Michael Totten

What Damage They Have Wrought

My disgust at the soldiers who abused Iraqi prisoners seems to be bottomless. Somehow it manages to get deeper every day.
The Terror War has two fronts. One is a war of bullets and bombs. The other is a war of ideas, a war of liberalism (broadly defined) against totalitarianism. Dishonorable people in our own military have done far more damage to the second front than any herd of illiberal anti-American jackasses could ever have hoped to accomplish.
How can I explain all this to my immigrant friend from Syria who loves America but does not trust the government? How can I look him in the eye and tell him our troops were as kind to the Iraqis as I promised him they would be? The answer is that I can’t.
I’m already sick and tired of hearing complaints about the anti-war left on this one. They’re calling for Rumsfeld to go and they hated him from the very beginning. Yeah, and so what? That doesn’t mean he should stay. The Economist thinks he should go. So does Megan McArdle. On even numbered days so do I.
The anti-war left is not even remotely responsible for this mess. The Democratic Party isn’t responsible, either. It’s a legitimate point of debate how much the Bush Administration is responsible, but it simply won’t wash to say they, too, have nothing to do with it.
If President Bush doesn’t get this resolved at least 50 percent to my satisfaction I will vote to kick him out of the White House in November. I will have no other honorable choice. I don’t like John Kerry and I don’t trust him with our foreign policy. But not in my worst estimation of him did I think he would cause as much moral and psychological damage as what some in our own military have done under this commander in chief.
I heard Neil Boortz on the radio this morning complaining about Nancy Pelosi because she wants Rumsfeld’s head. Um, Neil? Nancy Pelosi is right to be pissed. She didn’t get us into this mess, and she can’t get us out of it. Somebody’s head needs to roll, and it isn’t hers. If you don’t think it ought to be Rumsfeld’s, try suggesting another. If Bush doesn’t fire someone, odds are good that he himself will be fired.
UPDATE: Sean LaFreniere, also a hawk, thinks Rumsfeld should resign too.