December 6, 2006

"Grave and deteriorating."

Iraq.

ADDED: For a version of the report with linkable HTML pages, go here.

64 comments:

Simon said...

And yet the much-vaunted Baker Commission is about to come out with a plan that is basically "stay the course plus dialogue with Iran."

The apt question at this point is whether the Dems have the courage of their convictions necessary to pull the plug and take the consequences.

Jeff said...

They pulled the plug on Vietnam and still deny the consequences. Just ask the boat people!

Doyle said...

No shit?

vegetius said...

Did any of these addlepated sages actually visit Iraq?? They are just like the MSM that reports from inside the Green Zone whilst relying on Iraqi stringers.

monkeyboy said...

I've got to say, with everyone pontificating about the need to listen to the generals on the ground, there doesn't seem to be a lot of that, nor any real deferring to the wishes of the Iraqi people.

Didi the commission even meet with the PM?

knoxgirl said...

unless the United States changes course and seeks a broader diplomatic and political solution involving all of Iraq's neighbors

A commenter the other day (in the context of global warming) said something about people starting with a conclusion and working backwards to selectively gather evidence to back it up. Surely that method is at work here. How else could anyone rationally conclude there could be successful diplomacy involving Iran or Syria?

Goesh said...

I see no harm in letting the mullahs of Iran have a share of the southern Iraqi oil - they will need extra revenues to sustain their nuclear arsenal.

Ghlade said...

The Democrats aren't necessarily unified on the issue of pullout, simon. The new House Intel Chair, for instance, is taking McCain's position that we need more troops rather than a phased withdrawal.

Goesh said...

"They are angry with our nation. But we tell them 'so be it and die from this anger'. Rest assured that if you do not respond to the divine call, you will die soon and vanish from the face of the earth," he said....
So says our friend Ahmadinejad from Iran. They won't be so mad at us if we immediately leave Iraq but I suspect we will have to give them permission to nuke Israel to really make things right with them. Ain't freedom a bitch?

Anonymous said...

Iraq -- "Grave and deteriorating."

America -- more in danger and less safer.

And OBL gone but not forgotten.

Congratulations, Ann. This is what your serious grownups and you have brought down on ourselves and our children.

AllenS said...

Ahmadinejad better watch out, Israel has friends:


“The Israelis know that if the Iraqi or the Iranian army came across the Jordan River, I would personally grab a rifle, get in a ditch, and fight and die,” Clinton told the crowd at a fund-raising event for a Toronto Jewish charity Monday.

Goesh said...

It would be safer, cheaper and easier for America to go islamic. It would be in their interests to tolerate a moderate islamic America. We couldn't go whole-hog and put veils on our women. I mean there would be some serious hoopla if that were to come about.

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute. "Grave and deteriorating"? President Bush said in October, "Absolutely, we're winning." I don't get it.

Fatmouse said...

Gee, reality check, you forgot to mention Global Warming! Who cares about terrorists when our children will be devoured by starving polar bears?

Simon said...

Ghlade,
That seems to have been the premise that their supporters believed the party was running on. They ran on the premise that the war in Iraq was a horrible mistake, and that we should bring the troops home. Now, obviously, their leadership knew that position was wholly cynical, and they're trying to backpedal, but that was what their supporters thought they were voting for.

dave said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cedarford said...

“The Israelis know that if the Iraqi or the Iranian army came across the Jordan River, I would personally grab a rifle, get in a ditch, and fight and die,” Clinton told the crowd at a fund-raising event for a Toronto Jewish charity Monday.

Nice to know there is a country Bill Clinton would join national service in defense of.
Just not ours.

Has Hillary's fund-raising drive for Prez already started, or is Bill tapping Jewish Canadians for moolah for his Library?
************************
Reality Check - Iraq -- "Grave and deteriorating."

America -- more in danger and less safer.

And OBL gone but not forgotten.

Congratulations, Ann. This is what your serious grownups and you have brought down on ourselves and our children.


There are no good options when you set up a "domocracy" only to learn the inhabitants are half-batshit crazy murderous Arabs incapable of running a modern nation.

