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Posted: 8/30/2004 8:47:26 AM EST
www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=3889

President Bush's "Sensitive" War
by John Lewis, Ph.D. (August 27, 2004)

Summary: President Bush, raising high his mantle of a resolute commander-in-chief, has lambasted John Kerry for promising to fight a "sensitive" war. But no one has asked: what are the facts? Is President Bush himself fighting anything other than a "sensitive" war?

President Bush, raising high his mantle of a resolute commander-in-chief, has lambasted John Kerry for promising to fight a "sensitive" war. But no one has asked: what are the facts? Is President Bush himself fighting anything other than a "sensitive" war?

From the start, Mr. Bush said the war was against “terror,” in order to avoid naming the enemy: militant Islamic fundamentalists. To make our “sensitivity” unambiguous, he searched out an international consensus for every action he has taken. On top of the French, Russians, Germans and every other European nation, he asked the likes of Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Jordan--even Iran and the Taliban--to join hands with us against “terror.”

It was only after the Taliban refused to hand over the particular men involved--bin Laden and his pals--that he launched the war in Afghanistan. He renamed military operations in order to avoid offending Muslims who hold that only Allah dispenses justice. Every bomb was followed with a food package. The enemy ran to Pakistan, whose borders we respect out of sensitivity for the dictator who had seized power there.

Prior to moving against Iraq, he spent eighteen months begging the UN for a resolution, courting allies from those who had split the oil loot with Saddam for years. He did move without the permission of some of them--always citing the approval of others to bolster his claim that he had in fact achieved a coalition--then took Saddam down with weapons designed to be sensitive to those Iraqis who were not among the regime’s inner circle.

As an insurrection grew, Syria said that Iraqi attacks on Americans were “legitimate responses to occupation.” Always sensitive to their position, Mr. Bush permitted their continued occupation of Lebanon, which the first President Bush had granted in return for their support in the first Gulf War, while exempting them from attack. He told Iran that regime change is not on our agenda, while overwhelming evidence mounts that Iran is supporting those shooting at us in Iraq.

The Iraqi Shia were neither made friendly nor cowed into submission by our sensitivity. So, sensitive to the need for Iraqi sovereignty, we ended the de-Baathification process and enlisted former Saddam-loyalists among others to run Iraq. The result has been some three times as many American dead after Saddam fell than before. American troops are now in Iraq at the permission of the Iraqi government, and can only move with their consent. It remains to be seen whether the insurgency will respond to our sensitivity--or the Iraqis will end it for us.

At every step, US troops have fulfilled their missions in an utterly awesome fashion--the Mahdi army has been decimated--but they have not been allowed to complete the job if it might offend someone’s sensitivities. The result has been a slow bleed of US servicemen.

One of the prime criticisms against Mr. Kerry has been his promise that he would treat the “terrorists” as criminals, not military targets. A key part of such an approach is to target the nation’s efforts against a select few perpetrators, for the purpose of bringing them to justice.

This is exactly what Mr. Bush has done. He says repeatedly that he is going to bring those responsible to “justice.” Of course he also says “bring ‘em on,” but he retreats from this when he realizes that he has offended someone’s sensitivities. The war becomes a series of peace-keeping efforts, each directed at a particular person (e.g., Bin Laden) or a particular attack (such as Al Sadr’s militia). In other words, the American efforts are still directed at a chosen few--exactly what Mr. Kerry has promised. Mr. Bush has been more energetic than Kerry would likely be, and he is using military rather than civilian measures to determine justice, but this does not change the “sensitive” foundations of his policies.

This op-ed is not a criticism of Mr. Bush’s “sensitive” policy. Its purpose is rather to identify the fact that he is pursuing such a policy. Mr. Kerry’s is forthright about his plan. Mr. Bush apparently objects to naming the issue.

This is the danger in a Bush presidency. He forms a false alternative to the Democrats, which makes it very difficult for people to see any real alternative to a “sensitive” war. Every day that Mr. Bush remains in office makes it harder for the American people to see that the real choice is not Bush vs. Kerry, but rather Bush and Kerry vs. a forthright offense against America’s enemies.

There is a parallel to economics. The traditional connection between conservatives and capitalism has allowed the “compassionate conservatives” to redefine “capitalism” into a conservative-style welfare state based on their particular mix of regulations. This has furthered the conceptual disintegration of the very idea of capitalism. The same process of corruption is at work in foreign affairs: under the compassionate conservatives, “military offense” is being redefined into "a consensual war fought with sensitivity towards the desires of others."

