Iraq Creates Strange Bedfellows

The idea that the enemy of my enemy is my friend has made for strange bedfellows over the years, but perhaps never more so than in Iraq, where the failure of U.S. intervention would make winners of Islamist insurgents in the Middle East and the Democratic Party here at home.

As is usually the case with such unofficial alliances, the motives are unique for each group, but intertwined nonetheless. Both share a common desire to see the U.S withdraw from Iraq. The Islamist insurgents’ desire is based upon fear of U.S. victory and the spread of stable democracy in the region. The out-of-Iraq-now crowd, which many see as aligned with the Democratic Party, want us out because they can fathom neither a U.S. victory nor a democratic Middle East.

To be sure, victory in Iraq will not be easily defined. There will be no equivalent of V-E or V-J Day where all hostilities cease and combatants lay down their arms. But defeat would not be nearly as ambiguous. All we need do is withdraw before Iraq is stable enough to nurture its nascent democracy on its own. A pullout today would ensure just such defeat.

In fairness to the Democrats, not all are calling for an immediate withdrawal. And those that are, do so largely because they despair over what they see as the pointless sacrifice of American lives and honor. They do not necessarily want to see the administration’s Middle East policy fail. They simply cannot see how it can succeed.

Which plays directly into the hands of our Islamist foes. They know they cannot achieve a military victory over the U.S – at least not yet. All they can hope for today is a psychological victory where we leave on their terms rather than ours. But whereas we will see this as the end of our Iraqi engagement, the Islamists will see it as a small tactical advance in the much wider war that seeks the total destruction of the United States.

So while we would sit here and ruminate over the failings of Bush policy – to the benefit of the Democratic Party – our enemies would be free to work on the next step in their war against the West. And though they may not be able to win a military victory against us today, the day will come when they obtain the weapons and systems capable of delivering a good measure of the destruction they seek. That day will arrive much faster in an unstable and anarchic Iraq, which explains why the Islamists want us out.

Yet they know they cannot get us out with brute force, meaning this war has become a battle of wills. Thus, each new voice calling for our withdrawal is a tiny step forward in the long-term strategy of our foes, who know victory ultimately goes to the strong of heart.

Of course, there is one other way to get us out – the establishment of a stable, peaceful, democratic Iraq. Though naysayers claim that’s an impossible dream, the 10 million or so Iraqis who voted in this past weekend’s election might beg to differ.

While one would hope that all mankind would benefit from such a development, there are two groups - the Islamists and the Democratic Party - who would suffer under such a scenario. In a perverted way, they need each other. Strange bedfellows, indeed.

Posted by Paul Szydlowski at December 19, 2005 9:58 AM
Comments
Comment #104326

Another one of those “Let’s blame it all on the Democrats” postings.

The Republican Party, which has complete control over both houses of Congress and the White House, can’t send enough troops to Iraq to properly fight the war, can’t explain its every changing rationale for going to war (9/11 … Al Qaeda … Terrorism … WMD … Democracy), and yet this posts claims that “the failure of U.S. intervention would make winners of Islamist insurgents in the Middle East and the Democratic Party here at home.”

Sure, if the insurgents win in Iraq it will be the due to the Democrats. I get it now.

Posted by: bobo at December 19, 2005 3:22 PM
Comment #104336

There is reason to think that Democracy isn’t a panecea for presenting terrorism.

“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.”
http://www.forward.com/articles/7031

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 19, 2005 3:35 PM
Comment #104337

“Does the American-sponsored Arab exercise in democracy contribute to Israel-Arab peace, as its advocates claim? Thus far, it clearly does not. On the contrary, in the near future American-sponsored Arab democracy is probably going to be bad for Israeli-Arab peace. It also may be bad for a lot of other things that the United States cherishes — such as Middle East stability, and human rights in Arab countries.”
http://www.forward.com/articles/7031

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 19, 2005 3:36 PM
Comment #104339
where the failure of U.S. intervention would make winners of Islamist insurgents in the Middle East and the Democratic Party here at home.

Paul, You’re simply wrong. The failure in Iraq will not benefit Democrats because it will harm the entire nation. Yes, there might be some tangential short-term electoral gains for Democrats and there may be a few demented Democrats who actually hope for failure in Iraq, but these are nowhere near the majority. Almost any intelligent Democrat understands that failure in Iraq harms us all.

