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Just The Crazy Ravings of an Armchair General

In screenwriting, this is called the third act. The characters, all having learned their lessons (or not) apply their wisdom (or continued foolishness) to resolving things and wrapping up the big conflict. If they haven’t gotten it, we call it a tragedy. If they have, it’s a happy, or at least heroic ending.

How this story develops depends on how we work things out from this point. Let me give you a hint about what I’m calling for: It has something to do with the title and subject of my last entry.

To put it plainly, what's happened with Iraq is somewhat similar to what happens when you step into a hidden drop off while wading: We looked like idiots while we splashed, thrashed, and got all wet. That, and we muddied up the waters in the process. The terrorists have already had their victory. We've made them a new training ground, and like Bernie Casey in Spies Like Us we've added the element of live ammunition.

If this were a movie, the natural third act would be undoing the damage, or if we were going for more somber fare, it would be getting out alive and living with the consequences of our actions, and learning our lesson for the future.

As the vote in Congress indicated, few think we can simply walk away. As my readers know, I've never believed we could do so. We have to write the third act. We can't cut the drama short. The question here is whether we want this to be painful and with willing sacrifice, or extra painful, with the sacrifice unwilling, and a serious shock to the system. The key to whether it's one or the other will be how we decided to end this war.

We end it the way the Bush administration wants to, and the end will likely be much more inglorious. They seem to think we can hang around and keep on killing terrorists forever. That, or they believe that at some point, the death-worshipping terrorists and insurgents of the Middle East will get tired of dying for their cause.

They should look at Jordan. Zaraqawi got disowned by his family because of his actions. I think there are many who don't pale before American guns who would blanch at the thought of being so renounced. But why was he renounced? I think because they could no longer avoid the brutal consequences of what he was doing. But also, most importantly, Zarqawi made the mistake of taking those actions in a country not already paralyzed by constant, daily violence.

Our error in occupying Iraq was not occupying it enough to prevent chaos from taking over. As such, violence and lawlessness, corruption and immobile bureaucracy became a fact of life. When this happens, the size of a person's world shrinks to those closest to him, and the causes he or she most believes in. By letting the violence at ground level get out of hand, the Bush administration made it near impossible for the average Iraqi to think more than two feet in front of their faces. The fog of war, the uncertainty of the battlefield, settled not only on our armies, but on the very people we were supposed to bring peace to during the occupation.

Because of the uncertainty of constant conflict, it has been damn near pointless to do much of anything else but fight. The economy remains anemic there, the four most populous provinces are also the four most violent (including the capital itself.), reconstruction efforts have to compete with very effective deconstruction efforts, and Iraqis have still not gotten back to the standard of living they had before the war, under sanctions.

Uncertainty and poverty are not a recipe for peace. A broken infrastructure and stagnant economy is not a recipe for peace. They are a recipe for a failed state, a new Afghanistan. Peace requires a economy that gives something more to do than sit around and resent their lot in life. Peace requires and infrastructure that can in turn bring that about. Peace requires that law and order be brought, and that such law and order be agreeable to enough people, or legitimately enough brought, that people do not considere violence an effective means of dissent, or a necessary means of gaining power.

In short, we have a lot of catching up to do. These were the conditions for lasting victory before, they are the condition for lasting peace now. The quesiton is how do we get here from there?

First, we have to get a well-trained, permanent presence on hand to keep the peace, in the form of an Iraqi army and local police forces. In either case, the main impediment here is keeping the peace long enough to get these folks trained and solidly in place in the community is the continual attacks on law and order by the insurgents. Our strategy over the past two years has been to clear places of insurgents and move on. Unfortunately this has become an insurgent version of whack-a-mole, with them popping up in the places we just left to get their corrosive influence back in play.

This has been the single most serious impediment to real progress, and also the most effective description of the central fault in Rumsfeld's military planning: we are currently occupying Iraq with a force designed for mobility and not peacekeeping. As brilliant as our thirty-day dash to Baghdad was, It probably would have been a better strategy if we had used a heavier force in the rear to secure the areas behind it. By making the Iraq War a mobile infantry exercise, it severely limited our ability to simply sit on places until they were under control, discouraging lawlessness and any incipient rebellion.

So, we're still mobile, and still running around trying to destroy the insurgency one insurgent body count by one. This, during a guerilla war. This is what's nuts about our approach: it lets the guerilla war do what it is meant to do: lose again and again, but do so in such a way that we never completely destroy their capability to fight, and we exhaust ourselves trying to destroy them by conventional means, which don't work.

We have to stop playing their game. Regardless of what Bush says, a strategy of attrition fails in that regard.

As with any war, the important thing is territory. In this war, the insurgency used an inkspot strategy, taking over small villages, then expanding their spheres of control until they blurred them together. My opinion is that we should do something like that, With American forces securing small villages against the enemy, then expanding out to encompass greater territory. If we're lucky, we might be able to get Iraqi forces trained, and leave them to sit on the sites, but I'm not sure that will be the case. We might need more men to effectively get things done. That could mean expanding the army, that could mean enacting a draft.

Or somebody else could come up with a better idea of how to do this. Regardless, one thing is clear: if we let this go, we will have to come back, probably under worse conditions. It may not even be as simple as just returning to a failed state. It could end up being as bad as a multipolar war between the powers of the Middle East, or worse, a conquering tyrant or political movement emerging from the chaos. So we need to be prepared to do what's necessary now, or we will pay dearly later.

Of course, a lot of these things will not be easy to take. The government must be honest about why they do what they do. Americans are sick of being lied to, sick of being treated like children. Regardless of what choice our leaders gravitate to, they must present that choice to the voters with honesty, forthrightness, respect, and most importantly, a recognition that the best interests of all Americans are united, even if their opinions and discourses are not, and that compromise is the natural, though not always pleasing, end to which Democracy works.

So let us make and end of this war, and make it an end worth fighting for. Otherwise, let's pack up our bags and carry our experiences away as a warning to later generations: if you don't start the story in the right place, in the right way, you will pay for the failure of your wisdom.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at November 21, 2005 7:33 PM
Comment #94660


“Our error in occupying Iraq was not occupying it enough to prevent chaos from taking over. As such, violence and lawlessness, corruption and immobile bureaucracy became a fact of life.”

Our biggest error was standing idlely by and blithely allowing chaos to form in the vacuum we created in the first days of the war. I will never forget Rumsfeld’s smiling face as the chaos grew.

“Regardless, one thing is clear: if we let this go, we will have to come back, probably under worse conditions. It may not even be as simple as just returning to a failed state.”

If we allow this to happen we will find ourselves fighting the Iraqis, not just the insurgents.

Posted by: Rocky at November 21, 2005 8:51 PM
Comment #94681

Excellent article, Stephen.

We have to stop playing their game. Regardless of what Bush says, a strategy of attrition fails in that regard.

Absolutely. After all the lessons learned about insurgencies over the last 60 years, I’m appalled at the way the military campaign is being waged.

You’re absolutely right that we should use the spreading “inkspot” strategy against the insurgents and terrorists. It worked in Malaya in the 50s and 60s, and if you talk to the Marines and Special Forces guys, it would have worked in Vietnam, too (they called it the ‘fortified hamlet’ strategy back then).

But the Pentagon does big wars and is totally uninterested in planning for insurgencies; I mean how many aircraft carriers, submarines and B-2 bombers do you need to chase down a few guys in the boonies?

Unfortunately, the Pentagon is exclusively planning to fight big wars with China that will never be fought, while ignoring the type of wars that we definitely will fight — that we’re fighting right now. The US, on average, has been involved in fighting an insurgency about once every two years since the end of the Cold War, yet we still can’t deal effectively with an insurgency. That’s bad.

And you touched a little on the vision thing. Other than a vague dream of democratic dominos, the Bush administration has never articulated a clear vision of post-war Iraq — much less a plan to achieve it.

Initially there was talk of a free-market liberal democracy, but that was abandoned in late 2003 when President Bush made the political decision to hand Iraq over to the Iraqis before establishing security, dismantling Saddam’s centrally-controlled socialist economy, or even drawing up a good constitution.

Ever since then, Bush’s post-war “plan” has been just reacting to events while desperately trying to keep to a meaningless arbitrary timeline for eventual withdrawal. I mean, c’mon! Why would you hold an election that’s supposed to unify the country knowing that 20% of the population — the 20% who are in open rebellion, for Christ’s sake — will not take part. Did Bush think that after an election that saw Sunnis unrepresented in the government they’d magically become peaceful citizens?

