Democrats & Liberals Archives

Petraeus the Salesman

I don’t blame Petraeus for doing this, but nonetheless, I think little good can come of it. The Bush Administration has made it clear to the American public that it’s not the reality on the ground that shapes the messages, but what the Bush Administration wants. With only 3 of 18 Benchmarks reached, Political and sectarian chaos remaining despite whatever military gains we’ve had, and the war’s effects on our counterterrorism still counterproductive, the Surge is not a success. That’s what matters.

September was the time the surge was originally supposed to have to work. It hasn't. Not even close. Petraeus cannot report that we have achieved the major goal of the surge. He can only sell us on continuing it, despite the fact that he doesn't have to troops to continue the surge at present levels past April 2008.

What makes this worse is that our maintaining troops in Iraq is crippling our ability to fight anything else, not just now, but for years to come. We're being sold on the defense equivalent of a heroin habit here, on the very destruction of our ability to fight emergent, necessary wars. Iraq is the habit that this President and his party refuse to kick, even as it destroys the world's greatest military.

The Republican Party is prepared to make our military a sacrifice on the altar of redeeming Vietnam. They believe if they push through, maintain the commitment, and continue to resist political pressure to end the war, they can win, or at the very least blame the Democrats for losing the war when they come along to finally put it out of its misery.

In short, having ignore the practical needs of the war, the Republican continue to treat it as they always have: as a political campaign.

Why else ignore all the warnings that centrists and Liberals on the issues were giving? Why else build up a case for war that's essently raw reports cherrypicked from CIA sources? Why else say "support the troops" when you really mean "support my policy?" The Republicans love to hear themselves talk about keeping at the surge, just as they loved telling Americans to stay the course before; they love talking about the successes they've got, and the good news in Iraq that people aren't hearing about. They love spinning all the stories and the anecdotes, and going out in those debates with their he-man predictions of victory.

Trouble is, in their attempts to win this war as a political campaign, they have utterly failed to win it as a real life war. As successfully as they can frustrate Democrats in their attempts to bring this war to a close, the Republicans have not gained the promised success in Iraq, and nothing they say can change that fact. Some of the even more brilliant folks among the Right suggest that we help bring back Allawi in a coup. That's right, help the guy who failed to keep Iraq in one piece earlier in the war come back in order to reconsolidate Iraq under a single leader.

It adds to the credibility of the Republicans on this war the way loose cards falling out of sleeves does for a magician doing a card trick. The recent ABC poll indicates that most people think Petraeus will make things look better than they are, that they believe that Bush will continue to push his policy regardless of what Petraeus or anybody else says. The numbers on what Americans think of the war haven't changed.

Is their anything left for this disastrous political campaign to suceed at? They not only aren't convincing Americans that we're winning the war, they're also becoming depressingly predictable. Less than half of Americans expect his General to give the facts straight. Less than a third expect him to change policy direction on anybody's account, even his spokesman general. So what do they expect to do?

Here's what they expect to do: End Bush's term blaming everybody else than themselves for what happened, so that the Republican base, conditioned to treat their political opponents as dire enemies, will maintain itself in the face of its devastating failure of crediblity with everybody else.

The question I would ask of more reasonable Republicans out there is this: do you really want to continue the status quo of the Republican Party the way it is?

The Iraq War is lost. Like the Vietnam war, the role of dissenters in this catastrophe is mostly a political sham. The reality is, it's the supporters of these wars who lost them. They picked the wrong fights to start. Having picked them, they chose the wrong approaches to the war. Out of vanity and fear of political consequences, they refused to change direction. Not willing to take responsiblity for the failures they've caused, they've decided to take us into a strategy destructive to that Army's strength, unwilling to accept a defeat on their watch. They'll cite the need to make sure America looks strong to its enemies for this pyrrhic effort at victory, but in the end, America's real strength will decline, and our enemies will take advantage of that.

Every month that continues the war the way it's being fought puts America in greater danger. Those truly committed to protecting America shouldn't buy what Bush and Petraeus are selling.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at September 9, 2007 5:38 PM
Comments
Comment #232377

Stephen, I agree with most of what you say here. But, politically, Democrats have a real credibility problem equal to Republicans. This new incarnation of the Comprehensive Amnesty Bill to give more than 400,000 illegal workers access to citizenship, and refusal to secure the borders FIRST, competes with Republicans position on Iraq for putting political goals first and welfare and security of the nation and her people last.

So, why should voters listen to you or any Democrat talking head, when it is obvious that objective critique is a one way street for both of these inept and inadequate political parties? All these parties do is force voters to vote for lesser of two evils or vote for a third party/independent with no chance to win thanks to the Duopoly Parties control of debates, FEC regulations, and state ballot access rules.

These are legitimate and valid reasons why many otherwise intelligent and responsible citizens don’t vote, at all.

Democrats, get your policies together and make them reflect what the people think is in their majority interest, and then you can claim to be the party of the people and secure a future of respect and support as a majority ruling party. But, fight the American people consensus on border security and illegal immigration made legal, and all you do is force the public pendulum to swing ever faster back and forth between the two STUPID parties whose personal political interests supercede those of the people at large.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 9, 2007 7:31 PM
Comment #232379

In just about every major survey on this page, This war outranks illegal immigration as a priority. As of right now, according to the ABC news/ Washington Post poll, seven times more people will determine their vote for president on Iraq than they will on immigration. It’s one out of three Americans, as opposed to one in twenty. The numbers shape up pretty much along the same lines when you look at the next poll.

What’s more, America trusts us more on the issue than they trust the Republicans. As well they should. Regardless of their rhetoric, the Clinton administration did a much better job of catching illegals than the Bush administration did, to the tune of hundreds of arrests versus thousands.

The problem with the “Duopoly”-oriented rhetoric is the same problem with “Islamofascist”-oriented rhetoric: you’re bunching together people who really aren’t that friendly together.

If the election laws bother you, don’t try and get laws binding you repealed and altered by adopting a hostile stance. Logic would tell you that in order to win this fight, you have to get the help of the very people you’re treating like enemies.

You’re trying to attract the bees to get you your honey. Use nectar, not vinegar.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 9, 2007 8:09 PM
Comment #232381


SD
The political aspect is,as you point out,not really related to what is happening on the ground. Attempting to put off the inevitable until blame can be placed on the Dems is not a likely goal. They have no intention of ever withdrawing. They may reduce troop levels but permanent colonial control of Iraqi oil by US interest has always been the real goal. If that means more dead GIs then so be it.They are just working class kids anyway.
I saw a very interesting show on PBS the other night. It was an explanation of the current American Empire. The producer thinks it is a great idea,”outriders of democracy,American interest” etc. Seems we have 700 military bases in 300 countries. That is the definition of empire.These missions are not all bad by any means. One shoed the military giving glasses to school children in outlying villages of Mali. These are places NGOs fear to tread. The idea is that later we will get intelligence regarding jihadist movements in the area. Many of these are largely concearned with trainning native troops as in Iraq and the Philippines. This also is right in line with Imperialism. Most of the British imperial battles were fought with native troops(Gurkas etc).So be it but the poison pill in all this is that the oil cartels and MIC have too much control over imperial policy.Good program. Perhaps you could find it online at PBS.

Posted by: BillS at September 9, 2007 8:49 PM
Comment #232383

DR
I am in construction. I work with people with shaky or no papers every day. Most are decent hardworking people. Wish you all would stop trying to deport my friends.

Posted by: BillS at September 9, 2007 8:56 PM
Comment #232386


My advice to the Democrats is don’t pay a lot of attention to the polls. Concentrate on the Republicans and never, never underestimate them. Be prepared to counter all of their lies and their proposals disguised as gifts for the middle class.

As Senator Biden pointed out today, there is nothing the Democrats can do to stop the Bush war. they need 67 votes in the Senate and the equivalent in the House.

One thing that really seems odd to me is that Bush, the Republican, is doggedly insistant on a strong centralized government in Iraq, while Biden, the Democrat, says that it won’t work and that we must give more power to the local governments.

I think the war will continue for at least as long as Bush is President. But, lookout for a big October suprise next fall.

David R.: Did you read Arnolds speech to the California Republicans about making the party more acceptable to independent voters and the responses he got from them.

Posted by: jlw at September 9, 2007 9:31 PM
Comment #232388

Jlw,
That sums it up. The war will continue. But I would be amazed if the Republicans were willing to enter the next election facing a situation similar to the current one; they would suffer a shellacking of epic proportions.

Worse, the economy is nosing over, and I am not sure even aggressive rate cuts by the Fed will make enough difference.

Remember the timing of the Iraq propaganda? It ginned up late summer 2003, serving as a powerful distraction from the last recession, and the failure to terminate Osama bin Laden.

Now we see a nearly identical confluence of events: another economic downturn, another foreign policy failure in Iraq, and another ready made distraction- Iran.

Every Republican presidential candidate supports the Bush/Cheney policy in Iraq. They will get absolutely clobbered by voters for this, because no one seriously believes the situation will improve by November 2008. The surge will wind down starting April 2008- that is a given, as extended deployments come to an end- but the situation will bode ill for Republicans.

Which is why bombing Iran offers the perfect excuse to wave the flag, and rally Americans around one more war.

Posted by: phx8 at September 9, 2007 10:53 PM
Comment #232389

Stephen,

Great article as usual. The whole damn thing is infuriating. For months we heard, “wait for the Petraeus report”. Then a few weeks ago we heard that the White House was actually writing his report for him. Then it became known that there would be no written report.

Given Bush’s obvious gleeful exuberance when he visited Camp Cupcake it’s obvious what “Betray-Us” & “Crock-a-$h!t” are going to say. Full speed ahead! And PUULLEEEEASE would someone teach our CinC how to salute properly. Every time I see his piss poor example of a military salute I want to just puke.

And cutting off funding is no way to achieve anything but guaranteeing that our troops will be subject to even worse conditions. We Dems are in between a rock and a hard place. The only thing we really can do is keep the “noise level” cranked up!

How and when we exit Iraq WILL depend on the 2008 elections. There is no doubt in my mind about that, and I really don’t see anything wrapped up for either party. If George W. could serve two terms as POTUS anything is possible.

Something I find much less than helpful to America is this administrations continuation of HUBRIS as a matter of general policy, whether it be Bush haggling with a South Korean leader or one of his henchmen (or hench-women) calling OBL “virtually impotent”. Had wisdom played more of a part in the Bush administration than hubris we just might have avoided the 9-11 attacks altogether!

Posted by: KansasDem at September 9, 2007 11:08 PM
Comment #232390

I think the big thing here (on all fronts) is admitting that there’s a problem here that cannot be resolved with the continuation of current policy.

They keep on playing this “wait for results” card, but the trouble with doing that is that people rightfully want what you could call the key frame between the two different situations.

The time to have gotten security into Iraq was the start. In nearly all military situations, the easiest time to gain control is at the beginning, where the situation has yet to develop in adaptation to your actions, where you can nip trouble in the bud rather than having to beat it down with a sledgehammer. They confuse assessing a situation and reworking strategies with constant second guessing.

