New Strategy in Iraq

We can disagree about the surge in Iraq, but it is useful to get the facts straight. Harry Reid et al are good people, so when they preemptively declared defeat, I give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they just mistaken about the strategy change. Frederick Kagan explains the surge and what it means.

The surge does not merely represent stepping up the numbers. It is a major change of strategy. When General Petraeus replaced General Casey, it was like the difference between Grant and McClellan. The whole strategy changed. Petraeus and Casey had very different ideas about what was needed and what needed to be done.

Bush critics failed to update their paradigm. They insist on using the benchmarks established for the old strategy. The old strategy was not working. That is why we needed a new strategy. Perhaps the new strategy is what we should have done long ago. Critics are entitled to analyze the past and point out lost opportunities. But practical people must look forward to what can be done today, instead of backward to what should have been done yesterday. And we should judge the new strategy by what it is doing, not what the old one was supposed to do.

I do not want to take the McClellan analogy too far, but we can say that McClellan sometimes avoided casualties by avoiding fighting. Critics of the new strategy often overlook the simple fact that increased fighting will bring increased casualties. The bad guys do not want to be dislodged. They fight back. If U.S. troops go into areas where they did not before, you have to assume additional fighting. Eisenhower could have avoided casualties by not landing at Normandy.

As Kagan points out, our enemies are trying hard to make the new strategy fail AND they are trying even harder to convince Americans and Iraqis that it will fail. Their goal is to inflict as much high profile damage as possible. Kagan is smarter than I am, so I suggest you consult his article for details.

We can discuss how & why we got to where we are. I fully expect lots of Bush hatred, vitriol and outrage in some posts. While history should inform our decisions, we can only decide what to do now in ways that affect the future. We probably should have followed a strategy like the one we are using now much earlier. We are like the guy who has just suffered a heart attack. He should have eaten healthier and got more exercise years ago. But he can only decide to do the right thing from today forward.

An coalition defeat in Iraq would be a catastrophe for everybody except the terrorists. If it is possible to avoid, we should avoid it. I do not know if the new strategy will work. It is too soon to tell. Sometimes a change in strategy is necessary. McClellan’s strategy would not have won the war. Fighting the same enemy over much of the same ground, Grant’s strategy did. Let's give Petraeus the chance.

Posted by Jack at June 6, 2007 8:29 PM
Comments
Comment #222476

Jack,

What sort of shift of strategy or paradign shift changes the fact of being caught in the middle of a civil war between two sides who don’t like us?

The failure of understanding is on the part of those that still think this is a “winnable” situation.

Posted by: RGF at June 6, 2007 9:03 PM
Comment #222479

Kagan’s got a conflict of interest: his brother came up with the plan. It gives new meaning to the term “incestuous amplification”.

The gist of the articles he’s critiquing is that the Surge has gotten only a fraction done of what it was supposed to get done. The logic is nearly impossible to falsify: either it works, or it doesn’t and the Bush foreign policy team starts telling people that the dissenters kneecapped them and if they don’t give them more time they want the terrorists to win.

This is the modus operandi of the Bush administration: unfalsifiables. Does it matter at all that in the course of the Bush Administration’s four years on this war, that the war has not only introduced a terrorist problem where one wasn’t there before, but also greatly strengthened our enemies? Their numbers are up. They’re funneling money from Iraq like crazy, and they get to use our troops as target practice. As I pointed out the other day in my article, Andrew Sullivan spoke of the terrorists actually refining their tactics.

The Bush administration says that leaving will embolden the terrorists. Being there, however, has benefited al-Qaeda greatly. It is on that basis that I believe that we are emboldening the terrorists either way, and that in the long run, it is better to cut our losses now, and stop doing them favors, rather than continue to spend billions of dollars a year making the problem worse.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 6, 2007 9:34 PM
Comment #222487

Oh Jack, how shamelessly ironic can you be?!!!

Please, let me just inform readers to this blog exactly WHO Frederick Kagan is, this way you might perhaps choose to take what Jack is saying with large shaker full of salt.

1. Frederick Kagan works for the American Enterprise Institute.
2. Freddy and his father Donald Kagan wrote a book together called ‘While America Sleeps: Self-Delusion, Military Weakness, and the Threat to Peace Today’ in 2000. Its whole purpose was to advocate for enormous amounts military spending. Full of fearmongering regarding future threats to America, the book specifically talked a lot about Saddam reviving his WMD program.
(Remember folks, 9/11 happened in September of 2001. The Kagan’s book was written in 2000.)
3. Also in 2000, Freddy, and his brother Robert, and father Donald were all involved in producing a Neocon manifesto entitled ‘Rebuilding America’s Defenses’ for the Project for the New American Century.
4. Freddy and a bunch of his Neocon buddies also authored “the real Iraq Study Group report” in reaction to the Baker/Hamilton ISG Report in 2006. The report, entitled ‘Choosing Victory: A Plan for Success in Iraq’ was what Bush decided to pay attention to, rather than The Baker/Hamilton Report.
5. This is how we ended up with the having the war in Iraq escalate. That’s right, “The Surge” was KAGAN’S IDEA.

So, when Jack credits Kagan as someone you should listen to about “The Surge”, it is completely ridiculous and absurd.
Kinda like asking a Nazi in 1944 whether “Der Fuhrer” had the right idea.

Posted by: Adrienne at June 6, 2007 10:24 PM
Comment #222489

Adrienne

Thanks


Jack
Nice try. How many times did we change stratgies in Vietnam?After each one failed their were and are claims that if only we had given enough time it would have worked.As for Kagen,he looks young enough to enlist. They have raised the age limit to 42.Bidens plan makes more sense and will most likely be the exit strategy right after Bush thinks of it.

Posted by: bills at June 6, 2007 10:39 PM
Comment #222488

Wow!

Why is it that republicans only consider objective news to be that which comes from the most STILTED sources supporting their view?

Is TRUTH valueless to you, Jack?

Posted by: RGF at June 6, 2007 10:39 PM
Comment #222493

bills

We change strategy in every war. That is why I mention McClellan and Grant. Those were not the only two. In Vietnam, the last strategy worked to destroy the insurgency. That is why the NVA had to invade with armor and air support. It was a situation analogous to the Confederacy being defeated by superior Union forces, but we have maintained the myth that it was an insurgency.

Adrienne

Ad hominem. Fine if you want to attack the man and not the argument.

All

At some point the cost of staying may be higher. I do not think we have determined that yet. You all are certain of what you think you know. I envy that certainty, but I do not have it. I still cannot predict the outcome. I know that cost of defeat is high. I know the terrorist are trying to make sure we leave and are working hard to convince us that we have lost. My study of history tells me that war in volatile and unpredictable. I do not believe we can simply pull out and call it quits. We may be able to tolerate the genocide that will follow in Iraq (as we did in SE Asia) but the bad guys will follow us someplace else. Foreign fighters make up a small part of the insurgency, but General Petraeus estimated that they make up 80% of the suicide bombers. These are not Iraqis. They obviously do not care about the people of Iraq, who are their most frequent victims. They came to Iraq to fight us. They will leave Iraq to fight us someplace else when we go. It will not be over just because we have given up.

Posted by: Jack at June 6, 2007 10:59 PM
Comment #222499

Jack,

Let’s not have this debate again. It’s not ad hominem to attack someone’s credibility because of who they are. The ad hominem fallacy is when you say someone’s deduction is logically invalid because of who they are.

