January 14, 2007

"To say that we are going to feed more American young men and women into that grinder..."

That's Senator Chuck Hagel on "Meet the Press," really -- as my son John puts it -- "ramping up the gruesome imagery." Context:
The Middle East is in more trouble today, more combustible, more dangerous than at any time since World War II. And you can measure that in, in Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinian states, Iran, Syria. And to say that we are going to feed more American young men and women into that grinder, put them in the middle of a tribal, sectarian civil war, is not going to fix the problem....

[H]ow in the world do we think we can pursue a legitimate policy that’s going to work, that doesn’t continue to consume more of our young men and women, continue to erode America’s standing and respect in the Middle East where we’ll have no hope to have any influence other than bog down further in an unwinnable situation. That’s a very dangerous strategy that will not work.

47 comments:

Kirby Olson said...

There's an article in the current Psychology Today you might enjoy. It says that conservatives are nerds who never felt safe even inside their families, and whacky leftists are perfect grown ups who always use reason. If we could all just be reasonable, and stop using scary imagery, we would all apparently think alike, like the whacky leftists. The scary imagery hijacks the reasonable part of the brain and sends us into the limbic system, where Republicans live, apparently.

Of course we would all be dead if we thought there were reasonable answers to dealing with serial killers like the Bin Laden crew.

But there's me using the scary imagery...

But it strikes me that the imagery of the grinder is a little scary, too? Or was that imagery totally reasonable? I guess it is. Sorry.

And then they cited Winston Churchill who says that anybody at 25 who isn't a liberal has no heart, but anyone who isn't a conservative at 35 has no brain. Finally the article did end with a triumphalist assertion that anybody with a brain would in fact be a liberal, but I don't know how they got to that conclusion except for the fact that that's where they started.

Stop Making Sense is something that I thought the liberals took to heart with the Talking Heads album.

Anonymous said...

Shame on Chuck Hagel for exposing Ann Althouse and her delicate son to graphic imagery of the Iraq War.

Meat grinder! That's like, sooo icky! Why can't they just give us the totals so we can constantly remind ourselves how this is really no big deal compared to WWII?

Anonymous said...

George W. Bush: Our enemies would be no less willing -- in fact they would be eager -- to use a biological, or chemical, or a nuclear weapon.

Knowing these realities, America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof -- the smoking gun -- that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.


I think the imagery was ramped up to 11 a long time ago.

hdhouse said...

Hmmmmm and Senator Hagel is wrong because????

Bush simply set fire to every room in the house and now stands on the sideline bemoaning the total loss.

Don't worry says George. I'll be gone in 2 years. Then it will be the democrats fault.

Frankly, I am continually surprised the meat-grinder rightwing (chew up someone else's child) hasn't blamed Clinton today...

And God there was Psycho Cheney on Faux News sneering at softballs...I want to throw up.

Anonymous said...

By the way, if any of your kids would like to help, they can always visit http://goarmy.com

There is a lot of work to be done in Iraq that will help the Iraqi people, the entire world, and the United States in specific.

downtownlad said...

Hagel should run for President. He's one of the few sane Republicans left.

Maxine Weiss said...

Popular Blogger Ann Althouse recently started moderating her readers' comments.

Althouse freely confesses her newly enacted comment moderation is nothing more than a desperate attempt to censure, what she considers, "Gross Insubordination" on her site.

Peace, Maxine

tjl said...

"And God there was Psycho Cheney on Faux News sneering at softballs...I want to throw up"

Here we are at a moment when our country needs to choose among very grim options. Whatever path we choose, few will be perfectly happy with where it takes us.
Hence we need a public discourse in which clearly-stated alternatives are proposed and supported by logical argument. Instead, we get this pointless drivel from hdhouse and the other Kossites.

The surge plan hardly inspires much confidence on its own merits. But hdhouse's manner of attack suggests that surge opponents have absolutely nothing to offer in its place but bile, witlessly expressed.

Mellow-Drama said...

It's interesting imagery to use, particularly since those against the war in Iraq like to willfully forget that Saddam Hussein actually used a grinder on people. I wonder if he's aware of what he's evoking?

ASX said...

Hagel is ramping up the gruesome imagery.

Bush is ramping up the gruesome reality.

Which is worse? Describing dead bodies or creating them?

ASX said...

Kirby Olson said...
...we would all be dead if we thought there were reasonable answers to dealing with serial killers like the Bin Laden crew.