We have to get out there in front and really start pushing the issues out here. Defense of our nation for one thing. These same Republicans excoriated Clinton for not being able to fight a full-scale WWII style two-front war, and here Bush and the Republicans are, putting America in a position where it’ll find it difficult to respond to the need for a minor military operation, much less a major intervention.

We’ve got to take the initiative away from Republicans on military policy, because our agreement to protect Iraq was not a suicide pact.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 9, 2007 11:10 PM
Comment #232391

“Worse, the economy is nosing over, and I am not sure even aggressive rate cuts by the Fed will make enough difference.”

TRUE. There are many “aftershocks” to weather from this “burst” of the housing bubble. I anticipate if things look glum around January Bush will push for a Republican “tax cut” including a rebate to stimulate the economy (debt be damned) and Democrats will insist on raising tax rates on the wealthy.

The Republicans will once again convince the voters who don’t have time to pay attention to detail that the Democrats are raising their taxes. Wash, rinse, repeat ……………

Posted by: KansasDem at September 9, 2007 11:18 PM
Comment #232393

“The time to have gotten security into Iraq was the start.”

Stephen,

That’s right, and Shinseki said “several hundred thousand troops”. We never had SEVERAL HUNDRED THOUSAND! That would have required full deployment and reinstating the draft so we could rotate troops.

Winning the war was never a problem. Maintaining the peace afterwards was and is a huge problem. Partitioning is happening whether we like it or not. Middle East tensions have increased due to our occupation and the overwhelming refugee problem.

Speaking of the refugee problem …….. we’re whining about “illegals” in the USA ……… just imagine having hundreds of thousands of refugees flooding an area no larger than many of our states!!!!!!! And consider that it’s the result of a war that you see as an illegal invasion ……..
you’d just love that occupier wouldn’t you?

Posted by: KansasDem at September 9, 2007 11:39 PM
Comment #232394


Talking Points Memo has a link to a Kevin Drum article in the Washington Monthly on the Iraq hawks. From war hawks- kick Saddams butt, to pottery barn hawks- we can fix this mess, and now chaos hawks- yes, it’s hopeless but if we leave chaos will breakout. It’s worth the read.

Last week, I read an interview of several Wallstreet guru’s who were very despondent about the very good posibility of the stock market crashing in September. As one of them put it, ” Don’t go on vacation in September.” The next day, Bush announced his mortgage lender bailout. The market bounced back up a little, then the employment numbers came out.

phx8: The Republicans will be digging in their closets hunting their old 1980 Nuke Iran bumper stickers.

Posted by: jlw at September 9, 2007 11:59 PM
Comment #232395

KansasDem-
Let’s break the cycle then. We need to step on the different parts of the message. When they start talking about tax relief, let’s remind them that the Bush tax cuts are burdening them with thousands of dollars of debt a person, and that all this free money comes at a greater cost later because of the interest it accrues.

We have to stop accepting their notion that this is about giving people back their money. It’s better to be straight with them. Tell them that the true tax relief is paying cash for their government, and not having to worry that the national debt is skyrocketing. It’s not borrowing money from our friends in Beijing, that’s for sure. That’s more like Job Relief.

The genius of the republican approach has been to create compelling soundbites. The stupidity of it has been to back it all with B.S. facts and figures. If you discipline yourself and your ethics to work within the facts, you can add the power of compelling wording with compelling meaning.

We need to know enough about what we’re talking about that we can paint the world around our ideas. Only then can we truly relate to people what’s wrong with sticking with Republican policy.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 10, 2007 12:41 AM
Comment #232396

When Petraeus testifies, I hope he answers some basic questions. We are fighting against Iraqis in their own country. Why? How long will they continue fighting us? In the past, Petraeus estimated the fighting would continue for nine or ten years. Does he stand by that estimate? How much will this cost?

Will there be any attempt to gather reliable polling information? Garnering statistics on newspapers on Iraqi deaths is obviously inadequate. How many Iraqis have actually died in the violence since the US invasion? And how do Iraqis actually feel about the US presence in their country? Do they want us to stay? Do they want us to go? Having broken it, does the US “own” their country?

The US has paid for the War in Iraq by borrowing. That will not be a matter of Petraeus or Crocker to address.

But with the accumulating problems in debt markets, borrowing for Iraq will become more and more untenable.

The Japanese markets dropped 2% today. It turns out their economy did not grow last quarter, but actually shrank.

Various economic indicators are flashing orange. Due to various debts and deficits and and an unpaid bill for the War in Iraq, we are walking on some very dangerous ground.

Posted by: phx8 at September 10, 2007 12:41 AM
Comment #232397

jlw,

Come election time any problem with the economy will be due to the Dems ……….. I’m serious! By then they’ll be blaming it all on the increase in the minimum wage or extending SCHIPS to cover more American children! And some voters will buy it!

Re: campaign song …….. McCain’s rendition of Barbara Ann?

Bomb, bomb, bomb ……… bomb, bomb Iran!

The rallying cry of the right! Anything can be fixed by attacking someone, whether it be another country or the “welfare queens” at home!

Not to mention the “queens” that want to destroy marriage for everyone else!

OBL’s “virtually impotent” but watch out for the gays, they’ll get ya’ ……… oooooh —— booogedeee, woooogedeeee —————— look under your bed!!!!!!!!! The homos are coming to get ya!

Posted by: KansasDem at September 10, 2007 12:42 AM
Comment #232398

“Let’s break the cycle then.”

Stephen,

The first step in that is accepting that Roe v. Wade is antiquated, which it is. Fetal viability is not what it was 40 or 50 years ago. We “pro-choicers” always come out on the defensive end although we are actually more pro-active in eliminating the need for abortion.

Whether the issue is abortion, the economy, or the war in Iraq we always seem to be on the defensive end. Maybe that’s the nature of being a true liberal. Maybe we do turn the other cheek too often.

Have you ever read “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” by Thomas Frank? IMO it could really relate to 90% of America. But for the economic conservative faction to maintain their influence the national debt must be ignored, and for the socially conservative faction to maintain their belief requires a shift towards true theocracy.

It all boils down to ideology. There need be no facts to support ideological belief. History and science be damned!

Posted by: KansasDem at September 10, 2007 1:11 AM
Comment #232401

I don’t think it’s inherently liberal not to stand up for ourselves. There are ways to turn the other cheek that don’t necessarily involve lying down and getting kicked. Eloquence in the service of truth is no sin.

It doesn’t boil down to ideology. ideology is what must be boiled down, even boiled away. Our purpose is not to defend an ideology, but instead to bring it to life.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 10, 2007 1:33 AM
Comment #232402

Throughout the last month the Democratic leadership and their friends in the (so-called) Mainstream Press have waged a war of their own on General Petraeus. They have been very busy casting suspicion, and discredit on his upcoming report. Here are some quotes from the Democratic leadership:

“The Bush report?” Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin said when asked about the upcoming report from Gen. Petraeus, U.S. commander in Iraq.
We know what is going to be in it. It’s clear. I think the president’s trip over to Iraq makes it very obvious,” the Illinois Democrat said. “I expect the Bush report to say, ‘The surge is working. Let’s have more of the same.’ “

“As in the past, President Bush stubbornly refuses to acknowledge the facts on the ground about the sectarian civil war in Iraq or the growing bipartisan opposition to his failed policies,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)
The top Democrats — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California — also referred to the general’s briefing as the “Bush report.”
“We will see what the Bush report will be at the end of next week,” Mrs. Pelosi said. “The facts are self-evident that the progress is not being made. They might want to find one or two places where there has been progress but the plural of anecdote is not data.”
She said Democrats were determined to uncover “the ground truth in Iraq.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, ” a new strategy must begin immediately and warned about GOP ‘spin’ coming from the White House and Congress depicting Iraq in a rosier light than the facts warrant.” Reid also “cited press reports that a government whistleblower may have leaked a draft copy of the GAO report to the press in an attempt to prevent the possibility that administration or military officials would soften the final report.”

Or, a Congressional staffer possibly leaked the GAO Congressional report because it was well-known that the benchmarks from this report would be much more strictly graded, and much more difficult to accomplish. Therefore, releasing this report to the Press would give the Democrats ammunition to rebut and discredit anything positive the Petraeus report would reveal a few days later.
However, what is really significant is the fact that Sen. Reid claims “someone” released a “draft copy” as opposed to a completed copy. Apparently Sen. Harry Reid had knowledge that it was a draft copy and not an original that was released. The reason this is significant will be revealed as you read this post to the end!! Keep this in mind as you read.

I wonder that if the Petraeus report and the GAO report do not perfectly correlate with each other, Democrats will claim that Petraeus is “lying to Congress” and try to force his resignation with “perjury” charges just as they have done to top officials in the Bush Administration. This appears to be their preferred tactic when it comes to silencing those with a differing opinion.

But, Democrats are not the only ones trying to discredit Petraeus. The Press has also joined in the action.

National Public Radio (NPR) reported in their story, The Petraeus Report: Already History?

“Now, it seems, the Bush White House has decided the upcoming report on the Iraq war by Gen. David Petraeus has become too important to be left to the general… we are now told, the White House expects other officials to weigh in on the document, as well. The final report will include these viewpoints as well as the first-hand judgments from the front that everyone has been waiting for.
At one point, it was even suggested that this “Petraeus report” might be publicly presented by someone else, someone in whom the administration had total faith. The general and the ambassador, it was suggested, might be available to Congress only for closed-door briefings.
To its credit, the White House this week pulled down this last trial balloon, assuring reporters, that Petraeus and Crocker would appear live and in person to give testimony to relevant congressional committees on Sept. 11 or 12. Care to bet which day the administration will pick?”

Care to bet which day the Administration will pick? The NPR certainly not short on snide remarks there. Funny, how the Administration can now somehow manipulate the schedule of Congress! The article doesn’t mention that Pelosi is quibbling with the White House on whether or not she will schedule hearings on 9/11, but I guess the writer couldn’t resist that jab.
So, if the Petraeus report was presented by someone other than Petraeus, it would not be his actual work, and therefore, somehow invalid? Using such logic, does that mean since Democratic Presidential candidates use speech writers for their speeches, they are equally invalid and should not be believed?

“The “Petraeus report” has become such a linchpin of the administration’s defense of this war that the White House cannot afford to gamble on its contents, its presentation or even its public reception. The report must be hopeful and persuasive enough to win the White House at least another six months of Hill support for the troop surge. Otherwise, this last stab at salvaging something from the debacle in Iraq will be over.”
In fact, so much has been freighted on this one man, this one report and this one point in time that it is no longer possible for the “Petraeus report” to fulfill its original purpose. It cannot be a frank assessment of where things stand, militarily or politically, because the administration and its allies can no longer afford to have that assessment be negative or neutral — or even insufficiently positive.
That is why the White House wants to batten and couch it, to contain potential damage.
That is why many people believe the real “Petraeus report” is, in effect, already on display in Iraq itself — apparent to all willing to look. What we will see and hear next month from the general, the ambassador and all their collaborators will be something else. “

Therefore, because the Bush Administration has so much depending upon this report, we can already conclude it will be completely false. Hmmmm! Is there any bias here? Should Americans simply always assume that any issues important to Republicans are automatically false as the writer contends?

