Sunday, September 5, 2010

Turning the Page on a Tragic Mistake

It is easier to lead men to combat, stirring up their passion, than to restrain them and direct them toward the patient labors of peace.
--Andre Gide

On Sunday, February 23, 2003, less than one month before U.S. military forces invaded Iraq, I stood before the congregation of Reformation Lutheran Church in Philadelphia and asked everyone present to pray for peace. The war with Iraq was a near certainty, I said, and “while all of us are patriotic Americans who oppose the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction, as Christians we are also called to be peacemakers and justice-seekers. We have a responsibility to weigh the ethical concerns raised by this impending war and to make a faithful response.” I asked everyone there that morning to join in a collective petition for peace urging the President to “Drop Rice, Not Bombs” on the people of Iraq. “This is a symbolic gesture, of course, as rice is a symbol of life and sustenance, but it is an important gesture, to let the President know that there are many patriotic Americans (and people of faith) that are not convinced that this war is being conducted as a last resort or that all possible alternatives to war have been pursued.” Following the service, over 100 congregants signed the petition for peace and it, along with a hundred packets of rice, were delivered directly to the White House.

I am certain that President Bush never saw our petition or our packets of rice, and I am under no illusions that our symbolic action had the slightest affect on U.S. policy. But I am proud of the stance that we took that Sunday and I continue to believe that we were right to oppose the war. For me, it was not an easy gesture to make, for I love my country and I feel nothing but honor and respect for the men and women of our armed forces. No one knew for certain how things would turn out. But in the words of the Reverend William Sloane Coffin, Jr., former Chaplain of Yale University and Senior Pastor of Riverside Church in New York City, “There are two kinds of patriots, two bad and one good. The bad ones are the uncritical lovers and the loveless critics. Good patriots carry on a lover’s quarrel with their country, a reflection of God’s lover’s quarrel with all the world.” And while my brand of Christianity may be heretical to the likes of Glenn Beck and many conservative Christians, I am drawn to the words of Dietrich Bonheoffer, who in the end sacrificed his own life in resisting Hitler: “The followers of Christ have been called to peace. . . . And they must not only have peace but make it. To that end they renounce all violence and tumult. In the cause of Christ nothing is to be gained by such methods.”

From the oval office this past Tuesday, President Obama formally announced that the “American combat mission in Iraq has ended” and that “the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country.” The president acknowledged that he was opposed to the War in Iraq from the start – it was a key reason I supported him over Hilary Clinton during the primaries in 2008 – but he said this week, rightfully, that it was “time to turn the page.” Our efforts must now be on helping Iraq to secure a future of stability, peace, and self-rule that permits a nation of extremely divergent sects to achieve a semblance of democracy.

The future of Iraq remains volatile and uncertain; disenchantment is rife and its various factions of Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds remain deadlocked over forming a government. It may be decades before a full accounting of the war may truly occur, but an interim reckoning seems appropriate before we as a nation, once and for all, can truly “turn the page.”

The overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the stirrings of democracy in Iraq, however feeble at present, are the two positive outcomes of the war. But do the ends justify the means? And at what cost?

The human cost of the war has been tragic. So far, over 4,400 Americans have died in the Iraq War. This is not just a number, but a heartbreaking reality for the families and friends of loved ones who paid the ultimate price. All were the sons and daughters, brothers and sisters of loving families; many also were husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, who have left a lifetime of heartbreak in their wake; most were children themselves, so young and vibrant, with decades of life and potential taken from them, often in an instant. The pictures and dates of those who died can be viewed on a Washington Post website, which helps to personalize, in a small way, the tragedy of war and the profound nature of our losses in this conflict.

Not to be forgotten are the more than 35,000 Americans who were wounded during the Iraq War. Many lost arms and legs or were forever disabled or scarred, physically and mentally, their young bodies broken, their emotional and mental health damaged. They return to the “normality” of life in the United States suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, a sense of lost purpose, and uncertainty as to their self-worth. The Army Times reported in April that there are 18 suicides each day among returning veterans, which should constitute a call to action in itself.

Often overlooked is the human tragedy and devastation that we inflicted, directly or, in the nuance of military jargon, as “collateral damage.” Conservative estimates report that we killed more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians in the past seven years. You won’t find a website with their individual pictures and, for most of us, it is just a number. But allow your conscience to imagine the tragic truth, that each person killed by us was a mother, father, brother, and sister. And how many people did we maim and injure that survived our carnage?

