July 12, 2007

Iraq is not "a colossal failure,” but "a mixed bag."

About those benchmarks.

UPDATE: The release of the report on progress in Iraq:
The report... said the Iraqi government had shown satisfactory performance so far on 8 of the 18 benchmarks, including providing brigades of troops to support security operations in Baghdad. But more work was needed on eight others, it said, including preparations for local elections. And in two areas, it was not yet possible to judge how things are going.

Mr. Bush sought to deflect the national discussion on Iraq away from the question of when and how to start withdrawing troops. “This is not the real debate,” he said. “The real debate over Iraq is between those who think the fight is lost, or not worth the cost, and those who believe the fight can be won.”

He added: “As difficult as the fight is, the cost of defeat would be higher. I believe we can succeed in Iraq, and I know we must.”...

[H]e said, “I don’t think Congress ought to be running the war; I think they ought to be funding our troops.” Running a war from Capitol Hill, he said, “is a prescription for failure.”...

He has said also that history’s judgment is more important to him than fleeting public opinion polls, and he struck that note today. Years from now, he said, when reporters visit “old, tired me down there in Crawford, I will be able to say I looked in the mirror and made decisions based upon principle, not based upon politics.”

119 comments:

MadisonMan said...

I guess if Bush is declaring that progress has been made, it must be happening.

Roger said...

It appears to me that there has been considerable military progress made particularly in isolating AQ in Iraq from some of the Sunni areas. Politically, however, I don't see much progress. So I think mixed bad is appropriate.

Unless there is political progress, however, AQ can be utterly defeated, and Iraq will still not be stable--it may be less violent, but it will not be stable. Thus the limit of military "victory."

Roger said...

and "mixed bad" must be a freudian slip!

hdhouse said...

I must be missing something. On one hand we are told that the "new strategy and surge" ...well all the pieces are just now in place so it is too early to tell because the new strategy and surge have just started. On the other hand we are told that the new strategy and surge are kinda working...glass is at least partly full...

Then we hear because we are in Iraq the bad guys are crippled and in chaos..then we get an intelligence assessment and the bad guys are as strong as ever...

I'm sure the truth is out there somewhere.

Sloanasaurus said...

More than ever, Iraq is now a battle of moral courage between Bush and the anti war democrats in Congress. The Dems will of course pooh pooh any progress being made.

Since the war began, the Democrats have consistently criticised the Adm for not preparing for what to do after Saddam's government was toppled. There is a lot of truth to this. However, the Dems in Congress are now on a path to make the same mistake. They want to withdraw without any thought of what effect that will have on our security after the withdrawl. The Dems are so invested in retreat because of promises made to their radical constituency, that they refuse even to address the issue of what will happen to our security after we withdraw. We can only hope that the moral courage of those who value our security prevails in the Congress.

al said...

Roger's first comment is pretty much correct. The thing to consider is how much the MSM and various Congresscritters are doing to undermine the efforts that are underway in Iraq.

If one is really interested in whats happening on the ground in Iraq I suggest avoiding the MSM and checking out the blogs of Michael Yon, Bill Roggio, or Michael J. Totten.. They have information that doesn't seem to show up anywhere else.

Too many jims said...

Sloan said . . .More than ever, Iraq is now a battle of moral courage between Bush and the anti war democrats in Congress.

Do you really believe that it is only democrats who are against this "war"?

Bruce Hayden said...

I agree with Al on sources of what is really going on right now in Iraq on the military front. Part of it is the "surge" and part of it is a different approach to the Sunni tribes, who have mostly now been enticed to switch sides and help in the fight against al Qaeda. And surprising to many, many more Iraqi military units are operating very well than expected.

The two big problems I see right now are the political situation and the Iraqi police. As noted by many, the Iraqi government missed some political deadlines, etc. And the police are still too likely to either take bribes or run at the first sign of trouble.

Roger said...

It is remarkable to me that given the facination with things "multi-culti" we fail to understand how Iraqi's approach time and deadlines. Deadlines are strictly a western concept; Most muslims, and indeed much of the non-westeern world does not have a linear approach to time. In the muslim world "einsha'lla" means a lot more than "as god wills." When we impose western style deadlines on a moslem culture, we are exposing our own cultural ignorance and preordaining the enterprise to defeat. If there was ever a need for cross cultural understanding, it would be here.

hdhouse said...

Bruce Hayden said "As noted by many, the Iraqi government missed some political deadlines, etc. And the police are still too likely to either take bribes or run at the first sign of trouble."

Other than that it sounds like things are going swimmingly right?

Between you and Sloanasaurus the sinking of the Titanic was most aptly described as a cold dip after the sauna.

Zeb Quinn said...

Do you really believe that it is only democrats who are against this "war"?

Well, the democrats and worse.

Roger said...

Of course, Bruce could also be describing the New Orleans police department.

Bruce Hayden said...

I agree with Al on sources of what is really going on right now in Iraq on the military front. Part of it is the "surge" and part of it is a different approach to the Sunni tribes, who have mostly now been enticed to switch sides and help in the fight against al Qaeda. And surprising to many, many more Iraqi military units are operating very well than expected.

The two big problems I see right now are the political situation and the Iraqi police. As noted by many, the Iraqi government missed some political deadlines, etc. And the police are still too likely to either take bribes or run at the first sign of trouble.

NSC said...

Eh, if you aren't reading Michael Yon you probably don't know what is going on in Iraq now. Not that the Dems (and some wuss Republicans) care.

Sloanasaurus said...

Between you and Sloanasaurus the sinking of the Titanic was most aptly described as a cold dip after the sauna.

Classic troll response.

Sloanasaurus said...

The liberals prefer to read more intelligent and "non-biased" sources than Michael Yon For example, like Thomas Ricks, the guy that reported last year that Anbar Province was "lost."

To the anti-war crowd, the glass isn't just half empty, it's always empty. We might as well just declare the Islamic State of America to get it over with.

danny said...

how did al-qaeda manage to build up its strength to pre-9/11 levels? do you mean to tell me that bombing Iraq and Afghanistan have had no effect on their capabilities? endless war is not the answer? come on, scared Americans, who else can we bomb to make us feel safer?

hmm, all this war and nothing to show for it. who would have thunk it?

Jason said...

Too Many Jims:

Why do you engage in the singularly obnoxious practice of putting scare quotes around the word "war?"

Roger said...

Danny--I would not put too much stock in the report about AQ recovering to pre war levels for a couple of reasons: (1) it is unsourced (2) all intelligence reports provide on the one hand, on the other hand kind of material and (3) the information has been leaked in order to influence the current funding bill in the Senate.

I apologize if my take on this seems excessively conspiratorial, but the antiwar folks are trying desparately to swing enough republicans to get to 67 in the senate.

Sloanasaurus said...

how did al-qaeda manage to build up its strength to pre-9/11 levels? do you mean to tell me that bombing Iraq and Afghanistan have had no effect on their capabilities?

The AP report claims that Al Qaeda has been able to establish itself in these tribal areas in Pakistan. Last year, Pakistan reached a peace accord with these areas and withdrew their troops, thus it has become a safe haven for lawlessness and Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda can only exist with any power if it has a safe haven. Right now Pakistan is offering it to them.

We are in a pickle as to what to do because we cannot directly attack these areas without violating the sovereignty of Pakistan, which is a nuclear power. However I have seen other reports that Pakistan is now allowing coalition troops to venture into Pakistan.

The report could have been a leak by the White House to start building support to go into these tribal areas. Going into Pakistan presents some risks. Thus, it would be helpful to the Adm to have Bipartisan support. The Adm could be hoping that the anti-Iraq crowd starts complaining that we should be in Pakistan and not Iraq. The White House could then use this public leverage to get Congress’ support for expanded operations in Pakistan.

Regarding your comment endless war, what else do you propose we do with Al Qaeda?
.

Bruce Hayden said...

Strategypage had a pretty good explanation of why the Sunni tribes, at least in Anbar, switched sides and are now in the forefront of fighting al Qaeda there. Apparently, in thanks for the help these tribes were giving, al Qaeda started demanding their daughters as wives. When the Iraqis didn't go along with this, they were executed. The result was blood feud with most of the Anbar tribes. And this was a classic case of the enemy of my enemy is my ally. They came to us for help in fighting al Qaeda, which we were very willing to provide.