Posted by: Yossarian at June 7, 2007 12:56 AM
Comment #222501

Jack
Have you heard the disturbing reports of Turkish troops crossing into Iraq,supposedly to catch Kurdish “terrorist”.

You made my point about Vietnam. If only we gave that strategy more time,or the next one or the next one…”At some point the cost of staying may be higher…”Whats the magic number? Around 50,000 like Vietnam?Would the results there have been substantially different if we had left six years earlier?

Posted by: Bills at June 7, 2007 1:00 AM
Comment #222502

Jack,
You “cannot predict the outcome”? General Petraeus estimated the surge had a 25% chance of succeeding. I will take the three-to-one odds, and predict failure.

We have given up on the Iraqi police and army. The idea of the surge is that US forces will singlehandedly provide security and stability by providing a visible presence. This will supposedly provide the Iraqi government breathing space to pass legislation regarding ex-Baathists and oil.

Does anyone but Kagan and Bush seriously buy this strategy? The AEI has been the source of a lot of terrible advice; advice which reality has proven demonstrably wrong.

The damage has already been done to the country, and complete withdrawal will only finalize what everyone in the world has come to realize: that the US relies upon small numbers of troops and disproportionately upon its technological superiority; and that Fourth Generation Warfare offsets technological superiority, and in the long run, succeeds against the Third Generation mindset of the US Military/Industrial complex.

Iraq became unrecoverable years ago. Since then, we have been doomed to “stay the course,” and play out the losing hand through its long, drawn out, inevitable conclusion.

Quite simply, the worst foreign policy debacle in American history. Vietnam was worse in some respects; but Iraq has been the worse of all, because it was so stupid, so boneheaded, so unnecessary, so utterly self-inflicted.

And because resources were diverted to Iraq, the next quagmire awaits, with a good chance of going south too; Afghanistan.

Worst. President. Ever.

Posted by: phx8 at June 7, 2007 1:12 AM
Comment #222503

I would just like to know if those that think we should completely pull out of Iraq have considered whether they are being short sighted?

That seems to me to be the difference between those who want to stay and those who want to leave.

I have NEVER heard what those who want to leave think the result will be if we pull out prematurely.

Do those that think we should pull out now think all the problems will end? Do they think the anti-western recruitment will be minimulized?
What??
Do they REALLY think it will help?

Posted by: Dawn at June 7, 2007 1:19 AM
Comment #222506

BillS, you’re quite welcome.

Jack:
“Ad hominem.”

My pointing out that Kagan is the architect of Bush’s “Surge” when you’ve written an article about “The Surge” and gave a link to Kagan’s views “explaining the surge and what it means” isn’t ad hominem.

“Fine if you want to attack the man and not the argument.”

You take us all for fools. I think you should apologize, but I won’t hold my breath.

Posted by: Adrienne at June 7, 2007 1:33 AM
Comment #222507

Dawn,
I have said it before, and I will say it again. The Iraqis will be better off when we leave.

The problem is that war supporters think the Iraqis want us in their country. They do not. The vast majority of Iraqis want the US out of their country, and they think attacking us is acceptable. The only faction in Iraq more unpopular than the US are the foreign jihadists.

That is quite an achievement.

Face it. We are not fighting “terrorists.” We are fighting the Iraqi people.

Posted by: phx8 at June 7, 2007 1:40 AM
Comment #222508

RGF, I would venture an educated guess that the answer to your question is YES.

Bush devotees need whatever propaganda they can get their hands on in order to make arguments in support of the Bush war and their GWB icon.

From what I understand of Kagan’s report is that there will not be any transitioning from US Armed “security” to Iraqi Armed “security.” Iraqi “soldiers” will fight along side American troops. In addition, the new commander is putting additional US forces outside of Baghdad to supposedly deter or prevent Sunni and Shia insurgents and/or militia from procuring arms.

If you are inclined to accept what Jack or even Kagan has to say about the “New Strategy” please consider these points first:

1. Kagen must be under the impression that Baghdad is a bordering city with Iran and Syria (a geographic impossiblitiy of course). He disregards the extreme likelihood that the “insurgents and/or militia could pack up and go to another region in the country. (Isn’t that what Osama Bin Ladden did—he went from Sudan clear over to Afganastan, and now is probably in Pakastain (at least for the majority of his time).

2. The borders of Iraq are not secure. I know this “backward” thinking according to some, but securing the countries borders from the outset should have been a major objective.

3. The “president” has absolutely no credibility whatsoever in successful military strategy or even in receiving advice from experienced military leaders. Bush hears and sees what he wants and makes changes in military command that suit his objectives (whatever they may be).

4. This talk about “bad guys,” can you think of even one example of an armed conflict in which the US has fought where the number of enemies escalates and changes as the conflict continues?

5. Bush has put the US military at the Iraqi government’s disposal. How many democracies can you name who’s functional and skilled Army is from another country entirely? Not that I believe Iraq is now or in my lifetime (another 40-50 years, God willing!)ever will be a democracy, but that is what GWB is calling it so I’ll use it.

6. Kagan overlooks what every politician who has weighed in or voted on this tragedy that is the Bush war. Muslim culture! Therefore his criticism of part of Casey’s approach is overstated. The best fighting force in the world, which is the US Armed Service of course, cannot make an Iraqi “soldier” be disciplined or skilled. They cannot train Iraqis in combat if they don’t have the dedication or desire or agenda that is needed for them to be an autonomous fight force for their country, such that it is.

There are many other points from Kagan’s report that could be discussed but there is no sense to even debate past and current strategy. The Iraq (Bush) war was created out of lies, incompetence, etc. It is wrong, and our troops should not continue to subjected to this disaster. We need to get our armed forces out of Iraq. You cannot go back in time, this point is true, but you do not need to perpetuate senseless loss of American lives for the sake of ego, bravado, stupidity, leaving the mess for the next chief executive, or POLITICS!

Posted by: Kim-Sue at June 7, 2007 2:13 AM
Comment #222509

phx8,

‘The problem is that war supporters think the Iraqis want us in their country.’

Who makes up the majority of the war supporters?

I, myself, do not believe that all opinion polls are a true reflection of the way the majority thinks. It depends on the way the question is phrased and interpreted.
Just last week I was speaking with a woman who has been stationed in Iraq and has friends who are there now.
The way she talks …. those who want to pull out now have NO clue about what is really going on.

There may be some Iraqi’s who believe they would be better off without our presence - but do you know for sure that they aren’t being coerced by the ‘enemy’ - the radicals?
We don’t have to worry about what we say and who we say it to.
It is a different story in the middle east - Iraq.


Kim-Sue’
‘The Iraq (Bush) war was created out of lies, incompetence, etc.’
‘OR Politics’ is the only thing correct in your last paragraph. Bush did NOT go into this war ALONE and I am SICK of the politicians who claim it is HIS war - he needed CONGRESS to do it - now they are ALL running from it and claiming ‘they didn’t know’ - what a pile of CRAP!!!!

Posted by: Dawn at June 7, 2007 2:41 AM
Comment #222512

Dawn,

I am in support of an immediate and full pull out. I absolutely do not think I am being short sighted. I was against this foolishness from the beginning, not so ironically, because the situation that has occurred was entirely PREDICTABLE. Don’t believe me, ask any legimate Arab scholar! Our Arab allies including Saudi Arabia (who we protected from Saddam Hussein in the past) tried to discourage “president” Bush from invading a sovereign nation.

The reason to pull out, for me is quite simple, to prevent further loss of American lives. Secondarily, I believe as a Nation we will be more secure if our Armed forces are home to defend against those who might try to repeat a 9-11 type of terrorist act on our soil.

