December 26, 2006

The number of Americans who have died in the Iraq war...

... has now surpassed the number who died in the 9/11 attacks.

ADDED: A key question -- with an unknowable answer -- is: How many Americans would have died in post-9/11 attacks if we had not chosen the path of fighting back?

MORE: So many people -- in the comments and on other blogs -- are attributing things to me that I did not write here. Reading with comprehension has, apparently, become optional. Amusingly, the blundering blowhards out there keep calling me and idiot. Mirrors are in short supply these days.

123 comments:

Anonymous said...

While I grieve for those brave Americans and their families, I don't see the relevance of this post. The losses of Pearl Harbor while horrific, were quickly surpassed when we fought back.
You'll take more hits in the short term from a bully when you resist, but not in the long term. Especially when you defeat him decisively.

Anonymous said...

Iraq did not attack us, nor were they planning to. I'm surprised after 4 years after everything we know, that you still don't get this.

Pogo said...

Re: "Iraq did not attack us, nor were they planning to."

yeah, all that terorist training stuff was meaningless.

And no, NL, I won't cite a damn thing, because you are invincibly ignorant about this; no more open to persuasion by evidence and logic than Jimmy Carter, an equal fool.

Anonymous said...

What, NL, you mean there's not just one agent called The Middle East that attacked us on 9/11?

You have to know that's more complexity than brother-john can handle. Like most of the knuckle-draggers, he can't even resist comparing Iraq to WWII.

Update: Pogo, true to form, tosses out the ridiculous claim that there were terrorist training camps in Iraq. Not even the Bush administration relied on that one, which tells you just how weak it is.

Joe Dees said...

The story is misleading, as the number of troops that have died as a result of hostile action is actually far less - 2,377. Every one of the 9/11 deaths was as a result of hostile action. Besides, what is the actual significance of the comparison? Cetainly, far more US troops died in the Pacific theatre in WW II than the death count at Pearl Harbor; this does not mean that when death count parity was reached, that the US should have ceased prosecuting the war.

Pogo said...

Re: "which tells you just how weak it is"
Bullshit, Doyle. Again, you can carp all you want.
You're against the war. Fine. I think it needs to be fought and won. It's pretty clear I am not going to convince you, as stuck in concrete as your opinion is.

It's not worth my time to repsond to uou, inasmuch as your assertions are so predictably far-left as to border on parody.

Anonymous said...

Fighting back?

Oh man. Ann still thinks Iraq was involved in 9/11 too.

You'd be doing the country a favor if you'd never opine on international affairs ever again.

Clueless and bellicose is no way to go through life.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think to look at it this way is to concede that the only war is one where we are physically attacked, and then we can only respond to the level that we were attacked. So, as other posters have pointed out, we should have pulled out of WWII no later than the end of 1942.

But of course, that ignores that we didn't go into Iraq just because of 9/11, or WMD, etc. What 9/11 made obvious to the Administration and to many of us is that we had a systemic problem with (primarily Sunni) Islamic violence around the world.

The other thing that is (intentionally) ignored by the opponents of our incursion into Iraq is the question of what would have been the situation if we had not go into that country. What has to be remembered is:
- Vietnam, Iranian Embassy, Beruit Marine barracks, WTC I, Mogadisu, Cole, etc. OBL claimed that we were essentially a paper tiger who couldn't take casualties, and ran when even a couple of Americans died.
- Gulf War I was a result of Iraq invading Kuwait, and the U.S. responding at the request of the Kuwaities and Saudies.
- That war was ended by a cease fire - which Saddam Hussein was breaching ever more blatently.
- France had indicated to us shortly before our incursion into Iraq that it would not support continuing sanctions against Iraq the next time the issue came before the Security Council. (We later found out that three of the five permanent members had been bribed through OIF program and illegal the purchase of armaments).
- Without U.N. sanctions we could no longer legally implement the no-fly zones or keep Saddam Hussein from rearming.
- A failure of sactions would also have made him a hero of the Middle East.
- And even while he was under sanctions, he continued to cause problems, including: paying the families of suicide bombers who killed Israelis; attempted to assasinate President GHWB; moved an army corp towards Israel for invasion thereof, etc.
- And, of course, the sanctions and no-fly zones were the only things keeping the Kurds in the north and the Marsh Arabs in the south even somewhat safe from his brutality.

So, if we had not invaded when we did, we most likely would have been faced with: a lifting of sanctions; removal of the no-fly zones; rearming of Iraq; reinstituted or resumed WMD production; and Saddam triumphant and the hero of the Islamic Middle East for having beaten the Great Satan.

Bruce Hayden said...

I don't think that anyone here really believes that Iraq was directly, or even that indirectly, involved in the 9/11 attack on the U.S. And that is why we invaded Afganistan first, as that country, under the Taliban, was involved.

But Iraq under Saddam Hussein was intimately involved in the environment that resulted in that attack.

Anonymous said...

So you recognize that Iraq wasn’t even indirectly involved in the 9/11 attacks, but maintain that it was “intimately involved in the environment that resulted in [them]”?

It’s funny how being catastrophically, world-historically wrong can heighten one’s appreciation of nuance.

PatCA said...

The relevance of their latest "grim milestone" is that it buttresses the media contention that Bush, or the US in general, is the central problem in the world, not jihad.

Spreading pacifist nonsense also seems to the Crisis Group's mission. All in all, it's the 1930s all over again.

dreamingmonkey said...

It's worth asking whether Iraq now more or less resembles, in Bruce Hayden's words, "the environment that resulted in that attack." To me it seems that it resembles that environment significantly more than it did before.

As for the "milestone," get real. Anyone who didn't think that there would be this many casualties, and many many more, was living in a complete fantasy.

Ann Althouse said...

I never said I thought Iraq was behind the 9/11 attacks, but I did predict I'd be accused of thinking that.

Anonymous said...

You predicted it, eh? Impressive.

I've got you beat though: I predicted that you would be evasive enough to characterize the Iraq war as "the path of fighting back," and then deny that you made any representation as to Iraq's involvement in 9/11.

How is it "fighting back" otherwise, Ann? Or is a coherent statement from you just totally out of the question?

somefeller said...

"A key question -- with an unknowable answer -- is: How many Americans would have died in post-9/11 attacks if we had not chosen the path of fighting back?"

It's not only a question with an unknowable answer, it's a pointless question. No one of any importance after 9/11 argued that we shouldn't fight back, so that option wasn't on the table and therefore isn't worth discussing (and no, some band of vocal antiwar activists in Madison doesn't count as anyone of importance, or as a counterpoint). The issue was how we should fight back, and it looks pretty clear that history will record the Bush method of fighting back (squander the initial victory in Afghanistan, ignore or demonize those outside your political circle, and invade Iraq) as being at best a lost opportunity or at worst an outright failure.

Elizabeth said...

Ann, you connect Iraq to "fighting back" by citing the deaths of soldiers in Iraq. If you're not arguing that fighting in Iraq means us fighting against the forces that attacked us on 9/11, then what is your point? I don't get it, I freely admit.

There's no reason to believe that attacking Iraq has changed anything for us in terms of would-be or averted terrorist attacks, so I wouldn't call the Iraq war "fighting back." Someone has to have attacked you first for you to "fight back."

Anonymous said...

Doyle

Yea I actually heard that one last weekend at my in-laws. One brother in-law unfortunately is heading to Kuwait and/or Iraq as a diesel mechanic out of Ft McCoy as an Army Reserve Specialist. His shorter orders I'm sure will be supplying another warm body to recover broken down or shot up vehicles on roads in Iraq.

The other brother in-law has been subject to the Might Wurlitzer for the past 2 years from his latest girlfriend, and their right wing nut job family. Anyways, it all came together for a crappy and awkward holiday -- especially after said girlfriend buys my mother in-law Culture Warrior by Bill O'Reilly for a present. Dude is totally changed in some weird Stepford Wives sort of way, and I knew the sad transformation was complete when I heard "leftists" at the kitchen table.

They see absolutely no difference between Afghanistan and Iraq. Even today, if you ask them if they had a choice between staying in Afghanistan and destroying Al Qaeda, and putting the boot on the necks of other countries to cough up terrorists using the world support we received after 9/11-- or occupying Iraq for 4 years in a bloody civil war where we are irrelevant, and would have to pick a side to "win" -- they say they would do it all over again.

