November 12, 2006

"Through the long, bloody summer and fall of 1864, the South had hung on only because of the belief that the North might tire of the conflict."

"But Lincoln did not tire. Instead, he doubled the bet--and won the war," writes William Stuntz (via Instapundit).

Of course, he's talking about Iraq:
Why do insurgent gangs, who have vastly smaller resources and manpower than the American soldiers they fight, continue to try to kill those soldiers? The answer is, because they believe they only have to kill a few more, and the soldiers will leave. They need not inflict a military defeat (which would be impossible, given the strength of the American military)--all they need to do is survive until American voters decide to throw in the towel, which might happen at any moment.

The proper response to that calculation is to make emphatically clear that the fight will not end until one side or the other wins, decisively
Much more at the link. Stuntz's main point is that people -- like Rumsfeld -- who apply the principles of business to war are making a profound mistake.

130 comments:

Freder Frederson said...

Well gee, isn't that the Powell doctrine? Isn't that what Shinseki told us before the war and was ridiculed and shunted aside for? And this guy is a genuis because he figures it out almost four years too late?

You guys, especially Instapundit, are pathetic.

George said...

Alternately, you could contend that Lincoln was nearly incompetent until he found Grant, a general who knew how to win. And bloodily. Perhaps Bush hasn't found his Grant.

A cheerful thought for a Sunday afternoon.

knoxgirl said...

What he's arguing certainly seems to make sense; but I wonder if it applies to Iraq as seamlessly as he suggests.

Haven't we been trying to turn over as much as we can to Iraqi security forces throughout this venture? Aren't we trying to create a situation that will convince the insurgents that we will leave Iraq in able hands? This seems to belie the logic of bringing in more forces.

And I remain unconvinced that the terrorists will *ever* give up short of some sort of catastrophic attack by us--nuclear, or the like. (I'm not advocating that, but I worry that we might eventually have to face that option.) They've already proven they are willing to take on an overwhelmingly powerful military force.

FF: I guess we'll find out soon enough if you guys really have all the answers you have been claiming to have. Here's your chance to prove yourselves.

Jonathan said...

Stuntz established his genius long before he wrote that piece, Freder. And I don't see why linking it makes anybody pathetic.

I don't think there are many people out there who think Bush has done a good job of waging war in Iraq. But the choice has never been between someone who would wage the war well and someone who has waged it poorly; unfortunately, it's been between someone who has waged it poorly and someone who wants to give up.

Democrats exploited the ambiguity in the phrase "Stay the course," playing it off as a commitment to the failed approach thus pursued rather than as a commitment to keep fighting until we win. But now that the election is over, Democrats face a stark choice between cutting and running or staying the course.

The declared enemies of the U.S. have already started celebrating thinking the Democrats will necessarily choose the former, but I think a significant number of Democratic legislators were elected by people who voted against Bush's party because they want to see more success in Iraq, not because they want to pull out. And the Bush administration and congressional Republicans have received what you might call a wake-up call with extreme prejudice; they know they need to do better.

The question now is how to get things done properly in Iraq, and Stuntz is offering some constructive thoughts on what needs to be done. Whether or not the point was made in the past is irrelevant.

Internet Ronin said...

Freder - Many people who supported the war, including Instapundit I believe, advocated following the Powell doctrine. It was not until later that it became obvious that the Bush Administration was not going to do so.

Note also that some have argued that the United States has insufficient troop strength to do so, which, if true (and it is increasingly clear that it probably is) in my humble and non-expert opinion, means that this war should have been started in the first place. While Rumsfeld, who has repeatedly stated that one goes to war with the tools which one has, I think that only applies to non-elective warfare. As is obvious, I'm no expert, but that is the drift I've been getting from those that I have read.

George: IIRC, some have made a forceful case that Bush hasn't found his Grant. Whether he is likely to do so in this age of mass media and instant communication is dubious, given the likelihood of the ensuing carnage. Fallujah is prime example of that - a Grant or Sherman would have leveled the place long ago.

EricP said...

Freder Frederson said...
Well gee, isn't that the Powell doctrine? Isn't that what Shinseki told us before the war and was ridiculed and shunted aside for? And this guy is a genuis because he figures it out almost four years too late?


I'm forever amazed by the left. They'll bitch about ignoring the Powell doctrine and turn around and attack Israel for using "disproportionate force".

If Bush announced tomorrow that he was sending 30,000 more troops, the hard-left would bleat and moan but today because they can attack Bush over the lack of those 30,000, it is a talking point.

Freder, do you want to win the war? The only options are YES and NO.

The Drill SGT said...

Grant reborn would have been a Marine. I say that with all respect as an Army Officer. There are some jobs that call for a Grant or the Marines. Non-subtle, head down, straight forward combat leader.

On the other hand, Sherman, Lee and Longstreet were Army types. :)

Cedarford said...

The down side of "staying the course" like Lincoln did was that it is someone else's Civil War, not ours, and it was todays equivalent of 5 million Americans killed or maimed.

Stuntz is another neocon ally, desperately hanging on to his CHurchill and Lincoln rhetoric.

There is no sign that there are only a small number of dead enders in their last throes hoping to wait out the Great Leader. Instead, militias on both the Sunni Arab and Shiite side are exploding in number and size of fighter force while the Sunnis are discouraging Al Qaeda types because they bring heat down on Sunnis.
***********
Jonathan - But now that the election is over, Democrats face a stark choice between cutting and running or staying the course.

Only in your cozy black and white world are choices reduced to (1)Fleeing; (2) following the neocons.

The Baker-Hamilton group will have several possible alternatives and the final one they recommend - which will then inform your thinking past "Democrat Cowards" and "Bush, Our Beloved American Churchill, our Lincoln For These Times".

My guess is we get advice from the Commission to stabilize Iraq, tell Turkey we will not recognize an independent Kurdistan, and inform the Arab shitheads of Iraq that we will be leaving in phases with most gone in 2 years and any peace or bloodshed done to Iraqis by other Iraqis is their doing since they are sovereign - and it's all in their "noble, freedom-loving, democracy-hungry, purple ink stained hands"

George said...

This is a tortured analogy, but what would Grant have done if Mexico, a remote and gigantic nation, like Iran, had been sending men, arms, and money into the South?

Is the moment soon coming when we (and the Israelis?) annihilate Iran's nuclear program?

Bush implied that we wouldn't tolerate a nuclear North Korea. There it is. If I were in Teheran, I'd call that a green light.

A weird, bad situation.

Joe said...

Rumsfeld is taking an unfair beating over Iraq. The military victory was brilliant; the post invasion occupation has been less so because it is grueling. No one has convinced me that there was an alternative that would have proven more successful in a shorter time.
As an aside, it was Sherman, not Grant, who turned the tide of the Civil War. Once he swept through the deep south and turned north to come up behind Lee, Lee knew it was over.

Cedarford said...

George - Is the moment soon coming when we (and the Israelis?) annihilate Iran's nuclear program?

Israel is too weak and too remote to do a sustained invasion of Iran, locate and destroy the hidden nuke facilities, locate and kill or capture the 40,000 trained nuclear workers, scientists, engineers.

And so far, everything Iran has been doing is a peaceful nuclear program perfectly legal under international law.

It is very hard to prevent other technically advanced nations from seeking parity against a nation with vast undeclared stockpiles of nuclear, bio, and chem weapons...along with the long range missiles and nuke-capable F-15 and F-16 fighter bombers to deliver them.

Most of the rest of the world believes the ME must be made a nuclear free zone as Africa, Latin America, and Oceana have become.

It is hard to imagine the US starting a major war, resuming the Draft, and invading Iran. Even the USA-friendly factions would rally to the Mullahs if the US came in killing Iranians for Israel's demands.

Iranian facilities are at 70 sites, many hardened, many now protected by advanced air defenses. Within those 70 sites are up to 30 disbursed sometimes deep-buried targets. THe nuclear knowledge base is in 40,000 Iranians scattered all over the country. Plus nuclear workers trained in the USA are also in the Iranian Diaspora in 30 other countries.

Even if we bombed to set their program back, the Iranians have the money and the knowledge to rebuild whatever was bombed in a few years and also pay us back with Hezbollah strikes, shutting down Gulf Oil for 6 months - 1 year, and totally destabilizing Iraq.

The neocons constantly bleating about an "easy Osiris II" lack military know-how for the most part - being civilian courtiers of a lawyer or academic background. Which is why they insist on a "virtually casualty free surgical bombing" which is utter fantasy.

Jason said...

Right. Use 400,000 troops on the first rotation. From where? And then what? There would be no reason for the insurgents, of whatever camp, to lie low for a couple of years until the United States, its armed forces exhausted after two or three rotations, exited the field. To be replaced by whom? The Iraqi Army? it takes longer than two or three years to create an army from scratch.

Reconstitute the old Iraqi army? With its brutal, incompetent, and corrupt Sunni Baathist officer corps and no NCO corps to speak of? That would have guaranteed a civil war.

Mass is one principle of war. But so is economy of force. Too many people are carping as if Mass existed as the be all and end all of military planning. It is not. Mass does not exist in a vacuum, overriding all other considerations. Assuming that it does is a dangerous and expensive myth.

Pouring an extra three hundred thousand troops or so into the country, lacking intel to drive their operations, would have done little but create more sitting ducks, and magnify the number of accidental shootings of Iraqi noncombatants.

Logistically, it would make little sense. The available throughput of the road networks between Kuwait and Mosul is limited.

Shinseki was not in command. Shinseki was nowhere in the chain of command. Franks was, as was his successor at CENTCOM. They chose the force levels.

It was not Shinseki's job to determine the force levels needed. It was CENTCOM's.

Even Strunz is not arguing for anything on the order of Shinseki-like force levels. His argument is that another couple of brigades, used properly, will be decisive.

His argument, further, is that part of that victory will result from sending an unmistakeable psychological message to insurgents - the United States will not retire from the field, no matter what they do. So save your own necks and stop slaughtering yourselves in a useless cause.

We can do this without Shinseki-like force levels. Indeed, trying to flood the zone by committing force levels everyone knows are unsustainable would have sent the opposite message: Had we committed with 400,000 soldiers in 2003, it would have been obvious that the United States could not stay in the field if it wanted to.

Lastly, committing Shinseki troop levels assumes that there is little value in maintaining a credible strategic reserve to deter Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, or other potential foes from challenging U.S. vital interests elsewhere.