Ugh… I’ve gone on way too long. Excellent post, Stephen. What is the President’s vision for an end-game in Iraq? What is the definition of victory?

Posted by: American Pundit at November 21, 2005 10:27 PM
Comment #94687

Our error was going in at all. We are still unwanted in Iraq, except for those paid off to say so. We are being justifiably accused by both the Iraqi and the world communities of torture and unspeakable cruelty to civilian—read political—prisoners. We have made enemies of countries which were long time allies—like France. We are considered a scourge and a byword by the world community. If we needed help from other countries, do you think those we have denigrated and punished for not helping us in Iraq will ever be willing to help us again? No, sometimes the only thing to do is to pull out, nurse our wounds, but keep any more of our young men and women from dying in an illegal war based on lies, a war which is sapping the very lifeblood of this country. Those who question that need only to look at cuts in health, education, and welfare. We are not only mortgaging our future to fight an illegal war, but also our present. How can we justify even one more day in Iraq?

Posted by: Penny Duff at November 21, 2005 10:43 PM
Comment #94692

This is one of Stephen’s better posts—it’s refreshing to talk about things in a practical way instead of indulging in partisanship.

The “inkspot” strategy has been given a lot of air time lately by Andrew Krepinevich, an author and defense analyst, but it’s important to mention why the generals in the field don’t agree that that’s an effecitive approach in Iraq.

Here’s why.

Contrary to what Stephen’s said, the ability to hold territory is important, but it’s not the key problem in confronting an insurgency like this one. This is because unlike a traditional army, the insurgency is higly mobile, works in small teams, and doesn’t require bases of operation beyond isolated safe houses.

Further, the insurgency is completely unable to hold territory—whenever they openly raise their flag in an area, they play to the American’s advantage in superior firepower and are quickly defeated.

Small groups, working undetected, are their only effective means. We hold Baghdad, for example, and there are still plenty of attacks there. Even if we hold a village and control it, that doesn’t mean that one guy with a car load of explosives can’t blow himself up at a checkpoint or mosque.

If we commit to an inkblot strategy, we’d have to concentrate forces in specfic areas while basically allowing them to operate freely elsewhere. Any city police chief can tell you that if you clean up drug dealing on one street, it just moves somewhere else in town.

It seems to me that the single most important thing that isn’t being done enough now is to secure the borders—to cut off the flow of foreign fighters and weapons.

Posted by: sanger at November 21, 2005 11:07 PM
Comment #94694


“It seems to me that the single most important thing that isn’t being done enough now is to secure the borders—to cut off the flow of foreign fighters and weapons.”

Iraq is a country the size of California.

We can’t seal our own borders, and our neighbors are friendly, and on our side.

If you can’t or won’t secure an area once you have taken it, you will end up having to take it back again and again.

Posted by: Rocky at November 21, 2005 11:15 PM
Comment #94697


For all of our superior fire power we can’t seem to deal with small groups that thrust and parry and then back off. You cannot depend on technology when fighting someone using guerrilla tactics.

Posted by: Rocky at November 21, 2005 11:26 PM
Comment #94698


If this is the party platform I will probably switch parties this go around in the fall.

It is a positive, practical, realistic approach, that people can rally around.

My only advice is to step aside if a more doable idea forms. Sometimes we get the juices going, and then someone connects the dots we advocated in a better way. Who cares, as long as we move forward.

May your tents increase.


Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 21, 2005 11:28 PM
Comment #94704

Rocky, my point about firepower had to do with the question of holding territory. They can’t do it at all, but if controlling territory means keeping them out, then we can’t either.

There is not a single case in the history of Iraq of the insurgents holding territory and preventing the Americans from entering it. If they attempt to hold territory, they get killed—it’s that simple, and it’s because of our superior firepower. You’re right that our superior firepower isn’t enough to defeat them—so long as they don’t make the stupid mistake of fighting over territory.

Neither, however, can we prevent these small groups (sometimes a single person with a carload of expolosives) from entering territory that we hold.

That’s why I’m saying that this is not primarily a battle over territory.

If physically securing the borders is not possible, then how in the world can you occupy every single town and village in Iraq (the inkblot strategy) with sufficient manpower to prevent small scale hit and run attacks? It’s impossible.

When I talk about securing the borders, I don’t mean totally preventing any movement at all—that’s not possible. But the borders ARE a point of vulnerability, before they blend into the population, for the weapons and people who move over them. A large part of a successful strategy needn’t be directly military, but involve intelligence and pressure being placed on the Syrian and Iranian governments.

Posted by: sanger at November 22, 2005 12:02 AM
Comment #94708

Everyone seems to be forgetting. We’re focusing upon Iraq because that is the source of pain. However, quietly and quite competently, we are making good progress in Afghanistan.

Let’s look at this in practical terms:

How are they similar?

1. Fragmentation of infrastructure
2. Ethnic diversity
3. Dominance of Islam
4. Primary loyalties at low organizational strata
5. Xenophobia

1. Fragmentation. Both Iraq and Afghanistan suffered destruction of infrastructure prior to invasions.
2. Both Iraq and Afghanistan possess a number of ethnic groups. These groups have fought each other on a long-term and short-term historical basis.
3. Islam is the predominate population.
4. Little loyalty is extended towards either the Afghan or Iraqi national governments.
5. Both countries exhibit a long history of xenophobia among their rural populations.

How are they different?

1. Afghan fragmentation of infrasture came at the hands of countries other than the US.
2. The dominant Afghan ethnic group, the Pashtun, ruled most of the country through the Taliban. In Iraq, a minority ethnic/religious group, the Sunni, ruled the country.
3. In Afghanistan, Islam was essentially the national religion. In Iraq, the ruling Baathists were secular.
4. I can see little difference between the loyalties of groups in these countries.
5. With the exception of Kabul, Afghanistan is basically a rural country with low population density. Iraq is much more urbanized.

How do the invasions & occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan compare and contrast?

Afghanistan presented US technological superiority few targets. The invasion consisted of foreign & US troops. Iraq presented US technological superiority with many targets. The invasion consisted of mostly US troops in areas of pitched combat.

Both Afghanistan and Iraq followed similar political processes, at least in terms of the steps.

In Iraq, the ruling minority Sunnis were disenfranchised by a democratic process. Refusal to participate in the process fueled insurgency.
In Afghanistan, the ruling majority Pashtun were also disenfranchised, at least initially. Recent elections allowed former members of the Taliban government to participate. Four Taliban and one Mujahideen were democratically elected to the Afghan legislature.

Afghanistan is enjoying relative success. The potential for disastrous insurgency from the Pashtun seems to be mitigated by their participation in the political process. The eventual result appears to be an Afghan democracy which is Islamic in nature. In fact, it may well resemble the Taliban, with political participation by the minorities of what used to be called The Northern Alliance alleviating armed conflict. International aid for rebuilding infrastructure seems to offer the long-term prospect of a country with a beneficial view of the west.

Iraq is a different matter.

The moral of the story? Don’t go around invading other countries unless absolutely necessary. If so, be the good guys on the high moral ground, occupy with as few foreign troops as possible, bring in the international community as much as possible, and leave as soon as practical.

It was never a question of too few boots on the ground, my friends. It was a question of too many, almost all American. That was the fatal flaw of the Occupation of Iraq.

Posted by: phx8 at November 22, 2005 12:23 AM
Comment #94715

You write: “If physically securing the borders is not possible, then how… can you occupy every single town and village in Iraq (the inkblot strategy) with sufficient manpower to prevent small scale hit and run attacks? It’s impossible.”

You are right, absolutely right.

Insurgency is political.

Battling an insurgency is political, too. No nation is likely to oppose the US on a conventional battlefield for a long time to come. Our opponents will choose insurgency.

Insurgency is primarily political, a battle for hearts and minds. It doesn’t really matter whether the US deploys 50,000, or 100,000, or 200,000 troops in another country. In fact, from an enemy insurgent’s perspective, the more foreign troops deployed, the better. Given the choice of supporting foreigners or locals, a population will support the locals every time. After all, they know their neighbors, and they all live there, and will continue living there long after the foreigners are gone.

Imagine a ham and eggs breakfast. The chicken is interested. The pig is committed.

We are interested. The Iraqis are committed. In other words, Iraq matters to us, it matters a great deal, but it is not a matter of national security. No realistic scenario threatens the security of our country. Fopr Iraqis, it is not just a matter of national security, it is a matter of survival.