Cedarford said...

The far Left has a mindset that the only problem with radical Islam lies in the direct 9/11 attackers.
They can, evidently, best be fought by criminally prosecuting the "Head Evildoer", the CEO of all Islamic attacks, bin Laden.

Of course Doyle and company doen't exactly advocate invading nuclear armed Pakistan to "find bin Laden" and give him to his ACLU defense team.

Why, why....why invading Pakistan could get lots and lots of Americans killed and force the Lefties to weep false tears over the coffins of soldiers they revile and seek to keep out of schools as recruiters.

The Left forgets that most people know enough that they realize Iraq was defying 17 UN resolutions, firing on US and Brit air flights, running terrorist training camps, offering rewards for suicide bombers, tried assassinating Bush I, and had failed to come clean on status of WMD to the satisfaction of anybody.

So the bulk of Americans supported taking Saddam out.

What they grew dissatisfied with was Bush's bungling, his ineptitude driving oil to 80 bucks a barrel and putting America in diplomatic isolation as a Christian Zionist-led pack of cowboys, and the idea that we are stuck there nation-building for a pack of ingrateful Arab shitheads that would as soon as kill us than dip their purple fingers.

*******************
In 5 years we have lost less casualties than we did in a typical month in the Civil War or WWII. Or a typical 3 month stretch in Vietnam or Korea's peak years. The "unbearability" of our losses is so much Lefty theatrics. Fake blubbering about people they figuratively spit on over matters like ROTC, homo rights, incidental losses of enemy civilians, violating "terrorist civil rights", or recruiting young Americans.

Anonymous said...

The far Left has a mindset that the only problem with radical Islam...

Iraq was not an Islamist state.

Next!

downtownlad said...

Doyle - Ann is correct. She never claimed that Iraq was behind 9/11. She simply asked a question.

If your answer was "There would have been zero more attacks, because Iraq was not responsible for 9/11 in the first place", that's a valid response to her question.

That's what I happen to believe. But I think it's important to note that there have been many attacks against the West (including Americans) since 9/11. The anthrax attacks. The attacks at Bali. The London underground bombings. The Spanish railways attacks. The attacks in Turkey against Jewish temples. The attacks in Morrocco.

And I think the reason those attacks have happened is because we've been so focused on the false enemy in Iraq that we've diverted attention from the real enemy - Al Qeada.

And Osama Bin Laden is still not captured.

Sad.

As for the number of Americans in the military that died - nobody was predicting that. Nobody. In fact, at the start of the attack on Afghanistan, many people were saying how this would be the first war where there would be more civilian casualities than in the military.

Wrong.

David said...

NL;

You exhibit a complete lack of understanding of geo-political strategy and tactics.

Iraq and Afghanistan are strategically situated in the Middle East. They have the capability to affect change from the eastern Mediterranean to China.

You have the uncanny ability to not think like a terrorist. That is your fatal weakness!

Freder Frederson said...

Yes Ann, please clarify your point. If you aren't saying Iraq was tied to 9/11, then how is the war in Iraq "fighting back"?

Freder Frederson said...

And why is Ann's question unknowable? I am certain less Americans would have died in post-9/11 attacks if we had not gone into Iraq (and certainly a hell of a lot less Iraqis).

Even if another 3000 U.S. citizens had died in terrorist attacks in the U.S. since 9/11, would anyone say the president was doing a good job in the war against terrorism. Why is it that just because those 3000 citizens are soldiers that died in faraway countries it somehow makes the deaths acceptable?

dklittl said...

Iraq and Afghanistan are strategically situated in the Middle East. They have the capability to affect change from the eastern Mediterranean to China.

Afghanistan, not so much. But Iraq hell ya. Look how a Shiite-led Iraq aligned with Iran is poised to sweep across the Mediterranean, while posing a danger to our strategic allies in the region and eventually us. Of course, there was the capability to affect change, just as letting every prisoner out of an American jail would affect change.

Also, I don't think that anyone disagrees that the Middle East governments in total are pretty dysfunctional and are a long term problem for us. But again, going after one of the "evil-doer" states that had the least capacity to harm us and the only one that we could semi-affectively monitor still makes no sense.

Anonymous said...

It seems there is only one segment of this society who believe that Iraq is worth the effort, our military. The people who are fighting, and in some cases, being wounded and killed, are re-enlisting in still-record numbers.
I was in the Southeast Asian War Games, When the soldiers and Marines started losing faith in the war, re-enlistment dropped way back.
As long as the Corporals and Captains believe in the war, so will I.
I wonder want you people would have been saying in 1942..."North Africa never attacked Pearl Harbor" or in 1943...Sicily never attacked Pearl Harbor".

tjl said...

"I am certain less Americans would have died in post-9/11 attacks if we had not gone into Iraq."

Freder, I congratulate you on your certainty that you possess facts not known to the rest of us. For the enlightenment of us all, though, please share how you came to know this. Secret phone calls from Zawahiri? Clairvoyant visions? Some other occult method? An anxious nation needs to know, so that you can guide us with your special insights.

Pogo said...

Re: "the only one that we could semi-affectively monitor"

Only if by "semi" you mean "not at all".

Re: "Clueless and bellicose is no way to go through life."

The master speaks from experience, of course. Next, tell us about your inability to separate good and evil, and your continual mistaking of "comfortable liberal tropes" for "the right thing to do". It's where you shine, Doyle.

Paddy O. said...

What I always find interesting is how the past doesn't seem to extend before 9/11. We were in the Middle East already before then, because we kept up a presence and patrolled the no-fly zone since '91. Bin Laden has said one reason for his efforts were because of America's presence in Saudi Arabia. Invading Iraq took us out of Saudi Arabia, and basically addressed a decade long stand-off.

We were at war with Iraq prior to 9/11, a suspended war since '91 as long as everyone played according to the UN rules. People didn't, so the war resumed.

Whether this saved more lives is indeed a question we'll never answer. Though, I do know that people would be as up in arms against Bush had he not invaded. Just like they are attacking him for how he is approaching Iran and North Korea.

Ann Althouse said...

People keep questioning me as if I devised the plan to fight. Bush chose to do it the way he did for some reason. For him, there seems to have been one interwoven plan. Obviously, it is open to the criticisms people are making. All I'm saying is that if you want to compare deaths from the path he took, the right point of comparison is to the path not taken. I'm willing to concede that there are more than one not-taken paths.

Anonymous said...

People keep questioning me as if I devised the plan to fight.

Fight? You mean "fight back" don't you Ann?

Freder Frederson said...

For the enlightenment of us all, though, please share how you came to know this.

Simple, Saddam Hussein had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11 and had absolutely no operational ties with Al Qaeda. Invading Iraq did nothing to help in our efforts against Al Qaeda. If it did anything it increased support for Al Qaeda, further destabilized the the middle east, and hampered our efforts in Afghanistan, where Al Qaeda was and is actually hiding.

Consequently, everyone who died in Iraq died in a war that was a distraction in the war against Al Qaeda and actually led to more deaths, because we were not tracking down the people who were actually responsible for 9/11. They are all in Afghanistan and Pakistan (maybe Somalia now), but certainly not Iraq.

Freder Frederson said...

People keep questioning me as if I devised the plan to fight.

No, people keep questioning you because you imply that the war in Iraq has something to do with 9/11, but when you are called on it, you say, "I never said that". We just want to know unequivocally whether you believe Saddam Hussein had anything to do with 9/11 and if he didn't what you mean by

"How many Americans would have died in post-9/11 attacks if we had not chosen the path of fighting back?"

since if he didn't have anything to do with 9/11, how does invading Iraq constitute "fighting back".

Pogo said...

Re: "but certainly not Iraq"

Only if by "certainly" you mean "I haven't the slightest goddamned idea what I'm talking about, but blustering and table-pounding looks alot like knowledge, so I'll go with that."

Then, yeah. Certainly it is.

Anonymous said...

On my map Iraq and Afghanistan make wonderful staging grounds for invading Iran.

