Democrats & Liberals Archives

Is the Surge Over?

Anybody hear anything about a surge? You remember we were told that all we needed in Iraq was a surge to reduce violence and bring brotherhood to Iraq. Then we would be able to leave in “victory.” How come no one talks about a surge now? How come we get almost no news about Iraq?

It seems that the only one thinking about the surge is John McCain. "It's working. It's working. It's working," he repeats constantly and mechanically like an automoton. If it's working when are our troops coming home? Or, whether it's working or not working, we must stay in Iraq for "100 years"?

If working means bringing reconciliation among the factions, even according to General Petraeus it's NOT working:

Gen. David Petraeus said yesterday that “Iraqi leaders have failed to take advantage of a reduction in violence to make adequate progress toward resolving their political difference.” Petraeus said “no one” in the U.S. and Iraqi governments feels Iraq’s leaders are making “sufficient progress.”

How do Republicans answer when we ask When are the troops coming home after their "victory"? It seems that if there is violence we must stay there to stop the violence, and if the violence stops, we must stay there to make sure the violence does not begin again. Where's the end?

Well, although the media does not bother to report it, the violence has begun again. What do we do now? Another surge? 4000 Americans dead is not enough? Meanwhile we are losing everything we gained in Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden is free as a bird.

The surge is over. Why don't we declare "victory" and go home? Let's put our armed forces to use where they will do some good - in Afghanistan.

Posted by Paul Siegel at March 14, 2008 10:30 PM
Comments
Comment #247990
How come no one talks about a surge now? How come we get almost no news about Iraq?

Maybe because the surge is actually working? If it weren’t ya can bet your butt the liberal press would be all over it like ugly on an ape. Specially with this being an election year.
But if it is working that would mean that Bush finally got something right. And y’all can’t allow for that now can ya?

Posted by: Ron Brown at March 14, 2008 11:56 PM
Comment #247993
How come no one talks about a surge now? How come we get almost no news about Iraq?

Because there is a bigger war going on right now in the Democratic party?

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 15, 2008 12:15 AM
Comment #247999

The news from Iraq is still there. Still bad. Baghdad is still seeing weekly bombings of innocents and attacks on our and Iraqi soldiers.

4000 dead Americans doesn’t phase the White House and those whom it does phase, feel impotent to change anything until the Idiot In Chief’s term of office is over and his protege’s bid for office is successfully terminated.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 15, 2008 1:01 AM
Comment #248002

What an article.

Paul says he never hears anything about the surge and then links to a recent article about the surge he read on a far-left site. I may not be an avid reader of leftist blogs and websites, but I watch the news and have heard plenty about the success of the surge.

I should ask, “Hey, people! How come we never hear anything anymore about that Eliot Spitzer! Wasn’t there some kind of scandal there! How come nobody’s reporting on it?”

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 15, 2008 1:10 AM
Comment #248004

Paul,
For a long time, Iraq dominated the political scene. Now, several political topics compete with Iraq for attention, especially the elections and the economy. Part of the reason Iraq no longer dominates the discussion is exhaustion. Another part of the reason is despair over anything actually changing. The Bush administration and Republicans will keep the US in Iraq until they leave. To put it crudely, we’re screwed, and we’ll be facing the same horrible mess in 2009 and we are facing today.

The Surge may have lowered violence between Iraqis- and by the way, I have never seen any indpendent statistics which support that assertion- but in any case, it certainly failed in its strategic objective, which was to foster political coooperation between the factions of this civil war.

The Iraqis refuse to finish legislation signing over their oil fields to US corporate control. The Shias refuse to release tens of thousands of Sunnis political prisoners (insurgents) from the jails, per the recent agreement. Can’t imagine why. And the ruling Shia party, SCII, is not about to hold provincial elections which it will almost certainly lose.

Meanwhile, the US cut deals with Sunni insturgent groups which used to fight against us. They are now referred to as Awakening Councils, and these are unelected organizations which used to be guerrila groups. The US has provided them with arms and political power within their own territories.

And of course, arming our enemies is a policy which can’t possibly go wrong. Nope. This time, the plan is perfect! We’ll give lots of weapons to the people who were recently attacking us. Brilliant! Nothing can possibly go wrong with this approach. Not one thing.

Posted by: phx8 at March 15, 2008 1:22 AM
Comment #248020

First of all, the media is looking for ratings. They is going to prioritize their stories according to what is hot in the current news cycle. Not to worry, the cycle is 24 hours and is always shortening. If you dont hear about Iraq today, you may hear it tomorrow.
Currently, what is hot, is the Democratic Primary. It is a very juicy story. A black man or a woman could be president? Or how about both in the White House together? Or how about both in bed together? The possible new First Lady…ahem Man, Laddie, Spouse? Or a tactless Mrs. Obama? These are the “days of our lives.” This is what people are interested in.
The media could talk about Iraq. One voted for the war and another did not. Do you know which one? That could help you decide your candidate.
Spitzer is attracting a lot of attention. I wonder who else are fellow clients. Maybe it will be the Iraqi president and then we will have Iraq back in the news.

Posted by: JoeRWC at March 15, 2008 10:22 AM
Comment #248024

A few months ago I remeber reading about how the number of Bombings in iraq were down 70%. However, looking at those numbers on realized it still meant that bombings were in the hundreds per month.

I haven’t had time to research this, but maybe someone else can.

As to news coverage, I’m waiting for the all prostitution, all the time news channel. During ratings week, local stations consistently run stories on prostitutes and strippers. I wonder why?

Posted by: googlumpus at March 15, 2008 11:15 AM
Comment #248033

Goo,
See www.juancole.com for a good analysis of the situation.

Cole points out the surge was a means, not an objective. Petraeus is making that clear, but the point undermines John McCain. Petraeus is probably too popular to be sacked like Admiral Fallon- who wanted to ‘put the crazies back in their box’ by refusing to go along with warlike moves against Iran- but Petraeus could easily be pushed aside with fanfare, to make sure he doesn’t say anything else that destroys the lies
being perpetuated by McCain about Iraq.

