Democrats & Liberals Archives

If Pulling Out is Defeat...

If pulling out is defeat, then the Bush administration wanted defeat from the start. Many of the problems that the Bush administration has had in this war, in terms of reconstruction, democratizing Iraq, preventing and facing insurrection, all come out of one basic decision that was made at the start: The Bush Administration planned to start withdrawing from Iraq in August of 2003.

This is why we got a late start on security, reconstruction, and democratization, because they expected that all these things would have been taken care of by their exile buddies or by the processes in a post-war Iraq running themselves. This war is having the problems it is, because this administration didn't think through its war thoroughly enough before it got us into it.

They lowballed the budgets, lowballed the quality of the evidence (which they gathered more to prove their theory than to discover what theory was appropriate), and basically expected things to take care of themselves. Only after it became apparent what a pickle we were in, and the specter of failure reared its ugly head, did Bush start telling us that pulling out was defeat.

Personally, I'm for us getting the job done. Plain and simple. Most Americans agree with that, even those wanting to pull out. It is only gross distortion of the facts that allows folks to believe that Liberals are generally for a reckless disengagement.

The Republicans don't respect or cultivate intelligent discussion of these issues. They try to dictate things to people, which means two things: people will react to being dictated to, especially in a free country like this, and people will not see what actually makes sense in the arguments of the Republicans, because they rarely ever intelligently explain those things. We are expected to simply sit fat, dumb, and happy in front of our TV screens and feel inspired when our leaders use their code words in their speeches.

Any government seeking legitimacy and trust for their decisions must do better than that. We are a well informed society, literally speaking, but in terms of meaningful information, we are not that well informed. Some might take that to be an elitist position, but I'd say the problem is their on both sides. It's a product of a culture that reduces most discussions to the high-school level, one which condescends to explain everything in simple terms rather than giving complexity to view where it matters. Einstein once said "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." Those are words to live by.

The Bush administration did not think that the American people would go for a war if they thought it was going to be expensive, if they thought that America's immediate security needs were not related. They have lost support for continuing our presence in large part because Americans have realized just how off the mark, how overly simplistic the Bush approach was, and how complicated things really are. People are despairing of how we or the Iraqis are going to work this out.

It may just be the case that only the Iraqis can ultimately sort this out, with us over the horizon to intervene if things get out of control. In that case, victory is not staying. Or, victory may require that more soldiers be brought to Iraq. This will be, politically, the more difficult thing to convince people of. Which is why nearly every politician is trying to take the easy way out, including Bush.

In trying to convince people we need to strengthen or keep our position, it doesn't help that they are willing to be combative with their own citizens in pushing the policy, allowing their surrogates to be extraordinarily nasty in opposing them. Nor does it help that they are essentially calling people cowards when the truth is most people are wanting to pull out because they don't see the use in what we're doing. Americans had enough of a stomach for casualties to weather months where thousands would be wounded, without lessening their regard for Bush. it's only as our support of elections has failed to bring back order, and disasters at home have battered our finances and our sense of our country's strength that Bush's numbers have taken the nose-dive they have.

I don't think a strategy of pulling out will be the effective way of doing things in the long term. I don't think a vitriolic, spiteful reaction to that will help, either. The people who tire of this war, an find it an excessive burden on this country have their reasons, their good reasons, not to like this war. These people will not be convinced that they are wrong by people waging personal attacks on them. They believe they came to their conclusions on reasonable grounds, and the last person they are going to submit to are bullies raining fire and brimstone on them for not agreeing with the right-thinkers.

So what do we do?

I think we still need more troops, because the sad fact is our soldiers only have enough manpower at the moment to protect themselves. Eventually, pulling out will be the best course of action, as Iraq will need to stand on its own, but in the meantime, we need to give Iraq the security it needs to become a nation again, and if we want our soldiers doing more than just force protection, if we want them doing peacekeeping, we need to give the commanders on the ground the soldiers they need. That has always been necessary, and if we want more than a defeat when we finally leave that's what we got to do.

We have to seriously entertain the thought of a draft if we do that. I'm not joking or trying to make a rhetorical point. Our soldiers have been run through the wringer, with extended tours, multiple deployments. To expect our army, which is at the breaking point, to continue to fight this war on the cheap is a suicidal defense policy. A weak army means our enemies getting ideas. We need soldiers quickly, if we want an alternative to having to leave the country. Perhaps volunteer forces could be raised, but the fact is that Bush has burned out much of that volunteerism on both sides. Unfortunately, when Rumsfeld talks about "An Army of One", that seems to be his recruitment policy. We hear all about re-enlistments, but where are regular enlistments? Despite facing the manpower crunch of all time, we have heard nothing about expanding the volunteer army, nothing about streamlining the defense appropriations to make room for the basic costs of running a war, equipping our soldiers and increasing the numbers of soldiers. Even now, Rumsfeld still pursues transformation policies, trying to use expensive weaponry to obviate the need for large numbers of soldiers.

In the end, the quality of the leadership will decide whether we win this war. Bush must sacrifice his dreams of how this war was originally supposed to be fought. He must sacrifice the notion that this war could ever have been won without sacrifice. He must sacrifice his political machine, and maybe even his Neocon buddies on the altar of freedom, because in trying to fight this war with one hand tied behind our back, he has drained America of the will to do what's necessary, and our Armies of the ability to defend us. He must recognize that politics will not be the salvation of this country, but the actions and decisions of good men willing to admit their mistakes and do what's necessary to redeem them.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at January 17, 2006 12:33 PM
Comment #114062

Intelligent discussion by Republicans is about as realistic as their intelligent design.

Posted by: Barbyaz at January 17, 2006 2:27 PM
Comment #114064

Well said, Stephen.

I am only being mildly sarcastic when I say, for the sake of Democrats, that Bush continues to pursue partisan politics.

I know a “uniter” can get elected, but do you think it is possible for one to get the nomination from either party?

Posted by: CPAdams at January 17, 2006 2:39 PM
Comment #114070


Funny how you see the glass half empty and I see it half full.

2005 was a terrific and historic year in Iraq…ending with a historic election.

However,in this microwave society,counrties..especially countries countries that have no inkling of democracy…are not born overnight…despite what we wish.

It will continue to be a painstaking process but one year from today Iraq will be even further along in its development…if nit,then it should be partitioned into three.

Last year,if the president said black,the democrats said white.That’s the way it has been now.

Hate abounds in Washington,trancending rhetoric.

Your Kennedy has been no saint my friend(by the way my glass analogy above as applies to him is an empty one)as evidenced by his disgraceful performance last week at the confirmation hearings.(Stephen..did you know that he would be ineligible to be a lawyer in any state ?Yup.His getting kicked out of Harvard for cheating goes to character and would preclude admission…not even mentioning the floater up the Cape that he left)

Thus the ultimate of ironies now exist.A guy who got kicked out for cheating sitting on a committee chosing a n associate justice.

Mull on that one.

The draft is an obsenity and will never happen…nor do we need one.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at January 17, 2006 2:46 PM
Comment #114077


the draft is an obscenity??? Compulsory military service is the most democratic of ideas, sharing the price of maintaining this democracy in communities of all income levels. I’m sure the Swiss and Israelis would agree with that.

Our all volunteer armed services were designed with neither prolonged conflicts nor occupations in mind. Overextended national guardsmen were also unavailable to help the Katrina emergency response.

Stephen’s suggestion may justify a strong debate about national priorities, but dismissing it as an “obscenity” shows your unwilingness to have an honest debate on the idea.

Of course, reinstating the draft would be a terribly unpopular idea, certain political suicide for the party who attempts to start the debate during this conflict. I can understand why you might be opposed.

Posted by: CPAdams at January 17, 2006 3:08 PM
Comment #114080


I think we are getting more troops. More Iraqi troops. I think we need to let the current process work. At one time Iraq had a million man army. It we keep our forces at about the same level for a while, and increase the numbers and quality of the iraqi forces, eventually the process will work.

I also agree with Congress. I think 2006 needs to be a shift in US policy that shows clear results.

2006 needs to show:

Lower total casulaties from insurgency
Lower US troops strength.
Lower US casualties
Higher Iraqi troops strength.
Higher Iraqi troops quality.

I believe we are “currently” on the right track in Iraq. I disagree with you on increasing troops strength “now” because I think it is time for the Iraqi’s to take over, but in an organized and structured way. I disagree with Murda in suggesting the troops come home now!! I support a process of organized “iraqization” of the conflict.

I also believe this needs to be viewed as a very long process. The process in Vietnam was fine until we cut of funding to South Vietnam and caused their collapse. I am hopeful because Iraq is within our strategic nation interest (oil). I don’t believe we will make the same mistake as we did with Vietnam. (Find defeat in the jaws of victory).


Posted by: Craig Holmes at January 17, 2006 3:19 PM
Comment #114082

here is example of history, Jimmy Carter wanted to pull outtroops from COREA that idiot.I like to add that he is the only living president that does not care(SORRY KANYE WEST HAHA)i meant JC doesnt understand 14.5% of this country. VIVA BUSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: peter at January 17, 2006 3:28 PM
Comment #114083
We are a well informed society, literally speaking, but in terms of meaningful information, we are not that well informed. Posted by Stephen Daugherty at January 17, 2006 12:33 PM

Good quote Stephen. I think that applies to much of our society.
We have alot of food, but are not well fed (e.g. McDonald’s)
We have 100’s of TV channels, but how many broadcast garbage; Desperate Houswives, etc…
We have millions of Christians but how many are really following their founder’s credos?
We have multiple methods of communication, but how many people actually think about what is being said or learn from it?

Good points, until “The process in Vietnam was fine until we cut of funding to South Vietnam and caused their collapse…(Find defeat in the jaws of victory).” I’d like to hear you logic of how the South was winning the war.

Posted by: Dave at January 17, 2006 3:32 PM
Comment #114084

As unpopular as a draft would be, it is the one option that has been bandied about for the last 2 years in the Pentagon.
We went in with too few men (see all the generals and upper military men that have been forced into retirement for disagreeing with Rumsfeld on the original numbers). We went in with too little time allocated to the reconstruction (see the media reports that Cheney said Iraq’s people would welcome us with open arms). We went in with too little of a budget allocated to this endeavor (see comments made by various Bushies that the Iraq oil fields would fund this entanglement and reconstruction).
Impeach Bush. He** no! But somehow get the tick named Rumsfeld off the teat of the American Gov’t and people, now that would be an achievment. Rumsfeld is one of the biggest reasons why we are in the “Pickle” that we are in. He is the main reason that the Iraq conflict is as protracted as it has become. He thought that the 1st gulf war was a disgrace and tried to convince Bush Sr. to run the war differently that he did. When that was not enough, he and several others (9?) from that time and administration decided to write their little thesis. Unfortunately, after 9/11 Rumsfeld was in the position to put their papaer into effect. And what a mistake that was.
Rumsfeld had his own ideas of being president at one time. Did he deliberately screw up W’s presidency as a way of getting back at Bush Sr. (who he felt was picked over him to become the Vice president under Reagon, thus starting a revenge plot that is playing out even now)?
Let’s hope not, as there are more than 2,000 soldiers’ deaths and tens of thousands of injured soldiers that have been affected by this war of errors.