You write: “A large part of a successful strategy needn’t be directly military, but involve intelligence and pressure being placed on the Syrian and Iranian governments.”

True. But given the belligerent statements by the Bush administration, cooperation from Syria or Iran seems unlikely. That’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish though.

Posted by: phx8 at November 22, 2005 1:22 AM
Comment #94717

I am very dumb , but I think this army is going to have to go back to very early American times when our ancestors fought the American Indians.
We need to find some very loyal Iraq citizens . That can tell the difference ,in the different tribes ,so to speak , make them scouts per se.Built some heavy rod iron fences around the most public places and post guards there and search people.Like here in our air ports and schools.
Safe houses so to speak,and guard them.Like the old western built forts,only these should be built out of Iron, and the people gather around then and built heavy iron fences.All the time be training loyal gound forces and police departments.Train guard dogs by the dozens.When something or some one looks supersititous send out the dogs first. Find tattle tails, train some CIA and Fbi’s for them to infitrate the enemy camps, to get informatiom. Work smarter not harder.There is ways to get these guys, but not faces to face. Cowards won’t fight face to face.The Indians would, but these people are not brave like the Indians were.They will die for their cause by blowing up places one at a time.But we finally got where men could go and make treaties with the Indians.
My father ‘bless his soul, always said “do not start a war with the middle east. You would never win.”
This probably is not worth the time it took the time to write it , but I believe it is the only way to win against them.
For the Iraqie to have their own CIA and FBI and infiltrate their forces and find out where they are going next.

Posted by: Sue McAvoy at November 22, 2005 1:36 AM
Comment #94718

Ok, here is my two cents.

First President Bush needs to separate Iraq (the Nation) from the War on Terror going on in that country. Why? Because by separating the Nation of Iraq from those insurgents who work for Al Qaeda would it or would it not force “The Freedom Fighters of Iraq” to rethink their stance and foe? Now, legally and legitimately America can offer Advisors and Assistance through our State Department to build schools, etc. and the enforcement of Civil Law. Thereby allowing a well deserved victory for our Troops in the removal and reinstatement of a properly elected government. Additionally, we and the new Iraq government may be able to work with the Freedom Fighters of Iraq to remove all foreign insurants. Terrorism will not stand in Iraq must be committed to by all parties involved or game is over and our generals must have the ability and capability to do whatever is necessary to win the war of peace. Nevertheless, America can than focus globally on ending terrorism in our lifetime. Because this is where I strictly disagree with President Bush. Please, can a single Democrat or Republican explain to me why it is going to take us 30-40 years to deal with the problem of Al Qaeda?

Ink dot, Secure the Borders, or any host of single level plans will not work in the type of warfare being waged against America and the rest of Humanity. The War on Terror or what is called by some “Freedom Fighters” is not a war that holds only one domain or realm of thinking. Politically speaking, this is a war between those Nations of Humanity that believe in governing by Appeasement and those Nations of Humanity that believe that governing by Oppression is the way to control the words and actions of their citizens. Or at least that is what OBL and Company is hoping that the general public would believe given the current status quo. No, winning the peace in Iraq is possible if the President and his WHIG group would shut up and listen to some advice from those who can play inside the minds of suicide bombers.

No hope or the lack of a foreseeable future that offers nothing is the biggest political and diplomatically problem America faces with the masses exploited by the members of Al Qaeda. Just look at the unemployment in the Middle East and ask yourself other than oil what other export or manufacturing is done in those countries? That is a problem for our State and Commerce Department to deal with not our Troops. Next, a good job for our military is the debunking of the type of Society that Al Qaeda wants to build for the Nations. Although the State Department has the ability to broadcast the real news, our military units can put Rush on the air to tell the people just how good it would be living in a single ideology nation. After all wouldn’t that put Rush and his Golden Mike in hog heaven? Which takes us to the next stage in what we need to do. Expose the Ignorance that somehow America wants to change the cultures of the world. Nothing could be further from the truth for can one American honestly say that we do not enjoy the change in culture that we find if we only travel a 150 miles or so? Small towns, county roads, and yes, even the “City Lights” all carry a special place in our heart as self evident by our love of traveling.

However, the single most important thing my Democrat and Republican Leadership in America could do is to talk all Nations of Humanity’s Civilization into accepting a global round up of all Humans involved in the Al Qaeda Movement. Just as Italy did with the Mafia a few years back, so must our National Leaders accept the fact that Al Qaeda or any other group that use terrorist tactics are outlawed groups. Got a bitch about your government than find a way to show the stupidity of their position. In this manner you will effect positive change just as Gandhi and MLK did a few years back. Hell, just ask Mr. Mandela hat it takes to bring about change in a Nation. Extreme measures for extreme conditions; however, is it not proper and right to use the necessary force to protect yourself, your people, your right of life? This latter part should/would include military and law enforcement and could be used by the U.N. to learn from as it is looking more and more that our National Security is ever linked to a global police force.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at November 22, 2005 1:43 AM
Comment #94719

Sue McAvoy:

Heh. You do know the US invaded the Native Americans to get their Land and Natural Resources, right? Not to mention they used genocide, drugs and biological weapons to get them.

Posted by: Aldous at November 22, 2005 1:58 AM
Comment #94722

We do ourselves a disservice by the loose use of words. Calling everyone who opposes the US in Iraq a ‘terrorist’ obscures the nature of the problem. I think you’re right, and that we can separate the insurgents from the terrorists to our advantage. It does mean ‘negotiating with terrorists,’ if we define everyone who opposes us in Iraq as terrorists; but if we separate the nationalist insurgents from the religious jihadists, we might accomplish something good, and negotiate with people who will eventually govern in a way we can work with- because there is little doubt the nationalist insurgents/Baathists will govern.

International cooperation to destroy Al Qaida? Great idea. We did it with some success before Iraq. You probably know I detest the Bush administration’s policies, but I think the White House deserves credit here, because as an organization, Al Qaida is defunct. Yes, OBL is still out there, but other than as a symbol and inflammatory mouthpiece, he’s not a threat, not in operational terms.

Unfortunately, it has become more difficult to generate support for international cooperation through the UN. Mention the UN, and the Republican right will reflexively spit venom, & rave about the Oil-for-food scandal. Bolton as UN ambassador doesn’t exactly support use of the UN for cooperation. Sadly, the right wing of the Republican party discourages cooperation.

Insurgency is primarily a political weapon. You’re right, international cooperation is absolutely critical, as seen in a comparison of Afghanistan & Iraq. Because we’re in a battle of hearts and minds, and hatred is our greatest enemy, whether it is the hatred of the opponent, or our own.

Posted by: phx8 at November 22, 2005 2:21 AM
Comment #94730

Phx8 wrote:
The moral of the story? Don’t go around invading other countries unless absolutely necessary.

You’re still in the pre 9/11 mentality. How many people have to die from terrorists attacks until we say “that’s enough, we’re not waiting to be attacked again”? How many 9/11’s do we need?!

Well, this President and myself believe that it only took one to go on the offensive and take out the terrorists before they strike. Remember, in Afghanistan, we had a lot more help from other countries that were involved in establishing the peace and reconstruction. In Iraq, some of the countries that helped us in Afghanistan were bribed by Saddam so they didn’t help us. That’s a fact.

Posted by: rahdigly at November 22, 2005 8:15 AM
Comment #94732
…how in the world can you occupy every single town and village in Iraq (the inkblot strategy) with sufficient manpower to prevent small scale hit and run attacks? It’s impossible.

No, it’s not sanger. It’s a matter of manpower.

You’re absolutely right that the insurgents can’t hold ground. But you miss the point that all they have to do is wait until we leave. There’s no way we can keep even the current troop level in Iraq for more than another year or two before our Reserve and Guard forces “melt down”. That’s an established fact and Congress is aware of it.

We don’t hold Baghdad. We do hold a small part of the town: the Green Zone and the airport. There are no insurgent safe houses in the Green Zone or the airport.

That, of course, gives you an idea of the number of troops needed and a realization that — three years later — having trained only about 500-1000 Iraqi troops to a point where they can operate on their own is wholly inadequate.

For whatever reason, the Bush administration turned down large numbers of French, Indian, Pakistani, etc. troops in return for making Iraq a UN operation in the fall of 2003. He’s also refused to make up the numbers with US troops.

Basically, President Bush has put us in a position where we can’t win.