Of course America is more in danger and less safer...we have an enemy that is out there trying to kill us or which passively stands by while it's JIhadi "activists" do so. It's called war.

War places little children and puppy dogs at risk! War is really really bad!
Liberals always get sooooo confused when they see enemy with rags on their heads killing us, but remain convinced that the real enemy is America. A belief that all events in the world are America's fault and if only America would do X,Y, and Z and fix all the root causes - radical Muslims would stop killing the citizens of 60 countries they have done since the Evil Bush-Hitler took office. Abandon the 1200 year off-and-on war of Jihad against infidels..

Their belief is more accurately termed a condition known as "cognitive dissidence."

Even leading Democrats dismiss Lefty's obsession with their Great White Whale - bin Laden. Islamic radicalism is diffused through 80 countries and is net-centric, not hierachially organized as going through one person in "charge". It was as false an image as Jesse Jackson being the Head Negro - that all other American negros thought through, acted through, got their values from.

Few ideas, even Bush's "noble purple-fingered freedom lovers shedding their Burquas and RPGs" are as ludicrous as the Lefties Grand Plan For Binnie, the White Whale who Upsets the Multi Culti Order of the Universe.

Their Grand Plan:

1. Invade Pakistan and risk nuclear war, or at the least - 50 -60,000 casualties in conventional war.
2. Once conquered, start the Pakistan Occupation where troops fight door to door looking for Binnie. Along with nation-building and working with the new radical Islamist gov't.
3. IF Binnie is found alive, turn him over to a Dream Team of Ivy League or ACLU lawyers best equipped to safeguard his precious enemy rights.
4. Decide if it would be best to have him make 3 years of public speeches in NYC for his civilian jury trial...or give him Slobbo's palatial digs at the ICC and let him write and make speeches there.
5. IF the jury ignores the highly likely consequence of Islamic retaliation and convicts him...the Left will prove the magnificent USA/International Law system works! Terrorism will stop! The world will be a giant Coke commercial of folks holding hands in loving harmony!

In short, beyond stupid.

***************************

Knoxgirl - How else could anyone rationally conclude there could be successful diplomacy involving Iran or Syria?

That is the neocon belief that talking to our enemies "only rewards them".

Otherwise, I imagine, we will repeat the mistake the likes of JFK, Nixon, and Reagan made talking with and having diplomatic relations and meaningful dialogue with enemies..like the Soviets. The Chinese. Yep, we got no dividends from that!

As opposed to the 45 year success story of not rewarding Cuba with talk, trade, or diplomacy as a way of forcing them to rapidly change so they would be "rewarded"? Yep, real genius at work there!

Doyle said...

A belief that all events in the world are America's fault and if only America would do X,Y, and Z and fix all the root causes - radical Muslims would stop killing the citizens of 60 countries they have done since the Evil Bush-Hitler took office.

Oh my God. It's horrible! There's straw EVERYWHERE!

What if liberals just said:

Invading Iraq is unnecessary and will do more harm than good.

Wouldn't that be right? Does it require hatred of America?

There is no argument too dishonest for a wingnut.

Doyle said...

I see no harm in letting the mullahs of Iran have a share of the southern Iraqi oil - they will need extra revenues to sustain their nuclear arsenal.

So we want Iran to stop developing nuclear weapons, but we're not going to give them incentive to do so?

You're a Hoover Institute fellow, aren't you?

monkeyboy said...

How is general talks with the USSR or PRC remotely like specific talks about the future of Iraq with Iran? What interest does the Iranian government have in stability in Iraq?

We actually did something similar right after WWII. I'm sure the Poles and Hungarians still thanks us for that.

monkeyboy said...

Doyle;

Shouldn't the sharing out of the Iraqi oil fields be the desicion of the Iraqi people? Giving up our allies resources to try and appease our enemies seems very Victorian Whitehall.

Too Many Jims said...

Simon,

I suppose it is fair to say that: "[Dems] ran on the premise that the war in Iraq was a horrible mistake, and that we should bring the troops home." On the other hand, I would think it is fair to say that: "Republicans ran on the premise that Iraq has been a tremendous success and that we should allow the President to conduct the war as he sees fit without much if any oversight."