Posted by: Antonia Reed at January 17, 2006 3:35 PM
Comment #114089

Insufficient troops means protracted involvement, and protracted involvement means further erorsion of civil rights here at home in the name of wartime, and ever, ever increasing expansion of the powers of the Executive Branch to the point of authoritarianship, meaning the executive authors their own laws and rules. We are already seeing this happening.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 17, 2006 3:55 PM
Comment #114092


I would agree with a draft IF there were say,a WWII.Then a draft is necessary.

Here it is not.

The military is moving towards a lighter faster model…the Iraqi army,once stood up, will serve as the occuping army,not us.

What’s the rush?

We actually have a chance here to creat a stable country in an unstable area…especially so now that Iran is making noises.

By the way,recall that Turkey did not let the 4th Infantrary division use their air space or logistics.As a result Saddam’s divisions there ARE the insurgency.Had Turkey allowed that,this war would have been long over.

BTW.I am one of the few who view the Secretary of Defense as a hero and patriot and will be more than happy to engane any here.

Hey Andre…where are you?

Posted by: sicilianeagle at January 17, 2006 4:01 PM
Comment #114110

>>it’s only as our support of elections has failed to bring back order, and disasters at home have battered our finances and our sense of our country’s strength that Bush’s numbers have taken the nose-dive they have.


How much of a dive have they taken as citizens better understand just how badly this administration has handled everything? The lack of honesty, the lack of forthcoming information, the abundance of failures, i.e., to find WMD, to find terrorist camps, to not punish outers of CIA agents, to make weak excuses for warrantless wiretapping, etc.

You say, “We are a well informed society, literally speaking, but in terms of meaningful information, we are not that well informed.”

Perhaps there has been enough meaningful information that citizens can now form better opinions? Thus the decline in Dubbya popularity?

Posted by: Marysdude at January 17, 2006 5:11 PM
Comment #114112

The draft would not broaden the scope of the military as great as it might seem on the surface. The haves have always found ways around the draft, the have-nots have always been suseptable to it, and the in-betweens are volunteering now. We would end up with more have-nots in the services and a bunch of worn out NCO’s trying to keep them in line.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 17, 2006 5:16 PM
Comment #114113

The draft is an unworkable idea. It’s more likely that we will have a privately contracted army of mercenaries. That’s where we’re going. The cost will be enormous, and it should keep us out of entanglements like the ones we’re in now.

Posted by: ray ohrealy at January 17, 2006 5:21 PM
Comment #114124

—Peter, Korea is spelled with a ‘K’

I cannot say that we at this point can or could pull out of Iraq. We are now the colonialist lords of the wasteland of which we are entrenched beyond repair.

Now, group think, how do we get Dean, Kerry (any conviction will suffice), Kennedy, and speech-flap extraordinaire Hillary (stuff you don’t even say in an echo-chamber)to get off of our team permanently. I’m serious, this isn’t helping anyone but the right-wing. I just caught the news on Hillary and dear lord are we as a party that ivory tower talking down to the masses? Can’t we do better than this? We have an opportunity to make some gains and the hockey helmet kids of our team are running wild all over the field. PLUS we have no eye on international issues anymore with exception to comments from a domestic point of view. It’s like we completely lost the world-knowledgable faction and sound quite protectionist or isolationist (peasants ‘oer the land) instead of geopolitically reallistic about the threats we do face globally instead of just internal strife. Where did the Scott Ritters go?

Murtha I don’t mind, but let’s take Kerry for instance, which side is he on? He takes any position that anyone wants him to. Charges of him being a weathervane are not so offbase really.

Dean, I won’t even go there but you know the deal. What if there is a conspiracy to discredit us would this not be the way to do it? Have your worst foot forward at all time. And Begala thinks that Hillary’s comments weren’t disrespectful or overstepping good sense in polite company regardless of race. Is he even on our team? These people may not work for us—they couldn’t possibly be on our side. If they are we need to slap the hockey helmets back on their heads send ‘em out into the outfield to catch fly balls and stay away from the pitcher’s mound at all costs.

This is our time of gains and this is what we have?

Posted by: Novenge at January 17, 2006 6:11 PM
Comment #114125

Trying to decide how best to reconstruct Iraq is like a group of murderers trying to figure out how best to dispose of the body. The only “right” answer was not to have killed the person in the first place, but that’s not available anymore, so now we’re stuck with a choice of a bunch of “wrong” options.

So, what’s our best option? Like it or not, the best thing we can do now is plan for a long stay. Iraq isn’t going to have an army sufficient to handle their own needs for quite some time, and leaving now would just be handing the country to the Iranians.

But if we’re being honest about wanting to build an independent, democratic Iraq, and all this “step up/step down” rhetoric, we need to reposition ourselves from being an occupying force to being “guests” in their country. They have an elected government now. They have a constitution. It’s time they take command of this thing. They should lead the security efforts. They should lead the efforts against the insurgents. We can (and should) provide military support, but we have no business running the show.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at January 17, 2006 6:12 PM
Comment #114127

The draft might end up being our only alternative to leaving a strategical black hole in the midst of the Middle East. Otherwise, we have to deal with an Army whose manpower situation is simply desperate on all fronts, and that’s a military defeat waiting to happen. As bad as things are now, they could get worse, and we need to prevent that, not talking about drafts not working.

We drafted and brought up reserves during WWII, but as important as that, our politicians put aside their differences. Nows the time for the Democratic party to go on the offensive, but not as attackers of Republican policy, but setters of the new policy. We have to acknowledge the strategical problems of an Iraq out of control and deal with that, whatever the cost. We should have opposed Bush when we had the chance, and the price we will pay, if we attain the majority and the presidency in the years to come, will be dealing with Bush’s legacy. Let’s not fuck things up, and lets not act as if we can deal with the failures of Iraq as we did with the failures of Vietnam. Despite their strong similarities, they are distinct conflicts with distinct situations. The old paradigms of dealing with wars can no longer hold, not after What Bush has done, or more precisely, undone.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 17, 2006 6:19 PM
Comment #114133

We’re really hosed. The country that really did support terrorists and was working on “nucular” weapons was Iran, and we wasted our chips on going into Iraq, a secular and somewhat modern state, comparatively, because Bush’s buddies said we should. He, himself, is not bright enough to challenge anyone else’s assertions, given they possess a modicum of intelligence. And their reasons for going in were not WMD or terrorism, but to boldly remake the face of the Middle East in our image. This fantasy has cost us dearly and will continue to for some time. No where, at any time, will any of the Bush apologists admit this, regardless of how big a bind we are in.

Posted by: Mental Wimp at January 17, 2006 6:33 PM
Comment #114134

Draft who? 18 or 19 year olds? You’ve got to be kidding. You haven’t seen the young people where I live. It would make more sense to draft 30 year olds if we want to keep the army on a more professional basis.

Posted by: ray ohrealy at January 17, 2006 6:40 PM
Comment #114136

Thanks, ray, for that sideswipe at our nation’s serving men and women. Draft or volunteer, they’d still protect you whether you wanted them to or not…

Posted by: ant at January 17, 2006 6:51 PM
Comment #114145

And their reasons for going in were not WMD or terrorism, but to boldly remake the face of the Middle East in our image. This fantasy has cost us dearly and will continue to for some time.

Posted by: Mental Wimp at January 17, 2006 06:33 PM

There’s a very strong suggestion, with much merit to it, that the real reason the US invaded Iraq, was because Saddam had decreed that from 2001, Iraqi oil would be sold in Euros. Iran is supposedly intending to do so soon, and Saudi would very likely follow. If this indeed happened, there would be no more recycling of Dollars back to the US, where 70% of middle east oil revenues currrently find their way back to. It doesn’t take too much imagination to see what impact this would have on the dollar and by extension the US economy.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at January 17, 2006 7:45 PM
Comment #114147

Whatever happened to the old conservative notion of military service strengthening character?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 17, 2006 7:49 PM
Comment #114148

A couple of things:

First, there really is little chance that any sort of Iraqi military will be ready to fight on their own, or even take the initiative, any time soon. Why, you may ask? It’s a simple problem of incentive. The major problem with Bush’s plan was that it was mostly stick with little carrot. Why will anyone risk their life for what is at least somewhat a puppet regime, when they see their countrymen fighting back against what is largely perceived as an occupying force? Like Vietnam, it is not easy to use native troops to stem a native uprising when they have been relying on foreign military power. The troops are poorly motivated and cannot enjoy fighting and killing their own citizens, while risking their lives with carbombs and roadside explosives and ambushes. We need to get the hell out of there, or at least make our presence more benign, if they are ever to see their government as their own and develop any sort of positive feelings about it.

Second, Bush’s policies. I agree that the war was a mistake. That is clear now. Saddam obviously never posed any threat (a simple question of cost-benefit analysis, which i’m sure even he could manage. We haven’t liked him since Kuwait, and Presidents of both parties used him as an excuse to distract Americans from domestic issues and to push their own agendas, yes, even (and perhaps especially, at least before W) Clinton. Saddam knew many elements in America were looking for an excuse, ergo, he would do all he could, without destabilizing his own regime, to avoid giving us an excuse. Furthermore, he was the sworm enemy of Islamists.) However, that is beside the point. We are in this bullshit and its up to our ears. I don’t think we can pull out now. It would simply be a disservice to ourselves and especially to Iraq. When a surgeon operates on a patient, no matter how unnecessary or foolish that surgery might be, he doesn’t walk away without sewing up the patient. We cannot either, despite the horrors of the Iraq War and what it is doing to our country. What we must do is to REMEMBER that the war was a monumental fuckup, and vote out anyone who says differently or voted differently (yes, EVERY Democrat that caved in to jingoism and horshshit 9/11 hysteria and voted for this war MUST go). That is the only thing we can do, but we owe the Iraqis that we;ve screwed over so badly our blood and resources until we get it right.

Posted by: Libertyman13 at January 17, 2006 8:02 PM
Comment #114151

Whatever happened to the old conservative notion of military service strengthening character
Stephen Daugherty,
Did military service strengthen Timothy McVeigh’s character? If you’re thinking about some kind of scheme of national service, that would be fine. I don’t think there is a chance in hell that a Rpblcn administration would ever agree to that. It’s more likely that the army would be privatized. We have a government that doesn’t even want anyone gay in the army. Besides that, drafting people into the military would require exemptions for people who take drugs habitually, aren’t physically capable, or belong to religious groups that object to military service. A draft could never be fair, and would produce an army of people who didn’t want to be in the army. Even the people who volunteered aren’t thrilled at being at the mercy of this administration’s policies. In the middle of an unpopular war, it seems more likely that people who are proposing a draft are trying to help the opposition to the war to mobilize, than strengthening anyone’s character.

Posted by: ray ohrealy at January 17, 2006 8:23 PM
Comment #114152
Personally, I’m for us getting the job done. Plain and simple.
There’s nothing plain or simple about it. Get WHAT job done??? Having seen every republican pre-war reason for going to war exposed as deciet, I wonder what job we are supposed to be getting done. Delivering democracy into the hands of a people who were unwilling to fight for it themselves? Who, for the MOST part are STILL unwilling to fight for it themselves??? Who, when handed the right to vote on a tarnished silver platter, REFUSED to vote for political ideologies, preferreing instead to vote for theocratic ideoligies???

