February 22, 2007

"Everybody in politics lies, but [the Clintons] do it with such ease, it’s troubling.”

That's just one of the mean things David Geffen said, as quoted by Maureen Dowd (TimesSelect) and being talked about everywhere. More from the mogul:
“Not since the Vietnam War has there been this level of disappointment in the behavior of America throughout the world, and I don’t think that another incredibly polarizing figure, no matter how smart she is and no matter how ambitious she is — and God knows, is there anybody more ambitious than Hillary Clinton? — can bring the country together.

“Obama is inspirational, and he’s not from the Bush royal family or the Clinton royal family. Americans are dying every day in Iraq. And I’m tired of hearing James Carville on television.”
The guy can really string thoughts together, can't he? If you are actually worried about the war and polarizing people, why is Obama the solution? He's way on one side, where Hillary is in the middle. You really think generic, banal inspirationalism is going to paper over all the differences?

Here's the story on the two candidates squabbling about those terrible things Geffen said. And Bill Richardson gets some coverage:
...Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, said Mr. Obama should denounce Mr. Geffen’s remarks. “If we’re going to win, we have to be positive,” Mr. Richardson said. “I think these name-callings are not good.”

119 comments:

George said...

Imagine walking around Brooklyn in 1947 letting it be known that Mrs. Corleone uses canned spaghetti sauce...

That would be like—oh, I don't know—calling Sen. Clinton a liar in 2007.

George said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
twwren said...

Obama's way on one side, where Hillary is the Middle? Wow!. You can imagine my surprise.

Simon said...

Re Clinton, Chris Hitchens - not someone I generally like - nailed him a few months ago in a PBS interview, suggesting that it's pathological: as long as Hitchens has known Clinton (that is, since college), the latter has been "addicted to mendacity."

"You really think generic, banal inspirationalism is going to paper over all the differences?"

I'm at a loss for what else might explain why a seeming vacuous non-entity is seemingly doing so well in the polls. It's not his honesty, it doesn't seem to be his views, and that really only leaves his charisma, which amounts to "generic, banal inspirationalism."

Doug said...

Funny that the liberal mantra for the past six years was that the Clintons only lied about sex, now all the sudden, they lie about everything?

I think this actually makes Hillary seem sane. I would think that having this out of touch Hollywood billionaire whine to the NYTs about this crap makes Clinton seem more mainstream. Now if only Barbra Striesand would call her a warmonger, Clinton would be quite appealing to moderates.

drew said...

I get the sense that we're going to see more of this "internal" squabbling in the next two years; at least partly as a result of the fact that the candidates have "stretched" the campaign season.

It used to be that 10-14 months before the actual election was considered a proper time to announce one's candidacy -- now it seems that we might soon be hearing about campaign launches for the 2016 election.

When the campaigns need to generate some press, they need to have something to blather about. Since the use of policy wonkism was shown to be so ineffective 2 (yes, only 2) years ago, the candidates need to ramp up something to be outraged about. Clearly, you can't slam your opponent over a policy issue, or a principled stance on anything -- why not rake them over the coals for something only tangentially involved in the actual campaign? As a result, Sen. Clinton is "outraged", Gov. Richardson is "troubled", and all the other lesser candidates are caught looking for the appropriate words in their Political Thesaurus (or is that Thesauri?).

It's going to be an interesting ride for those of us on the sidelines.

The Emperor said...

I agree with Obama on the war but virtually nothing else. Nevertheless, I see in him something far more than "generic, banal inspirationalism." Some call it charisma, and I think that's part of it. But more than that, it's the power of his presentation. It may be that a brilliant speaker is not necessarily brilliant. But it certainly gives the impression that he/she is. With Clinton, Edwards, Romney, Giuliani and the rest, they mangle their words trying to say things just as they practiced in front of the mirror. With Obama it just flows naturally. When you see him speak (and from what I read, when you speak to him), you have the impression that he really knows what's he's talking about and believes in it. It may not be the case, but that's the impression people get.

That, in my view, is why he is rocketing up the charts. He will have to back it all up at some point (e.g. what kind of universal health care?) But it shouldn't be a suprise that he's such a star.

Pogo said...

Re: "...he's such a star"

Charisma is just the shiny foil wrapping. It means nothing whatsoever; never has. It is a gift, like good looks or physical prowess, and isn't the same thing as being talented or a true leader.

But people are forever desperate to believe that the shiny foil means that there's something truly wonderful inside. We're so fragile that way.

It's best to remember that charisma is a tool, to be used for good or evil. "Nice guy" plus "charisma" doesn't necessarily equal "good leader" (or "good husband" or "not a serial killer", for that matter), but boy do people want to believe. And we keep relearning the same painful lessons when we forget.

Charisma's just "The Great and Powerful Oz", Obama has a man somewhere behind the curtain. And who is he?

Bruce Hayden said...

Doug,

Bill only lies about sex (well, not really, he also lied to dodge the draft, but that is the meme). Hillary lies about everything.

Actually, I think a better way to look at it is that the sex scandals were always Bill's and the all the rest were Hillary's. In particular, if it was abuse of power or greed involved, it was she. Or at least it was she in the lead.

Whitewater, the Rose Law Firm, that S&L, missing billing records, illegaly obtained FBI files, PIs, IRS audits, the Lincoln Bedroom, and finally, the last minute presidential pardons that almost all pointed back at her, mostly for money for her 2000 Senatorial campaign (for example - Geffen was faulting the Clintons for Marc Rich's pardon, du to his wife's contributions to Hillary, even after he fled this country for tax reasons).

This is going to be an interesting campaign, esp. on the Democratic side. There is a lot of dirt out there against Hillary that can and will be recycled. But she and her army of PIs are the best in the business about getting and using dirt on others.

Even though Richardson is claimed to have a lot of skeletons in his closet, his high road here may be just the ticket for if and when Obama and Hillary knock each other out in their mud fight.

The Emperor said...

Charisma is just the shiny foil wrapping.

Again, I think it's more than charisma. It's that he appears to understand and believe what he's saying. This is in stark contrast to the others, who are desperately trying to remember their scripted talking points.

Simon said...

The Emperor said...
"I agree with Obama on the war but virtually nothing else."

You want us to unilaterally surrender in Iraq and retreat with our tail between our legs to begin a period of national self-flagellation? Because that's what his position on the war boils down to.


"I see in him something far more than "generic, banal inspirationalism." Some call it charisma, and I think that's part of it. But more than that, it's the power of his presentation."

So he's basically a Powerpoint presentation: "Barack, you add nothing of substantive value to our discussion here today, but you're very pretty."


"With Obama it just flows naturally"

I'd say that about Giulliani, but lookit: it's very easy to make words "just flow[] naturally" when you're not actually saying anything. I agree with Pogo - powerpoint presentations and political speeches are as good as their substance. That's it. Reagan was just as good at this presentation stuff as was Obama, but he had a little substance behind it. Of course, it helped that he didn't try to hide his actual views, as does Obama.

MadisonMan said...

It's that he appears to understand and believe what he's saying.

That is dead on. With almost every other candidate, you strongly get the feeling that just before the candidates talk, their handlers have been making them repeat the talking points.

I'm pretty sure the same thing is true of Obama, but he masks it so much better than the others.

The Emperor said...

I'm pretty sure the same thing is true of Obama, but he masks it so much better than the others.

You're right, he may just be better at covering it up. That's why I'm eagerly awaiting some actual policy proposals to see if he can be as impressive there.

Tim said...

"You want us to unilaterally surrender in Iraq and retreat with our tail between our legs to begin a period of national self-flagellation? Because that's what his position on the war boils down to."

Yes, of course, that's exactly what they want to do, as they are utterly convinced the US needs to be humiliated again, if only to validate their hatred of their own nation. After all, we all know universal coverage, global warming and conforming to de facto international norms tolerating terrorism and nuclear proliferation are much more critical than the global war on terror and defeating al Qaeda in Iraq, let alone maintaining a sovereign national security policy. The Democrat primary is nothing more than arguing over who gets to preside over the surrender ceremony and be the next star at the UN General Assembly and Davos in 2009.

The Emperor said...

