A Truce for America's Sake

Your position on the surge depends on whether you think Iraq is inevitably headed for an all-out civil war, genocide, and disintegration or, if you still believe it is possible to prevent or mitigate a scenario with millions killed, the establishment of a major terrorist sanctuary, and a regional conflict that will spill over Iraq’s borders.

There is no doubt that a coalition success in Iraq would be the best outcome. Certainly, Democrats and some Republicans would not undercut the effort if they thought there was still as chance of success. If they think the whole effort in Iraq is doomed they should be more active than they are in opposing it. What we have now is the worst situation. President Bush is going on with the planned surge. Some members of the House and Senate are threatening measures that will make it less likely to succeed, but they will not stop it.

Michael O'Hanlon from Brookings writes that Iraq deserves one more chance and so does the U.S. Winning is always better than losing, and in this case, the stakes are very high indeed. O'Hanlon explains better than I do and I suggest you read the link.

Robert Gates, Condoleezza Rice and Gen. Petraeus have all said that the new strategy should show progress by this summer. Of course, there will inevitably be arguments about what success means, but we should take this chance. The alternatives to winning (i.e. various types of losing) are very bad for everyone involved.

Of course, if you believe the U.S. has lost already, you must support immediate withdrawal and act accordingly. Murtha is your man if you are sure the U.S. is defeated. For the Dems in Congress, this means more than just complaining that Bush is stupid but that he still fooled them with pre-war intelligence. They now have the power and the responsibility. If they do nothing, they are acquiescing to the Bush policy. The better thing would be for them to propose some viable alternatives.

I think the phrase is lead, follow or get out of the way. I would add a third option - cooperate. Once again, I depend on another person to say it better than I. This time it is that prominent independent, Joe Lieberman. Lieberman makes good sense. Writing in The Choice in Iraq, he says, "Gen. Petraeus says he will be able to see whether progress is occurring by the end of the summer, so let us declare a truce in the Washington political war over Iraq until then.

Let us come together around a constructive legislative agenda for our security: authorizing an increase in the size of the Army and Marines, funding the equipment and protection our troops need, monitoring progress on the ground in Iraq with oversight hearings, investigating contract procedures, and guaranteeing Iraq war veterans the first-class treatment and care they deserve when they come home."

Posted by Jack at March 6, 2007 9:25 PM
Comments
Comment #210798

Your options for being pro or anti surge are too limited, Jack. Many Americans don’t have to believe one or the other of your extreme scenarios. All they have to believe is that there are no solutions which will not continue to cost American lives and tax dollars away from citizen needs here at home in order to lean against the surge.

And there is no evidence that Americans holding this belief are wrong in it. From the President on down to the talk show hosts, there is concensus that the surge will continue to cost America whether or not it is successful in diminishing the violence in Baghdad.

The ignorant view is that diminishing the violence in Baghdad and al-Anbar Province will magically turn Iraq from a quagmire into a valuable American asset. Ignorant, because it ignores all evidence to the contrary.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 6, 2007 9:55 PM
Comment #210802

Jack, Didnt the people speak in November? A bi-partisan committee offered help to the Administartion. The Administration didnt listen. Why after all this time with little to show for the lost lives and the money spent should we be forced to once again trust them and remain patient? Can we at least know what this Administration considers successful? And what’s in it for the American people should we endure another 6 to 9 months of the Iraq Debacle, other than the privilege of paying more to ensure our oil companies record profits at the expense of the people of Iraq?

Posted by: j2t2 at March 6, 2007 10:17 PM
Comment #210803

David

You just voiced the view that all is lost. That is a valid opinion. The lefty Dem plan seems to be just to get in the way until American lose. Bleed the troops, so that we can no longer fight at all. As Lieberman and O’Hanlon say (both were Dems, BTW) that is the worst case scenario.

They play games with non-binding resolutions and little cuts. These undercut the troops w/o doing anything to mitigate the situation.

