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Unclear on the Concept? You Betcha!

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Message Stephen Osborn

OUR country was founded on guerilla warfare. The British military was the strongest, most disciplined army in the world. No one could stand up to them in a “fair” fight. The British “Square” was invincible unless met with such overwhelming force that it could be annihilated. Washington’s war, for years, was a series of masterful retreats, with a sting in its tail. Americans did not stand up in rows to exchange fire, they sniped from behind trees and buildings, then ran away to reload and snipe some more. Where British troops were armed with the “Brown Bess” musket and trained to fire into the “brown” of the enemy, many Americans were using their hunting rifles with much greater range and accuracy. They could pick off their man from a distance, well out of range of anything approaching accurate musket fire. Americans wore homespun, earth colored clothes which blended in with the surroundings. The British wore bright red and marched in massed columns.

So what do we read today? Senior U.S. civilian and military officials still don’t get it. “They can’t beat us in a stand-up fight,” bragged our vice president just two months ago, echoing recent words of a U.S. Army colonel in Iraq. This completely misses the point, and calls to mind the sad month of April 1975, when Col. Harry Summers was sent to negotiate with a North Vietnamese colonel the terms of American withdrawal from Vietnam. Summers reported the following exchange: “’You know, you never beat us on the battlefield,’ I said to Colonel Tu, my North Vietnamese counterpart. ‘That may be so,’ he said, ‘but it is also irrelevant.’”

In Iraq, we are the ones identifiable, we move in convoys, we are “invincible” in battle. The Iraqis are nearly invisible in battle. They snipe and run away, bomb and sabotage and run away. We kill everyone in sight and think we won. Every time we spray a bunch of civilians with machine gun fire, we have recruited more “insurgents.” Every man who has lost a wife or child is happy to try to kill as many of the enemy as he can before he, too, is killed. Unfortunately, we are that enemy.

A poll in Iraq last year came up with 80% of the Iraqis wanting the United States out of Iraq. They said if killing us is what it takes, then they are all for it. This was across the board, Sunni, Shia, and a lot of the Kurds. At the current rate of US deaths, we are looking at another 1,000 to 1,500 dead and a lot more wounded, just to hang around in Iraq for another twelve to eighteen months. If we would negotiate a cease fire and pullout, we might be able to cut the losses to near zero. It might even get the various factions in Iraq to talking with each other.

The only way we are going to see this is if Congress stops waffling and cuts off the funding for Bush’s wars except for enough to bring them home. That includes banning Bush from starting any new wars in the Middle East, such as Iran or Syria.

The Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war, not the executive. When our country was founded, diplomacy and negotiation was the first line of defense in international affairs. War was the last thing resorted to after all else had failed and an attack was imminent. Under Bush/Cheney, diplomacy is the last resort, to be used only if we’ve failed to kill everybody. We have got to get the United States back into the community of nations. The way to do it is to end funding for Bush’s wars and to remove Bush/Cheney et al., from the government by impeachment.

If Congress will just read the Constitution they have sworn to uphold, the rest is a “no-brainer.”


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Biobyte: Stephen M. Osborn is a freelance writer living on Camano Island in the Pacific Northwest. He is a columnist for the Populist Party website and has had a number of articles published internationally. He is an "Atomic Vet." (Operation (more...)
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