Posted by: phx8 at March 15, 2008 12:47 PM
Comment #248034

Even people who supported the original invasion of Iraq did not expect to be there this many years later, and I do not think that the American people are going to support moving large numbers of troops from Iraq to Afghanistan to continue that mess there either. Most of the media covers the stories that are easier for them to cover, expensive hookers on the east coast, and crazy drunken sluts on the west coast.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 15, 2008 12:49 PM
Comment #248042

Paul

I have noticed lately that there seems to be a sort of roller coaster of news concerning Iraq. Once in a while there are a few stories about the successes of the Iraq’s and how they have made personal strides in their lives. The next day there will be news of new bombings and more death. This last week I think was probably one of the more violent weeks in some time. I think we can say that the surge has been a success only in that it has been effective at curtailing the level of violence that was previously there. But there still are many questions and strides to be made before we can claim any degree of success in proclaiming Iraq a self sustainable independent democracy. As Phx 8 pointed out the main reason that violence has declined is that we have armed various factions in hope that they will take the fight to the extremists rather than us and the Iraqi people. That and the fact that short term agreements with these insurgent groups have quelled the violence. The real downer is that the Iraqi government has not taken the opportunity during these somewhat quiet times to make any credible legislative progress. Corruption seems to be the means that motivates their economic condition. I think they have taken a liking to our money and do not wish to see the river dry up.

This whole thing could just as easily reverse itself at the drop of a dime. It may be quiet for now but my guess is that those who have a vested interest in this war are living on pins and needles in the hope that we will be willing to ride this thing out for an indefinite term. I think that by now it is clear that there will be no changes until GW is officially retired from office. In the meantime we are all holding our collective breath hoping that he is not allowed to make more incredibly foolish decisions. If I were an Iraqi I would be encouraging my elected officials and all concerned factions to get very serious about meeting the required goals necessary to establish independence. In a few months we will have a new president. Odds are good that it will be a dem. While we may not be leaving immediately, I suspect it will happen and probably much sooner than the Iraqi government would care for.

Posted by: RickIL at March 15, 2008 2:07 PM
Comment #248043

Of course the surge isn’t over. Didn’t they just decide they need to suspend it indefinately?

Posted by: womanmarine at March 15, 2008 2:20 PM
Comment #248045

The reason why not much on Iraq is because the Democrat’s war makes better news.

Posted by: KAP at March 15, 2008 2:26 PM
Comment #248046

Years of being under the gun for the Buscho f-ups, and it must feel pretty good to center the controversy elsewhere. But the Democrats will work through all this stuff now and we’ll all remember what’s really more newsworthy.
It would seem that losing Fallon is NOT a good omen, and is quite possibly a prelude to Stoopid being able to complete his prophetic term…..or should that be “pathetic”…?

http://www.metimes.com/Editorial/2008/03/12/editorial_firing_admiral_fallon/1134/

Posted by: Jane Doe at March 15, 2008 2:31 PM
Comment #248054

Is the surge over? No, but now that the hate spewing from Rev. Jeremiah Wright has been blaring all over the news the past couple of days, Obama’s candidacy sure is.

Posted by: Duane-o at March 15, 2008 5:34 PM
Comment #248064

I sure wish more reporters would come to Iraq and see the progress. They stopped coming when the news began to improve. What you see on TV and read in the papers is often old news, interpreted from the 2006 perspective.

If you watch telvision news footage, you often see particular units or uniforms that WERE in Iraq in 2006, but rotated out. They still use the file footage because they don’t have new stuff.

I think “Bushco” would LOVE to have some good current analysis of Iraq and the changed situation. Let the journalists come to places that were bloody battle grounds in 2006 and now have thriving markets. Let them talk to the people on the streets of Al Anbar cities.

I have little doubt that the terrorists are planning some kind of push in Sept/Oct in order to get anti-war people elected in the U.S. We have beaten them on the ground and increasingly the people of Iraq are rejecting them, but they still can win in Washington. They know that; do we?

Posted by: Jack at March 15, 2008 6:37 PM
Comment #248067

Obama will have to repudiate the black Jerry Falwell publicly, and resign his membership in that church, now that they have that idiot on videotape. The United Church of Christ should do something too, about “God damn America, it says so in the bible”. Obama needs to cut all ties immediately for damage control, but anyone who thought he wasn’t associating with this type of character is seriously deluded. The Rezko thing is flaring up a little bit here, but they still haven’t gotten to the heart of that matter.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 15, 2008 6:42 PM
Comment #248068

8 American soldiers died last Monday. How come Republicans always seem to be on the toilet when that kind of news coverage is being aired? The total is now 4000, and that means NOTHING to Republican supporters apparently, as long as their leader’s decision to expend those 4000 lives is vindicated.

Truly remarkable that in the same craniums is housed the belief that they respect human life above all others, and especially those wishing to end the war. Truly, truly remarkable. Thus, I remark upon it.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 15, 2008 6:45 PM
Comment #248071

Yes, terrorists managed to kill eight Americans. We all noticed, some more than others. SO this is how it works. If terrorists can kill some of those fighting them trying to stop them from killing, that means we should stop fighting the terrorists. In other words, the more terror a terrorist inflicts the less resistance he can expect from us? Seems to me that this will not discourage terrorists.

BTW – I am not a big believer in polling data about Iraq, since what is happening means more than what people think is happening, but the latest Pew Poll on Iraq indicates that 53% of Americans now think we will achieve success in Iraq. This is up from 42% in September. I have noticed something about 53%. It is more than half and hence a majority. The number who think things are going fairly or very well in Iraq doesn’t quite get a majority, but it jumped from 30 to 48% and is a plurality of the total responses.

I have said on many occasions that polls are not that important. Many of you have disagreed with me and may want to take note of how variable the will of the people can be.

David

Everybody I know wishes to end the war. If wishes were enough, we everybody would be home and Iraq would be reasonably democratic, stable and not a threat. And if wishes were enough we would not longer need to protect the human rights of the people in Iraq from inhuman terrorists who enjoy killing them.

