Democrats & Liberals Archives

You Just Have To Believe

Congratulations, American voters. If not for you, President Bush would never have concluded, “It is clear that we need to change our strategy in Iraq.” Where were you guys two years ago? As for the President’s speech tonight, had it been made two or three years ago when the insurgency was in its infancy and before major factional violence broke out, I would have lauded it as the sensible approach — especially under the command of General David Petraeus.

The declaration of operations against Iran (most likely inside Iran) and the nonsense about al-Qaeda taking over Anbar Province aside, the elements of the plan make sense: The operation is centered on Baghdad, it's led by an Iraqi military commander, it puts the local police at the forefront, it allows operations against al-Sadr's militia and it involves sweeping political reforms. The only problem is, these tactics have all been tried before -- albeit in an ad-hoc manner -- and failed. You just have to take it on faith they're going to work this time.

For example, while President Bush declared open season on al-Sadr's Mahdi Militia, he made no mention of disarming other government-backed Shiite militias like the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI)'s Badr Brigade. No mention was made of the fact that the last time Iraqi troops were to take the lead in Baghdad, most refused to leave their tribal areas -- they never showed up -- and the rest refused to take up arms against fellow Shiites. And in an area that includes the majority of Iraqis -- seven million in downtown Baghdad alone -- you have to believe that a mere 21,500 extra US troops are going to make a difference.

You have to believe that Iraqis can quickly make political reforms, even though these reforms have been languishing for over a year now. The Iraqi government was supposed to decide how to apportion the country's oil revenue shortly after the elections in 2005 and President Bush urged Shiites to include Sunnis in the government and guarantee minority rights long before that. At this point, you have to believe that the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government really believes that excluding Sunnis is a problem rather than a solution -- a solution to be implemented by government-backed Shiite death squads, the Interior Ministry and US Marines.

I was only cautiously optimistic the first time I heard Dr. Rice announce a "clear, hold and build" strategy -- not because I didn't think it would work, but because I didn't believe the Bush administration was capable of pulling it off. Unfortunately, the administration justified my doubts so I'm sure you'll forgive me for being less than optimistic this time. It's a good plan and, if well-implemented, it probably would have worked two or three years ago. But too many unlikely things have to happen for it to work now.

Posted by American Pundit at January 11, 2007 12:25 AM
Comment #202477

AP are you assuming that what came out of W’s mouth was the truth? Are you assuming that what he says is the true plan for Iraq? The real goals are bankrupting the Country, oil for his base and misery for the muslims in the middle east. He is marching ever closer to his goals. In fact during the time I spent writing this blurb we spent a million dollars on the war.

Posted by: j2t2 at January 11, 2007 1:38 AM
Comment #202480

“too many unlikely things have to happen for it to work now.”

Yet Bush’s blithering madness is running full steam ahead: War Escalation Already Underway

Posted by: Adrienne at January 11, 2007 2:10 AM
Comment #202482

The Bush Strategy: Stay the course until Jan 2009, when another President can claim failure in Iraq by pulling out, no matter how many American lives or tax dollars it takes.

It is after all, a worthy cause, Bush’s legacy. In his own mind, it reads: Victory was mine, if only I could have remained president in perpetuity! Damn term limits, anyway!

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 11, 2007 2:37 AM
Comment #202485

Well, I think you guys are selling President Bush far too short. As far as I can tell, he really thinks he’s going to change the world.

Call it hubris or really bad judgement, but the decision to invade and occupy Iraq wasn’t simply because of “madness” or for oil money, nor is Bush’s insistence on giving it one more shot all about vanity. Bush really believes the crap he’s spouting, and I think it’s intellectually lazy to just ascribe his motives to greed or mental disorder.

So, taken at face value, I’d like to hear what you guys thought of the plan for Iraq.

And how about this part:

We’ll interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.

Sounds like he just declared the start of operations against Iran and he’s expecting retaliation. Why else would he feel the need to deploy anti-missile defenses to Kuwait and the UAE?

We will … deploy Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies.


Posted by: American Pundit at January 11, 2007 3:22 AM
Comment #202491

Widening the conflict with Iran and Syria is how he intends to so complicate this situation that Congress dare not interfere. It is all about staying there until he exits the White House, and it becomes someone else’s problem which he can blame the outcome on.

Of course, if Congress does interfere, the consequences become theirs, instead of the Presidents. Could there be another neo-con plot within a plot being hatched here? I doubt it. But, the political facts are there. The consequences for the outcome of Iraq is not the Democrat’s responsibility, unless the Democratic Congress chooses to make it so. A dozen or so Republicans siding with Democrats may be a lure, as widening the conflict could be also. Are Democrat’s fish enough to bite?

We will see.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 11, 2007 7:53 AM
Comment #202494

BTW, this incremental approach of 20,000 troops is how Viet Nam was lost.

Rep. Charlie Rangel is going to offer a bill today to reinstitute the draft. If America is serious about victory in Iraq and protecting our troops, it will follow Rangel’s advice and reinstate the draft, train 400,000 more Army and Marine troops, and send them into Iraq en masse in April of 2008 and lock Iraq down tight, confiscate all the weapons, and allow the Iraqi government to get a handle on things.