Giuliani flows naturally????? Come on, now. I've seen Giuliani speak. It's not natural at all. He stutters out some incoherent thoughts in a way that seems like he's not even trying to be a politician. It's like you're talking casually with your neighbor about politics, and no one really cares about being very precise. I think there is some appeal to that approach. But I don't think it will play to the masses.

As for Obama's views, at some point the media is going to stop asking whether he's black and beging asking what his views are. Then we'll know a bit more.

As for You want us to unilaterally surrender in Iraq and retreat with our tail between our legs to begin a period of national self-flagellation? Because that's what his position on the war boils down to. What I'd like us to do is spend a bit more of the hundreds of billions of Iraq war dollars on going after some actual terrorists. That might be better than creating a failed state where terrorists can hide out.

SteveR said...

Geffen: So he's a really smart guy by all accounts, and hes just now figuring the Clintons out? Ok maybe sometime near the end of Bill's presidency and he's just now saying it?

How smart is that? Conventional wisdom going back to the 1980s and postively confirmed early in the first term. I guess the ends justify the means.

Katie said...

The Emperor - that's actually one of the things I find appealing about Rudy Giuliani. Hillary says "let's chat", but Rudy actually sounds like he is chatting.

MadisonMan said...

You want us to unilaterally surrender in Iraq and retreat with our tail between our legs to begin a period of national self-flagellation? Because that's what his position on the war boils down to.

That's your interpretation. I think an honest assessment of how and why this country entered Iraq is warranted, either now or in 55 years when we finally do leave. Is that what you call self-flagellation? I call it learning the truth.

The best reason I can think of to exit Iraq now is that it lessens the possibility of entering Iran. I do believe there are imbeciles in this administration who are pushing for entry into Iran. And guess what: They have no exit strategy from there either. Think it would be easy to get out of Iran? What would the next step be? A post-Musharraf Pakistan?

History is littered with overextended empires.

The Emperor said...

The Emperor - that's actually one of the things I find appealing about Rudy Giuliani. Hillary says "let's chat", but Rudy actually sound's like he is chatting.

I agree. I like it. I just think that it may not seem "Presidential" enought for most people.

pr9000 (paul) said...

It's easy to believe in what you say when what you say has no substance.

Fen said...

I do believe there are imbeciles in this administration who are pushing for entry into Iran

What does Obama intend to do about Iran? Has anyone gotten off their knees to ask him? Will he allow the Theocrats to develop nuclear weapons?

Zeb Quinn said...

Everybody is flailing around trying to figure out what it is that Obama has that makes him special as if it's some kind of a mystery. Come on, it's a no-brainer. We all know what it is. People just don't want to admit it, lest they be labeled and be called names. He's a good-looking, well-spoken, well educated black man. And that's it. Other than that he's an empty suit, and if he didn't have that going for him we would never have ever heard of him.

And by the way I would have said "articulate" instead of "well-spoken," but then somebody would've started calling me names.

As for charisma, don't underestimate it. It's often another word for leadership, the kind of leadership where people follow. That's not what Obama has. Obama has the allure of being an attractive mystery, groomed to be all things to all people, and he deliberately hides who he is to keep it going. That's not leadership. That's marketing.

David said...

The Democrats are doing what they do best, eating their own. For various reasons, the U.S. is not ready for a black named Obama (Osama) or a Hillary who is not an Indira Ghandi/Margaret Thatcher.

Geffen is exceedingly intelligent and his sudden change in loyalties is remarkable. Something serious happened that caused him to cut the Clinton's loose. Whether he holds a fundraiser for Hillary in the future is now a moot point. Timing and perception are the sine-qua-non for these people.

We will see if Hillary is more interested in Hollywood or Hollywood money! If I were her campaign manager I would look askance at any support from a group that produces products like Britney Spears, Mel Gibson, Anna Nicole Smith, etc.

The Democrats are their own worst enemy. What with Harry Reid's real estate schemes in Vegas, Abscam Murtha, Clinton's Arkansas baggage, the best entertainment will be coming from the Democrats and not Hollywood.

Pass the popcorn!

Simon said...

The Emperor said...
"Giuliani flows naturally????? Come on, now. I've seen Giuliani speak. It's not natural at all. He stutters out some incoherent thoughts in a way that seems like he's not even trying to be a politician."

If that's your impression, I'd say it's wrong, but to each their own.

"As for Obama's views, at some point the media is going to stop asking whether he's black and begin asking what his views are."

Don't count on it. And even if they do:

"Then we'll know a bit more."

Don't count on it.

"As for [']You want us to unilaterally surrender in Iraq and retreat with our tail between our legs to begin a period of national self-flagellation[',] ... What I'd like us to do is spend a bit more of the hundreds of billions of Iraq war dollars on going after some actual terrorists. That might be better than creating a failed state where terrorists can hide out."

...And a pony. There are three possible outcomes in Iraq: we win, we're beaten in the field, or we surrender and retreat. Pick one. It's really that simple. If you want us to surrender and retreat, just be honest about it and say you want us to surrender and retreat. I don't understand why y'all are so hesitant to say so, unless out of innate shame at suggesting such a course - but if that's what you're advocating, you wouldn't advocate something shameful, right? So why not say it out loud, free from shame? "I want my country to surrender and withdraw" - if that's your position, which it seems to be, that'd be wrong, but at least it'd be honest, which is a lot more than can be said for the Congressional Democratic Party in general and Obambi in particular.

Simon said...

Actually, let me rephrase that last point: There are many possible outcomes in Iraq, but all of them are organized under three heads: we win, we're beaten in the field, or we surrender and retreat.

oseaghdha said...

He's a good-looking, well-spoken, well educated black man.

And Clean. You forgot clean.

Daryl Herbert said...

Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, said Mr. Obama should denounce Mr. Geffen’s remarks.

Truly, a man of principle.

Either that, or Mr. Richardson believes, at least for the moment, that Obama is a bigger threat than Hillary.

Dragging down the front-runner in the name of party loyalty--I love it.

Too Many Jims said...

You want us to unilaterally surrender in Iraq and retreat with our tail between our legs to begin a period of national self-flagellation? Because that's what his position on the war boils down to.

That's fair. Then again so is saying that people who support the surge want us to sacrifice the U.S.'s blood and treasure for the sake of Halliburton profits or (to be charitable) for the sake of establishing a Shiite Theocracy in Iraq.

The Emperor said...

There are three possible outcomes in Iraq: we win, we're beaten in the field, or we surrender and retreat.

At this stage, it is not a traditional war, so I don't think the three options you identified are relevant. We already won the war, in a sense. We overthrew Saddam and set up a new government. The issue now is whether we can stop the emerging civil war between the sunnis and shia. If we could, that would definitely be a win. But that doesn't seem likely. As for the others, we're not going to be "beaten in the field." And a retreat is not a "surrender." Who would be surrendering to?

No, the question now is what to do about the fighting between the sunnis and shia. Partition is one appealing option. I'm not sure what the other options are. We could send in 300,000 troops to keep the peace. That would work until they left, at which point the fighing would start again.

People keep saying the Democrats don't have a plan. I think that's true to some extent. But what's the Republican plan? As far as I can tell it to keep the troops there until the fighting stops. It could be a long, long time.

Here's my suggestion (and feel free to skewer me for it): admit we made a mistake, pull out our troops, and try to put together a multinational force of regional and other security forces to keep the peace in an Iraq with three very decentralized governments (kurd, sunni, shia).

OK, pile on with the criticism!

AllenS said...

Geffen has been one of many Hollywood types trying to get Leonard Peltier freed from prison. Geffen raised a lot of money for BJ Clinton, and when he brought up the fact that BJ pardoned Mark Rich and not Peltier, he was pissed. Geffen apparently thought raising that much money for BJ would buy Peltier's pardon. Methinks he had conversations with BJ about said pardon, and is pissed at both Clintons that it didn't happen.

Labels: clean, articulate, speculation

Doug said...

Bruce, that reminds me of a line Christopher Hitchens said on Dennis Miller's show after the Juanita Broderick allegation.

Hitchens said "Bill Clinton only lies about sex....and rape".

Simon said...

MadisonMan said...
"That's your interpretation. I think an honest assessment of how and why this country entered Iraq is warranted."

Sure it is, and I think that's going to be a fascinating book to read one day. This exciting misadventure is going to keep bearded lefty weirdo history profs in tenure throughout the country from now until kingdom come. Nevertheless, for the purposes you want to put it to, that nugget of truth is a red herring: why we went to Iraq has nothing whatsoever to do with the practical question of what to do next.