CBS News reports that Petraeus is a master of deception, using such tactics as power-point, (I guess since I know power-point I am a master of deception as well), dog and pony shows, (whatever that is supposed to mean), and inviting as many reporters and analysts as he could find to Iraq, (instead of inviting only the liberally-slanted ones like those at CBS, I guess?)

Here is what CBS had to say in The Petraeus Report

“Petraeus has been very shrewd about providing dog-and-pony shows to as many analysts, pundits, reporters, and members of Congress as he could cram into the military jets criss-crossing the Atlantic to Baghdad on a seemingly daily basis this summer. And those dog-and-pony shows don’t seem to have been subtle: rather, they’ve been hard-sell propositions complete with “classified” PowerPoint presentations (always a winner for people with more ego than common sense); visits to a handpicked selection of the most successful reconstruction teams in the country; a plainly deceptive implication that the surge played a role in the Anbar Awakening; feel-good stories about how local power generation is a good thing; the recent insistence that civilian casualties are down, which increasingly looks like a book-cooking scam that wouldn’t stand the light of day if Petraeus allowed independent agencies access to his data; and, of course, the ongoing campaign to scare everyone by kinda sorta claiming that Iran and al-Qaeda are ramping up their activities and then getting suddenly slippery whenever anyone asks if they have any real evidence for this.
I now expect him to provide just the opposite of what I thought before: a consistently upbeat report studded with just enough accomodations to reality to keep him from seeming completely ridiculous.”

U.S. News commented on a New York Times editorial which describes the GAO as factual while presenting Bush as a manipulator of facts.

This is what U.S. News had to say in Hill Report on Iraq Prempts Petraeus

“In an editorial, the New York Times echoed those concerns. Under the headline “More Realism, Less Spin,” says the GAO report “provides a powerful fresh dose of nonpartisan realism about Iraq as…Bush tries to spin people into thinking that significant — or at least sufficient — progress is being made.”

A story that is not getting much attention is one in which the Pentagon has criticized the GAO report for its inaccuracies and has given suggestions for upgrading the report based upon further classified evidence given to the GAO by the Pentagon. However, it appeared that the upgrades were not in the report that was “leaked” to the Press, in that the upgrades requested by the Pentagon were to change some of the “not-met” ratings within the report. Either the GAO refused to change its report as requested by the Pentagon, even in light of the new information, or the report leaked to the Press was a “draft version” that did not have the pending changes that were requested. If a “draft version” was leaked before it could be changed, what would be the purpose of such an action? Perhaps, to prevent it from being changed to a more favorable report in light of the new information given to the GAO? I find it significant that Sen. Hary Reid claims, in his own words, that it was the “draft version” that was leaked, and more suspicious is the fact that he even knew that it was a “draft version” rather than the final as he stated to the Press!

Here are exerpts from a Washington Post article, Pentagon Challenges GAO’s Report on Iraq

“The Pentagon has disputed parts of a progress report on Iraq drafted by the Government Accountability Office, and asked that some of the assessment’s failing grades on key political and security benchmarks be changed before the final report is made public next week, a Defense spokesman said yesterday.
“We have provided the GAO with information which we believe will lead them to conclude that a few of the benchmark grades should be upgraded from ‘not met’ to ‘met,’ ” spokesman Geoff Morrell said. He declined to specify which grades he was citing.
In a draft version of an audit ordered by Congress last spring, the GAO concluded that Iraq had met only three of 18 benchmarks lawmakers set for progress toward political reconciliation and security. The draft has circulated within the State and Defense departments for comment before its publication.
The GAO, Congress’s investigative arm, is not obligated to make changes based on such comments.
Another congressionally mandated report by an independent commission is examining the Iraqi security forces, and is likely to be more optimistic than the GAO about the state of the Iraqi army, said a person who has read parts of it.”

The truth is that though it is being reported that deaths in Iraq are up in August, actual deaths from enemy fire are way down. The military had two helicopter crashes in Iraq last month that were not related to enemy fire, which killed more than twenty soldiers. Otherwise actual death by enemy engagement was 59. About half of the number in both June and July amidst significant urban combat.
Progress was made in August, especially in al Anbar Province and Baghdad. The reason this is significant is that in the five years of fighting, nearly 65% of all American deaths have occurred in these two provinces alone. In fact, when all other sixteen provinces are combined, the average of American losses is only 17 soldiers per province per year. These other sixteen provinces that are under control are being turned over to the Iraqi forces, giving Americans a greater opportunity to restore order in al Anbar and Baghdad. If we can overcome these two provinces in Iraq, we have won this war, and the Iraqi people will have the opportunity they need to be free.

JD

Posted by: JD at September 10, 2007 1:36 AM
Comment #232403


Bush gave tax breaks to the rich and they started a war in Iraq.

$9 trillion debt caused by tax breaks to the rich.

The economy is bad because of tax breaks to the rich.

Abortions went up because of tax breaks to the rich.

The homosexual agenda was financed by rich homosexuals with their Bush tax breaks.

9/11 happened because of tax breaks to the rich.

The way to fight the Republicans is with their own tactics. You don’t need truth, you just have to be very loud and very repetitive.

Democrats tend to believe that the truth will prevail, perhaps it will in the long run.

Republicans have a different philosophy, if the truth doesn’t fit the agenda, change the truth.

Posted by: jlw at September 10, 2007 1:54 AM
Comment #232404

JD Wow! That was a lot of work for a load of ….And the damned press reporting all those problems. If they would just stop reporting everything would be great.I mean it is just common sense that soldiers killed in helocopter crashes are not as dead as ones killed in combat and the Pentagon and the Whitehouse would never ever lie about anything or try and manipulate a report.Petraus is right. We will have this licked in about another 10-15 years if those damned librals will just shut up.

Posted by: BillS at September 10, 2007 2:15 AM
Comment #232405

Here is a tremendously intersting diary about OBL posted on DailyKos:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/9/9/93225/59863

OBL bets the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq will break the US militarily and economically, just as the USSR broke in Afghanistan.

JD,
That is a spirited defense. Petraeus & Crocker are highly capable. They are doing the best they can, given the hand they have been dealt.

When the legislation was passed in April, Congress mandated the White House with providing a report. Unfortunately, this was sold as “The Petraeus Report,” because a report written by the White House has zero credibility. The only interesting part will be the actual testimony by Petraeus & Crocker.

The point of the surge, the overriding stragetic aim, was to provide enough security for the Iraqi government to become functional. This has not happened. Most likely, it will not happen by the time the surge ends. The rest makes for an interesting debate, but in strategic terms, it is irrelevant; any gains made by the surge will be a moot point if the Iraqi government cannot function as a unifying force.

Posted by: phx8 at September 10, 2007 2:23 AM
Comment #232406

“Most likely, it will not happen by the time the surge ends.”

phx8,

It won’t end. One lie leads to another and another …… ad infinitum. They’ll simply increase troop deployments to 18 months, which they promised NOT to do. They’ve also not tapped 100% of our reserves yet, and as I believe Sandra said recently they’re already training Navy and Air Force personnel for ground combat.

I’m reminded of my mom saying, “would you jump off a bridge if everyone else did?”

Posted by: KansasDem at September 10, 2007 2:40 AM
Comment #232407


JD: After General Petraeus and Amb. Crocker testify to Congress, they will be giving an exclusive interview with Bret Hume on the Fox News Channel. It will be live tomorrow nite at 9 pm. The questions have already been sent over from the White House.

What Fox news should do is send Bret and a news team to Iraq. They can travel around, without military escort, to all those safe provinces and do live interviews with ordinary Iraqis on the street. While they are at it, they can show all the houses have electricity and running water. This way Fox News can prove to the American people how well things are going in Iraq.

Posted by: jlw at September 10, 2007 2:53 AM
Comment #232408

“Our purpose is not to defend an ideology, but instead to bring it to life.”

Stephen,

My hope is that someday ideology can be laid at the wayside altogether. With rare exception history provides some insight into current events. When one ignores history and the “hard” sciences such as mathematics, geography, etc, we’re always headed down a road to failure.

Ideology leads one to believe that something that’s failed in the past will work out differently if we only try harder …… or longer …… or better, like the ant and the rubber tree plant ;^)

I mean it’s good to teach our kids about “the little engine that could” but we must also introduce them to reality at some point.

Posted by: KansasDem at September 10, 2007 2:59 AM
Comment #232409

BillS and Stpehen D, wish you all would stop threatening my daughter’s future with your sanction and promotion of wholesale law breaking and leaving America’s back and front doors wide open as my daughter sleeps. You all are making gun ownership a matter of survival, while allowing any and everyone in the world to walk in to our country in these dangerous times.

You won’t find more ardent opposition to Bush and the past Republican regimen than I. But, you Democrats haven’t got any political sense at all if you think your party is going to weather the next terrorist attack, given your position on illegal open border policy. You are handing Republicans their comeback. The political stupidity is as monumental as Republicans on Iraq.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 10, 2007 3:48 AM
Comment #232411

David R. Remer-
I have no problem with us improving Border Security, and reducing the flow of illegals into the country. I have little sympathy for those who exploit these people to shore up their bottom line, and would gladly see our system reformed, to allow hard-working people to come across into our country legally.

I’ve got no problem with discussing this issue with you on some future thread that I do on the subject, or one of yours. This, though, is an entry on Iraq policy. I’ve already had the discussion of my last entry derailed by Dan over his pet cause of tossing out incumbents. I’d rather not see folks flee this thread as well on that account.

I’d be interested in what you know and what you think about the subject at hand.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 10, 2007 8:48 AM
Comment #232412

KansasDem-
Once I read what I wrote to you, I knew I’d been unclear. It’s my believe that reality can act as a filter for dumb ideas if you let it, which is why I said boil down and boil off.

Politics affects reality, but it doesn’t necessarily determine it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 10, 2007 8:55 AM
Comment #232416

The point of my post is that “someone” leaked an unfinished GAO report to the Press because the Pentagon had sent other classified information to the GAO which would have probably made the finished version of the GAO report much less critical than the version that was leaked. This was a deliberate attempt by either a Congressional staffer or someone in the Dept. of State or other, to smear the Iraq conflict and give the Democrats more fuel to rebut and criticize the report by General Petraeus.

What’s more importatnt was the fact that Harry Reid knew that it was a “draft version” and not the “finished version” that was leaked to the Press. How could he know that unless he was informed about it?

I think Senator Harry Reid needs to be asked some serious questions about the leak, when he knew about the leak, and especially how he came to know about the specific contents of the information that was leaked. It is time to start asking the Democratic Leadership some serious questions about their involvement.

JD

Posted by: JD at September 10, 2007 10:52 AM
Comment #232417

JD
I would guess Ried knew it was a draft version because it was not the final version.The leaker wanted to make it public before the Pentagon and Whitehouse could spin it. Why is that sinister? The whistleblower did a public service.