Does this mean that all Democrats want to “stay the course”? No, of course not. But that’s not the same thing at all. Some Democrats (and a growing number of Republicans) simply think the U.S. was tricked into an illegitimate war in which we’re wasting blood and national resources in order to install a theocratic regime. This is an honest opinion and we should respect it, whatever our own feelings.

So, don’t link the Democratic Party, even indirectly, with Islamic extremists. That’s just partisan nonsense of the sort that has helped keep the nation divided far too long. It’s an old story and one which fewer and fewer Americans believe. I’m only sorry it still appears here on WatchBlog.

Posted by: Reed Sanders at December 19, 2005 3:43 PM
Comment #104341
“Sure, if the insurgents win in Iraq it will be the due to the Democrats. I get it now.”

You missed the point, which is that both the insurgents and the Democrats stand to benefit from failure in Iraq. Failure that is possible if we stay, but assured if we withdraw. We can argue over whether we should have gone into Iraq in the first place, but now that we’re there, leaving is not a simple slam-dunk option.

The fact is that the insurgents are incapable of removing us by force, so their only hope is to make us want to leave. They win that battle one mind at a time. Thus, if their goal is to get us out, each mind they change is a tiny victory for them. That’s where I see the calls for withdrawal playing into the insurgents’ hands.

Posted by: Paul Szydlowski at December 19, 2005 3:47 PM
Comment #104347

Hi Paul,

“You missed the point, which is that both the insurgents and the Democrats stand to benefit from failure in Iraq.”

I was very much against going into Iraq. If I’d wanted us to fail in Iraq then, by definition, I’d have had to favor going into Iraq in the first place.

Given that the Iraqi government and security forces are riddled with terrorists we’re not doing well in Iraq.

If we were doing well in Iraq the government and security forces wouldn’t be riddled with terrorists.

Using most of our military resources to support terrorists in Iraq isn’t a good policy.

I’m in favor of policies that are in our best interests. Supporting terrorists in Iraq is not in our best interests.

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 19, 2005 3:53 PM
Comment #104361
You missed the point, which is that both the insurgents and the Democrats stand to benefit from failure in Iraq. Failure that is possible if we stay, but assured if we withdraw. We can argue over whether we should have gone into Iraq in the first place, but now that we’re there, leaving is not a simple slam-dunk option.

Oh I understand the point perfectly. It’s because I understand it so well that has me pissed off.

These are the sort of mischaracterizations of the political debate in the United States that leads people (in this case Bush supporters) to question other people’s patriotism (in this case Democrats). It’s similar to how Bush & Co. kept using Saddam and 9/11 in the same sentence; it puts them on the same side of the overly-simplistic debate.

I’m all for fighting the war against Al Qaeda. But if I think that Iraq has nothing to do with the threats against the United States, and pulling our troops out of there is actually good for the security of the U.S., does that side me with the insurgents? I say it doesn’t, but your post says it does.

I’m sick and tired of having Republicans question my patriotism in these subtle ways!!

Posted by: bobo at December 19, 2005 4:07 PM
Comment #104363

The Dems will not benefit from a defeat in Iraq. As the PR assets are currently deployed, they would probably get blamed.

I see three types of Dems right now. The serious guys like Lieberman and (maybe) Biden are trying to give good advice and be constructive. The cynical (Reid) just hope to score some points off George Bush knowing that he will eventually prevail, but also counting on the fact that there will be downsides and they want to make sure Bush takes all the blame and gets little of the credit. The stupid (Pelosi, Dean) actually think this is like Vietnam and they really want to get out fast. The last category is the only real pernicious group and they are not really in the driver’s seat.

Bobo
The Republicans have a majority in congress but not complete control. I wish we did. The Dems have managed to “kill the patriot act” (so far) are Harry Reid boasted and they threaten to filibuster judges etc.

This kind of “victimized” Democrat is a role some people like to play. But remember that victims are usually losers. You tried the “UNBUSH” in 2004 without success. I don’t think the Unrepublican will fare much better. Try a positive agenda for a change.