Posted by: Jack at March 15, 2008 7:09 PM
Comment #248080

Well, we lost more in one day on the sands of Normandy. So by your body count logic we should have stopped butt cold in the sand and pulled out?

I don’t believe that every boxer enters the ring thinking about 12 rounds. But it happens. Do we want to be in this fight forever, no. But be in it long enough for a win either by decision or knockout. Since we are there.

Posted by: ScottP at March 15, 2008 8:39 PM
Comment #248082

somewhere between 100 and 145 cops are killed every year. Some by accidents, some by intention, at what point in time in the body count mentality do we say enough and pull out of the crime fighting business? Thank God for soldiers who knowingly sign up and fight and die. I give to their charities and buy them drinks when I see them, they are the Lords gift to this country, don’t demean them and there mission by throwing in the towel before the last rounds are fought.

Posted by: ScottP at March 15, 2008 8:47 PM
Comment #248087

ScottP,
How do you feel about mercenaries? How do you feel about people who will not serve the country, but will serve for a corporation in exchange for a high fee? How do you feel about the war profiteers, who make millions upon millions of dollars from the war? Do you condemn mercenaries? Do you condemn profiteers? In past conflicts, Americans condemned mercenaries and profiteers. Americans despised them. Do you?

Posted by: phx8 at March 15, 2008 9:46 PM
Comment #248096

phx8,

At first I had to think. But our army is a merc army. All volunteer. Instead of high pay, it is high idealism. I do not despise mercs, have no arguement with the Executive Outcomes of the world. This planet is run and controlled by the use of overwhelming force, either by technology, manpower,strategy, or politics. From the ants to humans, life clashes. Backing down, fleeing from a fight never gaurantees the succesion of bloodline. Just another fight the next available day. Win, and things settle. Run, and fight another day? How is that superiorly helpful?

Profiteers? like boeing, grummond, browning, Humvee people, Haliburton (started by Kennedy/Johnson btw) Exec. outcomes etc. Not necesarry if the actual fighting should be allowed without the sanitization that is needed for the U.S. public to swallow. Everytime our military/contractors are hamstrung by sit at home public opinion, then we are lost. It is always easier to walk away, then finish the quest. But that does not make or allow us to rest, as running only, usually leads to chasing. Then what? Two of the same species may not always chase, but I do not consider the Muslim call for Jihad, our same species. Human yes, but sending children, women, and idiots to death is not in my group. (Well, after a couple beers, I can produce idiots, but they will only kill themselves and others involuntarily.)

Posted by: ScottP at March 15, 2008 11:05 PM
Comment #248098

Voltaire 1769:
So long as the whim of a few men causes thousands of our brothers to be honourably butchered, the portion of mankind devoted to heroism will be the most frightful thing in the whole of nature. What becomes of and what do I care about humanity, benevolence, modesty, temperance, tenderness, wisdom, piety, when half a pound of lead shot from 600 paces shatters my body, and I die at the age of twenty in agony beyond words, in the midst of five or six thousand dying men, while my eyes, opening for the last time, see the town in which I was born destroyed by sword and fire, and the last sounds I hear are the cries of women and children expiring under the ruins, all for the alleged benefit of a man I do not know?

Posted by: ohrealy at March 15, 2008 11:11 PM
Comment #248102

MadTV on Irack:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcjLEwZqcQI

Posted by: ohrealy at March 15, 2008 11:31 PM
Comment #248104

Phx8, what’s your point about mercenaries?

I’d ask you: how do you feel about having armed security guards at a bank or driving armored cars? Like police officers, they carry weapons, and sometimes they also end up in shootouts with criminals. But unlike cops, their job description is not to “serve to community” and they’re doing what they to do to make a living. Is there some specific attitude we’re supposed to have toward them? If so, I’m not sure what it is.

Strictly speaking, we do not have American “mercenaries” in Iraq. The various security contractors there do not conduct raids, searches, patrols, or other military missions but provide security. And by far the majority of them were previously soldiers or police officers.

As for casualties, even if there were no casualties at all that would not be an argument for the worthiness of the mission. By the same token, suffering casualties is not an argument against the mission. You have to judge the mission itself, and when it comes to Iraq, that’s a different debate, and one which we certainly haven’t neglected to have! Especially on internet blogs.

What I find most surprising, though, is not when those who are anti-war raise the issue of American casualties. It’s when they bring up terrorist bombings of Iraqi civilians as an argument against the war. To me, those incidents are reasons to fight on and fight harder. To me, it’s no different than saying that if Lincoln heard about lynchings of slaves, that he should given up the fight against the Confederacy. Or that Roosevelt should have given up against Germany when he heard about the mass gassings of Jews.

The fact that we have an enemy who deliberately and systematically massacres innocent people is in my view only a reason to fight them until hell freezes over—and then fight them on the ice.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 15, 2008 11:40 PM
Comment #248124

ScottP,
Fair enough. But even if you reject higher ideals, and embrace a view of the world as a Darwinian struggle in which might makes right, I don’t think it changes the fact that war should be a last resort. Even if that point of view is accepted, putting US troops into other countries would not make sense, unless they were there by invitation, and usually countries do not invite foreign troops to come in.

For example, sending US troops to Kosovo to prevent a genocide, or to Liberia to do the same, would be appropriate. These are cases which doesn’t fit into your scenario. These are cases where moral obligation, supported by the international community, makes intervention appropriate, even though national security is not at stake.

The US government cannot make a moral case for occupying Iraq. US intentions have been quite clear right from the start. Iraq is a conquest. The US military bases are permanent. Large Iraqi businesses have been sold to multinational corporations. Oil contracts will be awared to US oil corporations (along with Brit & Dutch co’s).

Loyal Opposition,
Personally, I cannot imagine a circumstance in which I would give my life for a corporation. A corporation is a fictonal entity. A corporation is not worth dying for.

Terrorist bombings in Iraq have been limited to the country of Iraq. This tells us something. Iraqis are not attacking outside of the country. As far as I know, not one Iraqi has launched an attack on US soil. Not one has even attempted it.