We have spent, to date, nearly $800 billion on the Iraq War (well over $1 trillion counting Afghanistan) and we did so without requiring any sacrifice of non-military families. We not only spent the money without paying for the war, we combined the heightened military spending with huge tax cuts for our wealthiest citizens and turned what was a budget surplus into the largest deficits in U.S. history.

The Iraq war disastrously shifted attention away from the more important fight in Afghanistan and cost us years in our fight against those who attacked us on 9/11. Whatever successes and gains we made in the search for bin Laden and the destruction of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan following the tragedy of 9/11 was lost for several years once we shifted attention to Iraq in March 2003.

Our intervention in Iraq made Americans less safe. It left Iran, a far more dangerous threat to American interests, free to pursue its nuclear program, to finance extremist groups, and to meddle and wreak havoc in Iraq and elsewhere. Moreover, only after we invaded Iraq did it become a hotbed of Islamic terrorism, something it was not before Saddam was ousted. Iraq is a Muslim country in a region steeped in deep resentment of western occupation. Throughout the Muslim world, leading Islamic clerics, such as those at Al Azhar University in Cairo and the Lebanese Shiite scholar, Sheikh Fadlullah, each of whom condemned what happened on 9/11, gave their blessing to fight against the occupation of Iraq, which they believed was justified by the Koran’s prescriptions of “defensive” jihad, when a Muslim land is under attack by non-Muslims. Essentially, a growing global movement was energized by the war in Iraq, with jihadists flocking to the country from places like Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Yemen. As U.S. forces violently bombed and destroyed much of Baghdad, the entire world watched on CNN, Al Jazeera, and the Internet. A less effective counter to terrorism could hardly be imagined.

Much damage was caused to U.S. credibility by the Bush Administration’s attempted oversell of the war and its embellishment of the Iraqi weapons’ threat (with the complicity and silence of most Democrats). On March 16, 2003, Vice President Cheney said, “We will, in fact, be greeted as liberators. . . . I think it will go relatively quickly. . . [in] weeks rather than months.” On February 7, 2003, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld predicted that the war “could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.” Bush’s Budget Director, Mitch Daniels, told media outlets in early 2003 that the war and post-war reconstruction would be an “affordable endeavor” not likely to cost more than $50 to $60 billion.

The justification for war was never convincingly made, and all subsequent rationalizations still fall short morally and ethically. President Bush initially attempted to use Iraq as a test case for the administration’s doctrine of pre-emption, which called for early unilateral action against enemies suspected of posing a threat to the United States. The administration implied that Iraq had some undefined connection to 9/11 – something that was not true, which President Bush himself later acknowledged – yet at the time of our invasion, nearly two-thirds of Americans believed that Iraq had been complicit with Al-Qaeda in the 9/11 attacks. The administration also pushed hard the notion that Iraq possessed a large number of weapons of mass destruction (WMD’s), that it was attempting to develop nuclear weapons, and that Saddam was likely to hand off such weapons to terrorists. Yet the evidence is now clear that Iraq’s weapons’ threat was not urgent, if one even existed. In March 2003, the only possible danger lay in the distant future, when U.N. sanctions against Saddam would eventually be removed. But this was hardly justification for seven-and-a-half years of war, as less forceful alternatives were always present. Unlike some on the left, I believe President Bush acted in good faith and was convinced that Saddam possessed WMD’s – indeed, most all of us did at the time – but it is now well established that the intelligence data was manipulated and inconvenient truths selectively discarded.

It was not a just war. We attacked a country that posed no imminent threat to the United States. This was not a defensive war or even a legitimately pre-emptive war. While deposing Saddam was a worthwhile objective, it was contrary to all standards and norms of international law to invade a country solely because we thought its leader a brutal dictator or violator of human rights. If one country can justifiably attack another simply because it believes the other country’s leadership immoral, or evil, or worthy of removal, there would be no reliable notion of sovereignty, chaos would ensue, and many countries throughout the world would be legitimate targets of hostile aggression. Former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, one of the architects of the War in Iraq, suggested in late July 2003 on Meet the Press that the lesson of 9/11 is “that you can’t wait until proof after the fact.” But as Trudy Rubin of the Philadelphia Inquirer noted, “According to this logic, it didn’t matter if there were proof of Saddam’s imminent danger. Follow that logic further and the White House could remove any foreign leader without proof of imminent threat.”