Now Dawn permit me to pose some questions to you.

1. Has anti-western recruitment decreased since Bush sent our troops to Iraq? Actually it has increased in Iraq dramatically in the presence of the best fight force in the world.

2. How do you define “premature” withdrawal of American troops? Based on GWBs declaration of “mission accomplished? Based on the establishment of a “democratic” Iraq? Please define for me what you consider as the right time to withdraw American troops (i.e. how would you define victory). If you come up with a victory scenario, you might want to e-mail it to GWB.

3. Do you consider the rise in influence of Iran in the region to be good thing?

4. How should our military combat suicide bombings, IEDs, roadside bombs, and “sectarian killings”?

Pulling our troops out will not solve any of Iraq’s problems, but overcoming the problems that nation faces IS NOT the responsibility of the US Armed Services. Sending our troops to invade Iraq in first place has created more problems than it ever could have solved. In fact, the invasion has not solved a single problem within the region. The invasion has changed the balance of power in the region; it has drastically reduce the US diplomatic influence; it has created in Iraq a base for jihadists now that Saddam is dead.

Adrienne

Great points! Thank you for the additional information. I just looked at Kagan’s report. I didn’t know anything about him, but you are spot on. BTW—the answers is “egregiously shameless”!

Posted by: Kim-Sue at June 7, 2007 2:46 AM
Comment #222513

Dawn you are certainly entitle to your opinions.

But just to clarify, it is “president” that is commander and chief. Whether you can face it our not, he (GWB) is responsible for this mess because he created it. I agree whole-heartedly that Congress (w/a republican majority) voted to permit the use of force. For democrats, it was political strategy so avoid being characterized as weak on terrorism. Those democrats who voted for the use of force are reprehensible in their decision making to put politics ahead of human life. The only defense (and it’s not enough as far as I am concerned) is that they were basing their votes on “intelligence” obtained by the Bush Administration. The Iraq war has become a political debate AFTER THE FACT! AFTER THE DEATH OF CLOSE TO 4,000 AMERICANS.

I believe a political debate could have openned up before Bush sent our troops into Iraq. Colin Powell could have been very influential in preventing this disaster, but he allowed himself to be used as a pawn by Bush. He sold out his own credibility and military service to Bush for reason that I can’t even begin to comprehend.

Like it or not, Dawn, this is Bush’s war. It is his mess, his tragedy. But unfortunately it is the lives of close to 4,000 Americans. All the blind devotion in the world to the moronic terrorist fascist Bush will not change a sinlge fact.

Posted by: Kim-Sue at June 7, 2007 2:57 AM
Comment #222516

If I thought we could just leave and that would be the end of it for us, I would not support staying. But this is not the case. Foreign fighters make up a small % of the militias and insurgents, but they make up 80% of the suicide bombings. These guys are not in Iraq to help the Iraqis. Their bombs kill mostly Iraqis. They use Iraqi children to as decoys and pawns.

They are in Iraq because we are. On this point I agree with liberals. But I take it to the next step. They are in Iraq because we are because they want to go where they can fight Americans. If it was not Iraq, it would be someplace else. That is why we cannot just leave and call it a day.

Adrienne

I read an interesting article the other day re the difference between liberal and conservative opinion. It holds here. The blue guys often use words like offended and outraged. They want apologies. They call us red guys all sorts of things, but when one of us points out something that is obviously true, they are offended.

You are right not to wait for an apology. I forgive you preemptively for your error.

Re taking liberals for fools, not you and not all liberals, but sometimes I have to wonder.

Yosarian

Did she argue against any of the points or just point out who said them? f I say that it is sunny outside and you point to my Republican leanings, are you ever going to get an accuate weather report?

Phx8

Most of the deaths in Iraq are caused by terrorist or insurgents killing Iraqi people. I think they are fighting the Iraqi people.

Posted by: Jack at June 7, 2007 7:34 AM
Comment #222518

It was Bush’s war in march 2003.
But it became US’s war in november 2004.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at June 7, 2007 7:52 AM
Comment #222519

Jack,

These guys are not in Iraq to help the Iraqis. Their bombs kill mostly Iraqis. They use Iraqi children to as decoys and pawns.

They are in Iraq because we are. On this point I agree with liberals. But I take it to the next step. They are in Iraq because we are because they want to go where they can fight Americans. If it was not Iraq, it would be someplace else. That is why we cannot just leave and call it a day.

In a shorter version, it gives: better collateral damages be iraqis than anyone else or, worse, americans.

Human shield. What a noble stance for an hyperpower.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at June 7, 2007 8:03 AM
Comment #222522

New strategy? New strategy? It’s actually the oldest strategy in the history of the world…throw more fodder into the breach and hope for the best. It rarely works but it IS a strategy…

We are NOT helping the Iraqis become more self-reliant…we are not changing Iraq into a democracy (only THEY can do that), we are not reducing terrorism in the middle esat, we are INCREASING terrorism there. The only way to help the Iraqi people is to pull out NOW.

Posted by: Marysdude at June 7, 2007 8:55 AM
Comment #222524

W, his administration, and the neocon lapdogs that give him advice should be forced to give up the power to run the war effort in Iraq. Then and only then will the American people have any confidence in our ability to “win” this war. We do not know what “victory” entails. Does victory mean the Iraqi people give up the oil rights to the transnational oil companies. Does victory mean all terrrorist are out of Iraq? When, those on the stay the course side of this war, can we say victory has been achieved and its time to bring the trops home?

Posted by: j2t2 at June 7, 2007 9:27 AM
Comment #222526

Jack-
McClellan and Grant, eh? Lincoln put the unrestrained economic muscle behind Grant. Bush has tried the guns and butter approach, also failed to build up the army sufficiently for it to keep fresh, well-trained troops in the country. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t emphasize all out wars as examples of places where we won because of full commitment, then turn around and sing the praises of a war where the strategy has held back the full strength of the American people, even when it was available to them.

If the Bush Administration didn’t want the negative consequences of this kind of failure, they should have changed strategy long ago, and acknowledged that failure. They did not, and they only made a substantial change of direction after a political defeat showed it was obvious that “staying the course” no longer impressed people.

Bush initiated because he couldn’t sell continuing the war the way it was. He had to raise the stakes. He had to do something that wasn’t giving up, so he wouldn’t have to heed the obvious antipathy of Americans to the continuation of this war. I think Bush may honestly think he’s doing the right thing in forcing this war on people, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a mistake to try and entrench our presence in Iraq with most Americans wanting out.

The Right in this country wants to make this a test of our will, but instead what they got was a test of their judgment. The majority of Americans no longer trust this president’s judgment. You can’t perpetually defer success and expect people not to call in the debt of patience.

The problem is, the Right sees war in terms of attrition and destruction, and not in terms of strategical success and failure. Seen from a standpoint of surviving forces, and blowing away enemies? We’re fine, and we’ll not likely be defeated that way. But strategically? The war is a failure. It was a failure from the start. The question was what kind.

We were never going to rid Iraq of Terrorists, because they weren’t there in any numbers, nor were we going to disarm Saddam, because he was already disarmed. But setting up some sort of alternative government was possible. It just wasn’t going to be easy. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what the Bush Administration thought.

When it didn’t prove so, they were caught off guard, and had to improvise a response in real time, which only worsened things. Meanwhile, the president refused to concede in word or action that he had sent in insufficient forces to secure Iraq. He wanted to win by willpower, by giving and encouraging the giving of full confidence to his military policy.

