August 31, 2007

"The best thing for Romney and Giuliani would be for the White House and Congress to halt the surge and agree on a phased withdrawal."

So says Peter Beinart, but wouldn't this actually be the best thing for the Democratic candidates? Here's the reasoning (which I don't get):
[W]hen asked about Iraq, [Romney and Giuliani] talk about terrorism... [T]hey emphasize their antiterrorism toughness while keeping their Iraq views fuzzy. This gives them room to embrace a significant troop withdrawal next year once they have their party's nomination in hand.

So far, the strategy has worked beautifully. But there's a problem. One way Romney and Giuliani have evaded clear answers on the surge is by delaying the question until September, when General David Petraeus will report on its progress. Now September is here. Petraeus will probably oppose any immediate troop withdrawal, deferring any drawdown until next spring. Bush and most conservative pundits will demand that the surge continue into 2008. And Romney and Giuliani will find it harder to bob and weave...

So, what will Romney and Giuliani do if forced to finally come clean? They'll back the surge. Romney is running as the conservative candidate, so he can't alienate Iraq hard-liners. Neither can Giuliani, given his tough-on-terrorism persona. But once they back the surge, they'll get a taste of what McCain has been experiencing all year. The more they're defined by support for the war, the more Bush's unpopularity will become their own, especially among independents, the people who have turned against McCain en masse. Backing the surge will instantly weaken them in the general election, because if they do eventually pivot in favor of some withdrawal, it will look like a flip-flop.
So, let's put aside the (very substantial) consideration that the surge might work and the (also very substantial) consideration that it is offensive to think of fighting the war in the way that would help one candidate or another. Let's assume that Bush decides in the near future to end the surge and begin withdrawing troops. That helps Romney and Giuliani? They are only helped if their opponents are not helped more. It seems to me that everyone who has been against the effort to win the war will claim triumph and express deep sadness that that Bush didn't listen to them sooner. Meanwhile, Romney and Giuliani -- in Beinart's scenario -- breathe a sigh of relief because they won't have to talk about Iraq anymore. But they will! They'll be called on their failure to demand an end to the war.

93 comments:

Joe said...

Simply a classic case of projection. Someone projects what they want as the best course of action for others.

joe said...

What bothers me is the implicit assumption that because Beinert and most Democrats see the war only in terms of domestic politics, everyone views it the same way. What if Rudy and Mitt are in fact waiting for the Petraeus report before making a decision based on the facts rather than how it can help them politically?

Eli Blake said...

It's less that the GOP candidates benefit than that they would be harmed if a withdrawal does not start.

The Iraq war has been an amorphous mess, with the objective and mission constantly shifting over the past four years, one of the reasons why people have lost faith with the war.

Even the stated mission of the surge when it was announced earlier this year, that we would create enough stability and enough of a reduction in sectarian violence to allow the factions in the government to come together, has changed-- sectarian violence has continued and the government has shown itself incapable of coming together. So they've changed the mission and seized on the fact that some Sunni leaders have turned on the foreign invaders-- meaning al-Qaeda-- which has led to some successes against al-Qaeda in Iraq. So now the mission has shifted away from anything having to do with stabilizing the country or the government and towards defeating al-Qaeda in Iraq (as it has been periodically before.) But if we fail to drive out al-Qaeda then you can be sure they will find something else to change it to.

My own opinion is that the real rationale behind the 'surge' is that the Bush administration is trying to run out the clock on Iraq and make figuting out how to get us out someone else's problem. They really don't care about what the price will be for anyone or anything else-- the military, the American people, the economy or other GOP candidates. They just want to make sure that the inevitable tough decisions that will have to be made in order to get our army out of the quicksand they've gotten it stuck in, won't be made on their watch.

EnigmatiCore said...

Ending the surge helps only Democrats.

Continuing the surge and having it not work really really helps Democrats.

Continuing the surge and having it continue to bear fruit helps Giuliani and Romney, but not nearly as much as it helps John McCain. In fact, about his only path to the nomination is if Romney and Giuliani start going wobbly on Iraq and then we win.

Hillary is pretty immune either way. She has done a great job of making it so that neither edge of the sword can draw blood. As long as she avoids people realizing that Hsu proves that the Clintons still are in bed with funny money with unknown roots (often of Chinese origin), she'll be fine as a candidate.

From Inwood said...

Prof A.

You're right.

John Stodder said...

...it is offensive to think of fighting the war in the way that would help one candidate or another.

One candidate or the another, one party or another, one faction in Congress or another... it is obscene how much the cufflinked, manicured political pollsters, the maniacally partisan "Cui bono"-above-country leftwing bloggers, and the satraps of the media seek to steer this war for the shortest of short-term, pitifully small advantage.

I'm sure there are members of Congress who say behind closed doors that they have to oppose the surge because, after all, they paid $2 million to a consultant and that's what the consultant said to do. "Tell that general out in the waiting room that I've already left for my beach house."

Whatever low esteem awaits Bush in the annals of history, it will be nothing compared to the nausea that will be induced by the political leaders and pundits who think they can win by us losing. If they succeed, they will truly reap a whirlwind, and the amazing thing is they are too dumb and solipsistic to see it.

Simon said...

What Joe said. Beinart started out supporting the war, soured on it, and now wants to bring it to a close. the best way to do that, in his assesment, is to withdraw our forces. "Logically," he reasons, "since I'm right, and my policy prescription is best, the best thing for Romney and Giuliani to do is to adopt the right policy, i.e. mine."

Simon said...

