Democrats & Liberals Archives

A Black Cloud Over Iraq

Bill Moyers presented “Buying the War” on PBS yesterday in which he scathingly criticized the media for going along with the Bush Administration’s propaganda drums building hysteria for “regime change” in Iraq. The administration instilled fear in all of us by talking about how Saddam would cover us with a “mushroom cloud.” So we delivered “shock and awe” and now Iraq is covered, not with a mushroom cloud but a very black cloud indeed.

Conditions are indeed black in Iraq for everybody: Sunnis, Shi'a, Kurds, Americans. There is a civil war going on and the majority of Iraqis want to see American troops go home. The longer our troops stay the worse it gets. A big majority of Americans want to get out. This is the main reason they voted for Democratic senators and representatives in the last election.

Once Democrats took over Congress they decided to do as the people wish. They crafted a bill that gives our military in Iraq MORE money than President Bush asked for, but with benchmarks. The final bill passed the senate today:

The $124.2 billion bill requires troop withdrawals to begin Oct. 1, or sooner if the Iraqi government does not meet certain benchmarks. The House passed the measure Wednesday by a 218-208 vote.

The administration and most Republicans are still dishing out fear. Since no WMD were found in Iraq, they can't talk about "mushroom clouds." But this does not prevent Bush from threatening a veto because:

early withdrawal would be a defeat for the United States of America. An early withdrawal would embolden the terrorists.

"Embolden the terrorists"? This is what Bush accomplished, with the aid of the media, when he invaded Iraq and tried to change it to be more like U.S. The ghastly conflict became Al Qaeda's recruiting grounds. The terrorists were emboldened like never before. Daily, journalists report the havoc brought about by suicide bombers.

Bush also repeats about Al Qaeda in Iraq: If we leave:

They'll follow us home.

or

We're fighting them there so we would not have to fight them here.

Does he really believe this nonsense? Does he really believe Al Qaeda will not attack America if it could - regardless of what wars America fights?

I believe Bush and Republicans do not want to leave Iraq under any conditions. They want to stay, believe that the current conflict will eventually die down, and then they would have a beachhead for changing the entire Middle East. This was their original plan and they are sticking to it.

Democrats want to get out. Republicans bungled their way in and Democrats will find a way out. Then Democrats will act as referees and seek a general peace in the Middle East.

To test Democratic and Republican plans, we need but ask the presidential candidates in each party whether they favor keeping permanent bases in Iraq. Liberal Oasis asked each of the Democratic candidates. Each expressed opposition to permanent bases in Iraq.

Where do the Republican presidential candidates stand on permanent bases in Iraq? Ask them and see what they say?

Posted by Paul Siegel at April 26, 2007 7:10 PM
Comments
Comment #218553

So let’s get this straight.

This is a Republican war. It’s not an American war—only a Republican one.

All those Democrats who voted for it, the 70%+ of the American public who wanted it, and according to Bill Moyers, the media which spread “propaganda” on its behalf—none of those people had anything to do with it.

I didn’t support an Iraq ground war from the beginning, but that’s where we are, and now we have to see through what we started.

The Iraqi people, the American people, the Democrats AND the Republicans all want American troops out of Iraq. That’s no surprise. But it has to be done in a way that doesn’t require us to come back six months after we leave.

Bush is going to be gone in a year and a half, and it’s frankly time for Democrats to start thinking about solutions to these problems beyond just making trouble for Bush and trying to jockey for position in upcoming elections by pretending that they have nothing to do with (and bear no responsiblity for), problems faced by our country, most of which they are just as responsible for as anybody.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at April 26, 2007 9:40 PM
Comment #218555

“We’re going to pick up Senate seats as a result of this war. Senator Schumer has shown me numbers that are compelling and astounding.”

-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, April 12.

Sounds like Reid and Shumer have figured out the politics of the war. What does a loss in Iraq mean for Democratic power?

