Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Better Strategy: Win One Rather Than Lose Two

This is the kind of thing that makes me shake my head. It’s hard to see some times that we’re still fighting a war in Afghanistan. Bush talks about winning the war against Terrorism, but if this is true, his stubborn fixation on winning Iraq may lead us to an unthinkable humiliation instead.

I have to ask the Republicans, conservatives and others on the right wing, what we have to gain by this. Do they think soldiers grow on trees? What do they think they've been resisting all these years by shouting down and refusing to consider proposals for expanding the army and the force in Iraq? Why have Democrats always been so concerned with the consequences of all those diverted resources going to Iraq?

To put things simply, Bush and his supporters never really thought of the basic, practical issues of fighting wars. That has been the downfall of Bush's policy in the War on Terrorism.

The price of that is the situation we're currently in, with our enemies making advances instead of retreats, expanding their safe havens rather than fleeing from them.

So what am I suggesting? Instead of removing troops from Afghanistan to help perpetuate the fiasco in Iraq, we should remove troops from Iraq in order to win Afghanistan. The price of losing in Afghanistan is to see the punishment for 9/11 blotted out from history. The price of losing in Iraq is having to face the gravity of the error behind it. I think it's more of a humiliation to see both these wars lost, than to salvage Afghanistan and make the judgment of history on those who really did support the al-Qaeda terrorists when they struck us final.

Iraq, even if it manages to settle down as we begin our withdrawal, will remain a bitter lesson for this country. But Afghanistan presents us with an option to put an end to the Taliban once and for all. If we shift our efforts there, we can do good for at least one country in this sorry mess, and that will be a crucial step to making the real war on terrorism a success rather than a failure.

The time has come to stop letting failures continue in the name of not acknowledging failures have occured.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at January 9, 2007 10:06 PM
Comments
Comment #202251

I don’t see much chance of us turning Afghanistan into a Democracy and I’m betting you don’t either. So lets not pretend shall we?

We pretty much did what we wanted to do in Afghanistan. we kicked over the Taliban so we could kick over the Al Qaeda. We killed Al Qaeda and put Al Qaeda on the run. We haven’t heard from Usama in how long? one year? Two? He may have died in hiding. We haven’t been attacked again on US shore mostly because we are killing them over there, they don’t have to come here to fight us. That’s the way I prefer it.

What we have done can’t be “erased” or “undone”. What we did, we did. We bombed the crap out of them, knocked over their training camps and upset their apple cart. That was payback for 3,000 US citizens being murdered.

Radical Islam is at war with the US. Don’t pretend we win that war in Iraq, Afghanastan, Iran, Syria, etc. It’s going to take a long time. We could occupy Afghanistan for 60 years keeping Al Qaeda and Taliban out and the war radical Islam has launched will still rage on.

If surrender monkeys can get us to take a defeat in Iraq, Afghanistan will be the next place the surrender monkeys will try to defeat the US.

And in the end, the way we will win that war against radical Islam…if we don’t lose it due to the weak will of the radical left… will be through a combination of brute force and globalism. International trade. Rising standards of living. Sucking middle east nations into the 21st century by doing business with their neighbors and them, rising standards of living that can gradually break down a nation here, or there and get them to move toward the 21st century and leave the 13th century. If you listen to the democratic party you see them setting up the straw man “globalism” to be their punching bag for anything that goes wrong in the economy. The truth is, globalism is great for America and great for the cause of human rights and freedom.

I don’t see much hope for us moving Afghanistan away from their war lord system which is the only system they will truly “support”. We ought to take a closer look at how to turn afgahastan over to a group of Anti-Taliban individuals who are capable of ruling Afghanistan. At this point there is no motivation for them to try and fight the war lord system. That may be who we wind up giving Afghanistan to. I don’t particularly care. They aren’t ready to stand up for a democracy in their nation. And I think Iraq has proved that we can’t force a democracy on anyone who isn’t ready for it.

Posted by: Stephen at January 9, 2007 11:32 PM
Comment #202253

Stephen

The two are connected. The foreign fighters currently in Iraq would be in Afghanistan. The terrorists see these countries as part of the same conflict, even if we do not.

Afghanistan is being handled in the way everybody says we should do things. It is a multilateral affair. To the extent American troops swamp the others, it becomes more exclusively an American enterprise.

Of course, Afghanistan also points up the problems of multilateralism. We get lots of promises but not many real fighting men.

Posted by: Jack at January 9, 2007 11:33 PM
Comment #202255

“We pretty much did what we wanted to do in Afghanistan. we kicked over the Taliban so we could kick over the Al Qaeda. We killed Al Qaeda and put Al Qaeda on the run.”

Cough, cough, gag, gag! You can’t be serious!

I’m just, well, dumbfounded.

Posted by: KansasDem at January 9, 2007 11:38 PM
Comment #202258

“The foreign fighters currently in Iraq would be in Afghanistan. The terrorists see these countries as part of the same conflict, even if we do not.”

Jack,

Can you even remotely see Iraq as a huge recruiting tool for Al Queda? I swear common sense has gone plum out the window.

Posted by: KansasDem at January 9, 2007 11:43 PM
Comment #202266

Stephen-
Pretending? First, I didn’t mention Democracy. I’d prefer it, sure enough, but I’ll take the best I can get. Second, I’m serious. Don’t patronize me by implying that I make statements like this for effect.

I don’t like doing much of anything just for effect. I can’t respect a strategical viewpoint that ignores the resurgence of an enemy by making the excuse that we sent our message by bombing them and killing them and kicking them out. If they manage to come back from that, just what does that say about our efforts?

It frustrates me the way that you folks spread this war out thin, trying to engage the whole of Radical Islam, rather than successfully defeating the worst of them in part when we’ve got the men and the right opportunity to do so. If we put more soldiers into Iraq, we do so with only remaining in the fight to look forward to, and that’s not going to last very long with our state of readiness. It’s defeat that’s too chickenshit to admit what it is.