Our actions also fell short of just war theory because they were disproportional to the perceived harm. Deposing Saddam was one thing; killing more than 100,000 civilians, wounding and maiming hundreds of thousands more, causing widespread destruction, and occupying the nation for seven plus years, was far beyond what anyone anticipated or could ever have been justified. The global faith community was right for opposing this war from the outset and the government of the United States was wrong for fighting it.

But it is time to move forward and to take lessons from the past. As the President said in his oval office address last Tuesday, one such lesson “is that American influence around the world is not a function of military force alone. We must use all elements of our power – including our diplomacy, our economic strength, and the power of America’s example – to secure our interests and stand by our allies.” We should honor and take pride in the service provided by our men and women in uniform. Long gone are the days of Vietnam, when blameless soldiers were derided and scorned for the unwise decisions of misguided politicians. “Our troops are the steel in our ship of state,” the President reminded us, “And though our nation may be travelling through rough waters, they give us confidence that our course is true, and that beyond the predawn darkness, better days lie ahead.”

Wars are sometimes necessary, but they must always be a last resort, for the costs of war are astronomical, the burdens of war often too great to bear. In the words of Dwight Eisenhower, we must in the end always “seek peace, knowing that peace is the climate of freedom.”


  1. Mark,

    First, a refresher course:

    It is never a mistake to free the oppressed.

    It is never a mistake to defeat evil.

    It is always a mistake to repeatedly play a broken record in hopes of fixing it.

    Now praying for peace is swell; praying that Saddam Hussein comply with United Nations’ mandates and United States’ ultimatums, making a resumption of hostilities unnecessary, is even better, but God gave us pesky free will - freedom to do bad and freedom to stop those who do bad. Cops and soldiers and those who support their mission ARE the peacemakers and at some point, after the dropped rice has been stolen by Hussein and a corrupt United Nations, it becomes necessary to send in those with the ability to not only seek justice but to secure it.

    Dietrich Bonhoeffer understood this, and likely understood that prayer without action is little more than self-gratification. In between prayers, the Lutheran pastor joined the resistance against Hitler and supported its attempts to assassinate the Führer. (Thanks for introducing me to Bonhoeffer – he’s my kind of padre!) In addition to warning against the “idolatrous cult of the Führer, who would turn out to be a Verführer (misleader),” Bonhoeffer was clear on the need for action, stating that the church must “not just [to] bandage the victims under the wheel, but [to] jam a spoke in the wheel itself." (1)(2)

    This man of action would likely have found the idea of sending rice to the White House pretentious at best and morally questionable at worst in that, as a “symbolic action” that did not have “the slightest affect on U.S. policy” it was in the end a self-reflective gesture. (3) Bonhoeffer would have also had little patience for Monday morning quarterbacking, using post-war revelations to justify pre-war objections.

    The great question raised by the Bonhoeffer story is relevant today with the choices President Bush made: When did it become morally justified (if it ever did) for Bonhoeffer to join a conspiracy to assassinate the leader of a sovereign nation? At one point did “less forceful alternatives” become inadequate? What was the magical number that turned a tolerable slaughter into an unacceptable holocaust? And more interestingly, on what information did Bonhoeffer base his decision? He certainly did not have the benefit of the wealth of knowledge of Hitler’s madness that was secured after the fall of the Third Reich. His decision to aid in the cold-blooded murder of another human being was made in the midst of secrecy and propaganda and he had to somehow see through the lies and misinformation. With a fraction of the truth now possessed by historians, Bonhoeffer took a stand and committed to a course of action that could have dropkicked his God-fearing soul straight to hell.