Let’s be straight on one thing here, there was never a good reason to invade Iraq and there is no good reason to stay. We didn’t choose to shove democracy down the throats of our good friends in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We didn’t choose to shove democracy down the throats of our good friends in the Kingdom of Kuwait. We didn’t HAVE to shove democracy down the throats of the Iranians… they’ve already got it. How’s that working out for us?

Send MORE troops??? Which ‘liberal’ thought up THAT one? John Macnamara???

What conservatives, and now apparently liberals don’t seem to understand is that MUSLIM NATIONS DON’T WANT AMERICAN INTERFERENCE IN THEIR GOVERNMENT!!! When terrorists drive jet liners into our skyscrapers, THAT is what they are trying to tell us.

We will be paying for this stupid incursion for decades in terms of global credibility. The time is NOW to make the first installment by instituting the Murtha plan for withdrawal.

Posted by: Thom at January 17, 2006 8:23 PM
Comment #114162

Get real, they are not going to pull out Iraq…PERIOD. Whoever thinks so is dreaming. We are an empire ran by corporatism. Both parties are beholden to corporate infusions of cash for legitimacy. No person can be elected to any post without corporate money.

Posted by: Wasp at January 17, 2006 9:28 PM
Comment #114170

>>We drafted and brought up reserves during WWII, but as important as that, our politicians put aside their differences


You might want to look a little deeper on the subject of Congress backing the second wwar. I remember several knock down drag outs on the floors of both houses. It was likely unified after Pearl, but all was not roses always.

Again…we should withdraw NOW and leave the Iraqis to figure this out themselves. If democracy is in their future, it will be their democracy. If they can’t arrange their own democracy, nothing we do will make them any more than American puppets.

Afghanistan is where we belong and to whom we owe reconstruction. We should increase our troop levels there, find ObL and his bunch, then rebuild that country without using poppy fields to support all Afghani life. We can do that only with a strong committment.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 17, 2006 9:53 PM
Comment #114196

ray ohrealy-
The last thing we need is a mercenary army, because mercenaries answer only to themselves. If you want to understand the big-time downsides to that, watch Watch the Frontline Episode Private Warriors

The draft might mobilize resistance, but it would also mobilize support and jog us out of this daydream we have about going to war and not fully committing ourselves when we do so.

It’s my opinion that’s plain and simple, not the situations. Don’t presume I’m ignorant of the Deceit that got us into this situation. I know what went down.

We must leave Iraq better than we found it, or at least heading in that direction, or it will be a curse on this country.

As for the Murtha plan for withdrawal, do yourself a favor and read what it says: We leave only when it’s practicable. It’s not practicable if the place can’t survive on its own. If we don’t want to be back there, we do our best to get it right this time. It’s not worth it to do it any other way.

I’m aware of the divisions pre-war. Wendell Wilkie, though, after Pearl Harbor, helped rally support for the war. Now, this war has had its share of moral controversies which have made it difficult for people to support the original Bush plan, but regardless, I think it’s our duty to both the American people and the Iraqi to do what we have to in order to make sure that when we knock out the stops, we’re not knocking out all that’s supporting Iraq.

The last thing we need is Iraq as a failed state, or Afghanistan to remain one. We don’t need our legacy to be one of rubble and chaos. We are committed to both now, and should do what we can, if we have any hope of peace.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 17, 2006 11:48 PM
Comment #114197

How many lies and distortions must W tell and make before otherwise rational people stop listening to him and even quoting him?

How many more US soldiers will have to die before their relatives join Mrs Sheehan (I hope I have the name right) in trying to prevent more young men and women in uniform from dying for an unknown cause?

When will there be any in this criminal administration persuading their children to volunteer? Or any from the senate or the house?

Why are your children “defending this country from terrorism” when their children are not?

How many more thousands of Iraqi civilians will the US military kill before it’s stopped?

Why aren’t more citizens of the US enraged that this do nothing, know nothing puppet still lives in the White House after condoning torture (and obviously promoting it, if not ordering it)?

Why aren’t there more of us upset that this administration is using any excuse to curtail more of our constitutional protections in the name of fighting terror (including an attempt to use the bird flu across the Atlantic to put federal troops over local police, in anticipation of an epidemic)?

Why haven’t more of us come to the obvious conclusion that all those millions spent, all that cheating and stealing votes in two elections was to put someone in the White House who had no ideas, no real philosophy, no world view, only someone who would accept a job he could not understand and certainly not perform well. Someone who would do as he was told by those who secured the job for him. Someone like Dubya. For what other reason could he amass over a hundred million early in the primaries?

He should be impeached and then stand trial for all the deaths resulting from his dogged pursuit of his masters agenda.

Cheney should be tried with him and all those government contracts to Halliburton and other companies that they are affiliated with should be cancelled immediately, after being audited for any criminal practices.

When will Democrats get some courage and speak strongly against that incompetent in the White House and the policies that resulted from him assuming the presidency?

Posted by: vision2020 at January 18, 2006 12:04 AM
Comment #114200

FYI: Dragon Skin Body Armor is what Bush’s Secret Service is wearing.

I am more bothered at the way the GIs are being screwed right now:

Soldiers Told To Shed Dragon
Skin or Lose SGLI Death Benefits

By Nathaniel R. Helms

Two deploying soldiers and a concerned mother reported Friday afternoon that the U.S. Army appears to be singling out soldiers who have purchased Pinnacle’s Dragon Skin Body Armor for special treatment. The soldiers, who are currently staging for combat operations, reported that their commander told them if they were wearing Pinnacle Dragon Skin and were killed their beneficiaries might not receive the death benefits from their $400,000 SGLI life insurance policies. The soldiers were told to leave their privately purchased body armor at home or face the possibility of both losing their life insurance benefit and facing disciplinary action, they said.

Posted by: Aldous at January 18, 2006 12:37 AM
Comment #114202


Do you have a link for that info? Last info I saw was that the Secret Service used Second Chance?

Also from the article you quoted:

Currently nine U.S. generals stationed in Afghanistan are reportedly wearing Pinnacle Dragon Skin body armor, according to company spokesman Paul Chopra. Chopra, a retired Army chief warrant officer and 20+-year pilot in the famed 160th “Nightstalkers” Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), said his company was merely told the generals wanted to “evaluate” the body armor in a combat environment. Chopra said he did not know the names of the general officers wearing the Dragon Skin.”

Posted by: womanmarine at January 18, 2006 1:26 AM
Comment #114205

“Practicable” is subjective. What is practicable to the administration, and apparently you, is to leave an indelible American mark on Iraq. To me, the only “practicable” considerations are how to safely extract our troops and equipment, with minimal casualties and loss, and establish the ‘over the horizon force’. If you are reading anything further than that into Murtha’s plan, you are mistaken. Murtha called for, quite clearly, an immediate withdrawal, he gave a six-month time frame, because “The U.S. cannot accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily.” THAT is plain and simple.

We have handed the tyrant Hussein to them in chains. We have safeguarded their elections. We have given a basic training military training to a fair number of Iraqi troops. What happens in Iraq, with the exception of being used as a base of training for terrorists, from this point forward, is none of our goddamned business.

And yes wasp, I am a dreamer. I dream of the day when politicians are NOT beholden to corporate america. But why shouldn’t the politicians be beholden to corporations? Are they not part of the elected officials’ constituency? Cynics like yourself and the apathetic 50% of America that couldn’t get off their fat asses to vote enable corporations to remain Washington’s primary constituency.

This is an election year. We must let the senators who remain in office, and the senators and congressmen who will run for election that war initiated and sustained for the benefit of corporate america is NOT acceptable. We sure as hell can’t do that by continuing to slurp and regurgitate the drivel that there is more to be done in Iraq.

Posted by: Thom at January 18, 2006 1:34 AM
Comment #114206


Thanks for calling out the lie that Democrats ever called for our troops to cut and run and don’t want us to succeed in Iraq.

What happened in Iraq is truly an unnecessary tragedy. The genuis of Reagan was to win the cold war without firing a shot. The genuis of Bush’s father was to put us on a path toward winning over Iraq without firing a shot. Iraq never posed a threat. Surely something else could have been done with the money we have spent fighting this war that would have been a greater tribute to those that died in 9/11 and made this world a safer place.

Most of us realize that a mistake has been made. However, to fix it, I think increasing the number of soldiers in the country is a mistake. Rather, I like Murtha’s approach of gradually pulling out over the next year or so and letting Iraqis finish the job with our continuing support, provided they choose to create a government that will give all their factions equal representation.

As Bush says the Iraqis are a proud people. They don’t want or trust anyone besides themselves to rebuild their country, and if I were them, I probably wouldn’t either. Our prescence outrages a good many of them. As long as we are there we act like a magnet for their hate, and as long as they hate they will not turn to the task of rebuilding their country.

Posted by: Max at January 18, 2006 1:37 AM
Comment #114210


Never mind, I found some.

According to military personnel who have tested it, the vest’s flexible design distributes the 17-pound weight evenly on the body, provides protection under the arms and on the shoulders, and offers 140 square inches more coverage without adding more weight than the Interceptor with its newly added-on side plates.

The U.S. Army Soldiers Systems Center-Natick also tested it but told Pinnacle that it failed. That is difficult to believe, since Dragon Skin is worn by the Secret Service Presidential Protection detail, CIA, NSA, DoE, journalists and contractors in Iraq, U.S. Air Force, Special Ops forces, and several generals in the field. And those folks certainly want state-of-the-art technology.

Posted by: womanmarine at January 18, 2006 1:47 AM
Comment #114222

It’s interesting that all the focus in this thread is on the military. The key to stability in Iraq is a political solution.

Stephen, that’s a great article, but Operation Iraqi Freedom is winding down. The Iraqis have sovereignty, they have a constitution, they have an elected government, and US involvement in the reconstruction has ended. Iraq is what it is — a theocratic democracy in the midst of a civil war — and the United States has no more leverage to change that.

Regular readers know that I was always a big proponent of a stronger military force in Iraq. It’s well-known that you can’t create democratic institutions without security, but President Bush was unwilling to commit the political and military resources necessary to create true democracy and stability in Iraq.

So, as someone said in a different thread here: Stick a fork in it. Iraq is done.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 18, 2006 4:54 AM
Comment #114227


Not necissarily…and especially so in view of the Iranian situation.

Iraq will be a staging ground if necessary for Iran…bases and airfields alreadt built and operationial,thank you very much.

The key thing is getting the Sunni support…and America is pressing the Shia hard to include more and more in the government in Iraq.

Again,I am gravitating more and more to partitioning that country into seems to make sense an far as our strategic is concerned.

Partition of Iraq will enable the Shia queation in both countries to be solved at once..although Iraqi Shia,I hope,are Iraqi first.

The point is that everything is pointing to a showdown with Iran…once and for all…let’s get the Revelitioniory gaurds out once and for all.

One humorous note:Ted Kennedy struck again yesterday.Seems he wants to be removed from the rolls of the Harvard Club.(Jeez,I thought they did that when Harvard kicked him out for cheating)..anyway,seems like when he was a member of the Harvard club,they had the same men-only rules that Princeton had while he was there,yet he convientely forgot that point as he skewered Alito.He resigned,by the way,one week to the day AFTER he made that point at the hearings.

My favorite liberal lion.

Shit on again by himself.Love it

Posted by: sicilianeagle at January 18, 2006 6:55 AM
Comment #114243

Again,I am gravitating more and more to partitioning that country into seems to make sense an far as our strategic is concerned.

