Democrats & Liberals Archives

Budging Bush

Bush doesn’t budge. He “knows” he did the right thing by invading Iraq and by his latest “surge.” He “knows” that 70% of the people who want to end the war are wrong. He “knows” that the Democrats who are calling for an Iraq-exit strategy are misguided. Bush will not agree to any of the resolutions and bills traveling through Congress seeking a way out of the Iraq trap. Bush will not budge - unless he is forced to.

Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the senate, does not budge either. He is with Bush on the Iraq War and he favors the "surge." When the Democrats put up a non-binding resolution to withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible, McConnell roped in several of the Republicans who were in favor of the resolution and got them to be firmly on the no-budging side.

So Republicans are not budging. First they say, Why fiddle around with non-binding resolutions. Why don't you try to stop the war by withdrawing funding. OK. Way back in January, Senator Edward Kennedy offered a bill requiring President Bush to gain new congressional authority before escalating the war in Iraq. So McConnell said then:

I think it is inappropriate for the Congress to try to micromanage, in effect, the tactics in a military conflict. I don’t think Congress has the authority to do it.

In plain language, McConnell says, We will not budge. In many conservative circles he is the hero.

These days McConnell is sporting that enigmatic grin. Some say it's a smile, but I think it's a grin. If he is as smart as many say he is he knows he has nothing to smile about. The vast majority of the public is fed up with the war. They want no surges where more troops will be killed. They are disgusted with all the double talk about the war. And citizens are complaining to their representatives and senators. Among these senators are Republicans who will soon have to answer to their constituents.

Let the Republicans put on a show. But it won't last. If Bush does not budge, McConnell may. If McConnell does not budge, many Republicans may. And when enough Republicans succumb, so will McConnell and so will Bush.

True, Bush does not budge. Democrats, however, will stay on the attack. As Ron Brownstein says:

Even if Bush and congressional Republicans can prevent the Democratic proposals from becoming binding law, the price could grow very high. The president will be increasingly isolated. Republican legislators will be stamped even more indelibly as the defenders of an unpopular war. The country will face months of incendiary but inconclusive partisan confrontation -- a sure recipe for frustration, alienation and widening division.

Brownstein calls this whacking Bush with a two-by-four. Yes, indeed. The Democrats will use two-by-fours on the heads of Republican senators, McConnell and Bush until they budge.

Posted by Paul Siegel at March 14, 2007 5:41 PM
Comment #211996

There is no legal means to FORCE Bush to budge. Even if he had committed an impeachable offense, which many believe he has, the Democrats are unwilling to shoulder the responsibility to impeach. Not in their political best interest according to their leadership.

Democrat leadership and politicians are very much like Republicans in this regard. They are in it for power as politicians first and the people and the nation last. I wish Democrats would prove me wrong on this, but, they haven’t and are not likely to. They believe their strength lies in incumbency, and doing what is right for the people and the country and the future comes on an as politically expedient basis.

I guess you can call that a principle. But, it’s not the kind of principle I want my representatives to hold to.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 14, 2007 5:54 PM
Comment #212018

I’m afraid I lean towards David on this one Paul. Even from my remove on the other side of the Atlantic, it is clear to me that the Dems have no intention of challeging Bush, either on funding the war and escalation, on ending the war, or even on preventing an attack on Iran. The Democrats position is at best cynical and at worst craven. What it is not is either patriotic or compassionate towards American troops, the long suffering Iraqi people, nor the American people whose made their position clear last Nov.

This in my view lends credence to those who say that Government in the US has been hijacked from the people by special interests. It marks a deep betrayal of historic American values and indeed the traditional and Constitutional American view of the world. This can only end badly for not only the US, but for the mid east and indeed much of the rest of the world. Carpetbaggers and liars and fascists have seized control of your government while it seems the bulk of your people are asleep at the wheel. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. There was a time when Americans would have been offering this message to the world. At this time, too few of them are while they genuflect to the emasculation of your constitution. How far the US has fallen.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at March 14, 2007 7:51 PM
Comment #212020

I am constantly amazed by the rewriting of history by a few on this blog. The campaign slogan by many in the newly elected congress was not to end the war, but rather, centered on conservative issues that some Republican incumbants had abandoned or forgotten. And the polls you cite fail to warrant your conclusions about majority American attitudes regarding Iraq. I have yet to see the results of any poll indicating that the majority of Americans want us to abandon our fight against terrorism in Iraq or anywhere else in the world. I have visited Euroland numerous times and have found them drifting towards socialism at an alarming pace. Once again the U.S., Great Britian, Austrailia and (this time Eastern Europe) are shouldering the cost of freedom that many in the rest of the world don’t value (or only appreciate when it is gone).

Posted by: Jim at March 14, 2007 8:15 PM
Comment #212026

Paul et al

We cannot simply choose end the war, no matter what anybody wants. We can just relocate the war to a time and place of the terrorist choosing.