Condoleezza Rice recently announced a new policy of “clear, hold and build,” — Stephen’s inkblot strategy. But President Bush has never uttered a word about it, and he’s sure not asking for the number of troops necessary to make it work.

phx8 made a really good comparison to Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, NATO is deploying Provincial Reconstruction Teams to deny al Qaeda and Taliban forces any safe havens — the inkblot strategy — and it’s working.

The inkblot strategy works. It has a proven track record, the most spectacular and lasting inkblot victory was over the Communist insurgency in Malaya in the 1950s and 60s.

The essential book for understanding how an insurgency works and how to defeat it is “The Sling and the Stone” by Colonel Thomas X. Hammes, USMC.

Insurgencies can be beaten — if you make the military and political commitments necessary. President Bush so far refuses to commit to victory in Iraq.

Posted by: American Pundit at November 22, 2005 8:26 AM
Comment #94733
You’re still in the pre 9/11 mentality. How many people have to die from terrorists attacks until we say “that’s enough, we’re not waiting to be attacked again”? How many 9/11’s do we need?!

rahdigly, are you suggesting that Iraq was behind the 9/11 attacks? If you have information to that effect, contact President Bush immediately, because he’s repeatedly stated that there was no connection between Iraq and 9/11.

If you don’t have information to that effect, you need to go remedy your ignorance. Read a newspaper, or something.

Posted by: American Pundit at November 22, 2005 8:30 AM
Comment #94738

No, this is were Presient Bush and you miss the point if intelligent. By removing our Military Force and Replacing them with “Advisors and Special Units” the political view has to be held at the point were America has redeployed our troops. The second point is that now our Military and intelligence get to start SWAT Tactics to find and apprehend those associated with Al Qaeda regardless of where they may wonder to.

It also allows us to refocus our attention to fixing the problems caused by some Sages thinking about the future of the Human Race 40 or so years ago. So please take another look at what would happen if the President would seperate the new Nation of Iraq from that of the War on Terror. For surely you and the president don’t want to keep the war going on with Al Qaeda to interfer with the winning of the peace in Iraq do, right?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at November 22, 2005 8:44 AM
Comment #94739

It actually is the predictable way that OBL and Company has anticipated that the Powers-to-Be would handle this “War on Terror.” Have you noticed since day one the Republican Party and the “Liberal Media” has spotlighted the position of the Democratic Party as “The Anti-War Party.” And beginning with the Dixie Chicks, there has been a well orchestrated march by the Republican Political Leadership to keep On Message even to the point that they have selected to call Representative Murtha a Michael Moore. For it seems to be IMO that only a few of our elected officials listened to OBL’s remarks the week or two before the 2004 Elections. However, neither the President or the Leadership in Congress has heard his cry for help. Typical political redirect to sway the opinion of a population. Yet, it holds the keys to the chains which OBL wants to place on the world. Sort of like the Rapitalists of America believes that the only thing that matters is the God Almighty Dollar.

Thus, the way to not only Win the Peace in Iraq and remove the threat for Individuals and Groups to use terrorists tactics to gain attention because they have some problem with Life is to confront the “Monster” (Global Economics) in a manner that will provide every citizen in the world with a productive simple life that meets their needs and wants. If the Democrat. Independent, and Republican Think Tanks would begin to address that question politically than our Society’s Media has no other choice but to cover the global unemployment problem and what can be done by the American Society to oversee our World Civil, Political, and Religious Leaders design and build a global economy that gives every Human the opportunity to “toil the soil” so that they can earn a simple productive life. BTW, have any good ideas on what is a simple productive life means?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at November 22, 2005 8:45 AM
Comment #94745

Why do we keep mixing the actions of the Bush administration with sane, rational thought. Bush’s brain, Karl Rove, was beaten by his alcoholic father as a child. That’s why he made that speech about Liberals wanting to seek counseling for the 9/11 hijackers while Conservatives wanted to hunt them down. Of course it wasn’t true literally, because he wasn’t talking about 9/11. He was talking about his childhood.

Karl Rove is taking out his pent up frustration his father, and people who believed that the solution to his fathers beatings was counseling. Karl Rove wants to hunt him down and extract revenge. That’s what this war is all about. 9/11 gave many people a glimpse of what he went thru as a child. Karl Rove doesn’t want to spread democracy in the Middle East. He wants to torture muslims. He feels as though he is giving 9/11 victims the revenge that he wasn’t able to extract on his father as a child. Karl Rove will never be happy until his father takes back the beatings that he gave to him, which can never happen. Karl Rove has the same revenge fantasies that many of us have. He’s just really good at carrying them out. That’s why we need to pull out of Iraq asap. It doesn’t matter what we say. The people in control are out of control.

Posted by: Mike at November 22, 2005 9:08 AM
Comment #94750

The insurgents do not hold territory, but they can make us abandon it, and with it, our advantages as a conventional army. Essentially, they start something in some other town or village, we take our forces from the area to confront that threat, and then we end up opening up the place we just secured to the insurgents, who move back into their old haunts.

Additionally, our forces are already concentrated. That’s how the insurgent’s strategy works: We don’t have the forces to spread around, so we concentrate them on trouble spots, which conveniently enough, the insurgents can shift around the map with great mobility.

The key to this is understanding that all guerilla wars require support systems among the population, and so it is important to use the population against the insurgents. The Iraqis themselves are the weapon of choice.

See, it makes no sense to try and stop them when they’re driving in their car with a finger on the switch. You can’t really secure against that. You can secure the area by ridding the areaa of places where these operations can be set up, and of the personnel who are doing that set-up. You don’t even have to kill them to get them gone. They often haul ass themselves! Either way, we essentially destroy their forces in that area. Having destroyed those forces, we raise up our forces and then create some for the Iraqis. Then the Iraqis do the job, and we use our forces in other areas, doing there what we did before.

As for borders, I agree with you. The borders should have been sealed long ago. It should have been obvious from the beginning that our two biggest enemies in the region, Iran and Syria, weren’t going to sit this one out.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 22, 2005 9:37 AM
Comment #94751

Good analysis, that explains the Rove problem.
If you could just explain Cheney.

Posted by: Schwamp at November 22, 2005 9:38 AM
Comment #94753

Mike, please tell me that post was a joke.

Yes, we invaded Iraq because Karl Rove is mad at his dad… Good theory, very solid.

Next I suppose you will tell us that we went into Afganistan because Condi was abducted by aliens and they told her to do it.

Posted by: BradM at November 22, 2005 9:50 AM
Comment #94756

I hope we get some plan like this going, too. I just hope we get it going in time. There will be some point, I’m afraid, where goodwill and good effort will not be enough. Wars are creatures of emergent order, and opportunities to get things right do not stick around forever.

I’m an optimist, though, and a believer in taking care of business. If Bush had taken care of business, I might be supporting him instead of taking shots at him. As it is, anybody with a good plan has my support. The interests of this country outweight the interests of our parties, which should exist to serve that greater interest.

As for your blessing, let them return to you exponentially.

That’s not pre- or post- 9/11 thinking, that’s common sense. If we want to be able to pre-empt the next terrorist attack (which I have no problem in doing), we have to be careful in our decisions to go to war. We must be careful for the simple reason that we have finite resources, and a resolve that depends upon the sense that we are doing something substantive for the cause of freedom and security. If we choose battles that split the country on this question, which drain our government’s credibility here and at abroad, and which occupy our resources and manpower needlessly, then we won’t have the strength or spirit to fight the real battles, at least not with full strength.

The American people were motivated to fight to prevent the next 9/11. That was never our problem, for either liberal or conservative. The problem is, Bush didn’t choose the next 9/11, he chose to resolve the issues of America’s last full war. He then cooked up a bullshit case for war about it being the next 9/11 in the making, in order to get past the question of whether his priorities were in the right place.

So, if anybody is in a pre-9/11 mentality, it’s you and those who defend Bush, because that’s what’s reflected in his foreign policy of Rogue States, Missile Defense, and pared-down infantry.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 22, 2005 10:01 AM
Comment #94773


You’re still in the pre 9/11 mentality. How many people have to die from terrorists attacks until we say “that’s enough, we’re not waiting to be attacked again”? How many 9/11’s do we need?!

Aren’t the 2000+ US soldiers and the 10/20000+ iraqis killed not enough for you? Want to include the wounded in the equation (15/20000 on US side, more than 100000 iraqis probably on the other)? Or only US citizens dead on US soil count in your sinister equation?
So far, you got only one 9/11. How an US citizen life trade in foreign lives on the War On Terror exchange market these days?

Preemptive doctrine is just another name for “kill first, ask question next”. Moral bankruptcy anyone?

