May 5, 2008

"Yes, we would have had a murderous civil war..."

"... but it would have been quicker than the one we have been baby-sitting for five years."

Ah, to have a way with words!

134 comments:

Simon said...

The barely-concealed bloodthirstiness of those who'd have us surrender and retreat in Iraq bubbles to the surface.

rhhardin said...

Sullivan seems not to notice that Iraqis are fighting on our side in the Middle East.

This has effects.

SMGalbraith said...

The type of regime that ultimately runs Iraq will have severe consequences on the Middle East and our security and interests.

Sullivan apparently isn't concerned about this.

And he seeming is more outraged over the moral stain on this nation caused by waterboarding three al-Qaeda terrorists than he is by us abandoning the Iraqi people to the depredations of al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

So, pouring water over three terrorists is unacceptable but leaving hundreds of thousands of innocents Iraqis to be slaughtered is just the price we have to pay.

Welcome to Andy's World. Lots of parking available.

peter hoh said...

I liked this quote Sully highlighted the other day:

"McCain wants to stay in Iraq until no more Americans are getting killed, no matter how long it takes and how many Americans get killed achieving that goal--that is, the goal of not getting any more Americans killed. And once that goal is achieved, we'll stay," - Rick Hertzberg, back in January.

Freder Frederson said...

The barely-concealed bloodthirstiness of those who'd have us surrender and retreat in Iraq bubbles to the surface.

Barely-concealed bloodthirstiness? You make me laugh Simon. It is you and your ilk (Ann included) who support an endless war led by incompetents--you voted for another four years of a president who obviously got us into this mess and had no idea how to get us out. And as long as you can cheer for this war and it costs you absolutely nothing, you are all for it.

As for Sullivan. He is part of even a worse lot. He originally supported the war and now without admitting how wrong he was, is now trying to make amends.

You, Ann, Fen and Sloan talk about "winning" in Iraq. I continually ask what that means. None of you can answer that simple question. Neither apparently can this administration as their justification for the war, and who we are fighting there (now it is Iranian-backed Shiites) constantly changes.

Freder Frederson said...

Sullivan seems not to notice that Iraqis are fighting on our side in the Middle East.

Which Iraqis would those be and exactly what is "our side" fighting for?

Freder Frederson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
peter hoh said...

And Simon, et al, Sullivan isn't advocating Rumsfeld's position. Do you consider Rumsfeld to be among "those who'd have us surrender and retreat"?

Sullivan is printing a view contrary to his long-standing belief that we should have gone in with more troops following the invasion.

And he's expressing frustration at the lack of leadership from the White House. State and the Pentagon had competing visions of what would/should happen post-invasion. The President picked a little from column A and a little from column B. So we didn't put in the troop levels to establish order, but we committed ourselves to establishing a democracy.

George said...

It is not a civil war. Our Iraqi opponents are being armed, financed, and trained by the Iranian government.

And, freder, several weeks ago you said that the United States should be supporting Moqtada al-Sadr.

Do you still have that view?

al-Sadr, by all accounts, receives weapons, training, and money from Iran. He also shakes down merchants for protection, forces women to veil, has ordered the assassination of Iraqi leaders, believes in the apocalpytic return of the Mahdi.

Even worse, he vacations in Iran.

Our government and our allies support the Iraqi people's right to self-determination and freedom from violent subversion of their domestic affairs.

Roger J. said...

Freder: I will take a shot at defining "winning in Iraq." There are, however, two levels of winning. The first level,the tactical level, consists of the Iraqis themselves creating a democratic, functioning government that operates under the rule of law and respects the rights of the main groups within Iraq (Shia, Sunni, and Kurds).

The second level of "winning" is strategic and flows from the tactical: Creating a functioning moslem democracy in the middle east that ultimately fosters democratic change in the region.

My .02.

vet66 said...

Fredor'

We are winning the war in Iraq (GWOT) just by drawing a line in the sand and displaying a willingness to fight it.

People like you, Obama, the U.N., etc. who think they can appeal to the human side of terrorists live in a dream world. You are perceived as weak of will and your lack of coherence aids and abets the killing of those who choose to stand against the murderous thugs who have sworn to kill us and our way of life.

You will have to deal with the reality of the situation one way or another. Sullivan and those who accept his babble, represents cluelessness and political expediency.

Freder Frederson said...

And, freder, several weeks ago you said that the United States should be supporting Moqtada al-Sadr.

I said no such thing. I merely pointed out the fact that Maliki and his allies, the faction we currently support in Iraq, is more closely aligned with the leadership in Iran than Sadr. You should know by now I don't think we should be supporting either.

I will make a prediction. The Iraqi government has announced they are going to investigate who is supplying Iranian arms to the militias (they don't accept the American intelligence). I bet they find that the Iranian government has no knowledge of it and is doing its best to stop it.

Freder Frederson said...

It is not a civil war. Our Iraqi opponents are being armed, financed, and trained by the Iranian government.

Are you using the second point to prove your first one. If so, you are using incredibly faulty logic.

AJ Lynch said...

Pet peeve is when bloggers refer to or link to fellow bloggers and use their "first name". I.e "Matt goes there".

The ironic part is now the lib bloggers, who once did this with obvious affection, are at each other's throats in the Clinton vs. Obama camps.

Simon said...

peter hoh said...
"And Simon, et al, Sullivan isn't advocating Rumsfeld's position. Do you consider Rumsfeld to be among 'those who'd have us surrender and retreat'?"

I don't read Sully's post that way. I think he's suggesting that he now thinks that the mass slaughter of Iraqis in a civil war would have been a preferable option to "baby-sitting" sectarian conflict. He doesn't seem to recognize that there's a difference between a Northern Ireland and a Bosnia.

"And he's expressing frustration at the lack of leadership from the White House. State and the Pentagon had competing visions of what would/should happen post-invasion. The President picked a little from column A and a little from column B. So we didn't put in the troop levels to establish order, but we committed ourselves to establishing a democracy."

That's a valid criticism. The general incompetence of the administration has been a constant theme, one that's soured public opinion on the war. I think the lion's share of the opposition comes from the botched execution, not the original concept. That dissatisfaction has been seized on by people who were opposed from the get-go, but I think that public support has failed because the people who ought to have been running the show were asleep at the wheel. And it's inadequate for McCain - as he did on Letterman - to pile the blame on Rumsfeld. If he believes that, then he doesn't understand the unitary executive.

Balfegor said...

The type of regime that ultimately runs Iraq will have severe consequences on the Middle East and our security and interests.

Yes, but with 30,000 troops we could ensure that no regime not to our liking actually successfully took control over the entire territory. Recall how easy it was for Ethiopia -- Ethiopia, which couldn't conquer tiny Eritrea after years of war -- to intervene in Somalia to prevent the Islamic Courts Union from uniting Somalia again. True, they ran into trouble afterwards, but only because they stuck around after their primary aim (destabilising the ICU) had been achieved.

Although Yglesias and Sullivan are trying to suggest that there might have been less bloodshed had we just withdrawn then, when it wouldn't look like we were beaten into a retreat (unlike now), I suspect the reality is that the bloodshed would have been rather worse, simply because we'd keep dipping in from time to time to prevent any hostile regime from consolidating power. It would have reduced our expenditures and our troop casualties considerably, so from a purely America-focussed perspective, that might have been a better solution. But from an Iraqi perspective, and from the perspective of Iraq's neighbours -- Turkey, Iran, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia -- it would have been much worse. Or would be still, since I don't think we'd be done yet. Iraq would be Somalia, but with oil. Like those petty West African hellholes, where everyone massacres each other for control of coffee or diamonds or whatever we want to buy from them at the moment.

Simon said...

George said...
"It is not a civil war. Our Iraqi opponents are being armed, financed, and trained by the Iranian government."