I suspect that many voters thought the second clause of both the Dems and Republicans vision of what should be done is wrong. At the same time I suspect a majority thought the Dems first clause was much closer to reality than the first clause of the Republicans vision of Iraq.

Doyle said...

Shouldn't the sharing out of the Iraqi oil fields be the desicion of the Iraqi people?

At the risk of sounding illiberal, no.

The Iraqi people aren't getting compensated for living on oil fields now, and would probably welcome any deal that accelerates institutional stability of some sort.

Are we, or the unbelievably weak "Iraqi government," really going to have a public referendum on stuff like this? Too inefficient.

Anonymous said...

Am I wrong or haven't we heard about imbedding U.S. troops with Iraqi forces for several years? Why is this presented as something new? Ditto talking to Iran.

The recommendations remind me of what Patrick McManus called a "Modified Stationary Panic"

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that the proposed solution was forgone when Baker was put on the comission. The problem is that he, and it looks like most of the others on the comission, are more the "talk enough and you can solve any problem" types - like those who inhabit Foggy Bottom.

What must be remembered right now, and I suspect has been forgotten by the commission is that this has turned into essentially a Sunni Arab v. Shiite+Kurd fight, by the Sunni Arabs in their continuing indiscriminate mass murder of civilians.

Grand Ayatollah Sistani tried hard to keep the lid on the revenge violence, but in the end, was unable to. The egregiousness of the Sunni Arab violence was just too much for even him to control. So, the Shiite militias are now doing payback, and the Shiite and Kurdish controlled military and police are sitting on the sidelines (or even participating). Sorry. But it is silly to even suggest that they try to shut down the militias right now, with many of them having friends and/or relatives killed by the indiscriminate violence practiced by some of the Sunni Arabs.

We wouldn't be where we are in Iraq if the Sunni Arabs there had accepted that they were no longer going to rule the other 80% (now 85%, and possibly 90% by the end of 2007) of the population through violence and brutality, but had instead joined in the democratically elected government. Instead, they escalated their violence as their power waned.

The commission is right - ethnic cleansing is starting in Iraq. But the fault can be pinned directly on the group being ethnically cleansed. The Sunni Arabs in Iraq right now have effectively three choices: make nice, delivering up the terrorists in their midsts for justice; move, either into well defensible zones or out of the country; or die.

It is not a pretty picture. But this has been building for centuries. If we had not interfered, there would still have come a reckoning - the big difference though is that the Sunni Arabs would still have had the guns. Now they are in the hands of the majority, and, as a result, I believe that the violence will ultimately be quite a bit less.

JohnK said...

"So we want Iran to stop developing nuclear weapons, but we're not going to give them incentive to do so?"

So we will do that by stealing Arab oil from Iraq and giving it to Persians? Yeah, that will help our popularity in the region. Further, paying off North Korea certainly prevented them from going nuclear.

Are you insane?
Retarded?
Both?

Chris said...

"Gee, reality check, you forgot to mention Global Warming!"

Wow, we're just bitter bitter bitter about everything today. But why not just focus on ONE historic policy failure at a time, shall we?

Doyle said...

Am I wrong or haven't we heard about imbedding U.S. troops with Iraqi forces for several years?

Yes, but only a fraction of our military force was embedded. Most are still in US batallions on US bases.

The ISG is hinting towards embedded forces pretty much in lieu of US bases.

JohnK said...

An e-mailer to one fo the writers on the corner takes the guts right out of the commission report. He says

"An even funnier line is on page 52:

“Although Iran sees it in its interest to have the United States bogged down in Iraq, Iran’s interests would not be served by a failure of U.S. policy in Iraq…”

Got that mullahs? You might think that your funding, supplying, arming and manning terrorist groups and Shiite militias in Iraq that are killing U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians is serving your interest but it isn’t. We know, we’re the Baker commission.