Hindsight is frequently 20/20. But even this isn't one of those times. It has not been clearly established that Shinseki was right. That is still not the opionion of either of the CENTCOM commanders involved in the fight, nor the Deputy CENTCOM commander under Franks.

Jason said...

er, the first paragraph above should read "No reason for the insurgents ...NOT to lie low for a while."

EricP said...

One other thing to keep in mind is that part of the reason for using a smaller force to stategic. A small force signalled that it wasn't a land grab but a liberation. It is easy looking back to say more boots on the ground were needed but without a time machine, we can't know what the effect would have been. Maybe the insurgency today would be much worse if the whole country was convinced that troops were never leaving.

Internet Ronin said...

Jason, "economy of force" is not working, now is it? Or do you believe that we are on the verge of victory?

Ernie Fazio said...

Who are you people? An ill-advised, unnecessary and preemptive war, waged only because the adversary, devasted by two wars and 10 years of international bockade, was toothless and defenseless, is measured against our massive civil war fought on battlefields with soldiers. The same revisionists who blame the endgame of Vietnam after 12 years of unnecessary carnage on some illusory lack of resolve are touting us to "fight on" in this most failed of all American adventures. Bring our young men and women home. We have no business being there, and our criminal incompetence at the top makes any further military involvement futile. Diplomacy, diplomacy, diplomacy.

Maxine Weiss said...

FOLLY: according to Barbara Tuchman

".... a particular course of action must meet three criteria to be considered folly; first, it must have been seen as such by contemporaries, secondly, another, better, course of action must have been available, and lastly, the course of action must have been pursued by a group rather than an individual over the course of more than one political generation

These criteria serve to separate true folly from the incompetence and/or insanity of an individual ruler."---Barbara Tuchman

(Doesn't meet the criteria, and I don't believe insanity exists. Maybe incompetence, but you need the perspective of time to find that out.)

Peace, Maxine

SMGalbraith said...

Who are you people?

Excuse me, today is November 12, 2006 and not 2003.

The issue on the table is what our policy should be now. Not whether the action was ill-chosen.

Diplomacy? With who? Over what?

My God, they don't want to settle our differences; they want to win.

SMG

EricP said...

I think that ultimately, no matter how many soldiers are over there, the mission won't change. The Iraqi army and police need to be trained and need to gain enough experience to be competent. Just as important, they need to be seen by the Iraqis doing so.

If we saw a neighbor building a bomb in his basement, we'd call the cops and assume that they would take care of it. The Iraqis don't have the history needed for that level of faith. It takes time to build that, no matter how many Americans are over there providing backup. But backup and training will be needed for some time to come.

Given enough effort, a real, functioning democracy in the ME, could end many other wars before they ever start. In the middle of a race it is often hard to see the end but given the long-term gains that are possible, investing some effort is certainly worthwhile.

George said...

Cedarford--

Ok....

We leave Iraq, creating Iranian hegemony over Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Iran's next target: The eastern province of Saudi Arabia. Or Israel.

Everything you say is still true. And, eventually, Iran gets its nukes and starts hiding them here and there.

We're just waiting, waiting, waiting. Meanwhile, all our allies are doing business with Iran, ensuring the regime won't collapse.

As for diplomacy, Ernie, what Iran wants is the time that diplomacy will buy it, so that it can perfect its nuclear weapons.

When you say that "we have no business there," do you mean that we should leave our friends in Iraq to be slaughtered, abandon our friends in Israel to live in greater fear, ignore our friends who depend on the flow of oil out of the Gulf, and cause our friends who invest in the U.S. to pull funds out to question our resolve, possibly triggering a recession?

It's a weird bad problem, but leaving and trying to pretend it's none of our business? No. We have to manage the problem to try and stimulate democratic reforms. Walking away just strengthens tyrannies who want our throats.

C. Schweitzer said...

OT: Maxine, from which Tuchman book does the quote appear. I've been reading _The Distant Mirror_ and I'm anxious to read more of Tuchman.

Maxine Weiss said...

According to Elton John......the failure of the anti-war movement is because of bloggers like Ann:

"Sir Elton said people were too busy blogging on the internet to go out onto the streets to stand up for what they believed in.

"They seem to do their protesting online and that's not good enough." "----http://www.drudgereport.com/flash1.htm

PatCA said...

Rumsefeld is a civilian and fought the war like a civilian. And the best Bush could say about his replacement is that he had great managerial experience!

The Iraq Study Group is a bunch of Clintonites and Dad's old fixers. Bush is correcting his mistake of entrusting war strategy to one civilian by hiring on a bunch of...civilians. Sandra Day O'Connor!? God help us. The Iraqis are done for.

http://www.usip.org/isg/members.html

john(lesser) said...

Common misconception about Rumsfeld is he had no military history. He did.

Jason said...

Pat: I hate to break it to you, but the Secretary of Defense is a civilian post, not a military one. Of course Donald Rumsfeld is a civilian.

"And he fought the war like one."

Oh, baloney. What does that even mean? What resources did Tommy Franks ask for that Rumsfeld vetoed? Be specific.

downtownlad said...

Well then why isn't Bush calling for more troops? Why don't we institute a draft if this war is really so important?

The answer is that Bush is a wimp.

john(lesser) said...

In fact, a quick googling shows no active military taking the job of Secretary of Defense. The closest was George Marshall, who went from Genral of the Army, to Secretary of State, and eventually on to the job.

john(lesser) said...

Bush is a wimp

Coming from downtownlad, I assume that is a compliment. If Bush did ramp up the war effort, we would hear constant bleating about "sending our children to die for a hopeless cause". For a nihilist, it is strictly a win-win situation.

Dean Esmay said...

Donald Rumsfeld served in the US Navy as an aviator from 1954 to 1957, then transferred to Ready Reservist until 1975. He was still a reservist while he served in Congress and while he served lower posts in the Nixon Administration. When he became Secretary of Defense under President Ford, he transferred to the Standby Reserve.

Rumsfeld did not finally muster out of the Navy until 1989. He retired with the rank of Navy Captain (roughly the equivalent of Colonel in other services).

So in point of fact, calling him a "civilian" is stupid on multiple levels. First off, the great majority of Secretaries of Defense have always been civilian. Rumsfeld was a rare exception in that he was still officially part of the military when he was made Secretary of Defense the first time.

(More here.

By the way: in case anyone cares, I'm one of many who think that Rumsfeld managed the post-liberation occupation quite well and will be well-remembered by history. The insurgency, such as it is, is pathetically weak and ineffective compared to much bigger threads America has overcome in the past. Comparing it to Vietnam is rather dumb, on about a dozen levels, but here's just one: So far we've lost almost 3,000 men in the fight to put down the fascist and evil Iraqi "insurgency." At that rate, America will finally have suffered as many combat losses there was we did in Iraq some time in the 2050s. Which is just one of many reasons why comparing Iraq to Vietnam is so silly.

Matt said...

If Bush did ramp up the war effort, we would hear constant bleating about "sending our children to die for a hopeless cause".

That's rather beside the point though. Even if you think Bush will be criticized no matter what he does, that doesn't mean that every criticism is unfounded or invalid.

john(lesser) said...

Matt, it certainly doesn't imply every criticism is invalid. It does imply that some are. No matter how much you hate President Bush, there has to be a choice he can make that is the right decision.

Harry Eagar said...

Stuntz might be right if the enemy were motivated by things that motivate Stuntz. In this case, however, the enemy is more like the Japanese in 1941-45.

We mounted an allout war, as much as we were capable of doing, and they did not crack. They had to be beaten into the ground.

The Iraqis, and Muslims generally, are like that. They have been promised by god himself a future history, and until they change their religion, they will never give up their warfare against infidels. They may make tactical withdrawals, but, conta Stuntz, those would not be victories for us.

On the more limited battleground of Iraq, the goal is not to win a campaign or even a war, but to reach a new political arrangement. We say that should be democracy. Arabs (read Bassam Tibi, 'The Challenge of Fundamentalism') have no interest in democracy and will never adopt it.

It is possible to make a mistake so bad it cannot be retrieved, and that is what Bush did.

Kirby Olson said...

There's a neat book called The Vacant Chair by a historian named Reid Mitchell. He argues that the Civil War was won by the greater will of the mothers of the north to sacrifice their sons for the cause.

"A good woman nurtured, and her nurture was the means by which boys and men had good moral sense inculcated" (74-75) Oxford UP, 1993.

I think feminism vitiated women's sense

a. of the value of American culture

b. of the necessity of war

c. created women like Cindy Sheehan, who are now legion

Very few moms have the toughness of W.'s mother. Very very few. And it's the women's will that matters. What men do is mostly to please mom.

If mom says grow your hair long and take drugs, that's what the men do.

If mom says, defend your country: the men and boys will. That's why at the top of the Civil War monuments it's always a woman holding the flame of liberty.

Reid Mitchell argues that the mothers of the north never caved, but that the women of the south did cave. They wanted their men home, and so they went. That's the story of a film like Cold Mountain. She wanted her man home. He went, and he went in the hundreds of thousands. And the war ended.

"Soldiering leaves the chair vacant; death while soldiering leaves the chair more vacant still" (xiv).

The vacant chairs of the north were not put away. There was always a place for the soldier. Something happened between then and now: Cindy Sheehan is a bigger part of the mystery than we currently believe. She's part of a new generation of women who were trained to believe that war can not be moral and that their job is to prevent it at any cost.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EricP said...

Arabs (read Bassam Tibi, 'The Challenge of Fundamentalism') have no interest in democracy and will never adopt it.

And of course, Turkey and Indonesia don't actually exist. And those elections in Afganistan and Iraq were inventions of Fox news.

They don't have a history of it but then neither did Asians until relatively recently.

Please try again.

Derve said...

...
You say the women changed; I say the men changed.

George W. Bush, like Dick Cheney, just plain never left home.

Barbara Bush is no Rose Kennedy. One seems a little more like a mama who kept her boys close.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jonathan said...

Cedarford: Only in your cozy black and white world are choices reduced to (1)Fleeing; (2) following the neocons.

Who said anything about following the neocons? If you read what I said, rather than zeroing in on keywords and spewing soundbites in response, you'd know I'm not a fan of the existing approach.

But the choice facing the Democrats now is not whether to support Bush's past approach or not to support it. The people have spoken on that, and their displeasure in the execution of the war is apparent.

