Democrats & Liberals Archives

Iraq: Still No Good News

It is difficult to see how the spin masters of the Bush administration can spin anything positive out of Iraq with both a general and a diplomat bearing equally bad reviews on U.S. performance.

One might wonder if Gen. William Caldwell and Alberto Fernandez, "director of public diplomacy in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the U.S. State Department," (NY Times) might soon be seeking "other career opportunities." Most particularly, Mr. Fernandez is quoted as saying:

"We tried to do our best (in Iraq) but I think there is much room for criticism because, undoubtedly, there was arrogance and there was stupidity from the United States in Iraq." (AP, 10/21/06)

It is bad news when Iraqi's "look to gunmen" for protection rather than to either U.S. troops, or Iraqi police and soldiers.

It is bad news when the U.S. looks to two nations it will not talk with - Iran and Syria - to end the violence in Iraq. This recommendation is not some propaganda piece by the "terrorists," but the recommendation of a special Congressional panel.

Not even al-Maliki's missive to not release mortality figures to the UN is likely to counter the Lancet report of 654,000 dead. While I'm sure that Bush and Rumsfeld (who have refused to publicly keep track of this information) see it as a sign of continued "alliance" from al-Maliki, it only heightens the issue. Active censorship of information does not look like "security," but the worst kind of politics - the politics of propaganda. Such a move is likely to heighten distrust in both Iraq and the US. Meanwhile the death toll of Iraqis and U.S. troops continues to accelerate.

It is hard to imagine that even a campaign ad that says bin Laden will strike the U.S. if people are foolish enough to vote Democrat, will drown out the drum beat of bad news out of Iraq.


Of Interest
10/22/06 Salahedin et al, Independent, Iraq: Battle of the militias

10/22/06 Smith, Guardian, Online video: Iraq - The Real Story

Posted by Rowan Wolf at October 22, 2006 10:52 AM
Comments
Comment #189573

Interestingly enough, the supreme court just ruled that the pentagon’s practice of paying for “news” favorable to the US in Iraqi newspapers was “legal”.

Posted by: womanmarine at October 22, 2006 11:19 AM
Comment #189582

Bush has failed the american people. He Failed to listen to our generals. He failed to look at all the intel. And despite all this nov.7 election is not a lock for the Democrats. We can only hope the american people look at all these issues and vote for change. I fear our very future depends on it.

Posted by: Jeff at October 22, 2006 12:17 PM
Comment #189585

I also believe that Alberto Fernandez should be looking for new employment, say something in the prison laundry or making license plates.

What you neglected to report was that his comments were made in a interview with Al-Jazeera (AKA The terrorist new network).

No American diploma should be allowed to be interviewed by a news network like Al-Jazeera which can spin the interview anyway they want.

Posted by: Keith at October 22, 2006 12:37 PM
Comment #189586

Just saw that GOP commercial using images of Al-Qaeda to generate fear.

This is so contrived.
Just to win votes?
The hypocrisy is deplorable.

If Homeland Security was TRULY important, government (Democrats and Republicans) would do something to secure the ports and borders. Both are delinquent on this.
Instead, they choose to grab power, spy on Americans, wite tap without a warrant, spy on telephone records, run secret prisons, eliminate Habeas Corpus despite mistakes proving some detainees are not terrorists, torture, losing focus on Afghanistan and invading Iraq based on flawed (or trumped-up) intelligence, war profiteering, corporate welfare for Halliburton despite many instances of fraud, voting on pork-barrel while our troops go without adequate medical care and body armor, giving Spc. Sean Baker brain damage and covering it up, trying to cover up Abu Graihb, lying to Americans about the difficulty, cost, and losses in Iraq, trying to fight the war on-the-cheap to sustain the support of the American people, lie after lie after lie.

So, do you feel safer ?
No, I don’t.
These days, the biggest danger may be more from within. Government is broken, but voters empower (reward) it ?

Right now, Bill Frist (whose HCA hospitals bilked Medicare out of a $billion, of which they must repay $400 million (or more)) is trying to spin (on CNN) the “war on terror”, calling Democrats “the cut and run party”, and saying Democrats will raise your taxes.

I don’t think this formula is going to work this time. 11-Sep-2001 allowed a power grab, but it doesn’t look like it will work again, and they ought to know better. Do they think this is going to win over voters, or just rally their most hard-core, brainwashed loyalists? Heck, it may even lose them voters.

Their lost. The politicians of both parties are lost. Many in Congress just went along to get along. Hopefully voters will hold them all accountable, and vote out all irresponsible incubments. Both are culpable, and so are voters. Want to fix our broken government? Then stop re-electing repeat offenders.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 22, 2006 12:43 PM
Comment #189592

In reading the paper today I had some hope for our men and women over in Iraq for the first time in awhile. We have people in the government owning up to “mistakes” and “arrogance”. Unfortunately there is still no accountability with Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld.

Just the glimmer of willingness to change strategy in Iraq this week did let me think for an instant we might win this war, accomplish our goals, and saner heads would prevail instead of buying time till Bush termed out and the “failure” of this war would be on someone else’s head. I thought for a moment, “finally, real strategy for winning this thing!?” But then I remembered we are less than three weeks from an election and this is after all coming from the same administration and party who refuse accountability, oversight, or asking of real sacrifice from the majority of US citizens.

This country is so on the wrong path I don’t know if the Democrats can change things. It will take some real leadership to get us out of the quagmire, greed, and sewer we have been willingly dragged into.

But electing some real opposition to this administration is a good start! Real patriots, vote for change!

Posted by: chris2x at October 22, 2006 1:43 PM
Comment #189593

Keith,
Agreed, Fernandez had no business making that comment during an Al Jazeera interview. It is not that I disagree with what he said. And I would not go so far as banning Al Jazeera interviews. But there is no earthly reason to admit arrogance & stupidity, even if it is obvious. Let critics make their case. There is no reason to make it for them.