Does it convert it from a civil war to an international war if one side is being armed, financed and trained by one side? I thought that a civil war meant only that the combatants were all nominally of the same nation. A conflict may - stress "may" - cease to be a civil war if foreign combatants are on the ground, but I don't know that one side being aided by an external power suffices.

former law student said...

It is not a civil war. Our Iraqi opponents are being armed, financed, and trained by the Iranian government.

Somebody remind me why we have Iraqi opponents please. I remember when we toppled the statue of Saddam Hussein, while thousands of Baghdadis cheered as their little girls gave flowers to our troops. Or was that the liberation of Paris?

The war in Iraq is like the war in Vietnam except that in Vietnam at least some people asked us to intervene.

Freder Frederson said...

Yes, but with 30,000 troops we could ensure that no regime not to our liking actually successfully took control over the entire territory.

Now I'm confused, are we interested in "a functioning moslem democracy in the middle east that ultimately fosters democratic change in the region" or making sure there is a regime to our liking in Iraq. One does not necessarily lead to the other.

memomachine said...

Hmmm.

*shrug* so Andrew Sullivan has shown himself to be rather independent of reality. What's new about that?

Personally I rather enjoy the variety of Democratic plans to have US troops leave Iraq but remain "over the horizon".

Amazingly enough it appears that not one single bloody Democrat owns a map of the world and/or have any concept of how difficult it is to move a single heavy mechanized division.

memomachine said...

Hmmmm.

"The war in Iraq is like the war in Vietnam except that in Vietnam at least some people asked us to intervene."

It's also similar in that ultimately if we lose in Iraq it'll be the fault of Democrats.

Just like in Vietnam.

Freder Frederson said...

I think the lion's share of the opposition comes from the botched execution, not the original concept.

Really? You don't think there's any resentment that the intelligence was manipulated and contrary evidence outright ignored or that the administration may have even lied to get us into war? That the assurances of a short, cheap war turned out to be completely wrong?

memomachine said...

Hmmmm.

"That the assurances of a short, cheap war turned out to be completely wrong?"

That right there is a lie.

At no point did anyone from this administration say that the war in Iraq would be "short" or "cheap". In fact President Bush made great pains to constantly re-state that the war would take a long time to resolve.

Either put up or shut up. Prove your assertion.

Roger J. said...

Freder is confused: "Now I'm confused, are we interested in "a functioning moslem democracy in the middle east that ultimately fosters democratic change in the region" or making sure there is a regime to our liking in Iraq. One does not necessarily lead to the other.


Freder: Re your confusion, I am responsible only for my definitions. Please don't conflate my strategic definition with other comments (re 30,000 troops.) As to the substance of your question, as long as the Iraqis meet my "tactical" definition, I don't believe it necessary for them to be allied with the US to meet my strategic definition.

SGT Ted said...

Really? You don't think there's any resentment that the intelligence was manipulated and contrary evidence outright ignored or that the administration may have even lied to get us into war?

I. CLINTON SIGNS IRAQ LIBERATION ACT
October 31, 1998
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
October 31, 1998
Statement by thePpresident
Today I am signing into law H.R. 4655, the "Iraq Liberation Act of
1998." ..... I categorically reject arguments that this is unattainable due to Iraq's history or its ethnic or sectarian make-up. Iraqis deserve and desire freedom like everyone else.
President Clinton's action today is the most appropriate
response to Saddam. Let him know that Iraqis will rise up to liberate
themselves from his totalitarian dictatorship and that the US is ready to help their democratic forces with arms to do so. Only then will the trail of tragedy in Iraq end. Only then will Iraq be free of weapons of mass destruction."

“Saddam Hussein has spent the better part of this decade and much of his nation’s wealth not on providing for the Iraqi people but on developing nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them….I know I speak for everyone in this chamber, Republicans and Democrats, when I say to Saddam Hussein, “You cannot defy the will of the world,” and when I say to him, “You have used weapons of mass destruction before. We are determined to deny you the capacity to use them again.” -Bill Clinton

"Saddam's goal ... is to achieve the lifting of U.N. sanctions while retaining and enhancing Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. We cannot, we must not and we will not let him succeed." -- Madeline Albright, 1998

"(Saddam) will rebuild his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and some day, some way, I am certain he will use that arsenal again, as he has 10 times since 1983" -- National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, Feb 18, 1998

"Iraq made commitments after the Gulf War to completely dismantle all weapons of mass destruction, and unfortunately, Iraq has not lived up to its agreement." -- Barbara Boxer, November 8, 2002

"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retained some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capability. Intelligence reports also indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons, but has not yet achieved nuclear capability." -- Robert Byrd, October 2002

"There's no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat... Yes, he has chemical and biological weapons. He's had those for a long time. But the United States right now is on a very much different defensive posture than we were before September 11th of 2001... He is, as far as we know, actively pursuing nuclear capabilities, though he doesn't have nuclear warheads yet. If he were to acquire nuclear weapons, I think our friends in the region would face greatly increased risks as would we." -- Wesley Clark on September 26, 2002

"The community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists. If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow." -- Bill Clinton in 1998

"Iraq is not the only nation in the world to possess weapons of mass destruction, but it is the only nation with a leader who has used them against his own people." -- Tom Daschle in 1998

"As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware that the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is an issue of grave importance to all nations. Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process." -- Nancy Pelosi, December 16, 1998

Freder Frederson said...

At no point did anyone from this administration say that the war in Iraq would be "short" or "cheap". In fact President Bush made great pains to constantly re-state that the war would take a long time to resolve.

This is my favorite:

"It is unknowable how long that conflict will last. It could be six days, six weeks. I doubt six months."
- Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, 2/7/03

but here is a link to a bunch more.

Why do you make it so easy on me?

Freder Frederson said...

sgt ted,

The last quote you have is from Sept of 2002. Can you think of any relevant activities that took place after that time and before the start of the war in March 2003 that might have changed the minds of the people you are quoting?

MadisonMan said...

At no point did anyone from this administration say that the war in Iraq would be "short" or "cheap". In fact President Bush made great pains to constantly re-state that the war would take a long time to resolve.

Um, where did Freder say it was Bush making the promise?

A report from the Congressional Budget Office released last fall was far more modest in its estimate of the cost of war with Iraq. That report said it would cost between $9 billion and $13 billion to deploy troops to Iraq and that it would take up to another $9 billion a month to run the war.

(Source)

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld nearly doubled the estimated military costs there to $3.9 billion a month.

(Source)

The U.S. Central Command's war plan for invading Iraq postulated in August 2002 that the U.S. would have only 5,000 troops left in Iraq as of December 2006,

(Source)


Mind, that took me all of 3 minutes using google. Perhaps you can try that.

Roger J. said...

Arguments about who said what when, who lied, and all the rest of that are passe--wouldnt it be more productive to look forward rather than backward? The decision to invade Iraq is going to be like the decision to drop A bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki--debated in perpetuity with no resolution possible. Clearly we need to Move On.

SGT Ted said...

My quote simply prove that the "Bush lied" charge is absurd.

That Democrats were on board with regime change until they thought they could weaken Bush by telling and amplifying a politically expedient lie.

That you trust Irans government more than our own just shows how dangerously stupid you are.

Sloanasaurus said...

You, Ann, Fen and Sloan talk about "winning" in Iraq. I continually ask what that means. None of you can answer that simple question.

Your the joke. We answer this over and over again. Yet you say it is never answered.

Winning in Iraq today means leaving an Iraqi government that does not support terrorism or the proliferation of WMD, is our ally and can stand on its own.

Putting that aside however, we have already "won" in Iraq many things. The War on Terror has been largely won in Iraq. Al Qaeda chose to spend their wad in Iraq rather than elsewhere and they have lost. The international movement of Al Qaeda that was a serious threat in 2001 is now a spent ideology. We just need to make sure it doesn't have a second chance.