Posted by: Jack at April 26, 2007 10:01 PM
Comment #218561

We need to get out before our military is more broken and before we go broke as a country. How the hell much longer can we sustain this madness??

According to Petraeus, we will have to be in Iraq for a damn long time.

Petraeus: Iraq needs enormous commitment

I think better a small loss now than a huge financial and other catastrophe later.

Posted by: womanmarine at April 26, 2007 10:23 PM
Comment #218574

LO,

You know it’s interesting. George J. Tenet, the former director of central intelligence, has lashed out against Vice President Dick Cheney and other Bush administration officials in a new book, saying they pushed the country to war in Iraq without ever conducting a serious debate about whether Saddam Hussein posed an imminent threat to the United States. This is the same guy Cheney quoted as saying the case was a “slam dunk”.

Democrats knew Bush was a phoney. They knew they war was trumped up. We knew the evidence was bogus. Yet you stick to your same blowhard story. I wonder if people like you will ever admit to, much less apologize for, the grevious, and widly erroneous errors in judgment you made. You people make me puke.

Posted by: Max at April 27, 2007 12:23 AM
Comment #218575

Let me get LO’s logic straight:

Democrats were misled into voting for a war that has degenerated into chaos, and it’s the fault of the Democrats for being misled, and not the fault of those that did the misleading?

Now that’s just breathtakingly irrational.

Posted by: Yossarian at April 27, 2007 12:46 AM
Comment #218576

Thanks for sharing, Max.

Since that book isn’t even available for purchase and there’s no way you’ve read it, it’s great to get the advance left-wing talking points about its contents.

Tenet did do a 60 Minutes interview in which he never denies saying that WMD in Iraq “was a slam dunk.” In fact, he admits it and all he does is whine that anyone believed him and acted on it.

Imagine that. Believing information handed to you by the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and a Democrat no less! Those sneaky Republicans.

Poor Tenet, though. You have to feel sorry for him. His Democrat buddies are mad at him for saying so forecefully what most of them—including his former boss Clinton and his wife—were also saying! That’s no way to pick up seats in Congress. I guess he didn’t get the memo.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at April 27, 2007 12:56 AM
Comment #218580
Sounds like Reid and Shumer have figured out the politics of the war.

Finally! After four years of the Republicans using the politics of the war to beat the crap out of Democrats. Hell, Guiliani is still using the politics of the war to beat up on Democrats. Bush is doing it as well, with his bogus threats over the funding bill.

And how the heck does Bush figure the Democrat’s change to the Iraq mission “is a death sentence” for “millions of Iraqis.”? That’s over-the-top politicization of the war if I ever heard it.

Please, Jack. Don’t try to play the blame game over politicizing the war. The Bush/Rove election strategy for the last three election cycles was to politicize the war.

You guys are the masters of the “short victorious war” political strategy. And — surprise — it worked about as well for you guys and for America as it did for the Russian Tsar.

Posted by: American Pundit at April 27, 2007 1:35 AM
Comment #218581
…all want American troops out of Iraq. … But it has to be done in a way that doesn’t require us to come back six months after we leave.

What makes you think the Democrat’s want to completely leave Iraq? There’s nothing in the funding bill that says ALL US troops must leave.

The Democrats are trying to change the mission of our troops in Iraq to counter-terrorism, logistics and training. They’re not leaving.

Posted by: American Pundit at April 27, 2007 1:41 AM
Comment #218583

We need to get out(Now).The people that started this war,need to be jailed.Members of PNAC and AIPAC wanted this war.

Posted by: the libertine at April 27, 2007 4:31 AM
Comment #218584

Have Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi announced where they are going to hold the official surrender ceremony?

Posted by: tomd at April 27, 2007 5:49 AM
Comment #218596

For you armchair historians and politicos out there, I submit this article. It would seem that history is tentativly being written now—or should I say, the trial balloons are being launched to see who will salute them.

http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/04/26/766/

Yossarian:

A succinct summation. (I’m into succinct now—even when I can’t seem to practice it myself!)