"The best reason I can think of to exit Iraq now is that it lessens the possibility of entering Iran."

I agree. But let's take it further: by the same reasoning, I demand that we immediately throw Florida out of the Union, as doing so lessens the possibility of entering Cuba. While we're at it, our continued presence in Maine presents Bushitler and his neocon rethuglican allies with an avenue to attack Canada. We should also withdraw all U.S. forces from anywhere in the world, because their presence might allow us to enter neighboring countries, and while we're at it, in today's world of rapid deployment capability, we should immediate abolish the marine corps and the standing army in order to lessen the possibility that they might be used anywhere, for any purpose, against any country, by the chimperator-in-chimps.

FWIW, all sarcasm aside, I am at this juncture opposed to military intervention in Iran, and I don't think it'll become necessary. And even if the need does become apparent, if Iran appears to be within imminent reach of developing a nuclear weapon, the Israelis will deal with them just as they dealt with Saddam at Osiraq.

hdhouse said...

Simon spews...
"There are three possible outcomes in Iraq: we win, we're beaten in the field, or we surrender and retreat. Pick one. It's really that simple."

No its not. I know Geffen. He is riding Obama's horse because Obama has it right.

Here is outcome #4: we stay in Iraq for 10-20 years with 50-100,000 troops with bullseyes on their backs adding "stability" to the young democratic government.

Here is #5: Bankrupt the country (ours).

Here is #6: Start talking to everyone and come to a concensus solution to the problem. This is what every thinking individual and study group, local to Iraq country and most if not all of the free world has been saying for months if not years.

Here is #8. Get Afghanistan under control with the necessary resources and mission like we should have done 5 years ago.

Creeps. The list is endless but to reduce it to get out, win, or surrender or whatever your Rush Limbaugh talking points of the day are, is laughably stupid and above all just plain nuts.

and to Geffen calling others liars:

Have you ever dealt with Hollywood producer types? Moguls? Please cite me an instance of morality and non-weaseling from tinseltown.

You neo-fools hate Hollywood (birthplace of your god-king Reagan) yet you take what they say on face. That is hypocracy at its zenith. Just because it suits your needs to bash the Clintons you surrender all your great moral stances and high ideals...Hollywood stinks but not if they don't like the Clintons..then they are saints.

And you wonder why the majority of the electorate wants a change in direction? You wonder?

Too Many Jims said...

Simon,

It is simple. I want us to win but this administration has proved itself so incompetent in this endeavor that I have no confidence in their ability to fix the mess that they made.

If there really are only three options, I'd be interested to hear which of the three you think the Brits are choosing.

Simon said...

oseaghdha said...
"'He's a good-looking, well-spoken, well educated black man.' And Clean. You forgot clean. "

Well, I've never been in a room with him, but Obama smokes. Practically by definition he isn't "clean."

Simon said...

Too Many Jims said...
"I want us to win but this administration has proved itself so incompetent in this endeavor that I have no confidence in their ability to fix the mess that they made."

I agree, but leaving will not fix the mistake, and leaving will not un-break the egg. The question now is how well we want it cooked, not how much nicer it looked while it was still in its shell. And that means we have to fix the mess with the administration we have, not the administration we'd like; unless the Democrats want to step up to the plate and impeach Bush, this is what we've got to work with.

"If there really are only three options, I'd be interested to hear which of the three you think the Brits are choosing."

They're going to surrender and retreat the instant that Blair's gone or too crippled to prevent it.

I join Zeb's 9:05 comment, BTW.

TMink said...

Sounds like Hillary is facing a vast left wing conspiracy.

(pause to catch my breath from laughing)

And Geffen is nobody to lecture anyone on morality or ethics. He rose to power by getting to work at 5 in the morning and steaming open other people's mail.

Trey

Mike said...

Bruce, you missed my personal favorite: the cattle futures.

Bo Steed said...

When I want to know what the "world" thinks of America, I always go to Mr. Geffen to find out. From the snowy peaks of Mt. Kilmanjarro to the sweat shops of Hong Kong to the salons (and slums) of Old Europe, it is Mr. Geffen who best knows what the "world" thinks. About any topic. Citizen of the world, that Mr. Geffen.

Of course, nobody would ever dream of challenging somebody on their interpretation of what the world thinks, especially if it might get in the way of the tired trope that we should base our policies on such vague assertions.

Naked Lunch said...

If there really are only three options, I'd be interested to hear which of the three you think the Brits are choosing.

Better question might be why the Brits aren't "redeploying" from Basra to Baghdad. This is the dumbest argument, "winning" and "losing" and "surrendering". There is no win, no land to take, and there will be no victory parades. That's all the surge is - a new line drawn from which some semblance of political victory can be gained, since the old line has long since faded.

Andy Freeman said...

> What I'd like us to do is spend a bit more of the hundreds of billions of Iraq war dollars on going after some actual terrorists.

Fair enough. Where are they now and do you want to go after them?

Too Many Jims said...

The question now is how well we want it cooked, not how much nicer it looked while it was still in its shell.

Let's take that analogy. For the last four years, the chef has been charging me (actually my kids) for an omelet that has shell in it and is cooked so poorly that I get salmmonella poisoning repeatedly. The chef's response is that I should shut up and enjoy it because it really is a wonderful piece of work. If I can't fire the chef for the next two years am I just supposed to sit back and keep buying food from him and just pray that I don't get killed by his incompetence?

unless the Democrats want to step up to the plate and impeach Bush, this is what we've got to work with.

Because competence a quality unique to Democrats. Goodness knows Republicans certainly did not insist on competence the last 6 years.

Anthony said...

I don't really see fellow liberals slamming the Clintons as all that unusual or unexpected. Mostly they stuck up for them in the first place because conservatives hated them so much and they could win elections. Otherwise, Clinton sold them up the river on any number of issues (NAFTA and welfare reform for e.g.).

P. Rich said...

"When you see him speak (and from what I read, when you speak to him), you have the impression that he really knows what's he's talking about and believes in it."

And what, exactly, would that "it" be? Absence of substance makes the determination rather difficult.

Simon said...

Too Many Jims said...
"For the last four years, the chef has been charging me (actually my kids) for an omelet that has shell in it and is cooked so poorly that I get salmmonella poisoning repeatedly ... If I can't fire the chef for the next two years am I just supposed to sit back and keep buying food from him and just pray that I don't get killed by his incompetence?"

That analogy fails unless quitting buying the omelette's will restore the eggs to their pristine, unbroken form. Walking out of the restaurant, in the context of your analogy, isn't an option, because the moment we leave, the other customers and the cooks will massacre one another, and whoever's left standing will be killed when the cooks from the Dennys and the IHOP next door invade the joint and divvy it up between them, setting the geographic stage for even greater bloodshed and carnage in the great Denny's-IHOP war.

Pogo said...

Too Many Jims

Your anti-war post takes the cooking analogy Too Many Miles.

All the options given by Hillary, Obama, and some posters here involve some variant of surrender and withdrawal.

Fine. Say it loud and Proud: "I surrender." Just don't pretend it's something other than surrender.

Minor Ripper said...

Hmm, let's see the Democratic field continues to bloody each other at the start of the nation's longest campaign for president unwittingly engaging in a policy of mutual assured destruction. Then an untarnished white knight with universal name recognition and sky high approval ratings comes in and takes the trophy. Make sure to watch Al Gore at the Oscars on Sunday night...
www.minor-ripper.blogspot.com

Naked Lunch said...

Fine. Say it loud and Proud: "I surrender." Just don't pretend it's something other than surrender.

Ok I'll bite. Whom would we be surrendering to? This poses lot of questions of course - but would there be prisoners of war? Would there be documents we sign, and whose terms would be abiding by?

Bruce Hayden said...

Mike,

I can't believe I forgot the 100 to one cattle future gains. And, yes, again that was Hillary.

Doug,

I am not sure that Bill Clinton can really distinguish between rape and consensual sex any more. After all, all women want to have sex with him, it is just that some of them pretend to play hard to get.