The Right took the wrong lesson from the defeat in Vietnam. They thought it was a lack of willpower that lost the war. Actually, it was misapplied willpower. People fell in love with a certain strategy, became advocates rather than detached operators, culture warriors instead of consensus builders. They sought to save American from themselves, and America from their detractors, instead of recognizing that they were just one part of the society, and that their judgment was only human, fallible and subject to legitimate second-guessing.

Iraq, in my opinion, is the Republican Party learning the hard way how the Democratic party lost the Vietnam war, and the confidence of the American people. The Democrats bled their foreign policy strength dry trying to make Vietnam work. We threw the best and the brightest of our party at the problem of this war, only to find that our efforts were not only unsuccessful, but making things worse. The Republicans are in the process, and have been for the last four years, of repeating the same mistakes, bashing their strength against the rocks of their strategic mistake.

That’s the great irony of all this, the great shame. Both parties, enchanted by the military supremacy of our nation, got it into their heads that they could, by force, win any war. But both parties neglected to understand that strategic victory requires that the goal be reached, that Vietnam become self sufficient, that Iraq become a Beacon of Democracy. Move the goalposts all you want to: if your war does not succeed at what it was meant to do, that is a defeat. And yes, we can be defeated.

That is not America’s inevitable fate, let me say right here. We can win wars. We just have to be smarter and wiser about how we fight, and be willing to let go of a lost cause, and prepare ourselves for the consequences of our failures. Victory at all costs only works if you win every time. Otherwise, it’s a squandering of strength. We cannot be so scared of an enemy that we continue in a course that only benefits them.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 7, 2007 9:45 AM
Comment #222527

The mention of CEI above prompts me to inject another organization who for decades has given advice not commensurate with our Constitution and government. The Council of Foreingn Relations has for years had top military and politicans on board to make policy. The policy made has been detrimental to the United States and its citizens. This is an important organization for the pols. A number of presidential candidates are members, or their spouses are members, in the CFR. This is not a think tank. It is a global scheming organization whose bent it is to create among other things a United North America (Canada, Mexico and the US) as a single entity. They want to have a global government and to remove sovereignty of all nations and have them subservient to the global government.

I would think that this is more important than a think tank that does not lean to the left.

There is much written on the CFR. The CFR quarterly publication is a good place to start. If you have the time, “Tragedy and Hope” by a fellow CFR member, Carroll Quigly. A thousand pages about how the CFR works.

As for the Iraqi question. You “blues” better step up the pace. In a year and a half, it is possible you will have to defend your presidential elect. Then the party begins. In the mean time, fun for all in the free for all leading up the the elections. If Edwards makes it, Danny Glover will be the Ambassador to Venezuela. If Hillary gets it, Bill will be ambassador to the world. If Obama gets in, he will push for Constitutional Amendments to help the potential terrorists and illegal immigrants a special place in society. All the other “blues” need to get in the game if they are serious. None of them has a clue on how to run a government. Edwards can’t even make friends with the neighbors across the street from his home, how is he going to achieve friendship with nations? Hilliarity seems to have trouble with the truth and what it means.

Gotta go to a meeting—will follow up later.

Posted by: tomh at June 7, 2007 10:03 AM
Comment #222530

Jack

I am sorry but I do not see the logic in remaining in Iraq just so we can avoid fighting terrorists somewhere else. So what if we have to fight somewhere else. Imo this analogy is nothing more than empty rhetoric facilitated by GW to forestall the inevitable as long as possible. We all know that terrorist threats are not going to go away if we leave. We also know that we are playing into their hands by planting ourselves in their backyard. It is obvious to most that this strategy is not minimalizing terrorism. In fact if anything it has greatly escalated since our intrusion into their region. Our military forces are over extended and tired from repeated deployments in a region we are not welcome. If we are to continue this fight on terror fine, lets regroup, bring our troops home, refresh and refit our military so that we may continue the fight in a more logical and efficient manner. And hopefully with the support and help of the rest of the world.

I think four years, almost four thousand dead, and hundreds of billions of dollars later with no real progress to show speaks volumes. It does not take a genius to recognize that we are going nowhere fast and that no good is coming of our endeavours. I to sometimes wonder about fools and just how much loss, pain and suffering a nation must endure before its fools finally see what has been right in front of them for a long time.

Posted by: ILdem at June 7, 2007 10:26 AM
Comment #222536

I have a new strategy on Iraq: when the enemy asks for a cease-fire (they asked for one not too long ago), kick them while they are down. If we don’t press harder during our enemies’ weakest moments, they will simply gather strength and attack again.

Let’s say we asked for a cease-fire. Would the enemy give it to us?

Posted by: stubborn conservative at June 7, 2007 12:32 PM
Comment #222541

stubborn,

Which enemy? Saddam? He’s dead…al Qaida? They weren’t in Iraq to start with…the insurgents? They are Iraqis, why are we fighting them?..the Muslims? Is this a religious war?

Back off now. It is the only honorable thing to do.

Posted by: Marysdude at June 7, 2007 1:05 PM
Comment #222546

Marysdude, RGF,…

There have been changes in Iraq. You need to update your rhetoric. al Qaida is there now. If they are not there why do we keep killing their leaders? It is not only a civil war we are dealing with. There are also terrorists.

Posted by: jimmyray at June 7, 2007 1:34 PM
Comment #222547

It seems to me that in Kagan’s mind suppressing violence in the Middle East is the same thing as winning. It is not. The problem has not been the violence, but rather the hatred behind it. So long as that hatred exists, people around the world will attempt to undermine the United States by whatever means possible.

stubborn conservative, if we do what you propose, it would only serve to foment the anger many people around the world have for us. I have no doubt that more terrorists would die as a result of increasingly ruthless tactics, but so too would more be created.

It seems that the extra effort would be effort wasted on digging the hole deeper.

Posted by: Zeek at June 7, 2007 1:57 PM
Comment #222548

Jimmyray,
You need to update your regurgitated talking point. Al Qaida in Iraq is NOT the same as the Al Qaida of Osama bin Laden.

Jack,
The foreign jihadists comprise about 3% of the insurgency, but they do inflict a disproportiate amount of the carnage through suicide bombings. Nevertheless, most civilian deaths in Iraq occur by gunshot.

In addition, the people we usually refer to as “terrorists” are Sunni religious fundamentalists targeting Shias who collaborate with the puppet government. It is generally believed the majority come from Saudi Arabia. Part of their purpose may be to undermine the US; but again, they mostly target Shias. Given that fact, the US would seem to belong in the category of one more faction competing for control of the government and the oil reserves.

Dawn,
Yes, information from Iraq is very limited, and almost any information needs to be approached with caution. Nevertheless, some information is available: the Lancet report, the Opinion Reseach Bureau Poll, and occasionally other in-country polls conducted by non-governmental entities.

It is not a case of “no news is good news.” It is not a case of “they are just not reporting the good news.” The fact is, reporting the news in Iraq is extremely dangerous. Most reporters have left the country. No news is bad news.

Posted by: phx8 at June 7, 2007 2:01 PM
Comment #222565

Jack:
“I read an interesting article the other day re the difference between liberal and conservative opinion.”

Yes, it seems like you’re always reading compare/contrast stuff like that. Sounds kind of boring to me. I just read the news.

“The blue guys often use words like offended and outraged.”

Naturally. Due to the actions of the Bush adminstration.

“They want apologies.”

Because you were trying to fool people, I said I thought you should feel the need to apologize. That’s because if I was trying to pull the wool over peoples heads, I’d no doubt feel really guilty. However, I remember your mantra: Never Explain, Never Complain, Never Apologize. This is why I said I wouldn’t be holding my breath.