Well, I can think of exceptions. I think there was a case of an Iraqi attack in Jordan by Zarqawi, who was Jordanian in the first place. There might have been attacks in Kuwait. The Kurds and Turks are mixing it up pretty regularly now. And the MEK, a terrorist organization whose base is protected by US troops, has launched bombings in Iran.

Oh my. How rude of me to mention that. Um, who should we punish if the US protects the MEK?

The point is, the Iraqis are capable of fighting their own civil war. They don’t need us to add to the slaughter, or arm everyone (at a profit).

Posted by: phx8 at March 16, 2008 12:59 AM
Comment #248128

Phx8,

I did not suggest the hollywood shoot first then ask questions later. I am saying as I have told my son, fighting is not always the answer, but if you must, then stay-throw-kick-spit-bite to win.

I was not in favor of Kosovo etc. we were just the heavy weight on the block so as to let the un have some sort of authority. The speeches and reasons did not have anything to do with us as a security issue is concerned. As a matter of fact, I am perplexed by the muslims whom we were helping have then turned on us before we went to Iraq.

All intelligence reports and comments from both the established clinton presidency and the neophite bush administration pointed to a threat to the US. In hindsight, incorrect, in the present, actionable. If “if,ands & buts were like candy and nuts what a party we could have!”

You can’t always bluff your kids into behavior, You can’t always order them in bahavior, eventually they will force your hand.

By my memory, Iraq had all of the time, diplomacy and hand wringing necesary to prove compliance. They refused, called the bluff and lost. We joined the game, anted and then followed through.

In a country where speach is controlled, how is the invitation supposed to arrive? email? registered letter?

Moral obligation? The kurds? Womens rights? Most of the Shi-ites? Those that disagreed with the government? How many dissodents makes a moral obligation?

I do not believe we went to war for oil, otherwise why not invade Canada where we get more of our oil? Closer, cheaper etc.

As for a base, why not. In the heart of Asia? with a newly formed democratic style goverment? What a better threat to BS that is there now. I would rather stay in the US, but when the intention is to kill or convert all but Wahabi Muslims, then I want us as close to the source as possible. In fact, why we have let Saudi Arabi off the hook also perplexes me.

Posted by: ScottP at March 16, 2008 1:31 AM
Comment #248129

Jack said: “Everybody I know wishes to end the war.”

Then they would support ending it. But, of course, everyone you know does not support ending it, but, continuing it until improbability becomes reality. Ergo, your statement is false, on its face. Not that you intended it such. It is, nonetheless.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 16, 2008 1:34 AM
Comment #248130

Phx8,

Always enjoy your retorts btw. As far as higher ideals, I do not disbelieve, just not so Polly-annish to allow my own death based on the other cheek. Does it have to start somewhere? Yes, but only when Ghandi (highly spiritual) is facing the English (highly self moral). The muslims in this fight have only demonstrated a proclivaty to chop heads first and crap on the negotiations in the end.

Posted by: ScottP at March 16, 2008 1:38 AM
Comment #248132

David

Because it WON’T end if we lose. The first thing that will happen is that thousands of our friends will be murdered, people who supported us at the risk of their lives and those of their families. Next, the problems will spread to the entire region. The terrorist will be emboldened from having defeated us and will get new recruits. With a base from which to operate in the center of the Middle East, they will be able to attack our interests all over the place.

As we have defeated the radicals, they have become weaker. That seems so obvious I don’t understand why I need to repeat it. There is some kind of myth out there that the more we defeat the enemy the stronger they become. But people respond to incentives. When it is easier and more effective to support terrorism, more people do it. In Iraq, violence and the support for violence has declined based on our success.

The fact that we have not been able to defeat all the terrorist doesn’t mean it doesn’t help to defeat some of them. In Iraq, we are seeking not only to defeat them militarily, but also to address the environment that produces terrorism. We are doing just about everything war opponents would recommend except run away.

BTW - We are trying to protect the lives and property of war opponents even if they don’t recognize it & in fact hinder us.

Phx8

I see that LO addressed most of your concerns, but let me add my own.

When you speak of mercenaries, you probably mean private security contractors. This is not something anybody likes, but the terrorists will kill people w/o protection. An NGO operating in Iraq needs to hire security. There are bad security people. But when you go to the shopping mall are you appalled to find a private security guard there?

I know you are not referring to our troops, which would have gone beyond stupid. I know you are not like that, but just to make sure everybody else knows I point it out here.

Re war profiteering - in any government endeavor there are abuses. That is why we should have the smallest possible government involvement in general. When we find abuses, we should address them and we do. Private firms in Iraq are handling much of the logistics. You have to feed and shelter the troops. We used to just draft people and make them do these jobs. We did not have to pay them much, but they often lacked the expertise to do the job efficiently. When you need some plumbing or electrical work done at your house, do you do it all yourself? I know that many homeowners consider plumbers and electricians as profiteers, but you need to pay people who do work for you.

Re conquest of Iraq – that is sort of silly. A conquest would be much easier. If you wanted only to seize the important resources, you could easily to that. We are working to rebuild and stabilize the whole country. It is the moral thing to do.

There have been a lot of arguments about trying to spread stability and democracy. I agree that we may have overreached, but that is a practical consideration. We were right morally, but maybe our reach exceeds our grasp. That remains to be seen. Events in Iraq in the last year have created a new hope.

Re Gandhi

Gandhi was facing an enemy that valued morality. What worked against the British, would not have worked against the Nazis or against today’s Islamic terrorist. It would not even work in China today an it is not working in Burma, despite almost universal international support. AQI would just behead Gandhi and send his lands to the media.

Gandhi could achieve success because the British were on the other side of the equation. And even in this case, we saw truly appalling carnage and wholesale ethnic cleansing after the British left.

Re dying for a corporation – I don’t think anybody would do that just for the money. But people risk their lives everyday and in every way. You don’t expect to die when you drive your car or even when you drive above the speed limit, but you risk it.