Eli, explain how America being seen by the world - and by our enemies - to be run out of Iraq, beaten and bloodied, having lost the will to fight because we didn't win immediately, helps us in the war on terror. Explain how showing lack of resolve and a glass jaw helps us. Because that's what Beinart urges - surrender and retreat. How does that usually work out for the loser, historically?

John Stodder said...

My own opinion is that the real rationale behind the 'surge' is that the Bush administration is trying to run out the clock on Iraq and make figuting out how to get us out someone else's problem.

Luckily, this is absurd. But I don't blame Eli for thinking like the leaders he supports. If Harry Reid were to become president, this would be the obvious way to understand his actions.

I am no fan of Bush. But I trust Gates and Petreaus, and I'm quite certain they launched the surge to change the facts on the ground, and they are succeeding in that. We should all be grateful! But half the political class in this country is depressed and desperately looking for a way to turn it into bad news from which they hope to prosper.

I am so sick of this "shifting rationales" argument. Bury it, please. It's meaningless. It is historic idiocy at best, sheer demagoguery at worst, and irrelevant either way.

What was the "original rationale" for our entry into WWII? What about the Civil War? When did FDR demand "unconditional surrender?" When did Lincoln free the slaves? In both cases, long after the wars had begun. As with Iraq, there was far more than one "rationale" per war. There is an overall tide in events. Wars begin because of one thing, but then the war itself changes the flow, and new threats and opportunities become apparent that were either hidden or are the result of changed circumstances, and so the war strategy and, yea, even the rationale, has to change.

Strictly linear thinking is fine for accountants and corporate lawyers, but not for leaders. Are you saying you favor a leader who doesn't react to changing circumstances? "I told 'em my rationale before this war started, and dadgum it, I ain't changing it." Which candidate promises that kind of foolish leadership, so I can be sure to vote against them.

Harsh Pencil said...

What Beinert doesn't get is that McCain's troubles having nothing to do with his stance on Iraq. It's immigration, Gang of 14, McCain-Feingold (did I miss one?). The Republican likely voter is far far less anti-war than voters at large.

Cedarford said...

Beinert completely screws up the reason for McCains meltdown -sayinng it is due to his support for staying in Iraq.

No, no, no!

McCain has had a longtime rep as a treacherous pol who will stab the Base in the back. About once a year, he or Specter can be expected to show up on a stage with "their good friend Teddy Kennedy" and announce they are sabotaging some Republican program or cause "because the country needs our courageous bipartisanship".

McCain slit his throat with his last stunt, though. He started thinking he was the frontrunner and money would pour in because He was the Famous Senator and he ran last time. So he was sloppy with money, spending away, and appeared to be tired and lackadaisical in debates.

Then he stepped into it with the Great Illegal Alien Amnesty Compromise. Even more tragically, stepping in to claim credit for a disaster he hadn't really been a major player in creating..

Rudy and Mitt are fully aware that Bush's shitty poll numbers - roughly 75% don't like the job he has done - does not translate into 75% of Americans wish for America's defeat, craven retreat, and humiliation from Iraq...

Beinert is in the "It's All About Iraq" camp. It's not.

Mitt and Rudy and Fred and Mike Huchabee are waiting for Petraeus's report. Sensibly. Because the Dems Richardson, Edwards, and Obama have gotten into believing Nutroots wants them to embrace defeat in Iraq and claim all the problem is reduced to one Moby Dick somewhere in Pakistan that they must find...And only Hillary is being sensible and adult - knowing like Mitt and Rudy, etc... - that Bush's numbers do not mean average Americans really want "America to lose and be humbled..".

Richard Dolan said...

Beinert isn't listening to Rudy, and so it's not surprising that he doesn't know what Rudy has to say about Iraq. It's also apparent that Rudy looks at the political landscape quite differently than Beinert does.

For example, Rudy's campaign website says this about the war in Iraq: "Like all Americans, Rudy Giuliani prays for the success of our troops in Iraq and their safe return home. But he believes setting an artificial timetable for withdrawal from Iraq now would be a terrible mistake, because it would only embolden our enemies. Iraq is only one front in the larger war on terror, and failure there would lead to a broader and bloodier regional conflict in the near future. Building an accountable Iraq will assist in reducing the threat of terrorism."

For anyone who has followed the Iraq debate, that's not such a "fuzzy" position. Rudy is (A) opposed to "an artificial timetable for withdrawal;" (B)insists that the Iraqi war is "only one front in the larger war on terror;" and (C) rejects failure as an option because it "would lead to a broader and bloodier regional conflict in the near future." Anyone paying attention to the debates about Iraq will recognize those three points from Bush's many speeches on the subject; and just as clearly will understand that the Dems reject all three.

I doubt very much whether Rudy accepts the political calculation behind Beinert's analysis, either. Beinert thinks the Iraqi war will sink whomever the Repubs nominate unless the nominee runs away from that war. Rudy's campaign isn't built on the notion that the voters have embraced defeat, or that they want a president who will try to minimize the inevitable loss. Defining and measuring "victory" is undoubtedly a very tricky exercise, both in the Iraqi war and in the overall war on terror, but Rudy says that "winning the war on terror is the great responsibility of our generation." If the object is "winning the war on terror" and teh Iraqi war is the central front in that overall war, then Rudy is clearly heading in the opposite direction from Beinert. Among other things, "embracing a significant troop withdrawal next year once they have their party's nomination in hand," regardless of the situation in Iraq and purely for domestic political considerations, is hardly Rudy's idea of either leadership or victory.