But different Democrats said different things. Some talked about sending in more troops, or changing tactics, or enlisting more international assistance. Others talked about getting out altogether. I don't think a party consensus was ever articulated, and at this point, the position of congressional Democrats will have a big impact on our conduct of the war.

So the question remains: do th e congressional Democrats support staying in Iraq and finding approach that works, or do they want to pull out? I don't think there's an answer to that question yet, and I doubt that when there is it will be unanimous within the Democratic caucuses. But before anybody makes up their minds, it's a good idea to look at the alternatives and try to ensure that when the decision is made it's an informed one.

I hope that the Democrats do not fall prey to a simple-headed McGovernite withdrawal. While it is a superficially appealing response, the lesson of Somalia is clear.

Internet Ronin said...

Yes, Derve, Barbara Bush is no Rose Kennedy: she never ordered an unnecessary lobotomy for one of her children.

Internet Ronin said...

C. Schweitzer

The book you asked about is:

The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam

Hayek said...

Do you ever have the feeling that you are watching the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire redux,except that the last scenes are being played in the fast forward mode?

Shanna said...

I watched this thing on the history channel about the end of the civil war. They said some of the southern soldiers wanted to take to the mountains and keep on fighting in a guerrilla manner. But Lee, after he signed the surrender and met with Grant, went to his soldiers and told them they had fought honorably and now they should go home and live honorably (I couldn't find the exact quote).

So maybe it's not that we don't have a Lincoln to press on, it's that they don't have a Lee to convince them to live honorably and stop fighting.

PatCA said...

Jason,
I know Rumsfeld's post is a civilian one. It has only been since WWII, though, that the Secretary has accumulated this degree of power over the military. I wonder along with many others if that isn't why we keep losing wars--because strategy is driven by domestic political considerations. If we are winning, why couldn't or wouldn't he articulate that? Instead, we got "schools, hospitals, democracy is messy." This is not a military doctrine; this is political talk. I respect Rumsfeld and am grateful for his lifelong service. He just should have been fired before it was politically expedient to do so. As for his conflicts with the military, we will never know for sure, but he was in charge and if he couldn't win should have fired the appropriate general or been fired himself.

And if I read the subject article correctly, he is calling just for a small increase of troops rather than a huge one.
Civilian Control of Military

Jacob said...

If mom says, defend your country
Ah. I assume in this case "your country" means "corrupt Shia proto-theocracy".

'Arabs (read Bassam Tibi, 'The Challenge of Fundamentalism') have no interest in democracy and will never adopt it.'
And of course, Turkey and Indonesia don't actually exist.
Turkey and Indonesia are not Arab countries.

Maxine Weiss said...

C. Schweitzer, yes it's called :

The March of Folly: From Troy To Vietnam (1984) by Barbara Tuchman

Tuchman was very anti-Vietnam, so I can only imagine what she'd say about Iraq.

But she's a great writer, though. I have a large-print copy of that one...haven't read more than a few pages, though.

Which book did Tuchman win the Pulitzer for?

Peace, Maxine

The Drill SGT said...

Jonathan said...
I hope that the Democrats do not fall prey to a simple-headed McGovernite withdrawal. While it is a superficially appealing response, the lesson of Somalia is clear.



WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats, who won control of the U.S. Congress, said on Sunday they will push for a phased withdrawal of American troops from Iraq to begin in four to six months, but the White House cautioned against fixing timetables.

"First order of business is to change the direction of Iraq policy," said Sen. Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat who is expected to be chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee in the new Congress.

Democrats will press President George W. Bush's administration to tell the Iraqi government that U.S. presence was "not open-ended, and that, as a matter of fact, we need to begin a phased redeployment of forces from Iraq in four to six months," Levin said on ABC's "This Week" program.

How many weeks before the Dem's start talking about cutting off funds support the war? I give it 8 weeks.

Tim said...

Defeat in Iraq, the outcome for which Democrats and the Left have hoped, advocated and worked, would embolden our enemies, discourage our allies, and make the war longer, bloodier and the final resolution less certain than victory would.

There are no positive outcomes with the US losing this war - none.

Criticizing Bush, Rumsfeld and "the neo-cons" is childishly easy and ever so facile. If the Democrats and the Left want to govern America, they'd better figure out how to win the war with something other than the simplistic "cut and run," and "diplomacy, diplomacy, diplomacy." Neither approach toward our enemies are in America's interest, neither will serve the Democrats and the Left's self-interests.

Failing that, they should simply support the US trying to win - although that isn't in their DNA, so I fully expect a very shortlived Democrat majority in Congress.

Sarah D. said...

The problem with the Bush plan is its under naivite -- that democracy in Iraq (like democracy in the Palestinian territories) would inevitably lead to peace.

Majority (Shia) rule in Iraq is in fact problematic from the viewpoint of US political interests.

The reason that the US supported Saddam for many reasons was to support the Sunni minority in maintaining rule over the Shia majority in Iraq because we did not want the Iraqi government to be Shia and sympathetic to Iran.

And of course part of the administration's problem is sheer incompetence. Once Americans saw that the US had difficulties in saving American lives and rebuilding New Orleans, it became clear that some of the problems in Iraq may be attributed to incompetence.

Any plan for Iraq has to identify the US policy goals that the plan will further. No training camps for Alquida is a fairly minimalistic goal. Democracy that values Shia, Kurds, and Sunnis equally and leads to a pro-America foreign policy may be completely unrealistic as a goal.

vnjagvet said...

It is highly probable that but for September 11, we would not be talking about Iraq in this fashion.

If we leave Iraq as Levin suggests, will another September 11 style event occur? That is the only question that matters to me.

I am afraid it is highly likely that we will be attacked again by the same group of jihadists that killed 3000 innocents in 2001. If so, there will be much more bloodshed both here and in the muslim world.

I truly hope I am profoundly wrong, but history does not make me optimistic.

Daryl Herbert said...

I think there's a real question as to whether Rumsfeld was applying an economic analysis.

Was he simply trying to get the most bang for the buck from each soldier, or was he trying to create the best conditions for a disciplined Iraqi military/police to emerge?

His supporters, at least, say if Americans did all the Iraqis' work for them, there'd be nothing left for the Iraqis to do, and they'd never toughen up and take charge. I'm not sure I buy that, but it's a very different argument than that Rumsfeld is running Iraq like a business. I can see how that argument would appeal to leftists who hate all corporations and love to conflate business with war, whether to disparage business or to disparage war.

Derve said...

Barbara Bush is no Rose Kennedy: she never ordered an unnecessary lobotomy for one of her children.
Actually, that was the husband, Joseph Sr. who made that decision.

Cedarford said...

George - When you say that "we have no business there," do you mean that we should leave our friends in Iraq to be slaughtered, abandon our friends in Israel to live in greater fear, ignore our friends who depend on the flow of oil out of the Gulf, and cause our friends who invest in the U.S. to pull funds out to question our resolve, possibly triggering a recession?

1. Nations do not have friends. They have interests.

2. If you think Iraqis are your friends, go to Iraq and leave the Green Zone to meet your noble, freedom-loving, purple-fingered pals.

3. Israel is not our friend. The only "special friendship" is what their vaunted Lobby has accomplished.

4. I don't see every nation sitting on the sideline, afraid to "become involved" having any real beef in us showing not a lack of resolve, but at least 5 years of American resolve to their none. Hitler and other military leaders loved to talk of the imperative of "resolve" once they started losing.

Harry eager - On the more limited battleground of Iraq, the goal is not to win a campaign or even a war, but to reach a new political arrangement. We say that should be democracy. Arabs (read Bassam Tibi, 'The Challenge of Fundamentalism') have no interest in democracy and will never adopt it.

It is possible to make a mistake so bad it cannot be retrieved, and that is what Bush did.


Well said.

If we had done just a few right things in the postwar, we might have had a reformed Ba'athist Party cleansed of it's worst elements sharing power with Shiites and Kurds allowed semi-autonomy. With aid coming in to fix things and the seasoned internal police (Muquabarat) clamping down ruthlessly on militias and terrorists.

But the mistakes have burned our bridges to go back and do what we should have done in 2003.

And the damage spread far past Iraq. We lost an enormous amout of prestige and credibility with our former allies, and nations and leaders that once feared us know they have a fairly free hand while we are mired there. And like Iraq, the foreign policy arrogance, refusal to listen, bluster, and empty threat-making are mistakes so big they cannot be retrieved - at least by Bush II. that is not followed up.

Dean Esmay - The insurgency, such as it is, is pathetically weak and ineffective compared to much bigger threads America has overcome in the past. Comparing it to Vietnam is rather dumb, on about a dozen levels

Not exactly true. While we have a little under 3,000 KIA, we have 23,000 casualties of which 3,000 to 4,000 additional would have died in any other war. Because of the grave nature of the wounds from IEDs, we have between 6,000 and 7500 so far that have left the Service with from 20% to 100% permanent disabilities. A nephew who was in Ramadi told me that 80% of his 2004 unit will be collecting IED-related disability for hearing loss, brain concussions, loss of sight, loss of limbs.

And if you get past the media fixation that death is the only stat worth measuring - besides the casualties, the magnitude of this War is that we have already outspent all the Wars we fought in present dollars but The Civil War, WWII, and Vietnam. Some accountants say we just exceeded the total costs of Vietnam if we account for the interest on the money Bush borrowed from China and Saudi Arabia and long-term diability. Others say It will become our 3rd biggest war in terms of budget in late 2007.

The Vietnam comparison, while flawed or irrelevant in certain metrics - is quite valid in others. Moving past American deaths, again, as the only salient metric, we have between 60,000 and 100,000 innocent and shitheads killed by other shitheads (our noble purple-fingered friends to Bush/Sharansky - backers ) or by us. If possible, the people in afflicted regions are even more insecure with even less security than Vietnam had. Vietnam had two sides....and it was possible for many villages and towns to have forged a separate peace.

And conversion was possible. Americans in the area? Great! "We love you no shit! I wanna go UCLA baby! Beach Boys is cool, man!" VC at night? "Comrades! 17-man American patrol passed through on south road. We know great mining and ambush site if they come back."

In Iraq, there are a multiplicity of sides. Conversion is impossible. You are who you are. You can be killed deliberately or randomly. If ever a people mired in their own evil and intolerance needed a Faith emphasizing Insh'allah - it is the Iraqi Arabs.