AGAIN, sticking our fingers into pots that don’t belong to us. “Fighting terrorism THERE so we don’t have to do it here.” This is the very reason that people around the world, of all religions, nationalities, and political ideologies hate America. They don’t envy us, as the administration would have you believe. They’re not jealous of our freedom or our wealth. They hate us because we pay for our interests with their blood.

Why is it so hard to empathize with different cultures around the world. How would WE feel if France suggested WE divided OUR country into 3… BY RELIGIONS!!! We’d tell them to STFU and stay out of our affairs. What if Japan told us to divide our country into three… one for liberals, one for conservatives, and one for moderates? We’d tell them to mind their own business.

Don’t you get it? We have no right to tell Iraq how to govern themselves regardless of our strategic advantage.

Posted by: Thom at January 18, 2006 8:47 AM
Comment #114254

Practicable is not subjective. It leads to an objective measure: can withdrawal be done without triggering the feared collapse?

If we let it collapse, there will be hell to pay. Iraq will become a new safe haven for terrorists, and the civil war will pull every country around in this important reason into it. More importantly, we will have betrayed our purpose there.

I don’t like how we got into this war, but we broke Iraq, so its our responsibility to repair it. That is the necessity.

As for telling Iraq how to govern itself, we really didn’t have a choice. I suppose now, a lot of this has set in concrete, but it was our responsibility to Democratize the nation properly. I fear we may have failed in that, but we’ll see.

Our occupations has been chronically short of manpower from day one, and the training of the Iraqi troops has not been stellar. We start pulling out troops, things will get worse. Whether we like it or not, we cannot wash our hands of this. The reality on the ground is more complicated that simple hatred. We are both loved and hated in Iraq. We leave too early, and they will only hate us, with good reason. I do not want to leave another debacle in the wake of our nation’s foreign policy. For once, lets do it right.

Political solutions will have to part of any overall solution. That said, unless the political parts of Iraq are working and can defend themselves, we may try and be through with Iraq, but Iraq won’t be through with us. I don’t want to leave a Weimar Germany behind us, which will just serve to pull us into another war.

Re: Kennedy- Do I care? Really, do you see me quoting Ted Kennedy every chance I get?

Re: Partition- Iraq has functioned as one country for most of the 20th century. There are deep cultural divides, but also seven decades or so of integrated existence. The recent ethnic and tribal strife is as much a result of Saddam’s Machiavellian attempts to keep the population at odds with each other, as it is ancient history.

I think this is one of the major fallacies of thought about the Middle East, that all the rhetoric about times past reflect longstanding greivances. In truth, these are the words of those who take heart in reacting against the west, people whose movements themselves are relatively new, and distortion of the attitudes that really exist.

The truth is, the world of pre-colonial times is dead, and the one most people in the Middle East live in is the modern one. Trying to give them back their ancient cultural identity makes no more sense than giving the Basque their own country, or making Kuwait another Province of Iraq. Unless we’re talking genocide or ethnic cleansing, America should not be in the business of settling ancient quarrels.

Re: Iran_ It’s going to make Iraq look like a Cakewalk. If we have to fight, we go in, but we don’t go in half-ass. If we go into Iran, we will need a draft, because otherwise we don’t have the combat ready troops necessary.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 18, 2006 10:05 AM
Comment #114266


I’d like to hear you logic of how the South was winning the war.

There was a peace agreement signed. Our troops were gone. South Vietnam was living in peace. We had an agreement with the Soviets to only fund I believe for replacement value on defence within North and South Vietnam. When the North restarted hostilities, we refused to fund the South and they folded. Congress walked away from our allies. South vietnam fell because the Soviets continued to fund the North and we stopped funding the south.


Posted by: Craig Holmes at January 18, 2006 10:47 AM
Comment #114265

Now, group think, how do we get Dean, Kerry (any conviction will suffice), Kennedy, and speech-flap extraordinaire Hillary (stuff you don’t even say in an echo-chamber)to get off of our team permanently.


Posted by: TheTraveler at January 18, 2006 10:47 AM
Comment #114268


Just an additional point on the above. There is one huge difference between South Vietnam and Iraq. Iraq is within our national interest because of oil. When we are finished “Iraqizing” the war effort, I don’t see Congress turning our backs on Iraq the way we did South Vietnam. We simply can’t.

I think the “more troops” group has some excellent arguments that we should of had more troops in Iraq up until now. I think “now” they are wrong, because we need more troops, but those troops “now” should be Iraqi troops.

Ideally we would of had many more troops, but have been in decline for some time now. We should be down from say 500,000 troops to about where we are today. The past is the past. I think the current plan is correct. To train enough Iraqi’s to take over so we can come home.


Posted by: Craig Holmes at January 18, 2006 10:52 AM
Comment #114277

Amazing, all the progress being made and we still have those who are pulling for failure. The reason is obvious, success will cause the flame out of one party in particular. Its not the Independents.

Posted by: Curmudgeon-at-large at January 18, 2006 11:15 AM
Comment #114296

Gee Stephen you should run for the senate or Congress. With your refreshing new insights on the republican party it would be nice to see you lose like all the other idiots that share your blather and incorrect rantings. When will a demorcrate come forward with a plan for the future? Oh yes there was one by the name of Lieberman from Connecticut who makes sense and the dems are now trying to dump him. By the way your wayward hero Al Gore is back on the campaign trail, spewing his rubbish,maybe you can catch onto his apron strings and get elected. HA! HA! P.S. Hillary (I do and say anything to get elected) is not your answer either. Have a great day!

Posted by: Brian O'Connell at January 18, 2006 12:01 PM
Comment #114297

Thom and Stephen

That’s the point….Iraq was a Western creation…it wasn’t always “Iraq “as we know it….it was born as a result of the first world war an the subsequent break-up of the Ottomian Empire…as was Saudi Arabia….thus partition isn’t as outlandous as it seems,and I am not talking about religion here either…rather this is purely on tribal basis.

The long and the short of it that partition won’t happen and that as the security forces stand up (probabaly later than sooner),only then will progress be made.

On Iran:This one will be bloody…but not our blood…they will be bombed to ruble from 40,000 feet.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at January 18, 2006 12:02 PM
Comment #114320

I still say our aim should be al Qaida in Afghanistan. The mop-up for 9/11 remains undone.

Let the Haliburton/Cheney/Bush, cabal take care of Iraq. It was their folly. They can’t walk away from it because they’ve invested too much in it to quit now. Believe it when I say that group will see Iraq through, if for nothing else, for the oil.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 18, 2006 12:39 PM
Comment #114327


It’s interesting how the same data makes two people come to substantially independent conclusions.
TRUE: Nixon cut aid to SVN by about half in ‘74.
TRUE: PRC and USSR continued their contributions to NVN.
also TRUE: Nearly all our aid went to corrupt SVN officials.
Your conclusion: We failed our allies and caused their collapse.
My conclusion: SVN was a failure doomed to collapse in the same way any corrupt regime will; the soldiers had no fear of the regime, certainly no love of the regime, so there was no will to fight. Whether on 4/30/75 or 7/4/76, collapse was inevitable.

The parallels exist for Iraq. Do we leave a locally unsupported regime with our shill (e.g. Chalabi) in power or leave a popularly elected shiite mullah? Choice (a) means thousands more dead in a near term civil war our “guy” can’t win (b) Iraq will be another anti-American theocracy. In either case it will be the Middle East’s version of Rwanda meets Bosnia.

Posted by: Dave at January 18, 2006 12:54 PM
Comment #114330


On Iran: This one will be bloody…but not our blood…they will be bombed to ruble from 40,000 feet.

By whom, do you think? There are several ways the Iran situation could play out…

Posted by: TheTraveler at January 18, 2006 12:57 PM
Comment #114332

Marysdude: “Let the Haliburton/Cheney/Bush, cabal take care of Iraq. It was their folly. “

Unfortunately, it’s our money and our soldiers blood.

Posted by: Dave at January 18, 2006 1:06 PM
Comment #114351


Thanks for your response. I think we have to follow the election. Elections mean something. We have had the UN certify the fraud was low enough to make the election results legitimate.

The Sunni question is going to be resolved one way or another. Sunni’s have very few choices as a 20% minority. With the Iraqi army building the way it is, their military options should in theory be getting fewer.

I don’t accept your premise of choosing between two bad options. A more likely option would be something inbetween. A workable government in a year that is growing in strength and power. More issues and problems. Two steps forward and one step backwards.

Again, I think Congress was correct in suggesting this be the year of measurable progress.

We will never know about which one of us is correct about how South Vietnam fell. We will never know what would have happened if we had provided funding.


Posted by: Craig Holmes at January 18, 2006 1:37 PM
Comment #114360


I think that Iran should be very very leery of Isreal.

Right now that bluster from Teheran is being heard in Tel Aviv and one thing I have learned over the years is never piss off the Isrealies.

If Benjamin what’s his name somehow succeeds Sharon,take it to the bank that there will be a very big hole in Iran someplace.

Maybe two.

Sanctions will not work here..and I don’t think that Russia or China will allow them in any event.

Believe me,this Iranian thing will be THE event of 2006..dwarfing Iraq and its problems in the process.

Kennedy Humor ,part 2:Today’s Boston Herald reported on page 15 that Ted fathered a 21 year old and it’s coming to light now.He lives down the Cape with his mom and adopted father…name’s Chris.

On page 14 was that story about the Harvard Club.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at January 18, 2006 2:18 PM
Comment #114361

I agree with Thom and AP. More troops for what? What are we fighting for? More troops to become a bigger target? Horrible idea. What we need/have needed to do is have much less of a presence.
Here is my take on what needs to be done:
Rep. Murtha is spot on. Our regular troops should withdraw over the horizon. We need far fewer troops in Iraq, but those that remain should be much better trained ones: low profile special ops troops who actually understand something about the culture — and some who can actually speak Arabic. Let them work to take out the worse of the insurgents, because it seems to me that this is how guerrilla wars must be fought.
Reconstruction should be undertaken by the Iraqi’s, not Americans. Our rebuilding things for them doesn’t make them want to stand up and fight to protect them. Things they’ve rebuilt for themselves they are more likely to want to risk their lives over. But every bit of money or materials we provide for that purpose should be kept very close track of by Americans — and those that are put in charge of this task so should also understand something about the culture and should make an effort to learn to speak Arabic. We must make sure that reconstruction funding does not end up in someones pocket, or be used to buy a bunch of shoddy crap the way the money we gave them to buy weaponry did, nor should it simply disappear the way nine billion of our tax dollars already has.
Right now these righties talk of how wonderful it is that we’ve been building all these schools for the little children, but what they don’t want to admit is that the insurgents then put up flyers in the squares and markets informing the parents who might send their kids to those schools that they’d better not, because they’re going to kill them all. True to their word, much of what has been rebuilt is often later destroyed. But with Iraqi’s in charge of rebuilding their infrastructure and then acting as security to protect that progress, we will likely see the insurgency a lot less motivated to blow things up.
The truth is, unlike what Bushco has been claiming, the vast majority of the insurgents that have been attacking our troops have not been foreign fighters. They’re Iraqi citizens attempting to ruthlessly and aggressively push American occupiers out of their country.
When American troops are for the most part gone, we will be able to better assess whether (and where) civil war is likely to break out. As it stands right now, I don’t think we can know if it will be wide-spread, due to the aggressive stance the insurgents have taken over our running their country and toward any of their fellow citizens who appear to be working with, or for, the U.S. military.
As for the training of Iraqi police and troops, why the hell is it being done in within the country? Our doing so has caused the insurgents to focus on any group who has been seen taking orders from our military as a target. Stupid, stupid, stupid! Train them elsewhere — and let the UN forces be involved in training these people as well.
Just my two cents.

