Moveon.org Betrays US

Republicans are angry about moveon.org’s slandering General Petraeus and dishonoring the U.S. military. Democrats are less upset. What John McCain said about Hillary Clinton goes for many Dems, “If you’re not tough enough to repudiate an attack like that, you’re not tough enough to be president.”

The Dems overplayed their hand as leading Dems over pandered to the lunatic peacenik wing of their party. Some of them knew better, but most do not care. Joe Lieberman can tell right from wrong. That is one reason the Dems drummed him out of their increasingly left leaning club.

The Dem leader in the Senate, Harry Reid was very enthusiastic about preemptively declaring defeat. Watch him again and I will not need to comment anymore on Harry Reid. Suffice to say, he is no Harry Truman. They do not make Democrats like Truman anymore. The toughest Dem leader these days is Hillary Clinton and she is only semi-tough, as you can see above.

Anyway, General Petraeus and events in Iraq really rained on the party Dem had planned. They counted on being able to harvest the fruits of bitter defeat. Reid and Schumer were counting on Dem gains from American defeat in Iraq. Things have changed in the last couple of months. Dems have once again shown themselves to be the party of the past. They seem unable to understand that we have changed the paradigm and that we may be able to avoid defeat (I doubt they would understand the V-word).

The president, with significant Dem support and intelligence that turned out to be imperfect, invaded Iraq. If we had it to do over again, we would probably have made different mistakes but we would not have gone into Iraq at that time or in that manner. But that is in the past and we have not yet developed a time machine. When facts change, we need to change our minds. Our choices are only about what to do now, not what might have been. No matter how we arrived at this point, winning is better than losing. We can leave an Iraq that is reasonably democratic, stable and not threat to its neighbors. This, BTW, is victory.

As President Bush has said, our success in Iraq will allow us to bring troops home. Some troops will be home by Christmas. Secretary of State Gates suggested troop strength could be below 100,000 by the end of 2008. We are giving the Dems what they claim they wanted, only we are doing it the right way, i.e. on terms favorable to the U.S.

Nobody wants to keep American troops in Iraq any longer than necessary. We all agree on that basic idea of bringing the troops home. Reasonable Dems agree that our behavior in Iraq should reflect changing conditions. In return for their honesty and integrity, the loony lefties attack them. Lefties want to scamper off entirely, today if possible, tomorrow if a wait is necessary. (They have little understanding of logistics, so they think that is possible, BTW.) They do not care if a bloodbath follows or if the whole region goes up in flames if they can blame it on the American president.

Nothing will satisfy the lefties and those who fear them or need their fund raising, so nothing is what we should give them. When moveon loses, America wins.

Posted by Jack at September 14, 2007 8:10 PM
Comments
Comment #232876

Jack:

Great post. On the left I was pretty upset with how the left was treating General Petraeus so I said:

Soon John Edwards will agree with me, and have his wife say something about it!!

JD responded:

I don’t think we usually agree, but that was a great line!!!

JD


Today I read!!

http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0907/A_Sistah_Souljah_moment.html

It is nice to know that Senator Edwards our want-to-be commander and chief, believes in things so much that he sends his wife to deal with them!!

Craig

Posted by: Craig Holmes at September 14, 2007 9:34 PM
Comment #232880

Jack said:

Nobody wants to keep American troops in Iraq any longer than necessary.

Yes they do, Jack. The Bush administration does. They MADE that choice when they elected to invade Iraq, rather than follow sage advice.

They continue to make that choice in a vain attempt to improve Republican chances in ‘08. They can’t show weakness now…the Dems…oops, I mean the insurgents will be emboldened if they do.

Posted by: alien from the planet zorg at September 14, 2007 10:33 PM
Comment #232883

All I can do is shake my head in amazement Jack. I have never been fond of listening to people cry in their beer. I would have to say that to date this is the best vitriolic spin I have seen from you.

Nothing will satisfy the lefties and those who fear them or need their fund raising, so nothing is what we should give them. When moveon loses, America wins. Should Read: When Bush moveson, America wins.

Posted by: RickIL at September 14, 2007 10:40 PM
Comment #232885

Great post, Jack. Long time no blog, I know. I think this “Betray Us” ad puts the Dem Presidential candidates in a bit of a pickle. The overwhelming support of General Patraeus is evident, but I don’t think the Dems want to risk ruffling their base by denouncing this pathetic ad. Look for the Republican candidates to waste no time throwing this pile into the fan, as well. This is a fumble by the Dems on the 1 yard line. The Republicans have picked it up, and will hopefully run with it for a while. Ciao.

Posted by: Duane-o at September 14, 2007 10:44 PM
Comment #232886

RickIl

I also believe that when Bush moves on America will be better off. The new president will have a chance to be bold. But the policy of supporting the surge was the correct one. The cut & run crowd was wrong. The new president will have more options because President Bush stood up to the cut & runners.

And moveon.org is disgraceful.

