Democrats & Liberals Archives

Iraqi Infighting

At first, when I heard that Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki was cracking down on rogue militants and criminals in Basra, I was heartened. This is exactly what should be happening in Iraq. Unfortunately, not all is as it seems.

It turns out that al-Maliki -- a shill for the renamed Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) -- is fighting for political advantage over al-Sadr in Basra in preparation for the upcoming provincial elections. Far from targeting "criminals," al-Maliki has his security forces targeting al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia. This whole exercise is nothing more than a political putsch.

So while President Bush seeks to paint this as "progress," it's really just a continuation of the factional infighting that the surge was supposed to stop. What does it mean for US troops in Iraq? It means another long hot summer...

Posted by American Pundit at March 28, 2008 8:24 PM
Comments
Comment #249457

Your first link isn’t working, Mr. Pundit.

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 28, 2008 9:08 PM
Comment #249458

OOps sorry. Second link

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 28, 2008 9:09 PM
Comment #249459

The closest thing that I could find to the second link on allthweb was:

Every day, we receive dozens of requests from Iraqis asking us to issue a fatwa against the Americans, and we say no. But this “no” will not last forever -Spokesman for Grand Ayatollah Sistani
If Sistani calls for a holy war, it will happen. -Ayatollah ‘’Ali al Wahid
No to America. No to the Devil. -Chant at Muqtada al Sadr rally
Introduction.
When the U.S.-led military forces took control of Iraq in early 2003, they assumed control of a country with a short but extremely complex religious, ethnic, and social history. As the future of postSaddam Iraq unfolds, the attitudes and behavior of the Shi’ite Muslim Arabs are emerging as critical factors for Iraq’s future. This community, traumatized by years of Iraqi government brutality, forms 60-65 percent of the Iraqi population. Currently, the majority of its members appear determined not to return to their former status as an oppressed majority ruled by minority Sunni leaders.

from
http://www.army.mil/professionalwriting/volumes/volume2/july_2004/7_04_3.html

Posted by: ohrealy at March 28, 2008 9:15 PM
Comment #249460

AP, you might be interested in reading this Alternet article: Five Things You Need to Know to Understand the Latest Violence in Iraq

Also, I put up several other links about the escalating violence that’s taking place in Iraq over in Jack’s A Foreign Policy for the Real World thread over in the Rose Colored Column that you might feel like checking out, too.

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at March 28, 2008 9:26 PM
Comment #249462

from the first link:
Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, a Vietnam War veteran and Republican war critic, rejected Bush’s assertions that Iraq had improved markedly, telling CNN “this is still a very unstable, serious, dangerous situation.”
“I think this is another episode of Alice in Wonderland, what’s up is down and what’s down is up,” Hagel said of Bush’s portrayal of the war. “What do you mean stability and security? Baghdad, for example, has been over the last year essentially ethnically divided.” …
The Basra violence, which the Bush administration has portrayed as a fight pitting the government against criminal gangs and illegal militias, has killed more than 130 people and sparked protests and violence in Baghdad, including the Sadr City slum named after Sadr’s father.

I am expecting to here about another friendly fire incident against the few Brits that are still left near Basra, or the Bush version of how to win friends and allies, by shooting at them.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 28, 2008 9:43 PM
Comment #249466
OOps sorry. Second link

Oops sorry. It’s working now.

AP, you might be interested in reading this Alternet article: Five Things You Need to Know to Understand the Latest Violence in Iraq

Thanks Veritas, that was interesting reading. From the article:

But the timing of this crackdown is not coincidental; Iraqi separatists — Dawa, SIIC and others — are expected to do poorly in the regional elections, while the Sadrists are widely anticipated to make significant gains.

This is what I’m talking about. It’s a political putsch. And we’re stuck in the middle once again. Isn’t this sort of factional infighting exactly the sort of thing the surge was supposed to stop?

Posted by: American Pundit at March 28, 2008 11:38 PM
Comment #249467
Far from targeting “criminals,” al-Maliki has his security forces targeting al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia. This whole exercise is nothing more than a political putsch.

It is not a a “putsch” if the democratically elected government demands that armed militias renounce violence or cracks down on them when they refuse. Is it a “putsch” if the LA PD cracks down on gangs?

A-Maliki is the democratically elected leader of Iraq, and these militias and their leaders have every opportunity to make gains at the ballot box (as your articles suggest they’re poised to do in some places). But it is not a “putsch” to crack down on unelected armed militias who are using violence to go outside of the democratic process.

That there is still sectarian violence going on is a valid point to raise, but this “putsch” stuff is nonsense.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 28, 2008 11:53 PM
Comment #249468

The one thing I think you guys are missing is that Muqtada al-Sadr is presently “studying” to be an Ayatollah. In fact, his entire plan most likely is to become an Ayatollah and take over Iraq after it is united and settled and the Americans and Iraqi army has done the hard part of quelling the nation and putting it together. Sad but true, if we succeed it would probably be just to hand it to him in the end.


His desire to have his forces stand down may in fact be real and he has claimed that many of his former troops would not listen to his calls to stand down. I find that believable. His plan at this point I believe, is to take over as the great religious leader of his people in a few years when he gets his degree, not to take over with a civil war.

I understand it’s the Iranians who are going to make him an Ayatollah. So he’s trying to maintain control of his former army while asking them to not function as an army while he is getting his religious degree. Many cut-throats are no doubt not interested in being shop keepers and working for a living just because Sadar had a change of plans.

Posted by: Stephen at March 28, 2008 11:55 PM
Comment #249473

AP raises good points. Iraq is still a mess, despite the astonishing progress that has been made over the last year. But anytime you look at any country in transition, a move by the government can be seen as the action of a “faction”. An important part of governmental power is its ability to monopolize the legitimate use of force and that is tough. Think back in our own history. The people supporting Shays saw the troops putting them down as representing factions.

But, as often happens, some posts have debauched into anti-American propaganda. Talk about factions! For example.

“I am expecting to here about another friendly fire incident against the few Brits that are still left near Basra, or the Bush version of how to win friends and allies, by shooting at them.”

You know this is really insulting anti-American hatred. You are speculating about something that has not happened. You are insulting our troops, implying they are stupid or malicious and you are minimizing the difficulties involved in fighting wars.

I know you hate Bush, but cant you understand that by trashing your country and its troops you are attacking US not Bush? And isn’t it bad enough to trash your country for mistakes that have happened? Why do you have to trash it for things that didn’t?

You can hate Bush all you want, although he will be gone in a couple months and your hatred will be just impotent rage against a retired guy living on a ranch in Texas. But you need not take down your country as collateral damage.

Posted by: Jack at March 29, 2008 12:43 AM
Comment #249474

Jack, you’re really over the edge sometimes with your ridiculous comments. I think you’ve been in the desert far too long!
You absolutely refuse to see what is in front of you…no matter how it’s pointed out . Things are falling apart AGAIN there and you won’t accept it.
Man, I wish we only had a couple more months to deal with s**t-for-brains…even he could not do a whole bunch to screw things up in that short time frame.

Posted by: janedoe at March 29, 2008 12:51 AM
Comment #249477

“anti-American hatred” has grown in every country on earth as a result of this war. I am more interested in stopping the hatred.

“speculating about something that has not happened” and “things that didn’t”
Wrong, speculating about something that has already happened, happening again.

“you hate Bush”, wrong, I don’t hate him anymore than I hate the village idiot. As a president, he is worthless, as the town drunk, he would be perfect. A lot of other people, who actually have met the guy, have more hatred for Bush than I do, and it’s personal with them, including some named McCain.