I think Dems fall into three groups. Those that really believe we can just pack up. A larger group that know this is not true, but like the stick it to Bush and a third group of responsible Dems who are a little more circumspect. Ironically, Hillary is among the more reasonable. Maybe her second hand experience from her husband taught her a little about war and peace. The Dems kicked out Lieberman for thinking clearly.

Posted by: Jackj at March 14, 2007 8:59 PM
Comment #212027

Well said, David. If anyone in Washington actually gets anything done, it will be one less issue for them to campaign on and demonize their opponents for. Neither party has any great interest in solving the mess that is Iraq.

The Congress is not given power to regulate or mangage wars. That is given to the commander in chief. If democrats start infringing on Bush’s constitutional authority they lose all moral high ground to criticize Bush’s infringments on their authority. (signing statements.)

You talk about Dems rewriting history and then say you see no evidence that Americans are against the Iraq Front/War? Wow. And what does Europe’s drift towards socialism have anything to do with this? Or are you just trying to undermine Paul by maligning his continent as socialist?

Posted by: Silima at March 14, 2007 9:06 PM
Comment #212030


American opinion about the war is complex.

Bringing the troops home as soon as possible is now and has always been the Bush policy. The question is exactly when and how. According to a recent Pew Poll, only 16% of Americans want to bring the troops home immediately. 42% want to keep the troops in Iraq until it is stable. 30% want them to be brought home gradually over the next 1-2 years and 5% do not know.

The people have spoken, but it is not clear what they said. The only thing we can say with certainty is that only a small minority of the American people favor immediate pullout, even if a majority of the Dems who post here probably want to pull out yesterday.

Posted by: Jack at March 14, 2007 9:29 PM
Comment #212040

David nailed it. People are sick of political expediency — I know I certainly am. This president lied us into a war and has broken the law at will — exactly the sort of high crimes and misdemeanors that call for impeachment of the president and his administration. The Dems are too afraid of what people will think for doing what we all know is the right thing. It makes me sick.

As far as Iraq goes also, again the Dems were too afraid for too long to admit that the country had been lied to by Bush and his Neocons, and to speak out against it. Why? Because again they were too damn afraid of the GOP slime machine.
What they don’t seem to realize is, the only way to combat that slime machine is to stand up to it. Fearlessly and loudly. To demonstrate true conviction and honest outrage when it becomes more than clear that a crime against this nation has been committed, and an act of illegal, naked agression against another sovereign nation has occurred. That torture is occurring in Guantanamo and in secret gulags around the world in our name, and our constitutional rights are being violated at will in the BS name of “the war on terror.”

We do need to withdraw from Iraq now — because it is not the job of our troops to fight Iraq’s civil war. Bush gave the Iraqi’s the ability to form their own government without garnering any stabilty in the region beforehand, another of his giant mistakes — but it too is not the job of our troops to prop up that government indefinitely.

People talk about how we broke Iraq so we bought it. Well, personally I’d like to know when are we allowed to stop flinging and crushing our children into the broken shards of this mistake, and paying over and over and over for what we broke with money we don’t even have? Why the hell can’t we just grab our kids and get the hell out of the freaking Pottery Barn? Haven’t we paid enough already?

Posted by: Adrienne at March 14, 2007 10:21 PM
Comment #212041


As per usual you’ve skewered the data you have cited. The Pew poll you cite indicates that of the 53% of the Americans surveyed who wanted an immediate withdrawal. 35% of the American public indicated that meant a withdrawal within 1 or 2 years. Of the 42% that want to remain until Iraq is stable, it can be assumed by comparing the February poll to the January poll, the two polls that you are mixing up, that a significant portion of the 42% wants a more open-ended withdrawal timetable of some sorts.

To quote from the Pew report you’ve cited:

And the message from the latest major public opinion polls seems loud and clear: Let’s get out ASAP.

The Pew article you cite did not interpret their data as you did. What the Pew report questioned is what does ASAP really means?

Posted by: Cube at March 14, 2007 10:31 PM
Comment #212044

Cube, you’ve misread that poll and Jack is correct.

53% do NOT want an immediate withdrawal. 16% do.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 14, 2007 11:13 PM
Comment #212045


Does withdrawal within 1-2 years mean immediate to you? The question is specifically worded and opinion is specifically divided. Only 16% want an immediate withdrawal. I did indeed mix up the two columns, but that number is the same in both.

We all want to bring the troops home as soon as possible (ASAP). I have advocated that and President Bush has said it on many occassions. The question is WHEN is it possible.

The hysterial Dems (those 16%) are like kids when it rains during their playtime. They complain to their parents that they want it to stop. Yes, that is what we all want. Unfortunately, we cannot just say it and make it so.

Have you ever heard anybody who wants to keep the troops in Iraq AFTER it is possible to bring them home? It is actually kind of a strange question even to ask.

Let me tell you how I would answer a series of questions like that.

Do you want to bring the troops home as soon as possible (ASAP)? - yes.

Do you want to bring them home this year? - yes.

Do you think they should stay as long as they have to? - yes.

What we want and what we can get are not the same.

