June 22, 2006

"G.O.P. Decides to Embrace War as Issue."

What a strange turnaround!
Just a few weeks ago, some Republicans were openly fretting about the war in Iraq and its effect on their re-election prospects, with particularly vulnerable lawmakers worried that its growing unpopularity was becoming a drag on their campaigns.

But there was little sign of such nervousness on Wednesday as Republican after Republican took to the Senate floor to offer an unambiguous embrace of the Iraq war and to portray Democrats as advocates of an overly hasty withdrawal that would have grave consequences for the security of the United States. Like their counterparts in the House last week, they accused Democrats of espousing "retreat and defeatism."
How did that happen? Jim Rutenberg and Adam Nagourney write:
[P]eople who attended a series of high-level meetings this month between White House and Congressional officials say President Bush's aides argued that it could be a politically fatal mistake for Republicans to walk away from the war in an election year.

White House officials including the national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, outlined ways in which Republican lawmakers could speak more forcefully about the war. Participants also included Mr. Bush's top political and communications advisers: his deputy chief of staff, Karl Rove; his political director, Sara Taylor; and the White House counselor, Dan Bartlett. Mr. Rove is newly freed from the threat of indictment in the C.I.A. leak case, and leaders of both parties see his reinvigorated hand in the strategy.

The meetings were followed by the distribution of a 74-page briefing book to Congressional offices from the Pentagon to provide ammunition for what White House officials say will be a central line of attack against Democrats from now through the midterm elections: that the withdrawal being advocated by Democrats would mean thousands of troops would have died for nothing, would give extremists a launching pad from which to build an Islamo-fascist empire and would hand the United States its must humiliating defeat since Vietnam.

Republicans say the cumulative effect would be to send a message of weakness to the world at a time of new threats from Iran and North Korea and would leave enemies controlling Iraq's vast oil reserves, the third largest in the world. (The book, including a chapter entitled "Rapid Response" with answers to frequent Democratic charges, was sent via e-mail to Republican lawmakers but, in an apparent mistake, also to some Democrats.)
Great strategy... except that last part. (Email is always breaking loose.) And let me say that it's not just a good political strategy, it's actually the correct analysis of the war.
A senior adviser to Mr. Bush said the White House had concluded that it was better to plunge aggressively into the debate on Iraq than to let Democrats play upon clear, public misgivings about the war. "This is going to be a big issue in this election," said the adviser, who was granted anonymity in exchange for agreeing to describe strategic considerations about the war. "Better to shape and fight it — as good and strongly as you can — than to try to run away from it."
Interesting the way the attitude toward political strategy resembles the attitude toward fighting the war itself. It seems to reinforce the impression that the Republicans are the ones to trust on national security. And, apparently, this impression was clear enough that it shocked the Democrats out of a position that they thought was great.

So, that email escaping into Democratic hands... was that an accident? The Democrat who got the the email was Nancy Pelosi.

146 comments:

McKreck said...

As a Republican I think this is very reassuring. Bush is too often silent, preferring to let his opponents hang themselves with their own bad arguments. But sometimes that means his opponents will frame the issue in a way that Bush and the Republicans cannot win the debate, so it's good to see Republicans fight back against this and try to frame the issue in a way that favors them.

And it highlights a lesson that can be drawn from Vietnam (and Beirut) that is not often discussed: never do anything that looks to our enemies like a retreat. It's a sure way to lose elections.

Pogo said...

Pelosi's response on reading the "errant" e-amil:

1. "Aaaagh! My eyes! It burns!"
or
2. She wonders why it would possibly be bad to send a message of weakness to Iran and North Korea, and leave enemies controlling Iraq's vast oil reserves.
or
3. "I know, more Pell grants!"

Too Many Jims said...

It is an interesting turn of events indeed. I do, however, hope they are honest that we wll be there for at least a couple of more years (and likely more).

Mary said...

"And let me say that it's not just a good political strategy, it's actually the correct analysis of the war."

"I haven't studied military strategy. I don't have any ideas of my own about how to do brain surgery either."

Grain of salt, anyone?

PatCA said...

Yes, Bush is TOO often silent. I guess the conventional wisdom still is that we cannot handle war and its burdens. This is the false lesson of Vietnam. After 9/11 many of us realize we cannot let the military insulate us from reality. We do have enemies. To the government I say, ask us to sacrifice, share our rage at the beheaders, include us in. Make this an American cause, not just a military one. Most of all, WIN!

Ann Althouse said...

Mary, your gotcha is wrong. Reexamine the archives. I've repeatedly said I favor doing what is needed to win, but that I can't give a specific strategy. This isn't inconsistent with that.

Sloanasaurus said...

Yes, these defeats against the Demcrats are great victories for the U.S. It shows where we stand as a nation - stay the course for now at least.

The enemy in Iraq has no real intelligence, thus they can only interpret from what they see on the ground, what they see in the U.S. and world press and what our government announces publicly.

I am somewhat disturbed by the recent announcement that more than 500 gas shells have been found in Iraq. I think the real answer (that was implied from the WMD reports) and news of some shells being found is that we know there are tons of WMD missing in Iraq and we would prefer that the enemny not waste resources to look for them. Thus, the notion that there are is no WMD in Iraq, which is being communicated everywhere (while being politically bad for Bush) is a great message for the insurgency. If the insurgency believes there is no WMD they won't go looking for the WMD. The worst thing that could happen is if the insurgency started using WMD on our troops.

Mark said...

Mary,

It's futile to hope that most commenters here would take her comments regarding the war with a grain of salt. Don't you see that no situation on the ground can ever change their minds? As parrots, they repeat that we need to "win", never bothering to consider that the presence of US troops is not contributing to any victory and is further flaming the insurgency.
When one seriously says that the GOP talking points are "correct analysis", there's nothing to seriously discuss.

I hope that the GOP follows this "analysis". It would lead to both the House and the Senate going Democratic. I believe and fervently hope that most Americans are smarter that the GOP would like them to be and can see through the empty slogans such as "cut and run". The debase the debate, as Republican Senator Chuck Hagel said.

Mark said...

Sloan:

Hope you're enjoying your stay in the Land of Oz.

Sloanasaurus said...

Mark, what kind of comment is that?

Your obviously an intellectual light weight.

Are you so twisted that you don't beleive Bush actually cares more about the country than his own approval rating?

Go read some history, you will learn some things about how wars are waged.

Troy said...

It's called commitment Mark. I realize many on the left (and way too many Republicans) don't understand the concept of finishing a job started, but to just pull up and out is unconscionable. This is not some marriage you can shitcan because you're "not happy" or a credit card you can bankrupt out of because the costs are too high.

No matter how ill-advised -- we cannot just pull out of Iraq. I'll grant Kos' full argument.

Let's assume the worst... Bush lied, criminally, and prosecuted the war in Iraq so we could have low gas prices or Big Oil could have record profits or avenge Daddy or any other tin-foil hat premise you want. So what? We still -- for national security, face-saving, etc. HAVE to WIN in Iraq. There is no wholesale tactical retreat here. The only option is withdrawal when victory is achieved. Defining "victory" is key no doubt.

If -- and it's a big "if" -- the Dems win; then they can investigate the hell out of Bush, et al. I don't think that will happen because whenever the Dems talk about pullout, the average American hears "We're pussies who can't stick it out". That is never a winning startegy in most Congressional districts except for Pelosi's and some others. San Fran apparently will punk out to anybody.

Mark said...

Sloan:

There's no proof whatsoever for your argument. You are relying on the old chemical weapons which were stored prior to 1991 as the evidence that Iraq had WMDS, and then making a crazy conjecture that there are more WMDs but we're not publicizing that so that insurgents don't find them.
Don't you think that whoever hid the WMDs (on the orders of Saddam) would have shared this information with insurgents long ago?

When you accuse me of being an intellectual lightweight, that's a bit like the pot calling the kettle black. I am not the one who's coming up with crazy theories intended to put Bush in the best possible light.

Mike said...

So Mark, if we were to leave Iraq as fast as possible, you believe the response by the insurgency would be what?

Brent said...

Ann,

This is not a "turnaround". The Republicans are smart enough to look at the polls and believe them - despite the national negative mood on the war in Iraq, the ONE ISSUE where Republicans still are ahead in the polls is "Who Do You Trust More to be in charge of National Security?"

C'mon, they are simply smart enough in the White House to take advantage of that. Anyone can see that.

Heck, even little ol' insignificant me wrote THIS in your comments section 3 days ago:

"The Democrats have convinced a large section of the American Public on one thing: elections are for serious business. And when Americans go into the voting booth, the rubber meets the road, and each family shakes hands with the future. That said, there is no Democrat on the national scene that is credible on military issues, or able to be trusted with the war on terror. And the American VOTER, despite the polls, knows THAT fact on Election Day."

Sloanasaurus said...

".....As parrots, they repeat that we need to "win", never bothering to consider that the presence of US troops is not contributing to any victory and is further flaming the insurgency....."

This is false. In fact they are considering this argument and rejecting it completely. The idea that aggrevating your enemy is the entire theory behind the appeasement of Hitler at Munich in 1938 and in any appeasement. France and Britain were so scared that offending hitler would lead to war they were willing to appease him - and got war anyways.

To believe that our aggressive posture creates more terrorist and therefore we should not do it must be rejected.

It is true that our involvement in Iraq creates more terrorists and mroe resistance. It is also true our war against Germany and Japan probably mobilized these countries to put 10 million more men under arms than they would have if we would have negotiated a peace. However, to defeat the enemy you have to assume that the enemy will garner more resources in the fight. Just because the enemy increases their force does not mean you give up.

If we left Iraq today the terrorists would probably defeat the new Iraqi government and we would be back in the middle east fighting a third and more deadly war in the future.

Sloanasaurus said...

What a minute Mark. There is a report that just came out that they have found more than 500 warheads with WMD. Yes, I am making the assumption based on this report that they had WMDs because 500 warheads have been found. And the report concludes that they think more are there.