The removal of Saddam Hussein turned what would be $80 billion of oil profits being spent on international terrorism and foreign meddling to $80 billion being spent on Iraqi civil services and fighting our enemies Al Qaeda and Iran. This re-direction in resources has greatly enhanced peace and security in the world. (remember Saddam never made more than $15 billion per year and he was able to do a lot with that).

How can someone say that we would be better off with Saddam spending $80 billion a year - buying weapons, developing nukes, and supporting terrorists such as Hamas and Al Qaeda, then we are today with the $80 billion being spent on schools, hospitals, fighting Al Qaeda, and Iranian supported extremists.

Sloanasaurus said...

The U.S. Central Command's war plan for invading Iraq postulated in August 2002 that the U.S. would have only 5,000 troops left in Iraq as of December 2006

Obviously they were wrong in that they miscalculated the barbarity of Al Qaeda and the insurgency. But so what. Monte said he would take Caen in 4 days. It took him 4 months. In the end he still took it.

dbp said...

"... but it would have been quicker than the one we have been baby-sitting for five years."

"Nurse Sully, why did you just inject that boy with cyanide rather than the DTP vaccine"? "Well, someday this child would have gotten old and died anyway, this is faster and therefore better"

Michael_H said...

Meanwhile, let's get back to Andrew Sullivan.

I'd bet a six-pack (or a 'light snack' as Christoper Hitchens calls it) that Sullivan would demand deployment of three more divisions to Iraq if he came to believe that the purpose of American military presence in Iraq was to make the mid-east a safe place for gay marriage.

Sloanasaurus said...

if he came to believe that the purpose of American military presence in Iraq was to make the mid-east a safe place for gay marriage.

Very true. Sullivan overlooks the fascism peddled by Democrats like Obama as long as they support his gay agenda. How sad.

Freder Frederson said...

But so what. Monte said he would take Caen in 4 days. It took him 4 months. In the end he still took it.

Only off by two and a half months. But for someone who is constantly declaring that we have "won" in Iraq (although in your bizarro world, "winning" means spending $6 billion a month and a steady stream of remains containers into Dover), not bad.

Now apparently, you also think we are at war with Iran. If we really wanted to fight Iran, we would have left Saddam in power. He knew how to kill Iranians.

Roger J. said...

"(although in your bizarro world, "winning" means spending $6 billion a month and a steady stream of remains containers into Dover), not bad..."

In my bizarro world, Freder, winning is an outcome not a process. I assume that is not the case among the reality based community.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Freder

Ok I'll stipulate that the war is unwinnable, the military has been decimated and the treasury broken.

Out of curiosity, once Barrack Hussein Obama becomes Commander-in-Chief, how long will you give him to order the pullout out all our forces in Iraq before you start calling him to carpet?

Or will it still be Bush/Cheney/Rummy's fault?

paul a'barge said...

Oh happy day and thanks to Mozilla Firefox. I hovered my mouse cursor over the link and read in the status bar at the bottom of my browser that I was about to be forwarded to Andrew Sullivan. I did not click.

Good for me.

Freder Frederson said...

Or will it still be Bush/Cheney/Rummy's fault?

The debacle is still their fault. And if Obama doesn't start pulling out immediately I will call him to the carpet.

Bush has so far managed to dodge the bullet and it looks like his war plan (get out of office before everything falls apart) just might succeed. Whoever wins in November will not be so lucky since they will have to clean up the mess Bush made (those 1200 plus M-1s in Anniston are not going to overhaul themselves).

Of course whoever is the next president is going to get blamed for the disaster that is awaiting our military. I have no doubt you will blame it all on Hillary or Barack Hussein Obama when the time comes. Who will you blame it on if McCain is president? Congress?

Randy (Internet Ronin) said...

Peter - I doubt that Rick Hertzberg accurately reflects what McCain believes. As for Sullivan, the man will say, do or quote anything to justify whatever he pretends to believe in at the moment. Based on his prior record, the odds are good that tomorrow, next week, or next month he'll argue the opposite and engage in a desperate campaign to whitewash his own record while vilifying anyone who happens to disagree with him.

Hoosier Daddy said...

And if Obama doesn't start pulling out immediately I will call him to the carpet.

I do hope you still will visit here so I can follow up with you on that.

those 1200 plus M-1s in Anniston are not going to overhaul themselves).

1200 eh? We shipped 1200 M-1s back home rather than overhaul them there or in Kuwait (what are those 75,000 support troops doing there anyway)? Seems rather cost ineffective.

Of course whoever is the next president is going to get blamed for the disaster that is awaiting our military.

Well that's how things go. Kinda like how Bush was blamed for being asleep at the wheel for 9/11. Never mind Bill didn't do jack to secure the US from attack despite his 8 years in office.

I have no doubt you will blame it all on Hillary or Barack Hussein Obama when the time comes.

You betcha. If BHO and HRC are going to campaign on how they're best suited to clean up his mess, then I don't want to hear about how it was Bush's fault. I want to hear how you're swinging the mop.

Freder Frederson said...

1200 eh? We shipped 1200 M-1s back home rather than overhaul them there or in Kuwait (what are those 75,000 support troops doing there anyway)? Seems rather cost ineffective.

You obviously have no idea how the military's maintenance system works. In short, Depot level maintenance, which is the complete overhaul of equipment, is only carried out at maintenance Depots in the states. For some vehicles (like the Abrams along with other heavy tracked and wheeled vehicles at the Anniston Army Depot) there is a single location where this maintenance takes place.

MadisonMan said...

Never mind Bill didn't do jack to secure the US from attack despite his 8 years in office.

I think that's unfair. Wasn't there intelligence showing that OBL was ready to strike the US? Wasn't GWB briefed on that at his ranch? So the intelligence infrastructure was apparently there, even if the mindset to interpret it properly was not.

I realize you're arguing with FF but hyperbole should have limits. I do agree that it's lunacy to expect whomever is elected to immediately withdraw troops. It's not like we're electing someone who can behave like a King.

Hoosier Daddy said...

You obviously have no idea how the military's maintenance system works.

I never claimed that I did. But considering we have had a major military presence in the Middle East since oh, 1991, I would have thought it would have been costs effective to have such a depot in place.

I think that's unfair. Wasn't there intelligence showing that OBL was ready to strike the US?

Good question. Absent any specific info, that's a pretty vague intel. Exactly what did Bill do after the 1993 WTC attack? In fact, other than blowing up some tents in Afghanistan and an aspirin factory in the Sudan, Bill took more action against Serbia and the Branch Davidians than he did against Islamic terrorists.

I realize you're arguing with FF but hyperbole should have limits. I do agree that it's lunacy to expect whomever is elected to immediately withdraw troops. It's not like we're electing someone who can behave like a King.

Well last time I checked, the President IS commander in chief. Does the President need Congressional approval to withdraw troops? Considering Obama is insistent on his disapproval for the war from day one, I expect his first act as CinC is to issue the order for an immediate withdrawal.

Otherwise, all his campaigning over the war is hyperbole as well.

Freder Frederson said...

My quote simply prove that the "Bush lied" charge is absurd.

That Democrats were on board with regime change until they thought they could weaken Bush by telling and amplifying a politically expedient lie.


I don't know how any of your quotes disprove that Bush lied. By the time we went to war, the inspectors were back on the ground and finding nothing. Yet the administration kept insisting that there was "no doubt" that Saddam had an active WMD program, had even restarted his nuclear weapons program, that we "knew exactly" where the stockpiles of WMD were (even though when we told the inspectors where to look they never found any).

At best the administration ignored or dismissed evidence that Saddam had destroyed his stockpiles and did not have an active program and exagerrated the stregth of the evidence they did have. At worst, they knew the evidence was bogus, but conciously decided to use it to make the case for war.