Posted by: Jack at March 14, 2007 11:18 PM
Comment #212047

Forget polls! Everyone wants the war to end. What I want to hear is the plain truth out of any politicians mouth. The “system” is broken. It’s like everyone sees the crime, but no one calls 911. Maybe it’s because there is no 911 to call anymore or everyone of the SOB’s are guilty of something. What have we been getting for our tax dollars? Is their job to take our money and give it to their friends? Our leaders can only see as far as their next whistle stop, meanwhile we’re paying $3.50 a gallon again. What have they accomplished? Anything? Bridges to nowhere?

Bush won’t budge until he is hit hard. In his mind he’s saying “bring it on” because he’s already out smarted everyone who didn’t read the Patriot Act. Is it too much to ask that our leaders read the bills before voting? Bush, thanks to Rove and Cheney, is covered. He may get knocked down, but not out.

Posted by: chuck at March 15, 2007 12:12 AM
Comment #212051

“We all want to bring the troops home as soon as possible (ASAP).”

No Jack, the Bush administration doesn’t want to bring the troops home as soon as possible, and neither do you.

Tell me something, do you remember when these words were spoken:

“We have no ambition in Iraq, except to remove a threat and restore control of that country to its own people.”

That’s from the speech Bush gave when he told us we had already pre-emptively invaded Iraq.
Guess what? Our troops did that. They’re still there.

(Same speech) How about this:

“Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly — yet, our purpose is sure. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder.”

You’ll note Bush said “purpose” there, not purposes. One purpose: Get rid of an outlaw regime with WMD’s.
But there weren’t any WMD’s, and Saddam is now dead, but our troops are still there.
He also said he “enters this conflict reluctantly” — and every single one of us knows that isn’t true.
How do we know this? Because they “fixed the facts around the intelligence.”

Besides, both Bush and Cheney have said they’d have invaded Iraq anyway, didn’t they? Yes they did.
Bush said: “I said I made the right decision. Knowing what I know today, I would have still made that decision.”
And Cheney said going to Iraq: “was the right thing to do, and if we had to do it again, we would do exactly the same thing.”
So the one “purpose” wasn’t the reason at all. That was only a lie. We’ve been there for four years now after they told that lie to the country — and they don’t want to bring them home as soon as possible at all.

So let’s be honest here, Jack. Please be honest. You don’t really care whether our troops come home as soon as possible either, do you? And you’d never send your own children there to fight in Iraq’s civil war, would you? Wouldn’t you need a much better reason than all the reasons they’ve given to sacrifice your child?

Posted by: Adrienne at March 15, 2007 2:16 AM
Comment #212054


I wouldn’t advocate an immediate withdrawal from Iraq. I agree with you, the Pew poll that you cited did pose a strange question. And besides your strange interpretation of it, I wondered why you would cite it. But the correct interpretation of the poll did seem clear. As a nation we are still somewhat divided on how quickly we should withdraw from Iraq, and by default, we are still undecided in what condition we are willing to leave Iraq in.

I suspect by late summer, people will be far more unified in their opinion about how soon is soon enough. And it will no longer be a Republican versus others issue.

Posted by: Cube at March 15, 2007 2:25 AM
Comment #212060


The Bush policy and my goal is to get American troops out of Iraq as soon as possible. I do not know how else to say that. There is no useful purpose served keeping them there longer than necessary. We are discussing what is possible. If you are in that small minority who wants to withdraw now, you think it is possible to bring them home immediately and evidently assume the consequences for the U.S. will be relatively small. I and most Americans disagree.


I mentioned to poll precisely to show the confusion. Many people imply the American people are strongly in favor of pulling out as soon as possible and they are right. George Bush is in favor of that too. We are very divided about WHEN and HOW.

Posted by: Jack at March 15, 2007 7:48 AM
Comment #212062


I don’t know exactly how many ships, planes, etc. it would take, but I imagine it would be possible to withdraw from Iraq within a couple of months.

But you seem to have a different definition of “as soon as possible” than the ordinary one…

Posted by: Woody Mena at March 15, 2007 8:01 AM
Comment #212063

Maybe this new poll will help clear up some of the confusion:

21% want to withdraw NOW
37% want to withdraw all of the troops WITHIN A YEAR

That adds up to 58%, a solid majority.

Posted by: Woody Mena at March 15, 2007 8:06 AM
Comment #212073

I agree with Dave that the Dems will not take any real action against Bush and the war other than talk. They got the majority and keeping that in tact is more important than doing the right thing. It seems that all politicians in this country behave in this way - they justify not doing the right thing because they will lose their jobs and someone worse will take it. It is gutless and horrid and they all do it. Another part of the problem is that the Dems have let the GOP paint them as unpatriotic wimps and being soft since the Vietnam war ended and they let this insanity continue so they won’t be called wimps or un-American. When they are, in fact, being exaclty what they are afraid of being labeled - wimps for not standing up to the GOP and un-American for letting this war continue for one second longer. John Kerry’s words to congress in the 70s rings true again “how do you ask someone to be the last person to die for a mistake?” too bad he is too gutless to repeat these words.