    The truth is Bonhoeffer couldn’t be sure that what he was doing was right, but he was prepared to risk damnation by discarding his “self-righteousness of conscience” and trust that in the “responsible acceptance of guilt that a conscience which is bound solely to Christ will best prove its innocence.” (4)

    Bonhoeffer had little patience for those who sought to “escape from taking a stand publicly” by finding a “place of refuge in a private virtuousness. . . He must be blind and deaf to the wrongs which surround him. It is only at the price of an act of self-deception that he can safeguard his private blamelessness against contamination through responsible action in the world. Whatever he may do, that which he omits to do will give him no peace.” (5)

    Bonhoeffer understood that effective opposition to evil requires the dirtying of one’s hands, so it is doubtful that the pastor would have had much use for President Obama’s August 31 speech in which the Commander-in-Chief uses the liberal’s synonym for “victory,” when he talks of “turning the page” in Iraq.


  2. In the speech President Obama thanked President Bush for the “surge” that he previously opposed, but that has allowed him to take credit for the “end of our combat mission in Iraq,” in the only way a narcissist can by saying that he “spoke to former President George W. Bush.” In a 2500 word speech about the Iraq War, the president mentions the architect of that war three times and even then, still manages to make it about himself. (6)

    You pose the question of whether or not the bringing to justice of Saddam Hussein and the freeing of 31 million Iraqis was worth the cost in American lives lost. It’s an interesting question that demands a mathematical formula that you fail to provide: How many Iraqis equal one American soldier? You seem to suggest that the ratio of 7,045 to 1 is still too low, an assessment that part of me is tempted to agree with when I read that some Iraqi schools are back to teaching hate, but it is certainly not the Christian part.

    But possibly the ratio is too high, after all, the storm troopers of the United States have butchered over 100,000 innocent Iraqis (“Conservative estimates report that we killed more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians in the past seven years.”), which, if true, suggests that the terrorists (you might know them as “insurgents”) have been unjustly maligned. Unless, of course, you’ve mischaracterized the body count, which in reality is based on “deaths due to coalition and insurgent military action, sectarian violence and increased criminal violence.” (7) (Now in all seriousness, Mark, when I read that our boys killed 100,000 innocent Iraqis my first thought was, impossible! So I’m wondering what it is about your view of America that allows you to accept such a despicable charge against our military without for a second questioning its validity? It wasn’t a slip of the pen because you referred to it twice. Is it the same view that allows you to accept without question that our CIA warriors are, in fact, sadistic “torturers”? And is your first thought upon reading this to research deeper to prove your figures accurate or to be relieved that you were wrong?)

    But if civilian deaths are a measure of the morality of war then we should leave Afghanistan post-haste because our current president has vastly increased the use of predator drones that indiscriminately kill terrorists and the innocent alike. Apparently President Obama disagrees with Senator Obama and sees nothing wrong with "air-raiding villages and killing civilians…” (8)(9)

    The morality of war also, apparently, has a monetary equation although an acceptable cost is again not determined. It took seven years for President Bush to spend 800 billion on a war in which we killed a whole lot of bad guys, built useful things like Abram tanks and changed the face of the barbaric Middle East, while President Obama quadrupled the deficit over lunch resulting in a disastrous FDR-like economy that gets worse the more he spends. (10)

    The idea is advanced once again that those who attacked us are “Afghanistan” Al-Qaeda, a separate and unrelated organization from “Iraq” Al-Qaeda, and our focus should be on killing only those who haven’t left a forwarding address. This logic would prohibit the president’s strategy of taking “the fight to al-Qaeda and its extremist affiliates whether they plot and train in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and beyond,” as well as prevent us from luring terrorists to a more conductive playground for killing them (like Iraq). (11) (12)


  3. Another oldie but goodie idea: Americans are less safe now because of our intervention in Iraq. But the charge is left hanging without substantiation, as if the target audience for such an idea was Cindy Sheehan or Code Pink. For example, if I were to claim that America was safer under Bush than Obama, I would cite the Times Square and pink panty bombers, who, but for the grace of God, would have killed hundreds or maybe thousands, and the Islamist mole who gunned down 13 at Fort Hood (partly because investigators were trying to be politically correct in the land of Obama where Islam has nothing to do with terrorism). (13)

    And nine words later we come to, “It left Iran, a far more dangerous threat to American interests, free to pursue its nuclear program, to finance extremist groups, and to meddle and wreak havoc in Iraq and elsewhere.” Quick questions: How do we really know that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons? Are we sure that Iran finances extremist groups? And how good are our proofs that Iran is wreaking havoc? And even if Iran is doing all of that - what Saddam Hussein was doing before we deposed him - aren’t you on record as declaring those reasons insufficient to justify military action? Nevertheless, President Obama has been in office for 597 days (36 if you subtract weekends, holidays, vacations, date nights and golf outings) and if he really hunkered down, putting his nose to the grindstone just once, he could solve the Iran problem with enough time to get in nine before dinner. (14)