Theo Boehm said...
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Anonymous said...

"Throw in the towel"

I suppose we could say that whatever happens ultimately lands on the shoulders of American voters.

Probably very unpatriotic to blame the military. But is it really unthinkable for an enemy to actually consider defeating our military? Despite its "strength."

Who exactly is touting the notion that our enemies would not consider defeating our military? Is it the military?

john(lesser) said...

It is possible to make a mistake so bad it cannot be retrieved, and that is what Bush did.

Well said


Might as well kiss your wives and call it a night then. No use arguing, unless you think think style points can be earned on the way out.

How very God fearing.

john(lesser) said...

we have 23,000 casualties of which 3,000 to 4,000 additional would have died in any other war

Are you praying for more losses, hoping that no new medical advances come from this, saying those saved are undeserving?

hdhouse said...

To be foolish is just something of age and experience. To be stupid about history is sloth and laziness.

If you believe our civil war has anything remotely to do with Iraq, I think I'll just faint.

Oh the humanity. Oh the stupidity.

Harry Eagar said...

EricP, not only are Turkey and Indonesia not Arab countries, Turkey is not a democracy, it is a disguised military dictatorship.

Just having elections does not make a democracy. Iran has elections. The USSR had elections.

I do not believe Islam is compatible with democracy, but perhaps the jury is still out in the cases of Indonesia and Bangladesh -- neither of which is a very proud example of democracy, but either of which might possibly evolve into something like popular self-government, if only the Muslims would stop interfering.

However, Arabs are unquestionably antidemocratic. It isn't that they don't understand or haven't learned what democracy is (although that is an aspect); it is that they hate what democracy stands for.

Bush has this naive belief that every group instinctively seeks popular self-government (or pretends he does; if he really did, he'd support a free Great Kurdistan). But that isn't true.

It especially isn't true of Arabs. We can prove this. Lebanon had a sort of functioning democracy, under which the Muslims were restive. However, given demographic trends, they would have seized control of the government by vote in a few years -- perhaps as few as 10 years.

They preferred, instead, to destroy democracy there. Arabs hate democracy.

Sloanasaurus said...

Another point about the Civil war is that the North suffered defeat after defeat after defeat. Lee throttled the federals at 7 days, second menassas, Fredicksburg, Chancellorsville.

It was only Sherman's war of misdirection through to Atlanata that stemmed the tide.

Lincoln hung on through all of that. No wonder he was the greatest President.

Everyone talks about Iraq as if we have an alternative. No one asks what do we do after we pull out? What do we do? In this way, perhaps Lincoln had an easier choice - he could have let the south go and had peace. There is no such option for us in Iraq. As we speak, Jihad is spreading throughout Eruope, and it is on the rise. There is no peace option.

We have a chance to succeed in Iraq. To an astounding victory against radical islam. A victory in Iraq could be the political nail in the coffin for radical islam. We should stick it out.

hdhouse said...

Sloanasaurus said...

"We have a chance to succeed in Iraq. To an astounding victory against radical islam. A victory in Iraq could be the political nail in the coffin for radical islam. We should stick it out."

This is precisely the point. This is why the Bush/Rumsfeld/Chaney and other fools are so dead wrong and they have fed their stupidity, their swill, their tortured logic to people and some of them buy into it still.

OK. I'll bite. What does "victory" in Iraq look like? Stay the course ...begs the question..."to where?" where are we going? right now we have 140,000 people standing in the middle with precious few real 9-11 type terrorists there but a whole lotta religious sects, militias (a well armed militia being necessary for the security of the state, the right to ...yada yada yada - see how well that little chestnut works when applied)....so what is the end game? stand up so we can get out? stand up so we can cut and run? this is victory?

you airheads. you pinheads who just roll your beads and believe - i believe i believe, its silly but i believe -

well there is no santa in this one. just a mess and we are in the middle of it like an umpire at a little league game with rifles instead of gloves and catching hell because we have

1. no idea how we got there or why
2. no idea what we are doing to make it better
3. have zero understanding (obviously) of what is going on
4. have no idea how to get home

when will you guys realize the election was about "bush having no idea"?

john(lesser) said...

hdhouse; You answer your own questions. You think you know your political opponents better than they know themselves. I seriously doubt you are interested in talking about the problems we face, except it gives you a chance to show your disdain for President Bush.

vnjagvet said...

And your idea, hd, is..........?

Theo Boehm said...
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Theo Boehm said...
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Internet Ronin said...

There are options left. It will be interesting to see which ones are pursued. Contrary to what has been said here, it is not unreasonable to conjecture that we could very well end up supporting a defacto independent Kurdistan, reinforced by "no fly" zones and other measures used when Saddam was in power. Given the Turks antipathy for a genuinely independent Kurdish nation, it is unlikely that it would become a legitimate state any time soon, but the possibility remains that this is what we will end up with.

In that case, 20/20 hindsight tells us we could have accomplished the same thing without the war, as we had pretty much been supporting a quasi-independent Kurdish state since 1991.

Just a thought.

Sloanasaurus said...

I have to disagree with you Theo. We have not lost in Iraq. Bush is right. Iraq is the central front in the terror. We made it the central front. Yes, we could have fought the Jihadists in Afghanistan like the Russians did, but Afghanistan is a poor place to fight. It is largly mountanious, and difficult to fight - easy to defend. There's no port to supply our troops, there are no American loving people there, and the government will always be impovershed and will never have the strength to go it alone. Finally, Afghanistan borders China, a potential adversary superpower.

Iraq is a much better place to fight. It is mostly urban and desert (better for our technology). It has a port. A portion of the population loves us (the Kurds), the government has easily obtainable wealth, which will allow it to eventually be able to carry on the fight without our support.

If we pulled out of Iraq, we would just realize soon enough that Iraq is the best place to be fighting Islamic Fascism - and we would just have to go back in and start over.

Maybe we won't win in Iraq for ten more years and 10,000 more casualties. However, where else would we be fighting the Jihadists? We don't want to give them the opportunity to "choose the battlefield." If we do, they will choose our front yard.

Sloanasaurus said...

OK. I'll bite. What does "victory" in Iraq look like? Stay the course ...begs the question..."to where?"

Islamic Fascism is an international political movement. It is currently on the rise. It is a revolutionary ideology, not unlike communism or maoism. It attracts the disaffected of which there are a lot of in Europe and the middle east. These types of political movements require victories and lack of defeats to continue. If they keep suffering defeats, the attraction to the movement will start to wane.

Victory in Iraq means a stable government that is relatively free and does not export jihad (revolution).

We are beginning to see the seeds of a larger conflict in Europe. Imagine if in the 1960s, large swaths of African American young people identified with revolutionary movements from Africa. We had some (i.e. the Black Panthers), but they never amounted to much. IT would have been really bad. That is what is going on in Europe, and with their declining population and economic malaise, it is going to get very bad there... and then it is going to get worse.

Internet Ronin said...

Another thought Theo, if Senator Levin and his friends do push for this "phased withdrawal" and accomplish it, for example, by cutting funding over Bush's objections, they can forget about any gratitude being expressed by the American people at the ballot box.

It will quickly go from being "Bush's War" to the "Democrat's Disaster," with reams upon reams of gory footage played 24/7 as the Iraqi regime collapses into anarchy (and Iran steps in to stabilize the south). The American people don't like long wars. They like losing even less. And, no matter what, with the Democrats now in control of the legislative branch, responsibility for the loss will be laid at their feet. It is easy to do: ask for this or that authorization. When they don't give it, anything that happens afterwards is the result of their failure to authorize this or that (whether or not it is true, which it probably won't be, but it will look like it is).

Internet Ronin said...

If we do, they will choose our front yard.

I tend to think that is highly likely whether or not we emerge victorious in Iraq given the increasingly rapid spread of technology and miniaturization of weaponry. It is only a matter of time and money.

Maybe we won't win in Iraq for ten more years and 10,000 more casualties.

The American people are simply not prepared for that. One of the Bush Administration's biggest shortcomings has been explaining clearly to the American people the rationale for almost all of their policy initiatives, from Iraq to Social Security, tax cuts to immigration, their focus has almost exclusively been on the 535 member of Congress who actually get to vote on these things.

As a result, there has been little attention to laying the groundwork for, much less actually carrying out a sustained campaign in support of, any of their initiatives. The slogan thus far has essentially been, "Trust us. We know what we're doing." Most Americans aren't too sure about that these days, to put it mildly.

Internet Ronin said...

Sloanasaurus: I really do appreciate what you are saying, and don't mean to be so negative in response, but this statement also attracted my attention because I know someone who is working closely with the Kurds:

A portion of the population loves us (the Kurds)

Yes, but not quite as much as they did in 2003, and the ardor cools a tiny bit with each passing day. That said, they have no place else to go, so they are unlikely to cease being our friends any time soon.

We have promised them much in the way of economic assistance but not delivered most of it, and the central Iraqi government has been withholding their share of the oil money.

Sloanasaurus said...

I tend to think that is highly likely whether or not we emerge victorious in Iraq... It is only a matter of time and money.

It is not likely if the Islamic Fascist movement fails.

One of the Bush Administration's biggest shortcomings has been explaining clearly to the American people the rationale for almost all of their policy initiatives...

Bush has talked A LOT about it. However, the media pretty much ignores the threat and only concentrates on the negative aspects (to us) of the conflict.

I think Bush's major mistake was not coopting the Democrats into sharing in the victory. To many partisan dems were worried that Bush would use victory in the WOT to pass domestic agenda items. Therefore, many dems were never willing to support Iraq or WOT with any conviction - its human nature to behave this way...unfortunately.

All is not lost, however, the Dems can still be brought in if they are seen as "changing the course" even though changing course does not mean withdraw.

Sloanasaurus said...

That said, they have no place else to go, so they are unlikely to cease being our friends any time soon.

This statement is probably a better intellectual explanation of the "love" I was talkng about.

My main point was to contrast the Kurds with people like the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan. In that locale, allies are for convenience only. The Kurds are more than just convenience.

Internet Ronin said...

Bush has talked A LOT about it. Do you think so? It seems to me that there have been entire months between his talking about it. I'm really disappointed by how poorly the Bush Administration has performed in regard to communication - from day 1. Their record is quite remarkable.

However, the media pretty much ignores the threat and only concentrates on the negative aspects (to us) of the conflict. I don't know about TV, because I don't watch it, but it would not surprise me because I think that has been true for the past 30 years or so at least.