"Don't you think that whoever hid the WMDs (on the orders of Saddam) would have shared this information with insurgents long ago?...."

Maybe, but we captured or killed most of Saddams henchmen in the very early stages of the war. And the insurgency groups are on their second-third-fourth changes in management since then.

Mark said...

Troy:

There's a difference that you and most other war supporters don't grasp. The difference is between "commitment with hopes of success" and "blind commitment to stay the course which actually hinders chances of success." I support the former and I don't support the latter. The situation in Iraq is in the latter category. The presence of the US troops in Iraq is a) flaming the insurgency; b) does nothing to combat militant Islam in the world, c) contributing to the general instability in the region, d) prevents the US from focusing on Iran and Afghanistan.

"Finish the job" means what to you? No matter how long the US troops stay, 2 years, 5, 10 years, the insurgency will be there. US troops are in a foreign land where most of the native people don't want us to be. How can any smart person really think that anything will change in future? As Bush said, if the USA were occupied, he would not like the occupiers either. No matter how noble the intentions are, we are not achieving anything by our presence in Iraq.

McKreck said...

Mark,

So what's your point exactly? That we are all a bunch of idiots and we should shut up and listen to you? Is that your plan for Democrats to win an election, badger everybody until they bow down to your wisdom?

Mark said...

Sloan,

Again, there's a difference between Hitler's Germany and modern day Iraq. Hitler's Germany was a united country with a purpose of capturing the world and establishing the Third Reich. If all of Iraq was Al Qaeda fighting the US, I would agree with you.

However, most of the insurgency is not Al Qaeda-related; the majority of insurgents are Iraqis engaged in sectarian war; they are united in their desire to drive the USA out of the country. If the USA leaves, the civil war will continue, undoubtedly. It will continue with or without US being there.

It's best to deal with Al Qaeda by not keeping 100K+ troops in Iraq, while we're there, we're only growing its ranks despite our capture of the leaders.

Jacques Cuze said...

that the withdrawal being advocated by Democrats would mean thousands of troops would have died for nothing, would give extremists a launching pad from which to build an Islamo-fascist empire and would hand the United States its must humiliating defeat since Vietnam.

You should study a bit of econ to learn about sunk costs. The Dems would not be to blame for thousands of troops dyng for nothing, that would be George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Ann Althouse. The Dems would not be to blame for America's most humiliating defeat since Vietnam, that would be George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and Ann Althouse. The Dems would not be to blame for giving terrorists a launching pad, that would be George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and Ann Althouse.

The Dems would not be responsible when in future wars Americans are tortured: GWB, DR, AA.

The Dems would be responsible for allowing the Army to rebuild. Not responsible: GWB, DR, AA.

The Dems would be responsible for stemming the massive increases in our debt. Not responsible: GWB, DR, AA.

The Dems would be responsible for allowing DHS to refocus on threats to America's borders: hardening up our cities and infrastructure, port inspections, etc. Not responsible: GWB, DR, AA.

The Dems would be responsible for allowing the American and the Army to have the resources to focus on true threats: Iran and NK. Nrgwbdraa.

Ann, if I were to tell you my "analysis" of a Supreme Court decision, you would laugh. If you were to tell me your analysis of a real-time flight control system, I would laugh.

I admire your ability to analyse the war.

Nothing in that book or email seems to discuss the merits of the war. Everything appears to discuss the war in Iraq as a political strategy to keep control of Congress.

And no hat tip to me?

fyi: mark, mary, don't let sloan fool you, he is an automated bot.

Mark said...

McKreck,

My point is that one should try to look beyond empty simplistic slogans such as "cut and run" or "we need to win". Noone is advocating "cutting and running" whatever that means, and noone disputes that "we need to win", although we all differ as to what does it mean, "to win" and how to achieve that.

Mary said...

Not a gotcha, just my observation. Seems logically inconsistent:

If you don't know military strategy, why would anyone give credence to your opinion of what is the "correct analysis of the war"?

Something -- a step or two -- is missing there.

"And let me say that it's not just a good political strategy, it's actually the correct analysis of the war."

"I haven't studied military strategy. I don't have any ideas of my own about how to do brain surgery either."

Like you saying to someone a few days post-op, "Oh the brain surgery went wonderfully. A complete success. Everything is progressing nicely."

If you don't know brain surgery, the missing step appears to be your reliance on the "experts" -- doctors who performed the surgery, or in this case, leaders who have an incentive to portray the current course and their work to date in a positive light.

Your opinions on this blog, and the nation's goals in accurately accessing leadership and true progress, are not necessarily the same. Most can see that. Hence, the grain of salt comment.

altoids1306 said...

Talk is cheap. Does America agree with Ann? Let's see how the elections pan out. I think the GOP will retain control of both the House and Senate, perhaps with slightly reduced majorities (you can't possibly expect the GOP majority to continue growing indefinitely...)

And even if the Dems take the House, that's not necessarily a bad thing. The GOP of late needs to be a taught a lesson, and shape up for 2008. As long as the GOP has the Senate, Bush can still get his judges through, and a Democratic House would throughly disabuse Americans from voting in Democratic 2008. Government would come to a grinding halt, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Brent said...

Let me rephrase my earlier comments, especially for the sake of the anti-Iraq war commenters:

TAlk about the war all you want, but you CANNOT effect a change in the way it is being fought. There is NO Public Support, despite the "polls" for changing course to your position.

Do not expect to see Democrats take over either the House or Senate this fall - it just won't happen.

You can blame demographics, or "illegal (in the Democrat Dictionary spelled "Texas") reapportionment", or the Media, or Big Oil, or Big Food, or Big Toy's R Us or whoever (my personal favorite is "the stupidity of the average American voter") . . . but:

There are still NO Democrats on the national scene that the American Public believes they can vote for, trusting them to even be confident on National Security.

And that won't change between now and November.

Abraham said...

Mark - you are the parrot here. Simply repeating over and over again that "no matter how noble the intentions are, we are not achieving anything by our presence in Iraq" does not make it any more true.

In fact, I have seen ample evidence that great progress has been made, that progress is continuing to be made, and that plans are in place to ensure that progress continues to be made. So I judge your premises to be totally erroneous, your conclusions to be incorrect, and your arrogance totally unwarranted.

Jacques Cuze said...

Chuck Hagel: “Focus Group-Tested Buzz Words…Like ‘Cut and Run’…Debase the Seriousness of War”

This afternoon on the Senate floor, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) blasted conservatives who have turned to “catchy political slogans” to avoid having a serious debate about Bush’s Iraq policy. Hagel argued that using such focus-group tested words like “cut and run” demean the debate and “debase the seriousness of war.”

Congress fails in its duty when we do not probe, when we fail, we do not ask tough questions, and we fail when we do not debate the gate issues of our day. There is no issue more important than war. The war in Iraq is the defining issue on which this Congress and the administration will be judged. The American people want to see serious debate about serious issues from serious leaders. They deserve more than a political debate. This debate should transcend cynical attempts to turn public frustration with the war in Iraq into an electoral advantage. It should be taken more seriously than to simply retreat into focus-group tested buzz words and phrases like “cut and run,” catchy political slogans that debase the seriousness of war. War’s not a partisan issue, Mr. President. It should not be held hostage to political agendas. War should not be drug down into the political muck. America deserves better. Our men and women fighting and dying deserve better.

Mark said...

Yeah, this argument about "dying in vain" is ridiculous in the extreme!! Taken to its logical conclusion, it means that no matter what the chances of success are (even if they are nil), we should send more soldiers to die to keep the war going, just so that we can pretend that soldiers who died before did not die in vain. As Jacques said, if the soldiers died in vain, the moral culpability is on Bush and those who supported him, not on the people who want to withdraw the troops.

Mark said...

Abraham,

It's great that you have seen that evidence. It would be great if you could share it, since it definitely conflicts with the reports of growing insurgency and the recent cable from the US embassy in Baghdad about deteriorating situation there.

Sloanasaurus said...

That is your view General Mark, but you don't really know whether or not our withdrawing will make things better.

Besides, isn't a determination of this fact best left up to the Generals and the military. Should we let our politicians decide whether or not the troops are doing more harm than good. This sounds to me like politicans meddling in the tactical and strategic planning of a war - something politicans should stay away from. Instead politicans need to give a clear goal to the military and then provide the resources to reach that goal. (I believe General George Marshall said something like that). If the goal of the democrats is to win, they should communicate this rather than trying to tell the experts (the military) how to win (as you said by pulling out). If the Democrats want to lose, then they should order a pull out.

The difference you pointed out about Germany and Iraq is a non-sequitur. Being united doesn't make a differce to the argument. Besides there is no civil war. A civil war is when the institutions of a society line up against each other. In Iraq there are attempts to ferment a civil war by criminal gangs, but this has so far failed.

Mary said...

Mark,
It's early, but I like Hagel.

Mary said...

Sloan,
All due respect, I think the Iraqi people are in a better position to talk about their country, not you. Autonomy for all.

monkeyboy said...

So how exactly do we leave Iraq in chaos and claim victory?

When we left Somalia, another war against non-Al Qaida insurgents with no direct threat to the United States, Bin Laden declared we were a weak horse, and started planning 911. So they declare they have defeated the west and we cannot stomach the fight, what is going to be the answer to that?

Paddy O. said...

Mary, that's a great point. And since the majority of the people voted in a government, I think that government in Iraq should be the one asking us to stay or telling us to leave.

What does the new Prime Minister say on the subject?

Or do the Iraqi version of gangbangers get veto rights?

McKreck said...

Mark, you said "My point is that one should try to look beyond empty simplistic slogans such as "cut and run" or "we need to win"."

It sounds to me like what you have been saying is that if a person does not agree that withdrawal is the correct option, then that person must be a parrot who cannot look beyond empty slogans, a person who has not thought things through correctly who needs to be told to go back and start over.

In my opinion, if that is your logic, then that is merely a variation of the statement, "Your're an idiot, shut up."

Mark said...