“attacking US not Bush”, wrong, I am attacking Bush, who should be in front of a war crimes tribunal January 21, 2009, the day after the universal world celebration of the end of his presidency. He needs to take the fall for all the nonsense, which if it had been done by a Democrat, your party would want his whole family lined up in front of a firing squad.

“couple of months” more like ten months minus 9 days, believe me, people will be counting the days as it gets closer.

“just impotent rage against a retired guy living on a ranch in Texas”, why would you think he will still pretend to have any interest in TX, there is nothing there for him, maybe he’ll go back to Kennebunkport, or join his brother in Costa Rica.

With the mess that Iraq has in its future, we would have been better off leaving the day after they hung Saddam Hussein.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 29, 2008 2:18 AM
Comment #249479

God I am so sick of this war. I am sick of bushey boy, I am sick of the right attacking those opposed as being anti troops, anti US and so on.

I find it unbelievable that anyone can think that things are going well in Iraq. They rarely if ever have electricity or clean water. The oil pipe lines are being blown up all the time. People die in the hospitals every day, children included, of things that they shouldn’t die from. Surguries are performed without anesthesia or minimal anesthesia. and people are still arguing that we can win. WIN WHAT? When is this crap going to stop. If we truly wanted to help Iraq then we would work on a diplomatic solution and then pour all the money we are using to fight the war into rebuilding a country we have devastated.

If Al-Sadr takes over at some later date, we have no one to blame but ourselves for going in there to start with. It is the lack of doing research and homework about the region and its many factions that has led to all this instability. I am sick of people bringing up Iran. Again any idiot with a brain should have anticipated before going in that this would happen given how Bush insisted on baiting them with his inflammatory remarks and also after supplying Iraq in it’s war against Iran, we should have known that Iran would interfere. We didn’t anticipate anything because our president and his minnions thought that it would be a cake walk. They thought playing war was the same as doing war.

This is SICK, SICK, SICK. There is no end to this. I agree with Obama when he says there are no good solutions to Iraq only bad and then worse solutions (not a direct quote-can’t remember exactly how he said it) and now our President is encouraging the factions to fight between each other and lets don’t assume that the current government in Iraq was truly democratically elected.

I have serious doubts that our current president was democratically elected so I would never assume that the same people wouldn’t interfere to insure that their hand picked boy got elected in Iraq.

Please excuse any misspellings. I was too lazy to get the dictionary out this morning.

Posted by: Carolina at March 29, 2008 8:28 AM
Comment #249481

Jane

Lots of Iraqis are dying fighting terrorists and insurgents. Their casualties are much higher than ours. It takes a lot of courage for many of them to go about ordinary life. The terrorists kill judges, teachers and ordinary business owners. This is still the situation we and they face.

But is it ridiculous to notice the astounding progress I see around me? Markets are open; businesses are returning; people are rebuilding; children are playing on the streets. Is it ridiculous to tell the truth even though it is nuanced and inconvenient? Is it ridiculous not to recycle second hand accounts? Is it ridiculous to want to work to avoid your country’s defeat and help the people of Iraq build a future better than their past?

Maybe my values are outdated. Maybe the sophisticated people have moved beyond the simple notions of truth. Maybe someday I will become more like them, but not today.

Ohrealy

When I believe my country is in trouble, I reveal it with sadness, not the glee you express. And you are just being silly when you talk about these thing happening again and again. The fact is that you are speculating about what COULD happen in the situation we are talking about today. Why must you jump to the worst case scenario?

Your hatred for Bush is palpable even over the distance of the Internet. I don’t really care about that. Bush has no future in politics and I am looking forward.

My experience tells me that the best thing we can do TODAY is work to finish the job in Iraq. Your experience (whatever that is) tells you that we should cut and run at the earliest opportunity. I am not sure which of us is right, but my judgment is not clouded by hatred nor is it tied to the past.

Try this simple thought experiment. You may enjoy it. Imagine Bush is gone. We are still in Iraq. What do we do? Do you still want to cut and run? Do you think president Obama or president Clinton should cut and run?

Now you are thinking of telling me that indeed neither would make hasty decisions. They would respond to conditions. Exactly.

Posted by: Jack at March 29, 2008 10:08 AM
Comment #249486

Carolina, remember Rummy’s “cake walk” was supposed to last “6 days, 6 weeks, I don’t think we’ll be there for 6 months”.

We are used to the government lying to us about many things, but when it comes to war, we would like more honesty from them before we get to 4,000 dead and tens of thousands maimed. About a week ago, I was in the post office, and a woman that I didn’t know came in, literally jumping for joy, because her son had finally gotten out of the Marine corps alive.

Jack, “when I believe my country is in trouble” confuses me. My country is not Iraq, and the trouble is that we are in Iraq. “Work to finish the job in Iraq” is a concept that no one here gets anymore. What exactly would finishing the job look like? A country with no history of democracy, all of a sudden becoming a model of democracy?

What is probably going to happen is that we are going to get a new president, the Iraqis are going to behave themselves for a little while, we pull out, and then all hell is going to break loose, while we once again either provide them with weapons to fight Iran, leave them to fend for themselves, or bomb Iran. The best thing that we could have gotten was an independant Kurdistan, and we are not even going to get that.

If they don’t behave themselves, we are going to pull out anyway, but slower, whether it is McCain, Clinton, or the former Clinton advisors who would be running Obama’s administration.

I don’t know what “glee” you are talking about. I think GWBush is a sad unfortunate person imprisoned into a repressed life that he entered into for family reasons.

The lead story on Iraq in the BBC world edition is “Iraqi militia defy call to disarm” at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7320302.stm on the AP it’s More US airstrikes on Basra
On Reuters it’s Maliki says Sadrist foes worse than al Qaeda

Posted by: ohrealy at March 29, 2008 12:07 PM
Comment #249490

AP:

This is what I’m talking about. It’s a political putsch. And we’re stuck in the middle once again. Isn’t this sort of factional infighting exactly the sort of thing the surge was supposed to stop?

Yeah. This bogus war needs to be brought to an end as quickly as possible. It was all based on lies from the beginning, there was never any planning, never any definitive goals in mind, and it’s been and is still being sold to the American people as an endless war that needs our continual presence for the next hundred years. This is a mountain of BS, and Obama is the man holding the shovel who is going to dig us out of it.

The only reasons behind this war was to act out the hegemonic fantasies of the Cons, and to rip off American tax dollars so that the Cons and their defense buddies would get rich at the same time. There was absolutely no reason for any of our troops to ever fight and die or be wounded for this war — and the vast majority of the American people know this.

ohrealy:

we are going to pull out anyway, but slower, whether it is McCain,

You obviously haven’t been listening to what McSame has been saying, have you?

Clinton,

Time to face the facts man. The Clinton’s (and the DLC) have lost, and their reign of pathetically triangulating in ways that only benefitted the GOP while simultaneously hurting our country and weakening our party is finally coming to an end. Obama is going to be our candidate, and damn fine one that we can all be proud of, too!

You don’t actually want to see the GOP retain power and continue this war indefinitely, do you?

or the former Clinton advisors who would be running Obama’s administration.