Next they’ll tell us that, although the Iranian regime thinks that annihilating Israel is its interests, after several month of careful study, we’ve deciding that it isn’t, so, no need to worry. And I suppose if Bin Laden had only checked with Baker to see if the 9/11 attacks were, in fact, in his interest, the Trade Center might still be standing today."

In order for Diplomacy to work, there has to be an achievable end and a realistic common ground between the two parties. The "realistic" wing of the foreighn policy establishment might as well be the faith based wing. Diplomacy and engagment has become an end in itself to be pursued regardless of whether it has any hope of doing any good.

Doyle said...

So we will do that by stealing Arab oil from Iraq and giving it to Persians?

Think of it as a joint venture.

Further, paying off North Korea certainly prevented them from going nuclear.

We (and the Japanese) never actually got around to paying off the DPRK. Neither party held up its end of the Agreed Framework. While it would always be better if deals were honored, the possibility (or even probability) of welshing doesn't mean that dealmaking is never a good idea.

Bruce Hayden said...

What must be kept in mind when trying to twist Iran's arm into reining in the militias that it supports in Iraq is that this fight is close to the heart of their identity - that of trying to be the heart of Islam in general, and Shiite Islam in particular. I am not sure that even removing all the Jews from Israel would be enough to keep them out of this fight. The one thing that might is the thing that we are probably most loath to give them - a green light on their nuclear ambitions.

The one thing that might be able to sway them is a real threat of Sunni intervention into Iraq to save the remaining Sunni Arabs there, most likely led by the Saudis. The Sunnis outside Iraq have the manpower, training, and arms to defeat the Iranians. But of course, if the threat were made too publically, Iran could not back down without losing too much face (and thus, ultimately, reputation and power in the Muslim world).

Bruce Hayden said...

Doyle,

I agree that sometimes deals can work. But most often it seems that the Foggy Bottom types look at the deal as an end in itself, whereas the countries on the other side of the deals look at the deal as a means to an end.

Thus, you had a nice peace treaty with North Vietnam. The diplomats were happy. Their job was done. We could all declare victory, and go home. But the North Vietnamese were looking at the peace treaty as merely a chance to rearm. They did, and the rest is history.

In order to deal, we first need something that the other side wants. And secondly, we have to be willing to carry through with any threats that we make, whether that means resupplying the S. Vietnamese and providing air cover, or not paying monies promised. But basing our promises on money often fails because we are essentially bribing the other side. They just have to tighten their belts a little when caught cheating, as evidenced by North Korea (sure, the peasantry are starving there, but obviously not their leadership).

JohnK said...

"We (and the Japanese) never actually got around to paying off the DPRK. Neither party held up its end of the Agreed Framework. While it would always be better if deals were honored, the possibility (or even probability) of welshing doesn't mean that dealmaking is never a good idea."

Considering that the world refuses to punish Iran in anyway for going nuclear, what possible motivation would the Iranians have not to welch on any payoff deal and just keep the cash while going nuclear? Iran is going nuclear unless the U.S. or Israel decides to use their militaries to stop them. Paying off Iran is the worst of the options available.

Doyle said...

Hey, look! I had missed this:

U.S. Offers North Korea Aid for Dropping Nuclear Plans

Good to see some grownups in charge for once.

Doyle said...

BTW John, you'd think if we can work on a disarmament agreement with an "Axis of Evil" country that already has nuclear weapons, we could do the same with one that is still years away.

JohnK said...

"BTW John, you'd think if we can work on a disarmament agreement with an "Axis of Evil" country that already has nuclear weapons, we could do the same with one that is still years away."

Again Doyle, please explain what possible motivation Iran has for disarming? If it gets nukes it will be the regional superpower and be virtually immune from U.S. military pressure. If they have no motivation to stop, what are the talks going to accomplish? Further, just because we are over groveling to North Korea isn't any indication that it is going to work any better this time than last.

You miss the point. The point is to create a safe and secure international environment by disarming lunatics like Kim Jong Il and the Mullahs in Iran. Negotiation is a means, not an end. So what we are talking to them. That means nothing if it doesn't lead to disarmament and again, what possible motivation does Iran have to disarm absent a immediate and credible threat of serious sanctions or force; neither one of which exist now.

knoxgirl said...