But we know America has no stomach for that. I don’t have the stomach for that. And the reason is simple. Iraq isn’t worth all that.

That is why following Murtha’s plan to redeploy and contain Iraq while allowing the Iraqis to fight their civil war until they have had enough, or, the Sunnis capitulate, is the only intelligent and moral course for safeguarding our soldiers and accepting the reality that is Iraq.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 11, 2007 8:33 AM
Comment #202501
But we know America has no stomach for that. I don’t have the stomach for that. And the reason is simple. Iraq isn’t worth all that…Posted by: David R. Remer at January 11, 2007 08:33 AM
I’ve posted before that I think we should start withdrwal immediately because the chance of success is too remote. I believe Iraq wasn’t “worth all that” but now has become extremely important and it will be very costly to us to withdraw. However I also believe we’ve reached the point of “live to fight another day” because losing with 530,000 troops and 1.2M ARVN in Viet Nam showed that winning against a small and committed guerilla force is almost impossible. Add that to Iraq’s fighting is taking place in largely urban environments, we need to move on and prepare for the next battles. As you said, “containment”. Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at January 11, 2007 9:23 AM
Comment #202502

Does anybody, and I mean ANYBODY, believe that the surge is going to work? Why should we do something that is doomed to fail? Show some spine, Democrats!

Posted by: Woody Mena at January 11, 2007 9:26 AM
Comment #202503

Man, what a mess.

Let’s back up a bit. Here’s a guy who had everything his way—Reps in both the Senate and House—for 6 years. He could have gotten so much done for Americans that his presidency could have gone down in history as one of the most active, if not effective.

Now it is all about saving his tail for history. And our soldiers are paying the price. And here’s the real pisser—the soldiers pay the price with their lives in exchange for Bush and the Reps not having to pay the price politically. But it caught up with him. The American people finally spoke up, demanded a new direction, and took away the baby’s rattle—the Senate and House.

I have mentioned my brother-in-law before (retired Colonel in the Marines with many, many battle ribbons). Even though he is conservative, he shakes his head and mumbles. He says the strategy was all wrong right from the start. Undermanned, underarmed, too open ended. No strategy for winning the armed war let alone the political one.

Unfortunately, even this battle experienced 30 year veteran thinks this “new” strategy is doomed. He called it the definition of insanity—doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. The only possibly saving grace is the new military leadership, which he has great respect for.

So where are we? We are continuing the same strategy, with new leadership, a new starting point, and a few more troops. Bush made promises for the Iraqi government that I just can’t believe was their idea, nor are they going to be able to keep.

I feel horribly for our guys in uniform. As a vet, I have great admiration for troops who can stay motivated and do a superior job even in light of total and complete intellectual vacuum at the top. God bless our troops. And may God bring them home soon—Bush certainly won’t.

Posted by: Chi Chi at January 11, 2007 9:36 AM
Comment #202509


Seems like you were on the button

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at January 11, 2007 10:30 AM
Comment #202511

That sucks royally. Congress needs to impeach.

Posted by: Adrienne at January 11, 2007 10:37 AM
Comment #202532

They have blamed just about everyone for the failure except Iran. Iran is next, probably in the SOTU. We have been arresting Iranians including government officials and today, our troops raided the Iranian consulate in Bagdad.

I believe it is to late to impeach.

Posted by: jlw at January 11, 2007 11:40 AM
Comment #202534
Does anybody, and I mean ANYBODY, believe that the surge is going to work?

Not me, for the reasons outlined in my article. It’ll be interesting to see the polls in the next few days. And to see what Republicans in Congress think. It’d be worth sending ‘em an email telling ‘em what to think, don’t cha think?

Seems like you were on the button

At the risk of sounding pompous and overbearing: Of course.

Iran directly arming and training anti-US combatants and US troops storming the Iranian embassy are both acts of war. What’s that old Arabic curse: May you live in interesting times…

Posted by: American Pundit at January 11, 2007 11:44 AM
Comment #202539

If the Isralis/Americans haven’t attacked Iran by Labor Day, I will be very pleasantly surprised.

Posted by: Tim Crow at January 11, 2007 11:53 AM
Comment #202541


“risk of” ? lol…

I always heard that was a Chinese curse. Of course, it applies no matter where you live…


Too bad we can’t impeach on this one. Here’s my (non)legal view: As an occupier of a foreign nation we assaulted a diplomatic compound of a third nation and arrested people with diplomatic immunity. What? Is Bushie trying to appease Carter for the Iranian embassy takeover in 79? Does he not give a crap about any rule of law other than covering his own miserable sorry butt?
Damn this is just too f’ed up and getting more so every day.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at January 11, 2007 11:59 AM
Comment #202569

“If America is serious about victory in Iraq and protecting our troops, it will follow Rangel’s advice and reinstate the draft”


I totally agree. Far too few are being forced to sacrifice far too much, and given the stark reality of logistics and troop levels it’s the only responsible thing to do……………unless we can end this madness, and in reality we can’t.