At the very least they lied about the strength of the evidence by using phrases like "no doubt" and "we know exactly where" the WMD's are.

Freder Frederson said...

Good question. Absent any specific info, that's a pretty vague intel. Exactly what did Bill do after the 1993 WTC attack?

Umm, captured, endicted, prosecuted and convicted the perpetrators.

Simon said...

MadisonMan said...
"I think that's unfair. Wasn't there intelligence showing that OBL was ready to strike the US?"

The infamous August 6th PDB warned that "Bin Laden [was] determined to strike in US," a statement that was certainly true, but no more true than it had been for at least five years. True, the PSB also warned that the FBI was noticing "patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks," but while that is more specific, it still falls far short of actionable intelligence. Furthermore, it cited "recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York" as an example of the sort of "suspicious activity" that had been observed, which undercuts any claim that the PDB reflects a corpus of evidence pointing towards the 9/11 plan that a reasonable government would have acted on.

MadisonMan said...

Otherwise, all his campaigning over the war is hyperbole as well.

Isn't all campaign rhetoric hyperbole?

I do recall BHO admitting that he would listen to the commanders on the ground before committing to any action.

AJ Lynch said...

Freder:

Here is what Bill Clinton said after the Cole bombing during a memorial service on October 18, 2000 on Pier 12 at the Norfolk Naval Station:

"To those who attacked them we say: You will not find a safe harbor," a somber President Clinton promised. "We will find you and justice will prevail".

So Freder- do you believe Clinton followed through on his words?

Freder Frederson said...

Furthermore, it cited "recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York" as an example of the sort of "suspicious activity" that had been observed, which undercuts any claim that the PDB reflects a corpus of evidence pointing towards the 9/11 plan that a reasonable government would have acted on.

Yes indeedy, in Simon's world nothing short of crashing planes into buildings "reflects a corpus of evidence" that a reasonable government would act on.

The point of course is that in the 8 months that Bush was president prior to 9/11 he studiously ignored the growing body of evidence that something was afoot and completely downplayed the terrorist threat. He was also the golfingest, brush clearingest president in memory--a trend that continued even after 9/11 and led to further debacles and screw ups like the Katrina response.

AlphaLiberal said...

It's a rigid and obstinate delusion that allows thinking people to regard the situation in Iraq as something less than a civil war or chaos.

Millions of Iraqi's have been displaced from their homes, neighborhoods and even their country by the violence. Ethnic cleansing has resulted in people being evicted from their homes and others killed because of sectarian differences.

All of the neighboring countries are involved, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Too bad our media is blindered and reports such a slanted view.

Freder Frederson said...

So Freder- do you believe Clinton followed through on his words?

Well gee, the investigation into the bombing was completed on January 19, 2001, giving Clinton a whole day to respond. Seems to me that the ball was in the new president's court. Do you believe Bush followed through on Clinton's words?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Good question. Absent any specific info, that's a pretty vague intel. Exactly what did Bill do after the 1993 WTC attack?

Umm, captured, endicted, prosecuted and convicted the perpetrators.


Bully for him. I was of course, asking what steps were taken by his administration to keep it from happening again.

Isn't all campaign rhetoric hyperbole?

Well I thought BHO was above all that. You know, his campaigns about how he's going to tell us the truth and all that.

I do recall BHO admitting that he would listen to the commanders on the ground before committing to any action.

What difference does it make? If things are good then no need for troops to be there. If its getting worse, no need to keep wasting American blood and treasure on a lost cause.

So if that is indeed the case, it would appear BHO is offering nothing new but the same old. Methinks his netroots won't be cutting him that much slack though. I certainly won't.

Hoosier Daddy said...

The point of course is that in the 8 months that Bush was president prior to 9/11 he studiously ignored the growing body of evidence that something was afoot and completely downplayed the terrorist threat.

The point of course is that after the WTC in 1993, the Khobar Towers, our embassies in Africa being destroyed, the USS Cole, all Clinton could provide was a debrief that Osama was determined to strike the US.

I guess Bush could have said, no shit Sherlock, what exactly did you have put in place over the last 8 years?

Roger J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger J. said...

If any person believes the information in the August PDB was actionable in any sense, then you have apparently (1) never read one and (2) had to take action on one. Intelligence weenies are famous for talking out of both sides of their mouths--worse than even economists. Their "warnings" are always caveated and non-specific.

I would be interested in hearing the "actions and orders" some of the commenters would have come up with to prevent the events of 9/11 given the August PDB. Who would you have alerted; where would you have put your forces if you chose to deploy them? etc etc. What rules of engagement would you have specified?

save_the_rustbelt said...

We had these same debates in 1968 - 1972, i.e., if we leave we surrender, if we leave there will be a massacre, if we leave our allies will doubt us, if, if, if......

We lost about 30,000 more dead in Viet Nam because of if, if, if.....

And we know how that turned out.

A friend of mine, a great hero, lies somewhere in the Central Highland, because in 1972 we were still talking about if, if, if.....

Freder Frederson said...

Interesting. Hoosier lambasts Clinton for not preventing attacks followed immediately by Roger saying nothing can be done to prevent attacks.

So it apparently works this way. Democrats are incompetent when it comes to stopping terrorism but when massive attacks occur under a Republican, and in the seven years after the attack they still can't seem to get OBL, there is nothing they can do about it.

save_the_rustbelt said...

I think the M-1s will be overhauled in Lima, Ohio, where they were born.

Ohio needs the jobs. There is a small benefit in everything I guess.

Roger J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger J. said...

Freder: Do you find it difficult to believe that non-progressives might disagree?

From the diagreement of two separate, independent posters, you leap to several ridiculous conclusions that rely only on your own assumptions about what people other than you think.

I,for one, do not believe that ANY president can prevent a terrorist attack unless the state is totalitarian. Unless, of course, you received specific information about the who what when and where of the act. A committed terrorist--especially those of the Jihadist persuasion who dont mind killing themselves in the process--will eventually be successful. In short, I don't blame Clinton, and I credit Bush only for reacting to the events of 9/11.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Interesting. Hoosier lambasts Clinton for not preventing attacks followed immediately by Roger saying nothing can be done to prevent attacks.

My lambasting is based upon the US suffering numerous attacks in Clinton's 8 year reign and all his administration is able to provide is a report at the end of his administration stating 'bin Laden' determined to strike the US.

My 10 year old could have told us that.

But do please keep telling me what a bang up job Clinton did against Islamic terrorism. I do love a good fairy tale.

AlphaLiberal said...

Roger spins for Bush:
If any person believes the information in the August PDB was actionable in any sense, then you have apparently (1) never read one and (2) had to take action on one.

So you are actually making the argument that there was nothing Bush could do in after receiving notice of an impending attack on the US? Really?

What utter baloney.

Man, you guys are desperate to protect Bush. And you prove how you refuse to budge an inch to reality.

memomachine said...

Hmmmm.

@ Freder Frederson & MadisonMan

1. Ok. You've got a bunch of quotes. Some of them look ok, some of them don't provide any context. But I'll accept that the Bush administration mistakenly proposed that the war would be short.

2. So where is the "cheap"?

AJ Lynch said...

Freder:
Good point you made- if the Cole report came out on Jan. 19th, Clinton was way too busy finishing up his oh so important presidential pardons.

Bill Clinton was good for one thing : "Just Words". Like the new and improved version, Obama. I think Obama should be called Clinton 2.0 ?

AlphaLiberal said...

Hoosier Daddy puts his ignorance on display:

My lambasting is based upon the US suffering numerous attacks in Clinton's 8 year reign and all his administration is able to provide is a report at the end of his administration stating 'bin Laden' determined to strike the US.