That is the neocon belief that talking to our enemies "only rewards them".

Not exactly. I would replace "enemies" in your sentence with "rogue, terrorist nations" and I would replace "only rewards them" with "is stupid."

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dawn Braun said...

When did this become "Think Progress"?

Geez,I never expected to see the word NEOCON used on this blog.

Maybe I just haven't been reading enough to notice.

Simon said...

Doyle said...
"Hey, look! I had missed this: U.S. Offers North Korea Aid for Dropping Nuclear Plans. Good to see some grownups in charge for once."

I see to remember we tried that in the 1990s. How'd that work out, again?

madawaskan said...

Joe-

The French couldn't get Greenwald's sock outta....

Well, that things been "around" let's just leave it at that.

knoxgirl said...

I see to remember we tried that in the 1990s. How'd that work out, again?

It was a giant humiliating failure. But when actual results don't matter, just do what sorta feels good and is easiest, I guess.

alphie said...

Well,

Something has gone very wrong in Iraq.

We can either let the people who have been consistently wrong about Iraq continue to run things there...

Or we can let the people who have been consistently right about Iraq have a shot.

What would a rational country do?

Simon said...

knoxgirl said...
"[Appeasement in the 1990s] was a giant humiliating failure. But when actual results don't matter, just do what sorta feels good and is easiest, I guess."

Communists like to defend the humiliating failure of communism by saying that "true communism has never been tried"; and indeed, I think on this very blog, I saw someone defending our shellacking in the midterms by saying that "true conservatism has never been tried." Perhaps Doyle's refrain is "true appeasement has never been tried"!

Simon said...

alphie said...
"We can either let the people who have been consistently wrong about Iraq continue to run things there...Or we can let the people who have been consistently right about Iraq have a shot. What would a rational country do??"

The problem with that theory is that no one has been right all along about Iraq. The liberals wouldn't have gone in the first place (and now want us to leave, even though they lack the spine to pull the plug and risk taking the blame). Bush has basically made a godawful mess out of it. Baker and Hamilton evidently have nothing to offer. In point of fact, the only people who've basically been right from the beginning are Perle, Kagan, Kristol, Adelman et al, i.e., the neocons who wanted us to go in the first place and who have complained loudly about the assorted Bush/Rumsfeld gaffes. But I rather doubt those are the people that you have in mind, Alphie.

alphie said...

Hmmm,

Richard Perle said we'd only need 40,000 troops, Iraqi oil would pay for our occupation and the reconstruction of Iraq...and any trouble after our invasion would be brief because...

...this will be seen as an act of liberation. And the Iraqis themselves will welcome the change.

http://tinyurl.com/ygye5j

Sure seems like he was a little shy of being "right from the beginning" to me...

Cedarford said...

Alphie - Not to mention Ken "Cakewalk" Adelman.

Poor Simon. His neocons have retreated back under whatever rocks they crawled out of to only pop up now and then to point a finger at "Bush messing up their genius-level ideas" then crawling back again.

I expect they will once again crawl out to denounce Baker as a realist cynic selling Israel out and "betraying the noble purple-fingered freedom-lovers"...

10 US soldiers whacked today.
Not that the neos have any fear of their kids getting killed in Iraq..

I do feel sad for GH Bush. It has to be painful to watch his older son sink lower than Jimmy Carter...and know that the son he really hoped would become President, Jeb, was derailed by one close Florida election and will not get a shot because his brother failed..

Too Many Jims said...

Simon,

So what you are saying is that we can't discredit neo-conservatism in international policy because "true" neo-conservatism has not been tried?

Simon said...

Alphie,
Both of those statements are an interesting example of the art of carefully parsing accurate quotes out from from revealing context. You quote Perle as saying that our liberation of Iraq "will be seen as an act of liberation. And the Iraqis themselves will welcome the change." And indeed, I suspect they would have done, had Rumsfeld's arrogant miscalculation not created a power vacuum and near-anarchy following the collapse of the Saddam regime, a blunder that Perle has explicitly said -- in the forthcoming edition of Vanity Fair, of all places -- that he did not anticipate.