Posted by: Jack at September 14, 2007 10:47 PM
Comment #232890

Here is the text for the Moveon ad:

GENERAL PETRAEUS OR
GENERAL BETRAY US?
Paid for by Moveon.org Political Action, political.moveon.org, not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.
General Petraeus is a military man constantly at war with the facts. In 2004, just before the election, he said there was “tangible progress” in Iraq and that “Iraqi leaders are stepping forward.” And last week Petraeus, the architect
of the escalation of troops in Iraq, said, “We say we have achieved progress, and we are obviously going to do
everything we can to build on that progress.”
Every independent report on the ground situation in Iraq shows that the surge strategy has failed. Yet the General claims a reduction in violence. That’s because, according to the New York Times, the Pentagon has adopted a bizarre
formula for keeping tabs on violence. For example, deaths by car bombs don’t count. The Washington Post reported that assassinations only count if you’re shot in the back of the head — not the front. According to the Associated
Press, there have been more civilian deaths and more American soldier deaths in the past three months than in any other summer we’ve been there. We’ll hear of neighborhoods where violence has decreased. But we won’t hear that
those neighborhoods have been ethnically cleansed. Most importantly, General Petraeus will not admit what everyone knows: Iraq is mired in an unwinnable religious
civil war. We may hear of a plan to withdraw a few thousand American troops. But we won’t hear what Americans are desperate to hear: a timetable for withdrawing all our troops. General Petraeus has actually said American troops will need to stay in Iraq for as long as ten years. Today, before Congress and before the American people, General Petraeus is likely to become General Betray Us.
Cooking the Books for the White House

Here are supporting links for statements made in the ad:
https://pol.moveon.org/petraeus.html

Anyone care to dispute the factual content of the MoveOn ad? No? I thought not.

In case anyone missed it, the latest estimate of Iraqi dead, according to the Opinion Research Bureau: over one million.
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-fg-iraq14sep14,1,1207545.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

So, yes. Petraeus cooks the books. In assessing sectarian violence in Baghdad, only Iraqis shot in the back of the head are counted. Iraqis who are shot in the face, or die in bombings, have been dropped from the count in order to make it seem like things are improving.

And for anyone who does not believe the Lancet estimates of 655,000 Iraqi violent deaths since the invasion (from 2006), or the latest OPB number of over one million, prove me wrong.

Go ahead.

Find a US government count of Iraqi deaths.

Because you will not find one. And what does that tell you about the Bush Administration?

Posted by: phx8 at September 14, 2007 11:38 PM
Comment #232892

I’ll just post word for word what I wrote in the previous post. This post is basically a repeat.

I listened to Gen. Petraeus’ give his report. For the most part, everyone was respectful. From my perspective the most blatant piece of politicking was when the Republican senator brought up the Moveon.org ad. It had nothing to do with the report. He just wanted to say “Democrats attack soldiers” on camera. You didn’t see any Democrats open their remarks with comments on the latest piece of trash talk from Rush Limbaugh. I agree with Reid, the comment was innapropriate, and distracting from the incredibly important issue at hand.

Other than that, all the Democrat smears don’t read that way to me. “Bush Patreaus report”? He is Bush’s general, and people should be reminded he works for the administration. If only this had been done more for all the other reports we have been given. Secondly, why shouldn’t people question why we went into war? Why shouldn’t we ask whether or not this war is actually creating more terrorists and making us less safe? If our original reasons for going to war are wrong, shouldn’t we figure out why we are there now? Aren’t these important questions?

Americans being skeptical of what they’re told from the military is only natural after having been told things over and over again that are incorrect.

Finally, I don’t think Democrats’ future is tied to losing the war. Even if we win at this point, it will be a pyrrhic victory that cost too much and gained too little. Not to mention all the lying, incompetence, and just plain dumbness and meanness this administration has dealt out to the country in general, not just this war.

Posted by: Max at September 15, 2007 12:00 AM
Comment #232894

Thanks so much to phx8 for taking the time to post the actual ad!

Jack, what specifical statement so offends you? This seems to me a valid opinion based on facts. Hardly out there, or wildly different from the opinions you hear here all the time.

Posted by: Max at September 15, 2007 12:10 AM
Comment #232896

Max,
You are welcome. Watch carefully. No Bush Supporter will ever address the content of the ad. Just watch.

Posted by: phx8 at September 15, 2007 12:36 AM
Comment #232905

Jack, the premise of your article regarding victory or defeat is incredibly and blatantly flawed. Along with Democrats, your perspective here too, is locked into the past.

Let me bring you up to date. We already won and achieved victory with the taking out of Saddam Hussein and his two sons. That was victory. Everything else was, and is, a pathetic attempt at nation building which the Bush administration opposed on the campaign trail, and were utterly and completely devoid of any plan or knowledge about how to accomplish it, once they assumed this entirely different and new mission and pawned it off onto our military.

The only victory in nation building to be had, if one can be had, will be to the Iraqis credit, not Americans. That simple fact is what causes the majority of Americans to refute this expense of ours, in a cause over which we have no control, and whose outcome shall be determined by Iraqis, not our soldiers and deficit spending there.

Hope this brings you up to date, and by all means celebrate our victory over Saddam since you seem to have missed it. But, don’t think for a minute that the majority of Americans are going to be swayed by these BS arguments that America has another war to win in Iraq. We don’t.

The fight in Iraq today must be fought and won by Iraqis, if it is to be won at all. And their fight hardly justifies doubling our $ 1/2 trillion expense their already, or our soldiers deaths climbing to 8,000 from 4,000, or elevating our wounded count from the 10 thousand range to 25 thousand or more.

Republicans apparently are willing to foot these expenses to compensate for their party’s ineptitude in nation building. But for the other 2/3 of Americans, that is no rational justification for footing these expenses going forward. Republicans would do well to put this figure into their political calculus for 2008 and beyond.