What exactly does Kirby mean by this? It's not clear, but he seems to be suggesting that without invading Iraq, all Americans would be dead. Does he really believe that?


reality check: Very well done. Great point.

The partisan moderate said...

As someone who harbors presidential ambitions, Hagel is making both a tactical mistake in opposing the President and in my opinion a policy one as well.

The Middle East is and has been a place of instability, corruption, fascism, and religious fundamentalism. While Hagel hits on the current reality, he has no real plan of his own other than withdrawal and negotiating with Iran and Syria, who are have been and continue to be part of the problem in the region. Negotiating with them (whatever its merits) will not change that.

At this point, I prefer the Bush administration's plan which is at least something to Hagel's plan, which doesn't consist of anything.

Anonymous said...

Kirby Olson: If only Psychology Today writers were as impartial and measured as you; maybe they should have used more scientific terms like "conservatives" and "whacky leftists". Also, there's a difference between metaphors and hysterics, and your little "we'd all be dead" sentence definitely falls under the latter category. Because there's nothing a liberal wants more than serial killers roaming the streets.

Hey Althouse, I was reading Cat Fancy the other day and I happened upon an article that I thought you would like. It was all about letting your cat lick you, and it just dripped with disdain for people that hate the feel of cat tongues (a group that I am a proud member of). It completely painted the anti-cat-tongue crowd as hypersensitive, selfish and panic-prone, and the nutty yo-yo pro-cat-lickees as benevolent and calm and delightful. Typical liberal rag!!!

Harsh Pencil said...

Yes I understand that I'm not paying a personal cost here nor is anyone in my immediate family, but given that, has Hagel and the anti-war commenters here lost all historical perspective? We are a country of 300 million people losing roughly 1000 servicemen a year on this war. Yes, they are all someone's child, but so are the forty thousand lost each year in traffic accidents, and are all volunteers, most of whom believe in their mission and don't want to be cut off by Hagel and company. In the 1980's and 1990's we lost between 500 and 1000 servicemen each year just in military accidents. This is a "meat grinder." We lost 4200 Marines in Iwo Jima in a one month battle when our population was half the size it is now.

michael a litscher said...

"In the United States today, we have more than our share of the nattering nabobs of negativism. They have formed their own 4-H Club -- the "hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history."

Tim said...

Hagel and others like him need to explain how losing in Iraq is good for us in the larger war on terror; while they're at it they need to explain how losing in Iraq makes the situation there better for us, Iraq and the Middle East.

My bet?

Hagel and others don't know how losing in Iraq is better for us in the larger war on terror, they cannot explain how losing in Iraq makes the situation better for us, Iraq and the Middle East; worse yet, the couldn't care less.

All they can do is conjure up endless images of Dalton Trumbo's "Johnny Got His Gun."

J. Peden said...

Even accepting Hagel's "grinder" metaphor, he makes no argument at all as to why our current strategy in the wot - which includes the Iraq war - will not work, especially since it has worked so far: has anyone noticed any more 9/11-like attacks upon us, for example?

Shouldn't Hagel actually make an argument against the currrent strategy, to say nothing of also proposing a rationally conceived alternative strategy to face Islamofascism?

Anonymous said...

Meat grinder! That's like, sooo icky! Why can't they just give us the totals so we can constantly remind ourselves how this is really no big deal compared to WWII?

Righties always say "It's a different kind of war", but then go about comparing a religious civil war in Iraq to every other war in recorded history. Except Iraq I that is. Wonder why that is.

Wonder if Instapundit could weigh on human grinders? I know he blogged constantly on it. Wonder if they ever found any?

Seven Machos said...

It's not a different kind of war, Lunch. It's the same kind of war that war has always been, the kind where you kill people and break things. You even have prisoners of war.

Too bad the left in this country isn't up for it.

monkeyboy said...

Boy Reality Check, thanks for the link for my "child", think if I transfer I can keep my current rank?

The left always talks about how Iraq supporters need to join, but I have yet to hear about one posting from khandahar.

Al Maviva said...

Lunch, I dealt with quite a few Iraqi refugees in the early to mid-90's. Never heard about any people grinders, but sure as sh1t met a lot of people who had tongues ripped out with pliers, wives raped to death in front of them, and stuff like that. The child victims of torture were the ones that always got me. Yep, they told me about it. Except for the ones with huge bleeding holes where their tongues used to be, their friends would generally explain. So it's entirely possible the torture-for-criticizing-the-regime stories were made up, and they had merely lost tongues licking car doors in the extreme cold or something.

