November 10, 2006

Oh, why don't you just admit it?

Okay, I'm depressed about the election.

She asks herself a question, then answers it -- Rumsfeldianly.

What is it, exactly?

It's the failure of Americans to support the war. It's the folding and crumpling because things didn't go well enough and the way we conspicuously displayed that to our enemies. They're going to use that information.

For how long?

Forever.

ADDED: This post -- and my feelings -- are not about whether Republicans or Democrats have power. I dislike both parties. I voted for half Democrats and half Republicans. And I am not saying Bush has done a good enough job of fighting the war or defending his policies. You can look back over the last few months of this blog and see how little I wrote that can be interpreted as favoring one candidate or another. The only race I said much about was the Virginia Senate race. Go find those old posts and you'll see that, from "Macaca" on, I was hostile to George Allen, and, in numerous posts, I was positive about Webb.

What I'm concerned about is national security and, consequently, the way the election was fought and is being interpreted. I'm upset because I think we have sent a terrible message to our enemies: Just hang on long enough and continue to inflict some damage, and the Americans will lose heart and give up. You barely need anything at all. You might not be able to hijack a plane with a box cutter anymore, but you can take back a country -- a country we conquered with overwhelming military power -- merely by mercilessly and endlessly setting off small bombs in your own town day after day.

How much harder it becomes ever to fight and win a war again. Only pacifists and isolationists should feel good about the way this election was won.

207 comments:

1 – 200 of 207   Newer›   Newest»
Gahrie said...

I agree with you Ann. I wrote about it here:

http://gahrie.blogspot.com/2006/11/legacy-of-2006.html

Colin Hughes Taylor said...

I think that our enemies are more emboldened by our being bogged down in Iraq than by the recent election results.

I ask in all sincerity: How long is too long? Two more years in Iraq? Four more? Six more?

When does it become acceptable, to you, for Americans to stop supporting our continued involvement in Iraq?

Gahrie said...

Well, we've been in Europe for 60 years, first protecting Europe from Germany, and than the USSR.

Now all we are doing is subsidizing the European economies, so I guess it is time to bring those troops home.

We've been in Japan for 60 years, fist protecting Asia from Japan, and now to try and protect Asia from China. I guess we can bring those troops home.

We've been in South Korea for 50 years, I guess we can bring those troops home.

To answer your question:

It becomes acceptable for US troops to leave Iraq when Iraq is safe and stable, and the terrorist threat has been neutralized.

johnstodderinexile said...
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johnstodderinexile said...

Ann, it's not politically realistic to expect the country to support a project like the Iraq war when it has been so mismanaged (2003-4) and so miscommunicated (perpetually). One can be angry, but I don't think the voters can be blamed much. Besides, I don't think it was a cut 'n run message from the voters. More of a "can somebody here work this thing?" message. The forced retirement of Rumsfeld was the perfect-pitch response.

Daryl Herbert said...

Just a few days ago, the head of Hizballah was talking about how he was affected by watching America's retreat from Vietnam. How we pushed people off helicopters, and left them to their fate.

If we pull out now, who in the future will ever be stupid enough to try to establish democracy in their own country in the face of terrorism?

Terrorists will win by default. It will take much less commitment on their part, and much more commitment on ours, to accomplish anything, because the presumption will be that America will fold.

---

As long as we can accomplish something by fighting that outweighs the cost, we should keep fighting.

Muslims all around the world are insane. Totally crazy. They believe wild conspiracy theories. They have extreme racial prejudices. They support the worst kinds of terror--as long as it's being perpetrated by their own group.

They've got nuclear weapons, and they're getting more.

We are in a long-term ideological struggle with these people. We're trying to get Muslims to be less crazy. To be sane enough that we can live with them.

Look at what the Arab League has done with regard to the genocide in Darfur (Muslim Arabs killing Muslim & Animist Blacks) . . . they support the government. Arabs side with Arabs. Muslims side with Muslims. Even when they are the worst kind of criminals.

Islam is spreading. Look at the problems France is experiencing. The rest of Europe. America has its first Muslim congressman, who has in the past endorsed anti-Semitism.

Barring a genocidal solution on our part, we're going to have live with Muslims. They're totally insane, even in this country (I know from firsthand experience--you would not believe the things I've heard American-born Muslims say. I don't mean they say controversial things I mean they say things that are obviously untrue). Letting the crazy ones have a victory in Iraq, so they can dismember the sane ones, would have tremendously bad consequences for the future of our world.

michael a litscher said...
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michael a litscher said...
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michael a litscher said...

It's the folding and crumpling because things didn't go well enough and the way we conspicuously displayed that to our enemies.

As well as to our current and future allies.

Who would give up fighting against us, and who would fight along side of us, if the official position of the Democrat party is to cut and run at under two casualties per day.

WW1: 93.9 casualties per day
WWII: 221.3 casualties per day
Korea: 30.3 casualties per day
Vietnam: 17.5 casualties per day
Gulf War: 4.9 casualties per day

Drum roll please...

Iraq: 1.8 casualties per day

Sources:
Iraq Coalition Casualty Count
Statistical Summary - America's Major Wars

michael a litscher said...

And to add some context...

Peacetime: 0.9 casualties per day.

Also, the Sunni and Shia have been at war with each other since 656 AD. If anyone wishes to convince me that the secular violence we're seeing in Iraq between the Sunni and Shia is Bush's fault, they'll need to provide evidence that Bush has access to a time machine.

Theo Boehm said...

I totally agree with Ann. I favor traditionally liberal economic policies, so I am no friend of Republican causes generally, but I am a hard-ass on defense.

That position just won't fly in the modern world, not in Europe, and not now in North America.

God knows, Bush and the rest  made mistakes, some fairly disasterous, but the apparant failure of Americans to pick up the pieces and persevere in the face of a difficult but not impossible task is something new in our history—something that portends, however distantly, however faintly, the end of "our" history and the beginning of a post-United States world.

I am furious with the Democrats for caving to the pacifist and extreme-left elements in their coalition and doing everything they could to throw a spanner in the works.  I am furious with the news media in playing along with this game.  And I am especially furious with President Bush for a badly-planned war and the unwisdom of getting us into the position where our weakness is on display.  President Clinton had it about right with discreet bombing from 15,000 feet.  That has become, for better or worse, nearly the only viable military option left.  And preferably the bombs will fall somewhere without a camera nearby.

Franklin Roosevelt asked Wendell Wilkie to pay a visit to Churchill to help shore up transatlantic relations during the early days of World War II.  Wilkie carried the famous hand-written letter from Roosevelt that had the well-known "Sail on, O ship of state...." quote from Longfellow.  It also had Roosevelt's comment that Wilkie was "...doing his best to keep politics out over here."  Wilkie was the leader of the Republican Party and Roosevelt's recent Presidential opponent.  Roosevelt meant by "politics" just what the Democrats have been doing during the Iraq war.  There were plenty of Republican isolationists and "America First-ers" who raised objections before World War II, and who would have liked to continue causing trouble, but patriots such as Wilkie saw that "politics" had no place in wartime.  We needed unity and firmness of purpose. In the end, the Republicans played it about right.  I can only hope the modern Democrats will come to their senses and do the same. I am not holding my breath.

In the meantime, the Iraq war is lost.  Even at this late and dire moment something might be salvaged if there were still Americans here.  Sadly, they're not around anymore.  What the hideous denoument will be, no one can say.  We do know that it will be bloody, dire, destabilizing, and costly in money and whatever shreds of influence we have left.  Iraq was no Vietnam to start, but powerful forces have done their best to make sure it ends like Vietnam.  President Bush fell right into that trap, and deserves the condemnation of history for it.

This election was about Iraq.  The people have spoken.  They want nothing to do with it.

We will be paying the price, as Ann says, "forever."

Revenant said...

I think Bush didn't do a good job communicating to people why the war was important. He needed to be giving regular speeches on the subject, and he didn't -- he was much too hands-off towards the public.

Slim999 said...

Ann,

You really shouldn't let the fact that certain Muslims will "use" the election results to claim that this is a victory for them bother you.

Here's why: No matter what happens to them, they claim it as a victory for Allah.

If our military set as its primary strategy to kill every Muslim, and then set out to do it and killed all but one of them, the remaining guy would claim victory, because, after all, the Americans tried to wipe out Islam ... and since he's still alive, Islam was victorious, praise be to God.

It's just the nature of that particular religion.

I'm not necessarily critical of it. Religion isn't based on mere logic. It demands faith in the presence of contradictory facts. In fact, that may be the definition of religion ... the ability to believe in something despite all facts to the contrary.

You have to understand that we will never "defeat" the Islamic extremists in the way that we defeated the Japanese and the Germans.

The Japanese held "honor" above all else. Failed Japanese commanders took their own lives as pennance for the shame of defeat.

I'm reminded of that video of Zarqawi that got released right before we, uh, dispensed with him. You remember the one ... he's standing in the desert somewhere trying to figure out how to fire a machine gun that hasn't been properly loaded.

He's pulling the trigger, but the damn thing just won't go off. And so a guy rushes up and properly cocks the thing for him and he fires off about 20 or 30 rounds.

Then, as he's walking away, he grabs the gun by the barrel, burning his hands.

That's the kind of "commanders" we are fighting over there. Can you imagine any of them having the kind of shame necessary to take their own lives following a "defeat?"

Such people cannot be defeated. They're too stupid to know they've lost.

They consider the mere fact that they aren't dead yet to be a glorious victory brought about by their devotion to Allah.

Sheesh, now I'm depressed.

ShadowFox said...

To quote Carson, this is some funny, funny stuff. I'm just scratching my head reading some of the comments here.

If you really want to talk about the cut-and-run in the face of terrorism, let's see where it originated--and emboldened terrorists. Iraq? No--Reagan's pull out from Beirut. That's right, folks, the symbol of American retreat in the face of terrorism is not the Democratic Party circa 2006, not John Kerry, but Ronald Reagan.

And every Middle Eastern commander who sends out his flock to blow themselves up will tell you that it was watching the aftermath of the bombing in Lebanon that emboldened them. Not Vietnam, not Iraq. Thank you, Ronald Reagan.

And, while we are on the hypocrisy watch, let's recall every Republican politician who held the mic during the Bosnia crisis in opposition to sending US troops to Bosnia and then to Kosovo. Why? "We'll be bringing them back in body bags!" Total casualty count from Yugoslavia? Three--none in combat, all drunk when killed.

Perhaps the success in Bosnia is what emboldened Bush? Dream on!

More to the point, let's not forget why we are in Iraq. Oh, wait! Do we even know why we are in Iraq? Of the 200 reasons offered so far, none lasted more than a couple of months. And none have been worth 3000 dead. Just recall Bush's repeated campaign promise in 2000--no nation building.

gj said...

but the apparant failure of Americans to pick up the pieces and persevere in the face of a difficult but not impossible task is something new in our history

Theo, what Americans have done with this election is made an attempt to pick up the pieces. Over the last four years Bush has shown his utter incapacity to win this war. The Republican Congress showed that they were perfectly willing to let him keep losing. That has done incredible damage to American power and influence in the world.

Our country has just taken a step to correct that. Bush has been called to heel. Now with some new blood in the Pentagon, some new willingness to entertain ideas in the Whitehouse, and some new oversight in Congress, in might actually be able to make progress.

It will be difficult, of course. Everyone who has looked squarely at the situation --- including Republican Senators and operators like James Baker --- realizes that it's been let go pretty close to the point of chaos. But simply letting it continue to spin out of control was no longer an option. It's very, very good that Americans saw that.

If you think that the Democrats in Congress will somehow force Bush to repeat what Reagan did in response to the Khobar Towers bombing (cut and run) has been listening to too many partisan speeches. It's physically impossible to just pick up and leave that quickly, in addition to being undesirable. But now at least we'll have some thought on how to actually best address the mess that's been created.

Gerry said...

Sounds like a bit of buyer's remorse. Even if you didn't buy, per se, you were not exactly an advocate for buying the other option.

I say, chin up. It has only been a day or two, and so far the Democrats have not said anything stupid. If they decide to be stout now, rather than going for the cut-and-run their base wants, then that too will be remembered by our enemies. Forever.

Who knows. Maybe we will be pleasantly surprised. And if not, I have faith that American voters will remember, perhaps not forever (we seem to have forgotten the lessons of chosing to lose in Vietnam and of backing down elsewhere), but certainly in time for the next few election cycles.

Gerry said...

Then again...

knoxgirl said...

Yeah, there was a Reuters headline that said something like "Arabs Celebrating Defeat of Republicans" on Wednesday. How can that be good? And what does that say about the Democrats' position on national security? Or their perceived position.

Someone brought up Darfur... I bet less than 1% of the American population even is aware that it's Arab Muslims doing the raping and slaughtering there.

knoxgirl said...

I say, chin up. It has only been a day or two, and so far the Democrats have not said anything stupid

Gerry, Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday that Iraq is "not a war to be won but a situation to be solved."

There's not much worse she could say, to my mind. She's basically telling our enemies, "don't worry, we don't particularly feel the need to win in Iraq."

George said...

This might be the end of the first scene of the first act of a five act play.

In the big scope of things, it's probably not a biggie. We're in this for the next, oh, hundred or so years.

Does anyone really believe we're going to suddenly yank all the troops from Iraq, ala what McGovern is supposedly going to tell Congress?

Gerry said...

George, I hope you are right.

My fear (and my pre-election expectation) is that the Democrats will have no choice because of their left-wing, pacifist base but to push for a complete withdrawal by the time the 2008 campaign begins.

The Drill SGT said...

A couple of comments:

1. The "Blame Amerika First Crowd" keeps talking about Darfur as though unfeeling unilateralist Bush is the main problem. In fact the Bush administration has consistently been out front on Darfur, ahead of those kind Europeans and the obstructionist UN. The wonderful UN, the Arab League and China are the primary reason black Africans are dying in Darfur, not the Bushies.

2. The Iraq war isn't lost yet, but we clearly intend to lose it, sooner or later. Then we may see the following:

- Iraqis fleeing chaos
- massive internal civil war
- Nuclear Iran
- Iranian peacekeepers assisting their Shite brothers keep order
- The Kurds won't go quietly into the night. they'll fight and ultimately be slaughtered
- unrest will spread in Turkey
- the Arab gulf will seek a deal with the Iranians
- the House of Saud will fall and Iran will seek control of the Saudi holy sites.
- Europe will sit this out
- Israel will be nuked
- we'll need to change our immigration policy to skim the best talent of Europe as they try to come to the "evil" US


I'm really depressed now :)

Webutante said...

I am also greatly saddened by this turn of events.

On a deeper level it shows how we have lost our moral fortitude in the face of difficulties and setbacks. We want such instant gratification on all fronts. And that's why the terrorists who want to bring down our civilization are emboldened: they know we have lost our stomach for enduring in the face of difficulties. And they want us to elect officials who will appease them while they continue to plan our destruction. Nancy Pelosi et all scare me to death.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Rumsfeldian/Seinfeldian exchange:

--It looks like you've taken to asking yourself a question and then answering it, doesn't it?

--Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Hey said...

It just shows that the only response to terrrorism has to be mass application of bottled sunshine. Our response to any further attacks or attempted attacks by the Salafists has to be the same vis a vis the Islamic world as our response too a threateed or actual Soviet nuclear launch: total response with Darwin's own special cleaner.

We need to hold the Islamic world responsible for their insidious terrorism, and give them one more shot to survive. If not, end the problem, permanently. The War on Terror has been all about trying to avoid that step, but if we have to to survive, then we have to. This response, btw, needs to include France and its nuclear program as part of the Islamic world responsible for Terror.

NSC said...