If we can’t put in enough soldiers to pacify Iraq, then let’s take the closest thing to victory we can get, and get the hell out before it costs us the rest of the fight against al-Qaeda and all the rest who follow them.

Concentration of forces is essential. It’s what you people screwed up, first by not finishing Afghanistan before anything else was started, and secondly by not putting the soldiers in that were necessary for the kind of occupation you sought to engage in.

Now your screw up is about to deliver more territory to the enemy. Is this your idea of winning the war against radical Islam?

You don’t have a strategy, you have a theology. You have Peter Pan in the oval office imploring everybody to clap for the war, rather than grow up and admit he blew it. You have people telling us we can’t end this war because just about any ending at this point means defeat. Well, that should tell you something. After all this time and expense, the Bush administration still has no pather to victory to offer America. Why are we wasting lives, money, and time with this war, if you don’t have any plans besides an ill-advised, inadequate surge of troops?

Your side doesn’t even have the dignity of being victory at all costs. Instead, it’s victory at discount prices, if you let us defer success long enough. It’s pathetic. You want to be strong, but you don’t even have a good enough understanding of the nature of logistical military strength to understand what that kind of strength really is. You just expect that with willpower, we’ll just triumph because we’re on the side of right. Bullshit. We need numbers and resources to win this war that Bush’s policies are inadequate to provide us.

Unless we get a draft, and hike taxes sky-high, we can’t win the war the way this President wants to win it. Bush’s policies are simply too weak to attain the objective.

As for Afghanistan, do remember that the warlord system is what lost the country to the Taliban the first time. You don’t seem to understand the nature of the political forces which cause this problem in the first place. The lesson of WWII is don’t go in with no plans about how to replace a dysfunctional country. When you break the country, be prepared to leave the place better than you found it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 10, 2007 12:39 AM
Comment #202268

Stephen, as I have said before, Bush has no choice but to escalate the war in Iraq right through to his departure as President. Only then can he, in his own mind say, victory in Iraq was lost because his successor gave up and pulled out. I believe he believes that is how his loyal base will remember him for posterity too, if only he can keep killing enough Americans to make a good show of not giving up. Will the country allow him to carry this war onward until he leaves office. That has to be his nightmare, and his most important goal for the rest of his presidency.

Watch him, at some point, he is very likely to make Democrats an offer so sweet, they can’t refuse, in exchange for maintaining the war in Iraq till January of 2009. It is that important.

Which will beg the question then, what are our soldiers lives worth politically to Democrats, when that White House offer is made.

In hardball politics of this elevation, the people become expendable pawns for political or vanity gains. Only the people can demand that such a deal not be struck. But, will they recognize this deal when it comes, for what it is? I have grave doubts.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 10, 2007 12:55 AM
Comment #202275

Wow. I’m just amazed at how uninformed Stephen is:

I don’t see much chance of us turning Afghanistan into a Democracy and I’m betting you don’t either.

Afghanistan is a democracy. It says so in their constitution.

We haven’t heard from Usama in how long? one year? Two?

IIRC, it was last October, right before the elections.

If surrender monkeys can get us to take a defeat in Iraq, Afghanistan will be the next place the surrender monkeys will try to defeat the US.

…Oh, never mind. It’s not worth my time.

Excellent article as usual, Stephen D. It’s very strange that Republicans view Afghanistan, Bosnia and Kosovo as failures and Iraq as a victory. Very strange.

Luckily, the British are redeploying troops from Iraq to Afghanistan. For some reason, our European allies are much better at spreading democracy than we are.

BTW, after the Brits pull out of Iraq this year, who’s left in the vaunted “colaition of the willing”?

Posted by: American Pundit at January 10, 2007 1:46 AM
Comment #202281

David:
“Watch him, at some point, he is very likely to make Democrats an offer so sweet, they can’t refuse, in exchange for maintaining the war in Iraq till January of 2009. It is that important.”

I think you’re wrong here, David. At least, I truly hope you are. I honestly can’t think of any offer sweet enough to want to make Democrats maintain this war. It IS that important. Both to the well being of this country, and to We The People. I’m almost certain the Dems understand this.
If they don’t, they’d really have to be deaf, dumb (here: as in stupid) and blind, no?

“In hardball politics of this elevation, the people become expendable pawns for political or vanity gains. Only the people can demand that such a deal not be struck. But, will they recognize this deal when it comes, for what it is? I have grave doubts.”

The people (well, most of us) are clearly sick of being treated as expendable pawns for political and vanity gains. That’s all we got from the GOP, and it’s why the Dems won back Congress. Don’t think the Democratic politicians in D.C. aren’t aware of this fact, and don’t think that they wouldn’t love to win in ‘08. Also, please don’t underestimate the Democratic voter. A large majority of us aren’t nearly as gullible or easily placated as you seem to think.

Posted by: Adrienne at January 10, 2007 2:17 AM
Comment #202289

David R. Remer-
I would hope that the Democrats aren’t so stupid as to join Bush in his mistake of his. They should not fear blame for this war, because history has a very clear record of the political motivations that drove this war.

What they should be concerned about is doing the will of the people. America’s will is behind Afghanistan. It is behind making sure that those who committed an unprovoked act of war against us will not return to power. People will support that for much longer than they did the pre-emptive false pretense of Iraq.

If the Democrats support additional troops in Afghanistan, additional focus on it, we not only can’t be accused of not wanting to defend our nation against its enemies, but we can also do far more good, which is what really matters. When you can do what people want and what needs to be done together, that’s the best kind of politics.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 10, 2007 8:34 AM
Comment #202292

Stephen,

“We haven’t been attacked again on US shore mostly because we are killing them over there, they don’t have to come here to fight us.”

There were less than 2 dozen men involved in the actual hijackings on Sept. 11th.
What makes you think that al Qaeda couldn’t spare a few more for something else?
I’m not talking about these al Qaeda wannabe morons the FBI keeps funding, then arresting. We have more than 4,000 miles of unsecured border, that our government has given us a lick and a promise of securing, and unarmed National Guard troops to observe, but not stop, incursions.
I don’t know what universe you guys are living in, but reality doesn’t seem to be a factor there.