But that isn't the only thing going on. Rather, the sectarian side of things has gotten dire for the remaining Sunni Arabs in Iraq. Probably over half of them from before we intervened have now fled the country. As a result, their percentage of the population has probably dropped below 10%. That is getting to the tipping point, where they won't be able to defend themselves effectively. So, they see allying with the U.S. (and by necessity then, the Iraqi government) as the only viable way to remain alive in Iraq.

Which of course means, as it has for a couple years now, that if we cut and run right now, they either flee the country or die. In other words, a combination of ethnic cleansing and genocide.

TMink said...

I have never considered Mr. House a troll. He posts under his own initials, he is consistent, and has been here posting for a long time.

He and I often disagree, but hdh makes points and has a perspective. He is not just looking for drama and attention.

Now, on occasion, he gets a little snarky. I know that I never do that, so I can make this point.

Trey (running from the keyboard to avoid incoming lightening strike)

Roger said...

Bruce: good point about the de facto ethnic cleansing of Sunnis in Iraq.--do you have any idea how many Sunnis remain in Iraq?

Internet Ronin said...

In the end, life itself is a mixed bag. I see no reason for Iraq to be any different.

Mindsteps said...

Ann chose to highlight:

Iraq is not "a colossal failure,” but "a mixed bag."

Sounds like some of the excuses I hear from teenagers when they attempt to justify their wrongdoing:

"So what I failed most of my classes....at least I'm not a drug addicted serial killer"

danny said...

"Regarding your comment endless war, what else do you propose we do with Al Qaeda?"

i think Steve Chapman in the Chicago Tribune said it well today:

"It’s more like organized crime — an ongoing problem demanding unceasing vigilance, a malady that can be contained but never eliminated. By framing the fight as a global war, we have helped Osama bin Laden and hurt ourselves. Had we treated him and his confederates as the moral equivalent of international drug lords or sex traffickers, the organization might not have the romantic image it has acquired. By exaggerating the potential impact, we also magnified the disruptive effect of any plots, which is just what the terrorists seek."

In other words, John Kerry was right: law enforcement. This war in Iraq has been utterly useless in terms of fighting a "war on terror."

MadisonMan said...

The liberals prefer to read more intelligent and "non-biased" sources than Michael Yon For example, like Thomas Ricks, the guy that reported last year that Anbar Province was "lost."

As this is a comment by Ann about a news story the President's view, I have to ask you: Do you think the President has a biased viewpoint? I do -- so why should I believe his word to be Gospel?

Justin said...

Bruce Hayden said...

And this was a classic case of the enemy of my enemy is my ally.

This is what got us into this mess in the first place. Let's hope we're not making the same mistake again.

Bruce Hayden said...

I don't see how the law enforcement paradigm makes any sense with al Qaeda. Right now, they are on the defensive in Afganistan, on the run in Iraq, but regrouping in Pakistan. Someone pointed out that we can't intervene unilaterally in Pakistan because they have nuclear weapons. Probably as importantly, they are also ostensibly our allies. Neither Iraq nor Afganistan were such when we intervened.

Overall, al Qaeda seems to overstay its welcome most places it goes. Their Wahhabi type strictness doesn't play well in the long run in most cases. For example, they were cutting off the smoking fingers of men caught smoking cigarettes in their claimed areas of Iraq, until those men decided enough was enough and allied with us to throw them out.

But I would be interested in exactly what you mean by treating this as a law enforcement matter. Kerry was intentionally vague here, so as not to get caught by the specifics. But my view is that if you are going to suggest this route, you need to expound on those specifics, as you see them, and that Kerry skipped over.

Bruce Hayden said...

And this was a classic case of the enemy of my enemy is my ally.

This is what got us into this mess in the first place. Let's hope we're not making the same mistake again.


I am not sure of the extent that I buy into that. Maybe a little - that we were using whomever we could to counter Saddam Hussein. But until this spring, those primarily opposed to us were opposed to us from the beginning, as they were the groups that had the closest ties to Saddam and benefitted the most from his rule.

Roger said...

How to fight a war on terror--I think law enforcement types of actions are only one component. You still need some type of offensive component--but NOT major military forces to carry it out. Large military formations are simply not agile enough and have too long a support tail.

As unsavory as this might be to some, those offensive operations should include assasinations, raids, and operations such as that carried out on foreign soil.

The fact that we do have military forces on the ground in the region may address other US security interests--regretably "war on terror" rhetoric tends to obscure those other objectives.

Roger said...

Bruce--I cross posted--with respect to your question about law enforcement--by that I would suggest things like wiretapping, infiltration (once we have enough human resources), surveillance, and community awareness operations. Anti-mob type operations is I guess how I would define them. But as I mentioned, those are not sufficient without a vigorous offensive component.

Justin said...

Bruce,

I'm going much farther back. We supported Saddam because he was the enemy of Iran who was the proxy for our enemy, Russia. We supported the Taliban (indirectly) because they were the enemy of Russia in Afghanistan. Now that our common enemy is gone, it is painfully obvious that these people were not our friends. Now we have to run around the middle east cleaning up this mess that we made.

I'm not saying that the Sunnis will end up being our enemy. I just hope that someone had the foresight to think about that before we decided to get so involved with them.

danny said...

How were recent attacks foiled--in fact, how has any terrorist attack ever been foiled?

Good intelligence, diligence, and policing. Whether it's picking up chatter or spotting a suspicious person or following up on leads or reporting a strange occurrence--such as a man who only wants to fly a plane and not land it.

And you don't have to forgo the Constitution in order to do this!

Having someone tell you that "al-qaeda is on the run" may make you feel better (especially you, sitting typing at a computer and not actually engaging in combat), but the reality is that the next person(s) who commit an act of terror in the U.S. are, in fact, already here.

War is not going to make these people go away, but it will certainly inflame the situation.

Fen said...

I find it ironic that our own Congress has only met 1 of 7 self-imposed "benchmarks". Anyone hearing our lefties apply "colossal failure" or "mixed bag" to Pelosi et al?

Do you really believe that it is only democrats who are against this "war"?

The difference is, Republicans unhappy with the war would still prefer victory to retreat. Most the anti-war Dems want the US to fail so they can tar Bush with it - even if the consequence is genocide. They're angry that the liberation of 25 million arabs is cutting into their entitlement programs...

Fen said...

War is not going to make these people go away, but it will certainly inflame the situation.

War did not make all the socialists go away, but it did destroy the Soviet Union. Same with the terrorists - they will always exist, the issue is whether you think its a good idea for them to get support from rogue nation-states that have WMD programs.

danny said...

And this comment:

"As unsavory as this might be to some, those offensive operations should include assasinations, raids, and operations such as that carried out on foreign soil."

makes a lot more sense than any military combat operations we have engaged in, even as I do indeed find it to be unsavory.

I have always thought that a much more preferable way of conducting war against "evil" would be to engage in actual strikes against the perpetrators of evil, and their military, and not the civilians around them, who suffer the most from these wars. But that doesn't seem to happen very often.

Unfortunately, these are the seeds that we sow by warring in foreign countries, completely unjustified in the case of Iraq, and which leads to hatred of the U.S. by these very civilians.

Which, of course, leads to terrorism.

Makes too much sense, especially for our military industrial complex and the scared Americans who need and advocate bombing someone to feel safe, as they sit at their computer.

Lars said...

Could someone explain to me what political benchmark is and how it is quantified?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Danny said

"It’s more like organized crime — an ongoing problem demanding unceasing vigilance, a malady that can be contained but never eliminated.

This is the most ridiculous thing I ever heard. Islamic extremists aren’t in it as a ‘business’, its an ideology not a whole lot different than communism or nazism. The mafia wasn’t interested in ‘having the streets run with blood’, that’s bad for business.

The sooner Islamic extremism is shown to be a dead end, ala nazism or and even better analogy, Japanese bushido where dying for the Emperor (Allah) isn’t going to help your cause in the end, it will be eliminated.

By framing the fight as a global war

Well that was framed by Osama and company. Islamic terrorism didn’t just happen on 9/11, its going on in the PI, Thailand, Indonesia. If that ain’t global, tell me what is.

Had we treated him and his confederates as the moral equivalent of international drug lords or sex traffickers, the organization might not have the romantic image it has acquired.

Well that’s how they had been treated pretty much prior to 9/11? Fat lot of good it did us.

By exaggerating the potential impact

The last impact toppled the Twin Towers and killed 3000 people. I can’t believe he could make such a statement in good conscience.