Perhaps the voters will reject Rudy's views next year; perhaps he won't even get the nomination. But, contrary to Beinert, he has not been particularly fuzzy or subtle about where he stands. I don't think we will ever see him approach this issue in the way Beinert does; nor do I think he will ever be against the war after having been for it. That sort of thing is, after all, what we've come to expect from Dem nominees. Indeed, among the Dem candidates, only the Senatress has refused to disavow her view that the Iraqi war was an essential step in the larger war on terror.

jane said...

The best thing for Romney and Guiliani to do is to team up on a ticket and surge past Fred, who was a great idea at the time, or propel themselves past Huckabee, who might still be a good idea.

But withdrawing from Iraq before a credible win for the US is suicidal. Politics is bloody, takes no prisoners, and thinks all is fair in lust and polls. For them. Screw "the American people."

Cedarford said...

Stodder - I am so sick of this "shifting rationales" argument. Bury it, please. It's meaningless. It is historic idiocy at best, sheer demagoguery at worst, and irrelevant either way.

It's idiot Leftist Jewish and Gentile reporters that constructed a template to frame the Iraq narrative in that had the "basic rationales" and who strenuously object to any change in "not accepting we should be defeated" because they patiently explain the original rationales for the template were "WMDs, neocons, Bush lied!!!, Joe Wilson found the truth of the yellowcake!" - all ended US legitimacy.

Their rational for showing the "senseless quagmire" was their old Vietnam template - our troops are stupid, being outfought, and "senselessly dying" as the daily Death Count journalists loving touted every day, with their death milestones, death cumulatives and Cindy Sheehan the narrative's "Every-Mother"
showed. When that wasn't enough it was death counts, many faked and hyped into ridiculousness - of "innocent Iraqi civilians" that the US "murdered" with insurgent bombs..

And predictably, they scream when people say they had and have the whole narrative wrong by charging "shifting rationales" for your illegal war and murdering innocent muslims and Pelosi's " little children in Marine uniforms" - duped by Bush because they were too stupid and lazy to go to college.

Joseph Hovsep said...

Cedarford, what is the relevance of whether someone is Jew or Gentile?

Joe said...

The war in Iraq is a mess. No surprise; all wars are a mess. (Even the simplest "war" of recent history--Grenada--was a mess.) Remember the Falkland Islands War? A mess. Both the American Revolutionary and American Civil Wars make the Iraq war look like a model of perfection.

However, the results we have so far have been simply amazing in geopolitical terms. The entire middle east has been affected drastically and for the better.

To surrender to a minority of terrorists (regardless of how they arrived, they are still terrorists) would be to betray the Iraqi people and send a thunderously clear signal that "when the going gets tough, America breaks its promises."

Before anyone starts spouting off about what happened and how we got to where we are, I DON'T CARE. I really don't. I had my own ideas of how we should have proceeded, but we are where we are and have to deal with it in a realistic way.

David53 said...

Eli said,

They really don't care about what the price will be for anyone or anything else-- the military, the American people, the economy or other GOP candidates.

That's probably been said about every president who has ever deployed troops in combat operations. And I don't believe it. I can't imagine any president who has not anguished over the troops dead or injured under his watch.

Naked Lunch said...

Seems like only yesterday we were showering Rudy! with a ticker tape parade because his city and his office got bombed and how he showed us how to walk around the city endlessly in defiance. Sadly, roughly 75% of the country has turned it's back on Rudy! and George Bush, and seemingly just wants us to surrender and plain lose this war. Tragic. Absolutely tragic. What part about our Civil War and WWII don't they get??? WWII is exactly like Iraq, I just don't get it.

Simon said...

Harsh Pencil said...
"What Beinert doesn't get is that McCain's troubles having nothing to do with his stance on Iraq. It's immigration, Gang of 14, McCain-Feingold ...."

I've defended him for the Gang of 14 in the past, but I think you're right that people are still angry about that.

peter hoh said...

What does "urrendering to terrorists" mean? Like the best rhetorical clubs, it's meaning seems hard to pin down.

I think it can be argued that we surrendered to terrorists in Somalia, but I'm not sure. As for Iraq, if we were to pull out now (not that I'm advocating that position) we'd be handing power over to civilian government, not AQI. So how would that be surrendering to the terrorists?

Does the rhetoric of not to surrendering to the terrorists mean that there can be no terrorists left in Iraq, and no terror incidents in the last 3 months before we can leave? Then we're there forever.

On the main point of Ann's post, my understanding is that we don't have the troop strength to support the surge much past Spring 2008. I think the generals and the White House will be trying to come up with some way to claim victory between now and then, or at least victory for the surge, in order to make it seem that our drawdown is something that we want to do, not something that we have to do.

John Stodder said...

Sadly, roughly 75% of the country has turned it's back on Rudy! and George Bush, and seemingly just wants us to surrender and plain lose this war.

A pretty significant misstatement of the poll results.

First of all, the polls are about Bush, not Rudy.

Secondly, you're conflating the views of everyone who's dissatisfied with the war into a single form of dissatisfaction -- a desire to pull out now. There's no such finding anywhere. The disatisfaction covers a range of issues. Hell, I'm dissatisfied. I wish Rumsfeld had been fired in 2004. I think we've wasted a lot of time and goodwill via the incompetence of his reign. But I don't think the US should punish itself and the Iraqi people because of that.

Guess I shouldn't blame you, though. From reading the headlines and hearing the talking points from the Democratic leadership and left blogs, I can see why you might think these falsehoods are true.

Joe said...