Iraq was, and remains, a Middle East regional problem. America would do well to back off and let the UN and Middle Eastern nations deal with their out of control child nation in their own backyard, before it takes its rampage into their neighbors homes and front yards. And no, such a rampaging nation is not capable of swimming the Atlantic to throw its temper tantrums on U.S. soil. Not if our government would take its Constitutional duty to protect and defend our borders seriously.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 15, 2007 1:37 AM
Comment #232919

Sorry Jack the nearly 4,000 dead soldiers , the 20,000 wounded, the 40,000 with PTSD and the 1,000,000 dead Iraqi citizens, the 2,000,000 million Iraqi refugees, the little 12 year old Iraqi girl with half her leg, buttocks and hip blown off (in a case presentation by a college who served in Iraq) and the next 4,000 soldiers to die, the next 20,000 to be morbidly wounded and the next 100,000 Iraqi citizens to die do not have Moveon.org to blame. Moveon.org did NOT betray them. They will look to people like you, who, simply to save face will call for more of their deaths and maiming to win something that is unwinnable. People like you who want another 6 months worth of lives , another years worth of lives another 10 years worth…they will look to you and people like Petraeus and Bush. And you won’t have any one to push your false accusations on. The betrayal, the deaths, the maimings…they are all in your court.


In the words of his superior, Admiral William Fallon, General Petraeus is “an ass-kissing little chickenshit”.

http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=39235

Anyone who wants to talk about who is betraying who needs to read this article in Rolling Stone Magazine.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/16076312/the_great_iraq_swindle


The disgust and betray of this country and its soldiers by this administration and the Republican leadership should result in their banishment from the political scene of America for decades to come. To attempt to turn the tables based on a Moveon.org ad shows just how low this party has sunk.

Posted by: muirgeo at September 15, 2007 2:44 AM
Comment #232930

muirgeo, your comments critiquing Jack personally, violate our Rules for Participation. You appear to be new here. This will be your only warning to comply with our rules before being denied access to WatchBlog. Your cooperation will prevent that course of action.

Posted by: Watchblog Managing Editor at September 15, 2007 4:14 AM
Comment #232932

First of all, Hillary Clinton had nothing to do with the ad. This is just guilt by association.

Secondly, this is 100% about Giuliani helping Giuliani. He wants to get some street cred with his conservative bros. Maybe it will work. But it’s not going to hurt Hillary. So Hillary was a little rough with a poor widdle old general? That’s what voters WANT the Democrats to do, challenge the Bush Administration. (Yes, he is part of the Administration. Bush is his boss.)

Thirdly, I probably shouldn’t be giving out free advice, but you guys need to get over the delusion that the Democrats are out of the mainstream on the war. Just look at the polls. Politically, it is you guys who need to reject your extremists. I understand you may want to “stay the course” out of principle, but don’t kid yourself that the Democrats are losing out politically.

Finally, Bush’s premise that he is withdrawing these troops because of success is BS. It was inevitable because we are running out of troops. He is breaking our military.

Posted by: Woody Mena at September 15, 2007 7:00 AM
Comment #232933

This just in. John McCain doesn’t believe in free speech.

Moveon.org ought to be thrown out of this country.

You can see the video here:

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/channel-08/?hpid=topnews

I used to respect McCain, but he is completely out of line. I am proud to live in a country where you can criticize the Pentagon.

(Note I am criticizing McCain for something HE said…)

Posted by: Woody Mena at September 15, 2007 7:13 AM
Comment #232936

David R. is correct. Our military has done what our military was built to do…it defeated an army and captured the dictators. This was and is victory. Playing street cop, private eye, arbitrator, builder, reformer, investigator,etc… That’s not what our soldiers are trained to do. This is a political problem. An Iraqi political problem. Our fine men and women have done their job and done it well.

This nation building project is slow-bleeding our military, our budget and our goodwill.

Posted by: Tom L at September 15, 2007 8:58 AM
Comment #232941

I think the MoveOn ad is an example of a sensationalist soundbite overwhelming the notice of what is actually quite a good argument against the credibility of Petraeus’s report.

Let’s be clear on this: by using the kinds of measures used by Petraeus and the White House to indicate the success of the Surge, they undermine their own credibility. No one can seriously believe that the Sectarians don’t use car bombs. Nobody can seriously say that every sectarian victim is going to be shot in the head from the back, and ever criminal’s victim will be shot from the front.

When dealing with the real world, decisions have consequences, and those consequences depend on the correspondence between the actual state of the world and results of our actions. If we ignore the actual results of our actions, and/or the actual state of the world, the interaction will not likely occur as expected.

There’s something to be said for the fog of war, which prevents perfect alignment of actions and results. However, the incurious and oblivious manner in which the Administration approaches the war makes it unable to take advantage of positive results when unexpected, and unable to depart from bad strategies when they fail to correspond well enough to the reality of the war.

Ultimately, the Bush administration’s failures are a product of its belief that only it has the right attitude and approach to the war, that all others would lead this country down a path of ruin. They they are incapable of admitting otherwise is the truth of why they have, ironically enough, done the harm they accuse others of trying to inflict.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 15, 2007 9:43 AM
Comment #232942

Woody, I used to respect McCain too, and would have voted for him several years ago. But, his flip-flopping on some issues and intransigence on the Iraq situation, and now his demonstration of no respect for the 1st Amendment, is just beyond the pale.

You know he is not to be counted on when his own party doesn’t trust him either.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 15, 2007 9:50 AM
Comment #232943

Tom L said: “This nation building project is slow-bleeding our military, our budget and our goodwill.”

Incredibly, Republicans have used the Iraq war to pave the road to one party government for and by Democrats. Guess we all gave Rove and Cheney just a bit too much credit for smarts, after all.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 15, 2007 9:53 AM
Comment #232944


Jack: What does an enduring relationship with Iraq mean?

Are the permanent bases we are building in Iraq a part of the enduring relationship?

Is this enduring relationship comparable with the enduring relationship we have with South Korea which has lasted for more than 50 years?

What will this enduring relationship cost the American People? Will this enduring relationship with Iraq last until the last drop.

