
So when Saddam invaded Kuwait, did we start that war? Because that's the war we're finishing in Iraq. Dictators need conflict to survive in power, which is why we end up fighting them so much. You may have noticed that we don't go to war with democracies so much. For the last four years we've largely been fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq, although we also are crushing the mad bombers of the Mahdi Army and the Baathist holdouts when we needed to. Our biggest battles, like Fallujah 2, were with Al Qaeda though. You remember Al Qaeda...it's not hard, just think of two smoking towers about to collapse and keep in mind that they are going to fight us anywhere they can reach. Since most of their financing and recruits are from the Gulf region, fighting them there kind of makes sense.
But these continue to be mostly TV wars.
I suppose that's true, if you don't go there. And don't read blogs. And don't read books by the veterans of the wars. And don't seek out any veterans. And don't do your job as a journalist.
There is little sense of shared sacrifice on the part of most Americans and while most want us out of Iraq, we are passive about it. That's partly because we don't have a draft and partly because the Bush administration has not asked us to make any sacrifices on the home front.
So, you're complaining because you've been given so little to complain about? On September 20th, 2001 President Bush announced that this was going to be a long struggle. This is why we are not treating this as a sprint, this is why we are not making the war hurt the supporting populace a lot. Our economy is so vast and so healthy that we can and are supporting a war without privation. I can't help but wonder if this is a problem because it doesn't match your script for what a war should be.
Now the Pentagon has alerted the Oregon National Guard for possible--and we think probable--deployment in Iraq or Afghanistan in 2009. This may be a wake-up call for Oregonians.
This may instead be an excuse for whining, because that's what it sounds like.
In 2004, Oregon had 16-hundred soldiers from the guard in Iraq and it took a toll, especially in small towns where police officers, firefighters, teachers, and community leaders left their homes and families behind.
So, people who are willing to serve shouldn't be allowed to...serve? Leaders shouldn't be allowed to...lead? People with the skills to rebuild shouldn't be allowed to...rebuild? Or is it just that the valorous shouldn't be allowed the opportunity to shine? If nobody is brave, nobody is a coward?
This time, more than twice as many soldiers will be called up. And when we lose half the Guard and its equipment, who will be there when we have an earthquake, another huge forest fire, or a Columbus Day storm?
The Michigan National Guard? Other National Guards and volunteers?
Oregon isn't Louisiana, Portland isn't New Orleans. No city of the state is below sea level. Although the recent idiocy of the Mayor throwing a tantrum over renaming a street without democratic consideration doesn't give much cause for confidence, our government works pretty well. The biggest disaster in Katrina was the local government response. The police department broke, the executive leadership failed, and decades of corruption caused a collapse that surrounding states didn't suffer. The media published unchecked fantasies in their frenzy to get air time, and that didn't help things very much.
Once in a century storms are a 1% annual risk, and it's one we can manage. Leaving Iraq unprotected is a 100% certainty, why are you stopping the best functioning protection there?
Our soldiers, both guardsmen and regular military, have been making amazing sacrifices. If we feel that more, maybe we will protest more, write more letters, and force our U.S. Senate candidates to take a position: Do they oppose this deployment or not?
Your concern for the guardsmen and regular military would be a lot more convincing if you ever talked to them. Or if you had been to Iraq. Or Afghanistan. Or Fort Lewis, two hours north of your offices. Or Camp Withycombe, half an hour away and within your broadcast range.
What do you expect from Congress, exactly? We are in the middle of fighting two major conflicts and are deployed to scores of countries around the globe to keep them in control of free people without a budget from this Congress. On January 1, the Department of Defense is laying off 100,000 civilian employees and 100,000 contractors because of this Congress. It would be difficult to imagine what more they could do to oppose this deployment than their current inaction.
Some of us who think it was a mistake to go into Iraq and who think we blundered badly in executing the war, still wonder if there is a middle way between total troop withdrawal and the current situation.
Because half measures are successful in what wars? Because the middle way worked so well in 1991 to contain Saddam? If the people who oppose this war had a coherent plan more effective than the current Surge, I'd be glad to hear it. Based on the results I'm seeing reported by my friends in country, I think you have a lot to match. In the meantime, we're winning and it looks a lot like that result scares you.
Saddam era rape room in Iraq. One of thousands of reasons why going to war was not a mistake. How can we stay at peace with this kind of institutional depravity in the world?
While we can support a U.S. training mission for Iraqis, we don't support keeping a large deployment in Iraq to fight terrorism. Terrorists and terrorist training camps are highly mobile and there is no reason for a multi-year deployment of U.S. troops in Iraq to fight terrorists
I think this is where I got angry yesterday, because it surely irritates the hell out of me now. Terrorists do not require mobility for success, they require complicity. To a great extent they require complicity on the ground with the local populace. The deployment of friendly units to live amongst the populace, which we're doing, counters that.
The critical complicity that terrorism requires is from their enablers amongst free people. Regrettably, this is where KINK fails profoundly. For a paltry list of annoyances, this radio station is willing to throw the people of Iraq to the wolves. They may think this war is a mistake, but I'm guessing that they never visited the rape rooms where Saddam's goons extracted compliance from his people. I'm pretty sure they aren't looking at the mass graves in Baqubah where Al Qaeda buried their compliance tools.
Why should these children be thrown under the bus? Why should this young man be subjected to a lifetime of abuse by fascist thugs. Why should his baby sister be subjected to a lifetime of rape by terrorists? How many children of Iraq have to die so the anti-war movement can score political points?
What is needed to destroy terrorists and terrorism is the courage of decent people. KINK is trying to deny that courage and divert that decency from a the people who need it most. This is unconscionable complicity with terrorists.
Maybe this newly announced deployment of Oregon soldiers will make us raise our voices for a fast and significant troop withdrawal.
Maybe instead it will make us commit again to the freedom of people around the globe instead of the comfort of people around your house. Troop withdrawal made some kind of sense before the Anbar Awakening and before the Surge showed clearly that we could win against terrorism with the right strategy. To cut support for General Patraeus when he is clearly winning is more than policy disagreement. This is suicidal madness. Freedom of speech implies responsibility in its use that just isn't present in this editorial.
KINK supports withdrawal, fine. Your statement regarding the Oregon Guard is unwise, unwelcome, and unworthy of free people. Withdraw your commentary and support our troops by supporting our troops.