Posted by: Tim Crow at April 27, 2007 11:12 AM
Comment #218602

Tim Crow

Anyone who pays close attention to the back and forth banter realizes that Cheney and Bush are posturing in a lame attempt to save face in lieu of what they know is a lost cause. To imagine that such posturing is being done as a political ploy to make those who oppose them look like the architects of failure is truly very very sad. And I might add it is that sort of devious demonization which americans are growing to despise more and more. They may be painting a future picure but I believe the finished painting, in the end, will only serve to further illuminate the failings of a corrupt and socially irresponsible administration.

Posted by: ILdem at April 27, 2007 12:01 PM
Comment #218603

Paul,

Thank you for your “TELL IT LIKE IT IS” commentary! The only thing that I would add to it is that “the administration” wants to stay in Iraq so they can pass this mess off to someone else. Such dogged pursuit of absolutely nothing except mounting American deaths is completely immoral and should be an impeachable offense.

Posted by: Kim-Sue at April 27, 2007 12:03 PM
Comment #218605

Iraqis welcome U.S. Congress vote but fear vacuum

“The Iraqi government and its security forces are unable to control security, especially in Baghdad and its neighborhoods.”

Like many, he said tying funding to a timetable to withdraw U.S. troops over the next 11 months would force Iraq’s police and army units to shape up quicker.

Posted by: womanmarine at April 27, 2007 12:10 PM
Comment #218607

ILdem:

‘They [the neo-cons] may be painting a future picure but I believe the finished painting, in the end, will only serve to further illuminate the failings of a corrupt and socially irresponsible administration.’

I would agree with you, if it weren’t for the American penchant for short memory and a rather disagreeable habit of ignoring history. As an example, I submit Vietnam. We, as a nation, haven’t learned much from that debacle. One of the reasons for the failure to remember correctly what actually transpired in SE Asia has been the Right’s ability to muddy the water—that it would have been a glorious little war if it hadn’t been for the peace movement and the Looney Left. Never mind that their own GOP couldn’t get out fast enough, despite Kissinger’s and Nixon’s vainglorious recalcitrance that added another million deaths while intoning their “Peace With Honor” blather.

We will get out of Iraq—it’s only a question of how much the butcher’s bill will be. The waiter is in the kitchen, totaling up the bill. I’m just pointing out to the younger members of Watchblog, that even with a war over, when dealing with the Right, you have to win the winning. If you don’t, there will be a pall of untruths to disentangle to get at the truth later. And there is a price to be paid for constantly lying to yourself—for nations, as well as individuals.


It’s a tiresome business, constantly riding herd on liars. But if we don’t do it, the lies will enable future escapades, perhaps even more costly and intractable.

Posted by: Tim Crow at April 27, 2007 12:31 PM
Comment #218613
I submit Vietnam. We, as a nation, haven’t learned much from that debacle.

I agree. We were told that if Vietnam fell, it would kick off a domino effect of Communist takeovers throughout SE Asia. It never happened.

Today, Asia is becoming the center of international capitalism and the Vietnamese government is kicking farmers off their land to build golf resorts for rich Chinese entrepreneurs.

Mao is spinning in his grave so fast that if you wind him in copper wire he could light up all of Beijing.

The best thing that could happen in Iraq is for US troops to get out of the way, concentrate on al-Qaeda and have the UN step in and partition the country. It’s going to happen anyway, and the sooner it gets done the fewer lives will be lost.

Posted by: American Pundit at April 27, 2007 1:24 PM
Comment #218619

All:

A thoughtful, albeit lengthy, assessment of Iraqi failures from an unusual source.

http://www.armedforcesjournal.com/2007/05/2635198

Posted by: Tim Crow at April 27, 2007 2:18 PM
Comment #218638

That’s an excellent article, Tim. He mentions Col. Thomas X. Hammes book, “The Sling and the Stone”, which is an excellent layman’s history of counter-insurgency warfare and how to win.