The memo in question did not come from Clinton. It came from the CIA. It was delivered to Bush on August 6, 2001, 6 weeks prior to the attacks.

Bush told the agent "you covered your ass," and then he returned to his previously scheduled vacation activities.

Clinton acted on information received around the millennium of a potential LAX attack and mobilized the security agencies to thwart it.

Roger J. said...

Alpha--please tell me what actions and orders you would have issued in light of the August PDB.

AlphaLiberal said...

So, the US bombed a civilian hospital ion Iraq. Other US bombs hit civilian homes in Sadr City. The impotent Iraqi government implores the US to stop bombing civilians.

Have we won their hearts and minds yet?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Man, you guys are desperate to protect Bush. And you prove how you refuse to budge an inch to reality.

Well in terms of killing and capturing tons of AQ terrorists since 9/11, I will give him credit for that. Considering that OBL is resorting to giving video speeches by proxy tells me he's a brown stain in a cave somewhere.

Then again I am sure if Bush had issued an exective order which would allow us to profile Muslim men boarding flights in the US and allowing the CIA and FBI to share info you would have been cool with that right?

Sloanasaurus said...

Millions of Iraqi's have been displaced from their homes, neighborhoods and even their country by the violence. Ethnic cleansing has resulted in people being evicted from their homes and others killed because of sectarian differences.

So what is your point about this argument Alpha. Are you saying that the world would be more secure today if Saddam was still in power spending $80 billion to fight the U.S., fund hamas, fund al qaeda, advancing his nuclear prograsm, and funding the worlds weapons markets.

It seems odd, because today that $80 billion is being spent to fight Al Qaeda, fight Iranian sponsored militias, and to build Iraqi civil society. This change in spending is the greatest achievement to world security since the fall of the soviet union.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Clinton acted on information received around the millennium of a potential LAX attack and mobilized the security agencies to thwart it.

Heh, looks like you beat me out on the display of ignorance.

Foiling millennium attack was mostly luck

Try again Alpha.

Roger J. said...

The one thing about Alpha's posts is that s/he makes Freder look good by comparison.

AlphaLiberal said...

roger:

In response to your question (and I deleted some delicious snark):

- Act on reports of suspicious flight training instead of ignoring them (you know, the kind where they don't concern themselves with landing the planes).

- Alert security agencies to be on the watch.

- Alert security agencies to review all reports of suspicious activity.

- Find bin Laden (obviously NOT a Bush priority as bin Laden remains at large 6 years later).

- Increase staffing resources working on the problem in CIA, FBI, NSA. Ask them what they need.

- Tell Condi Rice to hold the principles meeting on terrorism that Richard Clarke sought for months and which she refused to hold.

- If you're Bush, call your pals in Saudi Arabia and tell them to cut off the money flow to al Qaeda. Lean on them.

- In light of a threat to the nation you're sworn to defend, cut your fucking vacation short. Did I mention Bush remained on vacation after getting news of an imminent attack on the US?.

- Mobilize everyone with responsibility and tell them you want a plan on your desk in 24 hours, when you're back in DC off of your vacation.

- Any of a dozen other things a competent President would do.

Roger, you're defending the indefensible.

AJ Lynch said...

Hoosier:
Tim Roemer tried to peddle that too during the 911 commission hearings and Janet Reno testified "no, it was just good police work" (I am paraphrasing) and Roemer promptly ended his line of questioning.

Sloanasaurus said...

Did I mention Bush remained on vacation after getting news of an imminent attack on the US?.

Really. Can you describe this vacation? Was he laying on the beach by himself sucking a cherry coke?

With dopey comments like this it's a wonder that anyone here pays attention to you.

AlphaLiberal said...

Roger, you're the one pretending that it's impossible to defend this country when a warning of an imminent attack is received.

You wingers make like you're the only ones he-man enough to defend this country. In fact, it's more important to you to defend Bush than the nation.

Not only did Bush and Cheney miserably fail the test when they were warned 6 weeks in advance of an infamous attack on our own soil, but you continue to defend the incompetence that allowed this attack to happen.

In so doing, you guys reveal yourselves to be hollow hypocrites whose only use for national security is as a rhetorical tool to attack your domestic enemies.

You're like the partisan follower of Chairman Mao, following your leader over any cliff and attacking his critics.

Bruce Hayden said...

What is ignored by Yglesias, et al., is that of the composition of Iraq if we had scaled down so dramatically that early. Remember, Iraq had had some 80 years of imposed Sunni Arab domination (and hundreds of years before that of Sunni Turkish domination before that). Yet, the Sunni Arabs were only 20% of the population. Up until at the most a bit over a year ago, they Sunni Arabs were still bound and determined to restore their dominance of the 60% Shi'a and 20 Kurds, and were willing to use terror to do that. They were also well positioned to do so, given their higher education levels and the fact that they constituted the vast majority of the officer corp in the military.

Yet, would such a Sunni Arab controlled Iraq been stable? Unlikely, esp. with Shi'a controlled Iran next door and a majority Shi'a population.

What we have so far is that the Sunni Arabs have finally come around and accepted their minority status and are willing to work with the majority in the government, esp. when it comes to security against terrorists, of whatever ethnic stripe. That is a big factor that will likely help make a stable democratic Iraq possible.

I think that the big thing left to address is Sadr and his Mahdi Army, who have turned into thugs and criminals in many places, notably Basra. And, as noted, he has the Iranians behind him, at least to some extent.

But on the other side, he has the bulk of the Shi'a, as well as the Sunni Arabs and Kurds, all mostly working against him. And he is also facing a much more formidable Iraqi military, reformulated from the ground up under primary Shi'a control, as opposed to the Sunni Arab control that would have been the situation if we had not spent the money and lives to get where we are now.

What is notable is that Sadr is now on the run. Basra and the areas around it are slipping out of his control and into government hands. And government control here means a significant presence at the neighborhood level.

All of this would have been lost if we had not been willing to invest the money and lives that we did.

rhhardin said...

Ohio needs the jobs. There is a small benefit in everything I guess.

I'm doing okay in Ohio.

I do notice that Ohio is near the top in anti-business climate. You could get a benefit by fixing that, even if you're a Democrat.

Interested in the problems of trade? This podcast is actually entertaining.

How much better the Democrats would fare if they actually used real economics! You could pick up some Republicans easily.

AlphaLiberal said...

Sloan:

He went out and cut brush with his dog Barney.

instead of throwing out ignorant slights, why not show us something Bush did after receiving this memo to protect America?

Because you can't. You know you can't defend your guy here.

Prove me wrong. Go for it.

Roger J. said...

You suggestions in light of the August PDB reflect absolutely no specificity. Which security agencies to be on the look our for what? Bearded, swarthy men? Blond haired nordic types? Security agencies report suspicious activity as a matter of course--Which locations should they be monitoring--with what resources--how many people are there available? How do we capture OBL in the August to October period without first declaring war on OBL? (we werent at war with Afghanistan at the time-remember?

How fast do you think you can add personnel resources you suggest? You havent the remotest idea how government operates (other than perhaps the West Wing.) Manpower spaces are based on Congressional appropriations and authorizations; you simply can't add them; you have to get congress to approve them as a part of the next years budget cycle. And you couldnt do that until the winter of 2002. And even assuming what you suggest could be done, it takes months to go through the civil service process to hire people. You genuinely have no understanding of how your federal government operates which fact you have put on display for all of us to see.

Snark away all you want Alpha--I can take it :)

rhhardin said...

What the war in Iraq is about is preventing a nuclear strike on Islamic nations a few years down the road, that definitively ends a one-afternoon war after a US city is taken out.

Islam is being offered a chance and a choice for modernity, which, in Iraq for example, is being taken. The population there at least is tired of being blown up by Islamic shitheads.

One nation at a time, and it won't end with Iraq, will take control of their nutballs.