Posted by: Jack at December 19, 2005 4:09 PM
Comment #104366
The Republicans have a majority in congress but not complete control. I wish we did. The Dems have managed to “kill the patriot act” (so far) are Harry Reid boasted and they threaten to filibuster judges etc.

I’ve yet to see the Republican leadership in Congress bring to the floor of either house a bill that calls for sending enough troops into Iraq to defeat the insurgents.

Posted by: bobo at December 19, 2005 4:13 PM
Comment #104370

Hi Jack,

“The stupid (Pelosi, Dean) actually think this is like Vietnam and they really want to get out fast.”

That is nowhere nearly as stupid as Cheney and his “WHIG” group who were actually dumb enough to think it was going to be a cakewalk.

That is nowhere nearly as stupid as Rumsfeld advocating “retaliating” against the wrong country or saying “Absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence”

Those who thought putting most of our military resorources into an experiment to see whether Democracy is a panacea for terrorists were considerably dumber that Pelosi and Dean.

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 19, 2005 4:16 PM
Comment #104373

Paul,

“where the failure of U.S. intervention would make winners of Islamist insurgents in the Middle East and the Democratic Party here at home.”

“which is that both the insurgents and the Democrats stand to benefit from failure in Iraq.”

How will the Democrats benefit in a way that is good for the nation? That is the precise nonsense that has interfered with rational debate about any issues facing this country. The Republicans, caught up in their short sighted, blow-hard, divisionary mantra, “We won get over it” fail to see that the seizure of power in the House and Senate is not what those of us who did not and do not support this war or the President really care about.
We care about this country. We care about this administration destroying our position both financially and morally in the world.
You worry about D.C power struggles, I’ll continue to worry about the country I love.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at December 19, 2005 4:20 PM
Comment #104375

Republicans have had total control over what happens in Iraq. If Iraq fails, it is a failure for America brought on by Republicans in control of what happens there. There is no escaping this simple logic.

To exalt a failure in Iraq as a victory for Democrats is a false argument designed to appeal to the Republican loyal supporters. Democrats and all Americans will suffer the loss of credibility and standing in international affairs if Pres. Bush’s administration with full support from a Republican Congress fail to remove the US from its occupation role soon, leaving a capable and viable democratic government in Iraq to preserve itself.

Attempts to place fault for the lack of any success in Iraq at the feet of others like the media or the liberals or the Democratic party is pure lack of integrity and character to own responsibility for one’s actions. Republicans own Iraq, and they should have the character and guts to stand by their decisions taking credit for their successes as well as their failures without playing 5 year old games like “the boogie man made me do it”, or “the Giant stopped me from making it right”.

Accept Iraq like an adult. Take responsibility for Iraq like an adult. Do your best to make it right. And if your best wasn’t good enough, accept that like an adult as well, and don’t insult the intelligence of American adults by trying to place the blame on some imaginary hobgoblin hiding under the bed.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 19, 2005 4:21 PM
Comment #104386

Well, I hate to say it, but this is where I have to stick up for most of the Dems on this board. Being a moderate conservative, it’s pretty hard, but not as hard as it will be on those that are much further right than I am.

I have read many, many times on this board posts from Dems who understand and support our troops staying in Iraq until that country is stable and can defend itself. There are very, very few here that support our immediate withdrawal and damn the consequences.

I feel that to question the patriotism of most of the Dems here is to question the patriotism of Americans in general. I mean…that’s what this blogs reflects. A cross section of the American opinion and sentiment…right, left and independant.

Before this very partisan political discussion became the norm, we all complained that Americans did not care…that most of us were apathetic where politics were concerned. We asked that the people become more involved.

Well, like it or not, we got what we asked for.

And giving a damn about your country and expressing it here is not Anti-patriotic.

Posted by: Jim T at December 19, 2005 4:31 PM
Comment #104403

David

My point re Republicans not being in complete control is a technical one. I am not worried about getting “blamed” for Iraq. I am more worried about the policies not getting the fair share of the credit when it is successful (as happened to some extent with the fall of the Soviet Empire.)

BTW - Did you see the article on New Orleans has a Norwegian trackback. There is summary there that talks about the article and the debate in the US.

