September 14, 2007

Bush "talked about 'success,' not victory" and seems to "have changed the dynamic in Congress."

David Sanger on Bush's speech:
On Thursday night, he talked about “success,” not victory, and suggested that the road ahead would be inching, province-by-province progress that would ultimately allow the United States to focus on training Iraqi units, pursuing Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia and containing Iran....

“He wanted to frame this week about a choice,” said Peter Feaver, a former senior official on the National Security Council who helped draft the troop increase strategy and has returned to teach at Duke University. “One choice is a withdrawal driven by progress on the ground, and it will be slower than you want. Or you can have withdrawals based on partisan politics, and the results will be faster, but the consequences more dire.”

In framing the debate that way, Mr. Bush appears, at least for now, to have changed the dynamic in Congress. Democrats like the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, who a few weeks ago was dismissing plans for gradual drawdowns as “weak tea,” are now talking about trying to legislate slower timetables.

ADDED: Here's the NYT editorial on the speech:
[H]is only real plan is to confuse enough Americans and cow enough members of Congress to let him muddle along and saddle his successor with this war that should never have been started.

AND: Compare the Washington Post:
Mr. Bush's plan offers, at least, the prospect of extending recent gains against al-Qaeda in Iraq, preventing full-scale sectarian war and allowing Iraqis more time to begin moving toward a new political order. For that reason, it is preferable to a more rapid withdrawal. It's not necessary to believe the president's promise that U.S. troops will "return on success" in order to accept the judgment of Mr. Crocker: "Our current course is hard. The alternatives are far worse."

168 comments:

Tim said...

Bush couldn't have succeeded in muting the Democrats on the Hill without succeeding in the surge in Iraq.

Both the NY Times and the Democrats on the Hill hate this fact, notwithstanding Sanger's article. It must be bitter tea indeed to lose at losing.

hdhouse said...

Why would you frame your contribution as only part of the American people loose - obviously you mean the liberal majority of the country. This isn't some ball game where one side wins and the other side looses...we all, as americans, win or we loose.

Why do you insist on framing the debate in political terms and then labeling the liberal side of things as "lefty" "cut and run" "surrender" "traitor" "american hater"? why is that?

You watch Mr. President's speech/read/mumble from the other night. You tell me if that inspires confidence in you that this government has set the right and proper course or will it be a 7 year war when he leaves office with the mess left to the next administration?

EnigmatiCore said...

I had no interest in the speech, so I did not watch it. But I did catch a blurb on the news of Giuliani's response to critics of it. Apparently, Bush's phrase using 'success' was "return on success."

Giuliani anticipated attacks such as the one by the (increasingly predictable) New York Times by asking "Which part don't they like? 'Return' or 'Success'?"

I think that is pretty clear.

EnigmatiCore said...

"obviously you mean the liberal majority of the country"

There is no such thing.

There is an anti-Republican majority in this country at the moment (and for good reason).

But as soon as you guys start thinking you are the cat's meow, you'll return to doing the things that had us throw you guys out in the 90s.

Learn, and you might stay in power. But if you think you are the power, it is probably already too late for you to learn.

Tim said...

"...the liberal majority of the country."

Damn, that's funny.

If true, the liberal majority, in its own terms, has proven itself utterly incompetent, thwarted at every turn by the evil idiot in the White House.

Much more likely it's myopic leftwing delusions. Not everyone in the country views the world as do the ever-so-parochial Manhattanites. You should get out more often.

Dogwood said...

You watch Mr. President's speech/read/mumble from the other night. You tell me if that inspires confidence in you that this government has set the right and proper course or will it be a 7 year war when he leaves office with the mess left to the next administration?

Don't base your confidence in the war strategy on whether Bush delivers an excellent performance in speechifying.

Base your confidence on the results of Petraeus' counterinsurgency strategy, which seems to be working.

It would be very nice if Bush was a gifted speaker who could inspire confidence with every utterance. But he's not.

His strengths are elsewhere, such as doing what he believes is the right thing to do in Iraq regardless of the public opinion polls, while keeping Congress from micromanaging the war.

If you want to know how well things are going in Iraq, keep an eye on the war blogs, such as Michael Totten, Michael Yon, Bill Roggio and Bill Ardolino. They write about the good, the bad, and the ugly.

If things improve or deteriorate significantly in Iraq, you'll hear it from them first.

Another good thing about their writing is that they can put events in context, which is often missed in MSM reporting because of space and time constraints.

peter said...

Professor Althouse and the rest of you who support the President's policies in Iraq, could you please answer some questions that I've never gotten answers to?

(1) What do you see as the outcome we should be aiming for in Iraq?

(2) How likely do you think it is we can attain that outcome?

(3) How long will it take to achieve that outcome, and what will it cost? (For example, will it be x years at approximately the same cost in lives and dollars we've incurred in the last four and a half years?)

Dogwood said...

...the liberal majority of the country.

I believe most polls measuring political ideology have shown that Americans tend to be center-right in their thinking.

Democrats won control of Congress because moderate to conservative Democrats defeated moderate to conservative Republicans.

The Republicans lost due to frustrations over the war, profligate spending habits, and ethical and sexual scandals.

In short, Republicans went native, so Republican and Blue Dog Democrat voters kicked them out of office.

The Democrat victories were not a mandate for liberal policies so much as a rejection of the poor behavior exhibited by Republicans.

ricpic said...

I didn't listen to the speech. Did he at least define success?

Roger said...

Peter: I will take a shot at your questions--which, I might add are good ones. Needless to say they are only my personal opinion. That said:

(1) The establishment of a stable, democratic Iraq, relatively free of sectarian violence and bureaucratic corruption.

(2) not very likely over the short term (one to three years) but increasingly likely over the longer term.

(3) The long term I would suggest is a minimum of 10 years, but in that ten years, US forces will be drawn down, redirected toward training missions, and be withdrawn from combat. Costs in terms of US lives and dollars will start declining and continue to decline as US forces are pulled from direct combat mmissions.

My .02.

Dogwood said...

Peter,

1) A stable, Democratic Iraq able to fend for itself without being a threat to its neighbors or anyone else in the world.

2) Hard to say. Right now I would give it 50-50 or 60-40 in favor. Expect to see more political progress at the local level than the national level for at least the next couple years.

Remember that the benchmarks our CongressCritters complain about are our goals, not necessarily Iraqi goals, and since Iraq is a fledgling Democracy, I don't believe it is appropriate to declare victory or defeat based upon their ability to enact legislation that we want.

3) I believe it will take 30 to 50 years to establish a self-sustaining Democracy in Iraq. We'll have troops in country for the rest of my life (I'm 40).

That's not to say that our troops will be engaged in counterinsurgency fighting for that amount of time, just that our presence in the country will provide some measure of stability that will allow the Iraqis to do the heavy lifting.

Its not possible to give exact answers to your questions because the enemy gets a vote, too.

No one knew how long it would take to defeat the Germans or Japanese, nor how much it would cost, nor how many would die doing so, nor how long we would be there.

Not knowing these answers beforehand doesn't mean you avoid engaging in the fight, it just means you don't know because your enemy is not static.

Our behavior influences their behavior, which influences our behavior, etc., etc.

War is a series of decisions that have unknown or unforeseen consequences that then require more decisions, blah, blah, blah.

Every war features a great deal of uncertainty until suddenly, the enemy is destroyed or surrenders and the war is over almost as fast as it started.

Zeb Quinn said...

I say we are probably in Iraq for good, and the hostilities over time will subside. And if you stop and think about it, that's a good thing. It's a good thing because it means we won. We are still in Germany and Japan, after all.

Doyle said...

Bush won't leave because leaving would be embarrassing to him.

The people who talk about the terrible consequences of withdrawal are the ones who didn't foresee the terrible consequences of invasion.

Dogwood said...

Bush won't leave because leaving would be embarrassing to him.

Or because he believes transforming the Middle East via democracy is the only way to make that part of the world compatible with the 21st century.

Doyle said...

Sure.

Meade said...

"The people who talk about the terrible consequences of withdrawal are the ones who didn't foresee the terrible consequences of invasion."

But far worse are those who claim to have forseen the terrible consequences of invasion and still can't see the benefits.

Doyle said...

BENEFITS????

Meade said...

See what I mean?

Trevor said...

Doyle, if you can't see what a boon this war has been for companies that manufacture prosthetic limbs than I just don't know what to tell you.

Palladian said...

Has anyone else noticed that Doyle always comments as if he's having a conversation with an ex-lover? The personal rancor, the bitterness, the sarcasm, all veneers over great internal pain. It must be odd to react to politics as a jilted lover.

Paul Brinkley said...

Yes, Doyle, benefits. Don't be obtuse; you know they exist.

Oh, what the hell, I'll throw you a bone: you know war supporters believe they exist, and you know what war supporters believe they are. So save your feigned indignation, and move the debate forward.

Doyle said...

Please enlighten me.

I mean I know there are over a hundred thousand American families that are saving some money on groceries each week... is that what you mean?

peter hoh said...

I think the President just told our enemies how long they need to wait us out, but I'm not sure, seeing as it was the President who called for troop reductions, not the Democrats.

Dogwood said...

Okay, Doyle, I'll bite, but only because its Friday and I'm bored.

A brutal dictator that murdered his own people and invaded two of his neighbors has been replaced with a fledgling democracy that offers the Iraqi people an opportunity at self-governance while posing no threat to neighboring countries.

The long-term success and survival of that fledgling democracy is yet to be determined, however.

hdhouse said...

peter hoh...that made no sense. please explain.

Doyle said...

Aww. Cute little fledgling.

Zeb Quinn said...

It's not complicated. Doyle doesn't see the benefits because he doesn't want to see them.

Doyle said...

That's right, Zeb. The upside is just staring us all in the face, but only about 30% of us can see it. Die-hard Republicans, mostly, but I'm sure it's just coincidence.

cyrus pinkerton said...

Roger,

I'd be interested to read your opinion on the recently released ORB poll on Iraqi casualties. You can find a summary of the results and the raw data here.

Meade said...

Doyle, The last U.S. president who was a Democrat was able to foresee the benefits of using military action against Saddam in order to enforce U.N. resolutions. Why couldn't you?

http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stories/1998/12/16/transcripts/clinton.html

Doyle said...

