January 9, 2007

"The bottom line is that they were elected on a mandate to get the nation out of the mess in Iraq."

Do you believe that? Or is that an interpretation concocted after the election? And if it's true, isn't it apparent that the Democrats, despite winning the majority in both houses of Congress, really won't be able to do much of anything about Iraq?

The quote above is from Eli Pariser, executive director of MoveOn.org, and the linked article recounts the Democrats' struggle to figure out what to propose now that they have the majority. One idea, pushed by Senator Kennedy, is to attempt to block funds for a troop increase, but it looks as if the key question is not whether to pass such legislation but whether it's in the Democrats' partisan interest to have that be openly debated at all.

(By the way, Matthew Yglesias and I talk about this subject in the last segment of the new BloggingHeads.)

62 comments:

Pogo said...

The bottom line is that they sought election merely to have power.

MoveOn is dumber than I thought if they really believed Democrats were intent on doing anything at all about Iraq, other than complain and act as if their hands were tied.

They're "unusually united in their resistance to a troop increase"? Why? Weren't they just bitching about 'not enough troops'? Sheesh. Truth is, the Democrats have no plan at all, except to do as much nothing as possible in order to avoid any blame for Iraq now that they're in power. All they can come with is whatever Bush does, do the opposite.

Cowards.

Sloanasaurus said...

The Democrats won because some in the electorate were "war weary" and wanted to shake things up. This weariness is mostly the result of a false despair which has been manufactured by a partisan media, which does not understand the war on terror. In reality most people are more prosperous than ever before.

People in the North were also war weary in 1864, but for better reasons - mostly the never ending casualties and losses to the Confederates. Sherman's conquest of Atlanta changed all this. Victory can change everything. The people want victory.

Some on the Left and in the Democrat party want to lose the war becuase they don't believe in the current America - they want a different America, an America that practices statism and socialism, they want an America that seeks out cultural and economic equality at the expense of freedom. A loss in this war would help them further this goal. Fortunately, this group is only a vocal minority.

The people want to win the war. That is what the election of 2006 was all about.

AJ Lynch said...

Yes & no. The answer hinges on which voter you ask.

It's like any other analysis that is less than scientific. The talking head makes his case and the listener either cheers or gags. They refer more and more to the latest polls as if poll results must be used for every decision. If that is the case, let's send home all the occupants of Congress and the White House and just rely on the MSM polls.

And people like Pariser bug the shit out of me, They are unelected spokesbots for big-bucks non-profits that do nothing but polictick for their agendas. The MSM should stop seeking their opinions on everything- can't they find the man on the street or is he indoors writing on his blog?

MadisonMan said...

No I don't believe it. They were elected because the public was fed up with corruption in DC and the do-nothing Congress. Well, do nothing but load up the Budget with earmarks.

The Drill SGT said...

overall, a pretty dismal article.

There aren't a lot of good choices on what to do in Iraq. We can likely chose between bad and worse, with a small chance of victory.

However, basing your policy and arguably the safety of the nation on what gets you more votes and how you look in the polls is pretty despicable.

Bush may be wrong on Iraq, but he is doing what he thinks is right and ignoring focus group politics.

The Dem's seem to want what is politically advantageous all the time.

Ricardo said...

Regardless of who wins in 2008, I think that W should refuse to give up the Presidency, and just stay the course. We need leaders with imagination in Washington, and this is one of the most imaginative governments I've ever seen.

And I can't believe that I actually agree with AJ today. Am I coming down with something? I really like your line: "...can't they find the man on the street or is he indoors writing on his blog?"

C.J.Colucci said...

"whatever Bush does, do the opposite."

There are worse principles.

The Exalted said...

Some on the Left and in the Democrat party want to lose the war becuase they don't believe in the current America - they want a different America, an America that practices statism and socialism, they want an America that seeks out cultural and economic equality at the expense of freedom. A loss in this war would help them further this goal

where do you people dream up such utterly stupid ideas?

ASX said...

People in this country are disgusted with Bush and his out of control and horribly managed war. They are disgusted with his incompetence, and stupidity. Disgust with the war was a huge factor in the election, the biggest factor. Have you seen his approval ratings? Have you seen how his war rates?

Despite Ann's portrayals, Democrats never said before the election (or after) that they would, or could, single-handedly stop the war. It was well understood before the election that Democrats' ability to reign in the president's war-making would be extremely limited.

Yes, the Democratic position has been that the war is a disaster, and must be stopped. But don't pretend there was a promise to unilaterally end the war.

The Democrats are saying the same thing now that they said before the election: The war is an ongoing disaster managed by a dangerous incompetent. The sooner it ends, the better.

But, as Ann knows, there simply isn't any realistic way the Democrats can end the war on their own. The president is the commander in chief.

The Democrats are smart enough to realize that cutting funding for the war would be described to the public as "abandoning the troops," a politically untenable position that would lead to disaster for the Democratic Party.

If you are a Democrat, if you want the war stopped, and if you want this incompetent gang of thugs held responsible for the massive damage they have done to our nation, then the last thing you want is for the Democrats to commit political suicide. They need to navigate these waters very carefully and cautiously. Ann is baiting them to jump off a cliff, because Ann wants to see them splatter at the bottom.

Democrats have to let Bush fail on his own. Bush and the Republicans need to take all of the blame for this disaster.

This is your war, Ann. Don't try to hang it around our necks now. You're the one who loves it, and wants it to go on and on and on. You and your Republican friends own it. In the end, responsibility for it will hang around your necks.

What I suspect you want, Ann, is for the Democrats to take some ownership for this war so that you and Sean Hannity can spend the rest of your lives blaming them for its failure.

I hope the Democrats avoid your trap.

Pogo said...

Re: 'This is your war, Ann."