Trey

Cedarford said...

Frederson - Even if another 3000 U.S. citizens had died in terrorist attacks in the U.S. since 9/11, would anyone say the president was doing a good job in the war against terrorism.

No, but only the Left insists on believing a global struggle by radical Islamists against infidels and the decay of Islamic civilization that gives birth to them is actually all about American partisan politics.

Frederson - Why is it that just because those 3000 citizens are soldiers that died in faraway countries it somehow makes the deaths acceptable?

Because rather than being victims simply dying and accomplishing nothing - they are soldiers who in Afghanistan and Iraq have killed or captured nearly 70 thousand of the bad guys. They have nailed critical leaders, prevented many Islamoid attacks, put fear in the heart of many Jihadis and taught them a price is to be paid unless they remain silent and hidden..

Downtownlad - And I think the reason those attacks have happened is because we've been so focused on the false enemy in Iraq that we've diverted attention from the real enemy - Al Qeada.

Only in the Lefty litany is a small but effective Jihadi group "The Real Enemy". Al Qaeda is one of 60 Jihadi groups operating globally, and only "medium" in the number of deaths caused globally compared to other Islamoid terrorist organizations at work.

DTL - And Osama Bin Laden is still not captured.

That is because he is hiding in Pakistan. Do your Lefty buddies propose an invasion and war with Pakistan so we can look for one guy? *Holds breath waiting on Lefties to demand another major war and to line up at recruiting stations to fight it. And hand Osama over to his ACLU lawyers so his precious terrorist civil liberties are not trammeled......*

Freder Frederson said...

Only if by "certainly" you mean "I haven't the slightest goddamned idea what I'm talking about, but blustering and table-pounding looks alot like knowledge, so I'll go with that."

Gee, I must have missed the president telling us that the reason we invaded Iraq was that the people responsible for 9/11 were hiding in Iraq or that the reason we are still there is that we have reason to believe they are there now. Although if they were, that would be the supreme irony as it would demonstrate Iraq is so unstable that Al Qaeda leaders feel comfortable enough to hide in a country crawling with 140,000 U.S. troops.

fishbane said...

I have an equally applicable question:

How many Americans would have been saved from post-9/11 attacks if we had sent the Pope to the moon?

Pogo said...

Re: 'Gee, I must have missed ..."

Well, Freder, you miss alot, grasp little, and know even less. So count me unsurprised.

Frankly, I don't care what you think. We disagree about Iraq (still). BFD. What difference does it make? Problem is, we are in Iraq, and that cannot be changed just by being a blowhard.

So, be constructive instead of just your usual coprolalic self. What, precisely, do we do now that we are where we are, not "what would we do if Freder billboards graced all the walls in the city"?

Wade_Garrett said...

Far fewer than have died in Iraq, especially if we spent the, you know, hundreds of billions of dollars that we're spending over there to actually make America more secure.

downtownlad said...

Oh - he's in Pakistan. Boo hoo.

We've obliterated other terrorists in Pakistan. Why is that stopping us from capturing Osama if he's there???? And as if you would know where he was.

Let's face it. The only reason we haven't captured him is because we haven't been looking very hard.

We have about 150,000 troops in Iraq. And we have about 10 looking for Osama.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Downtownlad:

We have about 20,000 troops in and around Afghanistan hunting bin Laden.

But your point is well taken. The argument can (and has) been made that we are not more involved with searching for him or with the Afghan war in general because we invaded Iraq.

Perhaps Ann's question could be answered by, "What would be the situation now if we actually HAD fought back against the 9/11 attackers and kept it as our first priority until we got them?"

(or put another way: I made a prediction in September, and I was right.

Anonymous said...

ADDED: A key question -- with an unknowable answer -- is: How many Americans would have died in post-9/11 attacks if we had not chosen the path of fighting back?

wadda fatuous bint.
it's answer is 'unknowable' because it is a wholly spurious question. the 'key question' assume facts not in evidence: that the Invasion, Conquest, Occupation, Rape, and Pillage (ICORP) of Iraq prevented or obstructed of subsequent possible attacks in the US.
as far as i am aware, no airline hijackers, no shopping-mall bombers, no tunnel-flooders have been apprehended among the 500THOUSAND or so Iraqis brought to death under the sword of the US ICORP...

Evidence, please...

Anonymous said...

yeah, all that terrorist training stuff was meaningless.

Pogo:
USer forces train for nuclear warfare.

by your logic, that is defacto a threat to the peace and stability of the planet, and would therefore make the US liable for invasion by peace-loving adversaries, innit?

Freder Frederson said...

So, be constructive instead of just your usual coprolalic self.

Constructive? So far your lord and savior, George Bush, or for that matter, you, haven't offered anything constructive. You have just offered fantastical, inflated and dishonest explanations for invading Iraq and then botched the occupation. Then after ignoring all advice and screwing it up for almost four years I am supposed to offer constructive solutions. Where are your constructive solutions to the problem? So far I haven't heard or seen any other than to blame everyone else for the failure of Bush's policy and assure us that if we only knew better the reasons for invading Iraq would be crystal clear (even though the reasons you apparently cling to aren't even held by the administration).

On my map Iraq and Afghanistan make wonderful staging grounds for invading Iran.

This is just the kind of insane thinking that makes me fear for the rational thought processes of some people on the right. Who exactly is going to invade Iran? Our military is currently stretched to the breaking point. Invading Iran (or worse yet a bombing campaign) would be absolutely insane and disastrous. To suggest such a thing is reckless to the extreme.

michael a litscher said...

Doyle: Iraq was not an Islamist state. Next!

And here I thought the Sunni and the Shi’a, who are killing each other in Iraq, and have been since the 7th century, were Islamic sects.

Must be a figment of my NeoCon imagination, or something.

Good thing we have our betters, such as you, to set us straight.

So, if the Sunni and Shi'a aren't Islamic sects, and don't both have their own terrorist organizations, then what are they?

Anonymous said...

Freder quoted me and typed: "On my map Iraq and Afghanistan make wonderful staging grounds for invading Iran.

This is just the kind of insane thinking that makes me fear for the rational thought processes of some people on the right. Who exactly is going to invade Iran? Our military is currently stretched to the breaking point."

Insane? Is your map different? Even if my geography is poor, is that sufficient cause to lable me insane? OR, is this just an ad hominem attack? I thought so.

Who will attack Iran is us and Israel. With a little help from our friends. When is as soon as the situation in Irag cools down and our forces are not busy elsewhere.

What makes you say that our forces are strained to the breaking point???? Facts please!

The few soldiers in the field that I talk to have never made any mention of being understaffed. Now I do happen to think that 30,000 more troops on the ground in the capital would be a good idea. Al Sadr would have a simple choice, join the democracy or the graveyard. I think he would rock the vote.

Trey

michael a litscher said...

Freder Frederson: Consequently, everyone who died in Iraq died in a war that was a distraction in the war against Al Qaeda...

A clue for the clueless: it's called the "War on Terror" not the "War against Al Qaeda" for a reason.

Pogo said...

"We must prepare to rule the world."
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran

"We have a strategy drawn up for the destruction of Anglo-Saxon civilization."
Hassan Abbassi,
Top advisor to Iranian Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei

But hey, no problemo; just keep on looking for that dried up old dead guy, Osama, and everything will be so September 10th again. Only a conservatard would believe otherwise.

Freder Frederson said...

The few soldiers in the field that I talk to have never made any mention of being understaffed. Now I do happen to think that 30,000 more troops on the ground in the capital would be a good idea.

Rather than listening to "the few soldiers in the field" that you talk to to get your strategic information, perhaps you should listen to what the joint chiefs and the pentagon say. They constantly are warning that the readiness of troops destined for Iraq is slipping and that we can't maintain the current optempo in Iraq. Our equipment is worn out and the backlog at the depots is astounding (over a thousand M-1s at the tank depot in Anniston). Even if Iraq miraculously became peaceful tomorrow it would be years before we would be able to launch a land invasion against Iran. Their military is much stronger, their population larger, and the terrain much more difficult than what we encountered in Iraq.

Freder Frederson said...

A clue for the clueless: it's called the "War on Terror" not the "War against Al Qaeda" for a reason.