Well I don't agree with Bubba about everything, but I notice he didn't actually think invasion was the way to go.

Smart guy.

Palladian said...

Oh, Bubba only had one kind of invasion in mind...

Meade said...

"I notice he didn't actually think invasion was the way to go."

And how did that actually work out for him?

Doyle said...

Well clearly when Saddam orchestrated 9/11 those chickens came home to roost.

Meade said...

I see.

Looks like Palladian called it -- Doyle: the jilted lover of politics.

Try to have a good day if you can.

Trooper York said...

Tonight we can finally get a full measure of revenge for a prior day of infamy...Pettitte vs Matsuzaka 7pm on ESPN

garage mahal said...

Or because he believes transforming the Middle East via democracy is the only way to make that part of the world compatible with the 21st century.

Please share with us a functioning democracy in that region we can model Iraq after. Actually I can answer that for you. There isn't one, and never has been one. Transforming the Middle East? And they call liberals idealists. Burdened by the genes of their Pinko ancestors, neocons say Strauss is their hero, but I don't think this crowd has even read the footnotes, let alone the books.

Dogwood said...

The upside is just staring us all in the face, but only about 30% of us can see it.

Actually, its not, the potential upside won't be fully realized for decades, if at all.

On the other hand, allowing the Middle East to remain an economic, political and cultural backwater, with radical Islamists expanding their influence throughout the region, isn't a viable option, either.

I fully understand why people were and are opposed to the war, but our options in that region are limited to bad and worse, not good, better or best.

Good options simply don't exist.

Dogwood said...

Please share with us a functioning democracy in that region we can model Iraq after.

Turkey, Lebanon & Israel are local examples, although Lebanon's democracy is hampered by Syrian interference, while Turkey's is kept in check by a military willing to intervene to maintain secular government.

Also, Egypt has a history with democratic institutions, although that history has been buried by years of dictatorship.

Andrew L. said...

A brutal dictator that murdered his own people and invaded two of his neighbors has been replaced with a fledgling democracy that offers the Iraqi people an opportunity at self-governance while posing no threat to neighboring countries.

So, the problem was a brutal dictator who hurt his own people and posed a threat to the countries in his region?

Hmmmm...I understand how eliminating Saddam might have been a benefit for the people of Iraq who no longer have to live under him, and might make the Kuwaitis and Saudis feel safer, but how does it benefit the folks here in the USA. I mean, in real, concrete terms?

Call me crazy, I don't think most Americans would have agreed to 4,000 dead soldiers and 20,000 wounded and a trillion dollars in our tax dollars to help out folks in other countries without there being some direct benefit to our safety and security.

Can anyone explain how Saddam's removal and the creation of a more democratic Iraq directly benefits the folks here in the USA?

Is it going to help us stop international terrorism? What in the world would make you believe such a thing?

Yes, all things being equal, more democracy and fewer dictators is a good thing. But how much should Americans be willing to pay (in our money and the lives of our soldiers) for more democracy in the world and fewer dictators?

Not to mention the costs we are inflicting on others. Do you think the Iraqis agree that the benefits are worth the awful costs? We bear responsibility for 100,000 civilian deaths and 4 million refugees.

I just don't have any faith that a more democratic Iraq (which I assume will be a Shia-dominated theocracy) will make the USA safer. That just seems like something made up from the air.

Think about Gulf War I. Saddam invades a neighboring state, threatens world oil supplies. USA sends in troops and defeats him in a week with a few hundred casualties.

Viewed in that light, containment sure seems like a better strategy to me. But then I'm not blinded by the Right.

Roger said...

Garage: it is your contention then that Arab Muslims (and perhaps Persian Shiites) are incapable of creating a functional democracy?

Zeb Quinn said...

The upside is just staring us all in the face, but only about 30% of us can see it. Die-hard Republicans, mostly, but I'm sure it's just coincidence.

Never bothering to climb inside those polls to examine the internals, content to ignorantly assume that the entire 70% is some kind of BDS dummycrat-voting monolith. As if those 60 million people, the record-setting number of voters who voted for Bush just 34 months ago --with the war in Iraq as the main issue-- are somehow going to do a 180 in 2008 and cast a vote for Hillary! or for any other of the dummycrat contenders. As if.

But you just keep telling yourself that surrendering to al Qaeda in Iraq is the ticket to winning the hearts of the people and the election, you hear?

Doyle said...

Al Qaeda in Iraq makes up a small fraction of the Sunni insurgency.

knoxwhirled said...

Doyle, your ability to blithely dismiss numerous examples of decent goals/potential good outcomes in Iraq reveals a pathological fear of success there. And a purely politically-driven mind. You could at least *hope* for a good result. You can't even feign it.

>> bracing myself for yet another one-off smartass rejoinder <<

Jim Hu said...

"The people who talk about the terrible consequences of withdrawal are the ones who didn't foresee the terrible consequences of invasion."

Suppose we grant this for the purposes of argument. How exactly does that invalidate the terrible consequences of withdrawal?

Meade left out benefit #1: withdrawal would be worse.

I'm sure the opponents who post here disagree. Fine. And I know that this is futile, but I'll ask anyway:

Is it really too much to get your little pea brains around the idea that some of us support the war for reasons that - while possibly mistaken - have nothing to do with profiteering on artificial limbs or oil?

knoxwhirled said...

Al Qaeda in Iraq makes up a small fraction of the Sunni insurgency.

Well, the Sunnis in the (previously hopeless) Anbar province will be surprised to hear it.

Doyle said...

I don't question the motives of war supporters. They've just been badly misinformed, and it's hard to believe more of them haven't realized it yet.

War supporters consistently assume that a massive US troop presence in Iraq is continuing to provide security benefits, despite the obvious correlation between the number of foreign troops and the amount of violence in Iraq.

Dogwood said...

Al Qaeda in Iraq makes up a small fraction of the Sunni insurgency.

True, but as Michael Totten and other reporters who have been to the area will tell you, Al Qaeda also has been the most destructive because their barbarity knows no bounds.

Sunni insurgents are not blowing up 500 innocent civilians with massive truck bombs, Al Qaeda is.

Roger said...

Doyle--speaking as an individual war supporter, I make no such assumptions about the correlation between numbers of troops and security. While we do have a lot of troops there, it would have be more on the order 350-400K to create a demonstrably better security situation.

peter hoh said...

I've been playing the Powerball lottery for a while now. I was kind of down on myself for not winning. Taking a lot of heat from my wife, who thinks I should be doing something else other than trying to come up with a better Powerball strategy.

But I've decided to focus on success, instead of focusing on winning. Wednesday, I had one number right, which is a lot better than I had last week.

And there's no way I can win if I stop now. Therefore, I must keep playing. One of these days I'll get it. And then no one will be able to say that I wasted my money playing this game.

I'm ready for a couple of concessions, though. By next spring, I'll only buy one ticket per drawing, instead of two. That should get my wife to stop criticizing me all the time.

EnigmatiCore said...

"despite the obvious correlation between the number of foreign troops and the amount of violence in Iraq."

Undoubtedly, if we could reduce the number of foreign fighters (from Jordan, Egypt, Syria, etc.) aiding AQI, the violence would decrease.

But we don't directly control that, and us leaving the country to be overrun by foreign Islamic extremists is a really bad idea. We can indirectly control that by giving our military what it needs to kill them.

EnigmatiCore said...

hoh,

So you believe our military is so incapable as to describe their chances of success as being akin to the odds of winning Powerball?

If that is truly what you believe, then I do not blame you for advocating defeat as fast as possible rather than drawing it out.

I believe our military is significantly more capable than that.

Fritz said...

Peter,
Question number 3 applies only to dictators. Democracy doesn't like war and will only engage in it if the outcome to our advantage.

Now, answer this; Give me one reason why a pro-western Iraq is not to the advantage of the United States?

Your timetables are meaningless. The Korean War cost more money, more lives, more troop deployments than the Iraq theater has.

My new favorite trope, "Bush is going to leave this mess to the next administration!" Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43 have all had to oversee the Korean conflict. I left out Carter because he was ready to surrender to Lil Kim's father. Which brings us to todays Democrats that want to adopt the same policy as Carter.

Michael said...

Dogwood: Actually, its not, the potential upside won't be fully realized for decades, if at all.

I disagree. Saddam harbored, financed, and trained international terrorists, something he is now quite incapable of doing. Furthermore, the weapons inspectors could only do so much during their cat-and-mouse game with Saddam. It wasn't until after the invasion that we could really go through all of Iraqs documentation on it's WMD programs to find and destroy what the weapons inspectors would never have been able to find.

Bruce Hayden said...

Al Qaeda in Iraq makes up a small fraction of the Sunni insurgency.

Yes and no. It really depends on how you define "al Qaeda".

Nine months ago, right before the Anbar Awakening got going, most of the Sunni insurgents and terrorists in Iraq associated themselves with al Qaeda. So, at that point in time, there were a lot of al Qaeda, and even more al Qaeda sympathisers in Iraq.

And what was going on then was that the foreign born al Qaeda were running things and supplying the suicide bombers. But the Iraqis were providing the troops shooting at us and planting most of the IEDs. Humorously, the fiction that Iraqis were running al Qaeda in Iraq was maintained by use of a fictitious leader after Zarqawi was taken out.

But those numbers were fragile, as a large percentage of the Sunni terrorists and insurgents have switched flags now, and are actively engaged in fighting their old al Qaeda leaders and allies.

Nevertheless, even if you don't believe that al Qaeda is providing most of the Sunni terrorists we are fighting right now, the Iraqis sure do. Maybe it is a convenient label they place on the foreign led Sunni led terrorists who have been trying to intimidate them through murder and terrorism, nevertheless, "al Qaeda" is the label that many, if not most, Iraqis put on that group.

titus20 said...

I consider myself a social liberal and fiscal conservative.

I believe the Iraq venture has been a mess but I don't necessarily believe we should leave.

I think an appropriate word for Iraq is tenuous. Things can get better in some areas for some time but one event can happen and things could fall apart. The Sunni leader that we were working with in Al Albar was just killed and my worry is now there is that any progress could be halted because of this murder.