If Mr. Bush’s sensitive approach is such a good idea--if this is how America should be protected--then shouldn’t he proclaim it openly? Admit it, Mr. President. This is the most “sensitive war” America has ever fought.
Link Posted: 8/30/2004 8:50:02 AM EST
BULLSH*T

PH D = Piled higher deeper
Link Posted: 8/30/2004 8:52:35 AM EST

Originally Posted By Max_Mike:
BULLSH*T

PH D = Piled higher deeper



Did you read the article? Can you refute any of its contents?
Link Posted: 8/30/2004 8:56:40 AM EST
The article is indeed bullshit, for the simple reason that this guy is trying to label President Bush's military actions as "sensitive" when it's a purely subjective definition. There is no factual basis for it, just his opinion.
Link Posted: 8/30/2004 8:59:05 AM EST
What would this autjor propose instead? A scortched earth plan in Iraq? I fail to see the alternative. These sensitivities that we are indulging are a necessary evil. The face of war has changed.
Link Posted: 8/30/2004 9:01:03 AM EST
So, since there are still living people in Southwest Asia and the Middle East, President Bush is fighting a "sensitive" war.
Link Posted: 8/30/2004 9:04:34 AM EST

Originally Posted By RikWriter:
The article is indeed bullshit, for the simple reason that this guy is trying to label President Bush's military actions as "sensitive" when it's a purely subjective definition. There is no factual basis for it, just his opinion.



Totally agree. This is just partisan bullshit from Bush-Haters, trying to parse every word GWB says to try and stir up dissension. Something similar is going on right now with his simple statement that "We will probably never completely win the war on terror". A totally valid statement, since "terrorism" is a tactic and there will always be people who resort to terrorism to further their aims. What we can defeat is the global Islamist/Jihadist network which is plotting against us as we speak.
Link Posted: 8/30/2004 9:07:33 AM EST
Link Posted: 8/30/2004 9:09:13 AM EST

Originally Posted By RikWriter:
The article is indeed bullshit, for the simple reason that this guy is trying to label President Bush's military actions as "sensitive" when it's a purely subjective definition. There is no factual basis for it, just his opinion.



No factual basis? Shall we talk about the situation surrounding the shrine in Najaf?
Link Posted: 8/30/2004 9:11:46 AM EST
i think he may be just a bit on the careful side in the war, that will change once he is re elected
Link Posted: 8/30/2004 9:12:10 AM EST

Originally Posted By kill-9:

Originally Posted By RikWriter:
The article is indeed bullshit, for the simple reason that this guy is trying to label President Bush's military actions as "sensitive" when it's a purely subjective definition. There is no factual basis for it, just his opinion.



No factual basis? Shall we talk about the situation surrounding the shrine in Najaf?



Realpolitic doesn't equal "sensitive." President Bush knows what can and can't be done if he expects to win the people of Iraq over to the idea of a new, elected government. He also knows that the success of that government is key to his strategy in the war on terror.
Link Posted: 8/30/2004 9:16:51 AM EST

Originally Posted By RikWriter:

Originally Posted By kill-9:

Originally Posted By RikWriter:
The article is indeed bullshit, for the simple reason that this guy is trying to label President Bush's military actions as "sensitive" when it's a purely subjective definition. There is no factual basis for it, just his opinion.



No factual basis? Shall we talk about the situation surrounding the shrine in Najaf?



Realpolitic doesn't equal "sensitive." President Bush knows what can and can't be done if he expects to win the people of Iraq over to the idea of a new, elected government. He also knows that the success of that government is key to his strategy in the war on terror.



hmmm....then what would you consider a "sensitive" act? Not destroying a mosque which is being used as a bunker seems "sensitive" to me. Renaming "Operation Infinite Justice" to "Operation Enduring Freedom" due to Arab objections seems "sensitive" to me. How do you distinguish between "sensitive" and "realpolitic"?
Link Posted: 8/30/2004 12:31:44 PM EST

Originally Posted By kill-9:
hmmm....then what would you consider a "sensitive" act? Not destroying a mosque which is being used as a bunker seems "sensitive" to me. Renaming "Operation Infinite Justice" to "Operation Enduring Freedom" due to Arab objections seems "sensitive" to me. How do you distinguish between "sensitive" and "realpolitic"?



Realpolitic means making concessions to people whose cooperation you need to accomplish the mission.
Sensitive is making concessions to people who are unnecessary to the success of the mission simply so you won't appear insensitive to them.
Bear in mind this is just my definition because there is no objective definition.
Link Posted: 8/30/2004 4:34:40 PM EST
btt for the evening crew. I'm interested to hear others' thoughts on this.
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