Yeah well, Saddam's connection to terrorism, especially islamic fundamentalist terrorism, were almost nonexistent. So my point is still valid. There are and were probably a dozen countries that were more sympathetic to fundamentalist islamic terrorism (including our good friends the Saudis, Pakistanis, and UAE), than Saddam (a secular socialist btw) ever was.

dmbeaster said...
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Anonymous said...
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dmbeaster said...

bruce hayden

But Iraq under Saddam Hussein was intimately involved in the environment that resulted in that attack.

Whatever that supposedly means -- sounds like "weapons of mass destruction program realted activities" to me.

As for those "intimately involved" -- Iraq was at the bottom of such countries in the Middle East. Just grow up and admit that Iraq was attacked for reasons having nothing to do with Al Queda. As for the grand neo-con dream that attacking Iraq would somehow improve our relations with the Middle East and lessen terrorism, time has shown how horribly wrong that idea was.

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

Freder Frederson: Yeah well, Saddam's connection to terrorism, especially islamic fundamentalist terrorism, were almost nonexistent.

Except for the likes of Abdul Rahman Yasin, Abu Nidal, Abu Abbas, Ansar al-Islam, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi... Except for paying "bonuses" of up to $25,000 to the families of Palestinian homicide bombers...

I would say your grasp of Saddam's harboring and financing of terrorists is what is nonexistent. More like willful ignorance.

There are and were probably a dozen countries that were more sympathetic to fundamentalist islamic terrorism (including our good friends the Saudis, Pakistanis, and UAE), than Saddam (a secular socialist btw) ever was.

The Saudis are fighting against terrorist organizations as well, the Pakistanis are a limited ally in the war on terror at the moment, and the UAE is providing us several military bases to operate out of. Attacking our allies in the war on terror doesn't make any sense.

And while Saddam was a socialist who, in typical socialist fashion, liked to build palaces for himself while his people starved, comissioning to have a Koran written in his own blood doesn't sound all that secular to me. Though this fantasy that Saddam was a secular socialist does explain the left's sympathies for him - witness Former Attorney General (appointed by LBJ) Ramsey Clark rushing to his defense.

David said...

Freder;

Turkey is preparing to invade Northern Iraq if and when the Americans leave Northern Iraq. This will quell any attempts by the Kurds to establish their own state. Keep in mind there are a substantial number of disaffected Kurds (Peshmerga fighters) in Turkey.

Al Qaeda is taking advantage of the Hamas vs Fatah civil war to co-opt the Palestinians and set up a northern front Hezbollah/Fatah against Israel. That leaves Hamas on Israel's Gaza/West Bank front.

Iran is supplying money and arms to support attacks on Israel and the Great Satan (America) and to stir up unrest among the Shia's scattered through the Wahabbi's and Sunni's. Iran's pursuit of nuclear arms is forcing the Saudi's to buy/make their own deterrence against the Shia's of Iran. Remember the Saudi's helped Pakistan pursue their own nuclear weapon.

What amazes me is when the likes of Kerry make a living creating the bogeyman of complexity that only his intellect is capable of understanding. When a truly complex situation like the Middle East requires a new playbook Kerry and his buddies take the simplistic approach of cut and run!

There are several war situations going on right now. Shia vs Sunni, Shia and Sunni against the west, Turkey vs the Kurds, al qaeda against whoever it takes to fight western civilization (enemy of my enemy is my friend), and al qaeda (wahabbism) against secular sunnis.

We are in this fight whether we like it or not. The French have found this out as they sell torched autos on the scrap iron circuit, the Danes rescued an embarrassingly high number of Danish radical Islamists after the Israeli foray into Lebanon, Spain and Italy are quietly deporting the radical imams from local mosques, and Dearborn Michigan is becoming ground zero for organizing Muslims in the U.S. with the help of the ACLU.

We are under siege by forces lined up against our way of life. 2007 should be interesting indeed! The good news is how long can Iran keep up the pace before it goes bankrupt like the Russians at the end of the cold war.

Speaking of the Russians...

Anonymous said...
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Randy said...

A key question -- with an unknowable answer -- is: How many Americans would have survived if the Decider decided to pay attentiuon to his August 6, 2001 PDB.

Well, not quite without an answer: nearly three thousand in addition to the nearly three thousand dead in Iraq.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of false calims about WMD's.

PGL said...

The correct answer is ZERO. Lawyers, Guns, and Money provides explanation

PGL said...
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Ann Althouse said...

Woody Guthrie's Guitar....

You use outright sexist language to make your point. Where does that put you on the political spectrum?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Michael A. Litscher:

Abdul Rahman Yasin, Abu Nidal, Abu Abbas, Ansar al-Islam, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi...

Yasin (a native of Iraq) was arrested and imprisoned by Saddam's regime. He is now at large someplace. Score one for our invasion (not).

Abu Nidal made the mistake of 'retirement' in Iraq after his stint with Fatah. Officially he is said to have committed suicide in 2002 but in fact it appears that he was likely murdered by Saddam's security agents.

Abu Abbas-- you have a case. However in the overall scheme of international terror he is a pretty small fish. He has no known connection whatsoever to al-Qaeda.

So of your first three, at best you can claim that we were better than Saddam at fighting terrorists on one out of three.

Ansar-al-Islam: An al-Qaeda training camp in Iraq. Only you have to have quite a stretch to link it with Saddam. Look at a map-- it was located miles behind Kurdish lines, along the border with Iran, and at least a hundred miles from any place in Iraq that was under the control of Saddam Hussein. So he couldn't have had any influence on it even if he wanted to.

Zarqawi-- entered Iraq in December 2002 (by which time a U.S. invasion of Iraq was pretty much already a given), ostensibly for dental work, but in fact to organize al-Qaeda in Iraq following a U.S. invasion (which he did). So he came there to fight us. And we got him but not the organization he has built.

Which only points out what a lot of people are saying. By invading Iraq, we have handed them a great training/recruiting ground and (at least to Muslim eyes) have verified bin Laden's claim that the U.S. 'seeks to occupy muslim lands).

So you gave me 5 examples, and only one of the five (far less than I think you would find in, say, our perfidious 'ally,' Saudi Arabia) can you even make the case that 1) Saddam brought him in and 2) Saddam didn't exercise his own paranoid internal rule to stamp out a perceived 'threat.'

Clutching at straws to try and come up with connections between Saddam and al-Qaeda is what the supporters of the disastrous war in Iraq are reduced to. They wanted this war, they pushed for it, they have it, and with the failures of the original rationale (WMD) and the election of a fundamentalist Iran-friendly government, that is about all that is left to them anymore.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jason said...

No one is seriously arguing that Iraq was directly responsible for the 9/11 attacks. But not even the 9/11 commission believes that there were no ties between Al Qaeda and Iraq. Indeed, the commissioners found, and I quote, "all kinds of ties; all kinds of connections" between Al Qaeda and Saddam's regime.

They just couldn't tie Saddam to 9/11 specifically. But given the relevations surrounding the invitation of Ayman Al Zawahiri to Baghdad at Ibrahim Azzat al-Duri's request in 1999 (a year after the African embassy bombings), given blessed july, given the relevation that there were terrorist training camps in Iraq (and yes, moron, there were,), given a nuclear centrifuge buried in a scientist's back yard, given hundreds of WMDs found undestroyed and hidden in the desert (by my count between 500 and 750 (500 definite, 750 including some unconfirmed reports), and give Saddam's connection to chemical weapons manufacturing in Sudan (even the Clinton administration came to that conclusion), it's pretty obvious that Saddam was 1.) in violation of the UN continuing resolutions, 2.) in violation of the terms of his cease fire - either of which were cassus belli even had 9/11 never occured. (Discounting, of course, thousands of instances of his firing on aircraft enforcing the NFZ, and discounting his attempt to murder George H.W. Bush -- two more cassus belli).

In short, Saddam was not taken out because of any alleged involvement specifically with 9/11. He was taken out because he was an obvious potential sponsor of future 9/11's.

Riddle me this - we are currently attempting to convince Iran to abandon its nuclear program.