Sloan:

There are many generals who off the record say that our presence is flaming the insurgency. Obviously they cannot say so on record because they would be immediately dismissed. You probably know how this administration "values" diversity of opinion and what it did with General Shinseki who had the temerity of having an opinion different from Rumsfeld's.

Respectfully, it's your comments about Germany which are non-sequitur. Again, Al Qaeda does not control Iraq the way Hitler controlled Germany. If we withdraw, we are not leaving Al Qaeda in control, on the contrary we're dealing it a severe blow by removing their main argument to Iraqis: that they need Al Qaeda to fight the "Crusaders". If we leave, we'll fight Al Qaeda more effectively.
And your definition of civil war is unduly narrow; the civil war includes the situation when various ethnic groups fight each other.

Mark said...

McCreck,

Obviously not all people who support the war are like parrots. Some really thought things through and came to the conclusion (mistaken, I believe) that the US should stay in Iraq virtually indefinitely. I respect that position if it's thought-through and supported by logic. I don't respect the GOP talking points' analysis quoted by Ann which turns the war in solely political issue and is basically an amalgam of truisms, banalities, and misstaments that "debases the level of the debate" as Republican Senator Hagel said.

Mary said...

"Mary, that's a great point. And since the majority of the people voted in a government, I think that government in Iraq should be the one asking us to stay or telling us to leave. What does the new Prime Minister say on the subject?"

Now we're getting somewhere patty. Instead of asking the new government though, why not ask the Iraqi people? They get to define success ultimately, and really get to vote with their actions, whether cooperative or heads down/survival mode. It must be miserable to have to live under some of those conditions, and then be told by foreigners like us just how good they've got it.

It's a good thing to keep in mind that a government can be distinct from a people. Might keep you alive one day.

Alan said...

Maybe the GOP is realizing the war isn't the source of their political problems. They should have got a clue when their numbers began to dive during the Shiavo mess.

The GOP is just as dumb as the Democrats when it comes to polls. Yeah, the majority think abortion is awful and that life is precious but that doesn't translate into believing we want government to make our reproductive and end of life decisions for us. And yes Democrats, we don't like the war. But that doesn't translate into wanting to cut and run. We believe we're building an alternative form of government in Iraq as opposed to the thug dictatorships which put us in this mess to begin with. If the Democrats had dropped their knee-jerk anti-war BS and got on board, this project would be further along than it is. And there probably would be no question of them taking control of congress next year. But then their anti-war mentality is pathological.

Ricardo said...

"The meetings were followed by the distribution of a 74-page briefing book to Congressional offices from the Pentagon to provide ammunition for what White House officials say will be a central line of attack against Democrats...."

To what extent are Pentagon resources being used to "fight" the Democrats? As an ex-military officer, who was constantly told to avoid direct involvement in partisan politics, I find this highly disturbing (regardless of which party is in power). Am I just reading too much into this, or has the admininstration decided to use our military men and women to open another "front" against the Democrats? Who EXACTLY prepared this briefing book?

RogerA said...

With respect to the points about military strategy as raised by Mary, it seems to me that we are not talking about military strategy, but geo-political strategy. Military strategy is a subset of that larger approach.

Fighting an insurgency from a military standpoint is very difficult, as one's success is often more dependent on economic and political factors than on military power and technology.

For Mark: For the record, Rick Shinseki was not forced to retire; rather, his four year term as Army Chief of Staff was up. I am only aware of six lower ranking generals who have been (publicly) critical of the war--thats a very small percentage of serving flag officers.

Brent said...

If anyone believes that "anti-Iraq War" Democrats can be elected to the Senate (not "RE-elected), thereby leading to a Democratic Senate takeover, or at the least, more pressure on the White House's war plans:

You will not see the Democrats field a winning, full "anti-Iraq War" Senate candidate. The successful Democrat (running the first time) will take numerous postions similar to the White House. Only those Democratic Senators running for re-elction will have the option of maintaining an "anti-Iraq War" position.

That said, the comments, bless your heart, that are rehashed every day throughout the blogosphere are:

- merely an exercise to articulate already strongly-held positions

- for receiving reinforcement in your position from others with similar views

- almost never successful at changing minds and positions . . . though the few that do are "certainly worth the effort".

Are you a believer that the anti-war efforts during the Vietnam war actually ended the war any sooner?
Michael Medved was a leader in that movement (a true leftist at the time) and today, believes that while America's morale was brought low by the anti-war effort, that the movement actually "pro-longed" the actual war. He is joined in his opinion by over 30 other left-wing (most still are) anti-war movement leaders.


Simply be aware that, while the back and forth has good purposes, this is the future factual reality of the Iraq War:

The Bush White House will prosecute the war exactly as the President sees fit for the remainder of his term in office. There will be no public or Congressional pressure that will alter his intentions or plans whatsoever.

There will continue to be public handwringing over new "evidence", on a regular basis, of "proof" that Bush (pick as many as you like):

- lied

- is in big with Big Oil

- can't admit he made mistakes

- insert your own complaint.


Folks, the writing Hand of History has already written at least the next two years...

...so, find a way to contribute something constructive. if you say you support the troops (whatever your war view) then please put your feet and money where your comments are, and adopt a serviceman or woman, contribute to military families time or meals, or a whole host of things.

Because, again, being angry about the war will not change ANYTHING about it in at least the next two years.

Sloanasaurus said...

"........There are many generals who off the record say that our presence is flaming the insurgency. Obviously they cannot say so on record because they would be immediately dismissed....
____

Mark that is such a load of Bull. You are trying to tell me there are generals who secretly believe that pulling out of Iraq would be better than staying because they are afraid. What a joke. If the military told Bush that we had a better chance of winning by pulling out, Bush would do it in a second. Pulling out now only means one thing - that the policy ahs changed from winning to accepting defeat. Do democrats want defeat?

Secret Generals?...now you are the one fantasizing.

The General Shinsheki reference is also bunk. Every tactical and strategic decision has critics in the military, which is why our military kicks butt. There were tons of critics regarding the D Day decision in World War II, tons of critics over campaigns such as market garden - so what. I dont recall the Congress seeking out these critics and then passing laws to adopt their points of views....

Mike said...

Ricardo - Just based on what's in the article, you may be reading too much into this. It's the White House official who is quoted as "attack against the Democrats". The Pentagon probably believes that it's important to finish the job (or they'll be back for a 3rd time). Of course, as a practical matter, that means they are fighting the Democrats, but that does not mean that they have a political agenda to help the Republicans.

Mary said...

"Fighting an insurgency from a military standpoint is very difficult, as one's success is often more dependent on economic and political factors than on military power and technology."

Absolutely correct, rogera. Imo, of course.

And I for one, would welcome frank discussion about America's role in the Middle East. Long overdue. Geopolitics cannot be ignored, and we need to trigger discussion of the bigger issues -- starting with America's energy policy. Water resources in that region are also key, but that is an underlying issue to be addressed and not America's direct concern. Or more accurately, not America's problem to solve. We'd do better looking ahead here regarding the condition of our own natural resources, water included.

Jacques Cuze said...

Mary, that's a great point. And since the majority of the people voted in a government, I think that government in Iraq should be the one asking us to stay or telling us to leave.

What does the new Prime Minister say on the subject?


Iraqi Prime Minister Announces Timetable: Full Security Takeover by End of 2007


On the eve of the meeting between President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair today to discuss the next steps in Iraq, Iraq’s new prime minister Nuri Al-Maliki stated for the second time in the past week that Iraqi forces should be able to take over security within 18 months – by the end of 2007.

This is the same period of time outlined in Strategic Redeployment 2.0, the progressive plan for Iraq written by Larry Korb and myself at the Center for American Progress.

Signs are that Bush and Blair will avoid setting down a clear marker for withdrawing troops – yesterday White House spokesman Tony Snow pushed back against suggestions that President Bush might finally listen to the Iraqis and set a timeline.

But the call for a timeline for withdrawing troops should not come as a surprise. This is exactly what most Iraqis want. Last fall, Iraqi leaders from across the ethnic and sectarian spectrum called for a timetable for troop withdrawals at a conference in Cairo.

These leaders are voicing the opinions of their constituents – a recent poll found that 70 percent of Iraqis support withdrawing U.S.-led forces by the end of 2007.


Iraq’s Vice President Personally Asks Bush for Timetable

After returning from his surprise trip to Iraq, George Bush told the press that Iraqis opposed a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, syaing "the willingness of some to say that if we’re in power we’ll withdraw on a set timetable concerns people in Iraq." What Bush didn't say, however, was the the Vice President of Iraq, Tariq al-Hashimi, personally asked Bush to set a timeline for withdrawal of U.S. forces the day of his visit. Iraq’s President, Jalal Talabani, said he supported the request:

Iraq’s vice president has asked Bush for a timeline for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Iraq, the Iraqi president’s office said. Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, a Sunni, made the request during his meeting with Bush on Tuesday, when the U.S. president made a surprise visit to Iraq.

“I supported him in this,” President Jalal Talabani said in a statement released Wednesday. Al-Hashimi’s representatives could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.


So PaddyO, we have here the Prime Minister, the President, and the Vice President, and Iraqi leaders from across the ethnic and sectarian spectrum.

What does President Bush do?

Bush Claimed Iraqis Oppose Timetable the Day After Iraq’s VP Personally Asked Him for One

After Bush returned from his trip to Iraq this week, President Bush attacked those calling for a timetable for withdrawal. He said Iraqis had “concerns” that a timetable would disrupt their strategy to create a secure and democratic Iraq


So PaddyO, may I now mark you down as being pro-timetable?

(Question to Ann: why are so many of your pro-Iraq-war commenters so woefully misinformed? Do you see a causation?)

Mike said...

On the eve of the meeting between President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair today to discuss the next steps in Iraq, Iraq’s new prime minister Nuri Al-Maliki stated for the second time in the past week that Iraqi forces should be able to take over security within 18 months – by the end of 2007.

Great! That's that then. Glad we got that settled. What pressing world problem should we tackle next?