Similarly, the 40,000 number (which you breezily toss off without citation) comes from an interview Perle gave to David Corn in late 2002. Even by Corn's telling of the story, your use of that figure is wildly misleading. Corn reports that Perle "was replying to my on-air skepticism regarding Bush's effort to win Arab backing for a military move against Iraq. I noted there were widespread media reports saying an attack would require up to 250,000 troops. These soldiers could not all be air-dropped into Iraq. They would have to come from somewhere, such as Saudi Arabia. And a military action of this size would need extensive logistical support nearby. Forget the 250,000 figure, Perle said: 'The Army guys don't know anything. They said we needed 500,000 troops in 1991 [for the Gulf War]. Did we need that many to win? No.'

What's the Perle Plan? I asked. 'Forty thousand troops.' he said. To take Baghdad? Nah, he replied. To take control of the north and the south, particularly the north, where the oil fields are. Cut off Saddam's oil, make him a pauper, that should do the trick.
" (alteration in original).

Set in context, the 40,000 figure was clearly speaking to the number of troops needed to topple Saddam's regime. In both cases, Perle was operating under the assumption - to borrow Adelman's words - "that what I considered to be the most competent national-security team since Truman was indeed going to be competent" to run the post-war operation. Things started to go wrong almost as soon as the liberation phase was over, and those mistakes by Rumsfeld et al rendered pre-war assumptions by Perle and others, including the 40,000 figure, obsolete.

Revenant said...

I'm really disappointed that Bush let James Baker come anywhere near US foreign policy. Hopefully, he won't make a habit of listening to him.

Simon said...

Jim,
Too often, people type "LOL" as a way of expressing amusement, rather than to connote, as the term properly means, that they are actually laughing out loud. I'm actually LOL. Great retort. :p

Look, I'm not saying it hasn't been tried, I'm saying that it was tried, and the implementation was bungled. Part of the problem is that the term "neocon" has been transformed into a leftist epithet for anyone who has a certain view of foreign policy, a usage that has almost totally onscured its real meaning, and distorted the public conversation. Rumsfeld, Cheney and Rice are spoken of as neocons, when they are no such thing; the closest thing to an actual neoconservative in the upper echelons of the Bush administration today, arguably, is George Bush himself - and he never even gets accused of it! And even Bush is a neoconservative primarily because of his approach to domestic policy - his foreign policy is anything but. So I think it has to be remembered that the people who were running this war, with the exception of Paul Wolfowitz, weren't actually believers. They were realists who didn't want to do nation-building, and who wanted a light footprint. The key mistakes were (a) the disbanding of the Iraqi army (b) the failure to establish order and prevent the anarchy that followed the regime's collapse and (c) the failure to realize that the foregoing were mistakes until the situation had already gotten out of hand. And all three of those mistakes rest primarily with Rumsfeld, but ultimately, with Bush.

Eli Blake said...

knoxgirl:

A commenter the other day (in the context of global warming) said something about people starting with a conclusion and working backwards to selectively gather evidence to back it up.

An excellent description of how the Bush administration got us into this mess four years ago.

That said, we are there now, and I think that the commission's recommendations provide a roadmap that, if difficult, could provide a way out. The idea that we can 'win' in Iraq and create a peaceful democracy, if it was ever realistic, that window has long since been closed.

As for negotiating with Iran, there is not much choice in the matter. They've managed to get us to do their dirty work and remove the only real opposition they had in the region, and now have gained a strongly advantageous position without firing a shot. So we will have to negotiate from a position of political weakness.

What we have to do is focus on Iran's weakness. The 60% of their population under 30, who don't like living in a strict Islamic society. Islamic fundamentalism is not such a new idea in Iran, it has been the way everything was run for 27 years.

So let's look again at trade-- something they want-- which remains a card we can play, and in my opinion should play. With trade comes materialism and with trade comes ideas. Ultimately that brought down the Soviet Union as much as anything else, and the preachers who bemoan the effect of materialism on spirituality have a point. Since we are fighting religious fundamentalists, maybe it is time to pull out the corrupting influence of mammon and let it work for us.