Your attempt to smear Obama here is almost as shameless as Hillary’s attempt to paint herself as Lara Croft dodging bullets on that tarmac in Tuzla.
The truth is, Obama actually has a very diverse group of foreign policy advisers from varied backgrounds working for him. And what they all have in common with him is that every one of them opposed the Iraq War from the very beginning (like he did) because they understood that our invasion and occupation actually runs counter to the goal of destroying Al Qaeda.
The only two people who formerly worked during the Clinton administration are Tony Lake and Susan Rice and they have not only worked just for Clinton.
Besides Lake and Rice, Obama’s other Foreign Policy advisers include a couple of advisers who were formerly aides to Tom Daschle and Lee Hamilton — Denis McDonough, and Ben Rhodes. And then there is Scott Gration, who is a retired general who helped run the air war during the invasion of Iraq, and Susan Sewall, who is a human-rights advocate who helped to write the Army’s and Marine Corps’ highly regarded counterinsurgency field manual. Finally there is Samantha Power, a journalist and writer who is truly transforming the study of U.S. foreign policy. She’s the one who called Clinton “a Monster who will say anything to win”, and ended up stepping down — but now it sounds like she might well return.
I certainly hope she does, because I think she’s totally brilliant.

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at March 29, 2008 3:00 PM
Comment #249494

Ohrealy

The goal is to get most American troops out of Iraq as quick as we can. The disagreement is WHEN and how this will be possible. I heard on the new just a few minutes ago that Obama is now talking about pulling out of Iraq over the course of 16 months. So when you add in the months remaining until January 2009, plus a couple months to get rolling we are probably looking at about three years.

Beyond that, Obama is saying that political considerations in Iraq are key. In that he agrees with George Bush.

I am very heartened by this. Besides the rhetoric, Obama’s policy will not be a sharp departure from current goals.

Now I will return to my original question about policy w/o George Bush. If Obama wins the presidency, we will need to look at Iraq from the forward point of view. So let me clear what I am asking you to do and not asking. You can hate Bush. I don’t care. Bush is increasingly becoming a historical figure and his administration will be a subject for historians. It might be fun to discuss the history sometimes, but I do not have an emotional attachment to George Bush and his political career is almost at an end. Trash away. What I ask you not to do is to make our troops and our country collateral damage. I think a defeat in Iraq would be catastrophic. I also believe that is no necessary. We can succeed in Iraq.

Success in Iraq means what it always has. It means a reasonably democratic and stable Iraq that is not a threat to others. We can achieve this. Whether we achieve it under president Obama, McCain or Clinton matters less than that we achieve it.

What we really need is a cease fire about Iraq – in America. We should all agree that success in Iraq is in the best interests of our country and talk about how to achieve that. We should all agree that America should be out of Iraq as soon as possible, but we should also understand that withdrawal should depend on conditions.

None of the candidates is anymore really promising to pull out of Iraq quickly. Listen carefully to Obama & Clinton. They are coming around to reality in time for the general election. None of the candidates wants to stay in Iraq any longer than necessary. So let’s cut the crap.

Posted by: Jack at March 29, 2008 3:57 PM
Comment #249496

Just to inform the uninformed, Samantha Power has been on Chicago Tonight here, embarrassed and apologizing for her comments about Hillary, which she says were made in the heat of the moment in the campaign, and that she respects Hillary. So another noob will be going back to advising Obama, yeah, that’s really wonderful. High fives all around for the Obama fangirls and the other members of the cult.

In case anyone is unfamiliar with presidential campaigns and foreign policy, the candidate ends up doing the opposite of what they promised, as often as not, after elected, especially when they telegraph their plans to people who are under no obligation to cooperate with them. McCain is talking tough in part to prevent having to get tough later.

“attempt to smear Obama”? with facts that he is going to have to face eventually? about his amateurish speeches including the last one where he made himself into the affirmative action candidate?

If anyone in the Obama campaign had a brain, they would be going around to the state capitals, promoting the National Popular Vote movement, but they are probably too dumb to even understand that it would be possible for Obama to win the popular vote by millions of votes, and still lose the presidency in the electoral college in December.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 29, 2008 4:15 PM
Comment #249499

Jack, Obama is talking out of his hat. He opens his mouth and the words keep flowing until he explains how he invented the wheel. New campaign song: Barrack Obama Superstar, do you think you’re what they say you are? It will take any responsible POTUS 2 years to get out of Iraq, and that still leaves the question of the bases open.

“make our troops and our country collateral damage” is the last thing that anyone wants to do. “a reasonably democratic and stable Iraq that is not a threat to others”, democracy comes from history, stability from compromise between the groups, “The radical Shia Iraqi cleric Moqtada Sadr has defied a call by the Iraqi government for his powerful Mehdi Army militia to lay down its weapons.”. from the BBC article linked, and “”Moqtada al-Sadr asks his followers not to deliver weapons to the government. Weapons should be turned over only to a government which can expel the (U.S.) occupiers,” Sadr aide Hassan Zargani told Reuters by telephone.”, and The fight for Basra is crucial for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who flew to Basra earlier this week and is staking his credibility on gaining control of Iraq’s second largest city, which has essentially been held by armed groups for nearly three years. from the AP article.

Iraq is some lines drawn on a map, Basra is indefensible as a port. We might be more concerned about others being a threat to Iraq, than Iraq being a threat to their neighbors.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 29, 2008 4:55 PM
Comment #249501

ohrealy:

Just to inform the uninformed, Samantha Power has been on Chicago Tonight here, embarrassed and apologizing for her comments about Hillary, which she says were made in the heat of the moment in the campaign, and that she respects Hillary.

Just to further inform the uninformed, that isn’t the only place where Power has apologized for her remark about Clinton.

So another noob will be going back to advising Obama, yeah, that’s really wonderful. High fives all around for the Obama fangirls and the other members of the cult.

Yeah, an Obama fangirl/noob who deserves high fives all around for being a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School, who won the Pulitzer Prize, was a journalist who covered the wars in the former Yugoslavia as a reporter for U.S. News and World Report, The Boston Globe, and The Economist, and who is a professor of of global leadership and public policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

In case anyone is unfamiliar with presidential campaigns and foreign policy, the candidate ends up doing the opposite of what they promised, as often as not, after elected, especially when they telegraph their plans to people who are under no obligation to cooperate with them.

Obama is going to get us out of Iraq. Unlike John McSame and Hillary Clownton who voted for the bogus war without even reading the NIE, Obama has been against this war from the beginning. Even when doing so was considered guaranteed political suicide, and even when anyone who dared to take that position faced automatic derision by those in the government, the media, or the foreign-policy establishment.

McCain is talking tough in part to prevent having to get tough later.

He is fully as much of a dimwitted and warmongering neocon as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, but I sense that some people are going to choose not to pay attention to this fact.
It makes me ill to think that such lethal stupidity will continue and lead to our nations complete undoing.

amateurish speeches

That have been highly praised everywhere, even by those on the right.

including the last one where he made himself into the affirmative action candidate?

Again, choosing not to pay attention. His last three speeches had to do with foreign policy, and the cost of the Iraq War, and the economy.
Democrats who have been keeping tabs thought they were excellent.

If anyone in the Obama campaign had a brain,

Oh, but we do. It’s the Clinton supporters have been tending not to have much in the way of education. Maybe that’s why they can’t do the math and realize that Clinton can’t win without stealing the primary from the winner, and thus, totally destroy the Democratic Party.

it would be possible for Obama to win the popular vote by millions of votes, and still lose the presidency in the electoral college in December.

I don’t think Democrats need to fear this at all. Look at the huge numbers of new voters, and voters who thought they had given up voting entirely that Obama has been bringing out during this primary. Also, check out the enormous numbers of people who have been donating money to his campaign, and how much he has raised, compared with how few people and how very little McCain has been raising.

I believe we’re going to be in excellent shape for the general this time around!