Posted by: Adrienne at January 18, 2006 2:19 PM
Comment #114364

As for Iraq, we are certainly on a path that is near impossible to get off. Unfortunately, I still think that the “workable” government you refer to will be either (a) or (b), either shill or mullah. And, as in Yugoslavia, you can’t hold an artifical construct together forever. But maybe, just maybe, this one will fall apart without a genocide.

We will never know about which one of us is correct about how South Vietnam fell. We will never know what would have happened if we had provided funding.

Posted by Craig Holmes at January 18, 2006 01:37 PM

True, but we certainly have our opinions :-)

Now this was a good conversation, I was about to give up on this blog. Thanks Craig.

Posted by: Dave at January 18, 2006 2:24 PM
Comment #114365


Unfortunately, I believe the special ops units you propose would only be effective if there was a government we could support. Iraq needs a large on-the-ground presence, it should just be the Iraqis themselves. I do like the observation that people are much more likely to defend what they build themselves.
Having said that, I would also trust Murtha and McCain to have a far more detailed understanding of what’s practical in that environment and I would want to enable them to develop and implement a real strategy; rather than some political chickenhawk chickensh!t in the executive branch.

Posted by: Dave at January 18, 2006 2:31 PM
Comment #114368


Now this was a good conversation, I was about to give up on this blog. Thanks Craig.

I feel the same way.

I am deeply concerned about what I call “political bigotry” in our country. It seems that we are replacing old terms like “niger, fag, etc etc” with “Liberal, Neocon, Democrat and Repubican”. In the past we divided at least along racial lines. Today it appears we are dividing along political lines. Most on the far right today would rather have their daughters marry an african american than a liberal, and rather have a son who is gay than democrat. (I’m speaking from emotion, I have no evidence of this).

Do you think the term “political bigotry” is too strong a term for what we see in politics from both sides today??

It would be interesting to draw parallels between the extremes and the KKK for instance.

I wonder if there are language styles that can be identified from old KKK or John Birch society writtings and speeches that have a correlation with modern talk show (hate) speach.

One of the ways you can know a bigot, is the brighter the light shown in their eyes the more they squint. I wonder what would happen if some light was shined on Air America and Rush Limbaugh? I wonder if they would squint?



Posted by: Craig Holmes at January 18, 2006 2:52 PM
Comment #114370


I’m pretty sure you said much of what I said, but said it longer, i.e., let those who have the most at stake do the rebuilding of Iraq. I said Haliburton/Cheney/Bush Cabal, and you said the Iraqis. Okay, let’s flip a coin on that while we pull our troops out…

Posted by: Marysdude at January 18, 2006 3:09 PM
Comment #114372


As for Iraq, we are certainly on a path that is near impossible to get off. Unfortunately, I still think that the “workable” government you refer to will be either (a) or (b), either shill or mullah. And, as in Yugoslavia, you can’t hold an artifical construct together forever. But maybe, just maybe, this one will fall apart without a genocide.

I think we can hold an artifical contruct together as long as it is in our strategic interest. A key difference between the examples we are discussing, is that we have no other choice.

For instance our discussion on Vietam. I would argue that the vote tally in the mid seventies to cut off funding would have been different had South Vietnam been sitting on top of an ocean of oil. At it’s very root, this is about oil.


Posted by: Craig Holmes at January 18, 2006 3:13 PM
Comment #114376


Thanks for the follow-up.


It seems that we are replacing old terms like “niger, fag, etc etc” with “Liberal, Neocon, Democrat and Repubican”. In the past we divided at least along racial lines. Today it appears we are dividing along political lines… Do you think the term “political bigotry” is too strong a term for what we see in politics from both sides today??

Good oberservation. I think we here on the blogs tend to be a bit more guilty of it than the talk shows, though.

Posted by: TheTraveler at January 18, 2006 3:25 PM
Comment #114380

“Unfortunately, I believe the special ops units you propose would only be effective if there was a government we could support.”

I know what you’re saying Dave, but the trouble there is that the Iraqi’s have already elected their theocratic government. We can’t really do a much about that now. Though we might wish keep a sharp eye out for what could become rampant human rights abuses as a result, that becomes a matter of political diplomacy, not a matter for our military. The special ops units I was talking about should be used to take out the foreign fighters (Al Qaeda, whoever) who are there (we probably won’t know the true number of these fighters until we draw down) — because they’re the ones interested in keeping the instability and terror going in Iraq. It’s how they recuit people to work for them, rather than work for the good of the country and the citizenry.

Posted by: Adrienne at January 18, 2006 3:50 PM
Comment #114386

As for Iraq, we are certainly on a path that is near impossible to get off.

THIS is absolutely true, as long as democrats continue to be concilatory to the war mongers (how’s THAT for political bigotry?) that perpetrated this farce on the American people, allowing their patriotism to be challenged with the words ‘cut and run’. LET the conservatives hold our liberal representatives under the lights of their cynicism… and let the 55% who now admit that this war was a mistake drag THEIR representitives out into the daylight and expose them for what they are… apathetic to global safety.

Unfortunately, I believe the special ops units you propose would only be effective if there was a government we could support.

The Marines that Murtha proposed as an over the horizon force were not proposed to support or aid the government we installed in Iraq… their sole purpose would be to monitor and prevent the formation of terrorist training camps. If the civil war in Iraq continues, and make no mistake about it, Iraq IS currently in the throes of a civil war… nothing less, or worsens, then their history will be no different than many successful nations, including our own.

Every day our troops remain in Iraq is another straw of hate and resentment piled on the back of the camel of our national security.

Posted by: Thom at January 18, 2006 4:11 PM
Comment #114395

I haven’t read every post due to time so I apologize if this has been mentioned already.

To those of you championing the draft, how would you feel when your daughter gets her draft notice? You see, proponents of womens rights have worked so hard to blurr the distinction between men and women that there is no way they could justify supporting a draft that only included men. I don’t see the American public tolerating their young women drafted for military service.

I’m not saying the draft is a bad idea, I just think it is thought of in terms of what it was, not in terms of what it would really mean today.

Posted by: Rick at January 18, 2006 5:13 PM
Comment #114399

TheTraveler :

Thanks for the reply. Hillary said as much when she said Congress was run like a plantation. Just to keep things equal, Howard Dean says he “hates Republicans and everything they stand for.”

I think some good could come from “coining” a term like Political Bigot. Bigotry brings up negative images. Very few people want to be known as a bigot, we just want to hate the other party!! If we were to define political bigotry as hatred of someone because they belong to a political “group”, it could change the tone of our country.

It might be nice to reverse the political segregation, where the minority party must sit at the back of the bus.

But I have a dream!! When all God’s children, Republicans, Democrats, Liberals and Conservatives, will all join hands and sing in the words of that great negro spiritual, free at last, free at last, praise God Almighty, we are free at last!!

I think it will preach!!


Posted by: Craig Holmes at January 18, 2006 5:24 PM
Comment #114409


If pulling out is defeat, then the Bush administration wanted defeat from the start.

Your entire argument here is built on ignoring some key facts. Or at least you are repeating some flagrant lies…

1. The first is that no one holds the position that pull-out alone is defeat. Did Bush ever say we were never pulling out of Iraq? I don’t think that’s an argument that the administration has ever made. In fact, it is an argument that Bush’s opponents have made. So, in effect you are placing Bush’s critics arguments in place of his own.

Why is it that pro-war positions can be distorted without ever using their own words, but actually quoting those with an anti-war position is ‘hateful’, ‘vitrolic’, ‘spiteful’, and an attempt to silence?

Besides not being able to use what conservatives or neo-cons have actually said about this, to hold the position that all of the war thus far has been an utter failure is evidence enough of extreme bias. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

The salient point to be made is that an immediate pullout has been called for since it began. The anti-war far-left has been consistent in calling for the defeat of U.S. forces since before the war began. I can quote them, as I have done many times, expressing their hopes and glee that the Imperialist U.S. will suffer a defeat at the hands of Iraqi ‘freedom fighters’, in fact, we could quote Michael Moore himself, hero of the 2004 election, and author of many of the arguments you put forward in this post.

The supposedly moderate and hawkish Murtha is recently quoted as expressing his fear that a pull-out could somehow be construed as a victory. God forbid!

Is pointing this out inconvenient to your argument that no one on the left actually wants us to LOSE?

The left has made it’s arguments clear: Iraq is vietnam. We can’t win. We need to pull out before we do, and it must be a defeat for Bush above all else.

“A year ago, I said we can’t win this militarily, and I got all kinds of criticism.” Now, Murtha told the strongly antiwar audience, “I worry about a slow withdrawal which makes it look like there’s a victory when I think it should be a redeployment as quickly as possible and let the Iraqis handle the whole thing.”
Posted by: esimonson at January 18, 2006 5:56 PM
Comment #114416

Why do people keep talking about Al Queda in Afghanistan when OBL is in Pakistan, our ally? Only the CIA is interested in Afghanistan, they have to keep the poppy fields growing.

Stephen Daugherty, I’m not saying we should go in the direction of a mercenary army, I’m saying we ARE going in that direction, Kellogg Brown and Root and Halliburton have more respect for their employees than Bush Cheney have for the U.S. Army. I deleted Rummy from that , because he might have actually done something useful on 9/11.

Sicilian Eagle, go to Caccamo instead of ragging on Kennedy ever day, it’s old. Were you on the grassy knoll with Charles Voyde Harrelson?

The John Birch society has morphed into the Rpblcn party. As I’ve said before, their views are not based on reason, and cannot be changed by argument. It’s called prejudice. Terms of abuse are sometimes seen here posted as flames by unfamiliar people, and then refuted by a familiar name, but that is sometimes also the person who posted the flame under a different name.

Posted by: ray ohrealy at January 18, 2006 6:12 PM
Comment #114424


You seem to think we ‘lefties’ are somehow, at best ignorant, and at worst, defeatist, when we call for an imediate and complete pullout.

We are neither. Most of us hate the thoughts of quiting an incomplete job. But ,and here’s the rub…since we should not have been there in the first place, we are usurpers, and as such it is not our business to even up the odds in Iraq. It is up to the Iraqis to do so.

We have wrongly rid them of a brutal leader, so beginning right now they are better off than we were when we began our revolution. Our brutal leader was still in power. That’s why we call it a revolution.


If you did not get that I’ll repeat…WE DO NOT BELONG IN IRAQ!!!

Posted by: Marysdude at January 18, 2006 6:23 PM
Comment #114446


“A year ago, I said we can’t win this militarily, and I got all kinds of criticism.” Now, Murtha told the strongly antiwar audience, “I worry about a slow withdrawal which makes it look like there’s a victory when I think it should be a redeployment as quickly as possible and let the Iraqis handle the whole thing.”