Posted by: Rocky at January 10, 2007 9:23 AM
Comment #202293

Stephen

Surrender Monkeys? You really seem to have some reality issues. Perhaps you really believe all that neo-con nonsense. Too bad for you. Our inevitable deployment from Iraq when it comes is going to be a hard and bitter pill for your type to swallow. How you can believe that we as a nation are somehow safer bacause we are fighting them over there is beyond my comprehension. If anything our presence in thier back yard has made it easier for them to practice what you seem to consider thier favorite pastime, killing americans. And to take it a step further I think it is safe to say they are probably gaining vast knowledge in the understanding of our strategies and tactics because of our long term stay in that area. Logic would dictate that the most dedicated of the american hating terrorists do not want us to leave. It is much easier for them to wage thier jihad on us when we are in thier yard. Get real Stephen, these are a relatively small group of individuals who have us right where they want us. It has never before been so easy for them to kill americans.

Posted by: Ildem at January 10, 2007 9:35 AM
Comment #202295

Stephen D.

I like what you are suggesting. If this strategy were to be implemented it may very well be the saving grace to the catastrophic failure which is Iraq. The rest of the world was wise enough to see where the real problems were when we entered Afghanistan. Unilateralism has worked and most likely will continue to work with proper funding and manpower.

One step at a time has always been a favorite credo of mine. It works for me and it seems that most of the good things in history have been accomplished in the same manner. If our president and his puppet masters had been intelligent enough to see this perhaps we would not be in this horrible mess today.

Posted by: ILdem at January 10, 2007 9:51 AM
Comment #202296

American Pundit,

I said we hadn’t heard from Saddam in the one to two year range. You just proved it was in that range. You see your point as showing me up in what way? Duhhhh.

Ildem, I know you fee your victory over US troops and republicans the day you force us to surrender somewhere will hard for me to take. But when this entire conflict started, the day 9-11 happened. I knew the left would side with the terrorists and do all it could to defeat us. I knew that along the way the left would have it’s “victories”. I lived through Viet Nam, I saw the power of the smear, the lie, the hate put forward day after day and year after year. I saw the aftermath to, what happens to a region when America gives up, walks a way, surrenders a region to the dark side of humanity.

No, I wont find it “bitter” to see the US defeated by it’s own fifth column radical left wing. That’s your goal, that’s how you operate, from time to time you must win.

But I do believe, that in the long run, America will defeat radical Islam and America will defeat the defeatist goals of the radical left wing.

KansasDem , I say we did do what we wanted to do in Afghanastan. Our goal was to kick over the Taliban and to route and destroy as much as possible Al Qaeda. I see you mock me in that statement, but offer no supporting counter “wisdom”. Lets get real here, Bush could have killed every single Al Qaeda member that was in Afghanistan and you still would call it a “defeat” because you oppose the use of US force and your strongest desire is “defeat” to prove that your weak and appeasing ways are superior.

Jack, I’m well aware that in Afghanistan we are up against Saddamists, partisan insurgents, Al Qaeda, Foreign Fighters, and basically radical Islam in General not to mention just any Arab that would like to kill an American. Far better to fight them over there, than to have them blowing up buildings over here.

Posted by: Stephen at January 10, 2007 10:05 AM
Comment #202298

David

I think perhaps you are being a bit too pessimistic. I do understand your gaurded position. It is very hard to put any faith or trust with respect to the integrity of our legislators these days. If the first few days of the new congress are any indication I would have to say that the dems and even many repubs it seems have gotten the message. We will have to wait and see if time erodes the clarity of that message or not.

I do fully agree that Bush is on a legacy building campaign. My guess is that when they attached him to the puppet strings he thought the party would succesfully insure his legacy. Instead the party imploded. Now he is in a race to save his very image and his party has pretty much abandoned him. His only hope is to stick to his guns and hope something good comes about in the next two years. To give in would be an admission of guilt. The admission of guilt would mean an acceptance of responsibility. The acceptance of responsibility leads to an acceptance of failure. The acceptance of failure leads to a heavily burdened concience. In essence a failed legacy he will have to live with for the rest of his life.

Posted by: ILdem at January 10, 2007 10:11 AM
Comment #202299

Jack, Correction to the above, I obviously meant Iraq not Afghanastan. But except for saddamists they are pretty much the same crowd. Wherever we go in the middle east radical islam and all it’s components will arrive to fight us.

Posted by: Stephen at January 10, 2007 10:16 AM
Comment #202301

Adrienne,

“The people (well, most of us) are clearly sick of being treated as expendable pawns for political and vanity gains. That’s all we got from the GOP, and it’s why the Dems won back Congress. Don’t think the Democratic politicians in D.C. aren’t aware of this fact, and don’t think that they wouldn’t love to win in ‘08. Also, please don’t underestimate the Democratic voter. A large majority of us aren’t nearly as gullible or easily placated as you seem to think.”

Very well said Adrienne. I just hope the people are able to retain this vibrancy of interest in politics over the long term.

Posted by: ILdem at January 10, 2007 10:18 AM
Comment #202302

IS “PAY AS YOU GO” NOW “DEAD ON ARRIVAL”?

Did anyone notice that Pelosi passed a MULTI BILLION DOLLAR 9-11 SECURITY BILL and DID NOT FUND IT?

What happened to “pay as you go”? Pelosi just increased the national debt by billions if this bill can pass the Senate and she hasn’t even considered how to pay for it.

Where is all that tough minded fiscal responsibility? Where is the woman that was going to lead us to balanced budgets and cried about Reublicans being irresponsible? Where is the “grandma” that cried about Republicans spending their children’s future?

Oh my, Pelosi spending billions of dollars in INCREASED DEFICITS with no “Pay as you go”.

