Iraqi Elections are Getting to be Routine

Iraq voter turnout is estimated at 67%. Violence was minimal. Terrorists stayed home. Voters came out. Voting was heavy in all regions. This was the freest and most successful election in Iraq or any other Arab country. The tables are turning on the despots, potentates and terrorists. Zarqawi weeps and trembles with rage as hell gapes for him. How to spin this as a Bush disaster?

Bush opponents will fall back on several strategies.

The first is to demand perfection. Each irregularity will be magnified and ordinary speed bumps will be by charted like the Himalayas.

Second is to claim that this is just to be expected. Of course it was easy. It was inevitable. Bush did nothing.

Third is to say that no outcome in Iraq could be worth the cost.

This will be like the fall of communism. I remember very clearly that all the major pundits and left leaning analysts called anyone who said communism might soon end a right wing nut. Soon after the fall of the Soviet Union they claimed they predicted it all the time. Then they moved in attack mode saying that people on the right used the communists, who were so obviously collapsing, to create fear.

The same will soon be happening in the Middle East with Iraq. We will have done something good and it will be worth it. I think they call that a paradigm shift. After the shift, nobody can remember how they felt before.

BTW - Has anyone heard from Osama since the earthquakes. Maybe a big rock fell on him. Ironic if he was killed by a simple "act of God."

Posted by Jack at December 15, 2005 8:15 PM
Comment #102931

Not only that

A recent ABC/BBC/Time Magazine poll found the 70% of Iraqis thought their lives were good and more than six in ten felt secure.

The poll was not well reported, so you may not have seen it. If it had been negative you would have heard a lot more.

Posted by: Jack at December 15, 2005 8:52 PM
Comment #102932


Congrats. The Bush administration did not completely screw this up. How proud you must be.

My response is number 3, but not as you spin it. Surely some kind of outcome in Iraq could be worth the cost. But it is highly, highly doubtful that we’ll see it any time soon.

Still, today’s elections were good for Iraq and good for America, so I’m happy.

BTW - Has anyone heard from Osama since the earthquakes. Maybe a big rock fell on him. Ironic if he was killed by a simple “act of God.”

No, the irony would be that a rock is more competent than George Bush.

Posted by: Burt at December 15, 2005 8:57 PM
Comment #102934

Hi Jack,

I wish I shared your optimism re: the future of Iraq. There are still major concerns about that country’s ability to pull together various ethnic factions and prevent the outbreak of civil war.

That said, I would agree that the elections are going well — and this is certainly a welcome success in a troubled region. But ultimately the Sunnis will participate in the political process (and thus undermine the insurgency) only to the extent that they feel fairly treated under the Iraqi constitution. I’m have doubts about the current constitution’s power to do so, the willingness of the Sunnis to accept a minority status in the country, and whether the various political factions will be able to find enough room for compromise to accomplish this objective.

Of course, for the good of the region and the world, I deeply hope and pray that they do. But let’s keep this whole situation in perspective. The election is but one step in a much larger (and difficult) political situation.

I’d actually be curious about people’s thoughts re: the US military presence as it affects the political picture in Iraq. Personally, my feeling is that we need to draw down as soon as is feasible in order to reduce the sense that we are “occupiers” (and thus undermine insurgency rhetoric). On the other hand, I’m sure there are difficult military issues regarding when the Iraqis can fend for themselves on the security front. Personally, I’d probably err on the side of turning responsibility over to the Iraqis as soon as possible, but I’d love to hear other views.

Posted by: Steve Westby at December 15, 2005 8:59 PM
Comment #102935


A rock would be okay with me, although I would have preferred clinging mud. I just hope that by now he has found out that the 72 virgins thing is a load of crap.

Posted by: Jack at December 15, 2005 9:02 PM
Comment #102937


As President Bush said, as long as necessary and not a day longer.

Posted by: Jack at December 15, 2005 9:06 PM
Comment #102940

Jack wrote:

As President Bush said, as long as necessary and not a day longer.

OK, sure…and the rhetoric sounds nice. But ultimately what does that MEAN exactly? We’re going to have to make some difficult choices in the near future — either keeping the troops in there until the Iraqis are fully capable to managing the situation themselves (which risk fueling the insurgency’s argument that we’re occupiers in the meantime) or pulling out a bit earlier (which puts the onus of security on the Iraqis but risks leaving them unprepared for dealing with the Iraqi insurgency). In other words, how do we decide how long is “necessary”?

Posted by: Steve Westby at December 15, 2005 9:13 PM
Comment #102944

Another routine election, another victory for democracy. Mmm. Say, you neglected to mention any of the people actually running. You know, the Iraqis. Because this isn’t just about US electoral politics, and whether Bush can leverage this into a better approval rating. Or is it?

In a few weeks the results will be known. In four months the Iraqi constitution becomes firm, no more amending.

What is interesting is that we’ve erected a political entity in Iraq without any of the usual supporting structures. For example, there is no national Iraqi Army. We still cannot trust Iraqi armed forces with powerful weaponry, air power (other than transport), tanks, and so on. Numerous armed forces representing ethnic/religious groups, such as the Badr Brigades, the Mahdi Army, Peshmerga, and others remain independent and unintegrated into the Iraq military.

So, we’ve installed a ‘democratic’ government without its own independent military. Interesting.

Jaafari has made it clear, he will not accept another honorary post.

Al-Sadr has united SCIRI, Dawa, and Chalabi behind him with a joint statement condemning terrorism, the US occupation, and Israel.

The death squads are busy. Allawi and the Mukhabarat are not likely to be graceful winners. Because sadly, there never really was a democratic movement. The Iraqi National Congress was a fiction created by the Renton Group for the CIA & Chalabi.

While there never was an authentic, home-grown movement for democracy, there are quite a few people very interested in acquiring power. Parties such as SCIRI & Dawa, and al-Sadr have all used terrorism to achieve their aims in the past. Allawi & the secularists- perhaps we should call them ‘neo-baathists’; have roots among the Sunni followers of Saddam, and we’re already familiar with the violent tendencies of those people.

The great question has yet to play out; who gets the oil? Will the new Iraqi government align itself with Iran, and give the long-term binding contracts to French, Russian, and even Chinese oil concerns? Or will Chalabi pay us back, and steer Iraqi oil contracts towards the US companies.

Hold onto your hats!

Posted by: phx8 at December 15, 2005 9:22 PM
Comment #102946

Hi Jack,

“Bush opponents will fall back on several strategies.”

You guys have been wrong all along about the various milestones in Iraq. You guys keep saying “NOW things are going to get better” and you’ve been wrong all along.

For people that have been wrong all along you are an arrogant bunch….I’m generalizing here but it’s a fair generalization.

How can you be wrong for so long and yet feel so superior?

Can you understand why those of us who are aware that you’ve been wrong all along have a wait and see attitude?

My “strategy” is to stick to the truth. The right wing strategy is to spin like crazy but I’m going to stick with the truth.

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 15, 2005 9:30 PM
Comment #102949


The future belongs freedom. That is why we are so “arrogant”. Three elections in one year. Each better than the one before. Each held on schedule despite calls to stop or postpone them. If this is wrong, I don’t want to be right. Things are getting better. I bet you didn’t predict that, at least whe it was still in the future. I look to the future not the past and the future belongs to freedom.


The coalition can continue to support the Iraqis with the heavy lifting. This can be done at a distance. Few countries have a completely autonomous armed forces. Among our allies, only the Brits and sometimes the French can really mount an operation without our support. It is not uncommon for the U.S. to provide allies with lift, air support etc and we provide all of Europe with a strategic umbrella. That doesn’t mean we are involved every day and in every way.

Posted by: Jack at December 15, 2005 9:48 PM
Comment #102950


What is even partially screwed up about Iraq? Just give a reasonable answer. Odds are, you either won’t check back or won’t answer. Either way, Bush and his administration did this thing right and it’s only bad for Liberals because it’s egg of your face. America was successful at something under a Republican? That can’t happen in mind of a liberal. Stop trying to discredit him and just be happy we helped those people!

Posted by: Daniel W. peer at December 15, 2005 9:58 PM
Comment #102953

I’m still waiting for someone from the red column to name the Iraqi parties who participated in the elections. Look back. You’ll see what I mean. Not one Iraqi named. Not one Iraqi party mentioned. The lack of content and detail is remarkable. Quite an achievement. It’s like discussing a recent US election without mentioning Bush, Gore, Democrats, or Republicans. Wow.

If you’re looking for good material on the Iraqi military, look up the recent Atlantic Monthly article “Why Iraq Has No Army.” It includes first person interviews, and insights from General Petraeus as well as retired USMC Col Thomas Hammes, author of “The Sling and the Stone.” The Atlantic Monthly site is by subscription, but the article’s been made available elsewhere on the internet.

Posted by: phx8 at December 15, 2005 10:09 PM
Comment #102954

Body count aside, dollar cost aside, WMD aside….I hope and pray that this nation will be able to stand on its own and we can bring our folks home. Elections are great. Contstitutions are great….BUT, they are only as good as the people around them. What makes our constitution great? It’s not simply the written words, its the people’s faith in those words and their faith in the spirit of freedom.

Will the Iraqi people have this same faith? Only time will tell. I hope they do. I don’t care who gets the credit for success….I hope they are successful. I think most true Americans hope the same thing.

However, we must face reality as well. Their are more than simply terrorist problems in Iraq. There are unity problems. Are the people Iraqi first or are they Suni or Shiite or Kurds first? If we want to make this successful I think our troups will need to be “near by” for many, many years to come. Does that mean on Iraqi soil? Maybe for a while…or maybe in neighboring countries. Whereever they are they will be, at least to some extent, “targets” for terrorist factions. Will our people have the stomach for the long-term commitment it may take? Again…only time will tell.

A democratically elected government is good for the Iraqi people. Is it good for the American people? Even if the democratically elected government results in an “Iranian-type” theocracy? Again…only time will tell.

The elections are only ONE step in a long process. I don’t think we will know how the outcome will affect the U.S. for many years. It may be good and it may not…only time will tell. Whether one is Blue or Red we should hope for an outcome that will be benificial….but only time will tell.

Posted by: Tom L at December 15, 2005 10:11 PM
Comment #102955

Will you take up the gauntlet? Can you name any of the participants in the Iraqi election? Who do you think will win? What do you think the winners will do? What are the implications for us? Will our country continue spending one billion dollars per week on Iraq?

Posted by: phx8 at December 15, 2005 10:12 PM
Comment #102956

Before anyone says it, Iraq is not as peaceful as we are. They face bombings, terrorism, and murderous plots. That is nothing new to the Middle East and nothing we can entirely protect them from, or they protect themselves from, for that matter. Saying it’s not perfect is like saying a cancer survivor still has problems. Of course the Iraqis have problems! The key determinant is: are their lives better now than they were before. The polls of the Iraqi people (You liberals know a lot about polls right?) say that their lives are better, happier, and safer. Get over yourselves and quit making baseless claims of incompetence and start supporting your country’s efforts, even if you disagree! Try and vote Bush out if you can. Until then, SUPPORT HIM FOR THE COUNTRY’S SAKE!

Posted by: Daniel W. Peer at December 15, 2005 10:13 PM
Comment #102959


I bet you love thinking you’re smarter than everyone else. Probably what gets you through every day of Bush’s presidency. On to your questions. Some of you questions are vague and a novice could answer them. “What are the implications for us?” It’s very obvious what they are. Our possible supply of oil from Iraq, militant leaders coming into power, the stability of Iraq, and our repution across the world. Did you really think I couldn’t answer that? Hmmm… what about spending $52 billion a year on Iraq? (In case you can’t multiply, that’s 52 weeks in a year times $1 billion per week.) What percent of our national budget is that? What percent of our MILITARY budget is that? Our 2006 proposed discretionary Defense Budget is $419 billion.

Well, 52/419 = 12.4%. That’s not even a huge chunk of the military budget.

Get real. Stop trying to sound informed by using names you can find in a google search. Stop trying to act like you’re an authority on the middle east, unless you’ve some credentials to show.

Posted by: Daniel W. Peer at December 15, 2005 10:37 PM
Comment #102960

Kudos to the brave Iraqis. Even if you feel we were misled into an ill-conceived and poorly planned war, this election is a great thing. Yes, it may all still end in terrible sectarian civil strife or an Iran-friendly theocracy, but being able to cast a legitimate vote is a fine thing in my book. This is one of those issues on which I agree with Mr. Bush, whatever his many faults.