Sorry, ASX, but you couldn't be more wrong. The Dems are in power, and control the military purse. So it's now their war, want it or not. If they didn't want to deal with it or didn't know what to do, they shouldn't have sought the power.

Cowards all.

Fritz said...

The fear in Matt's voice was sooo revealing. What happens if this new strategy works?

AJ Lynch said...

Ricardo:

Thanks - I knew instantly it was some damn good wordsmithing.

Aren't guvmints by definition unimaginative? As a career military man, I'd be surprised if you did not agree with me. And Jeez, the last American president with the ability to have and convey grand vision was JFK (maybe Reagan but only in the abstract) and JFK's vision took us to the moon.

Re the Iraq War and folks like Pariser, I feel there is degree of "desiring failure for both Bush and the country" and I also see a bit of boomer's reclaiming that old high school gridiron glory. But in this case, the high school gridiron was not the site of the youthful grandeur, it was at anti-Vietnam War protests and their satisfaction at our loss.

Henry said...

Democrats have to let Bush fail on his own.

Sounds right to me. Passivity with purpose! However, I don't remember the Democrats running on the promise to be a do-nothing congress.

In all seriousnous I sympathize with the Democrats; there is no easy answer. Even if George W Bush and Dick Cheney resigned tomorrow, Nancy Pelosi could only adopt the Nixonian "peace" strategy of gradual withdrawal -- a policy that in Vietnam increased combat deaths in 1969, took five years to complete, and ended in catastrophic failure.

Given the reality of the situation, I do wish the Democrats offered some strategic thinking - the plan of what they would do if they could, instead of constitutional excuses.

Revenant said...

Obviously the Iraq war is the reason the Democrats won Congress. The nation as a whole is, after all, doing quite well. There'd be no reason for a big party switch under normal circumstances. I don't think many rational people seriously thought the Democrats would actually DO anything about the war, though. They don't actually care about it, except inasmuch as it benefits them politically, and it isn't in their interests to change anything until they fully control the government.

Sloanasaurus said...

Democrats have to let Bush fail on his own. Bush and the Republicans need to take all of the blame for this disaster.

Is it a disaster? It was conventional wisdom that we would be attacked after 9/11. We haven't been attacked yet....

paul a'barge said...

where do you people dream up such utterly stupid ideas

Umm, well, these ideas are straight from the left-wing blog posts and from the statements of left-wing politicians and activists. Perhaps you should ask them.

I think the left-wingers dream these ideas up in their permanent state of moral derangement.

MadisonMan said...

ASX -- I agree with pogo. This is the Democrats' war to clean up. That's how Government works...one party makes a complete mess of things, and then the other steps in and tries to clean it up.

I only hope the Democrat plans are executed by a group of people that are a little less bumbling than the group the Republicans assembled to take us there.

Cat said...

They do not have a mandate.

The democrats made a big mistake in supporting Pelosi as their leader in the house vs. Harold Ford Jr a few years ago after the last mid-terms (and maybe he wouldn't have run for Senator and lost). I think his leadership would have made a big difference - perhaps they would have won more seats? - and certainly would have taken the democrats on a different path - perhaps one not beholden to the far left. Every time I see Pelosi's plastic approach on TV I miss Harold Ford Jr.

ASX - why don't you respond to the question and the article Ann posted instead of attacking the person who merely asked the question. I don't get commenters like you who waste time trashing or pointing your fingers at Ann. If you dislike her opinions so much try PERSUASION with rational thought so that Ann or someone like myself might come around to understand your point of view instead of attacking Ann? Or, stop reading this blog. All the stress you and others like you put yourselves through is shortening your life! I love Ann, but she's not worth your health ASX.

NSC said...

I hope the Democrats avoid your trap.

Too late, the trap is sprung and we get to spend the next two years watching them try to escape without chewing their tails off. Gaining power now may just cost them 2008 and beyond. Or not. It's too early for predictions, but it's going to be interesting indeed.

Oh, and I should point out that the Dems already own this war - since the vast majority of them voted for it way back when.

dick said...

ASX,

Read Sen Kennedy's statements today in the NYT. He is saying exactly that they can de-fund the war - then he pulls his punches a little but not much. The de-funding of the war is precisely what many of the MoveOn democrats did run on. The blue dog democrats, which is most of the new ones, don't agree with that but what are they going to do since the leadership is moving to the LLL portion of the party. Disaster ahead and a terrible couple of years. I predict that many of those who either did not vote or voted for the LLL dems will really be regretting that decision and very soon.

Anonymous said...

Sloanasaurus makes a good point about war weariness. It reminds me of the war weariness after the civil war. Grant was president, and he was fighting a battle against the then terrorist arm of the Democratic party, the KKK. In South Carolina, Union troops had broken the back of the KKK, and plans were made to go through the south doing the same thing.

But the folks in the north got war weary, and Grant stopped the fight. We were stuck with a vibrant KKK and all the trash associated with it for almost 100 years after he failed to finish the good work he had started.

History seldom repeats, but it often rhymes.

Trey

MadisonMan said...

It was conventional wisdom that we would be attacked after 9/11.

You seem to have this as a mantra -- why was this conventional wisdom, or better yet, who was saying it? Were they right or wrong to say it?

The problem with conventional wisdom is that you never know the reason that it was right or wrong. And as history evolves, the truthiness of the wisdom changes.

And I'll repeat -- we were attacked after 9/11.

Molon_Labe_Lamp said...

Now after the elections, the Democrats need to stand by and do nothing so the Republicans have to take ownership of the War and the mess they created?

Why the hell did the country elect Democrats if they couldn't do a damned thing about this "illegal war"? What did that mandate mean, that America wanted a professional penaut gallery?

One wonders why Democrats couldn't have accomplished this strategy as the minority party. What a bunch of assholes.

AJ Lynch said...

