Now We Are Fighting the Insurgents

The term insurgency in Iraq was a bit of a misnomer. It implies rebellion and fighting against a government. Foreign fighters and Iraqi insurgents kill mostly unarmed civilians. Ever since the big battles last year, they have been unenthusiastic about fighting soldiers. But the fighting has now begun in earnest and the Iraqis are beginning to take responsibility to take the fight to the bad guys.

A good example is the recent Iraqi raid on insurgents who planned to ambush religious pilgrims. These guys were counting on killing; they were not expecting much fighting, but they were well equipped and numerous. It is unknown exactly how many there were, but the Iraqis killed about 200 of them.

It looks like the nature of the war is changing. Capable Iraqi units are coming on line and they are going out to get the bad guys instead of letting the bad guys come to them. They still require coalition logistical and air support, but we may be reaching a critical mass. It looks like this might be the beginning of an effective counterinsurgency.

We have to relearn counterinsurgency every time because no two of them are the same. Each is deeply embedded in the particular culture and circumstances. While general theories can be developed by experts, and training can be done at academies and war colleges, the actual operational knowledge, feel and skills must be learned up close and personal. It also takes time to build relationships of trust with key members of the local populations and gain the requisite neighborhood experience.

Nevertheless, two meta-lessons abide.

- To defeat an insurgency it is necessary to fight it. You cannot wait for them to come to you because you cannot secure a country with strictly defensive tactics. Every point cannot be made secure against a determined enemy. The bad guys do not have to be right all the time or even very often. If you let them choose the time and place, if you leave the initiative to the enemy, you will lose.

- To defeat an insurgency the local authorities must be ready to do most of the heavy work. The U.S. can provide training and support for Iraqis, but they will win the battle - or not.

The American pull out from Vietnam at least indirectly cost millions of lives in Indochina, drove thousands of people out to sea on small boats and set the country two decades behind its neighbors. The consequences for individual Iraqis will be similarly dire. However, a defeat in Iraq would be even worse for the U.S. than Vietnam. There was no chance that the North Vietnamese would pursue us to the U.S. There is almost no doubt that Al-Qaeda and other terrorist will go after us back home. I know people argue that Al-Qaeda was not in Iraq during the Saddam years, but they clearly are there now. The terrorists have chosen to fight us in Iraq. They think it is the key to their success. They come from all over the Middle East to do it. Does anybody really think they are just interested in creating an independent & prosperous Iraq? We cannot just decide to end the war a time convenient to us. It is like trying to jump over a chasm with two hops.

This does not have to be our fate. With U.S. support, the Iraqis can increasingly take the conflict to the insurgents. In any conflict there is the possibility of defeat, but the prospect of helping the Iraqi establish a reasonably democratic, stable country in the center of the Middle East is certainly not something to be thrown away for ephemeral advantage and the near certainly of a more dangerous and deadly world in the wake a precipitous American withdrawal is surely something to be opposed. The outcome in Iraq is more important than domestic American politics.

Posted by Jack at January 29, 2007 8:38 PM
Comments
Comment #205711

Yep, now we’re playing the body count game.

Posted by: KansasDem at January 29, 2007 9:03 PM
Comment #205714

Kansas

Creighton Abrams defeated the insurgency in S. Vietnam, not by counting bodies but by securing communities. The pre-1968 stategy was the body counting.

Posted by: Jack at January 29, 2007 9:15 PM
Comment #205722

Jack:

And isn’t it sad that the Democrats think that domestic American politics and their power are more important than American security?

Posted by: Beirut vet at January 29, 2007 9:32 PM
Comment #205723
“It looks like the nature of the war is changing. Capable Iraqi units are coming on line and they are going out to get the bad guys instead of letting the bad guys come to them. They still require coalition logistical and air support, but we may be reaching a critical mass. It looks like this might be the beginning of an effective counterinsurgency.

You heard it here first, folks. The one hundred and fourteenth “the insurgency is in it’s last throes” quote—but only the third of 2007, so Jack is in the vanguard. This argument sort of reminds me of your insistence that the economy is doing well, and that if the Left bitches about the inequalities of GOP economic policies long enough,and insists that the economy really isn’t that good for most Americans, they’ll eventually be right,as the economy is cyclical, don’t you know. Except you armchair military types can predict victory in Iraq until the cows come home—and you’ll still be wrong. Because this fiasco is doing nothing but cycling down the toilet.

Well, Jack, now that we’ve finally turned the corner on this endeavor, I think we ought to send another 11,000 troops to Bagdad, whatya say?

Your neocon-revisionist history of Vietnam is always amusing as well. Peddling that crap must work well with the under-thirty-five types.

Posted by: Tim Crow at January 29, 2007 9:41 PM
Comment #205724

Jack:

And isn’t it sad that the Democrats think that domestic American politics and their power are more important than American security?

Posted by: Beirut vet at January 29, 2007 9:46 PM
Comment #205725

One thing I’d like in these discussions is less slippage between the terms “insurgent” and “terrorist.”

Jack, if you really believe the “we must fight the terrorists over there or they will follow us here” argument, why don’t we move our forces into the middle of a desert, hunker down, and just blow the terrorists away while they try to creep up? That way we’d keep civilians out of it, at least.

But that wouldn’t stop the fighting in Iraq because, after all, it’s a civil war.

Posted by: Trent at January 29, 2007 9:55 PM
Comment #205728

Two million vietnamese were killed AFTER we left vietnam???

Where exactly did you get that stat? Are you counting the thousands that were probably killed when vietnam went to war with china shortly after we left?
I do know that american companies are investing heavily in vietnam at present, that cambodia is now a prime tourist destination for westerners and that a good deal of what we pick up in stores says “made in china”.
So much for the domino theory that prompted our entry into vietnam.
I do share your hope for this new effort to fight the insurgency. I fear that it is too little, too late but let’s hope for the best.

Posted by: charles Ross at January 29, 2007 9:56 PM
Comment #205729

Tim

The economy has been good since 2003 by all the things we used to measure. I know some people are feeling bad, but that is not enough to call the economy bad.

Counterinsurgency takes a long time. I am not expecting a fast change.

Re Vietnam - remember how the war ended? Did the insurgency overthrow the S. Vietnamese government or were they invaded by the North using armor and airpower? Was there much of an insurgency left after 1972? Did the North not agree to terms and then break them?

Saigon fell like Richmond fell. Superior firepower.

And I didn’t make up those boat people or reeducation camps, did I?

I am not sure we could have won in Vietnam, but our defeat was clearly also a defeat for the people of S. Vietnam.

Posted by: Jack at January 29, 2007 9:57 PM
Comment #205730

Beruit Vet:

This administration has done more to undermine American security than any in recent memory. If you think a dead-end war in Iraq that is breaking the bank and breaking the military is making us ‘safer’, if you think a Israeli excursion into Lebanon makes us safer, if you think threatening Iran is making us safer, then you deserve the morons we have in office.

Me, and most Americans, don’t. If you think November was bad for your ‘America First’ Crowd, wait until ‘08, if we continue with this farcical policy.

Posted by: Tim Crow at January 29, 2007 9:57 PM
Comment #205731

“The economy has been good since 2003 by all the things we used to measure. I know some people are feeling bad, but that is not enough to call the economy bad. ‘

Hmm, let’s see if this works, then. 3000-plus dead Americans, 400-600,000 dead Iraqis, a country in total turmoil and chaos, more terrorists there now than when we went in, a $400 billion price-tag (when it was assured that Iraqi oil would pay for the war) and counting, a continued insistence that everything is not optimal, but it’s actually doing pretty damn good…

You know, Jack, you’re right, I’m starting to see the parallels in your thinking.

The economy by any measure, except real ones, is great. The war, except for any real and honest assessments, is wonderful. Global warming is a theory. Wire-tapping without warrrants—no problem, I’ve got nothing to hide.

What the hell is in that kool-aid you’re drinking anyway, besides great gobs of denial and dissembling?