Posted by: Reed Sanders at December 15, 2005 10:38 PM
Comment #102962

I don’t care who they elect as long as they elect. There is no democracy (or republic etc) in any Arab country. Power corrupts and so does powerlessness. Freedom will cool their destructive passions. I am willing to give them a chance.

When communism was falling apart in Poland, the church was the most powerful institution. Since they were Catholic instead of Muslim, we didn’t worry as much (ask yourself why), but if you were apt to worry about theocracy it would have given you pause. The Pope kindled the movement. Millions of people crowded the streets and prayed. Religious symbols and clerics were prominent in all political gatherings. The leading opposition figure, Lech Walesa was exceedingly devout. His most intimate spiritual advisor Henryk Jankowski sometimes said outrageous things. The communists claimed that Solidarity took its orders from Rome and sometimes they did. It worked out well. The Church helped moderate the movement, but it didn’t take over.

When people are stressed, they fall back on their more traditional institutions. When they have more choices, they start to make them. The people of Iraq have shown tenacity and courage. I have been optimistic, but even I have been impressed. I think they will make lots of mistakes. They will do things we don’t like. But I have faith in democracy and I am developing faith in the people of Iraq.

Maybe tomorrow I will less enthusiastic, but today is glorious for the people of Iraq and for freedom. The world is a better place today than it was yesterday. Nothing can dampen my mood this night.

Posted by: Jack at December 15, 2005 10:45 PM
Comment #102963


While you’re at it, stop hiding behind the name “Phx8” and let people see who you are. Only a coward would be so lame as to criticize me for what I say from the protection of a false name. I have no respect for someone who can’t personally stand by what they say. Until you do that, you don’t deserve to have my analysis of the Iraqi elections. You don’t even deserve further comments.

Posted by: Daniel W. Peer at December 15, 2005 10:46 PM
Comment #102966

Jack, please forgive my rudeness. That is a great article and you have a great attitude. I always enjoy reading your work here. Please, keep up the good work!

Posted by: Daniel W. Peer at December 15, 2005 10:53 PM
Comment #102967
The polls of the Iraqi people (You liberals know a lot about polls right?) say that their lives are better, happier, and safer.

Daniel, It’s better to be careful on how you use the poll numbers. He who lives by them also dies by them. It’s all in which ones are spun. Even in the article that Jack cites, it states:

Fewer than half, 46 percent, say the country is better off now than it was before the war. And half of Iraqis now say it was wrong for U.S.-led forces to invade in spring 2003, up from 39 percent in 2004. The number of Iraqis who say things are going well in their country overall is just 44 percent… Fifty-two percent instead say the country is doing badly….Two-thirds now oppose the presence of U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq, 14 points higher than in February 2004. Nearly six in 10 disapprove of how the United States has operated in Iraq since the war, and most of them disapprove strongly.
Other polls show that the percentage of Iraqis optimistic about the future has declined from 65% in late 2003 to 54% in 2004 and 49% last November. My take is that they’re realizing it’s going to be a long and uncertain slog toward a better national life, even if they’re doing better personally themselves. That’s all to the good, I think, because it means they recognize there are problems that no one is going to solve for them. A little pessimism in measured doses it a good thing. Posted by: Reed Sanders at December 15, 2005 11:01 PM
Comment #102968


This poll is parallel to some in America in that people are optimistic about their own lives (i.e. what they know from personal experience) but pessimistic about general conditions (i.e. what they know from the media.) See the pattern? Which do you think they know better, what they experience or what they only hear about.

Posted by: Jack at December 15, 2005 11:12 PM
Comment #102969

“I bet you love thinking you’re smarter than everyone else.”

Whose fault is that?

I appreciate the effort behind your post, as well as the use of links. But I must point out, a billion dollars a week is a lot of money, no matter what it’s a percentage of. (Hint: Anytime an opposing position counters a number with a percentage, they’re usually in trouble. Watch for it in the future, see how often it’s true).

While a rose is a rose is a rose, a phx8 is a fixation four all, and ph balanced to boot.

Posted by: phx8 at December 15, 2005 11:21 PM
Comment #102972

Hi Jack, I started off right with my Mormon parents and moved to the left as I learned more about the world. / I voted for Carter, possibly our only truthful president - but honesty and truthfulness don’t get a second term and rarely even a first. / I entered an essay contest in The Economist - it was about starting a new religion (I’m agnostic). I wasn’t worried about getting published, I just wanted one person from that publication to read it. Both my Mormon father and one of my professors, who claimed to be a Marxist, said it was the best publication of its kind. / If the motivation for going into Iraq was to depose Saddam (or even to find WMDs), why did we need to do it with guns and bombs? “We” decided to get rid of popularly elected Allende because he was a Socialist (dirty word). But we didn’t have reason to stick around, did we? We just stuck that murderer, Pinochet, in his place. I don’t think I can be convinced that we couldn’t have found a shorter, cleaner method to get rid of the Iraqi monster. / Come back to the left, Jack

Posted by: Jean at December 15, 2005 11:50 PM
Comment #102973


Everything on the surface looks good, optimism in Iraq is at a high. But the strategy I am going to take right now is wait and see. The real test will come after the ballots are counted. Will the results set off new violence? Will the newly elected parliament be able to work together? We will just have to wait and see.

The poll numbers from Iraq are pretty impressive and show a high level of optimism, and support for Democracy. There is no doubt that there are many positive things happening, at least in perception. The thing about these polls that concerns me though is the feelings towards U.S. coalition forces. Bad sentiment towards us is growing. This has been a major concern of mine for a while. If it comes out that we invaded based on lies or deceptions, the number holding resentment towards us will grow. That might not present such a good situation for us. Hopefully the positive changes in Iraq will be enough to counter any danger.

50.3% feel that the U.S. was wrong for invading Iraq in 2003, that is up from 39% last year.

More Iraqi’s rated it would be worse for Iraq if the U.S. forces stayed(8.9%) then if Saddam were returned to power (0.8%).

More think it is a higher priority to get U.S. forces out of Iraq (9.6%) than to deal with members of their former government(0.2%).

When asked which is no priority at all, the majority answered dealing with the former regime (63.3%), only 4.3% didn’t think it was priority to get the U.S. forces to leave.

77.8% said they had not very much or no confidence in U.S./ U.K. forces.

When asked how the U.S. coalition forces have carried out their responsibilities in Iraq, 58.6% responded quite a bad job/very bad job.

64.5% somewhat oppose/strongly oppose the presence of coalition forces.

5.5% of those who think security has improved, think that U.S. coalition forces are responsible.

33.5% of those who think security has deteriorated, think that U.S. coalition forces are responsible.

National Survey of Iraq pdf



There are always two sides to every story. I see a lot of positive coming out of Iraq, and I support the administration as far as completing this mission. If we leave Iraq better than we found it, then we have done good. The problem we face however, is the way we are viewed in the eyes of the Iraqi’s and the Middle East. Let’s not forget that these people come from a different culture. The very thing we are suppose to be fighting, terror, doesn’t make much sense to us, but it does to them. We may just leave the area, in a more dangerous position than when we got there. Only time will tell. I support the president as far as that we have a responsibility to finish the job we started, however, for the country’s sake, I do not think we should blindly support his policies going forward.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at December 15, 2005 11:57 PM
Comment #102975

I have no problem with people (even anti-war people) saying that Iraqi elections won’t solve all the complications that Iraq faces. The president says as much himself.

Even more important than the Iraq elections (and its results) is the effect that their very existence is having on the Middle East as a whole. People watch Iraqis going to the polls, and start to wonder why they don’t get to do so themselves.
This is putting tremendous pressure on the despots throughout that region, and we can all be glad that things are being pushed to a head now instead of later.

Posted by: sanger at December 15, 2005 11:59 PM
Comment #102976

“I don’t care who they elect as long as they elect.”

Right. Nice topic sentence for a comment. Ok, anyone in the red column: what happened in the elections of November 6, 1932 in the Weimar Republic? How about the elections in Russia during the month of October, 1917.

“I don’t care who they elect as long as they elect.”

In 1956, according to the Geneva Accords, the division of this country at the 17th parallel was supposed to be dissolved. A man named Diem won a controversial election. Ok Red team, name this country!

“I don’t care who they elect as long as they elect.”

In 1992, this country saw Islamic fundamentalists win a majority in a democratic election. The military threw out the results and took over. In the resulting civil war, over 150,000 civilians died. Can you name that country?

“I don’t care who they elect as long as they elect.”

The fact is, the occurrence of an election in Iraq is inconsequential when considered in context. The participants matter. The circumstances matter. And the outcome matters.

Posted by: phx8 at December 16, 2005 12:02 AM
Comment #102979

Phx8, you raise some legitimate concerns and I don’t totally discount them, but what are you really saying other than that elections themselves don’t guarantee good office holders (which is obviously true).

Does that fact that Marion Berry was reelected as Mayor of DC after being videotaped smoking crack with a prostitute mean that we shouldn’t have elections in the United States? Is your point that democracy is so bad that totalitarianism is really a better option for some people?

I’m afraid that that’s what your argument boils down to. Democracy is messy, no doubt, but the alternatives are infinitely worse. Why not just say that Iraq has a hard road ahead, but it’s good that they’re at least able to participate (for the first time in history) in determining their own fate?

Posted by: sanger at December 16, 2005 12:26 AM
Comment #102982

When the increasingly free Iraq goes to vote
again, I hope they all dip their MIDDLE fingers
in the ink and raise THAT finger up to the liberal
US journalists in essence saying, “This is what
Saddam can do with his dictatorship!” At the same
time, maybe all the liberal nay-sayers in the US
will take that as the Iraqis saying to them,
“Thanks for not caring about the freedom of Arabs,
but becoming orgasmic when the Berlin Wall fell,
sort of freeing a bunch of semi-oppressed white
Germans.” White US liberals are a bunch of anti-
Arab racists and don’t even know it

Posted by: Dale Garland at December 16, 2005 12:35 AM
Comment #102985
Bush opponents will fall back on several strategies.


Here it is, fresh off the press:

The Honorable George W. Bush President The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Bush,

As Democratic Members who are deeply committed to a successful resolution to our mission in Iraq, who want to leave Iraq with a stable government, and bring our troops home as soon as possible, we are writing to describe principles that are an essential part of a plan for success in Iraq.

We owe this plan first and foremost to the brave men and women of our Armed Forces who are serving in Iraq; to their families who continue to sacrifice so much for our efforts in Iraq; to the American people who stand foursquare behind the troops; and to the Iraqi people who largely want a peaceful and stable Iraq.

We believe that 2006 is a time of significant opportunity for the United States in Iraq: The US has borne the lion’s share of taking Iraq from a brutal dictatorship to a sovereign and pluralistic country able to govern and provide for its own security.

Now the time has come for us to accelerate the transition to full Iraqi sovereignty, and create the conditions for the redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq.

To this end, we believe that you need to announce that United States military forces will not stay in Iraq any longer than required to constitute a capable Iraq security force and that the people of Iraq should be told this immediately.

You need to also urge the new Iraqi government elected on December 15, in no uncertain terms, to represent and reach out to all Iraqis and create a sustainable political settlement that is essential for ending the insurgency in Iraq. The United States has no interest in maintaining a permanent military presence in Iraq or in fighting a civil war for them. We have an obligation to the Iraqi people to help them set up a representative government through the December elections and we must focus our efforts on defeating the Jihadist threat in Iraq. Additional support must be provided by the Iraqis themselves and the international community.

The December 15 election in Iraq marks a decisive turning point for US involvement there.

After nearly three years of intimate US involvement with Iraq’s political development and security operations, the election of a permanent Iraqi government means the United States has the opportunity to scale back its involvement in Iraq.

Over the next twelve months the United States should draw down its military personnel and participation in Iraq as the Iraqi government takes increased responsibility for its political and security needs.

Four principles should guide U.S. policy on Iraq:

First, it is vital that the new Iraqi government be inclusive and non-sectarian.

The Iraqi government that is elected on December 15 has a responsibility to serve all Iraqis, include minority parties and treat all with fairness and respect.