Thanks, Lunch. I feel privileged. It's not every day that one meets people who are willing to publicly cheer on torturers. It's kind of like finding one has some rare disease, to meet somebody like you. Not pleasant, certainly, but definitely distinctive.

The Drill SGT said...

reality check said...
By the way, if any of your kids would like to help, they can always visit http://goarmy.com


Sorry, no kids, but I served trough 2 wars, my wife served through 2 wars, she drilled last weekend, and she has soldiers deployed to Iraq right now out of the unit she commands.

what is happening in Iraq isn't pretty, whether you think of it as a human meat grinder or the "making both sausage law isn't pretty" analogy, but the alternative from a pullout would make Vietnam 75-76 and Cambodia 75-80 look like the Renaissance by comparison.

Anonymous said...

J. Peden:

I agree with you. No matter what your view on Iraq (and I still support the war while having very big problems with the execution), I think Hegel is symptomatic of why I feel nauseated listening to Congress. David Brooks put it well when he said there's a "seriousness deficit" for the Democrats (and Republicans like Hegel) to make up, and they have to do it quickly. Does anyone on the Hill actually have a serious and workable alternative, or is it just too easy - and too much fun - to score all the political points they can?

Sloanasaurus said...

Hagel is an honorable man and I think he has good intentions. However, his problem, like Murtha has always been that he cares too much for the individual soldiers fighting the war. Its good to care; Murtha has long been an advocate for the soldiers and their health care and benefits. However, at some point it you start to care too much where you don’t ever want our soldiers to fight or to be put in harms way. This is a common trait among failed Generals in history (a la George McClellan). The U.S. Military is a professional organization whose job it is to protect and defend the American people - they know what they are doing. Hagel has lost sight of the larger picture to the detriment of their mission and our security.

One item about this war is that the media seems to ignore any failures among the top command of the military – instead they blame Bush for the failures. They blame Bush because it is easy and does not require much work. This is unfortunate, because there are always bad generals in the system and it often takes political capital to get rid of them. The media would be helpful in getting rid of some of these generals. (Lincoln hired and fired six generals in command of the Army of the Potomac before he found Grant). A great example in the WOT is the supposed failure at Tora Bora where Osama Bin Ladin escaped. If this is true, the fault lies with the military who made the bad strategic choice in how they fought that battle.

An unfortunate leftover from World War II and Vietnam is the idea that the President should not tamper too much with the military regarding the conduct of war. The strategy in Iraq is mostly decided by the generals in charge. If the current change in strategy works (with a new general), history may show that the biggest mistake of the war was following this philosophy and not changing generals soon enough.

Sloanasaurus said...

Harsh Pencil is correct about the casualties. The failure to compare and contrast the losses in Iraq is at the core of the bias that exists with the mainstream media on the Iraq war. Because Iraq is such a small war, very few Americans suffer direct losses or feel any real despair either economically or through the loss of family members. Consequently, people are largely dependent on the media to produce the despair for them and the media has been good at presenting despair without presenting any context of why we are fighting. IMO, it is this false despair created by the media which has led to the current state of mind among the population.

hdhouse said...

Harsh Pencil said... lost all historical perspective? We are a country of 300 million people losing roughly 1000 servicemen a year on this war. We lost 4200 Marines in Iwo Jima in a one month battle...."

Wow Harsh Pencil. Gosh you are right. Meaningless loss of life. Means zip. Nada. Just a friggin' rounding error. Creeps we could loose 2-3 times that much and it wouldn't even be a blip.

What a kewl way to wage war! Wow. Glad you thought of that. We can just make some percentage of our population into some sort of sacrifical death tax...what? say 1/100th of 1%? 1 in 1,10,000? That would give us something like 30,000 troops we could just kill off each year..Wouldn't miss 'em.. 1/10,000. Crap. thats just a low natural death rate. who gives a damn about something like that. keep it in perspective..its only a few more than those who get electrocuted or fall and break their necks around the house i'll bet.

Thanks Harsh Pencil. I feel so much better now that the Iraqi death count is put into perspective. And to imagine that I thought 1000 dead a year and what, 5-6000 seriously wounded amounted to a hill of beans? Silly me. What is this all about. Why with your formula, that 1/10000 we could kill 30 times that much and not miss 'em.

I wonder if ol' Hitler had that same compassion and sense of perspective for the Jews? Do you think? Hey lets just kill off a few hundred thousand of them here and there...there are lots. No one will miss them..just a rounding error...