Posted by: Tim Crow at January 29, 2007 10:08 PM
Comment #205732


Jack: Remember Waco? This was George Bush’s Waco, women and children included. It’s a shame you didn’t serve in Vietnam, you could have walked point for a recon patrol and written a first person historical account of the war. We defended communities by depopulating the countryside, forcing the people out of their villages and into compounds that weren’t much more than prison compounds. For some reason, we just could not convince the Vietnamese that we were there to save them.

Posted by: jlw at January 29, 2007 10:16 PM
Comment #205733

Jack:

Let me ask you a question—this is from the heart, okay? Don’t you get a little sick and tired of constantly defending this administration and all the cockamamie policies they come up with? Don’t you, every one in a great while, say to yourself, “God, I wish they would stop doing such stupid shit, for once”?

Is there anything that this administration has done in the last six years that has made you sit up and say, “Woah, that I can’t defend, that I don’t agree with at all”?

Just wondering.

Posted by: Tim Crow at January 29, 2007 10:16 PM
Comment #205735

Jack,

In fairness my comment was disingenuous at best.

I simply see the news reports which do seem to be stressing the number of dead insurgents.

Hell, this “surge” is happening and for the well-being of the troops and all of us I hope it succeeds. I’d love to see us get it right.

But, I’ll stick my neck out and predict that two months from now things are going to look much worse in Iraq. I hope I’m wrong, I really hope I’m wrong.

BTW, I find it odd that you’d use Creighton Abrams as a defense to our Irag policy since he was largely involved in our incursion into Cambodia. But it’s all a matter of how you look at things I suppose.

Posted by: KansasDem at January 29, 2007 10:21 PM
Comment #205737

KansasDem:

“But, I’ll stick my neck out and predict that two months from now things are going to look much worse in Iraq. I hope I’m wrong….”

With all due respect, KD, as Jack says, counterinsurgency takes awhile. So far, four years. So, maybe you’re being unfair to the troops and the policy—give it another two years before your judge the ‘surge’. Jack will.

Posted by: Tim Crow at January 29, 2007 10:28 PM
Comment #205738

O come on! This is a minor battle against a looney messianic cult that muslims either think are friggin looney or the third coming. This was a real threat to Malickky so he acted and his troops followed. This was a threat to Sistani so we put every pressure to bear.
When this is done, we’re back to same-o same-o. I doesn’t mean squat to the overall picture, although like any big event it presents some kind of opportunity for Bush to waste…

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at January 29, 2007 10:54 PM
Comment #205740

Tim

Sometimes I defend the Administration, but I do that when I think they are right. When I do not agree, I tend to write nothing. I am under no obligation to produce criticism of Bush. I notice few comments on the blue side that criticize Dems. I do not believe everybody on the blue side agrees with everything the party does.

I also tend to support my president. You notice I often say decent things about Clinton.

The economy (which I mentioned because I thought you were talking about it) has been good since 2003. I really do not see how anybody can dispute that. It is not perfect, nor the best ever, but it is very good.

I thought Iraq was a necessary war. It turns out that the intelligence re WMD was wrong, but I remember at the time that everybody thought there were WMD. In fact, the big warning to Bush at the time was that Saddam would un lease WMD. Clinton made regime change in Iraq a national policy in 1998. I wrote a post explaining that. Nothing has changed since then because we were talking about perceptions of the time, which are unaffected by subsequent discoveries.

As for the war, if I knew then what I know now, I would have been against the war. I think Bush would have done things differently too. We made a lot of mistakes in Iraq and did some things right. Historians can dispute these things. The situation we have now is the situation we can work with. It does not matter what might have been. All that matters is what we can do now.

If we look at matters as they stand now, Jan 29, 2007, what do we do? Would a quick withdrawal from Iraq serve our interests best? I still think there is a chance to win. Since the benefits of victory are so substantial and the penalties of defeat so terrible, I think it is victory is something we should all seek.

You may think we are hopelessly defeated. I do not agree. And that determines where I think we should go from here.

Re two years – yes I will give it two years if that is what it takes. I think we will be able to see progress, or not, by summer. If the direction looks positive then, I think we should finish the job. If it looks negative, we should think about how to get out.

Posted by: Jack at January 29, 2007 11:00 PM
Comment #205742

Trent, from your earlier comment. If we retrench, sit back, and blow the enemy away as they attack us then wouldn’t we have to give up more of our liberties? How can we take an approach to let them come at us while we are in a bunker without putting the sand bags, cement, and defense up? I don’t see how we can pull back and keep our liberties (for the time being) at the same level.

Posted by: Honest at January 29, 2007 11:10 PM
Comment #205744

Honest,

I meant a desert in the middle east. Someplace away from people.

Actually, though, if we were attacked on our soil again, I think we’d rush to jettison more liberties. We are lazy and fearful and perhaps unworthy of the liberties we have now.

Posted by: Trent at January 29, 2007 11:17 PM
Comment #205746

Jack,
I would be extremely cautious about counting the fighting in Najaf as an example of effective counerinsurgency. The Washington Post, the NYT, and a translated Arab newspaper give three different versions of what happened.

In one version, several leaders of a millenariast Shia splinter group had been arrested recently, and an attempt to arrest the main leader by orthodox Shias coincided with a major assault in the orchard in Najaf.

In other words, this may be an example of a conflict between Shias, or it may be an example of another stranger aspect of the civil war.

But it does beg the question: how bad are things in Iraq, that hundreds of Iraqis believe they live in some sort of end times, and are willing to fight to the death to bring about the appearance of the 12th Imam?

Beirut Vet,
Concerned about American security? Tell me, how many Iraqis have ever attacked Americans on American soil? Name one.

Posted by: phx8 at January 30, 2007 12:02 AM
Comment #205747

Jack:

Okay, I appreciate your response.

I don’t think we are hopelessly defeated in Iraq. We will continue to play an important role in the Middle East, whether we want to or not. What I do think is hopeless is believing that ‘spreading democracy’ to a culture and country that has no historical framework or any real national resolve to rise above sectarian and tribal forces to make democracy a real possibility is tragically foolish. It was a johnny-come-lately raison detre for the invasion, one that was patently absurd on its face in light of our dragging our feet for over a year before condescending to allow elections. Which confirmed the administration’s concerns, as our flunky didn’t even get 10% of the vote.

Perhaps there is a paucity of criticism by the Bluecoats for their brand name. I would like to think you haven’t thrown me in that kettle of fish—I left the Democratic Party. I stand with them when I agree with their policies. That has become a sometime thing in the last 10 years.

And I have not pulled any punches in my criticism of the majority of Dems that have supported this Iraqi fiasco. And I continue to criticize them—because this was a terrible policy to begin with, and it has gotten nothing but worse in the last four years.

Posted by: Tim Crow at January 30, 2007 12:20 AM
Comment #205748

The story about the battle near Najaf reeks of Psy-Op spin.

Posted by: phx8 at January 30, 2007 12:42 AM
Comment #205749

Jack,

Your response to Tim should have been your post. It’s great to hear you say that Bush made mistakes, and that with the benefit of hindsight you wouldn’t have supported this war.

However, you mention the great benefits success in Iraq will bring. What do you mean by success? What are the benefits? What are the cons of failure?

Posted by: Max at January 30, 2007 12:57 AM
Comment #205755

Jack: I think if the real facts of this battle are revealed, we will find that the Iraq army played a very small support role in mopping up after our air power devastated these people. The accounts I have read is that 300 were killed including women and children. The rest were captured and many if not most are wounded. The Iraq army suffered 10 casualties. This seems to suggest that the Iraq army had a very minor role or that these people were not seasoned and well armed insurgents.

The accounts do not say that they were insurgents that had carried out attacks on other Iraqis and Americans. They say that these were members of a cult who were planning to kill religious leaders and replace them with their self anointed Maldi or Messiah.

I truly hope stability is achieved in Iraq by this summer for the sake of the Iraq people and our troops. But, then you will be shouting all hail our great leader.

If stability is achieved it will be a victory for the Iranian backed Shia and possibly our oil companies and their neocon oil men compadres. It will still have been a humiliating and expensive debacle for the people of the United States.

Posted by: jlw at January 30, 2007 2:05 AM
Comment #205766
There is almost no doubt that Al-Qaeda and other terrorist will go after us back home.