Molon Labe Lamp asked:

"Why the hell did the country elect Democrats if they couldn't do a damned thing about this "illegal war"? What did that mandate mean, that America wanted a professional penaut gallery?"

The Constitution was not discarded by the election results. Bush is still prez and commander in chief for another two years and he can start as many illegal wars as he wants til his term expires. Afterall, one party's "mandate" is simply offset by the other party's reduction but not total diminunition of political capital

Famous Quote by GW Bush.."I have earned political capital and I intend to spend it- just not as much as I had after the 2004 election"

The Exalted said...

paul a'barge said...
where do you people dream up such utterly stupid ideas

Umm, well, these ideas are straight from the left-wing blog posts and from the statements of left-wing politicians and activists. Perhaps you should ask them.

I think the left-wingers dream these ideas up in their permanent state of moral derangement.


more utter nonsense. provide a link, any link.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Ann. It's been one day, and these Democrats haven't done ANYTHING. The pundits have long since declared this election was mandate for Democrats getting troops out the same day they took office. How dare the Democrats not heeding the agenda the pundits set for them.

Bring back the Republicans. Yep. Definitely Republicans. Definitely.

/Rainman

Todd said...

"The bottom line is that they were elected on a mandate to get the nation out of the mess in Iraq."

Ugh. I'm sure many people voted Dem because of the war, I'm sure many of the same people did the same in 2004. To me, the election hinged on accountability; the GOP promised small government and spending control, and they didn't deliver. Just the opposite, really. That (finally) put enough people in an anti-incumbent mood to flip Congress.
For the record, my incumbent Congressman is a Democrat, so I voted Republican anyway.

[By the way, did that photo of Kennedy remind anyone else of a Seinfeld episode? "It wasn't a pick, it was just a scratch!"]

dick said...

The Exalted:


gmire.”

“Listen to this comment from a high-ranking American official,” Mr. Kennedy said, recalling a commitment to “help to lay the cornerstone for a diverse and independent Asia” and to “stay the course.”

“This is not President Bush speaking,” Mr. Kennedy said. “It is President Lyndon Johnson, 40 years ago, ordering a hundred thousand more American soldiers to Vietnam.”

Mr. Kennedy has introduced legislation to specify that no more troops be sent to Iraq, and that no additional dollars be spent on such an escalation, “unless and until Congress approves the president’s plan.”

Mr. Kennedy is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, some of whose Democratic members have more views more nuanced than his. The committee’s new chairman, Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, for example, has said he would not rule out supporting a plan to dispatch more troops, provided that the proposal was tied to a broader strategy to begin reducing American involvement and bringing troops home.

A Republican on the panel, Senator John McCain of Arizona, has taken the politically unpopular stance of supporting a troop increase in Iraq. But another Republican senator, Gordon Smith of Oregon, said recently he has lost faith in the White House’s policy. (Mr. Smith is not on the Armed Services Committee.)

Mr. Kennedy said the right course is obvious. “The American people sent a clear message in November that we must change course in Iraq and begin to withdraw our troops, not escalate their presence,” he said. “An escalation, whether it is called a surge or any other name, is still an escalation, and I believe it would be an immense new mistake.”

This is from today's NYTimes.

ASX said...

Pogo said... They're "unusually united in their resistance to a troop increase"? Why? Weren't they just bitching about 'not enough troops'? Sheesh.

You're distorting. Is it deliberate? Or is it because you're confused? We needed more troops in the immediate post-war phase. The war is now lost. It's time to get out, unless you want to commit slaughter on an inhuman scale simply to "win." If the goal was a free Iraq that is willfully our ally, that goal is now out of reach. Our only two choices now are to cut our losses or to slaughter the population and occupy the country through force in perpetuity. Which half of Republicandom would be perfectly fine with.


Sloanasaurus said... In reality most people are more prosperous than ever before.

That's not true. This chart shows change in median income in the first six years of the Bush presidency:

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/blogphotos/Blog_Median_Income_By_State.gif


Sloanasaurus said... Is it a disaster? It was conventional wisdom that we would be attacked after 9/11. We haven't been attacked yet....
We have been attacked in five years since 9/11?

Guess what? We weren't attacked in the five years BEFORE 9/11, either. Are you going to give Bush, the Patriot Act, the repeal of habeas corpus, and the Iraq war credit for that, too? There has been precisely one (1) Al Qaeda attack in the USA in the past 15 years. Call me crazy if I don't think this qualifies was WWIII.


MadisonMan said... ASX -- I agree with pogo. This is the Democrats' war to clean up. That's how Government works...one party makes a complete mess of things, and then the other steps in and tries to clean it up.
Ultimately, this is the only way this will be fixed. We need to find a way to end it, but we need to proceed with great caution. Republicans will spend billions tarring Democrats as traitors, and Democrats need to make sure those charges don't stick.


Cat said... ASX - why don't you respond to the question and the article Ann posted instead of attacking the person who merely asked the question. I don't get commenters like you who waste time trashing or pointing your fingers at Ann. If you dislike her opinions so much try PERSUASION with rational thought so that Ann or someone like myself might come around to understand your point of view instead of attacking Ann? Or, stop reading this blog. All the stress you and others like you put yourselves through is shortening your life! I love Ann, but she's not worth your health ASX.
I am not trashing Ann; I am disagreeing with her. I have great respect for Ann, and I like her personally -- at least as much as you can personally like someone you've never met. I do not "attack" Ann, "trash" Ann, and have never directed any form of personal attack at her. I admire her intellect and her savvy. You may be confusing my extremely harsh attack on Bush and his band of incompetents with comments that were directed at Ann herself. Re-read my post; notice where I draw the lines. But thanks for thinking of my health.