Posted by: Jack at December 19, 2005 4:46 PM
Comment #104407

David

My point re Republicans not being in complete control is a technical one. I am not worried about getting “blamed” for Iraq. I am more worried about the policies not getting the fair share of the credit when it is successful (as happened to some extent with the fall of the Soviet Empire.)

BTW - Did you see the article on New Orleans has a Norwegian trackback. There is summary there that talks about the article and the debate in the US.

Posted by: Jack at December 19, 2005 4:48 PM
Comment #104427
This is a huge risk, and there is absolutely no proof that it will work as intended.

LouisXIV,

There is also no proof that it will fail. Yes, there are concerns. But, as Yossi states,

Obviously, there can be no democratic process today in most Arab countries without involving the powerful Islamists, who represent the sentiments of a large proportion of Arabs. And undoubtedly, democracy is a good thing; indeed, prominent Israelis like Natan Sharansky and Benjamin Netanyahu have argued loudly that only Arab democracies are fit and able to make peace with Israel.

So, yes, we should be concerned.

However, instead of leaving because some fear the “possibility” of negative consequences, we should be working to overcome those possibilities. Standing our ground until Iraq has a stable, democratic government must be our firmest committment to the Iraqi citizens who desire to exprience the freedoms we cherish.

Posted by: Michael Burns at December 19, 2005 5:06 PM
Comment #104430

Hi Michael,

“There is also no proof that it will fail.”

Of course not. It’s not looking good. The Iraqis voted in a bunch of terrorists once already.

Putting all our military resources into a Democracy experiment in Iraq was really stupid.

“the Iraqi citizens who desire to exprience the freedoms we cherish.”

Some Iraqi citizens do cherish and deserve those freedoms. A whole lot of other Iraqis voted for terrorits.

The Palestinians deserve freedoms and all that but they just voted for a bunch of terrorists.

Democracy isn’t a panacea against terrorism.


Posted by: LouisXIV at December 19, 2005 5:11 PM
Comment #104457

Burns
“However, instead of leaving because some fear the “possibility” of negative consequences, we should be working to overcome those possibilities”

Thats not what they want, there is an election coming up in 06 and 08.
Would you rather have a campaign slogan that says, we were wrong, Bush was right, Iraq is now better off.
OR
Bush was wrong and 3000+ American soldiers died for nothing. When the going got tough, Bush cut and ran.
We will hear the latter throughout the elections, but can you imagine if it was true?

Its all about votes, nothing else.

Posted by: kctim at December 19, 2005 5:34 PM
Comment #104468

Jack, we didn’t win the Cold War in other way than simply being able to outspend them. If you wish to call that a victory, I won’t argue or debtate the point. But, to say after many President’s kept outspending the Russians on military buildup over decades that Reagan won the Cold War is to take far more credit than was factually and historically warranted. The credit belonged Democratic and Republican Presidents from Eisenhower through Reagan and even Bush I, but with many Democratic Presidents in between doing their share as well.

In other words, if you choose to call the end of the arms race with Russia and the economic collapse of the USSR a victory for the US, then it was truly a bipartisan victory.

Iraq, however, from premises for going to war through execution of the war and now through nation building has been exclusively a Republican controlled endeavor. If it is successful, and that of course includes getting out on the American people’s timetable, then by all means, this will be a victory owned almost exclusively by Republican leadership. Of course, the reverse will also be true.

There can be no victory for America if Iraq is allowed to deeply divide our nation and its foreign policy politics for decades to come, regardless of how well Iraq does. One has to look at the whole picture. The Iraq war is not just about outcomes for Iraqis. First and foremost, it is a war for an outcome that benefits the American people, her taxpayers who paid for it with dollars, and her sons and daughters who paid for it with their lives and limbs. If the outcome of Iraq proves to be a benefit for American and her people as a whole, then a stable democracy for Iraqi’s can be called a victory for America and Republicans.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 19, 2005 5:44 PM
Comment #104472

Jack, sorry, I don’t read Norwegian. Didn’t see an english summary.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 19, 2005 5:49 PM
Comment #104481

Credit for Collapse of the Soviet Empire?
You know,the Soviet empire fell under Wwars program-as a matter of fact,Soviet defense spending did not change one bit the year before the collapse.
But,as an attempt to stay on task here,you know who also takes credit for the Soviet collapse?
Osama Bin laden.He feels that the mujadeen,him and his jihadi brthren took them down,and he thinks he can do it to us too.He thanks us for the opportunity to continue his battle in Iraq-his premier training ground for the next generation of Jihadis.We’ll give you credit for that………full credit.