It may be funny hearing this from me, but you seem to have forgotten that we were attacked on September 11th. Al Qaeda is ALREADY after us. Your threat has already happened.

And isn’t it sad that the Democrats think that domestic American politics and their power are more important than American security?

Aw for pete’s sake! Do you really think it was a coincidence that they Iraq resolution came up right before the 2002 election?! The GOP milked this war for all it was worth politically.

Posted by: Woody Mena at January 30, 2007 8:57 AM
Comment #205768

It’s about time you admit the mission was counterinsurgency. Unfortunately, you folks waited so long that you let them win.

What the insurgents wanted was a civil war. They’ve gotten it. Now the question is whether we can win the next battle. Do we have the soldiers? According to most military experts, we don’t. Do we have capable support with the Iraqi army and government. No, and in fact elements of the army are working with the enemy, an Maliki’s biggest supporter is our worst enemy among the shiites. Do we have the financial and manpower resources to make this a sustained campaign? No. Not even Bush is promising that, he’s saying six months and 20,000 additional troops when his planners said 18 months and 30,000.

I understand the hand-wringing now going on because of the possibility of leaving our allies in Iraq out in the cold, but its handwringing that would have done us good before we invaded, not now. Now, it’s just leading us to make things worse.

Right now, we are in the midst of a terrifically complicated balancing act between the factions where we can’t take sides. We can’t simply say, the Sunnis are the enemy, lets destroy their means of political control and subjugate them.

Being a Democracy, we want to leave a Democracy behind, and obviously, crushing one element of Iraqi society or another would be a bad start. So here we are, having to split the difference and play referee between all the different sides, always with the risk present that actions will force us to tip in one direction or another, with the rest of the Middle East watching.

Withdrawal is not surrender. We’ve lost by letting things slide into civil war. It’s time to admit that. It’s time to admit that the most good we can do is by signalling that our involvement is ending, and withdrawing at a deliberate enough pace to allow the folks who depend on us to start depending on themselves. As long as we’re there, they can wait to assert themselves, and their power will remain unconsolidated, dependent on us. They won’t need disciplined troops, because they’ll have us. They won’t need a functioning military or government, a self-sufficient economy or peace with their rivals in the country, because they’ll have their big brother around to force or try to force that on everybody else.

Those in anxiety over the bloodshed that will happen when we go should ask themselves just how good their plans and their efforts were, if in fact such chaos is bound to happen in our withdrawal. If we had done things right, it wouldn’t be a risk to withdraw, because if we had done things right, the country would be self-sufficient.

The price of continuing this war will be more American lives lost. Those lives, as valiantly sacrificed as they must be, will not be enough to purchase peace in Iraq. That’s something the Iraqis will have to gain for themselves. I would rather we be capable of supporting their efforts in an advisory role as we gradually remove ourselves, than have us be forced to make an abrupt withdrawal as events spin further out of control.

Persistence in a mistake is not a virtue. It’s merely a greater liability to us and the Iraqis.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 30, 2007 9:08 AM
Comment #205774

“Two million vietnamese were killed AFTER we left vietnam??? Where exactly did you get that stat? Are you counting the thousands that were probably killed when vietnam went to war with china shortly after we left?”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War

“By 1975, the South Vietnamese Army stood alone against the well-organized, highly determined, and foreign-funded North Vietnamese. Within South Vietnam, there was increasing chaos. The withdrawal of the American military had compromised an economy that had thrived largely due to U.S. financial support and the presence of large numbers of U.S. troops. Along with the rest of the non-oil exporting world, South Vietnam suffered economically from the oil price shocks caused by the Arab oil embargo and a subsequent global economic downturn.”


You may want to look up the “Khmer Rouge” regime, as well; that way you can see what happens when you withdrawal and/or appease aggression.

Posted by: rahdigly at January 30, 2007 10:08 AM
Comment #205781

Tim Crow,
” What I do think is hopeless is believing that ‘spreading democracy’ to a culture and country that has no historical framework or any real national resolve to rise above sectarian and tribal forces to make democracy a real possibility is tragically foolish.”


Then, how do you propose you deal with tribal and sectarian forces in the middle east?! Do you do nothing or do you continue to let them breed this hatred and contempt for the Jews and the West like they’ve been for decades now?!


What would you do?!!


Woody,
“Do you really think it was a coincidence that they Iraq resolution came up right before the 2002 election?! The GOP milked this war for all it was worth politically.”

The problem is that the Democrats, the majority of which have voted for the Iraq war, have “pigeonholed” themselves into the situation where they cannot afford to have (any) victory in Iraq. If there is victory for our troops there then the American people will see how weak they are b/c they have fought tooth and nail to politically damage the president on this very issue.

Posted by: rahdigly at January 30, 2007 10:47 AM
Comment #205787

What would you do?!!

Elect me president and find out! :-)

I think most of the Iraq Study Group consensus is probably a good place to start. Why this country has suddenly become so recalcitrant in initiating diplomacy and sustaining same is beyond me.

I think one of the reasons why we are in the fix we’re in is a total turning of our backs on the core issue of the Middle East, the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. It has been a policy of this country since WWII to be a partner in good faith in finding a solution to the Palestinian question. The recent alliance between the neocons and the Likud party is one of the major reasons for the rise in Arab militancy. The Arabs and the Palestinians find themselves talking to a brick wall. They see an administration that has ‘walked out’ on any real effort to continue to build on the Camp David accords, through ideological intractability and a lock-step marriage with the AIPAC and the Likud Zionists.

God knows the Arabs have their intractable factions as well. But there’s no need to distort Ahamedinejad’s statements about Israel to enable more sabre-rattling and gunboat diplomacy.

There can be fault found all around. But we have to accept that the behavior of this administration and the Israelis recently has damaged the efforts of finding a just peace in Gaza and the West Bank. And not talking to all the parties involved is not only childish, its dangerous.

Posted by: Tim Crow at January 30, 2007 11:42 AM
Comment #205794

“Elect me president and find out! :-)”

Yeah, no it doesn’t work that way. Let’s see what your answer is, first.


“The recent alliance between the neocons and the Likud party is one of the major reasons for the rise in Arab militancy. The Arabs and the Palestinians find themselves talking to a brick wall. They see an administration that has ‘walked out’ on any real effort to continue to build on the Camp David accords, through ideological intractability and a lock-step marriage with the AIPAC and the Likud Zionists.”

So you’re blaming the US administrations for the Arab/palestinian “brick wall” when it comes to peace deals?!! Ha! What a load of crap!


The palestinians never (ever) give anything up in the peace deals; the Israel’s are the ones that give something up (usually land) and the Arabs bomb Israeli civilians, in return.


Yet, keep blaming the US for something the (UN)civilized arabs should be blamed for; remember the “tribal” and “sectarian” forces?! How civilized are they? When would you hold them accountable, or would you hold them accountable?


By the way, nice try with the “neocon” remark; we all know that’s code for Conservative Jew. Huh, no wonder why you don’t blame the arabs.

Posted by: rahdigly at January 30, 2007 12:10 PM
Comment #205795

More on the battle near Najaf:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/30/world/middleeast/30iraq.html?_r=1&ref=world&oref=slogin

It turns out the premise of this article is not well supported by the example of what happened in Najaf. The fighters were not insurgents, but members of a Shia messianic sect. Their goals were to kill Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani (an Iranian), replace him with their leader, their Mahdi, and provoke a bloody event which would have religious repercussions.

The Iraqi Army had no idea it was walking into a buzzsaw. They were nearly overwhelmed, and American air power and ground troops, along with an elite Iraqi brigade, were required to save the day.

The whole thing is bizarre.

So what is going on in Iraq, when up to 1200 fighters are willing to fight to the death for a messianic sect? How bad can it be, that large numbers believe they are living in the last days?

Posted by: phx8 at January 30, 2007 12:10 PM
Comment #205796

rahdigly:

It’s always nice getting a snootful of nastiness from you early in the morning.

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo has an interesting point: the limiting of damage by the neocons, most probably in their quest to start a war with Iran.

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/

That, really is the job of the Democratic Congress now—to limit the damage this administration has perpetuated on the Middle East and the US bank account. They will have their hands full, because the neocons will have their 100-year war come hell or high water.