As to the polls, I know the American people don’t want to lose a war - it is humiliating and will leave Iraq worse off than when Saddam was in power. But, just because we want something doesn’t mean it will happen - willing it to be so won’t make it happen. The sad truth is the we have already lost, we can stay for one day, one month, one year, one decade and it won’t change the outcome of this country (I use this term loosely because Iraq is not a country it is three contries all mashed together in a nightmare). Bush opened Pandora’a box because he listened to some really bad advice and is so stubborn that he can’t see the truth. He seems incapable of incorporating any new information into his thinking that doesn’t jive with what he currently believes - I don’t know if you would call this stupidity, a learning disability, or just plain old stubborness but it is sending the country down the toilet.

Posted by: Tom Snediker at March 15, 2007 11:23 AM
Comment #212082
John Kerry’s words to congress in the 70s rings true again “how do you ask someone to be the last person to die for a mistake?” too bad he is too gutless to repeat these words.

He did repeat them, when he announced in January that he wasn’t running for president.


A decorated Navy officer in Vietnam who became a prominent critic of the conflict, Kerry famously asked a Senate committee in 1971, “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” He repeated that question Wednesday, telling colleagues, “I never thought that I would be reliving the need to ask that question again.”

He called Bush’s plan to send another 21,500 troops to Iraq “folly” and “a tragic mistake.”

He added that he would support a bill by his Massachusetts colleague, Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy, to require Bush to seek fresh authorization to send additional troops to Iraq.

If only Hillary Clinton and his Senate colleagues would show as much spine.

Posted by: Woody Mena at March 15, 2007 12:44 PM
Comment #212090

Very well said, Tom Snediker.

“There is no useful purpose served keeping them there longer than necessary. We are discussing what is possible.”

Necessary to do WHAT?
What possiblity do you see in Iraq for a peaceful and victorious end to the war?
Does the Pentagon finally admitting that a civil war has been going on in Iraq change what you see as being necessary for our troops to attempt to do? And what is possible?
I would like you to answer all of these questions if you can.

Posted by: Adrienne at March 15, 2007 1:09 PM
Comment #212091

The poll I want to see will ask:

“Do you believe it is appropriate for our military and tax dollars to be spent protecting and defending the Constitution, government, and borders of another nation?”

My guess is about 75% would say Hell NO! And that is the most pertinent question ever to be asked about the Iraq. If there are al-Queda in Iraq, that same 75% I would guess would agree that we need to leave as many troops as necessary in Iraq to deal with al-Queda.

And from that, a clear policy direction would be obvious. But, Polling Corporation’s have a vested interest in NOT offending those who purchase their services, and therefore avoiding such relevant and revealing questions in their polls.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 15, 2007 1:13 PM
Comment #212093

Woody, I stand corrected - Kerry has more guts than I thought.

Jack, L.O. et al, see how it works - get new information that contradicts something you believed, you judge whether or not the new information is credible and then you change your understanding. That is exactly what George Bush refuses to do time after time. He gets credible new information and dismisses it because it doesn’t reinforce his already established understanding. He can’t change strategy, he can’t learn from mistakes, he can’t budge from his position an inch, and he values personal loyalty above competence and honesty.

Posted by: Tom Snediker at March 15, 2007 1:44 PM
Comment #212094

“If there are al-Queda in Iraq, that same 75% I would guess would agree that we need to leave as many troops as necessary in Iraq to deal with al-Queda.”

But let’s be clear when we use the word “necessary” here. There was no Al Qaeda in Iraq under Saddam. How many Al Qaeda do they estimate are there now? Are we saying that after four years of American occupation, it is necessary to stay in Iraq because if we leave the country is going to be overrun by Al Qaeda? We can only leave Iraq if we defeat the Al Qaeda that is there now — the Al Qaeda that wasn’t there before — but who went there because we went there?
I guess I need help here, because I just can’t grasp the new rationale for remaining.

Posted by: Adrienne at March 15, 2007 1:44 PM
Comment #212096

A little odd, Adrienne, since we know that there were Al Qaeda in Iraq… There is contention about whether or not they were there with the knowledge and assistance of Hussein, but considering that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was there working for Al Qaeda with Ansar al-Islam after getting booted out of Afghanistan, it’s hard to say that they weren’t there pre-invasion…

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 15, 2007 1:54 PM
Comment #212098

It’s great to see how the surge is working. The Democrats should back off and (actually) get behind this “mission”, b/c our boys are going to be vitorious.

Posted by: rahdigly at March 15, 2007 2:03 PM
Comment #212100


Quote from the article:

But the report of the commission’s staff, based on its access to all relevant classified information, said that there had been contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda but no cooperation. In yesterday’s hearing of the panel, formally known as the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, a senior FBI official and a senior CIA analyst concurred with the finding.

The staff report said that bin Laden “explored possible cooperation with Iraq” while in Sudan through 1996, but that “Iraq apparently never responded” to a bin Laden request for help in 1994. The commission cited reports of contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda after bin Laden went to Afghanistan in 1996, adding, “but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship.