Another good book is “The War of the Running Dogs” which details how the British defeated the Communist insurgency in Malaya in the 50s and 60s.

Beating an insurgency isn’t rocket science. It’s been done before and there have been many studies on what works and what doesn’t (“Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife” is a good one).

The fact is, just days into the Iraq invasion the biggest obsticle to success was already recognized by troops on the ground as the Fedayeen paramilitary forces and civilians with AK-47s and RPGs.

According to the history of the war, “Operation Cobra II”, that intel got back to the Pentagon right away, but it was three years before the Generals and civilians there even acknowledged it.

It was only this Spring — far too late in terms of Iraqi reconciliation and American patience — that a counter-insurgency general was put in charge in Iraq.

What a clusterf@$k.

Posted by: American Pundit at April 27, 2007 7:51 PM
Comment #218645

Tim Crow

That was a very interesting read in the army journal. It pretty much confirms many of my personal suspicions and doubts as to the current abilities and readiness concerning our military leadership. Throw in a meddelsome chief of staff and only about one quarter of the estimated needed troop strength and you have the recipe for failure. I think these two excerpts from the article pretty much say it all. All neo-cons should give this a read. It is quite informative and lends a lot of logic to the problems in Iraq.

After going into Iraq with too few troops and no coherent plan for postwar stabilization, America’s general officer corps did not accurately portray the intensity of the insurgency to the American public. The Iraq Study Group concluded that “there is significant underreporting of the violence in Iraq.” The ISG noted that “on one day in July 2006 there were 93 attacks or significant acts of violence reported. Yet a careful review of the reports for that single day brought to light 1,100 acts of violence. Good policy is difficult to make when information is systematically collected in a way that minimizes its discrepancy with policy goals.” Population security is the most important measure of effectiveness in counterinsurgency. For more than three years, America’s generals continued to insist that the U.S. was making progress in Iraq. However, for Iraqi civilians, each year from 2003 onward was more deadly than the one preceding it. For reasons that are not yet clear, America’s general officer corps underestimated the strength of the enemy, overestimated the capabilities of Iraq’s government and security forces and failed to provide Congress with an accurate assessment of security conditions in Iraq. Moreover, America’s generals have not explained clearly the larger strategic risks of committing so large a portion of the nation’s deployable land power to a single theater of operations.

The need for intelligent, creative and courageous general officers is self-evident. An understanding of the larger aspects of war is essential to great generalship. However, a survey of Army three- and four-star generals shows that only 25 percent hold advanced degrees from civilian institutions in the social sciences or humanities. Counterinsurgency theory holds that proficiency in foreign languages is essential to success, yet only one in four of the Army’s senior generals speaks another language. While the physical courage of America’s generals is not in doubt, there is less certainty regarding their moral courage. In almost surreal language, professional military men blame their recent lack of candor on the intimidating management style of their civilian masters. Now that the public is immediately concerned with the crisis in Iraq, some of our generals are finding their voices. They may have waited too long.

Posted by: ILdem at April 27, 2007 9:25 PM
Comment #218655

ILdem:

Thanks for taking the time to post an excerpt teaser for our more lazy patrons—I was in a moderate hurry and couldn’t do it myself.

If I may, I’d like to highlight what, IMO, seems to be the crux of the issue:

“Good policy is difficult to make when information is systematically collected in a way that minimizes its discrepancy with policy goals.”


This very simple statement is not only true for foreign policy decisions, it’s true for virtually any human endeavor. This has not only been the Bush administration modus operandi in so many areas of governance, I think it is true for virtually any partisan ideological operation, whether Republican, Democrat, Green or Communist. When ideology precludes assembling the facts of an issue with a disinterested honesty, serious problems are usually the result.

Witness the Far Right’s steadfast refusal to accept that human activities are contributing to global warming, for instance.