Chris2x,
“This country is so on the wrong path I don’t know if the Democrats can change things.”

Exactly so. In Iraq, we are damned if we do, and damned if we do not. Some very, very unpleasant choices will need to be made, and nothing will make those choices easy.

Posted by: phx8 at October 22, 2006 1:54 PM
Comment #189601

Rowan:
“It is difficult to see how the spin masters of the Bush administration can spin anything positive out of Iraq”

Looks to me that they’re going to be “staying the course” with their spinning tactics: by remaining completely divorced from reality, and confusedly vague in all their statements. And then hoping that most Americans are too busy, or lazy, or stupid, or careless, to actually catch on.
Btw, nice concise article and good links.
Bush Says Troops Stay In Iraq, Predicts Midterm Wins

phx8:
“Fernandez had no business making that comment during an Al Jazeera interview. It is not that I disagree with what he said. And I would not go so far as banning Al Jazeera interviews. But there is no earthly reason to admit arrogance & stupidity, even if it is obvious. Let critics make their case. There is no reason to make it for them.”

Yeah, I have to agree. But then on the other hand, it’s not like world hasn’t already fully grasped that arrogance and stupidity, due to it’s total obviousness.

Posted by: Adrienne at October 22, 2006 2:51 PM
Comment #189611

The people who really know the realities of our foreign policy interactions, by definition, would not post here. Think about it.

Posted by: ubermike67 at October 22, 2006 3:43 PM
Comment #189615

ubermike67.. Think about it, think about what not sure what your post is asking.

Posted by: Jeff at October 22, 2006 3:52 PM
Comment #189617

Jeff — Not asking anything really, except maybe for people to realize that political discourse on foreign policy is limited by the lack of knowledge of those involved. It’s funny how much posts here assume, which has no basis in reality. Some reference news articles, which are suspect in their sources. The best we can really achieve is debate over political philosophy.

Posted by: ubermike67 at October 22, 2006 4:39 PM
Comment #189618

What makes a man in his position say something like that? So much of the admininistrations response to us on this war has been the Colonel Jessup response: “You can’t handle the truth!”

The problem with the Administration’s approach is they want the America they won’t let America be.

They want an America hardened to the bleakness of a desperate war’s casualties but carefully guarded from general contact with it.

They want an America that’s afraid of the terrorists but not troubled by the increase in violence and mayhem in Iraq and the rest of the world.

They would hide the truth for us, and chide people for fearing the unknown. They would have us deny what’s really happening there, yet somehow triumph over it.

The simple fact is, the Republicans aren’t offering leadership, they’re offering likemindedness and groupthink, regardless of how far the theory they’ve fixated upon deviates from reality.

The irony may be that in the commitment to fight Iraq to the end their way, the Republicans might have brought on the very failure they were trying to prove would not happen, given their approach.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 22, 2006 4:56 PM
Comment #189619

Ubermike, Some of us here actually know peple on the ground in Iraq. Know men and women who entered Bagdad the day it fell to the US. Now if that isn’t a little knowledge of what happened or is happening their I really dont know what is. As far a the Generals go from my experience in the USAF they are not all that aware of what is going on either. So we probably know more then the military does.

Posted by: timesend at October 22, 2006 5:04 PM
Comment #189620

ubermike67… I some what agree except that there are alot of sources saying the same thing some are political but some are former insiders. You can assume some have an axe to grind but not all.

Posted by: Jeff at October 22, 2006 5:06 PM
Comment #189621

Ubermike,
To your point, it is true government officials possess information not available to the general public. However, that does not change the bottom line. They still depend upon their own moral compass. They still come to the table with bias. Fianlly, they still need to assimilate the information, understand it, and most importantly, make judgments.

Their judgment is no better than yours or mine.

Read books. Surf. Be critical of sources. You can become well informed, and you may make much better judgments than people with access to more info.

Take the case of Cheney. He says the war in Iraq is going “remarkably well.” Cheney has access to more information than you or me. Yet Cheney relies upon his own bias, denies information which contradicts it, suffers from a severely malfunctioning moral compass, and, worst of all, possesses terrible, terrible judgment.

Through his cronies, through the connections of his wife, & through personality flaws, Cheney has accumulated a great deal of money and power. Yet his decision making as Vice President is simply horrible. Same goes for the decision making abilities of Bush and Rumsfeld. They may have more money & more power, but they certainly do not have better judment.

Believe in your own critical faculties and the faculties of your fellow citizens.

Posted by: phx8 at October 22, 2006 5:14 PM
Comment #189626

Fernandez is a competent diplomat career diplomat who has worked for presidents Democratic and Republican. He can speak Arabic and Spanish well enough to explain U.S. policy in both those languages. Those who speak foreign languages beyond the ability to order a beer and inquire about the location of the train station, know how hard that is.

The reason we speak to AlJazeera is because we can. When one of our diplomats speaks to AlJazeera, he speaks directly to the Arab street. We can stand high and mighty and ignore them, but then we will have no voice at all. Our boycott would just do us more harm. Our contact with Arabic media comes as a surprise only to those who have not been paying attention.

In the aftermath of the Iraqi elections, a German media study group called Media Tenor studied world press reaction. They found that Arab media (including AlJazeera and Al Arabia were much more favorable than Euro stations. The reason was that they allowed U.S. officials direct access to their viewers.

It would be very foolish of us NOT to address Arab publics when we have the means. During the Cold War, we would have loved to have direct access through their television & radio.

Fernandez is the kind of person we need. We need more like him, but we won’t get them, because each time someone like him sticks his neck out, alarmists on both sides try to cut it off. Being honest and competent may not be “career enhancing” in this sort of environment.

So I appeal to both sides, and this is not spin, lay off those who know more than you do and are trying to make things better.