Pogo said...

I'll reprise Sippican Cottage's take on Quxxo:

"Every topic, no matter how mundane:

1. Your President is lying to you.
2. This war is illegal.
3. You cannot win the war.

Axis Sally. Tokyo Rose. Quxxo."

Pogo said...

After our soldiers were found, beaten and savaged by those fascists, beheaded, faces cut, and castrated (genitals stuffed in their mouths), and to see people walk by, almost whistling as if nothing happened, or if it did, it's our own damn fault, contending our best option now is to leave, I think:

Be fruitful and multiply.

But not in those words.

Bruce Hayden said...

Enjoyable as both sides throw the usual stuff back and forth.

But I was wondering what the anti-war pushback from the release of the information about the WMD would be, and apparently, according to Mark, it is that the wrong WMD were found. These apparently don't count, for some reason that Mark did not fully elucidate. Somehow, the fact that these weapons apparently predated the 1991 war somehow disqualifies them as being WMD, in a quantity that most would consider at stockpile.

Never mind that the cease-fire required that these precise weapons be destroyed, and apparently, were not. Surprise, surprise. It should be noted that some have suggested that the fact that these were apparently missed by Saddam in the runnup to our invasion is possibly indicia that they were irrelevant in the scheme of things - implying that a lot of more modern weapons were moved or hidden.

We shall see.

Nevertheless, the constant claim that we didn't find WMD stockpiles in Iraq now apparently has to be changed to that we didn't find the right WMD stockpiles there.

Mary said...

Turns out Nick Berg's father was correct in his prediction, Pogo. Violence begets violence. Not that you're tracking results. I'm sure the evil Dems are somehow to blame.

Internet Ronin said...

My Cynical Prediction of the Day: Troop withdrawals will begin late this summer and accelerate through the fall, just long enough after the congressional Democrats have made themselves sufficiently ridiculous in public debates on the floor of Congress to gain them no political mileage while providing the GOP a needed boost. 2002 redux anyone?

Just an idle thought - no inside knowledge or insight claimed.

PatCA said...

Every time I hear someone fret about inflaming the insurgency, I remember these words:

"Just be quiet and you'll be okay."
Mohammed Atta

Mary said...

You're probably right Ronin.

One man's cut and run is another man's accelerated troop withdrawal.

Political calculations; the Iraqi people are the real losers.

Jacques Cuze said...

And Jim Angle reported this for Fox News quotes a defense official who says these were pre-1991 weapons that could not have been fired as designed because they already been degraded. And the official went on to say these are not the WMD’s this country and the rest of the world believed Iraq had and not the WMD’s for which this country went to war. So the chest beating at this Republicans are doing tonight thinking this is a justification is not confirmed by the defense department.”

Ann, I have work that I need to get done. Unless your pro-Iraqi-War commenters shape up, I have to say I find your site more and more irrelevant. It is one thing to have an interesting debate with well-informed people that have arrived at difference conclusions, but it is another thing entirely to have only uneducated dimbulbs striving to hear you call out their names.

Instead of the well-informed, I find merely partisan repeating. And frankly, I find that weird.

Bruce since you are a former engineer and now a patent attorney, professions I respect, I can only assume you have had a momentary brain fart. But it's been close to five years now, and I fear atropy is setting in. Get up from behind that keyboard and take a load off your mind.

Pogo said...

Re: "Violence begets violence."

Yeah, too bad we got Hitler. If we'd have just tut-tutted long enough, and let the League of Nations get together and, um, nation league stuff, well, all violence would have stopped.

Pogo said...

Quxxo's reprise:
3. You cannot win the war.

Mike said...

Okay everybody. Shape up or quxxo's leaving.

Brent said...

Jacques,

You are missing the overall point:
You are irrelevant to what is and will continue to happen in Iraq (see my above posts).

All of your pontificating is simply an intellectual exercise - it is otherwise REAL world useless.

You may feel that you are in the great traditions of "speaking truth to power" and the vaunted "60's Protest Era", but that is your only consolation. "Grass roots" protesting, whether by angry bloggers or media pundits, don't cut it this time, this era - that ship has sailed into history . . . and good riddance.

You are an intelligent man, on the wrong side of history.

Mary said...

Pogo:
You're reading too much value judgment into the truth of the phrase. If you can acknowledge the correctness, you can make better choices.

RogerA said...

Jacques sayeth: " I have to say I find your site more and more irrelevant.... I find that weird."

Does this mean you will stop coming here? stop your sociopathic stalker behavior? When Jacques finds something wierd, it is probably time for genuine soul searching!

Dont go away mad, Jacques--just go away.

Pogo said...

Re:"You're reading too much value judgment into the truth of the phrase. If you can acknowledge the correctness, you can make better choices."
Mary, I disagree with the idea that there is any truth to the statement that 'violence begets violence'.

It suggest a profound and even fatal misunderstanding of human behavior, one that is common to the left, pointing to the erroneous belief in the perfectability of man.

Man has many natural drives, including aggression and fight-or-flight repsonses. They cannot be untaught. Violence is. It can be controlled, sublimated, substituted for, or directed towards more constructive ends, but it cannot be eliminated. Except by eliminating humans.

People, because they are people, beget violence. And sometimes the only way to break a (not the) cycle of violence is through violent means. Doing so isn't a cause of violence.

The failure to understand that is the failure of the left to fully understand real humankind.

Example: An 8th grade bully choked my 6th grade son. The school had them 'discuss it' to 'break the cycle'. He punched my son frequently after that for telling. My visit with the boy, in which I promised violence that he'd never dreamned of ended that cycle of violence for good.

You are flat wrong.

Joe said...

I wonder where Mark gets all his inside information. He seems to know who comprises the insurgency, he has all this off-record info from unnamed generals. He states all these premises as facts which support his position. Or, as I suspect, he is simply full of shit.

Mary said...

All those words typed and you dont' recognize you're agreeing with me:

Violence begets violence. Your son's response is not typical. He had Dad to lean on this time.

You chose to settle things with words. Way to go, Lefty.

Abraham said...

You chose to settle things with words. Way to go, Lefty.

Yes, Lefties are perfectly good at threatening violence - just hope nobody ever calls their bluff.

37383938393839383938383 said...

1. I like Ann's site, and I liked it even before she put up that picture of herself young and studying for law school exams.
2. The people who troll here just to "prove" she is inconsistent are really sad.
3. Mary, you like Chuck Hagel for President. I think that disqualifies you from just about every career path requiring fine motor skills or advanced calculus.

Pogo said...

"You chose to settle things with words."

Mary, your msiunderstanding of human behavior is boundless. Fortunately, your errors need not guide our policy.

I've had to deal with violence on occasions in my life. I hope you can always deflect them in your life with words that promise violence but lack a credible threat of fruition. Not for me. I'm still training to fight.

Remember, Osama attacked us preciseley because he misread Mogadishu (among other attacks) as evidence of our unwillingness to become violent again. He said so himself. That is, the lack of ability to engage a violent response begets violence.

Mary said...

"just hope nobody ever calls their bluff"

I was thinking that, but restrained from commenting further about Pogo's son. (seems folks can bring up their boys to make points, but find it creepy when others continue the discussion in the same vein.)

He'd be in a heap o' trouble if, as an adult he ever assaulted the kid. And I wonder how the boy will do next time when Dad is not around to fight his battle. Empty threats usually don't cut it for long.

Pogo said...

Re: "Empty threats usually don't cut it for long."

Now you get it!
Sometimes violence is necessary. It's the sad part about being human.

P.S. Since then, my son has had training to fight as well, and has responded to a potential bully with violence. Result? Both got detention for one hour (our wonderful school system, where self-defense is forbidden). But the bully was a bully to him no more. As for me, I've had the 'bluff' called, much to their surprise. Woops. No bluff.

Mary said...

"I hope you can always deflect them in your life with words that promise violence but lack a credible threat of fruition."

Lol, it's the name huh? I'm just a peaceful lamb? I believe very strongly in violence wielded effectively. Otherwise...

"the lack of ability to engage a violent response begets violence."

Your son would appear to be in trouble then? I'm not trying to hurt you, just not at all understanding your position. And why is it that the big talkers always have the picked-on sons? Cause and effect? You get riled up on words here because there is weakness in the family? Settle it up good once, is my thought, then shake hands and move on. And feed your kids right and teach them to effectively take care of themselves, in one manner or another.

Troy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mary said...

"Sometimes violence is necessary."

See, this is where I said you were reading value judgment into my comment.

Violence begets violence. That is the original observation, nothing more. I think you are reading something that is not there, putting words into my mouth.

Yes, that is common for any fighting to draw a suspension or detention. Can't have teachers and school officials taking sides, refereeing kiddie troubles. It's a part of growing up. Tell your son not to sweat the detentions. Not a big thing.

(Are you implying that you beat up a child bully? Big man there) Maybe you should ask why your son is a target, if it's happening more than once?

Palladian said...

"It is one thing to have an interesting debate with well-informed people that have arrived at difference conclusions, but it is another thing entirely to have only uneducated dimbulbs striving to hear you call out their names."

Breaking my rule again, the "don't talk to the crazy homeless man pissing in the alley" rule. First off, don't insult people here with the "uneducated" canard. Mainly because it's a lame, elitist argumentative tactic, but also because it's untrue. The commenters on this blog tend to be broad-minded, educated, well-read, and articulate. If you're the kind of person that thinks hides from ivory towers are needed to prove "intelligence", you can look up our various advanced degrees because, unlike you, many of us aren't anonymous pissant cowards hiding their slim accomplishments and protecting their tenuous employment behind (multiple) anonymous pseudonyms.

You don't want to have an "interesting debate with well-informed people that have arrived at difference conclusions" and you know it, so cut the bullshit. In fact, you seem patently unable to have an interesting debate with anyone above a 6th grade reading level without resorting to your 6th grade tactics of pretend authority (I'm just here to educate you, Ann!) or your sarcastic smartypants routine (oh you dimbulb wingnuts) or even more juvenile, your ostensibly "clever puns" on commenter's nicknames (like whatever you call me because you can't type 'Palladian' or don't know what it means). It doesn't hurt, or enrage, or engage us. It's simply boring, annoying, and a little creepy.