Posted by: BillS at September 10, 2007 11:48 AM
Comment #232418

Regardless of the degree of shape shifting of the Bushtraeus report we as a nation simply will not be able to sustain our current degree of involvement in Iraq. We do not have the required desire to create a central rallying cry of victory at all costs. That degree of passion for this cause no longer exists. Did it ever? It no longer exists due to revelations of deception, inadequate leadership, financial burden, no clear course of direction, no end in sight, and the reality of an extremely overburdened military. While we are supposedly making very slow progress in Iraq our own domestic problems are rapidly increasing. We are funneling hundreds of billions into Iraq while ignoring needed infrastructure repair, securing our borders, education, medical coverage, poverty and massive new record levels of debt. Despite what republican optimists would like us to believe indications are that our economy is sliding into a recession. None of this is good news and each day we delay addressing these issues further diminishes our ability to do so.

It is clear to me and I think to most that the republican tactic of ignoring the obvious in the interest of furthering a political agenda is nothing more than despicable propaganda. It indicates that their party has no respect for the intellect of the American people. They have tried to fool us and use us one too many times. Their authoritarian tactics and deceptions have served to deny them credibility. They for all intent and purposes have squandered away the trust of the people. My point is that why should I or anyone put trust in what they have to say about anything.

Instincts and common sense tell me that yesterday was the time to begin gradual redeployment. There is no obvious benefit in delaying the inevitable. Why should we waste any more lives and money than is absolutely necessary at this point to turn Iraq back over to the Iraqi’s? I can not see that our country has the means or mettle to see this thing through for another 10 or more years.

Posted by: RickIL at September 10, 2007 11:55 AM
Comment #232419

So, the Pentagon asking for the GAO to include more classified information into their final report is now considered Bush Administration spin?

With that kind of logic, the only thing that isn’t spin is that which the Democrats put out there, right? Isn’t partisanship grand!!!!

JD

Posted by: JD at September 10, 2007 12:13 PM
Comment #232422

JD:

Having watched the public testimony of the GAO report, your post makes no sense. The final report is still 3 met and 18 not met (I think those numbers are right) with a couple “partially met” which the GAO included to be as fair and accurate as possible. There was minimal if any change from the “leaked” report to the final report.

Posted by: womanmarine at September 10, 2007 12:39 PM
Comment #232423

JD,

No one gives a rats @$$ about a leaked fabricated report!!!!!! We all knew what it was going to say months ago!!!! Nice try though those smoke screens do work some times, they get people off point.

If you want to get serious about leaks, who leaked the lies that started the blood for oil war?????? Thousands die from that leak!!!!!!!

Posted by: Outraged at September 10, 2007 12:40 PM
Comment #232425

JD,

There IS a credebility problem in the administration. Several months ago several of my Republican friends either stop touting themselves as Republican and dismissed Washington as a pack of liars and theives, or still called themselves Republican and dismissed Bush as either a screw up or liar or both.

That there is a struggle to bend an official report from both political sides is no surprise, nor does it make one side or the other more truthful.

The war is complex, but from day 1, anyone with a lick of sense knew it was a long term (10years plus) and expensive struggle. Overwhelming force was needed to secure Iraq, but for political reasons Bush did and does not want to initiate a draft. This is the same defeatist political opportunism that led us into Vietnam. The prognosis long ago was determined by many to be the same in Iraq. Incremental advances and retreats mean little in this situation.

Could we muster the funds and troops to occupy, pacify and dominate Iraq? No doubt. Will we? No.
Why are Americans still dying there then?

Posted by: alien from the planet zorg at September 10, 2007 12:43 PM
Comment #232426

Just love how the BDSers are handling this report; they just can’t take the reality on the ground. Patreus hasn’t even (fully) presented his report and the MSM and the (Democrat) senators are already dismissing him and (basically) saying he is a Bush stooge. Nice. This is blowing up in their faces and making them look just as stupid as Bin Laden and the latest propaganda he just put out. Funny how the two sides (BDS and Bin Laden) are both getting their a$$e$ kicked by Bush and the US military. Nice side some have chosen.

Posted by: rahdigly at September 10, 2007 1:02 PM
Comment #232428

Rahdigly,

Bin Laden is looking better than ever!!!!!!! He has a new recording studio near his spa!!!!! I was told bush set him up with his new digs!!!!! The bush crime family has been sending him cash so he could send out new videos for the bush fear the boogieman program that has kept the blood for oil war going!!!!!!

Posted by: Outraged at September 10, 2007 1:19 PM
Comment #232430

JD-
Among the main alterations to the report was the softening of the failure of a number of the benchmarks. They changed them to partial reaching, rather than simply admitting that no, they hadn’t been met.

This is typical of the Bush approach to such measurements. One of the main differences between the classified and unclassified version of the NIE used to justify our entry into the war, was that the classified version had all the caveats, qualifications, and other uncertainties, and the declassified version did not. By the way, which one do you think Congress got, for the most part? The few who got the real version couldn’t talk about the differences.

The President doesn’t trust Americans or legislators to decide on the proper course of things when they know how things really stand.

At the end of the day, this unwillingness to remain one with the American people in telling them things straight has been a fundamental cause of their fall in America’s estimation. It causes too much in the way of nasty surprises, and signals to the American people that their value is not consider in terms of their opinion, but instead in terms of their backing of their agenda. People, needless to say, do not want to be used in that fashion. They want input. They want the politicians and the officials doing as they wish, not the other way around.

The Republicans are hostile to the opinion of the majority of the people in this country. They think they’re fools. They think they’re being mislead. They think America lacks stomach, lacks committment. So, they do their best to bypass and befuddle them. This remains a Democracy, so people get pissed off at this.

Americans should neither be lead around by the hand or the nose. They should be lead, lead wisely, and lead honestly, by agreement. No good policy can come in its absence. Force and power used in its absence has always proven to be short-lived in its strength, as the disenfranchised and disgruntled rebel against the policy forced upon them by political manuevering and trickery.

The Republicans have tried to fight a war by themselves, for themselves, even when others wanted to help, others wanted to win. Their unfortunate partisanship in the course of this war is a large part of how they’ve lost the campaign on the homefront, and no small part in how they’ve lost the war.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 10, 2007 1:48 PM
Comment #232431
The hearing happened as a poll released Monday showed that an overwhelming numbers of Iraqis say the U.S. troop buildup has worsened security and the prospects for economic and political progress in their country.

Forty-seven percent of those surveyed in a poll conducted by ABC News, Britain’s BBC, and Japan’s public broadcaster NHK said they want American forces and their coalition allies to leave the country immediately. This was 12 percent more people than harbored those views in a March poll, just as the troop increase was beginning. And 57 percent — including nearly all Sunnis and half of Shiites — said they consider attacks on coalition forces acceptable, a slight increase over the past half year.

Posted by: womanmarine at September 10, 2007 1:49 PM
Comment #232433

Rahdigly-
Do you think Petraeus doesn’t follow orders when Bush gives them? I wouldn’t belittle him by calling him a stooge, but if the Boss indicates he won’t accept a certain direction, what makes you think Petraeus has it in his power, beyond resigning in protest, to defy him?

I’ve chosen my side, and it’s America’s. You seem to consider it more important to defend Iraq, than to defend our country, which is essentially the situation the administration’s equipment and manpower policies are putting us in. We lack the ability to fight other wars, and may do so for some time because of the failure of this administration to properly plan for the war.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 10, 2007 2:00 PM
Comment #232438


The surge has worked remarkably well. Conditions have improved in Iraq in nearly every catagory with a few minor exceptions. Some of those exceptions are-

The Iraqi government is less able now to govern the country than before the Surge. To keep those American tax dollars coming, the government has suddenly announced that is has become unified over the past week.

Despite minor improvements, the Iraqi Army is no more able to secure and defend the country now than it was before the Surge.

The local police forces are still under manned and under equipped.

The national police is about 85 percent Shia and acts much more like a para-military hit squad than a national police force. If it were named appropriately, it would be called the Gestapo. When a ministry official was told that they had to correct the 85% Shia domination of the national police, his reply was, it should be 99 to 1.

Since the Surge began, there has been very little improvements to the infrastructure. The vast majority of Iraqis are still without basic services.

The refugee problem has grown worse during the Surge and the number of civilian casualties has increased, meaning that security has decreased.

Before the Surge began, the Sunnis in Al Anbar Province began turning on their foreign insurgent allies. The American government took this opportunity to make a pact with the most powerful war lord in the Province who also happens to be the same Sunni Shiek that ran the Province for Saddam. Our government keeps this guy’s wariors well armed and they use the weapons to kill foreign insurgents, other Sunni’s, Shia, kurds and Americans.

With the exception of these and a few other minor problems, the Surge has been very successful.

Posted by: jlw at September 10, 2007 2:55 PM
Comment #232441
Bin Laden is looking better than ever!!!!!!!

That is if you believe that it was him; I did say “more propaganda” from Bin Laden. Only the MSM and the BDS’ers fall for the propaganda from their hero.


Do you think Petraeus doesn’t follow orders when Bush gives them?

NO! I do not think Petraeus follows Bush’s orders. He was nominated (Unamiously) in congress; if they believed he was Bush’s puppet (or whatever you want to call it), they shouldn’t have voted for him. Yet, that is not the case.


It just proves what many of us have been saying, for the past few months, that the surge is (INDEED) working! Some of you are almost pathological in trying to defend the insurgent’s sick strategy; which consisted of burning children and car bombings to win the “hearts and minds” of the Iraqi people. Yet, they are not doing that, they are getting their a$$e$ kicked courtesy of the United States and some of our citizens can’t even to come to admit that; though, we know some of you “support the troops” and want them to win.****

And, I like how the BDSers, MSMers, and bloggers, most of whom never (ever) volunteered let alone served in the military, tell a decorated and respected General that he is a “taking orders from Bush”. That is just classic. Nice going people, way to tell us who you are and how you truly feel.


Posted by: rahdigly at September 10, 2007 3:04 PM
Comment #232442

Rahdigly-
From their hero? I guess you just wouldn’t feel right about yourself if you didn’t at least once accuse your political rivals, critics, and reporters not following the GOP party line of being in league with America’s enemies.

As for falling for their propaganda? Propaganda is sometimes meant to provoke, to disquiet. Unless Bin Laden is a tremendously naive man, he knows that mentioning dissension at home against the Bush policy will goad conservatives like you to intensify the bickering, or attack Democrats.

I don’t suppose you feel all warm and fuzzy about playing into his hands, but you are. You’re letting Bin Laden’s forked tongue, and your fear of his emboldenment shape your policy, when you really should be taking a more detached look at things, not clouded by fear of Bin Laden.

As for General Petraeus, your statement shocks me! Do we have a military coup underway, an armed forces mutiny? Seriously, Petraeus takes his orders from Bush. That’s the chain of command he talks about. Petraeus reports to the president, ultimately, and the President gives him his orders. Or is the Commander in Chief Status you guys only invoke when it comes to civilians you’re spying on?