Posted by: Terry......... at December 19, 2005 5:57 PM
Comment #104484

Sorry about the typos,something odd happened

Posted by: Terry......... at December 19, 2005 5:59 PM
Comment #104493

In reading my original post and the comments thus far, I must say that I understand the emotions it has raised. There were two distinct points that I tried to raise, one regarding policy - whether we should withdraw and whether that plays into the hands of our enemies - and another regarding politics. The way my piece was written, those lines got blurred.

I generally do not see life as a zero-sum game, where in order for one side to win, another must lose. But I do see politics that way. It’s the nature of the beast. In that regard, if George Bush succeeds (and there are no guarantees he will), that will be to the detriment of the Democrats politically. The flip side is that if he fails, it will be to the Democrats advantage - again, on a purely political basis.

That, perhaps, would have been a better way to approach the irony that I was trying to convey. It wasn’t my intention to say failure would be the Democrats fault, or that it would bring them glee.

I do believe, however, that premature withdrawal would be a big mistake. And any failure due to early withdrawal will rightfully be pinned upon George Bush. It was his decision to go in, and for now it’s still his decision whether we leave. But that failure, too, would be to the Democrats advantage politically. In no way do I believe they want to see us fail, and certainly not for political gain. I said as much in my piece:

In fairness to the Democrats, not all are calling for an immediate withdrawal. And those that are, do so largely because they despair over what they see as the pointless sacrifice of American lives and honor. They do not necessarily want to see the administration’s Middle East policy fail. They simply cannot see how it can succeed.

I do believe our enemies feed on any perceived weakness they see in our resolve. It’s a difficult balancing act, encouraging a free and open debate over the best course of action in Iraq while trying to present a resolute face to our enemies. Almost as difficult, apparently, as trying to point out the irony of the situation politically.

Posted by: Paul Szydlowski at December 19, 2005 6:17 PM
Comment #104505

Sooner or later, one way or another, we are leaving. Bush says it, The Democrats say it, I say it, you say it- in and of itself it is not a controversy.

The question is how we leave it. Not how we intend to leave it, for that can turn out quite different from our expectations if we screw things up.

The concerns of Democrats like myself have mainly been over two aspects of this: How we got into this mess, and how we’re getting out of it.

The first might seem moot in the light of the invasion, but it’s really about doing our best to discourage this from happening again, of teaching the people who did this a lesson. That’s what counting the dead is about: Here are the consequences of so unwise and even immoral of an action.

The second is of more immediate concern. While the Republican pundits and leaders enjoy portraying us as being defeatists and pessimists to a man (or woman), the reality is much more complicated. We want America to win, or at least to come out of this in not much worse shape than we are now.

Many of us have long insisted that we wanted victory. Some assume this to be some kind of diabolical lie, meant to decieve all the poor dupes out there. I guess alleging that is more convenient than debating people on what they really meant.

Truth is, my concerns have mostly been justified over time. It’s not defeatism or pessimism to warn that inaction will cost lives, bring defeat, or hinder efforts. It’s not defeatism to bring these reports to light in the hopes that the errors may become corrected, and the plans redrawn to suit present circurmstances and knowledge.

The tragedy of all this is that we likely could have brought this war under control quicker if Republicans and independents had been less focused on shutting us up and more focused on fixing the problems of this war alongside of us. The unity they all sought was just one admission away: Thing need to be better than this.

I believe Democrats have had their head in the game longer on this war. When they believed there was a threat, we stood shoulder to shoulder with the president. When we discovered how thin the evidence was, we demanded accountability for the discrepancies. When the tide of violence continued to rise, we questioned whether Bush’s policies were effective. When the cities fell, we asked him to do more than just let them simmer. When violence continued to brutally afflict the people, we didn’t dismiss it as the cost of doing business in getting the elections going.