That said, I will go so far as to say that the war in Iraq hasn’t done anything in
the war on Islamic terror other than open a new front where there wasn’t one. But to say that law enforcement is the way to go is absurd. Would the Kerry solution meant issuing a subpeona to Osama in Afghanistan and seeing if Interpol would go get him?

Mr. Chapman obviously is living in an alternative universe.

Fen said...

Danny: Makes too much sense, especially for our military industrial complex and the scared Americans who need and advocate bombing someone to feel safe, as they sit at their computer.

Thats a juvenille way of approaching topic and the sign of a weak mind. Do you really think we're in Iraq simply to satiate the "warmongers" at Lockhead etc.

As for your chickenhawk argument.. really, if you think the war is so bad, why aren't you staging hunger strikes on the steps of Congress to stop it?

As a former Marine, my only opposition to this war is that my brothers shouldn't be risking their lives to defend people like you.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Unfortunately, these are the seeds that we sow by warring in foreign countries, completely unjustified in the case of Iraq, and which leads to hatred of the U.S. by these very civilians.

Out of curiosity, did you support our intervention in the Balkans? That little conflict had no Congressional authorization or the UN stamp of approval (one might call it illegal). Interestingly enough, I have not recalled any news of hate filled Serbians looking to kill us.

Sloanasaurus said...

I agree with Hoosier's point that Al Qaeda cannot be treated as another drug gang. Al Qaeda's goal is not to own a big house in Columbia and have a lot of parties with naked women. They want to control states and rule over vast amounts of peoples. Their terrorism against the west is designed to disengage the west from the Middle East so they can take over the middle east. As Hoosier stated, Al Qaeda is much more like a version of the Nazi party, which appeals to muslim fanaticism rather than German nationalism.

They must be taken seriously and defeated militarily as well as politically.

danny said...

No, Fen, I think we're in Iraq to sate the warmongers in the White House, along with Bill Kristol and the Poderhetz family, as well as the MIC. It certainly had nothing to do with the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11.

Is that the only other option to supporting the war, is to go on a hunger strike to oppose it? We got color t.v. a long time ago, Fen, get out of the b & w world.

No, what I do is I vote.

Your comment about not wanting to defend people like me? Now that's juvenile, Mr. Tough Guy Marine.

Fen said...

Danny: I think we're in Iraq to sate the warmongers in the White House, along with Bill Kristol and the Poderhetz family, as well as the MIC.

That statement pretty much disqualifies you from any reasonable debate about the war. Adjust your tinfoil, return to your Truther Cult.

It certainly had nothing to do with the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11.

And the Germans had nothing to with the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Is that the only other option to supporting the war, is to go on a hunger strike to oppose it?

You miss the point: you castigate war supporters for not risking their lives in combat, yet you are also unwilling to risk your life to defend the principles you claim to support. That makes you a hypocrite as well as a coward.

Sloanasaurus said...

I have always thought that a much more preferable way of conducting war against "evil" would be to engage in actual strikes against the perpetrators of evil, and their military, and not the civilians around them, who suffer the most from these wars.

A successful tactic the terrorists use is to hide among civilians. They know that we suffer domestic political damage every time a civilian is killed. They also don't give a crap about the civilians, and the civilians know this.

danny said...

"Out of curiosity, did you support our intervention in the Balkans? That little conflict had no Congressional authorization or the UN stamp of approval (one might call it illegal). Interestingly enough, I have not recalled any news of hate filled Serbians looking to kill us."

At the time, no, I don't believe I did support it. But let's recall that:

The U.S. didn't invade and occupy Serbia, for one. The "U.S." actually didn't do anything, NATO did, with the U.S. as its leading force. The goal was to stop ethnic cleansing, as you know, and that was achieved. The casualties of that war were exceptionally low, including that of civilians (less than 500). The U.S. suffered zero casualties under Commander Wesley Clark.

Iraq was invaded and remains occupied because it was said to have WMD, which they did not. Civilian casualties are estimated from 60 to 70,000 currently.

But you knew that.

Bruce Hayden said...

A successful tactic the terrorists use is to hide among civilians. They know that we suffer domestic political damage every time a civilian is killed. They also don't give a crap about the civilians, and the civilians know this.

That is why it is working well for us that the Sunni Arab tribes have switched sides and are working with us right now. They know who is who, and point out who is foreign and who is working with al Qaeda to us and the Iraqi forces, and we take it from there.

danny said...

OK Fen, whatever you say, I'll leave it to you and the rest of the intellectuals here! You know what? I'm gonna go on a hunger strike! That'll show everyone!

Any chance you can re-enlist?

Bruce Hayden said...

Iraq was invaded and remains occupied because it was said to have WMD, which they did not. Civilian casualties are estimated from 60 to 70,000 currently.

I assume that isn't the notorious Lancet study, which I seem to remember being about 10X that. But that doesn't take into account any number of things, including how many would have died if Saddam Hussein had remained in power.

I think it obvious, but may needed reiterating - if those are accurate figures, we didn't kill most of them. Yes, there is some collateral damage to our operations, but that is as minimal today as technology can make it. And much of what does happen is a direct result of terrorists hiding among civilians and using them as human shields.

So, presumably what you are talking about is that 60k or so Iraqi civilians have become casualties (does that include wounded, as the term usually does, or just dead?)

But I would expect that almost all of those civilians would either have been hurt/killed by other civilians or by terrorists. And, so, we are apparently responsible in your view for all of those bombings of innocent civilians by mostly Sunni Arab terrorists.

I should also note that any country has a certain level of innate violence. The Middle East typically has a higher level of such than does, for example, Sweden. And just as New Orleans and Wash. D.C. have significantly higher murder rates than do the areas where most of us live.

So, you have a culture where blood feuds are still practiced, and where it is apparently legal to own a single AK-47 fully automatic (i.e. machine gun) assault rifle, but not many more of them, and where people shoot their machine guns into the air to celebrate pretty much anything, ranging from weddings to elections (and the bullets inevitably fail to defy the rules of gravity, eventually returning to earth, and occasionally causing those dreaded civilian casualties).

My point is not that the level of violence isn't higher now, or that some of those who have died might not have, if Saddam had remained in power, but the casualty figure has to be kept in context.

danny said...

I think that the intentions, and the result of those intentions, are very different in the two cases of Iraq and the Balkans.

The Balkans was well-intentioned from the start and had little collateral damage (as you tend to call it).

Iraq was ill-conceived, poorly-planned, and mis-managed from the start and had a lot more collateral damage.

Cedarford said...

Hayden - A successful tactic the terrorists use is to hide among civilians. They know that we suffer domestic political damage every time a civilian is killed. They also don't give a crap about the civilians, and the civilians know this.

Hayden - "That is why it is working well for us that the Sunni Arab tribes have switched sides and are working with us right now."


Oh, it's decidedly a mixed bag. The Iraqis normally know that they can watch in their hundreds sitting around as an insurgent team plants IEDs intended on turning Americans into dislimbed hamburger....watch it happen...know that the Americans know that hundreds could have saved their troops from becoming dead or mutilated - and the "noble civilians" must be given a pass on their complicity.

Whereas, if the "noble Iraqis" snitch on the killers, it is common knowledge they likely will be tortured (the real kind, not the ACLU kind) and eventually be killed.

At least in Vietnam the "innocent civilians" cooperated with us more because any patrols of ours that got ambushed or bombed we simply declared their whole village hostile and dropped napalm on their asses. Vietnamese were thus a lot more forthcoming than Iraqis - their electing to be silent and get by with passivity was not an option.

The Anbar people were happy for 3 years remaining silent and watching infidels head into doom. Every dead American was a good thing. The only thing that changed was Al Qaeda overplayed their hand and were seen as more dangerous than the fun of watching infidels die was worth. So they switched sides. A good time for a break before the serious sectarian killing starts....and enjoy those big packs of 100 dollar bills the US desperately is tossing around Anbar like candy to any tribe that refrains from helping kill us...

hdhouse said...

oh Sloanasaurus...you just can't see anything because you are so blinded by the dazzling light of self deception.

Bruce Hayden said...

Iraq was invaded and remains occupied because it was said to have WMD, which they did not.

That is called historical revisionism (or, more to say it more simply, it is an attempt to rewrite history).

Yes, Iraqi WMD were one reason cited for our intervention. And, everyone, ranging from the Brits, throught the Russians and French, to the Democrats in Wash., believed that Saddam Hussein still had them. He gave us no reason to believe that he didn't. And, indeed, he might have (no one has successfully explained all those Russian trucks leaving the suspected WMD sites a day or two before our intervention).