NSC said... Too late, the trap is sprung and we get to spend the next two years watching them try to escape without chewing their tails off. Gaining power now may just cost them 2008 and beyond.
If that must be, so be it. I have often felt that the Democrats, in the long run, were lucky that Kerry lost in 2004. If he had one, Hannity and O'Reilly would be attacking him on TV this very moment for "losing Iraq," even if conditions in Iraq were identical to conditions under Bush. A Kerry win in 2004 would let you off the hook, and allow Republicans to blame the disaster on Democrats. You and other commenters quite clearly are enthusiastic about your prospects for doing the same now, in 2006, as you just explained so well.

In the end, it was more important for Democrats to take the risk of being blamed for Bush's failed presidency and war so they could stop the transfer of hundreds of billions in Social Security savings from individuals to investment bankers, an extremist Supreme Court like the one that decided Plessy v Ferguson, and everything else Bush would have done to destroy this nation with the rubber stamp approval of a Republican Congress.

Molon_Labe_Lamp said...

AJ

So that's the plan now, hide behind the Constitution? After two years of whipping up the netroots and talking tough about ending this war it turns out that ah no we won't be able to do that because the Constitution won't allow it.

That's fine by me because I still fully support this war and feel it's a noble if flawed undertaking. However there is probably going to be a whole lot of people (about 51% of the electorate) feeling shortchanged very soon.


ASX

Your ignorant comments on Social Security show how little you understand equity markets. But I guess if it's business and Bush is for it you can only be against it right. Question do you work? Do you have a 401K? If not, where have you decided to transfer your wealth, to the mattress?

ASX said...

Molon_Labe_Lamp said...
ASX

Your ignorant comments on Social Security show how little you understand equity markets. But I guess if it's business and Bush is for it you can only be against it right. Question do you work? Do you have a 401K? If not, where have you decided to transfer your wealth, to the mattress?

Yes, I work, and yes, I have a 401 K. I understand we disagree about social security; you voted Republican, no? See? We disagree. I'm not in favor of throwing the elderly to the wolves. That's why I'm a Democrat. In the "Responsibility Society," you can have a retirement income if you earned it; otherwise, you can starve.

Cedarford said...

“This is not President Bush speaking,” Mr. Kennedy said. “It is President Lyndon Johnson, 40 years ago, ordering a hundred thousand more American soldiers to Vietnam.”

Yeah, and it is not JFK speaking, but his dumb tool of a brother who almost 40 years ago tried converting a Olds 88 into a PT109 nookie patrol boat.

And the crowning irony is he keeps Kerry around so he appears smart and charismatic by comparison.

At least it is not 30 years ago, where the funds cutoff Teddy helped engineer put 800,000 Vietnamese in reeducation camps or on the high seas and 2 million Cambodians into the Killing Fields.

Teddy and Kerry, the Uday and Qusay of American politics.

Molon_Labe_Lamp said...

ASX,

That's fine, we can disagree on Social Security but don't cloak it in some populist BS that Bush is starving the poor to transfer wealth to the investment bankers. On some level you obviously see the good of investing in the equities markets yet you choose to demagogue the issue when it's proposed as a solution. How very lame and disingenuous.

AJ Lynch said...

Molon Lamp:

I think you and I agree. I misunderstood your comment; I thought you were criticizing the Dems for not folowing thru and stopping the war. If you were, I agree with almost all criticism of Dems- especially those Dems chant Bush lied- People Died.

But I don't think the Dems are hiding behind the constitution- they have simply misled their supporters (again) by saying one thing during an election season then doing another after they have been elected. Especially when they knew they would not have ALL the power. But that is what all pols do. As to shortchanged electorate, that happens to most voters in Philly but they never stop voting for the Dimocrats.

And the MSM sucks cause it's so liberal and gives Dimorat viewers the idea that a midterm election is as significant as a new Pope's election. When have you heard even one caution that "Bush will still be commander in chief"?

Molon_Labe_Lamp said...

ASX Said:
There has been precisely one (1) Al Qaeda attack in the USA in the past 15 years.

Wrong. The '93 WTC bombings were orchestrated by Proto Al Qaeda operatives from a coalition of groups: Ramsey Yousef nephew of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.

Furthermore while not attacked on our own physical soil, the USS Cole and the '98 embassy bombings are two more instances. Then there are a slew of failed attempts such as the millenium bomb plot where Ahmed Rassem was caught at the Candian border en route to LAX.

They exist, they are getting more sophisticated, they take the long view and they aren't interested in talking.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_terrorist_incidents

Sorry, what point were you trying to make again?

michilines said...

pogo, you are the worst (best?) one at being Pavlovian in your responses to Ann's posts. All the rest of you -- do you notice an absence of the usual chiming voices? Where is iamareader or konan or what ever their names are? You know who I mean. They aren't arguing with you anymore. The arguing is left up to the geeks and tag-a-longs. You guys keep taking the bait offered up by your buddy Ann and argue away. She just counts numbers.

I'm thinking those numbers are down, despite her best efforts . . . She will, as always throw you a bone. What is telling is who takes the bait these days.

hdhouse said...

someone keeps leaving the gate open in the rabid neo-con kennel or is it a full moon?

you can try and parse this anyway you want so you chuckleheads feel better about mr. bush who currently has all the glitz and glamour of a turd in the punchbowl, a well deserved minority status in congress and a soon to be majority status in the federal prison system.

you lost because your policies are horseshit. further, the great body politic has figured out that every case you numbnuts make is based on crap figures, limbaughian hallucinations or outright greed. i think the term lying swill comes quicly to mind.

you demonize what you don't understand and you lie about the rest. pogo starts right out with "they sought election merely to have power"...well duhhhhhh. and the repubicans sought election merely to what? 1. pad their own pockets? 2. have sex with pages? 3. eat lunch at Jack's place? what what what?

democrats sought election to save this country. when you get that through your noodle then we can move on to more productive discussions.

ASX said...