Armor, ammunition, supplies, countermeasures, Kevlar- while Republicans argued about the credibility of attacks relating to these shortfalls, the Democrats have been asking the administration to fix the problems.

We have been consistent in wanting the best for our soldiers. And that includes the best battleground, the best targets, and the best objectives.

I think it’s time the Republicans acknowledge that its in both our best interests to take a realistic view of things, for that will be the only view that gives us the knowledge we need to win. Anything else, however pleasant, is merely an illusion, and we have already suffered enough for our illusions.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 19, 2005 6:37 PM
Comment #104519

One thing that has bothered me for a long time, pre-9/11 even, has been that it seems to be the mantra of many on the right that “unity” means agreeing with them 100%. In the post 9/11 world, there seems to be even less room for compromise, and this is particularly troubling to me.

Mr. Syzdlowski says that we must “remain resolute” and that a “free, democratic Iraq” is our only hope. That may be true. Colin Powell yesterday said that we will be in Iraq for “years,” and I would ask Mr. Syzdlowski when, if ever, he would feel that enough is enough.

If we still have a substantial troop presence (say, 100,000+) in 2010?
If a democratically-elected Iraqi government becomes more and more closely tied with Iran?
If North Korea actually tests a nuclear weapon?

If we must maintain a large troop presence over a period of many years, would you support a draft, Mr. Syzdlowski? Would you volunteer to serve, yourself, or encourage your children to serve?
To me, that’s “resolute.” Teach your kids that this war is the most important thing we can be doing, and that, as Americans, our kids have a moral and civic duty to serve, and, indeed, die.

I am concerned about the amount of “Dolce et decorum est” I read and hear. I had a long conversation the other night with a man I respect and admire very much, who happens to be much wealthier and more conservative than I. At one point in our conversation, he leaned into me and said thoughtfully, “I’m afraid we are just going to have to go in and kill a lot of these people.”

To which, I thought, “Who’s we?” Certainly not he himself, he never served, though he is of the Vietnam-era generation. Certainly not his child, she’s an affluent suburbanite raised to privilege. Not his friends or their children, they have “other priorities.”

If we are to remain “resolute,” if we are all truly to sacrifice to bring about the noble goals of ending terrorism and facilitating democratization, I call upon all Americans: right, left, and center, to support a widespread national service program.

If we are indeed to do this, and do it properly, let us put all cards on the table. Let us recruit and train a military of millions, as we did in World Wars I and II, and democratize the entire middle east, not just Iran, Iraq, Libya, and Syria, but also Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan to boot.

To me, that is “resolute.” Anything else is grandstanding.

Posted by: Arr-squared at December 19, 2005 6:55 PM
Comment #104545

David

I can read Norwegian. I will send you a quick translation.

I have often talked about the bipartisan and generational defeat of Soviet communism. I believe that Reagan helped push it over the edge. I know the work that we did in E. Europe was very important.

Posted by: Jack at December 19, 2005 8:12 PM
Comment #104571
Mr. Syzdlowski says that we must “remain resolute” and that a “free, democratic Iraq” is our only hope. That may be true. Colin Powell yesterday said that we will be in Iraq for “years,” and I would ask Mr. Syzdlowski when, if ever, he would feel that enough is enough…

…If we must maintain a large troop presence over a period of many years, would you support a draft, Mr. Syzdlowski? Would you volunteer to serve, yourself, or encourage your children to serve?

I wish I could answer your questions, but I can’t. In fact, I’ve had questions about the wisdom of this war from the start and raised many of them back in May of ‘04 in a column I had with a local paper: Questions on Iraq

If you read it, you’ll see we share many of the same concerns, and you’ll also note that the one about sending my kids off to fight hits close to home.

I shudder like everyone else with every casualty in Iraq. But I fear that Lawrence Wilkinson, Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, was correct when he predicted that withdrawal “without leav[ing] something behind we can trust,” will force us to “mobilize the nation, with five million men and women under arms to go back and take the Middle East within a decade.” Full story

I still have far more questions than answers, but I believe that leaving too early will cost lives, not save them.

Posted by: Paul Szydlowski at December 19, 2005 9:16 PM
Comment #104639

Jack,

Have you read “Charlie Wilson’s War”? It’s a fascinating look at one of the reasons we won the cold war. I’m sure it’s different than anything else you’ve read on the subject, but I’ll bet you enjoy it.