Posted by: Jack at March 6, 2007 10:18 PM
Comment #210804

j2t2

The people spoke, as they do each election. What did they say? They elected Dems. The Dems now have the power to stop the war, if they feel so strongly about it. If they are too cowardly to do that, you elected the wrong people. If they will not do it out of conviction, they did not share your anger.


Posted by: Jack at March 6, 2007 10:23 PM
Comment #210814

Jack,

I think that right now the Democrats are more interested in avoiding political land mines, than they are in stopping the war.

Of the folks I know, not even my most liberal of friends has wished that we lose in Iraq.

What I keep seeing from this administration, however, is more of an attempt not to lose in Iraq, as opposed to any effort to actually win.

Posted by: Rocky at March 6, 2007 10:57 PM
Comment #210815

I agree with Brookings, but back when he was for leaving Iraq before he was against it…

The objective was wildly ambitious even before the military operation began; today it is simply unattainable in the near term. The more we talk about staying “as long as it takes” the more it appears we are trying to impose our vision on Iraq—further alienating the Iraqi public. The danger is not that we will cut and run but that the Iraqis will insist that we get out, leaving behind a security vacuum that could ignite civil war and wider regional strife.

Some will see this as cut-and-run. It is not. Unlike the case with most previous stabilization missions, our own enduring commitment to success in Iraq is beginning to work against us. It breeds cynicism among Iraqis that we are like the colonialists of old, planning to stay indefinitely to keep our hands on their oil and to use Iraq for our own, broader foreign policy objectives. The lesson of our history is that our best partners are those who freely choose to be. We must give the Iraqis the opportunity to seize that possibility for themselves.

Michael E. O’Hanlon, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies

http://www.brookings.edu/views/op-ed/steinberg/20040518.htm

Posted by: Max at March 6, 2007 10:59 PM
Comment #210817

How Iraq evolves politically is far too important to the West for us to walk away. It is a rich prize being fought over by the First World, Iraq’s neighbors and the big three political groups within the country. There are proven reserves of oil in the range of 112 billion barrels and total potential reserves of 360 billion. At $60 per, with the price looking to go much higher, there is a range in value from seven trillion proven to twenty-two trillion estimated. That is money that will be flowing from the First World to the Arab World over the next twenty to thirty years. It is critically important to us that we know to whom this money is going. We can’t just “let them work it out among themselves”.

The struggle going on between Congress and the President is totally the administration’s fault. They have shown
themselves to be incompetent in the CONDUCT of the war at just about every opportunity with the result that the CONDUCT of the war will slowly be taken out of their hands.
Non-binding resolutions passed by a 57 vote majority in the Senate, (blocked by the 60 votes needed to close debate), have no meaning.
Non-binding resolutions with an 85-90 vote majority will bind the president to act according to the Congress’ will. Come January 1st, 2008 w will be abandoned by his party and his ability to act as an independent commander-and-chief will be concluded..

Very few Democrats are arguing for an immediate pull-out of troops. This is one more in a long line of phony accusations that have made about anyone who has opposed this administration. Democrats, are arguing, by and large, for what Kerry called for in the 2004 debates: that we fight a more “sensitive” (read “intelligent”) war on terror.

W, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, et al are all very lucky that incompetence is not a crime as they would be buried for a very long time by a jury of their peers.

Posted by: charles Ross at March 6, 2007 11:14 PM
Comment #210819

Charles

When his term is up, Bush will not be commander in chief. That would be the case no matter what.

What do you mean by a more a more sensitive war? We hear that talk. It means nothing.

Posted by: jack at March 6, 2007 11:21 PM
Comment #210820

Jack, I think the people were saying the Debacle in Iraq must be approached differently. The 109th and the Administration were not up to the task. Time for a new direction. I certainly didnt hear “4 more years of the same in Iraq”.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 6, 2007 11:33 PM
Comment #210822

Jack:

Iraq deserves one more chance and so does the U.S. Winning is always better than losing, and in this case, the stakes are very high indeed.