In Iraq, some of the countries that helped us in Afghanistan were bribed by Saddam so they didn’t help us. That’s a fact.

No, that’s your opinion.
Please provide fact(s) that’s the reason why somes so many countries didn’t follow US in Iraq.

Keep in mind that just a few countries are behind US on Iraq War. Yes, even if you don’t forget to include Poland ;-). How Saddam could have *bribed* more than 3/4 of world nations!?
Get real. Now. Please.

Your frenchly,

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 22, 2005 11:16 AM
Comment #94779

BradM, of course it’s more complicated than just that. My point was simply that we’re approaching the war like someone who is stalking their ex on a date. “It’s okay, she’s just having dinner with him.”…”What, he’s going home with her, maybe he parked his car at her place.”…”She’s inviting him in, yeah, but I’ll bet he doesn’t spend the night.”…”Ha! He’s leaving, and it’s not even 10:00 in the morning, like they’re ever going out again.”…”Okay, second date, this is where he dumps her, and then I make my move.”…

We can’t keep approaching this war with the mentality of “if things just start going our way RIGHT NOW, the whole thing can be salvaged.” Regardless of their motivations, the Bush administration hasn’t done anything correctly since the War began. And that’s not just hippie-spin, that’s what Military experts are saying.

Let me put it another way. The Packers lost last night, putting them at 2-8. Now, they’re not officially eliminated yet, and last year 2 teams made the playoffs at 8-8. However, Favre is averaging close to 2 interceptions a game. He’s got a great shot at breaking the all time record. He’s started every game for them since 1992. That’s not how you finish 8-8. That’s how you finish 2-14.

If your team has a QB who’s throwing 2 interceptions a game, you might want to cancel your Super Bowl Party in favor of an NFL Draft party, because your team will probably have the first pick. If your military has a Commander-in-Chief who keeps dropping the proverbial ball, you might not want to keep the mindset that things can go right STARTING…NOW!

Posted by: Mike at November 22, 2005 12:11 PM
Comment #94781


We are getting out of Iraq. That debate is over. The debate, or at least where the decision makers are thinking is when do we start, how fast to we leave and when or is the last military person leaves.

What you are seeing is final decisions and political postering.

If Murtha would take out one word “immediate” out of his proposal he would probably be fine. “Immediate” looks like cut and run. The Iraqi’s today came up with a timetable of being gone by the end of 2006. This gives them the rest of the year to finish building their military.

The Iraqi idea gives a specific measuring device (Iraqi army at a certain strength), and a specific deadline, (end of 2006).


Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 22, 2005 12:13 PM
Comment #94787

Craig, like Col. Murtha, Gen. Odom thinks we should withdraw sooner rather than later.

From the second link:

any argument for “staying course,” or seeking more stability before we withdraw — or pointing out tragic consequences that withdrawal will cause — is bound to be wrong, or at least unpersuasive. Putting it bluntly, those who insist on staying in Iraq longer make the consequences of withdrawal more terrible and make it harder to find an alternative strategy for achieving regional stability.
Posted by: Adrienne at November 22, 2005 12:44 PM
Comment #94788

Rahdigly, In your post you say,You’re still in the pre 9/11 mentality. How many people have to die from terrorists attacks until we say “that’s enough, we’re not waiting to be attacked again”? How many 9/11’s do we need?!

It’s been proven by both dems and reps alike that there was absolutly no connection between Iraq and the 9/11 attacks. The majority of the hijackers were Saudi Arabians with a few from Afganastan thrown in for good measure. Now I don’t know about anyone else but if someone does something to me I don’t go after someone who had nothing to do with it I go right where it came from. But the problem with that idea is that the Saudi’s are in Bush’s pocket so he couldn’t go after them cause it would be like the dog bitting the hand that feeds him. Bush and his cronies still have interests in the oil industry as before he was elected gov. But you would have to dig deep to find the connection. Just days after 9/11 he was having a state dinner or whatever you want to call it with the sheiks of Saudi Arabia and at that time it was known where the hijackers were from. I didn’t see anyone canceling the dinner or anyhing but hand shakes and back slapping.

Posted by: Sherri at November 22, 2005 12:45 PM
Comment #94824

Penny Duff
We are still unwanted in Iraq, except for those paid off to say so.

So who have we paid? The adverage Iraqi on the street?
I have a nephew in Iraq, and one that has just came home on a Medical Discahrge from there.
Both tell the same story. The Iraqis for the most part are glad that we’re over there. And Ill take their word over the main stream media any day.
So I reckon we paid just about every Iraqi to say they want us there.

Posted by: Ron Brown at November 22, 2005 2:18 PM
Comment #94857

Ron, I don’t doubt that many of the Shia of Iraq are grateful for our presence, and I don’t doubt that many of the people your relative knew were those people.

The danger in the measure you take is that you can know a lot of people who are grateful for our intervention, and still have a distorted overall picture. After all, if your relative was stationed in an are that was majority Shia, that’s all it would take to skew the measurement.

I think you should read Battle Ready by Tom Clancy and Gen. Anthony Zinni (ret.), especially a section where he described the different impressions of the war that people fighting in different combat zones got. Zinni was pretty deep in it, as a matter of fact, serving as a military advisor for South Vietnamese Marines.

When you got a nationwide war going on, there are are room for a lot of reasonable and true points of view that nonetheless don’t reflect the big picture. For example, those American Soldier who fought in the North of the country deal with pitched battles, and those who fought in the South dealt with mainly insurgents and guerillas. If you asked either one how the war was going, you’d get separate pictures.

Just some food for thought.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 22, 2005 3:16 PM
Comment #94861

For those of you attacking Rahdigly:

His/Her post did not claim there was a direct link between 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq. This is the fallacy that pacificts on the left try to set up as the arugment for why we should not have invaded Iraq.

The point of Rahdigly’s post was that you must change your world view after the events of 9/11. All foreign policy, specifically that which deals with national security, must originate from the fact that we are fully engaged in a global war on terror.

Have there been mistakes made before, during and after the invasion of Iraq? Yes. “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry”.

Was it a mistake to invade Iraq in the first place? Absolutely not!

The Saddam regime in Iraq was an undisputable threat to our national security, even before 9/11! After 9/11, however, we could no longer wait for ‘containment’ policy to work. It was in our best interest to carry through with the Clinton policy of regime change (e.g. Iraq Liberation Act of 1998).

For those of you who are now attacking the regime change policy of the Bush administration, I ask this question: Where were you when Clinton proposed the exact same thing?

Posted by: DonkeyTrader at November 22, 2005 3:21 PM
Comment #94891

You write: “…you must change your world view after the events of 9/11. All foreign policy, specifically that which deals with national security, must originate from the fact that we are fully engaged in a global war on terror.”


Foreign policy absolutely, positively must not be driven by concern about terrorism, or a mythical GWOT. It’s a foolish policy.

Following 9/11, an aggressive inteliigence/policing campaign against terrorists went well. One nation, Afghanistan, provided a target for the US military due its sponsorship Al Qaida. We invaded, and we destroyed the Al Qaida organization, such as it was. The last major blow came in 2003, with the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. While OBL survives, the organization’s operational abilities appear to be almost non-existent.

Since the capture in 2003, major terrorist incidents have been few and far between. The Madrid bombings, London, Bali, and a horrendous act in Egypt have been carried out by other organizations sympathetic to Al Qaida.

It is dubious any action by the US in the GWOT could have affected those attacks.

In other words, the intelligence/police work should continue, but in terms of a war, it ended some time ago. We’re now in a position of rebuilding the failed state of Afghanistan. We’ll probably end up with a government similar to the Taliban, but hopefully it will be more tolerant and inclusive of minorities.

Iraq has nothing to do with 9/11, nothing to do with the GWOT. Surely you have noticed! Not one Iraqi has launched a terrorist attack against the US within our borders. None. Zero. Zip. Nada. This despite the war we’re conducting within their country! This despite our southern borders being so porous, thousands of illegal aliens enter daily!

Put aside your fear, Donkey. Assess the facts.

Posted by: phx8 at November 22, 2005 4:45 PM
Comment #94894


Craig, like Col. Murtha, Gen. Odom thinks we should withdraw sooner rather than later.

I think we should “stay the course” until the new government is in power and then begin our withdrawal. That is only six weeks.
Let the new government be the one to announce it has reached an agreement with coalition forces.

As a war supporter, I see no reason for remaining longer. I think we need to have a phased withdrawal, and turn things over systamatically. (not cut and run). I have no problem with removing the 20,000 or so troops that are in place for the election sooner.