“They call us red guys all sorts of things, but when one of us points out something that is obviously true, they are offended.”

The only obvious truth here is that you were trying to make Kagan out like he was somebody “smart” and that “The Surge” wasn’t his own idea, but just something he was commenting upon.

“You are right not to wait for an apology. I forgive you preemptively for your error.”

I’m not waiting, and you needn’t forgive me for not allowing you to get away with being dishonest with Watchblog readers.

“Did she argue against any of the points or just point out who said them?”

I pointed out who said them and more importantly WHY he would say them. “The Surge” never had a chance of working, and it clearly isn’t working, and we receive more and more proof that sending more troops into Iraq’s civil war was a pointless exercise and an insulting injustice to our soldiers every single day. Moreover, had it been working well you would never have needed to write an article like this one. Instead, you would be jubilantly telling all of us how wrong we all were to have ever doubted the president’s “wisdom” for one moment. But here you are, writing an article about how Frederick Kagan, the architect of the escalation of the war thinks his moronic idea is some sort of a change in strategy and just needs more time.

“If I say that it is sunny outside and you point to my Republican leanings, are you ever going to get an accuate weather report?”

Yeah well, we all know what happens when we try to give you weather report — we get things like Katrina, and Bush stays on vacation, goes to fundraisers, plays guitars and cuts birthday cakes, Cheney is in an undisclosed location, and Condi goes shoe shopping, while a major US city is wiped out, other towns are destroyed, and a great many of our citizens lose their lives. And afterward, the incompetent Bush appointee is told he’s “doing a heckuva job” and tons of taxpayer money gets ripped off, funneled into the pockets of the wealthy who help none of the people who desperately need the help of their government.

Posted by: Adrienne at June 7, 2007 5:57 PM
Comment #222567

jimmyray,

The last thing the Iraqis want is al Qaida in their midst. We are the reason for al Qaida being in Iraq now. If we leave the Iraqis will drive al Qaida out.

The only honorable thing for America to do at this time is leave Iraq to its fate.

Posted by: Marysdude at June 7, 2007 5:59 PM
Comment #222568

And now”the decider guy” is suggesting a fifty year occupation and our new and improved Defense Secratary has signed off on it.Time to kick Big Oil off the throne.

Posted by: BillS at June 7, 2007 6:02 PM
Comment #222576

Hey, stubborn conservative,

The ONLY way to ‘WIN’ is to take the moral high ground and to be SEEN as taking the moral high ground.

That means, we SHOULD honor a requested cease fire! …even better if subsequently, the enemy is seen to NOT honor a request for a cease fire.

In that way, we kick the platform out from the under the enemy from which the enemy is recruiting new terrorists and suicide bombers!

Posted by: RGF at June 7, 2007 8:13 PM
Comment #222578

RGF, Marysdude:

We cannot honor the cease-fire! These terrorists hate us more than anything. If we honored the cease-fire, they would hide and regroup then it will be “Allahu Ackbar time” again. When good and evil negotiate, only evil wins!

Posted by: stubborn conservative at June 7, 2007 8:44 PM
Comment #222581

stubborn conservative,

I don’t want to be anywhere near you when your well deserved discovery of what comes from such eye-for-eye and tooth-for-tooth thinking begets, happens.

Posted by: RGF at June 7, 2007 9:16 PM
Comment #222586

New strategy in Iraq? From the Kagans and the AEI? That’s almost funny. The only strategy from the start was mid eastern hegemony and control of Iraqi oil, pace PSA’s. You guys talk about terrorists? There’s only a relative handful of Al Queda in Iraq, and the Iraqis themselves have no time for them, tho’ the Sunni have been prepared to tolerate them as the enemy of my enemy is my friend, at least pro tem.

The fact is that the majority of Iraqis hate you. And why wouldn’t they, after what you have done to their country? They want you out, and they are prepared to fight you to achieve it. Hail the true freedom fighters. Those who resisted the Nazis in WW II are still recognised as heros; the French resistance, the Yugoslav resistance etc….they were essentially the same as the Iraqi “insurgents ” are now, freedom fighters. They know that with the biggest embassy in the world, with massive permanent military bases being imposed on their country, with intolerable pressure being put on them to enact an unconscionable law legalising the piracy of their national asset by US and British oil companies, they have no choice but to fight will all of their energies to try to save their country. And they are being saluted around the world in recognition of being the true freedom fighting heroes that they are. Vive la Resistance! Vive la liberte!

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at June 7, 2007 9:43 PM
Comment #222587

CS,

What is it with you republicans? I decline to consider you a conservative since there is nothing about those you agrre with and defend that concerns conserving ANYTHING…not law, not peace, not life, not economic health, etc, etc.

…but what is it about this notion of the ends justifying the means?

I see it in the signing statements of BuSh.
I see it in the lies told to the UN and our own Congress.
I see it in the lies told to the American people and the press.
I see it in the trumped up inteligence leeding up to this war.
I see it in the justifications for suspending habeas corpus.
I see it in the ‘outing’ of Valerie Plame Wilson.

I SEE IT IN YOUR COMMENTS REGARDING THIS CONTINUED EYE-FOR-EYE THINKING!

If we FAIL to both take, and be seen to be taking, the MORAL HIGH GROUND…

OUR ENEMIES WILL HAVE NO END OF RECRUITMENT OPPORTUNITIES!!!!!

What you propose will only yield increased violence and an ever more dangerous world for us all.

It is bad enough that you and I both call ourselves AMERICAN, while you continue to do and say those things which continue to earn us more animosity and more dangerous enemies. After your suport and sentiments have registered there effects, the enemies your course earns will not know or care about the difference between you and me.

So, PLEASE, stop making the world that I must also live in, more dangerous. LEARN how to take the moral high ground and how to generate peace, rather than violence.

Posted by: RGF at June 7, 2007 9:48 PM
Comment #222588

Philippe

I believe the U.S. leaving Iraq this year or soon into next year will cause MORE Iraqis to be killed. People can disagree, but nobody’s estimate is certain. The idea that everything will just be okay if we leave just doesn’t make any sense. Most of the violence today is foreign fighters or Iraqis killing Iraqis. Americans are only involved in this in trying to keep it from happening.

Re following us - I think that is also true. The two are not mutually exclusive. A U.S. pullout will both create more Iraqi deaths, as the various sides get more fearful and aggressive AND foreign fighters will go fight someplace else.

Reach back into your own history. W/o U.S. security guarantees after WWII, France and Germany would have been much more likely to fight again. The difference between 1945 and 1918 or 1871 was the presence of a third party guarantee. After a few years, that threat passed and today it is hard to remember how it was and how it could have been.

J2t2

Victory means a reasonably stable and democratic Iraq at peace with its neighbors. I have heard Condoleezza Rice say variations of that dozens of times. It is not an unknown thing.

Stephen

Yes, we can be defeated. But remember that when you are defeated, you give the initiative to the enemy. That is definitional. You imply that we can just admit defeat and go home. The enemy might not see it that way. To abuse the Civil War analogy to make the point, imagine lee after Gettysburg saying, okay, we lose. We are just going back to Virginia and let’s call it a day. Sometimes the opponent doesn’t give up.

Ildem

I respect your opinion. I disagree, but I would prefer you were right.