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at March 29, 2008 6:03 PM
Comment #249502

I am not going to have an argument with a single issue poster again, but the idea that Obama’s speeches “have been highly praised everywhere” is patently false. It is part of what makes the Obama campaign into a cult, where the same nonsense gets repeated endlessly, like advertising or brainwashing. The other contradictions are self-evident to anyone who is able to read, like repeating quotes from someone who has already apologized for being foolish enough to say them in the first place.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 29, 2008 6:29 PM
Comment #249503

ohrealy:

I am not going to have an argument

Always a wise thing to say when someone doesn’t know what they’re talking about.
For example:

the idea that Obama’s speeches “have been highly praised everywhere” is patently false.

Chris Matthews Hails Obama Speech As ‘Worthy of Abraham Lincoln’

Even Conservative Media Chorus Sings Obama’s Praises

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at March 29, 2008 7:31 PM
Comment #249508
Unlike John McSame and Hillary Clownton who voted for the bogus war without even reading the NIE, Obama has been against this war from the beginning. Even when doing so was considered guaranteed political suicide, and even when anyone who dared to take that position faced automatic derision by those in the government, the media, or the foreign-policy establishment.

Let’s analyze this statement for a minute. And interject a few facts that are so far sorely lacking.

“Political suicide” for Obama—as a state senator in a liberal blue state—would have been vocally supporting the war, not attacking it. Obama was not on the national stage when the war became an issue, and it took no bravery for somebody in his position to make statements against the war—even the kinds of ambiguous statement which he actually made. Contrary to liberal dogma on this issue, nobody ever much cared when state legislators, county commissioners, or local dog-catchers made negative remarks about the Iraq war.

But this is more important. When he began to move onto the national stage, and well after the beginning of the war, Obama announced that 1). there was NO DIFFERENCE between his position and George Bush’s, and 2). he doesn’t know how he would have voted on the resolution to go to war.

It’s absolutely freaking incredible that Obama keeps clobbering Hillary for her “judgment” on Iraq—her votes for the war—when he himself admits that he doesn’t know he would voted on the same resolutions. And when, further, he announced that there was difference between his position and Bush’s.

Obama has always held the position on Iraq which was most politically convenient for him at any given moment. He’s only able to maintain that he was against the war from the beginning because he never had to cast a vote for it. Otherwise, he’s tried to have it both ways—whatever is most convenient at the moment. It’s all part of a pattern for Obama, the guy who set records as an Illinois Senator for voting “present” instead of yes or no whenever there was a controversial vote.

For Obama, it’s all about maintaining “plausible deniability” and being all things to all people. To gullible people, anyway.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 29, 2008 9:13 PM
Comment #249509

VV, it’s amusing that you point to Chris Matthews as proof that Obama’s speeches have been praised everywhere. The guy is a hardcore liberal Democrat whose career before broadcasting was working for Democratic politicians.

There are genuine conservatives who’ve praised his speeches as well, but usually for how well they’re performed instead of for their substance. Obama’s crossover appeal is ridiculously exaggerated—especially since the person who ACTUALLY has crossover appeal is John McCain. Leaving independents out of it, polls show that 20%+ of DEMOCRATS will support McCain over Obama.

This isn’t a fact that’s hyped as much in the media because unlike the pundits such as Matthews who are out there talking about “the feeling he gets in his leg” when Obama opens his mouth, most Americans don’t have television shows or newspapers columns.

Those warm fuzzy feelings that Obama causes in commentators don’t square very well with Obama’s crashing poll numbers in head-to-head polling vs. McCain.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 29, 2008 9:45 PM
Comment #249512

Posted by: Michael Douglass at March 29, 2008 11:55 PM
Comment #249513

Loyal O:

VV, it’s amusing that you point to Chris Matthews as proof that Obama’s speeches have been praised everywhere. The guy is a hardcore liberal Democrat whose career before broadcasting was working for Democratic politicians.

Matthews might have worked for Democrats, but a hard core liberal Democrat would never have voted for George W. Bush the way that Matthews has so frequently reminded us he did — loudly as usual.
Btw, check out the other link I posted above. It isn’t just Matthews that has praised Obama’s speeches. It’s people like David Brooks, and Joe Scarborough, and Bill Bennett, and the Weekly Standard, and even Rush! But if they aren’t enough for you, how about praise from the likes of Peggy Noonan? or amazingly enough, Charles “Bell Curve” Murray?

And just yesterday, we see Chuck Hagel saying he thinks that Obama has the best chance of bringing the country together!

There are genuine conservatives who’ve praised his speeches as well, but usually for how well they’re performed instead of for their substance.

Obviously you’re viewing this strictly the way you wish to view it. Personally, I have to admit that I’ve been absolutely stunned by the praise Obama has received by people on the right over the course of this primary. After all the ferocious negativity and demonization of any one who is Liberal that has gone on for so very many years, it has come as a total surprise to me that anyone on the right would ever again feel moved to say anything at all complimentary about a Democrat.

Maybe it’s just that Obama brings out the best in people — even some who have long relished trashing anyone who is a liberal? Not everyone on the right is saying these things of course, but I think it’s great to see that some have been willing to do so. It truly gives me hope for the future — that there may be a chance with Obama to change the tone of politics in this country and see it become a little more respectful.
I know that I was always raised to believe that people of real integrity and decency deserve such a response — so it can’t help but make me happy to see a certain measure of that kind of reaction coming from the right.

Those warm fuzzy feelings that Obama causes in commentators don’t square very well with Obama’s crashing poll numbers in head-to-head polling vs. McCain.

You know, I could sit here reply to this comment and lots of the other things you wrote, but I don’t really think it’s necessary. Things are going horribly bad in Iraq at this moment, and I honestly don’t believe that McCain, who recently revealed through his repeated gaffes how very little he knows about the factions who are fighting there, is going to be able to win the general election. He’s done nothing but support this war, obviously without trying to truly understand the situation and repeat the message that America needs to keep it going indefinitely.

We the People are totally fed up with hearing that we’re just “turning another corner” and need to “stay the course” in this war. Most of us know damn well we’re just spinning around in circles, spilling too much blood and treasure, exactly like we did in Vietnam.

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at March 30, 2008 12:36 AM
Comment #249517

The supporters of the War in Iraq continue to ignore the obvious:

The US is not welcome in Iraq.

This was demonstrated yet again by the recent ORB poll on 3/17/08. 70% of Iraqis want the US out of their country. But we Americans continue to pretend we’re welcome. Oh! If anyone would like to dispute that poll, go for it. See if you can find a better resource.

The lies, which are so gross, so obviously delusional, mere wishful thinking that kills and wounds and bleeds our country and their country, so many lies… Anyway, the lies about succeeding in Iraq and winning and so on, have once again been exposed. American soldiers sit in the middle of a civil war, and we Americans are NOT in control, and we are NOT welcome. Right now the Sadrists and the SCII are fighting it out. Most Iraqi Shias support the Sadrists, and Al-Sadr is more in control than anyone else, with the exception of Al-Sistani.

Wonder what that idiot Cheney told the Iraqis on his latest visit?

Meanwhile, Bush spouts more incoherent cliches. But nothing can change the fact: the surge has failed. Meanwhile, the brilliant General Petraeus has provided the Sunnis with lots and lots and lots of guns. Gosh, that’s just SURE to work out great!

I can’t believe how stupid this is.

Posted by: phx8 at March 30, 2008 1:29 AM
Comment #249520

Phx8

The polls consistently show the paradox that Iraqis do not want us to stay but they also do not want us to leave. I can understand this.