Petraeus has no choice short of resignation: the President and the Civilians in DOD give him his orders. The General can advise them, but that doesn’t mean they listen. If he gets up out there, and publically disagrees with him, Bush can and probably will send him the way of Douglas McArthur. That’s called insubordination.

It’s good to know you’re unclear on the chain of command. Goes to show how well you understand the military.

As for the Insurgent’s sick strategy? Your people made that strategy possible with the errors of your policy, errors your people made because you were too partisan to talk or listen to anybody who didn’t echo the party line.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 10, 2007 3:40 PM
Comment #232446

Stephen D. said: “I have no problem with us improving Border Security, and reducing the flow of illegals into the country.”

Therein lies the reason I and many other Independents will not vote Democrat. Improving Border Security and reducing illegals is like half locking your doors and half closing your windows at night in E. L.A. Half measures in security equal no security. Democrats just don’t get as you adequately demonstrate in your honest and forthright response, which is appreciated as it helps us know where your party’s followers stand. Same place as Republican followers, my party right or wrong. And half security measures such as these which violate no one’s civil liberties, are just plain wrong.

Stephen said: “This, though, is an entry on Iraq policy.”

And Iraq was sold, and continues to be sold as, a security measure of preeminent importance to America. The real topic is not Petraeus’ report, it is American national security which, Democrats and Republicans alike refuse to address responsibly, holistically, and honestly, just like their refusal to address economic collapse resulting from debt and entitlements, coming.

Pointing fingers at each other is what Dem’s and Rep’s are expert at as in this article. You all argue tactics while our nation strategically barrels headlong into calamities of our own making. National security is obviously NOT something Democrats and Republicans are capable of dealing with responsibly, and that should be the topic and problem to solve for ALL Americans.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 10, 2007 3:57 PM
Comment #232452

alien said,

Could we muster the funds and troops to occupy, pacify and dominate Iraq? No doubt. Will we? No. Why are Americans still dying there then?

Good question. While we shouldn’t be “dominating” Iraq I’m not sure how else you can create security in a country full of competing interests who think mass murder is a legitimate political weapon.

As to rolling the dice with American and Iraqi lives with a less-than-adequate strategy you’ have to ask the supporters of the Bush administration.

Posted by: chris2x at September 10, 2007 4:29 PM
Comment #232453

Rah

And, I like how the BDSers, MSMers, and bloggers, most of whom never (ever) volunteered let alone served in the military, tell a decorated and respected General that he is a “taking orders from Bush”. That is just classic. Nice going people, way to tell us who you are and how you truly feel.

This is so typical of neocon blather. Of course the generals take orders from Bush. He is the CIC. That makes him the number one military official in the US. The generals are the next level of rank below the CIC.

And Rah would you please forgive and excuse us doubters for having an opinion in the wake of almost four thousand lost lives and half a trillion of our tax dollars squandered on a civil war of our own making. Not to mention that there never was any wmd found or terrorism present in Iraq until we gave the terrorists cause to be there. I guess it would have been more prudent to just blindly follow this man we have all grown to admire love and trust so dearly.

You are entitled to your opinions Rah as are we. Unfortunately for Bush his actions as CIC have lost him credibility. With that lost credibility also goes the trust that us doubters need to get behind his agenda. And unfortunately for you and Bush us doubters are the vast majority of Americans. I for one do not see enough substantial benefit in a sustained involvement with no end in sight. At this point in time your rants will do little to convince us otherwise of what is so clearly obvious.

Posted by: RickIL at September 10, 2007 4:31 PM
Comment #232455

David,

“Fortress America” is not a good solution to our security problems. In fact, the more isolationist we become the more wars we probably will fight over resources such as oil. We need to be taking strong security measures with our borders but we cannot possibly enact strong enough measures to “lock the door”. Also, your singling out East L.A. is completely unnecessary to make your analogy and sounds very racist.

Posted by: chris2x at September 10, 2007 4:44 PM
Comment #232456

I guess I’m with David and others on this. I say lock all the doors and windows and only gradually open them when we can assure who comes and goes. No amnesty, deport anyone we find that whose status is illegal alien, and fine the hell out of anyone who hires them.

Posted by: womanmarine at September 10, 2007 4:49 PM
Comment #232457

Chrisx said: “Fortress America is not a good solution to our security problems. In fact, the more isolationist “

How is controlling our borders, and Constitutional mandate, going to result in either a fortress or isolationism? Your comment makes no sense to me.

Getting control of our borders, entering those we Choose, and denying entry to those we Choose not to, in no way negates our engagement with the rest of the world, and in no way constitutes a fortress. It is doing nothing more than what our founding fathers demanded of our nation in their own time, and ours in our time. To protect and defend the Constitution includes protecting and defending our borders. Think about it!

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 10, 2007 4:51 PM
Comment #232459

womanmarine, I think JFK might say about securing our borders, “We do this NOT because it is easy, but, because it IS hard.” Securing our borders will be costly, and will take years to complete, and that means politicians must delay their gratification for campaigning on having accomplished it. So, forget it! Our politicians are all about next year’s election, and if doing heavy lifting won’t benefit them in next year’s elections, it isn’t worth the sweat or effort.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 10, 2007 4:56 PM
Comment #232461
Officials at the El Paso border crossing are putting your security at risk — they’re putting business and commerce first. An official memo, obtained by Lou Dobbs Tonight, shows that agents were told not to inspect cars when the lines became too long.
Posted by: womanmarine at September 10, 2007 4:58 PM
Comment #232465

David R. Remer-
I’m trying to be gentle in saying no to this turning away of the topic. I respect you greatly, and would not mind discussing this with you elsewhere, as appropriate. I just don’t think it’s germane to the topic at hand.

Let me point something out, on my own behalf: Just because somebody doesn’t get as zealous about a subject as you doesn’t justify beating up on them. Calm, even in the face of urgency, is a good quality to have. Additionally, if nothing else, America needs people to be more respectful, less willing to make enemies of their own countrymen, as we deal with those from other countries. Yes, rivalries and competition are inevitable, and there will be disagreements, but our first impulse must not be to punish and berate those who don’t believe like we do. It should be to find where the common ground is, and see where you and that other person can go from there.

Our politicians, and even military officers like General Petraeus, are losing credibility because people expect them to try and lead people around for their own purposes, that the information they give merely has the purpose of persuasion, and not true, accurate representation of the circumstances.

With Bush, we’re being handed a notice that this will be America’s policy, regardless of what Americans want, regardless of what happens. It’s not for nothing that two thirds of Americans expect Bush to do what he wants to do, regardless of what anybody, Petreaus, congress or the public wants. I think this is an incredibly poor way to run a national security policy, especially in the way its undermining our ability to protect ourselves and our interests. But with Bush in the White House, and 41 Republicans willing to lockstep with the President, What can we do?

The real problem is that there’s no real strategy we can impose that can’t be blocked by the Republicans. We could just not fund things, but what of the practical results of that? It might score political points in the short term, but what then?

Until significant numbers of Republicans defect, or the Presidency changes hands, we’re basically stuck. Hopefully the next six months convinces them this crap’s got to stop, but unfortunately, the Republicans have made an artform out of being outrageously stubborn in the face of failing public support.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 10, 2007 5:18 PM
Comment #232475

David,

I look forward to debating borders, immigration, and security on another thread.

Posted by: chris2x at September 10, 2007 6:00 PM
Comment #232478

Stephen said: “Just because somebody doesn’t get as zealous about a subject as you doesn’t justify beating up on them.”

I haven’t a clue what you are referring to. Care to elaborate who is doing the beating and who is taking the beating? If beating refers to personal criticism, that is against WB’s rules, and I would most definitely like quotes of that occurring. Please send them to managing_editor@watchblog.com. Thanks.

Your article’s focus and intent as I read it is summed up by your following statement in the article: “
This is precisely the kind of finger pointing and political back and forth that is killing our government’s ability to act responsibly. To which I reply, as counterpoint from a NON-Democrat point of view:

“In short, having ignored the practical needs of border and national security, the Democrats continue to treat it as they always have: as a political campaign.”

Your words, turned back on you. I believe it is a relevant and poignant retort to your article, which presumes an air of superiority over Republicans. Iraq can’t be resolved without cooperation and bi-partisan effort. Neither can national and border security.

I implore you Stephen, stop playing these loyalist political party “gotcha” games, and address the more important question of how you and other Democrats and Republican voters can move their representatives toward cooperative and bi-partisan solutions to our problems, instead of using those problems to divide and hide irresponsible and inept leadership behind “It’s their fault” child like party loyal identity games.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 10, 2007 6:52 PM
Comment #232480

Stephen:

As one courageous democratic sentator said anonomously:

“No one wants to call [Petraeus] a liar on national TV. The expectation is the outside groups will do this for us.”

What a spinless coward.

Are you one of the “outside” groups being called on by the democratic leadership to call Petraus a liar?

It is so nice to see courage by our majority party in time of war.

This was BEFORE Petraus spoke by the way. So the majority party is working with left wing anti war groups and decided Petraus lied before he spoke. Then they are using other groups to make that case to the American people to sell the left’s rendition of the truth.

Then we are “sold” that the Bush administration is “selling” through Petraus the right’s version of the truth.

Get this in the end. You are a part of the Left’s propaganda machine that is selling the American people that Petraus is a part of the right’s propaganda machine.

You are full of manure complaining that the other side stinks!! But democratic manure doesn’t.

All the while, while democrats today are using outside groups to do their dirty work, young men and women are bravely going to Iraq to serve our country.

It is astonishing to me to see the cowards in congress as compared to the bravery of our young men and women.

Soon John Edwards will agree with me, and have his wife say something about it!!

Craig

Posted by: Craig Holmes at September 10, 2007 7:00 PM
Comment #232491

Craig your criticism of prejudice is valid.

But, you have to admit, there are reasons for prejuding or second guessing Petraeus’s view, which was predictable, progress is being made, we need more time, a lot more time. This has after all, been the Bush mantra since the Mission Accomplished banner was unfurled.

Also, follow this chain events. Bush’s entire administration has been selected for its willingness to see the world through Bush’s eyes. Bush hires Petraeus. If precedent is predictable, he hired him because Petraeus already had the view that nothing is impossible, not even a integral, peaceful, and favorable ally called Iraq. Had he not had that view, or adopted it, how likely would it have been that Bush would have selected him?

Ergo, Petraeus’ report was only to a small degree unpredictable for some, because of his being sold to the public as an independent general of personal integrity implying he may disagree with the president. But, that was never likely from the gitgo. Also, Bush and Petraeus met on Bush’s secret visit to al-Anbar. Who is to say they did not pre-pare the message to be delivered to Congress on that visit?

Petraeus could then truthfully say his report to Congress was prepared before he submitted his report to the White House, which he did. What really smacks as incredulous is the notion that politics are not part and parcel of the packaging of Petraeus’ report, being the hired hand of Pres. Bush, who can just as easily arrange for his retirement a few months later.