I'm sure this scolding, like all the other scoldings you receive here, will do nothing to deter you from pasting your turgid slabs of boring quotes from usually third-rate, little-read, soggy leftwing publications. In fact, it probably encourages you, in some ghastly psycho-sexual way, to continue since surely if you stroke us enough you know we'll respond, possibly like your own anatomy, stimulated in similar ways, doesn't.

You've latched on here because it's the only place where anyone half-way interesting gives you (undeservedly) two seconds of their time. You know that you could never hold anyone's attention at your own blog, because you have nothing interesting to say, and you're a vile, creepy person to boot. You're a parasite and unfortunately, though there exists an easy cure for you, Ann has chosen not to use it. That says everything about the kind of person she is, and merely reinforces what we know about the kind of person you are.

Internet Ronin said...

Palladian: Well said! Well said!

Randy

Mary said...

Palladian,
are you feeling down because Miss Ann hasn't been patting your head much lately?

Pogo said...

Re: "I believe very strongly in violence wielded effectively. Otherwise..."

and
"Violence begets violence. That is the original observation, nothing more."

Huh? You lost me. I mean, you ain't makin' any sense no-how. You're pointing out a useless tautology, being argumentative, being disingenuous, or being annoying. Or all of the above.

But I favor disingenuous, given that your original statement was in regards to "Nick Berg's father", which has its own inherent value judgement. To deny it is juvenile.

Re: "Are you implying that you beat up a child bully? Big man there"
Mary, you have that same virus what done affected poor quxxo, leavin' him the power to type, but stupid beyond repair. I'll pray for you.

Mary said...

ps. Let me guess... karate lessons?

"Since then, my son has had training to fight as well"

Mary said...

ok, one more time from the top, then I'll get to deleting so as not to clutter the thread.

Violence begets violence. You're in a much better position if you recognize this as truth going in. (thinking that folks will not fight back, expecting no resistance, for the life of me, I never did get that one.)

Now, that phrase does NOT mean "there should never be any violence". It just means -- wield it effectively. Expect to get a response. That was the comment of Nick Berg's father upon hearing of the death of Zarqawi. He could not cheer the "victory" of the killing of the man who beheaded his son, because he recognized that there would be a response. And there was.

To me, this does not mean you don't take out Zarqawi. (I can't speak for Mr. Berg). It just means you don't celebrate or cheer to loudly. You do what needs to be done, and stay alert for the backlash. It came, and Mr. Berg was proved right. He believed it's a cycle -- we kill yours, you kill ours, we kill two more of yours, and on and on.

I don't like it when it gets outside the circle -- when folks get drawn in innocently for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Kids, old people, civilians.

If you limit your physical response -- target immediately, efficiently, and plan things out to minimize screw ups -- it's over short and sweet. If not, you start finding fault with those who honestly disagree with the effectiveness of your approach. hth

Palladian said...

"Palladian, are you feeling down because Miss Ann hasn't been patting your head much lately?"

Mary, are you being a tiresome nag because you haven't been getting any lately?

Really, you're almost more annoying than q--xo because, unlike him, you're sincere. I don't know if that makes you an object for scorn or an object for pity.

Mary said...

"Are you implying that you beat up a child bully? Big man there"

So stop being mysterious and tell us what you mean by this: "As for me, I've had the 'bluff' called, much to their surprise. Woops. No bluff." If I misinterpreted that you made physical threats on your boy's behalf, then acted on them, my apologies. Maybe you called the school, like a good Lefty nothing wrong with that, and were able to work something out.

"Do you have a thing for live minefields?"
Do I bring my kids, as examples, into these discussions? Did I use my personal circumstances to prove a point about settling things, then bristle when others probed a bit further into my selected example? Don't dish it out if you can't take it. I wonder how your son would feel about you using his personal troubles as an example of how tough you are.

Mary said...

"Mary, are you being a tiresome nag because you haven't been getting any lately?"

Lol. Um... no. But thanks for asking. Good luck to you, though.

Pogo said...

Mary, that's a creative, unorthodox, unsupportable, and erroneous use of the phrase "violence begets violence". It is commonly taken to be more than a simple tautology; it clearly suggests that stopping violence will break the cycle.

So you're just being annoying.

Re: "I wonder how your son would feel about you using his personal troubles as an example of how tough you are."
Hey, Mary, I have a retarded brother, my Dad had a heart attack a few years back, my sister has cancer, and she's also divorced. Have fun working those into another scintillating post!

Mary said...

"it clearly suggests that stopping violence will break the cycle."

I knew you were misunderstanding me early on. I tried to point it out, but you just kept marching ahead with your erroneous assumptions.

Re: "Hey, Mary, I have a retarded brother, my Dad had a heart attack a few years back, my sister has cancer, and she's also divorced."

Are you looking for our pity? Why bring this up here? To better understand your frustrations and misplaced aggression? I have to go now (5:15), but good luck finding a sympathetic ear.

Jacques Cuze said...

You honestly don't know what Illudium-Q36 refers to?

Ann do you want to tell him?

Mark T said...

It amazes me that anybody would ever compare the war and subsequent US occupation in Iraq to WWII, when at best it is Vietnam 2.0. The moral imperitive of fighting Hitler was a thousand times more compelling than the decision to shift our attention from Bin Laden to Saddam -- yet it took years after Germany invaded of Poland for America to enter that fray.

Wrapping bad policy and utter imcompetence in the flag, the bible and a military uniform does not make it good policy or more competent. All it does it reflect upon the bankruptcy of the substance, because an argument should be able to stand up on its merits without appeals to patriotism and religion. The fact that the GOP is doing this now is not a positive sign for November 2006, it is proof positive that they have nothing better to offer than emotional pleas and ad hominum attacks. As long as this argument focuses on a false choice between "staying the course" (as if there is a coherant course at issue) and "cutting and running" (as if those who oppose the war or our continued occupation of Iraq do so because they are scared to stand up to scary terrorists, or to support our military regardless of what they do), there will be no intelligent debate on what we should do.

In business, when the CEO or the head of a division of a company makes repeated serious mistakes that cost lives, huge amounts of money, and forever tarnish a company's reputation, they are eventually fired or the company tanks. Sometimes the purge happens long after the damage is done, and sometimes after the damage is irreparable, but no investor in a company wants to see the company flushed down the toilet because of some perceived obligation to support the leaders of the company who screw up, no matter how bad they have acted. And that is the bottom line here -- the absolute failure or refusal of the President to hold Rumsfeld, Cheney, Fleit (or others who are responsible for the serial imcompentence and dishonesty that has led us to this regretable point) accountable for their actions and neglect is astounding. I can only imagine the howls that would have come from Ann, and anybody else who contributes to this blog, if this had happened when Bill Clinton and Al Gore ran the White House rather than George Bush and Dick Cheney.

Internet Ronin said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Palladian said...

Does Ann howl?

Maybe she will now that she's been bitten by the were-cat.

Paddy O. said...

misinformed?

I'm all for responding to what the Iraqis want. I'm just not a big fan of Congress setting the timetable.

There are politics involved in official announcements on both sides. So, I take official announcements with a grain of salt.

Actual policy isn't always announced for all to hear.

Plus, I suspect there are conversations that don't make it into the news which we have to be aware about.

Sheesh, I wish the folks on the Left here would finally understand the importance of nuance in issues like this and not always make everything black and white, good versus evil.

Jacques Cuze said...

Nuance?

You wanted an announcement from the Iraqi PM. I gave you an announcement from the Iraqi PM and raised you an announcement from the Iraq VP that the Iraqi P endorsed.

And you can find some nuance beyond the clear statements that the three highest leaders of the new government have made?

You're telling the left to be more nuanced and less black and white?

Hey padre, are you pulling our legs?

Paddy O. said...

"Bush is evil and always wrong" as a way of forming foreign policy shows little nuance to me.

So, yeah, I believe in nuance. I also believe folks posting on blogs may not have the complete picture, not having full access to all the players, despite their vocal assurances to the contrary.

Reflexive contrariness on topics shows an unwillingness to wrestle fully with an issue. Assuming one side is always wrong and the other always right reveals a black and white view. Calling names with supposed argument winning articles when such articles, along with others, do influence opinion is a good versus evil response.

I absolutely believe we should leave when the Iraqi fovernment feels we should leave. If Bush stays longer than that, then I think he's wrong.

I doubt we will. And I also know that behind the scenes conversations are much more nuanced than anything we hear in public. Such is the way of things.

You never know who might be listening.

There are, as hard as it is to believe, some folks who will twist anything to suit their own ideology.

You can always expect such people to pick and choose their news sources, news articles, and always see one sort of person as the epitome of evil.

No nuance at all in those sorts of people, they are blinded by their own frenzied hate.

Sad really.

PatCA said...

"..yet it took years after Germany invaded Poland for America to enter the fray."

Yes, it is a shame that we waited so long. Millions more people would be alive today if FDR and the congress had used the preemptive doctrine instead of waiting.

Seven Machos said...

1. Does it strike anyone else as odd that, broadly speaking, the righties, center righties, and center lefties here are willing to have a reasonable conversation about the war -- what has gone right, what has gone wrong, what to do next -- while the lefties can only seem to obstinately yell platitudes ("cycle of violence"), catch phrases, and calling people who they disagree with stupid?

2. How can anyone look at the world rationally and conclude that it will save more American lives to pull out of Iraq? Even if you can, don't you realize that it is electorally suicidal to run against a war? Hillary Clinton realizes it. Even Al Gore seems to realize it.

Elizabeth said...

Does it strike anyone else as odd that, broadly speaking, the righties, center righties, and center lefties here are willing to have a reasonable conversation about the war -- what has gone right, what has gone wrong, what to do next -- while the lefties can only seem to obstinately yell platitudes ("cycle of violence"), catch phrases, and calling people who they disagree with stupid?