We hear that talk. It means nothing. For 4 years this coming March 20th, it has meant nothing. If Bushco is impeached, or when there are fewer Republicans (including Lieberman) in Congress, then we’ll be able to do something different.
We all know this.

Posted by: Adrienne at March 6, 2007 11:37 PM
Comment #210825

Adrienne

Like what?

Posted by: Jack at March 6, 2007 11:48 PM
Comment #210828

Adrienne,

If your wishes did come to be, and there was fewer republicans and the dems were in majority in the house and senate with a dem president. What would be your thoughts as to how they would handle Iraq and the war on terror?

Posted by: dolan at March 7, 2007 12:08 AM
Comment #210830

Jack, “sensitive” was a poor choice of words by Kerry. He was too much of a gentleman to accuse w of being the idiot he is (I, of course, am not inhibited by the label “gentleman”.)
Sensitive would be:
Planning for the worst instead of hoping for the best. Our military bulled their way into the center of Baghdad in three weeks to complete step one. Unfortunately, there was no step two. Do you really think, Jack, that the same force that made this three week push, ground troops accompanied by air support and heavy armor was the same number and composition of force needed in the aftermath? Please say no, so that you are in sync with the reality of what happened. The administration was the quarterback, where was the rest of the team? Was it a single fullback (the army)? I know where the Defense Department was. Where were Treasury, Commerce, Energy. Justice? Where were the individuals needed to repair/build water systems, the export energy sector, the domestic energy system, the police force, the justice system? What happened to all this. Don’t tell me, Jack, that war is tough and we have to just suck it up, things happen, mistakes are made, don’t worry about it all. That’s shooter’s answer and it doesn’t fly.
Why has there been such poor diplomatic success in not only convincing our allies to participate but also in persuading Iraq’s neighbors to buy into the notion of a free, democratic Iraq benefiting THEM.
We had substantial forces posed to enter Iraq at the start of the war only to be blocked by Turkey’s Parliament. Did we have no one to argue our need to have this access? We are just now considering talking to Syria and Iran, 4+ years into this disaster. How could that be? We have no State Department, no diplomatic corp, no one who is “sensitive” enough to persuade others to our point of view.
You don’t really need the meaning of “sensitive” explained to you, do you? Instead of defending the indefensible (an impossible task in this case) why don’t you put on your “sensitive” hat and see the possibilities of what could have been. You are saying in your comments essentially: “why don’t we just all pull together for one last try?” Now, (is your “sensitive’ hat on?) ask yourself, Try what? With what? To accomplish what?
By Petreaus’ own definition he needs 120,000 soldiers to stabilize a population of 6+ million and we are surging how many? We entered Sadr City and THERE WAS NO FIGHTING!! With your sensitive hat on, does anything occur to you about this other than “I guess we won”. Please tell me yes, Jack.

Posted by: charles Ross at March 7, 2007 12:22 AM
Comment #210834

Jack, dolan,
Murtha’s plan.

Posted by: Adrienne at March 7, 2007 12:41 AM
Comment #210836

Adrienne,
Thanks for a very detailed and articulate answer.

Posted by: dolan at March 7, 2007 12:57 AM
Comment #210838

Sorry you don’t know anything about Murtha’s plan, dolan. It’s been around a good long while. But I’m done doing research for you folks. If you’re at all interested, go do it yourself.

Posted by: Adrienne at March 7, 2007 1:21 AM
Comment #210839

Jack,

No. I think not.

This is a Republican war. This is a conservative war. It was a war of choice. From the beginning, it was based upon pretexts, disinformation, and lies. Incompetence and corruption have been its hallmarks.

If there was a shred of honesty in the Bush administration, that might make a difference. Tell me, according to polls and surveys conducted by the US government in Iraq, how many Iraqis have died violent deaths since the US invasion?