The new government must extend full participation and civil liberties to the Sunnis, Kurds, and all minorities in Iraq.

A serious effort by the new Iraqi government to address Sunni, Kurd and other minority concerns should lead to a reduction in violence.

Second, the Iraqi government must take full responsibility for defeating all domestic security threats.

We must make it clear that the United States’ interest is in developing a power-sharing arrangement among Sunnis, Shiia and Kurds.

To the extent that Sunnis and Baathists continue to engage in violence against the government of Iraq after the new permanent government is formed early next year, it is the Iraqi security forces that must combat that violence. The US must not be a proxy in an Iraqi civil war.

To this end, your administration owes the American people an honest accounting of Iraq’s security capabilities as listed in the overwhelmingly supported Warner-Frist amendment to the defense authorization bill:

(A) The number of battalions of the Iraqi Armed Forces that must be able to operate independently or to take the lead in counterinsurgency operations and the defense of Iraq’s territory.

(B) The number of Iraqi special police units that must be able to operate independently or to take the lead in maintaining law and order and fighting the insurgency.

(C) The number of regular police that must be trained and equipped to maintain law and order.

(D) The ability of Iraq’s Federal ministries and provincial and local governments to independently sustain, direct, and coordinate Iraq’s security forces.

(E) The criteria to be used to evaluate progress toward meeting such conditions.

(F) A schedule for meeting such conditions, an assessment of the extent to which such conditions have been met, information regarding variables that could alter that schedule, and the reasons for any subsequent changes to that schedule.

Third, the United States military presence in Iraq should decrease significantly in the next twelve months and the US role should be to isolate and defeat foreign terrorists and foreign jihadists in Iraq.

Currently, the United States is embroiled in three different missions: containing a civil war, fighting foreign terrorists, and nation-building.

While the Iraqi government takes increased responsibility for its own domestic security concerns, U.S. troops can focus on attacking Al Qaeda and foreign jihadists.

Our priority should always have been to defeat global jihadists led by Al Qaeda – with Iraq taking more responsibility for its own security we can now get back to that main task.

The U.S. must accelerate the creation of Provincial Reconstruction Teams throughout Iraq to transition a number of core economic and security functions to the Iraqi people.

Because the U.S. will have a reduced role in Iraq, we expect to be able to significantly draw down the number of U.S. troops there by as much as two thirds. Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Ike Skelton offers a possible formula to achieve this - redeploying an American brigade or unit of comparable size for every three Iraqi security force combat brigades that are rated fully capable.

The United States will not keep any permanent military bases in Iraq but will maintain an over-the-horizon force to prevent or respond to threats to US interests should they arise after the complete redeployment of U.S. troops.

Part of an effective transition in our focus in Iraq will involve a dramatic change in our rhetoric and sending the clear message that the U.S. mission in Iraq will be part of a restored focus on the broader worldwide jihadist threat.

And fourth, Iraq, its regional neighbors and the international community must take on more of the nation-building portion of the mission in Iraq.

The highest priority is to stand up robust oil production, which is at present below pre-war levels. Oil revenues will allow Iraq to bear the main costs of reconstruction. The US must make clear that Iraqi oil belongs solely to the Iraqi people.

The international community, led by Saudi Arabia, Iraq’s largest country creditor, must forgive Iraq’s remaining debt.

Iraq’s neighbors in the Middle East, the international community, and experts from relevant non-governmental organizations must assist Iraq with building functioning government institutions; reinstate when possible the bureaucratic class in Iraq; and help Iraq’s new permanent government fight corruption.

Reconstruction of Iraqi infrastructure should be turned over to Iraqis and the international community at an accelerated pace. All contracts should be awarded through standardized bidding contests and preference for the awarding of contracts going to Iraqi nationals operating small and medium size businesses.

An Iraq Contact Group should be created to provide oversight and resources to the Iraqi government and sustain international attention on Iraq, follow up on financial commitments and actual disbursement of funds pledged by the international community and assist Iraq with any and all challenges it encounters in setting up a functioning and accountable government.

We urge your adoption of theses principles and look forward to your timely response.


Reps. Steny Hoyer (MD), Ike Skelton (MO), Ellen Tauscher (CA), Jane Harman (CA), Adam Smith (WA), Rick Larsen (WA), Betty McCollum (MN), Darlene Hooley (OR), Marty Meehan (MA), David Price (NC), Chris Van Hollen (MD), Joe Crowley (NY), John Larson (CT), Carolyn McCarthy (NY), Mark Udall (CO), Lane Evans (IL), Robert Brady (PA), Steve Israel (NY), James Langevin (RI), Juanita Millender-McDonald (CA), Mike McIntyre (NC), Jim Cooper (TN), and Dennis Cardoza (CA)

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at December 16, 2005 12:41 AM
Comment #102990
See the pattern? Which do you think they know better, what they experience or what they only hear about.

Jack, The pattern that’s most apparent is how you tend to interpret these kind of data. I’ve seen it before in your other posts. You tend to take the “they’re fooled by the media” approach, with which I don’t agree.

My experience with these kind of poll numbers is that when people think there’s something wrong in the larger culture, there usually is, even if they’re in an okay position personally. And if 30,000 of my fellow Americans had recently been killed in mass mayhem and my country was potentially on the brink of civil war, I think I’d have a good reason for some pessimism. Look at how our own nation reacted after 9/11, when many fewer died.

No, I trust the Iraqis to know what’s going on with their own nation as well as their own personal lives. I think Americans are also fairly good at this. In fact, there’s research data to show that it’s usually the pundits rather than the masses that get these things badly wrong.

Iraq is a mixed bag and the Iraqis know it. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, it makes their decision to go to the polls that much more admirable. May their democracy prosper in lands where hope too often dies like a lame camel in the desert.

Posted by: Reed Sanders at December 16, 2005 1:07 AM
Comment #102992


“And half of Iraqis now say it was wrong for U.S.-led forces to invade in spring 2003, up from 39 percent in 2004.”

That number, for instance, went up. Not down. I appreciate you wanting to be precise and handling that with respect. There are going to good and bad feelings all the time. The important thing is to doing what we can to improve the low numbers.

Posted by: Daniel W. Peer at December 16, 2005 1:12 AM
Comment #102993

Good points. Agreed, at this point there’s little choice but to set up a democracy. Unfortunately, because the reasons for going into Iraq in the first place were primarily driven by US domestic political concerns, because staying has been driven by the same, and because the withdrawal of US troops will also be primarily driven by US dometic political concerns, the Iraqi electoral process has been a disaster. Sistani and the Shias understood the primacy of US domestic political concerns, and derailed the Bush agenda for Iraq by demanding a fast, democratic electoral process. Because our reasons for going into Iraq in the first place were so messed up, the Shias were able to pressure the US into the situation we are in today.

I opposed going into Iraq in the first place because I thought the place would be ungovernable, and that the Shias and Sunnis and Kurds would be at one another’s throats. I thought Bush #41 was right. And now it appears the Shias are about to take the reigns of power.

I’ve said many times that the best hope for Iraq would have been partition. That may happen anyway. Depends on how fast the Shia death squads move, and how far ethnic cleansing in southern Iraq goes. It depends on how involved Iran and Saudi Arabia become in the approaching civil war.

Some very unsavory characters are about to take control in Iraq. It’s like watching a slow motion bus(h) crash.

I don’t know if it’s possible to establish a healthy political structure without a supporting military structure. A political structure can be imposed and a supporting military structure denied, which amounts to colonialism. But given the current practice of Fourth Generation Warfare, it’s hard to see how the colonial, occupationist method could ever work.

Posted by: phx8 at December 16, 2005 1:17 AM
Comment #102994


We shouldn’t blindly support any policy. We’re in the mix in Iraq. If we don’t support our country’s efforts over there it is counterproductive to what everyone claims to believe, that we don’t want to make the Iraq peoples’ lives worse. Bush has made statement to the other Arab Nations: we can and will invade if we have to. It definately gives them pause. Putting up a divided front, one that is standing strong and then another that claims the other side isn’t that strong and we need to pull out and cut our losses, is a bad for our national image and thus our security. If we appear weak, are they more or less likely to attack us, for example? If we are successful in helping them build a strong democracy, then we have done a GOOD thing for them and trying to undermine the president by constantly saying we’re going to fail is also counterproductive. My point is and was that some people in our society need to get behind this thing instead trying to bring the country down so they can say “I told you so.”

Posted by: Daniel W> Peer at December 16, 2005 1:29 AM
Comment #102995

Polls of Iraqis seem to show some things that are increasingly pro-American and some other things that are increasingly anti-American. But that’s not what confuses me.

So this is a non-partisan question. How in the world are these polls conducted in a country where a tiny percentage of people even have telephones?

blockquote> “And half of Iraqis now say it was wrong for U.S.-led forces to invade in spring 2003, up from 39 percent in 2004.”

What an oddly worded question. What does it even mean? Why not simply ask them if it was wrong to invade Iraq at all? If they say it was wrong to invade in spring of 2003, does that mean they think the invasion should have happened earlier? Later? Not at all?

I’d like to see the real numbers and the methodoloyy of any polls taken of Iraqis in a country where people don’t have phones, phone books, or even formally listed addresses. How are the polls weighted among Kurds, Sunnis and Shias? Who is doing these polls and how? And what is the margin of error? If it’s +/- %100 I wonder what relevance such polls actually have. Even when the results support my point of view, it all smells very fishy.

Posted by: sanger at December 16, 2005 1:30 AM
Comment #102996

I ignore polls in Iraq, regardless of whether they support or undercut. Most of Iraq is too dangerous for westerners to go without heavily armed escorts. One poll in Iraq asked how people thought it was going, and the results were very positive. Turns out the people asked were Iraqis on the US payroll. Anyway, it will take some convincing for me to believe any polls from Iraq.

You write: “Bush has made statement to the other Arab Nations: we can and will invade if we have to.”

And you conclude: “… Some people in our society need to get behind this thing instead trying to bring the country down so they can say “I told you so.”

Daniel, I told you so then, and I’m telling you again.

Ever hear the term ‘enabler’?

Posted by: phx8 at December 16, 2005 1:42 AM
Comment #102997


“‘I bet you love thinking you’re smarter than everyone else.’

Whose fault is that?”

Am I really going to have to explain that a moron who thinks he is smart is still a moron? Considering who I am talking to, I guess I do. You THINK you’re have some great intellect, but it is a comparison of minds that determines who is the smartest, the dumbeest, and somewhere inbetween. Who’s fault is it that you THINK you’re smart? Maybe you live near a chemical plant that let off something that gave you some form of dimensia. More likely, it’s you’re own fault.

Don’t advise me on using percentages. If Bill Gates spent $50,000,000 on a house, I’d say that is a lot of money and I wouldn’t ever do that. However, I’m not BIll Gates and I don’t have $50 mil sitting around. I’m not the US gov’t either. The fact that the war is only 12.4% of the military budget means it has been well budgeted for. What, pray tell, do we have an army for if not for this very thing? What would those soldiers be doing, aside from having an easy job, which I don’t begrudge them, if they weren’t in Iraq? The whole concept that the war costs $1 bil a week is probably an inaccurate number, you haven’t said what costs that covers, and you’d be a lot more convincing if you could post a webpage to back up your numbers. Some people like to talk, but that’s all they’ll do. Some people won’t stand up for what they believe of say. Smart-alec responses don’t count. Neither do postings from people who hide behind fake names. Show some courage, honor, and honesty. I put my real name up from the begining, I always do. Why are you hiding? Because you just like talking big and thinking you’re important? Prove me wrong.

Posted by: Daniel W. Peer at December 16, 2005 1:57 AM
Comment #102999


Ever hear the term traitor? If you actively try to thwart your country’s war efforts, that’s what you are. Unless you’re a foreigner, then I really just don’t care what else you have to say.

Posted by: Daniel W. Peer at December 16, 2005 2:06 AM
Comment #103000
The fact that the war is only 12.4% of the military budget means it has been well budgeted for.

You haven’t heard about that ballooning deficit?

What, pray tell, do we have an army for if not for this very thing? What would those soldiers be doing, aside from having an easy job

So because we have an army we should be at war so they have something to do? Oh, please.

They are calling up reservists that have been INACTIVE for 20 years!! What does that tell you about our state of readiness?