No, in fact I am not struck by that fantasy. The right here is willing to have a reasonable discussion within its own ranks--about degrees of what's right and wrong with the war, but across the board, most of the rightie--not all, by any means--can't handle any opposition to the war without responding with vitriol, condescension, lecturing, slogans, and accusations. Stop patting yourself on the back.

Mary said...

"the righties, center righties, and center lefties here are willing to have a reasonable conversation about the war"

You see what you want to see Machos. There's a lot of ugliness all around, but that's an added societal bonus of a protracted war.

Honest questions:
Why are the Dems getting labeled as "cut and run" when the vote today shows not all Dems are advocating that?

What is the difference between cut and run and a planned accelerated troop withdrawal?

Interesting that Casey is talking about where the troop levels will be come this Christmas-time. Wonder why he selected that time reference if politicking is not really a factor and we're not going to let polls determine strategy. Interesting also that Bush is promising to close Gitmo.

Maybe the righties are listening, and the dissent by the left is being incorporated into the gameplan. You don't have to win to have influence.

Seven Machos said...

Elizabeth -- Have you read this thread?

Here's a sample of the broad general theme:

mark: "When one seriously says that the GOP talking points are "correct analysis", there's nothing to seriously discuss."

troy: "Let's assume the worst... Bush lied, criminally, and prosecuted the war in Iraq so we could have low gas prices or Big Oil could have record profits or avenge Daddy or any other tin-foil hat premise you want. So what? We still -- for national security, face-saving, etc. HAVE to WIN in Iraq. There is no wholesale tactical retreat here. The only option is withdrawal when victory is achieved. Defining "victory" is key no doubt."

mary: "And why is it that the big talkers always have the picked-on sons? Cause and effect? You get riled up on words here because there is weakness in the family?"

palladian: "First off, don't insult people here with the "uneducated" canard. Mainly because it's a lame, elitist argumentative tactic, but also because it's untrue."

Mary said...

"I also believe folks posting on blogs may not have the complete picture, not having full access to all the players"

There's still a tremendous amount out there to work with, padre. I suspect some still long for the days of people as obedient sheep, following the authority figures with implicit trust. Those are the people who never revisit their earlier assumptions, and reject calls for an unbiased accounting. Still, like that thread about the 41st valedictorian, most people know the score.

Seven Machos said...

1. The Dems getting labeled as "cut and run" because it is Democrats that keep talking about abandoning Iraq. It's that cause-and-effect thing you brought up earlier.

2. What is the difference between "socialized medicine" and "univeral healthcare"? What is the difference between "trial lawyers" and "public protection attorneys"?

As far as leaving Iraq, here is what is going to happen: there is going to be a slow and steady troop drawdown until, eventually, we have bases in Iraq and the country itself is completely autonomous. Anyone who can actually get elected president, from any party or as an independent, will do exactly this. That you cannot see this, or that you couldn't see that this outcome would be the only feasible one last year or the year before last or at any time in history is sad but, in its own way, refreshingly naive.

Seven Machos said...

"I suspect some still long for the days of people as obedient sheep, following the authority figures with implicit trust."

When was that, Mary? When in human history did that happen? And who are the people longing for the days that never happened. Is it the same people who want the peace that never was and never will be?

Please give dates and civilizations.

Mary said...

Seven,
Somebody analogized to a schoolyard bully and didn't like it when their logic was questioned.

The main weapon is spin -- putting words in "opponent's" mouths. You're get all worked up by folks who aren't on script because your arguments and facts tend to wilt under the lights.

Say, do you have a boy who takes karate too, Machos? Seems to be a lot of that going around for some coincidental reason.

Seven Machos said...

Geez, Mary. I'm not worked up at all. I am amused.

Could you possibly demonstrate my point about ad hominem attack and empty rhetoric a little more clearly? I don't think you could.

Perhaps a good platitude about violence being bad, or war not being the answer, though -- perhaps if you would have added that, you would have achieved perfection.

Mary said...

"...until, eventually we have bases in Iraq and the country itself is completely autonomous."

lol
You big guys always do make me smile.

Sally said...

Eliz: Stop patting yourself on the back.

Oh, c'mon, Liz, what's wrong with a little patting?

Or, putting it a bit differently, a little swatting? For example, one of the leftie commenters here came out with one of those pious bumper sticker sentiments so beloved of religious fundamentalists of all kinds because it substitutes for thought: "violence begets violence". What does that actually mean? Well, she used it in reply to another commenter who had described the torture, mutilation and murder of American prisoners, and so it sounds like she's defending or apologizing for those acts, but without having the guts to say so explicitly -- but maybe she just coincidentally chose that point to utter a banality. Later, after running into the usual difficulties regarding violence and WW2, nazis, etc., she starts to back-track -- first saying she meant no "value judgment" by it, even though the only conceivable point of the cliche in the first place is to make a moral point, however simplistic. And later saying that "violence begets violence" means ... not that violence is futile and we should find other means of settling disputes ... but rather that -- we should "wield it [violence] effectively". Ah! Who would have imagined that! So simple, yet so profound!

With spin like that she could be a yo-yo champion.

In any case, I think that's a fine, if miniature, illustration of how a segment the left, here as elsewhere, has lost its moral, political, and even intellectual bearings -- first the fall into something close to moral depravity but without daring to really take the plunge; then the fall back on platitude emptied of any moral or "value" content; and finally, with a twist and a spin, a skip and a jump, the effective abandonment of the original meaning altogether.

On a somewhat larger scale, that little narrative arc seems reproduced by quite a number of Congressional Democrats, as they squirm to find a comfortable position on Iraq in general.

Seven Machos said...

Mary -- OKay, What will happen? Seriously. Without the platitudes.

Bear in mind that we still have bases in Germany (and it was divided for over 40 years) and in Japan, and that we have had troops armed and ready for battle on the border of North Korea for roughly 50 years.

But how will Iraq end? Do you really believe that there is anyone out there electable as president, or as a majority in the House, that would leave Iraq completely? Do you really think we won't have bases in Iraq for decades to come?

You are the smart one here, and the moral one. You say so all the time. I eagerly await your answer. Just for fun, try not to fill it with vitriol of platitudes. That's a trick request, actually. You'll have nothing to say. But try, anyway. Push the envelope.

amba said...

Mike said... [many comments ago]
So Mark, if we were to leave Iraq as fast as possible, you believe the response by the insurgency would be what?


Osama would declare a victory like that over the Soviets in Afghanistan. And he'd be right. I have read that it was that low-tech victory over a superpower that emboldened the jihadis to take on the United States.

Jacques Cuze said...

Hey Amba, let's all brainstorm here, and think out of the box. We're going to be innovative now.... Let's start.

If we are worried about Osama Bin Laden, and wish to deny Osama a victory, what are some of the steps we could take?

Think. Think. Think.

Narrator: And the first person he thought of was...
Winnie the Pooh: Winnie the Pooh?
Narrator: No.

Well I'm stumped Amba, what do you think we might do if we were worried about Osama and wanted to deny him a victory?

Mary said...

"What will happen?"

I personally suspect denial of the costs, and continuance of the same-old same-old is going to burn us so badly that there will be a period where America as a whole will want to bury her head in the sand, and renege on all our overseas commitments.

Not saying it's right, just that's where logic will lead you. If you can't fight effectively, don't fight at all.

Mary said...

"...they squirm to find a comfortable position on Iraq in general."

If you're "comfortable" with our adventures in Iraq to date, I worry about you. Denial is not going to help in the long-run.

All the spin in the world can't erase which party has the power and the leadership role, yet seems to accept zero responsibility for the results.

You can win an election with spin.
You don't win wars that way.

Sally said...

Your side's the one looking for "comfort", Mary. In that light, it's a little ironic to hear advice from a spinner about how you do or don't win wars.

Hey, but I know! Why don't we just, you know, use violence effectively?! Bet nobody's thought of that yet!

Pogo said...

Sally: "...and finally, with a twist and a spin, a skip and a jump, the effective abandonment of the original meaning altogether."

Great description, Sally.
The dismount was pretty ugly, too.

Mary said...

State of emergency, Sally.
Spin that one for me, sweets.

You make a wonderful cheerleader, pogo. Rah!

Pogo said...

Old catholic cheer:

Rah Rah Ree
Kick 'em in the knee!
Rah Rah Rass
Kick 'em in the other knee!

knoxgirl said...

I'm still in a state of amusement/bemusement over the fact that WMDs were found, and yet, they somehow "don't count".

It's another example of the lefty mindset that Sally so nicely summarized. It's all about "No WMDs!" until WMDs are found, and then the argument becomes about what kind of WMDs are required to justify the war. Then months or years hence, when more are undoubtedly found, their objections will shift to something else entirely.

Mark said...

For knoxgirl:

I apologize for the long quotes, but they are very helpful here.

http://glenngreenwald.blogspot.com/

According to Dafna Linzer of the Washington Post (page A10):


The lawmakers [Santorum and Hoekstra] pointed
to an unclassified summary from a report by the
National Ground Intelligence Center regarding
500 chemical munitions shells that had been
buried near the Iranian border, and then long
forgotten, by Iraqi troops during their eight-year
war with Iran, which ended in 1988.

The U.S. military announced in 2004 in Iraq that
several crates of the old shells had been uncovered
and that they contained a blister agent that was no
longer active. Neither the military nor the White
House nor the CIA considered the shells to be
evidence of what was alleged by the Bush
administration to be a current Iraqi program to
make chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

Last night, intelligence officials reaffirmed that the
shells were old and were not the suspected
weapons of mass destruction sought in Iraq after
the 2003 invasion.