What does "surrendering to terrorists" mean?

To capitulate to their demands. (I thought that was obvious.)

ricpic said...

The Republican base doesn't relish an American defeat, as Beinart does. Ergo, neither Romney nor Giuliani will be knee jerk pressured to GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT NOW!!!

blake said...

Wasn't McCain also part of the Keating 5? The only Rep?

peter hoh said...

Joe, the terrorists want us out of Saudi Arabia and all lands which have a Muslim population. So do we need to commit to staying in those places forever in order to avoid capitulating to their demands?

downtownlad said...

I disagree. If the war is off the table as an issue, Romney and Giuliani can focus on their other issues.

The Democrats will benefit immensely if the war is raging next November. That's why, no matter what they say, they will not allow a vote to end the war to actually pass.

Simon said...

downtownlad said...
"The Democrats will benefit immensely if the war is raging next November. That's why, no matter what they say, they will not allow a vote to end the war to actually pass."

Agreed. You have to look at the disconnect between what they do do and what they could do. While it's true that, on some level, "the CDP wants to end the war, [it certainly] has the power to do so -- indeed, Nancy Pelosi could personally end the war in one budget cycle if she wanted -- but lacks the spine to risk any political price for ending the war and therefore won't."

Bruce Hayden said...

Yes, McCain was one of the Keating 5, and some think that is why he was the first named sponser of McCain-Feingold. How else can you explain a Republican backing such a Democratic friendly bill? But his honor was besmearched by the Keating scandal, and he is trying to gain personal absolution from that.

The problem with McCain is that he does what he thinks is right, regardless of the consequences. That works fairly well in AZ, the state that sent another maverick, Barry Goldwater, to the Senate for so long, but not with the national Republicans. He has voted against his party just too many times to ever get the presidential nomination. Some loyalty is expected in trade, and when the chips have been down, he hasn't always come through.

I really don't mind his maverick side that much, and have actually voted for him for Senate. And compared to John Kerrey, he actually was one of the real heros of the Vietnam War. But I just don't see him having a presidential temperment, nor the requisite training or background.

Cedarford said...

Joseph Hovsep said...
Cedarford, what is the relevance of whether someone is Jew or Gentile?


With respect to the media, the relevance is overrepresentation by Leftist Jews and Gentiles with predictable anti-American and transnationalist ideologies. A media that badly needs better ethnic and ideological balance to better serve the nation's interests.

Bruce Hayden said...

Even the stated mission of the surge when it was announced earlier this year, that we would create enough stability and enough of a reduction in sectarian violence to allow the factions in the government to come together, has changed-- sectarian violence has continued and the government has shown itself incapable of coming together. So they've changed the mission and seized on the fact that some Sunni leaders have turned on the foreign invaders-- meaning al-Qaeda-- which has led to some successes against al-Qaeda in Iraq. So now the mission has shifted away from anything having to do with stabilizing the country or the government and towards defeating al-Qaeda in Iraq (as it has been periodically before.) But if we fail to drive out al-Qaeda then you can be sure they will find something else to change it to.

Interesting misstatements. I esp. liked the suggestion that since there was still sectarian violence, the Surge was failing. Of course, Eli ignores that it is down significantly. Al Qaeda is on the run, Moqtada Sadr's Mahdi army is standing down, and Anbar is safer these days than some American cities. But, yes, sectarian violence still exists, so Eli is technically correct in his statement, just exceedingly misleading.

I will admit though that not all of the good news in Iraq is a direct result of the Surge. Flipping Anbar was in the works before the Surge. But the Surge made it even more sucessful, and then allowed the "Awakening" to grow into the other areas of Sunni Arab dominence.

phosphorious said...

"It seems to me that everyone who has been against the effort to win the war . . .."

Who are these evil people? Not real americans, certainly. They probably had the impiety and small-mindedness to NOT vote for Bush.

The bastards. . .

Maxine Weiss said...

Princess Diana.

EnigmatiCore said...

"With respect to the media, the relevance is overrepresentation by Leftist Jews and Gentiles"

Sheesh. The next thing ya know, you'll be spouting off about how they control banks.

Just wow. You have some rather strange ways of looking at things, which I am glad I do not share.

Tim said...

"The Democrats will benefit immensely if the war is raging next November."

Raging? Yes, probably. Winding down, with us winning? Most definitely not.

Revenant said...

As for Iraq, if we were to pull out now (not that I'm advocating that position) we'd be handing power over to civilian government, not AQI. So how would that be surrendering to the terrorists?

Because you're wrong about the civilian government. We have *already* handed power over to them; we did that a couple of years ago. The problem they face is the same problem the South Vietnamese government faced: their power isn't sufficient to control their country. An American withdrawl won't hand over power to the government of Iraq; it will cripple the government of Iraq, by eliminating the major source of its power within the country.

If you believe that the Iraq situation is winnable then there is no reason to withdraw. If you believe that it isn't -- well, how is giving up on an unwinnable war anything other than surrender?

Revenant said...

Leftist Jews and Gentiles

"Leftist Jews and non-Jews"?

Why not just "Leftists"?

Kirk said...

Cedarford,

Are you actually unaware the the intersection of the sets "Jews" and "Gentiles" includes the entire population of humans? Sorry, you can't dress up your (gratuitous, or worse) antisemitism by tagging "and Gentiles" onto all your statements, and not have most of the rest of us notice how preposterous the result is.

Actually, I continue to hold my theory that you're really a leftist plant whose mission is to discredit some fairly reasonable ideas from the "right" side of the spectrum, by associating them with antisemitism.

