RUSH: We’ve been sort of meandering through the news today and having a little yuck here and there, a little fun, but I want to move on to this Haditha business — and, by the way, it’s not just Haditha. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there are three or four now stories of Marines (they seem to be focusing on Marines this week) who have been found guilty of murder, committing atrocities, under allegation of having done all that. Daniel Henninger today in the Wall Street Journal has a piece thinking that the Iraq syndrome has been reached, that the American people are finally — he’s worried that we’re at that point where all these atrocities being reported are just going to wear the American people out on all this.
I want to deal with this in a number of ways. Ben Stein has a great piece today, too, in the American Spectator Online. But first, from the New York Times today. “Denouncing what they called repeated acts of violence by American forces against innocent civilians, Iraq’s top leaders said today that they would demand that American officials turn over their investigative files on the Iraq deaths at Haditha as they vowed to conduct their own inquiry.” All right, now, forgive me on this. This appears to me to be a hanging curve ball. What are we talking about at Haditha, 24 deaths? You get conflicting reports on this, 15, 24. I think the number is 24 deaths.
So 24 deaths, and the Iraqi leadership is now having a cow and demanding to investigate. How many Iraqi civilians do you think have been murdered by insurgents, the so-called insurgents, the terrorists that are operating over there? This is the one thing, when you hear Jack Cut-and-Run Murtha describing these atrocities. I haven’t heard one opponent of the war describe our enemies anywhere near the way they describe the United States military, and I have the same reaction too when I read this story in the New York Times. All right, so you want to have the investigative files, okay, so you’re outraged, demand this and demand that. Well, fine and dandy.
Well, we’re on your side, you guys, and far more of your innocent civilians have been killed and murdered by insurgents, and we don’t see any investigations. I know you’re at war with them and so forth, but this outrage here is just… I think it’s a faked orgasm for political purposes. It is what it is. In Haditha — and there are people in Congress who have been briefed by some in the military who say it’s going to be very bad. I’ve, you know, withheld comment on it until the investigation is done. Too many of these things… Somebody was just cleared in a court-martial trial the other day for murder, and another man had written a letter, I think some newspaper, New York Times, something, who had been falsely accused of these kinds of atrocities, and he was writing in context of Haditha.
In Haditha, you know that the insurgents don’t wear uniforms, and if they’re being protected and housed and hidden by some so-called Iraqi citizens and so forth, and the Marines learn this, especially in the midst of one of their own being killed by one of these IEDs that goes off under a Humvee, they crack. It’s entirely possible. I’m not defending anything. I’ve learned enough as a student here of the Drive-By Media, that the Drive-By Media is the Drive-By Media because of it’s Drive-By Media, and they can’t wait for stories like this. They turned Abu Ghraib into something that it wasn’t and they turned Club Gitmo into something.
They’ve got a hunger strike going on down there at Club Gitmo. The menu down there is fine. We have a thriving merchandise business at Club Gitmo and everybody seems destined to put that out of business, and I’m going to stand up for it. Now, to Ben Stein’s piece “Keeping the Faith.” First, I keep running into men and women of the left who tell me that going into Iraq unprepared and undermanned and under-armed was the worst foreign policy and defense mistake this government has ever made. Certainly, it was one hell of a mistake. That’s obvious and cruel for all concerned. And to continue Donald Rumsfeld’s stewardship of the war effort when he has made such a hash of it strikes me as extremely peculiar. The man has his points, but guiding the Iraq war is not one of them.”
This is Ben Stein saying this, and by way of bringing you up to speed: You will not find a bigger advocate for the US military than Ben Stein. He had a piece on Memorial Day that was practically crying writing, and his basic theme was: how in the world do we ever pay these people back, the people that have joined, volunteered, gone over there? Their families? How do we ever pay them back? Once the memorials are over for those that have died, what do we do to pay them back? Don’t misunderstand any of this as I share excerpts with it. You won’t find anybody more devoted to the men and women of the US military nor their mission than Ben Stein.
He says, “We are three years into it, have spent many lives and hundreds of billions we can ill afford, and we are worse off than we were three weeks after hostilities commenced. With the best troops on the planet and the best weapons on earth, we are clearly in a desperate mess. But it is a small mess so far. It pales by comparison with FDR’s acts of hostility to Japan and Germany, provoking Pearl Harbor, when he knew or should have known we were drastically unprepared for World War. When FDR taunted Japan, stopped shipping them supplies we had always sent them, and practically begged them to go to war with us, it was probably the right moral thing to do. In fact it surely was.