With all that said, there would be ample evidence to buy Petraeus’ report IF the GAO and NIE reports were consistent. But, they aren’t. They report a far less optimistic and more damaging set of statistics and data than Petraeus presented. The NIE and GAO are more independent of Presidential influence than the President’s hand picked man for Iraq would be, regardless of who that was.

So there is ample reason to hold Petreaus’ report suspect and with skepticism, NOT because he is dishonest, but, because he was predisposed to the report he gave by virtue of his selection by Pres. Bush and holding similar world view and outcome estimates.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 10, 2007 8:55 PM
Comment #232499

Craig Holmes-
I get this Darth Vader vibe coming from you “You are part of the Rebel Alliance and Traitor. Take him away!”

I’m not part of any machine, much as you’d like to think. And before you start talking about that, Why is it that both legislators latched on to this Move-On ad at the same time, and one happened to mention the same Anonymous source that you have?

Isn’t it so convenient that we don’t know who this person is? A secret liberal leaker!

You talk about media machines, even as you spout the latest talking points.

To answer your question- strike that, to respond to your accusation, I wrote this on the spur of the moment. Yes, I have seen other writings among the left on the inaccuracy of Petraeus’s information, but that information happens to be verifiable fact. One egregious example is the way sectarian violence is determined by which direction a person got shot in the head from. If it’s from the back, it’s Sectarian. From the front, it’s criminal.

Additionally Petraeus number for downturns neglects the effect that Iraq’s intense summer heat has on surpressing the violence. Additionally, it also neglects the fact that in comparison to last year, at the same time, violence is way up.

Is it cowardice to point this out? Is it cowardice to question those whos facts aren’t straight? The real cowardice here is the refusal of many on the right to face the depths and the permanence of their failure here, and act accordingly. Petraeus is a man who takes orders, and evidently doesn’t object to them sufficiently that he feels he should resign. He should not be treated as if he can say anything he wants, or do anything he wants.

Additionally, after all the times that I’ve heard about military commanders objecting to Bush’s strategy and being overridden by the president’s authority, I would have very strong doubts that any strategy that comes out of the DOD is the product of what the commanders on the ground want. This Administration has been more than willing to ignore them, to ignore their expertise in these matters. This is exactly why things got out of control in the first place!

I’m sure that these people want to win, but their ambitions have been pursued recklessly, in a counterproductive way, and it’s putting our country at risk.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 10, 2007 10:05 PM
Comment #232507

David R. Remer-
Your response assumed that because I didn’t use “git tough” language that I sought half-measures. Did you care to ask what I really thought? I’m not a zealot on immigration reform, but I would be more than happy with a firm, well-enforced policy.

Relax on the beating up. I just mean politically. Still, I take some exception to it, and wanted to set the record straight on my position. I’m not going to call for a wall on the border, because I believe its useless. You can check in the past: I’ve advocated, for a start, enforcing the laws on the books, getting the resources and political backing to do that. Second, I’ve advocated dropping the fees and requirements that make immigration, once the way many poor people crossed over legitimately, a province of the upper middle class.

Third, I publically came out against the gastarbeiter system that Bush wanted to institute, and which many Democrats in Congress unfortunately voted for.

Yes: they were screwing up. I’m not above admitting that. But since when have I been afraid to tell my party they’re being idiots?

My party isn’t better than the Republicans, it’s more free.

An old guard conservative says this. So does John Dean, in his lates book Conservatives Without Conscience

To gain more votes, the Republicans catered to, and in turn popularized hardline, fringe policy, much of which has a causal links to our policy problems today. We see it in the tax policy, the foreign policy, and in the policy towards business and religious interests.

Which is not to say that they’re responsible for all problems, but they’ve certainly pushed things pretty far. Part of how they did that is to envision their opponent as an enemy and to basically show them no mercy.

That is not my intention here. My intention is to draw a moral line here. The line doesn’t distinguish between parties. It’s about one thing: making sure good things come of policy, and not falling prey to the notion that one can talk one’s way out of trouble when one fails.

I’m not looking to play gotcha on behalf of my party. If my party grows bloated with corrupt men and women, what will become of it? The Democratic party may be my party, right or wrong, but it’s my party when right to keep it right, and when wrong to set it back on the correct course. Loyalty doesn’t necessarily entail apologetics. Still, part of the reason our government is constructed like it is, is so that pressure from different sides will keep folks honest. Rather than try the impossible ( that is, find a pure group of people to lead America), the founding fathers decided to pit the impure groups together so that their special interests would cancel out, leaving the general interests, the things most people wanted, the things that remained strongest over the long run.

Blame games are harmful, but our government can’t work like it’s supposed to unless the people who are truly to blame for things are held accountable.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 10, 2007 11:16 PM
Comment #232511

Soon John Edwards will agree with me, and have his wife say something about it!!
Craig

I don’t think we usually agree, but that was a great line!!!

JD


Posted by: JD at September 10, 2007 11:57 PM
Comment #232512

Stephen:

I am not that worried about you except to say that the left is guilty of exactly what you are implying about Bush and the military.

The left is talking about the “Bush Report”, complaining in a very organized way about how the general is organized with Bush.

My deep anger is that the level of debate dishonors the service of these young people. I can “shoot” both ways, but since you are on the left, I can “shoot” your way.

I think the Anonomous democratic senator quote is accurate. It feeds into what Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have been saying. There is a clear pattern of discreting Petraus before he even spoke a word. Dismissing these young people’s commander without even listening.

It makes me so angery when our leaders humiliate people in uniform by questioning their integrity without cause.

If those statements by that Senator prove true, he is a coward. He is not worthy to hold his office while young people are dying.

Craig

Posted by: Craig Holmes at September 11, 2007 12:05 AM
Comment #232515

JD:

I’m not a big fan of Edwards. I like his wife though. I think the cancer thing has given her a spine that the country needs.

I think in general we need a huge dose of courage and statesmanship in politics in this country. These young people who are going to Iraq are amazing. I watched a ship come in from deployment. They are so young and brave. Congress just isn’t worthy of them.

I would really like to debate first amendment rights during war time. Rights come with responsibility. We have a responsibility to honor with our conduct those families who have lost or are about to loose loved ones. I believe Congress dishonors these families sacrifice by the way they conduct their debate.

I think the debates should be FAR more civil and reverent. It’s not the topics discussed, but the tactics used.

How dare the left in congress used cheap accusations to undermine the commander in the field before he speaks. That is what the enemy would do!! Attack the messenger!!

This who Iraq thing is a two party screw up. It’s the hyper partisonship that makes it so no one can talk to each other to solve the problem. It’s really discusting. Of course we much each keep our base happy. that is more important than working together so we can solve the issues and get out of Iraq.

The way Congress behaves is killing our young people by creating an environment so intolerable that solutions cannot be found.

And THEN we criiticize the Iraqi government for being like we are!!

Craig

Posted by: Craig Holmes at September 11, 2007 12:20 AM
Comment #232521


Rahdigly: I don’t think that General Petraeus is a lacky for Bush. I think that he is an honorable and dedicated commander. I don’t agree with those who are trying to villify him. I don’t know what they expect of him. Should he resign? Several generals have or have been fired, it didn’t stop the war nor would it stop if he did. He has to think of the troops and a military that is fast loosing moral because they have been given an almost impossible mission without the support they need to complete that mission. They have been thrown into the middle of a bunch of people who are killing each other and been told to stop them and they have never had enough troops or equipment to accomplish their mission.

It is not the General or his troops that have failed us. Every single American should be filled with pride for what they have accomplished under the circumstances that they have faced.

The Bush Administration is where the failure lies. They have failed the General, the troops and the American People and the American People know it. I can’t help but believe that even many of the true belivers know that this is true in their hearts.

Posted by: jlw at September 11, 2007 1:32 AM
Comment #232526

Craig, did you miss, or ignore, my comment to you about Petraeus? Just curious, because it offers an alternative explanation to behavior than the motivation to discredit persons in uniform on the basis of lies.

I believe Petraeus believes in his mission, agreed upon between him and Bush before his confirmation. MacArthur believed in his mission in Korea too, and thank Truman his misguided ass was fired.

Petraeus can both be both a man of integrity and honor and wrong about how he views progress and outcomes in Iraq. All persons with or, without integrity and honor, can be wrong, and sometimes will be. Just ask Stephen Hawkings.

I respect Petraeus. I also believe he is wrong, and viewing Iraq through a predetermined outcome lens of his and Bush’s making by way of agreement before his confirmation hearings. That is to say, I think Petraeus and Bush found that they see Iraq in a like way: anything short of victory regardless of cost, would constitute a failure by America and our military. Such a view could result only in the predictable report he provided Congress.

The view that failure is not acceptable, and anything short of achieving the goals set constitutes failure, becomes a lens which distorts reality to fit the ends, and justify any and all costs necessary to the military and American people. It is not a conscious or willful distortion of reality, but, a distortion by the rules of cognitive dissonance. By the rules of cognitive dissonance, his integrity remains intact even if he is wrong.

I heard the same kind of psychology coming from the Ambassador’s words and views. And their stats and data DO NOT comport with the NIE and GAO stats and data, which requires an explanation. Since lying is not likely, the cognitive dissonance explanation becomes plausible.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 11, 2007 4:45 AM
Comment #232527

Stephen, what is this agenda of yours that repeatedly blocks out the hard empirical data of dramatic reduction in illegal immigrants and crime in San Diego as a result of their erecting a border barrier?

As long as Republicans refuse the facts on Iraq, and Democrats refuse the facts on border barriers, both parties end in failure to solve America’s problems, instead, actually creating more. I think the cognitive dissonance created by facts accounts for much of why Democrats and Republicans act so irresponsibly and ineptly when presented with empirical evidence that contradicts their pre-judged agenda and ends.

Is it possible your thinking and Petraeus’ share something in common, both persons of integrity, and pride in that integrity refuses to adapt to real world facts if it requires admitting one was perhaps wrong about something? I have found admitting to being wrong liberating, and a definite addition to my accumulated body of knowledge and understanding.

Being wrong and admitting it is how we all learn to be right, hopefully, more often than not. That is the real lesson of Santa Claus. Giving up belief in Santa Claus is a milestone in growth and development as is all abdication of errors in our understanding and presumed knowledge base.

Petraeus offered a chart showing our occupation for a decade and beyond. Clearly we will not be there at war that long. Hence, Petraeus is going to have to confront his cognitive dissonance on this issue at some point, or die with the false belief that costs should not be a factor considered in certain kinds of endeavors and conflict. Reality in the world of human affairs says quite the opposite. :-)

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 11, 2007 4:59 AM
Comment #232536

Craig Holmes,

The real dishonor to the troops has been from the republicans, by using the troops as canon fodder for the Halliburton stockholders!!!!!!! The cowards are the leaders of the republican party who are unwilling to stop this greed driven war!!!!! This is not about partisan politics this is about right and wrong. The war is about killing for a profit that is wrong!!!!!!!! The 25% that support this war are wrong!!!!! We where lied to that is wrong!!!!!!! There is no compromise!!!!!! The killing must stop it is wrong!!!!!!!!! You can not negotiate with terrorists, and that is what the republicans are, they are nothing more than right wing terrorists spreading fear for the boogieman every way they can!!!! If you think that there is some non partisan solution to this, you are wrong!!!!! There is no wining, there is no surrender, and there is no right wing buzz word that can cover up the blood for oil scam that they are milking out to the bitter end!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You can throw up all the smoke screens you want, wrong is still wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Outraged at September 11, 2007 9:24 AM
Comment #232544

Craig Holmes-
The General is organized with Bush; the constitution makes sure of it. What makes this more of a bad thing is the fact that Bush wields his power so arbitrarily to the advice of others, and people like Petraeus can only resign in protest or follow orders.