Posted by: KansasDem at January 11, 2007 1:16 PM
Comment #202574

“the decision to invade and occupy Iraq wasn’t simply because of “madness””


Undoubtedly “not simply because of madness”, but IMO this, and previous, decisions indicate a level of incompetence that can only result from utter stupidity or mental instability.

Posted by: KansasDem at January 11, 2007 1:41 PM
Comment #202577


Great idea. Let’s start a nuclear war and kill everyone who isn’t fascist enough. Then there won’t be any more of those pesky liberals left.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at January 11, 2007 1:50 PM
Comment #202591

“Let’s start a nuclear war and kill everyone who isn’t fascist enough.”


jc’s comments are fairly exemplary of the viewpoints of most Kansan’s I come in contact with. It’s no longer “rally ‘round the flag” but “rally ‘round the Bush”.

Posted by: KansasDem at January 11, 2007 2:13 PM
Comment #202594


The men of this country must stand up against the female like Leaders of this Country

Holy crap!! Girly men? Where!!!!

Posted by: womanmarine at January 11, 2007 2:17 PM
Comment #202601

I sat and listened to the President’s speech. He kept saying “we”. I kept wondering who “we” were, and kept thinking “what do you mean we, white man”? An old joke but it kept running through my mind. Our Lone Ranger, the Decider.

Posted by: womanmarine at January 11, 2007 2:24 PM
Comment #202605

I’d just like to add something. A large part of this “surge” is going to result in American troops fighting side by side with Iraqi troops and police. Well, it might be good to listen to the Brits about what that’s like:

Friend or foe? British forces wary of Iraqi allies

“Patrol leaders regard Iraqi police units as probable spies for local Shiite militias and accuse them of acting as “dickers” — or scouts — reporting British movements to the gangs that plant roadside bombs.”

Somehow my nightmares of George W. morphing into the Mad-Hatter are more and more frequently interrupted by visual images of Blackhawk Down, only the “perps” are “Hajis” rather than “Skinnies” or “Sammies”.

Posted by: KansasDem at January 11, 2007 2:32 PM
Comment #202645

Anyone notice how when Bushie was making his address, he praised the armed services, who did everthing that was asked of them. He then went on to say that if mistakes were made, then responsibility fell to him. Those weren’t his exact words, but that is the gist of it. Now, if you parse this a little, it occurs to me that Bush, who may be accepting responsibilty as CINC, is actually saying that they weren’t his mistakes, just that he had to take responsibility. It could also be read as an indirect criticism of the military, who although they did everything asked of them, it could be implied from what he said that in doing so, they make mistakes, which he was manfully taking responsibility for. He certainly didn’t said that he had made mistakes.

Interesting piece below from William S Lind;

This guy calls himself a paleoconservation, so he ain’t no commie leftie, but he is an historian, who clearly has carried out vast study on military conflict throughout history.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at January 11, 2007 5:20 PM
Comment #202740

1) Bush is not trying to appease the left. His latest plan, to escalate rather than withdraw troops, is such an obvious thumb in the eye that I’m not sure how you missed it.

2) The only worse than picking fights with the media when they are around is taking steps to make sure they aren’t, because that only serves to increase ignorance about the goings on

3) Female-like. Hmmm. Given the women I know nowadays, that’s not such a good implication of weakness as you would think.

4) al-Sadr… Between you and me, I’d LOVE to see him go. But who’s going to make him? Would Maliki even let it happen, given the support from him he depends on?

5) Top secret information should be kept top secret, but not to protect illegal activity or to hide embarrassing information that’s classified merely to avoid official embarrassment.

6) On the subject of jail for spreading untruths I’ll be real sorry to see the FOXNews staff, Hannity, Rush, LGF, Redstate, and all the others go.

Seriously, though, it’s called the First Amendment. Whine all you want about it, it’s there to keep true believers like us from forcing other people to share our mistaken beliefs.

7)Regarding Iran and Syria. He should not make threats he can’t or won’t back up. Besides, it’s actually better in the long run to start small It’s easier to turn up the heat if you don’t already have the dial at maximum.

8)As for Backseat Generals? We’re only repeating what the real generals have said and are saying.

9)As for when we can take our places as World Leaders? Bush is the one who sacrificed a great deal of that prestige getting us into this war and screwing it up. Ask him where our nation’s reputation went. He misplaced it somewhere.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 12, 2007 12:47 AM
Comment #202741

One way to end this war quickly (though expensively)

Draft 1 million soldiers. Send them to Iraq and Afghanistan. Then see if anyone wants to mess with us.

Posted by: Silima at January 12, 2007 12:47 AM
Comment #202765

Yeah, 1 million more soldiers! Wa hoo!
They’ll have guns and body armour and tanks and HumVees and Black Hawks, right? And training, and ammunition, and a purpose (besides killing everyone)? I’m sure it won’t make the rest of the world form new anti-American alliances, much like we weren’t part of the anti-Nazi alliance.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at January 12, 2007 9:47 AM
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