Posted by: Tim Crow at January 30, 2007 12:20 PM
Comment #205797

Jack -
Excellent post and responses! There is no point in “cut and run” philosophy until this effort is given a chance to work (0r not). You are right that we have MUCH to gain if the foreign/regional insurgency is defeated. I noticed, by the way, that some of the solidly left have nothing new to say in response to your post. For them it is still all about the past failures; they present no hope for the future.

Posted by: Don at January 30, 2007 12:21 PM
Comment #205799
How bad can it be, that large numbers believe they are living in the last days?

Um, phx8, have you watched the 700 Club lately? There are hundreds of thousands of Americans (if not more) that really do think we are ‘in the last days’.

Of course, they are christians and they have people to do their fighting for them, but still…

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 30, 2007 12:22 PM
Comment #205802

Tim Crow

Yes, this war has made us safer. Instead of having a safe base to send terrorists to the U.S. they are content to throw their might into Iraq to fight our military. I welcome them and am glad they are throwing themselves on the point of our sword, even though this administration makes us keep that sword sheathed too often.

And yes, there are many things that this administration does that I can’t defend (see above comment). But I do not phyx8 (more on him in a moment) on all of this administrations ills as do those on the left. Especially in times of war this kind of vitriolic hatred does more to aid and comfort our enemies than be constructive here at home.

Phyx8
Name one terrorist? A big one comes to mind first, his name WAS Saddam Hussien. Here is a man that directed his military against ours in the first gulf war as we, along with the rest of the world were throwing him out of a country he had invaded. He harbored terrorists that were wanted in this country, (remember Abu Nidal?) set up terrorist training camps that were discovered after we liberated Iraq, He had and used wmd not only against another country (Iran) but also against his own people (the Kurds). And yes, I know for a fact that he had wmds. Do you know how I know? BECAUSE WE WERE THE ONES WHO GAVE THEM TO HIM! Every inteligence agency on this planet knew he had them and we have recorded statements from none other than Bill Clinton warning us that not only did he have them, but it is only a matter of time before he uses them against us too.
Anything other than admitting this is nothing less than dissembling on a massive scale.

Woody Mena
Yes, I stand by my statement that Democrats are more interested in their power and defeating this president than they are about defeating our common enemy. They claim to support our troops one day and then compare them to Nazi’s and Pol Pot the next. They are so invested in our defeat that anything resembling a vicory for us is a defeat for them. They have fought to undermine our troops and our effort at every turn and defended people who want to do us harm. If you do not beleive me, ask yourself this one question. If the Democrats wanted to undermine our war effort and make it more difficult to win, what would they do differently? The honest answer is,,,, nothing.

I hold the bar for intellectual honesty very low for liberals and you guys can still only manage to crawl under it.

Posted by: Beirut vet at January 30, 2007 12:32 PM
Comment #205804

Don:

“I noticed, by the way, that some of the solidly left have nothing new to say in response to your post. For them it is still all about the past failures; they present no hope for the future.”

Wow, I have never heard that one before! If you’re so sold on the neocon hopes for the future in Iraq, let’s start the draft and ‘do’ this war right, whatya say?

Posted by: Tim Crow at January 30, 2007 12:35 PM
Comment #205805

Rhinehold,
I did not realize Bush tried to pitch this as some sort of successful counterinsurgency effort, as if the Iraqis were putting down Al-Qaida, and as if the Iraqi Army would not have been slaughtered had it not been for US troops and air power. That is not the case at all.

But really, it is incredible. Yes, there are religious zealots everywhere. But this takes the cake. It is as if radical Catholics planned to assassinate the Pope. How bad would it have to be in Italy for religious nutjobs to reach such a maniacal state? Yet we are seeing this in Iraq.

Posted by: phx8 at January 30, 2007 12:38 PM
Comment #205806

Beirut Vet,

“I hold the bar for intellectual honesty very low for liberals and you guys can still only manage to crawl under it.”

Answer the question:

“… How many Iraqis have ever attacked Americans on American soil? Name one.”

Posted by: phx8 at January 30, 2007 12:41 PM
Comment #205808
“… How many Iraqis have ever attacked Americans on American soil? Name one.”

Abdul Yasin.

Come on, phx8, do you really want to say that Iraq never attacked the US or had plans to, etc? Have you read http://www.watchblog.com/thirdparty/archives/001765.html ?

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 30, 2007 12:49 PM
Comment #205809

Beirut vet and rahdigly,

You both speculate that a (highly unlikely) victory in Iraq would be politically disastrous for the Democratics. These our your OWN thoughts. Don’t pretend you can read someone else’s mind.

It’s like if I said Bush wants Tim Johnson to die so the GOP can take over the Senate. Barring some public statement, how the heck would I know?

Until now, Democrats have done virtually nothing to stop Bush from carrying out the war as he wishes.


Posted by: Woody Mena at January 30, 2007 12:50 PM
Comment #205810

Man I can’t spell today. Democratics=Democrats, our=are.

Posted by: Woody Mena at January 30, 2007 12:52 PM
Comment #205811

Even if we “won” at this point it we’ve lost so much money and resources and time I would have a hard time seeing that as a “victory”.

Posted by: Max at January 30, 2007 12:56 PM
Comment #205812


Why is the administration planning to sell military spare parts to Iran?

Posted by: jlw at January 30, 2007 1:02 PM
Comment #205814

Beirut Vet:

The simplicity of your thinking is indeed charming—that you think the bad guys are inexorably drawn into the black hole of Iraq just because we have 160,000 troops there creating more bad guys through our shoot first ask questions later approach, is breath-taking.

Somehow, just like our military, I think the terrorists can do more than one thing at a time. Who knows? Maybe they’ll prove it one of these days. Then we can haul off and level Iran. Whether they’re responsible or not.

“…even though this administration makes us keep that sword sheathed too often.”

Eloquent. I know a perpetual war in the Middle East is a goal devotely to be wished by the Right—think of the money to be made!! All dressed up in patriotic vervor!! We can wear uniforms and bash the communists all at once. Perpetual war with great gobs of fear and trembling—everybody is out to get us! Well, if Dick Cheney and Bill Kristol have their way, we’ll be at war untill 2104.

November elections was a window into the American people’s wishes to get out of this morass. You folks want to run the red light and drive the country off a cliff, then have at it. Just don’t expect most of us to be silent about it.

Posted by: Tim Crow at January 30, 2007 1:11 PM
Comment #205815

Phyx8

The premis of your question is flawed to begin with. Here was a man who was in defiance of multiple UN resolutions to disarm or prove that he had disarmed. He gave every indication that he was hiding something by playing cat and mouse games with inspectors and then just kicked them out of the country. That he had them and was going to use them was very probable and not something we should have waited to see what he would have done. Would you prefer we waited until New York or Washington was uninhabitable because of serin nerve gas to know for sure? That kind of threat deserves to be acted upon preemptively.

I guess you did not see the recently released videos Of Saddam talking about his wmd’s and how he intened to use them.

No German attacked us before Pearl Harbor, but that did not keep us from recognizing evil and the need to stop it in its tracks.

But go ahead Phyx8, continue to stick your head in the sand along with Tim Crow and think you can solve all these problems with diplomacy. Unfortunately you do not understand the arab/muslim mindset to know that negotiations are just how they stall for time. As much as reasonable, thinking persons would like to think differently, you cannot reason with someone who by their very deffinition are unreasonable.

Posted by: Beirut vet at January 30, 2007 1:17 PM
Comment #205817

Tim:

Simple thinking charming? If I didn’t recognize your post name, I could have sworn I said that about you. Diplomacy, yeah that has enjoyed so much success that it is amazing to me there is still someone who thinks it will work. Right wing war mongers, perpetual war, no, that is not the goal of anyone who has stood on the front line. But understand this Tim, there are people out there that want to and will kill you simply because you are who you are. Fortunately there are many people out there that will defend you for the same reason.

Posted by: Beirut vet at January 30, 2007 1:29 PM
Comment #205822

Jack:

There is no way we can “win.”

This is a civil war and the Shiites will probably win since there are many more of them. By helping the Shiites we help Iran. And Iraq wants and needs to be friends with Iran.