More from that article:

Patrick J. Fitzgerald, now a U.S. attorney in Illinois, who oversaw the African bombing case, told the commission that reference was dropped in a superceding indictment because investigators could not confirm al Qaeda’s relationship with Iraq as they had done with its ties to Iran, Sudan and Hezbollah. The original material came from an al Qaeda defector who told prosecutors that what he had heard was secondhand.

The staff report on Iraq was brief. Though not confirming any Iraqi collaboration with al Qaeda, it did not specifically address two of the other pieces of evidence the administration has offered to link Iraq to al Qaeda: Zarqawi’s Tawhid organization and the Ansar al-Islam group.

In October 2002, Bush described Zarqawi, a Palestinian born in Jordan, as “one very senior al Qaeda leader who received medical treatment in Baghdad this year, and who has been associated with planning for chemical and biological attacks.”

Zarqawi wrote a January 2003 letter to bin Laden’s lieutenants, intercepted at the Iraqi border, saying that if al Qaeda adopted his approach in Iraq, he would swear “fealty to you [bin Laden] publicly and in the news media.”

In March, in a statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Tenet described Zarqawi’s network as among groups having “links” to al Qaeda but with its own “autonomous leadership … own targets [and] they plan their own attacks.”

Although Zarqawi may have cooperated with al Qaeda in the past, officials said it is increasingly clear that he has been operating independently of bin Laden’s group and has his own network of operatives.

The other group, Ansar al-Islam, began in 2001 among Kurdish Sunni Islamic fundamentalists in northern Iraq, fighting against the two secular Kurdish groups that operated under the protection of the United States. At one point, bin Laden supported Ansar, as did Zarqawi, who is believed to have visited their area more than once. Tenet referred to Ansar as one of the Sunni groups that had benefited from al Qaeda links.

Posted by: Adrienne at March 15, 2007 2:14 PM
Comment #212102

Jim, I don’t know what you’re talking about when you say Europe is drifting towards socialism. I have to assume that you have a different definition of socialism to me. As it happens, Germany, under Angela Merkel, is actually drifting towards a more flexible economy, and its economy is powering ahead. France will have an election in May, and the front runner at the moment is all for a more market driven economy. Britain while being led by the Labour party, is not a labour party as we know it. It is in fact a slightly right of centre party, and Britain is a very successful economy. Italy admittedly has elected Prodi the socialist, but that was probably more to get away from the dreadful Berlusconi than anything else. In fact, whereas Europe does take seriously providing for the dignity of its citizens in areas such as health care and housing and welfare, most European countries are market economies which trade successfully internationally in this globalised world. You are told Europe is socialist to scare you away,in case you might have the temerity to demand similar humane treatment in your country. Many Americans seem to persist in believing the fairy tale that this is America, where anyone can become rich, and it could be me! Well, in my country, the National Lottery has a slogan, ” It could be you!” That keeps em shelling out every week, but they have a better chance of being run over by a truck. I suspect the American dream is a little similar.

Silima, I didn’t suggest that the Dems should attempt to micromanage the war. Their power is the power of the purse. If they refuse to fund it, it has to end. Americans seem to think that the US in is Iraq to bring peace and plenty to Iraqis. That your intentions are purely altruistic. That when you have pacified the country, you can then leave. Wake up people. Why is the US building huge bases in Iraq? Why would you need them if your political masters wanted to leave that country? Why would your country seek to impose Production Sharing Agreements (PSA’s) on Iraq, agreements that are unheard of in places such as Iraq, where the oil is easily recoverable? The fact is, to Iraqis, you are invaders and colonialists. Put yourself in the frame of mind of Iraqis. Imagine your country had been invaded, its infrastructure destroyed and your resources being plundered. How would you see your invaders? Wouldn’t you pull your pikestaff out of the thatch? I know I would.

Jack you seem to feel that you want your troops out of Iraq as soon as possible, in other words as soon as you have stabilised and pacified the place. The problem is, the US is part of the problem, not part of the solution. The Iraqi people are no more stupid than Americans or anyone else. When they see you build huge bases, plunder their oil, dissipate their money which was seized in the US, then shipped in by the pallet load to Iraq, and then squandered with no accounting, they know what is going on. In fact, as the regime of Bremer was coming to an end, there was a feverish effort to dissipate what was left of this money before the Iraqis took nominal control of their country.

The whole world knows that your presence in Iraq has little to do with Iraq, and much to do with the US, Israel Iran and Syria and ultimately, oil. Well I don’t think that Iraqis appreciate being just a part of the great game. They want their country back, such as it is. Bush 41 wouldn’t go there in 91, because he knew and was advised that by taking out Saddam, the country would fall apart and be ungovernable. What you have there now is a vicious battle for power, and the pieces will lay where they fall. A bit like humpty dumpty. Given the Shia majority and the ties of that community to Iran, all that your invasion has done is to further destabilise an already unstable region. But Bush and the neo cons don’t care about that. As long as they have their regional bases from where they can protect the oil pipelines from across asia, they have little incentive to leave.