Kirk said...

Ahhhhhrrrrgggghhhh!

For "intersection", please of course read "union" instead.

How embarrassing.....

peter hoh said...

Rev, I'm aware that we sort of handed over power to the Iraqi civilian goverment a couple years ago. When I wrote my comment, I struggled with how to say that without being too wordy. The conundrum is that we've handed over power to them, and yet they don't have the power to control their country.

Once every few months, we sort of agree about something. I'm sure if we try hard enough, we'll figure out how we disagree.

Suggesting that leaving Iraq now is "surrendering to the terrorists" is a great rhetorical move on the part of war proponents. Freedom Watch (or whatever that group is named) uses that line in TV spots aimed at our wavering GOP senator.

I'm just asking questions about the meaning of that phrase. Frankly, I don't know we can surrender to a stateless, loosely defined group known as the terrorists. How do you avoid something that you can't do? Sounds a bit like the opposite of proving a negative.

From Inwood said...

Kirk

Cedarford now has tried to be inclusive. Like the “or She” people, he now goes through all his writings with “Find & Replace”, finding “Jew” & replacing it with “Jew and Gentile”, while singing “It’s A Binary World, After All!”. Wait ‘til he reveals all about the top secret Mogen David Society for non-Jews. I was blackballed because I couldn’t explain the difference between “Goyim” & “Gentiles”. I did like the yellowcake they served with that sweet wine, however.

Say did you hear the one about the rabbi who was losing a lot of his congregation to the Quakers? He complained: Some of my best Jews are friends! (Drum Roll.)

Seriously, you’ve now explained to my satisfaction who cedarford really is. That is, he/she is:

“really a leftist plant whose mission is to discredit some fairly reasonable ideas from the "right" side of the spectrum, by associating them with antisemitism.

From Inwood said...

peter hoh

You ask how we can we can "surrender to a stateless, loosely defined group known as the terrorists".

My dictionary defines "surrender" as the action of yielding one's person or giving up the possession of something esp into the power of another."

Could it be that when we surrender a state, Iraq in this case, to the machinations of your "stateless" terrorists, then they won't be stateless anymore? Would that satisfy your definitional problem?

downtownlad said...

Does Cedarford even realize that most of the neocons who pushed us into this war are Jews?

peter hoh said...

They are my terrorists now, eh?

I think a case can be made what you describe, Inwood, is what happened in Somalia, but I'm not a student of the history of that country. We called those who took over warlords, not terrorists, if I recall correctly.

Look, I'm not arguing for an immediate withdrawal. I'm just looking at the rhetoric and asking if it holds up to scrutiny.

So as not to surrender to the terrorists in Iraq, must we eliminate all terrorists from that country before we can consider pulling out troops? Is that our new benchmark? Just asking.

So as not to surrender to the terrorists, must we commit to staying in Saudi Arabia forever, seeing as one of the demands of Al-Qaeda is that we pull our troops out of that country.

peter hoh said...

dtl: and those who weren't Jews were Gentiles!!

blake said...

I think it's great that no matter what your position is, you can still blame the Jews. And people say we're a divided country.

From Inwood said...

Peter Hoh

(1) It was indeed you who described the terrorists as “stateless” as if that meant they had no existence in the context of our surrendering.

(2) Your scenarios do not hold up to “scrutiny”. We didn’t eliminate all, repeat all, Nazis, for instance.

You & the rest of the world will know for sure if & when we surrender Iraq.

Tim said...

"...must we commit to staying in Saudi Arabia forever, seeing as one of the demands of Al-Qaeda is that we pull our troops out of that country."

As points go, this one is really a non sequitur (and a stupid rhetorical trick in its own right, but no matter...) for at least two reasons. First, we actually pulled troops out of Saudi Arabia some time ago (so "forever" has come and gone...) irrespective of al Qaeda's demands (there are lots of links, but you might find this one satisfying: ://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2984547.stm).

Second, we very clearly did not leave Saudi Arabia under duress; there was no battlefield upon which we were engaged with the enemy in Saudi Arabia; the analogy (you seek to draw) between our situation in Iraq and Saudi Arabia is nearly 180 degrees off, for too many to list. Suffice to say that even the casual observer appreciates the high probability of completely different and, depending your point of view, adverse consequences of leaving Iraq. The most likely effect would be that of surrendering Iraq to the terrorists (forgive me for being imprecise - I use terrorist and al Qaeda interchangeably, although I know they aren't one and the same), and you (probably) know it.

You are being obtuse in the extreme quibbling over word choice when you (probably) know perfectly well the most likely outcome of our leaving Iraq without securing victory would be tantamount to, that is to say, very like surrendering to the enemy, even if they don't have a battleship in the bay for us on which to sign surrender papers...

The term "surrender" may be imperfect, but it is closest to describe what most congressional Democrats and Democrat primary voters want to do in Iraq, whether they admit it or not, or even know it or not. But that doesn't excuse them for wanting to quit on the troops, the mission, and leave American power, prestige, influence and security severely diminished (i.e., weakened). Or were you impressed with American power during the Carter Administration? No one else was.

Simon said...

downtownlad said...
"Does Cedarford even realize that most of the neocons who pushed us into this war are Jews?"

I think that's something of a canard that gets wheeled out. Perle and Wolfowitz are of Jewish stock (for want of a better term - I have no idea whether they're observant), but Adelman and Cheney, who were no less important drivers of the war, certainly aren't. I'm not saying you're definitely wrong, but it'd be interesting to see a fairly rigorous study.

downtownlad said...