I say, chin up. It has only been a day or two, and so far the Democrats have not said anything stupid.

"Iraq is not a war to be won, but a situation to be solved." - Nancy Pelosi to Brit Hume a couple of days ago.

" . . . who the hell wants to live in Mississippi?" - Charlie Rangel talking about giving more money to the very blue NYC and less to red southern states.

Naww, they haven't said anything stupid yet.

The latter is just stupid. The first is almost criminal in what it communicates to our own troops and our enemies.

Everyone is talking about disaster preparedness these days. I say buy a Koran and start studying up for the future.

Gerry said...

Being a gloomy Gus, as a few on this thread are being, only serves to set the expectations wrong. If you expect the worst, and the Democratic Congress gives us bad-but-better-than-the-worst, then they get to campaign in '08 as having exceeded expectations. "People said the sky would fall, and it did not. Don't be fooled."

Instead, we should be setting the correct expectations. They said they would be responsible. They said they would do the right things. They said they were not for defeat. They said they were for a strong America. They won, so let's give them a chance to live up to their promises. Expect them to live up to their promises.

And then hold them to it, going forward.

Balfegor said...

If we pull out now, who in the future will ever be stupid enough to try to establish democracy in their own country in the face of terrorism?

Well, first, I think it's a bit early to assume that the newly elected Democrats are actually going to go along with the leftists. They may just make a stink about it and essentially leave things proceeding as they are.

Second, I don't think the issue is people trying to foster democracy in their own countries. The problem is that, just like with Vietnam, we lose all our credibility with small allies when we toss them overboard to make nice with our big allies. When we present ourselves as a meaningful powerbroker in a regional context, and offer to throw our support behind democratic forces regionally, that regional power is going to have to take into account that we're highly likely to throw him to the wolves, once the propaganda war gets too hot. And that makes him a less reliable ally too -- gives him an incentive to betray before we betray him.

All things considered, though, I'm not all that depressed about the election. We've weathered one bout of "peace with honour" already, and I'm sure we'll weather this one too. One of the things that people don't really note enough, I think, is that Iraq was a war of choice. Leaving will indeed embolden our enemies, and that is bad -- they'll cry out "Paper tiger" again, perhaps forgetting that we toppled two hostile regimes in short order with minimal casualties (to us). But because Iraq was a war of choice (as was Afghanistan), the immediate and concrete downside is really minimal. Iraq in chaos will not, contrary to some commentators, be a threat to us, nor will it be a haven for terrorists -- terrorists, like anyone else, seem to prefer to build camps and infrastructure in peaceful /pacified territory, like Afghanistan under the Taliban or (more recently), southern Somalia under the Islamic Courts Union. It will only be a terrorist haven when the terrorists have already won in Iraq -- and that will not come, I think, until years after we have left.

Indeed, although the Democrats may not really want to put it this way, an "over-the-horizon" force, as some critics of the war have recommended, would probably be useless for assisting the development of democratic culture and the spread of human rights and all that, but would be perfectly suited to coming in from time to time and smashing whatever the Iraqis have managed to build, if what they have built is hostile to our interests (e.g. a terrorist camp). It's sort of a John Derbyshire solution. The whole "rubble doesn't make trouble" thing -- correct, as far as it goes, if not the deep and lasting solution Bush has been pursuing.

I think that our enemies are more emboldened by our being bogged down in Iraq than by the recent election results.

I just don't see why this would be so -- this reads as desperate spin to me.

I ask in all sincerity: How long is too long? Two more years in Iraq? Four more? Six more?

I would say about 25 years. A generation or so.

Pierre Legrand said...

I was annoyed when while the bodies were still cold several terrific bloggers came out saying this disaster was not the fault of the American people. Showing a profound misunderstanding of the word responsibility.

If the American people do not understand that we are in a fight for our very lives and that Iraq is merely another front, then no one can be blamed but them. We cannot say that it was the MSM's fault because the information is out there to educate yourself with and for the same reason we cannot say it is either parties fault. This election showed in terribly stark terms that the American people are cowards of the worst sort.

This election was indeed a referendum on the Iraq war and the American people blinked. Now we will be left to hoping an embattled President can stave off defeat by himself. The firing of Rumsfeld does not give me hope...should we "redeploy" then fit your girl children for burkas because that result is inevitable. Our enemies understand patience, bravery and honor...our soldiers understand it as well. But the American people are fat, lazy and cowardly and that combination has never prospered.

America Blinks follows Spain into voting for appeasement

vegetius said...

"I think that our enemies are more emboldened by our being bogged down in Iraq than by the recent election results."

Pray tell...how has this boldness been manifested??

In all sincerity, insurgencies take 9 to 12 yrs to completely suppress.

I 'm really doubting the ablilty of any democracy to engage in a protracted struggle.

We are at WAR.

Interesting factoid...the military was praying that renlistment rates for the current military would hit the 30% mark........the rates for combat units that have had multiple deployments and the brunt of the casualites (see 101st Airborne, 82d Airborne , Marine units) has hit 60%. That means the closer the individual is to losing life or limb the more likely they are to commit to finishing the mission. Oppostion to the war is inversely proportional to the individual's personal risk.

salvage said...

Yeah it's a real shame Americans aren’t supporting the unnecessary war launched on lies that was doomed from the start. If only everyone clapped their hands and believed the Iraqis would suddenly come around, the terrorists would vanish in a puff of rainbows and the parades would start!

If you can’t see what a horrible mistake Iraq was at this point then there is no hope for you.

Pogo said...

The democrats have already signalled by having JFKerry as their 2004 candidate, Nancy "not a war to be won" Pelosi as Speaker, and McGovern advising them on the war that they are using a 1972 template.

The effect is: Iraqis are screwed. The US will enter our second attempt at national suicide. Read Paul Johnson's history of the 20th century Modern Times for perspective. (see especially Chapter 18. America's Suicide Attempt) Eerily similar.

The enemy has seen America's resolve recede, and will take this as a signal to fight even harder. Democrats are too stupid to notice or too much in denial to see. But terror will visit our cities again. And again.

As I said in a prior post, thank God for concealed carry.

NSC said...

Yeah it's a real shame Americans aren’t supporting the unnecessary war launched on lies that was doomed from the start. If only everyone clapped their hands and believed the Iraqis would suddenly come around, the terrorists would vanish in a puff of rainbows and the parades would start!

If you can’t see what a horrible mistake Iraq was at this point then there is no hope for you.



I expect the terrorists to vanish in just that manner simply because the Democrats are now in power. I mean that's the bill of goods you guys sold the American people isn't it?

Get to work, dammit, I want some bi-lateral talks, some excellent UN action, and Nancy Pelosi traveling to Afghanistan to shake Osama's hand so that we can have peace.

rafinlay said...

When the proper order of the universe is restored, the Democrats in charge, the Republicans playing (very) loyal (not-very serious) opposition, then the war will be honorable, necessary, and righteous. The only thing really wrong with the battle for Iraq is who would get credit for it if it were to succeed.

Hollywood Wags said...

If the public thinks the war is going good solely, and it's possible, based on media coverage, they will never feel that it's going good because the media coverage will never be positive.

That is depressing.

tjl said...

"It has only been a day or two, and so far the Democrats have not said anything stupid."

You missed Pelosi's comment on NPR that Iraq wasn't a war to be won but a problem to be fixed. Not stupid exactly, but a clear indication of where she means to go. And despite the purposeful ambiguity of the campaign, there has never been any real doubt of what a Democratic victory would mean. The media, while acting as Democratic cheerleaders, made everyone see the election as a referendum on the war. The decisive loss of both houses is a clear message that the voters want the war to end.

Bush's appointment of Gates shows that he understands this. Gates reflects that Realpolitik views of Bush pere's time and will attempt some relatively face-saving exit strategy. But in the end, face won't be saved because the Islamists will understand perfectly well what is happening. They will conclude that events have once again proven them right -- Western democracies in general, and the US in particular, are not capable of sustaining the will to resist. They will feel new confidence that they are one step closer to the Caliphate.

At this point I don't blame the Democrats. They are only doing what politicians are supposed to do -- understand what the voters want, and promise to give it to them. This defines the diference between "politician" and "statesman."

Ultimately, I blame Bush for failing to make the people comprehend what is at stake. But it would need the skills of a Churchill to fire the will of the people to persevere against enemies so amorphous in a struggle so endless.

Perhaps a Churchill will eventually arise. I'm afraid that won't happen until another domestic mass-caualty attack has prepared the way. By ducking the war now, we are accepting that far greater sacrifices will be asked of us later. But the voters have made their choice.

Joe said...

Also very depressed. I see emboldened terrorists abroad, and the return of attacks on us at home. Higher taxes and a resulting slowdown in the economy. Although Pelosi has said impeachment is "off the table," there will be unending hearings on everything Bush has done in the last 5 years, ending up with the democrats oh so reluctantly calling for impeachment. Things will definitely get worse before they get better, thanks to a fickle electorate with short memories.

rafinlay said...

People keep hoping for a Churchill; what we should be looking for is a Roosevelt -- FDR, not Teddy. He also was a master politician, propagandist (I mean, communicator), capable of tough wartime leadership while simultaneously expanding domestic welfare... and with the added advantage of being a Democrat, therefore noble and pure.

MadisonMan said...

Boy, what a downer this thread of comments is! My opinion is that things are never as bad, or good, as you think they're going to be.

The evolution of the situation in Iraq just means that whichever country is most flexible is going to come out on top. I happen to think that the USA beats just about any other country in terms of being able to adapt.

Shaun Mullen said...

Sheesh! The system worked and you're bummed out.

I am a Vietnam vet and therefore old enough to remember all the hankie wringing when that last helicopter lifted off of the roof of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon.

Dire predictions for the fate of America and its standing in the world community followed.

You know what? It didn't mean jacksh*t.

How can America's enemies be more emboldened than flying jetliners into skyscrapers?

Check out what has happened in Iraq in the two days since Election Day . . .

http://kikoshouse.blogspot.com

. . . and ask yourself why the U.S. shouldn't get the hell out?

The bottom line: Our presence is making matters worse, not better.

Moklevat said...

It is curious to assign blame for your depression about the election to "failure of Americans to support the war". Mass action (or inaction) is a function of (in)effective leadership. If morale among troops were low would the troops be to blame for "failure to support the war"?

Simon said...

NSC said...
"Get to work, dammit, I want ... [inter alia] Nancy Pelosi traveling to Afghanistan to shake Osama's hand so that we can have peace."

D'you think that, if she actually did that, when Osama takes her hostage and saws her head off live on Al Jazeera, that the Democrats will finally get the hint that we're at war and that the enemy doesn't care if you're a liberal or a conservative?

NSC said...

I hope you are right, MM, because as much as I detest the Democratic leadership, I would gladly say thank you if they could make us safer from, what I consider anyway, to be the greatest threat to our nation and all free nations - Muslim radicalism.

I just don't see that happening and thus my depression and that of others here.

And, Shaun, the system worked in 2000 and 2004 and you the Dems were a lot more than bummed out. Also, once again, I feel the need to point out that this war is nothing like the Vietnam War nor is the overall political situation remotely similar to Vietnam. Quit looking at this through that lens - it is warping your vision.

Pogo said...

Re: "things are never as bad, or good, as you think they're going to be"

Optimism is fine, I suppose, but I favor realism. And nothing points to the real Democrat direction than McGovern offering military advice. (And frankly, the idea that things tend to get better over time is a pollyannaish delusion peculiar to Democrats that pains me. Compare Russia 1910 to 1950 to now: the collapse of a civilization into anarchy.)

Madison, I've been hearing and reading nothing but end-of-the-world rhetoric from your side of the aisle for 6 straight years, so just imagine my lack of trust in leadership from the Democrats. And just imagine my disbelief when you counsel patience and trust that everything will be jes' fine.

Face it, we're stuck with an anti-war anti-military pro-appeasement House and Senate. I wonder what the enemy will make of that, and how it will affect their plans.

Murdoch said...

I'm sorry you're depressed, Ann. In contrast, I'm delighted that people in the US seem to have come to their senses not only in becoming increasingly hostile to the Iraq involvement but in turfing out so many apologists for that shameful policy.

I'm delighted that Rumsfeld has been sacked and delighted that Bolton's term of wreaking havoc at the UN is very clearly coming to an end (despite Bush's distinctly non-bipartisan attempt to sneak confirmation through).

The world has become a far more dangerous place over the past three or four years and the blame for this lies squarely with the present dishonest US administration supported by its equally mendacious allies in the forms of Italy/Berlusconi, Spain/Aznar and UK/Blair among others. The first two of these were direct casualties of their electorate's anger, Blair is in serious trouble and Bush's party has had a well deserved, as he put it, thumping.

Saying that doesn't exonerate or minimise Muslim terrorism or whitewash Saddam Hussein's evil regime but it does emphasise the contrast with the start of the war when something like 75% of the population had been taken in by the blatant lies and propaganda used to justify an illegal, dangerous and destructive invasion of a sovereign country posing no direct threat to the US.

There's an irony in the fact that this is the 50th anniversary of the equally aggressive and inappropriate Franco/British invasion of Egypt in 1956 following Nasser's nationalisation of the Suez Canal. Then, as now, the motive was greed and self-interest over oil but with this major difference: Eisenhower bluntly opened his phone call to the British PM, Eden, by saying, "I presume you've taken leave of your senses!", recognising the dangers to the Middle East and to the then nascent Israeli state which such adventuring would provoke. It’s a tragedy that too many later US presidents didn’t have that kind of good sense.

The US by directly interfering in the affairs of other countries - for instance by supporting, funding and arming the Taliban in Afghanistan, Saddam Hussein in Iraq, by propping up the corrupt regime in Saudi Arabia among much more - sowed the wind and is now reaping the whirlwind.

The problem is that others reap it too, as in Britain right now, and that's why I'm delighted that the people in the US appear to have reacted strongly against being taken for a ride in the way they have been and I'm hopeful that possibly, just possibly, things might start to improve.

While I accept that an immediate and unconditional withdrawal would be the wrong response it's essential that movement start towards that end in the very, very near future. The so-called coalition forces are in an impossible situation but every day they remain they continue as a major irritant and a barrier to eventual peace not to mention contributing the the region's instability.

So, Ann, while I'm sorry you're depressed I really think that the election results are indicative of good sense creeping back and a cause for optimism about the future. And you might like to look at this for another view.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Time for a quick little tour:

Phillipines - Isalm vs Catholics
Indonesia - Islam vs Hindus
Thailand - Islam vs Buddhists
NW China - Islam vs Atheists
Russia - Islam vs Orthodox
Caucasus - Islam vs Orthodox
Balkans - Islam vs Orthodox
France - Islam vs Catholics
Spain - Islam vs Catholics
Mali - Islam vs pagans
Nigeria - Islam vs Anglicans
Chad - Islam vs pagans
S Sudan - Islam vs Anglicans
Kenya - Islam vs Anglicans
Ethiopia - Islam vs Coptics
Israel - Islam vs Jews
Persian Gulf - Shi'a vs Sunni
India - Islam vs Hindus

Everywhere Islam (not individual Muslims) ... everywhere Islam interacts with the rest of the world there is violence. Almost none of it has anything to do with Israel. Every bit of it has to do with Islam.

Believing something is true does not make it so. The American Left and their European allies can say (and believe) that it's about Israel, about American arrogance, about Bushitler, about oil, or about the lack of "social justice," but that does not make it so.

To the extent they enjoy political succes based on those beliefs they merely delay (and deepen) the gathering crisis. I'm sure they're pretty proud of themselves about now, but history will not be kind.

Because in their apparent "success" they are adding several orders of magnitude to the ultimate casualty lists.

Richard Fagin said...