I would have at least thought she would have put a price tag on this and then arranged to “pay as she goes” but I guess that “Pay as you go” is “dead on arrival” and the Pelosi deficits are now underway!
———————-
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070110/ap_on_go_co/congress_terror_11

Posted by: Stephen at January 10, 2007 10:32 AM
Comment #202303

Stephen,

“Ildem, I know you fee your victory over US troops and republicans the day you force us to surrender somewhere will hard for me to take. But when this entire conflict started, the day 9-11 happened. I knew the left would side with the terrorists and do all it could to defeat us. I knew that along the way the left would have it’s “victories”. I lived through Viet Nam, I saw the power of the smear, the lie, the hate put forward day after day and year after year. I saw the aftermath to, what happens to a region when America gives up, walks a way, surrenders a region to the dark side of humanity.”

Every sentence here speaks of extreme radicalism Stephen. How can you honestly believe that democrates would take the side of terrorists. That is complete an utter nonsense. I too lived thru Vietnam. I even did my time over there. It was merely another war we should not have been involved in. Bush obviously learned nothing from that one.

To make this as simple as possible Stephen I will supply a quote to try and summarize my feelings. “There is more than one way to skin a cat” The neo-cons completely botched this skinning. Now it is time to try a new method of skinning the cat.

Posted by: ILdem at January 10, 2007 10:34 AM
Comment #202304

Stephen,

“What happened to “pay as you go”? Pelosi just increased the national debt by billions if this bill can pass the Senate and she hasn’t even considered how to pay for it.”

How about with a small fraction of the money we are throwing away in Iraq?

Posted by: ILdem at January 10, 2007 10:38 AM
Comment #202310

ILdem,

Your suggestion to abandon Iraq and let Pelosi permantently increase national spending with the money that was being spent in Iraq is one way to go. But I have a couple of problems here with your suggestion.

Pelosi promised to “pay as she goes” and to save our children from those in power who spend their future.

Here we have Pelosi NOT paying as she goes, spending our childrens future and not even considering her own bill within her “pay as she goes” guidelines. It’s insane. She has extended last years deficit spending, she is adding billions and billions to last years deficit in NEW DEFICITS….and “pay as you go” is apparently a “dead on arrival” propaganda piece.

Pelosi didn’t even give the weak consideration of how to pay for this that you did. You suggested shifting deficit spending. Which is also NOT FUNDING her 9-11 billions of spending. The war is unfunded too, which means Pelosi would still have to pay for this 9-11 bill somehow…no matter where she gets the deficit dollars from. Using unfunded war dollars to pay for unfunded pelosi bills does not solve Pelosi’s problem of being the “pay as you go Grandma”. Her billions of deficit spending on security issues certainly adds to the suffering of our children and grandchildren under this deficit spending spree of the democratic Grandmother!

And lets get real here, my bottom line is really this. Pelosi is spending cash fast and is proving she is no more “fiscally responsible” than the republicans. She is ignoring budget issues, adding to the deficits, and refusing to even speak the word “balanced budgets’.

There is a republican bill in the house put forward to create a balanced budget amendment to the constitution. Mrs. EMERSON introduced it and of course, it’s been sent to committee to be killed by democrats. Will Pelosi allow the house to vote on a balanced budget amendment to the constitution? We all know the answer, Pelosi has no intention of being fiscally responsible or of allowing the membership to vote on a balanced budget amendment to the constitution.

For those of you that may have foolishly thought that democrats would balance the budget, work toward a balanced budget, or be more financially responsible than Republicans….I hope you are starting to get a clue. Kennedy now wants “national health care”. That’s right, a huge new deficit spending program. Why balance the budget, fix social security, fix Medicare, when you can massively spend more more more?!!!!

I have one Christmas wish this year Santa: “Please let the democrats announce they will bring America a balanced budget, let them give us a target year for that budget to be balanced, and let them reduce the deficit each year until we hit that target”.

That’s what I want from Congress…it’s not going to happen is it? The democrats are going to FAIL us aren’t they? Forget my wish list of important issues congress should deal with, the democrats wont do it. They can’t get passed item number one, stop spending like there’s no tomorrow.

Posted by: Stephen at January 10, 2007 11:04 AM
Comment #202313

Stephen:

Let’s get real. You appear to be watching Nancy Pelosi like a hawk. It’s how many days into the new congress and you want everything tied up nice and neat? The mess is so huge it will take a while for anyone to figure out. You might quit ranting and give it the wait and see attitude you’ve apparently had for the last 6 years. You’re beginning to sound like a one-trick pony.

Posted by: womanmarine at January 10, 2007 11:18 AM
Comment #202316

womanmarine ,

You accuse me of watching my congressional leadership and holding them responsible for what they do…as if that’s wrong!

Lets BOTH watch everything Nancy does. Tell me how spending tens of billions in added security expenses and NOT APPYING “PAY AS YOU GO” is right?

Democrats won on a promise to “pay as you go” and many democrats and moderates believed the left wing hype and thought the democratic party would BALANCE BUDGETS.

You folks need to start screaming at Pelosi to BALANCE THE BUDGET. Instead of making excuses for massive democratic party deficit spending….come out and stand up for Balanced budgets. Insist that this congress put the nation on a CLEAR PATH TO A BALANCED BUDGET. And you can’t be on a clear path to balanced budgets if they refuse to even discuss balancing the budgets and refuse to commit to it.

I believe there is still time. We are only a few days in and the democrats are already running away from balanced budgets….but there is still time to CHANGE the democratic agenda AWAY from massive deficit spending and TOWARD balancing the budgets.

But as long as you folks, the base of the radical left wing, are going to support massive deficit spending, nothing will be done to stop it. Nothing. Just more “Pay as you Go” propaganda bills and lots of actual deficit spending.

Posted by: Stephen at January 10, 2007 11:33 AM
Comment #202321

Womanmarine, spot on. And if I may add one thing — a one trick pony that is attempting to derail Stephen D’s thread.
This article is about it being a good idea for Bushco to attempt to do something right by winning the war in Afghanistan, rather than pulling out our troops there to escalate the already lost cause of the war in Iraq, not about Nancy Pelosi.