The more favorably the war is portrayed, the easier it will go. That's always been true.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Prove me wrong. Go for it.

I did with your millenium attack plot assertation. Clinton didn't do squat. It was the gut instinct of an alert official which did.

Any of a dozen other things a competent President would do.

Can you answer why despite numerous attacks on US interests during the Clinton years none of those things you listed were done?

AlphaLiberal said...

Here is the memo that bush ignored when he could have acted to prevent the attacks on America on September 11.

It specifically mentions using a hijacked airliner as a weapon. It is titled: "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US".

Bush received other warnings throughout the year of this attack, beginning shortly after he was sworn in. I repeat the question to Bush's defenders: What did Bush do to protect American in response to those attacks?
---- --
Roger: you ask what agencies, but I listed three in my previous post. Read much?

I know how authorizations and appropriations work, thank you. The fact is there's latitude for assigning personnel to different threats. They don't have to go to Congress to move people around to different assignments.

Why don't you take up the challenge I gave to Sloan: tell us what Bush did in the wake of all these warnings to defend America in 2001. You can't!

Roger J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sloanasaurus said...

instead of throwing out ignorant slights, why not show us something Bush did after receiving this memo to protect America?

Because you can't. You know you can't defend your guy here.


I agree. 9-11 happened on Bush's watch. The buck stops with him. In response, he invaded Iraq and Afghanistan and passed the patriot act and we haven't been attacked since, yet Obama claims we are less safe?

Pogo said...

Sylvia Plath had leftists like Sullivan right:

"Every [leftist] adores a Fascist,
The boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you
[pick one: Che, Saddam, Mao, Stalin, Castro, Chavez, Mugabe]."

AlphaLiberal said...

Sloan:

Thanks for agreeing to reality: 9/11 happened on Bush's watch.

But the question you are dodging is what did bush do after being warned America would be attacked? You can't answer that because he didn't do anything.

Can any of you point to anything Bush did before 9/11 to defend America from those attacks?

Roger J. said...

Alpha says: "Roger, you're the one pretending that it's impossible to defend this country when a warning of an imminent attack is received."

This is what I said, Alpha: "I,for one, do not believe that ANY president can prevent a terrorist attack unless the state is totalitarian. Unless, of course, you received specific information about the who what when and where of the act. A committed terrorist--especially those of the Jihadist persuasion who dont mind killing themselves in the process--will eventually be successful."

I had a very important caveat about being unable to defend against terrorism which I will repeat here: "Unless, of course, you received specific information about the who what when and where of the act." That information was not in the August PDB. Unless you think "OBL determined to strike the US is actionable. The memo did does not specify date, time, tragets or methods.

Alpha: I personally don't care if what you think of me--I do wish you would at least quote me correctly.

AlphaLiberal said...

hoosier daddy:
Can you answer why despite numerous attacks on US interests during the Clinton years none of those things you listed were done?

They were done, by the Clinton Administration.

AlphaLiberal said...

roger:

I paraphrased you accurately. You said:
If any person believes the information in the August PDB was actionable in any sense, ...

AlphaLiberal said...

The memo did does not specify date, time, tragets or methods.

Yes, I know. There is still plenty of action to take as a result of the memo. Bush took none. Unless one of you can show what he did.

Still waiting for that proof from the legions of die-hard Bush defenders here in Althousiana.

Sloanasaurus said...

Why don't you take up the challenge I gave to Sloan:

Now take up my challenge:

Are we more secure today with the Iraqi government spending $80 billion a year fighting al qaeda and building schools or with Saddam in power spending $80 billion funding terrorism and weapons programs.

Simon said...

Alpha, I'd already posted the link to the PDB higher up in the thread - do you even bother reading before you start ranting? And I still want to hear your answer to Roger's question about what actions you'd have ordered - the vague fluff in your 2:18 PM comment can't be your final answer, can it? I mean, you can't possibly think that "[a]lert[ing] security agencies to be on the watch," for example, is a serious policy response to the PDB.

Roger J. said...

Alpha: if you think you paraphrased me accurately you are deluded. I will let the readership conclude if your paraphrase was accurate and consistent with my comments.

BTW Alpha: What Bush did in light of the threat, that hadn't changed in spite of your admiration for the August PDB, was to keep the existing Clinton administration anti-terrorism policies and programs in place. You speak with all the authority of the monday morning quarterback.

You arent going to convince me; nor am I going to make my case to you. Have a great day anyway.

AlphaLiberal said...

Sloan, you ignored my request and answered a question I didn't ask. Why would I respond to you?

The answer to your question, though is "no." al Qaeda and the Taliban are growing in strength again. They nearly killed Karzai.

The US is reviled around the world and our stature and influence have shrunken.

Little has been done to increase port security.

The torturing, killing and maiming of Arabs, many innocent, has inflamed hatreds against our nation.

There's much more to say there, but you're hard-core and dodge unpleasant questions.

Now, can you tell me what useful action did Bush take after being warned of an imminent attack on the USA? You have dodged that question.

Freder Frederson said...

What is notable is that Sadr is now on the run. Basra and the areas around it are slipping out of his control and into government hands.

You really haven't been paying attention have you? And as I keep pointing out, Maliki is more closely aligned with the government of Iran than Sadr. Such inconvenient facts continue to escape you.

Besides, do you really think, that at the end of the day, Saudi Arabia (which has a large, potentially restive Shia minority), Kuwait, or even the U.S., is going to be happy with an Iraq that is Shia dominated and more friendly to Iran that it is to its neighbors to the west?

George said...

Much of this is now up to the historians to argue over.

Today we have Iran arming Hezbollah and Hamas against Israel and terror factions in Iraq.

Iran has an interest in a) keeping oil prices high; b) harassing us; c) defeating McCain; d) weakening/destroying Israel; e) keeping Iraq from being a military threat; g) keeping the Afghan government weak; and g) possibly destabilizing Egypt so that an Islamic regime could come to power there.

To me, the more interesting question than historical issues is what will Iran try to foment in the next six months?

Clearly, it does not want us to destroy its refineries or nuclear facilities, but what serious mischief might it cause (surrogate war with Israel? a Tet-type offensive in Iraq? a 'rogue' attack on our Persian Gulf fleet) and how should we respond?

Roger J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger J. said...

Freder: from everything I have read, the Sunni minority seems quite happy and has even rejoined the coalition since Maliki cracked down on Sadr. And it also seems that Basra, for the most part is back in government hands. Of course, I get my information from the British press, and the embedded bloggers and the like. But I would conclude that the Basra operation was a major military and political success for Maliki--YMMV.

As to the possibility of an Iraqi-Iranian access--quite possible from the standpoint of their religious Shia heritage; far less like because of a more hetergenous and secular Iraqi population. Time will tell.

Steven said...

Never mind Bill didn't do jack to secure the US from attack despite his 8 years in office.

I think that's unfair. Wasn't there intelligence showing that OBL was ready to strike the US? Wasn't GWB briefed on that at his ranch? So the intelligence infrastructure was apparently there, even if the mindset to interpret it properly was not.

After the first World Trade Center bombing, the Khobar Towers bombing, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Atlanta Olympic bombing, the U.S. Embassy bombings, and the USS Cole bombing, it's perfectly fair to conclude that Clinton didn't manage to do much to prevent terrorist attacks on the U.S., whether the attacker was foreign or domestic, and whether the attack was in the U.S. or on our overseas assets.

And, if you'll recall, the Somalia retreat he ordered is what Osama bin Laden cited as evidence that terrorism could defeat the United States.

You know, it's going to be lovely when Obama has us withdraw from Iraq. We'll get all sorts of triumphalist announcements from al-Qaeda talking about the victory of the jihadis in outlasting the Great Satan.

Roger J. said...