If you look at who is fighting whom, you notice that most of the violence is directed NOT at U.S. forces or even at Iraqi security, but rather at ordinary people trying to do ordinary things like go to the market or open a business. Our enemies in Iraq are doing their best to create misery and chaos. That is their end goal because that will allow them to exploit the place.

I admire the courage and the tenacity of ordinary Iraqis. AQI and insurgents will kill a man and his family for opening a business; they will rape his daughter for just being nearby. I know many people, prominent and ordinary, who are saying no to these thugs, but they still need our help to fight a well armed, ruthless and determined minority of Iraqis stiffed by foreign fighters drawn from the ranks of extremists world wide.

There may come a time when it is impossible to continue the fight. Maybe we will abandon our friends. I do not want to be a part of that.

Posted by: Jack at March 30, 2008 2:28 AM
Comment #249521

Jack,
The current fighting is between Shia factions. It is not directed at ordinary Iraqis. Generally, it is not directed at US soldiers either, other than the shelling of the Green Zone. This is a fight between the US supported Al-Maliki government and the Sadrists. The Al-Maliki government would almost certainly lose provincial elections, and if the Sadrists win, they would probably kick the US out of the country. So we are taking part in a civil war, Jack. This isn’t about insurgents and terrorists. It’s about who gets to control Iraq: Americans and various Iraqi allies, or nationalist, fundamentalist Shia Iraqis. The latter represent the majority.

The nationalist, fundamentalist Shias are very happy Saddam Hussein is gone. However, they have no interest in being occupied by a foreign power. They have an agenda which is not the same as the American agenda. It has always been that way.

We’re wasting lives, money, and time. It’s a waste, because we’re trying to impose a solution which satisfies US domestic political considerations, rather than developing a truly Iraqi solution. An Iraqi fundamentalist Shia, nationalist government with close ties to Iran has always been inevitable. The only question is how separate the Kurds and the Sunnis will be.

Posted by: phx8 at March 30, 2008 3:02 AM
Comment #249537

phx8

Almost nothing is inevitable. Last year at this time people were still talking about the inevitable loss of Al Anbar.

We will have those provincial elections soon. We will see who wins and what they do, or not.

For now, the overall trends are in the proper direction. Let’s not let our enemies make this the Tet offensive. You know, the one where we kkck their asses but our political will is also killed off.

Posted by: Jack at March 30, 2008 12:03 PM
Comment #249538

Follow the money. Its up to the Iraqi’s when we leave, its out of our hands. As long as the oil is up for grabs we will be there. Once the Iraqi’s sign off on the oil we will be gone. They know that, we know that. Until the corporations that we are fighting for win those oil contracts we cannot leave.

http://www.iht.com/articles/reuters/2008/02/18/news/OUKWD-UK-IRAQ-OIL.php

Posted by: j2t2 at March 30, 2008 12:04 PM
Comment #249550

Jack,
You think Al Anbar province constitutes a ‘win’? Yesterday two suicide car bombers launched an attack in a town near Fallujah. Not many people died, so it didn’t make headlines other than a brief note by the McClatchy reporter.

But perhaps that is the only violence in the province. It’s hard to say, isn’t it? A lot of the population left after the invasion and destruction of Fallujah. Many others were wounded. Many died. No one knows how many left, or were wounded, or died. Everything is going to wonderfully well, and it is such a glorious victory… but the reality is, Al Anbar is still too dangerous for Westerners, and for all intents and purposes, an information blackout remains in effect.

You know perfectly well that the Iraqi government has no one in Al Anbar. Shias need not apply. Al Anbar has already achieved de facto independence with the blessing of the US. The guys we used to call ‘insurgents’ are in charge. They won. We lost. They let us stay as long as we arm them and pay them and let them call the shots. We are there at their sufferance. The US made a virtue out of necessity, and now you talk about how well it’s going in Al Anbar? Uh huh.

Can’t wait to see what’s next. Maybe we can spread another couple hundred billion dollars around among the Shias, and see if that will make them happy. For a while.

On another note, the possibility of a Tet style offensive is possible, but it would only make sense in terms of an asymmetrical form of warfare waged by the weaker side, intending to influence US domestic policy & convince the US to withdraw. Right now it’s hard to see who would benefit from that. Perhaps the Sadrists and Ayotollah Sistani might get together to expel the US. If Sistani issued a fatwa to that effect, that would be the end of the matter. We’ll see. Right now it seems unlikely, but not impossible. AQI and the takrifis, or whatever the fundamentalist Sunnis are called, might go the route of a Tet offensive, but most Iraqs find them pretty despicable, so it overall effect would more likely than not backfire. We’ll see.

Posted by: phx8 at March 30, 2008 2:17 PM
Comment #249552

Jack, I’m sitting here reading your continued support of this “war”, and am wondering how long it will take you to accept the fact that for us, it’s over! OR at least it should be, and for some time now.
You seem far too willing to accept the continued killing and maiming of our armies as an okay way to allow the Iraquis to build a government they have no knowledge of. You’re far too willing to accept the monetary debt that our children and theirs will be paying off long after we’re gone. You are actually the one who has placed the importance of another country above ours! They probably don’t even know what they want any more beyond the ability to walk outside their doors without being blown up. But I’d be willing to bet a month’s salary that they would be happy to see us gone since we’re the magnet that attracts most of their problems.
You’re not holding water any more throwing out that “anti-war”, “anti-troop”, “anti-America” crap!
This wasn’t said to sound cold and heartless, and probably could have been put more eloquently, but I’m guessing there will be agreement with it.

Posted by: janedoe at March 30, 2008 2:28 PM
Comment #249553

The good news just keeps coming:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080330/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq_reality_check_2

Posted by: janedoe at March 30, 2008 2:53 PM
Comment #249555

Jane

I am guessing all the Democrats who post here will agree with you. Not hard to get that kind of response. It takes no courage to advocate defeat on this blue board.

I believe an American defeat in Iraq would be terrible for us worldwide. You think it would be a cakewalk or as easy for us as our Vietnam pull out. If I believed as you do, I might be tempted to run out on our Iraqi friends. It would be easy to rationalize and it would make me many times more popular. But the hard choice is the right one for the long run.

Posted by: Jack at March 30, 2008 3:12 PM
Comment #249557

It’s not about courage, Jack, but about right and wrong, and if you like, I’ll be happy to paste this across the aisle on the “red” side. You’ll also never admit that there is a significant number of “red siders” who feel the way we do after all this time.
I don’t know what kind of worldwide defeat you foresee as our destiny, unless it’s giving up the ideal of all that oil in our hands.
Right choices aren’t always difficult….but it does take some intelligence on the choosing end, and that is something we have been without for…hmmm, let’s see….going on 8 years now.

Posted by: janedoe at March 30, 2008 4:18 PM
Comment #249558

Oh please. No one on the blue side rooted for the US to go in, and lose. We opposed going into Iraq in the first place. Others reached that conclusion when the multitude of misinformation and lies came to light.

Voting for and then supporting Republicans and conservatives brought this terrible situation to the US. The blame falls four square on the shoulders of Republicans and conservatives. These groups have done great damage: over 4,000 US solderies dead, over 29,000 wounded and probably many more than that, hundreds upon hundreds of billions of dollars squandered, the honor of the country in tatters, our international reputation degraded, the indelible stigma of torture attached to the name of the United States of America, deep shame for invading another country without cause, debts and deficits from an unfunded war stretching as far as the eye can see… Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead, uncounted wounded…

And still the lies continue.

“Our Iraqi friends…”

Yeah. Right.