Ok, I am exaggerating a bit here. But Bill Clinton was given a pass by feminists on credible rape allegations, shortly after they had gone to the mattresses against Clarence Thomas on extremely tenuous allegations of talking dirty. Somehow a black conservative talking dirty is much, much, worse from a feminist's point of view, than a Democratic president raping women and using his power to have sex (or almost sex) with other women.

What is scary is that "feminists" haven't taken him to task yet for his egregious sexual exploitation of women. (Ann, obviously, not all feminists, which is why I put it in quotes).

Naked Lunch said...

But Bill Clinton was given a pass by feminists on credible rape allegations...

Credible rape allegations from? Not Gennifer Flowers. And not Paula Jones. Then who?

Pogo said...

Re: "Ok I'll bite. Whom would we be surrendering to?"

Militant Islam.
No need for signatures. Think Spain and their capitulations.

Re: "Credible rape allegations from..."
Juanita Broaddrick, in 1978

Too Many Jims said...

Simon,

Yes the analogy fails (though I would point out that I didn't start the egg cooking analogy). Most (if not all) analogies fail.

On that note, let me point out that your Denny's-IHOP vision is flawed on a number of fronts.

First, it assumes that the other customers and cooks aren't already massacreing each other. They are. Maybe not to the same degree as when we leave, but they are.

It further assumes that both the internal and external conflicts will not exist if the administration keeps plugging away. Finally, it assumes that the external conflicts (i.e. Denny's and IHOP) can't be addressed in other ways.

Now if I had some confidence that the administration would administer this competently I would be more supportive. But given their history of incompetence and several obstacles in place (some of which are the result of their incompetence) I can't see it happening. I hope it does. I pray it does. But I can't say I think it will.

hdhouse said...

dear pogo and simon and others with <80 i.q. -

Surrender to whom is a very good point. You spew out some generalization but be specific would you. To whom would you give the surrender sword? What would we be turning over?

and to "credible rape allegations"?.....where are the charges? was clinton arrested? was he charged? no? thought not.

happily there isn't a police task force in charge of arresting for credible supidity.

Mike said...

Hey house - what was Bill Clinton's job in 1978?

Consider it an IQ test. No fair using Google.

Too Many Jims said...

Pogo,

I am not "anti-war" though I understand how you would take my statements as such. You see, I am anti-incompetence. Given that this administration is synonymous with both "the war" and "incompetence" I can see how I come accross as "anti-war" but there is a distinction there.

As to your characterization that some are wanting to "surrender".

I think it would be as fair to say that you blindly support the incompetence of this administration at the expense of American life and treasure. That's fine admit it. Say it loud and proud: "I love the incompetence of this administration that results in the loss of American lives and treasure."

(As an aside, I don't think that is a fair characterization of your position just that it is "as fair" as saying that these others want to surrender.)

Tim said...

"Winning" is not hard to define. Al Qaeda is (obviously) in Iraq; winning is defined by defeating al Qaeda and leaving a friendly, civil and democratic government able to defend itself in Iraq.

Democrats would rather lose now than defeat al Qaeda in Iraq and leave behind a friendly, civil and democratic government able to defend itself in Iraq.

Only one analogy to S. Vietnam holds: losing in Iraq is tantamount to losing in S. Vietnam in that the predictable chaos of genocide and greater regional instability will ensue, and so too will the broad, global perception that the U.S. lost.

None of this is in our national interest, as it will embolden our enemies and harm our military, especially retention and recruitment, which harms readiness and moral.

But Democrats and liberals don't care; they'd rather lose to teach GW and the neocons a lesson and validate their own blinkered worldview of the U.S.

The Emperor said...

"Winning" is not hard to define. Al Qaeda is (obviously) in Iraq; winning is defined by defeating al Qaeda and leaving a friendly, civil and democratic government able to defend itself in Iraq.

Wow. You are ambitious. You might as well have said "winning is creating an ever-lasting peace in world affairs."

No matter how long we stay, and no matter how many troops we send in, when we leave the various factions are going to start shooting. That was a given from day one of the invasion. The issue is not "defeating al Qaeda." That certainly should be our main objective, but that's not what people are debating. The issue is how to stop the internal fighting in Iraq. Aside from those proposing some degree of partition, it doesn't seem like anyone has a clue how to do that.

TMink said...

hdhouise wrote: "You spew out some generalization but be specific would you."

Dude. Mirror mirror. You just posted something calling people who disagreed with you stupid (<80 iqs) and you are demanding that someone else be specific?

The height of hypocrisy. And sadly, typical. Take the whatever out of your own eye before you call attention to the I'm not sure in your brother's eye.

Trey

Pogo said...

"As an aside, I don't think that is a fair characterization of your position..."

...but you'll do so anyway, because you consider it as turnabout and thus fair play?

Understood. But let's just say, in the simplest Machiavellian view of the world, that Iran and the rest of the militant Islamists don't give a damn whether you characterize leaving as "anti-incompetence" or surrender, they see our leaving as a loss, no different than showing the white flag.

Your way may make you feel warm and fuzzy, but it's meaningless.

Pogo said...

hdhouse,
Try googling 'You better put some ice on that.' Even with my low IQ, I was able to research that way.

Revenant said...

If you are actually worried about the war and polarizing people, why is Obama the solution? He's way on one side, where Hillary is in the middle.

I suspect Geffen's using the Hollywood leftie definition of "polarizing" -- i.e., "too far to the right".

Revenant said...

dear pogo and simon and others with <80 i.q. -

You know, the "I'm smart and you're dumb" schtick really doesn't work when the post you're using it in is riddled with spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors.

Just some friendly advice.

hdhouse said...

this is a blog and thread and comments and it is off the top..if you want an english lesson or, rather, one on composition, come on over - it might take a while but i'll give you my best shot.

as to the question that you will not answer - go ahead..one more time: you neo-cons are the only ones saying surrender - ok...to whom? give me a name. after you scratch your ass for a while, perhaps you can tell me what we would loose and abandon in Iraq...territory? do we throw down our rifles? what? tell me what surrender as you use it and define it and observe it, would look like? then, tell me who would notice.

Pogo said...

Re: "then, tell me who would notice."

The inability to even guess what the downstream effects might be for surrendering is sufficient proof of a profound geopolitical ignorance so as to negate any reason to heed your advice.

MadisonMan said...

The inability to even guess what the downstream effects might be for surrendering is sufficient proof of a profound geopolitical ignorance so as to negate any reason to heed your advice.

Replace surrendering in that sentence with invading.

RaisingPaine said...

Obama is going to implement the savant strategy that Bush is too much of an idiot to -- namely, redeploy US troops and allow the Iranians, Syrians, Iraqi Shia, Iraqi Sunnis, and Al-Qaeda (for whom this conflict will act as a gigantic magnet) to dial up their Celebrity Death Match on a battlefield half-way around the world.

One can almost see US troops ringing the Iraqi border along with their 55-gallon drums of popcorn, throwing anybody that tries to get out of the fracas back in, like a no-disqualification WWE bout.

The only thing that could make it more perfect would be for us to provide transport assistance for the Taliban to assist their Sunni brethren, and have North Korea sell battlefield tactical nukes to both sides.

It solves so many problems simultaneously, but Obama should get the credit should it be executed, although Bush is clearly the mastermind behind the whole thing. Who knew that while the rest of us were playing checkers, Dubya was playing 3-D chess? :-)

ajwpip said...

It is not ridiculous to believe we can accomplsih the goal of leaving behind a stable governemnt in Iraq when we leave. The Soviet puppet regime in Afghanistan lasted almost a decade after the soviets left. We have more legitimacy and resources with out endeavor although the forces arrayed against us are somewhat greater.

The hysteria of claiming that Iraq is bankrupting our country is just delusional. Name another economy doing better than us at the moment. The defecit is falling and unemployment is low. If this is economic ruin sign me up for more of it. We can accomplish this if we don't lose heart.

I remember watching some Clinton officials who recently presided over the signing of agreements for the political solution to the balkan war. It was, I believe, last year or maybe the year before. They said "yes - it took 8 or so years but creating a political solution to this kind of ethnic fighting takes time". This from the same people bagging on Iraq not being solved yet.

We are making progress in Iraq. I tend to think every day we keep their elected government in power, their economy growing, and their forces training is a success. Our losses are tragic and so are the civillian deaths but the kind of animals who blow up folks in a marketplace need to be fought not surrendered to.