Ann, if you'd been around in 1938 when Chamberlain came home waiving that worthless piece of paper with Hitler's signature, shouting, "Peace in our time!" you would have been depressed then, too, knowing what was coming. Even after the Nazis and the Commies sliced up Poland, we refused to help. Don't worry. After the nutcases set of an a-bomb in Times Square, Americans will figure it out. We always do. Sometimes too late and after way too much unnecessary damage and loss of life, but we always do.

Lawyapalooza said...

Do you ever stop to think how people around the world perceive Americans when they see pictures of torture and sexual humiliation from out troops? How far does the argument for democracy travel when we have literally kidnapped people and held them incommunicado for YEARS. Unfortunately, they can create a similar list putting either "America" or "Christians" on the other side of the battles.

The biggest problem with the so-called "Neo-cons" is their utter misunderstanding of how the world would react to their "Crusade " (to use their own words) to force American-style democracy in the Mid-East. What they have done is not to open the eyes of the world to the benefits of democracy. Rather, they have brutally and incompetently acted to actually increase extremism and terrorism.

Islamic extremists must be dealt with. But the faile dpolicies of the Republicans are to blame for the much bigger mess the Democrats are going to have to clean up. That is why the country voted the Repubs out, plain and simple. You made the world worse, not better.

Simon said...

Richard Fagin said...
"After the nutcases set of an a-bomb in Times Square, Americans will figure it out ... Sometimes too late and after way too much unnecessary damage and loss of life, but we always do.

I would have found that a persuasive point at any time prior to going to bed on September 10th, 2001.

Jim said...

I’ve never commented here before, but this one demands a response:
“If you really want to talk about the cut-and-run in the face of terrorism, let's see where it originated--and emboldened terrorists. Iraq? No--Reagan's pull out from Beirut. That's right, folks, the symbol of American retreat in the face of terrorism is not the Democratic Party circa 2006, not John Kerry, but Ronald Reagan.

And every Middle Eastern commander who sends out his flock to blow themselves up will tell you that it was watching the aftermath of the bombing in Lebanon that emboldened them. Not Vietnam, not Iraq. Thank you, Ronald Reagan.”
This cuts to the heart to the problem with the Democrat party, circa 2006: they see everything as political. Trying to score political points, this poster instead states the salient truth of our times in spite of himself: Cut-and-run emboldens terrorists. Period. Beautiful point. Thanks.

AJ Lynch said...

None of the people I voted for won but I am not depressed.

One theme I see in this election is Americans prefer moderates (my evidence is Lieberman, Schwarzenegger, Santorum loss, perhaps candidates like Webb to a southern state) and that is a good thing.

I view Webb as a Dem senator with balls- and the country has not had that kind of Dem senator for 30-40 years (Kennedy, Johnson are examples).

The second theme is the candidates with military expericence who won is a positive trend. With the Iraq War providing plenty of veterans, I predict Congress will have more and more vets in its ranks after future elections. And that is a good thing- so don't fret too much.

As one commenter said, the Muslim world will interpret all things with their own spin sort of like the AP reports on the "bad" economy when a republican is in office (i.e "unemployment at historic low, experts fear return of inflation"- LOL).

rafinlay said...

I have only great hopes for the next Clinton administration. President Clinton, together with UN Ambassador Clinton, will unify the civilized world against the newly discovered danger of (hmmm.... let's say religious fanatics or anti-democratic thugs) who, by acquiring and disseminating nuclear weapons are endangering Mother Earth herself. The congressional opposition will rally to their support, politics, as you know, ending at the water's edge, and the UN will lead us to a better world.

Sloanasaurus said...

I wouldn't get depressed yet either. Democrats and their media allies used a negative view of the Iraq war to gain power. They will get the President to make a meaningful change, which was already coming with the Baker Commission. However, I think it will be all a charade. IN the end, the same strategy will be employed... that is to stick it out until the Iraqi government can take over.

We should never lose site of the long view. Hopefully as a minoity party in congress the long view will be talked about often.

Here is the long view:

Mulsim fundamentalism is a growing ideology. Muslims use it to cope with the changes in the modern world and because it is popular among anti-government types. Immigrant communities in European countries are infected with it and the way demographics are, the European socities will ultimately start to fracture.

A victory in Iraq can seriously damage this fundamentalist movement because it will increase the power of democrats (little "d") in the middle east, which offers a new direction for how people should live, which is freedom.

Maybe it will fail. But, if we don't try, what else is there to do but button up the hatches and get ready for world war. The liberal idea of immigration and integration tried by Europe is already failing. Europeans do not have a zealous enough of a population to match the muslims on jihad.

Some claim that Bush is an ideologue because of his idea to "spread democracy." I don't think this is true. Bush is not trying spread democracy for the good of Iraq, he wants to spread freedom because he knows from his own experience that freedom is good and that freedom for others is freedom for America.

Sloanasaurus said...

perhaps candidates like Webb to a southern state) and that is a good thing.

I liked Allen, however I share your optimism for Webb. Webb was an opportunist when it came to switching parties. We will see if he remains so or if he actually becomes influential within the Democratic party.

I have a feeling that he may just come out with his head shaking wondering "who are these people?"

Chairman eDog said...

Also, the Sunni and Shia have been at war with each other since 656 AD. If anyone wishes to convince me that the secular violence we're seeing in Iraq between the Sunni and Shia is Bush's fault, they'll need to provide evidence that Bush has access to a time machine.

KARL ROVE MURDERED ALI!!!

Zeb Quinn said...

When it comes to how the war impacted the election my impression is that those who had been supporting the war but are now concerned for how it's in going in large numbers stayed home and sat on their hands. They didn't come out and vote with the Democrats. They just didn't come out and vote at all. Those people are still out there. That's why 2008 is important now. What will they do then?

Sloanasaurus said...

What they have done is not to open the eyes of the world to the benefits of democracy. Rather, they have brutally and incompetently acted to actually increase extremism and terrorism.

This is just plain false.
There is lots of evidence to disprove your assertion and not much evidence to prove it. Islamic fundamentalism has been on the rise since the 1970s. Terrorists attacked us in America before we went into Iraq (starting in 1993) and oddly they have failed to attack us since we went into Iraq.

Your arguments are the same arguments used by the appeasers in Europe not to attack Hitler. They are wrong and tired.

Joe said...

ShadowFox says our perception problem began with Reagan and Beirut in '82 - what about Carter and the Iranian embassy in '79? what about abandoning the South Vietnamese in '75, an event Osama has cited to?
Shaun, that event did mean jackshit, to the multitudes of S. Vietnamese who perished at the hands of the Communists.
And anyone who thinks we are losing in Iraq is a victim of MSM propaganda who lacks the ability or desire to look at the situation objectively. We are about to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
This election was a victory for terrorists.

Internet Ronin said...

I think that the writing has been on the wall about this for some time. As others, both on the left and right, have repeatedly said since 2004, Bush and his advisers basically had 2 years to get the job done (or show significant progress) before the American people went to the polls again and rendered judgment.

The fact of the matter is that a significant number of those who rate this President poorly and oppose the conduct of this war are long-time GOP supporters or sympathizers who feel that the administration has ended up following the Johnson/Vietnam model.

gj said...

The Washington Post gives some examples of the terrible changes that Pelosi will bring to Congress:

[As soon as Pelosi is elected speaker] Democrats will vote on a substantive slate of changes to the way the House operates, she said. They will include rules to diminish lobbyists' influence, ensure that lawmakers and the public have time to read legislation before lawmakers vote on it, open House-Senate legislative negotiating sessions to the media, and reinstitute lapsed budget rules that say any new spending or tax cuts must be offset by equal tax hikes or spending cuts.

Democrats also will extend new rules mandating that each home-district pet project, known as an earmark, be identified by the name of the lawmaker who sponsored it. Earmarks would have to be authorized by policymaking committees before they are approved by the Appropriations Committee.

Anthony said...

I'm still not at all convinced that this election was "about the war". Mostly because this was going to be the story the media promulgated anyway if the Dems took control of either house. It's the same basic game plan they followed in some foreign elections (notably Britain and Australia). They hyped it as a referendum on the Iraq war and [insert country]'s support of it and the Bush admin. Then after they won, the media backpeddled and claimed that, well, local issues "overshadowed Iraq". Whatever the outcome, Iraq was either the deciding issue or it was something to be overcome.

If this was All About Iraq™ why didn't Mr. Anti-War Ned Lamont beat Mr. Pro-War Lieberman? I believe 3 of the 5 Republicans who voted against the war were voted out as well.

anselm said...

have to register my agreement with ann and theo boehm (well said my friend!).

Nataraj said...

>>Get to work, dammit, I want some bi-lateral talks, some excellent UN action, and Nancy Pelosi traveling to Afghanistan to shake Osama's hand so that we can have peace.<<

Anyone of you hawks recall GW Bush's last comment on bin Laden? Something to the effect of, 'I don't really think about him too much.' He's been better for fear-mongering alive than dead.

Afghanistan was a logical target with loads of public support. We knew why we were going there. Iraq was a manufactured conflict built on bald-faced lies followed by lies. It left us unable/unwilling to satisfactorily complete the task in Afghanistan, which included nailing bin Laden, and allowed Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt to flourish amongst the less-hawkish (including some eyes-open republicans). Then to have the stories emerge of the administration shunning any plans for post-fighting Iraq that wasn't Rumsfeld's Rosy Picture meant that all the complaints of bungling and insufficient troops to hold the peace fell into fertile ground. This war, and post war, could have been much easier to swallow if blind ambition wasn't in charge.

Here's CentCom's latest assessment, given to the White House a day or so before Cheney indicated that 'all things considered it's going pretty well' in Iraq. Clearly, they thought we can't pay attention, because it flatly states that Iraq is going to hell in a handbasket. Here's the chart to which I refer:
http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2006/11/01/world/01military_CA0ready.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1163170938-ucYaQxlupDW9WyO+hZUSCw

Lastly, I believe/hope that the new Dem majority approach will be smarter than what the cut-and-run crowd seems to think is the right answer. We created a mess and it is our job, and in our best interest, to clean it up. But by the gods, do it RIGHT. Rumsfeld gone is a good first step. I await the second good step with fingers crossed and a strong sense of resolve.

Joseph Hovsep said...

I think its inevitable that the public will not support a long-term military engagement in a far-away land where the people hate us. And I think this plain predictable fact should have been better considered when the decision was made to start the war. In my view, the answer is not that the American people should be ashamed at their lack of perseverence. The answer is that American leaders should be very cautious about getting involved in these kinds of military actions, relying on good intelligence, evaluating the merits independent of short-term political considerations, having a clear exit strategy, and, if a long-term bloody engagement is deemed likely, making sure the people are prepared to support that.

anselm said...

Many people are so caught up in the negatives of our current situation that they are not realistic about how harsh the alternatives will be.

Nothing will be worse than withdrawing from Iraq and watching what ensues on TV. You want to talk about a loss of U.S. stature? We will be held responsible for every bit of that carnage, fairly or not.

And all along, multilateralism has been unfairly (IMO) trashed by conservatives, but also given a halo by the left. Diplomacy would require enormous investment too, for uncertain gain, and we would get our hands very dirty, albeit in different ways. This denial from both sides has led to a collective cognitive breakdown about our options.

But I was wondering, shouldn't our preparedness for additional conflicts be ratcheted up to a higher priority than Iraq itself? This would militate in favor of withdrawal, but is it not true that within a year+ of withdrawal we would be ready militarily for just about anything?

A paradox...

Balfegor said...

Re: Shaun:

Dire predictions for the fate of America and its standing in the world community followed.

Uh . . . uh . . . and they were right. Remember what happened right after Vietnam? CARTER! Pissant students in Persia making monkeys of our embassy staff, humiliation abroad, failure at home. "Malaise" -- all that stuff.

Re: Nataraj:

It left us unable/unwilling to satisfactorily complete the task in Afghanistan, which included nailing bin Laden,

Why? This laser-like focus on Bin Laden, as though he alone of all Islamic terrorists, can threaten the US, is kind of idiotic. The issue is not "Al Qaeda," but Islamic terrorism taken as a whole. If we get rid of Al Qaeda, then we get rid of a loose, decentralised organisation and a new one will spring up in its place. That's no solution at all -- just a palliative for our wounded pride.

AJ Lynch said...

Sloanasuarus said re Webb:
"I have a feeling that he may just come out with his head shaking wondering "who are these people?"

I agree with you 100%. That is one likely scenario and perhas could make him jump back to the republican party. Wouldn't that be something?

Too Many Jims said...

"Only pacifists and isolationists should feel good about the way this election was won."

For some time the administration has made this an either/or proposition. You either are with us or you want to cut and run. You either want to defeat the terrorists or you want to adhere to some quaint notion of habeas corpus.

It wasn't until very late in the campaign when Republicans started asking "What is your plan?" Maybe if they had made the dems articulate a plan things may have been different. But given a choice between "Stay the course" and "had enough?" it was a pretty easy choice.

The partisan moderate said...

http://holdthesenate.blogspot.com/
Jim Webb was a terrible candidate and will be a second-rate Senator similar to Bob Kerrey. The press gave him a free pass (and bloggers like Ann) and never asked any tough questions.

He ran as an economic protectionist who seemed to display no real knowledge of the issues facing Virginia other than to accept every economic populist argument at face value.

He had the nerve in his victory speech to say that he maintained his integrity and ran on the issues. His poll numbers only went up and made the race competitive after his subordinates posted the "Macacca Incident" on Youtube and told the press about it. He not once denounced any of the internet bloggers who raised quite a bit of money for his campaign and were instrumental in his victory for calling Allen a racist, a Klansmen, and a self-hating jew on the dailykos. Allen was also called "Senator Macawitz" a slur based on his newly discovered jewish heritage. Surely, if Webb had denounced these tactics and asked people like the kos to stop, the bloggers would have at least tempered their behavior, especially on the Raising Kaine site which was affiliated with his campaign. Nastiness by proxy is still nasty. History will show that he ran the nastiest and most misleading campaign in recent memory. He ran an ad that implied that Reagan would have supported him (which wasn't true), and wouldn't take it down despite asked to by Nancy Reagan.

What was particularly egregious was that as Naval secretary for less than a year, he quit in a really unclassy manner. Do you think President Bush would support a Paul O'Neill (former Treasury Secretary) run for anything? No, of course not, so why would Webb imply that Reagan would support him? Because Reagan is popular amongst Virginians.

Similar to Bob Kerrey and John Kerry, his Vietnam War record was not explored at all in his run for the Senate. It later came out that Bob Kerrey committed "war crimes" under the Geneva Convention and John Kerry's war record is still disputed.

Way to continue the cheerleading on this site.

The Drill SGT said...

A little ray of sunshine:

Newly re-elected Sen. Joe Lieberman has been promised by Sen. Harry Reid – who is in line to become the next Senate Majority Leader – that he will support Lieberman’s efforts to become chairman of the powerful Homeland Security Committee.

Anthony said...

Nothing will be worse than withdrawing from Iraq and watching what ensues on TV.

You won't see anything on TV except happy Iraqi children flying kites.

BTW, per my previous comment on media coverage before and after foreign elections and Iraq:

War in Iraq Plays a Role In Elections In Australia

But later: Maybe not so much:
Australian political analysts cautioned that the voting was not a referendum on the war. The main issue was the economy, and that is booming.

Balfegor said...

And all along, multilateralism has been unfairly (IMO) trashed by conservatives, but also given a halo by the left.

Well, except in East Asia, where Republicans have been pushing for a multilateral solution, in which the interested regional stakeholders contribute to a functioning peace, while Democrats have been pushing us to go it alone, for whatever reason (I suppose because it is the opposite of what Bush wants).