Phx8

The foreign fighters have been the catalysts for most of the trouble. They have acted as provocateurs and have successfully created chaos. There goal was to use Iraq to hurt the U.S. I think we agree on that. I take that analysis to the next step. They will go wherever they think that can hurt us. They are working in the Philippines, Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen and various other places. They are looking to create chaos and failed states. They are farther along in Iraq. They are like pine beetles. They are infesting and killing one tree in the forest. If you let them alone there, they do not just stop when they are done with that one.

Adrienne

I read a lot of things. Actually, sometimes NOT the newspapers. The stories there tend to be ephemeral and OBEd almost by the time you finish reading them. I post some of the things I read every week. I am very transparent re the raw material I use. For actual news I rely on Morning Edition, the Newshour and Talk of the Nation.

Liberals do seem to have a greater feeling of entitlement. When a conservative talks, he can expect hecklers and maybe pie throwers. I neither heckle or throw pies. When I go to hear someone talk, I listen until he is finished and I am never offended by words not directed specifically at me, even then usually not.

I find it very funny about liberals. We always hear that they are being muzzled etc. We hear a lot from those muzzled people.

Posted by: Jack at June 7, 2007 9:53 PM
Comment #222590

You hear a lot because you at least care enough to.

What you are hearing, however, is the product of OUTRAGE.

…the outrage that grows out of the BS being peddled to the American people by way of the mass media.

Scratch the surface just a little…
and you will inevitable see the degree to which the supposedly “liberally biased media” is a MYTH!…in fact, the opposite is closer to reality.

Posted by: RGF at June 7, 2007 10:13 PM
Comment #222591

Jack,
“The foreign fighters have been the catalysts for most of the trouble.”

They play a role, but the biggest cause of the problem, at least for US troops, are the Sunni insurgents. These insurgents consist of a number of groups. The largest faction are the ex-Baathists, led by former al-Duri. The Brigade of 1920 is the next largest, followed by various fundamentalist factions.

Among the Shias, the biggest cause of the problem is the Mahdi Army. Again, there are numerous other groups, including the Badr Brigades of SCII.

“They are working in the Philippines, Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen and various other places. They are looking to create chaos and failed states.”

Partial credit. Somalia and Afghanistan represent examples of failed states. I am not sure Yemen could be called a failed state, because there was never much of a state in the first place. In the Philippines, Muslims have been fighting for literally decades.

In most cases, they seek self-determination. They seek a government representing their people, their culture. Can anyone name an example of Muslims attacking a non-Muslim country in order to establish Muslim rule?

In one sense, I think Bush has always been right. The US should encourage the spread of democracy, freedom, liberty, and Human Rights. But that approach does not mean that free, democratic countries will become friends of the US anytime soon. It will take a very long time. However, it is a far superior and far worthier course than the current one: invasion, occupation, conquest, the establishment of puppet governments and authoritarian rulers, the establishment of permanent military bases and the blatant exploitation of resources, exploitation done at the expense of the people.

Posted by: phx8 at June 7, 2007 10:29 PM
Comment #222593

phx8

Free democratic countries might not become friends of the U.S., but they usually have enough other useful things to keep them occupied and they create much less trouble. If you have democratic states with market economies, even better.

There are no modern examples of Muslim countries attacking others to impose thier religion, but the question is not useful, since in modern times there has been no Muslim country with sufficient power or organization to impose its will on a non-Muslim state. There are plenty of examples of Muslim states exluding or marginalizing non-Muslims.

You can go to Mosque in Rome, but you cannot attend mass in Mecca. It is such an obvious and persistent difference in tolerance that we no longer even notice.

The Malyasian courts just decided that it is illegal for a Muslim to convert to Christianity. Of course, that should be no business of the state, but the Muslim religion never held to that “render onto Caesar” stuff.

All this is a bit off topic, however.

Posted by: Jack at June 7, 2007 10:52 PM
Comment #222611

RGF
Speaking of lies. Valerie Plamme was not outed by anybody but her husband. So which do I consider; that you lied or you are ignorant of the facts?

Posted by: tomh at June 8, 2007 8:05 AM
Comment #222614

tomh,

That’s not true at all. Both Scooter Libby and Richard Armitage outed her, and Robert Novak reported it.

So which do I consider; that you lied or you are ignorant of the facts?

Posted by: LawnBoy at June 8, 2007 8:33 AM
Comment #222616

Lawnboy
Check Who’s Who in America prior to the alledged outing. Do I send you bacon or sausage for the egg on your face?

Posted by: tomh at June 8, 2007 8:45 AM
Comment #222617

tomh,

In fact, that book mentioned her name only, not her occupation. The outing was not the revelation that she existed or that she had a maiden name - the outing was her status with the CIA.

It’s amazing how arrogant and cocky you are being over this when the facts are not at all on your side.

Posted by: LawnBoy at June 8, 2007 8:54 AM
Comment #222618

Jack,

I believe the U.S. leaving Iraq this year or soon into next year will cause MORE Iraqis to be killed. People can disagree, but nobody’s estimate is certain. The idea that everything will just be okay if we leave just doesn’t make any sense.

I don’t believe it will be worse, but I agree that’s very uncertain and it wont fix everything either.

Most of the violence today is foreign fighters or Iraqis killing Iraqis. Americans are only involved in this in trying to keep it from happening.

Which, by definition, they fail to.

Reach back into your own history. W/o U.S. security guarantees after WWII, France and Germany would have been much more likely to fight again. The difference between 1945 and 1918 or 1871 was the presence of a third party guarantee.

No, the real difference between 1945 and 1918 or 1871 is called *nuke*. The security comes more from nukes MADness than from US itself and alone.

US had it in 1945, but UK got them shortly after, USSR too and France did in the next decade. How a demilitarized Germany could have face MAD doctrine if they (or french for that matter) wanted to fight again each other?

After a few years, that threat passed and today it is hard to remember how it was and how it could have been.

This could also apply to Cold War, which was a time when many people were fearing global thermonuclear war. Again, post WWII. Again, nukes were the key. Again, US alone wasn’t the key.

Mutual Assured Destruction doctrine works/worked because US was not alone to have nukes. Otherwise, I’ve no doubt an US’s first-strike capability will have give us, at least, a third nuke dropped on people somewhere since. Not because it’s US, but because it’s an unbalanced doctrine.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at June 8, 2007 9:24 AM
Comment #222622

Jack-
What you’re talking about is called “moving the goalposts”- redefining your way out of admitting you lost.

We have failed by real world measures. Iraq is not secure, the surge has not succeeded in retaking Baghdad, Iraq is not a Democracy with civil liberties like our own. We tried to prevent civil war, it happened anyways. If you take a good look at the situation, it’s apparent that we don’t have sufficient control over what’s going on, and that is a definitional failure of an occupation.

Those who say we’re not losing aren’t changing anything by mere words and redefinitions. They aren’t fooling our enemy, who know they can attack us with near impunity. It’s not fooling the Iraqis who have to live with the violence. It’s not fooling the soldiers who find their so-called Allies among the Enemy’s ranks, dead and alive.

Some components of military victory rely on the willpower of the combatant. But not all, not even most. Your side fears the consequences of leaving. Unfortunately, you did not plan in a way that allowed you to leave victorious.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 8, 2007 9:47 AM
Comment #222637

Jack:
“I read a lot of things.”

Wonderful. Then allow me to suggest a few current nuggets of info that might make you sound a lot more logical and well informed when it comes to this entire subject. If you read these, perhaps you might choose to address the rapidly imploding Iraqi government, or the reality of Iraq’s Civil War, or the overwhelming Iraqi consensus that our troops are their enemy, or our “stay the course” occupation that Bushco intends to be a replica of our 50 year presence in South Korea.