Molon_Labe_Lamp said...
ASX, That's fine, we can disagree on Social Security but don't cloak it in some populist BS that Bush is starving the poor to transfer wealth to the investment bankers. On some level you obviously see the good of investing in the equities markets yet you choose to demagogue the issue when it's proposed as a solution. How very lame and disingenuous.

Wait, did you say "lame and disingenuous"? My goodness, you're right. We need a fence on the border. We must end the tyranny of habeas corpus. The president is above the law. The Iraq war is fabulous, and the capture of Osama bin Laden is a success that hasn't happened yet! Cut my taxes!!!
I would love to debate you about social security; look me up if Ann ever does a thread on the topic. In the meantime, suffice it to say that in response to Ann's argument that Democrats "got nothing" from "the big '06 election," I responded by pointing out that Democrats got a lot, and we are extremely satisfied. In particular, one of the most important programs to Democrats is now protected; it will not be made into a corpse to be devoured by predatory investment bankers. I don't expect you to appreciate or understand this, because you are a Republican.

Molon_Labe_Lamp said... Wrong. The '93 WTC bombings were orchestrated by Proto Al Qaeda operatives from a coalition of groups: Ramsey Yousef nephew of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.
Yes, that's the other Al Qaeda attack which I was dating back from to get 15 years. I carelessly didn't look up the date and mistakenly recalled it happened in 1992. Thank you for correcting me. Here is my revised point:
There has been precisely one (1) Al Qaeda attack in the USA in the past 14 years. Call me a fool, but somehow I don't think that qualifies as World War III or World War IV, and I hardly think it justifies the elimination of habeas corpus, NSA spying on Americans, the unilateral authority of the president to ignore the law and detain citizens forever without due process, etc. But then, I'm not an authoritarian.
Sloanasaurus made the point which all Republicans make, that Bush's War is vindicated because "we haven't been hit since 9/11," but we weren't hit in an equal number of years before 9/11, either. So I guess he is left with nothing, no point at all.
Right, Molon? You get that, don't you?

Molon_Labe_Lamp said...
Furthermore while not attacked on our own physical soil, the USS Cole and the '98 embassy bombings are two more instances.

Oh, ok, so now you're including non-domestic attacks. In that case, I'll count the 3000 dead in Iraq, the London subway bombing, the Madrid subway bombing, the Bali bombing, Richard Reeve and the Big Shoe that Goes Bang, and countless other attacks.
Sorry, what point were you trying to make again?

Molon_Labe_Lamp said... Then there are a slew of failed attempts such as the millenium bomb plot where Ahmed Rassem was caught at the Candian border en route to LAX.
Ah yes, the foiled plots. When the "liquid bombers" were caught last summer in London, the Republicans I know told me that it proved "George Bush is gittin' th' job done." I guess the capture of Rassem proves "Bubba got th' job done, too," eh?

Molon_Labe_Lamp said... They exist, they are getting more sophisticated, they take the long view and they aren't interested in talking.
I will be the last person to deny they exist, or that they pose a grave danger. Thanks for the list of terrorist incidents. It disproves the argument that we haven't been hit since 9/11. As I'm sure an educated sort like yourself knows, the US government reports that terrorist attacks worldwide are at an all time high. And as a smart fellow like you is surely aware, America's 16 intelligence agencies released a joint report last year stating that Bush's War and Bush's policies have drastically worsened the problem of terrorism.

At this point, you are really left with nothing but your loyalty to Dear Leader. Lots of good it's going to do you when the consequences of his failure blow back on all of us.

Dave TN said...

CNN story from November 8.

(CNN) -- By a wide margin, Americans who voted Tuesday in the midterm election say they disapprove of the war in Iraq.

But when asked which issue was extremely important to their vote, more voters said corruption and ethics in government than any other issue, including the war, according to national exit polls.

...

Asked which issues were extremely important to their vote, 42 percent said corruption and ethics; 40 percent, terrorism; 39 percent, the economy; 37 percent, Iraq; 36 percent, values; and 29 percent, illegal immigration.

Sloanasaurus said...

Sloanasaurus made the point which all Republicans make, that Bush's War is vindicated because "we haven't been hit since 9/11," but we weren't hit in an equal number of years before 9/11, either. So I guess he is left with nothing, no point at all.

That is a non-sensical argument. Japan never made a serious attack against America prior to Pearl Harbor. That doesn't mean we shouldn't have pursued them after they attacked us.

The Al Qaeda of 2001 was vastly more powerful than the Al Qaeda of 1996. In 1996, Bin Ladin was still tooling around Sudan trying to figure out what to do with his life. By 2001 he had run over 10,000 terrorists through his training camps and controlled most of Afghanistan through his puppets the Taliban. By 2001 Al Qaeda was known to have networks spread across 50 countries, etc.. etc... To make the argument that they did not have the intent or the means to attack us again is ridiculous. We know they wanted to attack us because we have discovered many of their plots. I am sure many of their other plots have died for lack of human resources.

In 2006 Osama is supposedly alive somewhere hiding in a Pakistan cave, while most of his 10,000 trainess have been captured or liquidated in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Al Qaeda had a moment of revival in Somalia, but that ended pretty quick.

Sloanasaurus said...

As I'm sure an educated sort like yourself knows, the US government reports that terrorist attacks worldwide are at an all time high.

Except that a significant amount of terrorist attacks in the last few years have taken place in Iraq. Maybe this is because there are a lot of terrorists fighting in Iraq - its the place to be if you are a terrorist.

Sloanasaurus said...

If you are a Democrat, if you want the war stopped, and if you want this incompetent gang of thugs held responsible for the massive damage they have done to our nation,

This kind of stuff sounds like the Democratic party of 1864.

Can't you see the irony?

Today on HDNET I heard several Democratic Congressmen saying that we need to pull out of Iraq and recommit all our troops to Afghanistan so we can find Bin Ladin.