Posted by: womanmarine at December 16, 2005 2:22 AM
Comment #103001


I’m with Phx8, and use a posting ID (ever hear of one?) too.

Gonna call me a traitor too?

You need to cool off a little.

Critique the message, not the messenger.

Posted by: womanmarine at December 16, 2005 2:27 AM
Comment #103002

If you’d like to contact me through my e-mail address,, I might be willing to reveal my name. Probably not, though. But since you ask about my personal life, I’ll recap a couple biographical items:
I served in the USAF as a B-52 Radar Navigator, i.e., bombardier. I spent most of that time on nuclear alert. If I have no other use, I’m make a great night light, because I glow a soft, comforting phospherescent green in the dark. :-)
I’ve also been a teacher of World History and English, I’ve been a stockbroker, I majored in English Lit at one of the top schools in the nation, I have an MBA, and currently I’m in sales related to technology. My wife and I do very, very well, for which I am thankful. I adore my children.

So, Daniel. You’re turn. Show me how you’re the patriot, and I’m the traitor, by posting your biographical info.

Daniel, it’s ok, you really don’t have to do that. I’m willing to respect what you write without knowing anything about your personal life. But I would appreciate it if you return the favor, and we keep it civil. This site is about critting the message, not the messenger, which is probably its greatest strength.

Btw, the $1 billion/week expense for Iraq is very conservative. I’ve seen numbers as high as $6 billion/month.

Posted by: phx8 at December 16, 2005 2:28 AM
Comment #103003


Ok, so you’re former armed forces. I respect your former position. Right now, you’re talking with no evidence. You speak of critquing the message not the messenger, yet you say things like this: “Whose fault is that?” I’m not the dolt you apparently think I am. I do understand what you’re saying. Don’t play holier than thou. And, don’t think that because you served it means you CAN’T commit a traitorous act. The whole point is, you essentially admitted to actively trying to thwart your government’s actions. What would that be defined as, if not a traitorus act? You don’t like being called a traitor, or being insulted? Then don’t insult other people and don’t admit to being one! It’s really that simple.

How can you HOPE to make some kind of valid arguements if you have no evidence except that you “heard” numbers as high as $6 billion? Give some proof or don’t bother.

Why not give your name? Are you currently operating under classified status? Is someone on this board going to find you and hunt you down? Get over it.

You think you’re in a position be smart with me because you served? Again with the insults. I’m only a patriot insomuch that I support the causes the country puts itself toward. If it’s wrong, there’s a time to debate what the right course of action is. After the fact is crying over spilt milk.

Who am I? I’m a double-major Mechanical Engineering and Business management student who has no student loans, grants, or credit card debt and is working my way through school. I love my fiance and I will be getting married in May. That’s about as detailed as you got, but you know my name on top of it.

You keep challenging me like you think I’m going to back down from you. That is not the case. Don’t insult me, don’t play holier than though, and don’t actively fight your own government. You play by those rules; then we can play nice, if that’s actually what you want. I’d like to draw attention to this, your initial contact with me in response to my general posting:

Will you take up the gauntlet? Can you name any of the participants in the Iraqi election? Who do you think will win? What do you think the winners will do? What are the implications for us? Will our country continue spending one billion dollars per week on Iraq?”

What was the WHOLE point of that except to imply that I don’t know what I’m talking about? Or, to call me dumb in a round-about way? Play your games with someone else and bring some evidence or don’t bother.

Posted by: Daniel W. Peer at December 16, 2005 2:56 AM
Comment #103004

Thanks for back-up! Personally, I think a posting ID is a good idea. Like a long-gone comedic cowboy, I never met a person I didn’t like. It doesn’t mean I like everyone once I get to know them, but everyone starts off with the benefit of the doubt. Most people are good and decent and honest, and that has nothing to do with political affiliation. A very, very small number are not good; hence, posting id’s.

It never fails to amaze me how often conservatives feel free to accuse liberals of being traitors, and how liberals should leave the US. Today Senator Feingold, a liberal, suggested he has put together a coalition to prevent renewal of provisions of the Patriot Act. Once again, liberals have stood up for the finest aspects of our country. Once again, liberals have stood up for the rights of the individual. Interestingly, they have found considerable support among a few conservatives, in particular members of the NRA.

There are liberals like myself who deeply believe in this country, and the finest ideals which it represents. This is a belief which goes so far as to voluntarily put life on the line. It is in direct contrast to people like Cheney, who “had other priorities” when he had a chance to serve, and who now blackens our country’s reputation by supporting violating human rights through the use of torture. But again, good news! Liberals, with the support of people like McCain, have forced the Bush administration to renounce torture.

Again, thanks for watching my six.

Posted by: phx8 at December 16, 2005 2:57 AM
Comment #103005

You never did name any specific participants in the Iraqi election, but that’s ok.

You haven’t volunteered for the military? Lol. Might want to be a tad more cautious before you throw around words like ‘traitor,’ or even… ‘COWARD.’ Ever hear the term ‘chickenhawk’? Guess you have “other priorities” than serving your country.

Operations costs in Iraq are estimated at $5.6 billion per month in 2005.

Posted by: phx8 at December 16, 2005 3:08 AM
Comment #103006

I don’t accuse of being a traitor lightly.

“My point is and was that some people in our society need to get behind this thing instead trying to bring the country down so they can say ‘I told you so.’”

“Daniel, I told you so then, and I’m telling you again.”

What else does that mean? Or, are you really unaware of what you say?

Posted by: Daniel W. Peer at December 16, 2005 3:10 AM
Comment #103007

“Operation costs” is a dead link. I rest my case. Are you jsut faking the information? Are you really a former serviceman who is that unprepared to stand up for what he believes?

Did I ever say I was a patriot? And, how does the act of going against your own government mean you are one? Former armed forces or not, you can still be wrong and you don’t have to make good descisions.

Posted by: Daniel W. Peer at December 16, 2005 3:14 AM
Comment #103008

As for naming the iraqi election participants, I told you already that you don’t deserve to know my opinion with no evidence and no name. I’ll have to check that tomorrow after work.

Posted by: Daniel W. Peer at December 16, 2005 3:18 AM
Comment #103010

Phx8: you’re welcome. And such a cute six it is. I thought it was an 8 though? :)

I get a little (curse word here) when I see “traitor” and “coward” thrown around.

And Daniel, since you don’t know how to figure it out:

Copy and paste that into your browser if it doesn’t link directly for you.

Posted by: womanmarine at December 16, 2005 3:26 AM
Comment #103011
If they say it was wrong to invade in spring of 2003, does that mean they think the invasion should have happened earlier? Later? Not at all?


Well, how many times have we invaded? 3 that I can remember, 1991, 1998, 2003.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at December 16, 2005 3:28 AM
Comment #103013,13319,FL_cost_111804,00.html?

Pardon the bad link. It should have worked. As I said, one billion/month is a conservative number. The links cited above contain numbers between $5.6 to $6 billion per month.

And you do make a good point, in terms of logic. Serving the US in the past does not preclude being a traitor today.

However, when a person swear an oath to serve the United States, the oath is to the country, not a person, not a president, but to an office; it’s not toa war, or to help a particular person or party.

But I would like to back off, and apologize. Serving our country is not something that comes as a result of trading barbs with some person you’ve never met. It’s a matter of heart. You’re apparently in love, enough to be committed to your fiance. That’s far more important than anything we’ve discussed. So once again, please accept my apology on a personal basis, out of respect for your fiance.

Posted by: phx8 at December 16, 2005 3:37 AM
Comment #103016
I get a little (curse word here) when I see “traitor” and “coward” thrown around.


Those aren’t the only ones I get a little ;^o at. Just in the last 2 days I have been called a “liberal lunatic”, a “murderer”, “ungodly”, a “hypocrit”, a “communist”, an “Athiest”, and a “duck”.

Me thinks the right protests to much.

I’m gonna go cry myself to sleep now! :^{

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at December 16, 2005 3:55 AM
Comment #103020

You’ve been called a ‘duck’? That’s a complement of the highest order! Unless, of course, you’re a beaver.

Posted by: phx8 at December 16, 2005 4:00 AM
Comment #103021

Things To Do For Iraqi Election:

1. Ban all non-essential travel inside Iraq.
2. Ban all private vehicles from the roads.
3. Issue curfews from dusk to dawn.
4. Close all borders.
5. Add 30,000 GIs to the Coalition.
6. Force all civilians to walk.
7. Close all businesses.

If only everyday was Election Day!!!

Posted by: Aldous at December 16, 2005 4:07 AM
Comment #103078

I have tried to not respond to remarks on this blog because I’ve seen too much critique the messenger posts, but I feel I have to comment on these remarks “You haven’t volunteered for the military? Lol. Might want to be a tad more cautious before you throw around words like ‘traitor,’ or even… ‘COWARD.’ Ever hear the term ‘chickenhawk’?”…..I will give Daniel my proxy to speak for me…. My credentials? I am 57 years old, a former Staff Sargeant in the US Army with the 173rd Airborne Brigade during VietNam. I was awarded the Bronze Star and Army Commendation medal with “V” device for valor.

Being a Navigator in a B-52, although a noble job does NOT make you an expert on military operations or strategy any more than being in the infantry qualifys me to pilot the B-52 you so galantly navigated.

In my opinion, If you don’t want to be seen as a traitor or coward, don’t associate with traitors and cowards or act like them.

Posted by: tomd at December 16, 2005 6:46 AM
Comment #103085


I am glad you have decided to stop associating with the traitors and cowards of the Republican Party.

Posted by: Aldous at December 16, 2005 7:21 AM
Comment #103086

phx8 and Daniel W. Peer

Now comes the mighty Sicilian Eagle who will play referee between two highly intelligent men.

Listen up,my friends:

First off,bravo for your accomplishments at such a young age.Working your way thru school and most importantly getting out with little or no debt is,in and of itself,a huge accomplishment.Plus emotionially you are happy since you will get married soon,so the world is pretty much at your feet.Good luck and keep up your studies.

As a father of three college grads myself(two with advanced degrees…one with a M.Ed,the other a lawyer) it is great to see their kids stand on their own.So,bravo again.

That being said,note my nom de Internet…Sicilian Eagle.Why don’t I use my real name on this (or any ) blog?

First off,I am an attorney/law prof/newsletter writer/importer/radio show host and anyone who really wants to find out exactly who I am can do so as they say in a cocaine heartbeat.

However,an a student of American history,I realized after studying Ben Franklin’s life a lot that he accomplished much in his day (as did many of our founding fathers) thru the use of a noms de whatever.

In his day he did that to skate around Tory presecution.I choose to do it today for a variety of reasons buy mostly to exchange ideas with those of differing views honestly and develop politicial theories.

Right now (and this will probably change soon I think)the internet is a terrific place to do that with people of differing views from all over the world.

Two weeks ago,at the height of the Murtha thing,I questioned and discussed whether or not certain politicians (namely John Kerry) was engaging in treason with his history of encouraging the enemy through his actions both during his Vietnam days and now.

As you can imagine,this led to a spirited exchange of words that lit up my computer.

However,a lot of what is said on this particuliar blog later appears on tv and discussion shows as most of those people check this particular blog before they cash their check as a tv talking head to develop their particuliar theories too.

The point of that discussion really was “enough is enough guys”,the right will bite back very hard and this treason thing could be one of their strategies is that where we are heading?.

All of a sudden Joe Mentum appeared,most of the left zipped their lips and the president bounced back in the polls.

A few bloggers here took it personally..we all think,after all,that only our view is the right one,but that wasn’t the intent.

The intent was to float the theory in public and to develop an alternative theory as a result.

Bouncing between Europe and the States as much as I do (The mighty Eagle has wings you know),I pretty much have the pulse on what’s going on there,so European thought shapes my particuliar views too.

Guys like David Reemer,Stephen Doughtery,Americian Pundit,Aldous,Burt,and yes,even Andre are all profoundly intelligent people in my view who have passions and thoughts that differ from mine.

However,each is a patriot despite our differing view and I enjoy the intellectual discourse I engagage with them from time to time.

Sometimes,”guest” bloggers drop by,throw a few insults,drop a few bombs and leave.That’s the price you pay for this medium,I think.

All in all Watchblog is my favotite and is serving a profound job, for which I am thankful.


First off,thank you for your service to your counrty,and I will defend your right (although you are perfectly capable of doing it yourself based on many posts that you have written) to say what you want.