Posted by: Adrienne at January 10, 2007 11:48 AM
Comment #202322

Stephen

”..surrender monkeys”
Ok if you want to abandon civility. What branch of the service are you in? How about your children? Or are you just one more Rep chickenhawk?Prove me wrong,by all means, but remember you go to hell for lying just like stealing.

Posted by: BillS at January 10, 2007 11:52 AM
Comment #202324

ILdem:
“Very well said Adrienne. I just hope the people are able to retain this vibrancy of interest in politics over the long term.”

Thanks. I hope so too, because I honestly don’t think we can afford not to.

Posted by: Adrienne at January 10, 2007 11:58 AM
Comment #202327

Stephen-
I once worried that people would not be able to tell us apart. That is no longer a problem in my opinion.

Your “we fight them there so we don’t have to fight them here” opinion presents a problem. The problem is that we are justifying Jihad without truly stamping it out. Then when the inevitable end comes to the war, they’ll need something to do. Bush’s strategy has not decreased their numbers, but done the opposite. That is a fact.

What else is factual? A steady increase in violence and civilian deaths. The waste of Billions of dollars and the failure to get basic infrastructural necessities up and running on a permanent basis. The inability of our forces, as Bush and his advisers sent them in this war, to secure the country from al-Qaeda infiltration.

And of course the fact that we never found working, usable WMDs, much less any evidence that Saddam had the kind of nuclear program that Bush hinted at with rhetoric of mushroom clouds over our cities. Also, there was no real al-Qaeda presence in our Cities.

You could say Zarqawi was al-Qaeda before the war started, and that Saddam hosted him in Baghdad for an amputation. Of course you’d be saying that with the fact that he had to ask to join al-Qaeda mid war, that al-Qaeda had to show up, and that when we finally found our favorite headcutter’s body in the bombed out building, the man still had both legs attached.

That is just one of many failures of the Bush administration to both relate the facts to American, and to determine the facts for itself. The real intelligence failure here is the White House’s attitude towards the facts. Those who support them often end up apologists for such errors, endlessly repeating rhetoric long after facts on the ground and even the words of the White House itself have rendered them empty words.

The sickening irony is the fact that you folks keep getting wrong: the left and most of this country do not want to see this country lose. Your problem is that everybody else has passed you by in the realization that Bush’s policy will not grant this country victory. Not even close.

Nearly everything he suggests as a change of policy is something somebody else suggested first. An increase in troops was long a Democrat talking point. Only problem is, he waits to jump on these bandwagons until political necessity requires it of him. But by that time, problems often have entrenched themselves, and the requirements for victories have passed him by.

The rhetoric is tough but he lacks the fierce, quick, and selfless adaptability that true leaders demonstrate. His policies are set up more like dogmatic theology to be followed than strategies to be openly analyzed and revised as necessary. He doesn’t allow the troops on the ground to send their concerns up the chain of command. We don’t get more translators when we need them, more soldiers when we actually ask for them, a political strategy when it’s workable, and an exit strategy of any real kind.

The person who cannot say what their strategy is to end a war is a person who cannot win the war. Without a solid idea of the conditions for departure, you don’t know what you need in terms of soldiers, resources, and time to get the job done. Without that knowledge or at least estimation going on, There’s no real test as to whether you’re winning or losing.

You can, of course, say whatever you want and have plausible deniability, but the dark secret at the heart of that is that plans like these are often very likely to result in defeat, especially if the other side knows better what it takes for it to win.

You folks want the war, the glory, to make the stand against evil and be the folks slaying the dragons. Unfortunately, the generation of Republican leaders you have in place are logistical morons who talk a better game than they play. They invaded with too few troops, with no backup plans for securing the nation. They didn’t plan for more troops, a US-led occupation, or what to do in terms of maintaining law and order, because (get this) admitting the strategies they invaded with could fail would be defeatist. For similar reasons they cut out many experts in the field, and failed to listen to folks who would have told them what they were doing wrong before they ever made the mistakes.

Your people simply do not trust most Americans to think for themselves or form a consensus that’s in their best interests. That, in the end, has been lethal to just about every element of your foreign policy The Bush White House and its supporters have ended up being too paranoid and distrustful, too elitist about their own political point of view to accept the help, cooperation or even competition of anybody beyond their narrow political clique. Result?

Well, you see it. And you say it. If you were to take a moment and consider in a common sense frame of mind what interests people would hold close, you would realize that most Americans have a healthy sense of self preservation, not to mention a healthy dislike of losing.

Americans would have loved to have won. But increasingly, your President has demonstrated that he has no clear idea of an exit strategy. He doesn’t know how to solve the problem. He started last year with a policy of more of the same. Only difference now is that he’s going forward with more of the same in both senses of the word. He’ll be playing the same waiting game, just with larger forces.

He never had to abandon the war to change course, to maintain the promises he made to the Iraqis. He could have done better with people if he weren’t serving the master of victory in political wars at the same time he was looking to win in Iraq. If he had let himself listen to those in the know, he might have fared better in history’s view.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 10, 2007 12:17 PM
Comment #202328

Stephen-
As for Pay-Go?

You’re looking for reasons to bitch, I think. I think it’s highly unlikely that the sections of this law that will come into effect that require funding will do so without a spending bill in place and appropriate arrangements to find funding for the law someplace.

I don’t think you have a clear idea about the way things are paced and arranged. I think you also neglect to consider that these people may well have considered how to do these things in advance, rather than willy-nilly. act them out.

I think you’re too used to the way the 109th congress and its Republican predecessors under Bush worked. The Democrats will run a much tighter ship.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 10, 2007 12:28 PM
Comment #202333

Stephen Daugherty , That’s rich….they have a “secret” plan to fund their deficit spending….and they will tell us about it when the time is ripe?

I’m not buying what you are selling!

Posted by: Stephen at January 10, 2007 1:11 PM
Comment #202335

jc-
If you want to lose wars, please, by all means, depend on hat tricks. Essentially you’re saying that we should rely on luck to win wars. I find that a dangerously lax approach.