    Another quick question: Do you consider Islamic clerics and scholars who choose to view Iraq as “occupied” instead of “liberated” to be among the group of Muslims known as “moderates”? But on a much more important point, were you drunk when you wrote that the entire world watched the liberation of Iraq on CNN? CNN? The news channel that gave Joy Behar a show, because, well why the hell not, it’s not like anyone is watching anyway? That CNN? (15)

    Now I’m in a good mood so let’s move on to something new, which means skipping over the whole “Much damage was caused to U.S. credibility by the Bush Administration’s attempted oversell of the war and its embellishment of the Iraqi weapons’ threat. . .” and “The justification for war was never convincingly made, and all subsequent rationalizations still fall short morally and ethically . . .” and “The administration implied that Iraq had some undefined connection to 9/11 . . .” and “The administration also pushed hard the notion that Iraq possessed a large number of weapons of mass destruction (WMD’s) . . .” and more, all of which have been debunked several times with actual facts. But at least President Bush acted in good faith while he deceived Americans about WMD and 9/11!
    Damn, there goes my good mood. Well while I’m annoyed let’s dispense with “While deposing Saddam was a worthwhile objective, it was contrary to all standards and norms of international law to invade a country solely because we thought its leader a brutal dictator or violator of human rights.” Mark of the preceding two paragraphs disagrees as to the sole reasons we deposed Hussein, as well as two branches of the U.S. Government and, yeah, me. (16)(17)

    (Continued… Now having reached the “Andrea Limit” I find myself inspired by Al Gore in all his “carbon credit” brilliance. Having not commented on the Race Track short story, I will now utilize one earned “blog credit” and, as I said before, continue…)

  4. Rich,

    I believe you are misreading/misapplying Bonhoeffer if you think that he or his theology would have equated U.S. military action against Iraq with his resistance to Hitler. Bonhoeffer was a committed Christian pacifist, who in the end made a conscience choice to abandon those principles in the plot to kill Hitler. In 1937, however, Bonhoeffer sought to create a community that would fight the power of Hitler’s violence with the power of non-violence revealed in his Christian faith. As he stated in "Cost of Discipleship", he believed non-violence works because Jesus, who knows the “reality and power of evil” better than anyone, taught that non-violence is the way we deal with violence: "Jesus, however, tells us that it is just because we live in the world, and just because the world is evil, that the precept of non-resistance must be put into practice. Surely we do not wish to accuse Jesus of ignoring the reality and power of evil! (p.144). . . . The only way to overcome evil is to let it run itself to a standstill because it does not find the resistance it is looking for. Resistance merely creates further evil and adds fuel to the flames. But when evil meets no oppression and encounters no obstacle but only patient endurance, its sting is drawn, and at last it meets an opponent which is more than its match. (p.142)"

    For Bonhoeffer, peace was the only way true disciples of Christ could respond to violence in light of Jesus’ teaching on the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7). He believed non-resistance worked. Contrary to the Christian political realists at the time, Bonhoeffer felt that the only way to conquer Hitler was through patient non-violence.

    History, as you validly note, told a different story. And after the Confessing Church failed and the secret seminary of which Bonhoeffer was a part was shut down by the Gestapo, Bonhoeffer joined his family, which was part of a non-religious, anti-Hitler, pro-German center of secret plots to overthrow Hitler.

    As told at "Upon arriving at his parents’ house Bonhoeffer was surrounded by secret plots to seize political power from Hitler and institute a conservative government through violent means. Bonhoeffer had no faithful Christian community in which to locate himself. His geographical context was quite different. His house was the meeting place for violent political action. The desires and practices of a community . . . shape its members whether they like it or not. It was only a matter of time before Bonhoeffer submitted to the goals of his new community."


  5. Rich (cont'd):

    Yes, prayer without action is often meaningless, but it is the nature of the action and the necessity for the planned action that must be debated. I acknowledge that the answers are not always obvious, especially for thoughtful people of faith, but in the case of the War in Iraq, I believe (and I understand you disagree), that as a Christian, it was my duty to speak out in opposition to that war. I continue to believe that was the morally correct view, and I believe that history has confirmed it (again, I fully understand that you disagree).