Iraq has a contitution, an elected government and a good start on an army. With a systematic withdrawal underway, it will be amazing to see how much the iraqi military will improve.



Posted by: Craig Holmes at November 22, 2005 4:56 PM
Comment #94896

My goodness, well said, donkeytrader.

Sherri wrote:
“Now I don’t know about anyone else but if someone does something to me I don’t go after someone who had nothing to do with it I go right where it came from.”

So, if a gang member attacked you, you would just go after that member only? Do you think the gang leader and fellow gang members would let you get your revenge on that member only, or would you concede that you have to take on the entire gang?! Do you cut the tail off a snake or the head?!

We’ve heard his before; “Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11”. He did have everything to do with terror and terrorism; and so did his “punk” thug sons. OBL is so out of the picture b/c this President took it to the terrorist and didn’t let up. That’s why 3/4 of Al Qaeda were taken out, the finances have been clamped down, and Zawahiri and Zarquawi are writing each other letters of confusion. Also, we’ve left our border wide open and not one terrorist attack since 9/11. The Patriot Act, The Bush Doctrine and our Military have all stepped up and made a difference (in a big way) in this war on terrorism.

Posted by: rahdigly at November 22, 2005 5:02 PM
Comment #94901

Occam’s razor. The simplest explanation is the most likely explanation.

The terrorists are not attacking because there are no terrorists.

The terrorists are not attacking in other countries because there are no terrorists there either.

Does that mean there are no such things as terrorists? We all know there are a few crazies out there. It’s impossible to stop the occasional nutjobs. But these people are few in number.

It is the height of folly to build US policy around the actions of a few small groups.

Withdraw from Iraq, and terrorist attacks will drop dramatically.

How long will we be blinded by our own fear?

Posted by: phx8 at November 22, 2005 5:17 PM
Comment #94916

Phx8 wrote:
Withdraw from Iraq, and terrorist attacks will drop dramatically…How long will we be blinded by our own fear?

The terrorist attacks might drop dramatically in Iraq; however, in the US and Israel it would probably increase. OBL himself has said that when we pulled out of Somalia in 1993, after 18 servicemen were killed and dragged through the streets, that was a call to his fellow terrorists that they can take down a super power like the US.

“After leaving Afghanistan, the Muslim fighters headed for Somalia and prepared for a long battle, thinking that the Americans were like the Russians…The youth were surprised at the low morale of the American soldiers and realized more than before that the American soldier was a paper tiger and after a few blows ran in defeat. And America forgot all the hoopla and media propaganda … about being the world leader and the leader of the New World Order, and after a few blows they forgot about this title and left, dragging their corpses and their shameful defeat…One soldier, with a big grin, told of slitting the throats of three American soldiers in Somalia…The Somalia operation, in some ways, made bin Laden. During the Afghan war, the CIA had been very aware of him (although the agency now insists it never “controlled” him), but in Somalia, bin Laden had taken a swing at the biggest kid in the school yard and given him a black eye.”

It sounds like you’re the one living in fear, we’re living in reality. Appeasing terrorists will not work. It never has and never will. They are fascists and they want their way of life enforced on everyone and that’s it. There’s no room for infidels (which is everybody but muslims). If you still can’t see that then good luck to you.

In fact, I say “go get your prayer rug and figure out which way is east”. Myself and our great military will live the American way and never let these hateful muslims take our liberties and our way of life from us. That’s a fact!

Posted by: rahdigly at November 22, 2005 5:42 PM
Comment #94924


“That’s why 3/4 of Al Qaeda were taken out, the finances have been clamped down, and Zawahiri and Zarquawi are writing each other letters of confusion.”

You never cease to amaze me with information like this.

You know 3/4, wow, that’s a lot. One wonders who exactly we are fighting in Iraq, and who trained them?

Posted by: Rocky at November 22, 2005 6:09 PM
Comment #94926

All you guy’s writing and talking about blocking off boarders to stop the insurgency are way off. Even John MaCain this weekend said that better than 80% of the insurgency are Iraqi’s. Very few of the fighters caught and killed so far have been from out side of Iraq.

I know on the grand schem of things this is a small point and off the main topic, but I’m tired of people writing things on both sides that bend the facts. Remember the fighting this weekend? Two marines were killed and six insurgents. Very seldom do we find out they are not Iraqi’s. The very largest majority are Iraqi young men who for what ever their reason hate the US occupation.

Posted by: Rusty at November 22, 2005 6:12 PM
Comment #94930

Stephen Daugherty
No, they have most likely not met many Shia that weren’t trying to kill them. But then from all I’ve heard the Shia don’t want the Kurds and Sunis in Iraq either.
The rest however seem to like the US troops.
I’m kinda wondering if after we do leave if we won’t see some ethic cleansing. The Shai hate the Sunis and the Kurds. And the Kurds and Suni hate the Shai. They most likely hate each other even though right now they’re working togeather.

Posted by: Ron Brown at November 22, 2005 6:19 PM
Comment #94940

Nobody is advocating appeasing the terrorists - that’s just right-wing hatemonger radiospeak. If you think the left has been saying that, then you’ve been “blinded by the right” and haven’t been paying attention. The fact is that the invasion of Iraq had little or nothing to do with the war on terror. Here’s why:

1. Saddam headed up a secular state in Iraq. The fundamentalist terrorists despised him, and wanted nothing to do with him. There was no operational link between al-Qaeda and the Saddam regime. This was confirmed by the bi-partisan 9-11 commission.
2. Saddam had no WMD and, thanks to the sanctions, no program to reconstitute them. Both Colin Powell and Condaleeze Rice said so. Furthermore, in the months leading up to the invasion, Saddam was (finally) cooperating with the UN inspectors. The inspectors hadn’t found either WMD or a WMD program. We also know that US troops conducted a search for WMD following the invasion, and didn’t find anything either.
3. We know that Saddam had no link to 9/11 in spite of the conflation of the two issues by at least some members of the Bush administration. The president himself was finally forced to admit it.
4. The US was publicly warned by such friendly Middle Eastern leaders as Hosni Mubarrak of Egypt that an invasion of Iraq would create “hundreds of new bin Ladens”, thus upping the ante in the war on terror and making the world a more dangerous place, not a less dangerous place. The Bush administration ignored these warnings. Referring to the war on terror as “a crusade” didn’t exactly help matters.
5. We know now (and were warned before the invasion) that the intelligence community was divided on how much of a threat Saddam posed. If the invasion of Iraq was decided in a court of law, there was reasonable doubt as to whether or not to proceed. We know that the Bush administration ignored the warnings. We also know now that the Bush administration ordered all doubts removed from the evidence that it presented to both Congress, the American public, and the rest of the world. Was this a lie? I don’t know, and to be honest, I don’t particularly care.

In my opinion, Bush invaded Iraq for one reason - to get re-elected in 2004. He knew that his increased status as a wartime commander in chief would raise his poplarity. He knew that a wartime commander in chief had never - NEVER - been voted out of office. He knew that the increased political capital he’d accumulate as a wartime commander in chief would allow him to get the rest of his agenda accomplished.

Posted by: ElliottBay at November 22, 2005 6:41 PM
Comment #94942


It has been 4 years since the last attact on the US by a terrorist. Big deal. Just because it has been a few years dosent mean squat to me. Bush has done nothing to make it better yet. It still is easy to get to the US and committ an act of terrorisim. Let’s hope it doesn’t ever happen again, but we would be fools to think it won’t happen again.

Using your logic, Bush has been successful because we havn’t been hit since 9/11. So, if in the next 3 years (God forbid) we are attacted again, Bush would be a faliur using your logic.

As for going after the person who attacted us, or going after Iraq. Someone wrote if a gang member committed a crime against you do you think the gang would let you only get the one person or would you have to get the whole gang? (The jest of the question anyway) What crime against the US did Iraq Gang committ? What terrorist attact has an Iraqi made against a US citizen? NONE! 15 of the 19 9/11 bombers were from Saudi Arabia. Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syri are all far more sponsor’s of terror than Iraq had ever been. If you want to go after terror, you go after these countries.

Bush was just being the big backyard bully. He could make the case and we could win the war with little risk to US troops, or so he thought. Everyone new militarily speaking, Iraq was no contest. We could beat them with high school kids. Let’s be serious about this case for war. I want to hear the truth. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and had never attacted the US on our soil or sent any Iraqi to attact us on our soil. Saudi Arabia has. Iran has. Syria has. Let’s just drop all the dribble coming from the admin about Iraq. I guess it will take 25 years before the truth comes out with the release of documents… To bad we have to wait that long.