Posted by: Jack at March 16, 2008 2:37 AM
Comment #248139

Corporations like Blackwater do not care about collateral damage, and end up working against the larger interests of the military. They are only interested in protecting the principal against attacks, and have used more force than necessary to achieve their ends.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 16, 2008 1:07 PM
Comment #248172

Jack said: “Gandhi was facing an enemy that valued morality.”

What new nonsense is this? Their enemy, the British government, enslaved millions for their pleasure and convenience and murdered them, men, women, and children when they resisted their slavery and the oppressor’s enslaving laws. They valued morality in appearance only, in reality and action the dearth of moral action was a Grand Canyon.

If the British government could have hidden their immoral treatment of Indians from world view, they would have perpetually to continue their immoral enslavement of the Indians. Gandhi’s genius was to expose their immorality to world opinion, causing moral people around the globe to demand the British to end their hypocrisy of speaking morally for appearances, and acting immorally for expedience and enrichment.

Know people by their actions, not their words, and one will not be fooled so readily, Jack.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 16, 2008 7:28 PM
Comment #248173

Jack said: “Because it WON’T end if we lose.”

Wow. Don’t read much news, do you? We won already, years ago, defeated Hussein and his heirs and their armies. We won.

It hasn’t ended because we haven’t left after having won, and the Iraqis resent the hell out of our occupation. Enormous profits are being made by certain Americans through the continued occupation. Very much as enormous profits were made by the British in their occupation of India.

Our occupation of Iraq is just as immoral as the occupation of India by the British. Unlike the British, our hypocrisy in the eyes of the world’s moral people, fails to move our President to withdraw. He made a mess of it all, and now he must have his vindication regardless of the cost to the American or Iraqi peoples.

And you still support him? Remarkable. Thus, I remark upon it.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 16, 2008 7:36 PM
Comment #248179

The economy is bringing the American empire to an end.

The 15 countries using the euro just passed the US in terms of the size of their economy. Who imagined we would fall so fast?

The Fed just dropped the Fed Funds Rate .25% on a Sunday! Bear Stearns has been bailed out by the Fed and JP Morgan- so much for all the claptrap about free markets- and Lehman Bros is rumored to be the next one going down.

An American economy is deep recession makes dreams of empire untenable. Like it or no, Iraq will end soon.

It really is remarkable. The Republicans and conservatives have done terrible damage to this country in just seven years.

Posted by: phx8 at March 16, 2008 11:02 PM
Comment #248186

And remember, these financial firms are the same ones who lobbied for deregulation, and for the opportunity to manage Social Security.

Bear Stearns was $20 on Friday. It is being taken over by the Fed and Rockefeller money for $2, which is shockingly low. Foreign markets down. Here goes another couple hundred off the DJIA. The Fed is in panic mode. It doesn’t get much uglier.

Posted by: phx8 at March 17, 2008 12:57 AM
Comment #248187

“How come we get almost no news about Iraq?”

Because there is mostly good news to report. The surge was worked far better than anyone dreamed and frankly should have been implemented two or three years ago. When it comes to Iraq, no news is not only “good news”, but great news.

Posted by: David M. Huntwork at March 17, 2008 2:14 AM
Comment #248191

David H., you must just be ignoring the news. Two bombings in Baghdad last week, and 8 American soldiers died last week. Your “no news” is ignorance of the news that is presented. Lot of that going on in the Republican circles. Hammer the good news and pretend the bad news does not exist. No wonder Republicans screwed up the leadership of our government so extremely badly.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 17, 2008 5:39 AM
Comment #248192

phx8 said: “It doesn’t get much uglier.”

Ah, but, it can. The worry now is a global vicious cycle that began in the U.S., but, creates domino effects around the globe. Not a high probability of that given the moves being made not just by our own, but, the central banks of other nations as well, but, the possibility now exists where it didn’t just a couple months ago.

More than 230 financial institutions have failed since 2006. Another fairly well kept secret of the Bush administration. There is a limit to how much the taxpayer can bail out of failure through deficit borrowing, without compounding a contracting economy long term, and Paulson appears to wish that limit to have already been reached. But, we shall see.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 17, 2008 5:50 AM
Comment #248206

I guess Morgan/Chase got a pretty good deal on B/S at 10 cents on the dollar, but they are a part of the Illuminati conspiracy, so Bush friends are in on the deal. When I heard the news, I was seriously considering taking my money out of the bank.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 17, 2008 9:32 AM
Comment #248207

David R., Phx 8, Jack or anyone with an educated opinion

I have never proclaimed to be particularly sharp on economic issues, but is it shallow of me to see something wrong in continually using my tax payer money to bail out irresponsible monetary organizations? How many times can the fed cut the discount rate to banks before they are paying the banks to take our money? Are they not simply forestalling the inevitable in the hope that all of a sudden the masses of consumers will quit paying down their debt and head back out on a wasteful spending spree even though energy costs are reaching a new high each day?

It seems to me that all our economic indicators reek of a free falling downward spiral of mis-managed economic policy and irresponsible banking practices.

Should we let this thing runs it course? Do we have any real choice? What is the bottom line? Just how much worse can things get for those affected? I am not in panic mode here. But I am very concerned as to where this is all leading. My instincts tell me things must get much worse before they will improve to any large degree. Am I wrong?

Posted by: RickIL at March 17, 2008 9:37 AM
Comment #248212

Ohrealy

When I heard the news, I was seriously considering taking my money out of the bank.

Scary stuff. Was it not the same thing that was a major cause of the last great depression? I did a quick search and came up with this interesting read by a fella named Doug Casey.


“You may be asking yourself: Is the Greater Depression really inevitable? How bad will it be? Is there another side to the argument? Can it be avoided?

I suppose it’s not absolutely inevitable. Perhaps friendly aliens will land on the roof of the White House and present the government with a magic technology that can undo all the damage it’s done. But we live in a world of cause and effect where actions have consequences. That being the case, I expect truly serious financial and economic trouble. And the government will make it vastly worse by trying to “do something” instead of recognizing itself as the cause and backing off. I don’t see any way out.