However,I think yesterday was a significant day in the history of Iraq…it may be the start (note I said start) of closure there for us in the future.

You use stats extensively,so do I.However we both can massage stats to our benefit,and the major stat testerday is that they had an election that was inclusive and 17 million peole have ink blots this morning on their thumbs which represents 67% of all registered voters…..aactually blowing away any stat in our nation’s history of voting in a presidential election.

The Eagle calls it a draw between you two.

Now you may continue.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at December 16, 2005 7:31 AM
Comment #103088


Did you every know a guy named Larry?If so,we know each other.

Thanks for your service to our country.It is greatly appreeciated.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at December 16, 2005 7:39 AM
Comment #103099


Many Democrats are good and honorable. Steny Hoyer is one of the better ones. Did you notice whose names are NOT at the bottom of the letter.


I trust people to know their own business better than they know other people’s business. When I study opinion I look for real experience and real commitment. The person who has to take action based on what he claim to believe. It is easy to have strong opinions about things that are far always about which you may be required to do little.

In this respect, I have to dig at my liberal friends, who are passionately concerned about events on different continents, but often don’t take care of their own business. Better to light one candle etc.

RE being a traitor

We should be very careful with that word because it has a very specific meaning.

Phx8 is a patriot based on all I have read. I have disagreed with him and thought he was mistaken on many occasions. That is not the same.

If you look at how far we have come in Iraq in the last three years, it is breathtaking. This is the most hopeful development in the region in my lifetime, perhaps in the last century, maybe since the rise of Sumer. We are keeping our word. Others will soon come to see that. Then they will say they always knew it. This will annoy me, but I will welcome them back to the good fight.

RE being a coward

We cant be brave (or cowardly) with other people’s blood. We can’t call people who advocate withdrawal cowards unless they had planned personally to fight and now have run off.

Again, those who want to withdraw too soon are mistaken, maybe irresolute and perfidious. Those are bad things, but not the same as being cowards.

Calling people traitors or cowards is not useful. Those accusations carry legal and moral consequences. If I really thought a person was a traitor, I would have to take steps to get him arrested (or at least kick his ass). We should be careful with words. I am chastised liberals for similar lack of responsibility when talking about voting fraud or the Plame affair. We should all say what we mean as if our words meant something.

Posted by: Jack at December 16, 2005 9:27 AM
Comment #103100

I don’t think this is the place to be throwing “coward”, “traitor”, “moron”, etc. around regarding responses to other peoples posts or POV.

Good people with different points of view should aggressively debate opinion, and not assume someone is a traitor simply because they don’t agree with you. This doesn’t move the debate forward. Discussion facts and expected outcomes does.

Jack, you’re right. yesterday was a great day. I have to applaud the Iraqi people for their courage to get out and have their voice hears. It’s ironic that so many people would do that in the face of exploding cars, snipers and RPG’s and we can’t get 50% of the people of this country to the polls.

I hope for the best for the Iraqis continued movement toward self determination. I sincerely wish them success.

Now, let’s come home.

Posted by: Dennis at December 16, 2005 9:29 AM
Comment #103111

“I hope for the best for the Iraqis continued movement toward self determination. I sincerely wish them success. Now, let’s come home.”

They will “come home” when they complete their mission…

Posted by: rahdigly at December 16, 2005 10:25 AM
Comment #103119

To get back on topic, I advise that one should realize that high voter turnout does NOT mean necessarily that anybody in Iraq actually supports democracy in theory or practice, but rather views it as the only current means to political power. I personally don’t regard the turnout as a particularly illuminating statistic, no matter how low or high it might have been.

Sorry to get away from the name-calling. phx8, way to take the high ground.

Posted by: Yossarian at December 16, 2005 10:44 AM
Comment #103139

Thank God the Iraqis have more brains, fortitude, courage and guts than Phx8, JayJay Snowman and any of the other negative lefties out there.

Posted by: nikko at December 16, 2005 11:16 AM
Comment #103147

I would advise you, Jack, not to call these elections routine until they’ve been around a few more years. It’s not that you can’t claim these as successes. It’s just that we should want to wait on declaring victory in these things until the fullness of time and the proper signs and tokens of such things have made the success self-evident.

We are rarely good at predicting these complicated things that accurately. We can be blinded by our beliefs, blinded by our expectations. We should reserve judgement if for the very reason that we might need to take the opportunity to salvage the results should things go awry. If we’re still convinced we’re succeeding, and have not kept our eyes open, we may miss the chance to turn around a situation to prevent a strategic defeat.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 16, 2005 11:40 AM
Comment #103157

I’m still amazed at news articles on CNN threads like this, which discuss an election without discussing its politics. As I said earlier in the thread, it’s like discussing the US election of 2000 without mentioning Gore, Bush, Democrats, Republicans, or Nader. It reconfirms my belief that, for conservatives, Iraq is not about helping Iraqis achieve a sane political solution, so much as it is about helping Bush’s approval ratings. It’s always been a war meant to boost Republican ratings, and this is another example.

Twice recently I’ve been ‘accused’ by conservatives of googling, as if that’s some sort of restricted, secret resource that gives me an unfair advantage. Sheesh.

Nikko, you’re welcome to back up your positive attitude about elections with a comment on the political contenders in the election. Why should we be happy about the prospect of an Iranian style theocratic democracy? Please explain. I might be swayed by a commentary involving ‘self-rule’ and ‘self-determination.’ Maybe. Should the Islamic fundamentalists in Algeria been left in power after the 1992 elections? Should we look forward, to & actively encourage a democratic coalition in Lebanon headed by Hezbollah, an Egyptian fundamentalist democracy, or a Sunni Wahabbi government?

Posted by: phx8 at December 16, 2005 11:56 AM
Comment #103172


It’s always been a war meant to boost Republican ratings, and this is another example.

So many people claim that had Bush invade only Afghanistan, they would have completely supported him. And out of that atmosphere, you come up with the idea that Bush went to war with Iraq to improve his ratings?? How silly.


Excellent post! It’s refreshing to see someone from the left side talking positively. Its good also to moderate success, since it can be tenuous at times. The business world is full of companies that reveled in their success to the point that they lost their way.

This is a great step for Iraq, and I’m glad to see you agreeing with that, as opposed to the comments of some (typically from the left) who are downplaying or even ridiculing the success.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at December 16, 2005 12:24 PM
Comment #103177

I can’t speak for others, but personally I supported going into Afghanistan then, support being there now, and believe we should be doing more to rebuild a failed state, to encourage a democracy in which the majority Pashtun assume power without going after the Northern Alliance minorities again, and to pursue OBL.

Assuming OBL was in the area and survived the quake.

You know, of course, the Senate Resolution for Iraq vote took place in October 2002, just before the midterm. I’m surprised anyone would dispute that the timing of the invasion of Iraq was intended to distract the electorate from recession, and whip up war fever prior to the midterms.

It was supposed to be easy, Iraqi oil was going to pay for the costs of invasion, and planning was unnecessary since we were going to greeted as liberators. The WSJ positively gushed about $500 billion in business opportunities for US companies.


Posted by: phx8 at December 16, 2005 12:35 PM
Comment #103185

Daniel W. Peer, et al.-
My lack of anonymity may come back to haunt me. Google my name, and you will find a link to this site. That’s a big thing, and I will have to be honest about the fact that I did this for the rest of my life, lest somebody “discover” my hidden life as a Liberal blogger.

Not everybody wants to sign their comments or entries in blood though, and not everybody wants to leave a trail of information for the internet loonies to follow. I did what I did because I don’t regard this as being a side thing. This is part of my career as a writer, and something I regard as an important role in my life.

Also, you have to think back to how things were in Winter and Spring of 2004, when I started my writing for this site as a commentator, and subsequently as a contributor. At that point, I felt there was an oppressive atmosphere about talking about the truth of what was going on. Intimidation was thick in the air. The mainstream media was not reporting on the questionable dealings the president had in putting together the case for war. Our candidates were being too polite about talking about what the president had done.

I felt that I had to tell others what I had been told, about the WMDs, about developments in Iraq, about the things that we might assume were common knowledge, but which really weren’t.

That for me signified the need to put my neck on the line, to identify myself with what I wrote. Is that necessarily courage? I hope. But, others might rightly point out that ego can be involved in such a wish to have one’s name attached to something. Nobody would accuse me of being shy about my opinions or about what needs to be done. I hope I have more basis for that than just my personal opinion, but you never know- I’m only human.

Others may feel fine, and perhaps more free to speak their minds without having to worry about some loonie tracking them down, or a nosy boss catching wind of their extracurricular activities. Others might just thinking that their names and other information are just none of our freaking beeswax.

I think it’s a choice we all make, and we do best to pay mind to our own, rather than criticize another’s individual decision.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 16, 2005 12:50 PM
Comment #103200

Let’s assume for the moment that Bush and his supporters are correct about their handling of Iraq and that the Iraqi people are able to maintain control of their country (as against tyrants and non-Iraqi insurgents). What effect does this have on our ability to do business in the region? My point is that, if the people are given a true voice, they will remember who their former rulers dealt with, namely the U.S. when it comes to oil (and I’m really talking about the spread of democracy in the Middle East, not just Iraq). Further, when you look at the somewhat shady dealings many TNC’s have with various national governments, I don’t believe the people will look kindly upon those TNC’s if the people are given the power.

Fundamentally, my point is that the Neo-Con’s are correct that a free-market system will encourage democracy, but not in the way that it is intended. Rather, the people tend to react against the treatment that TNC’s inflict and as a result, you have massive regulation. This is, of course, beyond the scope of the current discussion. I sincerely hope the Iraqi’s are able to have a self-governing government, but I don’t think this leads to a free-market system; rather, most likely a centralized socialist economy, at best.

Posted by: ant at December 16, 2005 1:35 PM
Comment #103201


i appreciate your willingness to put yourself on record online and can understand how some people may view anonymous comments as insincere or cowardly. However, i think some may have good cause for hiding. i use my real life nickname but will no longer go much further.

Earlier this year, after speaking via messenger to an online friend from Egypt about my daughter, her months of quiet peacefulness were suddenly shattered with riots right across the street. i had only given what i thought to be vague references; but my friend assured me he knew exactly where she was positioned by just that little bit.

i do not know if there was any connection between my internet chat and what happened in theatre; but it has given me pause. i am not inclined toward conspiracy theories, yet neither do i know who can gather what information from where. So i have steered clear of messengers and of giving out even ambiguous information online. This is difficult for me because i tend to be very open; but i think the constraints are worth the peace of mind that my words are not being used against our citizens and soldiers.

Posted by: jo at December 16, 2005 1:37 PM
Comment #103268

Mr. Daugherty,

I appreciate your willingness to put you neck on the line, so to speak. However, as you said, “I think it’s a choice we all make, and we do best to pay mind to our own, rather than criticize another’s individual decision.” I don’t mind that someone doesn’t want to use their name, so long as they aren’t rude and/or “in my face” so to speak. If someone IS rude or gets into a heated conversation with me while posting from a condition of anonimity, like I’ve had in this page, they are only writing in that manner because they feel they can without any consequences. If you were to walk up to a guy in a bar and tell him his wife was good last night, you’ve expect to to have a fight on your hands. Conversly, if you don’t do something that is meant to antagonize someone, you shouldn’t have to fear them.

The point to all that is; speak on this site as though you were talking to someone in real life. If you don’t want to give your name, fine, but don’t hurl insults at someone from behind a fake name. That’s not a bad thing to ask, is it Stephen?

Posted by: Daniel W. Peer at December 16, 2005 3:51 PM
Comment #103272

Mr. Daugherty,

I’d like to echo the comments of joebagodonuts and say that you have proven to be a reasonable and well spoken person. I didn’t get to read your previous postings before I responded to the one addressed to me. Though I may disagree with you on the finer points, I do have respect for how you handle yourself.

Posted by: Daniel W. Peer at December 16, 2005 3:59 PM
Comment #103274

“Routine” is not neccessarily a good thing. Look at our own “routine” elections and the percentge that actually vote.

If Iraq becomes as routine as we have, it’ll be back where it started.
Linda H.