    By the way, I did not say in my post that the U.S. military killed over 100,000 "innocent" civilians - some were innocent (it is a fact that our collateral damage included many, many women, children, and elderly Iraqis) and some were not. But I stand by the estimate, which is quite frankly among the most conservative estimates from the war, according to virtually every news source I have examined. As you have repeatedly noted, going to war means that people will get killed and the objective of the military is to kill as many of the enemy as possible. Unfortunately, given the high-powered nature of our guns and bombs, a lot of surrounding people get killed in the process. This is one of many reasons why the decicion to go to war must be based on more than best guesses and poor intelligence.

    On the deficit, it is a fact that the day Bush took over from Clinton in 2001, America enjoyed a $236 billion budget surplus -- with a projected 10-year surplus of $5.6 trillion. When Bush left office, we had a $1.3 trillion deficit (according to the numbers compiled by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office).

    P.S. - I apologize if the technical glitch caused earlier by the anti-spam software caused any portion of your comments to be deleted. Feel free to post any missing portions.

  6. Thanks Mark, and you can delete the last post above that begins "(12)"


    You end with words of President Eisenhower, but I wonder if you read the entire speech? Replace communism with Islamism and it’s quite relevant to today (with the exception of his praise for the United Nations - hey live and learn): “To counter the threat of those who seek to rule by force, we must pay the costs of our own needed military strength, and help to build the security of others.” (18) You might recall that it was Eisenhower who thought it prudent to take a stand against communism in Vietnam, a country that was not a threat to us. Senator John F. Kennedy agreed: “Burma, Thailand, India, Japan, the Philippines and obviously Laos and Cambodia are among those whose security would be threatened if the Red Tide of Communism overflowed into Vietnam.” (19) Again, replace communism with Islamism and shift the locale and the relevance remains. Communism, fascism and Islamism: ideologies of conquest and oppression. Each must be fought every step of the way, on all battlefields using all means. One such tactic is the spread of the superior ideology of democracy to the dark corners of the world.

    Pastor Bonhoeffer understood this. In fairness though, it was easier for him, being in the middle of a shit-storm, but still, we should be able to comprehend the need for action without actually witnessing the tortures, the amputations, the rapes and the genocide.

    Boneoffer and Bush made impossible choices by understanding that the protection of their souls was secondary to the opposition of evil. The opposing of evil actions with words and endless new lines in the sand may preserve one’s clear conscience but those who make that a priority “can never understand that a bad conscience may be healthier and stronger than a conscience which is deceived.” (20)

    The greater good has seldom been achieved by those obsessed with reserving their spot in heaven, but by those who “bear guilt for charity’s sake” and who understand that “self-justification before God is quite simply sin.” (21)

    I don’t personally know President Bush, but I’d bet a paycheck that when he thinks about his decision to confront evil, he feels guilty for the lives lost and destroyed in the long run-up to the war and regrets not acting sooner.

    Rich R.

    (3)Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “Ethics” (Simon and Schuster, First Touchstone Edition, 1995), 34.
    (4) Bonhoeffer, 241.
    (5) Bonhoeffer, 69.
    (6) “As we do, I’m mindful that the Iraq war has been a contentious issue at home. Here, too, it’s time to turn the page. This afternoon, I spoke to former President George W. Bush. It’s well known that he and I disagreed about the war from its outset. Yet no one can doubt President Bush’s support for our troops, or his love of country and commitment to our security. As I’ve said, there were patriots who supported this war, and patriots who opposed it. And all of us are united in appreciation for our servicemen and women, and our hopes for Iraqis’ future.”

    (Continued… Cashing in “blog credit” for Cab Driver post, which was very good by the way, unless that counts as a post, in which case, forget I said anything.)

  7. (12) “This is what I would call a terrorist magnet, where America, being present here in Iraq, creates a target of opportunity, if you will. But this is exactly where we want to fight them. We want to fight them here. We prepared for them, and this will prevent the American people from having to go through their attacks back in the United States.” Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez
    (17), September 11, 2009 5:42 PM
    (20) Bonhoeffer, 68.
    (21) Bonhoeffer, 167.