It would be great if that were possible in the Middle East, only of the surrounding states, we're kind of propping up the biggest of them (Saudi Arabia), and two of them are hostile and have no interest in a peaceful Iraq (Syria and Iran) -- no regional partners to work with, other than maybe Turkey, which hates the Kurds, and is not too keen on their habit of launching terrorist attacks on Turkish targets from their staging grounds in northern Iraq. Or Jordan. Jordan has proven to be a highly useful ally, and they have had successful experience stamping out terrorist insurrection ("Black September," 1970 -- their solution: kill them all) but they're tiny, and there's not much they can do to help.

Unlike China (gigantic, huge military), South Korea (middling population, big military, big economy), or Japan (big population, huge economy, big "self defense force").

Sloanasaurus said...

Jim Webb was a terrible candidate and will be a second-rate Senator similar to Bob Kerrey.

You could be right. Webb definately rode a wave. However, it is true that Webb jumped to the Democrats merely to win the election - just like Heath Schuler did in North Carolina.

He may feel some loyalty to the dems for a short time for helping him win, however, in the end he is still Jim Webb, former marine, writer of war novels, former Naval secretary under Reagan, and Senator from a Red State. We will see.

If Webb starts voting for the liberal agenda, he is finished in Virgina.

Derve said...

Re. the Update:

If you're optimistic, you might conclude that in the long run it is to America's benefit to concentrate on competing in other traditional strengths (economic, technological, academic).

Fighting these kinds of "wars" could determine a country's status in the future. Perhaps America has been empasizing one at the expense of others? We tend to look back at the WWII glory days, and risk being a more backward-looking rather than forward-looking culture, as other countries are proving themselves.

Patrick said...

I'm pretty much with Anthony. I don't think I saw the final exit poll info, but the release I saw (and I'm assuming the trends held) said that while most voters indeed disapproved of the way Iraq is being handled, Iraq was only fourth when the issues were ranked in order of importance, behind corruption, terrorism, and the economy. Presumably, most of the "economy" and "terrorism" folks broke for the GOP and most of the "corruption" and "Iraq" folks broke for the Dems, yielding a lot of Dem wins. So I think it's correct to say that corruption and Iraq were the issues that won the election for the Dems, and I think the MSM has actually reported it that way by the time to get to graf 10. But the storyline for above the fold was set before anyone voted: if the Dems win, it's all about Iraq, with some scandal on the side; if the GOP wins, it's all about fear of terrorism, with some good economy on the side, overshadowing the catastrophe in Iraq.

While I agree that our enemies and most of our nominal friends will view the results of the election as a (welcome in both cases) sign of American weakness, I nonetheless think it was the best result for the long term. The Republican congressional leadership has been awful and deserved to be shown the door, and anyway I'm a fan of divided government. But more importantly, the only hope of getting the Dems to participate constructively in what I believe is going to be a generational war is for them to have some power. Now we'll see what they do with it.

Internet Ronin said...

Derve: Curiosity may have killed the cat, but I was wondering if you would you care to elucidate on this comment:

and risk being a more backward-looking rather than forward-looking culture, as other countries are proving themselves.

Which cultures/countries did you have in mind as being forward-looking?

Mark said...

Daryle Berbert wrote: Muslims all around the world are insane. Totally crazy....We are in a long-term ideological struggle with these people. We're trying to get Muslims to be less crazy. To be sane enough that we can live with them.

With all due respect to Daryl, he is missing the obvious solution to this civilizational conflict. Like Mark Steyn, he sees only three possibilities: surrender to Islam, kill every muslim, or change Islam.

Folks, there's a very reasonable solution that actually worked for the last 400 years or so. It's called SEPARATION. It's called you-stay-in-your-countries-and-we'll-stay-in-ours.

There would be no terrorism here if we didn't allow muslims into the West. There would be no angry muslims if we weren't in the Middle East.

Bush's strategy in the Iraq War was premised on something that I don't recall any Democrats disputing before the war: that if Saddam was removed, then the Iraqis would be able (with a little help, and a few stumbles) form a peaceful, democratic government.

This was a noble idea. And I think that in all fairness, we've done about as much as any outside power could possibly do to try to make that happen.

But the different sects of Iraqis can't get along among themselves. That's not our fault, it's part of their civilization's make-up for the past 1300 years.

The real solution all along has been to simply send muslims back to their ancestral lands, ban Islam in the West as an ideology incompatible with our way of life, and leave the muslims alone in their part of the world to evolve at their own pace.

But because our liberal worldview (and neocons are fundamentally liberals, just hawkish) forbids making distinctions based on culture or religion, good folks like Daryl don't even see the obvious solution of separation in front of them.

We can't change them. We will never, ever change them. We don't want to surrender. We would not (I hope) try to kill them all. There is only one solution: separate ourselves from them. Up until a few decades ago there were almost no muslims in the West, and we had peace. We need to go back to that. And we will, sooner or later -- the only question being how much we will have to suffer before we acknowledge it.

Svolich said...

We won't be paying the price forever. We'll be paying it for about 3 years, until the Islamists take Pakistan.

Then we lose our ports to Pakistan's "liberated" nukes, we respond by killing several hundred million muslims.

It goes downhill from there.

Freeman Hunt said...

This is the beginning of a road leading to our Neville Chamberlain moment.

If only we leave; if only we ignore them; if only we give them something they want--then they will be made content and leave us alone.

Eventually most all in the West will see the folly of that thinking, and we'll have to fight, and a great many of us will die.

Internet Ronin said...

If you're right, svolich, nothing we do matters, this election was a complete waste of time, and we should get busy having the time of our lives drinking and debauching today (or piously preparing to meet our maker), for tomorrow we shall all be dead and there isn't a damned thing we can do about it.

Internet Ronin said...

JOHN STODDER: I overlooked your comment before and just wanted to say that you hit the nail on the head (as, it seems to me, you invariably do).

The Bush Administration has proven particularly inept at explaining just about anything and everything it has done/wanted to do. The Iraq war, the war on terrorism, Social Security reform, and a host of other intiatives have been seriously hampered by their unwillingness or inability to seriously engage the public.

Freder Frederson said...

Hey Ann,

I'm curious. You think this war is so all fired important and the Republicans are fighting it so competently and effectively. You have a son of military age. Did you sit down with him and tell him that this was the fight of a generation and that he should seriously consider joining the military to do his part? If not, why not? Do you have any children in the military? If you don't, why aren't you hounding them to join up?

It's nice to bemoan the lack of will of the people in this country, but really aside from a lot of rhetoric, the Republicans, and especially the administration haven't really bothered to be serious about this war or the war on terror in general. They don't seem all that concerned about capturing anybody above the number 3 man in Al Qaeda (who we conveniently kill every time the poll numbers get really bad), or upsetting the Saudis. The transformation of the military has been nothing but the purchase of hi-tech gadgets for the air force (e.g., the F-22) that will do nothing to aid in the type of war we are fighting where we need basic things like good ol' fashioned armored cars and the depots operating 24 hours a day instead of on their peacetime 8 hour schedules.

Balfegor said...

He may feel some loyalty to the dems for a short time for helping him win, however, in the end he is still Jim Webb, former marine, writer of war novels, former Naval secretary under Reagan, and Senator from a Red State. We will see.

If Webb starts voting for the liberal agenda, he is finished in Virgina.

Yes . . . but it matters which parts of the liberal agenda. For example, I think trade protectionism is a policy he and the liberals both support, and one which the population of Virginia probably supports as well, on balance, (and one of the areas where I disagree with him). On the other hand, he's all for tightening our control of the southern border -- something popular in Virginia, something Allen did not support (he ran to Allen's right on this issue, among others), and something more in line with conservatism than liberalism. So it's a mix, as always. There are some liberal policies that are probably quite popular in Virginia.

Re: Mark:
We can't change them. We will never, ever change them. We don't want to surrender. We would not (I hope) try to kill them all. There is only one solution: separate ourselves from them.

How? Look where they are -- the Muslim lands run up in the Balkans (Albania), and penetrate Russia. Eastwards, they are sprinkled throughout the vastness of India and Central Asia, as well as western China, particularly Xinjiang. In the southeast, Muslims dominate Indonesia and have a major presence in Malaysia and other parts of southeast Asia. Islam has penetrated into the heart of Africa. Some of the nastiest fanatics are evidently from London and Paris. Many of these borders are porous and ill-defended; many of them are even internal. There is no wall we can build to keep the Muslims separate from our interests and allies.

The most we can manage is, perhaps, to ban Muslims from entering the United States proper -- but how much would that be worth if they could continue to enter Canada and Mexico? And what are we to do -- mandate that airports in foreign countries bar any Mahometan from boarding a flight bound for the US? Ban conversions to Islam? What, then, do we make of the Moriscos?

I suppose that all sounds very well in theory, but I do not see how the practice of it could be effected, unless we were to disengage ourselves from the global economy entirely.

Ross said...

Most commenters here think the stakes of the war in Iraq and more broadly the fight against terrorism are very high. I agree.

And that's why the Democrats' win is rather heartening. What on Earth makes you people think that the Bush administration's course over the past four years is making us safer?

It has been well documented that from the beginning Bush and Rumsfeld ignored most of the best advice -- from generals, from nation-builders, from diplomats -- about how to make Iraq work. Why? Largely because of bureaucratic and political score-settling.

For the past three and a half years, every honest report of bad news from Iraq has been met by media-bashing, making denial into an art form, because the people who "really understand the stakes" were far more concerned about saving their political skins than actually winning the real war.

And the Republicans in Congress were far more concerned with taking bribes and holding their committee chairmanships than with looking into what's happening and helping figure out how to make the situation better.

I'm no particular fan of the Democrats, but I'm just astonished that there are still people who at this late date think the Republican Party -- vintage '06 -- is bringing the kind of leadership we need to fix Iraq.

Someone upthread mentioned Roosevelt and Wilkie. Yep, times have changed. Roosevelt really did believe the war was above politics. On the other hand, from Bush we get: "However they put it, the Democrat approach in Iraq comes down to this: The terrorists win and America loses." But it's those crazy lefties who don't put country above party.

nick said...

It might not happen

but focusing on getting Osama might be silver lining!

Balfegor said...

Re: Freder:

I'm curious. You think this war is so all fired important and the Republicans are fighting it so competently and effectively. You have a son of military age. Did you sit down with him and tell him that this was the fight of a generation and that he should seriously consider joining the military to do his part? If not, why not? Do you have any children in the military? If you don't, why aren't you hounding them to join up?

Don't be a fool -- the government does things so that we don't have to personally. Your suggestion is like saying that because someone supports redistributive taxation, he ought to give all his money to the poor, or that because someone thinks policework is absolutely crucial, he ought to become a policeman.

Certainly, there are cases where people actually do do that kind of thing -- the Minutemen guarding the border are the prime example these past few years -- but they are rather rare.

Uncle Buck said...

Ann: It's the folding and crumpling because things didn't go well enough and the way we conspicuously displayed that to our enemies. They're going to use that information.

This statement bothers me.

What made our country so revolutionary was the transparency of governing - - freedom of speech, the marketplace of ideas, voting records, etc.

Our enemies have *always* had the "advantage" of watching our open political process, while oftentimes having their own political process closed. (Consequently it's always been easy for certain politicians to stifle dissent by equating the dissent with "helping the enemy.")

However, that very marketplace of ideas is how we win against those enemies. In today's world, that means (for example)we're able to put people in power who have a sophisticated understanding of the nuances of fighting terrorist tactics.

That would NOT be the Bush administration. By contrast, they have fallen into a trap that any competent administration would have avoided. Talk about helping the enemy!

To me, the election was a great first step - - it showed that we, collectively, have the ability to correct our course.

The Exalted said...

lots of yapping, little reality

webb has always been a democrat

leaving iraq is "national suicide?"

ffs, where do you people come from?

Joe Baby said...

There are a hundred things we could do to make us safer in the short term.

And they would all be disastrous in the long term.

PatCA said...

I share your low mood, Ann. Pacifism is evil, especially when we face an enemy who would kill himself for his cause, and we are about to learn that lesson the hard way--I should say, the Iraqi people will learn it the hard way. But I'm sure CNN and the NYT will ignore the bloodbath so as not to offend our delicate sensibilities, and we can get on with dealing with the real issues of life: smoking, global warming, identity politics...

For those who say we forced democracy on Iraq, did you miss the millions of people who voted in elections in Iraq and Afghanistan? Did we force them to do that?

And anyone who thinks the Dems will stay the course has not been listening to Pelosi, Murtha, McGovern, et al.

Pogo said...

Re: "ffs, where do you people come from?"

Exalted,
I'm from Minnesota. It's snowing.

Why do you ask?

Bostonian said...

Colin Hughes Taylor: "I think that our enemies are more emboldened by our being bogged down in Iraq than by the recent election results."

Then, why, pray tell, are they all celebrating?

Charles Giacometti said...

The polls are quite clear on this--the Republicans lost because of Iraq and corruption. I would add incompetence to that list, but that is my own concern and apparently not that of many other people.

Anyone who thinks that it is only the loony left that is concerned about Iraq is kidding themselves. Here's one poll, showing 55% of voters approve of bringing some or all of the troops home. Is the loony left 55% of this country? Hardly.

As to Professor Althouse's bizarre idea that "only pacifists and isolationists should feel good about the way the election was won," let me suggest that this is only the 94,329th time that she has revealed her partisan thinking. Only the most rank Bush partisan imagines that the war in Iraq is the best approach to combatting terrorism. Althouse's comment is kissing cousin to Ann Coulter claiming that Afghanistan is going "swimmingly."

But thanks, Professor Althouse--and Ann Coulter--for diverting your misinformed readers. In the meantime, the right party won this election cycle and the country now has a slightly better chance of directing our resources to a more effective fight against terrorism.

Nahanni said...

It is not surprising to have so many vote for the "had enough" option when the majority of them only heard nothing but negativity, bias and spin out of the MSM.

That being said I am here to brighten your day, ma'am!

You gotta look at the biiiiiig picture here.

1. Not surprisingly the house went to the Democrats. It follows historical pattern and you will note that Reagan had worse house then Bush has right now. Why? Because the Democrats gained more seats and they were much more liberal set of Democrats then these are.

2. The Democrats are technically the majority in the senate and that is about it. Ok, they get to assign committees and stuff but when it comes down to votes I do not think they can expect all of the freshmen senators to support whatever wacky stuff the Dem leadership pulls out of their party symbol. Now ask yourself who has the tiebreaking vote in the Senate?

3. Joe Lieberman. He has the potential to make Harry Reid's life a living hell. Now, do you really think that Joe is just going to march lockstep with the Democratic leadership after they stuck the knife in his back and twisted it a couple of times? I don't think so. He knows he has them by the short hairs and quite frankly I suspect he will do what he damn well pleases and enjoy watching Harry and Nancy squirm.

4. The freshmen senators/congresscritters-These folks are not exactly little carbon copies of Ned Lamont. Sure, they are Democrats, but many of them are also pro gun, pro military and anti immigration. In plainer terms they are not Kos and the nutroots wet dream. I do not think these folks are going to act as a rubber stamp for the LLL shinola of the Democratic leadership no matter how much pressure is brought to bear on them.

4. The "fun factor"-It is quite apparent to me that the Democratic leadership and the nutroots did not grasp the simple lesson of this election. If they had you would not be hearing the stuff that has spewed forth from the Democratic leadership in the last 48 hours.

One thing that will become more and more apparent as time goes on is the difference between the Democrats and Republicans. The Democrats have gotten away with behaving like petulent temper tantrum throwing toddlers for years now and the media has been able to cover for them, they won't be able to anymore. No, for the Democrats to succeed they need to behave like adults, move to the center and learn the fine art of compromise. I do not forsee that happening.