Posted by: phx8 at March 30, 2008 4:23 PM
Comment #249564

Oh Jack, Jack, Jack,
There are, in this world, many powerful and moneyed republiscams. I don’t know how much money or power you have, but the scams artists just love you to no end. You’re their boy. As for their respecting you as a valid thinking human being I have serious doubts.
When I hear this kind of dogma I can’t help but think of a line in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” when Potter says to Bailey, “The suckers George, the suckers.”

Posted by: Stephen Hines at March 30, 2008 5:47 PM
Comment #249565

Jane

My view is a minority position in many places. I do not keep hold it to be popular.

A defeat in Iraq would bring chaos to the entire regions. I also believe it would embolden our enemies and soon they would be attacking our interests in other places and even the U.S. You and many others disagree. You think we can just pick up our stuff and leave. We disagree.

phx8

We have many friends in Iraq. There are many there who have died because they were our friends and many more who will die if we leave too soon. I do not know if their friendship is sincere, but being pretty sure you will be killed, along with your children seems to be at least a commitment.

You mention the Iraqi dead and are willing to let many others die. You get to use sympathy for the Iraqi people only once. Either you care what happens to them or not. If so, you should support a longer commitment. If not, don’t bring it up.

Posted by: Jack at March 30, 2008 5:51 PM
Comment #249566

jack

Surely I am misreading what you wrote or misunderstanding it “you think it would be a cakewalk or as easy for us as our vietnam pull out.” Are you suggesting that the pullout from vietnam was easy? If you are-how old are you?- you must not be old enough to have watched it on tv or had someone you know die there-the pullout was not easy-ask any of the men there at the end how easy it was to leave-with vietnamese-begging, climbing walls and hanging on to the helicopters as they left. Ask them if it was easy to push people away from the gates and off the walls and if it was easy to keep them from climbing into the helicopters and if it was easy to pry peoples fingers off the bottom of the helicopters as they were taking off. Ask them if it was easy to refuse to let children into the helicopters as their parents tried to force them into the arms of the soldiers. Ask the men who were loading the planes with vietnamese if it was easy to turn so many away. Ask them if it was easy to watch as parents were left behind as their children were placed on the planes. No thats the problem too many people think war is easy that is why we ended up in Iraq because this spineless president got his daddy to keep him from going to vietnam so now he has no frame of reference to guide him on how awful war really is. Oh Bush was in favor of that war too but not enough to go fight it himself. That is why I am so disappointed in McCain-he has been in war and knows how bad it is but is willing to send our troops to Iraq and keep them there for his own political gain.

And if I totally misread what you said then ignore what i just wrote.

To other posters sorry for not sticking with the topic but having grown up during the vietnam war-I get sensitive about it.


Posted by: Carolina at March 30, 2008 5:53 PM
Comment #249571

Jack,
Ah, our good friends the Iraqis. But let’s be frank. They’re not such good friends that we would, you know, invite them over to our house, the USA. If they came to the USA, they might get the idea that they’re actually welcome, or worse, they might stay, or something- and by something, I mean blow up Americans. That is why there are over 2 million refugees, but only 7,000 have been allowed to come to the USA. Even Sweden accepts more Iraqi refugees. Guess that makes the Swedes bestus of friendseses. Along with many, many other countries in the world. A lot of refugees, a lot of desperate people, but meh- who wants immigrants in America? Sheesh. It’s not like the invasion was our fault.
Oh wait.

By the way, Al-Maliki caved. Some Iraqi troops deserted over to the Mahdi Army, despite the rumored presence of US special forces, so it was not a tenable situation for the Iraqi government. For now, the fighting is supposedly over in Basra.

Posted by: phx8 at March 30, 2008 8:33 PM
Comment #249573

Carolina, if the pullout from Vietnam was so painful, why do you suggest we repeat it?

Posted by: Rhinehold at March 30, 2008 9:04 PM
Comment #249574

Phx8, it was not just “Republicans and conservatives” who supported going into Iraq. Over half of the Democratic Senators voted for the resolution, and over 70% of the US public was behind it. As was a former Democratic president (Clinton), a Democratically-appointed CIA chief, and numerous “liberal” politicians and pundits, such as the former Democratic mayor of New York, Ed Koch and NYT columnist Thomas Friedman. The list goes on.

The war would not have been possible with a great deal of liberal and Democratic support. Fact.

Although I’m a Republican, I was AGAINST the invasion when it began. But there’s no rolling back the clock now and we’ve got to finish what we’ve started.

Personally, I believe that the continued debates we have about this on the blogosphere, on the editorial pages and around the water cooler, are all just window dressing. We’re so far into the Iraq mission now that nobody—not McCain, not Clinton, not Obama, and definitely not Bush—are actually going to pull the plug, no matter what they might say in speeches.

Doing so is just not an option and those presidential candidates who suggest otherwise are either cynically lying to try and get elected or are actually naive enough to think that they can assume the presidency and then ask America and the American military to commit political and military suicide without completely destroying themselves politically.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 30, 2008 9:45 PM
Comment #249575
children are playing on the streets

Jack, I don’t know where you are, but in Baghdad nobody’s playing in the streets; there’s a 24-hour curfew in effect.

Your vision of Iraq is clouded, Jack. Wipe the sand out of your eyes. This kind of Shiite on Shiite warfare is just what the surge was supposed to prevent.

If you remember correctly, the militias were supposed to be folded into the Iraqi security forces and everyone was supposed to live happily ever after. But that’s not happening.

What’s happening is, al-Maliki and his political buddies are trying to wipe out the political opposition in Basra before the regional elections. This is nothing but factional infighting — civil war.

Posted by: American Pundit at March 30, 2008 9:49 PM
Comment #249580

Al-Maliki is the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iraq. Despite his imperfections, that’s what he is.

Al-Sadr is a radical cleric whose armed militias have assassinated rival clerics, murdered civilians, attacked American troops, and attempted to achieve with the gun whatever they have failed to achieve at the ballot box.

It’s nonsense to call this nothing but “factional infighting.” It’s “factional infighting” to the same extent as when American citizens who happen to be police officers fight American citizens who happen to be gang-members.

As usual, the American left can’t figure out the difference or whose side they’re on.

It’s very easy to highlight every setback and delay—but how are we supposed to interpret the fact that the American left only acknowledges American setbacks and never those suffered by the enemy?

This situation with Al-Sadr is a fluid one. Is the glass half empty or half full? The latest news is that Al-Sadr is in retreat and making concessions to the democratically elected government. So perhaps the glass is completely full! Now that would be a REAL disaster for the nattering nabobs of negativism. I wonder if they’ll be able to acknowledge success at all, should it come. Or even handle it emotionally, as invested as they are in defeat. Maybe their heads will just explode.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 30, 2008 10:53 PM
Comment #249583

Loyal O,
Al-Maliki is from a minority party, Dawa. At the time, he represented a compromise candidate who would be acceptable to both the Iraqis and the US, primarily because he was considered too weak to buck Uncle Sam. So far, so good.

Al-Sadr is radical only in the sense that he wants the US out of Iraq. I think his rise was unavoidable. When the Iranian backed exiles from SCII (the Al-Hakim faction) and Dawa won the elections, they obtained power, money, guns, and control of the government in exchange for working with the US. This compromised the Iraqi government in the eyes of many Iraqis. Meanwhile, many Shia Iraqis were dying at the hands of Sunnis, and the government was powerless to protect them.