What effect will this enduring relationship have on the development of alternative energy sources to end our dependence on oil?

Posted by: jlw at September 15, 2007 9:55 AM
Comment #232945

My apologies to Jack. I’m a pediatrician and I only wish every single United States citizen could have seen the presentation of the “injuries” I saw with my colleges given by a college who was on a surgical team in Iraq. I can’t even describe how horrific some of these wounds were. Faces blown off but the victim still an alive 5 year old child. Another child with one arm missing and the other char-broiled with blacked bone protruding from the remaining stump.

Oh yes war is hell but that’s not a justification for war or continued war. It is a reason NEVER, NEVER, NEVER to go to war for profit, for power but only when attacked. We were never attacked by these people we were never threatened by these people. Now we’ve killed and maimed SO MANY…and if they truly had their democratic desires we falsely claim to want to give them we would leave tomorrow as most of them wish.

Likewise regarding Petreaus the evidence suggest he truly was there just to push the administrations talking points. One must ask why was his testimony not followed by the likes of his commanding officer Admiral William Fallon, chief of the Central Command (CENTCOM), who believes we should begin an immediate draw down.

And here in his own words;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghTfBpKGZkY

Posted by: muirgeo at September 15, 2007 9:56 AM
Comment #232960

Jack

I also believe that when Bush moves on America will be better off. The new president will have a chance to be bold. But the policy of supporting the surge was the correct one. The cut & run crowd was wrong. The new president will have more options because President Bush stood up to the cut & runners.

Yes Jack supporting the surge may have been the correct thing to do at the time. It was essentially considered to be a last stand. One last chance to get it right. To prove that staying in Iraq is worth the costs. I like most on these blogs listened to the better part of the senate questioning. What I heard was the republican side doing more congratulating and posturing than attempting validation of the situation. What I heard from the dem side was a senate asking the necessary hard questions in an attempt to get a clear and precise picture of where we truly stand. And to be honest this manner of questioning is what I fully expected them to do. I would have been very disappointed had they used the republican approach of instant acceptance of the report.

I personally see nothing horribly wrong with moveon’s ad. I personally found Petraeus to be somewhat evasively credible. I think that he was at times struggling with the presentation of some half truths. This indicated to me that he was presenting more of a Bush report than that of his own making. It also indicated that he was not comfortable with being mis-leading or presenting evidence that would be contrary to Bush’s needs. This says to me that he is a man of principle who is struggling with having to kiss the rear of a man who has no principles.

Lets face it Bush is lacking credibility with the American people. It only stands to reason that Petraeus by association will also suffer some minor credibility issues. I guess you could say that he is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

And to be honest Jack the “cut and run crowd” thing is getting very old and over used. You know as well as the rest of us that this is not about patriotic values or hatred of Bush. It is nothing more than doing what we the majority of Americans feel is best for our country at this time.

The neo-con agenda of conquering the world has failed. What is truly disgraceful are the underlying motivations and gains made and being made by wealthy profiteers at the expense of all these thousands of lost and maimed lives and all sustained to date by half a trillion dollars of taxpayer money. It never should have been. It does not have to be. And the sooner we disembark the quicker we can begin addressing the issues with a fresh intelligent well thought out approach, hopefully under what will be the leadership of a capable, credible and well intentioned executive branch.

Posted by: RickIL at September 15, 2007 10:58 AM
Comment #232963

Thanks, phx8, for posting the text of the ad. Why it’s considered controversial is beyond me, but I suppose it’s because it runs counter to the current media drumbeat.

Posted by: Gerrold at September 15, 2007 11:11 AM
Comment #232974

Jack

This Dem thinks Move-on was out of line in attacking Petraeus personally. He is, after all a military functionary. A better choice would have been a policy attack. They gave the Reps spinmiesters something else to talk about for a week instead of the failures of the current Bushco strategy,or lack of it.
How many Rep leaders condemned the swiftboaters? What MO did is similar.They should learn “You can’t out puke a buzzard.”
“imperfect intelligence”?Give me a break. They lied. They stacked intelligence to make the case for invasion. There is plenty of proof and you know it. The fact that they managed to fool some Dems is meaningless.The only good point around this that I have read you make is that it is is the past and we need to go forward. My question is why on earth we should trust the people that chose to get us into this mess,then made countless devasting errors once in it and still have not put forward a clear exit plan?

Posted by: BillS at September 15, 2007 11:52 AM
Comment #232983

BillS said: My question is why on earth we should trust the people that chose to get us into this mess,then made countless devasting errors once in it and still have not put forward a clear exit plan?

spot on Bill. Not only why but HOW can we possibly have any faith in anything they do to be the right course of action. They have done nothing to build a sense of trust.

Posted by: RickIL at September 15, 2007 1:34 PM
Comment #232991

Stephen:

Ultimately, the Bush administration’s failures are a product of its belief that only it has the right attitude and approach to the war, that all others would lead this country down a path of ruin. They they are incapable of admitting otherwise is the truth of why they have, ironically enough, done the harm they accuse others of trying to inflict

I think you are partially correct. I see Bush’s error a bit different. Watch Hillary’s speech giving her support for the war. When she is speeking about WMD, tell me that she has been misled by President Bush. I wouldn’t by it in a minute. She consulted her husband. If Bill Clinton who has said about the same words as Hillary thought that Bush was “lying” he would have told Hillary. She had two president’s imput.

Where I think Bush went wrong was in not going the extra mile. I think he did not independently verify intelligence hard enough. He accepted others estimates both Democratic and Republcan.