Is a hostile Saddam Hussein, rebuilding his WMD program in Iraq, likely to cause the Iranians to be more likely to strike a deal in which they abandon their own nuclear plans? Or less likely?

What are the chances Iran would give it up when they could not be sure that Iraq had done the same thing?

FlyingRodent said...
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Rainsborough said...

All Professor Althouse means to say is that one must compare what did happen in Iraq to what might have happened if we hadn’t invaded?

Then we can never justify or condemn the war, because in no robust sense of “know” can we know what would have happened if we hadn’t invaded. Bruce Hayden only asserts what those outcomes he fears would have come about are “most likely.”

We do know, however, that those who favored the invasion, many of them, favored it on January 20, 2001, and a couple of them would have launched it before the invasion of Afghanistan.

We know that James Baker, Richard Cheney and the other George Bush foresaw that the occupation of Iraq entailed difficulties they thought it best to skirt.

We know that the invasion was undertaken in contravention of Article 2, section 4 of the UN Charter.

We know also that the amount of violence, not only Sunni but also Shi’a, that has been spawned in Iraq is rather remarkable, and that Iran’s influence in the region has been augmented considerably. We know that our military options have been constrained by the unexpectedly long stay in Iraq. We know that friends of Iran are in a position of considerable influence in Lebanon. We know that public opinion polls show much greater Muslim hostility towards America than existed before the invasion of Iraq. We know that before the invasion Iraq’s military power had been reduced to a fraction of what it had been in 1991, when its forces were expelled from Kuwait in six weeks.
We know that the Iran began its nuclear program in earnest in 1999, and that its progress in 2003 as now was more immediately to be feared than Iraq’s.

I think we know enough to judge that the invasion of Iraq is the most disastrous decision an American president has made since James Buchanan or Andrew Johnson. I think that Professor Alt has yet to grasp the enormity of this disaster. But then she’s in good company. So also has President Bush.

Cedarford said...

TMink - Who will attack Iran is us and Israel. With a little help from our friends. When is as soon as the situation in Irag cools down and our forces are not busy elsewhere.

We would have no help from our friends if we ever stage a joint attack with the Pariah State. Israel/US joint military action would be denounced by every other nation on the planet. Israel is not an ally. It is a liability.

Frederson - Our equipment is worn out and the backlog at the depots is astounding (over a thousand M-1s at the tank depot in Anniston). Even if Iraq miraculously became peaceful tomorrow it would be years before we would be able to launch a land invasion against Iran. Their military is much stronger, their population larger, and the terrain much more difficult than what we encountered in Iraq.

On this I agree with Frederson. Under Bush, military resources and readiness continue to erode. We have less tanks, ships, subs, fighter jets, bases than we did when Clinton handed the boob the keys. For 5 years, Bush has resisted a larger military and repairing all the military gear he destroyed or burned out, starting with the 300 fighter jets he burned out their flight lifetimes cutting donuts over US cities when every advisor said it was stupid and not a military necessity.

Even the "Our heroes are re-enlisting!!" speech meant to imply our troops love the "American Churchill" omits the fact that the re-enlistment bonus had to increase 6-fold and be made tax-free in order to get targets, and fresh troops are now coming in with lower standards.

Frederson is also right about Iran being in a whole different league than Iraq's weakened military and dysfunctional society. Their terrain, getting the whole Gulf secured makes the mission far more difficult than Iraq as well.

If you think Iran must be hit to "save Our Special Friend", preemptively, we will have no allies and that will require a Draft and a wrecked American economy. And years to prepare for it.
On the other hand, if Iran attacks the Zionists or other ME nations, we will have allies. Especially other nations. No Draft needed, and only a mild recession shared by all rather than just the US being bled and trashed.

Jason - What are the chances Iran would give it up when they could not be sure that Iraq had done the same thing?

What are the chances they are not interested as long as the Zionists have nuclear-tipped missiles aimed at them and they have historically hostile nuclear-armed neighbors Russia, Sunni Pakistan, and the "regime-change!!" USA on their Borders.

They get Russian help with nuclear power plants because the Russians both want hard currency to make up for what the Oligarchs filched under Yeltsin and because they can ensure the Iranians burn reactor fuel past the point it can be used in nuke weapons. It actually had no concern about Iraq and nukes...Good spy network. It opposed the US invasion since it felt under no WMD threat and worried that the US was being used as a puppet by wealthy Zionists that saw Iraq as simply a staging area and 1st step towards invading Iran.

To get Iran to relinquish it's WMD ambitions will require a treaty and a mutual defense pact with Russia, China, or the USA to shield it from Pakistan and Israel's vast, secret WMD stockpiles.

Anonymous said...

I think that Professor Alt has yet to grasp the enormity of this disaster. But then she’s in good company. So also has President Bush.

I disagree, I think President Bush understands that he screwed up bigger and worse than just about anybody else. I know his fathers thinks that.

Anonymous said...

You deleted this?...

*sigh* Althouse is ruining the Internet.

Whoa. Getting a might brittle aren't you?

Anonymous said...

Military considers recruiting foreigners
Expedited citizenship would be an incentive
An Armed Forces center in Plymouth. US officials are trying tactics to find recruits; one involves attracting noncitizens. (JULIA CUMES/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

By Bryan Bender, Globe Staff | December 26, 2006

WASHINGTON -- The armed forces, already struggling to meet recruiting goals, are considering expanding the number of noncitizens in the ranks -- including disputed proposals to open recruiting stations overseas and putting more immigrants on a faster track to US citizenship if they volunteer -- according to Pentagon officials.

Foreign citizens serving in the US military is a highly charged issue, which could expose the Pentagon to criticism that it is essentially using mercenaries to defend the country. Other analysts voice concern that a large contingent of noncitizens under arms could jeopardize national security or reflect badly on Americans' willingness to serve in uniform.

The idea of signing up foreigners who are seeking US citizenship is gaining traction as a way to address a critical need for the Pentagon, while fully absorbing some of the roughly one million immigrants that enter the United States legally each year.

AJ Lynch said...

Ann asked what if we had not taken the actions (Afgahanistan& Iraq) we did post 9-11, what would the death toll be?

And the ususal suspects jumped on her for allegedly supporting both actions. All she was saying was "what if" you morons.

How delusional that Democraps (I like that word) still refuse to see Iraq and WMD was a reasonable target based on the info from the CIA which was run by a an idiot (high-five Tenet) appointed by Clinton?

I believe Iraq War has contributed to keeping us safe here and it is indisputable fact that we have not been attacked since 911. I give Bushco fing bigtime credit for that.

FlyingRodent said...

Removed?!

I thought I made a very pertinent point, i.e. fantasy horrors are less consequential than real ones.

Shame on you.

michael a litscher said...

Eli Blake: Yasin (a native of Iraq) was arrested and imprisoned by Saddam's regime. He is now at large someplace. Score one for our invasion (not).

According to Sheila MacVicar of ABC's defunct Day One program, Yasin was a free man. "Last week, Day One confirmed he [Yasin] is in Baghdad," MacVicar reported June 27, 1994. "Just a few days ago, he was seen at [his father's] house by ABC News. Neighbors told us Yasin comes and goes frequently." Iraqi intelligence documents discovered since Baghdad's liberation indicate that Yasin received government-funded housing and a monthly salary.

Abu Nidal made the mistake of 'retirement' in Iraq after his stint with Fatah. Officially he is said to have committed suicide in 2002 but in fact it appears that he was likely murdered by Saddam's security agents.

Yes, in the villa in which he was living, which was owned by the Mukhabarat, or Iraqi secret service.

Abu Abbas-- you have a case. However in the overall scheme of international terror he is a pretty small fish. He has no known connection whatsoever to al-Qaeda.

Small fish don't conduct terror attacks through a period of four decades. Al-Qaeda isn't the only terrorist organization in the world, and as I noted earlier, this is a war on terror, not a war on al-Qaeda. And Saddam did protect him from extridition to Italy.

So of your first three, at best you can claim that we were better than Saddam at fighting terrorists on one out of three.

I can claim that Saddam provided homes, salaries, sanctuary, and financial support to international terrorists.