Also, my concern is I don't have much hope that whenever we leave be it 1 year or 10 years the entire place is going to fall apart. Maybe some time they will get sick of killing each other but as been pointed out this has been going on for millions of years.

In the mean time we continue to lose close to 100 american soldiers per month which is heartbreaking. I don't think any American is going to want us to stay there indefinitely like Japan or Germany (where we aren't losing soldiers) if we continue to lose that amount of young people.

One of the sad things about this war is decisions made by the leadership regarding number of troops needed. We obviously should of went in there with many more troops but were told we did not need them. This has ended up weakening our reputation throughout the world and that is not something I want to see.

titus20 said...

Also, many of the professional class of Iraqis have fled to other countries that do not want them. As well many that have helped us have a bullseye on their head. I think we should do all we can do to get those citizens here to the United States.

cyrus pinkerton said...

Roger,

I'd also be interested to hear your opinion of the annual review of world affairs by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

Al-Qaida has revived, extended its influence, and has the capacity to carry out a spectacular strike similar to the September 11 attacks on America, one of the world's leading security thinktanks warned yesterday.

There is increasing evidence "that 'core' al-Qaida is proving adaptable and resilient, and has retained an ability to plan and coordinate large-scale attacks in the western world despite the attrition it has suffered", said the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). "The threat from Islamist terrorism remains as high as ever, and looks set to get worse," it added.

"The US and its allies have failed to deal a death blow to al-Qaida; the organisation's ideology appears to have taken root to such a degree that it will require decades to eradicate," it continued...

At a press conference launching the report, senior IISS analysts went further. Asked whether al-Qaida had the capacity now to carry out a 9/11-style attack, and whether it was stronger than in 9/11, Nigel Inkster, the institute's director of transnational threats and political risk, replied: "Both."

peter hoh said...

Enigmatic Core: I'd like to see us succeed in Iraq, but I believe that the Iraqis reaaching a political solution is akin to winning the powerball lottery. Especially when we were following the Rumsfeld doctrine.

According to General Petraeus, a political solution, coming from the Iraqis is necessary. We can give them time, but we can't make them work together.

At what point do we give up on them and let them fight their civil war without our soldiers getting caught in the crossfire? In 10 years, if it's still going on like this, can we get out, or will we have to stay another 10 years so that the last 10 weren't "wasted"?

EnigmatiCore said...

True, we cannot make groups work together. Keep that in mind the next time someone tries to do something about the Palestinians.

That said, we are not continuing the Rumsfeld doctrine, and the new approach seems to be working better than the last. It sure does not look to me like Powerball odds of creating a significantly more stable environment.

The Drill SGT said...

titus,

those are reasonable concerns

Revenant said...

Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia

That is possibly the most irritating NYT style quirk ever. "Mesopotamia"? What is this, 500 BC?

Roger said...

Cyrus: I have always had great respect for the IISS work, dating back to my introduction to the organization in the early 1970s.

I have no reason to doubt their analysis. To the extent AQ is fundamentally a terrorist organization, with decentralized, affiliated cells, I dont believe they can be eliminated. Even killing the new and younger Bin Laden would not make AQ go away.

I suspect the reason why they have revived as they have (and we will never know the extent to which they have, I fear) is thay they have become decentralized.

As to the possibility of a terrorist attack in the future: Anyone who believes a terrorist attach can be prevented--especially in a free society--is deluding themselves. It simply can't be done, and especially with a group willing to kill themselves in the process--that may be the major difference between, say, the IRA or Red Brigades and AQ--AQ members are willing to kill themselves which makes preventing terrorist attacks much more difficult.

While I believe we have, in fact, killed quite a few AQ leaders, ideologically driven terrorist groups will always arise to fill their ranks (eg, the Israelis were quite good about killing Hamas leaders, but Hamas hasnt gone away.) AQ will not go away IMO; we will be dealing with AQ or some affiliated groups for the foreseeable future.

The basic policy question is how much are we willing to to spend, and what degree of restrictions are we willing to accept knowing that there is no hundred percent assurance of prevention.

In short, I think the IISS analysis is accurate.

peter hoh said...

Yes, the new approach seems to be working better, but the assassination of a key shiekh in Anbar didn't help. And no, I don't join the nutroots in celebrating that death.

The Rumsfeld approach was a big gamble, and quickly became an obvious failure to most who weren't drinking the koolaid. The President didn't pull the plug on that failed strategy until too much time had gone by, in my opinion.

Now you answer my question. After how many more years of this focus on limited success, while sustaining around 800 US troop deaths per year, will you be ready to concede that this isn't working?

cyrus pinkerton said...

Roger,

I also think the IISS analysis is accurate. In retrospect, do you think that the resources we've put into Iraq (money and manpower) would have been better used elsewhere?

Fritz said...

Titus20 Wrote: One of the sad things about this war is decisions made by the leadership regarding number of troops needed. We obviously should of went in there with many more troops but were told we did not need them.

Unprovable hypothetical is not an argument. We escalated to 580,000 in theater during Vietnam, how did that work out?

One of the retired Generals that is critical of President Bush was the original commanders responsible for Iraqi troop training. His poor results gave us a replacement that did an excellent job; Petraeus. Both had the same objective like your hypothetical.

Social liberalism costs money so you can't also be a fiscal conservative.

Roger said...

Cyrus: At this point, I can't answer your question. I am not one who believes running around Tora Bora to find OBL would have been a wise use of resources for example, for the reasons I mentioned above. He's a figure head at this point and only of symbolic value in my opinion.

I suspect the better way to fight terrorism is with small unit, special operation type missions and using unsavory methods: targeting people for murder, kidnapping, and other nasty things.
Bottom line: conventional military forces are too blunt an instrument to use in fighting terrorists.

I would also certainly be expending resources in developing human intelligence capabilities (Arabic speaking, semitic agents)-- time consuming but with potentially high payoffs.

To the extent that Iraq has been conflated with the GWOT (and I dont personally believe it should be) it is too early to say, IMO, if that venture will succeed. If it succeeds and becomes a catalyst for change in other middle eastern states toward openess and democracy, then the expenditure will have been worth it.

My .02.

knoxwhirled said...

Social liberalism costs money so you can't also be a fiscal conservative.

Yeah, I didn't get this either?

Fritz said...

Peter Hoh,
You are forgetting Plan B. If the elected government doesn't perform, the Army Petraeus trained will get the green light to take over in a coup. We are not going to let Iraq fail.

Rumsfeld didn't advocate for occupation, he wanted a strongman installed and a transition to democracy. Chalabi had a militia and would have taken in the former military. It was the beloved Powell that thwarted that. Tommy Franks could not believe this policy of occupation was adopted. Rumsfeld did the only thing he could do, force protection, limited targets and train up Iraqis. We have reached the point that there is a cohesive military

Michael said...

titus20: Maybe some time they will get sick of killing each other but as been pointed out this has been going on for millions of years.

The Sunni/Shia split occured hundreds of years ago, not millions.

In the mean time we continue to lose close to 100 american soldiers per month which is heartbreaking.

An exaggeration. A tragedy, yes, but an exaggeration of that tragedy, especially when provided without any context.

Casualties per day (source 1, source 2):
WW1 - 92.6
WW2 - 218.3
Korea - 29.9
Vietnam - 17.3
Iraq - 2.3

To further put things in perspective, you really need to see graphs of the enemy's losses versus ours to really appreciate what an ass-kicking we are delivering to the terrorists.

The Drill SGT said...

to reinforce what Michael said, there is almost no comparison in the casuatly figures from Vietnam to Iraq.

we have lost a few over 3700 folks in Iraq. understand that that includes around 700 DNBI deaths as well. disease, non battle injury deaths. the friction of a heavy training environment.

compared to 3700 over 4+ years, we lost nearly that many (around 2800) in a single month in 1968.

I think the high WEEKLY figure was just short of 1,000.

I was there

Steven said...

Why invading Iraq was a reasonable idea, first in a series:

Having US troops in Saudi Arabia is what originally radicalized Bin Laden against the US and accordingly caused the 9/11 attacks.

If US troops stayed in Saudi Arabia, there would be a constant irritant prompting terrorism. Had the US simply withdrawn from the Arabian Peninsula, Saddam Hussein's army would have found the Arabian oilfields easy pickings.

There is absolutely no way Saddam Hussein could have been kept contained, or sanctions continue to have been applied, if he controlled the combined oil of Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula. He'd have controlled just too much oil to be economically isolated.

Accordingly, the United States had three choices:

1) Indefinitely continue the actions that prompted 9/11.

2) Let Saddam Hussein become the nuclear-armed controller of over a quarter of the world's oil.

3) Replace Hussein with a government less odious, a government less likely to go on wars of conquest and which we'd worry about less should it seize control of the Arabian Peninsula.

Now, maybe #1 was the best choice. But was it really sustainable in the long run? Especially since it severely limited how much pressure we could put on the Saudis to clean up their internal act?

titus20 said...

"Social liberalism costs money so you can't also be a fiscal conservative".

So I guess Rudy Giuliani or Michael Bloomberg are what then? Big Old liberals.

Many could argue that being a social conservative would cost more money than being a social liberal.

What about all of the socially liberal republicans which thankfully live in the Northeast? Are none of them fiscally conservative? Is Rudy not fiscally conservative? Did he not cut taxes and many programs in NYC? Or is that not fiscally conservative cutting taxes and government programs?

titus20 said...

I think of being fiscally conservative cutting taxes and having as few government programs as possible.

I think of being socially liberal is keeping the government and politicians out of my bedroom and leglislating what they consider "morality".

LoafingOaf said...

"Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia"

That is possibly the most irritating NYT style quirk ever. "Mesopotamia"? What is this, 500 BC?


Uhh...that's what the al Qaeda franchise in Iraq calls itself in English.

Would you prefer Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn (Al-Qaeda Organization of Jihad in the Land of the Two Rivers)?

I tend to go with variations of: "Filthy savage barbarian terorists from Hell" for the whole lot of rampaging lunatic Islmo-Nazi Jihad terrorists worldwide. But it's worth paying special attention to al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. They're such an awful branch of Bin Laden's organization that the Big Cheeses who have safe haven in Pakistan (and whom Bush oddly hasn't been going all out to kill) actually had to be told by fellow barbarian savage Bin Laden to not be quite so barbaric.

titus20 said...