Blake - I sure hope your comment wasn't targeted at me.

If it was - please retract.

From Inwood said...

blake

The new rubric is "blame the Jews and Gentiles."

From Inwood said...

Simon

Some of my best friends are neo-cons!

downtownlad said...

I'm pretty sure Adelman is Jewish. Kristol from the Weekly Standard is Jewish. Podhoretz is Jewish. Krauthammer is Jewish.

Not that it matters.

But I find it amusing that Cedarford is saying that the Jews control the media, and that the Jews are anti-war.

What a crock of shit.

Simon said...

DTL - Doug Feith and David Frum, come to think of it, I think are both of Jewish stock too. But I'd still be cautious of accepting that without closer study, and I agree that it's really quite irrelevant. Blaming the war on the jews is like the folks on the left who say that Bush and the evangelicals started the war to prompt the Armageddon of the Book of Revelation. Really, saying that this war was started for any one singular reason is a fundamental error.

From Inwood said...

Tim

You apparently don't know about the paradox of power or whatever gibberish the Left was using during the Carter Presidency.

Why I heard that it was a sign of strength for us to be able to leave Viet Nam to the peace-loving natives. (Yes I know Viet Nam fell before Carter, but that was because the Dem Congress... oh what's the use.) Strength Through The Aggressive Pursuit Of World Peace. Or was it: Peace Through The Agressive Pursuit Of The Inner Strength Necessary To Know When To Surrender An Untenable Position Of Hegemony. Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Peace.

(Click, click go the steel balls....)

titus17 said...

Good evening fellow republicans.

Titus is in the house.

What defeatocrats are we going of on tonight?

downtownlad said...

Neocons came about to protect Israel.

The argument can easily be made that the Iraq war was started by neocons, not for America's interests, but for Israel's interests.

Just as the war we're about to have with Iran is for Israel's interests as well.

But the most pathetic thing, is that a majority of Jews and I would bet a majority of Israelis don't think the Iraqi war or the future Iranian war will actually help Jews or Israel.

The neocons are overwhelmingly Jewish, and they're also overwhelmingly bad for Jewish interests.

Disclaimer: I'm Jewish.

titus17 said...

I personally think Mitt Romney will be an excellent president. I am incredibly excited about his chances and as someone who lived in Boston, MA while he was governor know that he will be an exceptional leader and president.

He has changed a little on some of his philosophies for the national audience but I am ok with that and understand that you need to change based off the audience you are speaking to.

titus17 said...

i'm jewish too downtownlad-hugs.

titus17 said...

Althouse if you read this sorry about using the "f" word in one of my earlier posts.

I get excited when I come here.

Scarlett Johanson is on Conan right now and she is drop dead gorgeous.

downtownlad said...

And why are you out clubbing right now Titus?

titus17 said...

Hi Semen, how are you? Is sixty nine mary's online tonight-he is my favorite althouse poster.

Althouse is going to be staying in NYC-I can sense that she is falling in love (with the city) and won't leave. Anyone else get that feeling???

titus17 said...

You could drive a truck through that space in Beinart's teeth.

He really needs to get that fixed, especially if he wants to look photogenic on the tele.

titus17 said...

I leave for the Island tomorrow so I am all your tonight dtl.

downtownlad said...

Sorry. I am going to spend the night getting tons of pussy . . .

It's just me and my cats relaxing and having some fun.

titus17 said...

I have a surge going on right now....in my pants!!!!

downtownlad said...

Off topic, but why does Larry Craig get so much negative publicity for trying to hookup in a public bathroom, but straight people who have sex in a bathroom on an airplane get to brag about their conquests?

What the hell is the difference, except that one involves gay sex and the other overwhelmingly involves straight sex?

titus17 said...

What a week it has been.

Larry Craig goes from some obscure republican senator from Idaho to a national joke. It would be interesting to hear from all those red state Idahoans regarding this whole mess. I am hopeful that if Rudy is the republican candidate and with all of the recent republican dramas that we have heard the last of "family values".

Conan's hair is huge.

I am not a cat man-I have two dogs that I just love.

I am having a glass of kettel one and tonic right now-yum.

titus17 said...

I think the entire Larry Craig thing is kind of sad. Yes, he is obviously gay and must live a miserable existence going into public restrooms to "date" but I agree, who cares and what did he really do? He obviously went there to hook up but he didn't actually have sex. I think it was such a big topic of news because it was 1)gay; 2)hypocrital in the way he has portrayed himself and 3)a pretty intersting story on the underground world of bathroom sex lurkers.

I think someone might of mentioned this but there is an entire website which has all of the public places for gay men to go have sex. The site is called squirt and it actually has reviews from some of the people that have been to these places.

titus17 said...

For example in this website AYOR means at your own risk because cops go there and bust people.

Poor Larry Craig. What a press conference. I am not gay nor have I have ever been gay. Wow-

Revenant said...

Neocons came about to protect Israel.

No, neoconservatives came about to oppose the Soviet Union. They were the anticommunist liberals, originally.

Revenant said...

why does Larry Craig get so much negative publicity for trying to hookup in a public bathroom, but straight people who have sex in a bathroom on an airplane get to brag about their conquests?

Because people put themselves in the situation. A man puts himself in the position of a person getting it on in an airplane bathroom and thinks "that'd be cool". A man puts himself in the position of getting hit on while using the toilet and, if he's part of the 96% of men who aren't gay, finds the concept either creepy or disgusting.