But if you revisit the speeches made by President Bush, et al., it is clear that Iraqi WMD were but one reason for our intervention.

As has been recently asked again, what would have happened if we hadn't intervened when we did in Iraq? And the best answer I have seen is that we would still have maybe 100k troops in and around Saudi Arabia, offending Moslems worldwide by having so many infidels so close to their holy cities. Sanctions would have been released in short order - the French had already assured Saddam that they would block them the next time they came up in the Security Council (having been successfully bribed with Oil for Food money). The Russians and Chinese were also somewhat aboard with the French for similar reasons.

So, without U.N. sanctions, we couldn't legally enforce the two no-fly zones, and the Kurds in the north may have felt the brunt of that (with far more than the 60k causaulties you suggest, just in that area). And Saddam could legally rearm, and start remanufacturing WMD - which he has been documented to have been ready to do, when sanctions were lifted.

Let me also note that Saddam would have been the hero of the Arab/Moslem war then, having invaded Kuwait, then stared down the Great Satan, and won in the end. That too would not have been in our interest, and would have futher emboldened our enemies.

Bruce Hayden said...

Cedarford

But what is interesting right now is that those same Sunni Arabs who just six months ago were watching terrorists bury bombs in preparation for blowing up our vehicles, are now actively pointing them out to us.

Sloanasaurus said...

you just can't see anything because you are so blinded by the dazzling light of self deception.

tell me house, why then should I follow you as a guiding light. Are you over there reporting from Ramadi?

Cedarford said...

Besides stories of how the US cannot account for 6 billion spent back in the Bremer days, I loved the one about how 3 jumbo jets were needed to take 3 billion in cash from the US Treasury to be put in Iraqi banks so the "noble, freedom-loving" Iraqis would be able to quickly use the dollars as a medium of exchange to "become the envy of the Arab world".

News today that 3 security guards at a Bahgdad bank have managed to steal 300 million of that US Taxpayer bounty in unmarked bills and headed to Syria. Your tax dollars at work.
That will buy a lot of high living, pay for Jihadi recruitment, and for any specialized high explosive weapons that fills needs not met by the 100's of thousands of tons of weaponry the US decided in 2003 was best left unguarded and lootable....

Sloanasaurus said...

No doubt Cedar. If you want examples of colossal waste, start looking into the World War II years when we were spending 30% GDP on defense.

TMink said...

Roger wrote: "How to fight a war on terror"

The phrase "You kill the bastards" popped into my mind as I read your question.

Roger continued: "As unsavory as this might be to some, those offensive operations should include assasinations, raids, and operations such as that carried out on foreign soil."

I agree with you on both counts: It is unsavory and it may be necessary. I am convinced of the first part, and relatively sure on the second part. One thing that worries me about that approach is not trusting the people who implement it to not get a taste for it and continue to use it in inappropriate situations.

Kinda like my reservations concerning the Patriot Act. I can grudgingly accept that it may be necessary, but it frightens me.

Trey

Hoosier Daddy said...

Danny said
The U.S. didn't invade and occupy Serbia, for one. The "U.S." actually didn't do anything, NATO did, with the U.S. as its leading force. The goal was to stop ethnic cleansing, as you know, and that was achieved. The casualties of that war were exceptionally low, including that of civilians (less than 500). The U.S. suffered zero casualties under Commander Wesley Clark.

Yes I knew that and I don’t disagree on any particular point other than it being a NATO operation. That was a NATO operation in the same sense as going into Iraq with the much derided Coalition of the Willing which actually had more NATO contributions than the Balkans but I digress.

The point I was trying to make is you claim that Iraq is illegal. Goals, intentions and end results aside, so was the Balkan conflict. Essentially since the Balkans was deemed a success, then your argument is simply that the ends justify the means. Had Iraq gone swimmingly then your entire argument that it was ‘illegal’, inflamed Arab/international hatred of the US, etc. falls flat. If you’re going to be against the war solely because of the casualty count and unachieved goals and mucked up strategy then we’re simply haggling over price.

Bruce Hayden said...

Actually, I would suggest that our incursion into Iraq was a lot more legal under international law than was our use of force in the Balkans.

The difference is that we were operating under a string of U.N. resolutions in Iraq, dating back to when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Remember, there was a cease fire in effect from the First Gulf War that included certain provisions, and Saddam had routinely violated those provisions. Because of his repeated violations of the cease fire, it was quite legitimate and legal for us to piggy back on the initial and all those interim U.N. resolutions to legally justify our invasion of Iraq.

Sloanasaurus said...

Technically, serbia was an illegal war. Clinton knew the Russians would veto any resolution brought to the UN and we couldn't have been sure whether the Republican Congress would authorize bombing the Serbs, since the only reason to do so was humanitarian (to stop others from fighting each other).

I supported the effort, although now I am not so sure it was the right thing to do.

Iraq has much better legal grounding than Serbia. It was authorized by Congress, including more than 1/2 the democrats in the senate and Saddam had violated all of his treaties he signed with the U.S. to end Gulf War I. The U.S. had a right to enforce those treaties.

Invisible Man said...

Sloanasauras,

So you are considering changing your mind about preventing a genocide in Serbia, but you and others use the potential genocidal fallout, if we leave Iraq, as a reason to stay. Which is it, are you pro- or anti-genocide?

Eli Blake said...

As a matter of fact, I both protested and wrote against the war in Kosovo.

The difference between anti-war Liberals and Conservatives is that we as Liberals have convictions and are consistent. It was Liberals who led the opposition to the war in Vietnam, and the protests I went to against the war in Kosovo were mostly others on the left. In other words, we don't look to see which party the President is before taking a position-- our position is that pretty much any war should be a last resort (though NOTE: I do support the present war in and around Afghanistan, as I have since 2001, though the going is getting tough there too.) Conservatives on the other hand will sometimes decide how they judge a war based on which party controlled the White House at the time.

danny said...

"I supported the effort, although now I am not so sure it was the right thing to do."

Ha! So in hindsight, the action that ended up being managed efficiently and with care you have second thoughts about...while the one that is a complete disaster you have no problem supporting?

It really is true: history will teach you nothing.

Luckyoldson said...

Any form of discourse or discussion with the rabid Bush supporters here (and we all know who they are) is a complete waste of time.

As far as they're concerned, anybody who disagrees with the administration's original intent or follow-up is pegged as an anti-war, un-American lefty.

The report we got today was so muddled and so non-specific it merely perpetuates the relentless and constantly repeated message Bush and his supporters continue to push: that, regardless of what you hear or even see..."we're winning."
(and now we wait for yet another report...from yet another general...because the ones who disagreed have been fired or resigned in disgust.)

Mention the number of Iraqi's killed and it's immediately disputed because no one has actual documentation of each and every death. (Even as the morgues are overwhelmed and 100's are killed every week)

Mention American deaths and it's immediately defended by saying they volunteered and knew what they were getting into. (Except of course, many of those in the National Guard...who had no idea they would be serving tour after tour.)

Mention leaving and the "genocide" card is played. (As if any of these same people really care about the Iraqi people.)

The "surge" began 6 months ago and we've lost another 600 Americans, with 1,000's wounded so severely they cannot return to action...some maimed for a lifetime. (Yet Bush continues to say...it's "working.")

So...cut and save this post and you can run it again in 3 months...6 months 9 months or a year from now...and we'll still be hearing the above mentioned sycophants continuing to back everything Bush says and does.

Years from now, Americans will not be able to explain how we allowed this to happen...why we allowed so many of our own to be killed and wounded...and why we didn't have the guts to force our elected officials to do the right thing for America and for the world.

Mindsteps said...

Years from now, he said, when reporters visit “old, tired me down there in Crawford, I will be able to say I looked in the mirror and made decisions based upon principle, not based upon politics.”

Uuuugggghhh.....I wonder what role facts....or the lack of them play in Bush's decision making process.

Mindsteps said...

I don't know if we (in the U.S.) have good precedent to guide us as how much we must sacrifice in time, money, lives lost,etc. in our efforts to salvage Iraq.

I guess we are in a tug of war with various Islamic forces over the identity the country of Iraq will eventually assume. It now seems so much more complex than Bush and Cheney made it out to be.

danny said...

It is true, Eli, to praise the war in Serbia would be to praise not only Wesley Clark but Bill Clinton, as well. And that will not happen here!

I, for one, would have no trouble bashing a Democrat President if he (or she) had bungled a war as badly as Bush has (like LBJ and Vietnam).