Top that off with some of the leftist shinola the Democratic leadership wants to ram through congress and the blatant obstructionism of anything they don't and the public will soon start to turn on them. The public is rather tired of this kind of crap.

5. Charlie Rangel-I wonder if he still plans on ramming his draft bill through.... If he does it will be a fun time for all because the nutroots (most are of draft age and will not have a chance at a deferrment like Bill and Howie did) will go ballistic.

6. Hillary-It will be interesting to watch what she does. If she wants to be President she has to move more to the center and at least appear to be Presidential material. But, in order to do so she will have to forsake her most cherished LLL ideals. When the Democrats were out of power it was easy for her to waffle around. With them in power she will be forced to choose her presidential ambions or her desire to see her and Nancy's leftist agenda rammed though. If she votes no on some of this stuff because she knows it will come back to haunt her in a presidential race if she votes yes then her leftist buddies will stab her in the back like they did Joe Lieberman.


Personally I am going to pop some popcorn and watch the political verson of "Jackass" that will soon unfold.

Freder Frederson said...

Don't be a fool -- the government does things so that we don't have to personally. Your suggestion is like saying that because someone supports redistributive taxation, he ought to give all his money to the poor, or that because someone thinks policework is absolutely crucial, he ought to become a policeman.

My point is that ever since 9/11, we have heard how important this fight is, how important it is to "win", that defeat is not an option. Yet most of the cheerleaders for this war are unwilling to sacrifice anything for the fight. Not their precious tax cuts, not their high paid professions. No, the "government" will take care of everything, I'll just buy my $1.98 magnetic ribbon and complain about the Defeatocrats, support torture, and bash John Kerry. Bush has been distinctly unserious about fighting this war. He needed more troops and more basic equipment, for both us and the Iraqis, yet he has never bothered to expand the size of the military, expand production of basic equipment, or expand the capacity of the depots (where existing equipment is refurbished). He claims we are at war yet we are not on a war time footing. The war is something happening to somebody else, not you or Ann or even the President--it would have been nice to see Barbara and Jenna in OCS (it is happening to me btw, my wife has already done two tours in Kuwait and will probably be going to Iraq or Afghanistan next summer).

johnstodderinexile said...

...there was a Reuters headline that said something like "Arabs Celebrating Defeat of Republicans" on Wednesday. How can that be good? And what does that say about the Democrats' position on national security? Or their perceived position.

I think this "strong horse/weak horse" thing can be overdone.

When you're talking about the most extreme of the Islamist jihadi, nothing deters them. They want to die for their God. We could, hypothetically, pursue a scorched-earth policy throughout Iraq. Sparrow falls, we burn down your village. It wouldn't matter. Conversely, we could appoint Ramsey Clark as Secretary of Defense, and let him replace all our armored tanks with rolling barbecues to hand out free food. Still wouldn't matter. By the time our sleepy society even noticed there was a problem, the Muslim Brotherhood and other jihad organizations were already quite large and popular enough to pose a significant global security threat. They didn't grow because they thought Bill Clinton was weak. He was irrelevant. They grew because they believe the world is in crisis, and mass conversion to Islam is the only answer -- at the point of a gun, or a nuclear bomb, if necessary.

The Republican party grasps the reality of this about 50 percent. The Democrats, about 20 percent. The American public, about 10 percent. If we'd had a great president at the helm on 9/11, perhaps he could have done a better job of:

a) educating the American public
b) educating the America media
c) getting more public cooperation from influential European leaders (although keeping Blair on the team was a significant success.)
d) showing China and Russia that playing power politics would ultimately not serve their interests.

But we don't have a great president. They are rare. But that's what both parties should be looking to nominate in 2008.

Keep in mind, too: Churchill failed. He could not rouse Britain to confront the threat posed by the Nazis until it was almost too late -- in fact it was too late, except for Hitler's inexplicable blunder in declaring war on the U.S. after Pearl Harbor. Churchill was regarded as a joke and a relic of the past by most of the media and elites of England throughout the 30s.

FDR also failed. If the 1940 version of FDR had been running in 2004, he would have been running as even more of a dove than Kerry. He would have had his fingers crossed behind his back, but his rhetoric would have been along the lines of, "Cindy Sheehan, your tragedy has moved me to say I will not rest until every one of our boys and girls in uniform is safely home and tucked away in their beds."

FDR and Churchill were the greatest men of politics of the 20th century, but neither was able to prevent a war in which tens of millions died. Democracies simply don't do this kind of thing very well. They don't react well to threats. They're always looking to minimize them or bargain their way out of them.

My hope from this election is that regardless of what Nancy Pelosi is saying now, the flow of events and her access to information and the necessity of defending her decisions will force the Democrats to gain greater awareness of the situation we're really in, so that by 2008, both parties are on the same side, essentially, and like in 1960, they're competing about who can be tougher on our foes.

Maybe the Dems can help bring Europe into this war, too. Their "sensitive" approach might help.

I just don't think the American people voted Tuesday for peace at any price. I think they voted for a check on the mismanagement of the Bush Administration. If that's what the Democrats bring, this election will be a breakthrough, not a retreat.

dave in boca said...

The loathesome lefties are basically suicidal, and want to take everyone else for the ride. As the social model of Eurotopia proceeds to a demographic Eurabia, we can and should take a lesson that letting the crazies win in Iraq will just bring them over here.

Ann is right about folding and crumpling. The hollow lefties will have the US end not with a bang, but a whimper.

Or, as Yeats put it, "the best lack all conviction, and the worst are filled with passionate intensity."

China's one-child-per-family demographics mean that the 21st century might belong to the hyper-productive demographically hypertrophic Islamofascists.

And Pelosi who carps and complains about the Chinese utters not a peep about the Islamic murderers who would love to kill every Jew and Christian as a matter of religious duty.

Very strange woman.

sophie brown said...

For those of you lamenting that Americans don't want to win in Iraq because they voted against the Bush imperial presedency, you are depending on a flawed premise:

That staying with the Bush Imperial presidency would cause us to win in Iraq.

The reality is that many americans, looking at the continuing bloodshed and chaos, realize that, in spite of the "corners" we have turned, the current administration has no idea how to lead us to victory.

It is precisely because we want to "win" -- i.e., restore some stability to the Iraq, restore the might of the American military so that it can face other strategic threats -- that we voted to install a congress that won't give Bush a rubber stamp.

That is why the entire world is cheering this election. It's not because they want America to lose and the terrorist to win (of course not -- terrorism has alway been a much more significant threat to them) it's because they want to see reason and accountability restored to American politics.

Freeman Hunt said...

Yet most of the cheerleaders for this war are unwilling to sacrifice anything for the fight. Not their precious tax cuts, not their high paid professions.

You base this statement on what? How do you know what sacrifices people are making or not making? And as for the tax cuts, they've actually led to revenue growth, so how would getting rid of them make sense?

Balfegor said...

Re: John Stodder:

The Republican party grasps the reality of this about 50 percent. The Democrats, about 20 percent. The American public, about 10 percent. If we'd had a great president at the helm on 9/11, perhaps he could have done a better job of:

. . .

But we don't have a great president. They are rare. But that's what both parties should be looking to nominate in 2008.

Indeed. But I don't see anyone on the scene at the moment who really fits the bill. I do rather like John Howard, though. Pity he's Australian.

Keep in mind, too: Churchill failed. He could not rouse Britain to confront the threat posed by the Nazis until it was almost too late -- in fact it was too late,

Well, and he failed electorally too -- the British electorate tossed him out in a landslide shortly after the war in Europe ended. They might have chucked him out even earlier, in fact, only, uh, democracy kind of got suspended during WWII -- no elections between 1935 and 1945.

Tom Grey said...

I was depressed too, the whole week before. For a similar reason -- but Lamont lost, big, to pro-Victory Lieberman.

In Limited War, the winners don't get to set the timetable. Only the losers get to decide WHEN ... they lose, they stop fighting, they let the other side win.

See my recent tomgrey.motime.com posts on this.

Secondly, with Dems in control of the House, the Iraq war becomes a Dem war, too -- so it will soon become Reps and (most) Dems wanting victory.

Thirdly, Rumsfeld said we needed to change the law to have DoD do more training, but now we are. The new direction? US Troops do more training, less fighting.

Perhaps we should have been doing so longer, even if the new Iraqi troops trained aren't as "good" as the US troops. At first. That's how they'll get better.

Mark said...

Balfegor wrote:

How? Look where they are -- the Muslim lands run up in the Balkans (Albania), and penetrate Russia. Eastwards, they are sprinkled throughout the vastness of India and Central Asia, as well as western China, particularly Xinjiang. In the southeast, Muslims dominate Indonesia and have a major presence in Malaysia and other parts of southeast Asia. Islam has penetrated into the heart of Africa. Some of the nastiest fanatics are evidently from London and Paris. Many of these borders are porous and ill-defended; many of them are even internal. There is no wall we can build to keep the Muslims separate from our interests and allies.

We need to eject muslims from the West. We should have no internal muslim ghettos as have formed in London and Paris. Yes, muslims control a large part of the Middle East and Asia. Fine - we will not intervene there. Let them have their sphere, and insist that we have our own.

The most we can manage is, perhaps, to ban Muslims from entering the United States proper -- but how much would that be worth if they could continue to enter Canada and Mexico?

And your alternative is, I guess, to give up and say that since Americans can't require that muslims be banned from all Western nations, that we should not bother banning them from ours? Yes, if we were the only Western country implementing a ban it would still be the best thing we could do. At least there would be ONE western country left.

And what are we to do -- mandate that airports in foreign countries bar any Mahometan from boarding a flight bound for the US?

Yes. We already require people landing here to have passports and visas. We can ban people from muslim countries from visiting or emigrating here, and we can require background investigations of those from Western countries to find out if they are muslim, just like we presumable do to find criminals.

Ban conversions to Islam?

When we get serious about the level of threat, yes we will do that. And there is a historical precedent: we banned Nazism in Germany after the war. It was an invidious ideology that preached world domination and genocide. Sound familiar?

We need to recognize that Islam has a fundamentalist strain that is inseparable from the milder strains. If you let muslims in, a percentage of them become fanatics. Britain is tracking 1600 native muslims involved in over 200 terrorist organizations planning at least 30 major terrorist plots. (That was in the news yesterday.) That's a small fraction of muslims, but when you have millions of muslims you get thousands of terrorists.

We need to recognize that Islam is not a legitimate religion - a religion that preaches love like Christianity, Judiasm, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, and so forth, but a cult founded by a warlord. Like Naziism, or the Bushido cult in Japan. We do not need to respect it or tolerate it in our nations.

We WILL be forced to recognize that sooner or later because we cannot change Islam. We can't change it, we can't destroy it, we don't want to surrender to it. That leaves only separating ourselves from it. Which we did up until a few decades ago when we began letting muslims into our countries in significant numbers. We had no problem with them before that.

knoxgirl said...

Ann, I just read what you added to your original post. I know I'm picking nits, but I don't give any "pacifists" credit for opposing the war. They have exactly zero to say about the violence and death people like Saddam and Kim Jung Il wreak on their people. They only come in after the fact to pile on the U.S.

steambadger said...

I ask in all sincerity: How long is too long? Two more years in Iraq? Four more? Six more?

I would say about 25 years. A generation or so.


How on Earth do you expect to sell this politically? The American people were told that this war would be measured in "weeks, rather than months"; what would you tell them now?

"I'm sorry, there's been a slight miscalculation. When we said 'weeks', we should have said '25 years'."

tjl said...

"Regardless of what Nancy Pelosi is saying now, the flow of events and her access to information and the necessity of defending her decisions will force the Democrats to gain greater awareness of the situation we're really in."

Pelosi doesn't seem too concerned about her access to information, based on her decision to make Alcee Hastings head of the Intelligence Committee. Maybe she'll be content to read up on the secret stuff when he sells it on eBay?

There's nothing in Pelosi's recent utterances to show that she gives security issues any kind of priority. To her, it's all just a distraction from the needs of The Children.


,

Balfegor said...

Re: Tom Grey

Perhaps we should have been doing so longer, even if the new Iraqi troops trained aren't as "good" as the US troops. At first. That's how they'll get better.

One thing I wonder about is why the Iraqi government has decided to staff its entire military with Iraqis. Previously, shortly after the British and the French cut them loose, the various Arab kingdoms seem to have gone out and hired officers from the British army to train up their forces and even lead them initially, while their next generation officer-corps was obtaining its experience. People like Glubb, or . . . well, Glubb's the only one I can find, but I recall there were others.

I can see where there might be a national or racial pride issue involved -- don't go out and hire the Whites to command your troops. But practically speaking, the limited understanding I have of the weaknesses in Arab armies are that their officer corps are too numerous, lack initiative, and have poor practical training. I wonder whether it mightn't work better if, say, the contractors we've got out providing security (many of them ex-military) were instead working for the Iraqi government, under Iraqi civilian political control, but commanding Iraqi soldiers, giving the next generation commanders exposure to effective American military culture.

I suppose, though, that this was more practical back when there was a moderately deep officer corps with a decent understanding of the local culture, and perhaps a fair bit of the local language, as you had back in the British Empire, on account of regiments being posted over there on a long term, settled basis. Still -- although the performance of the Iraqi forces appears to be improving (although I have not read much analysis on this point) it is not really improving fast enough.

Re: Mark

We need to recognize that Islam is not a legitimate religion - a religion that preaches love like Christianity, Judiasm, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, and so forth, but a cult founded by a warlord. Like Naziism, or the Bushido cult in Japan. We do not need to respect it or tolerate it in our nations.

I, uh . . . I'm not quite ready to sign onto this kind of view yet, I'm afraid. I kind of disagree. After all, we tolerate Naziism over here, and if I wanted to erect a shrine to the God-Emperor of Japan (oh, shame upon my ancestors, born under the Japanese yoke!) it's not like anyone would stop me. Well, other than maybe my ultra-nationalistic Korean cousin.

Also, strictly speaking, it's not so much the "Bushido" cult as "Imperial Shinto" -- a somewhat modified version of the ancient (and continuing) animist/Shinto practices in Japan, in which the Emperor, and the rites he performs to commune with the Sun Goddess etc. assumed greater centrality.

Simon said...

Mark - holy cow. And I thought that I was a hard-liner on Islam. By comparison, I'm just a little socially-insensitive in wanting to hold them to the Employment Division v. Smith doctrine!

johnstodderinexile said...

There's nothing in Pelosi's recent utterances to show that she gives security issues any kind of priority. To her, it's all just a distraction from the needs of The Children.

You might be right. But if that's the case, in 2008, the Republicans will come roaring back and retake power. But I don't think Pelosi's really that stupid.

The Hastings thing is, obviously, ridiculous -- so ridiculous that I think, in the end, they'll find a face-saving way out. But that's a good initial test.

AJ Lynch said...

It's amusing to see some LIB commenters attack Ann becasue they believe she is a conservative in a moderate's clothing. They rage at Ann, a college prof, because sh may have betrayed the true cause?? It's like when libs castigate blacks who dare to be republicans.

I have to say I get a kick out of the maniacally-stated questions like "How could you even consider voting for that Evil Idiot Bush or Santorum or Rice or Steele?????"

Mark Daniels said...

Ann:
It really is going to be okay...

http://markdaniels.blogspot.com/2006/11/althouse-subjects-herself-to.html

Mark

Nataraj said...

balfegore - refresh your memory here: http://archives.cnn.com/2001/US/09/17/bush.powell.terrorism/

Where on earth would I have gotten the idea that bin Laden was an important target, if only one of many? Here's a couple of Bush or Powell snips for those who don't want to follow the link:

"I want justice," Bush said. "And there's an old poster out West… I recall, that said, 'Wanted, Dead or Alive.'"