In simpler terms, the "mile high club" is about consentual sex. Craig's situation is about hanging out in bathrooms looking for anonymous sex partners. The latter behavior is a lot freakier to most people.

Ann Althouse said...

"Off topic, but why does Larry Craig get so much negative publicity for trying to hookup in a public bathroom, but straight people who have sex in a bathroom on an airplane get to brag about their conquests?"

Don't gay people brag about sex in bathrooms? The thing about bragging is: You decide whom to brag to. The fact is that straight people caught having sex on planes are prosecuted, and I strongly support that and think many people do. I don't think it's cute or sexy to obtrude on other people this way.

But one difference is that the bathroom on a plane is completely enclosed so that you aren't forced to see and hear some of it. There have been cases of straight people caught trying to have sex in their seats on airplanes, under blankets. I think most people think that deserves to be criminalized.

Also, Larry Craig is married, and he was cheating on his wife in the lowest way. It's one thing when you fall in love with someone else and betray your spouse. Quite another when you go looking for a stranger... and threaten her whole way of life by risking arrest. And the fact that he wanted gay sex is irrelevant in this: he wasn't satisfied limiting himself to her. That's something that happens to straight people too.

hdhouse said...

joe said...
"What if Rudy and Mitt are in fact waiting for the Petraeus report before making a decision based on the facts rather than how it can help them politically?"

That will be a long wait Joe. Unless someone gets their hands on a true copy we will never see it.

hdhouse said...

Joseph Hovsep said...
Cedarford, what is the relevance of whether someone is Jew or Gentile?"

Joseph...in Cedarford's airpocket race is everything religion is everything..being a Jew counts less than nothing.

Pogo said...

Peter Beinert and most of the Democrats have become immune to reasoned discussion. Leaving Iraq in such a way would gaurantee the kind of genocide that occurred in Vietnam under the Khmer Rouge. (But of course Sen. Kerry says that never happened, so, you know, what genocide? where?).

I am past tired of defending what we clearly must do at this point, because no matter how we got here or why, it is what it is. It's like the aftermath of a storm. Trees are down, houses are ruined. This is waht we have to deal with. But Democrats are acting like teenagers instead of adults, imagining some fantasyland outcome for leaving; it's so childlike in its denial of reality. And it's depressing as hell.

I am coming to accept the idea that, should Hillary win, we'll be responsible for the area falling into chaos, and millions of dead. [But it's chaos now!!! But there's millions dead now! Blah blah etcetera.] Shit.

And after we run away, the lesson learned by potential allies will be cemented by 50 years of democratic leadership: never trust the US; they will abandon you in a flash. In fact, the anti-Americans of the world are quite right. The US can't go on; it is unwilling to even defend itself. [But Iraq isn't self-defense!]

Hell, I know every argument that will come from every statement I write about the war. The easiest way to be a Democrat now is pretend that whatever seems to favor US interests inernationally should be opposed. Whatever requires sober thought, reflection, and acceptance of the current reality, oppose it. Whatever requires sacrifice and hard choices, oppose it. [And I want a pony that flies right NOW!]

Justin said...

Ann Althouse said...

But one difference is that the bathroom on a plane is completely enclosed so that you aren't forced to see and hear some of it.

The other big difference is that airplane sex is usually not anonymous. Airport sex of the Larry Craig variety is. The anonymity is not illegal, but it definitely carries a stigma.

peter hoh said...

Wow. Pogo thinks that the Khmer Rouge committed genocide in Vietnam.

And I'm the one who is supposed to be mistaken about history.

AlphaLiberal said...

it's a fiction that the surge is working. Iraqi and American deaths are up compare to the same time frame last year and the years before.

At any rate there's an intense fog of propaganda being catapulted from the White House and the formerly nonpartisan armed forces.

Please filter out the propaganda.

AlphaLiberal said...

No kidding. Pogo, the Khmer Rouge were in Cambodia under Pol Pot.

Cambodia was the neutral illegally country bombed "back into the stone age" as you cons are fond of saying by Nixon and Kissinger.

The aftermath of the bombings was the killing fields of Cambodia, a consequence of the bombing and instability as well as other influences.

So your example actually proves the liberal case that we should not use massive violence to try and change societies, or only in the rarest circumstances. If it changes things, it's for the worse.

Ethnic cleansing is now occurring in Iraq, there's millions of refugees, people don't fish from the river because of all the dead bodies.

You call this progress?

AlphaLiberal said...

d'ow! Typo alert:

"Cambodia was the neutral illegally country bombed"

should be

"Cambodia was the neutral country illegally bombed..."

More coffee!

peter hoh said...

More Pogo: the lesson learned by potential allies will be cemented by 50 years of democratic leadership: never trust the US; they will abandon you in a flash.

This condensed version of history always leaves out Beirut, 1983, which I think was a critical moment in the current war with Islamic terrorists. But the president who decided to -- what's the term? cut and run? -- was Reagan, so I guess we didn't precipitously withdraw from Beirut, because only Democrats do that.

But that just plays into the idea that all of this is just a backdrop to the war between Democrats and Republicans. Just because I'm willing to point out the Republican screw ups doesn't make me a fan of the Democrats.

My contention is that the phrase "leaving now would be surrendering to the terrorists" is so loosely defined that it means what people want it to mean, without it having an objective meaning, like "Read my lips. No new taxes."

That does not make me a proponent of withdraw now. We need to do the best we can to strengthen Iraq so that we can eventually leave without it becomeing a failed state or a raging civil war.

This, of course, flies in the face of the Rumsfeld plan for the war.