Was Barry Goldwater conservative in your minds?

Also, being socially conservative gives us huge programs like the faith based initiative BS where we spend millions on different socially conservative groups.

titus20 said...

"Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia"

That is possibly the most irritating NYT style quirk ever. "Mesopotamia"? What is this, 500 BC?

Interesting you mention this is something the NYT quotes. It is also what one of the neocon writers constantly refer to it by.

Read Charles Krauthammer-he has used Mesopotamia many times.

Palladian said...

"I think of being socially liberal is keeping the government and politicians out of my bedroom and leglislating what they consider "morality"."

That's libertarianism, not liberalism as it is, sadly, currently understood.

Doyle said...

Conservatives just want to keep government out of the public restrooms, cuz it keeps hating on their game.

Palladian said...

Doyle's so jealous! Poor thing. Buck up, little one, you'll get over him!

Michael said...

The Drill SGT: ...compared to 3700 over 4+ years, we lost nearly that many (around 2800) in a single month in 1968.

And on a single day (D-Day, June 6 1944), the Allies suffered approximately 10,200 casualties. Not mentioned is the casualties we suffered at Iwo Jima.

Thank you, Lord, that today's leftists weren't around back then, or we'd all be speaking German.

Revenant said...

Interesting you mention this is something the NYT quotes. It is also what one of the neocon writers constantly refer to it by.

I didn't say that the NYT was the only entity that used the term, but it is still a weird term and it is annoying that the NYT uses it. Especially considering that most of their readership isn't even going to know where the heck "Mesopotamia" is.

Doyle said...

Because American involvement in WWII was necessary (the Japanese bombed us and the Germans declared war on us), so too must all future American military endeavors.

If we can invade a country and lose fewer soldiers than we lost in WWII, we should do so.

Luckyoldson said...

RAVE REVIEWS...

NYT: " Bush Has No Strategy To End His Disastrous War"...

WaPo 'Fact Check': Bush "At Times Contradicted...His Own Words"...

LA Times: "Word 'Victory' [Has] Quietly Disappeared" From Bush's Vocabulary...

SF Chronicle: "No One Should Be Fooled" By Attempt To Repackage Policy...

NY Post: Bush "Consigning The Future Of Iraq" To The '08 Elections

titus20 said...

"didn't say that the NYT was the only entity that used the term, but it is still a weird term and it is annoying that the NYT uses it. Especially considering"

Is it annoying that one of the biggest neocons Charles Krauthammer uses it also or just annoying that the NY Times uses it.

That annoying NYTimes-what an outrage.

Trooper York said...

Hey when I went to the tents for fashion week…P Diddy had a new line….for the urban jihadist’s on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn…he called it Hot-Ghetto-Mess-opotamia…I think the Times is featuring it in the fashion section…..really, really stylish burka’s

titus20 said...

Does that mean the Rudy is a libertarian then and not a conservative?

Bruce Hayden said...

The reason that "Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia" is aggravating is that many of those using it are bending over backwards to keep from saying "al Qaeda in Iraq".

Yes, the Land of Two Rivers, Mesopotamia, and Iraq all pretty much describe the same piece of ground. If the NYT would use the terminology used by al Qaeda (i.e. the Land of Two Rivers), then most who object to Msopotamia wouldn't object. It is just that they are using the ancient name for the area to keep from acknowledging that it is al Qaeda in Iraq that we are talking about.

Also, I should note that many of us who object to the NYT usage herre were probably sensitized to it by James Taranto in his WSJ Best of the Web post where he has been poking fun for years now at those who try to obscure that al Qaeda is operating in Iraq.

Luckyoldson said...

Peter,
I've asked the same questions for months on end and have always gotten back the same Bush talking points.

Just as you did today.

People here, based on what we've seen over the past 4 years, think:

1. Democracy will reign. (via Roger:"a democratic Iraq, relatively free of sectarian violence and bureaucratic corruption"....GFL)

2. We just have to keep plugging away. (via Dogwood: ..."Hard to say"...Duh.)

3. We have to stay for as long as it takes. (via Roger: "10 years"...via Dogwood: "3040 years"..now that's comforting...and you KNOW the Iraqis are looking forward to us being there...forever.)

This is exactly what we've been hearing for the last 3 years, heard from Petraeus last week and from Bush last night.

The bottom line is this: Bush wants to keep this fiasco intact until somebody else has to take over and figure out what to do about it.

Hopefully, it will be someone with more experience, intellect and honesty.

Now THAT would be a real change of pace...

titus20 said...

I think some of the terrorists guys are kind of hot. I fantasize about them strapping a bomb on me and doing me-is that wrong?

Bruce Hayden said...

Here is Taranto's take today on al Qaeda in Mesopotamia:

Even the Times, in this same article, backs away from its adherence to the mantra:

No group had claimed the assassination by late Thursday, but security officials in Iraq appeared convinced that responsibility lay with Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, the home-grown extremist group that American intelligence agencies say is foreign-led. The extent of its links to Osama bin Laden's network is unclear.

Suddenly the links between al Qaeda in "Mesopotamia" and al Qaeda everywhere are "unclear" rather than nonexistent.

Interestingly, even Reuters does not go so far as to insist that al Qaeda in Iraq has nothing to do with Iraq; a report on a propaganda tape from the group refers to it as "an al Qaeda-led group in Iraq," and the headline, straightforwardly if awkwardly, calls it "Iraq Qaeda."

Fritz said...

Titus20,
What you have is a hostility towards religion. I know of no fiscal conservative that would object to non-government organizations competing for funds.

Luckyoldson said...

Michael,
You do realize Roosevelt was President during World War II...and that he was about as much a "leftist" as one could be...?

Oh, never mind...I forgot...you don't read...you just whine.

Luckyoldson said...

Fritz,
Why do you have a picture of Bill Maher hugging a child with your moniker?

Just wondered.

titus20 said...

Fritz that picture of Bush in your comment area says it all.

He does really look like a chimp in that picture .

titus20 said...

Fritz jerks off on pictures of George Bush.

titus20 said...

fritz, I don't believe the government should pay religious organzations, sorry-

What happened to the conservative mantra of the "private sector"

Fritz has pictures of george bush all over his house and stands in front of a mirror and makes out with them and then splews on the picture and licks it off.

Bruce Hayden said...

Another example by James Taranto pointing out the sometimes absurdity of the NYT in this regard. This example is from Tuesday's WSJ Best of the Web:

From a New York Times report on Gen. Petraeus's testimony:

When Representative Gary L. Ackerman, Democrat of New York, suggested the war was not integral to the anti-terror effort since members of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, sometimes called Al Qaeda in Iraq, the homegrown Sunni Arab extremist group that American intelligence agencies have concluded is foreign-led, is not part of the Qaeda network behind the Sept. 11 attacks, the general offered a quick retort.

The news department of the Times has made a policy of requiring its reporters, every time they mention al Qaeda in Iraq, to editorialize that al Qaeda, which has nothing to do with Iraq, has nothing to do with Iraq, which has nothing to do with al Qaeda. But this sentence is so awkwardly constructed that it stands out even in the New York Times. Could it be that reporter Carl Hulse wishes he were allowed to give us the news straight, and wrote this monstrosity of a sentence as a protest? Whatever the case, Rupert Murdoch has to be smiling.

titus20 said...

Bruce Hayden,

You are a freak, move on.

James Taranto good
NYTimes evil

Got it, now go back to your lame blog talking about how amazing Bush is.

Fritz said...

Titus20,
So I guess the Ivy League should be de-funded. No research money going to these top institutions because they are all religious.

Better remain civil or Ann will kick you out. This isn't Daily Koss.

Trooper York said...

The hottest new punk band in Iraq, the Burka-52’s have a new dance hit in the very catchy “Lets dance this Mesopotamia Around” which is particularly popular in the new discos that have sprung up in the Sunni Triangle…it’s said that 2 out of 3 suicide bombers have it as the last song on their ipod.

titus20 said...

fritz, has a hard on for bush, not women's bush, george bush.....

titus20 said...

Fritz,
Where did you get that amazing picture?

I want one-I am going to enlarge it and enframe it in a heart frame and put it on my desk at work.

You are like totally cool and religious-a total catch.

Your fat too, aren't you? And a small penis.

EnigmatiCore said...

Amazingly mature discourse there.

You do your ideology proud.

Trooper York said...

Jim Croce had begun to study with Yusuf Islam ( the former Cat Stevens) as they collaborated on a duet album…the tentative title was “ You Don’t Mesopotamia Around with Jihad”….when he died in a mysterious plane crash…the CIA denied all involvement…you know how that goes.

Fritz said...

Titus20,
Please accept my apology, Cornell was not founded as a sectarian school.

Cover your eyes; this will really burn you up!

Harvard University- Veritas (truth)

University of Pennsylvania- Leges sine moribus (Laws without morals are useless)

Princeton University- Dei sub numine viget (Under God’s power She flourishes)

Yale University- Lux et veritas (Light and truth)

Brown University- In deo speramus (In God we Hope)

Dartmouth College- Vox clamantis in deserto (A voice crying in the wilderness)

Columbia University- In lumine tuo videbimus lumen (In Thy light shall we see the light)

How can such rubbish be financed with our tax dollars.

via http://www.aboutivyleagueschools.com/2007/05/14/ivy-league-school-mottos/

Comrade X said...

hdhouse said...
Why would you frame your contribution as only part of the American people loose - obviously you mean the liberal majority of the country. This isn't some ball game where one side wins and the other side looses...we all, as americans, win or we loose.

You watch Mr. President's speech/read/mumble from the other night


I'll bet Bush knows how to spell "lose".

Trooper York said...

The captain of the Iraqi hockey team Mark Mesopotamia retired after leading his team to the championship….he recently paraded around Baghdad with the Lord Sulayman Cup as he went from café to café to celebrate the first championship since 1940…most think he will coach the team…but he is just enjoying the adulation as most of his fans are just happy to get that camel off their backs.

hdhouse said...

comrade x....did someone pin a sign on his back with lose(r) on it or just "kick me"

Fritz said...