"It's not one individual, it's lots of individuals and it's lots of cells," Powell told reporters. "Osama bin Laden is the chairman of the holding company, and within that holding company are terrorist cells and organizations in dozens of countries around the world, any one them capable of committing a terrorist act. It's not enough to get one individual, although we'll start with that one individual." ~Powell

I found that link in about 3 seconds. There are plenty more out there. Here's another:

President Bush pledged anew Friday that Osama bin Laden will be taken "dead or alive," no matter how long it takes...

and another:

"I don't know whether we're going to get him tomorrow or a month from now or a year from now. I don't really know. But we're going to get him," the president said.

and another:

Bush said U.S. troops had helped liberate Afghanistan of the Taliban regime and will eventually get bin Laden.


The bin Laden drum banged loudly until [flip] Bush glibly replied that he didn't think much about him any more. [flop]

ModNewt said...

Tom Grey said...
with Dems in control of the House, the Iraq war becomes a Dem war, too -- so it will soon become Reps and (most) Dems wanting victory.

I guess I don't see how? Wars are always more attributed to the Commander in Chief as opposed to whoever controls Congress. Do people attribute Bosnia or Kosovo with the Republicans? Panama and Gulf War part 1 with the Democrats?

Naw, this'll stick with Bush and the Republicans.

Balfegor said...

Re: Nataraj:

I think that quote you pulled from Powell pretty much says it all:

"It's not one individual, it's lots of individuals and it's lots of cells," Powell told reporters. "Osama bin Laden is the chairman of the holding company, and within that holding company are terrorist cells and organizations in dozens of countries around the world, any one them capable of committing a terrorist act. It's not enough to get one individual, although we'll start with that one individual." ~Powell

We start with pursuing one individual, and we'd like to get him dead or alive, sure. But in the broader struggle, if a given terrorist is operationally neutralised, that's enough. Not for vengeance, perhaps, but enough to achieve our basic goals.

Garage Mahal said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Garage Mahal said...

I'm upset because I think we have sent a terrible message to our enemies: Just hang on long enough and continue to inflict some damage, and the Americans will lose heart and give up. You barely need anything at all.

Yes, what a terrible message. Democracy still works in America.

A much better message we could have sent a fledgling democracy, would to have evoked Martial Law here, and cancelling of elections.

Brilliant!

Mark said...

Balfegor wrote:
But practically speaking, the limited understanding I have of the weaknesses in Arab armies are that their officer corps are too numerous, lack initiative, and have poor practical training. I wonder whether it mightn't work better if, say, the contractors we've got out providing security (many of them ex-military) were instead working for the Iraqi government, under Iraqi civilian political control, but commanding Iraqi soldiers, giving the next generation commanders exposure to effective American military culture.

May I gently suggest that the entire enterprise of trying to bring a muslim army up to the effectiveness level of our own is ultimately suicidal? I liked it just fine when they were so incompetent that we could beat them in three weeks. Do you really have such faith that the Iraqis we're training will always be our friends, and won't teach our techniques to unfriendly people?

After all, we tolerate Naziism over here...

Yes, because we haven't been ruled by Nazis over here. Do we need to wait to be ruled by muslims before we recognize the sort of thing we're dealing with and learn something from our experience with Nazis?

Simon wrote: Mark - holy cow. And I thought that I was a hard-liner on Islam.

My friend, we will all be moving towards this position as it becomes clear that there is no way for us to change Islam and that muslims are setting up colonies in our midst. My position will be considered the moderate position. (The hard-liners will be the ones advocating genocide.)

Seven Machos said...

Garage Mahal -- How come martial law wasn't imposed, anyway? And how come the Republicans didn't cheat and Diebold didn't rig the elections for Republicans?

Ann Althouse: I do not think this election means what you think it means.

Kirk Parker said...

What Gahrie and Daryl said. And Michael's stats.

There's an interesting parallel here, on the short-attention-span aspect, in the runup to World War I. Kaiser Wilhelm made an ongoing effort to get Russia on his side by touting the fickleness of the French democracy as making them bad allies; we have actual letters and/or telegrams (I forget exactly which) from Willie to Nickie saying (paraphrased, of course) "we monarchists have to stick together, the moment France votes in a new government they'll change all their policies and you'll be left high and dry", etc.

ShadowFox, I'm certainly scratching my head about your comment! Granted Reagan's pullout was I mistake (I certainly agree with you, in hindsight,) but why on earth do you want to repeat that mistake in Iraq?

Henry said...

I'm not yet so depressed. The Democrats may be irresponsible fools, but we have a two year window including a Presidential election before we really pay the price. That's two years of history to happen in Iraq; two years for the current administration to adjust course; two years for the Democratic leadership to develop a sense of ownership over the course of the country.

About the only thing that depresses me is the attitude so neatly summed up by Freder: It's George Bush fault that I'm an irresponsible ninny.

Now that the Democrats get to actually experience power again, they can start thinking about the consequences and trade-offs for the positions. Good luck folks.

perry said...

The Republicans lost this election because they have lost touch with enough people through the course of their handling of the events of the past few years that they are fed up and want a change. And the blame must be heaped on them because they have controlled the executive position as well as both the House and Senate.

Anyone who thinks that some boogeyman is out there who really honestly gives half a a s*^t who our elected leaders are in order to determine whether or not to attack us is out of their minds. After all - they surely didn't care that we had a republican in office on 9/11, did they?

and that as they say, is that.

Seven Machos said...

The Republican Party would also be well served to a tilt back toward to its Western-style Goldwater/Reagan roots, promoting individual freedom and limited-government.

That's from Real Clear Politics, and it's 100 percent correct. I would add that the Republican Party would also be well served to remember that the military should kill more people and break more things when it is used. That sucks, but that's what the military is for. I still hold the opinion that most Americans just want the enemy to be beaten. The Republicans couldn't do it. It pains me to say that. If the Democrats want to remain in power, they'll have to do it.

vegetius said...

"The bin Laden drum banged loudly until [flip] Bush glibly replied that he didn't think much about him any more. [flop]"

Doesn't anyone think it's quite odd that no one has seen OBL for 3-4 years? I'll give you even money that he is a gelatinous goo spread around
the wall of a cave in the Hindu Kush.

We've seen plenty of face time for
Zawahiri but no OBL.

Hans said...

Your arguments are akin to throwing good money after bad. We shouldn't pull out because it will embolden the 'terrorists.'

Puh-leeze. They were emboldened when we invaded, it gave them something to rally around. All they had to bitch about before was Israel.

Now every idiot seeking 72 virgins is gunning for us because we defiled Muslim lands.

How would you feel if a foreign army landed in Montana? It would piss you off. I guarantee that every yahoo with a shotgun would take pot-shots at the foreign troops.

Invading Iraq was always a bad idea. It was based on lies and misinformation. We didn't go in there to make America safer, we did it so Shrub could rub it in his Daddy's face and so Cheney could get his buddies rich on oil rights.

What you all seem to forget is that Iraq didn't attack us. It was Saudi nationals via Afghanistan that attacked the U.S.

Invading and occupying Iraq has made us less safe because, despite all the lies to the contrary, Muslims are not insane. They very clearly see that we invaded Iraq as a ploy for some other type of operation, like oil rights, or to establish a true Syriana (which is not a 'leftie' concept but straight out of the neo-con think tanks)

Wake up America, you can't beat these guys with guns, you have to do it with jobs and education.

They have to be de-programmed from their brainwashing. They need a reason to live rather than a reason to die.

Seven Machos said...

On edit: a negotiated treaty is a win. I just don't see negotiation as a possibility with Al Qaeda or in Iraq. Maybe Iran, maybe North Korea. But in the long run, we'll have to confront those countries militarily if their governments do not otherwise change.

Kirk Parker said...

johnstodderinexile, your 10:53am comment is well said, except for one thing. Don't you think there's a fair amount of cognitive dissonance between:

"The American public [grasps the reality of the Islamist threat] about 10 percent"

and

"I just don't think the American people voted Tuesday for peace at any price."

Also: yes, Pelosi is that stupid, though I admit she can't hold a candle to my very own Senator (damn!) Patty Murray.


Steambadger,

Sorry, but you're conflating the battle for control of Iraq (iow, Baghdad) with the overall war on terror. Only the former was promised to be a quick campaign (and in fact it took less time than predicted); the Bush administration has always been clear--ok, make that "as clear as they've managed to be about anything" :-( -- about the overall struggle being a long one.

Harry Eagar said...

You'll have to jog my memory, Professor Althouse. Which party was for WAR, red, bloody WAR?

You know, the party that advocated an army of 10 million and that, once the defenses of Baghdad were breached, drove on to Damascus to seal off its exposed flank?

What we had was a contest between the party of futzing around and the party of not futzing around.

Freder Frederson said...

About the only thing that depresses me is the attitude so neatly summed up by Freder: It's George Bush fault that I'm an irresponsible ninny.

Sorry, you've got it all wrong. It's George Bush and the Ann Althouses and Glenn Reynolds of the world, who think tough talk and the occaisional torture of a detainee without a thought to the consequences of their actions who are the irresponsible ninnys.

This administration, and their cheerleaders, have bungled this "war on terror", from day one. First by ignoring the warnings before September 11, then by launching a half-hearted invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and then by unneccesarily invading Iraq and not even committing to that completely.

What has the administration accomplished? Absolutely nothing except bankrupting the treasury, sacrificing the lives of thousands of military personnel, and weakening our ability to defend ourselves.

And I am irresponible ninny. How on earth could pursuing this failed policy for two more years be considered responsible?

Seven Machos said...

Hans -- Your argument is rife with ridiculousness and, like so much leftist twaddle here, it isn't worth the time it would take to debunk. Suffice it to say:

1. Al Qaeda did not think the United States would respond with a military campaign after 9/11.

2. How would you feel if a foreign army landed in Montana? Would Canadians and Mexicans come to fight while Americans did not? Because that is what is happening.

3. Invading Iraq was always a bad idea. And, thankfully, so many Democrats like John Kerry wisely admonished against it when the Congress voted to fund it.

4. Which neocon thinks is Syriana "out of"?

5. Jobs and education? Here you estabish your true moonbat cred. The people who pulled off 9/11 were snotty rich kids. That is well-documented. They were the sons and daughters of the middle class, as revolutionaries generally are.

6. I encourage you to sell the idea that the people who are trying to kill us need our money for jobs and education. Please write some op-eds on this. Please get some Democrats in Congress to advocate it.

Balfegor said...

Re: perry

After all - they surely didn't care that we had a republican in office on 9/11, did they?

Well, a Republican who'd gone in saying he wouldn't toss the military hither and thither the way Clinton did, using it to threaten Haiti, to attack Iraq, and to invade Somalia and various small countries in the Balkans. They had every reason to expect his response would be even more passive than Clinton's had been. Frankly, I think they were as surprised as I was when we didn't just sort of roll over and die.

steambadger said...

Sorry, but you're conflating the battle for control of Iraq (iow, Baghdad) with the overall war on terror.

It's true that the "weeks, not months" comment was about the war with the Saddam regime -- but it's not me doing the conflating. While the administration has said that the overall war on terror would be long, there was little hint that the war in Iraq would last many years and cost many lives after the fall of Saddam. Had Cheney or Rumsfeld raised the possibility that Iraq would still be in chaos, and American troops in full-scale combat, three years into the war, then they would at the very least have had to do a lot more selling. Had they suggested -- as the person I was responding to did -- that invading Iraq would raise an insurgency it would take a quarter of a century to subdue, then they would have been laughed out of Washington.

Henry said...

Freder -- Just stop talking in past tense. In every discussion about Iraq you pull out the same list of grievances. Some of the items on your list are even legitimate, but that doesn't change the situation on the ground. The Democrats can absolve themselves of blame all they want, but that doesn't make the decisions of what to do now any easier. Shoulda coulda woulda isn't an agenda.

Salamandyr said...

After the Southern States revolted, Generals and public officials right up to Lincoln claimed that they would be brought to heel in a matter of weeks. Instead it took 4 years and untold buckets of blood and treasure.

Iraq is a similar case, though infinitesmally less costly. It is not a project I believe we can leave half finished. For the discomfiture of our enemies, for the Iraqi people, and for ourselves, we need to finish the job.

As to the election, I'm less worried than Ann is by the election. I don't think the Democrats are going to be able to force us to bug out. One thing they have done, and it's a good thing, is get the Administration to start re-thinking and re-evaluating how they're proceeding.

A Menken Moment said...

Well, the Democrats have two years to show whether they have a better way of fighting the war in Iraq. I am sceptical but would be willing to change my mind if they decide to persue victory more vigorously than Bush has. My expectation, however, is that they will just notch up the pressure to withdraw and leave the Iraqis--and the Kurds, mind you--to their fates.

If they prove me wrong, I would be happy to go back to wrangling over domestic affairs. I really wouldn't mind the opportunity to vote Libertarian rather than Republican. (Yes, I know the Libertarians have their loony side, but better small-government looniness than big-government looniness--in peacetime).

But more realistically I expect that commenters like Theo Boehm are right and that there are not enough stalwart Americans left to influence the course of the polity, and that therefore we shall be forced to confront the jihadi much closer to home. Whither do we redeploy then?

And that, as my Dad used to say in his best WWII GI diction, is "the sad, pitiful truth."

DRJ said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DRJ said...

Prof. Althouse,

I agree with your statements and your sentiment, and I'm glad to hear people like you say it publicly. Terrorism poses a grave risk to America and Americans. The first step is to realize how easy it is for terrorists to use our own words and actions to hurt us.

In this war, the catch phrase should be "Mixed messages sink ships."

ModNewt said...

Salamandyr said...
Iraq is a similar case [to the US Civil War], though infinitesmally less costly.

How do you figure? Money wise, I have no idea but find it hard to believe you've done the research to determine what the relative inflation adjusted costs of the 2 wars are.

As far as lives go. Most estimates for the number of lives lost in the US Civil War is 620k. Some go as high as 700k. The Iraq war has by some estimates exceeded 600K now and regardless of whether the U.S. leaves now or stays longer, the death toll is sure to rise. By this measure "infinitesmally(sic) less costly" qualifies as an outrageous exaggeration.

The problem most supporters of the war have reminds me of the Tom Cruise character from "Born on the 4th of July" who believes with all his heart that he will walk again (and promptly fractures both of his legs attempting to walk again). You assume that the mess we are in has a somewhat decent solution in the foreseeable future. What a crock. Whether we get out in '07 or '17 the same result is likely (total chaos) with a completely unpredictable final outcome or time frame for said outcome.

What is predictable is that if we stay until '17... or '27... is that many more American troops will die in Iraq, irrespective of the financial costs.

Dave said...

Ann,

I agree with you. When I heard the NPR report this morning about people around the world cheering the eleciton as a repudiation of President Bush and the Iraq War, it made me sick.

He deserved the repudiation because, other than toppling Saddam, the Administration hasn't done the things that are needed to put Iraq on the road to becoming a functioning democratic secure nation. Whether because of ideology or just poor planning, they failed at that.

The really unfortunate thing is that our action in Iraq, instead of beginning a change to a more democratic and modern Middle East, may have the opposite effect of making them think we're weak.

It may have the effect of putting too many restrictions, real and perceived, on the President's ability to take decisive military action when needed. Restrictions that would make it hard to conduct a war on terror.

Now the President needs to figure out how to bring the Democrats in on the war. That may be tougher than figuring out a plan for Iraq.

Maybe they can work together to figure out a change of course that would expand the Iraq effort to include diplomacy and economic measures. So we can leave without looking like we're defeated.