Someone had to step forward and protect Shia Iraqis from the Sunnis. Since most Shias were unwilling to collaborate with the US, they turned to the traditional opponent of the Al-Hakim faction, in the person of Al-Sadr.

Al-Sadr was thoroughly a product of the times. He was the last surviving son of a once dominating faction, but by most accounts, he lacked the smarts and gravitas to lead a movement.

As it turned out, “most accounts” turned out to be wrong, and despite his relative youth, Al-Sadr turned out to be a pretty good leader.

So it most certainly is factional infighting. Definitely. Absolutely. Beyond all doubt.

Al-Maliki made some ridiculous demands concerning Basra, and he was too weak to back up his words. If you believe ABC News tonight, which suggested Al-Sadr somehow caved, you are being misled. Despite the backing of US troops and special forces in Basra, the Iraqi government troops of Al-Maliki proved unreliable, and some deserted. Al-Sadr won. Big time. The Al-Maliki government lost.

As to who Americans should be rooting for… well, personally, I’m not sure. If he survives, Al-Sadr will almost certainly end up in charge of Shia Iraq. That will create the fundamentalist Shia state which was always an inevitability, once the Sunni Baathists were otherthrown. The Sadrists will provide stability with popular support among the Shias. That’s about the best we can hope for…

Posted by: phx8 at March 31, 2008 1:09 AM
Comment #249586

Carolina

No the pull out from Vietnam was hard, but the consequences of an Iraq pull out will be worse. Vietnam was not at the center of the world’s oil fields. It was not a strategic pivot. Our defeat in Vietnam was terrible.
I was being ironic.

Rhinhold’s comment are is good.

AP
I am talking about the cities like Haditha or Fallujah in the former “triangle of death” You recall, the place that all the pundits wrote off as lost a little more than a year ago, the place that Al Qaeda declared as it caliphate, the place we could never take back – but did.

If we ran aways when Harry Reid told us we were defeated, this would have been different.

Posted by: Jack at March 31, 2008 2:15 AM
Comment #249588

On July 28th, the day after his speech at the Democratic convention catapulted him into the national spotlight, Barack Obama told a group of reporters in Boston that the United States had an “absolute obligation” to remain in Iraq long enough to make it a success.

“The failure of the Iraqi state would be a disaster,” he said at a lunch sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, according to an audiotape of the session. “It would dishonor the 900-plus men and women who have already died… . It would be a betrayal of the promise that we made to the Iraqi people, and it would be hugely destabilizing from a national security perspective.”

In late winter, 2008, on the campaign trail, Obama says he wants to bring the troops home yesterday — you decide — was he lying then or is he lying now?

Posted by: KDH55 at March 31, 2008 2:39 AM
Comment #249590

AP

Time for the Mighty Eagle to jump into the fray.

First off,things are now quiet in Basra according to today’s reports. A cease fire is in place…and the ISF is not in disaray. Sorry.

Second, and most important, this is the Iraq equivalent of our own Whiskey Rebellion….simply their effort to make a stronger central governmet and to consolidate national power.

Could the prime minister have even thought to do this 2 years ago? A year ago? Right.

Much to your chagrin…and to every one else her on the left, a disaster did not occur…as a matter of fact, quite the opposite.

The government’s gonads popped up. And not a minute too soon,either.

In three months, right around the convention, as the Dems are trying to put back together a party blown to bits by their very own, McCain will be able to point to this incident as a further indication that democracy in that area is taking root.

Next issue.

Posted by: Sicilian Eagle at March 31, 2008 7:50 AM
Comment #249595

“Jack, you’re really over the edge sometimes with your ridiculous comments. I think you’ve been in the desert far too long!
You absolutely refuse to see what is in front of you…no matter how it’s pointed out”

Yes Jack, stop believing what you see with your own eyes and start believing what people thousands of miles tell you.
I watched KU win last night, live. But the guy I placed a wager with says he heard from Davidson fans that Davidson won. Guess I’ll go ahead and pay up.

Posted by: kctim at March 31, 2008 11:14 AM
Comment #249603

Rhinehold

Because staying in Iraq would be even more painful than pulling out. The whole vietnam war was painful just like Iraq there was no easy solution and no easy way to leave but staying would have been worse. To suggest otherwise is misleading and in my book not very smart.

Jack

Are you suggesting we should stay in Iraq for the oil? We should allow soldiers and Iraqis to die for oil? You want us to stay in Iraq because it is a strategic pivot? None of that is what we went in for. Or so we were told. And plus the oil is NOT OURS. Would we appreciate another country invading us for a natural resource and then staying because they want to protect our natural resource and make money from our natural resource. Disgusting!!!

Posted by: Carolina at March 31, 2008 12:34 PM
Comment #249608

Carolina, if anything we’re trying to enable a situation where they can keep, produce, and profit from their oil themselves. Instead of having mad mullahs in charge of it and using the profits and the leverage it provides to spread jihad. Or instead of having one ethnic group control it and get rich while everybody else lives in poverty. Or a situation like elsewhere in the middle east where a few princes control it.

It would have been far easier and cheaper to just buy the oil from Saddam than what we’re doing. We’re not stealing their oil but trying to create a situation where they can reap the benefits from it.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at March 31, 2008 1:57 PM
Comment #249609

“We’re not stealing their oil but trying to create a situation where they can reap the benefits from it.”

Using only Coalition oil companies such as Exxon, BP, and Royal Dutch/Shell, of course, and not Chinese or French companies, like the previous regime. If the Al-Maliki government ever signs off, it will be the sweetest deal for those oil companies in the entire Middle East, sweeter than in any other country. It’s not “stealing.” Just a little friendly persuasion. And our military bases will be sitting in Iraq for the next 100 years, just in case the Iraqis get uppity. Can’t have that.

By the way, Loyal O, now it seems the recent deal between the Sadrists and the Iraqi government was brokered by the Iranians, in Iran. The Iraqi government apparently did the deal without Al-Maliki’s knowledge.

Posted by: phx8 at March 31, 2008 2:15 PM
Comment #249611

LO,

“Instead of having mad mullahs in charge of it and using the profits and the leverage it provides to spread jihad. Or instead of having one ethnic group control it and get rich while everybody else lives in poverty. Or a situation like elsewhere in the middle east where a few princes control it.”

Yeah, but, it is up to the Iraqis to decide just who leads THEIR country. If they choose to elect mad mullahs, bent on jihad, or whatever, we either have to live with it, or we will have to show what our true intentions were in the first place.
We seem to be intent on the spread of Democracy around the world, but only if we agree with the outcome.

Posted by: Rocky at March 31, 2008 2:23 PM
Comment #249612

Why would you conqueor a nation, generously try to rebuild it and accept an unfavorable outcome?

Carolina
We won the war, the oil is ours and we should have a say in it.
And do you really think another country wouldn’t invade us for our resources if they thought they could win? They would do it in a heartbeat and they would stay here and “protect” and profit off their investment and the people would be wishing and praying it was the evil US soldiers instead of them.

The only thing “disgusting” about it all is how so many people are so willing to condemn their own country simply because its leader does not think exactly like them.

Posted by: kctim at March 31, 2008 2:41 PM
Comment #249614

Carolina

Oil and strategic location are important factors. There is a difference between going in to get such things and recognizing their importance. Oil gives local rulers great power to threaten the world economy and world peace. It produces capacity. W/o oil, Saddam Hussein would be on the order of Robert Mugabe or Aleksander Lukashenko, a local menace but nothing for the whole world to fear. Someone like Osama bin Laden, without the power provided by oil derived wealth, would be a picturesque bandit, deadly to anybody who crossed his path, but not a world problem. That is why we have to take into account oil.