As for the Islamic Fascist Movement, I don't believe it is a monolithic entity that can be defeated in a single state, rather it is a loose organization of disparate groups that merge and separate as convenient. It seems to me that much of the terrorist activity in Iraq today has less to do with Isalmic Fascism than it does with nihilism among those disenfranchised by the change in the power structure of the Iraqi state.

I definitely hope you are right about finding a bipartisan agreement for the conduct of this war. It seems to me, however, that the most of the members of the Democratic Party associated with the Iraq Study Group are largely uninvolved with current mainstream Democratic politics (Hamilton, Perry, Robb, Panetta).

Internet Ronin said...

As for the Kurds, I agree. I have always believed that an independent Kurdistan is best for the Kurds, good for us, and ultimately very good for some of their neighbors who fear it (Syria and Turkey).

Theo Boehm said...
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Internet Ronin said...

OFF THREAD: BTW, Is the meeting place for IA (Insomniacs Anonymous)? ;-)

Theo Boehm said...
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Sloanasaurus said...

This didn't start like Vietnam, but it is beginning to smell like the end of Vietnam. Vietnam ended badly enough,

Remember that in Vietnam, the North Vietnam government signed a peace treaty with the south under conditions that the U.S. would withdraw, which we did.

Then the North broke the treaty and invaded. it was at that point that Kennedy and the democrats refused to appropriate funds to support the South.

You never hear about that part of the story... you only hear about how we lost... It would have been as if we won world war II and then left and a month later the Soviets took over France.

Sloanasaurus said...

So, I hope you understand my pessimism when I say I've seen this all before.


You make a good point about the military. One could argue that America has not yet peaked because citizens still wish to join and fight in the military for America.

Compare this to the Romans. During Hannibal's invasion, patriotism was at its zenith and Rome had no problem recruiting its population to fight, even after disasterous defeats. By the time of Caesar, however, Roman patriotism was dead and the soldiers had little elan left for fighting for Rome.

This is why Europe is a future trouble spot. Do people in Europe believe that Europe is worth fighting for? It's hard to imagine how they will fare against radical islam.

Internet Ronin said...

Sloanasaurus: Do you really believe that about Vietnam? It seems pretty obvious to me that we declared "victory" of a sorts and promptly abandoned South Vietnam to its fate. I was in college then, and the memories of that time are quite vivid.

True, Congress later refused to appropriate funds but that would not have made any difference in the long run, and doesn't change the fact that we left as soon as we could once we had a big enough fig leaf to get out. If you ask me (and no one did, I know), we got our peace, but there was very little, if any, honor involved.

Internet Ronin said...

RE: Europe. I read somewhere yesterday that annual migration from the Netherlands is now 150,000. (Immigration is running 75,000 per year.)

Kirk Parker said...

Wow. Cedarford things "doing things right" would have included keeping the Mukbarat in place. Color me disgusted.

Internet Ronin said...

Oops! I think I meant to say that The Netherlands is losing a net of 75,000 people per year, after allowing for natural increase due to births as well as immgration.

(Or maybe not. At this point maybe I ought to try and get some sleep ;)

hdhouse said...

There are three points just begging to be discussed as the observations on them are kool-aide.

1. Islamic Fascism. OK. Ever since Mr. Bush trotted that moronic expression out and Rush and Sean have taken the cue, it is used to describe what used to be terrorists of a different stripe. As Islamic and Fascism are an oxymoron, someone please define that term as you are using it because it makes NO SENSE and is a slogan not a term.

2. It is pretty evident that Iraq is not parallel to our civil war on about a zillion fronts unless there was some huge imaginary army in the field from say Russia running around trying to keep the North and South from fighting and holding mass religious services to convert the troops. It is a non-started and the logic gets tortured right from the get-go when trying to address the premise.

3. we have already lost Iraq. The reason there are no "new ideas" floating around is that "no new ideas" will save the day. It is lost. How much more money and troops do you want to pour in there? we've been at 140,000 for 3+ years and every day/month is worse. There are no 1 step forward and 2 back. its stand in place, drop back 3.

It is lost and when we face that FACT, we can plan the best way to minimize the impact. If we continue on like this is something we can win if we just kill and injure enough of our troops and sink more money into Hailliburton, then we get more of the same.

This psychotic administration led by the moron in chief believes there will be a different outcome if we keep doing the same thing. Doesn't that tell you something?

hdhouse said...

There are three points just begging to be discussed as the observations on them are kool-aide.

1. Islamic Fascism. OK. Ever since Mr. Bush trotted that moronic expression out and Rush and Sean have taken the cue, it is used to describe what used to be terrorists of a different stripe. As Islamic and Fascism are an oxymoron, someone please define that term as you are using it because it makes NO SENSE and is a slogan not a term.

2. It is pretty evident that Iraq is not parallel to our civil war on about a zillion fronts unless there was some huge imaginary army in the field from say Russia running around trying to keep the North and South from fighting and holding mass religious services to convert the troops. It is a non-started and the logic gets tortured right from the get-go when trying to address the premise.

3. we have already lost Iraq. The reason there are no "new ideas" floating around is that "no new ideas" will save the day. It is lost. How much more money and troops do you want to pour in there? we've been at 140,000 for 3+ years and every day/month is worse. There are no 1 step forward and 2 back. its stand in place, drop back 3.

It is lost and when we face that FACT, we can plan the best way to minimize the impact. If we continue on like this is something we can win if we just kill and injure enough of our troops and sink more money into Hailliburton, then we get more of the same.

This psychotic administration led by the moron in chief believes there will be a different outcome if we keep doing the same thing. Doesn't that tell you something?

hdhouse said...

and to you defenders of Mr. Bush and stay the course, please refer to the old story about the hat maker. He made hats from the highest quality materials..real top of the line goods, spared no expense.

His accountant took a look at the books one day and noted that each hat cost $100.00 to make and he was selling them for $49.00. The accountant noted that he was loosing money every time he sold a hat to which the hat maker replied "Don't worry, we'll make up the difference with volume".

Don't you see? Don't you see the parallel in Iraq? Can't you see it?

Seven Machos said...

Yeah, hd. We're the idiots, equating Al Qaeda with fascists. But your hat analogy, man. Brilliant. I mean, that was spot on.

Tell us the one about the fedora, and the sombrero, and the bonnet that went into a bar. I think you could clarify things even further.

Cedarford said...

K Parker Wow. Cedarford things "doing things right" would have included keeping the Mukbarat in place. Color me disgusted.

The Muquabarat is analogous to our FBI and Homeland security forces. For that matter, so too were the Gestapo and Japanese Kempatai.

Your beef is how the organs of state security are used - for good or bad - not on the necessity of having functioning security and police forces doing vital tasks.

When we actually HAD a postwar plan used in other wars, we recognized the importance of security and stability and KEPT the German regular police, Gestapo, and army performing their critical jobs - under our supervision so the repressive aspects of those forces were ended, and we carefully and meticulously De-nazified the ranks over 1-4 years to remove any Nazi ideology, but keep those necessary institutions functioning. Same in Japan. Same, actually, in the Civil War, where Union Army imperfectly, too slowly, learned to work with Southern law enforcement and legal bodies. There was no mass disbanding of all critical agencies in the South on grounds they cheered for Lee.

When the infamous Bremer decision disbanding all organs of state security came with a stroke of his pen.....

I considered that act alone - and at the time when I was still prowar - to have doomed our chances for success in Iraq. It was a total shock when that was announced, knowing how every other military in occupation treat the defeated foes security forces - as potent helpers given screening and close supervision - not as discards.

*Without security and order, all other rights are meaningless and the country cannot achieve normalacy.
*Firing the best of the police, Army, and Muquabarat guaranteed the best and brightest who knew how to fight, plan, get intel on the enemy and disrupt him, and assemble and use explosives - and who knew in many cases who was in the insurgency - would join the insurgents.
*Firing all internal security meant that we lost all organized domestic intelligence resources with knowledge of insurgents, Al Qaeda fighters, death squad arms of militias, who in other ministries were corrupt or "Saddam's men.".
*Firing all the Iraqis resulted in condemning our military to flail blindly, lacking any good local intel. Worse, they had their mission expanded despite being understaffed - to not just do military duty, but triple their workload by also being the cops, homeland security, replacement Iraqi civil administration, and FBI. Of course we utterly failed to pick up the extra tasking - we simply didn't have the people (the generals screamed to Bremer, Rumsfeld, and Cheney about resources they of course didn't get, protesting when their workload tripled) or the training -

[And Iraq went into chaos.]
[And the imperative to assemble militias for self-protection and killing the other side when needed - became obvious to all.]

*Losing all those native security assets also meant our troops went in blind to many situations, unable to tell friend from foe, and become easy canon fodder for bushwhackers.
*The Bremer Decision was made even worse by the abrupt dismissal of other key people in villages, ministries, infrastructure on top of security. An Iraqi businessman wakes up to find looting, no cops, but worse, no electricity to call others because the local power plants management were all fired as Ba'athists, no mayor because he was terminated by the Americans...then the kids come back crying and report half the teachers and the principal were fired and were last seen heading off to train as Jihadis.


Sure, there were plenty of "bad guys" in the key positions but rather than watch and control them, we drove them into the arms of the Insurgency along with the "good ones" who wanted to work with us initially and who knew, especially with the Muquabarat - darn near everything that was going on in Iraq,

Some wars or conflicts have clear hinge points that allow you to say at that point the War was won or lost. Vicksburg and Gettysburg doomed the South. Adenhauer's W German economic miracle marked the true turning point in the Cold War by showing Europe and most of the rising Asian nations that liberal democracy and capitalism beat communism in competition. Hitler had Stalingrad. The Red Sox knew when the ball went through Bucky's legs it was over. Golfers know when Tiger is up by 2 going into the 4th Round.

For Iraq, the loss will be forever tied to the day of the Bremer Decision when the most simultaneously potentially dangerous and useful to us -officers, secret police, and influential civilians were driven enmass underground.

LoafingOaf said...

If Bush abandons Iraq I'll be deeply ashamed of America. I don't know what the right solution is, whether that be more troops or chopping Iraq into three countries. It's a bit over my head. But we have to see it through to a solution.