Simon said...

Peculiarly enough, I'm inclined to agree with Eli on the trade with Iran question; it overstates the case that western influence broke the Soviet Union, it did contribute to the internal instability that helped prevent the coup taking root.

Garage Mahal said...

So what you are saying is that we can't discredit neo-conservatism in international policy because "true" neo-conservatism has not been tried?

Yes. We can discredit it now. It's been tried in its purest pharmaceutical form. And its lethal. Antidote? Voters!

Theo Boehm said...

It looks like an intelligent discussion has broken out. Thank you, Simon, Eli, Jims, Knoxgirl, Cedarford, et al.

You know the one about going to a fight and a hockey game breaking out.

The blogosphere runs on fights. They help the collective site meter spin and get that adreneline pumping, but increasingly I find myself drifing to the edge of the crowd, looking for a way to slip out. Much blog comment about Iraq in the past day or so has repeated the same old lame talking points, full of the "I'm so angry at George Bush," or "I'm so angry at the Leftie surrender monkeys" crap. *Yawn*

We've got a real problem on our hands, folks, and your being angry is remarkably insignificent.

I detect a change, though. The ISG report, while pretty much restating the obvious and recommending to do the obvious, seems to have given at least some people the space they needed to drop the cant and start talking sense. I'm not expecting sweet concord, but at least it looks like an adult discussion about a serious issue is starting to shape up.

So, again, thank you to the above-named co-conspirators and others. Please keep it up. And if you want to post angry, cant-filled invective, spouting the same-old-same-old, please go to hell.

hdhouse said...

i have to admit the neo-cons on this board are a laugh riot. the report comes out and it is effectively saying two things:

1. bush's policy is a disaster
2. our last best option is to try and keep the entire region from going to war

every responsbile leader in the middle east tells the world that this situation calls for a regional diplomatic solution, that the US is in no position to force its will on anyone there, that Iraq is just one part of the greater problem - but Mr. Bush simply refuses to consider it. Hence he drags this country, our America, farther into the swamp.

He is a disaster. A looser. A totally failed president on so many levels that his "legacy" will consist of "Thank God for the election".

hdhouse said...

and least I forget:

Simon said...
"The apt question at this point is whether the Dems have the courage of their convictions necessary to pull the plug and take the consequences."

NO SIMON. I think the apt question is why do the republicans even remotely support this peabrain and his total failure. Thank god that the democrats are now back in the majority. George's recess is over and now he has to go to school and "get some of that learnin'" he so obviously missed earlier in life.

Too Many Jims said...

Simon,

Thanks for the compliment, I had thought that was clever.

I agree that the war was not run by the neo-conservatives (which I don't use as some sort of leftist perjorative). But saying that the people who did run the war from the administration were "realists" is unfair to the concept of realism. Certainly Rumsfeld and Cheney were trying to make pragmatic decisions (e.g. avoid nation building) because they did not believe the public would support a longer and more expensive effort. Of course by rejecting the neo-cons' (and, I suspect, the generals') advice which was based on reality, we most likely ended up with a longer, more expensive and (most importantly) less successful endeavor in Iraq.

Simon said...

Garage Mahal said...
"Yes. We can discredit it [neoconservatism] now. It's been tried in its purest pharmaceutical form. And its lethal."

You do realize that neoconservatism is primarily a tendancy that focuses on domestic policy, and that applies liberal tools to conservative ends? Or are you seeking to exemplify my comment earlier that "the term 'neocon' has been transformed into a leftist epithet for anyone who has a certain view of foreign policy, a usage that has almost totally onscured its real meaning"? I imagine that Irving Kristol would have been stunned had someone told him twenty years ago that in the early 20th Century, neoconservatism would be commonly regarded as a foreign policy doctrine, despite the lack of any particular consensus among neoconservatives

This administration's most significantly and identifiably neoconservative policies have been NCLB and the Prescription Drug Benefit (both of which I opposed incidentally; I am not defending my own turf here), not the war in Iraq. But I suspect that most people don't realize that, because the term has been invested with an alternative meaning (at least, as far as a meaningless and formless insult can be an alternative meaning) by people like GarageMahal.

hdhouse said...
"and least I forget"

You mean lest you forget.