We don't want to listen to any more reports about those people cheering our failure.

hdhouse said...

I have no idea what you mean Ann. If you would tell me, clearly, what "victory" in Iraq would look like then we can measure. If you give a morphing answer that demonstrates the wafflefactor we have heard for the 3+ years of mission accomplished, then I have no idea.

Stay the course was not a strategy. Victory in Iraq whatever that is, is a GOAL. Now tell me the strategy to get there and then tell me WHEN we get there will I be aware of it.

Seven Machos said...

"Mod":

The Iraq war has by some estimates exceeded 600K now... No one believes this. It isn't true. It is a blatant, propagagandist lie. I find it hard to believe you've done the research to determine what the number of deaths is. Certainly, the people making the claim have not done the research. How could they?

Please stop telling and advancing lies.

Seven Machos said...

hd: Victory in Iraq does not mean leaving Iraq now.

My strategy is to start killing people and breaking things like there is an actual war on and to not stop until there is complete submission from all parties who could possibly be against the United States in Iraq.

I'm all for hearing your brilliant strategy.

Garage Mahal said...

I agree with your statements and your sentiment, and I'm glad to hear people like you say it publicly. Terrorism poses a grave risk to America and Americans. The first step is to realize how easy it is for terrorists to use our own words and actions to hurt us.

Like Bush telling the world for the last 3 years that Democrats are soft on terror -- and last week on the campaign trail Bush telling the world that a vote for Democrats, is a vote for terrorists? Exactly who has given terrorists "hope"?

I would love to hear Ann Althouse plan for this war -- but we only get weak, mushy, garbly gook about elections sending a "terrible message"

I'll count her in as the Wishing for Ponies camp I guess.

ModNewt said...

Seven Machos said...

"Mod":

No one believes this. It isn't true. It is a blatant, propagagandist lie... Please stop telling and advancing lies.

You shouting "LIE" does not make it so. And certainly your claim that "No one" believes this is an demonstrable lie.

I believe and so do epidemiologists at Johns Hopkins University's. The method used to estimate this number is called cluster sampling and is a tried and true method of mortality estimates.

Seven Machos said...

Garage -- What is your brilliant strategy?

Also, since absurdly overheated and stupidly partisan rhetoric is tiresome. Here is an ill tip: when you accuse someone of not having a strategy, it is sort of, kind of important that you lay out your own.

Balfegor said...

Re: Menken Moment
But more realistically I expect that commenters like Theo Boehm are right and that there are not enough stalwart Americans left to influence the course of the polity, and that therefore we shall be forced to confront the jihadi much closer to home. Whither do we redeploy then?

Oh, I don't know about the lot of you, but I'll try for Korea. I'd probably feel better with China, on account of the size, pragmatic brutality, and nuclear weapons, but I haven't got a racial/ethnic tie, and they are not keen on letting foreigners of other races immigrate. I don't know much Mandarin anyhow, and those funny new-style characters are hard to read. I face the same race-problem vis-a-vis Japan. Ah well.

Korea, at least, will be guarded by water on three sides and a giant minefield watched over by motion-sensing killer sentry robots and an army of eight-legged robot soldiers on the other. Hah!

Sloanasaurus said...

Modnewt said...As far as lives go. Most estimates for the number of lives lost in the US Civil War is 620k. Some go as high as 700k. The Iraq war has by some estimates exceeded 600K now and regardless of whether the U.S. leaves now or stays longer, the death toll is sure to rise. By this measure "infinitesmally(sic) less costly" qualifies as an outrageous exaggeration.

I don't get this. Are you saying that we should not fight the terrorists because too many people may end up dying in Iraq. Are you saying its better to let 10,000 Americans die than 100,000 Iraqis?

What side are you on?

What a joke....

Seven Machos said...

Yeah Me shouting "LIE" does not make it so.

But you shouting "TRUE" does make it so, espcially if it's a bunch of wild, out-of-some-professors' asses projections from a fancy Baltimore university.

I wish I was a frutiy leftist. I wish me shouting "TRUE" would simply make it so. You are a lucky person, Mod, to live like that.

Kirk Parker said...

Steambadger,

Sorry, but "cost many lives" and "full-scale combat" is simply false. For the former, see Michael A Litscher's comment with stats above. (Hint: Iraq casualties are only double what the military experiences in peacetime, and just over 1/3 of the rate in the Gulf War.) For the latter, you just demonstrate that you have no idea what full-scale combat looks like. (Go ahead and search the web, there's lots of great reporting from the embeds who were with the US forces.)

AST said...

Two things really bum me out.

Democrats' refusal to act like adults and hold off on the lies and false accusations of the other side. Now everything is sweetness and light and we're supposed to just forget the viciousness and undermining of our troops for political gain.

The Media. Despite the liberals who think they don't control enough of the media, the people reached by Talk Radio, Fox News and the right of blogosphere and the few conservative magazines are miniscule compared to the numbers who watch nightly broadcast news and read liberal newspapers. They can't sway voters quickly, but the slow drip of negativity creates an atmosphere of defeat and failure. Why else do people seem to believe that the economy is down? We don't like the war, but there's no consensus on what we need to do differently.

What emboldens our enemies is the fact that they can beat us by outlasting us, and rely on our own media to vitiate our will. We couldn't have won World War II if we'd had a press like today's.

I also have been depressed by Republicans in Congress who wouldn't support the president, had to spend like crazy on pork when we're in an expensive war, and act like prima donnas blocking every issue until they're coaxed into going along.

Sloanasaurus said...

Stay the course was not a strategy. Victory in Iraq whatever that is, is a GOAL. Now tell me the strategy to get there and then tell me WHEN we get there will I be aware of it.

The strategy is to build up the Iraqi government to a point where they can retake their own country, and hold the country in a reasonably stable form until this transition can be completed. The "stay the course" means sticking it out until that goal is realized.

I don't get why people think this is such a bad strategy or why the strategy needs to be changed. IN fact Bush keeps reiterating this strategy. Then the democrats say "We need to change course" and then they repeat the same strategy as if its a new idea. It's all posturing which is why I think the whole change the course thing in Iraq is a charade by the Dems. They just used it to get elected.

Pogo said...

Mod, the Lancet's numbers are bogus and embarrassingly stupid. They were, like the 2004 Lancet "study" a leftist rag's attempt to sway a US election. Patethic, but more pathetic you bought their proaganda.

Now that Dems are in charge, watch for all the sunshine, ice cream, and kite-flying utopian media pieces.

ModNewt said...

I wish I was a frutiy leftist.

Ahhh... name calling. The last refuge of those with no argument.

tjl said...

"start killing people and breaking things like there is an actual war on."

This approach might actually have worked if it had been tried immediately after the 2004 election. Now it's far too late. Within days of the launch of such a campaign, Conyers would have the articles of impeachment ready to go.

We have to face the fact that Dem control of Congress will lead inevitably to withdrawal. The open questions are 1) how gracefully will the extraction be managed; and 2) how long before our enemies are emboldened enough to strike at us domestically?

Garage Mahal said...

Also, since absurdly overheated and stupidly partisan rhetoric is tiresome. Here is an ill tip: when you accuse someone of not having a strategy, it is sort of, kind of important that you lay out your own.

We created a Lebanon, and the truth is, nobody knows what will happen to Iraq. Our military "won" a long time ago, and as long as we are there, the Iraqi's fate will never be settled. My sense is that alot of the fighting is due to them thinking we're "taking sides", and our troops are in an impossible situation, where we don't even know who the enemy is anymore.

Unless we re-invade, and topple Maliki's government, the only plan moving forward has to be about getting our troops out. Withdraw, let it flame out, and come back to help pick up the pieces politically. Thats my plan. So, cut and run, or stay and die.

Sloanasaurus said...

the only plan moving forward has to be about getting our troops out.

Wow, how history repeats itself. This was the plan forwarded by the Democrats in the election of 1864.

Check out this election poster. How telling....

Steven Brockerman, MS said...

Excuse me.

It's the failure of this administration to make war, a real, declared, wipe-out-the-enemy-war--instead of pretty little speeches and foreign community improvement initiatives--that cost the Repubs the election.

Bush is a wuss--and a stupid one at that:

>Failing to declare war on Iran* on 912 (and Afghanistan and Syria and Saudi Arabia and ...).

(*Pssst, it's no mystery what nation is the chief ideologue of Islamic theocratic aggression against the U.S. and the chief sponsor of that agression against America since 1979. Hell, even the Foggy Bottom appeasers at State have gotten that one right for the past 2 decades.)

>Ruling out nukes from the beginning; instead, placing boots on the ground to edumacate the Afghans and Iraqis in, no, not the concept of *individual* rights, the foundation of our political system, but in dem-(mob rule)-ocracy.

(Shortly after which a terrorist syndicate is elected to govern the Palestinians--demonstrating this administration's monumental ignorance of American history.)

>Dropping foodstuffs to the enemy?!

>Worrying about innocent enemy civilians and placing our GI's in jeopardy to limit "collateral damage"?!

>Rules of engagement--for a war?!

>Taking one Islamic theocracy and one fascist Arab tyranny and turning them in to two Islamic theocracies?!

>Failing--as did LBJ before him--to take the war to the enemy, e.g., attacking the safe havens (Syria & Iran) of enemy insurgents, for instance?!

>Fighting a defensive "police action", complete with detaining and/or prosecuting terrorists murderers instead of having them summarily shot?!

>Now, sitting on his pragmatic, appeasing ass while Iran gets the bomb?!

Yeah, we voted the Dems in b/c we think the (relious peddling, socialist, compassionate, big gov, anti(real)war Neocon) Repubs. and the frat boy sissy leading them are way different that the (nihilist peddling, socialist, compassionate, big gov, anti-war, Marxist)Dems.

Right.

We're not in this "war" to help the Arabs, to nation build, to give civics lessons, to feed the starving or clothe the naked.

We're in it to defend the interests, liberty and security of the citizens of the United States of America by annihilating the enemy using maximum destructive force.

Period.

(Coming soon: 911, Part 2--"Mushroom cloud over Manhattan."
Stay tuned.)

Steven Brockerman, MS
2/503d, 101st Abn Div
1972-1978

ModNewt said...

Pogo said...

Mod, the Lancet's numbers are bogus and embarrassingly stupid.

Ok Pogo, what number is acceptable to you? And don't tell me that you require a death certificate because if that is so the death toll in Rwanda was probably somewhere around 20K.

ModNewt said...

One more thing Pogo and Machos...

Since you both object to the use of cluster sampling (a widely accepted method of mortality estimates) I'm sure you are busy posting criticisms on other blogs about the inaccuracy of the mortality estimates in Darfur and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The same methodology was used for these numbers which the Bush Administration quotes frequently.

I'll take the links such criticisms forthwith.

Freeman Hunt said...

Here's a better idea, Modnewt:

Link to the detailed descriptions of methodology for each study to prove that the methologies were exactly alike.

Pogo said...

Re: "I'll take the links such criticisms forthwith."

The Lancet methodology was hopelessly flawed. Interviews are worthless.

Screw "links". Give me the actual body count. Where are all those 600,000 bodies? Should be easy to find and document. It's not Maoist China, after all.

Good lord, you're an easy mark.

The Dread Pirate No-Beard said...

I’m also upset by the election. The Democrats didn’t exactly have a platform, and I’m still waiting for John Kerry’s super-secret plan to win the peace in Iraq.

I’m afraid that Democratic control of the upper and lower chambers will lead to a hasty pull-out in Iraq. The terrorists will see this as further proof of American weakness. The rapid victory and relative stability in Afghanistan will be the exception to the rule of limited engagement established by our responses to the Marine Barracks bombings, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Khobar Towers, U.S.S. Cole, etc. This means more attacks on the home front since Iraq will no longer be the terrorist magnet that it should be.

We’ll probably see more oversight (i.e., interference) from the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, though I doubt anyone will propose multi-billion dollar funding cuts like Kerry in the 1990s. Remember, the Yakuza, Russian mob, and Chinese triads are a greater threat to America than Al Queda, at least according to Kerry’s 1998 book The New War: The Web of Crime That Threatens America's Security.

I’d willingly go to Iraq and die for my country if I were able, and I think anything under 25,000 Coalition deaths is an acceptable price to pay for the chance of Middle East stability and democracy.

The Dread Pirate No-Beard

Kyle said...

True, Iraq is not Maoist China. It's just in chaos, that's all.

Meanwhile, Ann Althouse has finger on chin and muses somberly:

"It's the failure of Americans to support the war. It's the folding and crumpling because things didn't go well enough and the way we conspicuously displayed that to our enemies."

Americans are willing to shoot themselve sin the foot, but they don't have the resolve to follow thru and cut off their legs. This troubles Ann Althouse.

michael a litscher said...

Kirk Parker: Sorry, but "cost many lives" and "full-scale combat" is simply false.

Agreed.

Have we re-deployed all military personnel to Iraq? No.

Have we instituted a draft? No.

Have all of our manufacturing capabilities been commissioned to build war supplies? No.

Have food, gasoline, and other materials been rationed for the sake of the war effort? No.

Have we resorted to using the biggest, baddest weapons in our arsenal (nukes)? No.

Is the enemy advancing on us, driving the war front back towards and/or inside our borders? No.

When all of the above have occurred, and the enemy is still advancing towards middle America and we've run out of bullets, then and only then will I consider the possibility that this war might be lost, and that it might be time to negotiate the terms of our surrender.

However, we are nowhere near that point, and yet leftists still want us to surrender the battlefield to our enemies.

Thank God today's leftists weren't around in the 40's, or we'd all be speaking German.

Freder Frederson said...

We’ll probably see more oversight (i.e., interference) from the Senate and House Intelligence Committees

Oversight (or interference is a farsight better than throwing our treasure and blood away on a pointless, incompetently run war managed by a bunch of unaccountable men who seek to subvert our constitution and commitment to the rule of law.

Balfegor said...

Re: Pogo:

The Lancet methodology was hopelessly flawed. Interviews are worthless.

I don't think this is the case -- they're certainly less reliable than bodies, but they're certainly not worthless.

However, there are a number of criticisms other researchers have made (and the Iraq Body Count people have made). First, and proably most significantly, the interviewed households are apparently disproportionately clustered around major roadways -- systematically, these areas are likely to see higher casualty rates because that's where the convoys are, where the restaurants are, where the grocery stores are, where the bazaars are, where the police stations are -- indeed, where all the targets are.

There are also peripheral issues that raise doubts about the credibility of the study. For example, the last I heard (maybe a month ago?), the study's authors were still refusing to share their data with third parties. Refusing to share data is inconsistent with open academic practice and something that ought to make anyone suspicious about the quality of that data. Along a somewhat different axis, the actual people performing the study did not go out and do the interviews themselves. Instead, they hired local stringers to go around and interview people. This sounds a little iffy.

Lastly, people have gone through and looked at the timing for each interview -- I forget who it was -- and came up with some ridiculously brief period of time for each subject interview. Like five or ten minutes, or something. That sounds long enough to get a raw number of deaths, if every subject is willing to come out and speak, but not long enough to get all the background information you would need to verify that each recorded death is distinct, e.g. if multiple families in the same neighbourhood are closely related (as is likely, given the extremely high rate of cousin-marriage in Iraq).

Regarding death estimates in the Congo and in the Sudan, I suspect that both of those are off by a certain amount because of (as with the Lancet studies) a strong incentive to colour the data for political purposes. However, in the case of Darfur, the refugee camps operating in the region do make it seem quite clear that something significant and horrible has been underway (although reading Churchill's The River War makes me suspect that the Darfur situation is not a new development at all, but has been underway since the late 19th century at least).