When folks ask "who would we be surrendering to" I think of a mix of Al Queda in Iraq, Iran, factional death squads, and those who hope to see America humbled and the American moment end. Sorry if I don't have names and addreesses for these folks but I think that it is a decent answer nonetheless. This postmodern interpretation to war as one without winners and losers is just bizarre to me.

Pogo said...

Re: "Replace surrendering in that sentence with invading."

Cute, but that answers nothing at all. We can't return to the status quo ante, and bitching about the past is now pointless, except in avoiding having to be responsible.

The question is: We are in a battle. Do we surrender, or do we win? So far, the Democrats are the Surrender Party.

RaisingPaine said...

ajwpip -- please remember the etiquette affiliated with whatever it is you're smoking.

Puff. Puff. Pass.

ajwpip said...

Heh. RP made a joke that I am smoking too much weed. He is right I should just relax and get all my insight from a Ralph Bakshi movie or something. Let me pull out some Phish albums.

How reefer crazy for me to believe that the most powerful country in the world can accomplish something that won't even be close to the most difficult struggle our nation has ever faced.

Spain still has political and ethnic violence. Britain had the IRA till recently. I am not saying we can make Iraq into Sweden but we can help create a stable government that can handle its internal problems and foriegn threats without resorting to tyranny and ethnic cleansing a la Saddam. Now take your damn finger off the carb on that bong and smoke what I'm selling Mr. Paine.

RaisingPaine said...

Pogo -- your post presumes this is our battle to win.

If we were to follow your advice and continue sending young men and women into this meat-grinder over, say, the next five or six years, what will you say then when the Iraqis are still battling against each other?

Nothing will get done until the indigenous population is determined that it be. In the meantime, our troops continue not only to be the targets in a real-life shooting gallery, but ostensibly viewed as an occupational, naive extension of an Iraqi government whose people don't trust it any further than they can throw it.

hdhouse said...

Pogo said...
Re: "then, tell me who would notice." to which you said:
"The inability to even guess what the downstream effects might be for surrendering is sufficient proof of a profound geopolitical ignorance so as to negate any reason to heed your advice."

is this the same geopolitcal ignorance you neo-cons used in getting us there in the first place?

is it the same ignorance that permits cheney to laud the british "surrender" as good news that all is well?

is it the same ignorance that shows terrorist attacks OUTSIDE of Iraq are growing, that the enemy is reestablishing itself, that Afghanistan is going down the tubes, that we have a disaster in the making with our veterans in this country, that we have a military that is essentially out of equipment, can't field troops due to lack of material?

I am sure you know who Joshua Chamberlin was. When faced with an impossible situation he reasoned: we can't stand and fight as we have no ammunition. we can't retreat because it is against orders which are to hold at all costs. the only alternative is to charge. he saw his situation clearly and with only 3 options, he chose the only one that was left.

president numbnuts has and had a number of options and he choose one without considering (obviously) the others and has built this bridge to nowhere and now there are no good choices.

the clinton/geffen/obama thing is about choices not made and now obvious. the only choice that should be off the table is "stay the course". that isn't a choice. that is the words of a fool lost in the swamp.

hdhouse said...

and you still didn't answer the question:

surrender WHAT to WHOM?

waiting.

vbspurs said...

Chris Hitchens - not someone I generally like

I don't like him either, Simon. I don't think he's an opportunist EXACTLY, and he's no George Galloway, but I find his diatribes rather convenient at times, in terms of exposure and notoriety.

As for the rest of the thread, since I was the one who quoted that Geffen remark on the Clintons being lying-liars who lie, in the thread below, and having stated my viewpoints then, I'll just read the rest of the comments with glee.

Cheers,
Victoria

Pogo said...

Again, hdhouse (and now raisingpaine) you offer only surrender. And c'mon house, quit being all seventh-gradey; if you really don't know "to whom", then this conversation is a waste of my time.

MadisonMan said...

Cute, but that answers nothing at all. We can't return to the status quo ante, and bitching about the past is now pointless, except in avoiding having to be responsible.

Avoiding responsibility is stock and trade for the current administration.

My problem (well, one of them) is that the same people who got us into Iraq, unthinking (apparently), are still in charge. And is there any evidence that they're thinking now? That's the conundrum I find myself in.

MadisonMan said...

I've just noticed that I've assisted in hijacking this thread into Iraq. Apologies to Prof. Althouse for the digression. Iraq is on my mind; my nephew heads over soon.

I wonder if all these stories re: Clinton are just plants by pro-Obama (or pro-Vilsack, or pro-Richardson) to remind people how tiring it is to read about Clinton shenanigans all the time. What this country needs is a nice clean broom to sweep 20 years of Bush/Clinton out of DC for good.

Molon_Labe_Lamp said...

you neo-cons are the only ones saying surrender - ok...to whom? give me a name.

Why the need to be so obtuse? We didn't surrender in Vietnam either and look what the conventional wisdom around the world was/is.

When I got my ass kicked on the playground it didn't take a formal declaration of pussiness for all the other kids to understand who lost and who gained prestige.

Do you think the grownups on this playground will somehow be unable to interpret this withdrawal without a ceremony?

Or to use the analogy du jour: won't our western omelet with salmonella at Denny's be slathered in hollandaise sauce no matter what the menu says?

And for God's sake do you even understand what a NeoCon is?

RaisingPaine said...

ajwpip -- I don't believe the situation with the IRA and Basque Separatists are comparable to Iraq. Iraqi Shia have been oppressed by the ruling Sunni class for the past 80 years, about as long as there's been an Iraq. The last incarnation of that leadership, Saddam Hussein, was particularly brutal, responsible for the death or disappearance of hundreds of thousands of Shia over his reign. The fact that, when interveiwed on camera, the Shia man-in-the-street would prefer the relative peace of Saddam to the current tensions under which they now must live says a lot.

I'd love to see the US win this fight (by "win", I mean leave with a stable, western-friendly, self-sufficient government, respective of democratic ideals, able to defend itself and the rights of its citizenry).

The Iraqis taking over for the Brits in the south is no doubt a positive development, but the real test will come when Al-Qaeda reinfiltrates. Will they stand up or stand down against an emboldened enemy?

While I'm betting on the latter (without intervention from Iran), I pray they prove me wrong.

Pogo said...

Re: "Avoiding responsibility "

Given the family involvement in Iraq now, why isn't the germaine question only what do we do now" rather than whose fault is it?.

It does no good to lay blame, that moves us neither forward nor back. It does us no good to say Bush can't lead. The Democrats have the bully pulpit and the votes to result in real and effective pressure here.

But all they can do is surrender.

RaisingPaine said...

Pogo -- I'm not sure how you can characterize removing ourselves from a fight that is no longer ours to win or lose as "surrender".

MadisonMan said...

The Democrats have the bully pulpit and the votes to result in real and effective pressure here.

Tell it to the Republican Senators who won't allow any debate.

Pogo said...

Re: "who won't allow any debate"

I think you mean Harry Reid, don't you?

Mike said...

MM said: "Tell it to the Republican Senators who won't allow any debate."

What does this mean?

ajwpip said...

RaisinPaine:

If you look at numbers and capacity of Iraqi forces and police from 3 years ago I think there is an improvement. I think that this is soemthing that will continue intothe future. The economy is getting stronger there as well. I agree that in the end the Iraqis have to stand on their own but if we are able to make that more likely by staying another five years I think that the cost is worth it. Horrible as the thought of another 3,000 US casualties I think that it is worth it. I also hesitate to look at those casualty numbers as unsustainable or a "meat grinder" over 10 years. But I am just a pot smoking chickenhawk.

PS - I wasn't saying that currently Spain and Britain are exactly the same but it shows that given enough time even bloody violent internal civil strife can be brought to a peaceful close and that even countries we think of as 1st world aren't free from ethnic and religious terrorism.

RaisingPaine said...

Pogo said..."The Democrats have the bully pulpit and the votes to result in real and effective pressure here."

What they don't have, Pogo, are the votes to override a veto by Bush on any legislation they pass. They can dictate the agenda by virtue of their bully pulpit, but not the policies that are ultimately carried out.

Tim said...