I just ran the sentence “I worry about a slow withdrawal” along with the name Murtha, through Google and all I got was an article that appeared in the National Review and a bunch of rightwing blogs quoting from that same article.
Not a single solitary newspaper ever quoted this supposed statement of his.
I think its a big lie, being told simply to smear him.
Shame on anybody who would do such a thing to a two war, heavily decorated Marine veteran like Murtha.

Posted by: Adrienne at January 18, 2006 7:18 PM
Comment #114453

I doubt oil was anything more than secondary. The primary pull of Iraq was as fulcrum for changing America’s geopolitical approach. It was supposed to be an easy war, which would be over quickly, and fought with the methods and political attitudes the Neocons wanted to prove successful. Iraq was supposed to be our new kind of war, was supposed to displaced the international law they saw as restrictive with ad hoc allianced.

Unfortunately for everybody involved, nothing worked out like it was supposed to.

I have no problem with the troop increase being par Iraqi, I just think that will become a much easier task if we can do more than just protect our own butts. My sole reason for wanting more troops is to let Iraq heal to a certain extent. Bush’s plan never has allowed that, and this has been a drag on all recovery efforts, including that of the army and the police. If we fail to take care of that, we will have to wait far longer to see our troops replaced with Iraqis.

If you want to talk about incorrectness, I can run down the list of assumptions Bush and your fellow Republicans have operated on that turned out to be full of it. You seem to define incorrectness by which way a person leans. I could care less. One can smugly taunt over what one sees as foolish Democrat criticisms, but given the numbers, who do you think Americans believe? Americans see a great deal wrong with the substance of the war, and unfortunately, Bush has spent much of America’s patience playing a game of wait and see.

The last thing we need is a descent into tribalism. It would be tragic to say the least, because in the time before Saddam, the nation was much more modern than that.

As for Iran? Don’t count on it being that simple. Don’t count on it being that bloodless. Don’t count on it being that one sided. If Israel launches on Iran? Don’t count on peace anytime soon. Or cheap oil ever again.

I have my doubts as to whether leaving the country would mean the insurgents simply hang up their guns.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 18, 2006 7:46 PM
Comment #114454

1)You did know that they were planning to start leaving as soon as August of the year of the invasion, didn’t you? That was their actual plan. They weren’t planning on occupying the nation, had budgeted only a billion dollars for rebuilding the entire country, etc. Long story short, a quick pull out was their original plan.

As for the information for my arguments, you can find it in the pages of The Assassin’s Gate by George Packer.

As for Murtha’s argument, his argument is that if we’re going to withdraw, we do so decisively, and not drag it out to save face back home, to make it look like a victory. You’re basing your argument on a heavy interpretation of a word choice.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 18, 2006 8:01 PM
Comment #114490

“As for Murtha’s argument, his argument is that if we’re going to withdraw, we do so decisively, and not drag it out to save face back home, to make it look like a victory. You’re basing your argument on a heavy interpretation of a word choice.”

Actually esimonson seems to have been basing his argument on a smear campaign the right has recently whipped up against Murtha. At this point, I honestly don’t believe that Murtha ever made that quote.

Check this out — I was searching to see if I could find some small trace of anyone other than a rightwing website attributing this supposedly direct quote to Murtha and found none with any kind of credibility whatsoever. But this is something I found in that process. It’s a letter that someone on the left who blogs at Democratic Underground and who is on the National Republican Congressional Committee email list received in their inbox:

Dear NRCC Supporter,

I want to alert you to an article that appeared in the National Review on Monday. Representative John Murtha of Pennsylvania appeared at a town hall meeting in Arlington, Virginia last week and made a stunning statement about the war in Iraq.

Here is an excerpt of the National Review article, written by Byron York, January 9, 2006:

Representative John Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat who has come to national prominence since his call for a quick withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, said Thursday night that he worries about “a slow withdrawal which makes it look like there’s victory.”

Appearing at a town meeting in Arlington, Virginia, with fellow Democratic Rep. James Moran, Murtha said, “A year ago, I said we can’t win this militarily, and I got all kinds of criticism.” Now, Murtha told the strongly antiwar audience, “I worry about a slow withdrawal which makes it look like there’s victory when I think it should be a redeployment as quickly as possible and let the Iraqis handle the whole thing.”

Representative Murtha’s comments are a perfect representation of the Democrats’ defeatist attitudes towards the war in Iraq and the President. Democrats like John Murtha apparently are no longer concerned about the well-being of the Iraqi people; they are only focused on their political gains in Washington and disagreeing with President Bush. Our armed forces are fighting diligently each day to make Iraq and the world safer. The Iraqi people appreciate this and are now able to experience living in a Democracy.

President Bush is aware that our troops must come home and that America should not be in Iraq indefinitely. But he also knows that the job must be completed. As one of the greatest powers in the world, we must help the citizens of Iraq establish a country which is safe and free.

The Republicans in Congress are working hard to support the President, to ensure a safe Iraq and to bring our troops home as soon as possible. Your support of the Republicans in the House of Representatives is vital as the war in Iraq is going to be an important issue in the 2006 election. The Republicans in Washington will not sink to the defeatist attitudes of Democratic Congressmen like John Murtha because they know the job in Iraq must be finished.

Tom Reynolds, M.C.

P.S. We are already working hard to support the Republican Congressional candidates throughout the country as they prepare for Election Day in November. If you would like to make a donation, please click here today.

Isn’t it interesting how in this letter they kept using the words “Democrat” and “defeat” or “defeatist” together? Made me suddenly realize that Eric tried to use this same supposed quote of Murtha’s and also used the words “defeat” and “defeatist” in his posts aimed at Democrats and Liberals in WB recently.
For instance, in the thread “Pullout Must Look Like Defeat”
He used the word “defeat” four times — five if you count the title of his article, as well.
Strange thought to entertain isn’t it? That not everyone who posts to Watchblog may do so simply for the sake of engaging in any real discussion or sharing their own uniquely individual viewpoints, but rather for carefully orchestrated propaganda purposes. And perhaps some people are even being paid to perform this service…

Posted by: Adrienne at January 18, 2006 10:57 PM
Comment #114565


I am not ragging on Kennedy….merely pointing out his vast inconsisties,that’s all.

Many liberal ideas are terrific(geez,I can’t believe I just said that) but his artful antagonism and attacks over the years have buried any message that he has.

I think a whole new cadre of Democrats is needed…young blood so to speak,that can capture the imagination of Americans.

However,this “new blood” must be careful not to vear too far left and alienate anew moerate and conservative America.

Neither far left nor far right Americans speak for the majority and never will(I hope)

Yes,tribalism is a terrible thing,but that is what is going on right now in Iraq…under the disguise of religion.

There are conservative moderate and secular Shia struggling among themselves for power(read:money) as there are the same with the Sunni and Kurd factions.

Thus there are nine philosophies in play here,not three.

Plus,of course the Saddam Baathist insurgents.

Two millenia ago,Ceasar had the presence of mind to died and conquer each Gaullic Tribe (there were 324 in all).One Gaullic leader,Vercingettorix,actually united the Gauls and the result was nearly a Roman defeat.However then,as now,inter-tribal squabbles enabled the “imperialist”Romans to win,and Verceingettorix,after a six year imprionment and a parade thru Rome,was ritually strangled.

Off the topic,but two weeks ago I visited the place in Rome where he was strangled.It was close by the Roman Forum in rat hole dug deep into the ground.It was the same place that Cicero had Cateline strangled and also the same place that Saint Peter and Paul were held priot to their crucifications.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at January 19, 2006 6:37 AM
Comment #114570

I know that there were a number of Puritans in New Engalnd in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. I know that Quakers tended to settle in the Pennsylvania area. I’m not sure where the Huegonauts took up residence or where most catholics or protestents went, but I have a feeling that if our forefathers had separated into areas by religion alone, we’ never have become the United States.

With the three groups in Iraq so well defined by area, will democracy thrive?

There is so much division between Republicans and Democrats, and between secular and religious groups in our country, are we about to have another revolution? Are we about to lose our country? Hmmm!!?? Is that what Cheney/Bush wanted to begin with? Hmmm!!?? A broken America could use a Saddam-like dictator. Who better to serve than Cheney/Bush? Who better to unite us and to serve our needs than Haliburton?

Posted by: Marysdude at January 19, 2006 7:13 AM
Comment #114577

If you did not get that I’ll repeat…WE DO NOT BELONG IN IRAQ!!!

THANK you marysdude. Say it loud enough so those quibbling about how long we should stay in Iraq get the message. Every minute we stay in Iraq is an unneccessary minute spent in Iraq.

Posted by: Thom at January 19, 2006 7:43 AM
Comment #114601


Craig- I doubt oil was anything more than secondary. The primary pull of Iraq was as fulcrum for changing America’s geopolitical approach.

My point wasn’t about then, but now. One of the reasons we cannot end the war in Iraq like we did Vietnam, is that Iraq sits on top of a national interest. (oil)

The domino theory was abstract, $4.00/gal gasoline is concrete.


Posted by: Craig Holmes at January 19, 2006 9:24 AM
Comment #114607

Kennedy’s behavior is apropos of nothing in my original entry. To bring him up strikes me as not only as an ad hominem argument, but a non sequitur as well.

As for tribalism in Iraq, my opinion is that this is something to wean the Iraqis off of, even as we acknowledge its existence. We need Iraqi’s invested in the long term and their communities as a whole, not their narrow tribal agendas.

As for the Celts, what we saw there was the Roman’s conquering that territory. They didn’t leave it for centuries. We have no such aspirations. Stability, not permanent control, is our wisest course of action.

I think we’re caught inbetween two separate sensibilities: Defensive Warfare, and Imperial Warfare. Unfortunately, we haven’t decided on one or the other. If we seek to take over and colonize the region for ourselves, then we could decide to use local resources for our own ends, or to perpetuate our presence. If we only sought to defend ourselves, we could leave as soon as we had a stable government, or even sooner if we were really going to be cold and short-sighted about it.

But this thing of invading Iraq, with neither the plan to permanently exploit the place, or do the hard work of rehabilitating the nation, means that even if we can use Iraq as a stepping stone for an attack on Iran, we’re doing so off our own resources, not Iraq’s, and therefore, we’re footing the bill for two big wars with no gains to make up for it.

It makes sense, as a Democracy unwilling to conquer and colonize, to do the work it takes to make Iraq a friendly (or at least neutral) power once again and then leave, with a minimal troop presence nearby.

The policy this president started out with was far too casual for what it was intended to do. It is this lack of commitment that crippled this war, this unwillingness to do Nation Building until the collapse of order in Iraq forced his hand.

I want my colleagues on the left to take note of what I say to you next: That immediate withdrawal without first securing the country is only a repeat of George W. Bush’s initial mistake, as much as his policy is a continuation of his mistakes by an uncommitted approach to nation building. Some consider oil to be a main interest in all this. It’s not now, really, but it will become so if a civil war erupts. Look on a map, and you see that many of our neighbors are in close proximity to Iraq. The Collapse of Iraq will mean that agents of different power and interests will be able to pass through unhindered, and strike at our allies and our strategic partners at will. Oil will be a primary target for the terrorists, as it is now inside the country.