Presumably we all want an American win in Iraq. Dems call for a change of course, but then make it very difficult for anyone who proposes one.

Posted by: Jack at October 22, 2006 7:00 PM
Comment #189627

Hello. New to this forum. Hope its informative and interesting.

dan,
I’m curious about something. You spent most of your first post lambasting republican tactics and record, outlining their failures and crimes concerning the war on terro, then at the end, out of nowhere, you lump both parties in together like there’s no difference. I’m confused. What is it you want to happen Nov.7? You said “vote out all incumbents”. Do you mean replace the reps, or vote in people not from either party?
Knowing this particular election isn’t going to acheive nirvana, what, realistically, would you like to see happen out of the most likely possibilities?

Posted by: F117 at October 22, 2006 7:05 PM
Comment #189630

Jack,
“Do you know the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite”?

When asked this question, the vice chairman of the House Intelligence subcommitte on technical & tactical intelligence, Rep Terry Everett, R-Ala, did not know.

The chief of the FBI national security branch, had a vague idea, but he thought Iran and Hezbollah were Sunni.

Rep Jo Ann Davis, R-VA, heads the House intelligence subcommittee for overseeing CIA performance in recruiting Islamic spies, answered: “The Sunni are more radical than the Shia. Or vice versa.” Partial credit. She knew there was a difference, and that Al Qaida was Sunni. But she was guessing.

Career dipomats in the State Department are much more likely to be knowledgable. Unfortunately, the Bush administration makes a practice of ignoring State, and developing their own information channels, in order to find confirmations of their bias. BushCo founded the Iraqi National Congress, which provided BushCo with false information about Iraq. This faked information was funneled throught the Office of Special Plans, under Douglas Feith, to Cheney and others. Even today, Cheney relies upon his own channel, The Iranian Directorate, for manufactured “intelligence” about Iran. People such as Wolfowitz brought us Iraq without even knowing there were differences between Shias & Sunnis. Utterly contemptible.

Adrienne,
You are right. Expect nothing but spin, lies, and vague pronouncements between now and the election. Just remember. Cheney told you! Iraq is going “remarkably well”! Can you even believe this guy is Vice President of the United States of America?

Actually, the civil war in Iraq can be seen as four separate conflicts:
1) Shia v Sunni (Baghdad, War of the Corpses)
2) Shia v Shia (southern Iraq, al-Sadr v Hakim)
3) Sunni v US (insurgency, central Iraq)
4) Arab v Kurd (Mosul, Kirkuk)

Posted by: phx8 at October 22, 2006 7:31 PM
Comment #189633
F117 wrote: d.a.n, I’m curious about something. You spent most of your first post lambasting republican tactics and record, outlining their failures and crimes concerning the war on terro, then at the end, out of nowhere, you lump both parties in together like there’s no difference. I’m confused. What is it you want to happen Nov.7? You said “vote out all incumbents”. Do you mean replace the Reps, or vote in people not from either party? Knowing this particular election isn’t going to acheive nirvana, what, realistically, would you like to see happen out of the most likely possibilities?

F117,

To me, neither party has the solution.
Both parties are the problem and so are the voters that keep re-electing them.
That is simply the truth.
It’s not really complicated.
What is complicated is the very effective brainwashing and blind party loyalty. I used to be that way myself. I used to also wallow in the petty partisan warfare. Everything wrong in the country was the fault of the OTHER party.
That’s quite simply not true.
Neither party is that vastly different on the most important issues.
This Republican started an unnecessary war (Iraq).
Democrats also started unnecessary wars (Vietnam, Korea?).

I don’t expect many Republicans to vote for Democrats and vice-versa. However, the most important thing is to NOT re-elect any irresponsible incumbent politicians that have already proven to be irresponsible. That would probably be most, since most incumbent politicians vote on pork-barrel, waste, graft, corporate welfare, etc.
That is why, for over a year, no one has provided more than two or three names of Congress persons they thought were responsible. And, interestingly, when they do, it is ususally THEIR congress person. The problem is always the OTHER guy’s congress persons. People are so easly seduced into blind party loyalty.

Currently, Congress has a 90% re-election rate.
That is why it is so irresponsible.
We keep rewarding (empowering) congress for being irresponsible.
That is why they are so arrogant.
Also, most, if not all are bought-and-paid-for.
Only 300,000 people in the U.S.; a mere 0.15% of all 200 million eligible voters make 83% of all federal campaign donations (of $200 or more; $2.0 billion of $2.4 billion).
That is why incumbent politicians ignore the largest number of voters.
But we keep re-electing them.
And, newcomers to congress are always out-numbered by irresponsible incumbent politicians that like things just the way they have perverted it, and won’t allow any reforms that might rain on their party.

Most incumbent politicians are irresponsible, as evidenced by a countless number of pressing problems that are threatening the future and security of the nation.

That’s why Education is so important.

Without it, voters will unwittingly continue to let THEIR party and the OTHER party take turns, resulting in a 90% re-election rate.

If voters want more responsible congress, re-electing irresponsible incumbents will not accomplish it.

Democrats want to portray the whole problem as a Republican problem, and vice-versa, and the circular pattern continues, and politicians love to perpetuate it with distracting petty, partisan warfare. If only voters could see how they are being manipulated, and reject it. Simply stop re-electing irresponsible incumbent politicians (regardless of party).

There are a lot of good reasons to stop re-electing irresponsible incumbent politicians.

But, those that say “VOTE DEMOCRAT” or “VOTE REPUBLICAN” help to perpetuate the circular pattern, and sabotage the simple logic to simply do the one simple, logical, common-sense, no-brainer, peaceful, and responsible thing that voters were supposed to be doing all along, always.

  • Stop Repeat Offenders.
  • Don’t Re-Elect Irresponsible, Bought-and-Paid-for, look-the-other-way, Incumbent Politicians !