Posted by: Burt at December 20, 2005 12:51 AM
Comment #104709
But remember that victims are usually losers.

Jack, please, tell us you’re only talking of political victims here.
Otherwise it’s quite offending!

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at December 20, 2005 4:34 AM
Comment #104751

Philippe

It depends. When I used the term victims in the context, I didn’t mean those who have merely suffered a setback or disaster, but rather people who set themselves up as victims. I meant it in the politcal sense above, but I would extend it to those who are always finding ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

It might be offensive, but if you are always having more trouble than people around you, maybe you should consider your own behavior. And I have noticed that people who constantly say that the things that happen to them that are “not their fault” are mistaken.

Posted by: Jack at December 20, 2005 9:40 AM
Comment #104991

As far as a terrorist victory over the United States, it is possible. The best weapons they have is the U.S. liberal media, and the Wacko / liberal wing of the Democratic party. North Vietnam had these same type of weapons and now the world- wide Terrorist network has the same. Thats the only comparison Iraq has with the Vietnam war. The defeat of the defeatists is as important as the defeat of the terrorists.

Posted by: George A. Casper at December 20, 2005 3:15 PM
Comment #105017

More to the point, Bush’s Iraq war has made winners of the terrorists in Iraq and of the Republican Party here at home. Too bad for y’all it’s unravelling here at home as it becomes more victorious for the terrorists.

Posted by: Mental Wimp at December 20, 2005 3:49 PM
Comment #105036

Right, George A. Casper

Just call ‘em wacko and you don’t have to even think about their arguments. Just purse your lips real tight and feel macho and patriotic. Why, even name your laws taking away rights the “Patriot Act” and it’ll give your testicles a tingle.

Posted by: Mental Wimp at December 20, 2005 4:09 PM
Comment #105046

Thank you for confirming the weapons terrorism have. I didn’t lose any rights and I don’t know anyone else that have. Good luck with your panic mode. The real losers here are the people that don’t see what liberalism is doing. The biggest backers of liberalism are the enemies of freedom. Dictatorships in the past begin with liberalism run amok. Its too bad that liberals consider free people the enemy, not the true enemies of freedom. I laugh at your allies of terrorism. good luck.

Posted by: George A. Casper at December 20, 2005 4:25 PM
Comment #105162

Hi George,

“I laugh at your allies of terrorism.”

It’s the right who are allies of terrorism. Our military is supporting terrorists in the Iraqi government as we speak.

Ronald Reagan and Oliver North were helping terrorists in Central America.

Ronald Reagan and Oliver North sold weapons to Iranian terrorists.

Do you think we should continue to support the terrorists in the Iraqi government?

Our troops are fighting and dying in Iraq in order to support terrorists and it’s right wingers who are making them do so.

Do you side with terrorists too?

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 20, 2005 7:54 PM
Comment #105182

Whats the lefts plans to deal with terrorism?

Posted by: George A. Casper at December 20, 2005 9:11 PM
Comment #105202

Hi George,

Bush’s Iraq policy is a disaster.

We’ve got most of our military resources tied up in Iraq and they’re supporting terrorism there.

Our massive military resources are fighting a small number of insurgents and the insurgents aern’t losing.

We’ve got complete idiots leading our anti-terrorism fight. Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the rest of the war planners have clearly demonstrated that they are far too stupid to be fighting leading our anti-terrorism efforts.

Do you side with the right wingers who support terrorism George?

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 20, 2005 11:12 PM
Comment #105204

I didn’t ask what the problems are with Bush plan, I asked what the lefts plan is. So, what is it?

Posted by: George A. Casper at December 20, 2005 11:35 PM
Comment #105754

Hi George,

“I didn’t ask what the problems are with Bush plan”

It involves not supporting terrorists like the Bush plan does.

It involves not listenting to guys who are complete idiots like Rumsfeld and Cheney.

Posted by: LouisXIV at December 21, 2005 8:32 PM
Comment #105765

Hi George,

My last answers were a bit brief and a bit edgy as well. Given that you consider everybody who disagrees with you to be an enemy of freedom I’m not inclined to explain myself to you.