Bush is not putting everything on the line. He gets to sit nice and safe in the Oval Office, unlikely ever to suffer harm at the hands of the people he has us in war against. The only thing he has that can be harmed by this war is his reputation, and that, it can be argued, is entirely his fault. Nobody made him screw up on a historical scale.

As for bad leaders pushing problems down the line, just why do you think this president advocates a Surge? If he was really into making hard decisions, he would have changed course long ago. The easy decision for leaders losing a war is to not be the guy who admits things aren’t working, or that the war is not winnable. The easy, though cowardly decision is to let other people suffer for his mistake, and punt the conclusion to somebody else to suffer the political damage for.

You talk about it being a matter of will, of Americans waving the white flag because things got a little rough. Bull. Even now, there are many people who want to see this thing through to something better than abject defeat. Unfortunately, this president never won the war when he had the chance. He, like you, have continued to wait for a miracle to occur, rather than work out a real plan to succeed.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 10, 2007 1:17 PM
Comment #202338

Stephen-
It’s not a secret plan. I imagine if you look at the law there will be dates as to when these laws will become effective. Then when Pelosi and the others come up with the spending bills for the next years, they’ll put together the appropriation and do the necessary juggling to live by the pay-go rules. If things work out like they should, these will likely be funded by the time they become effective.

Do you really think that the Democrats would be so stupid as not have a plan on this? We didn’t win the last election by being fools.

jc-
You act like we broke things up in the middle of a success story. Well, your successes leave something to be desired. The irony in Iraq is that the war was supposed to be over three and half years ago Now we’re seeing the 3000th casuality of a conflict where most deaths could technically be considered post-war, and a large proportion post-occupation! Bin Laden still walks free, the Terrorists have raised their numbers substantially, and the post 9/11 Goodwill has turned into a devastating loss of prestige. The Taliban are even reclaiming their territory, for the love of all that’s sacred.

The thing about using a broken scoreboard like yours is that one has no idea when to stop losing. The Right has become far too complacent about it’s game, and America’s suffered as a result. You make a big mistake in thinking we want to lose. We just want to quite losing the real battles, while the Republicans scramble to save face rather than American lives.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 10, 2007 1:29 PM
Comment #202341

jc,
Sounds like you’ve come up with a terrific new script for a low-budget action hero film…maybe Snake Plisken could be the lead character? However, nothing in your rambling rhetoric (in my opinion) resembles reality whatsoever. I usually try to keep my posts rational and only moderately partisan, but when I read stuff like this I can only cry for you. If this is your reality, it’s a sad world in which you live. If I weren’t at work, I’d post something a bit more thought-provoking. For now, let me summarize my position by saying such rambling, thoughtless delusions 1) do not make a point, 2) negate any credibility you may seek to possess, 3) and are generally counterproductive (though entertaining at a very base level). Emotional appeals, such as your post #202330, serve as a weak substitute for well-thought, rational debate. Try defensible debate and rational discussion if you want anyone to listen or find you credible, otherwise you may want to post under a different name. At least Stephen is trying (albiet painful to observe).

Posted by: Dr. D at January 10, 2007 1:37 PM
Comment #202342

Thats the main difference between the two mindsets Stephen D.
One side doesn’t think we can win and wants to quit.
One side thinks we can win and wants to see it through to the end.

Things like “liberals are cowards” or “Bush is only in it for Bush,” are nothing but partisan opinions.

Posted by: kctim at January 10, 2007 1:39 PM
Comment #202347

“do the necessary juggling to live”

No doubt about that SD.
No doubt at all.

Posted by: kctim at January 10, 2007 1:53 PM
Comment #202349

Kctim:

You simplify it too much. One side doesn’t think we can win THIS WAY. The other side thinks we maybe can win eventually if we stay the course, or maybe, after 3 and a half years, a little surge.

Bush said a long time ago that the war in Iraq would not be over before he left office. I guess that’s why he has let it drag out so long? Particularly so any loss, or perceived loss, would be on someone else’s head.

How many years do we have to stay the course before we know the course isn’t working?

Ever hear of backup and regroup?

Posted by: womanmarine at January 10, 2007 1:56 PM
Comment #202353

Kctim,

Wrong, both sides think we can “win”. One side asks the question at what cost? The other side uses fear of the unknown and speculative consequences to attempt to bully Americans into aquiescence.

The only problem is….as us Texans like to say…That dog won’t hunt.

My only addition to this argument is that our fight isn’t in Afghanistan, so much as Pakistan, now.

Posted by: gergle at January 10, 2007 2:04 PM
Comment #202356

So let me summarize the position of the democrats here on this board.

“Pay as you go” means something good. We can’t tell you what it means, but it’s good and it will be revealed to us in the fullness of time what that goodness is all about. Pelosis expensive little added security plan will be magically taken care of by “pay as you go” on “some other day”. Hmm, is that what pay as you go means?

Pelosi spending Billions and billions now that she REFUSES to detail or to tell us from whence the funding will come….that is ok, because in the fullness of time her brilliant, deficit defeating plan will be revealed.

Pelosi extending last years deficit creation rate into this year is a brilliant move toward sound fiscal discipline…the brilliance to be revealed latter. Now that deficits have been defeated we really shouldn’t look at them or talk about them anymore!

Not speaking about balanced budgets, not promising to balance the budget, not giving a date by which balanced budgets can be achieved, not putting forth a plan to get budgets balanced over time…..is a brilliant plan to bring budgets into balance….the brilliance we will see…in the fullness of time.

Sigh.

I’m afraid “Pay as you Go” has “Got up and Went”…and we are only a few days into Pelosi and Reids reign of terror! Maybe if I offer Reid a million bucks like that lawyer in Vegas gave him I could get Reid to sign off on a balanced budget plan? Reids got friends on the ethics committee and he’s a liberal, they will never charge him!

Posted by: Stephen at January 10, 2007 2:24 PM
Comment #202357

Stephen

“Here we have Pelosi NOT paying as she goes, spending our childrens future and not even considering her own bill within her “pay as she goes” guidelines. It’s insane. She has extended last years deficit spending, she is adding billions and billions to last years deficit in NEW DEFICITS….and “pay as you go” is apparently a “dead on arrival” propaganda piece.”