See my link (on my name) for more info.

Posted by: d.a.n at October 22, 2006 8:05 PM
Comment #189639

With regards to Alberto Fernandez and Al Jazeera I agree with Jack. Everyone with any sense knows the mistakes made in Iraq. Al Jazeera is a major media outlet in the middle east. Telling the truth doesn’t hurt the US. It may not help that much, but it’s at least a start in the right direction.


As a side note, I often hear the disdain for Al Jazeera spouted here, on Fox and, of course, from the Bush Whitehouse, but then they tend to put out the word traitor when talking about the NY Times.

I wonder if anyone here knows that it was started by former BBC people and has an English version website. I do not speak Arabic, nor have a satellite dish and cannot evaluate that content, but the English website is not, alhtough obviously given a arabic slant, any more slanted than Fox news. I’m curious why there is so much invective spewed about them?

Posted by: gergle at October 22, 2006 9:02 PM
Comment #189643

Phx8

You can make fun of the Bush Administration. But leave people like Fernandez out of it. That was the specific thrust of my comments. The idea that someone like him is ignorant is so silly that I do not even know why I have to explain to anybody.

It is also true that you cannot expect anybody not an expert to have detailed knowledge of everything.

Gergle

You are making too much sense lately.

We gain nothing by demonizing AlJazeera in all cases. If they will allow our people to speak to their audience, great.

I never thought I would be defending AlJazeera, but it is merely a nationalistic and sensationalist television. It has potential to do a lot of good in the Middle East. They cover the blood and gore too much and they are too sympathetic to terrorists, but they also showed the free elections in Iraq. The coverage of an openly contested election in an Arab country made an impression that will take a while to play out.

If I made the decisions, I would have our diplomats and others on Aljazeera every day on a variety of topics.

Most Aljazeera viewers probably do not know that Muslims in the U.S. have incomes well above the national average. They might not remember that the President Bush and prominent officials understand what an Iftar is and participate with Muslim leaders. In short, they probably think alot like too many Americans. We cannot blame Aljazeera for that.

Posted by: Jack at October 22, 2006 9:43 PM
Comment #189646

Jack,
Fernandez made a mistake. That is all. Just a mistake.

When an interviewer asks “what is your biggest weakness?” that is not the time to bring up the heroin addition and rehab. It might be true. It might even be obvious. But an interview is not the time and place to bring it up… unless you are interviewing to be a vocational rehab councilor.

Anyway, for a diplomat to go on a foreign tv network, and in their language suggest the US is “arrogant” and “stupid,” well, that is not the time or place to confess. That is a mistake. It does not make the diplomat ignorant. It does call his diplomatic ability into question. It is not his place to point out arrogance and stupidity. We elect people who are arrogant and stupid on a full time basis, and they will make it abundantly clear in the execution of thier duties and their constituents.

(rimshot).

Agreed, if anything, we should present our case on Arab tv as often as possible. That is the time to put our best foot forward, to sress our commonalities and mutally shared interests. That is not a time to emotionally bleed all over everybody a about our failings & weaknesses.

Posted by: phx8 at October 22, 2006 10:34 PM
Comment #189648

I’m a bit surprised at some of these comments. I would think stating the obvious on Arab television would be good. If nothing else, it shows that we are big enough to admit mistakes. That should be heartening to the vast, vast majority of Arabs/Muslims who are not terrorists. I don’t see how this can be harmful to American interests.

I urge everyone to look at Al Jazeera’s website. It may not be what you think. The last time I checked, it had articles on the need for democratic reforms. I believe these people are serious journalists, though obviously they intend to serve their own audience and not the American.

Posted by: Trent at October 22, 2006 11:29 PM
Comment #189652

“The simple fact is, the Republicans aren’t offering leadership, they’re offering likemindedness and groupthink, regardless of how far the theory they’ve fixated upon deviates from reality.”

Stephen,

That’s it in a nut-shell.

KD

Posted by: KansasDem at October 23, 2006 1:01 AM
Comment #189656

Like anything else in this life, the war will be what ever we make of it. Your irrational, neurotic hatred of the president will do nothing less than encourage our enemies and advance their cause. Impeaching Bush (the wet dream of many of a limped-dicked liberal)will not bring the war to an end. The war will continue with or without Bush. The fact that the dems can not accept this fact leads this independant voter to the conclusion that liberals are not fit to rule this land I call home.
Get the hell out of the presidents way!
Let him kill whoever he sees fit to kill in this struggle. Let him torture, if he so chooses to do so, who ever he deems necessary to torture to win this war against the latest re-incarnation of the notion that mankind is best served by an ideology that totally negates the role of the individual in history.
There is no good reason why anyone should wish to hobble our president’s prosecution of this war. This is especially true of true liberals. Your women would be subjugated to the most mysoginistic of regimes should we lose. Your faggots would be tortured and killed under their reign. There is nothing that we enjoy as citizens of the free Weatern world that will survive their victory.
To oppose Bush is suicide for the civilized West. The fact that so many of your leaders can not see this most obvious fact, tells this independent voter that the democratic party is not fit to rule the nation that I love!

Posted by: Carlos Carrasco at October 23, 2006 3:51 AM
Comment #189657

Hey Carlos, Your post is so stupid I can’t believe that you’re serious.

Posted by: trublu at October 23, 2006 5:13 AM
Comment #189662

Carlos,

What do you love about this nation that you would end the freedom to disagree?

Posted by: tom at October 23, 2006 9:34 AM
Comment #189669

What I’d like to see from the folks who post here are some ideas to solve the Iraq issue/problem.

All I ever read are whines and blamimg and bashing Bush. Complaining is easy…coming up with a solution is the hard part. This is a messy problem and it will have a messy solution.