Interestingly, I noted an article in yesterday’s Irish Times headlined Experts say 25% of US veterans mentally ill.” It goes on to say that more than half of these had two or more distinct conditions. (Dr Karen H Seal of the Veterans Admin Medical Centre - Archives of Internal Medicine) “In addition to the high rate of mental disorder, about one in three (31%) were affected by at least one pyschosocial diagnosis.” “This new generation of vets will be challenging to treat because they have co-occuring mental health disorders” When you add that onto your mortality losses and disablement losses, not to speak of the Iraqi victims, ask yourselves, is US control of global oil resources worth the price?

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at March 15, 2007 2:24 PM
Comment #212104


I’m not sure how the links dispose anything I said, but ok…

If Zarqawi wasn’t affiliated with al Qaeda then no one was. He received funding and had operational ties with them. It is true that he and bin Laden loathed each other… For some reason that has been enough evidence that people won’t work together apparently, since Hussein and bin laden didn’t like each other either. But, this may be hard to believe, that doesn’t mean they didn’t work together.

So, here’s a guy who join Ansar al-Islam, received funding from al Qaeda, helped plan the assassination of Laurence Foley with assisstance of Al Qaeda and worked with Al Qaeda in bringing in more of their operatives into Iraq…

But, he perhaps wasn’t ‘technically’ al Qaeda so no link exists then?

Again, there is a difference between al Qaeda and international terrorism by those looking for political gain and partisanship I suppose…

From Iraq he started his terrorist campaign by hiring men to kill Laurence Foley who was a senior U.S. diplomat working for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Jordan. On October 28, 2002, Foley was assassinated outside his home in Amman. Under interrogation by Jordanian authorities, three suspects confessed that they had been armed and paid by Zarqawi to perform the assassination. U.S. officials believe that the planning and execution of the Foley assassination was led by members of Afghan Jihad, the International Mujaheddin Movement, and al-Qaeda.
Shortly after the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Zarqawi returned to Iran, where he met with Bin Laden’s military chief, Saif al-Adel (Muhammad Ibrahim Makawi), who asked him to coordinate the entry of al-Qaeda operatives into Iraq through Syria. Zarqawi readily agreed and by the fall of 2003 a steady flow of Arab Islamists were infiltrating Iraq via Syria. Although many of these foreign fighters were not members of Tawhid, they became more or less dependent on Zarqawi’s local contacts once they entered the unfamiliar country. Moreover, given Tawhid’s superior intelligence gathering capability, it made little sense for non-Tawhid operatives to plan and carry out attacks without coordinating with Zarqawi’s lieutenants. Consequentially, Zarqawi came to be recognized as the regional “emir” of Islamist terrorists in Iraq without having sworn fealty to bin Laden.
Posted by: Rhinehold at March 15, 2007 2:47 PM
Comment #212118

The Iraq-Zarqawi-Al Qaeda connection is a red herring. While he was in Iraq before the dabacle that is the Iraq War, he was in the northern part of the country where Saddam didn’t really control. Saddam had no connection to either Zarqawi or Al Qaeda and it was misleading of the Bush administration to suggest it. While Al Qaeda is there now, they are a minor part of the problem there. It is the Sunni-Sheiite civil war that is causing the problems (4 more US soldiers killed today).

And all of this is beside the point since no matter how many years we are there, how many of our brave soldiers we scarifice, or how much of our children’s money we spend it is not going to change Iraq’s course. We screwed up royally over there and we have doomed the Iraqi people to decades of suffering due to Bush’s short-sightedness and incompetence. It should serve as a lesson that pre-emptive war is just plain stupid and should never be even considered as a strategy. It is sad that we had to sacrifice a whole country to learn this lesson and it will be sadder still if we do not learn this lesson.

Posted by: Tom Snediker at March 15, 2007 4:16 PM
Comment #212121

Are you suggesting that we conduct war policy by poll? I think everyone here is missing the point of the polls.

The problem is the failure to acheive goals and then lying about it.

Americans want our troops out, yes, because they are being led by an incompetent liar. Using the war on terror as a screen for incompetence is wearing thin.

Posted by: gergle at March 15, 2007 4:20 PM
Comment #212127

Al Qaeda was not a major problem in Iraq before we invaded. I think it’s clear that they didn’t have a huge presence, and that our invasion only made things easier for them, not worse. I was also showing you with my quote that I understood where the Al Qaeda links have come from in Iraq. I agree with Tom that Zarqawi was a red herring, but anyway he’s dead now, and we had enough intel about his opperation to bomb the crap out of his followers. So, if Ansar al-Islam is the real problem, I don’t understand why we haven’t been concentrating most of our efforts in the North in the Kurdish Sunni region. If the reason we’re there to stay is because of Al Qaeda, and we’re claiming they’ve been coordinating attacks all over Iraq, why have we not bothered to concentrate on where they’ve been planning those attacks?