We got to shake ourselves out of this notion that we can wash our hands of the situation merely by withdrawing. That is why I emphasize the language of Murtha’s resolution: Withdrawal when Practicable. For me, that means we do what we have to to get the region stabilized. Otherwise, we will have to intervene at a later date, and with fewer friends in the region. This is not merely about pride, or being where we’re not supposed to be, or any of that stuff about whether this war was right or wrong.

This is about what legacy we leave our children. This is about whether the boys and girls at school today will have to shed blood later on account of the mistakes of this administration. We already have seen the mistakes of another administration lead to the deaths of boys and girls who saw the Gulf War unfold as children. Shall we complete the trilogy, and see the kids watching this war on CNN (or Fox for that matter) die for our unwillingness to truly settle this issue in Iraq?

I want us to finish the job. Not say we’re going to finish the job, and drag it out, like Bush is doing, but finish the job in substance, making the sacrifices necessary to do so.

The problem is, at the moment, that America is far too inured to the force it’s actions have in the world, far too willing to make snap decisions with profound consequences for ourselves and the rest of the world. If we don’t start adopting a sense of discipline, a willingness to work out what we’re going to do, and not take action lightly, then we will soon drown in our own folly, and America will collapse as a world power just as its rival Russia did.

We must make peace with our fallibility and neither withdraw into muddled inaction, or strike out in ill-considered force. We must make peace with our fallibility and recognize that not all wars will lead us to peace, and not all kinds of peace will lead us away from the path of war.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 19, 2006 10:20 AM
Comment #114609

I agree my musings on Ted are probably an ad hominum arguement but honestly ,he set your party back 10 years…at least one election.That being said,I will not say another word about the guy until his next screw up(probably later this week I imagine),at which time I will jump all over him again.

Your philosophy on the war appear to be more centrist now that they were say six months ago(I just re-read your piece from last summer”What the Hell Happened in Iraq” and that piece had defeatist undertones,which I objected to at the time.

You are correct that we can’t get out now,but tomorrow…the day the election results are announced..will be a big day in Iraq’s historty.Once a new administration is in place things should get better.

I say “should” because we are attempting to analyze these actions using Western reasoning and I am begginning to this that we are all off base here.

One of the best things that I read was in this morning’s Washington Post where yesterday Condi Rice made sweeping changes in the foreign service including a fluency in two languages requirement and a two tour duty requirement in a dangerous counrty.

This goes hand in hand with the military’s re-casting their make-up in view of modern warfare.
Two good first steps

Posted by: sicilianeagle at January 19, 2006 10:40 AM
Comment #114610


To me we have only a couple of choices.

1. Saturate bomb until nothing of consequence remains of Iraq or Iraqis, because any other course of war begs continuation of the present course, or…

2. Withdraw NOW, because anything else leads to either saturation bombing or continuation.

I say again, even louder…WE DO NOT BELONG IN IRAQ! It is not morally, physically, or politically up to us. We just don’t belong in Iraq, period…four dollars per gallon is a small price to pay for the good we would achieve by getting out. Dishonor followed by dishonor is NOT a solution.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 19, 2006 10:45 AM
Comment #114618

>>musings on Ted are probably an ad hominum arguement but honestly ,he set your party back 10 years


You forgot to strees the more important part…while Teddy may have set his party back ten years, Dubbya is setting his COUNTRY back to pre-industrial revolution days.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 19, 2006 12:33 PM
Comment #114627


Sorry I promised Stephen I would no longer comment about Ted on this thread.It’s a non-sequitur and verbotten.

View George,however as a Renaissance man,and I bet you will feel 100% better about him.


Posted by: sicilianeagle at January 19, 2006 1:15 PM
Comment #114630

>>Sorry I promised Stephen I would no longer comment about Ted on this thread.It’s a non-sequitur and verbotten.


It’s okay. Just follow your boss’s example…Cheney/Bush says you don’t have to keep your word, and can renege any time with impunity…you can answer, Stephen won’t mind your promise breaking too much.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 19, 2006 1:41 PM
Comment #114634


Really now,in deferance to Stephen I won’t comment on Ted or his newly discovered illegitamate son or his own membership in a Harvard club that banned women or even the floater on the Cape.No way will I comment.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at January 19, 2006 1:53 PM
Comment #114688

Ahhh! That’s better…you’re baaacck! But Stephen was right, Ted’s shinanagans are soooo passe…please stick with the subject at hand.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 19, 2006 4:10 PM
Comment #114695

I really don’t know whom to address this message to, So i will just say that you “WHITE FLAG WAVERS” should start listening to your leaders who are going to run for pres. 2008. Hillary & Bill, Bush deferred to the EU regarding Iran rather, than get directly involved. Senator Bayh, Bush waited to long to get serious with Iran. That sounds like Hawk talk to me. Perhaps you flip-floppers should start reconsidering your leanings. who knows they might beable to convince the real “AMERICANS” in this country to vote for one of your own. P.S All of what they are saying by the way is HOGWASH!!! If you all remember Bush designated IRAN, NORTH KOREA & IRAG as an “AXIS OF EVIL”. Gees maybe some of you guys are starting to get the picture. By the way, when Clinton was in office all of these countries were running amok of the US, EU, & UN. Irag was bribing every country in the world, North Korea made Clinton look like a chump and Iran didn’t matter at all to Al-dark and Al (show me a tree) Gore and I’LL say Bush is the cause of it being burned to the ground in a forest fire. Please you guys give us a break. Save this country from all those who want to do away with us not those who want to prevent it. Don’t agree with President Bush but just remember the enemy can read and understand politics and will try to take advantage of it. I will never believe Bill Clinton, George Bush or any othe true AMERICAN would deliberately sell our
Country down the drain. We have got to start thinking like AMERICANS not liberals, Conservatives. or any thing else. We must survive the threat against our country and our way of life.. It you don’t believe in our way of life go live somewhere else. This is a time for all AMERICANS to come together and support our GOVERNMENT. It was always a fair game. Who won, WON! wHY CAN’T WE UNDERSTAND THAT.

Posted by: Brian O'Connell at January 19, 2006 5:04 PM
Comment #114726

Brian O’Connell, a couple of your comments violate our policy or, appear as flagrant flame bait. Since, you appear to be fairly new here, please heed this one warning to abide by our policy, Critique the Message, NOT the Messengers. Messengers being writers and visitors here at WatchBlog.


Posted by: Watchblog Managing Editor at January 19, 2006 7:12 PM
Comment #114736

DEAR WATCHBLOG MANAGING EDITOR, I wish I knew how to emphasize my response with bold letters. I assume you really haven’t read what I have written in this blog. I guess it is anti-demorcratic to speak ones mind with a message in hand. I have explained that when I used the word MORON with PHX8 it only was to prove the point that it is OK to call other people what ever they want as long as they are on one side or the other. Please run your blog as you like but I believe we all have the right to state our opinions with explaination whether you or anyone else likes it. If feelings are so sensitive then perhaps they shouldn’t subject themselves to opinions of others. I know I will lose this debate. All I can say is you are the losers not I. I guess people will say good riddance. But the debate will not be truthful and wholesome with this kind of limiting legitimate reference and debate. PHX8, Adrienne, Stephen, and all others remember legitimate reference wnether liked or not is relevant and must be stated with honesty. Read my posts and see what is real and what is not.

Posted by: Brian O'Connell at January 19, 2006 7:53 PM
Comment #114737

First, and foremost, the piece from last summer does not belong to me, but instead is American Pundit’s. We did confront each other on that issue, and I took the position that I’ve essentially taken throughout the war: Lousy justification, Lousy plan, but now we’re there, and the consequences of it going to hell make it imperative that we don’t let Iraq fall to pieces.

If there’s any difference since then, it was reading The Assassins’ Gate. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, not the least of which because of it’s tough, realistic, and sympathetic look at the mess this war is. I’ve come to appreciate something of the plight of those people we may end up leaving to their own devices. You should read the book though, so you can understand yourself why I’m so critical of Bush’s leadership on the war, and how things have turned out.

Look, this is the real world, and our options are more complex and numerous than just those two option. The solutions to this might be difficult, and costly to us, but they will likely be less so than the results of letting Iraq collapse.

Do yourself a favor and go through my entries in the archives. You’ll probably find that I’ve written somewhere between fifty and seventy articles on the Iraq war, with a pretty consistent POV on Bush’s screw-ups, going from Spring of 2004, to the present.

You can say as loudly, in as boldly formatted of capital letters as you muster that we don’t belong in Iraq, but the fact is, wer’e there, and our withdrawal will have consequences. In the long run oil will be a factor in why we should not leave Iraq immediately, but the primary reason is the consequences of what happens when a state of the size and prominence of Iraq craters in the middle of such a crucially strategic region. You are right in that dishonor should not follow dishonor, but I would consider it dishonor to leave the people of Iraq to their own devices if they are not prepared for the results.

Looking at cars on the road, on occasion, I see people would likely blanche or burst into red-hot rage at the thought of flag-burning flying those flags in their window until they’re absolutely ragged, rain or shine. I’m sure their motives weren’t bad. Nonetheless, if they are so worried about the message that flag desecration sends, they should have the presence of mind and the diligence not to desecrate the flag that way.

Patriotism, too, is a good thing, but like the ragged, rain-soaked flags, it too can be desecrated through negligence and inattention.

Americans have survived decades longer than most continually functioning government in this world under one government because Americans are a practical, tough minded people who don’t take crap from their leaders sitting down.

The primaries are still months away for the 2008 election campaign. I don’t really have a favorite candidate yet, and there’s still a great deal to prove on the part of any person who wants to be president in 2008, given the legacy that they will inherit from Bush.

Frankly, this administration has given people far too many reasons to distrust it. It has wasted the will of 9/11 on a war they really weren’t prepared to fully wage. I do blame Clinton for his shortfalls, but at least his shortfalls on Iraq didn’t occur with the strength of our military, the blood of our soldiers, and the treasure of our next generation on the line in a war.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 19, 2006 7:53 PM
Comment #114741

In the past, my political debates took place on sites where the discussions could get pretty nasty, and the claws could really get unsheathed. Part of me enjoys that, but soon enough, I inevitably tire of the name-calling and vitriol. Especially when I’m the target.

I like that here the point is to seek out and defend your ideas from a standpoint of substance. I like having people who challenge on the facts. I like the fact that the trolls and the flamers have a half-life of about two seconds. I like that there is some sense and rationality to the way people argue, even if I don’t like their style of thought.

There’s nothing standing in the way of you offering your view, so long as your view isn’t that the other commentator’s a bloody bastard and should be shot with all the other traitors.

The beauty of that is, if you really think about it, that such insults, such garbage, qualifies among the most meaningless of exchanges. Here, you actually get some ideas in the midst of the spin, and people get called on parroting the talking points.

The beauty of Watchblog is, that what you’re seeing is a true competition of ideas.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 19, 2006 8:09 PM
Comment #114742

Brian O’Connell, your 1st amendment rights don’t extend to privately owned and operated web sites. You were a guest here, but in light of your response to my warning about following our policy: “All I can say is you are the losers not I”, it appears you have no intention of abiding our policy. Therefore, your guest privileges are revoked here.

Posted by: Watchblog Managing Editor at January 19, 2006 8:13 PM
Comment #114830

I stand corrected.It was AP’s thread but you and I were on it in discussion that day.

As far as the ‘08 elections,right now McCain/Guiliani or Guilliani/McCain appear unbeatable.