The entire reason I voted for Bush over Kerry was because I feared Kerry would ditch Iraq. I was right in that - Kerry made clear shortly after the election that he'd had canceled the Iraqi elections if he had been Prez (this was clear when he appeared on Meet the Press the weekend of the first Iraqi election expecting it to be a disaster).

I am blown away by how many of the supporters of the Iraq liberation have already jumped ship. I'm talking about people in high places who make a difference. I think they are shits for bailing when the going got tough. And Bush is scaring me with this Gates appointment. Gates is CIA, which is a bad sign. And he was CIA when the CIA was helping Saddam. I will never concede that ousting the genocidal, fascist, terrorist-supporting maniac Saddam was wrong. But I may end up wrong for having thought this administration would see it through. Like I said, I'll be ashamed of America. We owe it to the Iraqis to see it through.

Al Maviva said...

Outside of the relatively genteel little bubble formed by western civ, life is a bit like a Hobbesian nightmare, or maybe like the Star Wars cantina scene if Hobbes is too mean for you.

In short, if you show weakness, you will be taken advantage of.

The Iranian mullahs and their student leader, Ahmadinejad, punked us in 1979 in part because we showed weakness in Vietnam.

Syrian/Iranian proxy Hezbollah felt free to attack our Marine peacekeepers in Beirut in 1983 because we let ourselves be abused by the Iranians.

Our failure to respond to that attack led to the murders and kidnappings of other Americans, primarily in Lebanon but also attacks in Western Europe.

Our reluctance to deal harshly with Hezbollah, Syria and their Iranian masters, led Saddam to calculate that he could get away with invading Kuwait.

Our unwillingness to knock Saddam off his throne in 1991 led AQ and the Somali warlords to postulate we were weak, and worthy of attack; this led directly to the horrifying (but militarily trivial) casualties in Mogadishu. It also led to AQ's first World Trade Center attack, which they believed would bring us to our knees.

Mogadishu convinced bin Laden we had no stomach for casualties, and our 'strictly law enforcement appproach' to the first WTC bombing convinced him that he could mount operations against the U.S. without fear of retaliation. This in turn led directly to the embassy attacks in Africa, the barracks bombing in Riyadh, and the attack on the U.S.S. Cole. It also led directly to the thwarted Phillipine-based plan to hijack jets and fly them into buildings in the late 90's.

Our reluctance to respond in any meaningful manner to these attacks led directly to 9/11.

Our western allies' responses to 9/11 - great reluctance to respond to AQ other than by some token military assistance and intel help, along with panicky inability to address their own growing jihadist problem, led to the bombings in Madrid and London.

A retreat from Iraq will free up AQ and other Islamacists to help destabilize Afghanistan (along with the Iranians, who have a horse in this race too.) It will be an unmitigated disaster, and will invite further attack, not to mention assisting the Islamacists in toppling the Pakistani government. (Yup, an AQ A-bomb... think they'll use it?)

If that long thread was too long to follow, you can simply reduce it to this. For most of the world, life is like prison. If you let anybody make you their bitch, pretty soon, you'll be everybody's bitch. I know that's almost impossible to believe when you're sipping a double decaf mocha pumpkin latte at Caribou, but that's how the real world - outside of the tiny Western security bubble - actually functions. Retreat from Iraq, and we'll be AQ's, Iran's, Syria's, North Korea's and China's bitch. Get ready for it, kids.

I had hopes the Democrats would seize this moment to stand up and be grown-ups, realize the stakes and act accordingly. With Pelosi's support behind new probable majority leader, Rep. John "We can just deploy from Okinawa" Murtha, I'm officially deeming my short-lived hopes to be shattered.

Al Maviva said...

Muquabarat is analogous to our FBI and Homeland security forces. For that matter, so too were the Gestapo and Japanese Kempatai.

That is so unbelievably offensive I almost don't even know where to begin. The fact that you were able to type that, it's now 10 minutes later and you haven't had a knock at the door to have your hands lopped off, sort of disproves your point. I worked with refugees from Saddam's regime. Tell you what - when the FBI starts ripping out liberal talking heads's tongues, I'll agree with you that the FBI and DHS are analogous to the Mukhbarat. They are analogous in that dog owners are analogous to Hitler, because Hitler, too, loved dogs. You are also wrong about the Gestapo being essentially left in place. Thousands of nazis were jailed until 1948-1949, with many of them being starved to death or put on trial in warcrimes trials with lower profiles than the Nuernburg criminals. And then, only after a period of de-Nazification conducted by the Allies and a fledgling German government board, were they considered sufficiently rehabilited to employ in the new government. *Some* Nazis were employed sooner by the allied intelligence services but it was a token number in comparison to the vast numbers tried, held as EPW, or summarily executed by allied forces. (Yes, we assassinated lots of them. Get over it.)

Ps. You lovely folks on the left really are completely tone deaf, aren't you, you poor dears? Do you really have no idea how offensive it is for you to compare the FBI and DHS to the Gestapo? I guess Diebold's failure to execute on their election theft has really emboldened you to speak truth to power, huh?

Tibore said...

Nearly all the violence - 89 or 90% - occurs within a 30 mile radius of Bagdad.

13 of the 18 provinces of are experiencing very little violence. 2 of those provinces - Muthanna and Dhi Qar - have already been handed over to Iraqi forces, with a handover in the province of Maysan around the end of the year or January of next year (British military spokespeople aren't being any more specific than that).

Look, I'm not trying to say there's light at the end of the tunnel, or play down the significance of problems in the provinces that are seeing violence. I'm just saying that there's more to the story than unminitaged doom, and that Iraq is hardly the lost cause some of you are characterizing it as. Doesn't the above information mean anything?

Henry said...

Personally, I think the U.S. Civil War analogies have been so overused as to better off avoided. The political analogies look attractive, but the military situation is so completely different as to be nonsensical.

U.S. military operations in "small" wars like the Philippines, Korea, and Vietnam provide better corollaries.

This is a tortured analogy, but what would Grant have done if Mexico, a remote and gigantic nation, like Iran, had been sending men, arms, and money into the South?

Throughout the Civil War Lincoln was extremely worried about involvement from the European powers. The one time Mexico loomed as threat was when the French began meddling in its internal politics. Union campaigns into Texas (Galveston, Red River) were partly triggered as a show of force to the French.

Union defeats in Texas really made no difference at all, as the French meddling was equally incompetent.

Sloanasaurus said...

Hold the Presses. Pelosi now backs murtha for House Leader. You know the 76 year old who said in response to being offered $50,000 in cash during an FBI Sting operation in 1980....

"You know, we do business for a while, maybe I'll be interested, maybe I won't,"

The democrats ran against corruption, now they are installing all of their former corrupt leaders.

Sloanasaurus said...

U.S. military operations in "small" wars like the Philippines, Korea, and Vietnam provide better corollaries.

Except that Korea and Vietnam were not small wars. They are not good "corollaries." It's hard to compare Iraq to them when we lost hundreds of fighter jet aircraft in each war to jets built in the USSR and pioleted by Chinese and Russian fighter pilots.

Besides, the comparisons to the US Civil war has nothing to do with the actual war, but everything to do with the determination of the leaders in the US Government, notably Lincoln himself.

Tim said...

While there are several lesser analogies between Iraq and the U.S. Civil War, the most important one is that then Democrat Copperheads wanted to lose the war to the rebels and let them establish their own nation; now Democrats want to lose the war in Iraq to the jihadis and let them establish their own nation.

The other analogy, of course, is the U.S. abandoning S. Vietnam to the Communist N. Vietnamese.

None of these were and are good for America, but that doesn't bother Democrats in slightest, does it?

But we dare not question the patriotism of those wanting their nation it lose its wars, do we?

Sloanasaurus said...

As Islamic and Fascism are an oxymoron, someone please define that term as you are using it because it makes NO SENSE

It does make sense. Fascism is a general term that is also used to describe totalitarian government. This is what the terrorists are for.

Your decision to nit pick the definition shows that you misunderstand the Radical Islamic movement around the world, which is why you are not a credible commentator on the subject.

It is pretty evident that Iraq is not parallel to our civil war on about a zillion fronts unless there was some huge imaginary army

There are fair comparisons when discussing the perseverance of the government and its leaders to wage the war. I agree that most other comparisons are not valid. However, it was the perseverance part that everyone is talking about and not the technical aspects of the two wars. Your missing this point shows that you are a near idiot of the highest order.

we have already lost Iraq. The reason there are no "new ideas" floating around is that "no new ideas" will save the day. It is lost. How much more money and troops do you want to pour in there? we've been at 140,000 for 3+ years and every day/month is worse.

How is it that we have lost. Have the terrorists retaken the 14 provinces that are controlled by the Iraqi government? Has Saddam or the terrorists come back to power. Obviously you only choose the metrics that show us losing, such as increased Casualties.

We have only lost in your mind because you and others do not have the will to win - in that sense you and your ilk represent the weakness of America not its strength.

hdhouse said...

Tim tim tim....

You, like so many, trot out that "patriotism" crock when your logic fails...its kinda like saying "your momma".

You and your ilk equate reality with a lack of patriotism and that really stinks. NO ONE wants the US to loose. NO ONE. No one ever says that except neo-con buttheads who can't face reality or refuse to.

Look at the defense you and others put up: x number of provinces are peaceful is a classic. NO ONE LIVES THERE. it is a fragment of the population. the capital and the triangle are the big deal..its like saying as long as the insurrection and civil war are confined to the northeast of the united states the nation is healthy because there is no fighting in wyoming.

if you think it is so damn safe there and things are going so well, then go shopping in baghdad for an afternoon...not in the green zone, not in condi's visiting bunker...but on the streets. take that drive from the airport...and best yet, visit a field hospital. that will tell you oodles about the upswing and success.

as to perserverance...that is also a straw dog. we have the money and i guess a fairly unlimited supply of soldiers to send there but to do what? do win what?

i asked what victory would look like when we achieved it and no one answered that question. there is no goal and obviously no plan.

Iraq was a mistake made of whole clothe and a pretty sizeable number of Americans were simply lied to and mislead to get into it with our blessing. Now we are seeing truth for a change and the entire business stinks.