Of course, you cannot answer that, because the Bush administration has no intention of providing that answer, though it is well within their power. According to the Lancet survey, which used a scientific polling methodology conducted in-country, on the ground, 655,000 Iraqis have died violenty since the US invasion.

Enough.

Now, there is no doubt that it will end badly for both Iraq and America (with Iran as the big winner). Everyone gets this. The only question is, how bad will the end be?

The only positive I see is this: the conservative, Republican voices who misled the country into going to war will pay the price at the polls in 2008, once and for all. With any luck, those conservative, Republican voices will not be heeded again for decades to come.

Thanks, guys. Nice war. Go for a two-fer with another loss in Afghanistan? We are well on the way.

Posted by: phx8 at March 7, 2007 1:25 AM
Comment #210853

Jack you clearly are in support of George Bush’s acts of terroism against the very people who volunteer to protect our nation from legitimate threats—the US armed services.

So, why don’t you go and volunteer for military service in Iraq and put your life where your rhetoric is.”

Posted by: Kim-Sue at March 7, 2007 4:55 AM
Comment #210855

Calling a +10% raise of soldiers a surge is playing with math. The guy now on grounds said +80~+100% of soldiers is necessary to win. Why don’t he get them?

What? Lack of soldiers?
Call draft back, then.

What? Political suicide?
And?

Republicans don’t want to lost in 2008, better lost Iraq war instead?
I’ll bet they will lost both.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at March 7, 2007 5:29 AM
Comment #210869

Charles

The war fighting stage was far easier than anticipated. The generals took the opportunity to push in faster, which saved lives and probably prevented the economic and ecological disasters of the type the Saddam perpetrated in Kuwait. The reason this was possible is that the Iraqi army ran off and melted away. This created problems in the post-war. Not only did the Iraqi bad guys not feel defeated, they really had not been. He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day. A more protracted war then might have avoided the more protracted peace. Even now, nearly four years later, U.S. casualty figures are not as high as many estimates of the fighting before the war and the numbers of displaced people is still lower than what was anticipated in the first months of the war.

Please understand that I am not citing these figures to minimize them, but rather to show that the war unfolded in slow motion. What we expected to encounter in four months has taken four years to develop.

You are right that we had an unbalanced approach, with superb war fighting abilities with underdeveloped peace making functions. We overestimated the amount of resistance in the first phase and underestimated the complexity in the second.

If you look to history, there are no wars w/o serious setbacks and mistakes. This includes wars won as well as wars lost. There is a good reason for this. The enemy can think and adapt. It is not the case that we act and they react in predictable ways. We should show some respect for the intelligence of our adversaries, even if we completely reject their goals and methods.

The enemy in Iraq is very ruthless. When you consider their tactics, it is generally to kill as many civilians as possible, wreck any attempts to make life better in the country and make civilized people recoil from the carnage. It is not truly speaking a military operation and terrorism is an appropriate definition for most of what they do. Some of what they do is related to ordinary crime. When the goal is to create chaos, it is extraordinarily difficult to stop such operations, especially in a country with little experience with rule of law.

There may well be no good solution to this and we may suffer the scenario Michael O’Hanlon talks about. But as he says, if we went into Iraq with too optimistic a scenario in mind, those wishing to leave now also have too optimistic a scenario. If we do not create a reasonably stable Iraq now, we will be back fighting someplace else, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon. It is like having a room in your house on fire. You do not wish to fight the fire there, so you just close the door. You can ignore the smoke, if you want, but the fire is coming.

Posted by: Jack at March 7, 2007 9:22 AM
Comment #210874

Maybe so Philippe, but what then? The Dems have shown themselves to be gutless and unprincipled, and just as much in the pocket of the lobby. What does a country do when all of its politicians are in the same pocket, and not that of those who elect them?