Since I asked the question about what should have been done, let me at least answer my own question. I would have directed immigration agencies to start reviewing all visas issued to any and all Muslim men; and if the information in the PDB indicated the threat was clearly directed at aviation (which, as I recall, it didnt), I would have directed the FAA and air marshal service to concentrate their surveillance on young muslim men. (please recall we didn't have a TSA or the screening equipment we have now). And there is that whole issue of racial profiling.

Sloanasaurus said...

The answer to your question, though is "no." al Qaeda and the Taliban are growing in strength again. They nearly killed Karzai.

This is the usual liberal talking points. They are all opinions not based on fact. Al Qaeda used to be revered by near 40% of Pakistan's population. Now they are a disgrace in pakistan.

The US is reviled around the world and our stature and influence have shrunken.

What evidence is there for this other than statements in the leftwing media. Why do people keep moving here?



Little has been done to increase port security.


A lot has been done. Nevertheless, it's better to spend your resources on offense than defense.

The torturing, killing and maiming of Arabs, many innocent, has inflamed hatreds against our nation.

You mean when we "tortured" three Al Qaeda members? Are you claiming that they are innocent?

If they hate us so much, how come we haven't been attacked since 9-11 in the U.S.? Why do people keep moving here from the arab world?

Sloanasaurus said...

You really haven't been paying attention have you? And as I keep pointing out, Maliki is more closely aligned with the government of Iran than Sadr. Such inconvenient facts continue to escape you.

Did you get this information from your hero Thomas Ricks. You remember him - He said Anbar was "lost" back in September 2006.

Sloanasaurus said...

As to the possibility of an Iraqi-Iranian access--quite possible from the standpoint of their religious Shia heritage;

Why is it believed that because Iranians and Iraqis share the same religion that they are "natural" allies. Iraqis are culturally arabs. Iranians are persians. They speak different languages and have very different traditions. The last time Iran and Iraq were "united" was in the 14th century under the mongols.

Revenant said...

And as I keep pointing out, Maliki is more closely aligned with the government of Iran than Sadr.

You do indeed keep "pointing that out", Freder. But since it was untrue the first time you said it and hasn't gotten any truer since then, we're continuing to ignore you.

If we withdrew our support, Maliki's government would collapse. If Iran withdrew its support, Sadr's movement would collapse. That alone establishes who is more closely tied to who.

Revenant said...

And if Obama doesn't start pulling out immediately I will call him to the carpet.

And do what, exactly? Vote for the Republicans in 2012?

Come on. The Democrats know that the anti-war crowd will mindlessly pull the "D" lever so long as the war continues. They've got no incentive to actually end it.

dbp said...

Alpha:

"Yes, I know. There is still plenty of action to take as a result of the memo. Bush took none. Unless one of you can show what he did."

There looks to be some kind of "logical" error in the above. Actions were either taken or not, nothing we can show here and now can change the past.

There was nothing in the memo which would indicate doing anything beyond what competant security forces would already have been doing.

If Bush had instituted a police state, that might have thwarted the attacks. Given the left-wing resistance to The Patriot Act--in the face of the 9-ll attacks, I have no doubt y'all would have embraced totalitarianism with open arms; purely on the strength of this PDB. Right?

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Everyone already knows going to Iraq was a huge mistake, a blunder.

Anyone on the fringe still supporting it is just being silly, or can't admit being wrong about something. Their opinions are irrelevant...I just shrug and say "whatever" when I hear them try to justify it.

So why argue about it?

It was wrong, it was horribly planned, and we're going to be there for a very very long time...no matter who becomes the next president.

Freder Frederson said...

You do indeed keep "pointing that out", Freder. But since it was untrue the first time you said it and hasn't gotten any truer since then, we're continuing to ignore you.

Will believe me in a month from now when the Maliki government concludes their investigation and finds that the Iranian government has nothing to do with the shipment of arms to the militias (as I speculated near the top of the thread)?

dbp said...

freder: "Will believe me in a month from now when the Maliki government concludes their investigation and finds that the Iranian government has nothing to do with the shipment of arms to the militias (as I speculated near the top of the thread)?"

Well, I had a pretty good laugh at that at the top of the thread. Maybe not for the reasons you think though. What I wondered is why you would think a finding by the Maliki admin convincing? At the same time you don't believe US sources that say the Iranians are behind it.

Sloanasaurus said...

Everyone already knows going to Iraq was a huge mistake, a blunder.

Anyone on the fringe still supporting it is just being silly, or can't admit being wrong about something. Their opinions are irrelevant...I just shrug and say "whatever" when I hear them try to justify it.


Wow. I suppose you are also one of those kooks who say there is scientific consensus on global warming.

Go ahead and shrug away. Your lot was shrugging while saddam was gassing his own people. You still shrug for Castro and Hugo. You were shrugging during Pol Pots regime, you were shrugging while Stalin and Mao starved millions... shrug, shrug, shrug.

Revenant said...

Will believe me in a month from now when the Maliki government concludes their investigation and finds that the Iranian government has nothing to do with the shipment of arms to the militias

There are plenty of anti-war lefties right here in America who deny that Iran is supplying our enemies with weapons. Are you guys more tightly affiliated with Iran than you are with America?

Simon said...

Sloanasaurus said...
"[The US is reviled around the world and our stature and influence have shrunken?] What evidence is there for this other than statements in the leftwing media. Why do people keep moving here?"

And supported by evidence or otherwise, why do we care, again? If the worst thing about the Bush administration was that it had caused bad blood between us and a bunch of foreigners, I have to tell you, that would hardly be a damning indictment in my eyes. They say it's better to be feared than loved, and the problem isn't that we aren't loved, it's that we aren't feared as much as we should be. And that's a problem that the Democratic party would only exacerbate, because its official policy is to surrender and retreat in Iraq, proving to the entire world that if you can just inflict enough casualties, sooner or later the Americans will give up and retreat. Bravo. What a world we live in where a significant chunk of the population believes that the foreign policy of the United States should be to give aid and comfort to our enemies.

Revenant said...
"The Democrats know that the anti-war crowd will mindlessly pull the 'D' lever so long as the war continues. They've got no incentive to actually end it."

They have an active incentive to not end it, for as long as they can get away with. That is why Congress has done nothing to end the war despite its having the power to do so, and why it will do nothing to end the war during McCain's first term. The war has become to the Democratic leadership what flag burning amendments have long been for the GOP leadership: red meat for the base, symbolic issues that can be trotted out to gin up some votes without any substantial impact.

Zachary Paul Sire said...
" Everyone already knows going to Iraq was a huge mistake, a blunder."

Not so. If a team goes out and their coach calls every play badly, completely fouls up the entire game, that doesn't mean it was a "huge mistake, a blunder" to play, it means that the coach was incompetent. Obama was wrong about Iraq. There is absolutely no reason to think that the result was foreordained from the moment the first shot was fired, and for the life of me, I can't see why a narrative that gives Bush so much credit would appeal to the left.

Paddy O. said...

"Their opinions are irrelevant"

I'm curious why somehow your opinions are relevant. Why should your "whatever" have any weight at all?

The "everybody knows" argument is really rhetorically embarrassing and pretty lazy. At least make a movie reference or talk about your proclivities. Give us something worthwhile.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

"I'm curious why somehow your opinions are relevant."

Whoever said my opinions would be relevant to you? I don't think they are...so don't think I was trying to force anything on you.

Sure, my opinions are relevant to people living in reality. But not to people who think going to Iraq was a good decision.

"If a team goes out and their coach calls every play badly, completely fouls up the entire game, that doesn't mean it was a "huge mistake, a blunder" to play, it means that the coach was incompetent."

Yeah, because hundreds of thousands of dead people is akin to losing a sporting event.

Michael_H said...

Freder and Alpha,

Thanks again for reminding me how important it is that conservatives regain and hold political power in the oval office, senate and house.