Posted by: Linda H. at December 16, 2005 4:09 PM
Comment #103275
Thank God the Iraqis have more brains, fortitude, courage and guts than Phx8, JayJay Snowman and any of the other negative lefties out there. Posted by: nikko at December 16, 2005 11:16 AM


If you are so smart then prove it. Debate the issue. You do nothing for your position through name calling and affixing labels.

I am not being negative, I am being realistic. I have acknowledged many times the positive realities that are happening in Iraq, and that we must be successful. However, we need to be realistic about what we need to do in the future. Optimism is way up in Iraq, that is great, the elections went well, I couldn’t be happier about that. But what happens in two weeks when the outcome of the election is announced? That is more important then how the actual process of voting went. And what happens when we leave the country? With anti-American sentiment growing in Iraq it is something we really should be looking at, instead of just being so arrogant. What are we going to do to make our mistakes right?

I was against the invasion in the first place, but I have never advocated withdrawal from Iraq and have said that we must finish the job we started and hope good comes of it. The fact is, none us know what the outcome will be, only time will tell. What I have advocated, however, is that we need to look to the future and develop a plan on the war on terror, that is both intelligent and effective. The sad fact of the matter is that in many cases we do not know who the enemy is.

The 1995 Oklahoma City bombing should have proven that to us. Those terrorist were Americans. I fear that if the current administration would have been in office at the time, the U.S. would have invaded Kansas.

The point is that we will win the war in Iraq, but then how do we win the war on terror? Terror that may very well come from Iraqis. Hopefully we learned something from Iraq, and will be smarter going forward. This is what I wish the Democrats would start focusing on. Let the Republicans deal with the war in Iraq, then put forth an intelligent plan on the war on terror and how to deal with a post-occupation Iraq.

Those aren’t the only ones I get a little ;^o at. Just in the last 2 days I have been called a “liberal lunatic”, a “murderer”, “ungodly”, a “hypocrite”, a “communist”, an “Atheist”, and a “duck”.

OK, add “brainless”, “weak”, a “coward”, “gutless” & “negative”. All in one post, impressive..

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at December 16, 2005 4:10 PM
Comment #103276


If I just wanted to know the numbers, I do know how to look things up. If you’ve read ANYTHING I’ve posted here, that much is obvious. Perhaps you only have selective memory or reading habbits. In any case, thanks for looking it up for Phx8 because copying and pasting from his browser was too hard for him at 2am. I wanted him to actually have to back up what he said, because pulling information from thin air is not good enough to give someone credibility. There is no point in debating someone like that. There’s no point in taking rude remarks from them either. If your logic is based on mutaully agreed upon ideas, then there is no need to support it. The problem here is that his logic wasn’t being supported, it wasn’t mutually agreed upon, and I had no reason to believe him becasuse he had not established any credibility. And, now that we’ve established some form of credibility to his numbers and his premise, there’s at least some point in debating him.

Posted by: Daniel W. Peer at December 16, 2005 4:15 PM
Comment #103277


Just a light hearted comment; Kansas is a red state…. Bush wouldn’t have invaded there, would he?

On a serious and genuinely curious note; what specific mistakes are you refering to in your response to nikko? What do you claim we did wrong and what would we have done differently if we could go back and do it over again? And, thank you for using the word “we” instead of “Bush” or “you.”

Posted by: Daniel W. Peer at December 16, 2005 4:24 PM
Comment #103278


Please don’t think I’m ignoring you. I have a problem with my fish tank and I gotta take of it. I haven’t forgotten to post my election predictions. Also, after cooling off overnight, I would like to say that I am sorry for over-reacting to your comments. Under most circumstances, I would have let them go, but I didn’t and I sorry, to you and everyone else that has had to filter through our spam to eachother. Hopefully, we can debate in a civilized manner from here on out. And, please, forgive the 2am copy+paste pun.

Posted by: Daniel W. Peer at December 16, 2005 4:30 PM
Comment #103280


“Al-Sadr has united SCIRI, Dawa, and Chalabi behind him with a joint statement condemning terrorism, the US occupation, and Israel.”

Finally we have somebody who can see what is happening here. I too agree with others that this is a huge step, but like you, I see what could be a huge problem. Anybody who thinks that replacing Sadam with an Iranian government needs to read their history books. Do these people forget who Al Sadr is? Did they already forget what happened in Fallujah? Maybe they missed the comments that Iran made about the Hollocaust this week. People have the right to enjoy what happened yesterday. The elections went well, and people got out to vote. I just don’t think we should start celebrating yet. When our troops are home we can celebrate. Not now, and definatly not on a ship with “Mission Accomplished” on it.

Posted by: Vic at December 16, 2005 4:50 PM
Comment #103281

Daniel W. Peer,

Can I give my two cents worth?

Here are some things we should have done…
1. Brought in more troops in the beginning. Rummy was wrong in thinking that we could win this war by being “Lean and mean.”
2. Secured weapons facilities. Tons of ammo and explosives were taken while our troops had to sit there and watch. I remember reading one account of two soldiers watching “Over 500 Iraqis raid the weapons facility” that they were in.
3. Signed the torture bill prior to the war. Yesterday most of our congressman including a man that was sent to a POW camp agreed to sign a torture bill. This should have been done years ago.
4. Secured the border between Syria and Iraq. The weapons that are being used now are much more high tech than in the past 2 years. Experts say that it is due to support from Syria.
5. Had the proper armor for our troops. My co-worker is deaf in one ear and his friend is dead because we “Fight with the army we have” as Rummy says. That is a freaking joke. Anybody who supports this statement that is not in the military (they must obey their superiors) should be ashamed of themselves.

These are just a handful of issues we could have resolved prior to the war.

Posted by: Vic at December 16, 2005 5:09 PM
Comment #103302


I fully respect your opinion about the war. I agree whole-heartedly that we should not break out the champaigne just yet. We need to stay focused or things could easily get out of hand, due to the very nature of the situation. It’s a war and people’s lives are on the line.

That being said, your 2 cents are appreciated, as are anyone’s who is willing to put their ideas out for consideration.

1. Yes. I don’t know why more weren’t sent in, except perhaps cycling troops back stateside to give them some time at home. Even still, we could have planned and waited, unless there is some timing element that no one talks about.

2. It’s easier said than done, as I’m sure your co-worker would tell you. It should have been a top priority, for certain, if wasn’t. Why PUT weapons in the hands of terrorists or let evidence run off into the desert?

3. While I agree that torture is wrong, we didn’t exactly tie these terrorists down and break out the alligator cables and battery. The US forces, as a whole from my understanding, went out of their way to not do something that was considered torture. In fact, they even went so far as to allow them time to pray, give them the mats upon which to sit while praying, and giving them Korans that weren’t touched by an “infidel.” With regard to REAL incidents of torture, we don’t need a law, just policy change. Yes, having a law is rock solid, until the first hole gets poked in it, anyway. And, let’s not forget; those people we are supposedly torturing are affiliated with the ones that decapitated innocent American, Japanessse, and Italian civilians doing aid work to help Iraqis.

4. I agree. There could be a LOT of things that came and went via that border and we probably don’t need any of that. My ONE critizism of Bush is that he’s not to good and sealing borders…

5. There is a ridiculous extreme to that. We could, possibly, just put everyone in a tank instead of out in the line of fire. So, less of our soldiers would die. Should we put EVERY soldier in a tank? Is that what is needed? Don’t worry about the hum-Vs, just build more tanks? They were in the process of armoring them, cycling unarmoed out of front-line service and armored ones in. Could they have waited to invade until they had armored all the Hum-Vs? Probably. If that’s the case, someone dropped the ball there and it sounds like Rummsfeild. However, until that armor was created and made to be a new standard, the Hum-Vs never had that extra armor. Should we have not gone to war in Veitnam until we developed that new armor? I say, Runsfeild is not at fault for the Hum-Vs not having armor. Those same Hum-Vs didn’t have that armor when Clinton was around, so why is Rumsfeild so wrong using the same Hum-Vs as Clinton? It’s better for the troops to have the armor and it appeared to be readily available at the time. It would have, obviously, been better if they had gotten them all armored before sending them, but laying blame on Rumsfield for your co-worker’s friend’s death is stretching it a little bit. If that’s not your intent, just say so and we can move from there, ok?

Posted by: Daniel W. Peer at December 16, 2005 7:13 PM
Comment #103315


Did you every know a guy named Larry?If so,we know each other.

Thanks for your service to our country.It is greatly appreeciated.

Posted by: sicilianeagle at December 16, 2005 07:39 AM”

I’ve known a few people in my life named Larry. I can’t recall a close friend by that name. I grew up around Atlanta and North Georga until after high school, a 2 year stint in the Army and 22 years in communications around the area. Since around 1990 I’ve been contracting and traveling around the country on various communications contracts.

As far as my service, you and the rest of the country are welcome.


Posted by: tomd at December 16, 2005 8:30 PM
Comment #103317

Hi Jack,

“Things are getting better.”

They’ve been getting worse all along.

“the future belongs to freedom.”

Repression is rampant in Iraq. You don’t have a grip on reality here Jack.

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 16, 2005 8:35 PM
Comment #103331


Including the last three free election how many free elections have there been in Iraq during the last 4000 years? I think the answer is three.

There was on zero option, but that is something you don’t accept. I know you thought Iraq was not a threat. I guess you also think Saddam’s repression was not so bad. If we adopt your premise your analysis is correct. Good luck with that.

Posted by: Jack at December 16, 2005 9:59 PM
Comment #103334

From WSJ today. I quote that last line from people who have some experience with tyranny.

“Democratic transition is a long, painful process. It requires sacrifice. But, more than anything, it requires a belief that democratic values will prevail and people will have a better life as a result. We had that belief to guide us during the most difficult years of transition and we want to keep that belief alive in the people of Iraq. Maybe it takes countries with vivid recollections of tyranny to serve as the institutional memory of a larger community of democracies. If so, we are ready to fulfill that role.”

Messrs. Kacer, Kolar, Reiter and Simonyi are, respectively, the Slovak, Czech, Polish and Hungarian ambassadors to the U.S.

Posted by: Jack at December 16, 2005 10:28 PM
Comment #103338


I use the word “we” because whether we agree with Bush and the Republicans or not, we as Americans all own this war and the War on Terror. We should not dismiss this war as “Bush’s war” or a “Republican war”. The troops that are fighting and dieing are our troops, not Bush’s troops, people on both sides need to realize this.

These are our wives, husbands, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, fathers, mothers, cousins. They are our co-workers, neighbors, our friends and perhaps someone you don’t even know personally but an acquaintance that did a little nicety for you to brighten your day. They are all in harms way and are willing to die for this country. There is no greater expression of love for this land than to be willing to die for it. They all belong to us, and we belong to them.

So in answer to your question, our first mistake is that we at home have forgotten this. We have not been taking care of our troops. We have sent them into a war zone without basic body armor. Many families have purchased things that should be provided by our government. We have not taken care of our wounded when they return. Some have gotten bills for hospital stays, housing, because they didn’t return armor, etc. We have not taken care of the families that are left behind when our war heroes go to Iraq. Many have had to file bankruptcy, and many now have disastrous credit ratings. Our fallen soldiers are being returned on commercial airlines as “freight” without formal ceremony. These things are outrageous.

The other way we dishonor our troops is all this political finger pointing and the childish games our representatives are playing in Washington, for nothing more than political gain. All of them should be voted out. I am not talking about politicians who have taken controversial stands on the war, I believe most of them are at least genuinely concerned for their welfare, whether we agree with them or not. The ones I’m talking about are those in congress who act like playground bullies and pull political stunts. Like Duncan Hunter for introducing phony “cut and run” legislation & Jean Schmidt for calling a Vietnam War hero a coward.

We have made a mistake by not demanding transparency from our government. This secrecy B.S. needs to stop. Our government needs to be open and honest about what is happening in Iraq as well as the war on terror.

We made the mistake of rushing into War in Iraq. We should have waited until we knew what was going on there, and had a complete and precise plan.

We have made the mistake of focusing the War on terror in Iraq. We have placed so much focus on Iraq, but what is going on in the rest of the world? As I pointed out earlier terror can come from anywhere, even from within our own borders. For all we know our greatest threat of terror may not come from the Middle East at all, but from terror cells we don’t even know about.