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at March 7, 2007 9:28 AM
Comment #210875

Paul, It does just what we are doing here in America. Stay the course.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 7, 2007 9:43 AM
Comment #210878

Jack, what is it we will be back in Iraq fighting for.
The anarchy created by our presence in Iraq?
The need to feed our oil habit?
AlQueda?
New weapons of mass destruction?
To support a middle east democracy that doesnt want us there?

Posted by: j2t2 at March 7, 2007 9:48 AM
Comment #210879

One would have to wonder why we can read in The Guardian that Bush is sending 7,000 more troops than he requested for the “surge”…why don’t our US news media manage to report on this???

Posted by: Rachel at March 7, 2007 10:09 AM
Comment #210887

j2t2

I do not know where the next place will be. I do know that the terrorists go where we go and come where we are. 9/11 reminded us that they do not ignore us even if we ignore them.

Re oil addiction - yes. It is a problem. I advocate a high tax on oil to curb demand & encourage alternatives along with an increase in the use of nuclear energy. I have found that most of the people who complain about oil are unwilling to dispense with oil as a cheap energy alternative, except maybe in theory.

Posted by: Jack at March 7, 2007 10:52 AM
Comment #210899

America is getting tired of having to give this war second chances. Bush said: wait ‘til we get Saddam. We waited. Then he said: wait until we give back sovereignty. We waited. Then he said: wait until we bring Fallujah and Najaf under control. We waited. Then he said: Wait until the elections are done. Again, we waited. Then he said, wait until we have control of the violence.

How many second chances does Bush’s way of waging war need before we finally see positive results? Contrary to your beliefs, Americans have given this president plenty of chances to redeem this war. They’ve been very understanding from the start. Few people really wanted to be doomsayers from the start, even among Democrats. Only as the war has worn on have people really lost faith.

We have been fighting this war for longer than we fought both the Japanese and the Germans in WWII. This is also the longest war we’ve fought with only a volunteer army since the Revolutionary War. Put another way, no other war in our history under this constitution has gone on so long without America initiating a draft.

What’s stopping us? Political concerns. The already dismal ratings for the president would drop through the floor if he actually got it done, and there are real questions as to whether Bush could summon the public support to pressure the folks in Congress to initiate one.

Additionally, the president is fully sold on transformation, so he really doesn’t want to admit defeat there and abandon the volunteer army idea. He wants to believe that our technological advantages will triumph over our manpower issues.

That said, though, this nation is undeniably straining to keep soldiers in the field to continue this war. Republicans love to jump on Murtha’s proposal, but the sickening irony of things here is that the only reason Murtha’s proposal is a problem for them is this: it requires us to actually rebuild readiness, allow the troops rest at home, reequip, and reconstitute units.

We don’t have the numbers to do that, and this shortfall is Bush’s fault. He had the chance, when it was obvious we were going to fight new wars, when his doctrine called for ending states that support terrorists, to bulk up our ground forces and increase our readiness to suit such situations. That, though, might have come at the expense of things like his medicare drug plan, or his tax cuts. You know, the important stuff.

We might have won this war, had he been willing to make the political and economic sacrifices, but Bush is a man who doesn’t know how to make those kinds of sacrifices. He tries to grasp for everything, mirroring LBJ’s infamous guns and butter approach, trying to preserve economic prosperity and fight a war at the same time, and in the end, insuring failures in both.

Bush is not willing to do what it takes to win. He is only willing to do what it takes not to admit defeat. He is unwilling to challenge either his own preconceptions or take the truly bold and politically courageous steps necessary to get what he needs. Problem is, in an unconventional war, it’s virtually always easier for the home team not to admit defeat and tough things out, rather than the invading forces. The deck is stacked against us, and unless we practically saturate the country with our presence and keep it there long-term, we can’t force them to give up. And by saturate, we’re talking over a half million soldiers, according to experts.

We’re not going to win this war the way it’s fought, and it’s really unlikely at this point that America has the patience left to support that large of an escalation. They don’t even support this current one, for crying out loud.