Strategic location is similar. The crazy neighbor who lives at the end of a dead end road is less of a problem than the same sort of guy who lives next to the playground where your children play.

Our interests are affected by the type of threats that a potential adversary can command. Strategic location and resources are important for that reason. On the other side, our access to such things gives us leverage over others who might pose a threat to us.

I don’t have any trouble taking these things into account. It would be very foolish not to think about them.

We did not invade Iraq FOR the oil. Saddam was willing to sell as much oil as we would allow him and he was willing to do it at cut rate prices. If we cared only about the oil (as for example the Chinese do) we could have much more easily supported him and got the oil from him.

Phx8

Oil has a world price. If the Iraqis agree to sell oil to firms based in coalition countries I would be surprised (and a little pleased).

If we were stealing the oil, we could … well steal the oil. Stealing generally implies not paying for it. I don’t think the Romans paid world prices for the resources they conquered. That is because they were acting as conquerors and we are not. It takes a stretch of absurd lengths to interpret this war as a grab for oil to make profits.

Posted by: Jack at March 31, 2008 2:49 PM
Comment #249627

Sic Eagle:

First off,things are now quiet in Basra according to today’s reports. A cease fire is in place…and the ISF is not in disaray. Sorry.

The Green Zone is still under attack, but there’s nothing to see here people, move along now…

Much to your chagrin…and to every one else her on the left, a disaster did not occur…as a matter of fact, quite the opposite.

Yeah, this is excellent news! We’re turning another corner folks! All this violence is in it’s last throes! Maliki has never looked politically stronger, and the fact that the Iraqi Security forces that our troops have been training have been turning over their weapons to officials of Muqtada al-Sadr in exchange for Korans and olive branches is all good.

McCain will be able to point to this incident as a further indication that democracy in that area is taking root.

Sure, and won’t that be another “Mission Accomplished” moment that Americans can all look forward to!

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at March 31, 2008 5:55 PM
Comment #249630

well guys ya’ll are entitled to your opinions but stealing is stealing and don’t kid yourself that we are doing it to help them-we are doing it to line the pockets of the major corporations here in America. There would have been and is many other ways to make friends and keep the peace and get people to be willing to provide us with needed oil without invading their country, destroying their economy, their lives, their country, killing them and our own citizens (soldiers). I am sure that if we had something another country wanted and they could invade us they would but that doesn’t excuse us doing it.

Posted by: Carolina at March 31, 2008 6:33 PM
Comment #249652

I noticed this article today. I just wanted to post it, in case any propogandists here are looking for work.

Posted by: googlumpus at April 2, 2008 12:43 AM
Comment #249653

In earlier posts, I did not agree that Bush or Cheney should have been impeached. Yes, they lied, cheated and stole their way into Iraq, gerrymandering and slush money. I didn’t think it was politically feasible to pursue impeachment. I still don’t.

They should be prosecuted for War Crimes and War profiteering. I recently saw a piece on Boss Tweed. It occurred to me, while watching this program on his political manuevering, that their political agenda has been to obfuscate the largest theft of the treasury in US history.


It isn’t about spying, torture, political intrigue, or even getting even for daddy. Sure those were tools in the ploy, but it is entirely about theft. Follow the money. The payback for them will come post their administration. They have scratched the back of their mentors, and like most in their administration, the payoff is coming. I used to think no one could be that stupid. I was right. They aren’t. You’ve been robbed.

This is what Eisenhower warned us about.

Posted by: googlumpus at April 2, 2008 1:11 AM
Comment #249656

Bush & Cheney are aleady rich. Most ex-presidents and VPs do well. Look at Clinton and Gore. Indeed, if Bush & Cheney suddenly come into really big unexplained money after they leave office, I will also call for an investigation. If not (which will be the case) maybe you will reconsider your theory - problably not. Maybe the alien landing will change all that.

Posted by: Jack at April 2, 2008 5:51 AM
Comment #249657

Jack

I will reconsider my theory when you reconsider yours. Since when do immoral rich people stop wanting to gather wealth just because they have some for them they never have enough. Note I did not say Bush and Cheney-I said major Amercian corporations and unless Bush and Cheney own all the major corporations- I am not talking about them. I am talking about the corporations who own bush and cheney-I am talking about the corporations that now own the United States.

You can try an demean what I say all you want by making remarks about alien landings but saying things like that never makes the one being attacked look bad or silly it just makes the attacker look desperate and ignorant.

Posted by: Carolina at April 2, 2008 7:51 AM
Comment #249658

Carolina

Rich people often stop wanting to have more. The trend these days is for the rich to set up foundations to try to give some of it away.

When they have enough money, people start looking for meaning in life. Making money alone is a motivator to people at the lower end of the income spectrum. Of course, there are always some greedy fools (remember John Paul Getty) but most people begin to come around sooner.

In any case, your accusation that they would purposly lead their country into a deadly war just to make money goes beyond greed.

For the U.S., Iraq is a net money loser. If these rich guys were trying just to make money, they could have done so in lots of easier ways. The oil for food program was extremely profitable, BTW.

Re making fun of your conspiracy theory, I was making fun of googlumpus’ conspriacy theory, but if you want to get in on it, be my guest.

Posted by: Jack at April 2, 2008 8:39 AM
Comment #249668

Jack,,

Obviously, you know little about their previous business dealings, and we all will know even less about their future business dealings.

BTW, Setting up a foundation does not reduce their income. It does offset taxes and insures a legacy. Get a grip. Looking for meaning? Sorry, but these guys aren’t ex-hippies.

Posted by: googlumpus at April 2, 2008 11:30 AM
Comment #249673

Jack

I’m not sure there is much reason to continue this back and forth but I will try one last time to reexplain myself. I am not sure if you are not reading my post carefully or purposefully rephrasing what I have said or just making general comments although they appear to be in response to what I have said.

So here goes-you are talking in absolutes-I never said all rich people-I said immoral rich people-that is a more narrow category than rich people. I do not assume that all rich people are immoral or that all rich people only want to enlarge their wealth. Not all rich people set up foundations and many corporations in my opinion are immoral not all but some. That is what I am talking about those rich people who are only interested in enlarging their wealth whatever the cost to anyone else and the major corporations in the United States that are interested in nothing more than lining their pockets.

Posted by: Carolina at April 2, 2008 2:19 PM
Comment #249690

The US needs to withdraw from Iraq, now.

What a humiliation for the United States of America. While we supported the Al-Maliki government by bombing urban areas in Baghdad and Basra in support, and lending special forces units to the suppression, thousands of Shia soldiers deserted and joined the Sadrists. They would not fire on fellow Shias. It took Iran- NOT the US, but Iran- to broker a peace.

So while Americans were bombing urban areas and shooting Sadrists, Iran brokered a peace agreement between factions.

It is sickening to see the United States of America humiliated like this. It is absolutely shameful.

Hundred of people died.

Al-Maliki accused the deserting Shia soldiers of mutinying. They are being replaced with additional militiamen from the faction consisting of SCII (Al-Hakim) and Da’wa. Nice.

The Sunnis are upset, because the Sunni Awakening Councils are not being invited to join the Iraqi Army to replace the deserting Shias.

The Kurds do not provide troops for actions such as Basra. They do not even fly the Iraqi flag.

Just another shameful episode in the War in Iraq.

Posted by: phx8 at April 2, 2008 4:31 PM
Comment #249694

phx8

I totally agree with you. couldn’t have said it better myself

Posted by: Carolina at April 2, 2008 5:07 PM
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