AlphaLiberal said...

Well, my view is, let's stop screwing up their country. The people running the US strategy have failed, they can't admit they failed and they sure won't take the best advice.

Saying "we should keep occupying Iraq because we could do Tactic A or B" fails to confront the reality that Bush will not take advice on what to do. He's "resolute" (mule-headed) you see.

So, the guy in charge won't change tactics, only do more of what's not worked. And, people are expecting a different result?

They've got a word for that.

AlphaLiberal said...

Here's a nice chart showing that US military deaths are up, despite claims that deaths are down.

Of course, if you believe, or suspect, that up is down you will not see a contradiction.

AlphaLiberal said...

Oops. Wrong link. Multi-tasking.

Here's the right link for the chart.

AlphaLiberal said...

Oh, look, more evidence of lies and distortions out of Bush command.

How do you filter Bush's propaganda, Ann? At all?

Big Media Matt:
"It'd be nice to not need to hyper-scrutinize every random bit of official government data this way, but the idea that the Bush administration has no credibility on Iraq isn't just a cliché -- based on his record, one has no choice but to inquire and to be very suspicious."

Simon said...

downtownlad said...
"Neocons came about to protect Israel."

Revenant said...
"No, neoconservatives came about to oppose the Soviet Union. They were the anticommunist liberals, originally."

Given that neoconservatism originally came about and took root as a theory about domestic policy, with no view on foreign policy at all, both these statemens suggest a profound misunderstanding of the history of neoconservatism. See generally Irving Kristol, Neoconsertavism: the Autobiography of an Idea.

From Inwood said...

Simon

(1)"Neocons came about to protect Israel."

(2) "No, neoconservatives came about to oppose the Soviet Union. They were the anticommunist liberals, originally."

You reply that “…[since] neoconservatism originally came about…as a theory about domestic policy, with no view on foreign policy at all, both these statements suggest a profound misunderstanding of [its] history….”

I disagree with you. I feel that statement #1 is incorrect as well as thoughtless condescension, whereas, #2 is a thoughtful rebuttal & arguably correct.

Which came first, domestic or foreign? Seems to me neither. Neo-conservatives, a derisive term invented in 1973 by Michael Harrington, have been fighting the good foreign fight, in many cases against former comrades, from what we now see as the beginning of neo-conservativism. They scornfully attacked self-styled intellectuals whom they considered blind to the evils of communist totalitarianism.

As noted by Mark Gerson in his intro to “The Essential Neo-Conservative Reader” (1996):

“From the early 1950s to the present day, neoconservatives have castigated liberalism for ignorance of the complexity of social action and the embedded wisdom in human systems, a lack of resolve in confronting evil, a laissez-faire attitude toward human virtue, and an unwillingness to defend the critical ideas of American civilization from its discontents. Practically every neoconservative argument and position can be seen as a reaction to one of the central ideas of liberalism.”

His laundry list of neo-con positions, which involve an analytical approach to society as a whole, includes issues such as:

Anti communism (including national security)
Defense of bourgeois institutions
Support for [democratic] capitalism
Mediating Structures (Accept the principle of the Welfare State but not in its then incarnation)
Crime
Defining Deviancy Down & Up
Religion. (A defense of such in an attempt to stop the moral decline fueled by militant secularism pervading the culture)

I don’t have a copy of the I. Kristol book to which you refer, but I think that Rev’s response to a bumper sticker repetition of a myth was certainly correct in context. And that your, um, "profound" put down of Rev, lumping his statement with that of the robotic misrepresenter, is unwarranted and surprisingly out-of character for you.

Simon said...

FI - my point is that both statements are inaccurate because they suggest that neoconservatism originated in theories about foreign policy, which simply isn't true. Certainly, Rev's description of the foreign policy that eventually attatched to neoconservatism is the more accurate statement.

Kirk said...

Inwood,
"It’s A Binary World, After All!

1010010 1001111 1000110 1001100 !

From Inwood said...

Simon

Thanks for your reply. I really find your comments informative & educational, as well as enjoyable.

Funny, with the neo-cons, there was no one guy who said I am the founder of this group & its, um, Chief Rabbi. And here's the Charter & the By-laws (The Tablets).

Even the name was coined as a slur on this loose bunch of basically disillusioned people, including, inter alia, Jews, Catholics, Protestants, Atheists, & Agnostics.

From Inwood said...

Kirk

Binary world. Binary is my word of the month, I guess.

Hey I do know about a binary compound in Chem 101, but I'm afraid that I'm banausic when it comes to computers. So what I assume are programming codes in your post is lost on me. I find it an accomplishment to be able to use the ANSI Character Set! The ASCII Code or whatever you're using to give me a message is like hieroglyphics.

Quiz: What is the next number in the following sequence:

14, 23, 28, 34, 42, 50, 59, 66?

Don't look below 'til you give up!









































A: 72. It's the stops on the IRT B'way local (# 1 Train).

Kirk said...

Inwood,

It's "ROFL"! Which is what I did at your song title. :-)

From Inwood said...

Kirk

Thanks.

Right now I'm rolling on the floor keeping up with all the acronyms used on the net.

BTW, Clients used to criticize lawyers for using acronyms in contracts, especially in indentures. They claimed that it was just another attempt at keeping non lawyers from understanding the stuff they wrote. Alphabet soup or "Initialese."

Now, IMHO, everybody on the 'net does it.

Sometimes it is confusing to those of us of a certain age. For instance, IIRC, "LOL" meant lots of luck, now it means laugh out loud.