That photo with Ashley probably help him win Ohio. One word: genuine. President is the real thing and will be vindicated in history.

Trooper York said...

The president had a difficult time last night as he had to field an irate phone call from his eccentric aunt Olivia Hardy Herbert Walker Bush. She screamed at him for an hour until she finally summed it up with this epithet “Another fine Mesopotamia you got us into!”

Revenant said...

Is it annoying that one of the biggest neocons Charles Krauthammer uses it also or just annoying that the NY Times uses it.

I'm not sure why you are obsessively claiming that he is "one of the biggest neocons"... but yes, if I ever actually read a Charles Krauthammer article in which he used the term, that would also be annoying. But since I've probably only read two or three Krauthammer articles in my entire life, that probably isn't going to happen anytime soon.

cyrus pinkerton said...

I'm still waiting to read the opinion of Roger (or any other war supporter for that matter) on the results of the ORB poll which estimates the number of violent Iraqi deaths since the invasion at about 1.2 million.

Paul Snively said...

Cyrus Pinkerton wrote:

"I'm still waiting to read the opinion of Roger (or any other war supporter for that matter) on the results of the ORB poll which estimates the number of violent Iraqi deaths since the invasion at about 1.2 million."

Personally, I don't think that's nearly enough violent Iraqis dead.

Guess I'd better insert a ";-)" here, for the humor challenged among us.

Tim said...

"I'm still waiting to read the opinion of Roger (or any other war supporter for that matter) on the results of the ORB poll which estimates the number of violent Iraqi deaths since the invasion at about 1.2 million."

The "poll" is useless to all but an idiot or those with ill intent, as it conflates deaths with murder; doesn't test the result against official statistics; it doesn't separate combatant deaths from civilian deaths; it doesn't separate insurgent deaths from allied forces.

And that’s just to start.

However, I will stipulate it makes for excellent political grist for those wishing to surrender the Middle East to militant Islamic fascism, or seeking comfort for so wanting.

Dogwood said...

The problem with Peter's questions is that only number 1 can be answered before engaging in any military conflict.

Questions 2 & 3 could not be answered prior to invading Iraq, or Vietnam, or Korea, or the beaches of Normandy, or entering World War I, or the Civil War, or the American Revolution.

Peter is seeking certainty in an uncertain endeavor. I understand why he asks the questions, but I also understand why those questions can't be answered.

Cedarford said...

Henhouse - Why do you insist on framing the debate in political terms and then labeling the liberal side of things as "lefty" "cut and run" "surrender" "traitor" "american hater"? why is that?

When you invest in defeat, pray for America to be humbled, love reports of American casualties because they can be useful in damaging the Bush-Hitler......

Well, Henhouse, don't be surprised to look around you and see the "cut 'n runners", Jihadi sympathizers, traitors, rabid anti-Americans, military haters, Copperheads, and simple cowards in your ranks....
It's like any other movement centered around controversy. Bigots and haters will be attracted who share your views. It's up to the movement leaders, in this case the liberal democrats, to avoid being in tolerant, open association and alliance with less savory people.

So far, the liberal Democrats have been remiss.

And that makes their foes enabled to associate them (the Democrats)with ANSWER, Ward Churchill, CAIR, Code Pink, anti-American fringe groups, ROTC banners, terrorist sympathizers...

Gedaliya said...

I'm still waiting to read the opinion of Roger (or any other war supporter for that matter) on the results of the ORB poll which estimates the number of violent Iraqi deaths since the invasion at about 1.2 million.

The Lancet study is discredited. The poll is meaningless in estimating casualties in Iraq. Even so, war is a terrible thing. It is not, however, the worst thing.

If we had stopped Hitler in 1935 there would have been hundreds of thousands of casualties. We didn't do this and there were tens of millions of casualties.

Tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis have died in sectarian violence. Tens of thousands of fascist fighters have died in battle with our troops.

If had not invaded the numbers would certainly have been higher when the inevitable showdown with Hussein occurred. The surrender caucus believes if we leave Iraq and turn our backs on the Iraqi people everything will be ok. It won't.

It will be much much worse.

Revenant said...

I'm still waiting to read the opinion of Roger (or any other war supporter for that matter) on the results of the ORB poll which estimates the number of violent Iraqi deaths since the invasion at about 1.2 million.

My first reaction would be skepticism. For example, the poll found that 20% of that "1.2 million" were killed by car bombs. That's 244,000 car bomb victims, which is only possible if we assume that a ridiculous number of car bomb attacks completely escape the attention of all interested parties (pro-war, anti-war, and Iraqi) despite killing signiciant numbers of people. It further requires that the overwhelming majority of dead bodies mysteriously disappear after death. The more rational explanation is that the poll (which I note used the same flawed approach as the Lancet study) got bad results.

My second reaction would be to wonder why people who do accept the poll at face value, such as yourself, are so eager to see the situation worsen. Are 1.2 million dead Iraqis not enough for you?

cyrus pinkerton said...

Tim wrote:

The "poll" is useless to all but an idiot or those with ill intent, as it conflates deaths with murder; doesn't test the result against official statistics; it doesn't separate combatant deaths from civilian deaths; it doesn't separate insurgent deaths from allied forces.

First, the poll does not conflate death with murder. You must have misunderstood that point.

Second, which "official statistics" do you propose to test the poll results against?

Third, the intention of the poll is to estimate the number of violent Iraqi deaths since the invasion. It does NOT attempt to determine the culprit in each violent death, as that is not always clear or known.

Fourth, the poll does not attempt to estimate the number of deaths of allied forces--it tries to gauge the number of Iraqis who have been killed since the invasion.

Given that you didn't come close to understanding what the poll is estimating, perhaps you ought to be a little more cautious before accusing others of idiocy.

Dogwood said...

My second reaction would be to wonder why people who do accept the poll at face value, such as yourself, are so eager to see the situation worsen. Are 1.2 million dead Iraqis not enough for you?

BDS.

garage mahal said...

Garage: it is your contention then that Arab Muslims (and perhaps Persian Shiites) are incapable of creating a functional democracy?

Until I see one, no. And Turkey, Kuwait's democracy is a fig leaf. As far as Israel is concerned, ask Mordechai Vanunu how that democracy is working out for him. Except you can't ask him anything because he is muzzled for telling the God's honest truth, and if you did manage to speak to him he would be imprisoned again. That's why they should left this to the CIA - we've fucked that country up beyond recognition and the best we can hope for is getting things back to before we occupied.

cyrus pinkerton said...

gedaliya wrote:

The Lancet study is discredited.

No it isn't. Where did you get that crazy notion?

The poll is meaningless in estimating casualties in Iraq.

It's my opinion that the poll has serious methodological problems. However, I'd love to hear your reasoning as to why the poll is "meaningless."

Gedaliya said...

No it isn't. Where did you get that crazy notion?

Crazy? The study is trash.

David Kane devastates the Lancet Study's confidence level here

Michelle Malkin has more information here

There are many more respected columnists and scholars who have questioned both the study's methodology and its conclusions.

It isn't clear whether brain atrophy is the cause or an effect of BDS, but its symptoms are unmistakable. One of its symptoms is quoting the Lancet study. I suggest you do a bit more research before you claim the study's critics are "crazy."

It's my opinion that the poll has serious methodological problems. However, I'd love to hear your reasoning as to why the poll is "meaningless."

Because it has serious methodological problems.

cyrus pinkerton said...

Revenant wrote:

The more rational explanation is that the poll (which I note used the same flawed approach as the Lancet study) got bad results.

Revenant, if you think the approach of the ORB poll is the same as the study of Burnham/Roberts you've seriously misunderstood the methodology of each. There is very little similarity in methodology; you ought to review this point.

My second reaction would be to wonder why people who do accept the poll at face value, such as yourself, are so eager to see the situation worsen. Are 1.2 million dead Iraqis not enough for you?

You've incorrectly assumed that I "accept the poll at face value." You ought to read more carefully and not rush to form an opinion when you lack evidence.

Also, I can't imagine who you think wants to see the situation worsen. That's the kind of irrational statement that makes me wonder what sort of people you come into contact with on a daily basis. Do you actually know people who say they are eager for the situation to worsen? If so, you run with a strange crowd.

Revenant said...

You've incorrectly assumed that I "accept the poll at face value." You ought to read more carefully and not rush to form an opinion when you lack evidence.

Cyrus, we've pretty much all caught on to your little Chomskian passive-aggressive bullshit stunt of never openly stating your opinion on the arguments you put forth. You aren't fooling anyone.

You do, as a matter of fact, believe the poll is accurate. You will probably never actually type those exact words, because making an honestly straightforward claim isn't the way you choose to troll this forum -- but we all get it.

Tim said...

One is provoked into wondering what kind of an asshole cites a poll in which he confirms "It's my opinion that the poll has serious methodological problems."

Such polls are useless to all but an idiot or those with ill intent, or argue in bad faith.

Pick your explanation. Either way, you're a loser.

Tim said...

"Do you actually know people who say they are eager for the situation to worsen?"

U.S. Senator, Democrat, IL, Barak Obama.

"h“Well, look, if that’s the criteria by which we are making decisions on the deployment of U.S. forces, then by that argument you would have 300,000 troops in the Congo right now — where millions have been slaughtered as a consequence of ethnic strife — which we haven’t done,” Obama said in an interview with The Associated Press."

ttp://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19862711/

cyrus pinkerton said...

gedaliya wrote:

Crazy? The study is trash. David Kane devastates the Lancet Study's confidence level here.

Gedaliya, I know you are not a Deltoid reader, otherwise you would not have posted such an uninformed response. If you were following the discussion at Deltoid, you would know that David Kane is not even capable of calculating a CMR. To his great embarrassment I imagine, he's been caught out in public debate as a fraud. He simply does not have the statistical background to analyze the Burnham/Roberts work. However, you don't need to trust my opinion on this point--you can read the Deltoid debate here (read comments 1-21) and you can read about the fundamental statistical errors in David Kane's analysis here.

Michelle Malkin has more information here.

I'd advise you not to rely on Michelle Malkin for critical analysis of statistical work.

There are many more respected columnists and scholars who have questioned both the study's methodology and its conclusions.