Regardless of whether the surge succeeds or not, there is no democracy in Iraq. Chances are there will be a powerful warlord in charge.

The Iraqis favor Hezbollah. This will be so whether we “win” or not.

We have already attracted Al Qaeda terrorists to Iraq. Even if we kick them out, they will go to other states in the area.

There is only one way for America to gain anything, and that is by getting out of Iraq as soon as possible and trying to correct the horrible mistakes we made there and in the Middle East in general.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at January 30, 2007 1:44 PM
Comment #205825

“It’s always nice getting a snootful of nastiness from you early in the morning…Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo has an interesting point”


Ok, first off, I don’t “always” converse with you; in fact, I believe this is the first time (maybe ever) in a long, long time. I’ve been off this blog since September 2006. Secondly, I don’t need a comment from someone else (J. Marshall), I asked you.

And, you were asked directly about your comments about the “arab militancy”, to which you blamed everyone except the Arabs!! (Hello!) Also, there’s the “neocon” comment to which you ignored.

My goodness!


By the way, to all those that believe we can’t win this war, you better hope we do. If we don’t win this war, then we’ll never win another war again. The enemy (islamofacists) will “play” the American people (again) via propaganda and political unrest, just like they’re doing in Iraq and how they did to Israel in Lebanon last spring. They’ll work the (know it alls) anti-war and anti-administration crowd to turn on their own gov’t; allowing the enemy to get off Scott free.


Keep it up you “patriotic” Americans!

Posted by: rahdigly at January 30, 2007 2:16 PM
Comment #205830
That [Sadaam] had them and was going to use them was very probable and not something we should have waited to see what he would have done. Would you prefer we waited until New York or Washington was uninhabitable because of serin nerve gas to know for sure? That kind of threat deserves to be acted upon preemptively.

I would have liked if we had waited until we knew he actually had the WMDs. Scott Ritter, who had been the leading inspector there, claimed they didn’t at the time. Plenty of people questioned whether Sadaam had weapons, and many of them were silenced.

Posted by: Max at January 30, 2007 2:38 PM
Comment #205831

rahdigly, in message # 205774 you provided a link and a quote to prove that two million vietnamese died AFTER the war ended. The quote says nothing about this and the link you provided is long and complicated containing dozens of sub-links. Where is the authoritative proof that two million died? I have seen wide ranges of estimates and estimates that range @ 400,000.
Also, we are talking about the vietnam war, not a war in cambodia. As i remember, COMMUNIST vietnam actually went to war against their patron, COMMUNIST china, shortly after we left, and also went to war against COMMUNIST cambodia to remove pol pot’s khmer rouge from power.
How does that information agree with your assessment that american withdrawl from vietnam is somehow responsible for the khmer rouges murderous activities in a neighboring country?

Honestly, I know you conservatives today are proud of the fact that you are “faith-based”. It makes it all so easy, never a doubt, never a question. If info comes to light that doesn’t somehow fit, just spin it to fit your world view.

Vietnam today illustrates the wisdom that was demonstrated by congress in cutting off funding in 1975. Yes, many people died in the aftermath, I doubt two million. communism was viewed as a monolith and that view underpinned the rational to engage in that conflict (the domino theory) It was, as history has shown, an inaccurate view.
I think it is probably just as inaccurate to view Muslims as being a monolithic group, even among the sub-sets. Are shiite muslims in iraq really just a compliant arm of Shiite muslims in iran? I don’t know and neither does w and shooter. They know two things; more troops are going and their kid/grandkids aren’t.

Posted by: charles Ross at January 30, 2007 2:40 PM
Comment #205833
By the way, to all those that believe we can’t win this war, you better hope we do. If we don’t win this war, then we’ll never win another war again. The enemy (islamofacists) will “play” the American people (again) via propaganda and political unrest.

Care to explain exactly how they are going to do this in more detail? I keep hearing conservatives, and Bush, talk about the dire consequences of our leaving, but I wish the consequences were really laid out. I’m not being snarky, I’d really like to know what you think is going to happen. If it’s Iran taking over Iraq, I honestly believe we can deal with them just like we so successfully did before with sanctions.

Posted by: Max at January 30, 2007 2:54 PM
Comment #205834

beirut vet in message #205815 you state “No german attacked us before pearl harbor, yet that did not stop us from recognizing evil and the need to stop it in its tracks.”

Where exactly do you guys get this information? first of all, in the merchant marine alone, several hundred died and @ one hundred ships sunk or damaged BEFORE PEARL HARBOR !!
These ships were attacked BY THE GERMANS!!!!
Secondly, the germans declared war against us on december 11th and on december the 12th we declared war against them in kind of a “oh, what the hell” kind of response. We had no intention of going to war against germany and may not have if germany had not declared their intentions with us the day before.

I really do think you guys are just making it all up as you go along. try reading a book (not the bible) once in a while!!!

Posted by: charles Ross at January 30, 2007 2:58 PM
Comment #205841
I would have liked if we had waited until we knew he actually had the WMDs. Scott Ritter, who had been the leading inspector there, claimed they didn’t at the time. Plenty of people questioned whether Sadaam had weapons, and many of them were silenced.

Well, we should have listened to Scott Ritter than instead of:

Bill Clinton
John Kerry
Madeline Albright
Sandy Berger
Bob Graham
Carl Levin
Al Gore
Ted Kennedy
Hillary Clinton

Well, that’s going to take a while. BTW, Butler did feel the same way as Ritter. It’s easy to say ‘well Ritter was right, we should have listened to him’ when there was so much differing information around. In fact, he quit as inspector because Clinton wouldn’t listen to him and Albright told him that it didn’t matter if they had WMD or not, sanctions would never be lifted while Hussein was in charge of Iraq…

So Max, kudos on the arm-chair quarterbacking and ‘I told you so’s’, but your presentation of the decision that people had to make in supporting or not-supporting the removal of Saddam is simplistic and offensive to many.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 30, 2007 3:33 PM
Comment #205842

rhinehold, the issue is not whether Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, or whether to continue or discontinue the inspection regime at that time or even whether or not legislators voted for the joint resolution authorizing force, but the DECISION made by w, in march, 2003 to initiate a full-scale war against Iraq and the COMPETENCY of his prosecution of the war as commander and chief.
this decision had nothing to do with the people who’s names you have listed. It was a decision made by bush, and bush alone. the resolution authorized w to use force, if, and only if, w, in his capacity as commander-and-chief deemed it necessary.
I think the resolution implicitly assumed the competency and good judgment of the bush administration. In this, those who voted for the “Joint Resolution to Authorize the use of Military Forces against Iraq” were wrong.

Posted by: charles Ross at January 30, 2007 3:51 PM
Comment #205843

Charles,

You are correct. As I posted here:http://www.watchblog.com/democrats/archives/004727.html#205776 in the Blue column today, Bush succeeded in removing Saddam but his decision to stay in Iraq eschewing UN control of the after-war peacekeeping effort was stupid and blunderous.

So I agree that all of the people who supported the war did so for the right reasons, contrary to those who say we should have said no because KNEW there were no WMD, etc. I also agree that Bush has cocked it up badly.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 30, 2007 3:55 PM
Comment #205845
BTW, Butler did feel the same way as Ritter.

Err, that obviously should be that Butler DIDN’T feel the same way as Ritter. (to be fair, Ritter didn’t feel the same way as Ritter either, but that’s a longer story…)

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 30, 2007 3:58 PM
Comment #205846

I am not a supporter of w, if i can state the obvious. the united states has always operated in a machevellian, behind-the-scenes manner in pursuing our “national interest”. w’s invasion was one of the more honest, direct actions this country has ever taken and it pains me that it was so poorly planned and executed.
By the way, w and his party had little to gain from doing this. He would have won in ‘04 by 5-6 points instead of 2 had he not entered Iraq, so i don’t fault his intentions, but the man just does not have a good mind. next time, repub or dem, we will do better.

Posted by: charles Ross at January 30, 2007 4:05 PM
Comment #205847


Why is the Administration planning on selling military spare parts to Iran?