We need to stop this adolescent posturing about emboldening the terrorist by admitting this defeat, and consider all the defeats that continuing this war could inflict on us.

How many times will America have to back off of military action to feed this dying beast of a war? whose aid will we be unable to come to, whose threats to their neighbors will go unpunished?

The Republicans are looking at Iraq with a dangerous degree of tunnel vision. Unwilling to do what it takes to win, unwilling to admit defeat and leave, persisting in a draining policy of extended conflict for no other reason than to save face. Is it any wonder Americans voted them out of a majority?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 7, 2007 11:56 AM
Comment #210903

Problem is Iraq is in a civil war no matter how you say it. About the only ones you do not hear alot about is the Kurds. Maybe they are waiting for the dust to settle so they can become their own country, like they wanted to do after the first Gulf War, but US never stood behind them. Got to wonder how much the bush’s got for that.

Posted by: KT at March 7, 2007 12:09 PM
Comment #210904

Problem is Iraq is in a civil war no matter how you say it. About the only ones you do not hear alot about is the Kurds. Maybe they are waiting for the dust to settle so they can become their own country, like they wanted to do after the first Gulf War, but US never stood behind them. Got to wonder how much the bush’s got for that.

Posted by: KT at March 7, 2007 12:09 PM
Comment #210905

Jack,

In a recent town hall meeting Republican Senator Gordon Smith said, “General Petraeus tells me we have a one in four chance that Bush’s plan will work.”

http://loadedorygun.blogspot.com/2007/03/gordon-smiths-dorchester-town-hall.html

On ABC’ This Week Republican Senator and Presidential contender John McCain told George Stephenopolous a few weeks ago that he’d prefer sending in MORE troops than Bush is sending but we don’t have them. He actually used the words, “we’re all in”.

How smart is that? We’re “all in” with a plan that stands a 25% chance of success. Sounds a bit like spending the mortgage payment and the grocery budget on lottery tickets to me.

When you consider that the Joint Chiefs report, “there is a significant risk that the U.S. military won’t be able to quickly and fully respond to yet another crisis, according to a new report to Congress.”, it’s actually more like refinancing the house to buy lottery tickets.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070227/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_military_strains

Just for the record, and I’m sure you recall my saying this dozens of times, while I was opposed to the invasion of Iraq I do believe the right thing to do is stay and get it right. In order to have done that from the beginning we needed an occupational troop force that would have required reinstating the draft. That is more true now than it was then. (Consider also how long it would take to properly train 2 or 3 million new troops). We would, now, have to also basically remove the democratically elected Iraqi government thru some sort of coup to even begin a full occupation of Iraq.

Our CINC has really crapped the bed from day one of this “liberation”. I also believe that even following a decades-long occupation Iraq would still at some point fall back into some level of civil unrest. It’s a real damn mess!

Posted by: KansasDem at March 7, 2007 12:10 PM
Comment #210906

It’s curious to hear conservatives call the Democrats too “cowardly” to do what they really want to do: just bring the troops home. Perhaps. On the other hand, I argue that for 4 years Bush has been too cowardly to do what needs to be done to actually win: re-institute the draft to get enough troops over there to actually “win” this damn thing. Unless one sides stops being “cowardly,” we will still be in the same boat a year from now. Guaranteed.

Posted by: bobo at March 7, 2007 12:11 PM
Comment #210908

“I advocate a high tax on oil to curb demand”

Yeah, another tax that will negatively impact the middle class and the working poor, while giving the government one more pocket to reach into to fund whatever fiasco they choose.

Where is that pile of gold we call the Social Security trust fund?

Posted by: KansasDem at March 7, 2007 12:18 PM
Comment #210917

KansasDem, well said. I recently learned that 40% of all defense spending is unknown and unknowable. Raise the tax on oil and what is to prevent that 40% from becoming 45%? Under Bush, nothing! The American people have a right to know generally what there money is being spent on.