What’s disrespectful here is the speed with which some assume that Move-On’s ham-handed ad represents everybody’s thinking.

It’s easy to think dark thoughts about bands of organized Democrats with long knives and longings for backs to stab, to start taking shots in the dark at us. The truth is, this is a talking point meant to get people like you angry, so that you don’t pay heed to contradictory evidence that undermines Petraeus’s report.

The truth also is, is that the debate long ago took on acrimonious tones on the right, and this is a large part of what turns some on the left so bitter, when that’s the case. Who was it that first accused those who disagreed about the war of not supporting the troops? Who have been portraying those with doubts as collaborators with the enemy? As you yourself employ these accusations, consider that they may be half the reason so many have turned hostile towards the right.

Bush made both the mess in Iraq, and the mess here. If you want real dialogue, you have to stop speaking in the terms of somebody who’s declared himself an enemy. If you want peace, make peace.

David R. Remer-
Read this. Particularly, this paragraph:

Well, what is viable in the legislature is always not equally viable in reality. […] About a third of unauthorized residents in this country don’t sneak across the border; they simply overstay their visas. In addition, more migrants who do cross at the border are coming in with false papers, by boat or through underground tunnels like the one found recently at San Ysidro [south of San Diego.]. If not accompanied by other control measures that focus on employers, for example, the current initiative will simply redirect more of the flow to these other channels.

This paragraph pretty much sums up much of my position:

Indeed, the presence of over 11 million unauthorized residents in the United States is a significant indictment of our border-focused immigration-control efforts. Meanwhile, the government has essentially abandoned any real effort at immigration enforcement in the interior of the country, where the jobs are. Instead, the government has relied on self-reporting by employers, who have neither the capability nor the inclination to identify and report undocumented immigrants. So, in many ways, calling for fencing provides a political smoke screen for the government’s inaction at home.

Now, I don’t agree with his position on the Guest Worker program, but I do agree that after some point, it’s really not worth it to punish people after having come here. He makes the point that except for murder, there’s a statute of limitations on such matters. I agree with the notion of letting people pay a fine or go back and re-enter to gain or regain legal status.

But at the end of the day, we’ve got to lower the incentive to illegally immigrate by making immigration cheaper, more available to the lower socioeconomic class. It’s elitism to deny America to those willing to come here and work hard.

It’s enforcement in the interior, coupled with reforms on the monetary demands of immigration, that we need. If people know they stand a good chance of getting caught, but also know that that they enter legally, they’ll have little trouble in being a documented worker, and that citizenship will be close at hand if they persevere, we will see a clear reduction in the problem.

If we go with a wall, our gains will be largely symbolic. Take note that many of the 9/11 hijackers did exactly what this David Shirk guy said that a third of our illegal immigrants did: overstayed their visas. Would a wall on our borders have stopped the hijackers?

I’m sick of this country going for symbolic toughness while it’s real ability to defend itself and secure its borders suffer. That’s my agenda. That’s my objection. I don’t like the border wall idea because it’ll never succeed at its purpose, not because I’m trying to cover for politicians in my party. I define my liberalism by the practical, beneficial use of government, and thus don’t favor the wall. It won’t help us.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 11, 2007 10:28 AM
Comment #232551


Many people think that illegal aliens sneak across the border and then hunt a job. That isn’t the way it works. there is a support apparatus set up for them. They have a job before they cross the border and many already have forged documents.

Illegal immigration is stopped at the employer, not the border.

Posted by: jlw at September 11, 2007 12:25 PM
Comment #232554

JLW,

The Bush Administration is where the failure lies. They have failed the General, the troops and the American People and the American People know it. I can’t help but believe that even many of the true belivers know that this is true in their hearts.

I’m not sure what (or who) you are implying with the “true believer” comment; though, I can proudly say that I disagree with your viewpoint that Bush is responsible. The enemy is responsible! They are responsible for all the attacks, all the venom, all the hatred, all the killings and despicable murders and torture, and all the propaganda and lies that, unfortunately (and disappointingly), many Americans have been “played” by; mainly b/c of their hatred of Bush.


It is a shame that some just cannot (and will not) put their hatred down long enough (I’m talking a few minutes here) to see this reality. Nothing has been more evident than to watch this Four Star (decorated) General go to Washington yesterday and have to be talked down to and besmirched (“Bush Report”) by a bunch of bureaucrats and (of course) “brave” anti-war/Bush crowds (some on this blog). Some of us on this very blog have been telling you that the surge has been working; yet the hatred prohibited some of you from believing or accepting that fact. Then, Patreaus, who’s the “architect” of the surge, gives a detailed report and they still couldn’t accept it. I’m telling ya, you have to put the hatred down first, or at least have the courage and patriotism to redirect it towards the real enemy. But, no, it’s Bush and his “believers” that are the target. Nice.

Posted by: rahdigly at September 11, 2007 1:01 PM
Comment #232558

rahdigly, the surge is NOT working. The Purpose of the surge was to provide the Iraqi government the security to get their act together. They are not getting their act together, therefore, the purpose of the surge has not been met, and the surge did not result in the outcome that it was intended to produce. The surge provided additional security, yes, but the Iraqi government did not come together which was the goal of the surge. Which is why I opposed the surge in the first place, because, additional security was not the primary REASON the Iraqis weren’t coming together in the government.

What is with Republican’s penchant for illogical grasping at untrue straws like this? When folks argue night is day or day is night in their location for all to see the error of their argument, one has to wonder about their mental state.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 11, 2007 1:52 PM
Comment #232562

Quote:

“It will be a forthright assessment of what we’ve achieved and what we haven’t achieved.”
Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, June 17, 2007

Well, was this an forthright assessment?

Pick your definition of forthright:

1) archaic : proceeding straight on
2) free from ambiguity or evasiveness : going straight to the point
3) notably simple in style or quality

IMO Petraeus is in the clear with definitions 1 & 3, but I would have hoped for “free from ambiguity or evasiveness” and, IMO on that account he failed greatly.

And to those who would and have called me and my liberal friends cowards, traitors, cut-n-runners, and much worse I might ask that you refresh yourself on the military oath:

“I, do solemnly swear, that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

So if I, as an American citizen, believe that ANY member of our military leadership is placing allegiance to ANY man, including the POTUS, above his or her allegiance to our Constitution then I’ll complain all I want. It’s called freedom of speech. And if that makes me a coward, so be it, you’re free to call me whatever you wish. That is your right.

I’m just curious where the Republican outrage was when Rumsfeld publicly repudiated Gen Shinseki, saying he was “far off the mark”? Or when a “senior administration official” told the Village Voice newspaper that Gen Shinseki’s remark was “bullshit from a Clintonite enamoured of using the army for peacekeeping and not winning wars”?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,925140,00.html

Or was that different?

Posted by: KansasDem at September 11, 2007 2:14 PM
Comment #232563

Stephen said: “I agree with the notion of letting people pay a fine or go back and re-enter to gain or regain legal status.”

Yes, deport them and let them try to come back legally IF they meet the conditions and terms of our legal criteria for legal immigrants. I am tickled we have found some common ground, here.

Stephen said: “It’s elitism to deny America to those willing to come here and work hard.”

Now that is a statement that leads to incredibly irrational results. Of course it is eliteism. Americans have built an elite nation through revolution, civil war, burning and carnage in our streets in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and slavery and its abolition. Your damn right we live in an elite nation compared to most other nations. And that is no argument to degrade the qualities that made us an elite nation.

That statement of yours with your meaning leads to overpopulation problems, downward wage pressure problems (regression to the mean of world wages and dramatically lower quality of life for working Americans), and ghettoism as in E. LA.

And you know damn well I, nor most, who rationally include a border barrier in their argument advocate the border barrier as the only measure to be taken. That is a straw man of your own making. The argument is that no other measures can be successful without a border barrier which first dramatically reduces the rate of daily and monthly crossings and drives the cost of crossing up so high as to reduce the demand for crossing.

And you cite a tunnel as if it were evidence of border barriers not working. Stephen, surely you have the rational capacity to to grasp that a single choke point for illegal entry is vastly easier for our authorities to deal with, and admits vastly fewer illegal immigrants than thousands of miles of open border, and dramatically increases the cost for illegal crossings as opposed to open borders. Surely your adept reason is capable of understanding the truth of these logical facts, right?.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 11, 2007 2:14 PM
Comment #232565

jlw, illegal immigration is interrupted and slowed in many ways, and combining them will effectively stop it, with few exceptions. Your argument is false on its face, as you imply ALL illegals come in by the system you proscribe, which is patently false.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 11, 2007 2:19 PM
Comment #232578


David R. I noticed my mistake after posting. Of course, all illegals don’t come in that way.

Posted by: jlw at September 11, 2007 3:36 PM
Comment #232590

Stephen:

Your argument presumes that Petraeus is not a man of honor. It is guilt by association. Because Petraeus is linked to Bush he can be treated without honor. I don’t by that for a minute. What the left attempted was character assasination of a military officer. Destroy the messenger before he gives the message.

The left is absolutely wrong in it’s tactics. They dishonored a man who has spent his career defending you and I.

In a time of war, I expect more from Congress. Actually I expect more from all of us. When we are discussing the war, I expect us to behave in a way that honors the sacrifice of these young people.

That does not mean changing positions on the war. I am speaking of tactics in debate. I have no problem with Congress stating their points of agreement and disagreement. That is their job in our society.

Where I part company is the transparent politication of the war for political gain while body bags are coming home on both sides. It is the determined strategy to defeat Petraeus before he speaks. The coordination of congressional leadership with groups like moveon.org to attempt call Petraeus a traitor. (Betraeus). To call the surge a failure before the troops have arrived. To imply Petraeus is a Bush stooge before hearing him speak.

Stephen, I don’t mind shooting both ways on this thing. I think Bush rushed to judgment on this war. I think they were arrogant and had way too much self confidence. I don’t think you in the democratic party are even the slightest bit better. Actually I think a bunch of democrats are two faced, fair weather allies who supported this war in the begining because they wanted to be on the winning side like the first gulf war. Now that we are in some difficulty, they change sides trying to be on the winning side again. (Kerry for one).

We are here. And we need men and women of courage and principle. We need hyper partisanship to go away. There is no place for hyper partisanship in wartime. NONE.

There is a wide need for statesmanship, and stature and respect. Congress is a part of why this war is going on. It is the disfunctional way that they deliberate that is making solutions harder to come by. It’s not all of the problem for sure, but it is a slice. Behavior of Congress is one of the issues that is prolonging this war.