If I was to say “everybody who disagrees with me is a complete asshole” you’d probably be a bit abrupt?

Disagreeing with you doesn’t make one an enemy of freedom any more than disagreeing with me makes one a complete asshole.

Our Iraq policy assumes that Democracy is a cure for terrorissm. It’s incredibly stupid to commit most of our military resources to an idea that isn’t likely to work.

In order to fight terrorism we need to do things that aren’t stupid as opposed to doing things that are extremely stupid such as occupying Iraq.


Posted by: LouisXIV at December 21, 2005 9:16 PM
Comment #106970

“Dictatorships in the past begin with liberalism run amok. Its too bad that liberals consider free people the enemy, not the true enemies of freedom.”

Too bad the American government didn’t share your views in 1953.

Let’s take a look at Iran. The country that might gain the most from the Iraq overthrow and the next threat looming on the horizon is a missed opportunity for America.

If America had chosen freedom and democracy over business the Middle East may have become a democracy long ago.

The CIA has something interesting about this on their site. All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror

Posted by: raygun at December 23, 2005 11:47 PM
Comment #108968

Good Blog as ideas greatly dominate inane name calling for the most part. So much to say but lets boil down to how to judge the Iraq situation.
to be a success and not sacrifice needlessly you must believe success is more achievable than not or at least reasonably achievable. Lets look at some of the facts and issues.
1. Sec of State Albright and many others say you can’t establish a democracy from the top down. People need the basics of life and liesure time to think about politics and candidates and need local democratic government first. Hasn’t happened for the most part.
2. Great vote turnout - rejected soundly the uniting secular candidates for the theocratic ones. Already trouble over this.
3. Shifting purpose for war - even this week Bush people are changing rhetoric to lower standards for a WIN.
4. For the most part the Administration was wrong on ALL predictions about the war - oil will pay for it, they’ll welcome us with open arms, we know there are WMD’s, etc.
5. Must win the Hearts and Minds of the people to succeed. That horse left the barn with early screw ups and is proving very hard to round back up. Recent poll showed 65% of Iraqies think its ok to shoot at Coalition Forces. 20% would be tough to work with - this makes it nearly impossible.
6. Iraqies as a whole have less jobs, less electricity, less clean water, less protection from civil crime, and less gas which was recently tripled in price - the list could go on - would you be happy?
7. Coalition is evaporating - 2 small Balkin countries are soon withdrawing troops as have many other countries. Only modest support around the world that has led to political ousting of friendly governments. Never had the support that would have made the civil and political success much more achievable.
8. Admin fired or attacked nearly everyone who predicted correctly what it would take or cost. Dep Sec of treasury Miller said it would cost $300 Bil and guess where funding is at - $ 300 Bil and counting. General Shinseji said it would take 300,000 troops to maintain civil order. He was fired and we botched the civil order job. Just for a start. Hmmm
9.Many say its NOT Vietnam - true so far but often judged by length and US deaths - many including Powell are talking about 9-10 more years in Iraq. Much of the human cost is most importantly in loss of full bodily function and in dollars in this country alone will be born for the next 40 to 50 years because of the wounded to kill ratio. Body armor is saving many more lives, but lives forever changed and diminished. US wounded to killed in Vietnam 1 to 1.11(53,303 wounded - yes more killed than wounded), in Desert Storm 1.33 to 1( 357 wounded), in Afganistan 2.33 to 1 ( 652 wounded) and in Iraq 6.98 to 1 (~ 15,600 wounded - about 30% of Vietnam).
10. Our small town of about 2700 tried to pass a school bond issure of $ 40 Million. At current $300 Billion the US could build about 7500 schools of this size or 150 per state. I’m not suggesting it should be one or the other but offer a real world example for you to judge the cost/benefit ratio.

Ok, ok a partial list now what’s my solution to fight terror. One recent example of wise use of resources is the prompt response and aid to Tsunami victims in SE Asia - Result of recent polls show positive view of United States is way up while positive view of Al Qaeda is way down. With nobody dead or wounded by our response. I know its more complex than this but doing something positive for the PEOPLE seems to be key!

Posted by: Larry Stoddard at December 29, 2005 2:08 PM
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