Posted by: jlw at January 30, 2007 4:11 PM
Comment #205849

Beirut Vet,

Excellent and intelligent posts! Please know that you are not alone, many agree with you, but are not as erudite as you. I would say “semper fi”, but I have not earned the right to address you in that way. Let’s just leave it that you have my respect.

How so many on the left can constantly bash and offer little if anything to help their own country is sadening. Of course I do understand it fairly well. As a graduate of Berzerkly, I am quite familiar with the processes that passes for liberal thinking. I was even guilty of it myself, for a very short period.

I will go back to lurking for now.

Posted by: Martian at January 30, 2007 4:19 PM
Comment #205851

Charles,

Read that source again; maybe even try scrolling down to the section that says “South Vietnam stands alone, 1973–1975”, then just a few clicks down from that it has a list of the Enemies’ allies and US allies. There’s no doubt (whatsoever) that millions died as a result of US pullout; the North Vietnamese and their allies took control, not to mention the Khmer Regime (told you to look that up), The Chinese, and North Koreans killed millions.


Yet, what’s your response?! “it was more like 400,000”. Oh, well, excuse the heck out of us. 400,000 is ok to kill as a result of our stand down; as long as it’s not 2 million?! What the heck is wrong with the anti-Bush/war crowd? That group has (certainly) lost their minds (completely)!.

If you want to look over those facts, b/c you want us to pull out of Iraq (so bad) so we can ignore the consequences (of our pullout) just like they did with Vietnam, that’s not going to happen, fella. The hippy pukes (and Congress) f@#$ed that up once in Vietnam; and they’re not going to do this again to our Brave, VOLUNTEER military. No way!


Only 400,000 were killed… My goodness!!!

Posted by: rahdigly at January 30, 2007 4:24 PM
Comment #205857

I am beginning to understand the anti-W, anti-Iraqi attitude. You guys are just debating control of the situation youself. If you guys had control of the situation, what a mess we would be in. After all you can’t come up with a plausible idea to solve the Iraqi situation. So Gen. Johny B. Intelligent wantabes, what would you actually do. The cut and run idea is cowardly. Supporting the troops means supporting them 100% in their mission and bringing them home as heroes and alive.

Posted by: tomh at January 30, 2007 4:44 PM
Comment #205859

Sorry, rahdigly, i looked, i really looked and i found nothing in the wikipedia listing that refers to millions of deaths in post-war vietnam. I found two separate sources that roughly estimated 400,000 deaths but both said the number was highly speculative. both estimates included the deaths of @ 250,000 boat people at sea who were trying to flee vietnam after the fall of saigon.
as to the number 400,000. i, of course, never used the word “only”. that was your word. Numbers do matter. 400,000 is 1,600,000 less than 2,000,000. I am not surprised that these numbers of people died. North vietnam was ruthless.

re: the khmer rouge, i did find this quote in the same source:

“the sino-vietnamese war or third indochina war was a brief but bloody border war fought in 1979 between china and vietnam. china launched the offensive largely in response to vietnam’s invasion and subsequent occupation of cambodia, a war which ended the genocidal reign of chinese backed pol pot’s khmer rouge. chinese troops withdrew after a month’s long incursion into vietnam.”

So why do you conclude, knowing this, that the withdrawl of us forces and the ascendency of the north vietnamese is responsible for the genocide in cambodia. the facts would suggest just the opposite.

Posted by: charles ross at January 30, 2007 5:17 PM
Comment #205861

Rhinehold,
“Kenneth Pollack of the State Department stated that there was no CIA information tying Iraq into the 1993 WTC bombing.”

Abdul Yasin may or may not have been involved. It was never proven for sure. But to concede the point, I would bet he was involved.

Nevertheless, most of the examples from your linked watchblog article do not involve attacks upon American on American soil. Some terrorists passed through Iraq as well as other countries. Most of the examples of terrorism supported directly, or more often, indirectly, targeted Israel.

The current Iraqi government is every bit as likely, if not more likely, to support & target Israel with terrorist attacks.

Tomh,
Even John Bolton, former UN Ambassador, said the same thing yesterday that I have been saying for a long time, along with many others. There is an obvious solution: partition Iraq.

But since the Bush administration is proven to be incapable of conducting itself competently, we should withdraw immediately. Bush, Cheney, and Rice simply do not deserve the benefit of the doubt, and they do not deserve any support whatsoever from people who actually care about American soldiers.

Rah,
We bombed Cambodia & destroyed the eastern half of the country, contributing to the conditions which later gave rise to the Khmer Rouge, and we supported the overthrow of the Cambodian monarchy, which was replaced by Lon Nol. We have invaded Iraq and overthrown Saddam Hussein. If we expand the current war to Iraq, it would resemble the expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia.

Posted by: phx8 at January 30, 2007 5:23 PM
Comment #205864

Correction: If we expand the current war to IRAN…

Beirut Vet,
Who has their head in the sand?

The War of Terror was never worthy of being the major focus of our foreign policy, not after Afghanistan and the dismantling of Al Qaida, which was effectively accomplished by late 2003. Terrorism is a tactic which will always exist. Fighting terrorism is a fundamentally defensive and fundamentally fearful mindset; it is a preventative focus, one which cannot possibly succeed or accomplish anything positive over the long term.

Terrorism will always be with us. But it belongs in the background, a matter for intelligence agencies, international law enforcement, and perhaps Special Ops. It does not belong front and center, and it should not obsessively command our national attention.

The Bush administration has been completely sidetracked by this issue and by Iraq.

Posted by: phx8 at January 30, 2007 5:41 PM
Comment #205866

tomh, “the cut and run idea is cowardly” (?) don’t you think it is perhaps more accurate to say “the stay the course idea, promoted by people who have no skin in the war, is cowardly”?

Is dick “i had more important things to do, five-time deferment” cheney a heroic figure to you?

Posted by: charles ross at January 30, 2007 5:52 PM
Comment #205868

There’s a fundamental flaw in the logic of this administration and its supporters with regard to the Middle East.

This flaw highlights the insanity of our continued military incursion in Iraq.

At it’s very essence, at this point in time, either Sunni and Shiite differences in Iraq are fixed and unsolvable or they are not.

If they are unsolvable, our military presence cannot bring peace to Iraq.

And we must bring the troops home.

If the differences can be solved, then the solution is diplomatic in nature.

And we must bring our troops home.

In either case, the military cannot solve Iraq’s problem.

Yes, Bush made this mess. And please stop saying “WE”. WE had NOTHING to do with this.

But short of finding another Sunni strongman, there is no solution that favors our interests.

There is no amount of sucking up to the Shiites that will result in an Iraq that contains Iranian ambition in the Middle East.

Of course there is always Afghanistan except, I forgot, BUSH WRECKED THAT TOO.

The two headed plan to contain Iran was Afghanistan and Iraq, out of the hands of Shiite fundamentalists.

Jack, explain to me how Iran’s ambition in the Middle East will be contained.

THAT, my friends, is the ONLY victory in Iraq worth talking about.

Posted by: CPAdams at January 30, 2007 6:01 PM
Comment #205870

charles ross,
By your above statement it seems you believe that the comander and chief no matter what party or gender, we may very well have a woman if H.Clinton wins,can never send troops into battle unless they have served in combat or have kids serving in the military. Specifically in combat arms on the front lines. Same as the vice president? Should we have a all military congress too since they fund the military? Just questions…..

Posted by: dolan at January 30, 2007 6:40 PM
Comment #205873

No, I’m not saying that at all. I said that if one is going to sit at a computer and posture about what is heroic or cowardly they should have more than just a concept of what is involved.
It does seem however, now that you have brought up the point, that people, running for president, who have served in combat, seem to have a more sober view of what war means

Posted by: charles Ross at January 30, 2007 6:50 PM
Comment #205875

But it does beg the question: how bad are things in Iraq, that hundreds of Iraqis believe they live in some sort of end times, and are willing to fight to the death to bring about the appearance of the 12th Imam?
Posted by: phx8 at January 30, 2007 12:02 AM

Good point phx8. Tho’ hang on a cotton pickin minute…..how many Americans believe they live in some sort of end times, and are willing to fight to the death of the last Arab/Palestinian through their proxy Israel to bring about Armageddon? Jeez, maybe we are heading for the end times……..ABANDON SHIP!!!!!