Instead of starting pre-emptive wars we need to tighten security at home. We have done very little to make this country more secure. Our border are wide open. We have weakened our world image and put ourselves in danger of being seen as aggressors instead of defenders. We have made a mistake by not having a strong, intelligent plan for the war on terror and protecting ourselves at home. War is neither intelligent nor a plan to defeat or prevent terror. We need a plan that both addresses threats abroad and strengthens national security at home.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at December 16, 2005 10:37 PM
Comment #103378

“Third is to say that no outcome in Iraq could be worth the cost.”

No outcome in Iraq could be worth the cost.

Yah, I said it.

But maybe I’m wrong? Uh…when do they start paying us? (can they resurrect the dead!?!?).

Oh, and Good Job Bush! Keep up the good work! When do we start the next one?!?!

Posted by: Diogenes at December 17, 2005 1:06 AM
Comment #103380

Oh yes, and,

“While you’re at it, stop hiding behind the name “Phx8” and let people see who you are. Only a coward would be so lame as to …Ever hear the term traitor? If you actively try to thwart your country’s war efforts, that’s what you are. Unless you’re a foreigner, then I really just don’t care what else you have to say…Perhaps you only have selective memory or reading habbits. In any case, thanks for looking it up for Phx8 because copying and pasting from his browser was too hard for him at 2am”

TRAITOR???? Where is the editor? this boy needs some banning! Seriously!

Must I again remind some of you that you’re astounding ignorance can easily be equated to a threat? Traitors commit treason. Treason is punishable by *DEATH*. Stop throwing this term around as if it meant nothing. Might I nonchalantly note that attempting to subvert or sabotage the constitution might be considered treason to some folk. Hmmm, isn’t freedom of speech in the constitution? It’s all relative, I guess.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 17, 2005 1:25 AM
Comment #103381
Burt, What is even partially screwed up about Iraq? Just give a reasonable answer. Odds are, you either won’t check back or won’t answer

I guess your odds are correct, because your question is so ridiculous, I don’t have time to answer it. What is even partially screwed up about Iraq? The mind boggles.

Good luck fixing the fish tank, kid.

Posted by: Burt at December 17, 2005 1:30 AM
Comment #103437

Hi Jack,

“I know you thought Iraq was not a threat.”

I base that, in large part, on the fact that many top level military experts said it wasn’t much of a threat.

Compared to Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen, Iran, Somolia, Pakistan, Iraq wasn’t at all a significant threat.

You are unable to come to grips with the facts.

“I guess you also think Saddam’s repression was not so bad.”

That is most dishonest of you to accuse me of that. Please do not bring up vicious untruths about me like that.

Iraq isn’t free. You are unable to deal with the facts here. Religious repression is rampant in Iraq. Secular repressoin is rampant in Iraq. Corruption is rampant in Iraq.

Those of you who have been wrong all along about Iraq are in no postitio to be arrogant. Why not discuss this in an honest fashion Jack? Rightous indignation is no substitute for honesty in a discussion.

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 17, 2005 8:31 AM
Comment #103438

Hi Jack,

“But, more than anything, it requires a belief that democratic values will prevail and people will have a better life as a result.”

Democracy is untested in the Middle East as a means to stop terrorism. You’re advocating putting most of our military resoruces into a project (occupying Iraq) that has a high chance of failure.

You don’t commit massive military resources for a sociology experiment as many on the right advocated we do in Iraq.

“NABLUS, West Bank - Hamas supporters on Friday celebrated a landslide election victory in major West Bank towns, the strongest sign yet of the Islamic militant group’s growing political appeal ahead of Jan. 25 parliamentary elections.”

Providing opportunities for terrorists to lead countries is likely to be a bad strategy. Hezbollah showed a fair amount of strenght in recent elections in Lebanon.

I’m not saying that Democracy should never be tried in the Middle East. I’m saying that occupying Iraq was a very stupid way to go about trying Democracy in the region.

Our troops are figting and dying to support terrorists in Iraq. Are you able to account for that fact Jack or are you blind to the facts?

“Freedom will prevail” is a great idea but when comitting most of our military resources to a project pragmatism needs to rule the day. So far freedom has not prevailed in Iraq. Vicious repression is alive and well there.

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 17, 2005 8:42 AM
Comment #103461


I will say again (and not to be insulting) we have very different values and means of analysis. I don’t know what else to say about it. My system has worked for me. I hope you are as successful. If you think Iraq is more oppressive now than it was under Saddam, I don’t have any more pearls to cast.

The people I quoted and you re-quoted are people who experienced tyranny for most of their lives. They saw the triumph of freedom in places where the pundits said it would not come in our lifetimes. I trust the opinions of those who have done something more than those who have merely read what others have done.

Posted by: Jack at December 17, 2005 10:37 AM
Comment #103484

Hi Jack,

“If you think Iraq is more oppressive now than it was under Saddam, I don’t have any more pearls to cast.”

I don’t think that. In some ways (religious repression and repression of women) Iraq is more repressive now but overall it was more repressive under Saddam.

It’s extremely stupid to committ most of our military resources for an experiment in Democracy in the Middle East. It is now clear that terrorists get voted in when there are elections in the Middle East.

I’ve got facts to support my assertions. You have a faith that Democracy will prevail and will prevent terrorism despite evidence to the contrary.

Your system hasn’t worked in Iraq so far.

There isn’t much in the way of evidence that freedom will prevail though.

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 17, 2005 12:21 PM
Comment #103513


What are those facts you are talking about? All of our arguments are future oriented or based on the “what if” ideas. I read the 2002 situation as very dangerous and unstable. Saddam cheating sanctions, shooting at our aircraft every day, Zarqawi setting up shop, Saddam paying suicide bombers, ignoring 17 resolutions etc. You see no significant danger. I see the current situation as hopeful. Three elections in one year. Economy is stabilizing and will grow a lot next year. You see a disaster.

Our facts are very similar. I am aware of the threat Yemen posed. I don’t see it as nearly as great as Iraq. I know the kind of threat Pakistan poses. I don’t think it corresponds to Iraq. We process facts differently.

Iraq is working. It is not, however, my system. I am just assessing the results and looking for opportunities. Everyone, if they know the future would make different decisions. It does not mean that the decisions they did make were inadequate.

Simple example. You have a fair coin. You tell me that you will flip ten heads in a row. I tell you that I believe your total will be closer to five. You flip ten heads. Was I wrong? Were you right? What lesson should you draw?

You allow yourself even a easier course in predicting the past. I don’t doubt you believe what you say. I have long experience with predictions and people who make them. It is difficult to remember what you predicted after the fact.

There ia a very interesting book (now a little old) called “Decision Traps”. Probably available on Amazon. It is very short and easy to read. Take a look.

Posted by: Jacl at December 17, 2005 2:48 PM
Comment #103525

Hi Jack,

“What are those facts you are talking about?”

The fact that Saddam wasn’t much of a threat to us.

Zarqawi was in the training camp in a region not controlled by Saddam. We didn’t need to occupy Iraq to take Zarqawi down.

All sorts of countries pay suicide bombers.

The fact is that Saddam was far less of a threat than several other countrries.

I’m far more broadminded than you here.

You say that Democracy will cure terrorism. There are reasons to think so and reasons to think it won’t work.

The fact that Middle Eastern countries vote for terrorists when given the chance is a reason to think that Democracy isn’t a panacea.

I can see how Democracy can work. You don’t seem to comprehend the evidence that it doesn’t work.

I’m capable of seeing that Iraq posed a threat. You’re incapable of seeing that the threat Iraq posed wasn’t significant relatively speaking.

“You allow yourself even a easier course in predicting the past.”

Please stop that nonsense. I predicted what was going to happen in Iraq….I KNEW that attempting Democracy might not be the answer.

Your case is weak so you keep telling me I “predicted the past”.

Iraq wasn’t much of a threat. Democracy may well not be a panacea for terrorism. THERE IT IS JACK! That’s what I’m asserting. You’ve got nothing that shows I’m wrong do you?

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 17, 2005 3:38 PM
Comment #103528

Hi Jack,

“I know the kind of threat Pakistan poses. I don’t think it corresponds to Iraq. We process facts differently.”

Pakistan sold nuclear weapons to terrorists. They are full of al Qaeda members.

Going by the reasons we were given for going into Iraq Pakistan was a FAR GREATER THREAT than Iraq.

Going by Republican logic PAKISTAN WAS A FAR GREATER THREAT.

Do you really think it’s worth putting most of our military resources into an experiment to see whether Democracy works?

I mean to say that if Democracy does’t stop terrorism in Iraq we’ve really screwed the pooch don’t you think?

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 17, 2005 3:47 PM
Comment #103536

Hi Jack,

I can assure you that I was able to predict the future far better than Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Libby, and those other neocon idiots who got us into Iraq.

If you want criticize people for not predicting what would happen in Iraq why are you going after me? I WAS RIGHT!

Talk to the cakewalk guys about not having a clue about what would happen in Iraq.

Did YOU think that terrorists might get elected?……I know I did.

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 17, 2005 4:25 PM
Comment #103584

For anyone still following the Iraqi election, preliminary results are suggesting the United Iraqi Alliance- the Shia colation of SCIRI, Dawa, and al-Sadr- are going to win handily, as expected, and actually do even a little better than expected. The secularists, such as Allawi and Chalabi, and apparently going worse than expected.

Official results are still two weeks away.

It’s hard to say which alternative would have been worse for us, the Shias or the secularists. At any rate, it’s academic now, since it looks like we’ll be dealing with the Shias.

Big win for Iran.

Posted by: phx8 at December 17, 2005 7:22 PM
Comment #103585

Dang! Posted in wrong thread. Pardon.

Posted by: phx8 at December 17, 2005 7:24 PM
Comment #103588


As you talking about Pakistan and N. Korea? Do other terrorists have bombs?

You say you were right.

Try predicting the future.

You don’t have to be very precise. But you refused to do that. You wouldn’t even predict U.S. elections in November of GDP next year. You say you predicted the situation in Iraq. Did you predict the three successful elections? Did you really predict only a little more than 2000 Americans killed?

My predictions are a matter of some record on this blog.

Look at my post of Jan 27 - “Heroic Iraqis” Even I was less optimistic about Iraq than it has turned out. Just about everybody else (except you as you say) was much more pessimistic. Do you have something to show you predicted high turnouts in the three elections and that it was not enough?

You just don’t get it and I can’t explain it to you. If you are so sure, make some predictions here. Make it a 90% confidence level.

Nov elections
Iraq GDP
Iraq oil production
Iraq electricity

Posted by: Jack at December 17, 2005 7:46 PM
Comment #103636

Jack, again I’d like to remind you that the left never said the previous election couldn’t be held. We said the elections shouldn’t be held until the Sunnis were on board.

We were right. The last election accomplished nothing in the way of unifying and stabilizing Iraq — just the opposite in fact.

As with the last election, this one won’t mean anything unless it creates a unified, stable nation.

This election will be a success if:

  • The Sunnis are accepted and respected in the new government (getting the Ministry of Tourism doesn’t cut it)
  • their piece of crap constitution is amended into something just and righteous that guarantees minority rights — and is treated as something more than just a scrap of paper (the thousand Sunnis (that we know of) who were illegaly abducted and tortured by the Interior Ministry doesn’t give me much hope)
  • the militias are disbanded
  • and the socialist economy — especially the oil industry — is privatized

Anyone can hold elections — Saddam did it all the time — the trick is to make them meaningful.

Posted by: American Pundit at December 18, 2005 1:00 AM
Comment #103830

Hi Jack,

“As you talking about Pakistan and N. Korea?”

Pakistan sold weapons to terrorists. Going by White House logic Pakistan was far more of a threat than Iraq was.

“You say you were right.”

I stated it as a fact. It is a fact. I was right.

“Try predicting the future.”

You’re STILL going in for this nonsense?

Get a grip Jack! Rumsfeld, Cheney and those guys were wrong about Iraq and I was right.

Why are simple facts giving you such fits here?

“But you refused to do that.”

I did not refuse. I made a slew of predictions. Please confine yourself to the truth.

“You say you predicted the situation in Iraq.”

I did. Get a grip here Jack.

“Did you predict the three successful elections?”

I made no predictions regarding the number of elections. Given that our troops are now fighting and dying to support terrorists I don’t consider the elections succesful from a strategic point of view.

“If you are so sure, make some predictions here.”

I’ve done that. I’ll repeat them to the best of my recollection.