I learned that the failed Star Wars technology has consumed some of that money in the creation of rockets that didn’t work, but, were deployed in Alaska anyway. Apparently the taxpayer gets no refunds for returned defective products so the Bush Administration says: “What the Hell, deploy them anyway, it will make a good show if the public ever finds about them.”

WRONG!

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 7, 2007 1:04 PM
Comment #210937

I hope in the next few days when the proceedings begin on the Gitmo detainees, that some of those opposed to actions in Iraq will have their eyes refocused, when info from the proceedings is made public. I truly expect that some information will be forthcoming that will cause some people to shake.

Posted by: tomh at March 7, 2007 3:48 PM
Comment #210942

tomh-
They’ll be shaking about how we’re practically withdrawing from Afghanistan to keep this war in Iraq going. That’s where most of these people, innocent or guilty, came from. Iraq never had much to do with the War on Terrorism to begin with.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at March 7, 2007 4:11 PM
Comment #210967
The United States and coalition partners would win any future war to overthrow Saddam Hussein in a rapid and decisive fashion. This would not be another Vietnam or a Korea.

“Estimating Casualties in a War to Overthrow
Saddam,” Orbis (Winter 2003)

Michael E. O’Hanlon, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies


Posted by: Cube at March 7, 2007 7:25 PM
Comment #210970

The only question at this point is whether Republicans will pull the plug on the Bush administration. They can use their minority rights in the Senate to stop any meaninful action, and they have already done so, stopping a rather lame, non-binding resolution. The question is, will they “stay the course” into the 2008 election?

Some Republicans have already broken with the party. Senator Gordon Smith, from Oregon, withdrew his support after the 2006 midterm, calling the war in Iraq “criminal.”

It is rather remarkable how numb we have all become to events in Iraq. Yesterday, nine US soldiers were killed; suicide bombers in Hillah killed 114, and wounded over 150; insurgents raided a prison in Mosul, freeing 150 prisoners (100 were recaptured); and in Samarra, jihadists have declared this city of 200,000 “the Islamic Emirate of Samarra.”

Quite an achievement, the result of four years of US occupation. And having achieved such results, the US continues to spend over $2 billion per week with the assured confidence of achieving plenty more to come.

Posted by: phx8 at March 7, 2007 7:40 PM
Comment #210973

Jack
I am very pleased that my Dem congresswoman was against the war from the start and has been calling for withdrawel for four years now.She was just re-elected handily.
Surge? Can we just call it an escalation? We gave Nixon ,who ran on a promise to get us out of Vietnam, a chance. That chance cost us another 30,000 dead GIs and untold treasure.The results would have been the same if we had left earlier.So what happens after summer and the escalation has failed? Another “surge”?
I am pleased that we are finally talking to Iran. They are the key in Iraq and Afganistan. Reminds of what Churchill said,”You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing,right after they have tried everything else.”I am hopeful the incoming Dem administration will be able to come to terms with them. We need them as allies.
The Dems should repeal the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy retroactively to pay for the war. We would be out in two weeks. Instead we can shift the cost to working people for generations.
When are the Bush twins inlisting?Now that the Army has lowered standards there should be no problem.
I think that any increase in the number of troops should be paid for by shifting money from incredibly expensive weapons systems of little utility.

Posted by: BillS at March 7, 2007 8:33 PM
Comment #210989

We lost on the most important front already.

Financially breaking ourselves fighting a war half a world away.

Osama led us right into his financial trap.

Posted by: jrjr at March 7, 2007 10:07 PM
Comment #211002

jgr,
Osama bin Laden was fantastically successful. He framed the problem, and we bought his frame of reference. The focus of our foreign policy became his issues. We embraced the focus of our enemy, a mistake of enormous proportions, and pursued a “War of Terror” by military means. It really is an incredible achievement by Osama bin Laden and a relatively small Al Qaida network; one horrendous attack and the murder of 3000 Americans utterly derailed us. The invasion of Afghanistan provided a daunting enough task, attempting to create a viable government in a failed state, a region characterized by religious fundamentalism and xenophobia. It also led to the invasion of Iraq, and the overextension of our capabilities. Now, because of the diversion of resources from Afghanistan to Iraq, we face the prospect of losing both.