For instance, if you can take the time away from reading articles from the AEI, you could read this article that I read a few days ago in the LA Times informing us of how Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki has given up on meeting any of the September benchmarks we claimed to be requiring of his government.

Or maybe you’d be interested in knowing that just a few days ago Maliki came out and said: “I have to watch the army, because those still loyal to the previous regime may start planning coups. Those people don’t believe in democracy, and for that reason we are monitoring the status of the army very closely.”
Hey wait a second — isn’t that the same army that OUR TROOPS ARE TRAINING? Yes, yes it is.

FYI, we’ve now hit over 3,500 dead US soldiers (this number does not include suicides committed by veterans of the war). After reading a steady diet of opinions from the likes of Kagen and the AEI, I wonder if that number actually means something to those who support this war?

Finally, maybe you’d find yourself interested in the sobering fact that: Iraqi Lawmakers Pass Resolution That May Force End to Occupation and that if we continue to keep our troops there, things are likely to get a whole lot worse than they already are.

RGF,
You’re absolutely right. Personally I am so heartily sick of all the BS, I find it best to limit my blogging here these days so I won’t break the rules of participation. It’s just easier to post to other blogs the way things are at present.

Posted by: Adrienne at June 8, 2007 12:02 PM
Comment #222640

Lawnboy
And she was not covert when her name came up in the news reports. Being arrogant and cocky are things I have worked on to perfect in my latter years. Evidently my plan is working.

Posted by: tomh at June 8, 2007 12:08 PM
Comment #222641

Lawnboy

I read the WWA that has her listed by way of Joe. One should put two and two together and get only the correct result.

This is a perfect place for me to say that this is my last writing here. My backgound is in electronics and intelligence gathering. I have 15 file cabinets filled with organizations, people, subjects, etc. that took fifty years to collect. They will be distributed to educational institutions and organizations that have a reason to have the files. One file cabinet has documents that will be burned. This has been accomplished for the most part.

Good night and God Bless

Posted by: tomh at June 8, 2007 12:17 PM
Comment #222643
And she was not covert when her name came up in the news reports.

Yet again, that’s simply not true. The CIA approved the following statements before the hearing:

  • During her employment at the CIA, Ms. Wilson was under cover.

  • Her employment status with the CIA was classified information prohibited from disclosure under Executive Order 12958.

  • At the time of the publication of Robert Novak’s column on July 14,2003, Ms. Wilson’s CIA employment status was covert.

  • This was classified information.

However convenient it might be for the administration if your claims were true, they simply aren’t when we look at the facts.

I read the WWA that has her listed by way of Joe. One should put two and two together and get only the correct result.

Which correct result, that they are married? Sure, one should be able to put that together. However, there is nothing there about her covert status, which the CIA has confirmed.

Posted by: LawnBoy at June 8, 2007 12:32 PM
Comment #222646

tomh-
Actually, she was considered covert. In his brief concerning the sentencing of Libby, Fitzgerald said as much. The trouble, one can infer is that the law that would apply to such a case is so badly written that getting a conviction on such charges would be unlikely

I think what you should consider is whether or not your guiding moral sense on this should be defined merely by what a prosecutor can convict somebody on.

Her employment as a CIA agent was a secret. Many husbands do things with the CIA who don’t have CIA wives. The only reason why the press knew anything about their association was that an administration figure told them Otherwise, the world would have never been the wiser.

The question of whether this was something deserved is hardly relevant, especially since partisans often believe that anybody who works against their party’s or candidate’s interests deserves whatever mistreatment they get.

The real issue is the recklessness of playing games with our national security secrets. Human intelligence is a precious commodity in our day and age, and should not be wasted on petty partisan squabbles, or on getting back at those the administration considers disloyal. There are just some tactics that should be off limits. Anything should not go in politics.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 8, 2007 1:01 PM
Comment #222677

Stephen et al

We always get back to this. There is lots of sound and fury, but we have a bottom line.

Fitzgerald knows who first outed Plame. He knew it for a long time. If he really thinks it was a crime to out plame, he is not doing his duty if he does not go after the guy he KNOWS did it.

Dems are even more dishonest. They want to punish anybody involved, as long as it is Rove or Cheney. They also do not care about the man the KNOW was the first to out Plame.

Plame herself is in the middle of a fight about the book she wrote. The CIA thinks she reveals too much. She doesn’t care. If merely revealing her idenity is so terrible, why does her filling in all the details not also qualify?

Everything else you can say about it is just commentary.

Posted by: Jack at June 8, 2007 9:06 PM
Comment #222686
The CIA thinks she reveals too much. She doesn’t care.

No, that’s not it at all. The specific detail she is being forbidden to mention in her book is a fact that’s already in the public domain, placed there by a letter from the CIA to congress a few years ago.

It’s not that she doesn’t care about revealing too much, it’s that it’s completely unreasonable for her not to be able to write about something that is already general knowledge, implicitly declassified by the CIA long ago.

Posted by: LawnBoy at June 8, 2007 10:59 PM
Comment #222689

Jack-
The bottom line was that the law was poorly written to cover in-house leakers. The law against outing covert agents was targeted at spies and those seeking to do our country’s national security harm. That’s the technicality that has Fitzgerald declining to indict and try folks over it. Just because the actions were not prosecuted doesn’t mean that they are legal, much less proper.

That’s my bottom line. There are things you just don’t do, when you are a government official, much less a president or an aid to the president. Bush supporters like yourself have littered the landscape with rationalizations as to why nobody should be outraged by this behavior. From the looks of it, though, there was an intentional effort on the part of Rove and Libby, and probably their superiors to disseminate this information, which they knew to be classified, which was not public knowledge. That’s outrageous to most people prima facie.

My bottom line is that if politics in the White House has sunk so low, then this president truly has something to be ashamed of. The way this president takes issues where most people would think that there is a bright line moral choice, and crosses the line anyways is part of why this administration is drowning in scandals and fiascos.

This sense of moral exceptionalism is poisonous, and it has done much to alienate the President from the public.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 8, 2007 11:44 PM
Comment #222716

Lawnboy

Isn’t this a lot like Plame’s identity in general? A book about her career certainly will compromise the very people she claims she wanted not to compromise. Her attitude is more or less, “Now that you know who I am, let me fill in details you might have overlooked.”

Stephen

You still have a bottom line. Richard Armitage is the first source. Others may or may not have confirmed it. We do not know who besided Armitage talked about Plame. We know that the source that Novak used, the one the outed her, was Armitage. That is the article that outed her. Nobody else outed her, whether or not they talked about it later (as Plame herself did).

Nobody seems to have thought it was very much of a secret, including Plame and Wilson. Far from going to ground after her identity was revealed, Plame and Wilson appeared in articles and made the most of their fame.

I would be willing to have stricter laws re revealing classified information to the media. The reason we do not is because liberals fight against it. If liberals drop their objections, I expect we will be able to get stricter laws. But you cannot create an expostfacto law, nor can you write a law specifically designed to catch Rove or Cheney. Sorry, but you got nothing her. Move on.

Posted by: Jack at June 9, 2007 2:39 PM
Comment #222754

Jack,

You’re being awfully presumptuous of her book and her motives, aren’t you? How ironic from the author of “Everything else you can say about it is just commentary.”.

Far from going to ground after her identity was revealed, Plame and Wilson appeared in articles and made the most of their fame.

You say that as though there would have been any advantage to “going to ground”. There wasn’t. Her career was destroyed (and yes, they thought it was very much of a secret).