Options:

a) stay the course w/ increased troop levels
b) pullout now
c) try and get the UN to deploy troops
d) partition Iraq 3-ways
e) something else
f) none of the above

What’s the answer? Stop arguing about how we got here and start thinking.

Posted by: mac6115cd at October 23, 2006 10:17 AM
Comment #189673

Keith,
No American diploma should be allowed to be interviewed by a news network like FOX NEWS which can spin the interview anyway they want.

Posted by: grattan at October 23, 2006 10:32 AM
Comment #189675

mac6115cd: I believe you inadvertantly answered your own question. Here is the list for this administrations options in Iraq:

a) stay the course without increased troop levels.
b) no other option
c) no other option
d) no other option
e) all of the above.

Posted by: jlw at October 23, 2006 10:46 AM
Comment #189684

I find all this quite pointless. Bottomline is the US cannot leave Iraq while Al Queda exists there. To do so would destabilize Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey and even Iran.

We have a duty to fix what we broke. Bear in mind that the sectarian violence did not start until well AFTER we occupied Iraq. The rise of sectarian violence is simply another one of our long list of failures. The US disbanded the Iraqi Army and Baath Party then discovered it couldn’t do the job.

The US MUST stay in Iraq regardless of cost.

Posted by: Juan dela Cruz at October 23, 2006 11:34 AM
Comment #189695

Looks to me that after the election there will be big changes. Most likely US troops will be re-deployed to the permanent bases we have built in Iraq and nearby. Troop levels will be decreased. It will look much like Murthas plan. The one he was so savagely attacked for. That way we will still be in a position to secure the oil,the original intent,without those politically annoying troop loses,let the Iraqis fight it out and support whoever gets to the top of the heap so long as they let us control the oil. Hell,we supported Saddam for awhile. Who could be worse?
The really galling part is that by putting the changes off ,no matter what they look like, means our troops are being kept in harms way for purely political reasons. Disgraceful

Posted by: BillS at October 23, 2006 12:30 PM
Comment #189696
Juan dela Cruz wrote: The US MUST stay in Iraq regardless of cost.
The U.S. has made so many blunders, many of the same blunders as in Vietnam and Korea. Are you so sure this problem is fixable? If so, are you so sure the U.S. can fix it? In my opinion, Iraqis will have their civil war with or without us. Nation building is not worth the lives of any more Americans. Most of the violence in Iraq is sectarian violence and/or civil war. Even 200,000 more U.S. troops may not stop that, and nation building is wrong to use our U.S. troops that way. Let the U.N. get involved (yeah, they’re not likely to do much either), but many Iraqis see things getting worse and want the U.S. to leave. It’s a quagmire, Bush and Congress started it based on flawed (or trumped up) intelligence, and it was a mistake. Things could have gone much better in Iraq and Afghanistan, but not when politicians started sabotaging everything (just like in Vietnam), and essentially guaranteeing no chance for success in either place.

The Iraqi people are also responsible for their predicament too. They choose to fight among themselves, regardless of the 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. We’ve been there long enough, there are few terrorists left, there are 26 million Iraqis, and it is time for the U.S. to pull out.

The U.S. needs to mend its ways now. Otherwise, how can the U.S. ever be trusted in a world that has already witnessed our lies and horrific blunders; not just within Iraq, but in Vietnam , Afghanistan , Kosovo, in Rwanda , Bosnia , Iran , Korea, and Iraq in the 1980s and 1990s? We are partly if not completely responsible for some of these messes. This U.S. history does not bode well. Too often, we have ignored the covert and overt actions of our government; the overthrowing of democratically-elected leaders to orchestrate the control of corrupt puppet governments.

We Americans have, for much too long, turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to our leaders, who have betrayed our innocence, our gullibility, our willingness to accept what we’re told. We can no longer claim ignorance. We need to be true liberators; not oppressors.

Every American citizen must help to energize and educate their fellow man, woman, and child. Ignorance, dear friends, is not an excuse.

“If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.” (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1967).

Posted by: d.a.n at October 23, 2006 12:52 PM
Comment #189698

WOW d.a.n.
First time ever I agree with you 100%!

Posted by: BillS at October 23, 2006 1:39 PM
Comment #189703

Good news out of Iraq will not get the left elected back into power.
That is why there is “Still no good news” coming out of Iraq.
But, deceitful as it is, concentrating only on the bad and totally ignoring any and all good seems to be working politically for the left though.
I’m sure making US troops look like murderers and complete failures will get them to vote “Dem” in 06 and 08.

Posted by: kctim at October 23, 2006 3:01 PM
Comment #189708

Juan,
Al Qaida in Iraq is not the same as the Al Qaida of Osama bin Laden. Al Qaida in Iraq is a relatively small faction. They receive publicity due to the bloody nature of their attacks. Al Qaida in Iraq targets Shias. The Al Qaida of OBL does not target Shias; instead, they advocate a more internationalist approach, with America as their target.

Mac6115cd,
As I commented earlier, the civil war in Iraq can be seen as four separate conflicts:
1) Shia v Sunni (Baghdad, War of the Corpses)
2) Shia v Shia (southern Iraq, al-Sadr v Hakim)
3) Sunni v US (insurgency, central Iraq)
4) Arab v Kurd (Mosul, Kirkuk)

The solution is to partition Iraq.

In Kurdistan, open the check book and offer to relocate Arabs from Mosul & Kirkuk into the Shia or Sunni sections. Deploy UN troops to keep the Kurds IN. Deploy them along the Iranian border to prevent the Kurdish communists from attacking Iran, & along the Turkish border to prevent attacks being launched there.

For the Sunni region, re-instate Saddam Hussein. His sons are dead, and he is old. Once again, open the US checkbook, rebuild the cities of the region, and help them build an economy which no longer possesses oil. Withdraw US troops.