Posted by: Rusty at November 22, 2005 6:47 PM
Comment #94959

“Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda…”

Interesting, eh? The Presidential PDB for that date has not been provided to Congress. So much for the ‘same intelligence.’ They knew all along…

“Appeasing terrorists will not work.” Great line. Just one problem, Rah. Has it ever occurred to you that appeasing terrorists might work extremely well?

Here is a definition of appeasement, from Wikipedia:

“… Appeasement is “the policy of settling international quarrels by admitting and satisfying grievances through rational negotiation and compromise, thereby avoiding the resort to an armed conflict which would be expensive, bloody and possibly dangerous.”

Terrorism is a tactic. It’s asymmetrical warfare, usually favored by small groups. By inflicting civilian casualties in a terrifying way, terrorists attract attention to their cause, and demonstrate the powerlessness of the opponent. Most importantly, the act polarizes. People who are otherwise uninvolved- and the vast majority of civilians are normally uninvolved in a political struggle- these people are forced to choose sides.

Appeasement works very well in undercutting terrorists. When the appeasement takes the form of addressing grievances with representative political groups, while simultaneously ignoring or quietly prosecuting the terrorists themselves, this form of appeasement marginalizes the terrorists & renders them irrelevant.

Buying off terrorists with bribes has worked very well in the past too, Rah. Maybe not recently, but I’d go that route in a heartbeat if I thought it would work. Because I’m not afraid.

When the word ‘appeasement’ is thrown out, it usually is intended to be an emotion-evoking word, one conjuring images of cringing Brits, Nazi jackboots, and abject cowardice.

I’m not necessarily advocating any of these routes, Rah. The point is, I’m not afraid of making a realistic evaluation. I’m not stampeded into fear everytime some pundit or politician demands it.

Forget the fear. Forget appealing to feelings with emotionally-charged buzzwords. That might be an effective way to politically manipulate people, but that’s no way to win a war.

Posted by: phx8 at November 22, 2005 7:37 PM
Comment #94971

There was an interesting programme on Britain’s channel four television last night. It was presented by a journalist who got “out of bed” and saw things for himself.

He showed that the British have effectively ceded policing to the local militia in the south. He also showed that the US had ceded policing in what used to be known as Saddam city near Baghdad, now known as Sadr city, named after the cleric who leads the militia, who incidentally was wanted by US forces for the murder of another cleric. One US serviceman answered the question of whether he would arrest Al Sadr if he happened across him, by saying that he has been instructed not to so arrest him.

The journalist also claimed that the US is seeking to negotiate a similar deal with the Sunni in the Sunni area of the country. In effect, this is leaving security not in the hands of the putative government, but in the hands of locally non elected militias. Further, he showed that when it comes to elections, the citizens are told who to vote for by their tribal and religious leaders, and they do so for fear of the ultimate sanction. This is democracy, but not as we know it Jim! He also showed that women in Iraq, even in Baghdad, are all now dutifully wearing their chadors and burkas, under fear of death. Something that was unknown in Saddams time.

The Shia are allied with their co religionists in Iran and the whole scenario presages a breakup of Iraq into its constituent parts, perhaps preceded by civil war.

Another fine mess you’ve gotten me into, Stanley!

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at November 22, 2005 8:21 PM
Comment #94975

Rusty wrote:
Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and had never attacted the US on our soil or sent any Iraqi to attact us on our soil.

Try and listen up, b/c I’m not going to repeat this again. 9/11 changed the way we looked at our threats. Period. Bush Senior and Clinton both tried the “containment” strategy with Saddam and they both failed miserably with that. It doesn’t work; all Saddam did was go behind everyone’s back and bribe the countries in the UN Securtiy Council to go to bat for him and get those sanctions lifted. They never thought Bush would go around the UN and he did. And, the four countries that took Saddam’s bribes have paid dearly.

Now, to answer your comment “[Iraq] had never attacted the US on our soil or sent any Iraqi to attact us on our soil.” Ahh! Ahh! Ahh!! Take a lookie here:

Iraq also tried to assassinate a former US President.

Posted by: rahdigly at November 22, 2005 8:39 PM
Comment #94986

You rush out of the starting gate to denounce those who would accuse Rahdigly of conflating 9/11 and the Invasion of Iraq…

…Then you quickly take a left turn and defend his argument by saying that all foreign policy must originate from the fact that we are fully engaged in the War on Terror.

And yet, there is no factual connection of Iraq to 9/11, and the sourcing of any such claim is just horrible. So, if what you say is true, (and to some extent it is) Then Iraq was not a legitmate target in the War on Terror, and the development of terrorist and insurgent groups in Iraq is a severe setback.

Which means your unqualified statement that invading Iraq was not a mistake is itself mistaken.

Other evidence not only shows that Iraq wasn’t much of a threat to us, but that this administration’s line on Iraq was nowhere near undisputable. Documented sources now record that there were major disputes on major pieces of evidence, and much of this evidence contradicts the Administrations most high profile claims on Iraq.

Moreover, the failures of these claims are not random at all. This isn’t one particular category of claims being wrong, but instead a wide array of them. The errors were too nonrandom not to have a rationale.

Lastly, let me clear up something for you: Clinton went for a policy of regime change, but did not include pre-emptive warfare among the means for carrying out that. The means are as important to describing and distinguishing policies as the ends are. Though Bush’s policy and Clintons sought the same thing, Bush’s more radical policy on military engagement in Iraq marks the two as fundamentally different.

Your mixed metaphor takes for granted that they were in league. Based on the facts, few can share your confidence. He had his terrorist, but like him, they were secularists, and their scope pretty much limited to the region.

Moreover, our main evidence for the connections came from a Drunk, and a person who lied to the CIA while being tortured. In reality, as commission after commission has said, Saddam’s interest in terrorists was strictly regional.

The President did let up on Bin Laden, telling the world that he really wasn’t that concerned about him anymore. That was more than three years ago, as Bush was ramping things up for this war. Since then, London, Madrid, Bali, Jordan and other cities have felt al-Qaeda’s sting. Bin Laden is no longer as important because his movement has become less dependent on his central leadership. That’s bad news. Furthermore, that three 3/4’s claim is deeply flawed, for it only refers to original al-Qaeda members, as estimated before hand, and does not address promotions and expansions of the group.

As for there being no attacks despite our open borders, you’re counting on luck we didn’t have last time. Between the First WTC attack and the Second was a period of 8 years. We are only 4years away from 9/11. Your sense of security is based on false premises.

As for Somalia, we would have had to flatten Mogadishu to show Bin Laden we meant Business, and Somalia, let me remind you, was a humanitarian mission.

As for appeasement, don’t be silly. We know the score, perhaps better than you. The Bush administration, with this Islamofascist Bullshit, is trying to make this a state v. state engagement, instead of state v. multinational, self-sustained terrorist organization. One angle lets him use his big old army and all this big old Hardware to create his own new world order. The other means he has to us much more behind the scenes pull, rather than telegenic American military technology. Bush has this big old hammer of an army, so he wants every problem to be a nail. Thus, make out like Bin Laden and Saddam are in the same boat, the same kind of people, who can be destroyed together in one fell swoop.

That, however, is not the reality of our situation. This is the convenient fiction of an administration trying to avoid the awful truth: that administration of former cold warriors doesn’t have a clear, unified enemy to beat up on, but many different enemies with different agendas.

Your people are operating under a dangerous level of naivete, and it’s killing Americans as we speak.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 22, 2005 9:10 PM
Comment #94989

Drat! Post disappeared into the ether. Anyway, check into your source for one of those links. It’s from June 2001, and the author Laurie Mylroie has been completely & utterly discredited.

Posted by: phx8 at November 22, 2005 9:29 PM
Comment #94999

Stephen Daugherty,
“As for there being no attacks despite our open borders, you’re counting on luck we didn’t have last time. Between the First WTC attack and the Second was a period of 8 years. We are only 4years away from 9/11. Your sense of security is based on false premises.

As for Somalia, we would have had to flatten Mogadishu to show Bin Laden we meant Business, and Somalia, let me remind you, was a humanitarian mission.”

What you call luck I call the aggression of the finest (and bravest) military in the world (that’s the US military for you liberals), the Patriot Act, and the Bush doctrine that got us through the past four years. And, we won’t let up. These terrorists have met their match, b/c this President isn’t like the Presidents before him; he’s taking a stand on terrorism and he won’t let up.