“But he was the most popular President of all time. He had fairly good (but far from perfect) control of Congress. He could have made sure we were better armed before he got us into war. The unpreparedness of U.S. forces caused us terrible losses at Pearl Harbor and far worse ones in the Philippines. They let hundreds of U.S. vessels go to the bottom along with their brave crews under the U-boat onslaught. Yes, he did learn and geared us up for total war. But the mistakes at the beginning were extremely bad. That was a far bigger foreign policy mistake than Iraq. FDR caving in at Yalta, baiting the greatest man of all time, Winston Churchill, and instead siding with the worst killer of his own people of all time, J.V. Stalin, to create a Soviet slave empire in Eastern Europe — that was a far worse mistake than the Iraq war and cost far more lives.
“Sending captured Russians back to Stalin to be murdered by the hundreds of thousands — that was a far worse mistake than Iraq. Getting us into Vietnam — a gift from JFK and LBJ, done under the falsest of pretexts especially by LBJ — that was a far worse mistake than Iraq. I don’t think anyone believes we will lose fifty thousand men in Iraq. But that’s how many we lost in Vietnam, thanks to an adventure started by gung-ho warriors who had no clue of what they were in for — just like Iraq only far worse. Iraq was a mistake. And it’s turning out badly. We lack the national will to win this war. We had no good reason to be there in the first place. (Thank you, CIA.) We were supposed to not get into any more wars we did not absolutely need to be in. If we did get into them, we were supposed to go in with enough force to win. We screwed up every part of this and it’s a mistake. But the worst foreign/defense policy mistake of all time? Very far from it.”
This kind of dovetails with my little hindsight view yesterday that if we had gone in there with real shock and awe the way we used to fight wars such as World War II, then, well, who knows? But it’s clear what Stein is saying: we don’t fight wars the way we used to. We’ve been talking about this on this program for quite awhile now. We fight them minimally, for a host of PC reasons. Now, “Haditha,” he writes. “Another disaster. There are explanations. Obviously, if Marines, our toughest and roughest, see their friends blown to bits by terrorists hidden by the general population, they are going to be furious at the general population.
“[W]hat is truly incredible about the war in Iraq is how FEW civilians U.S. forces have killed. In World War II, it was explicit doctrine to bomb, blow up, incinerate, and suffocate as many Germans and Japanese as we could. We firebombed cities in Germany and Japan around the clock for years. We attacked civilian neighborhoods explicitly (under the inspiration of the British, who wanted ‘…measure for measure…’ as Churchill said against the Nazis for bombing British cities, and rightly so). We set off firestorms that killed tens of thousands in a night in Japan and Germany. Children were incinerated in their mothers’ arms. Whole districts and all the people in them were simply erased from history. This was the way we, the best, kindest nation on earth by far, fought the biggest war of all time.
“We are not talking about killing twelve civilians but about killing millions. Now, under Mr. Bush, we did not carpet bomb Baghdad. We do not level whole neighborhoods though we easily could. We risk and lose lives every day to fight and kill or capture only the guilty. This is new in the history of warfare in the past sixty years. In a war that has been going on for three miserable years, there have been only a handful of reports of civilian deaths at U.S. hands. Any is too many. But let’s not kid ourselves. Mr. Bush and the incredibly brave and decent men and women who are fighting this war are fighting with a restraint that is novel in the history of war.
“I don’t excuse the killers. I do offer some understanding and some context about them and about history. Things could be a lot worse, and we have every reason to be deeply proud of the men and women who fight the most inhuman killers on the planet almost always by extremely humane rules of engagement. And Mr. Bush has made some dreadful mistakes, but a look into the past offers some hope that we have gotten through far worse mistakes and gone on to a wary happiness. ‘There is a lot of ruin in a nation,’ as Adam Smith so brilliantly said. The key is to ascend the learning curve. And to keep the faith with those in harm’s way in Haditha and everywhere else,” which, after the break, will take me to Daniel Henninger today and his fear that we are beyond the point of being able to keep faith with those on the ground in Iraq.