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at January 30, 2007 6:56 PM
Comment #205877

Charles Ross,
I think with out all the name calling and so on aside, that there seems to be a basic deference in how to fight terrorism. people such as myself believe we should be aggresive and seek out our enemy no matter where they are and destroy them before they get us. Others believe we should be defensive hunker down here at home and wait untill they attack us here at home then protect ourselves.

Posted by: dolan at January 30, 2007 7:06 PM
Comment #205880

Just love the rhetoric on this site. Someone actually ignores the whole “cut and run” strategy that killed hundred of thousands in vietnam; which evitably resulted in millions b/c of the communist regimes that were “emboldened” and strengthened as a result of US surrender. Not to mention the cowardly (so called) “Americans” (Hanoi Jane in particular) that sit on the enemies tanks and play with the petals, attempt to shoot at American planes, that “emboldened” (there’s that word again) the enemy and weakened America and its’ allies. Now, they want to regurgitate that same crap with the war on the islamofacist. Yet, it’s not going to work and rahdigly is here to tell you (exactly) why.


VOLUNTEER Military!! Bam! You can’t do that hippy crap without having a draft; that way they can claim that Americans are forced against their will in a war we shouldn’t be in. Iraq, Afghanistan, and (pretty soon) Iran are places we need to be and the troops know it. And, if anti-war/Bush crowd want to (truly) justify that they do (indeed) “support the troops”, then they have to support their mission. It really is that simple.


And, as far as the Dick Chenney “deferring 5 times from war”, I’m willing to bet those same people making that (insipid) argument, voted for Bill Clinton!


Posted by: rahdigly at January 30, 2007 7:20 PM
Comment #205882

“Capable Iraqi units are coming on line and they are going out to get the bad guys instead of letting the bad guys come to them.”

Interesting comment in light of an article about this same battle on the front page of the right-leaning Dallas Morning News today, titled “U.S. ground troops bailed out Iraqis”:

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/world/stories/013007dnintiraqrdp.2e62fef3.html

You might want to soft-pedal the cheerleading, dude, until there’s actually something to celebrate.

Posted by: pianofan at January 30, 2007 7:22 PM
Comment #205886

Ahh! The positiveness of the Troop “supporters”; if only we could have received that type of “support” in WWII when many of the battles didn’t look so good. Man, many of you have truly missed your era.


We’d be speaking German right now…

Posted by: rahdigly at January 30, 2007 8:20 PM
Comment #205887

“cut and run” is another one of those useless republican phrases that have all the meaning in the world until someone applies it to them. I can guarantee you that come ‘08 election year, we will be exiting iraq by just about unanimous consensus (‘cept for w, the wife, shooter and barney) and the phrase “cut and run” will have all but disappeared from the republican spin world.
I find it particularly disgusting how these politicians hide their reckless and criminal policies behind a phrase like “support the troops”. If this conflict cannot be resolved in short time the best way to support the troops is to get them the hell out of there.

Posted by: charles Ross at January 30, 2007 8:25 PM
Comment #205890

Rahdigly-
The problem wasn’t our failure in withdrawing from Vietnam, it was South Vietnam’s failure to withdraw from its addiction to our military and economic support. That was the failure of the Soviets in Eastern Europe, why their influence failed to outlast the departure of the Red Army.

The problem is self sufficiency. South Vietnam did not have the self-sufficiency to survive it’s alienation from our support. North Vietnam did not have those problems. It successfully started and won a war with it’s patrons. Vietnam to the Vietnamese, was one country, and the South Vietnamese mostly saw it that way, and because of years of both our screwups, and those of their government, they didn’t have much faith in it.

Any Government in Iraq must pass the test of being able to stand on its own without us there. We do not need this government addicted to our help, to the presence of our armed forces to keep the peace and protect them from their neighbors.

So what does the Bush plan really do about this? Nothing. It increases the number of targets, but does not do so sufficiently or for long enough. It doesn’t solve the problem of how we ween them from our support. We needed a decent exit strategy three and half years ago. Even now, we don’t have it.

The time has come to admit that we are only painfully prolonging an inevitable fight, a fight that could not come about, had we not failed first to do what we sought to do: secure and rebuild Iraq. You think we are yet to lose, I’m telling you, we have lost. Bush’s plan can only make it worse at this point.

This was not an unwinnable war, nor the creating of a free, Democratic Iraq a fight lacking in nobility. But unfortunately, this administration was not intent on winning the war, so much as winning the debate on how America goes to war. It spent so much time doing this, that it let history pass it by.

I want us to withdraw gradually, with the resources available to give Iraq a softer landing, and give others in the region the opportunity to mitigate the chaos, and bolster Iraq as an independent, working nation. I don’t want this scenario where logistics and events on the ground force a helicopters over Saigon approach, a headlong rush that humiliates this country and emboldens our enemies.

You would like to think that I’ve opposed Bush’s policies out of a desire to lose this war, but the fact is, I opposed them because I didn’t want to lose a war, and his actions were virtually guaranteeing it. Now they’ve pushed us past the point where we can keep this war going. We won’t have a choice, besides what will likely be a well-despised draft to get fresh troops in, and then what? Walking on eggshells for people who will be generally unthankful for our presence, and reliant on us to keep a paper tiger of a government propped up? No thanks.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 30, 2007 8:31 PM
Comment #205894

You know, my biggest disappointment is in the poor turnout of military registrations by the young Republicans. I can understand why someone who is opposed to the war would not volunteer for military service, but I can’t understand why college campuses aren’t filled with Young Republicans marching to the enlistment stations. Why is there battle cry from the Republican Congress members urging their young Republican members to sign up and serve?

What’s up with that? Seems a bunch of old draft dodgers from the 60’s are charging the American public with a lack of will and grit. Good luck in ‘08 with that strategy, Dick!

Posted by: LibRick at January 30, 2007 8:53 PM
Comment #205898

LibRick

The military has met its goals.

Posted by: Jack at January 30, 2007 9:14 PM
Comment #205899

Rhinehold-
Wrong with company is still wrong. It’s even worse if you actively worked to surpress information and decieved others. Additionally, it’s important to not what action folks decide to take on the information. Only when Bush put a rather heavily edited NIE before congress, along with other doctored information did that support amount to a cause for war. For Clinton and other Democrats you list, it was insufficient cause to mount an invasion and commit America to an expensive occupation.

Beruit Vet-
Do you realize that we invaded the country with not one site confirmed to have WMDS? In contrast, when we were looking to invade Cuba, back in 1962, we had aerial photographs to prove the presence of those nuclear missiles.

In defending America from threats, telling the real from the unreal is no casual matter, and getting paranoid about it will not make things better. American becomes weak, and looks weak when it jumps at shadows.

As for the Arab mindset, it’s different, but not unreasonable. One example that I think General Zinni pointed out is where they were meeting with a Sheik or an emir, asking for him to allow them to do this that and the other, and they never got a straight answer. At the end, though, the guy said something like “Know that we are your friends”. It puzzled the guy Zinni was with, until Zinni told him that this was a yes.

For some people it’s rude to discuss business right out. Everybody has a time and a place to discuss things that is appropriate in their society. Some folks are indirect. Some have strict codes of protocol. Others are gregarious, direct. It all depends. Rather than try and force people to do things our way, we should acknowledge and even take advantage of what people say and don’t say, do and don’t do.

We could have done overflights over Turkish airspace, if Bush hadn’t insisted on getting an official okay from their government on it. Unofficially, they would have let us do it, so long as the politicians didn’t have to make a public referendum on it, endangering their support in the population.

With Qaddafi, we managed to get him to give up a WMD program we knew he had, by arranging the capture of a ship with the parts. He could write it off as being betrayed, rather than buckling under to us, and we could make it a victory in counterproliferation caused by Iraq, when actually it had little to do with it.

Sometimes the locks of the world turn with funny keys. Bush, unfortunately, has tilted the policy much more towards slaying dragons, forcing confrontations, drawing bright lines, giving dictators around the world the excuse to be belligerent and obstructive themselves.

