In the following exchange, Randy, a member of the Black Conservatives Group on Yahoo basically destroys the standard (anti-U.S., anti-military) points made by David. You might look at “David” as a version of Barack or Michelle Obama – and see Randy as a version of John McCain. I invite all bloggers to use this material on their own sites. Randy is truly a remarkable analyst. As I mentioned to several friends, one of the best "advertisements" for America is that it develops people like Randy.
[Randy} Is there any evidence that we really are an imperialist nation that wants to seize the territory of other countries?
[David} it's naive to think of global power and influence exclusively in terms of real estate or "territory."
[Randy] It is far more naive to think that territorial and political control is not the core and strongest method of imperialism. "Influence" is like weak tea by comparison, since it is nearly impossible to enforce. If "territorial imperialism" and "influence imperialism" are the same, then you would find it no more offensive if we took over every country that had natural resources that we wanted? I think not. Try to be a little bit serious. Influence is usually gained by consent, whereas REAL imperialism and political control are enforced by military power. This list [the Black Conservatives Group] is not the "Franz Fanon Anti-West Society,” so don't try to make leftist claims. This list is for conservatives.
[David] up until the Iraq adventure, the US military was well on its way towards defining power
[Randy] The U.S. military does not define power; it follows the orders of the civilian leadership.
[David] [The U.S. relies on] increasingly abstract phrases like "winning hearts and minds."
[Randy] So you think that the U.S. military is the inventor behind some grand conspiracy of "winning hearts and minds" by making American movies and fast foods popular in the Third World, while we overpay for oil instead of just taking it? Why don't you tell us how that works? If you had actually understood the phrase, you'd know that it wasn't some abstraction – and it wasn't even an American invention. Instead, it was formalized by the British during the Malayan Emergency (1948-1960) regarding a technique of counter-insurgency warfare, not regarding a method of influencing sovereign foreign governments at a distance.
[David} And "defending US interests" is a catch-all phrase that can include things as divergent as energy resources, geographical regions, and language.
[Randy] Are you historically illiterate? Every country throughout history has been "defending their interests" including "things as divergent as energy resources, geographical regions, and language." This is not some new invention that the "evil" U.S. military just recently created. Nothing abstract about it. [David] Here's some stuff that can't be reduced to a bumper sticker for either "side" of the lamest American cultural impasse since slavery:[Randy] So, in your opinion, there is no reason to oppose the IslamoNazi terrorists anywhere, at any time? You suggest surrender as a better option? BTW, do you know how long the Islamics have been attacking the West?
[David] Iraqi deaths: 48769 US deaths: 4024(source: http://icasualties.org/oif/)[
David] it's tempting to try to state that one American life is worth approximately 12 Iraqi lives to make some kind of hollow point... but realistically, what does the asymmetry here mean?
[Randy] The number of lives lost in a war by each side has nothing to do with who is right and who is wrong; who is the aggressor and who the defender is. Do you think that the U.S. was the immoral aggressor in WWII because we killed more Germans and Japanese than they killed Americans? Only a manipulator would even try to make such a point. Is that what you are doing?
[David] we know that lots of it [the war and deaths] is Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence . . .
[Randy] The great majority is either Iraqi-on-Iraqi or foreign-terrorists-on-Iraqis. Just read the papers for a month and record how many of the deaths are caused by Iraqi or Al Qaeda "death squads" and IEDs. 80-90%
[David] .. . But lots of it [the war] is also civilian deaths at the business end of U.S. munitions
[Randy] Not lots, fairly rare in fact. U.S. bombs occasionally cause collateral civilian casualties, and sometimes Iraqi civilians get caught in the crossfire of a battle. But if we were less selective, the civilian death toll would be much higher--no other country tries as hard to avoid killing civilians. If you have evidence to the contrary, please feel free to support your claims. Otherwise, rethink your premises.
[David] And nobody can deny that the secular violence is directly related to US actions.
[Randy] Oh, sure. We interrupted a Utopia on earth. There was never any sectarian violence in the Middle East until we invaded. And the earth is flat. And bad air causes malaria. The U.S. is the root of all evil. Bwahahahaha!
[David] Neither "side" (American left or right) can really tell anyone when enough is enough
[Randy] Have you ever read ANYTHING about military strategy or action? What caused you to decide that this was even a proper criterion for analyzing the proper time to end a war? The side that is losing can stop the war at any time by laying down their arms. And the U.S. does not summarily execute those who surrender, unlike the Nazis or Imperial Japanese or the Cambodian Khmer Rouge.
[David] ... obviously there is no upper limit on Iraqi deaths that would convince a generic "conservative" that it was time to end the war[Randy] As I noted above, that isn't even a valid criterion. Unless, of course, you can show some logical connection between number of casualties and the aims of any war.
[David] and there is probably no upper limit on the number of American casualties either -- 100 years in Iraq.
[Randy] If we stayed there [in Iraq] for 100 years at the present fatality rate, that would be 48,000 dead at 480 per year. Not desirable, but not exactly unsustainable, either. More soldiers are lost in training and traffic deaths each year. BTW, we have had a substantial number of troops in Germany for 63 years since the end of WWII, and I'm sure you will agree that the losses have not been very large, other than traffic deaths. Same effect with Japan and South Korea.
[David] On the other hand, generic liberals are stupid if they think that any of the Democrats’ plans for drawing down troops will actually get us to divest anything financially or UN-build all our military bases, not to mention the single biggest and most fortified embassy in the world.All liberal catch-phrases define US power in obsolete terms. but the "freedom isn't free" and "if you can read this in English, thank a soldier" bumper sticker crowd is no different.
[Randy] Everything about your e-mail sounds just like the Communists and Leftists I know, or their books I have read. Are you on the right [Yahoo] list, or are you just trolling?
My comments are interleaved and identified as [Randy].