I greatly appreciate your efforts.

I pledge to redouble my efforts on behalf of conservatives politicians and causes.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"Yeah, because hundreds of thousands of dead people is akin to losing a sporting event."

It can be if it is a soccer match in Brazil.

Revenant said...

Critics of the war often present their arguments as if the civil war would never have happened in the absence of a US invasion. But of course the civil war was inevitable in any case. Had we simply waited until Hussein died of natural causes the country would still have collapsed into anarchy -- we just wouldn't have had a military presence there to keep a lid on the killing.

So it isn't a question of whether or not killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis in a civil war is a good idea or not. It is just a question of how we wanted to be positioned when the Iraqis started killing each other in bulk lots.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

"So it isn't a question of whether or not killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis in a civil war is a good idea or not. It is just a question of how we wanted to be positioned when the Iraqis started killing each other in bulk lots."

Maybe or maybe not. Hussein could have set things up for a successor to rule with the same sort of dictatorship.

There's no question for me that we'd be better positioned NOT in the middle of the civil war, fueling the fire, losing American lives.

Roger J. said...

Zachary: if there is a civil war on in Iraq, it certainly doesn't look like most civil wars in history. I would be interested in what you consider the appropriate historical comparisons for civil war. Now if the Kurds were battling the Iraqi government for control, that might be a civil war; if the Sunnis were battling the Iraq central government that could be a civil war. IMO you are confusing an ever decreasing insurgency by AQ as a civil war; or confusing a rump shiite sect battling the central government as a civil war. Neither of those make for good civil wars. They do make for insurgencies however.

Revenant said...

Maybe or maybe not. Hussein could have set things up for a successor to rule with the same sort of dictatorship.

Highly unlikely. Hussein deliberately avoided making any arrangements for a successor for the simple reason that doing so would encourage his own assassination.

But even if he had picked a fresh genocidal dictator to replace him, that too would simply have postponed the inevitable. The Shiite majority (and Kurdish minority) had ample reason to hate and loathe the Hussein-favored Sunnis, and that hate did nothing but grow with each year of oppression. The post-invasion years have shown that the only thing keeping civil war from erupting was brutal oppression. You can't brutally oppress people forever.

No, the simple truth of the matter is that Iraq needs to get this out of its system. The best we could ever hope for was to manage them through it as quickly as possible.

There's no question for me that we'd be better positioned NOT in the middle of the civil war, fueling the fire

There's no reason to believe we're fueling the fire.

losing American lives.

If you don't think a democratic Iraq is worth the few thousand American lives it has cost us then that's your opinion. But that's an entirely different argument from the one you offered at first -- that the cost in Iraqi lives was too high. From a moral perspective, those few thousand American lives have prevented countless innocent casualties, and from a strategic perspective a friendly Iraq is worth a lot more dead soldiers than that.

Paddy O. said...

Sure, my opinions are relevant to people living in reality. But not to people who think going to Iraq was a good decision.

Or rather, "My opinions matter to people who share my opinions". And "reality is my perspective."

Intellectual laziness I tell you. Laziness! What are the schools teaching these days?

Or maybe there's something deeper going on and I shouldn't be quick to judge.

No rigorous consideration. Not even good postmodern acceptance of relative perspectives on reality. Neither modern nor postmodern but rather a vague narcissistic obsession that really seems to suggest being stuck in Erickson's fifth stage of development.

Keep pressing on Zachary Paul, you'll find your own identity yet.

Revenant said...

Or rather, "My opinions matter to people who share my opinions". And "reality is my perspective."

If, as Zachary claims, "everyone" except those on "the fringe" agrees with him then it is even harder to see why his opinions matter. With that many people to chose from, why get your explanations from someone who is, well, kind of a dick?

Hoosier Daddy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hoosier Daddy said...

Alpha said They were done, by the Clinton Administration.

They were? Then maybe you can explain why you think Bush would have had to duplicate the effort after receving the August PDB?

Alpha, you going to recant your incorrect statement that Clinton acted on intel about the millenium plot when in reality he did nothing of the sort?

Revenant said...

You don't understand, Hoosier. Bush was told that bin Laden planned to attack the United States. Clearly his immediate response should have been to pick up the phone to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and say "I order you gentlemen to... protect the United States!"

When further informed that Al Qaeda planned to attack buildings in major cities, he should have ordered the Joint Chiefs to... protect American buildings!. In our major cities! From Osama bin Laden!

Sure, an unrepentant naysayer might quibble with these instructions, saying stuff like "uh, protect from what? Which buildings? For how long?". But those sorts of questions have no place in the Reality Based Community. We're big-picture people, see.

Sordid Business said...

I think we all need to just ignore Miss Sully until March 2009 (his residence waiver expires then....and despite his constant whining about the HIV ban, it will not be lifted by that time). We can all wave goodbye to him electronically as he returns to London and becomes more irrelevant than he already is. Hopefully, he will take the hint and stay there...since his writings indicate he has a low opinion of the non-creative class of the species Homo Americanus, I can't see why he woul want to live amongst us.

Fen said...

Steven: the Somalia retreat he ordered is what Osama bin Laden cited as evidence that terrorism could defeat the United States.

I would like to add, having served in Somolia in B CO 3D LAR BN, that the multinational clusterfrack known as the UN was responsible for that attack getting out of hand.

It rountinely took my LAV platoon less than five minutes to go from condition 4 [one Marine up on watch, rest asleep] to condition 1 [on the road an hauling ass to the objective]. The UN force [which was in charge at that time] took HOURS to respond to our Blackhawk.

Something for those that believe multilateral ops under the UN are "more legitimate".

Oh yeah, the Paki's rounded up their sickest and lamest and malnourished and sent them to "help" in Mogadishu. They rarely [if ever] left their compound. And we had to divert to them rations, water and medical attention meant for the starving Somoli's we were fighting for.

Thats why I just shake my head and laugh at those on the Left who think a UN peace keeping force is an answer for anything involving direct action.

Revenant said...

Something for those that believe multilateral ops under the UN are "more legitimate".

The majority of UN member nations define the legitimacy of an action as being directly proportional to the extent to which it screws the United States. Failing to help us when we need it is, to the UN, a feature -- not a bug.

Kirk Parker said...

Alpha,

"Find bin Laden"

Whoa--you're making the case for having invaded Afghanistan pre-9/11? Kewl!!!!!

Mr. Forward said...

"Exactly what did Bill do after the 1993 WTC attack?

Umm, captured, endicted, prosecuted and convicted the perpetrators."
Freder Frederson

"U.S.: Iraq sheltered suspect in '93 WTC attack
USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — U.S. authorities in Iraq say they have new evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime gave money and housing to Abdul Rahman Yasin, a suspect in the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, according to U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials."

AJ Lynch said...

Fen:

The reality-based libs will not believe a word of your first-hand experience. They would say you lie or exaggerate or it was an aberration and exception to the rule.

That is sad to say.

Sloanasaurus said...

But even if he had picked a fresh genocidal dictator to replace him, that too would simply have postponed the inevitable. The Shiite majority (and Kurdish minority) had ample reason to hate and loathe the Hussein-favored Sunnis, and that hate did nothing but grow with each year of oppression

Rev, I am not sure if this would be the case. I think it would be unlikely that the Sunni minority rule would have come to an end in Iraq without foreign intervention. In modern day it is easy for a minority group to control the state. Assad does it in Syria quite easily.

IN fact, there is a constant cliche about democracy - that democracy must come from within... Yet, it is hard to find a real life historical example of where that actually occurred. The only good example that comes to mind is Russia, but that democracy is on its way out. The norm seems to be that foreign intervention is required to help create a democracy because democratic governments tend to start weak and get stronger. All the democracies in europe required the assistance of foreign powers to flourish. America required the assistance of France.