Then, and here is maybe the key, when the bipartisan intelligence (President Clinton’s administration and Bush’s) were wrong, he didn’t come forward and talk straight. It was at that point he lost the bipartisanship and as you say it because Bush’s war.

I would say that Bush accepted others intelligence estimates and then when they proved false I think you are correct. He didn’t open it up and say “WE” messed up, and now “WE” need to figure out how to fix it.

It is a challenge. It’s a real mess. The UN was in shambles, we had our issues in Somalia. Figuring out what right was is far easier from here than it was back then.

I wouldn’t have trusted the UN at that time. they were robbing us blind!! I certainly would let the countries who were robbing us blind block our actions!!

I disagree with you in that I don’t accept the thesis that Bush misled us into war. I do accept and believe that Bush made a terrible error when we found no WMD, Bush failed to talk straight about the problem to the American people and the world. He needed to say “we were wrong”.

Craig

Posted by: Craig Holmes at September 15, 2007 2:30 PM
Comment #232993

Craige Holmes

There are two possilble conclusions. Bush cherry picked misleading information, and there is much evidence of this,to mislead us into supporting a needless war he decided to get us into or the intelligence agencies have there own agenda. Either is very dangerious to the nation. Both are true.

Posted by: BillS at September 15, 2007 2:53 PM
Comment #232995

Max

I object to the rhyme. I figure these guys just thought they were clever in their childish way. You can disagree about the war and what is happening. But there is no reason to believe that General Petraeus, a career military officer with a stellar record, is a corrupt liar.

The moveon.org people can attack the report (although I doubt many of them understand much about military affairs), but they need not set up such a hateful headline.

That leading Dems cannot see this says a lot about how they view their country’s military.

Phx8

The ad came out BEFORE Petraeus spoke. Petraeus main thrust is that there are still lots of troubles but that momentum is on our side. He understands that risks are great in staying but that risks in leaving are greater. I disagree with most of the moveon.org arguments. Some of them are reasonable, but I think they are wrong. I object to the attack on the man’s integrity.

I cannot speak for Petraeus and I am not an important man, but I think that I can understand his point of view. Let me address that.

I understand that there are some who are passionately opposed to the war and think it is lost. I am just as passionately against defeat and I believe the war is not lost. I might think the anti war types are foolish and misguided. They might think the same about me. We can attack particular positions, but neither side has any right to consider the other dishonest or betrayers.

I passionately believe that the anti-war people are very likely causing more death and destruction, but most of these guys seem to believe what they are doing. Why is it impossible for them to believe the same about the other side?

David

You are right that the building and success must ultimately be up to the people of Iraq. But we can help them and it is in our interests to do so. The analogy I am working with is a really bad neighborhood preyed upon by violent gangs. The people of the neighborhood, given an opportunity, might make their neighborhood better, but the gangs destroy progress and entice their young men into the gangs. The neighbors themselves cannot establish order because whenever any of them stands up, the gangs shoot them down. Only an outside force can provide the security needed to break the repeating pattern of gang control. When the neighborhood institutions become well enough established a momentum builds and they can take care of themselves.

If America can provide the break in the equilibrium of violence, we may succeed and the world will be better for it. The UN and the Middle Eastern nations have never been able to provide this service. I have no confidence they can play a leading role now. On the other hand, we certainly should be working with them to the extent possible, and we are. What we are doing now is reasonable. There are no guarantees it will work, but the chances are better than any other scenario.

Muirego

If we pull out before it is time, we MAY be able to save some American lives in the short term. We certainly will see many more Iraqi deaths. Those numbers you use are mostly the result of insurgent, sectarian and terror attacks. Maybe you believe that when we leave they will all come together in peace. That is the triumph of hope over experience, but you are entitled to your opinion.

I understand that you are moved by the sight of individual suffering. But I can tell you that suffering will not end, and probably become much worse, if we pull out before time. Of course, you may not see it, since the U.S. media will stop paying attention.

Stephen

They made up the sensational sound bite. They deployed it and enjoyed doing it. IF they made a mistake, they can say so.

RickIl

If you think the cut and run idea is getting old, maybe your side should stop advocating it. We all know that the Dems will NOT pull out any faster than George Bush. Just stop claiming otherwise and we can talk about how we can be successful in stabilizing Iraq and bringing troops home.

BTW to all

Sorry if I do not address all points. I have been very busy.

Posted by: Jack at September 15, 2007 3:03 PM
Comment #233000
We all know that the Dems will NOT pull out any faster than George Bush.

Wow, that is quite a statement. You do realize that you are undermining the whole Republican critique of Democratic foreign policy? If the Democrats aren’t going to “cut and run”, then there is really little to argue about. The Republican candidates can start attacking Hillary on her health plan, etc, instead of the war.

We can attack particular positions, but neither side has any right to consider the other dishonest or betrayers.

I agree about the betrayers (=traitor) part, but not the dishonest part. Calling someone dishonest is fair play. Politics ain’t beanbag. (And no, being a general doesn’t mean that you are above politics.)

Posted by: Woody Mena at September 15, 2007 3:24 PM
Comment #233004
We can attack particular positions, but neither side has any right to consider the other dishonest or betrayers.

Oh really? Look at the title of your post, Jack.

Posted by: Woody Mena at September 15, 2007 3:43 PM
Comment #233007
I passionately believe that the anti-war people are very likely causing more death and destruction

Oh? And what information is that based on?


If America can provide the break in the equilibrium of violence

The time for that was at the beginning. Even if the surge works it would require more of the same. We don’t have the troops for that. When we go back to pre-surge levels (because we don’t have the numbers), it will be more whack-a-mole.

The generals from the beginning who advocated many more troops as the start are gone/fired. Too bad they were right.