RUSH: Daniel Henninger today in the Wall Street Journal. Just some excerpts here: “The Vietnam Syndrome, a loss of confidence in the efficacy of American military engagement, was mainly a failure of U.S. elites. But it’s different this time. This presidency has been steadfast in war. No matter. In a piece this week on the White House’s efforts to rally the nation to the idea of defeating terrorism abroad to thwart another attack on the U.S., the AP’s Nedra Pickler wrote: ‘But that hasn’t kept the violence and unrest out of the headlines every day.’ This time the despondency looks to be penetrating the general population. And the issue isn’t just body counts; it’s more than that. The missions in Iraq and Afghanistan grew from the moral outrage of September 11.
“U.S. troops, the best this country has yet produced, went overseas to defend us against repeating that day. Now it isn’t just that the war on terror has proven hard; the men and women fighting for us, the magnificent 99%, are being soiled in a repetitive, public way that is unbearable. The greatest danger at this moment is that the American public will decide it wants to pull back because it has concluded that when the U.S. goes in, it always gets hung out to dry. Two major military reports will come out soon on the Haditha incident, and no one will gainsay justice if that is required. But the atmosphere around this event is going to get uncontrollably manic, and that will feed the dark, inward-turning sentiments already poisoning the country’s mood over issues like the immigration debate.
“Good for Democrats? Don’t count on it. After this, the public appetite for a Democratic president’s ‘humanitarian’ military intervention in a Darfur or East Timor will be close to zero. One suspects that U.S. troops were party to some awful events in the Pacific and European theaters of World War II, all gone in the mists of history and the enemy’s defeat. Not now. Gen. Chiarelli’s magnificent ‘99.9%’ notwithstanding, it’s the phenomenon of the so-very-public 0.01% — at Abu Ghraib, on an Afghan street, at Haditha — that is breaking America’s will this time.” Now, that’s Daniel Henninger of the the Wall Street Journal OpinionJournal.com today.
I don’t know how accurately he represents your attitude, the attitude of most of the people in this audience, but clearly — and I think that most people who come to this conclusion do this on the basis of polls, but I suspect that he’s also writing of a fear he has that if it hasn’t happened yet, that it will, and one of the things that is not really focused on here, try to combine a couple things here with Ben Stein and Henninger because they have some areas of commonality. We might have had rogue bands committing atrocities in World War II, but as Stein points out, our policy in World War II was to kill as many citizens of these countries as possible. That was the definition of winning a war, and we don’t fight them that way anymore — and we all know why.
You can say it’s the word guilt, or political correctness or what have you, but the one thing that was absent in World War II was any news stories, any and all news stories constantly harping on the crimes and the atrocities and the immorality of US forces. The Drive-By Media today has had a profound impact on this because they will not let this go as the Nedra Pickler quote cited by Daniel Henninger illustrates. Many people who live inside the Beltway, as Henninger does, wonder how this can be overcome. When, you know, one-tenth of 1% or one hundredth of 1% of our entire fighting force gets involved in these kinds of atrocities, it comes to define the whole military, and that is how the Drive-By Media is attempting to get this done.
The Democratic Party and the American left are all attempting to besmirch and impugn the entire US military based on incidents like this. They live for these incidents. They live for the Abu Ghraibs. They live for the Club Gitmos. They live for the Hadithas. They live for the body counts because they, too, have an agenda — and their agenda is oriented toward destroying President Bush, and they will destroy whatever they have to in the process of destroying President Bush, even if that means losing against this enemy, even if it means sabotaging the effort against this enemy. We even have a federal judge in Detroit appointed by Jimmy Carter in 1979, is going to go ahead with hearings in a legal challenge to a warrantless domestic surveillance program run by the NSA.
The US district judge’s name is Anna Diggs Taylor. She “also criticized the justice department for failing to respond to the legal challenge. The ACLU in Detroit and the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York have filed lawsuits against the NSA program,” they did this in January, “saying it violates Americans’ rights to free speech and to privacy.” So here we can’t even… This sort of illustrates the folly of New York being all upset, too, particularly the liberals. They’re upset that they’re not getting $40 million that they thought they were going to get, and yet nobody can tell me what that $40 million is going to do to guarantee or to protect or even make progress against preventing a future attack. But the foreign surveillance program is designed to do just that, and it’s being undermined by the very liberals who in New York are just beside themselves that they’re not going to get their Homeland Security money. Now, we’re either at war or we’re not, and you either want us to win or you don’t. And there are a few in this country who don’t want us to win, and many people are starting to have fears now that they’re succeeding in creating fatigue among enough people to create a pullout here. If we do a Mogadishu in Iraq, folks, or Afghanistan, it’ll be a disaster we haven’t seen in our lifetimes.