It's true that there has been criticism of the Burnham/Roberts studies. The work of those who have criticized the Burnham/Roberts studies is ongoing. To date, no one has "discredited" the Burnham/Roberts work although it remains controversial (less so, however, in scientific circles).

It isn't clear whether brain atrophy is the cause or an effect of BDS, but its symptoms are unmistakable. One of its symptoms is quoting the Lancet study. I suggest you do a bit more research before you claim the study's critics are "crazy."

You are a sloppy reader. What I wrote is that YOUR notion that the Burnham/Roberts studies have been "discredited" is "crazy." I haven't said anything about critics of the studies, other than my acknowledgement that David Kane has been shown, in a public forum, to have insufficient understanding of statistical methods to analyze the work.

Now, I suspect that I have a far better understanding of the statistical methods used in the Burnham/Roberts analysis and in the work of the study critics than you do. I suspect I've followed the public and scientific debates on this issue far more closely than you have. On that basis alone, perhaps you ought to reconsider your "brain atrophy" comment. However, if you feel your expertise in this area is superior to mine, please enlighten me.

Finally, you claim that you agree with me that the ORB poll has methodological problems. Assuming that you have your own thoughts about this and you aren't simply parroting what you've read at Michelle Malkin's website, why don't you explain to me what you think they are?

Revenant said...

The cyrus pinkerton method:

Step 1: Determine your belief. E.g., "X is true".

Step 2: State your belief passively -- "what do you say to those who claim that X is true?"

Step 3: Attack everyone who argues that X is, in fact, false. Be scrupulously careful never to criticize those who argue that X is true, no matter how flawed their arguments might be.

Step 3b: Remember to rhetorically place the burden of proof on those who claim X is false, since "they are the ones making a claim".

Step 4: Survey the results. If no good arguments against the proposition that X is true have been put forth, offhandedly note that X is true. If, on the other hand, good arguments against the truth of X still stand unrefuted, sneer at the very notion that you would have ever believed "X", and that anyone could be so foolish as to believe you did. Why, you were just trying to prompt debate on a claim that *other* people were making, nothing more.

cyrus pinkerton said...

Revenant,

Well, I expected as much from you. You made a silly mistake, but rather than admit it and move on, you're going to try to cover it up with personal attacks on me. Poor choice.

You do, as a matter of fact, believe the poll is accurate.

I've clearly stated otherwise twice in this thread. Are you incapable of understanding what I mean when I write "It's my opinion that the poll has serious methodological problems?" Can you really be so thick?

Revenant, if the subject doesn't interest you, don't participate. If you don't have the intellectual capacity to participate, sit on the sidelines and keep your mouth shut. You aren't going to drive me away by being an asshole. If you have something intelligent to contribute, please do. If not, don't address your posts to me.

cyrus pinkerton said...

Tim wrote:

One is provoked into wondering what kind of an asshole cites a poll in which he confirms "It's my opinion that the poll has serious methodological problems.

Tim, I suggest you look at my original post about the ORB poll. I didn't "cite" the poll in support of any point I was making. If you check, you'll see I asked for opinions. In response, I shared my opinion. I'm not quite sure why that leads you to conclude that I'm an "asshole," but since you've decided to attack me rather than discussing the substance of my post, I'm happy to let you run off to lead an ad hominem attack elsewhere. Good luck with that.

Gedaliya said...

I know you are not a Deltoid reader, otherwise you would not have posted such an uninformed response

David Kane is a Harvard fellow, not some anonymous blogger with an ax to grind. Kane's paper has critics. So what? Kane defends his paper with vigor and I'm on his side of the argument.

Kane is not the only critic of the study. Here are some more "crazy" people who have attacked the study's methodology and conclusions. If you need more references I suggest you do some of your own research. Whether my response was "uninformed" is for others to judge.

Now, I suspect that I have a far better understanding of the statistical methods used in the Burnham/Roberts analysis and in the work of the study critics than you do.

Chest-beating in a blog comment section is childish. It is also very ineffective as a debating technique. I suggest you try another tack.

Finally, you claim that you agree with me that the ORB poll has methodological problems. Assuming that you have your own thoughts about this and you aren't simply parroting what you've read at Michelle Malkin's website, why don't you explain to me what you think they are?

Why? You said yourself there are "serious methodological problems" with the survey. Why don't you explain to the readers of this thread why you think the study is not meaningless given its "serious methodological problems." After all, that is surely the more interesting question.

cyrus pinkerton said...

Tim wrote:

U.S. Senator, Democrat, IL, Barak Obama.

Tim, I'm sorry to say that there's no logical connection between your answer and the question I asked.

cyrus pinkerton said...

The Revenant Method:

1. Avoid making intelligent, substantive comments. Instead rely on personal attacks.

2. Repeat step one, ad nauseam.

cyrus pinkerton said...

gedaliya wrote:

Kane defends his paper with vigor and I'm on his side of the argument.

Does it disturb you at all that Kane is incapable of calculating a basic CMR from the data? If not, why not, as calculating a CMR is one of the most basic elements in the analysis?

If you will, please tell me briefly why you think it is correct for Kane to attribute posterior distributions to the parameters being estimated in the Burnham/Roberts study. I think this is a critical flaw in his analysis, but perhaps you can explain to me why he's right to do this.

Also, I'm still waiting to hear from you what methodological problems you believe the ORB poll has. Since you have a strong opinion about this, and since I'm sure your opinion is based on reason, I'd be very interested to see your thoughts on the subject.

Revenant said...

Well, I expected as much from you. You made a silly mistake, but rather than admit it and move on

(See "Step 4", part two, above.)

Tim said...

"I didn't "cite" the poll in support of any point I was making."

Bullshit.

Your ongoing, passive-aggressive denials are just one reason you're an asshole.

Gedaliya said...

If you will, please tell me briefly why you think it is correct for Kane to attribute posterior distributions to the parameters being estimated in the Burnham/Roberts study.

I'm not a statistician. I read the Deltoid thread (it goes on far longer than the first 21 comments), and from what I can gather Kane, despite some nastiness from his critics, does a creditable job defending his paper. I can't do a better job defending his paper than Kane does, nor would I waste my time attempting to do so.

Your question is both disingenuous and again, childish. Do you really expect to deflect the argument into an arcane discussion of statistical methods?

You made an argument based on a study (Lancet). I provided numerous sources that discredit the study. Instead of defending the argument via other means, or citing links defending the study, you are playing rhetorical games that do little more than expose you as a troll and a bore.

I'd be very interested to see your thoughts on the subject.

No you're not. Why state something that is so obviously a lie? Who do you think you're fooling here?

Tim said...

"I'm sorry to say that there's no logical connection between your answer and the question I asked."

Yes, there is, but you haven't the sense of a Turkey to understand logic if it hit you square in the face with a two-by-four.

Cedarford said...

Andrew L - Can anyone explain how Saddam's removal and the creation of a more democratic Iraq directly benefits the folks here in the USA?

1. It got us out of Saudi Arabia, one of the areas we actually agreed with Binnie on - that being there was a tremendous insult and irritant to the "Arab Street".

2. Our rapid military victory there "sealed the deal" for Libya to come clean and expose the AQ Kahn nuclear proliferation network at work in Libya, N Korea, Iran, and Syria. It also exposed China's role in Pakistan getting the Bomb. Ending the AQ Khan effort directly boosted the security of every American citizen. It put China in the spotlight about N Korea...another huge security boost.

3. For the 1st time since the Nazis, we seized a nation's intelligence files and learned quite a bit of good dirt on other nations.

4. Suicide bombing has almost ended in Israel. Part of it is the Border is now mostly fenced, part of it is families of suicide bombers no longer get a 40,000 dollars Jew-killing bonus from Saddam. That mitigates the Israel Lobby from pushing US foreign policy in the wrong direction.

5. Humanitarian benefit. The American people directly benefit from the US doing humanitarian work. This is masked somewhat by Lefty and Euroweenie hysteria about the fact that their "peace at any price" sentiments mask the fact that humanitarian efforts that truly change a crisis do not come from giving a refugee family a Visa or rice sack...but from bloodletting and war. If we had gone in and stopped the Rwandan Genocide by killing Hutu civilians men and women alike who were the machete-wielders - the shock! the horror! the double deploring hand-wrings about "white oppressors" slaughtering "innocent black Hutus" would have gone on for years. Then slowly admitted that we saved a ton of Tutsis..

In Iraq, we did the humanitarian work the American people consider a direct benefit to their reputation with Kurds and a considerable part of the Shiite population - but that is now currently overshadowed by sectarian violence.

6. There are other direct benefits in killing over 28,000 terrorists, gravely wounding an estimated 16,000 and getting over 5,000 High Value Targets captured, interrogated, retina-scanned, and many sent back to their home countries for humanitarian interrogation that exposes their recruiters, financiers, logistic ratlines.
Like it or not, AQ decided to go to Iraq vs. some other place and make IT their "Central Front" - where they have gotten chewed up pretty good. My nephew's friend bagged 5 Yemenis at a checkpoint, killing 4 of them. That is not an atypical story. If they weren't in battle in Iraq, they would be conducting Jihad elsewhere - likely in safer (for them) circumstances.
This is a direct benefit to the American people...

Andrew L - Is it going to help us stop international terrorism? What in the world would make you believe such a thing?

1. International Islamic terrorism, vs. the "spontatious Muslim terrorist" arising internally in places like the USA (the Muslim DC snipers) Britain (the Doctors Plot) that may be assisted by international terrorists - depends on them having the money sources, training camps, technical expertise, and sanctuary that only can be gotten in a sponsoring nation.
We are currently tied up in Iraq, so they have a respite of sorts - but nations that do have that respite have to wonder what will happen when Iraq is fairly over. Will the B-2 bombers come?
Iraq, as badly as Bush bumbled it, puts all terrorist sponsoring nations in play for military action..

2. The military and national leadership of other countries watched what we did in Afghanistan and Iraq and realize that America does have the ability to destroy any Muslim nation electric, waterworks, transpo, and comm infrastructure not just with nuclear but with conventional weapons, except Pakistan and India, which would be harder.