Posted by: Adrienne at March 15, 2007 4:32 PM
Comment #212139

I wonder if the reason all you lefties are back on the war and off of “Global Warming” has anything to do with the New York Times telling Gore to quit all the exaggerating and all the thousands of scientist coming out of the woodwork that just whdon’t seem to agree with your emergency.

Your “civil war” in Iraq has become the equivalent of the Watts Riots.

You lefties also want to confuse Iraq’s involvement with 9/11 (which they wer’nt) and Al Queda being in Iraq (which they were).

You also want to confuse the 70 % Americans that have disagreement with whether the war is being ran right and you just stick that number on the amount of Americans who agree with you and want us out now, win or not. That number is not even close to 70%.

You want to censor Fox News from America without even knowing that more liberals and independents watch Fox than do conservatives.

And Woody - That poll can also be read to say that 80% didn’t pick for us to Withdraw Now!

Withdraw Now 21%
Withdraw Within Year 37%
Stay as Long As Needed 39%
Unsure 4%

BAGHDAD, March 14 (KUNA) — The rate of killings of US troops in Iraq has been on the decline, down by 60 percent, since the launch of the new security measures in Baghdad, according to statistics revealed by the Multi-National Force -Iraq Combined Press Information Centre.

OOPS BREAKING NEWS The troop surge is a disaster already!

Posted by: scott at March 15, 2007 6:30 PM
Comment #212141
Al Qaeda was not a major problem in Iraq before we invaded.

Well, that is up for debate I suppose, but many were running there after being pushed out of Afghanistan. That was a clear direction they were headed, either into the hills or into Iraq. But by itself it wasn’t a major deal, however the aid and comfort that Saddam gave all international terrorist was the main concern I had with his regieme.

I think it’s clear that they didn’t have a huge presence, and that our invasion only made things easier for them, not worse. I was also showing you with my quote that I understood where the Al Qaeda links have come from in Iraq. I agree with Tom that Zarqawi was a red herring, but anyway he’s dead now, and we had enough intel about his opperation to bomb the crap out of his followers. So, if Ansar al-Islam is the real problem, I don’t understand why we haven’t been concentrating most of our efforts in the North in the Kurdish Sunni region. If the reason we’re there to stay is because of Al Qaeda, and we’re claiming they’ve been coordinating attacks all over Iraq, why have we not bothered to concentrate on where they’ve been planning those attacks?

I couldn’t tell you, I think we should have been out of Iraq years ago, so I’m just as confused as you. We have removed the people responsible for making Iraq such a haven for international terrorism as well as human rights abuses and a desire for expansion beyond their borders in any means, including using chemical and nuclear weapons at some point.

However, what we are doing now is trying to prevent a civil war that I don’t think is our business to be preventing, just to keep an arbitary border that was put in place on people by outside forces to begin with. If we are really serious about letting them have their own future we should get the hell out and let them stand on their own.

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 15, 2007 6:51 PM
Comment #212150


I am not surprised that only 21% want to withdraw now. So you have no problem setting a deadline of withdrawing within a year? If we can all agree on that, then there is nothing to argue about.

I don’t think anyone is “off” global warming. If anything, more and more people are accepting that climate change is a serious issue. I know people have been picking at specific data Gore used, but his main conclusions are backed by the scientific community. Of course, this really has nothing to do with Iraq…

Posted by: Woody Mena at March 15, 2007 7:29 PM
Comment #212156

All we have to do is wait until the democratics get a president in the white house and the controversy will be over. The media will begin reporting the good things that happen in Iraq because the democratics will be portrayed as being responsible. It is imposible for the Bush administration to get credit for anything positive because it will take away from the democratics return to power.

Posted by: catastrophyinprogress at March 15, 2007 8:09 PM
Comment #212160

Like it or not, an American presence in Iraq is a fairly good deterent against Iran. We have troops on both their borders (Iraq and Afghanistan) and these would be valuable springboards if (heaven forbid) we have to go to war with Iran. I’d really prefer that they not have nukes, seeing as they have publicly pledged to destroy the US and Israel. As much as I hate to say it, Iraq is politically very valuable real estate and leaving would remove some deterence against Iran.

We do know that Bush manipulated intelligence and possibly lied as part of selling the war to America. Oh, and by Just War Theory as commonly understood Iraq under Saddam was not a sovereign nation, having given its state’s rights when it stopped stopped acknowledging the basic human rights of its people. If the stated purpose of the war was to free the Iraqi people from Saddam, it would be completely justified, provided we did not have any ulterior motives. (oil, military bases) Since this was not the stated goal, but rather our goal was a preemptive defense, it was not a just war. (IMHO) Let the hearings begin to see if Bush lied to the People. If so, may God give Democrats the courage to impeach, even if it isn’t politically expedient. But I wouldn’t bet on them actually doing it.

Posted by: Silima at March 15, 2007 8:29 PM
Comment #212174


That isn’t a salient issue. Whether Bush lied to get us into Iraq is irrelevant and likely legal. The issue is his incompetent execution of foreign policy and the war in Iraq as well as Afghanistan.