Diplomacy is about giving people ways out and ways in, about co-opting and coercing. It’s about getting favors, making economic inroads, establishing intelligence networks and links to intelligence services elsewhere in the world, outcompeting our enemies for resources, etc, etc. In world where we don’t control everything, having the capacity to sweet-talk, bluff and threaten, gossip, make deals, ask and give favors is an asset.

The Military should not be called upon to do all things and be all things to all people. It should be free to do what it does best: fight wars. Having good diplomacy, rather than sending the army every place there’s a problem, is essential.

We do not forget that there are people who will kill us because of who we are. We also remember, though, that such people are often surround by other kinds of folks, some of whom might be convinced to undermine our enemies. We went a long way to undermining a terrorist group in Banda Aceh by sending help to that beleaguered area. Diplomacy is not war’s wimpier brother any more than war is Diplomacy’s dumber sibling.

Tomh-
Don’t kid yourself. Nobody can solve Iraq now except the Iraqis. They are the ones who have to decide how the country ultimately shapes up. Whenever we leave, they’ll do so anyways. We might as well do it now, and be able to do it gradually, rather than simply yank the carpet out from under them, as our readiness numbers and public opinion (if not a new collapse of government there) will guarantee at some point.

You don’t understand objections. You just write them off as cover for something else. Until you take what we say at face value, you will not understand our point of view.

Dolan-
That’s not it. The main difference is one of models. The Right Wing still thinks of this in terms of rogue nations, and the state sponsored terror of the Cold War. Why else the Axis of Evil? Why else Iraq? The use of police operations instead of military is indicative of an approach that recognizes the drawbacks of brute force when the enemy is completely asymmetric, not relying on the support of a country.

That is not say that we don’t seek to improve defenses at home. To leave our home without defense is to invite the enemy to attack, to embolden them. We are better off playing well on both fields, and playing appropriately to the game we’re in now, not the game we were in during the Reagan Administration.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 30, 2007 9:16 PM
Comment #205901

Charlie,

I really like your posts!! Please keep it up.
One word of warning:
Trying to debate with rahdigly is rather like feeding the trolls.

I also tried to find the site about the ‘2 million’ people.
I believe he might be trying to refer to this:

The Vietnam War was finally concluded on 30 April 1975, with the fall of the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon to North Vietnamese forces. The war claimed between 2 and 5.7 million Southeast Asian lives,[3] a large number of whom were civilians.

He seems to have missed the part about “The war”

Regardless, I would imagine that there were several executions of South Vietnamese due to the fact that they were on the losing side. The numbers are to my knowledge unknown.

Regardless of how blatantly rahdigly misinterprets what he reads, I am more concerned about Jack.

Jack is usually very accurate in his posts (except of course when he seems to forget there are millions of Americans below the poverty level -sorry Jack).

I was therefore very surprised he gave numbers without giving the sites that backed him up.

Posted by: Linda H. at January 30, 2007 9:18 PM
Comment #205903

Jack-
The goals are set by and administration that has not increased the size of the military to deal with what it has said is an ongoing war for the past six years, and what has been an actual running war for more than three years, approaching four now.

You would think with the increased use of the military, you and the rest of the Republicans would be pushing for the army to fight it. Unfortunately, that’s not how Republicans have been taught to think about war. The lack of a logistical mindset among Republicans has been one of the most crippling aspects of how they’ve fought the war.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 30, 2007 9:23 PM
Comment #205904

Stephen Daugherty,
As usual your are articulate and precise in your comments.

Posted by: Linda H. at January 30, 2007 9:24 PM
Comment #205913

Linda H et al

I was conflating the Viet with Cambodia. According to the black book of communism, that measures deaths by states, N. Vietnam killed “only” around 1 million civilians. I will change the post and that is just an estimate. I will change the post above. Thanks

Posted by: Jack at January 30, 2007 10:43 PM
Comment #205917

Linda H.
The number of deaths atributed to the khmer rouge vary pol pot himself said 800,000. The Ubited States Department of State and the State Department funded Yale Cambodian Genocide Project give total death toll as 1.2 million and 1.7 million respectively. Amnesty International gives estimates of total death toll as 1.4 million.R.J. Rummel an analist of historical political killings gives a figure of 2 million. khieu samphan said 1 million.That is from 1975 to 1979 in Cambodia. I did find this on wikipedia

Posted by: dolan at January 30, 2007 10:56 PM
Comment #205919

before ya jump me sorry on the spelling mistakes

Posted by: dolan at January 30, 2007 11:01 PM
Comment #205925

Stephen D.

I understand the opposition. I take into consideration what they say. If I disagree strongly with the opposition, it is not a reflection that I don’t understand them. The same advice should apply to the opposition. Just because someone disagrees with them is no cause to say we are hateful, angry, neo-cons, etc. I respect everybody that posts on here, simply because I do not know them face to face, only by a signature. I don’t try to read into what they say, I take it at face value what is written.

I just wanted to clarify to you a little bit of my psyche.

Posted by: tomh at January 30, 2007 11:26 PM
Comment #205929

dolan,
Hey we all make mistakes! The problem is some of us aren’t willing to acknowledge them. I don’t know why you chose me to mention the Khmer Rouge. I was simply pointing out how misleading rahdigly’s post was.

Frankly, sometimes I wonder what would have happened if we had bombed Hanio? Hindsight being 20/20 and all….

Posted by: Linda H. at January 30, 2007 11:45 PM
Comment #205957

tomh-
I was responding to the parts in your comment that regarded our wishes, our desires.

It’s been a common accusation from the right that we want to lose, that we’re in the business of undermining America in the name of some naive cosmopolitan outlook on the world.

The reality is, many of us supported Bush, supported him even as he prepared to invade Iraq. What’s been the dealbreaker is two things:

1) He wasn’t honest with us about what he knew. He simply told us what he thought we needed to hear to get his war. Many of us had reservations about a war in Iraq for good reason: we had other enemies to fight. Unless Saddam was a strong enemy who had to be faced immediately, we had no business making Iraq a battle ground in the war on terror.

2)He has fought the war poorly, time after time failing to face problems that were obvious enough for many people to see coming, insisting on his own course of action despite the fact that he has done little to stop the unravelling of Iraq.

I never wanted to be lied to, not at this important point in history, nor did I want to see our military fail to defeat an opponent. Given the civil war now raging, it’s obvious that we have failed to bring order to Iraq. Unless we are prepared to take a side and hammer down every other rival for power, we will not be able to positively bring resolution to Iraq by our forces.

A bad war can be a burden on those who fight desperately to win it. What we can do best to support them is use them in a way that improves things for America, rather than makes things worse. Remaining in Iraq only makes the mistakes of those who commanded them to go there worse. The Iraqis, at this point, and to a lesser extent, their neighbors, are the only ones who can make any kind of lasting peace.

Don’t make any mistakes. I think we’ll be heading back one day if we come home. But the next time, we better have greater respect for the challenge, or it will be this war all over again.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 31, 2007 8:59 AM
Comment #205992

I know this is a little off topic but I want to add my 2 cents into the Vietnam pull out convo:

BBC’s Vietnam History

There is a link to a timeline of Vietnamese history from 1930s to present
. Read that, and I don’t see how you can blame America’s pullout of the massive loss of life occurred in the region. Vietnam had been facing foreign military threats from (in this order): France, Japan, France, US, and Chine. They spent almost the entire 20th century under foreign occupation. With this perspective, to see their fight as anything but one for inpendence is shortsighted and misguided.

This month Vietnam joined the WTO and relations between the US and Vietnam haven’t been better. Funny thing is, had the US backed Ho Chi Minh when he asked for help instead of the French colonizers our role in Vietnam’s bloody chapter would have been completely reversed and maybe those millions would have lived.

What I’m really getting at is that many Americans are don’t know history. They don’t know why things are the way they are now. It’s kind of scary because many my age (i’m 21) are worse off than the generation before them. People like rahdigly who dont know all the facts will make a correllatoin between two events (US pullout/Vietnamese killed after country is unified) without thinking about the other obvious factors.

Posted by: OppositeOfWhite at January 31, 2007 2:22 PM
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