We live with Orwellian langauge. How else to characterize " Tell it to the Republican Senators who won't allow any debate" when most reasonably educated people understand that, as confirmed by
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn, cloture means "closure: a rule for limiting or ending debate in a deliberative body."

In short, it was the Dems who wanted to cut off debate, not the Reps.

RaisingPaine said...

ajwpip said..."I agree that in the end the Iraqis have to stand on their own but if we are able to make that more likely by staying another five years I think that the cost is worth it. "

So, ajwpip, given that view...are you willing to, right here, right now, commit to a timeframe beyond which, if the Iraqis have not gotten themselves together, you would be for a withdrawal of all US troops? Hmmm... :-)

ajwpip said...

Raising Paine:

Sure. Im willing to give only 1/2 the time we have spent in either Germany, Japan or North Korea. Heh.

In all seriousness 20 years. At current rates that means approximately 12,000 casualties and maybe a trillion dollars. I hope we'd see some improvement in cost and deaths but I'd sign onto that timeline at that level of sacrifice.

RaisingPaine said...

ajwpip said..."In all seriousness 20 years. At current rates that means approximately 12,000 casualties and maybe a trillion dollars."

According to nationalpriorities.org, the current expense, on the basis of congressional appropriations is already $368 billion after 4 years. So you'll be at a trillion in just a shade over ten years.

So, you would then say by the end of the next presidential term, if the Iraqis haven't gotten their act together, we should be out?

Or is your decision based more on casualties, meaning after fewer than 9,000 more lives are sacrificed, you'd be willing to concede we had made our best effort, regardless of the dollar cost?

Or is it both?

As Bjorn said...

"I was a free man in Paris/I felt unfettered and alive/no one calling me up for favors/no one's future to decide/you know I'd go back there tomorrow/but for the work I've taken on/stoking the starmaker machinery/behind the popular song" Joni Mitchell on David Geffen thirty years ago.

johnstodder said...

Tell it to the Republican Senators who won't allow any debate.

Huh? The Democrats' failure to win cloture with 60 votes means the debate continues. That's what a filibuster is -- a continuation of the debate. In the past, they would have been forced to keep talking, but Sen. Reid capitulated and sent the Senate on a recess.

The "Republicans block debate" meme has been thoroughly discredited and disproven. It was sheer spin. If anyone was blocking debate, it was the Democrats who refused to allow amendments to be debated. The amendments would have pointed out the hollowness of the whole anti-surge non-binding resolution. Cahn't have that. As Mickey Kaus has written, however, the Democrats end up winning by not having a recorded vote. On the off chance the surge works, they won't have to explain away a dumb-ass vote. But if it doesn't, they can say "I wanted to vote for a resolution against the surge, but the GOP's parliamentary trickery got in the way!"

Seven Machos said...

James Taranto had an interesting thought on this, which I have been twirling around in my head:

There are four basic positions you can have on the war at this point:

1. For the war then, for the war now.
2. For the war then, against the war now.
3. Against the war then, for the war now.
4. Against the war then, against the war now.

Position #4, which most on the hard left take, is something I disagree with vehmently but it makes some sense. It's what we might call principled. This is why I have a soft spot for the Obamas and the Feingolds of the world (but not the Koses, because they are irrational and silly).

Position #3 is a reasonable position, and it's better and more responsible. You were against the war; you lost; this is a democracy. The thing to do now is to win the war because losing it will cause severe damage to our national interests and almost certainly lead to more war later on.

Position #2 is dumb and senseless. You signed onto the war; you have to see it through. Ideas have consequences. This isn't school uniforms or even welfare, where we can test out an idea and if it doesn't work, change policy with clothes thrown out or the lives of a generation of poor people ruined. Foreign policy dictates national survival. If you voted for the war, you can say you were wrong, but you have to see it through to a point where U.S. interests are served. Would U.S. interests be served by leaving and creating havoc in the Middle East? No. If the Democrats take this position into 2008, they are likely to perform in McGovernesque fashion.

Position #1 is my position, and I defend it here continually.

Revenant said...

If we were to follow your advice and continue sending young men and women into this meat-grinder over, say, the next five or six years, what will you say then when the Iraqis are still battling against each other?

I'll say "why are you using the term 'meat grinder' to describe a war with a lower fatality rate than any major war we've ever fought", for starters. If our troops keep dying at their current rate, in five more years we'll have reached almost half the deaths I expected from the original invasion. In another fifty or sixty years I might have to seriously consider that too many Americans have died for the cause of Middle Eastern democracy. Of course, by then I'll be dead myself.

If we refuse to change our tactics (we seriously need to lock down the Iranian and Syrian borders and start enforcing consequences for Iranian and Syrian support for terrorism, for instance) I expect that things will be no better in five years. That will be a sign that our leaders are idiots, not a sign that the war can't be won. Even the Middle East has a limited supply of potential homicidal assholes -- there is no reason why we cannot win out over them, provided we're willing to do what it takes to win out over them.

Tim said...

The Democrats have yet to explain how it is in the nation's interest to lose its war against al Qaeda in Iraq. They cannot, they dare not, therefore the Murtha strategy.

RaisingPaine said...

Revenant said..."I'll say "why are you using the term 'meat grinder' to describe a war with a lower fatality rate than any major war we've ever fought", for starters. "

I'm using it because the losses aren't as much a consequence of major combat (those losses you expected to suffer during the invasion itself) but as a function of ambushes, IED's, EFP's, sabotage, and the like.

Given our superior firepower, its very few and far between that you see serious engagement on the part of our forces with insurgents. Conversely, their guerrila resistance campaign, based on attrition and their ability to effectively blend into the environment, leaves us with very few well-defined targets, and a clear inability to readily discern friend from foe.

That's why its a meat-grinder. Not because of the scale, but becaue of the steadiness of the losses. Almost 100 dead per month. Few discernable targets. Unreliable intelligence. Popular support for the insurgency. And, oh yeah...did I even get to the civil war and cycle of retribution, where the US are seen as allied with a corrupt, ineffective and incompetent government? No? Well there's that, too.

Revenant said...we seriously need to lock down the Iranian and Syrian borders and start enforcing consequences for Iranian and Syrian support for terrorism, for instance

Consequences?! What consequences? So now you're going to bomb Damascus and Tehran, turning whatever popular support you may have enjoyed in those countries (not to mention the rest of the Islamic world) against you as well? We don't have the manpower to even continue in Iraq, and you're talking about expanding the war front instead of collapsing it. In case you haven't noticed, the Generals have been testifying at the current levels they'll be able to rebuild the military on the fly. But increased engagement is only going to lower our preparedness in the event of a genuine conflict and compromise our ability to restore all the equipment, armament and munitions that have been expended over the course of the Iraq war.

Revenant said..."That will be a sign that our leaders are idiots, not a sign that the war can't be won"
The war in Iraq is already not ours to win. The Iraqis have failed virtually every progress benchmark that's been set before them in getting their military to fighting shape. Admittedly, it's not all their fault, but that doesn't make it any less their responsibility. Police stations are still a virtual joke from what I've heard, and any security there is comes from the combined US-Iraqi armed-forces. How long can the limited Iraqi combat capacity be tied up in routine police activities? The place is a mess.

In the meantime, by underwriting Iraqi governmental dysfunction with American lives, there continues to be no incentive (as a consequence of our, apparently, open-ended commitment)for Iraq's leadership to take any talk of limitations on American military support seriously. Especially moreso when, every time Dubya pops up on TV, we get to hear what has become his catchphrase, namely that "America won't leave until the job is finished."

News flash, George. Our job has been finished a long time ago. It's time to give the Iraqis a broom and let them clean up their own mess.

Seven Machos said...

Raising Paine -- Do the people of Serbia hate us?

Johnny Nucleo said...

HDhouse said: "I know Geffen."

Do you really know David Geffen, HDhouse? Because I am in a band called Scrump Fiend and we totally rock! I am the lead singer and I play maracas. Could I send you our demo and you could give it to David Geffen? He will totally dig us. We are retro-post-punk-funk and we totally rock!

Also, I have written a screenplay called "Hammerhead," based on my novel which is also called "Hammerhead." It is about a psychic cop who is also a vampire. It is awesome! Could I give it to you and you could give it to David Geffen? Thanks!