You absolute asshole.

Sloanasaurus said...

There's an article in the current Psychology Today you might enjoy. It says that conservatives are nerds who never felt safe even inside their families, and whacky leftists are perfect grown ups who always use reason.

When I read this, I figured that it must be a misinterpretation of the article, so I checked it out...

It's true. Read it here
I highly recommend reading it. It has to be be one of the most outrageous and hilarious articles every presented in a serious mainstream magazine. Its hard for my to type because I am laughing so hard. I don't think the author, Jay Dixit, had gotten out much. He must have researched conservatives at the Yale library.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

Studies show that people who study abroad become more liberal than those who stay home.

Professors at major universities are more liberal than their counterparts at less acclaimed institutions.

the more educated people are, the more liberal they become…

Liberals are messier than conservatives

Enough already.

Althouse should do a separate post to discuss the article, its mind boggling.

Christy said...

I'll take Hagel and his imagery over the woman from "The Nation" that Stephanopoulos has on when Cokie Roberts is unavailable. Predictable and repeating the same 2 talking points for every issue. Boring in the extreme. I can't believe my feminist soul was glad that the entire panel marginalized her.

bearbee said...

I think the imagery was ramped up to 11 a long time ago.

Memories
Like the corners of my mind
Misty water-colored memories
Of the way we were
Scattered pictures,.....

Tokyo Subway Sarin attack 1995

Khobar Towers US Embassy 1998

Paris Subway 1995

WTC 1993

US Embassy Beirut 1983

WTC 1993

September 11. 2001

Bali 2002

Bali 2005

Daniel Pearl 2002

Danish Embassy Beirut 2006

Danish Embassy Damascus 2006

London 2005

A Suicide Bombing

Plenty of imagery for all.

Freder Frederson said...

Does anyone on the Hill actually have a serious and workable alternative, or is it just too easy - and too much fun - to score all the political points they can?

How about the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group? Or have we forgotten that already?

David said...

In the context of the GWOT it is important to state the obvious over and over that we have a volunteer military.

HDHOUSE: most of the rest of us remember the 'meat grinder' analogy from the body parts strewn around the Towers in Manhattan, Pentagon, and Pennsylvania after the 9/11 hijackings.

Sorry to impose reality on your fool's paradise of Nike tennis shoes and comets but that is where you reside not those with a grasp on reality.

I await your predictable ad hominem attack and thinly veiled reference to your alleged moral/intellectual superiority. I do admire your predictability!

Sloanasaurus said...

Thanks Harsh Pencil. I feel so much better now that the Iraqi death count is put into perspective.

Hdhouse, you are the idiot here. Your response to Pencil's intellectual exercise is typical for liberals. All you do is feel your emotions... thanks for the logical and response of substance to Pencils comment. You add much to the discussion.

Also go back and read this comment...

I wonder if ol' Hitler had that same compassion and sense of perspective for the Jews? Do you think? Hey lets just kill off a few hundred thousand of them here and there...there are lots. No one will miss them..just a rounding error...

and then explain to the rest of us how you consider yourself an educated person.

Tim said...

Regarding the Psychology Today piece, there is nothing quite so transparent as academics validating their own world view. But if we didn't know that most psychologists (and psychiatrists) become such first in an effort to make sense of their own lives, someone might actually take this nonsense seriously.

But it sure has political utility - conservatives are both stupid and paranoid! How much longer until someone on the Left argues for the necessity of prospective voters passing a "mental health" exam before being allowed to vote?

Sloanasaurus said...

The Psychology Today Piece argues that liberals have messier rooms than conservatives and like more colors; that liberals like to listen to classical music more than conservatives; and that liberals own more books on a much wider variety of subjects than conservatives. (note that it did not argue that liberals read more books - it just said they own more books).


A very perplexing piece....

Anonymous said...

Freder Frederson:

No, I haven't forgotten the Baker-Hamilton Commission... which included precisely no incumbent members of the House or Senate. Sorry, but if you've seen any serious, workable alternatives to the President on Capitol Hill lately please point them out. I really want to be proved wrong on this, but it seems to me that the last thing anyone wants is to put up any serious policy alternative they might just have to stand behind next November. And that's not only but grossly irresponsible, IMO.

Anonymous said...

I left a couple of words out of the last sentence of my previous comment which should read: And that's not only even more breath-takingly cynical than usual but grossly irresponsible, IMO.

Anonymous said...

I think some of you are truly despicable.