"NO SIMON. I think the apt question is why do the republicans even remotely support this peabrain and his total failure."

You'll notice that a significant chunk do not, but that isn't the apt question, or even a relevant question. The question is as I said at top: the Democrats have the power to stop the war. If they don't use it, at very least, they concede that the situation is more complicated than they painted it before the election, and at most, they have totally sold out their base, who wanted immediate withdrawal.

Simon said...

Jim,
I meant realism as in the sense of the term that Kissinger is associated with "realism' in foreign policy. I suppose "lazy cynicism" sounds too insulting. ;)

hdhouse said...

Simon said...
"You'll notice that a significant chunk do not, but that isn't the apt question, or even a relevant question. The question is as I said at top: the Democrats have the power to stop the war. If they don't use it, at very least, they concede that the situation is more complicated than they painted it before the election, and at most, they have totally sold out their base, who wanted immediate withdrawal."

All Simple Simon is simple for a reason.

1. significant chunk....define please. Or do you mean all those who lost?

2. Please name a source for the "base who wanted immediate withdrawal". That is just more Tony Snowflake spin.

You got sold a bill of goods from Bush on down and now the neo-con scramble is to spin it any way you can to avoid responsibility and blame. Well Simon, as the lookout man for the ship of fools, it was Mr. Bush who portrayed this fiasco from the get-go as a simple exercise in armed force and now we are paying the price - a constant and ever spiraling price - and it is the neo-con flipflop of all times that tries to push this off to the democrats to solve.

This is a godawful mess. It can't be won and everyone other than Mr. Bush has that clearly in mind. Everyone says we are loosing.

So what, Mr. Neo-con simple Simon, do you tell the parents, spouses, kids of the 11 killed yesterday? I suspect your answer is "Tough shit, I can't help, we can't help, hey, you elected the democrats..."

So lame. So irresponsible. So GOP.

Garage Mahal said...

This administration's most significantly and identifiably neoconservative policies have been NCLB and the Prescription Drug Benefit (both of which I opposed incidentally; I am not defending my own turf here), not the war in Iraq. But I suspect that most people don't realize that, because the term has been invested with an alternative meaning (at least, as far as a meaningless and formless insult can be an alternative meaning) by people like GarageMahal.

Simon, Im well aware of the roots of neoconservatism. Their domestic policies are really irrelevant, at least me, as it must go to Congress.

Foreign policies on the other hand, can go straight to the top of the Excecutive. Add enhanced powers, a Republican majority, and enough scared Democrats, and thats a recipe for disaster. In fact the de facto headquarters AEI, just called for a bombing of Iran immediately in an op-ed in the LA Times. Sick sick people actually, and not very bright I might add. How can you get duped by an Iranian spy in Chalabi? The CIA knew he was a fraud.

Joe said...

The problem with all this discussion is that for all intents and purposes, we've already won vis-a-vis Iraq.

The real pissing contest is that the US hasn't made things perfect in Iraq. Who the hell cares? Iraq is now in as good a position to depart from centuries of business as usual (consisting mostly of Kurdish and Shia supression by the Sunni minority) to create something resembling a democracy. Do you critics realize just how god damn significant that really is?

My biggest regret is that there is still the same Syrian, Irianian and Saudi governments to talk to (which is still a giant waste of time, but might as well be done to assuage the wringing hand crowd.)

hdhouse said...

Joe said...
The problem with all this discussion is that for all intents and purposes, we've already won vis-a-vis Iraq."

won what? are you on planet earth? do you breath oxygen? did your head spin around 360 degrees when bush said mission accomplished? are you like night of the living dead under there?

surely you miswrote. why don't you take the time to correct that statement. why don't you recognize that mr. bush is the second gop president in our history to have engineered a war loss (hey there tricky dick, move over you've got company).

i'm the decider! i'm the war president. i am the walrus booboocachu