How stupid would that be. What port would we supply this army with?

Anonymous said...

Some (even on this blog) are talking about 'winning' this war.

I'd like you to define 'win,' first of all. Because our troops sure don't know what the mission is. They've had at least half a dozen 'missions' over the past four years, and each one has eventually hit the scrap pile when it went sour. Do you know anyone who does know what the 'mission' is?

At this point, some mythical 'win' just ain't going to happen. Sooner or later there is going to be a negotiated political solution. If you actually think that we can somehow pull out a decisive 'win' anymore then you are hopelessly out of touch with reality.

Iraq is in a civil war. What we are seeing is the birth of three independent countries. If we can recognize that and negotiate a political solution that gets us all the way there, then we might still be able to play a concrete role. Or we can continue to fight against history, but we will no more be able to hold Iraq together than Gorbachev could hold the multinational U.S.S.R. together or Milosevic could hold Yugoslavia together.

But if you insist on there being 'one Iraq', methinks that sooner or later you will find that you won't be able to put Humpty-Dumpty back together again no matter how many of the king's horses and how many of the king's men you send.

Anonymous said...

Although, Ann--

Not that this quote is anything other than a direct quote, but given the recent episode on the Drudge report that apparently played you and a lot of other bloggers for fools, I hope that you will be sure to check what Democrats actually did or said before jumping to conclusions. You know, 'fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.'

Although given the Florida blowout of Ohio State, I consider the ultimately guilty party in that one (John Boehner) to have been suitably punished.

AST said...

My vote was a mandate to cut spending, including pork and entitlement reform.

The only reason Democrats oppose the war is that they think they could be spending the money to socialize some other aspect of our lives, and buy our votes with it.

monkeyboy said...

"Everything is very simple in war, but the simplest thing is difficult. These difficulties accumulate and produce a friction which no man can imiagine exactly who has not seen war." Clausewitz.

I have that above my desk because its as true today as it was in 1833. Maybe I missed the part in operational planning classes where they mentioned the magic wand, but what we are doing in Iraq is not easy. Creating democracy has a lot of simple things that create friction, and the military is continuing to adapt to changes, as is the enemy. If we leave we do two things, abandon people that have risked their lives for their country and give our enemy a victory when they are in retreat around the world. Bin Laden said he planned 9-11 because America could not handle casualties. Apparently he was more right than I thought.

If the Democrats want to abandon Iraq, then they should remove JFKs "Pay any Price" speech and replace it with Kipling's "White Man's Burden" You have already stopped talking about the importance of democracy for wogs, might as well go all out.

Sloanasaurus said...

Id like you to define 'win,' first of all. Because our troops sure don't know what the mission is.

To win is to kill terrorists in Iraq rather than having to kill them here. We have killed thousands of them. Al Qaeda as a movement is declining.

To win is to leave Iraq with a democratic government in control of its country.

I think we are close to this goal.

Iraq is in a civil war. What we are seeing is the birth of three independent countries. If we can recognize that and negotiate a political solution that gets us all the way there, then we might still be able to play a concrete role.

This is the same kind of stuff being said by the European elites during our own civil war - they said we could never reconcile with the South.

The irony is so fun!

Maybe it will happen, but there are just as many pressures working against Iraq splitting up into three nations.

Freder Frederson said...

To win is to kill terrorists in Iraq rather than having to kill them here. We have killed thousands of them. Al Qaeda as a movement is declining.

And by what possible standard do you reach this conclusion. You use one standard (that there has been no terrorist attack on U.S. soil) to tout our Dear Leader's success in the war on terror when by every other measure (worldwide terror attacks, even when you exclude those in Afghanistan and Iraq, dollars spent, failure to eliminate the threat) the war on terror has been an failure with very few successes.

And how on earth can you claim success in Iraq. Have you noticed that all the indicators point in the wrong direction. Iraqi fatalities tripled in the second half of the year and you claim that the insurgency is losing steam? On its face, the proposal Bush will put forth tonight is unworkable. Adding 20,000 troops (of which less than a third are actually going to be boots on the ground trigger pullers) to Baghdad is simply not enough "clear and hold" neighborhoods. Depending on Maliki to crack down on the Shiites is like believing in the tooth fairy.

monkeyboy said...

Adding 20,000 troops (of which less than a third are actually going to be boots on the ground trigger pullers) to Baghdad is simply not enough "clear and hold" neighborhoods.

Actually 1/3 is a heavy tooth to tail ratio.

What do you base your opinion on that the number is too low? What do you know about the operational environment that the rest of us don't?

Freder Frederson said...

Actually 1/3 is a heavy tooth to tail ratio.

What do you base your opinion on that the number is too low? What do you know about the operational environment that the rest of us don't?


I am basing my tooth to tail ratio on the assumption that the troops are made up entirely of actual combat brigades, where 1/3 will be about right.

I don't know anything more about the operational environment than we have known about successful occupations for the last 60 years (and which Shinseki pointed out before the beginning of the war). That if you want a successful occupation or clear and hold strategy you need a civilian to soldier ratio of about 40 to 1. To achieve that ratio in Baghdad we would have to shift the entire 140,000 troops we have in Iraq to Baghdad.

Unless Bush is willing to make that kind of commitment he is not serious. All he is doing is trying to keep from the situation from spinning out of control long enough so he can hand off the whole mess to the next president. It is the way he has lived his whole life. He screws something up and then leaves it for someone else to clean up the mess.

monkeyboy said...

I don't know anything more about the operational environment than we have known about successful occupations for the last 60 years (and which Shinseki pointed out before the beginning of the war).

Beyond Germany and Japan, what successful occupations are you talking about? I don't think that Malaysia had 40 to 1. Vastly different military means vastly different rules, the army in amny ways still has its head in the Fulda Gap.