Only "humanitarian" impulses would stop America from "ending" their nation, and those impulses pretty much can be guaranteed to go away if America is attacked by WMD linked back to their nation - an imlicit reason why they should work like crazy to prevent terrorist sanctuaries or some faction within their country from sponsoring terrorists or give them access to state weapons...

Andrew L - Yes, all things being equal, more democracy and fewer dictators is a good thing. But how much should Americans be willing to pay (in our money and the lives of our soldiers) for more democracy in the world and fewer dictators?

The bill is light casualties so far, as wars go, but very high expense. I think the American verdict is in that the Iraqi people aren't worth the lives or money we have poured out for them.


Andrew L - Not to mention the costs we are inflicting on others. Do you think the Iraqis agree that the benefits are worth the awful costs?

Bitch about provoking wars is that the loser - Japs, Nazis, Iraqis - generally do end up sincerely believing that as losers, the benefits were not worth the awful costs.

Andrew L - We bear responsibility for 100,000 civilian deaths and 4 million refugees.

No we don't.
Anymore than we "bear responsibility" for 5 million Germans ethnically cleansed from E Europe after WWII ended. That was a German-E Europe action. Attempting to stretch the causal link to say if the US hadn't done anything, it might not have happened, therefore it is Allllll Our Fault! We Are Evil! is a patented "blame the US" ploy the anti-American Left loves to show that we are somehow, ultimately responsible for all suffering in the world...
The truth is that there are 4 million refugees because Iraqis are assholes towards one another. The Kurds acted responsibly and bypassed all the sectarian and ethnic carnage. Shiites and Sunni Arabs have had a go at it and found themselves with dead family members or sitting in fetid refugee camps as a consequence. Let me break out my tiny violin and play a pity tune for the bloodthirsty assholes...

Andrew L - Viewed in that light, containment sure seems like a better strategy to me. But then I'm not blinded by the Right.

I am no fan of Bush-Sharansky democracy being easily applied to a savage tribal nation. But containment as done effectively, entails actions Lefties who defend terrorist liberties and welcome "innocent Muslim peace-lovers" into the West would not like.
We traded with Communists and Facists, but did not allow them to immigrate to the US or be students here. We limited their travel. When US citizens were found to be commies or Hitler-lovers, they were encouraged to deport themselves before we did so officially (like with the Jewish and Italian anarchist-syndicalists and commies of the 1910s-20s sent to the Soviet Union)
With Muslims, it would not just be Muslims from "dangerous countries" but like with communists - no admittance to those who may or may not be dangerous and seditious based on their ideology.

Many people think that if radical Islam wins, the end-state will be Muslims cleansed out of non-Muslim countries enmass back to the Ummah and real containment set (treat Muslims like infected lepers)...

cyrus pinkerton said...

Tim & Revenant,

Clearly both of you are incapable of making an intelligent or substantive comment on this topic. Stop wasting my time and yours with your childish nonsense.

Cedarford said...

except Pakistan and India, which would be harder

Should read Pakistan and Indonesia, which would be harder..

Luckyoldson said...

Gonzo on the way out the door: "Over the past two and a half years, I have seen tyranny, dishonesty, corruption and depravity of types I never thought possible. I've seen things I didn't know man was capable of."

And that's just what he saw in the Bush administration.

Luckyoldson said...

I love how the wingnuts here constantly bitch about others not using "logic" in their postings or responses, yet continue to support Bush, his policies, the premise that removing Saddam has been great for America, and that we're going t eventually "win" in Iraq.

Oh, it may be 10-40 years from now, we may have to spend trillions of taxpayer dollars, and sure, we'll lose thousands of Americans...but we'll "win."

Yeah...sure.

cyrus pinkerton said...

gedaliya wrote:

I'm not a statistician.

Yes, this is obvious. You don't understand the statistical arguments being made, yet you claim to have an opinion about who is right and who is wrong in the debate. You claim to know that the "Lancet study" is "trash" but you have no idea why you hold this opinion--you are simply parroting what you've been told by Malkin (who also doesn't understand the statistical arguments either and is just parroting what Kane has written). If you will, please tell me how you can reach determinations of this sort from a position of gross ignorance. Isn't it the case that you're simply choosing to believe whatever fits most comfortably into your partisan world view?

You wrote:

You made an argument based on a study (Lancet). I provided numerous sources that discredit the study.

Actually I made no argument based on the "Lancet" study. This again proves my point that you are a sloppy reader. Also, as I've previously stated, the "Lancet" study has not been "discredited." It remains controversial, although less so among scientists. Scientific critics are continuing to analyze the study, as they should, and hopefully the continuation of the research will be a clearer idea of excess mortality in Iraq.

Gedaliya, you don't seem to be shy about sharing your opinions even when you have little specific knowledge of the subject. It seems to me that if you're going to play the game of pretending to know more than you do, you forfeit the right to be offended when you're caught bluffing.

cyrus pinkerton said...

Luckyoldson,

The track record of the rightwingers in predicting the course of the war is unbelievably poor. On what basis do they think their latest predictions should have any credibility?

Cedarford said...

Pinky - Tim & Revenant,

Clearly both of you are incapable of making an intelligent or substantive comment on this topic. Stop wasting my time and yours with your childish nonsense.


What a snotty, condescending little poofter you are. Revenent has your passive-aggressive methodology nailed down, as well as your Sophist-Chomshyite debating style.

He only omitted what an arrogant little cocksucker you are, as exemplified by your above quoted post.

You have well reached the stange, Pinky, where people do not bother to debate you, only tease you into showing once again what a smarmy, dishonest jerk you prove yourself to be, time and time again...

Gedaliya said...

You claim to know that the "Lancet study" is "trash" but you have no idea why you hold this opinion--you are simply parroting what you've been told by Malkin (who also doesn't understand the statistical arguments either and is just parroting what Kane has written).

Malkin provides links discrediting the study. That's it. It is my opinion that the Lancet study is trash, and my opinion is based on the dozens of articles I've read about it. I don't need to be a statistician to have an opinion of the study, nor does your (apparent) claim to be a statistician give your argument any weight.

What is your opinion about the Lancet study?

Also, as I've previously stated, the "Lancet" study has not been "discredited."

Yes it has, and I've provide numerous links that support my view that it has. You ignore these links, because you are a troll.

It seems to me that if you're going to play the game of pretending to know more than you do, you forfeit the right to be offended when you're caught bluffing.

I make no such claim. Why don't you ever answer simple questions? Why do you care about my opinion of a survey, for instance, that you claim has "serious methodological problems?"

Again, do you believe the claims made in the Lancet study?

So you agree with the ORB poll conclusions that 1.2 million Iraqis have died violent deaths since the invasion in 2003?

Luckyoldson said...

cyrus,
You know what I think.

Believe it or not I have many friends who were just as right-leaning as most here, but in very few cases, most have completely abandoned any respect, trust or belief in anything this administration says or does.

The Petraeus testimony was indicative of how anyone associated with Bush merely repeats the same talking points we've been hearing for year, and his inability to even say we were "safer" was the icing on the cake. (You'd think he'd at least take a run at it, wouldn't you?)

Most just want G.W. to be GONE.

cyrus pinkerton said...

Cedarford,

Your comment is inappropriate. I strongly suggest you delete it.

For the record, you've made similar comments on two previous occasions, and in each instance I've asked you to delete your comment. Sadly you don't have the decency to do so.

Also, your inability to make an intelligent, substantive comment is noted.

Gedaliya said...

Cyrus...

If you'd start behaving properly you wouldn't engender such hostility.

Start by answering questions when they are asked. Express some opinions that you can defend. Defend your opinions with cites and links.

If you start behaving ingenuously, you'll be treated with respect. If you keep acting like a troll, you'll be treated like one.

Trooper York said...

President Bush did indeed look tired and worn during his speech...when looking over this mess in Mesopotamia...he seems to lack the both the eye of the Tigris...and the eye of the Euphrates as well...now back to your regularly scheduled invective.

cyrus pinkerton said...

gedaliya,

Sorry, no, you're absolutely wrong to defend Cedarford's abusive behavior. To try to justify it on the basis that I haven't "behaved properly" is shameful.

Revenant said...

Stop wasting my time and yours with your childish nonsense.

If it wasn't for the amusement value that wasting your time gives us, Cyrus, you'd serve no purpose at all.

cyrus pinkerton said...

gedaliya wrote:

Malkin provides links discrediting the study.

Malkin is not qualified to make those judgments.

It is my opinion that the Lancet study is trash, and my opinion is based on the dozens of articles I've read about it.

Not really. Your opinion amounts to nothing more than parroting someone else's opinion. What you should say, to be accurate, is that you have someone else's opinion.

I don't need to be a statistician to have an opinion of the study

Correct. But to have an intelligent opinion on the subject, you have to understand the statistical methods used. Again, you're simply parroting someone else's opinion since you don't understand the statistical arguments yourself. Not surprisingly, the opinion you choose to parrot is the one which fits comfortably into your partisan world view.

What is your opinion about the Lancet study?

I've written about this elsewhere on the Althouse blog. You can search for it if you're interested.

Yes it has, and I've provide numerous links that support my view that it has. You ignore these links, because you are a troll.

I'm familiar with all the writing you link to. Shannon Love is a blogger, not a researcher. His background in statistical analysis is far more marginal than David Kane's. If you want serious, scientific criticism of the Burnham/Roberts study, you should start with the paper by Spagat et al, which looks at Main Street Bias.

Also, you should drop the "troll" game. It's unintelligent and beneath your dignity. If you think I'm a "troll," don't engage me. It's as simple as that.

Why do you care about my opinion of a survey, for instance, that you claim has "serious methodological problems?"

I'm interested in how other people think. I like to hear other opinions. And although I think the ORB poll has a few methodological problems, I don't think the data is meaningless.

Again, do you believe the claims made in the Lancet study?

What you are really asking here is if I think the Lancet estimate of excess mortality is correct. The answer is, based on the studies of Burnham/Roberts and the study of Peterson, the Iraqi excess mortality estimate at the time of publication of the second "Lancet" study was in the hundreds of thousands.

So you agree with the ORB poll conclusions that 1.2 million Iraqis have died violent deaths since the invasion in 2003?