I do not see one creditable Democratic candidate on the horizon that can mount a serious challenge.

Despite the high oil prices,despite the war,despite Katrina,the economy continues to hum along and this really shouldn’t be a partisian issue…my view is that it is an American issue.

Bush’s tax breaks to the “rich” seemed to have the desired effect of priming the economy.

Oil,of course will be another big issue in ‘06 but will Americans wake up in view of Venezuala and now Iran threatening to disrupt/cut off the supply?

The fact that the economy is doing so well in view of the high oil prices is amazing…and for once the administration has to get crdit for something done right.

(Actually Bush naming Rice as Secretary of State was a terrific move plus Roberts will be a terrific CJ)so not everything he did was terrible.

However,look at the Democratic party since the election.Not one significant change.

Regularily Howard Dean embarrasses himself and the party.Kerry still makes dumb statements and his poll numbers are still single didgets.Joe Biden kinda embarrassed himself at the Alito hearings(he asked a 10 minute long question at one point),and Harry Reed is way off base if he thinks this “culture of corruption” thing is only a Republician problem.

Looking at the above list..they are all old guard.No new blood.

Meanwhile,as Iraq veterans return home and run for office(most of them conservative),I bet a few additionial seats will be snagged by the right.

IF Bid Laden somehow were to be killed this year,then retaining the White House by the right will be assurred.

My view anyway.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at January 20, 2006 5:58 AM
Comment #114832

>>retaining the White House by the right will be assurred.


I wonder how long the ‘Right’ can run on three flat tires…the lack of intellegence in planning, honor in execution, and integrety of office will surely make it a rough ride…

Posted by: Marysdude at January 20, 2006 6:35 AM
Comment #114833

>>Look, this is the real world, and our options are more complex and numerous than just those two


You are probably right, but even in the REAL world, many times the answers are in the least common denominator.

We should not have gone there…we should not be there…the Iraqi people are not helpless…the middle east has survived at least ten thousand years by settling their own hash…the only reasons for remaining are now selfish and lack honor.

Least common denominator? Get out now. Concentrate on the actual ‘war on terror’.

Posted by: Marysdude at January 20, 2006 6:43 AM
Comment #114839


Simple:The Dems are riding on rims..seriously,who is a candidate that you can get really excited about?Please don’t say Hillary.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at January 20, 2006 8:26 AM
Comment #114851

I would judge it’s the Republicans in greatest danger of political collapse. While things were in good order, and uncertainties were low, the Republicans had nothing to fear from the Democrats. Unfortunately for themselves and the average American, though, their policies have lead to some serious problems, and they have had a string of spectacular failures Democrats go from having to have charismatic candidates to having those who are willing to promise to undo the Republican corruption. It is likely the Republicans will lose seats this time around.

As for Iraqi veterans, on the whole I think they will be either independents, or Democrats. The higher brass may be echoing Bush’s line, but the soldiers fighting in Iraq are bearing the brunt of Bush’s screwed up policy and the bad assumptions of the generals.

Don’t be so quick to dismiss the Democratic candidates. Kerry was only slimly defeated, and recall that two of the Right’s favorite presidents, Reagan and Nixon, won the next time they ran. Biden’s embarassment, even if it isn’t a product of your right-wing bias, was poorly publicized to the general public. As for Dean? Again, you’re using a normative measure of embarrassment. Maybe to you he’s constantly sticking his foot in his mouth, but to the Democrats who like that he flings the nasty rhetoric right back, he’s a breath of fresh air. The last thing they want at this point is somebody equivocating about the foibles of the Republican party.

As for Harry Reid? His point is not that Democrats are pristine, but that Republicans have systematized and regularized their corruption to an unheard of level. An unforseen side effect is that they cut out Democrats from the lobbying efforts for the most part.

As for Bin Laden, I think he represents an opportunity lost for Bush. If he had caught him early and caught him in Afghanistan, it would have sent a strong message to the terrorists of how quick and how hard the U.S. will come down on folks who attack us. Having dragged it out so long, though, and having lead us into an entirely different war in the meantime, he has squandered much of the emotional drive of 9/11.

Having made Bin Laden the target, he should have gone after him with the zeal he pursued Saddam with.

Most counterterrorism experts that I’ve read and seen on television assert that having Iraq collapse would be a victory for the terrorists.

As for the LCD, I would just as soon use good sense and not that to determine the best course of action. Democracy is not, at its best, a passive slide down the path of least resistance, and selfish and dishonorable views are not the only ones for remaining until our replacements are trained. We have to clean the slate of this, or it will become our problem once again.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 20, 2006 9:54 AM
Comment #114912

Stephen and SE, I still stand by that article:

the Bush administration is lowering expectations for victory in Iraq…

How did glorious visions of a pro-US, free-market, model liberal democracy in Iraq devolve into acceptance of a balkanized, Islamic fundamentalist regime and terrorist training ground, with strong ties to Iran?

Stephen, you say

I want us to finish the job.

Me too. How do you propose to do that?

How do you propose to make Iraq a liberal democracy? They have a constitution based on Sharia Law that gives Islamic clerics the final word on all legislation.

How do you propose to privatize Iraq’s economy? Their constitution says the oil belongs to all Iraqis and the government will control it. Iraq is a classic centralized-economy petro-state.

How do you propose to reconstruct Iraq? President Bush just cut off the funding and no other country wants to get involved.

How do you propose to provide security? Iraq is a sovereign nation run by a freely elected government. They do not want more US troops there.

How do you propose to unify the country? How are you going to disarm the militias? How are you going to reform the corrupt judiciary and police and local civic governments?

What leverage does the United States have in Iraq to change all those things and make Iraq a stable free-market democracy?

It doesn’t take 140,000 troops to train the Iraqi military… and besides, two years ago President Bush told us that there were 210,000 Iraqis securing their own country. Using that timeline, I’m assuming there are three times that many by now.

Seriously, the insurgency is a political problem, not a military problem. It’s a problem that will either be solved by Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds among themselves — or not. I’m not sure what America’s role in Iraq is anymore, or what influence we can still exert there.

And it doesn’t take 140,000 US troops to hunt down a few hundred foreign terrorists using the country as a live-fire training ground.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 20, 2006 1:19 PM
Comment #115013


Meanwhile,as Iraq veterans return home and run for office(most of them conservative),I bet a few additionial seats will be snagged by the right.
Oh, you mean like these Iraq veterans?:

Iraq Veteran Launches Congress Bid

Hackett for U.S. Senate

Oh, wait, they’re both running as Democrats! It’s a myth that most of our military are conservative, and it’s a myth that most of our troops are in support of this war.

Posted by: Charles Wager at January 20, 2006 9:54 PM
Comment #115062


Many very good points,but don’t throw the towel in yet.

It took our country years to get organized here,with a rebellion or two thrown in along the way.

Same with Germany post WWII.Same with Italy.Same with Japan.

We are watching a democracy being born….warts and all.

Give the politicial process week there a new government will beging getting formed…an elected government…in record time too.

The president never said that the occupation would last forever…only until the Iraqis cound stand on their own.

Right now they are wobbling,but making the effort to stand.

Remember two thirds of Iraq is already stable….don’t give the impression that the whole country is Dodge City because it isn’t.The Kurd north and the Shia south are relatively calm.

Bagdad is the problem…and properly so…that’s where the money is…and power.

Over time,as the new administration gets settled and deals are made the violence should dissapate.

As I said if in say two years the situation is as it is now,then partition should be at least considered as an option.

However it is important to give the process time,as a stable Iraq could be our biggest asset in the area.

Charles Wagner

I agree that some vets are Democrats and are candidates for office,but in ‘04 the militarty voted overwhelmingly for the president.

I am positive that if that election were to take place today the same result would occur.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at January 21, 2006 6:11 AM
Comment #115076
Many very good points,but don’t throw the towel in yet.

SE, you don’t get it. President Bush already threw in the towel.

We did not give Japan or Germany their sovereignty until they had constitutions that made sense (MacArthur actually wrote Japan’s), security, stable economies, and democratic institutions firmly in place. It took five years before those countries were no longer under Allied military rule.

Unfortunately, with Iraq, President Bush did not make any of those things happen before he handed over Iraq to the Iraqis.

So now, Iraq is what it is, and the US no longer has any leverage to change it. If Iraq someday becomes a free-market liberal democracy — like Vietnam is becoming, 30 years after we lost that war — it won’t be because of anything the US did after the fall of Baghdad and the capture of Saddam. We could have left then, and Iraq would be the same as it is now.

The insurgency is not a military problem. It’s a political problem that will be solved when the Shiites and Kurds fully accept the Sunnis into the political process — so far, they have not.

And we don’t need 140,000 troops to hunt down Zarqawi’s few hundred foreign terrorists.

President Bush failed to spend the military and political capital necessary to make Iraq a free-market economy. US participation in the reconstruction has ended, Iraq has an elected government with a constitution and enough troops to provide internal security while the factions hash things out.

The US occupation is winding down. The time for more troops and bold political action slipped away. Iraq is what it is, and it will be decades before it becomes anything to be proud of — if that happens at all.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 21, 2006 7:08 AM
Comment #115077


I agree that some vets are Democrats and are candidates for office,but in ‘04 the militarty voted overwhelmingly for the president.
I agree that a majority of the military voted for Bush in `04, but not overwhelmingly so. That notwithstanding, I don’t believe you were talking about the voters, but those veterans who would run for office. Who’s more likely to run for office? The disaffected. Which party are they more likely to align themselves with? At least at this time, and for veterans of this war, it’s the Democrats.

According to this site:
US congressional elections in 2006
It seems there are five Iraq war veterans running for office (so far). What is the ratio of Democrats to Republicans? 4 to 1.

An article by Mother Jones:
The Capitol Brigade
Gives an even better ratio: 10 to 2.
Per the article:

In total, 10 Democratic vets are running, or considering a run, for Congress. (A few more may declare in the coming weeks.) The Republicans, by contrast, can only commit to two. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the organ of the Party establishment responsible for recruiting and running candidates, explains the phenomenon by citing the failures of Republicans in Washington. “We have a Republican-controlled Congress that has failed to provide for troops returning from Iraq, and failed to provide on promises on health care and services for families,” says spokeswoman Sarah Feinberg. “[The vets] are naturally running in an opposite way.”

So it’s not at all obvious to me, sicilianeagle, where you get your confidence that Iraq veterans running for Congress will snag a couple more seats for the right.

Posted by: Charles Wager at January 21, 2006 7:12 AM
Comment #115078

Oh, and of all the Iraq War veterans running for office, the overwhelming majority are running as Democrats. Here’s a few:

Tim Walz, Minnisota’s 1st CD
Tammy Duckworth, Illinois’s 6th CD
Bill Winter, Colorado’s 6th CD
Tim Dunn, North Carolina’s 8th CD
Charlie Brown, California’s 4th CD
Eric Massa, New York’s 29th CD
David Harris, Texas’ 6th CD
Andrew Duck, Maryland’s 6th CD
Patrick Murphy, Pennsylvania’s 8th CD
Paul Hackett, U.S. Senate - Ohio
Bryan Lentz, Pennslyvania’s 7th CD
David Ashe, Virginia’s 2nd CD

And here’s a good article about the phenomenon.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 21, 2006 7:23 AM
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