RANGER AGAINST WAR: Stuck Inside of Baghdad <

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Stuck Inside of Baghdad

Aw, Mama, can this really be the end,
To be stuck inside of Mobile

With the Memphis blues again

--Bob Dylan


Senator Max Cleland, triple amputee from the Vietnam War, recently spoke passionately on CNN's
The Situation Room regarding the war and the trauma suffered by returning veterans. Following is a portion of the transaction :

BLITZER:
Senator, if you could sit down with the vice president and have a direct one-on-one meeting with him, what would you say to him?

CLELAND:
Where the hell were you in the Vietnam War?
If you had have gone to Vietnam like the rest of us, maybe you would have learned something about war. You can't keep troops on the ground forever. They've got to have a mission. They've got to have a purpose. You can't keep sending them back and back and back with no mission and no purpose.

As a matter of fact, the real enemy is al Qaeda. It's al Qaeda -- stupid. It's not in Iraq. That's why we have to withdraw the ground forces there, settle Iraq with a diplomatic solution and go after al Qaeda.

That's what we should have been doing for the last four years.

Instead, this administration and this vice president and this president wants to send more troops to Iraq. Unbelievable.

BLITZER:
And what would you say to the president?

CLELAND:
You screwed up royally [this works on the both the metaphorical, and the literal level] when you said, four years ago, major combat over, mission accomplished, bring 'em on. That means you should have gone to Vietnam and learned that you don't challenge guerrillas that way, people who want to blow themselves us just to take you out.

That's exactly what we've got going on in Iraq. That's what we've got going on in Afghanistan. We're in deep trouble and we're not even chasing the enemy. We're just bogged down in Baghdad with no hope of getting out under this administration.

BLITZER:
And, finally, your Democratic colleagues here in Washington, they seem to be divided over what to do next, some really pushing hard for a cutoff of funding, others saying you can't do that.

What advice do you have for them?

CLELAND: Keep on pushing, because the right thing to do is to withdraw the ground forces from Iraq and settle this thing about the stability of Iraq and the future of Iraq by diplomatic means. Then you focus your American military on going after al Qaeda. Go after them in Afghanistan. Go after them in northwestern Pakistan. Go after them where they are.

They're morphing into 60 different nations around the globe. That's why it's so erroneous, strategically, to be bogged down in Baghdad now, after four years.

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They may have swift-boated John Kerry, but Cleland's is one voice that refuses to go quietly.

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