I watched Petreus. He was evasive, and appeared almost embarrassed in his testimony. He didn’t have much choice.

Posted by: womanmarine at September 15, 2007 4:23 PM
Comment #233008

If he’s knowingly presenting a skewed version of the truth of the Iraq state of affairs, then he’s betraying us. It was disinformation that got us into this in the first place.

Anyway it’s moveon.org. I expect extreme and even unfair partisanship from them. It must be easier for Republicans to get upset about this than to face the withering criticism being levelled at Bush from moderates and even Republicans of all kinds. Alan Greenspan wrote in his soon to be published book that Bush abandoned conservative fiscal principles and was the worst president he ever worked with. How do you feel about that?

Posted by: Max at September 15, 2007 4:23 PM
Comment #233009

Woody

I am using the same thing that moveon.org did. They have shown themselves to understand only that sort of thing. It is just a direct parallel to what they themselves used. They called down the wrath on their own heads.

Re the Dems pulling out - I am American first, Republican second (or maybe even farther down). In any case, I believe that a too quick withdrawal will cost American lives and lead to a very bad result. I do not want that. I think most responsible Dems understand this too. But they fear the left wing of their party and they are pandering to it. This is more than mere posturing. It is harming our efforts to get a successful result.

As you may be able to tell, I am outraged at people like Harry Reid. I do not know what he really things, but his words indicate a celebration of defeat for the U.S. I am outraged by the moveon.org people. They seem bent on taking down Bush by any means necessary, even at the expense of our country. And I am annoyed at Dem leaders such as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, who I am convinced DO know better and yet play with this miscreants. If their perfidious calculations contribute to American defeat, we should all be outraged.

Success in Iraq will be good for President Bush. BUT it is also good for America. I understand the political dillema, but I suggest that there should not be one.

We have not succeeded in Iraq, but recent developments give us reason to hope for a success. If Dems disagree, that is understandable. But they should not become invested in American defeat. They should be suggesting ways to take advatage of the opening. A defeat for Bush in Iraq is a defeat for America in Iraq. It really doesn’t make any difference if you blame him or not.

BTW - Do you believe general Petreaus is being dishonest? Of course, he sees things from a point of view, as we all do, but that does not make him dishonest. Disagreement is not dishonest.

Posted by: Jack at September 15, 2007 4:28 PM
Comment #233010

Woman

I base my belief on what I know about Iraq as well as the analogy of SE Asia after we left. You can find similar situations in many regions of the world, in former Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union, the partition of India and very many places in Africa. Creating a power vacuum in a volatile region leads to much bloodshed. I am not sure we can avoid that even if we stay, but we can be sure that it will happen if we leave precipitously. You may argue that a pullout will save some American lives (I happen to doubt that in the long run) but there is no validity in bringing up Iraqi suffering. That argument belongs on the other side. Iraqi suffering will get worse if we leave too quickly.

The surge is really a bad term and I wish we had not used it. What we had in January was a major shift in strategy. It required a “surge” to jump start it, but the surge was not the strategy. It is showing some impressive results. It is certainly true that we have a better chance of success now than we seemed to six months ago. You are right that this strategy should have been in place earlier. But the question is not what should have been done, which we know as history, but what can be done now.

Max

Alan Greenspan is right about Republicans recently. Unfortunately, they are replaced by Democrats who have even fewer scruples about spending taxpayer money. My hope is that Republicans are castigated and can come back with stronger principles and backbones. If the Dems win as expected in 2008, I expect the country will be in great need of such things by 2012.

Posted by: Jack at September 15, 2007 4:41 PM
Comment #233011

Bill:

There are two possilble conclusions. Bush cherry picked misleading information, and there is much evidence of this,to mislead us into supporting a needless war he decided to get us into or the intelligence agencies have there own agenda. Either is very dangerious to the nation. Both are true.

Personally, I think they all just messed up. By all I mean the intelligence agencies, the Clinton Administration, the Foreign intelligence services, George Bush, Congress (oversight!!) etc.

Some of my evidence is that speech Clinton gave in 1998 after bombing Iraq because of WMD, and the fact that Congress almost unanomously passed a resolution making it offical US policy for us to get rid of Sadaam because of WMD.

Secondly and unfortunately we have a history of “Messing up” with intelligence. We did not see the collapse of the Soviet Union coming. (minor detail), nor 9/11.

Sadly our intelligence has a history of missing a couple of key events.

I don’t think history will be unkind on Bush’s beliefs on WMD in Iraq. If they are he will have plenty of company.

I do think Bush will be judged on how he handled that huge mistake. America invaded a country under false pretense. There were no WMD. We needed to take full responsibilty for for that blunder. Bush should have led us through that process and he did not.

Craig


Posted by: Craig Holmes at September 15, 2007 4:50 PM
Comment #233012

No, Jack, you said “are causing”. By being anti-war? Perhaps you would be right that it might happen if we pull out altogether (maybe, but that is NOT what most Democrats are proposing by the way - nice use of the tired old talking point), but right now I don’t believe that’s the case. Being anti-war is NOT causing more death and destruction.

Did you stop to think that no matter how well off we leave Iraq, the bloodshed could still happen? It certainly wouldn’t be a surprise to me. Interesting that the US and/or these tactics are almost always the cause of this.

What about those majority of Iraqis who want us out? Would it be thier fault?

Posted by: womanmarine at September 15, 2007 4:56 PM
Comment #233013

Woman

Please read what I write and then you would not need to repeat my arguments.

I specifically say that the Dems will NOT pull out. I feel, however, that their posturing on the subject is not helpful. If you are doing something dangerous and difficult, and I keep on telling you and everyone else what a waste of time it is and threaten to stop you from finishing the job, do you think you would be more or less likely to succeed?