Ansar-al-Islam: An al-Qaeda training camp in Iraq. Only you have to have quite a stretch to link it with Saddam. Look at a map-- it was located miles behind Kurdish lines, along the border with Iran, and at least a hundred miles from any place in Iraq that was under the control of Saddam Hussein. So he couldn't have had any influence on it even if he wanted to.

Saddam filled mass graves with thousands of Kurds, not the other way around.

Zarqawi-- entered Iraq in December 2002 (by which time a U.S. invasion of Iraq was pretty much already a given), ostensibly for dental work, but in fact to organize al-Qaeda in Iraq following a U.S. invasion (which he did). So he came there to fight us. And we got him but not the organization he has built.

Uh, right. A known international terrorist travels to a place which is hostile to terrorists (at least according to the left) to get, of all things, dental work. Sure. That's believeable.

Which only points out what a lot of people are saying. By invading Iraq, we have handed them a great training/recruiting ground

Where we are dispatching them by the tens of thousands.

and (at least to Muslim eyes) have verified bin Laden's claim that the U.S. 'seeks to occupy muslim lands).

Gee, some leftie was just claiming above that Iraq was secular. So is Iraq secular, or is it "muslim lands"?

Clutching at straws to try and come up with connections between Saddam and al-Qaeda...

No, connections between Saddam and terrorists. Again, al-Qaeda isn't the only terrorist organization on the planet.

They wanted this war, they pushed for it, they have it, and with the failures of the original rationale (WMD)...

There were plenty of rationales besides WMD for going into Iraq.

Anonymous said...

AA, you deleted my post! How pathetic. I suppose it didn't fit into your neocon dream world; rather be with your good vs evil cheerleading squad. Too bad you can't delete reality because it won't be kind to the neocon cause.

hdhouse said...

yoskie...

while diva AA is running for some rightwing vanity award, she tends to delete. No one dares call it censor an open blog.

the answer to the posed question is: WHERE? in iraq? most of the killing that bush found as an excuse for the war (one of his many excuses) came during the Reagan Bush I years when we were arming him to the teeth. do we forget that the gas that killed the kurds was US produced?

Instead the question is: how many have died just as needlessly in iraq as in new york and how many more will die needlessly while president idiot-boy cuts brush in texas waiting for some divine inspiration to strike life into his brain.

hdhouse said...

dreamingmonkey said...
It's worth asking whether Iraq now more or less resembles, in Bruce Hayden's words, "the environment that resulted in that attack." To me it seems that it resembles that environment significantly more than it did before.

As for the "milestone," get real. Anyone who didn't think that there would be this many casualties, and many many more, was living in a complete fantasy."

that about sums up the bush presidency....greeted with flowers...oil pays for war....everyone home in 6 months...flowering democracy taking hold throughout the mideast....iran will revolt....ohhh the list of "complete fantasy".

salvage said...

A key question -- with an unknowable answer -- is: How many Americans would have died in post-9/11 attacks if we had not chosen the path of fighting back?

...

Wow.

I never thought of that.

I'm sure that having a brain must have something to do with it.

Anonymous said...

Other things that, by your logic, have been prevented by "fighting back" against a country which had no connection to the attack:

-No meteors have hit the continental U.S. We showed those chickens**t meteors!

-The Kansas City Chiefs haven't won a Super Bowl--a regrettable side effect of freedom, I suppose.

-No neoSoviet troops have landed in Michigan, forcing young men to grow mullets, turn all insurgenty and yell "WOOOLLLLVEEERRRIIINNNNES!"

-You haven't posted a coherent thought to her blog.

Anonymous said...

Well, OK. Althouse delete comments without explanation. Good to know.

A tenured law professor acting as an Orwellian propagandist. I'd say it's game over for Ann Althouse.

D. Moore said...

"How many Americans would have died in post-9/11 attacks if we had not chosen the path of fighting back?"

You're right, this is unknowable. But it appears to me that you are implying that more Americans would have died in terrorist attacks if we had not invaded Iraq. It's possible you're right, although I would expect that any terrorists who went to Iraq to battle us would have gone to Afghanistan instead, rather than try to come to the US. Perhaps you were not speaking of the US, specifically.

However, I think you are asking the wrong hypothetical question. Try this one, instead:
"Will more Americans die in post-9/11 attacks than would have died if we hadn't attacked Iraq?"

I think the answer to this will clearly be Yes. We can argue about the level of threat that Saddam posed for years on end, but he was at least somewhat contained. I do not believe we will be able to contain the instability we have introduced into the Middle East. Iran is now a far more serious threat than before the invasion, and is already exerting far more control over Iraq than we do. Saudi Arabia is threatening to arm the Sunni insurgents if we pull out. Obviously, the level of anti-American hatred in the region is far greater than it ever was in the past.

We have incited the terrorist breeding ground, and de-stabilized it. That doesn't bode well for our security, long-term.

Laney said...

9/11 was the excuse. We invaded Iraq because of oil and Israel.
Charges of antisemitism will be used to silence any discussion of Israeli influence on US foreign policy.

Laney

Sloanasaurus said...

Fortunately for us, President Bush had a much more strategic view of the war on terror than the critics on this board. Osama attacked us on 9-11 because he wanted us to invade Afghanistan so he could defeat us there just as they did the Soviets in the 1980s. Afghanistan is a terrible place to fight for us. The country is made for defense. It is mountainous and easy to hide – it is the best terrain for a guerilla war which has been proven time and time again in wars against the British and the Russians. Afghanistan is completely surrounded by skeptical allies and enemies (Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan). There is no port to supply troops – we would have to rely on enemies and skeptical allies to supply our troops. There is no significant populace there allied to us – Afghans have a long history of changing alliances. The country is completely impoverished and has no resources so no local government could ever fight the terrorists on its own. Osama expected that our invasion would rally tens of thousands of arabs to come and fight for jihad in Afghanistan just as they did in the 1980s.

We would have been defeated by the terrorists in Afghanistan.

Fortunately, Bush out strategized the terrorists and invaded Iraq. We chose the battlefield instead of the terrorists. Osama’s expected jihadi army went to Iraq instead of Afghanistan because it is closer and easier to get to. Iraq is a country with a port, so we can supply a significant sized army. We had allies in Iraq – the Kurds. The country is not completely surrounded by enemies. Besides Iran and Syria, also bordering Iraq are Saudi, Jordan, and Turkey - three countries where we have a significant long term military and strategic relationship with. The country has significant wealth and resources so that it could train and maintain a large army to help us fight the terrorists even after we leave. The country is difficult for guerrilla defenders. – it is mostly urban and desert, and a large part of the population is hostile to the terrorists.

People think Iraq is a disaster, but it has been the ticket to winning the war on terror and crushing the terrorists just as the disaster of Iwo Jima where 6,000 Americans fell was required to defeat Japan. Currently there is a mini-civil war going on in Iraq that has nothing to do with global jihad, but that war will come to and end, and global jihad will die with it. Al Qaeda is no longer a credible force other than for rhetoric. It’s forces have been liquidated in the deserts and cities of Iraq.

We will in the end eventually win. If we would have not invaded Iraq, the terrorists would be on the rise and we would have been attacked again. Iraq is the key to victory over the terrorists.

Sloanasaurus said...

Every one of the 9/11 deaths was as a result of hostile action. Besides, what is the actual significance of the comparison?

Also, it is true that there have been no more terrorist attacks. This is largley due to the inavasion of Iraq and the destruction of the terrorists in Iraq. Without Iraq, we would have been attacked again and again and again.

Anonymous said...

Here's what I think is a more appropriate key question -- with an unknowable answer -- is: How many PEOPLE would have died in post-9/11 attacks if we had not chosen the path of fighting back?

We do know that the number is closing in on 750 thousand. I don't think this number would be higher if we had not chosen to "fight back".

Freder Frederson said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pogo said...

Re: "Man, I wish I could get some of the drugs you are on."

It would be unwise to mix them with your current cocktail of hallucinogenics and antipsychotics, but it's your call.

Anonymous said...

Comment deleted? Shame on you.