Ah Shiniseki, I often wonder how many troops General Cassandra said was needed to remove the Taliban.

Anonymous said...

Unless Bush is willing to make that kind of commitment he is not serious.

The commitment he [and the next President] needs to make is to topple the leadership of Syria and Iran. Until thats done, the situation in Iraq and the ME is not going to improve.

Sloanasaurus said...

And how on earth can you claim success in Iraq. Have you noticed that all the indicators point in the wrong direction. Iraqi fatalities tripled in the second half of the year and you claim that the insurgency is losing steam?

The casualties in Iraq are now coming from sectarian violence - a mini civil war. That is quite a different matter from the risks that existed a few years ago such as Al Qaeda threatening to take over the government.

Sloanasaurus said...

even when you exclude those in Afghanistan and Iraq, dollars spent, failure to eliminate the threat) the war on terror has been an failure with very few successes.

You are kidding right? You think preventing any future attacks here is not a meaningful success. The attack on Sept 11, in addition to lives, cost the economy $1 trillion and it is still costing us. Imagine what a couple of Bus bombs would do. Our civilian economy is fragile because it runs at prime efficiencies. If we had to step back and provide security for everything and take the round about way to get anywhere, we would all be a lot poorer.

What happened to all of Al Qaeda's cells in their 50 countries and their 10,000 trained terrorists? Several years ago, there used to be gun battles in Saudi Arabia, assassination attempts in Pakistan, massacres in Russia all connected to Al Qaeda. How come we don't hear from them anymore what happened to all of the Al Qaeda fighters? Other than Somalia, what governement is even remotely threatened by Al Qaeda anymore. Osama may be still alive somewhere, but his dreams of a Caliphate are dead. His dreams died in Iraq with the liquidation of his supporters. How many times has Zawahari threatened to get us in the past few years, with no success. Al Qaeda is almost at total defeat. What victories has Al Qaeda logged recently? Who would want to join a movement that has only suffered constant defeat for the past 5 years. Al Qaeda is entering the twilight of their movement. The stage has switched back to traditional state sponsored mischef with states such as Iran, Syria, and their surrogates.

ChrisO said...

After all of these posts, I have yet to see anyone establish that "the Democrats" made any specific promise about the war, other than a general sense that new leadership was needed, and that we need to start the process of disengagement. Some candidates argued for immediate withdrawal, but many more argued for some kind of timetable. Could the next person who refers to the Democrats reneging on their promise to get out of Iraq please substantiate that promise?

Monkeyboy said: "What do you base your opinion on that the number is too low? What do you know about the operational environment that the rest of us don't?"

Is Lt. General David Petraeus enough of an expert? In addition to just being put in charge of military operations in Iraq, he just finished writing the Army's manual on counterinsurgency. He says that it takes at minimum 20 combat troops for every 1,000 population. That would mean we need 120,000 combat troops in Baghdad alone. If the additional 20,000 troops are all combat troops (as opposed to support personnel) that will bring us to 90,000 combat troops in the entire country. You'd better get in touch with Petraeus and let him know his numbers are way off base.

As for your question "Ah Shiniseki, I often wonder how many troops General Cassandra said was needed to remove the Taliban" it's interesting how you try to shift the argument. Shiniseki's projections were never about how many troops it would take to "remove" the Baathists. It was about how many it would take to maintain order afterwards. But Franks was of the mindset that taking the capital equals victory. And we're seeing the same instability in Afghanistan that we've seen in Iraq. Are you really of the belief that the Afghanistan conflict is over, or even winding down?

And Sloanasaurus:
First, it's a ridiculous argument to say that it's up to Democrats to prove that the war in Iraq isn't the reason we haven't been attacked again. Besides the fact that debaters who have run out of steam tend to demand that their opponent prove a negative, you're setting up rules of engagement that are simply designed to deflect arguments. As you said in a related thread, "The Democrats and critics need to prove that the war in Iraq has not kept us safe" Says who, you? Okay, now I state that it's up to Republicans to prove the war has kept us safe. So we're at a stalemate.

And really, the American people have a "false sense of despair"? So now you're deciding if the people's despair is actually real? Does anyone recall after the 2004 election, when many Democrats were bemoaning the fact that the public didn't get the reality of the war, and pointed to polls that showed many voters actually thought that Iraqis were behind 9/11? What was the Republican response? "Typical liberal elites, thinking they are so much more knowledgeable than the voters." Funny how so many Republicans these days are moaning about how the press has misled the American people. Now it turns out their despair over the war isn't even "real."

And we're all still waiting for you to substantiate your repeated claim that conventional wisdom was that we would be attacked again soon after 2001. Are you just going to keep repeating that without backing it up?

Oh, by the way, keep using examples from the 1860s. Really, nothing in society or the world has changed since then.

And Pogo, can you at least try to have some factual basis for your arguments? "Weren't they just bitching about 'not enough troops'?" Yeah, that's it. The Democrats ran on the belief that we need to send more troops into Iraq. Do you even follow the news? And it's now the Democrats war? After one week? Don't you wish. I wasn't aware that Bush stopped being Commander in Chief after the elections. That's great, when he wants to send in more troops he can tell Congress to go screw. But when it comes to accountability, it's the Democrats' war. Boy, isn't that the Bush administration in a nutshell?

And a special shout out to Molon_Labe_Lamp, who calls others ignorant, then accuses the Democrats of "hiding behind the constitution." Good point. Since when has the Constitution had anything to do with how we govern this country, Moron_Labe_Lamp?

Freder Frederson said...

I don't think that Malaysia had 40 to 1. Vastly different military means vastly different rules, the army in amny ways still has its head in the Fulda Gap.