I also specfically said that I do not know if our staying WILL prevent the terrible bloodshed and chaos. That is currently unknowable. But I do believe that a fast pull out will certainly lead to such a result. So what we have is a chance and we should take it even w/o a guarentee of a successful result.

BTW - if you look carefully at the opinion of Iraqis, you find that a majority dislike the occupation but a majority still do not want us to pull out too soon. Too many people tend not to make the needful distinctions. I think my analogy of a bad neighborhood is apt Most residents dislike the strong police presence, but would still be unhappy if they left.

In any case, you cannot make policy by polls. Even if you think you have a good poll question, they tend to be a blunt instrument.

Posted by: Jack at September 15, 2007 5:06 PM
Comment #233021

Good heavens Jack, what an enormous pile of horse dung you are shoveling here.

“Joe Lieberman can tell right from wrong.”

Heh. I think Lieberman is a total whack job — he looked like he was going to cry when Petraeus didn’t agree with his overwhelming (Zionist) desire to invade Iran. Btw, have you heard about the latest poll on Lieberman?” Seems he’s not real well liked.

Man oh man, has the GOP cooked it’s own chickenhawk goose.

Great posts as usual, phx8!!!

Posted by: Adrienne at September 15, 2007 7:06 PM
Comment #233023

Adrienne,
Thanks, as always!

Jack,
Does titling the MoveOn ad “Petraeus Betray Us” go over the top? Perhaps. Betrayal may be taken two ways: 1) as a betrayal of public trust, and 2) as a betrayal in the sense of treason. But I have no problem with that. Pardon a baseball analogy, but it is playing hardball, a fastball high and inside, a little chin music. And the Bush administration has repeatedly used the language of treason, in addition to implying opponents of war are cowards, because they want to “cut and run.”

Petraeus, whether he wanted it or not, found himself in a highly charged political setting. Not surprisinly, both he and Crocker presented an administration viewpoint. I do not have a problem- well, not a huge problem- with that. If they have misgivings, they should express them privately. Once the decision is made by Bush, both Bush and Crocker are responsible for implementing policy, regardless of whether they agree. If either thought agreement consituted a compromise of intergrity or an illegal order, they would resign. Obviously, neither one has done that.

I will go further than that. I would have no problem seeing Petraeus and Crocker serve in high positions under a Democratic administration. They would be under the same obligations as they are under Bush.

Propaganda and psychological warfare are important elements in combating Fourth Generation Warfare. However, at some point, the propaganda needs to have some relationship with realities on the ground. Remember the Iraqi Information Minister, Baghdad Bob? The incongruity between his colorful pronouncements and reality eventually became absurd and even amusing. Bush and Cheney have suffered a similar loss of credibility, although they are hardly amusing.

Your article refers to a “lunatic peacenik wing of the party.” Now that is ironic. The day people who want peace are lunatics, and people who want war are sane…

Posted by: phx8 at September 15, 2007 7:47 PM
Comment #233025

Craig Holmes-
Clinton Era intelligence was insufficient to go to invade Iraq over. How do we know this? First, because Clinton didn’t go to war. Second, because Bush and his team went through the effort to actually build a case for war. Why build when you have it ready-made? Third, a large part of the Bush administration’s argument for war was that in the years prior to it, Saddam had rebuilt his arsenal.

In other words, the complementary conclusion to Bush claiming Saddam had rebuilt his arsenal during those five years was that his arsenal had been in need of such a restocking. This means Clinton Era intelligence would be out of date. You can talk about the Clinton Era intelligence all you want to, but it was no longer fresh, according to Bush, and he presented a case built on largely novel information to support the new war.

It’s only after we don’t find these Weapons that Clinton once more becomes Bush’s way of deflecting blame for his own mistakes. The thing is, it is not the intelligence that created this fiasco. Bush wasn’t decieved. Bush didn’t necessarily lie, but there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that Bush simply did not care, so long as the case made allowed him to go to war.

What created the fiasco was that the intelligence services were used improperly by the Bush Administration to lobby the Congress, the UN, and the Country for the authority to go to war. They were used to build a case, and advocate for the administrations position, rather than to assess the situation for the sake of shaping policy to suit that, respond to that.

They believed they knew enough of the truth so they wouldn’t get burned on this, and they staked country’s soldiers, money, and prestige on this bet of theirs.

They turned the process of intelligence-gathering into another arm of their ever-present political campaign to further their agenda. As such, they all too often skewed the intelligence offered to America, to Congress, and to the rest of the world far off of what the facts would support.

Did they believe they were entirely wrong? Maybe not. But they knew things they didn’t tell us, and did things to keep us in the dark to make sure we backed their agenda. They lied to us in order to get us to share suspicions and beliefs they knew they would be unable to get us to share if they simply offered up clean, reliable information. So whether they believe themselves that they were right about Saddam’s WMD is irrelevant because they knowingly deceived us to gain our consent to follow up on their beliefs.

It’s useless to justify the war based on the corruption of other members of the UN. If America had solid, incontrovertable evidence, if they had confirmed sites, then the inspectors would have gone in and found it, and those who had something to hide in the matter would have quietly severed such relationships. Moreover, the whole point of our frustration with these people was that they were preventing us from dealing with a growing and dangerous threat.

Which, we never found. So why are we frustrated with them again? Because they didn’t agree to join us in our error on less than noble grounds?

Let’s stop trying to come up with reasons to justify a stupid decision in hindsight.