The new congress has not even been in action for a full week yet. Did you think that they were going to step in and the budget would automatically be balanced from day one? I have to believe it will take years to straighten out the mess that Bush and the last legislature left us with. Lets face it his party has not been exactly fiscally responsible for the last six years. It will take some time to determine priorities and how the costs of those priorities will be met.

And for the record, pay as you go was far from the only determining factor in the last elections. As I see it republicans were thier own worst enemy. The elections are over. Smart republicans will put thier petty hatreds behind them and reach out for compromise in the hope that some progress can be made in the interests of the american people. Those who refuse to look for common ground will more than likely lose out during the next election term.

Posted by: ILdem at January 10, 2007 2:25 PM
Comment #202359

kctim-
The question you have to ask is “what end?”

To just say victory is vague, for by that definition, that’s what everybody wanted to see things through to.

What victory, then? They say they want to calm things down before they go. How? Even with their surge, they have nowhere near the military power to settle things down by force. What about diplomacy?

They refuse to deal with the neighbors who could do the most damage to any political effort, whose actions continue to frustrate our aims there. Like it or not, you have to talk to them, and do what you have to to get them to stop. And what about economic means of victory?

Iraq’s economy at this point is in the dumps.

I hear talk about wanting to win, but you can want to win, but still fail to do the things it takes to win and lose for that reason. Many on the right think that they can bluff, bluster and bulldoze throught that by will power, but willpower is nothing without means, and the means to win this war the way we wanted to win it went by the wayside while Bush was busy trying to convince people that all was well with Iraq rather than face the problems at hand.

The real conflict is between those who believe that only the Right Wing can keep America safe and save it from its enemies and the rest who believe that this is not so. What intensifies this conflict is just how dramatically off-base the right-wing’s picture of the war is, and just how stubbornly they refuse to believe anything else. Americans, like any commander faced with an irrational officer whose orders and conduct are counterproductive, have decided to relieve them of command. That decision has not made them any more rational.

They’ve got a decision to make: work with others, and embrace the reality based vision of America, or do one of two odious things: fall into the fringe, or revive their authority one day doomed by their narrow perspective to repeat their mistakes. The last thing we need is for these folks to come back thinking that maybe this time they can force America to win a war their way.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 10, 2007 2:35 PM
Comment #202360

WomanMarine
I’m not part of the “Bush has an evil plan” crowd.
We went to war with Iraq. Things have gone differently than we had hoped. Insurgents are one of the worst types of enemy to fight. They have no face and they hardly surrender. It is also very hard to predict their strength prior to their rising.

To say Bush has never changed plans is saying our military leaders, the ones running the war, are dumb and I do not believe that spin for one second. The military is constantly changing its tactics to meet the threats they face.

The side who doesn’t think we can with “this way” has no idea what “way” the war is even being fought.
“This way” means under a Republican administration and if people were to actually think about it, it is kind of funny that they disagree with “this way.”
“This way” is a PC way of running the war and as I said before, it really doesn’t matter who is President. The military can only do so much and is only slowed down by fighting a war based on PC ideas.

To say Bush has “let” this war drag out so long for personal reasons is wrong and grasping for partisan straws.
An end would have meant a guaranteed win for Republicans in 06, why not take that?

“How many years do we have to stay the course before we know the course isn’t working?”

“Stay the course” pertains to the end goal of the mission. It does not mean that tactics and plans do not change to fit the situation. That was spin to get votes.

“Ever hear of backup and regroup?”

Yes I have, but we were “ambushed” by the insurgents and you never backup and regroup when you walk into an ambush.

Posted by: kctim at January 10, 2007 2:35 PM
Comment #202363

Kctim:

I’m not part of the “Bush has an evil plan” crowd.

I never said nor implied that you were. I have read enough of your posts to know better than that. While it would be easy to think of Bush as evil, I am not part of that crowd either.

To say Bush has never changed plans is saying our military leaders, the ones running the war, are dumb and I do not believe that spin for one second.

Not true for one second. I actually believe that the military leaders know more than Bush does. I understand that he is THEIR leader, and they do not have complete control, nor the final say. How many has he “fired”? Perhaps because they did not agree with him.

Yes I have, but we were “ambushed” by the insurgents and you never backup and regroup when you walk into an ambush.

Excuse me? My experience is different. Of course it depends on the circumstances, but to say never isn’t quite true either. Our best bet might be to pull back, regroup, see what happens and respond in coordination with what the Iraqi’s want and are willing to do themselves.

Posted by: womanmarine at January 10, 2007 2:49 PM
Comment #202365

“The real conflict is between those who believe that only the Right Wing can keep America safe and save it from its enemies and the rest who believe that this is not so”

No Stephen, the real conflict is with those who we are at war with.
The idea that the war would end and terrorists would cease to exist if a Democrat was in charge, shows only that the left is at war with their own President and not the ones who are killing our fellow Americans.

Posted by: kctim at January 10, 2007 2:53 PM
Comment #202366

Stephen-
Have you even read the bill?

I think you’re arguing your point in ignorance of the process, in ignorance of the legislation.

jc-
This is what the soldiers actually think. Less than half think Bush is running the war well, that it’s part of the war on terrorism, that we should have gone in the first place. While most want more soldiers in Iraq(to the tune of around 200,000 in the most popular option), three-quarters believe that the military is overstretched, and most believe the transition will take years. The people in the military who have the luxury of detached consideration of this war are mostly balking at the president’s plans.

If the President listened earlier, we might not be fighting a losing war, and Afghanistan might have been won at this point. Now, thanks to Bush, we have the debacle in Iraq, and our original enemies coming back again. The Democrats aren’t handing al-Qaeda the trophy. The Bush administration is doing so by shear incompetence and lack of focus.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 10, 2007 2:53 PM
Comment #202367

Stephen D:

Great article.