How bad will it be? In historical terms, the last depression was relatively short and mild. The longest depression on record was the Dark Ages. Residents of the old USSR and Mao’s China suffered through a depression that lasted decades. I’m not predicting it will be that bad, if only because the U.S. has basically much sounder traditions and institutions and vastly more accumulated capital. But it’s hard to overestimate how serious this could be. I sometimes joke that it will likely be worse than even I think it will be.”

Posted by: RickIL at March 17, 2008 9:56 AM
Comment #248213

For anyone who may be interested here is a link to the full article by Doug Casey. >a href=”http://www.lewrockwell.com/casey/casey11.html”>The Greater Depression

Posted by: RickIL at March 17, 2008 10:01 AM
Comment #248215

Sorry, should have previewed first. Duh!

The Greater Depression

Posted by: RickIL at March 17, 2008 10:07 AM
Comment #248216

RickIL, I do most of my banking electronically. I was going to open another account, since they want to give me a free IPOD. I will probably just spend some of it on electronic toys. I guess that’s what Bush wants us to do. I usually try do the opposite of what they want.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 17, 2008 10:12 AM
Comment #248221

“Asian Stocks Tumble on Bear Stearns News”
from:
http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080316/world_markets.html

“Markets slump on banking worries” from:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7300017.stm

I think it will be a bear market after the Bear Sterns news.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 17, 2008 11:03 AM
Comment #248233

Ohrealy

Ohrealy

Electronic toys are a good thing. I have a few things I want but do not really need so I decided to put my tax return towards eliminating credit card debt. My only purchase was a Dyson vacuum which I got at Best Buy as a never used open box deal. It was on sale and I got an additional 10% off the sale price. That plus a gift card made it very affordable. I needed it because my other vac simply did not tackle pet hair as well. I was starting to feel like a walking human hairball. :) I did not have a lot of debt and can say that the rebate will finish the job off for me. I have learned over time to not play into the “have to have it now” marketing ploys of big business.

Posted by: RickIL at March 17, 2008 12:05 PM
Comment #248236

RickIl, I live a few blocks from a Best Buy, and have bought many things from them. I will be moving in may 31, so I am actually trying to get rid of things instead of buying more. I think I will sell my TVs and just go with a new laptop. That MacBook Air looks pretty good, but I have a hereditary prejudice against Apple.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 17, 2008 12:27 PM
Comment #248247

Ohrealy

Good luck in the move. Are you leaving the state? I just read in the newest PC mag that the Mac Air is a nice little machine but it is lacking enough ports, the battery is not user replaceable and the charge hold time is three hours or less.

Posted by: RickIL at March 17, 2008 2:13 PM
Comment #248261

RickIL:

I have been tracking this stuff for most of my adult life (at least 20 years). People like Casey have been predicting doom the entire time!!

Getting your finincial advice from someone who makes their living from precious metals is like asking Kennedy if liberal politics are good for america. you can ask, but why bother since you know the answer.

He is a doomsdayer. So it may happen and it may not, but don’t listen to doomsdayers since they say the same thing all the time.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 17, 2008 4:06 PM
Comment #248269

RickIl, I will just be moving to another place in Park Ridge. I lived in Palatine when I first moved back here, then in DesPlaines. I have 2 cousins in DeKalb, and another in Somanauk that works for NIU.

On the Mac Air, that’s the trouble with commercials, they make you think you’re getting something really great, and it turns out to be a piece of junk. I was looking at laptops at Best Buy, and they eventually start talking too fast about things that I don’t even understand. I was supposed to be grading the spring standardized tests, but they didn’t like my Ram or the WiFi.

It’s really going to be the economy, stupid, this year unless there is a big turn around. I still say we should repudiate the debt or get it off the books with bonds for Bush. Debt service is going to screw the next administration.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 17, 2008 5:20 PM
Comment #248270

ohrealy:

It might be. What I am hearing is that the stock market should end the year fine. Typically election years look like a hockey stick. Markets don’t like uncertainty and when the election is over, the market responds well.

The economy is important, but the recession/slowdown should be over by then but just barely.

What will remain is health care. Health care is becoming an economic problem.

Not long ago (September) it was assumed that Iraq would be the major issue.

A crisis like this is a normal part of investing. This one is different. Wow dividends on stocks are about the same as 5 year tresury yields!!!

Posted by: Craig Holmes at March 17, 2008 5:47 PM
Comment #248284

David

I am not British, but you have to look at what a different sort of enemy would have done. How long would Gandhi have been left alive by Hitler, Stalin, the Japanese etc? I am not saying that they would have succeeded in putting down an Indian rebelion, but I am saying that non-violence doesn’t work against people who seek violent solutions.

Re American profits - Some American firms are making profits, but that profit is not coming from Iraq or Iraqi pockets. It is costing us money to be there. That is not the kind of thing occupiers seek. It would be cheaper in the short run for us to leave, but it will provoke much more violence in the long run.

You can argue that our remaining in Iraq is not practical and that we cannot help that place become reasonably democratic, stable and not a threat, but the reasons we are staying are very moral and the reasons we might leave are much less so.

Re Iraqis - Everyone would like to have us leave, but not right away. We hear that from locals every day. This issue is just a lot more complex than the black and white ideas we hear in the U.S.

Let me just start the paradoxes. Almost everybody serving in Iraq wants to leave, but they want to stay and finish the job.

Almost all Iraqis want us to leave, but they want us to stay until leaving is safe.

With the benefit of hindsight, I believe the invasion was a mistake, but we are there now and a greater mistake would be leaving too soon.

So you can see that I agree with many of your premises, but I draw a forward looking conclusion. All decisions involve ambiguity and risk. I believe the risk of catastrophic events that would follow a precipitous U.S. withdrawal is much worse than the risk of staying until we are reasonably finished. BTW – that IS what Obama and Hillary will conclude if they win. I believe they have already and are just stringing along the left. The only problem with this strategy is that it gives hope to our enemies and makes them want to fight on.

People on the left side always pose the simplistic question. It is like asking a man who needs a life saving operation whether he would prefer to avoid the surgery. OF coures he would, but the consequences of doing that are deadly.