But you won't see that from these Apologists. Party first.

Sloanasaurus said...

So you are considering changing your mind about preventing a genocide in Serbia, but you and others use the potential genocidal fallout, if we leave Iraq, as a reason to stay. Which is it, are you pro- or anti-genocide?

No, I supported the war in Serbia, however, I have mixed feelings about the outcome regardind. I think we have tended to favor the Albanians there to the detriment of the Serbs in Kosovo.

Nevertheless, Kosovo pales in comparison to the war in Iraq. The real worry about Iraq is the government falling into hands of the terrorists. If that happened we would be back in the Middle East fighting a much larger war.

Roger said...

Mindsteps--good question re precedent. I would have to go back and review my history, but it seems that US experience in the Phillipines might come closest. (and even then, the islamic insurgency continues after 100 plus years). Even absent the sectarian splits in Iraq and the ME generally, our post WWII experience should have suggested war, occupation and recovery take decades not weeks. There was no excuse for not recognizing that fact.

Sloanasaurus said...

I also would have supported the war in Vietnam. While I think we lost the war from a short term strategic point of view, the war was necessary to secure much of Asia from the spread of revolutionary communism and our ultimate victory over communism in general.

Sloanasaurus said...

I would have to go back and review my history, but it seems that US experience in the Phillipines might come closest. (and even then, the islamic insurgency continues after 100 plus years).

Except in Iraq we rid the world of one of the all time tyrants. One who murdered a million of his own people and even gassed whole villages. Moreover we rid the world of a tyrant who desired to build nuclear weapons, had tried twice before, and had the money $30 billion a year and the totalitarian control to do so. We rid the world of a man who was sucking the life out of the UN through his bribery and illegal schemes. We will never know how much Saddam had the UN in his grasp. We rid the world of the most aggressive international figure alive at this time. A man who had sent millions to their deaths by attaking almost all of his neighbors.

Iraq looks like a mess today only because we see the terror on the news. We never saw Saddam's terror on the news because he did it in secret and our media wasn't interested.

So no... Iraq is not really like the Phillipines at all.

Bruce Hayden said...

Mention the number of Iraqi's killed and it's immediately disputed because no one has actual documentation of each and every death. (Even as the morgues are overwhelmed and 100's are killed every week)

So, you will just guess. Note that we discussed this above, and you seemed to have ignored the relevant posts.

Mention American deaths and it's immediately defended by saying they volunteered and knew what they were getting into. (Except of course, many of those in the National Guard...who had no idea they would be serving tour after tour.)

Or maybe that more than that number of our troops died in a single day in WWII and even more in our Civil War.

Mention leaving and the "genocide" card is played. (As if any of these same people really care about the Iraqi people.)

Seems a bit contridictory here. A couple of paragraphs above, you are talking about the Iraqi dead, and now you seem to be suggesting that there is no sectarian conflict that could end up as genocide. Of course, a lot of those killed in Iraq died in just the sort of sectarian conflicts that you seem to not believe might turn into genocide.

Actually, a better term here is ethnic cleansing. As I noted above, somewhere around a half of the Iraqi Sunni Arabs have already fled the country, and probably half of those remaining have moved out of mixed areas. Some of the sectarian killings have been to push this along.

The "surge" began 6 months ago and we've lost another 600 Americans, with 1,000's wounded so severely they cannot return to action...some maimed for a lifetime. (Yet Bush continues to say...it's "working.")

Seems a bit implausible. Six months ago would make it mid February, and Gen. Petreaus hadn't yet taken charge yet.

At least according to our military, up until mid June or so, troops were still being placed, and the actual combat operations that were the goal of the "surge" had not yet started. Of course, you are welcome to refute this with CENTCOM and other military sources.

As for the death and injuries, yes, the rate is up a bit. But that is because they are now seeing a lot more combat. In the year before the surge started, our soldiers were mostly just hunkering down. And the result was that they were still getting killed and wounded, but had ceased really to do much good.

So...cut and save this post and you can run it again in 3 months...6 months 9 months or a year from now...and we'll still be hearing the above mentioned sycophants continuing to back everything Bush says and does.

And we will still see you citing as facts your fevered BDS imaginings.

Years from now, Americans will not be able to explain how we allowed this to happen...why we allowed so many of our own to be killed and wounded...and why we didn't have the guts to force our elected officials to do the right thing for America and for the world.

I would suggest just the opposite, that those who pushed cutting and running will be hard pressed to explain why things got worse after they forced our military to abandon their mission before it was completed.

But then, I don't have much hope here either. Many of the same people pushing cutting and running this time, forced us to cut and run from Vietnam, and still haven't taken responsibility for the millions of lives they caused to be lost as a direct result of that. Instead, they still see their actions as somehow noble.

Hoosier Daddy said...

danny wrote:

It is true, Eli, to praise the war in Serbia would be to praise not only Wesley Clark but Bill Clinton, as well. And that will not happen here!

You are completely dodging the point I have repeatedly brought up to you. If you want to stand on principle opposing Iraq because it was illegal then you cannot praise the Balkan conflict simply because it was deemed a success.

If you want to criticize it for being a bungled operation, I'll agree with you in that regard but the problem is consistency.

I, for one, would have no trouble bashing a Democrat President if he (or she) had bungled a war as badly as Bush has

Again, had it gone well, would you have bashed it or would you have given it a pass given the accomplished goals ala Serbia? You have consistently posted regarding the evil of war yet seem to think that since the Balkans went well, your principles on legality of the war get a little soft.

Eli said
The difference between anti-war Liberals and Conservatives is that we as Liberals have convictions and are consistent....and the protests I went to against the war in Kosovo were mostly others on the left.

I must have missed the media coverage of the mass demonstrations against Clinton bombing Serbia.

Fact is, there was little protest over the Balkan intervention, no Congressional approval no UN authorization which by the very standards Iraq is judged, Clinton's intervention was illegal. Yet considering it was over quick with no US losses, it was glossed over.

Which goes back to my point that its not principled opposition to the war but rather that it hasn't been won already.

Sloanasaurus said...

I think Bush expected some liberals to support him in Iraq to offset the conservatives he knew he would not get. Traditionally some liberals have supported the use of American power for humanitarian purposes (i.e. Kosovo or WW I). And the war in Iraq is a very ideologically liberal venture.

In the end Bush has had almost no liberals supporting him. You can chalk that up to the partisan era that we live in.

hdhouse said...

Well perhaps Sloanasaurus...you can also chalk that up to it being dumb from the getgo.

Don't describe this unparalleled disaster as a liberal cause. We don't do disasters. Besides when you have President WooWoo calling the shots (Cheney moves his lips however) we can leave the monopoly on disasters to you guys.

danny said...

I was against the war in Serbia at the time, I think, but I can't say that I was passionate about it one way or the other. The fact that it was illegal, well, who cares about that now? I am supposed to get worked up about an illegal war that was executed about as perfectly as wars go these days?

We would certainly not be here arguing about Iraq if it had been over and done in a year or less. There's no point. My arguments would have been moot. It would have meant that the war WAS a good idea and it DID go well. But it didn't.

I was and am passionately against this war in Iraq, and was before it began, because it was such an obviously bad idea from the start, if you knew anything about the history of the country, and their culture, and Britain's history with Iraq.

I believe that this is a war of choice, and that there was never an imminent threat.

I thought the inspectors, such as Hans Blix, had convincing arguments against invading.

I thought that the justification for the war was thin, if non-existent, and wondered why we weren't responding to 9/11 or focusing on Afghanistan.

The justification for the war has been changing with each failure, which adds to my skepticism of the war.

The management of the war has actually gotten worse as it goes on.

The lack of foresight and planning is abominable.

The fact that the Iraq war is illegal is only part of the equation.

I could find you a youtube of Barack Obama speaking BEFORE the war began about post-war planning, and to hear that you will wonder how the people who actually executed the war could not have known or done what Obama outlines.

It is all of these maddening details about this war that have added up to where we are today, and a clue as to why most Americans are fed up.

If you don't think my opposition is principled, then...you know what, I honestly could care less what you think.

Sloanasaurus said...

We don't do disasters.

Lets talk about the war on poverty or Roe v. Wade.... The dead are uncountable (just like those Iraqis)

Luckyoldson said...

Sloanasaurus said..."I also would have supported the war in Vietnam. While I think we lost the war from a short term strategic point of view, the war was necessary to secure much of Asia from the spread of revolutionary communism and our ultimate victory over communism in general.