RaisingPaine said...

tim said...The Democrats have yet to explain how it is in the nation's interest to lose its war against al Qaeda in Iraq. They cannot, they dare not, therefore the Murtha strategy.

If it were just a case of fighting al-Qaeda in Iraq, I would agree. But that's not what's happening on the ground.

The insurgency, we have already determined, is largely domestic in nature, with a few foreign fighters thrown in here and there. However, our presence continues to provide a common enemy for the various splinter groups operating within the borders and, in particular, the Al-Anbar province.

Leaving Iraq is not a loss to al-Qaeda since, as a percentage, there are relatively few in number to begin with. We are not engaging al-Qaeda on the steets of Baghdad or Fallujah.

Of course, when we leave it doesn't mean Al-Qaeda won't claim victory. But so will the Sunni insurgency, the Shia militias, Moqtada Al-Sadr, and everyone else that can find a camera and microphone.

It's the Iraqi's war to win or lose. Put them on notice that we won't be there forever. Start drawing down troops when they fail to meet milestones. And whatever happens, will be on their head, not ours.

Seven Machos said...

Paine -- Your argument is exactly what happened in Vietnam. That wasn't so bad, except that it took the United States a decade to recover any kind of national prestige (and our stagflation problems -- rooted as they were in an energy crisis -- were related to inability to appear tough internationally, not just stupid economic policies).

Also, our pullout of Vietnam very much led to the deaths and brutal suffering of thousands in Vietnam and the deaths of millions in Cambodia.

We cannot leave this thing undone, for our own national interests and for the sake of thousands who will be butchered if we leave. What is gained by leaving, except an ephemeral, hollow victory by a vocal minority which was democratically routed in the run-up to war?

RaisingPaine said...

Incidentally, tim...ultimately, our leaving Iraq I predict will be the beginning of the end for al-Qaeda.

They will no doubt ally with Sunni forces, using Syrian weaponry and logistics support, along with Saudi Arabian dollars to drive recruitment to the cause.

On the other side, the Shia will be backed by Iran, who clearly possesses the most formidable military in the Middle East.

Iraq will act as a magnet for al-Qaeda, worldwide. A jihad of biblical proportions.

Great rhetoric, but Iran will crush them like grapes, and are itching for retribution after a dissatisfying conclusion to their earlier conflict with Iraq.

The Kurds, will be eating popcorn watching the conflict. While they won't expect to get an independent Kurdistan out of the ashes, they certainly won't end up with any less than the functional autonomy they've enjoyed for the last 15 years.

Thus, it'll all work out in the end...and without a single additional drop of American blood being spilled.

With regards to oil-flow and its effect on our economy -- there will no doubt be a spike. But when all is said and done, whoever has it has to sell it, so the economic laws of supply and demand will once again right the ship of capitalism.

Seven Machos said...

without a single additional drop of American blood being spilled

And there you have it. No one in the military should die or get injured promoting American foreign policy objectives.

Revenant said...

I'm using it because the losses aren't as much a consequence of major combat (those losses you expected to suffer during the invasion itself) but as a function of ambushes, IED's, EFP's, sabotage, and the like.

So? Dead's dead.

Conversely, their guerrila resistance campaign, based on attrition and their ability to effectively blend into the environment, leaves us with very few well-defined targets, and a clear inability to readily discern friend from foe.

Obviously fighting out of uniform and hiding among civilians is very effective -- that's one reason why it was made a war crime. But at the current ratio of insurgent deaths to US military deaths we'll have killed every potential insurgent in Iraq long before our own losses become unacceptable.

Yes, guerilla warfare is highly efficient, which is why it will take thousands of American lives to win the war instead of the dozens it would take if we faced an actual army. But guerilla armies have lost more wars than they've won, and those were against forces inferior to our own.

Revenant said...

Incidentally, tim...ultimately, our leaving Iraq I predict will be the beginning of the end for al-Qaeda.

That's the most brain-dead idea I've heard in a while. American defeat at the hands of terrorists -- without even inflicting significant losses on us -- is going to *harm* Al Qaeda?

Pfft. Only if some other terrorist organization manages to hog all the credit for sending us cowering back to North America.

Tim said...

"It's the Iraqi's war to win or lose. Put them on notice that we won't be there forever. Start drawing down troops when they fail to meet milestones. And whatever happens, will be on their head, not ours."

Notwithstanding the delusional dial-down of the al Qaeda threat in Iraq, Democrats (and you too) have yet to explain how losing in Iraq is good for America, especially for its military, presuming Democrats care (an unimaginable leap of faith, based upon the history of the facts) as much about the military institution and its readiness to defend the nation as they do "support the troops" (Dear Lord, spare me the friends who'd ever support me like the Dems 'support the troops' - I have enough troubles...).

Nor can they plain how leaving an allied government to the wolves helps us with other allies down the road, as this will have been the second time in thirty years we swore to stand up and defend a nation, convinced others to help us stand up and defend that nation, and then bugged the f*ck out after the enemy and its American liberal allies convinced us the cause was unworthy (and don't even begin to tell me they aren't allies - regarding Iraq, their mission and objective is one and the same...).

This is true for moderate Arab and Muslim governments as well. Tell me why Musharraf should think, should we follow the Democrats, we won't sacrifice him and Pakistan to al Qaeda or other militant Islamic fascists just as we did with the democratically elected government of Iraq?

And so too will other nations find our word unworthy when we ask them to ally themselves with us. Or are you satisfied to have no moderate Arab or Muslim allies in this fight against militant Islamic fascism?

So, your answer has me thinking you were completely indifferent to, if not outright pleased, by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia er, excuse me, Kampuchea, as well as the American defeat in S. Vietnam resulting in all those forced refugees and unknown executions. And to its effect upon US power and prestige (although I guess you were pretty bummed about Dems being branded as "weak on defense" until the Cold War obviated the issue, but hey, that's what opposing your nation's security needs gets you...).

In the end, the not so hidden externalities of failure in S. Vietnam at least gave us some variety in Asian food, so maybe losing was worth it after all...

RaisingPaine said...

seven macho said..."Your argument is exactly what happened in Vietnam. "

I'm not sure the situations were comparable. We were allied with the South Vietnamese and left them high and dry as America lost its taste for bloodshed and bodies on the six o'clock news.

Who are our allies here?

Further, in my exchanges with ajwpip, I was trying to make the point that, let's suppose we continue our engagement policy. How long do we plan to be there? Five years, a trillion dollars, 12,000 lives as he suggested?

Whether the Iraqis stand up for themselves today or five years from now, we can't stay there indefinitely. Show me a sign that the government is making progress towards securing its own country and gaining the confidence of its citizenry, and I'll start lightening my stance on the need to withdraw.

Right now, not only can that government not protect it's citizens, it can't even protect itself. Is there any doubt how many members would be targeted for assasination (both Shia and Sunni alike) if they took up residence outside the green zone without a cadre of bodyguards?

Their government is what it is at this point: a weak body, with little influence outside of Baghdad and very marginal influence inside of it. Viewed by their citizenry as corrupt, vengeful, and ineffective with as little faith in its secular institutions inside the country, as world leaders have in them from outside the country.

Once you can find a date, dollar amount, or body count that functions as a point where you can say "that's enough", the only difference between our positions is when the withdrawals begin.

RaisingPaine said...

seven machos said..."And there you have it. No one in the military should die or get injured promoting American foreign policy objectives. "

That's not true. If blood must be spilled, let it be spilled in Afghanistan, where the Taliban is reconstituting and who we know to be a friend of al-Qaeda.

Tim said...

"The Kurds, will be eating popcorn watching the conflict."

Nice. War as a movie for sport and fun. I've seen the expression on both sides of the debate - it is offensive and minimizes the importance of the issue.

Listen.

I wish the damn war was over.

I hate the fact good Americans are dying in a rat hole for people who seemingly don't care, can't care, or can't function.

If I was twenty years younger, I'd be there, with them.

But in the end, for as much as we done for the Iraqis, we have to win not for them, but for us.

Because losing hurts us more than you care to imagine.

You may hate the policy; you may hate the commander in chief; you may hate the military; you may even hate the county; too many Americans do.

But we're still the good guys.

It's never good for the good guys to lose to the bad guys.

We're fighting this war at, in historic terms, minimal expense in both blood and treasure. The enemy cannot defeat us on the battlefield.