Oil prices are going up and that will hurt the economy.

Interest on the debt (352 billion/year) is going up and that will hurt the econonmy.

The debt is going up really quickly and that will hurt the economy.

Health care costs are rising very quickly and that will hurt the economy.

Don’t you think committing most of our military resources in order to see if Democracy works was an incredibly stupid idea Jack?

It’s an incredibly bad idea to committ massive military resources based on lies and faith based “reasoning”.

Are you now aware that there is reason to think that our attempts at establishing democracy in Iraq isn’t a panacea for Middle East terrorism?

By “reasons” I mean the fact that many Middle Easterners like to vote for terrorists when given the chance.

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 18, 2005 1:05 PM
Comment #103834

Louis a range would be useful.

For example, you mention things that are going up and will hurt the economy. That is not much help. If the economy grows 3-4% next year can we assume that they didn’t much hurt the economy, or are you predictions impossible to prove wrong in that anything will hurt the economy? Without these things maybe it would grow at 10%.

And how will the hurt be manifest. If debt goes up (and nobody predicts it won’t) will that be manifest in higher interest rates? About how much.

Will oil prices rise in real or nominal dollars? Simple one, at the end of next year will the price be above or below $65 a barrel for light sweet crude? (hint: if you say below there is not much of a rise. If you say above you will be wrong.)

Predicting is harder than you think. My prediction is that you are not a long term successful investor.

Re Pakistan, I didn’t make myself clear I guess. To whom do you believe Pakistan sold nuclear weapons (N. Korea?) Which terrorist currently have these weapons?

Actually your thoughts on Pakistan bolster Bush’s WMD assumption. You know that all the intelligence operations in the world (including India and Israel) missed the Pakistan bomb. I expect you predicted it, but didn’t tell anyone. Intelligence is never perfect and we make mistakes. There are false positives and false negatives.

Re Middle East - your alternative to democracy is what?

Posted by: Jack at December 18, 2005 1:20 PM
Comment #103839

Hi Jack,

“Louis a range would be useful.”

I’m not going to do that. The economy is headed for trouble for many reasons and I’m not going to try to quantify each one.

“Simple one, at the end of next year will the price be above or below $65 a barrel for light sweet crude?”

I’m not going to predict when oil is going up to within a year.

“My prediction is that you are not a long term successful investor.”

I bought gold. Do you think that’s going to work?

“To whom do you believe Pakistan sold nuclear weapons (N. Korea?) Which terrorist currently have these weapons?”

Pakistan sold nuclear weapons to Libya. It’s not a belief Jack….It’s a fact.

“You know that all the intelligence operations in the world (including India and Israel) missed the Pakistan bomb.”

We’ve known about the Pakistan bomb for a long time.

“I expect you predicted it”

Name one thing I said to deserve that Jack! It’s time for you to put up or shut up here!

What have I done wrong with respect to predictions Jack? You’re arguing by innuendo and I’d like you to stop.

If there is something wrong with what I’ve predicted with respect to Iraq please state it or stop with your inuendos.

Do you think it was stupid to put most of our military resources into an experiment to see whether Democracy works? I don’t expect a clear answer from you Jack. I expect more inuendos.

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 18, 2005 1:33 PM
Comment #103943

“I’m not going to predict when oil is going up to within a year.”

This is not much of a prediction. You believe oil will do up. You won’t say when. I can tell you with 100% certainty that oil will both rise and fall over the next year. They key is to know when, which direction and about how much.

“I bought gold. Do you think that’s going to work?”

No, I don’t. One of my bosses bought gold in 1980. He paid something like $800 an oz. Gold is purely speculative. His investment is worth about $500 today. Had he invested the same money in stocks, he would have around $8000.00 today. Gold produces no income. Stocks would have produced around 3% a year dividend.

You are betting on inflation. That’s it. Remember to apply a discount rate. If you don’t make at least the same return as T-bills, you have lost money.

“Pakistan sold nuclear weapons to Libya. It’s not a belief Jack….It’s a fact.”

And Libya possesses nuclear weapons?

“We’ve known about the Pakistan bomb for a long time.”

Yes - but we were surprised when it happened. Nobody predicted it. It was big and unpleasant news.

“I expect you predicted it”

You don’t want innuendo so I will say it plain. You talk about having predicted things in the past, but won’t do any of the future. I don’t consider what you have said to be sufficient. You could not make a decision on any of them. We might as well play rock-paper-scissors.

I believe you deceive yourself. Many people do. They give themselves the benefit of the doubt about their predictions. Your oil prediction is a good example. It can’t be wrong. But it also can’t be useful. It is like predicting snow in Minneapolis sometime in the winter.

Posted by: Jack at December 18, 2005 6:49 PM
Comment #103949

Hi Jack,

“You believe oil will do up. You won’t say when.”

I predict that oil will go up high enough to hurt the economy. I’m not going to predict that it will or won’t happen in the next year.

Why do I need to predict it withing a year? What the hell difference does it make if I go out 2 to 4 years?

My gold is up a bit since I bought it. If the economy does really badly gold will have been a great investment. If the economy does well gold does badly then my other investments will likely do well.

At least in the event of something seriously bad happening to the economy (a virtual certainty in the next 10-15 years) I’ll be OK.

“You are betting on inflation.”

I’m hedging against all sorts of things.

“And Libya possesses nuclear weapons?”

They bought the parts and the directions to make them from Pakistan.

” You talk about having predicted things in the past, but won’t do any of the future.”

That’s bullshit. I just gave you a list of predictions. What is your problem here Jack? Do I need to quote my last post?

Why are you being so dishonest about what I said?

“I believe you deceive yourself.”

That’s more bullshit Jack. I predicted what would happen in Iraq far better than those idiots in the Bush adminstration.

You’re unable to aknowledge the facts.

“Your oil prediction is a good example.”

I predict that oil will go high enough to hurt the economy. I don’t know when. If someone bombs the crucial segment of the Saudi Pipeline 5 minutes from now then oil will be considerably higher whenever the oil market opens.

Al Qaeda has tried to bomb the critical segment of the Saudi pipeline and may well do so again. Arab terrorists are well aware that they can bring us to our knees by attacking the oil supply.

I don’t know whether they will be succesful. Do you know whether Arab terrorists will be succesful at attacking our oil supply?

Unless you know if and when Arab terrorists will attack our oil supply you’re in no position to criticize me for not being able to predict when oil will rise.

What say you Jack? Do you know if and when Arab terrorists will attack our oil supply? If not you’ll admit that, going by your own logic, you aren’t any good at predicting anytything?

Our economy is based on oil. Unless you can provide the prediction I just requested you know nothing about what will happen to our economy.

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 18, 2005 7:08 PM
Comment #103960

You don’t get it.

A prediction without some time frame or range is not a prediction. Let’s go back to past predictions.

If in 1975 you predicted the price of oil would rise and it would hurt the economy, you would have been right until about 1980. You would have been wrong from 1981-2001. In 1998, oil was lower than ever in real dollars. You would have been only partly right now (the price of oil is high, but it really isn’t hurting the economy yet).

How about gold? If you predicted a rise in gold prices you would have been very happy until about 1980. If you bought in 1980, you are still down about 35%. You will be all right in the long run, but you might not live long enough. You understand that things have value in relation to other things. Gold has been a horrible investment for thirty years. It may shine again for a short time, but it tends to work only when the Federal Reserve is not doing its job.

If you depended on either the gold or your oil prediction, you would have been bankrupt.

So without some time period or price range it is certainly true that …

If you predict higher oil prices that will hurt the economy you will be right
If you predict lower oil prices that will help the economy, you will be right
If you predict higher oil prices that don’t hurt the economy, you will be right
If you predict lower oil prices that don’t much help the economy you will be right.

I don’t know what you do for a living. My prosperity depends to some extent on my ability to USEFULLY anticipate events. I don’t predict exact events. I look for ranges of probabilities. I am wrong a lot, but I don’t have to be right all the time, just a lot of the time and within the ranges of probabilities. The predictions you make are worse than useless. I could take no action based on them.

Good luck with the gold thing. I hope you are diversified.

Posted by: Jack at December 18, 2005 8:12 PM
Comment #104004

Hi Jack,

You don’get it.

“A prediction without some time frame or range is not a prediction.”

All my predictions are in the 1 to 6 year range.

“If you depended on either the gold or your oil prediction, you would have been bankrupt.”

I have made no predictions on gold until a couple of years ago when I realized how bad our economy is doing. I predict that my gold will continue to go up over the next 1 to 6 years.

“My prosperity depends to some extent on my ability to USEFULLY anticipate events.”

My job very much depends on my ability to predict events but not the sort of events we’re discussing here.

“The predictions you make are worse than useless. I could take no action based on them.”

You could buy gold. You could invest in a fund that I have that goes up when oil prices go up…..I’ve been doing really well with it so far.

The predictions I’ve made are not useless. You’re going in for bullshit here.

There are all sorts of things to do based on my predictions. Buying gold is one. Betting on higher oil prices is another. (I did both 2 years ago and both are up).

I bought a car that gets 42mpg if I shift it carefully. I bought it last spring before the prices jumped.

Our healthcare system is headed for disaster. Health insurance runs about 15,000/year for a family of four if you aren’t in a group. Health insurance is going up some 10 30%. I don’t know how to invest in such a way as to capitilize off this problem but you could bet the farm on an imminent healthcare crisis.

Interest on the national debt is going to be a huge problem in the next 10 years. I don’t know how to capitalize on it with the exception of owning gold.

There is nothing wrong with my predictions.

I noticed that you didn’t predict if or when Arab terrorists will attack our oil supply. Without the ability to predict that all economic predictions go right out the window.

I honestly don’t understand what you have against my predictions.

I’ve been right far more than the White House was about Iraq. Our economy would be in much better shape if people had listened to me about the debt years ago.

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 19, 2005 12:20 AM
Comment #104154

Hi Jack,

Here’s an example of what I’ve been saying about Democracy not being a panacea for terrorism:

“In Lebanon, elections a few months ago returned Hezbollah to parliament. The new government, the first to take office since the end of Syria’s occupation of Lebanon, awarded the radical Islamists with two portfolios. Hezbollah’s armed militia is reportedly more efficient than the Lebanese army; it boasts of having 12,000 katyusha-type rockets aimed at northern Israel.

And in the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, an Islamic radical organization with at least 2,000 men under arms, is being welcomed to participate in national elections set for January 25, 2006. Polls show it may gain anywhere from 30% to 40% of the vote.

One characteristic of all these interactions between militant Arab Islam and democratic processes is that the Bush administration is encouraging and abetting them, in accordance with its democratic reform program for the Arab Middle East. The administration has decided that in order to make democracy work, radical Islamists should be urged and allowed to participate.

Washington is fully aware that these Islamists maintain private armies and that this is a violation of one of the most basic principles of democracy, wherein there must be a single elected source of authority that maintains a monopoly on the use of force. It also knows that many of the Islamists are closely allied with Iran, a member of the “axis of evil.” It has decided to ignore these travesties on the double assumption that, first, the democratic process can only operate if it is inclusive, and second, inclusion of the armed Islamists in the governmental process eventually will cause them to moderate their policies and disarm.

This is a huge risk, and there is absolutely no proof that it will work as intended.”

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 19, 2005 10:23 AM
Comment #104185


I do give up.

1-6 years predicting gold will go up is just silly. You have to have an idea of when and how much.

Do you understand that your investment is gaged against other possible investments?

If gold goes up by 25%, but stocks go up by 50% do you understand that you made a bad investment relatively? Do you understand anything about the time value of money?

This is the last time I will try to explain it to you. I make money on my predictions. You may do so also. The key is how much and when, but these things don’t seem to matter to you.

Posted by: Jack at December 19, 2005 10:55 AM
Comment #104296

Hi Jack,

“1-6 years predicting gold will go up is just silly.”

Given the current state of affairs you’re quite wrong.

For the reasons I gave: Oil prices, national debt, interest on national debt, health care will likely continue to rise.

I’m not saying this with 100% certainty. As I said my gold is a hedge in case any or all of my predictions are correct.

“Do you understand that your investment is gaged against other possible investments?”

Of course I get that. What you don’t get is the concept of gold as insurance.

It’s you that are lacking in understanding here. I’m doing fine.

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 19, 2005 2:56 PM
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