It was grossly stupid and arrogant of Bush to emesh us in Iraq, but not impeachable. He lies to the American people as a matter of habit and a belief that the bigger the lie the more believable it is. Goebbels 101. It is the basis of the Republican theft of our treasury and the crux of Rove’s game. It is the core ethos of this administration.

Posted by: gergle at March 15, 2007 9:22 PM
Comment #212182


My definition of ASAP may be different than yours, but it evidently is more in line with the American people. In that Pew poll about 30% seemed to think that ASAP meant 1-2 years and only 16% thought it meant immediately.

Even your poll, we just have 21% who want to leave immediately.

And I repeat that I do not know of anybody who wants to stay longer than necessary. We all want to get out as soon as possible.


There is some evidence the surge is working. What I hope to avoid is the regional conflict and probably terrorist attacks on the U.S. that will follow a precipitous withdrawal. I do not know that this can be avoided, but I expect that a fast withdrawal will make it almost a certainty.

This civil war did not happen by chance. It was part of the terrorist plan. They did their best to provoke the conflict. We have different parties fighting in Iraq. Some are Baathists, some are sectarians, some are ordinary crooks and some are terrorists. The terrorists do not care about Iraq. They came to fight us and they will go wherever they think they can hurt us. If we withdraw from Iraq too soon, we will not get peace. We will get the regional conflict AND the terrorist will follow us someplace else.

Re whether or not Al Qaeda was a problem in Iraq before, it really does not matter. They came to Iraq because we were there. They will come to where we are. That is the point.


I certainly do not propose conducting war by poll. That is what Dems are suggesting. My point in bringing it up is to show that there is NO consensus on Iraq.

Posted by: Jack at March 15, 2007 9:44 PM
Comment #212198

There IS a consensus that Bush has bungled it. It sure seems to me you are saying that the polls are WITH you and therefore we should back Bush. You bent over backwards to say that the majority are not for immediate withdrawal. I simply think it takes time for the trance of Rove’s, time to wear off and for Americans to wake up to being swindled. Time to wakey, Jack.

Posted by: gergle at March 15, 2007 10:46 PM
Comment #212199

He’s quite a linguist isn’t he, Jack? It’s a shame he can’t get past it. It’s been a constant bungle since he went into Iraq and come hell or high water it will be bungled until a democratic gets into the white house.

Posted by: catastrophyinprogress at March 15, 2007 10:50 PM
Comment #212200
My point in bringing it up is to show that there is NO consensus on Iraq.

The consensus is that we need to set some sort of a reasonable timetable for leaving Iraq. The public does not support an indefinite, unconditional engagement (which is what you insist on calling “leaving as soon as possible”).

Posted by: Woody Mena at March 15, 2007 10:57 PM
Comment #212201

I’m of the opinion that if you get struck with a cattle prod enough times your opinion will reflect the wishes of the one yeilding the cattle prod.

Posted by: catastrophyinprogress at March 15, 2007 11:02 PM
Comment #212204

Hi all,

I know defending Democratic politicians marks one as hopelessly unhip, but recent events suggest to me that the Democrats in Congress are going about as far as they can at the moment.

The House is set to vote on a deadline for withdrawal of September 2008. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that the Democrats will be able to even bring this proposal up for a vote in the Senate. It is not that they are weak or spineless; there is only so much you can do with a one-vote majority in the Senate. (The fact that one of those votes belongs to a full-fledged neocon koolaid-drinker obviously doesn’t help.) Hopefully in the coming months they will be able to bring more Republicans to their side.

Posted by: Woody Mena at March 15, 2007 11:10 PM
Comment #212213

September, 2008. October, 2008. November, 2008.

How shallow are you folks that this is not a conversation born in politics. Why is every diatribe revolving around 2008.

I agree with Mr. Beck when he says “Shame”.

Posted by: catastrophyinprogress at March 15, 2007 11:56 PM
Comment #212235


Are you suggesting that every conversation about the year 2008 is political? If you take the current year and add one, you get 2008. That’s not politics, it’s arithmetic.

Posted by: Woody Mena at March 16, 2007 8:34 AM
Comment #212282

It’s not just about budging Bush; you can’t budge Senator Hatch!

“Those who make this argument forget, or perhaps they do not know, that unlike our war in Vietnam, we face an enemy who is religiously committed to bring the fight here to our shores.”

If the terrorists know that we will withdraw the bulk of our forces in 120 days, as this legislation calls for, all the enemy has to do is husband its resources or “lie low” until that date. Perhaps the terrorists will launch fewer attacks to lull us into a false sense of security that this defeatist strategy is working. Then, with the cold calculation for which these terrorists have become notorious, they will spring on the Iraqi people before their government’s institutions — which were completely destroyed in 2003 — can mature and fully take over the reins of fighting and then defeating, this insurgency. “

These are not compelling options, Mr. President, because at their core these “solutions” do not have the goal of victory, but consist of resignation to an inevitable defeat.”“

Posted by: rahdigly at March 16, 2007 12:35 PM
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