So I can tell you with 100% certainty that I support getting out of Iraq. It is a horrible place. Even w/o the conflict, the dust heat etc makes me wonder why anybody would want to stay. But like the man needing the surgery, I understand that is possible only when we have finished the job we started.

Posted by: Jack at March 17, 2008 7:06 PM
Comment #248295

Craig Holmes

Thanks for responding. The Casey thing was one of the first links that popped up with a quick google. I see he calls himself a historian which led me to be a little suspicious of his analogy. Personally I think our problems are no more complex than consumers have simply spent and financed beyond sensible means for a few decades now. Amassed debt coupled with rapidly rising energy costs have jolted the median income consumer back to reality. The resulting trickle down effect is affecting what apparently has been a fragile economy for a while now. Other than the credit union scandals I can not recall a time when financial institutions have been so severely affected in my lifetime. It will be interesting to watch and see just where all this uncertainty leads.

Posted by: RickIL at March 17, 2008 8:07 PM
Comment #248298

Oreahly

It is a small world isn’t it. I am very familiar with Somanauk and of course Dekalb. I used to run into Park Ridge quite a lot when I worked for the Tollway system. I always thought it was a nice area.

Sounds like you are a teacher. My youngest teaches middle school art in Oswego and commutes from here in Dekalb. He was complaining last week about grading time. He does it from home and spends hours getting it done.


I usually try to avoid the tech guys at Best Buy. A lot of them have no idea what they are talking about and are in it just for the sale. But of course it helps if one knows what they are looking for before hand. The last I knew Toshiba makes a great laptop. My Sony Viao desktop is a little over 3 years old now and I have never had a problem. I think it has frozen on me maybe a half dozen times in that duration and I use photoshop and some other intensive programs on a fairly regular basis. I am also one of those guys who is not afraid to get inside the machine and make upgrades etc. As a result I have become fairly computer savvy over the years.


Sounds like you are a teacher. My youngest teaches middle school art in Oswego and commutes from here in Dekalb. He was complaining last week about grading time. He does it from home and spends hours getting it done.

Posted by: RickIL at March 17, 2008 8:35 PM
Comment #248301

RickIl, I don’t teach, just do some work for the township. I work with senior ciitzens in Mount Prospect and Arlington Heights, and on Saturdays, I bring goodies to a nursing home in Wheeling.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 17, 2008 9:03 PM
Comment #248312

It’s clear the surge worked. It reduced violence. That and everything that went along with the surge such as enlisting the help of locals and negotiating and paying them to join us.


With the war moving in the right direction, with political progress also now apparent, it’s only natural that the public would focus on other issues…such as the economy. And further only natural that the candidates will focus on what the voters are focusing on?


And listen up. Both Clinton and Obama have sent out people who have suggested they would not “cut N Run” and melt Iraq down. My words? No, i heard this on NPR from an old time liberal commentator. He said we already know that NAFTA will not go away, now we know Iraq will not go away…so we need to evaluate candidates on the basis of other issues.


And he’s right. Obama got burned badly for word leaking out that he was assuring allies that we would not take down NAFTA that was just election talk. Now we’ve seen similar statements from both sides on Iraq. It seems no one wants to see Iraq swing to an Al Qaeda hell hole and have the civil war re ignite.


So yes, for various reasons, no one wants to talk about the surge except for McCain, who said it would work, and he was right. McCain owns the surge and democrats don’t want to talk about it. Nothing surprising there. If things turn badly in Iraq again…..you will hear democrats gladly pronouncing the surge failed. But until then…the surge is off limits to the left.

Posted by: Stephen at March 17, 2008 9:41 PM
Comment #248328

Stephen,
Cheney calls Iraq a “successful endeavor.”

During this past day in Iraq, 39 were killed in a suicide bombing in Karbala, and 51 injured. Five were killed in mortar attacks, 12 injured in eastern Baghdad. Two US soldier were killed north of Baghdad.

I could go on Stephen. There is a lot more, and that is just one day in Iraq. And that is only what is reported. And that only counts the reports that are translated into English. Sorry to confuse the official government line with facts. Do you want me to continue, or would you like to retract what you said? I think Dick Cheney, the Vice President of the United States of America, is a colossal liar. Agreed?

Posted by: phx8 at March 17, 2008 11:23 PM
Comment #248329

Stephen,
According to a British firm, the Opinion Research Bureau, 70% of Iraqis want US/coaltition forces to leave.

Spin it for me. Please explain why US forces should stay, but in every opinion poll taken since 2003, a vast majority of Iraqis want the US to withdraw from Iraq.

Posted by: phx8 at March 17, 2008 11:29 PM
Comment #248330

phx8, and as I said, if Iraq goes sour again you folks will celebrate and start using it as a political weapon. So far I’m dead on?!

Posted by: Stephen at March 17, 2008 11:58 PM
Comment #248331

phx8, So at what date did the 70% want us out? You didn’t give much information there.


I’ve heard Iraqi people say they want us out, then they follow it up with but not right away, not until our army and police can take over.

Now you explain that away? This goes nowhere.

The surge worked. Many in your own party said so. And even POLITICAL bench marks have been hit.


There’s no need to be dishonest about this. So what if the surge worked? it’s not over. It could get much worse. We need to get out. We need to stop spending our wealth over there.


Don’t waste your time fighting reality. It worked but it’s not over. We still need out.

Posted by: Stephen at March 18, 2008 12:01 AM
Comment #248336

During the build-up and the first months of the surge, the genocidal ethnic cleansing in Baghdad reached its peak. The surge failed. The US negotiated truces with the Sunni insurgents and the Mahdi Army. We armed the Sunnis insurgents (formerly known as terrorists) into Awakening Councils, and gave them autonomy to kill other insurgents (still known as terrorists). The violence peaked in late summer, reached its nadir this winter, and has climbed again for the past two months.

The surge was a tactic. Its strategic goal was to allow the various factions of the civil war to negotiate political accomodations. As Petraeus observed, this did not happen.