The Domino Theory...revisited.

P.S. Bruce...why do you keep trying to compare our loss of life in World War II to the Iraqi situation? It makes absolutely no sense. (Petreaus was appointed in early January and the surge has been in effect for six months.)

Luckyoldson said...

So, today we hear that Al Queda is on the run, we're doing better in Iraq and the surge is working.

And then, within hours of Bush's announcement, we get this:

Report: Al Qaeda steps up efforts to hit U.S.
Al Qaeda is stepping up its efforts to sneak terror operatives into the United States and has acquired most of the capabilities it needs to strike here, according to a draft U.S. intelligence assessment, The Associated Press has learned.

Fred Soto said...

When I see "a colossal failure" only one word comes to mind, and it's not Iraq.

Fen said...

Bruce Hayden: Many of the same people pushing cutting and running this time, forced us to cut and run from Vietnam, and still haven't taken responsibility for the millions of lives they caused to be lost as a direct result of that. Instead, they still see their actions as somehow noble.

You'll also see people like Danny and Lucky, who are SO worried about Iraqi deaths, drop the issue as soon as we leave Iraq. Does anyone here really believe the Left gives a damn about what happens to the people of Iraq?

hdhouse: Don't describe this unparalleled disaster as a liberal cause. We don't do disasters.

Cambodian Holocaust. That blood is on your tribe's hands. Liberals are also responsible for giving Al Queda the hope & will to carry on the fight against the West.

Mindsteps said...

It seems to me that a victory in Iraq includes not only military, political, and economic solutions....but a paradigm shift as well (personally I am not optimistic about this occuring). These shifts in belief system tend to occur over handfuls of presidential election cycles, not over four, eight, or even twelve years. If one is a believer that we can win the war in Iraq, and, he or she realistically believes it is likely to take years after Bush leaves office to achieve this end, then the candidate of the true Iraq believer has to be John McCain. He has been most steadfast on this issue. No other candidate, as far as I know, has demonstrated a willingness to make this committment as strongly, consistently, or clearly as McCain....not Guliani, Romney, Thompson, or any other candidate. Only McCain has put his money where his mouth is.

Fen said...

Lucky: The "surge" began 6 months ago.

No. The surge began June 15th.

You're deliberately confusing the start of troop increases with the start of operations.

"And as Congress prepares for a fresh debate on Iraq, the perception many members have is that the new strategy has already failed.

This isn't an accurate reflection of what is happening on the ground, as I saw during my visit to Iraq in May. Reports from the field show that remarkable progress is being made. Violence in Baghdad and Anbar Province is down dramatically, grassroots political movements have begun in the Sunni Arab community, and American and Iraqi forces are clearing al Qaeda fighters and Shiite militias out of long-established bases around the country.

This is remarkable because the military operation that is making these changes possible only began in full strength on June 15. To say that the surge is failing is absurd. Instead Congress should be asking this question: Can the current progress continue?"

http://opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110010320

Hoosier Daddy said...

We would certainly not be here arguing about Iraq if it had been over and done in a year or less.

Of course not. That's kinda been my point. Regardless of legality, if its over quick and painless, no problem.

I believe that this is a war of choice, and that there was never an imminent threat.

So was the Balkans.

I thought the inspectors, such as Hans Blix, had convincing arguments against invading.

Actually I agree.

I thought that the justification for the war was thin, if non-existent, and wondered why we weren't responding to 9/11 or focusing on Afghanistan.

You know, one could argue the same thing about the Balkans and why we were focusing on Serbia rather than Islamic terrorism.

The justification for the war has been changing with each failure, which adds to my skepticism of the war.

Actually since we have been discussing this, your rationale for opposing the war has changed from it being illegal, to inflaming world opinion and now to it wouldn't have been a bad thing had it been done in a year.

The management of the war has actually gotten worse as it goes on.

One might say the same thing for most wars we've been in.

The fact that the Iraq war is illegal is only part of the equation.

Well actually I have to agree with Fen and Sloan that even though I didn't think it was necessary, we actually have Congressional authorization and a causes belli, the UN notwithstanding.

If you don't think my opposition is principled, then...you know what, I honestly could care less what you think.

That's fine because all I was doing was pointing it out. Hence your comment about the Balkan war.

The fact that it [Balkan war] was illegal, well, who cares about that now? I am supposed to get worked up about an illegal war that was executed about as perfectly as wars go these days?

So as long as an illegal war is executed perfectly, no need to worry about principles. So again, you're not really against the Iraq war, just the cost. Had it been cheap, well, who cares about legalities and intentions.

So next time you debate the war, be honest with yourself and your opponent and leave the principle moral high ground and just talk price cause that's basically what your doing.

Eli Blake said...

Sloanasaurus:

Trust me, whether the media reported it or not, there were protests against the Kosovo war (an entirely unnecessary, unjustified and illegal war.) I know there were because I was in a couple.

Ironically, the best link I could find here in good ol' 2007 showing pictures of protests against Kosovo was via a rightist website:

http://www.carolmoore.net/photos/balkans-photos.html

Sloanasaurus said...

P.S. Bruce...why do you keep trying to compare our loss of life in World War II to the Iraqi situation?

Actually, it makes a lot of sense. I think an interesting historical what if is if Nazi Germany never instituted the final solution. The discovery of the death camps made our sacrifice in World War II all worth it. However, the extent of the death camps were not known until late 1944-45. If there were no death camps I think it would be a hot debate whether 300,000 deaths was worth toppling Nazi Germany especially since the Cold War ensued immediatly after.

Sloanasaurus said...

Danny said: I was and am passionately against this war in Iraq, and was before it began, because it was such an obviously bad idea from the start, if you knew anything about the history of the country, and their culture, and Britain's history with Iraq.

I don't question your principles. However, we should not forget the historical context that led to war in Iraq. If you remember, Saddam had been defying the UN for 10 years and had kicked the inspectors out 4 years before (during Monicagate). Support for our continued sanctions on the secuirty council was falling apart prior to Sept 11 (his bribery of the UN was not yet known at that time). Saddam's desire to produce nukes was well known. He was stopped in 1982 by the Israel, and again in 1996 under the nose of the inspectors when his son-in-law defected.

Saddam defied the UN in 1998 and kicked the inspectors out. Then Sept 11 brought attention back to Saddam, who at the time was the most dangerous dicator on the planet. He let Hans Blix back in only after we massed troops at his border (after 4 years of no inspectors). But Saddam continued to defy the agreements he signed. . At this point what was Bush supposed to do. If you are 80% sure that a guy has your money in his pocket... and then you ask him to show his pocket and he refuses, only a fool would give it a chance that the money was not actually in his pocket.

If Bush had any doubts that Saddam did not have weapons at that point, Saddams defiance of the UN demands was proof enough. Why would Saddam not allow total access if he had no weapons?

Imagine if Bush, decided not to invade after Saddam issued his defiance, and NYC was hit with Sarin gas attacks six months later. The Dems would be trying to impeach Bush for being an idiot for not invading Iraq

We had to go in. It was our last chance.

We will never know why Saddam refused to allow the total access. Did he really have the weapons and hid them? Did he believe he had them (did his subordinates lie to him?) Did he want people to believe he had the weapons and thought Bush was bluffing? Was he just a mad man?

Sloanasaurus said...

If one is a believer that we can win the war in Iraq, and, he or she realistically believes it is likely to take years after Bush leaves office to achieve this end, then the candidate of the true Iraq believer has to be John McCain.

I totally agree. it is too bad that McCain has alienated so many conservatives regarding other issues. If McCain had laid off the immigration debate, he would be a contender right now.

Bruce Hayden said...

P.S. Bruce...why do you keep trying to compare our loss of life in World War II to the Iraqi situation?

Because historically, the number of American troops killed in Iraq is extremely low. Maybe 7% or so of the number killed in Vietnam, and that pales compared to WWII, or esp. our Civil War, in comparison to the population back then.

I am not saying that those lives lost are trivial or shouldn't be honored. They should be, to the fullest.

But rather, one of the things that OBL said any number of times before our intervention in Afganistan is that the U.S. was essentially a paper tiger. We could no longer take casualties, and when faced with them, would turn and run. That was part of his justification for attacking us on multiple occasions, including two tries at the WTC, etc.

And, guess what? He may be right. A bit more than 1/100,000 Americans killed in uniform in Iraq, and many want to turn tail and run. This is a major change from WWII, when almost everyone knew men who died, or in our Civil War, when most families lost family members (mine did on both sides).

danny said...