It is no exagerration to call the invasion of Iraq the greatest strategic mistake in the history of our country.

Posted by: phx8 at March 7, 2007 10:56 PM
Comment #211010

Cube,

Hanlon had no way of knowing how incredibly stupid the BushDickRummy cabal would be concerning the afterbirth of the War on Saddam. He was right when he said we would easily defeat the Iraqi Army (we all pretty much knew that part would be easy).

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at March 7, 2007 11:28 PM
Comment #211019

phx8,

It is no exagerration to call the invasion of Iraq the greatest strategic mistake in the history of our country.

What about (re-?)electing Bush in 2004, then?

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at March 8, 2007 4:51 AM
Comment #211050

Phillippe,

It is distressing, and at times it is outright disgusting.

This article by Jack amounts to little more than emotional blackmail; that for the good of America, we should back Bush. I have a better idea. Bush can resign, along with Rice and Cheney and Elliott Abrams and Eliot Cohen and anyone else associated with the Neocons, “for the good of America.” Gates can stay, and so can Petraeus. With the roadblocks out of the way, perhaps the US can unite enough to extract itself from Iraq.

Posted by: phx8 at March 8, 2007 12:15 PM
Comment #211116
This time it is that prominent independent, Joe Lieberman. Lieberman makes good sense. Writing in The Choice in Iraq, he says, “Gen. Petraeus says he will be able to see whether progress is occurring by the end of the summer, so let us declare a truce in the Washington political war over Iraq until then.

The problem is that we have been hearing the same BS for four years now: we just need to shut up for another six to nine months and everything will be OK. Then it’s another six months, and another six months…

Glenn Greenwald has a great analysis of that op-ed piece (http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2007/02/26/lieberman/index.html?source=rss)

It requires a subscription, but I will hit the main point. Here is what Lieberman said in November 2005:

I have just returned from my fourth trip to Iraq in the last 17 months and can report real progress there… The administration’s recent use of the banner “clear, hold, and build” accurately describes the strategy as I saw it being implemented last week.

Now February 2007:

For the first time in the Iraqi capital, the focus of the U.S. military is not just training indigenous forces or chasing down insurgents, but ensuring basic security… The new strategy at last begins to tackle these problems. Where previously there weren’t enough soldiers to hold key neighborhoods after they had been cleared of extremists and militias, now more U.S. and Iraqi forces are either in place or on the way. Where previously American forces were based on the outskirts of Baghdad, unable to help secure the city, now they are living and working side-by-side with their Iraqi counterparts on small bases being set up throughout the capital… But the fact is that we are in a different place in Iraq today from even just a month ago—with a new strategy, a new commander, and more troops on the ground…

Lieberman’s rhetoric is typical of apologists for this administration’s handling of the war. There is always a great new strategy (suspiciously like the old strategy) and great things are about to happen.

And if you don’t pretend to believe this BS, you aren’t supporting the troops.

Posted by: Woody Mena at March 8, 2007 8:09 PM
Comment #211126

phx8
No.The biggest stratigic blunder was our entry into ww1. Of course future events could prove me wrong.The failed steps to avoid the Cold War are certainly in the running as dumbest moves including Vietnam.

Posted by: BillS at March 8, 2007 8:59 PM
Comment #211130

And let us not forget the War of 1812, which resulted in the president fleeing the White House just before British troops torched it.

What makes the invasion of Iraq so bad is that is was so utterly unnecessary. It introduced instability into an already unstable reason, and will continue to have repercussions for many years to come.

But yeah, there have been some bonehead moves in the past, and lucky us, we are living with one right now.

Posted by: phx8 at March 8, 2007 9:26 PM
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