Chuck Hagel served proudly in Vietnam and earned two purple hearts and a bronze star.

You don't have to agree with him, but to claim that he is ratcheting up the gruesome imagery of war-- well, all I would say is that he's seen a lot more of it than you have.

Or is the next step to 'swift boat' him too, since he is offending the delicate sensibilities of those who would prefer that war be presented in a nice clean, sanitized way?

Anonymous said...

craig ranapia:

Here is a workable alternative.

1. Recognize that Iraq is a multinational country and sooner or later will, like the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, break up into its three main components-- a Sunni state, a Shia state and a Kurdish state.

2. Convene a regional summit on how to smooth this transition, including negotiations on three main sticking points-- borders, the rights of minorities in each state, and oil revenues.

Now, I don't believe that Bush could do this-- for one thing he is absolutely the worst diplomat we've had in the White House anytime since I can remember. But I suspect that as people recognize at least that there will be no 'win' in Iraq and that we will need to negotiate our way out and find a political settlement of some type, that you will see a lot more focus on a candidate's experience and temperment in regard to diplomacy during next years Presidential election.

SteveR said...

Wow! An all-star line up of second guessers and critics.

Anonymous said...

Slonasaurus typed: "It has to be be one of the most outrageous and hilarious articles every presented in a serious mainstream magazine."

I went to Psychology Graduate school.

I have friends who are psychologists.

I am a licensed clinical psychologist.

"Psychology Today" is no serious mainstream magazine. Heck, we (the American Psychological Association) even owned it for awhile. Trouble is, you can't make money sharing psychological research and findings in the popular media. So the APA sold it, and it went back to being a worthless rag.

But then, most psychologists are hopelessly left leaning, moonbat wankers anyway.

That's my opinion from the inside anyway.

Trey

Steven said...

There's three categories of congressman when it comes to the Iraq War.

There are the principled hawks, who understood they were voting for war, and understood that war means death, and decided the cost was worth it. These people have the perspective to understand that three thousand deaths in almost four years is a very low-cost war.

There are the principled doves, who understood they were voting for war, and understood that war means death, and decided the cost wasn't worth it. These people have the perspective to understand that three thousand deaths in almost four years is a low-cost war, but they were against even a low-cost war as too much death to begin with.

Then there are the unprincipled wretches, with names like Kerry and Hagel, who understood what war was, understood it means death, voted for it, and now complain that people are actually dying fighting in the war they authorized.

The immorality of the latter is enhanced when they are veterans, because they've seen war themselves, and knew what it was like. They deserve only scorn.

The Drill SGT said...

Steven said...
There's three categories of congressman when it comes to the Iraq War.


There are at least 2 more types:

Clueless Congresspersons

Pandering Congresspersons

They occur in both parties.

Anonymous said...

There is another category of Congressperson (and yes, that includes Chuck Hagel):

The ones who believed that this war would be managed competently and therefore would be over quickly-- and now that it 1) is not, and 2) the odds against us ever gaining a decisive 'win' growing less and less, are realistic enough to realize that we can only get out via a negotiated settlement-- and if you believe that, then you have an obligation to oppose any more war because even a hawk would have to acknowlege that even one more death is too many when it is in vain. And I believe that while there is a chance we could have won the war early on if we had occupied Iraq with a sufficiently sizeable force to prevent an insurgency from getting started, that window of opportunity has long since vanished from sight, and where we are now is in an intractable conflict where any idea that we can 'win' is a mirage.

The Jerk said...

So, by Harsh Pencil's logic, the 3,000 that died on 9/11 aren't really worth getting worked up about, right? Far more people die in car accidents every year, after all.

Alpha Liberal said...

Hmmmmm, wage a real gruesome war where real human meat actually gets grinded, and people don't have a problem -- so long as it's not shown on TV or described in such graphic terms?

Reality check, people. "Meat grinder" is a very accurate description of what is happening. Maybe you like to be hidden from the painful reality of the war, but that's just not healthy. We need to face it, not hide from it!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Alpha Liberal, war is hell. I just want our enemies to go through much more hell than we do. Perhaps there, A L and I part company.

Trey

Anonymous said...

Kirby wrote: " The scary imagery hijacks the reasonable part of the brain and sends us into the limbic system, where Republicans live, apparently."

Republicans? I thought it was the liberals who spend most of their time with their panties in a wad with no plan as to how to calm things down. That is limbic activation. Lots of panic and noise, not much problem solving.

Trey