So you neo-cons. you are still in power for a couple more months - tell me your plan as it sits today. just spell it out. we've been at your plan for 3 1/2 years so you should know what it is - and don't give me that "stay the course" crappola..that's a slogan. what is the goal and what is the plan for getting there??

cat got your tongue?

rhodeymark1 said...

hdhouse - hilarious that you are the one throwing around the Rush and Hannity references, when you are so obviously channeling Olbermann. "Mr. Bush" indeed... just call him Chimpy like you usually do.

hdhouse said...

rhodeymark1 said...
hdhouse - hilarious that you are the one throwing around the Rush and Hannity references, when you are so obviously channeling Olbermann. "Mr. Bush" indeed... just call him Chimpy like you usually do.


and what did i say about rush and sean that wasn't true? where do bush and condi and darth vader spend their free time? with these buttboys of course. they wouldn't go on countdown on a bet because they would be asked questions they don't want to answer, can't answer, and would embarrass them.

i love it when the white house has media day and the convicted felons from the right wing radio show up and get access.

am i forgeting jeff gannon?

pitiful...just pitiful.

Sloanasaurus said...

i asked what victory would look like when we achieved it and no one answered that question. there is no goal and obviously no plan.

Democrats constantly repeat this claim - that there is no plan. Even though the plan and goal has been repeated thousands of time.

More creative democrats claim that Bush's plan is a failure and then restate Bush's plan as their new alternative.

The plan is to be able to leave an Iraq in control of the elected government there. That is the strategic goal. That plan requires us to stick it out until the Iraqi government is able to assume such control.

Some people talk about splitting the country up, but those are just ideas to achieve the ultimate plan.

There really is no other possible plan other than defeat.

Tibore said...

HDhouse, take it easy. Okay: We know you hate Bush. Message received. Why crack at some of us posting here when you say we supposedly don't know the government's plans. Which, by the way, have been published here for all to see:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/iraq/iraq_strategy_nov2005.html

And, regarding the peaceful provinces issue: They're hardly empty; Dhi Qar, for example, totals nearly 900,000 residents. Sure, they're the smaller populated provinces. But I don't think that means they don't count at all in the overall picture, as you seem to imply with your statement. It means some sort of progress is being made. It doesn't subtract from the problems in the more populated regions like Bagdad and Mosul, but it also doesn't add to any sense that the whole of Iraq is out of control, or that it's unsalvageable, or "lost", as you put it. So why disparage it?

Look, I understand that you're not happy with the situation in Iraq. Nobody is. But is your unbridled negativity really productive? What should the US do that it's not already doing?

RogerA said...

Someone upthread mentioned Barbara Tuchman's pulitzers--she won two: Guns of August and Stillwell and the American Experience.......

Sloanasaurus said...

To follow up what Tibore said, it is also true that the current Iraq government controls virtually all of Iraq's natural resources.

PatCA said...

I agree with you, Loafing Oaf, about the shameful exit that I fear will come to pass.

All of the posters' analogies about other wars and your strategies for going forward are fine in themselves, but they all assume we have the core belief that our way of life, which we are bringing by force against the despots who rule their way of life, is better. Do we believe this anymore? No bomb will cancel out our national ambivalence.

Sloanasaurus said...

I have read all of Tuchman's books. My personal favorite is the Distant Mirror.

The March of Folly is her worst book. She was a historian writing about a contemporary issue - Vietnam.

Vietnam was not a march of folly in the sense that Athens invasion of Syracuse was.

Tibore said...

And to go back to the professor's original point: The accusation of military leaders being business managers instead of fighters has been made multiple times by David Hackworth in his books "About Face" and "Hazardous Duty", and was a sort point for him his entire life. He accuses the McNamara-era Pentagon of starting the idea of Generals-as-businessmen, and chronicled many examples of the sort of decisionmaking that comes from such a mentality. It's not a rare criticism to make, and from Hackworth's and other authors' writings, it's not inaccurate either.

That's not to say that there aren't any competent high-ranked military officers around, or that the business mentality has absolutely zero place in the military. That's taking the criticism too far. Rather, the argument is that the existence of merely business-competent officers creates a dissonance within the military that affects their abilities to act effectively, not to mention the fact that it creates a class of officers who may be terrific "managers", but are not necessarily good fighters.

That's also not to say that Hackworth was 100% correct about everything he wrote; Mark Bowden, author of Blackhawk Down chronicled mistakes and unsupportable conclusions in Hackworth's narrative of the battle of Mogadishu. Granted, he only pointed out one real factual error, and in Hackworth's defense, he was simply quoting another article, but Bowden's point is that Hackworth's conclusions about the Ranger's attitudes towards the fight and their own leadership (Gen. Garrison in particular) is not supported by his (Bowden's) own research.

Also: Keep in mind that, while my opinions are stated above, since I'm not a serviceman myself, I'm not as competent or informed to judge the criticism's of men like Hackworth as a member of the military would be. Others in service may come to different conclusions than me.

Stephen said...

That more troops would help in Iraq is crushingly obvious. Many of Bush's people have been saying that to him since before the invasion, and it's a constant theme of Woodward's book about the invasion and its aftermath. The bottom line is that to send more troops, you probably have to enlarge the army on a semi permanent basis--a costly step.

So where is the effort by the administration to step up to that and develop the political and financial support for this move (which would certainly include raising taxes and might involve a draft.) And why, Ann, haven't you and Glen been agitating for such an increase (presumably combined with fiscally responsible tax increases and a draft if needed to achieve this important national goal), instead of mindless cheering for a stand pat policy that is certain to produce an unsatisfactory outcome?

Those who argue for more troops, however, have an obligation to sketch how much, and for how long, and what we get that it worth having. Stuntz's analogy purports to bolster such an argument, but it is labored and wildly off. To begin with, the stakes for us as a nation were incomparably higher in 1864.

The situation in late 1864 is also a poor analogue to Iraq late 2006. Stuntz dates the doubling of Lincoln's bet to post election 1864, but by then the war had been won. 1863 had been marked by major Union victories, much greater successes than any recorded against the insurgency. In the fall of 1864, Union victories at Winchester and Cedar Creek, among other places, helped to push Lincoln over the top in the election. By the time of the speech that Stuntz cites, Lee was pinned in the lines at Petersburg (and his troops were starving there), Atlanta had fallen and the march to the sea was underway, and Army of Tennessee had recently suffered a major defeat at Franklin, with Nashville to follow a week later.

In other words, way, way more success had happened, the South was completely on the ropes. What's the evidence for that here? Instead, because of our prior failures to provide more troops, we have a country with a ravaged infrastructure, a corrupt government, and a violent civil conflict. If we create the new 50,000 and put them in, how long must they stay and how much, at the end of the stay, will they have improved matters? Stuntz' analogy does not persuade.b

tjl said...

"Have the terrorists retaken the 14 provinces that are controlled by the Iraqi government? ...you only choose the metrics that show us losing, such as increased Casualties."

Like it or not, the metrics that show us losing are the ones the media have been force-feeding the public every day and night. The actual facts on the ground matter far less than the public's perception of what the facts are.

A majority of voters were willing to entrust control of Congress to the Democrats despite the glaring absence of any Democratic war plan, and despite the clear antiwar mindset of the Democratic leadership. Evidently a majority of voters has ceased to believe that this or that plan will achieve any result worth further sacrifices.

I believe the public is mistaken on this, just as we were mistaken to dump the Cambodians and Vietnamese. But any other outcome is now off the table, because the necessary increase in troop commitment is politically impossible. The best we can hope for is that the Congressional Dems will stay their hand long enough for Gates and the Study Commission to craft some face-saving formula to cover our exit. If such a formula is not soon forthcoming, expect the Dems' left to throw off the restraints imposed by the Dems' leadership and give us some really toxic political theater.

Garage Mahal said...

Looks like Maliki got the hint here that we aren't going to be there forever.

I'm just glad the neocons (inc. Cheney)are out -- and Bush 41 is back in. Bush 41 is a great spook himself, and I don't think he ever got the credit he deserved. Send Gates thru stat, he's said talking to Iran/Syria might be worth it. Why not give it a shot? We have nothing to lose whatsover, and now is the time.

Sloanasaurus said...

The best we can hope for is that the Congressional Dems will stay their hand long enough for Gates and the Study Commission to craft some face-saving formula to cover our exit.

Wait. The Senated voted on a "phased redeployment" just last June. That vote failed 86-13.

Perhaps, some dems want to throw out red meat for the party faithful, but we are a long way from Democrats "pulling the plug on Iraq."

A pullout could result in an electoral disaster for Democrats. If after a pull out, things turn south, the Democrats would be blamed entirely for all future problems - especially if we are attacked again. The American public is fickle...remember...

Democrats will want to share in any victory and distance themselves from any loss. This is why the "change the course" charade is what will happen in the end.

Tim said...

"You and your ilk equate reality with a lack of patriotism and that really stinks. NO ONE wants the US to loose. NO ONE. No one ever says that except neo-con buttheads who can't face reality or refuse to."

Really?

Either you haven't been paying attention, are misinformed or lying.

As early as the summer of 2003 Democrats and the Left started calling for the U.S. to leave Iraq in defeat. In September of 2003, Democrat Dennis Kucinich was calling for the U.S. to leave Iraq in defeat. A full year hadn't passed since the invasion that leaving Iraq in defeat was the central platform of the Democrat candidates for president in 2004.

Since the war began, Democrat thought, energy and political capital have been strictly devoted to leaving Iraq in defeat. They've devoted no discernible thought, energy or political capital to winning the war.

None. That is reality.

And the Democrats' failure to devote any thought, energy or political capital toward winning in Iraq has only encouraged and emboldened our enemies and made defeat more likely in both Iraq and the larger war against Islamic fascism.

And yes, Democrats devoting all of their thought, energy and political capital to leaving Iraq in defeat is absolutely, hands down, undeniably UNPATRIOTIC.

Why? Because hoping your nation loses its wars is, and always has been, UNPATRIOTIC.

It's a pretty easy test. Democrats fail.

PatCA said...

"Instead, because of our prior failures to provide more troops, we have a country with a ravaged infrastructure, a corrupt government, and a violent civil conflict.

No, we have part of a country in trouble, and it's worth noting the difference. Are the terrorists ignoring the other provinces because...they like the folks there, or because they don't have the capacity to fight on more than one front?

IMO It is no coincidence that the Battle of Baghdad was saved for pre-election media positioning. The more cruel and barbaric they show themselves to be on our TVs every night, the greater the chance Americans will vote against the war. Worked in Vietnam, worked in Spain, and now worked here.