In the case of the Congo, I don't think we have clear visibility into what's been going on at all -- the war that went on there during the 90's and early 2000's was really massive, involving practically all the countries in the region, and various informal militias as well. Because of massive dislocation -- I understand that entire villages have up and fled at times -- I also suspect that a cluster sampling technique like the one used in Iraq, where local interviewers go knock on doors and ask quesions, might not be particularly useful, although that basic methodology would be pretty much our only means of arriving at a ballpark figure.

EliRabett said...

Simple solution, you and your friends should enlist. The armed forces need lawyers, even in Iraq.

Otherwise you are being Rumsfeldy

Garage Mahal said...

Thank God today's leftists weren't around in the 40's, or we'd all be speaking German.

Dipshit. You're forgetting FDR was a Democrat. Now go back to tossing little green footballs with all your other armchair generals, safely on the lunatic fringe, where you belong.

michael a litscher said...

Garage Mahal: Dipshit. You're forgetting FDR was a Democrat.

First, I specified leftist, not Democrat.

Second, I specified today's leftist, which are far different than the leftists of the 40's.

Dipshit, indeed.

KnightErrant said...

Unlike Afganistan, the Iraq Adventure was always a war of choice with no significant, or even insignificant, national interests at stake. Winning gains us nothing, losing deprives us of nothing except the spent lives of loyal servicemembers.

From the beginning I've denigrated the Iraq War by describing it as a "recreational war." It was engaged in because the President wanted to, not because the country had to. I knew it would be popular only as long as it was fun. As "Shock and Awe" devolved into a slow, bloody slog people rightfully asked "what are we fighting for?"

What are we fighting for? Even for the Bush Administration that answer has been a moving target. I've heard all of the arguments, all of the reasons that have been given over the years. They all amount to nonsense. We entered the war because we thought it would be easy; we are stuck because it wasn't. (Yes, I know the real reason was an obtuse neocon theory that conquering the Baathist Party in Iraq would create a cascade of democracy throughout the Middle East. That was always nonsense, and they thought it would be easy.)

It is one of the collective wisdoms of democracies that they do a cold cost-benefit calculation when it comes to war. We will fight as long as the benefit of victory outweighs the cost of achieving it. When the costs exceeds any potential benefit, democracies conclude it is best to just cut our loses.

When wars are thrust upon democracies (as in WWII) they will fight with a fury dictatorships can't match. When democracies stumble into wars, either through ignorance or arrogance, they had better be successful because democracies do not suffer foolish wars for long.

chickenlittle said...
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chickenlittle said...

Location, Location, Location

All along I thought Iraq was just a way to fight Al-Qaeda on a easier terrain. Sortof the "honey-pot" theory espoused by someone about 3 1/2 years on the Command Post.

You wanna fight Al-Qaeda in Afganistan because it's morally more correct? OK, just be prepared for manifold more casualties. There's a reason Hitler never invaded Switzerland, and it wasn't because they were "neutral".

Chaos between Sunni and Shiite extremists for the control of Iraq which did NOT involve the US would have the convenient advantage of massive Jihadi deaths, especially of the fighting kind (Sunni v. Shiite). That's something the world could use more of isn't it?

michael a litscher said...

KnightErrant: Unlike Afganistan, the Iraq Adventure was always a war of choice with no significant, or even insignificant, national interests at stake.

Except for the fact that Iraq harbored known and wanted terrorists, trained terrorists, and financed terrorists. Ignoring these facts is nothing short of willful blindness for the purpose of propogandizing away the legitimacy of Iraq as a target in the Global War On Terror.

EliRabett said...

You want us to fight in Iraq, enlist, the Judge Advocate General needs lawyers.

OhioAnne said...

When someone tells me that we had no business being in Iraq because they were no threat to us, I generally ask how Bosnia threatened the United States mainland.

The argument I get in return was that involvement was OK despite the fact they cannot answer the question - 'after all, US soldiers didn't die there'.

I confess that I don't understand that argument.

Oh, I understand the desire to safeguard our young men and women and don't disagree with that sentiment.

What I question is whether or not the military might of the US should be used if the fight is not important enough to us to risk the lives of our citizens.

If we are no more than someone's hired guns in the fight, where's the morality in it?

Seven Machos said...

Eli -- You said the same thing already and no one responded to you. Maybe it's because it wasn't all that interesting.

Also, having served the United States abroad, I can assure you that civilian spots in Iraq are coveted and there are more people who want them than there are spots.

Anyway, maybe next time you'll say something that isn't snarky and that actually adds to the conversation. Think hard...

Ann Althouse said...

You're telling me to enlist? You do realize there are age requirements, don't you? These high-handed demands that other people enlist ridiculously fail to take account of the fact that a lot of people can't meet the requirements.

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

re: Litscher:

Except for the fact that Iraq harbored known and wanted terrorists, trained terrorists, and financed terrorists. Ignoring these facts is nothing short of willful blindness for the purpose of propogandizing away the legitimacy of Iraq as a target in the Global War On Terror.

Well, and Iraq had a nuclear weapons program, played suspicious games with the inspectors when they visited, and had generally led everyone to believe they had every intention of developing nuclear weapons as soon as sanctions were lifted.

Of course, that part of the war was over by mid-2004 or so. At that point, having taken all Iraq's uranium and smashed their nuclear development infrastructure, we could have declared victory and gone home. Whether they wanted nuclear weapons or not, they wouldn't be getting any more without some massive expenditures of cash.

We stuck around, though, partly out of the goodness of our hearts -- leaving the peaceable part of the population to the tender mercies of Zarqawi et al. seemed kind of callous, even though it might have been the sensible thing to do -- and partly out of the belief that there was a real chance democracy might take root. As, indeed, it seems to have done, more or less. But there's a well-armed minority that has not really taken to the prospect of a functioning Arab democracy particularly well, and is determined to prevent it.

Well, I suppose we shan't make that mistake a second time. Next time, it's the old reliables -- smash the threatening bits and head back home. If they want a democracy they can build it themselves. And if they want a tyrant, that's fine too, just so long as whoever manages to clamber to the top of the hill of corpses doesn't make himself too difficult for us.

Theo Boehm said...

Anselm: Thank you for the nice words. Sorry I haven't been able to respond sooner or participate in this rather good thread as it was developing today. My employer expects me to show up and put in a full day's work. Narrow-minded of him, but there you have it.

I also appreciate other comments. gj: I hope you are right, and this will be the occasion for a serious re-thinking of the situation with the idea of making progress. I must say that I doubt it. Maybe Madison Man and others are right, and those of us who feel as I do are being too gloomy. I can only hope so.

I wrote the comment during a sleepless night (Ann seems to have been in the same situation), and insomnia is never a tonic for optimism. Let's those of us who are gloomy see how we feel after we sleep on it....

Ann Althouse said...

I didn't take the attitude I did in this post because I couldn't sleep. I had trouble sleeping because I had this attitude. Look at the posts I'd been doing after the election, expressing numbness and so on. I realized that I felt bad about the election and wanted to admit it and look at why.

Mortimer Brezny said...

I actually appreciated the candor of the post. Thanks.

JSF said...

Let's follow the Democratic Party's current idea of "pulling out" of Iraq to its forgone conclusion. OBL got his idea to attack the US after we ran out of Haiti and Black Hawk Down in Somalia. Lets leave Iraq.

2007 - American troops leave the Fertile Crescent. Al-Queda, Hamas, Hezbollah advance in and massacre populace not aligned with Islamic Radicals.

2008 - Islamic Radicals use $ from Oil to ally with Chavez, Iran and Syria. Money rolls in for terrorist objectives.

2009 - Just like tel Aviv in 2000, suicide bombers attack "soft Targets" in America.

I would like to know how the Democrats are going to stop this from occuring.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Professor A: Did your time with the elite upper echelons of the liberal blogosphere on election night affect your feelings? If so, how?

Also, Elirabett: JAG Officers don't "enlist"; they get a commission. And there are pretty stringent age limitations.

me said...

I don't understand why Republicans are upset that Democrats won because they will have higher taxes. Do you honestly think that we'll be able to pay off this horrendous deficit without some kind of higher taxes? Do you think we can fund our $3 Billion (yes I said billion) per month war in Iraq without raising taxes?

If this is a fight for our civilization, shouldn't you WANT to raise taxes -- that is probably the easiest sacrifice the country can make, must easier than a draft.

IS this the most important fight we've ever faced? IS this a "clash of civilizations" that we must win? Then WHY aren't you advocating a draft, or raising taxes, or more troops on the ground? Why isn't there a campaign sponsored by the President encouraging young people to enlist so we can defeat the terrorists? Why isn't there ecouragement for national service to preserve and spread democracy?

I don't hear any of that from the President of Republicans -- they seem to want us to support the war no matter how badly its going, to support the suspension of habeas corpus for alien enemy combatants, (so they can't challenge their imprisonment, or argue why they might actually be innocent -- for Muslims we seem to have embraced the idea of guilty until proven innocent, but we won't let them into court to prove there innocence), warrantless wiretapping, and torture in violation of the Geneva Convention. They want us to support those drastic steps, but don't want to put enough troops on the ground to win, and don't want Americans to make personal sacrifices to win? Doesn't really make sense.

me said...

Should be "The President OR republicans, not President of Republicans.

Seven Machos said...

Me -- Your post is riddled with substantive errors. Let's just pick out one: support the suspension of habeas corpus for alien enemy combatants

Please demonstrate that alien enemy combatants have any habeas corpus rights that anyone can suspend.

Also, I'm all for the personal sacrifice. But really winning this war means violating a whole hell of a lot of rights of many essentially innocent people. You know in your heart that lilly-livered ninnies such as yourself cannot accept that.

me said...

PS: Before someone says, terrorists don't deserve the same rights as American citizens, or that the Geneva Convention doesn't apply to terrorists: I say, the people we are capturing are human beings. There is always the possibility of innocence -- why are we comfortable torturing someone who might be perfectly innocent? Why are we comfortable with taking the Great Writ, the most basic right to just have the government tell a judge why someone is in prison, away from a person because they might be a terrorist?

And, if the answer is because we MUST win the battle against the terrorists, its the most important thing, then WHY doesn't the President act like this is a real war, where the American people have to make actual sacrifices to win?

me said...

Machos -- if they didn't have the right, then why did Congress suspend it in the Military Commission Act of 2006?

me said...

"Also, I'm all for the personal sacrifice. But really winning this war means violating a whole hell of a lot of rights of many essentially innocent people. You know in your heart that lilly-livered ninnies such as yourself cannot accept that."

Answer the question: If this war is so important that we need to violate the rights of innocent people, why don't we have a draft? If this war is the most important fight of this generation, why aren't we selling war bonds to pay for it?

me said...

Oh, I underestimated the Iraq cost.

"Currently, the Defense Department says it is spending about $4.5 billion a month on the conflict in Iraq, or about $100,000 per minute."

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/2002780385_spending03.html
Story from February 2006. Maybe the cost has gone down a little since then.

Sorry for the substantive error.

Seven Machos said...

We are selling bonds, you fucking moron. They're called treasury bills. And we don't have a draft because we don't have a draft. Congress voted on it just this year and it lost by a vote of roughly 400-0. Lobby your representatives in Congress if you want a draft. Don't bitch about it here. And you don't want one, anyway.

As for habeas corpus, you don't have your small, gnat-like head around what the Supreme Court said or what the Congress has done. If I thought you remotely worth the time, I'd try to explain it to you. But you aren't. You simply want to criticize President Bush.

me said...

"We are selling bonds, you fucking moron."

"As for habeas corpus, you don't have your small, gnat-like head around what the Supreme Court said or what the Congress has done. If I thought you remotely worth the time, I'd try to explain it to you. But you aren't. You simply want to criticize President Bush."

Well, this "lilly-livered ninny/ fucking moron with small a gnat-like head" doesn't want to talk to you either. In respect to Prof. ALthouse, I will resist the urge to pepper this post with similar epithets.

downtownlad said...

Ann - Maybe nobody told you, but Iraq never attacked us. Iraq did not fly planes into the Twin Towers.

Al Qeada did.

And this president has abandoned the fight against Al Qeada so he can fight a diversionary war in Iraq.

Some of us voted against the Republicans due to their incompetence, i.e. their refusal to not only find Osama Bin Laden, but their refusal to even look.

Joe Baby said...

I think Democrats do want to find OBL.

Just not sure why they always enjoy the NYTimes allowing him a head start.

Theo Boehm said...

Ann, I didn't mean to imply you took the attitude you did because of sleeplessness. I'm afraid I was having a hard time sleeping for pretty much the same reason, although there were other things on my mind as well. I understand very much your feeling about the election, and did indeed read the posts. (I'm a big fan and read everything you write :-) No, I just made the comment to lighten things up, and to acknowledge that perhaps that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach might go away if I got a little rest, and that it might not really be that bad.

Well, here it is almost 2:30 AM, and I still haven't gotten any sleep. And things don't look any better, either.

Grumble...grumble....

michael a litscher said...

me: Do you honestly think that we'll be able to pay off this horrendous deficit without some kind of higher taxes?

Federal deficit, at $247.7 billion, falls to lowest level in 4 years, down 22 percent

So the answer to your question is, yes, we can, and are, paying down the deficit without raising taxes.

michael a litscher said...

downtownlad: And this president has abandoned the fight against Al Qeada so he can fight a diversionary war in Iraq.

It's called the "Global War on Terror" instead of a "War on Al-Qaeda" for a reason. You might want to consider why that is, and then you'll realize how misinformed your statement above is.

Mark in Texas said...

Mark

Your plan for separation of Islam from the rest of the world is not really practical unless you can give the Muslims their own planet. Right now the technical and economic realities are such that it is pretty easy and relatively affordable for almost anybody to travel to almost any part of the Earth. Shipping the Muslims to Venus is beyond our capability.

That leaves the other options. With Tuesday's election results, it looks like the "change them" option is pretty much gone. It's not pretty, but unless the Democrats acknowledge that jihadis are more of a danger than Republicans, we are on course for some pretty extreme ugliness on a global scale.

Richard said...

Ann, any war we get into in which the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs cannot off the top of his head state what it means to win after we have been fighting for going on four years should be a war we liquidate as soon as possible.

See Gen. Pace's comment in the Washington Post. "Asked by one interviewer whether the United States is winning the war in Iraq, Pace replied: "You have to define 'winning.'"

When your top General can't define what 'winning' means then it isn't worth the cost in lives and treasure. Correcting your mistakes is more important than some propaganda loss that occurs as you correct them.

tjl said...

"Why are we comfortable with taking the Great Writ ... away from a person because they might be a terrorist? "

Here we have a really exciting new concept -- we'll extend Habeas Corpus to all enemy combatants. Miranda warnings on the battlefield. No more prisoner-of-war camps, we'll appoint them all attorneys. Personal-recognizance bonds while their cases wend their slow way through the courts of appeals.

How the European media will thank us. Pelosi and Conyers are probably working on it already.

Balfegor said...

Re: Me

There is always the possibility of innocence -- why are we comfortable torturing someone who might be perfectly innocent? Why are we comfortable with taking the Great Writ, the most basic right to just have the government tell a judge why someone is in prison, away from a person because they might be a terrorist?

Largely for the same reason we've historically been comfortable liquifying innocent people to defeat our enemies (Dresden) or condemning them to an awful radiation-induced death, to defeat our enemies (Hiroshima, Nagasaski), or simply blowing bits off of innocent civilians (various bombing campaigns up until we developed JDAMs). It's a rather mild extension of the generalised horror of war.

Anyhow, historically, the punishment for guerillas or other kinds of plainclothes fighters has been summary execution after a military trial (if that).

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