Posted by: LawnBoy at June 10, 2007 10:09 AM
Comment #222766

LawnBoy

Her covert career may have been over, but she was not working covert at the time of her outing. She could have continued to work in other capacities. But I was not speaking only of her career. Put yourself in her supposed situation. She claims she is upset that some of her contacts (friends) could be compromised. If you were in that situation, what would you do if someone “outed” you. Wouldn’t you say as little as possible to add to the knowledge base about your old friends?

Let me be clear. I do not support revealing things like Plame identity. But the Wilson-Plame connection is what provokes it. AND if you and others think it is so serious, why are you not outraged that Fitz did not go after the first leaker when he found out who it was?

Posted by: Jack at June 10, 2007 4:25 PM
Comment #222775

Good Grief!

I feel like Charlie Brown! It is so frustrating to see the SAME facts gone over and over and over…

VALERIE PLAME was COVERT!
THE LAW WAS CLEAR!
The identification was done by and through Cheney by Libby and by Novak.

TREASON PLAIN AND SIMPLE.

But the thing that absolutely DISGUSTS me…
is the fact that so many supposedly “conservative” types (What the heck are they conservative of?…not life, peace economic health or the very foundation of America, that’s for ceratin!), seem to just knee-jerkedly DEFEND that criminal actions of this administration!

We’ve had pedophiles and those hiding and abetting them (accesseries after the fact)!

We’ve had illegal campaign fund money laundering and perjury!

We’ve had suspension of Habeas Corpus and

violations of American and International law!

We’ve had illegal wire tapping and the illegal obtaining of confidential client billing and use information from the telephone and cellular telephone companies WITHOUT warrants!

We’ve seen an illegal war brough about by means of lying to Congress and the American people!

…and yet we not only faaaaar too complacent a populace, we actually have people out there who DEFEND this BULLSHIT because it comes from people with the right political ‘LABEL’ appended!

ENOUGH is ENOUGH!!!

No more blind loyalty.
If America and American law mean anything at all. If this great experiment is worth continuing and saving,

MAKE a STATEMENT!

IMPEACH THOSE WHO DISREGARD OUR COUNTRY, ITS LAWS, OUR CONSTITUION and ALL THAT WE HOLD SACRED! …as well as their oaths of office, no less!

This has got to stop. We can no longer be led by criminals. There is no surer way to destruction than at our own hands. We must all take responsibility and do something or we will be the ones on whose watch the Uniteed States of America was fed to the jackels!

Posted by: RGF at June 10, 2007 6:00 PM
Comment #222779

tomh,

You are just plain wrong.

Libby met with Cheney to talk about Wilson multiple times PRIOR to outing Plame. That, in itself, was criminal on Cheney’s part.

I am bothered by the fact that your rhetoric and blind loyalty to this administration seem more important to you than even considerning the possibility that you and your party screwed up BADLY and put a dangerous and irresponsible, no, CRIMINAL person in the White House.

So step up, tomh. Admit responsibility and help us all to right the wrong. Time to be an adult and accept the responsibility you, and all of us, bear with respect for allowing this to happen. WE MUST IMPEACH. Or we show the world how little our own laws mean to us as well how little our aggreements and responsibilities under International Law mean to us.

Not Impeaching this president means an increase in terrosim from the further loss of international respect. We simply cannot afford to continue to demonstrate to the world that we are the very tyrannical empire that the recruiters of terrorists and suicide bombers make us out to be. We must stop playing into the hands of those that hate us.

This administrations actions are not just dangerous or treasonous…
They are just plain STUPID.

There will likely be a subsequent price in LIFE if we demonstrate to the world that we care more about Monica Lewinski than we do about lies to Congress or the U.N., or our own obligations under American or international law or our own international agreements.

IMPEACH NOW!

Posted by: RGF at June 10, 2007 7:31 PM
Comment #222783

Jack-
Provocation is what you claim, but a provocation to what? We’re talking about something that Republicans have cast as a leak meant to put Valerie Wilson’s husband in his place, concerning the Niger matter.

What national security purpose was served by this leak? To silence a critic whose objections were a matter of public record? To discredit him? We get into this circular feedback of rationalization here, as what we are question strikes at the heart of how this administration justified a war. If Wilson’s claims were true, then the Adminsitration had scared many people into a war with bad information, which in fact they were advised multiple times was bad. If not, the Administration could have answered that charge on the facts, declassified as necessary, and the feedback loop would have been broken.

Ultimately, the leak served a political purpose. Here we get into what seems to me an ugly downward spiral of justification, where we’re justifying the burning of an intelligence network, an agent, and an entire CIA front company to make the President look better to voters. Why do that? Because if voters don’t vote for Bush, the GOP rationalizers say that some inferior model of CINC will get in there, and things will get worse. We must pick Bush, they say, because Bush is the only one who can save us.

Yet we find ourselves in a feedback loop once again. We have to believe from the outset in this necessity for it to work. Otherwise, this is a President and his staff getting too big for their britches.

When you come down to it, There’s something fundamentally wrong with the way they went about things. They valued politics and publicity over security, Carelessly, even maliciously using national secrets to cast doubt on the words of a man who had revealed nothing himself that was classified.

Valerie Wilson did not out herself. Her true occupation was a well-kept secret not known by family or friends. As far as Fitzgerald has established, she kept her secret conscientiously.

Her employers outed her. They did it over a percieved political threat. Had it not been for them, we would not have seen this national secret nationally syndicated to be diffused into the common knowledge.

Once she was out, running to ground would have made little sense. It would have been closing the barn door after somebody else had let the horses out.

That crucial nexus of responsibility is what the GOP has done much to avoid addressing, and it’s what keeps the story going. People percieve danger in the actions of an administration, which despite the facts continues to behave contrary to the will of the majority, and contrary to what many consider the principles of good government.

In essence, the Bush Adminstration and the Republican party have gotten into an extended argument with the majority of the government as to what has been and will be expected of them, and what is to be done with the course of the country.

Argued the way this Administration has argued it, this is not a dispute that will be won.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 10, 2007 9:52 PM
Comment #222793
Her covert career may have been over, but she was not working covert at the time of her outing.

Jack,

That’s not true. The CIA itself has said that “At the time of the publication of Robert Novak’s column on July 14,2003, Ms. Wilson’s CIA employment status was covert.”

Please stop playing games. The facts are clear.

Wouldn’t you say as little as possible to add to the knowledge base about your old friends?

I would be careful not to say anything that would compromise them, but I would also try to make sure that those in the government that broke the law, damaged national security, and destroyed my career would be made accountable.

Exactly what she has done.

Posted by: LawnBoy at June 11, 2007 8:17 AM
Comment #222845

Jack’s taken the Kool-Aid again and reverted to pro-Bush, Rovian talking points promulgated by the neocons. Just keep moving. Nothing to see here.

Posted by: mental wimp at June 11, 2007 7:11 PM
Comment #222846

p.s. Even the Rasmussen report has Bush’s approval down to 35% now. Might as well throw in the towel on getting support for this luzer.

Posted by: mental wimp at June 11, 2007 7:12 PM
Comment #222857

Jack,

Selective truth doesn’t get it. You have made asserions that yu have been called on before and are now beinf called on yet AGAIN!

What is it with you republicans and this creative and selective redrawing of TRUTH?

Just because your party is snowballing itslef into the ninth circle of hell doesn’t mean you have to join them, Jack.

Help us turn this thing around. Come over to the light side of the force, Jack.

Posted by: RGF at June 11, 2007 8:32 PM
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