For the Shia region, the conflict between al-Sadr and the Mahdi Army v SCIRI (al-Hakim & the Badr Corps/Talabani & Dawa) will have to be resolved. There is no good solution here. Al-Sadr is a nationalist representing the youth and future of Iraq. Most of the population in the south backs al-Sadr. He is a fundamentalist and he is profoundly anti-American. SCIRI, on the other hand, is backed by the Iranians. They own the government Death Squads, but hate America slightly less than al-Sadr.

The current government is cooked. Nothing will stop the continuing bloodbath, but withdrawal will prevent the US from being an ongoing target for insurgents.

Saddam Hussein has always been a pragmatist. Restoring the Baathists in Sunni Iraq seems like a better solution than watching the carnage go on and on.

Posted by: phx8 at October 23, 2006 3:40 PM
Comment #189713

Phx8

Restoring the Baathists is like restoring the Nazis after WWII. Saddam was really bad. I know people site that absurdly high number of dead post war, but Saddam estimates are still higher.

Besides, you cannot reestablish the Baathists. The Baathists were patterned after the Nazis. They had thousands of operatives and agents who had reputations for brutality. It was a state of fear. We destroyed their power. Some are now insurgents who can make life dangerous but cannot reestablish control, even in the Sunni region.

The Sunnis do not want to be ruled by the Baathists. The reason some support them is because they want the Sunnis to rule the rest of Iraq THROUGH the Baathists. The biggest Sunni nightmare is to be left with only their part of Iraq. Baathist in charge would just make that worse.

Re deloying UN troops - where would we get them? The UN has no troops. Which member countries would step in and provide some? Remember the recent experience in Lebanon? There is no UN army nor is their any UN power.

The world public likes to criticize, but nobody is standing up to provide any real solutions. You recall in the much more clear cut situation in Kosovo or Bosnia how well the UN did. The UN cannot and never has established peace. SOMETIMES it can monitor peace when it is already established by someone else. But as we saw in Lebanon, the UN can only keep the peace as long as the warring parties allow it.

Relocate Arabs? You adovcate ethinic cleansing? This has some history in the region. You may recall Armenia or even the Kurds themselves. Opening the checkbook would not do the trick.

We have a series of bad options. The ones you advocate are among the worst.

Posted by: Jack at October 23, 2006 4:11 PM
Comment #189721

Neo-Cons keep telling us that they burnt down the house but only they can rebuild it. Bull crap It will take all of us to fix what bush did. And by the way the U.S. did use nazi after WWII to help rebuild Germany. People should read history so we don’t keep repeating it.

Posted by: Jeff at October 23, 2006 5:01 PM
Comment #189726

You know Phx8, in moments of perverse humour, I’ve sometimes thought that the obvious solution was to release and reinstate Saddam. Perhaps it was just the delicious irony of all the trouble, death, expense and perverse ideology of Bush’s adventure leading right back to where it all started. Or maybe the word is poetic justice. Where now lies the Humpty Dumpty of the Project for a new American Century?

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at October 23, 2006 5:19 PM
Comment #189728

Jack,
“We have a series of bad options. The ones you advocate are among the worst.”

Worse than what?

See if you can pull up any reliable figures on how bad it was under Saddam Hussein. Many Kurds and many Shias died in uprisings against Saddam Hussein. Many are dying today in various uprisings. The Lancet study on Iraqi casualties uses a scientific methodology, but it is still only an estimate, one put together under nearly impossible circumstances. We know the situation is atrocious. Is it worse than under Saddam? Better? A study using a scientific methodology indicates it is worse. The trend goes steadily downhill. Can you gainsay the study with better statistics? No one can. It is just the best guess.

It would have been far better to have acted in the best interests of the Iraqis by holding a plebiscite, to determine whether they wanted to be in a national democracy in the first place. Instead, we held an election to satisfy domestic considerations. It made great theater for the Republicans, waving around their purple thumbs, but it was a catastrophe for the Iraqis.

The Sunnis do not want to be ruled by the Shias. It does not matter what form of government, whether it is a democracy or theocracy or dictatorship or constitutional monarchy. It does not matter. The Sunnis do not want to be ruled by the Shias.

I would rather see the Sunnis ruled by Baathists than by Sunni Wahabbis and radicals. That is where we are heading. Saddam Hussein is a walk in the park compared with the mullahs of Fallujah and Ramadi.

Of course, I am not sure it is possible to bring back the Baathists. So, call them what you will, but the Sunnis need a secular Sunni government to restore order. Saddam Hussein is a good candidate. He is rested, relaxed, but not so tan anymore.

So it is no go with the UN preventing the Kurds from attacking their neighbors? Then deploy US troops. Or deploy NATO troops. Someone needs to keep the Kurds separated from the Iranians & Turks. It can be done. Compare to the rest of the country, the Kurdish problem is a piece of cake.

Do I advocate “ethnic cleansing”? Tsk, tsk. Such a dirty phrase, dont you think? Relocation should be voluntary. All assets should be transported if desired. We are currently spending $2 billion per week in Iraq. Why not spend the money on something that might actually work?

Jack, it is a terrible solution. I am under no illusions about problems with partition. But terrible decisions have already been made, and all too often, the decisions have been made to bolster Republican hopes at the polls, rather than to help the Iraqis.

The longer we wait, the worse it gets.

The risk is that the region will go up in flames. It might do that regardless. But I am not the kind of person to sit around with my fingers crossed, on the chance “staying the course” will miraculously work.

Posted by: phx8 at October 23, 2006 5:19 PM
Comment #189730

Jack, why is it we only have bad options at this point? I’m reading through State of Denial, and the read I’m getting is that this administration simply did not take care of business in preparing the war. They went in with not one confirmed WMD site out of nearly a thousand they suspected.