No. The ORB poll provides another estimate of Iraqi violent deaths since the invasion. It provides more evidence that the mortality is enormous (many hundreds of thousands). And here's what your hero, David Kane, says in part about the ORB poll:

Interesting stuff. I have a high opinion of the ORB folks...

Even though I am a Lancet-skeptic, I try to be open to new information as it comes in. There is no doubt that this result is consistent with the Lancet results. Adjust your posteriors accordingly!

cyrus pinkerton said...

Revenant,

Still nothing substantive from you. No surprise there.

Gedaliya said...

Sorry, no, you're absolutely wrong to defend Cedarford's abusive behavior. To try to justify it on the basis that I haven't "behaved properly" is shameful.

You've called me a "sloppy reader" twice in this thread. It would appear this is a simple case of projection, since you seem to be better at "sloppy reading" than diagnosing the same.

If you had read my comment with more attention, you would have seen that I didn't defend Cederford's behavior. In fact, those who post here regularly know I am one of his most vocal critics.

What I said was that you engender hostility by the way you behave here. Cederford's vulgar comments are egregious, and I don't defend them, but you've also provoked harsh reactions by Revenant and (as I almost always do with his comments), agree with them wholeheartedly.

Stop acting like a boring troll if you want respect. If you're here only to annoy people and provoke reactions from Cederford, then you've achieved your ambitions and you shouldn't complain.

Revenant said...

Still nothing substantive from you. No surprise there.

Cyrus, there are two ways to look at this. Either your usual kabuki dance is as I've described it (in which case there's no point in doing anything other than make fun of you) or you are, indeed, simply asking for comments on the poll. In the unlikely event that the second scenario happens to be true, we run into the problem that nobody's actually defending the validity of the poll -- we are in complete agreement that the poll suffers from serious methodological flaws. So there's nothing to discuss. Unless somebody actually puts forth a serious argument as to why a seriously flawed poll shouldn't be ignored, the rational thing to do is ignore the poll.

In other words -- whether you're serious or, as usual, full of crap, there isn't actually anything to discuss here. And that, little man, is why I'm not bothering to make "substantive points". I only make "substantive points" when somebody actually makes an argument that I happen to disagree with. :)

Gedaliya said...

Malkin is not qualified to make those judgments.

Malkin provided links, and offered her opinions. She is certainly qualified to do that, as am I...or you for that matter.

Not really. Your opinion amounts to nothing more than parroting someone else's opinion. What you should say, to be accurate, is that you have someone else's opinion.

This is silly. You're not a scholar doing original research, nor am I. We both form our opinions based on what we read and what we hear and see. Your accusation that I am "parroting" can be just as accurately made against you. It is a schoolyard insult and another example of trollish behavior.

...I think the ORB poll has a few methodological problems, I don't think the data is meaningless.

Oh? Please explain. The poll provided no data other than the survey data. The violent death estimates were extrapolated from the survey data. You said earlier that the poll had "serious" methodological problems. If the poll has such problems, how can conclusions extrapolated from the data be meaningful?

And why have you changed your previous opinion that the poll has "serious" methodological problems to "a few" methodological problems?

It provides more evidence that the mortality is enormous (many hundreds of thousands).

How can a poll with "serious methodological problems" provide evidence about anything? Please explain.

Tim said...

"Clearly both of you are incapable of making an intelligent or substantive comment on this topic. Stop wasting my time and yours with your childish nonsense.


Sweet Menstruating Mohammad, but are you a complete dolt.

You're the asshole who posted the worthless poll, asked for opinions from those who want to win in Iraq as if the poll undermined the case for winning in Iraq and, when informed the poll was utterly useless to all but an idiot or those with ill intent, you feign outrage.

Complaining of "childish nonsense" is like the idiot complaining the persons of average intelligence are stupid because they don't make sense to him. Regardless, your behaviour is sufficiently contemptible you're lucky to warrant even "childish nonsense." Sadly, it's evident that adolescent nonsense is beyond your ken.

Pogo said...

Hey, it's Cyrus, performing his usual routine, and I missed it.

Revenant had a particularly incisive description of Cyrus's flawed methodology. Ouch.

Cyrus, in the early 1900s, people in England were just fascinated with fairies. Even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was taken in. The Lancet articles were even less rigorous than that sorry episode.

Cyrus, if I thought you really had any credible claim to 'wanting to hear what others think', I'd engage you myself.

But I have learned that such efforts usually end in being admonished for childishness. That said, you're quite good at the game you play. Though no one seems terribly eager to play it.

Luckyoldson said...

LYING as an ART.

September 14, 2007
The president cites shaky facts as he makes a case for keeping high levels of troops in Iraq.
Summary
President Bush played loose with the facts in his address to the nation Thursday night as he tried to convince the American public that the surge in U.S. troops in Iraq has made the country more stable.

He said "36 nations ... have troops on the ground in Iraq." In fact, his own State Department puts the number at 25.

He said “ordinary life” was returning to Baghdad. Perhaps. In fact, news reports describe the city as starkly segregated with Shiites and Sunnis living in separate neighborhoods, which are walled off from one another with huge concrete barricades.

He said Baqubah in Diyala province was "cleared." But the Washington Post quotes a State Department official as saying the security situation there was not stable.

He said that “the Iraqi Army is becoming more capable,” which may be true. But the Iraqi defense minister says it’ll be 2012 before the army will be even 60 percent capable of protecting the nation from external threats.

Bush expressed gratitude to a number of nations for having troops in Iraq – but used a figure much larger than the State Department will support.

Bush: Many schools and markets are reopening. Citizens are coming forward with vital intelligence. Sectarian killings are down, and ordinary life is beginning to return.

That's painting a very rosy picture, even for Baghdad, where more than half the troop surge has been targeted. If things haven't improved there, it would be a real mark of failure for Bush's strategy. But "ordinary" life? According to numerous news reports, Baghdad is increasingly segregated, with Shiite militias forcing Sunni residents out of mixed neighborhoods into all-Sunni enclaves, which aren't safe either.

As for Bush's statement that "sectarian killings are down," the president started touting this claim as early as May.

But other reports contradict this claim or call it into question. The number of unidentified bodies found in July, while lower than the number found in June, was still 50 percent higher than the 272 bodies found in March, the first month after the troop increase, the paper said.

Bush: “One year ago, much of Diyala province was a sanctuary for al Qaeda and other extremist groups, and its capital of Baqubah was emerging as an al Qaeda stronghold. Today Baqubah is cleared.”

“But in a meeting with reporters on Aug. 27, the head of the State Department team in Diyala said the security situation was not stable, hampering access to food and energy, though he acknowledged that commerce was returning to Baqubah.” Kessler quoted John Melvin Jones has having said, "It's going to take a while before the security situation gets stable enough so that you can have a lot of these other agencies [such as USAID] involved." That doesn’t sound like Baqubah has been “cleared” to us.

The president backed Gen. David Petraeus' recommendations for withdrawing some of the troops from Iraq, saying that 2,200 Marines would leave this month as scheduled, an Army brigade would come home by Christmas and that "by July we will be able to reduce our troop levels in Iraq from 20 combat brigades to 15."

But this is hardly news. Some drawdown was scheduled to occur anyway, unless commanders decided otherwise. Sen. Jack Reed, a Democrat from Rhode Island, asked Gen. Petraeus about this during the commander’s testimony on Capitol Hill this week.

Bush: Yet Iraq's national leaders are getting some things done. For example, they have passed a budget. They are sharing oil revenues with the provinces. They are allowing former Ba'athists to rejoin Iraq's military or receive government pensions.

But Bush very recently used a different standard for measuring progress. In his Aug. 18 radio speech, he cited the passage of laws governing the sharing of oil revenues among Iraq’s provinces and de-Baathification as steps the Iraqi government needed to take in order to show progress.

Bush: According to General Petraeus and a panel chaired by retired General Jim Jones, the Iraqi army is becoming more capable, although there is still a great deal of work to be done to improve the national police.

The Independent Commission on the Security of Iraq, led by retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones, did say in its report dated Sept. 6 that the Iraqi Army is improving. But the Iraqi Security Forces, of which the Army is a major part, “will not be able to progress enough in the near term to secure Iraqi borders against conventional military and external threats,” the report said. And further:

Luckyoldson said...

Another "liberal" rears his ugly head...??

In a withering critique of his fellow Republicans, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan says in his memoir that the party to which he has belonged all his life deserved to lose power last year for forsaking its small-government principles.

In "The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World," published by Penguin Press, Mr. Greenspan criticizes both congressional Republicans and President George W. Bush for abandoning fiscal discipline.

The book is scheduled for public release Monday. The Wall Street Journal bought a copy at a bookstore in the New York area.

Mr. Greenspan, who calls himself a "lifelong libertarian Republican," writes that he advised the White House to veto some bills to curb "out-of-control" spending while the Republicans controlled Congress. He says President Bush's failure to do so "was a major mistake." Republicans in Congress, he writes, "swapped principle for power. They ended up with neither.

They deserved to lose."

MikeinSC said...

There is not a single person who has ever defended Bush's record of not vetoing spending bills nor anybody who has ever defended the GOP Congress for their spending restraint.

Who, exactly, are you directing Greenspan's comments to?

It's not as if the Democrats will practice any discipline, going with what they have proposed thus far.
-=Mike

Tim said...

I, for one, would be gratified if the Democrats adopted Greenspan's favored small, limited government.

Let's start with Social Security.

But something tells me that's not in the cards, and Liberals quoting admonishing quotes from Greenspan are simply disingenuous.

Not that I'd expect any better...

Revenant said...

Who, exactly, are you directing Greenspan's comments to?

Yeah, Greenspan didn't say anything that the popular right-of-center blogs have been saying since before the 2006 elections. And since the 2006 elections, the meme that the Republicans lost because they abandoned their small-government, limited-spending principles has been a popular one throughout the conservative movement.

That said, there are SOME Republicans who defend the spendthrift ways of Congress. Unfortunately, almost all of them are IN Congress.

cyrus pinkerton said...

Revenant wrote:

Yeah, Greenspan didn't say anything that the popular right-of-center blogs have been saying since before the 2006 elections.

Really?

Greenspan on Iraq:

I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.

Rightwing blogs have been saying that?