Celebrate? I was opposed to going into Iraq. I have been opposed all along. I will be glad when Cheney and Bush are gone, because they are liars, and they have done great harm to this country as well as Iraq. They have tarnished and diminished the United States of America more than any terrorist could ever have hoped to do. So the word “celebrate” does not exactly come to mind when it comes to the despicable record of Bush and Cheney. I just hope people like them never, never, never get the opportunity to be in power again.

ORB pdf file:
http://www.channel4.com/news/media/2008/03/week_3/16_c4_iraq_poll.pdf

The next article offers interpreations, and here are the first two bullets:

“a majority (53%) of Iraqis view the “surge” as unsuccessful in reducing the violence in Baghdad. Among residents of Baghdad, this rose to 55%.

70% of Iraqis - 60% of Sunnis, 78% of Shia and 64% of Christians - want coalition forces to “leave” the country. Of this 70%, 65% of Iraqis (64% of Sunnis, 68% of Shia) want all coalition forces to leave the country “immediately / as soon as possible”. A further 13% want a full withdrawal within six months.”

http://heathlander.wordpress.com/2008/03/17/polling-your-face-off/

So when Bush & Cheney and, yes, McCain tell you we’re doing great in Iraq, recognize it for what it is…

Posted by: phx8 at March 18, 2008 12:18 AM
Comment #248339

More summaries from the ORB poll (same article):

“4% of Iraqis have a “great deal of confidence” in U.S. occupation forces. By contrast, 46% have no confidence “at all”, while 33% have “not very much confidence”.”

“only 7% of Iraqis “strongly support” the presence of Coalition troops in Iraq. By contrast, 41% “strongly oppose” this presence, and a further 31% “somewhat oppose” it.”

“overall, 61% of Iraqis think the U.S. presence in Iraq is making security there “worse”. Only 27% think it is making security better.”

Of course, we’re not supposed to pay attention to what Iraqis say, and we’re not supposed to count Iraqi dead and wounded and those who fled the country.

Here’s an open question: How many Iraqis have been wounded since the US invasion in 2003?

I’m pretty sure it’s an important statistic to Iraqis, especially the injured Iraqis and their families.


Posted by: phx8 at March 18, 2008 12:33 AM
Comment #248372

Stephen

You folks use the term success pretty loosely. You seem to suggest that it has accomplished all the intended goals when it fact it has not. It has played a major role in the reduction of violence. Not a discontinuance of violence. As Phx 8 stated it has not accomplished the rest of the goals for which the surge was intended. Nor does there as far as I can tell appear to be any major headway in these accomplishments. Iraq is still a very violent place teetering on very shaky and uncertain ground. In the end the length of our presence will boil down to who is elected in November and the consequences of the reevaluation of priorities with regards to our current declining economic status.

Posted by: RickIL at March 18, 2008 10:20 AM
Comment #248436

Rick. Fighting the success of the surge is a waste of time. It worked. I’m not saying it accomplished all the “goals” but it did accomplish the major goal. It INCREASED security on the ground and gave the political process a chance. And now we have seen a number of political goals achieved.

Much more needs to be done. And lets be REAL honest…neither Obama nor Hillary will run away from Iraq….they don’t want to go down in History as the surrender monkey president that set off genocide in Iraq from which the middle east completely melted down.


Get it? We broke it, we own it. Perhaps new leadership can get more troops and police trained faster. Perhaps some troops will be brought out. perhaps it can be done smarter. But in the end, Neither Hillary nor Obama want to create massive civil war in Iraq that destroys their chances of reflection and causes Saudi Arabia to melt down.


The surge worked. But can we press this thing home and establish enough stability to allow us to leave?

Posted by: Stephen at March 18, 2008 11:15 PM
Comment #248477

Stephen

The surge worked. But can we press this thing home and establish enough stability to allow us to leave?

The surge worked. I guess that means we can prepare for redeployment. Regardless, of whether or not the Iraqi’s are ready for our departure, either a new president or a continuation of failing infrastructure and economic issues, or both, will necessitate departure of some form soon.

I think when push comes to shove the rest of the world will step up and do their part despite the fact that we broke it. But of course they will expect a fair share of petroleum based riches. And there in lies the true obstacle to our departure.

Posted by: RickIL at March 19, 2008 3:43 PM
Comment #248505

Stephen,

You wrote:

If things turn badly in Iraq again…..you will hear democrats gladly pronouncing the surge failed. But until then…the surge is off limits to the left.
It is limits to Paul, I and others. His article here is dedicated to it. So is mine: The Surge is Working That does not look off limits to me. I assume that your broader point here is that many of our Democratic leaders have rolled over and played dead and that is unfortunately true. They are unwilling to buck the corporatist controlled right wing news media which sold us the war and is now determined to sell us the occupation. Also let us not forget that Haliburton makes contributions to Democrats too. We will not have honest leadership in Washington until we have public financing of elections and we take control of our country back from the corporatist (read; soft fury fascist). The Dems are clearly a little better than the Repubs, emphasis on little. Their support or silence does not mean the surge is working - if it were we would be withdrawing troops to below pre-surge levels. Republican and corporatists media positions on the surge are even less credible. The fact that our excellent military, with the help of countless corporatist mercenaries are able to temporarily hold the lid on Pandora’s box does not change the fact the lid has been taken off - and whether we leave yesterday, today, or 100 year tomorrow, the horrors contained therein will escape.

You also wrote:

The surge worked. Many in your own party said so. And even POLITICAL bench marks have been hit.
There are more troops in Iraq now than there were to begin with. That is not called a surge. That is called a permanent escalation. Even if we succeed in the end - whatever that means - it will not be worth a tenth of the price we paid. If the surge had worked we would be reducing the troops to lower level than what they were before the surge. Have you conveniently forgotten that was the plan. Now you want to rewrite history.


Then you wrote:

And now we have seen a number of political goals achieved.
????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????

Posted by: Ray Guest at March 19, 2008 8:46 PM
Comment #248506

Stephen,

Oh right, I remember now, political progress like welcoming AckwardMcDinaHandJob with a warmer welcome than Bush gets.

Posted by: Ray Guest at March 19, 2008 8:48 PM
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