This is what Hoosier said:

"You are completely dodging the point I have repeatedly brought up to you. If you want to stand on principle opposing Iraq because it was illegal then you cannot praise the Balkan conflict simply because it was deemed a success."

Thing is, I never actually called the Iraq war illegal. It was all Mr. Hoosier's straw man argument in trying to compare the Balkans with Iraq. Which really makes no sense since these two wars are entirely different scenarios, one being a humanitarian mission and the other an offensive-minded invasion.

I called the war "unjustified," which is an entirely different matter.

Now, I do believe that preemptive war is illegal, but, as I laid out in my last post, there are many different reasons to oppose this war. My rationale has not "changed" at all.

But now I see how you are, Hoosier, creating an argument with me out of something I actually didn't say, in order to prove a point that was never made in the first place.

Are you really that much of a prick?

hdhouse said...

Sloanasaurus said...
"If there were no death camps I think it would be a hot debate whether 300,000 deaths was worth toppling Nazi Germany especially since the Cold War ensued immediatly after."

Hmmmm..let me get your illogic straight here. There might have been a hot debate about going after Hitler..said it not me...but Saddam..well there should be no debate right?

Ann posts pictures of flowers to mark your grave of stupidity. Honest to god you have to be on drugs to post the crap that you do.

ohhhh and FEN...the gassing of his own people..you know that "reason for war" you neoGOPs like to use, I forgot which administration that was under? Bush? Reagan? and...ummmm who sold him that gas? Was it the United States? and ummmm who was still his ally AFTER he gased his own people? mmmm the United States? and what party was making foreign policy then? hmmmmm the GOP?

Just a few questions for our nimble little neoGOPers

Hoosier Daddy said...

Now, I do believe that preemptive war is illegal,

Well that goes right back to my point. The Balkans were pre-emptive from our standpoint. So by your rights pre-emption is ok as long as its for humanitarian purposes?

Sloanasaurus said...

Honest to god you have to be on drugs to post the crap that you do.

Oh... you are so witty. Everyone here is belly aching. Stop it... stop it!

I found a link
for you.

danny said...

Your entire argument is based on the fact that I seemingly have no principles and am only against the Iraq war because of the cost. And this allows you to make smug comments like this:

"So next time you debate the war, be honest with yourself and your opponent and leave the principle moral high ground and just talk price cause that's basically what your doing."

If you look back at what I laid out as reasons to oppose the war, you have my answer. If you can't comprehend that, then I can't help you. It is obvious you don't have an argument of your own.

You are one insufferable bastard though.

Fen said...

hdhouse: ohhhh and FEN...the gassing of his own people..you know that "reason for war" you neoGOPs like to use, I forgot which administration that was under? Bush? Reagan?

That would be under Saddam's administration, idiot.

and...ummmm who sold him that gas? Was it the United States?

No. Though I've already heard your moonbat conspiracy theories a hundred times. Still doesn't make it true.

and ummmm who was still his ally AFTER he gased his own people? mmmm the United States? and what party was making foreign policy then? hmmmmm the GOP?

Damn you're an idiot. I know you can't follow complexities, but we weren't Saddam's "ally", we were playing him off the Iranians to stalemate both of them.

Using your "logic", the Democrat administration of FDR is responsible for enabling Stalin.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I seemingly have no principles and am only against the Iraq war because of the cost.

Probably because you said this earlier.

I was against the war in Serbia at the time, I think, but I can't say that I was passionate about it one way or the other. ... I am supposed to get worked up about an illegal war that was executed about as perfectly as wars go these days?

Again, seems as long as it goes perfectly, no problem.

You are one insufferable bastard though.

First I was a prick and now a bastard. I'm betting poopy head will be next.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Using your "logic", the Democrat administration of FDR is responsible for enabling Stalin.

heh...actually one could make that point. Yalta being a case study.

Fen said...

danny: Iraq was invaded and remains occupied because it was said to have WMD, which they did not.

Thats another lie. Danny, if Iraq did not have WMDs, where did the 500 arty shells of Sarin and Mustard Gas come from? Do you even know what a WMD is?

If you look back at what I laid out as reasons to oppose the war, you have my answer

Yes, you believe the liberation of Iraq was driven by "warmongerers", you beleive we should have left Saddam in power, you believe we should respond to terrorism as a criminal matter. And you dodge any point that demonstrates the weakness of those beliefs.

Still waiting for your answer: how do you propose to keep rogue nation states with WMD programs from supplying terrorist organizations with WMDs for proxy attacks against the West? Imagine the existence of your family and your city depends on your answer.

Sloanasaurus said...

If you look back at what I laid out as reasons to oppose the war, you have my answer. If you can't comprehend that, then I can't help you. It is obvious you don't have an argument of your own.

If you oppose the war, did you support an alternative track. Do you think we would be better off with Saddam in power and us fighting the terrorists in Afghanistan? Do you think Saddam would have provided aid to the terrorists in Afghanistan? Do you think Saddam would have been influential with oil at $70 per barrel, especially since he had gotten away for ten years without providing any of the oil wealth to most of his population. Remember Oil averaged about $20-$25 a barrel in the 1990s. That is a difference of $50 billion for Saddam's personal cookie jar (less the $5 a barrel it costs to extract the oil). $50 billion is about what the UK spends on defense (they are second in the world).

Its one thing to criticise the war, but you should be honest about the alternatives.

Fen said...

Ah, you already gave an answer:

danny: I do believe that preemptive war is illegal... Iraq being an offensive-minded invasion

So, Danny would WAIT for his city to be incinerated and then look for evidence to finger the culprits.

Better hope the terrorists weren't supplied by Iran because primitive nukes don't leave a distinctive fingerprint - no telling where they came from, not with the 100% certainty required by people like Danny.

And better hope that if we do catch the terrorists, someone doesn't forget to read them their miranda rights, or violate any of the civil rights people like Danny would extend to terrorists in this criminal investigation. Else we have to release them on a legal technicality.

One can imagine Danny, years after the terrorists have run out the appeals process and withheld any actionable intelligence, slinking off to the UN to register a harshly worded resolution condemning whoever it was that destroyed his city.

The West may be doomed because of people like this. They don't understand history, they don't understand warfighting, and they are unwilling to defend the very liberties that ensure their existence. They live in Ivory Towers, completely oblivious to the realities of the world outside the US. And they vote... Flip back to Paris Hilton breaking down in hysterics when reality came crashing into her fantasy realm. Danny et al will have the same experience. And they'll bring the rest of us down with them.

danny said...

"President Bush backed away Tuesday from his often-repeated conviction that weapons of mass destruction — the primary justification for the U.S.-led invasion to remove Saddam Hussein from power — would be found in Iraq."

"President Bush and his vice president conceded yesterday in the clearest terms yet that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, trying to shift the Iraq war debate to a new issue – whether the invasion was justified because Hussein was abusing a U.N. oil-for-food program."

"State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the search for WMD yielded no results."

"At a news conference today, Bush also conceded that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction."

"Late in the conference, when asked what Iraq's role was in the World Trade Center attacks, the president said, "Nothing."

"The Duelfer report is yet another example that there really are two Americas," said Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif. "There's the one that exists in the Bush fantasy world, and then there's the real America. In the Bush fantasy world, they still claim that Iraq was an imminent threat with weapons of mass destruction."

danny said...

Fen, you sound like one scared little rabbit.

Fen said...

Sloanasaurus: Do you think we would be better off with Saddam in power and us fighting the terrorists in Afghanistan?

And don't forget Libya. Danny, what do you think Iraqi science teams were working on in Libya?

/begins

"Significantly, however, even if the US and its allies will have managed to destroy the bulk of Saddam WMD operational arsenal, this will provide only a short term solution. No bombing campaign against Iraq, and even an occupation of that country for that matter, is capable of destroying the hard core of Saddam Hussein's primary WMD development and production programs. The reason is that under current conditions these programs are run outside of Iraq -- mainly in Sudan and Libya, as well as Algeria (storage of some hot nuclear stuff). Thus, once the bombing campaign is over, the Iraqis can be expected to smuggle new weapons from Iraq's development sites and production lines - sites that remain untouched by allied bombing as well as unchecked by UN inspection teams. And, for as long as Saddam Hussein remains in power, this charade called disarming Saddam will continue."

http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/congress/house1.htm

Shawn: "You're saying before the war there were Iraqi nuclear scientists working on a potential bomb in Libya before we launched this [war in Iraq]?”