Or the Democratic position that the Iraqi endeavor doesn’t merit a critical examination of imperialist motivations by both parties, and that a real investigation behind the ‘selling’ of the war by Bush/Cheney could very well implicate Democratic Party leaders in such malfesance. Fearing voter backlash, the Dems’ position boils down to questioning tactics,strategy and the lack of planning—not the very real possibility that the whole enterprise smacks of ruthless criminality.

I guess it is important to keep your options open for the next imperial enterprise that catches the Military Industrial Complex’s eye.

Posted by: Tim Crow at April 28, 2007 1:26 AM
Comment #218658

Tim Crow

I agree whole heartedly. The tailoring of information to serve an agenda is wrong. It serves only the desires of those who stand to compensate. Such practices are imo criminal, lacking respect and a slap in the face to those of us who elect and pay the salaries of the tailors.

I am a steadfast proponet of removing corruption from government. I too have considered the fact that some dems may very well be found guilty of criminal activities if thourough ivestigations are done. If that is the case then so be it. Honor, honesty, respect, integrity and accountablility have no party lines where I am concerned. The only way to clean up government is to hold them all accountable for any unethical actions. Now, while the people are still aware and concerned is the proper time to see the investigations thru. If time is allowed to lapse then apathy and boredom with the issues will set in and business will continue as usual. We will be back to deciding just what level of criminality and corruption is acceptable in government. To me this is unacceptable and a travesty.

I feel it is very important that we the people keep our eyes and minds open for the next military endeavor. It is paramount that we question and critisize when necesary in order to avoid another Vietnam and Iraq. Blind trust is no longer a viable and credible option where affairs of state are concerned. It is the very actions of our elected leaders that has served to nessecitate such scrutiny from its constituency no matter what party affiliation.

Posted by: ILdem at April 28, 2007 8:35 AM
Comment #218663

Max

President Bush said that Saddam was a gathering threat that needed to be addressed BEFORE it became imminent. You guys heard it wrong and now you like the accusation so much that you cannot let go. When you address a gathering threat before it becomes imminent, it is always possible to second guess.

If Dems in the Senate were misled into the war they are even stupider than Republicans say they are. It is truly disingenuous for them to pretend they were that dumb. How is it that they can claim that Bush is so dumb yet he can fool experienced Democrats?

If Dems were misled they are really stupid and Bush is really smart. If you want to believe that, that is your business. I do not so overestimate the President or underestimate, Clinton, Kerry or Edwards.

AP

Reid probably expressed his true feelings when he indicated that political gain for his party was more important to him and Schumer than the good of the U.S. I imagine if Rove had said something like that, you would be outraged.

The idea that pulling out American troops will end the war is just not true. It will change the war. Dems should address what they think will happen as a result of their pull out. When Republicans predict dire consequences, Dems just change the subject.

Besides Democratic political gains, what do you think will be the result of an American retreat?

Posted by: Jack at April 28, 2007 10:25 AM
Comment #218667


Jack: Saddam was a pain in the rear for the U.S., he was never a threat and never would have been to any great extent.

Rove believes that Republican political gains are what is best for America. Democrats for the most part believe the same. The CEO of Exon/Mobil believes that what is best for Exon is what is best for America.

The greatest threat we face is ourselves.

Posted by: jlw at April 28, 2007 12:21 PM
Comment #218678
I imagine if Rove had said something like that, you would be outraged.

You’re right. I’m constantly outraged.

The idea that pulling out American troops will end the war is just not true. It will change the war.

Absolutely. And in a way that makes things better in Iraq. It will force a stability, either through integration or partition. But the artificial status quo that we’re (more or less) maintaining with US troops is unsustainable.

Ultimately, the Iraqis must settle their internal conflicts, and the two month vacation the Iraqi Parliament plans to take in a few weeks tells me they aren’t feeling the pressure to do so.

And that’s if they really want a unity government in the first place. I don’t think they do.

My read on the situation is, the Shiite-dominated government wants us there as long as we’re killing Sunnis. They’re going to stall and stall and let us kill Sunnis and then when we leave, they’re going to finish subjuating their Sunni minority on their own.