Republicans throw around the words “winning” and “victory,” but never bother to say what they want to win.

I want to win the conflict we have with the terrorists, specifically al Qaeda, the ones who attacked us. Iraq is a diversion. So let’s get out of there, as you say. Afghanistan is the center of the war, or at least it should be. Sending our troops there makes sense.

By the way, where is Osama bin Laden, the leader of the 9/11 atrocity? Shouldn’t we be seeking to capture him? If we do this, we can talk about winning.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at January 10, 2007 2:54 PM
Comment #202371

WomanMarine
“I actually believe that the military leaders know more than Bush does.”

EVERYBODY does. And I am sure that Bush believes so to.

“I understand that he is THEIR leader, and they do not have complete control, nor the final say.”

It depends on what you are talking about. To invade another country or to give up land, then yes, they send it to him I’m sure.
But for raids, tactics and day to day ops, they are the ones who determine that.

“How many has he “fired”? Perhaps because they did not agree with him.”

I have no idea. But perhaps is a big word. Perhaps he fired them because he did not agree with them. Perhaps because they asked to be. Perhaps because they wanted to escalate things.

“Excuse me? My experience is different. Of course it depends on the circumstances, but to say never isn’t quite true either.”

Granted, never may be to strong of word. But we are trained to run into an ambush for a better chance of surviving.

“Our best bet might be to pull back, regroup, see what happens and respond in coordination with what the Iraqi’s want and are willing to do themselves”

Thats one option.
Another would be to quit worrying about what the Iraqis’ want and start doing whats best for us.

Posted by: kctim at January 10, 2007 3:04 PM
Comment #202372

kctim-

One side doesn’t think we can win and wants to quit.
One side thinks we can win and wants to see it through to the end.

That is what my “real conflict” lines address. The disagreement you point out. You can talk about seeing things through, but the real debate here is about whether we continue with Bush’s policies as he’s had them, policies that focus relentlessly on maintaining military presence in Iraq until things get better with an inadequate force for the objective in mind. This is what people really oppose.

The prevailing reason most Americans want withdrawal is that they have the sense that we’ve run out of options and are running out of resources to win this war Bush’s way. They’d love to be proved wrong, but Bush seems intent on confirming their worst fears. They would rather not play referees to a civil war that our forces would be far too inadequate under Bush’s plan to gain control of.

Bush had his chance to win the war. Now Americans simply want to recover from it, and go after our real enemies if we’ve got enough left to do that. That is what I suggest. I have no intention of being a surrender monkey. I want some chance to salvage something from this sorry mess.

This, I imagine, will appeal to those who want to go after our real enemies, whether they are for or against the continuation of the Iraq war. Like the title says, I think America would rather win one than lose two.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 10, 2007 3:07 PM
Comment #202375

Stephen D:

“Instead of removing troops from Afghanistan to help perpetuate the fiasco in Iraq, we should remove troops from Iraq in order to win Afghanistan. The price of losing in Afghanistan is to see the punishment for 9/11 blotted out from history.

Just out of curiosity, how many barrels of oil does Afghanistan produce in a year? Anyone? This Iraq/Afghan thing sort of reminds me of the old joke of a man walking down the street at night and seeing a guy on his hands and knees under a streetlight, obviously looking for something. He stops and asks the guy, “Did you lose something?” And the man says, “Yeah, a dropped a ten-dollar bill.” The other says, “You dropped it around here, huh?” And the guy on his knees says, “No, actually I lost it down the street a ways, but the light’s better here.”

Spreading democracy and fighting the War on Terror is down the street in Afghanistan, but the oil is much better in Iraq.

Posted by: Tim Crow at January 10, 2007 3:23 PM
Comment #202378

Stephen
I have agreed with you in the past when you spoke of adding more boots on the ground, so I believe your inadequate force statement is valid.

Regardless of why we went into Iraq, we are there and we are at war with our “real enemies” there.

I do disagree with wanting to win one or lose two though. We have already won both wars and I believe we should totally destroy both countries and bring our troops home or make them US property and defend them as such.

Posted by: kctim at January 10, 2007 3:44 PM
Comment #202386
Another would be to quit worrying about what the Iraqis’ want and start doing whats best for us.

And therein lies the rub.

Posted by: womanmarine at January 10, 2007 4:48 PM
Comment #202393

Tim Crow-
I’m well aware of that rigamarole. I don’t believe oil was anything more than a bonus for them, something to put in the trophy case alongside a war victory and a defeat of an evil tyrant.

kctim-
Was that last paragraph a joke? I’m not sure how much to take seriously from that statement.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 10, 2007 5:52 PM
Comment #202430

Good article concerning Petraeus’ strategy

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at January 10, 2007 8:41 PM
Comment #202449


Dave-20-2009: Yes it was a good article.

The No.1 mistake ” Overemphasize killing and capturing the enemy rather than securing and engaging the populace.”

Bush’s staff doesn’t call him no.1 for nothing.

Posted by: jlw at January 10, 2007 11:16 PM
Comment #202464

jlw,

Funny, I always thought he was #2.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at January 11, 2007 12:30 AM
Comment #202467
Here we have Pelosi NOT paying as she goes, spending our childrens future… blah, blah, blah

At what point did they stop airing Schoolhouse Rock? Anyone remember the one about how a bill becomes a law? Someone doesn’t.

Chances are, half the provisions in the House bill will go away when the Senate does their version so there’s no point in specifying funding until the bills get negotiated.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 11, 2007 12:50 AM
Comment #202470


Dave-1-20-09: Yes, he is no.2 but no one calls him no.2 to his face.

Posted by: jlw at January 11, 2007 1:00 AM
Comment #202479

AP,
“At what point did they stop airing Schoolhouse Rock? Anyone remember the one about how a bill becomes a law?”

I loved Schoolhouse Rock…

“Someone doesn’t.”

Sadly, no.

“Yes, he is no.2 but no one calls him no.2 to his face.”

jlw:
How about Santorum? ;^]

Posted by: Adrienne at January 11, 2007 1:49 AM
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