The dust hadn’t even settled on 9/11 before Rumsfeld and others suggested going into Iraq. Policy was set by agenda, rather than by expertise and wisdom. This war was crippled before it began by bad planning, bad intelligence, and bad management from the President and Rumsfeld. This wasn’t a problem of hindsight. This was a problem of foresight, and foresight Bush had the resources to take advantage of, if he had chosen to.

Carlos Carrasco-
Read State of Denial. Watch Frontline. Read The Assassins’ Gate. This war was crippled by those who are in control now, much the way Vietnam was crippled by those who got us into that.

You don’t lose wars because of naysayers. They Naysayers, myself included, are often people you had convinced at one time. You lose people like myself by not being scrupulous about the facts you give them to persuade them to go to war. You lose people like myself by managing to screw up policy consistently, until people have no hope of your getting it right.

You call us what names it takes to make you feel tougher than us. It won’t change a damn thing. We went in too light, with too little thought about how how our numbers and strategy before victory would affect our ability to keep this war a victory after we took control. We didn’t prepare for anything but success. We didn’t prepare for anything but a Neocon pipe-dream.

If you want to know why my dislike for this man is so great, it should be plain to you if you read more of what we’re actually saying: We hate how badly we’re losing here. It appalls us, and the fact that Bush won’t let go of his favorite little strategy to move to something better is hateful in and of itself. You’re not protecting the country with attitudes like yours, you’re only protecting the ego of a man whose vanity has allowed him to take the world’s greatest military power and make a laughing stock out of it. That’s why Bush is hated. He promised greatness and delivered shame and degradation.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 23, 2006 5:21 PM
Comment #189731

Paul in Euroland,
Well, I know Saddam will never be re-instated. But even now, Allawi is being floated as a new dictator. He is a thug who used to be on the CIA payroll. Really, just Saddam-lite. His power base is the Mukhabarat, the Baathist secret police.
“Meet the new boss/Same as the old boss.”

Posted by: phx8 at October 23, 2006 5:23 PM
Comment #189747


Just as a friend of the neocons, Sadam became their enemy; so shall their enemy become their friend. Sadar will probably become the new strong man in Iraq.

By the way, the officials of the Iraq government have plundered their treasury. Perhaps we have planted American democracy in Iraq.

Posted by: jlw at October 23, 2006 6:13 PM
Comment #189751


Sorry about the spelling. The name is Sadr

Posted by: jlw at October 23, 2006 6:19 PM
Comment #189852

That Mess in Iraq: The Definition of Insanity

On May 1, 2003, George W Bush declared victory in Iraq aboard an aircraft carrier to an audience of the world news and 5,000 Marines and sailors, Iraq is free, *Bush said, The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror. It was at an end that day by public declaration, the Iraq War. Iraq’s army was disbanded, their government leaders captured, their weapons silenced, and much of the country in ruins. We were in control of the cities, the towns, the prisons, and the countryside. The Iraq War was over. What a mess that has enfolded in Iraq since that day in May of 2003.
What we have in place of war is a mess in Iraq that must be called an occupation not a war. There is no organized military facing us. There are instead Insurgents, for we have already won that war, but lost that peace. Insurgents and people that Bill O’Riley recently described as deserving a bullet to the head if they violate a 7PM curfew, no questions asked. Yes, we control Iraq, now how do we ever leave?
We won the War, yet; we continue to have over 135,000 troops in Iraq. We continue to pour billions of dollars and supplement that each year by over $80 billion more. We have spent hundreds of billions of dollars and over 2700 lives after we won that War and spending may eventually reach over a trillion dollars in cost of materials, replacements, and Veterans benefits plus hospital care for the wounded. How many more Americans will be wounded or die? What a glorious victory!! How can we ever afford such success?
There was once an exit strategy for Vietnam that was simply declaring a victory and withdrawing our troops before we lost. We were fighting a war for the hearts and minds of the Vietnamese. We were in Vietnam fighting an organized government in the North Vietnamese army and a guerrilla army in the Viet Cong. We did not declare a war over, and then when the peace failed due to incompetence, say we can not leave because we are in a war. Never was there a suggestion that we declare a victory and stay there until we bankrupted America and then ignite a civil war because we had neither the competence nor the ability to nation build. The Republicans withdrew after they declared that war over. One day, we left and gave the country back to the Vietnamese.
Despite Mr. O’Riley’s combat analysis, we are the occupying force. We have tortured prisoners at Abu Grave Prison, we have incarcerated people without trial in Guantanamo, and we have left a country in worse structural shape than when we started. We have disrespected their rights and their sovereignty, and we have a mess in Iraq. We have already won the War now we need to win what George H W Bush called exit strategy. We need a real debate and an intelligent analysis of the situation. I don’t know how we get out of this mess in Iraq, but I know this, we need discussion and analysis by better minds than George Bush and Dick Cheney to ever figure that out and soon.
The best the Republicans can offer is stay the course. Well, like the Captain of the Titanic who stayed the course, stay the course at some point, when the course is disaster means doing the same thing and hoping for a different result, and that is the classic definition of insanity.

- Thomas P Love
* http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2989459.stm

Posted by: Thomas Love at October 24, 2006 7:21 AM
Comment #189858

Jack,

Re deloying UN troops - where would we get them? The UN has no troops. Which member countries would step in and provide some? Remember the recent experience in Lebanon? There is no UN army nor is their any UN power.

FINUL II have 15,000 troops. Tanks. Fighters. Bases. And a real coallition of the willing, mainly from Europe and Asia. Some of these nations is also providing troops in others places like Ivory Coast, Kosovo, or Afganhistan under NATO mandate.
These troops are not, maybe, what you could call an UN army or power.

But, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, so far even the most powerfull nation on earth can’t figure out how to use its power to enforce a peace in the country she broke freed in march 2003 and occupy since.