Loftus: "Yeah. This was a treaty signed by a man called Ali Sobree. He was the Foreign Minister of Iraq. And he went to [Libyan leader Mu’ammar al-] Qadhafi and they worked out a whole protocol. Qadhafi would donate a hollowed out mountain in Libya; Iraq would provide the nuclear scientists, and North Korea would provide the uranium. And they would literally make a factory for nuclear weapons. And once that factory was complete, we had lost the war on terrorism. People don't realize that even a small nuclear weapon can kill 300,000 people. That's one hundred 9-11's. So that's why we put [garbled] bin Laden on the back burner — we were really focusing on getting the Ali Sobree protocol — we had to smash that ring."

http://128.121.186.47/ISSA/reports/Iraq/Sep0804.htm

Fen said...

Fen, you sound like one scared little rabbit.

And now you're projecting. What an intellectual coward you've turned out to be. False assertions, then evasions and dodging, then a retreat behind juvenille ad hom.

What happened to your principled opposition? Run out of talking points? Having trouble defending points you were only parroting from DU and HuffPo? Why do you keep dodging my questions?

danny said...

Boy, Lucky was right about this:

"So...cut and save this post and you can run it again in 3 months...6 months 9 months or a year from now...and we'll still be hearing the above mentioned sycophants continuing to back everything Bush says and does.

Years from now, Americans will not be able to explain how we allowed this to happen...why we allowed so many of our own to be killed and wounded...and why we didn't have the guts to force our elected officials to do the right thing for America and for the world."

You guys act like you're someone important, making policy and setting the standards for how America wages war. Are you White House employees? Republican senators?

No, I didn't think so. But the reality is, you're all just sitting there arguing for a war and a president that has and will continue to let you down. And nothing you say will change that.

I have answered your questions throughout this ridiculous post and you will continue to come up with more, because apparently, this is what you guys do. Meanwhile, in the real world, as I said in my first post, you have all this war and nothing to show for it.

It's only natural that you think the answer is "more war." The only way you will win the argument is if it's an endless war. I'm sorry that you are so scared, but I live in a big city (no.3) and work near all kinds of terrorist targets (we have a very big one), but I'm not changing my way of life or allowing "the terrorists to win."

In your world, you want to deplete our military on frivolous adventures with faulty justification and then bravely advocate more of the same, before they come and get us. I'm sorry you're so frightened.

It's bold of you all, to push for our soldiers to continue warring, or at least, to do it on a blog of a Madison, WI professor. You must be the patriots I have heard so much about. Sorry to tell you, but your side is going to lose in 2008, and it is because your big man, Mr. Bush, did a shitty job with the war you struggle to defend.

But look on the bright side: you'll so much more to "bitch" about.

Hoosier Daddy said...

You guys act like you're someone important, making policy and setting the standards for how America wages war.

Aren't you doing the same exact thing?

Sorry to tell you, but your side is going to lose in 2008

Perhaps but I wouldn't be too smug about that. A lot can happen in a year and a half.

Fen said...

Thanks for the 400 word diatribe Danny. Feel better?

Now, back to yet another question you keep dodging:

How do you propose we prevent rogue nation-states from handing WMDs off to terrorist groups for proxy attacks against the West?

Do you think terrorists are stronger or weaker when supported by rogue nation states?

If this was a drug war, would you go after the users and leave the dealers and drug lords alone?

Sloanasaurus said...

"President Bush and his vice president conceded yesterday in the clearest terms yet that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, trying to shift the Iraq war debate to a new issue – whether the invasion was justified because Hussein was abusing a U.N. oil-for-food program."

If we let Saddam off in 2002, you would be calling Bush a moron today for doing so. You would say, how stupid Bush was to accept that Saddam had no intention to restart his nuclear programs. After he tried to hide his programs before and he was twice clsoe to producing nukes.

Then when Saddam explodes a nuke in 2007, bringing the world into a new era of instability, you would be criticising Bush for not invading Iraq when he had the chance.

There was no other way to prevent Saddam from building nukes other than invasion. We will soon learn there is no way to prevent Iran from building nukes other than invasion. And we don't have the will to invade Iran.

yes, we are fighting a dirty war in Iraq. But the consequences of that are minor compared to Saddam armed with nukes.

Mindsteps said...

Bush said I will be able to say I looked in the mirror and made decisions based upon principle, not based upon politics.”

I wrote earlier in response to this soundbite:

Uuuugggghhh.....I wonder what role facts....or the lack of them play in Bush's decision making process.

Even that very affected conservative Peggy Noonan verbalized a similar reaction in her column today:

Americans have always been somewhat romantic about the meaning of our country, and the beacon it can be for the world, and what the Founders did. But they like the president to be the cool-eyed realist, the tough customer who understands harsh realities.

With Mr. Bush it is the people who are forced to be cool-eyed and realistic. He's the one who goes off on the toots. This is extremely irritating, and also unnatural. Actually it's weird.

Sloanasaurus said...

But they like the president to be the cool-eyed realist, the tough customer who understands harsh realities.

You mean like Jimmy Carter?

Luckyoldson said...

BAGHDAD, July 12 — In rebuffing calls to bring troops home from Iraq, President Bush on Thursday employed a stark and ominous defense. “The same folks that are bombing innocent people in Iraq,” he said, “were the ones who attacked us in America on September the 11th, and that’s why what happens in Iraq matters to the security here at home.”

On Thursday alone, he referred at least 30 times to Al Qaeda or its presence in Iraq...yet another example of the "truthiness" that comes out of this administration:

Especially Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia did not exist before the Sept. 11 attacks.

P.S. - Sloan...uh, Carter hasn't been President since 1980. Maybe if you were to read a...newspaper?

Sloanasaurus said...

On Thursday alone, he referred at least 30 times to Al Qaeda or its presence in Iraq...yet another example of the "truthiness" that comes out of this administration:

Especially Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia did not exist before the Sept. 11 attacks.


So you think we should withdraw because Al Qaeda in Iraq didn't exist before the invasion. Are you saying that they will magically disappear after we withdraw.

Is that all you care about - that Bush gets what's due to him (at least in your mind).

Fen said...

just for the humor:

Lucky, why do you think Al Queda is in Iraq?

Luckyoldson said...

sloan,
the point of my post is that bush continues to refer to the al queda that is in iraq is the SAME al queda that was behind 9/11...over and over again.

that is not true.

if you don't think it's important for the president of the united states to be truthful....that's probably why you continue to support him.

but it is precisely why he has so little backing from a majority of americans. they just don't believe the man anymore.

Fen: what does your question have to do with bush being truthful?

Luckyoldson said...

Tony Snow, offering the reason the Iraqi parliament is going to take August off, even though it has just eight weeks to show progress on military, political and economic benchmarks prescribed by the United States:

"You know, it's 130 degrees in Baghdad in August," he said, sympathetically.

Of course, that's when Snow was reminded that U.S. troops will be continuing to fight throughout August in the heat.

Duh.

Fred said...

you are all dumb.

end of story.

Luckyoldson said...

From Peggy Noonen...not exactly a "lefty."

As I watched the news conference, it occurred to me that one of the things that might leave people feeling somewhat disoriented is the president’s seemingly effortless high spirits. He’s in a good mood. There was the usual teasing, the partly aggressive, partly joshing humor, the certitude. He doesn’t seem to be suffering, which is jarring. Presidents in great enterprises that are going badly suffer: Lincoln, LBJ with his head in his hands. Why doesn’t Mr. Bush? Every major domestic initiative of his second term has been ill thought through and ended in failure. His Iraq leadership has failed. His standing is lower than any previous president’s since polling began. He’s in a good mood.

Is it defiance? Denial? Is it that he’s right and you’re wrong, which is your problem? Is he faking a certain steely good cheer to show his foes from Washington to Baghdad that the American president is neither beaten nor bowed? Fair enough: Presidents can’t sit around and moan. But it doesn’t look like an act. People would feel better to know his lack of success sometimes gets to him. It gets to them.

Fen said...

Fen: Lucky, why do you think Al Queda is in Iraq?

Lucky: Fen: what does your question have to do with bush being truthful?

Non-responsive. Again Lucky, why do you think Al Queda is in Iraq?

And you think they're different from Al Queda in Afganistan how? Do you believe there are two Al Queda's? If so, why were the AQ leaders in Iraq corresponding with & taking direction from OBL and crew?