And:
UPDATE (by Glenn): Even the Defense Department is so embarrassed by Santorum's claims that they have repudiated them, and the DoD isn't exactly known for excessive caution when it comes to making claims designed to bolster the administration's pro-war case. But A.L. is absolutely right that despite the self-evident absurdity of Santorum's claims, the Powerlines and Instapundits of the world will spend the next six months insisting that we really, really did find WMDs in Iraq. They've already begun, although even Powerline acknowledges:


. . . . but what they're talking about is old munitions left over from, presumably, before the first Gulf War. This doesn't appear to constitute evidence that Saddam's regime had continued to manufacture chemical weapons in more recent years.

And one last point: It seems that Santorum and Hoekstra took it upon themselves to disclose this information because the administration kept it classified and did not want it disclosed. Santorum revealed that other parts of the memo, which are classified, references other chemical munitions. Shouldn't a Justice Department investigation be opened immediately to determine whether Santorum should be criminally prosecuted for violations of the Espionage Act? Maybe he can share a cell with Jim Risen and Dana Priest.

UPDATE II (by Glenn): Fox News has a screaming headline which still reads: "Report: Hundreds of WMDs Found in Iraq," even though the article itself, buried deep down, contains these paragraphs:


Offering the official administration response to FOX News, a senior Defense Department official pointed out that the chemical weapons were not in useable conditions.

"This does not reflect a capacity that was built up after 1991," the official said, adding the munitions "are not the WMDs this country and the rest of the world believed Iraq had, and not the WMDs for which this country went to war."

Pogo said...

Mark,
I hope the Democrats keep beating the anti-war drum through November. I hear it's a big winner with voters.

Oh, and the NYTimes has just published another expose' of a classified surveillance program aimed at gathering financial information about terrorist plots. The Democrats can add that to their list of accomplishments for voters to consider when deciding who's best at protecting the US from terrorism.

Mary said...

The point is sally:
did these wmd's pose the threat level as hyped that made it necessary to rush in half-ass and invade Iraq?

Think of it this way: resources and enthusiam are finite. What you spend today is not there for tomorrow's threats. If you've ever had to live on a budget, you understand this type of thinking.

Pogo said...

Re: "did these wmd's pose the threat level as hyped that made it necessary to rush"
(1) pre-existing and scattered stocks of chemical weapons (a large material breach of all the U.N. resolutions)
(2) ongoing or ready-to-revive biological weapons programs
(3) long-range schemes to reactivate a clear weapons programs
(4) The Iraqi government met with a North Korean delegation in March, 2003, in Damascus to discuss buying long-range missiles from Saddam
(5) after 1991 in Iraq, Ambassador Rolf Ekeus of Sweden, a Swedish socialist and diplomat, was offered by Tariq Aziz (in person) a bribe of a million and a half dollars to change his weapons inspection report
(6) a nuclear centrifuge buried in Saddam's chief scientist's garden; Tscientist also had centrifuge design documents.
(7) a vial of live botulinum toxin, which can be used as a biological weapon, in another scientist's refrigerator; it had been there since 1993
(8) advanced design work on a liquid-propellant missile with ranges of up to 620 miles (since 1991, Iraq was prohibited from ranges longer than 93 miles)
(9) July 2003, 30 to 40 planes, including several MiG-25 and Su-25 ground attack jets, buried in the sand


Re: "when will you start defeating the terrorists?"
Seven people are in custody after the FBI and state and local law enforcement agents carried out raids in Miami, Florida, connected with an alleged plot to attack landmark U.S. buildings, officials told CNN on Thursday.

V.W.: udrvius
No, you drvius

Pogo said...

"clear weapons programs"
is
nuclear weapons programs

Jacques Cuze said...

Ann, if you read one post today, read this post from Matthew Yglesias:

Andrew Sullivan reminds us that he doesn't "support any timetable for withdrawal from Iraq" which "puts [him] in the excruciating position of supporting a war conducted by an administration whose key players are manifestly incompetent and reckless." In addition, he doesn't "have an alternative master-plan to win either" and while there are various policy shifts he would support, "as long as Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld are running the show, I cannot say I am optimistic that such a sane strategy will be employed or that it will succeed."

...

I mean, consider what we're contemplating here. Twelve months from now the war will have lasted about as long as American participation in the second world war. Twelve months after that there will still be six months left in the Bush administration's lifespan. In January 2009 when a new administration takes office, the war will have been going on for five and a half years, virtually the entire span of time between Hitler's invasion of Poland and the Nazis' surrender. With the difference being that Andrew doesn't believe we'll actually make any serious amount of progress between now and then.

This gets us toward what is, I think, a fairly fundamental point of political morality -- it's wrong, seriously wrong and seriously irresponsible, to support military action that has no likely prospects of success. It's one thing to ask young men and women to kill and die for a good cause. It's another thing entirely to ask them to kill and die as a token of your support for a good cause.

...

Under the circumstances, a symbolic stand in favor of what the war's supposed to be about is, in practice, not much more than a stand in favor of continued torture and pointless bloodshed.


GWB has said it will be up to the next President to decide when to leave Iraq.

Read the whole thing Ann.

Pogo said...

That is, YourPresidentislyingThiswarisillegalyoucannotwin

Repeat ad nauseum.

Sally said...

Okay, Mary -- nice to see you being half-assed reasonable.

Although, in the somewhat fevered mind of the left, WMDs have loomed as a single, stand-alone issue, and their absence as proof of the fiendish neo-conspiracy of the Bushies, they're suspected current existence in Iraq was only ever a factor in the determination to force a regime-change. This was apparent at the time, as this quote from a New York Times editorial of Feb 27/03 makes clear:
President Bush sketched an expansive vision last night of what he expects to accomplish by a war in Iraq. Instead of focusing on eliminating weapons of mass destruction, or reducing the threat of terror to the United States, Mr. Bush talked about establishing a 'free and peaceful Iraq' that would serve as a 'dramatic and inspiring example' to the entire Arab and Muslim world, provide a stabilizing influence in the Middle East and even help end the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Which was no doubt a gamble, and everyone, left and right, is certainly entitled to their doubts about it. Three plus years on, I think that outcome of a "free and peaceful Iraq" serving as an example is still a real possibility, though I recognize that the lib-left does not, to put it mildly. In any case, after 9/11, when it was finally realized that we were in an actual war, however "asymmetric" and unfamiliar, with globalized, state-supported islamist terrorists, I think it was a gamble that had to be taken. The whole of the Middle East had become a breeding ground for those terrorists -- of which bin Laden and Al Qaeda are just the latest in a series of names and groups to gain prominence and then recede -- and its "stability" at that time was merely providing them with cover and state support. It had to be first destabilized in order to break out of that malignant pattern -- and in order to allow a new and more healthy pattern to emerge.

The gamble may yet fail, of course, as it certainly will if the cut-and-run Democrats have anything to say about it. But in that case, it will just have to be run again, at a later, even less convenient time, and with even higher stakes all round. We should spend today, in other words, in order to reduce tomorrow's threats -- as anyone who's had to live on a budget should understand.

Aspasia M. said...

The comparison of Iraq to Afghanistan in the 1980s is an interesting one.

The Soviets were in Afghanistan from, what was it? 1979-1989 I think?

Could the Soviets have done something different to pacify Afghanistan?

Mark said...

Geoduck2:

Yeah, you're right. The situation is indeed very very similar: the government controls the major cities, the insurgents control the countryside, there's a central government that officially wants the superpower to stay, etc.
Of course, in that war, the USA actually armed and trained the mujaheddins.
In any case, it too the USSR 10 years, 13,000 deaths, and Mikhail Gorbachev to finally realize that the war is unwinnable. The central government fell 2 years after the Soviets withdrew. Could the USSR have done anything differently?
Well, it could have stayed there for longer, but the outcome would have been the same.
The lesson that should be drawn, I think, is that it's impossible to force either socialism or democracy down any country's throat, when the majority of the population is simply not ready.

Mike said...

Amba said: Osama would declare a victory like that over the Soviets in Afghanistan. And he'd be right. I have read that it was that low-tech victory over a superpower that emboldened the jihadis to take on the United States.

I didn't call on you amba (you already know the answer) I called on Mark.

He implies that if we left, the violence would ebb (" As parrots, they repeat that we need to "win", never bothering to consider that the presence of US troops is not contributing to any victory and is further flaming the insurgency.. I was interested if he actually believed that.

Mark said...

Mike,

All you have to do is re-read my comments. I said that chances of any meaningful success in Iraq are small in any case. However, the gradual withdrawal of US troops increases the chances of success, no matter what Osama or whoever says. The presence of 120K+ foreign troops is a major irritant for 80% of Iraqis and serves as a great recruiting tool for Al Qaeda. When the troops are not there, chances that insurgency will curb are higher.

But overall, I repeat, chances of success in Iraq are small no matter what we do, unfortunately. Realizing it does not equal to cowardice or lack of patriotism, as many people here (not all, by any means) don't seem to grasp.

MadisonMan said...

Mary wrote:

What you spend today is not there for tomorrow's threats. If you've ever had to live on a budget, you understand this type of thinking.

Living on a budget obviously does not describe the Republican administration in power.

Mike said...

Mark - The gradual withdrawl of US troops is the Bush plan. I believe the difference between what Kerry, Feingold, Pelosi et al. are pushing vs. Bush's intentions boils down to whether we're flexible in that withdrawl, standing down as the Iraqis stand up (Bush) or an inflexible withdrawl on a timetable that we publish, to the benefit of the enemy, and that won't support the Iraqis in their efforts.

Although, with all due respect, from reading your comments I believe that you are disingenuous in your use of the term "gradual".

Mary said...

sally,
thanks for explaining where you are coming from. We just seem to disagree on tactic. I have always said, I don't think "democracy" and "freedom" can be imposed at gunpoint.

When the people of a country are ready to lead their way out, they should be encouraged and assisted. This is likely to happen in years to come in China, imo.

I respect the role people play in building their own societies. We could argue whether taking out Saddam at the time was necessary or not. But right now, we should have some respect for the people in the region, and not try to remake their society in our own image. If they choose to, fine. If not, well, I guess we will have to live with that too.

Mike said...