He can only defeat our will to win here at home.

Too many Democrats are more than happy to help the enemy do that to beat George Bush.

That would be like Churchill hoping Hitler would defeat and make a fool out of Chamberlain.

But Churchill was a patriot. And for as much as Chamberlain disgusted him, he wept for England after Munich because he knew what it meant for England.

Too bad too few Democrats and liberals know what defeat for America in Iraq means for America.

RaisingPaine said...

Revenant says..."But guerilla armies have lost more wars than they've won, and those were against forces inferior to our own."


But you're missing the point. Those forces are more interested in harming each other than harming Americans. We simply are seen as a proxy for one side or the other as well as an occupational force preventing either side from engaging to the degree they'd like to.

Also, these guerillas are not limited in terms of recruitment. Remember when the insurgency was "in it's last throes"? Amazing how it just keeps replenishing itself, adapting, and presenting a constantly shifting target for American forces.

RaisingPaine said...

Revenant said..."That's the most brain-dead idea I've heard in a while. American defeat at the hands of terrorists -- without even inflicting significant losses on us -- is going to *harm* Al Qaeda?

Al-Qaeda and the Sunnis will ally, as they have already shown, against a common enemy, the Shia. The Shia will no doubt still enjoy a great manpower superiority, given they currently outnumber Sunnis on the order of 3 or 4 to 1.

The Sunnis will use Saudi Arabian money and Syrian logistics and weaponry to engage the Shia, who will enlist similar support from Iran.

The Shia will thus be fighting a weird proxy war to the benefit of the US, while al-Qaeda will no doubt see it as a chance to establish a toe-hold in a new government given the eradication of the Afghan bases.

That giant sucking sound you hear will not be jobs moving to Mexico courtesy of NAFTA, but rather al-Qaeda elements gravitating to the battlefield in Iraq, to martyr themselves in the name of jihad.

As stated, the Shia will win this battle with the assistance of Iran. And tens of thousands of Al-Qaeda recruits will be frolicking with virgins.

Seven Machos said...

Paine --

1. If the Sunnis are natural allies against Iran, then it follows that predominantly Sunni Al Queda should be a natural ally of 90-percent Sunni Saudi Arabia. Are they? Or wasn't it Osama Bin Laden's goal to overthrow the regime in Saudi Arabia?

2. No one, ever has conquered Afghanistan. No one ever will. It is a loose collection of nomadic and agricultural clans and dismal city-states. We have the forces there to do all we can do, which is kill people as they organize. Your argument boils down to the contention that we can't settle Iraq so we should settle Afghanistan and is very ill-informed.

RaisingPaine said...

tim said..."Too bad too few Democrats and liberals know what defeat for America in Iraq means for America. "

I feel ya, Tim.

But leaving Iraq is not a defeat for Americans. We have proudly served both Iraqi and American interests while doing everything a military can possibly do to give the Iraqis a chance at a peaceful, stable, democratic government. But you can't impose freedom, as this escapade clearly demonstrates. Those that want it have to prepared to earn it. To die for it. And we're not seeing a commitment that measures anywhere near that standard from the Iraqis.

Departing Iraq is NOTHING like leaving Vietnam. The Iraqis have a responsibility to themselves and right now, their responsibilities are greater to their Islamic sects than their nation. But that's not our problem.

The War on Terrorism is infinitely more important to American safety and interest than whats happening on the ground in Iraq. We already know that, because our intelligence estimates tell us we are less safe as a result of the conflict than we were before it.

Let's bring some of that money home and use it to upgrade our infrastructure for the 21st century terrorism threat. To fight the good fight in Afghanistan, where we know the Taliban have provided material support al-Qaeda. To hire translators to help clear the backlog of potentially revealing taped phone conversations, emails and other signal intelligence courtesy of the PATRIOT Act. Into making our ports and borders more secure. There's a zillion ways to improve our lot with respect to the GWoT...how about we try a few?!

Even if the Al-Qaeda/Sunni alliance somehow manages to emerge victorious there's nothing that stops us from returning to take care of business...with better al-Qaeda targets and intelligence than we would have otherwise.

I don't like the taste of defeat any more than the next American, but I don't see our withdrawal (should the Iraqis not meet performance milestones) as being equal to defeat. There's no real enemy, in terms of a threat to the United States to engage in Iraq...so why the heck are we still there, when you've got a government that won't get off it's own azz to establish and project some semblance of order.

How many lives and dollars are enough?!

Tim said...

"The Shia will thus be fighting a weird proxy war to the benefit of the US, while al-Qaeda will no doubt see it as a chance to establish a toe-hold in a new government given the eradication of the Afghan bases."

This would be the same Shia that comprise most of the military and police of a government that "(r)ight now, not only can that government not protect it's citizens, it can't even protect itself" and its "(p)olice stations are still a virtual joke from what I've heard, and any security there is comes from the combined US-Iraqi armed-forces." would be our "proxy" for defeating al Qaeda with Iranian Shia help?

And that is a better policy than what we have now? Because a majority of Iraqis like Iranians more than they like Americans? Or because Iranians will do a better job of standing up an Iraqi Shia army than we will? And the Iranians will do this because of, what, international good will?

Wow. That's almost funny. Are you sure you aren't floating trial balloons for John Edwards amongst a somewhat centrist crowd?

RaisingPaine said...

seven machos -- The Shia are natural allies with Iran and, yes, Al-Qaeda is largely Sunni Wahabists, the sect most prominent in Saudi Arabia.

Yes, Osama bin Laden was stripped of his Saudi citizenship because of his ties in a plot to attempt to overthrow King Faud.

And generally, I agree with you with respect to Afghanistan. While it can't be controlled, it can be contained, and our satellite imagery provides us pretty good detail of what's going on there.

There is distinctly a problem in defeating the Taliban as one of their commanders already noted when he said "The west may have all the weaponry, but we have all the time", or something to that effect. No doubt they can outwait us.

Seven Machos said...

Paine -- Wars are fought on two levels. One level is convincing the public of the goodness of the cause. The other is for actual political aims.

Think for a second. Would it be nice to give democracy and freedom to Iraq? Yeah, it would. Is that what was sold to the public? Yes. Was it sold poorly? Yes

But freedom and democracy for Iraq are not our political aims. Our political aims, as I have argued here for years: (1) to plant our military around Iran and near every country in the Middle East; (2) to ensure that oil is cheap and flowing (if you are opposed to this, turn off the lights in your house and don't drive anywhere and make sure all the hosptials in your town are shut down); and (3) to weaken certain entities which are adverse to U.S. national interests.

If we leave now, we don't achieve any of our political aims, as you yourself have effectively admitted in your posts above. Iran will grow stronger. Oil will be more expensive. These adverse interests will not be checked.

Wars are fought for political objectives by people of action.

RaisingPaine said...

time said..."This would be the same Shia that comprise most of the military and police of a government that "(r)ight now, not only can that government not protect it's citizens, it can't even protect itself" and its "(p)olice stations are still a virtual joke from what I've heard, and any security there is comes from the combined US-Iraqi armed-forces." would be our "proxy" for defeating al Qaeda with Iranian Shia help?"

Yup, same guys. The difference is instead of having ten Shia in a remote police station overrun by 30 well-armed Sunnis, they'll be fighting on better-than-equal terms against an opponent they can discern and we can't.

That's the last post for me this evening guys, but its been real. I'll look for you tomorrow night. I might post a few of these responses on my blog (I was in rare writing form tonight) so feel free to stop by and comment there in a few days.

RaisingPaine said...

seven machos....

I kind of agree. But that's all the more reason to start spending that money investing at home in alternative-energy exploration as opposed to putting $800 million a day in the pocket of some of the most despotic regimes on the planet, thus funding both sides of the GWoT.... :-)

G'nite!

RMc said...

Orwellian? This campaign has already turned into Two Years Hate.

vbspurs said...

This is the funniest comment I've read about this, via Instapundit's Roger Simon link:

We’re almost at the point where Hilary will claim that Barack is the father of Anna Nicole’s kid in hopes that the court will sustain the claim, award Obama the kid and the loot, just to get him out of the race.

The only thing that may preclude this move is Hilary’s concern that Bill may in fact be the father.

And we have 18 more months of this?


As Glenn might say, Doh.

Cheers,
Victoria