As for Somalia, did you really think the “meals on wheels” program was working? Your comment “we would have had to flatten Mogadishu to show Bin Laden we meant Business”, that is proof that you don’t know how to fight a war against terrorism. In fact, your reasoning for Somalia is the exact reason why Bin Laden and his cronies were emboldened by the US defeat. Yet, I see everytime on this blog how “appeasement” isn’t a bad thing. Whatever!

If you think appeasement is ok, just let me ask you this. Have you heard anything about the “Infitada” in France lately? Over 9,000 cars have been burned in less than 3 weeks and there has been little coverage. However, I’ll be darn if you don’t hear about an explosion in Iraq everyday.

And, before the crazies start jumping on me about “what does France have to do with anything?”, France has been the biggest appeasers in the war on terrorism. I know they helped us in Afghanistan; however, they’ve been doing the same thing with terrorism as they did with the Nazis, “Don’t make waves…Don’t make waves”. “they won’t bother us if we don’t make waves”. Whatever. Now they can’t take control of the muslims in their country as they are setting ablaze to France. And France is the socialists’ favorite place. Socialized healthcare, they were opposed to the Iraq war, etc. Now look at them, over 10% unemployment, economy stagnant, Muslims running amuck and the gov’t can’t stop it. By the way, we’re at war with muslim extremism and we’re not fighting the many, many Muslims that live here.

Go ahead, defend them, appease them, blame me and Bush and everyone but the muslims. Play that multiculturalism crap. In order to win you’re going to have stand up to these heinous clowns; they have to be put in place and Bush and our US military are going to do just that. We will win this war with or without the libs; and even inspite of them…

Posted by: rahdigly at November 22, 2005 9:59 PM
Comment #95013

What is the point of all these links? Why are you wasting my time?

The first gives a conservative version’s account of the Clinton & Bush presidencies.

The second gives an account of the attempted assassination of Bush #41 in Kuwait in 1993.

The third one is funny. The ‘doj’ address would make you think it’s the best. It’s a memorandum by Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo. Looks very officious and intimidating. In it, Mr. Yoo advocates giving the president the unlimited powers of a king.

You might want to stay away from this one, Rah. It’s great fodder for someone who wants to attack Bush.

Next, a History Professor from San Diego University gives a synopsis of the Bush #41 & Clinton years. Click on a link for the homework assignment.

The freeper link is borderline insane. To paraphrase, ‘The Clintons pardoned more terrorists than they ever had hunted down & killed.’ Apparently the author has sources for this deranged article, but you’ll have to ask him by e-mail if you want to see them. Wow.

Rah, don’t ever link something like this again. As Ralph Wiggam from the Simpsons would say, “I’m Ben-barrassed for you!”

Posted by: phx8 at November 22, 2005 11:37 PM
Comment #95030

Maybe I’m coming across too harsh. I dont’ understand the point of the various links you list. Most of years out of date. Most are conservative viewpoints on terrorism during the Bush #41 & Clinton administrations.

Both Bush #41 and Clinton did a very good job with foreign policy, wouldn’t you agree?

I’m really unimpressed with sites which cite threatening statements by OBL in 1993 and condemn Clinton for not doing anything.

Tell you what. Identify the person certain to do the most harm to the US in 2015, and you and I will take care of it. Deal?

Posted by: phx8 at November 23, 2005 1:24 AM
Comment #95046


First off, calm down! The point of the links (the first time) was to answer someone else’s comment “[Iraq] had never attacked the US on our soil or sent any Iraqi to attact us on our soil.” To which I replied with a few links that proved there was Iraqi involvement in the 1993 World Trade Bombing and (also) the Iraqis were involved with trying to assassinate a former US President. That’s where the links came into play.

Then, you asked me to “check into your source for one of those links. It’s from June 2001, and the author Laurie Mylroie has been completely & utterly discredited.”, so I did. That’s why I sent you a bunch of other sources that weren’t “discredited”. However, be that as it may, you certainly took a page from the crazy liberal debate book and impugned just about everyone one of the sources to try (and I said TRY!) to discredit me. It didn’t work though. No, it didn’t!

So, try to discredit this source, buddy:

Now, ease down those jets, turbo…

Posted by: rahdigly at November 23, 2005 7:20 AM
Comment #95053

rahdigly, do you even realize that the assassination attempt on Bush Sr. didn’t occur in the US? And really, even “delusional” Dick Cheney doesn’t trot out the Mylroie article anymore.

If you were trying to refute the statement, “[Iraq] had never attacked the US on our soil or sent any Iraqi to attact us on our soil,” you still have a lot of work to do.

Especially since none of those articles you posted back you up either.

Posted by: American Pundit at November 23, 2005 7:42 AM
Comment #95152

The thing to understand about Saddam’s attempt on Bush is a)it failed miserably, the crack team getting in an accident on the way there (Richard Clarke calls the Iraqi intelligence service the Keystone Kops of the region), and Clinton’s response was a blistering cruise missile attack on his intelligence HQ, and a tersely written diplomatic message that if he pulled that crap again, the next volley would be aiming for him. For the eight years after that, Saddam never tried another terrorist attack on us.

As for Somalia, I wasn’t commenting on the effectiveness of the humanitarian intervention, merely saying that it was one, and that the only way that Bin Laden would have been impressed with that response would be if we had gone the old Imperial route and destroyed the city.

As it is, if you know the history of the whole affair, you would know that we were just supposed to hang around until the UN could get their people in there. We didn’t bug out, but instead stayed for an additional six months, albeit under heavier security. Instead of leaving our soldiers in the open with Humvees, Clinton put us in APCs. Then we handed things off to the UN as we were supposed to, all along!

As for France? France is more complicated than you think. They were in our current position in the 50’s and 60’s, trying to work an imperial foreign policy and dealing with an insurgency with an iron fist approach. Didn’t work. Algeria’s resistance to the tough guy approach is part of what emboldened the rest of the Middle East. The tough guy approach also failed recently, as years of deliberate exclusion from society culminated in the nationwide riots we all saw.

As for calling what they do appeasement, I doubt it’s that at all. I think it’s them making the same kind of deals they did back when they owned a large portion of the real estate in the region as colonies. That it comes to such pathetic ends just indicates the future of similar policies on our part. What we need is to stop treating the Arabs like children, to be molded like parents do children. That kind of patronizing attitude, whatever form it takes, is what gets all of the western powers into trouble in that region.

I don’t need to defend them to show you your error. I just need to point out to you all the ways in which we could end up just like them. You want that? Then Multiculturalism won’t be an option, it’ll be a necessity, because America will be broken as a superpower.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 23, 2005 12:12 PM
Comment #95573

i read the line about whack-a-mole, or i like to say it, whack-a-terorist. it reminds me on our war on drugs. bush is so worried about Iraqi oil, that he neglects his own people, here in the country, that are afraid for their lives every waking hour. now you may say,’well those people shouldn’t live where they’re in fear.’ well some of those people are poverty stricken, disabled/disabled vets. i live in a real messed up neighborhood, drug dealers run rampent through the streets, our police just sit and watch the deals go down and then drive away. i listen and read both sides of the table. i’m just a no account poor voter, who nobody really give a sh** about, but i will say one thing.if the government, back in bush #1’s term, would have taken care of this then, our troops wouldn’t be there now. and as far as ending the war, if we don’t send in diplomates, our childern’s children will be fighting the same damn war in iraq. i have an idea how to do this.

instead of letting everyone and their brother know what we are up to, we send b.s. info thru the channels and then put our real objective to work. we tell them (channels) that we are going to ‘liberate bagdad,’(just an example) then while their getting out of baghdad, we go for the intended mark. whatever that might be. see it’s called reverse psychology. we do it to our childern all the time, our government talks it all day long to the people of this country, so let’s start using our ‘special forces’ like they are trained to be used and stop the bullshit.


just wanted to voice my opion. and as for cut and run. grow up people. if we would have left nam, we wouldn’t have lost as many as we did. my great uncle is a retired marine, so i know a little about their code of loyalty. yet still, leaving iraq asap, wouldn’t be cutting and running, it would be, okay, we got smart. we know your (insurgents) there and what you do. we maybe leaving but we are not gone. hell we have a military base in every country on this beautiful earth, we could just keep one in iraq. let the special forces do what they do best. search and kill in the dead of night. we have the seals, rangers, and others…let them do what we all know they want to do. thank you.

Posted by: helen at November 24, 2005 11:18 PM
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