Mary - Sure. Freedom can not be imposed at gunpoint on a people who don't want it. But I find it hard to belive, or at the very least far from proven, that the Iraqi people do not want freedom. Let's not confuse the wishes of the "insurgents" with the wishes of the Iraqi people as a whole.

MadisonMan said...

Bush's plan is to stay in Iraq 'til he (Bush) is out of power, so someone else can take care of any mess that happens when the US does leave. (Of course, I'm somewhat cynical) In other words, more of the same.

I'm curious what's wrong with forcing the Iraqis to stand up a little earlier than they might be comfortable with. How does that differ from the US staying longer than many people here are comfortable with? I understand that we should give a little weight to what the Iraqis want, as I subscribe to the 'you break it you buy it' philosophy, but at what point do the wants/needs of USAers outweigh those of Iraqis.

Mary said...

Right Mike. I agree everyone wants freedom. But the price being paid by so many of them right now...

I suspect, for better or worse, many who have lost their homes and relatives and are living in instability now would choose to go back to the old days, and progress gradually. We have to respect their pace of needs, and all countries are different in their "growing pains".

As in our own country with our long history of civil rights struggles, these things progress gradually, often taking centuries. And they need to be internally driven. (ie China. Tiananmen, the almost reverence for all things American amongst many of the young people. We can't do it for them; they have to be ready to do it themselves because the road is long and rocky.)

Mary said...

"I'm curious what's wrong with forcing the Iraqis to stand up a little earlier than they might be comfortable with ... at what point do the wants/needs of USAers outweigh those of Iraqis."

In general, madisonman, if your "needs" (as opposed to desires) aren't being met, you look elsewhere.

Isn't that the real danger? If the coalition government is unable to stand alone and fend for themselves at this time, what will fill the void? Hence the VietNam warnings.

MadisonMan said...

I understand -- as I commented in a similar thread months ago on Iraq, I'm not yet passed the point where I can no longer look a parent in the eye and truthfully tell them their child died for a good / noble / proud reason. Sorry about the tangled syntax -- I hope my meaning is clear. And I'm not sure when I'll reach that point.

I'm not hugely comfortable with the comparison to Vietnam. The two countries are far more different than similar. Vietnam got to where it was, if you believe Melvin Laird (and why shouldn't we?), because the US cut off funding. I don't anticipate Iraq being off the US dole in my lifetime (I've got 40+ years left in me, I figure).

Mary said...

geoduck: re. Afghanistan and the Soviet Union.

In many circles, it's thought that it was the military overextension there, rather than any brave words and emotional appeals from Ronald Reagan, that ended the Cold War.

Focusing so much of the budget on the military at the expense of the country's internal needs is believed to be a major downfall of that superpower. Just as England lost her status trying to maintain her colonies, overextension is costly.

Isolationism and reneging on commitments abroad are no answer either; a balance -- wielding power effectively and sparingly -- not with overkill and hubris, is key. Not everyone is up to that, and winning devisive elections is no indication that one really understands the big picture.

I think Bush's heart is in the right place, but his optimism can be a liability if it distorts the hard truths of reality.

Mary said...

"I can no longer look a parent in the eye and truthfully tell them their child died for a good / noble / proud reason."

Luckily, you don't have to. It's not your responsibility, and you have the luxury of remaining silent to them.

In today's NYT, there is a story about the family of one of the tortured privates. They choose to believe he died fighting before his body was desecrated. The scientific method -- autopsy results here -- will be undertaken, but at some point you have to respect people's private beliefs, and understand their needs. Lots of us are different in that respect -- in what is "true" and what is not.

Mike said...

I'm curious what's wrong with forcing the Iraqis to stand up a little earlier than they might be comfortable with.

Sure, that sounds reasonable. I'm for that, in the abstract. However, none of us (and I certainly include myself in this) know if the Iraqis are moving as fast as they can or not. This position supposes that the Iraqis want us to stay and provide security. Others here argue they want us out as soon as possible. Which is right? I don't know. Therefore, I'm for the U.S. and Iraqi Administrations reaching a mutually agreeable timetable. I find the actions of the Democrats in Congress to be decidedly unhelpful in this regard.

How does that differ from the US staying longer than many people here are comfortable with?

The people here will not be cutting anybodies head off. I'm being flip, but the Iraqis have a lot more skin in this game than we do (as you rightly acknowledge). Now, our soldiers have a lot of skin in the game, of course, but it appears that their opinion is that we stay and finish the job right.

Aspasia M. said...

Didn't the Soviet plan in Afghanistan include re-training & re-forming the Afghan army? So that the Soviet (mostly reservists) could leave?

I'm no expert on the Soviets in Afghanistan, but the wickipedia entry is interesting. Possible comparisons to Iraq are also interesting.

dick said...

Mark,

Check this entry of what the retired flag officers and generals have to say. They think Bush is right, the war is right and the troops are great. You have about 7 or 8 generals who disagree with Rummy. The rest think Rummy is doing it right.

http://rofasix.blogspot.com/2006/06/notes-on-iraq-from-retired-flag.html

knoxgirl said...

Mark,

Seems to me the discovery of these demonstrates that Saddam didn't destroy them. He was told to by the UN to destroy all WMDS, not just the ones made after 1991.

Hundreds of words of naysaying won't change that.

Mike said...

I don't buy the Soviets-in-Afghanistan analogy at all. The Soviets intention was to subjugate the country. Ours is not. I'm sure this will draw the response "yes it is, too", from the usual suspects but I don't buy it.

Aspasia M. said...

I don't buy the Soviets-in-Afghanistan analogy at all. The Soviets intention was to subjugate the country. Ours is not. I'm sure this will draw the response "yes it is, too", from the usual suspects but I don't buy it.

I agree that Iraq is not Afghanistan. It is a different conflict in a different place & a different time.

Afghanistan did, however, have an insurgency in which there are some similarities to Iraq.

(Islamic fundamentalism, ect. Iraq obviously has a wide mix of other insurgents and problems, including Baathists, fundamentalists, ethnic conflict, the Mahadi militia, ect.)

----------------------

What will change between today and 2008 that would allow the US to establish security in Iraq?

Can we expect the violence continue at the same rate as today?

Has a modern insurgency (combined w/ sectarian violence) been defeated -- and how was peace established in the country?

I don't have the answer to these questions. But I would like more details beyond "we are training the army" in terms of overall military and political strategy.

I would like to know why, for example, the security in Basara appears to be deteriorating.

One last thing: If American troops mainly withdraw to their bases inside of Iraq, wouldn't they also have to guard supply lines to the bases? I would suppose that would be rather troop intensive.

monkeyboy said...

Geoduck2
Can't answer all your questions, but I would say that traditionally, nothing continues at the same rate. I don't know if the British results in Malaysia and Ireland count, but in many ways this is untried ground.

The turnover of provinces to Iraqi Army Forces will be a determiner in how ready they are, as well as the number of raids and operations they lead or do alone.

As for supply routes, most likely any base will have a C-5 capable runway, which makes any ground routes obsolete.

Mike said...

If it gets to the point that we are just hunkered down in bases, I'd say it's time to leave. I don't share Seven Machos certainty that we'll have bases for a long time. I think it depends on what the Iraqi government wants, and I don't think that's predictable at this stage.

My take on Basra is that security, per se, hasn't deteriorated, but that the terrorists have spread out. In fact, at the moment it might be easier for them in the South.

I think one important difference between the Soviets-in-Afghanistan and us in Iraq is that even though all the Afghans weren't actively fighting the Soviets, it is likely that pretty much all of them (except those that were in cahoots with the Soviets for personal gain) wanted them out. I've seen a lot of reports that the average Iraqi, while not happy about a foreign presence, actually does NOT want us to leave at this time, for security reasons. Big difference.

Mary said...

http://daytodayiniraq.blogs.nytimes.com/?p=55

Mike said...

It's behind the wall, Mary.

Mike said...

Here's a timely article is that is not behind a wall; an interview with the Iraqi Foreign Minister, Hoshyar Zebari:

http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110008564

Of particular relavance to this discussion are the last 9 paragraphs. To quote "Nobody is for a withdrawal, even a timetable, for the troops." and "He told them, he says, that the new government was perfectly within its rights to ask for the departure of foreign troops. But he says he found no takers. In fact, the loudest objection to the idea came from Adnan al-Dulaimi, who represents a Sunni community generally thought to be most hostile to the "occupiers." They know only too well that coalition troops are their best protection against shadowy Baathist thugs..."

Sally said...

Mary: I respect the role people play in building their own societies. We could argue whether taking out Saddam at the time was necessary or not. But right now, we should have some respect for the people in the region, and not try to remake their society in our own image. If they choose to, fine. If not, well, I guess we will have to live with that too.

Got tied up earlier, and this thread may be mostly over now anyway -- but I wanted to say that (somewhat to my surprise) I agree with Mary here to a large extent.

Remaining areas of possible disagreement:

- I don't really think anyone was or is trying to impose a particular image of society on Iraq, but rather, first, to free them from a society that had been imposed upon them (yes, with at least passive US connivance), and second, to give them an opportunity to build their own society.

- What, however, they have no right to choose, democratically or otherwise -- and neither does anyone else -- is to support terrorist operations against other countries, a kind of behavior that's been all too common in that region of the world, and effectively ignored for far to long.

And we can maybe agree to disagree, at least for now, about the strategic advisability of "taking Saddam out".

Mary said...

I still say, violence needs to be used sparingly and effectively. Obvious as that may seem, it's still not happening unfortunately. Sonic booms? Knocking out the electric to all?

I wonder how some of these folks would kill a fly that gets into their home. I'm imagining overkill to the degree of a destroyed home and possibly damaged lives of folks living in that home. Security after such actions surely would be hard to come by -- only more flies would eventually get into the house, if you did succeed in "getting" one one you were after with tools way bigger than a flyswatter.

I love being laughed at and then having my words proven right. People want to paint others as wimpy when really we are saying "do it effectively or don't do it at all right now."