Craig

Posted by: Craig Holmes at September 11, 2007 7:24 PM
Comment #232593

Craig said: “There is a wide need for statesmanship, and stature and respect. Congress is a part of why this war is going on. It is the dysfunctional way that they deliberate that is making solutions harder to come by.”

Words just don’t get any truer than these above.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 11, 2007 7:35 PM
Comment #232598

C.H.& D.R.R.
GREAT posts better comments could not have been said,

Posted by: KAP at September 11, 2007 7:58 PM
Comment #232617

“Behavior of Congress is one of the issues that is prolonging this war.”

Craig,

Well I agree if you’re talking about the obstructionism of most Republicans, but I somehow doubt that.

Are you suggesting that we should agree with every word Petraeus and Crocker say without question?

Moveon.org did what they did. How outraged were you about this:

—-when Rumsfeld publicly repudiated Gen Shinseki, saying he was “far off the mark”? Or when a “senior administration official” told the Village Voice newspaper that Gen Shinseki’s remark was “bullshit from a Clintonite enamoured of using the army for peacekeeping and not winning wars”?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,925140,00.html

Or was that different?

Posted by: KansasDem at September 11, 2007 11:41 PM
Comment #232630

David R. Remer-
I find it vaguely insulting that you think that I’m so scared of admitting you’re right that I’ve invented this position to forestall that. No, I really do believe what I’m saying, and if you want a productive discussion, you can’t simply assume that I’m being irrational here.

I understand why you want the wall. You want to prevent people from crossing the border illegally. And it might very well do that, where it’s capable of doing that. However, people who are properly motivated (you must admit the lengths these people go to get into this country are great) will find a way around that.

They’ll come here legally, or with the appearance of legality. By the time they’ve actually violated the law, or their paperwork is exposed as a fraud, they’ll be long away from the border.

People who are well motivated will adapt. The key to the strategy I present is drawing that adaptation towards what we want. We make it easier to be legal, harder to be illegal, and let people motivate themselves towards going through the proper channels.

By making it too hard to immigrate legally, we’ve not kept low wage competition and the other headaches out, we’ve only made it more difficult to manage these problems under the law. Security is not about absolute safety. It’s about greater control of risk, which yields relative safety as a product. It’s easier to control a risk when they go through you as a middleman, than when they go through somebody else.

The wall appeals to people because it represents absolute control. But that control is an illusion. Look at Israel. The wall has only changed the nature of the risk, not reduced it. In fact, it’s only served to aggravate and already profound problem. Israel has asserted symbolic control without gaining permanent security.

Why should we copy Israel’s error? Why should trade the illusion of security for the reality?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 12, 2007 8:20 AM
Comment #232631

Craig Holmes-
My argument presumes that even men of honor can be wrong, can feel compelled, in the service of what they see as a good cause, to fudge things a little. This is an administration that encourages groupthink, wishful thinking, and always looking to horizon for success when difficulties arise.

You might claim to shoot both ways, but so far, the majority of your shots have come our way, and not over substantive policy, but over the way some of us are arguing our cases against the war. The Democrats in Congress are not the ones prolonging the war. Only by the repeated, concerted denial by the Republicans of what most Americans want, has this war continued.

If you think I’m wrong, ask yourself this question: when Democrats successfully brought their withdrawal resolutions to a vote, who vetoed them? Ever since then, who has repeatedly threatened to filibuster anything that cuts the war short? Being evenhanded is only fine so long as the evidence justifies it.

As for the Surge? Look, this notion that we have to try everything out before we know it won’t work is absurd. The Surge was foolish on the face of it. It was much smaller than what military experts said would be needed to get the entire country under control, we never had the soldiers to keep it going long term. It wasn’t even a measure supported by the American people, who opposed it 4 to 1.

We’re essentially fighting at this moment to save face, to keep Bush from having to face the disintegration of the Iraq strategy on his watch. He went with the surge for political, not practical reasons. The Status quo was what he wanted, but it was political suicide. Giving into the Democrats and two thirds of the country on the war was admitting defeat, which he didn’t want to do. So instead, he takes on a strategy that we don’t have the resources to fully carry out, which doesn’t have the manpower to achieve its security aims, and which, as predicted, has hardly produced any political gains of its own accord. It wasn’t merely partisan to say the surge was doomed to failure, it was only a well-informed reading of our capabilities after four years of war, the effect that such a minimal rise in manpower was going to have, and of the sectarian discord at work there.

The question you’ve got to ask yourself is whether Bush has ever really fulfilled his promised objectives. According to the evidence, the answer is no. This war is being marketed to us by this administration, using Petraeus as an honest broker, as Colin Powell was used five years ago, to get past people’s skepticism. It’s being marketed using sentiments about what we should do, rather than facts about what we have done, and can do.

The time for nice politics is really over. I think its time for the American people to start making their wishes more clear in other, more visible ways.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 12, 2007 9:27 AM
Comment #232646

Craig Holmes

If you want to blindly follow some one because of their position in government or the military you can do that!!!!!!! I can only see the death and destruction caused by blind followers of countries like Nazi Germany in the history books. I think this countries history has some bloodstains from blind followers. I think the way we exterminated the Native Americans and stole their resources was very similar to the Iraq blood for oil war, seeing them as savages to justify what we did to them was wrong!!!!!! We had a little civil war also from people blindly following their leaders that was a slavery issue. Myself I would rather step back and take a good look at the situation and make my evaluation from what I see!!!!!!! I don’t think our present government has any credibility. They seem to fabricate everything they give us instead of giving us the facts!!!!!

Posted by: Outraged at September 12, 2007 3:12 PM
Comment #232660

Stephen:

My argument presumes that even men of honor can be wrong, can feel compelled, in the service of what they see as a good cause, to fudge things a little. This is an administration that encourages groupthink, wishful thinking, and always looking to horizon for success when difficulties arise.

My argument or counter point is that the left has been behaving without honor by engaging in charactor assasination. This is repulsive to me in war time when body bags are coming home. War demands more of our tactics. War time demands of all of us that our behavior honors those who are serving.

Please I am not saying to not criticize. I am saying that the left in Congress has gone way beyond “oversight” and toward “aiding the enemy”, by it’s tones and tactics.

YOu also are right in that I haven’t been even handed so let me shoot the other way.

If we go back to say 1998-2000, we had what many call a distracted president. I think Clinton had a reasonable policy on Iraq. The UN had a oil for food program. It was reasonable in it’s conception. By that I mean, I might have suggested the same thing. The problem with Clinton’s policy is that it was falling apart at the end of his term. Something different had to appear.

Right at that time when we needed Presidential leadership, Clinton was fighting for his political life because he lied to a grand jury about a sexual encounter with a intern on the job. I personally would have fired Clinton. I spent many years on a school board. If a principal would have been caught on school property with a student teacher, he would be gone.

Impeachment is not like that. Congress is to look at the good of the country. Al Qaeda was a threat!! Republicans then were doing no better than Democrats now. Republicans were no a search and destroy mission because they hated Clinton as much as the left hates Bush. Congress has the mandate to over look “minor” illegal activity, for the good of the country when we are threatened. That is why impeachment takes a vote.

So Republicans in Congress are no better in character (or worse) than Democrats.

Here is a KEY difference. We are now at war. What brings me into this fight, is that Congress appears even in time of war to have no shame. If Congress can behave as children while our finest are coming home in body bags then they can go to hell.

As a citizen I demand a different tone. I demand that both parties put away hyper partisanship and behave in a manner that shows respect for the young men and women in harms way. I am ashamed of how Congress is behaving. Debate any topic, but do it with respect and reverence because each day some American is being killed or maimed serving our country.

Craig

Posted by: Craig Holmes at September 12, 2007 7:34 PM
Comment #232680

“Debate any topic, but do it with respect and reverence”

Craig,

Show me one example of a Democratic Congressman or Senator NOT displaying respect and/or reverence in the past few days involving the Petraeus/Crocker hearings.

Posted by: KansasDem at September 13, 2007 12:40 AM
Comment #232828

Craig Holmes-
While tone is important, it is a superficial matter compared to policy. I would recommend to the Average Democrat that they be passionate, but argue from fact and compelling logic, rather than from political attack.

However, I would also argue that good facts and high quality logic in the service of valid interpretations are more important than good manners. Lies, myths and unearned deference do not become less harmful to the American people when they are accompanied by good manners.

Manners are a communication issue, and as such those who communicate about the war shouldn’t compromise themselves with bad manners if they can help it. However, What America needs more than etiquette at this point is truth.

Moreover, you should look at the political manuever that this represents for the Republicans, rather than take it at face value as some complaint motivated by true outrage. The fact that they both cited the same source, and made effectively the same points, should indicate that their protests of unfair treatment are no more spontaneous than the Democrat’s out front statements about respect and reverence for the qualifications of those they’re questioning.

Which leads me to my point: beware of the ulterior motive here. The Republican wish to establish, with only appeal to general principles, that the Petraeus testimony is to be taken at face value and granted blank-check deference.

There is enough evidence out there concerning the way Petraeus’s measurements are taken to indicate that the over fify percent of Americans are right that Petraeus softened up the statistics and how they were produced to make things look better, to sell the continuation of the war.

What’s important is not the manner of the argument- good logic and inference is not always offered with a friendly tone. Good communicators should keep their cool, as emotions can cloud the reception of rational arguments, but unless we start from quality facts, valid interpretations and sound logic, all the concerns about tone and respect are superficial.

The question of whether Petraeus’s report is accurate or misleading is not to be found in his inherent status as a soldier and generals; let us not forget that these folks are as imperfect as us, and that they have their own share of incompetents, ass-kissers, and fakes. No, the question of whether Petraeus report is misleading is a factual one, and the facts so far have indicated that his view of events is all too rosy. When you measure whether somebody was killed in sectarian violence by which part of their head they were shot in, the qualify of the inference breaks down. When you ignore the success of insurgent efforts to separate out Sunni and Shia in Baghdad, when commenting about drop in sectarian violence, or when you ignore the effects of Iraq’s incredibly hot summers on the level of violence, the reliability of judgments regarding such events is compromised.

Petraeus’s testimony is being doubted by Democrats in part because the same sort of arbitrary and misleading logic pervades both the General’s testimony and the overall communications of the White House concerning this war. As the polls indicate, Americans have sufficient experience with this Administration to believe that regardless of what Petraeus or anybody else says, It’s goal is to push Bush’s policy, and has been all along, regardless of whether the policy responds appropriately to the facts on the ground

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 14, 2007 2:15 PM
Comment #232844

Too Everyone:

This is funny!!

I said:

Soon John Edwards will agree with me, and have his wife say something about it!!

JD resonded:

Soon John Edwards will agree with me, and have his wife say something about it!! Craig

I don’t think we usually agree, but that was a great line!!!

JD


Today I read!!

http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0907/A_Sistah_Souljah_moment.html

That is sooooooooooooooo funny!!

Craig

Posted by: Craig Holmes at September 14, 2007 3:51 PM
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