Well, for all this talk about a vastly different military, its not a vastly different mission. That was Rumsfeld's fatal mistake. And remember he wanted to go in with even less troops than we actually invaded with. It was only at the insistence of the military that we went in with 140,000.

And 40--1 is what we used in the mostly successful mission in the Balkans.

And are you really calling Shinseki a Cassandra? After all that has happened, are you still claiming he was overly pessimistic? I suppose you still believe Wolfowitz' estimates on the cost of the war too?

Was Santa Claus good to you?

Sloanasaurus said...

Besides the fact that debaters who have run out of steam tend to demand that their opponent prove a negative, you're setting up rules of engagement that are simply designed to deflect arguments.

I make this argument because its you the critics of the war who have been saying for five years that we cannot prove that invading Iraq and Afghanistan will make us safer - that we don't have enough proof to show that arguments such as the flypaper theory have actually reduced or prevented attacks.

Okay...

Except, now enough time has passed that I argue that the burden of proof has passed to you. We have done these things - invaded Iraq, killed lots of terrorists there and the result is that we have not been attacked by terrorists here. There is a logical connection to the argument that the more terrorists we kill over there the less likely they will come over here - it is a difficult causation to prove because we don't have Osama Bin Ladin's memoirs yet telling us that the Iraq war messed up his plans.

However, proof is in the results. And the results are NO attacks. So if you argue now that we should prematurely pull out, how do you know that this pull out wont lead to more attacks on the U.S. This is the case because it is a logical assumption to say that if there are a bunch of terrorists in Iraq with no Americans to fight, then they may come here to America to fight after we leave - that is if Al Qaeda is still a viable organization (which I don't believe it is).

Nevertheless, maybe we should be darn sure that the terrorists as a movement is dead before we skadaddle.

Sloanasaurus said...

Oh, by the way, keep using examples from the 1860s. Really, nothing in society or the world has changed since then.

True....except for the behavior of humans themselves - we haven't changed in thousands of years. Which is why YOU should go read some history before you tell me how foolish I am to cite it and rely on it.

Sloanasaurus said...

And really, the American people have a "false sense of despair"? So now you're deciding if the people's despair is actually real?

It is my opinion that the media has perpetrated a false sense of despair about Iraq. This is because the media generally does not provide any context about the war. They report the casualties and costs every day without reporting the benefits of incurring the costs or the risks of not incurring the costs. Maybe we should not fault the media - it's not their job to carry Bush's water (just the Dems water).

Most people do not feel the effect of the war because the Army, casualties, and cost are relatively small in comparison to the population. Instead, such feelings about the war are all generated by the media.

In my opinion, the biggest failure of Bush is his inability to communicate over the power of the media to explain why the war needs to be won and why it is worth the cost. Bush has great leadership qualities, specifically because he is a rock and does not break from the stress, which is very important in a leader. This quality is why Lincoln is so revered. However, Bush is poor at communicating and does not have the charisma to counter act the false premises delivered by the media and his opposition.

So far he has been lucky, but it is starting to catch up with him.

ChrisO said...

"We have done these things - invaded Iraq, killed lots of terrorists there and the result is that we have not been attacked by terrorists here."

Sorry, but if you're going to make a blanket statement like that, the burden of proof is on you. It's a common fallacious argument to tie a cause and result together with no evidence. How about if I say "We sent troops into Iraq, the result of which is that the administration was too distracted to respond adequately to Katrina." See how easy that is? Now the burden of proof is on you to show that I'm wrong.

You haven't offered a scintilla of evidence to establish that your premise is true. Globalsecurity.org, which is far rom a liberal site, reports that al Qaeda has cells in more than 100 countries. If Bush has been so successful in stopping them, then they must have been in even more countries before. Bush has successfully whittled them down to only 100 countries.

You don't even account for the fact that 9/11 finally woke up the Bush administration and prodded them to institute more security, although they have still criminally ignored our ports. I bet the time a prison is the most secure is right after a jailbreak, too. The Secret Service became a lot more vigilant after JFK was killed. But I guess the reason there were no assassinations after that was because Ruby killed Oswald, which served as a deterrent to future assassins. You talk as though 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq are the only two world events that are relevant here. That's just simple minded.

As for my remark about the 1860s, I think some elements of hman nature have changed since then. I doubt most women I know would want to go back to those times. Do you really think public opinion during the Civil War was a product of the same access to information provided by television and the internet to today's population? You weren't referencing human nature, you were talking about the public's attitude toward policy.

monkeyboy said...

Criso:
Is Lt. General David Petraeus enough of an expert? In addition to just being put in charge of military operations in Iraq, he just finished writing the Army's manual on counterinsurgency. He says that it takes at minimum 20 combat troops for every 1,000 population.

From the Counterinsurgency manual:

"No objective force level guarantees victory for either side. It is frequently stated that a 10 to 1 or 20 to 1 ratio of counterinsurgents to insurgents is necessary for counterinsurgency victory. In reality, research has demonstrated time and again there are no valid ratios that, when met, guarantee victory. As in conventional war, correlation of forces in an insurgency depends upon the situation."

We have Iraqi units that add to the number of combat troops and perhaps less troops would have caused us to concentrate sooner on Iraqis. Nothing in planning is static, adding eleventy billion infantry would have produced more "unknown unknowns" that would have resonated throughout the operation.

monkeyboy said...

Sorry that was the old manual, new manual is here.

"no predetermined, fixed ratio of friendly troops to enemy combatants ensures success in
COIN. The conditions of the operational environment and the approaches insurgents use vary too widely.
A better force requirement gauge is troop density, the ratio of security forces (including the host nation’s military and police forces as well as foreign counterinsurgents) to inhabitants. Most density recommendations
fall within a range of 20 to 25 counterinsurgents for every 1000 residents in an AO."

Again that number is not set in stone and also includes Iraqi forces. You need to include them that in the ratio, not just US troops.