Ann Althouse noted that the American death toll in Iraq has surpassed that of 9/11, and then goes on to ask the unanswerable and mind-bogglingly inane question "How many Americans would have died in post-9/11 attacks if we had not chosen the path of fighting back?" How many indeed? The derth of logic in that question, which asserts an unknowable premise as its foundation - that more Americans would have died had we not jauntily stepped on the road to perdition - is astounding for someone who's supposed to be a law professor. But then, as the scion of a whole family of lawyers and professors, I can comfortably conclude that endless sematicism is the bailiwick of far too many lawyers and academics.

When called on her conflation of Iraq with 9/11 - and really, Ann, how can your question be anything else - she responds with "I never said I thought Iraq was behind the 9/11 attacks, but I did predict I'd be accused of thinking that." Really, Professor Althouse? Seems to me that's precisely what you implied - a lie by omission is still a lie. Is such specious reasoning all you have to offer? Because if that's the case, then you should be paying a portion of their tuition back to your students and apologizing for wasting their time.

The whole thread is quite a revealing look at what happens when someone falls out of the Tree of Knowledge and hits every Stupid Stick on the way down. I feel bad for the commenter, Doyle, who is attempting to interject a little bit of fact into the good professor's false syllogism. In answer to your question, friend: Yes, coherence of though is apparently far too much to expect.

Anonymous said...

Homer: Ah, not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol must be working like a charm!
Lisa: That's specious reasoning, Dad.
Homer: Thank you, honey.
Lisa: By your logic, I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away!
Homer: Uh-huh, and how does it work?
Lisa: It doesn't work.
Homer: Uh-huh.
Lisa: It's just a stupid rock.
Homer: Uh-huh.
Lisa: But I don't see any tigers around here, do you?
Homer: (Looks around) Lisa, I'd like to buy your rock.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, HT earlier to Lawyers Guns and Money for the extremely apt Simpsons dialog.

Anonymous said...

I just don't get the claim that many more Americans would have been killed if we hadn't attacked Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with 9/11. Saddam ruthlessly suppressed the Islamist elements in Iraq, that is why he was our ally in the region for years, until he made HW Bush look weak by ignoring his mealy-mouthed entreaties not to attack Kuwait.

There have been many silly statements on this board, but they are the result of a logically faulty post by the host. If, after Pearl Harbor, FDR had used the attack as the basis for starting a war with Spain, becuase they had been our former enemy, than a comparison of casualties from the two would be valid.

By choosing to attack Iraq, which had no connection to OBL, 9/11 or Islamic militantism, the US has: lost credibility in the world, set up a bloodbath among innocent civilians, given Iran more power in Iraq that us, caused American casualties, stretched our military to the breaking point, cost us $2 billion a week since 2003 and into the unknown future and created far more future terrorists than any other possible post 9/11 course. Plus, our Coalition of the Willing hs become the Coalition of no one but US.

Meanwhile Afghanistan is falling apart and the Taliban and OBL is resurgent. Just like the liberal "America haters" predicted before we went to war against the wrong enemy, this unjustified attack has caused far more problems than it solved. Every one of the GIs that have died or been permanantly maimed in this war is a waste and a crime. Every Iraqi who dies in this is a murder victim, because murder is defined a unjustified manslaughter and this war is unjustified.

As Pope John Paul said, this war is "immoral and illegal." It will go down in history as America's most serious foreign policy mistake and could eventaully bring us down as the world's only superpower. All the way folks like the right-wing posters here will be saying it is someone else's fault, probably Clinton's.

Sloanasaurus said...

Every one of the GIs that have died or been permanantly maimed in this war is a waste and a crime.

By your description, what war isn't? Was fighting for the Union a more noble goal than the fight in Iraq?

Sloanasaurus said...

Man, I wish I could get some of the drugs you are on. A huge pile of steaming shit must look like a hot fudge sundae to you.

Maybe so. Okay then General Freder, where would you have proposed we fight the terrorists. Osama had run over 10,000 through his training camps and tens of thousands of others waiting to be drafted.

Sloanasaurus said...

I just don't get the claim that many more Americans would have been killed if we hadn't attacked Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with 9/11.

We would have had additional terrorist attacks in the U.S., but for the war in Iraq.

We have killed over 5,000 Al Qaeda connected terrorists in Iraq - this in addition to the tens of thousands of insurgents killed.

So, if we were not in Iraq, where would we be fighting those terrorists (Osama trained more than 10,000 in his camps in Afghanistan).

Take Zarqawi for instance. We ended up fighting and killing him and his entourage in Iraq. If we were not in Iraq, where would we be fighting him? In Afghanistan... maybe.. but the American military casualty list would be much higher than 3000.

Maybe we would be fighting Zarqawi all over the world, incuding inside America. Alas, Zarqawi and thousands of his fighters, are dead in Iraq.

michael a litscher said...

Jimbo: By choosing to attack Iraq, which had no connection to ... Islamic militantism...

And right there is the false premise upon which you're whole argument is based.

Sloanasaurus said...

this unjustified attack has caused far more problems than it solved.

Are you sure about that?

Prior to the war, Saddam killed an average of 50 people a day over 20 years (based on 350,000 reportedly found in mass graves so far) since 1980. Other reports put this over $1 million not including the dead from the Iran Iraq war.

The news media failed to report on these victims. I guess it wasn't news.

At the same time, the war has rid the world of a totalitarian tyrant who collected more than $30 billion a year in cash from oil revenues and wanted his own nuclear bomb and was very close to being rid of the U.N. coalition against him.

I guess I am not sure how things are worse today? You just feel that way because the media makes you feel that way. Sucker.

Sloanasaurus said...

By choosing to attack Iraq, which had no connection to ... Islamic militantism...

I agree, it is naive to believe that Saddam was not connected to the terrorists. but, even if he wasn't we knew the terrorists would come to Iraq if we invaded... which they did and Iraq is a far better place to fight them than any of the other alternatives.

Anonymous said...

slonasaurus, your posts might be valid, but I'd like some back-up to those numbers. Haven't seen them before... didn't know the U.S actually counted Al-Qaeda kills in Iraq? 5,000, you say? Never saw anything about that anywhere. Please cite source & provide link, if possible.

Freder Frederson said...

Maybe so. Okay then General Freder, where would you have proposed we fight the terrorists. Osama had run over 10,000 through his training camps and tens of thousands of others waiting to be drafted.

Actually, fighting in Afghanistan would have been a good idea instead of Iraq, where foreign jihadists have never been more than 6 or 7 % of the insurgency (so we kill at least 93 Iraqis who are just pissed off because we invaded their country for every 7 foreign terrorists we kill) and is probably a much smaller number now. So your fantasy that we are somehow fighting only foreign terrorists is simply that--they have never even been anywhere close to a majority of the insurgency.

Prior to the war, Saddam killed an average of 50 people a day over 20 years (based on 350,000 reportedly found in mass graves so far) since 1980. Other reports put this over $1 million not including the dead from the Iran Iraq war.

An invasion to prevent genocide is only justified if the genocide is ongoing. No one ever claimed there was an ongoing genocide in Iraq at the time we invaded. As a matter of fact, except for the mass murder that accompanied the Shiite uprising after the first Gulf War, most of the mass murder occurred during the 1980's when Saddam's shenanigans were tolerated, if not, tacitly endorsed by the Reagan and Bush '41 administration because he was also killing a lot of Iranians at the time. I can link you to that infamous picture of Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam if you like. That occurred shortly before the gassing of the Kurds.

which they did and Iraq is a far better place to fight them than any of the other alternatives.

I'm sure all the Iraqi civilians are deeply appreciative of your lack of concern for their welfare and that the president, in his apparent brilliance, decided to turn their country into a battlefield because the terrain there was easier to fight on.

Sloanasaurus said...

Freder, fighting in Afghanistan would have been a losing battle. Without Iraq to draw the terrorists, they would have all gone to Afghanistan, just as they did in the 1980s. We would have suffered the same fate as the Russians. Everything would be working against us in Afghanistan. The terrain of Afghanistan is great for defenst. There is no port to supply our troops. We would have had to fly over unfriendly countries in much greater volume than today. The Afghan government has no resources and no money to fight with us.

Saddam ran a totalitarian country. It used fear and killing to run the country. Your claim that such fear and killing stopped after the 1980s is naive. In fact when we invaded Iraq, we found all kinds of political prisoners, including children who had been imprisoned for the sins of their parents.