So, yeah, I agree, no member countries will ever step in and provide help to the US and UK unilaterral Iraq War, just because from all the rationals available their small powerless troops contribution wont make any difference on the ground where the famous most powerfull ones in huge numbers can’t manage it a little bit.

You broke it, you fix it.

The world public likes to criticize, but nobody is standing up to provide any real solutions.

Before they criticize, they warned. Why should we provide a solution *now* when the one we were providing *before* the current mess happened were totally and arrogantly rejected!?

You knew better!? Fine. Now show it.

You recall in the much more clear cut situation in Kosovo or Bosnia how well the UN did. The UN cannot and never has established peace. SOMETIMES it can monitor peace when it is already established by someone else.

And this “someone else” often prefer to play *outside* UN instead *within*. Which is very strange, considering this same “someone else” is the one who created UN in the first place. I guess it’s a “good enough for others, but not me” attitude issue.

But as we saw in Lebanon, the UN can only keep the peace as long as the warring parties allow it.

Or “someone else” is still supporting blindly only one of these parties, undercutting by its veto power any UN or other international bodies peacekeeping efforts to ever hope to succeed. BTW, maybe (alas) the peace in Lebanon wont last, but at least kids today are not killed by bombs everyday since august 2006. It’s still better than the *other* option, destruction of Lebanon from air in flawed hope to debunk all Hezbollah terrorists…

Anyway. Maybe this “someone else” should stop pretending being a top UN member and at the same time do whatever it could to shortcut it, at best, or undercut it, at worst. Maybe this “someone else” should put his unilateralism where his mouth is.

And, so, maybe this “someone else” should stop whinning about lack of internationnal offer to help him/her in the little Iraq adventure.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at October 24, 2006 8:38 AM
Comment #189884

Spot on Phillipe!

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at October 24, 2006 11:08 AM
Comment #189885

Apologies, that should have been Philippe!

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at October 24, 2006 11:09 AM
Comment #189911

Philippe,

If the French would have fixed the problems they caused in Vietnam & had not asked for our help, we would never have been through that war.

Posted by: Keith at October 24, 2006 12:37 PM
Comment #189923
If the French would have fixed the problems they caused in Vietnam & had not asked for our help, we would never have been through that war.

Last French troops leaves Vietnam, her former Indochina colony, in 1956. At this time, no US troops were there except for a small American MAAG “Indochina” group who were advising the french. Didn’t work very well, BTW ;-)

France never asked the US to take its “relay” after her defeat in 1954 at Dien Bien Phu.
Kennedy choosed years later to involve more the US for idealogic reasons. But it’s not until Nixon that from 16,000 it became a wide and bloody war with more than 200,000 troops…

French lost Indochina independence war.
US lost Vietnam ideologic war .
Indeed, none succeed in that area.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at October 24, 2006 1:16 PM
Comment #189936

Jack,
You came down pretty hard on the Baathists. Does that mean you think it was a good idea dismissing all of them from service? What about the armed forces?

Most people cite the dismissal of Baathists & the military as the biggest single mistake made in Iraq. The dismissal was urged by Chalabi, executed by Bremer, and approved by Cheney & Rumsfeld.

Posted by: phx8 at October 24, 2006 2:03 PM
Comment #189951

Philipe ah, the french did ask Eisenhower for help Remember? and he said Hell no.you forgot Another vietnam president Mr Johnson he Certanally did increase troop levels And Walked Away from it. oh Btw Gen casey Is asking for more troops .

Posted by: Rodney Brown at October 24, 2006 3:04 PM
Comment #190102

Rodney,

Philipe ah, the french did ask Eisenhower for help Remember? and he said Hell no.

Indeed. It was during Indochina independence war. We lost it in 1954. No way France was asking help here after 1956, when no french troops was there anymore.

You forgot Another vietnam president Mr Johnson he Certanally did increase troop levels And Walked Away from it.

1963, Johnson presidency start, is nine years after french defeat in Indochina war. No way the french were asking during all these 9 years that US fix what they failed to do. No way these 9 years was not enough for the US to figure out if she should jump or not on Vietnameses conflict for idealogic reason.

Indochina and Vietnam wars are obviously related, both historically and geopolitically, but Vietnam war didn’t happened *because* French asked US to the rescue.

oh Btw Gen casey Is asking for more troops.

Two decisions made by US presidents on
Posted by: Rodney Brown

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at October 25, 2006 4:31 AM
Comment #190103

But we’re going off-topic here.

So, does the international community should help US to find a solution for Iraq War?
Yes.

Will she?
Most probably no.

Why?
US 2003’s lies and arrogance. Pre-emptive doctrine. War On Terror political extreme twist. Building nations as their image dream. Many think in the ROTW that americans should learn this lesson the hard way this time.

But, what about Iraqis?!
Give them back their country(ies) control and let them fix their issues by themselves. Offer, not impose, an international help to rebuild public infrastructure and their economy.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at October 25, 2006 4:48 AM
Comment #190374

Hey thanks Philippe For the history? lesson!

Posted by: Rodney Brown at October 26, 2006 12:20 AM
Comment #190423

Uh? About Indochina/Vietnam war links or about ROTW think US should learn their Iraq adventure lesson?
Well, whatever, you’re welcome ;-)

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at October 26, 2006 10:49 AM
Comment #191275

timesend — fortunately or unfortunately, people on the ground know little about the global political reasons for our decisions w/r/t iraq

phx8 — i believe that the vast majority of what you find on the airwaves, in the papers or online is poilitical opinion rather than fact. how do you separate the wheat from the chaff? do you allow your “moral compass” evaluations to be influenced by opinion pieces?

by the way, i do concur that our motivations w/r/t iraq are suspect and our actions ill-advised. however, that is based more on my personal political philosphy as the information available.

Posted by: ubermike67 at October 29, 2006 7:00 AM
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