RUSH: Moving on to Chicago, Nick you’re next. Welcome to the EIB Network.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. It’s an honor to talk to you.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: I was just calling about your comparison of the killing of civilians in World War II to the killing of the people in Haditha.
CALLER: And I think the public outrage in World War II wasn’t as extreme because we were fighting the nations of Germany and Japan, and these people were contributing to the economies of the Axis nations, and, you know, without — with their economic contributions, they were helping those countries’ war effort. But these people, we’re not fighting a war with Iraq, we’re fighting a war in Iraq, and these people probably were not contributing to any terrorist effort or anything like that, and — I mean that makes it more innocent than civilians —
RUSH: I understand what you are saying. All I was attempting to do here was draw some comparison. Remember, the theme of this presentation was, are Americans losing their will for this? Have Americans lost their will to actually fight a war as necessary to win it? And that’s the context, and I’m simply pointing out that in World War II where we were also attacked at Pearl Harbor — and let’s not forget this. The Japanese attacked us first, and we went into Europe next. We didn’t get around to dealing with the Japanese ’til after we had entered World War II in the European theater. The Germans never attacked us, and you can say the same thing about Iraq. The Germans never attacked us.
They attacked our allies, and they were on the march, but they hadn’t attacked us. What the hell were we doing there when we had Japan attacking us? My only point with this is that what used to happen in wars as rote is now something the American people put up with it. I know we weren’t, quote, unquote, attacked by a nation on 9/11 or in any other terrorist attack, and that has changed some of the procedures and so forth. But we don’t really know yet who these citizens were — and it’s going to get far worse. We don’t know if these citizens were aiding and abetting the insurgents, or we don’t know if the insurgents had kidnapped family members and were pressuring them into hiding insurgents.
The insurgents live among the citizens of Iraq. They’re cowards, and they hide behind women and children. They hide in the mosques and so forth, precisely because they know we’re not going to go there and we’re not going to bomb them. But we don’t yet know. Now, in the case of a pregnant woman that was running away, got killed, the odds are that she’s not a terrorist and so forth. We don’t really know that yet, and yet so many of us are ready to cast judgment on the Marines in this episode, based simply on initial military reports before anything official has been mentioned. You know, we don’t know what kind of attacks like this might have occurred when we boots on the ground in Germany or France or elsewhere in the European theater, or once we got over to China, Burma, and that theater.
We didn’t have media telling us about it. We just don’t know. All I’m telling you is that there are people concerned that because of a lack of history education, a lack of context, and a lack of understanding, and I’ve always said it. As I have grown older and as I’ve hosted this program, one of the things that’s always worried me, aside from the lack of decent history education in the public school system in this country is this: That as we grow further and further away from the great wars: World War I and World War II in which we were victorious. Without succeeding wars in which we were seminally victorious, we’re going to have generation after generation will never remember an America victorious at war, they’re only going to remember an America that got hung out to dry, that went places it had no business going, was humiliated and left.
We got Vietnam in that. We got Somalia in that, Mogadishu. People don’t think of Kosovo and Serbia as a successful war because that was fought from 15,000 feet, and that place is still a mess. We didn’t fix anything over there. So that troubles me. And that’s the only reason I bring this context up. And that’s the reason I was talking yesterday about looking admittedly in hindsight, had we gone in there — meaning Iraq — and leveled the place like we would have done in previous wars, if we had cited them as — remember the reason, this preemptive: 9/11 had happened. We had all the intelligence and evidence, the world had it as far back as 1998, weapons of mass destruction. Hit me once, fine. Hit me twice, you’re not going to get away with it, and if we would have gone in there and leveled the place as we have in past wars, the circumstances today wouldn’t exist. All I’m saying.
*Note: Links to content outside RushLimbaugh.com usually become inactive over time.