The Exalted said...

tim,

if clinton had invaded and conquered papua new guinea, only to find it ungovernable and fatally ridden with secretarian strife for the indefinite future, would you call the republicans calling for the withdrawal from papua new guinea "traitors?" would you consider them unpatriotic because it was evident to them that the US was wasting men and hundreds of billions of dollars in a stupid adventure?

of course you wouldn't.

Richard Fagin said...

Hey I remeber the last dude that tried to apply business principles to running a war. He was once president of Ford Motor Company, and worked in the War Department during WWII in the Office of Statistical Control for Charles B. (Tex) Thornton. You know, the Vietnam war dude, Robert McNamara. Yeesh!

Tim said...

"if clinton had invaded and conquered papua new guinea, only to find it ungovernable and fatally ridden with secretarian (sic) strife for the indefinite future, would you call the republicans calling for the withdrawal from papua new guinea "traitors?"

The analogy is utterly pointless.

But let's fix it.

If Clinton had invaded and conquered a Papua New Guinea governed by a dictator that had previously invaded neighboring nations twice in the last 15 years; was under U.N. sanctions enforced primarily by U.S. air forces; was thought by every notable intelligence agency in the world to be developing nuclear, biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction; had in fact used weapons of mass destruction on his own population; was proximate to nations and peoples involved in the Islamic Fascist war on the U.S.; and Clinton had invaded Papua New Guinea to address these issues after a 9/11 attack as part of the larger war on Islamic Fascism, only to find it ungovernable and fatally ridden with sectarian strife for the indefinite future, would I still call the Republicans calling for the withdrawal from Papua New Guinea "traitors?"

Yes, I would, especially in light of the fact that sectarian strife has not yet proven to be fatal, only difficult, and that in the larger war against Islamic Fascism, any and every defeat of the U.S. military will only encourage and embolden our enemies, make defeat more likely in the T.O. and the larger war against Islamic fascism. It would also serve notice to our allies that when the going gets tough, Americans are unreliable pussies and they'd best enter alliances with U.S. with a solid back-up plan for when the U.S. bugs out, leaving them holding the bag as the Jihadis come to town to saw off heads.

I am an American (and formerly a soldier) before I am a Republican. It is one reason I was disgusted by Congressional Republicans outward efforts against the U.S. military in Serbia and Kosovo. That war was as unnecessary as any war the U.S. has fought, but once we were engaged it was critical for us to win - because even when we're wrong on point, we're still the good guys, and losing wars only empowers those who would do far worse.

Next question, idiot.

hdhouse said...

Tim said...

As early as the summer of 2003 Democrats and the Left started calling for the U.S. to leave Iraq in defeat. In September of 2003, Democrat Dennis Kucinich was calling for the U.S. to leave Iraq in defeat. A full year hadn't passed since the invasion that leaving Iraq in defeat was the central platform of the Democrat candidates for president in 2004."

Tim, this is the your problem in a nutshell. You have to cross the line between truth and lie every time. You just can't claw at the truth but you have to lie as well.

What point is worth making if it is a lie.

read what you quote. show me one time when any position included the term "in defeat". you editorialize worse than that rascal limbaugh. You know no one ever said "in defeat" but you tag it on for what? effect? or do you just like to lie?

what you are admitting by the way, that if we left right now, we would leave loosing. hmmmm guess old george and darth vadar didn't do such a heckuva job there brownie did they?

Tim said...

"show me one time when any position included the term "in defeat".

People of sub-marginal intelligence understand that wars are won or lost, and that leaving Iraq before victory is secured would in fact be leaving Iraq "in defeat."

That this implied meaning of the Democrat policy preference is beyond your inference is not surprising. Your assertion that the absence of the term "in defeat" from the long-held, excessively articulated Democrat position to "leave Iraq' without victory (i.e., just so you and other morons are clear on the point, "in defeat") is a lie on my part only confirms your inability to understanding the plain meaning of words.

tjl said...

"you editorialize worse than that rascal limbaugh. You know no one ever said "in defeat" but you tag it on for what? effect? or do you just like to lie"

There you go again. Spicing up the usual incoherent drivel with that special leftist use of "lie" to mean "any assertion the left disagrees with."

Chill out. Put on a little magnanimity in your hour of triumph. Pelosi and Murtha are poised to give you the cut-and-run you've been pining for.

And the rest of us will have to live with the consequences, which are unlikely to include Peace in Our Time, not for long.

hdhouse said...

tjl and others.

i will not chill out and more so i will not let your mis-statements just sit out there.

someone posted a link to the 1000 times stated white house "strategy" in iraq. perhaps that is the central issue...that the neo-con faction both on this blog and in our administration confuses the terms 1. goal 2. plan 3. strategy.

what is: creating a soveriegn democracy in Iraq....bing righto.. a 1. goal.

what is stay the course? bing righto it is our 2. plan..well maybe it is 3. strategy as i've heard it both ways.

now do you see the problem?

1. goal - has been ever changing. first it was WMD, then ridding us of saddam, then who knows what, then democracy and "stand up so we can stand down". in short a lot of goals.

2. a goal requires a plan to get to it. only plan i've heard is "stay the course". I've asked for others to be articulated but am not getting any response.

3. a plan requires a strategy to carry out the plan. we have already used up "stay the course" so that's out. so i say again, what is our strategy in Iraq? It seems to be to just pump in more fresh troops and spend more money.

so, the quesion is to you neo-cons, just give me three sentences:

1. goal
2. plan to reach goal
3. strategy to institute plan

waiting...waiting....waiting

and perhaps lincoln did have it right as he had a goal or preserving the union, his plan was to break the back of the states who broke from the union and his strategy was divide the confederacy in two at the mississipi, make the deep south howl with sherman and confront lee and simply wear him out. more subtle strategies were in place with blockades and keeping europe/mexico from meddling, freeing the slaves in 63 for a number of purposes, etc.

ohhh and to that idiotic analogy to the civil war "copperheads"...well as they say, never mix fact with arguments righto? tell you what, this is a pretty good and short explanation as to what the copperheads were about: http://www.civilwarhome.com/copperheads.htm
i don't think it has much to do with what you implied in your silly post (tim tim tim...tsk tsk tsk).

Seven Machos said...

What about the hats, hd? What can you tell us about hats?

hdhouse said...

seven....nothing that you would understand so i won't waste the electrons.

look kiddo, a problem you republicans have created is that you have slid through the last 6 years being intellectually lazy and getting away with it....cue from el presidente no doubt...and now you have to think some and that is killing you because no democrat will listen to you unless you come to the table with more than "stay the course".

we let you slip and slide through for 6 years and into the hellhole of all foreign conflicts and that was our fault. guilt and blame accepted. we gave you a pass early on and that was stupid.

the fact that the republicans continued and continue to give this administration a free pass - well we gladly hand you the stupid hat because you deserve it...oh yes speaking of hats.

by the way, is there a "first team" out there because you second team guys are tiring and frankly boring. no offense.

tjl said...

A question for hdhouse: does the shift key not work on your keyboard? Or are you simply expressing your progressive commitment to a more non-hierarchical, non-competitive typography?

Tibore said...

Goal, plan, and strategy:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/iraq/iraq_strategy_nov2005.html

Tim said...

tjl,

Discussions with hdhouse on matters as simple as the use of a keyboard are likely to be as fruitless as any of the discussions above.

The Exalted said...

tim,

you answered my question.

once we were engaged it was critical for us to win - because even when we're wrong on point, we're still the good guys, and losing wars only empowers those who would do far worse

no matter how wrongheaded, how costly in resources, how costly in manpower, no matter how small the gains from "victory," we must "win" the war at all costs.

the "emboldening our enemies" talk is particularly foolish. its a way to promote a "stabbed in the back theme" at your domestic opponents, without any relation to truth or fact. are you one of the geniuses who thinks OBL attacked us because of somalia in 1993?

on the flip side, why do the chechens continue to fight the russians? why aren't they "disemboldened" by russia's 400 year history of merciless oppression and retaliation?

hdhouse said...

Tibore said...
Goal, plan, and strategy:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/iraq/iraq_strategy_nov2005.html


thats my point tibore. a possible goal, no plan there. no strategy there.

what is it about goal, plan, strategy don't you understand? it is very frustrating to ask for something specific and you just mail a slogan from the white house.

don't you get it? no one understands what is going on in Iraq. 31% support bush in anyway.

he, like you, can't articulate goal,plan, strategy. when you come up with something, let me know.

hdhouse said...

to "the exalted"

discussions with certain factions on this blog are as productive as peeing upwind. same your angst. they don't get it.

by the way, good point about the chechens...

by the way, the germans thought they were the "good guys" in the second world war. everyone thinks they are the "good guys". it is not a condition that is anything other than natioal hubris and bush is full of that.

Tim said...

AP Newswire:

"Poll: Most Doubt Dems Have Plan for Iraq
Tuesday, November 14, 2006

By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON — More Americans rank Iraq as the top priority of the new Democratic-controlled Congress, but nearly three out of five say the party does not have a plan to deal with the war."


Although the Dems actually do have a plan - cut and run in defeat - but they don't want to their fingerprints on it:

WASHINGTON - Cautious newly-elected Democratic members of Congress are saying they want to wait before taking action to try to force President Bush to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.

Interviews with several newly elected Democratic House members Monday revealed that they’re hoping the commission headed by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Indiana Democratic Rep. Lee Hamilton comes up with an Iraq exit scenario and that they’ll not need to vote on cutting off funding for the Iraq operation.

<...snip...>

In the Senate, under Democratic control starting in January, incoming Armed Services Committee chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D- Mich. said he hoped to form a bipartisan group of senators to pass a resolution urging Bush to begin withdrawing American troops.

“We should pressure the White House to commence the phased redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq in four to six months… and thereby to make it clear to the Iraqis that our presence is not open-ended and that they must make the necessary political compromises to preserve Iraq as a nation,” Levin said.


Words you'll never find any Democrat mentioning, let alone thinking about: "how to win in Iraq."

Pathetic defeatists can't wait to bug out of Iraq and hand it over to the terrorists.

But we dare not question their patriotism.

hdhouse said...

ok tim...i'll tee this up for you. tell me how the republicans plan on winning. be specific. no slogans. just tell me how what a winning strategy is.

what is going on isn't a winning strategy because its getting worse not better...so tell me what it is.

the entire world is waiting tim. tim? ohhhh tim? no time now to go an hide..no links to the whitehouse feelgood pages...spell it out for me buddyboy.