I'm sure all the Iraqi civilians are deeply appreciative of your lack of concern for their welfare and that the president

Some are and some are not - so say the polls there.

Sloanasaurus said...

your posts might be valid, but I'd like some back-up to those numbers. Haven't seen them before... didn't know the U.S actually counted Al-Qaeda kills in Iraq? 5,000, you say

I have seen all kinds of sources. The U.S. Govenrnment does not publish their results however some news sources have quoted figures. CBS news quoted 100 killed and 500 captured in September 2006. I think 5000 killed or captured is a relatively conservative estimate based on this stat.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/10/04/iraq/main2059817.shtml

In addition, Wikipedia list over 75 known Al Qaeda LEADERS who have been killed or captured in Iraq.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Qaeda_in_Iraq

One would expect there are 50+ followers for every known leader....

Al Qaeda is broken and it was broken in Iraq. Zarqawi said so in his pleas to Bin Ladin.

Alpha Liberal said...

Ann ALthouse, purveyor of right wing fictions:
"How many Americans would have died in post-9/11 attacks if we had not chosen the path of fighting back?"

Invadingh and occupying Iraq was not about "fighting back." Invading Afghanistan, yeah, that was about fighting back.

Or, if we had invaded Saudi Arabia, where the money and most of the 9/11 terrorists came from, that would have been "fighting back." As it was, it was an unprovoked act of aggression by the Republicans.

For a "moderate" Althouse, you sure carry a lot of water for the Republicans.

Ann Althouse said...

I delete for profanity and gratuitous abusiveness, generally. If you think it's because you're opinion is opposed to mine, you are an abysmally bad reader.

Anonymous said...

Slonasaurus,
So... you're saying you made up that 5,000 stat.
I get your M.O. now: Parade fake stats as fact to support your arguments.
Do you work for the Bush Administration, perhaps?

Rainsborough said...

I forgot a great deal else we know.

1. We know that, as the Washington Post reported in April, “the number of terrorist attacks worldwide increased nearly fourfold in 2005 to 11,111, with strikes in Iraq accounting for 30 percent of the total.”

2. We know that the adoption of a policy of torturing detainees and debasing the Geneva Conventions has, in the words of a student of the war of ideas, so damaged our reputation that “rehabilitating America’s image will probably take decades.” But of course the real shame is not the loss of reputation but the perversion of the rule of law and of standards of humanity Yoo and his superiors have wrought. We can’t say the war had to have been companioned by traducing the principles of humanity and liberty. But it was.

3. We know that our strategic position has slipped.

Suppose that we concede that our security is best enhanced by fighting “back.” But our army and marines are mired in Iraq, unavailable for duty elsewhere. And more fundamentally, as John Mueller shows, both at home and abroad public opinion has been turned the wrong way by the war Iraq. Not only has Muslim hostility towards the United States increased markedly, Muslims also believe we went into Iraq to control oil supplies. But inevitably we will leave without having accomplished this supposed objective, and hence terrorists will claim credit for running us out with our tail between our legs.

At home, an Iraq syndrome has emerged. A poll in Alabama early in 2005 asked respondents whether the US should be prepared to send troops back to Iraq in the event of a full-scale civil war erupting there. Only a third favored doing so. As Mueller remarks, “among the casualties of the Iraq syndrome could be the Bush doctrine, unilateralism, preemption, preventive war, and indispensable-nationhood.” Bush’s notion of fighting back, one might say. Now hobbled.

The foregoing is yet another reason why the chief beneficiaries of the war thus far have been the other two members of the axis of evil, Iran and North Korea.

4. We know that in the month or two before the invasion, inspectors were examining sites recommended to them by the CIA and finding nothing.

5. We know the folly of the fallback rationale for the war, bringing democracy to the region so as to dry up the swamp from which terrorists emerge. As the example of Iraq before and after 4/03 illustrates, the theory is fallacious at its core. Gregory Gause observes that “the kind of checks that liberal democracy typically places on executive power typically places on executive power seems to encourage terrorist actions.” No surprise, then, that between 2000 and 2003, according to the State Department 269 major terrorist incidents occurred in Freedom-House “free” countries, 119 in “partly free” countries, and 138 in “not free” countries. Between 1976 and 2004, twenty times more terrorist attacks occurred in free India than in unfree China.

In the Middle East, in particular, where unfavorable ratings of the United States range as low as 76% in Egypt and 87% in Saudi Arabia, it seems impossible that democratic regimes there would be friendlier to our interests than are the incumbent regimes. Indeed, it might well be on the evidence of elections thus far that Islamist would emerge the winners.

It would seem that we know enough of the damage done by the invasion and occupation that those who hesitate even now to condemn the decisions of 2002 can justify their reluctance only by speculations resembling those of John of Patmos, in respect both to the intensity of their horror and the degree of their probability.

Alpha Liberal said...

Well, I see Althouse modifies her post to append an insult against those who criticized her as "idiots." However, she provides no additional substance.

Ann, you a) compare 9/11 deaths and US military deaths in Iraq. Then you post that goofy sentence, "How many Americans would have died in post-9/11 attacks if we had not chosen the path of fighting back?"

What are you saying, then, if not that invading and occupying Iraq is "fighting back" for 9/11?

I see digby has ripped into this latest failed attempt to prop Bush.

Ann Althouse said...

"you're opinion" should be "your opinion." Sorry!

Alpha Liberal said...

No clarification on what you intended to say, then, if not that the invasion and occupation of Iraq was fighting back for 9/11?

For someone who prides herself on her writing, you sure create a lot of confusion. PLease clarify in plain , snark-free, English.

Ann Althouse said...

Alpha Liberal: "Well, I see Althouse modifies her post to append an insult against those who criticized her as "idiots." However, she provides no additional substance. Ann, you a) compare 9/11 deaths and US military deaths in Iraq. Then you post that goofy sentence, "How many Americans would have died in post-9/11 attacks if we had not chosen the path of fighting back?" What are you saying, then, if not that invading and occupying Iraq is "fighting back" for 9/11?"

I linked to an AP article that seemed to think it was news to relate one number to another. With that foundation, I said it would be more apt to compare two different numbers. If you don't think the AP's comparison meant anything, you can ignore it all.

I also said, upthread in the comments: "People keep questioning me as if I devised the plan to fight. Bush chose to do it the way he did for some reason. For him, there seems to have been one interwoven plan. Obviously, it is open to the criticisms people are making. All I'm saying is that if you want to compare deaths from the path he took, the right point of comparison is to the path not taken. I'm willing to concede that there are more than one not-taken paths."

I understand the criticisms of Bush for having this view. Maybe he was wrong. But if the criticism is based on how many people died, it's fair to point out that people would have died if the other path had been taken, and you don't know how many. Our invasion of Iraq presumably has had some effect on terrorism. You simply do not know what it is.

Ann Althouse said...

"For someone who prides herself on her writing, you sure create a lot of confusion."

Ha. To say that is to show that you don't get this blog. I use rhetorical devices intended to engage the reader's mind. If you jump without thinking, you are missing the point. You have to think here. It may often seem simple, and you may think you know what is being said, but that is a trap for the unwary. I'm starting a discussion here, often with questions and elision. If you think I'm just sledgehammering opinions like your typical partisan political blogger, you will stumble endlessly here.

Alpha Liberal said...

Ann says:

"I use rhetorical devices intended to engage the reader's mind. If you jump without thinking, you are missing the point. You have to think here."

Wow. You are so smart! And all those people who read words to mean what words mean are so dumb!

Quite a nice little flattering cocoon you've spun for yourself where repeating Republican talking points* is some sly elision. Yeah, you're so superior!

* - Kerry called troops losers or how many people would we have lost if we hadn't "fought back"? To name a couple RTPs.

dmbeaster said...
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dmbeaster said...
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Ann Althouse said...

If it's a cocoon, how did you get in?

Gregor Samsa said...
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Alpha Liberal said...
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Ann Althouse said...

I have had to delete a whole series of comments from people who are being abusive to me and totally oblivious to the context of this post, which is about people dying. The shameful lack of taste here is intolerable. I am closing the comments here now.