The presence or absence of US troops will not make any difference whatsoever in shaping Iraq’s future. The Iraqis are doing their own shaping on their own terms.

Posted by: American Pundit at April 28, 2007 2:54 PM
Comment #218687

Jack:

Besides Democratic political gains GOP political losses, what do you think will be the result of an indefinite American retreat occupation?

I’m not going to list all the ways this Iraqi policy has been hatched, created, sustained and nurtured in mis-statements, fabrications, lies. Any thinking person can find out the facts that have promulgated and sustained this enterprise—if they want to.

The American people didn’t buy into a generational war, no matter what Dick Cheney, Douglas Feith, William Kristol or any of their ilk may assert. Even saying that 3200 dead people in New York, DC and Pennsylvania equates to a thirty-year war on Islam is perposterous on it’s face, and smacks of Dominionist hysteria.

The American people have had enough. This entire policy has been not only mismanaged and corrupt from the opening gun—it has been predicated on a total misread of the cultural and political circumstances in this region that could only be concocted by ideologues, State Dept. careerists who vacation in Paris, and think tank hacks whose grasp of reality is in league with our Vice President’s.

Let me draw you and your neo-con cohorts a picture, Jack. This war is over—sure, there will be some jockeying and political jostling while the markers are placed and the endgame is massaged. But the threats, the paranoid rants, the ‘mushroom cloud’ arguments are falling on deaf ears. The majority of Americans are not listening anymore. And the pols who refuse to listen to the people’s loud-and-clear wishes on this will be driving taxis, or whoring for their favorite lobby in January, 2009.

The neo-con movement has screwed up royally. They backed a loser—and incompetent sociopath who’s real good at convincing bubbas that he’s the perfect person to have a beer with—but don’t count on him to pull you off the roof of your flooded house or to give a damn that your life savings just went poof in some corporate scam.

The American people are not going to pay for it anymore—a half a trillion dollars, 4000 young American lives and tens of thousands in wheelchairs is enough. The Right has tried to scare them into horrific scenarios of Islamofacism, thousands upon thousands of crazy towel heads lining up to bomb us back to the Stone Age.

Trouble is, what if the moronic Right is right? What if the US is in serious trouble with terrorism? What if a widening conflagration between Sunnis and Shias is true? You know what? It doesn’t matter now. The Right’s credibility is shot—most Americans just don’t believe the hype anymore. Which may create more problems down the road, who knows? But the neo-cons have had their chance to change the face of the Middle East; and we have a more serious problem with terrorist violence and hatred of all things American now, than we did on September 12th, 2001.

You and your ilk have screwed up everything you have touched—in foreign policy, in your pretense of good goverence, in economic policy, by dismantling any and all regulation to keep corporate raiders and thieves from the nation’s pantry door.

You’ve pretty much had it your way for thirty years. The pendulum is now swinging in the other direction. The Dems may be wimps, criminally incompetent, they may run the country into the ground, blah, blah, blah. Most Americans know one thing now—the Right Wing doesn’t have any answers. I’m going to try to convince as many of my fellow citizens as possible for the rest of my time on this earth, that they never did have any answers.

America has witnessed conservatism at its finest.
They are now looking for something else. Back to the drawing board, Jack.


Posted by: Tim Crow at April 28, 2007 5:34 PM
Comment #218780

Tim Crow Nice to see you back!
I believe the only way to affect changes, and might
serve notice for companies an Government alike, would be to boycott Exxon Mobile, for four Mo. than
Shell Oil Co. That may get their attention. As in
the sixties an seventies, the only way have an effect is to affect their pocket book.

Posted by: DAVID at April 30, 2007 3:49 AM
Comment #218815

Thanks, David. I’m trying to shut up and give it a rest from time to time; but some things need to be responded to, although I am not always the correct person to do that response!

There are some sharp people here.

Posted by: Tim Crow at April 30, 2007 2:54 PM
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