Additionally, let’s not let history repeat itself here. Once again, the Administration and its congressional allies are playing politics in order to push forward a policy they cannot justify on its merits. Some people, by temperament, are not ones to mince words, or step into the other guy’s shoes when it comes to talking about the behavior of others.

They’re not going to ask themselves whether General Petraeus might have good intentions, whether he might believe in what he’s saying. They are going to see intelligence being fitted around conclusions to justify a war whose continuation most Americans oppose. They are going to see General Petraeus cooperating in a venture that they see as harmful to the country.

Partisan, this is. But not empty partisanship, merely for the sake of appearances, but in fact strongly held opinion, than at its core has a legitimate argument, and a legitimate wish on the part of the American people embedded in it: Americans wish to have this government, even at this belated point in the game, fulfill its responsibility to accurately assess America’s situation in the world, and act accordingly to improve that.

Americans want to get off the tangent that is Iraq, and cut it short before it does us anymore damage than it already has.

The trick is, most Americans want to do this in a way that doesn’t continue the cavalcade of screw-ups, which begins the process of containing the damage done by this misbegotten policy. Most Americans are willing to go for a gradual withdrawal, but they want it to start immediately, and be faster than the drawdown that the Bush administration has forced upon itself with its manpower policy.

America is going to pay a price in military reach and power for Iraq. The question you should ask yourself at this point is how much.

Jack-
In case you haven’t noticed, the chaos is already there, and nothing we have done has put much of a dent in it so far. Your surge will only get about half a year’s worth of reprieve before Bush’s manpower policies bring it to an end.

The Political reconciliation this surge was supposed to run interference for never happened. Worse than things staying the same, things have gotten worse, the factions deepening their divisions, those representing the folks we needed to get on board boycotting the government.

Any astute observer in Iraq of American policy, will recognize that the surge will end in about half a year, if that. The President, having to cover for the fact that he’s run out of soldiers, has lame ducked the surge.

Leaving aside the question of whether the surge can really do in its last six months what it’s failed to do in its first nine, we come up againste a problem: the slower we take this inevitable withdrawal, the more our manpower problems remain problems.

It is in America’s interests to withdraw from Iraq faster than Bush’s manpower issues will require our soldiers to leave. To merely match pace with what’s sustainable puts us on a knife’s edge of readiness, which some crisis in the world might push us over.

The crisis may just end up forcing us to withdraw to fast from Iraq, while shipping tired, ill-equipped soldiers to whatever front we have to defend or attack on.

In short, If Iraq is a failure, then rebuilding our strategical readiness takes priority. We withdraw just slow enough to keep things from getting much worse than they are, and no slower. The Bush administration lingers in Iraq at America’s peril.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 15, 2007 7:50 PM
Comment #233026

Jack,

It is true that the Democrats are benefiting politically from the problems in Iraq, but it silly to argue that they should be ashamed of the fact.

It is like someone gets an organ because another person died. Should they feel ashamed because they benefited from a tragedy? Unless they actually caused it, I don’t see why. Actually in this case they actually tried to prevent the tragedy before it happened. The Republicans got their way and now they are paying the price.

Posted by: Woody Mena at September 15, 2007 8:07 PM
Comment #233029

Phx8

Yes, General Petraeus, a career military officer and by all accounts an intelligent and honorable man, found himself in the middle of a political battle. He is trying to create a success for America in a difficult and dangerous place. This is what good American soldiers do. He was asked to report back about the situation to the U.S. Congress. He gave a balanced report based on what he thought was true. His thinking is no doubt colored by the fact that he is following the plan that he created based on principles of counterinsurgency he laid out and learned over the course of his long career.

An American general is obligated to carry out the policies of the Commander in Chief. He is not obliged to lie to Congress. I do not believe that he has lied to Congress. He is giving what he considers the truth from his point of view.

For doing this, the Dems and moveon.org attacked him. Yes, they are playing hardball. But what kind of game is it? What is their goal? Surely Democrats want an American success. Surely they want to avoid a bloodbath in Iraq and the Middle East. Surely they will be happy if General Petraeus, a career military man and a leading American expert on counterinsurgency, can give the county some hope of success.

If moveon.org is playing hardball in this game, perhaps we should question THEIR motives. Frankly, I personally am getting fed up with their ilk. I have listened to them. I heard them on the radio this morning. I do not believe they have the best interests of our United States in mind. I believe they are despicable.. I do apologize for my strong words here, but I can think of no other explanation for their outrageous behavior - slandering a career military officer BEFORE he even speaks, cheering for the defeat of their country. I am angry that leading Dems, who know better are such craven cowards that they cannot even distance themselves from the manipulative money providers like George Soros and moveon.org.

As for peaceniks, they are not advocating peace. They are advocating American defeat which will bring no peace for Iraq in the short run or for the United States in the longer term. Some are honest pacifists who dislike all war. I do not agree with them, but I can respect their opinions. But some are not opposed to war so much as they are opposed to George Bush. I cannot respect those who would sell out their country for ephemeral political gain. Bush will be gone in not much more than a year. America will still be in Iraq. We should try to be in the best possible position.

There are legitimate differences of opinion about whether or not we can succeed in Iraq. We should not prejudge the outcome. Back in January it looked very bad for America in Iraq. It is still not a clear if we can achieve success. But it IS clear that the situation has changed and improved. We should celebrate this improvement in America’s fortunes, not attack the person who brings the good news, even if it is only a opportunity that we need to develop.

Posted by: Jack at September 15, 2007 8:37 PM
Comment #233030

Woody

It is not like an organ donor. The Dems benefit politically, perhaps. Their country suffers. If you want to organ donor analogy, it is like watching your brother die and eagerly waiting for the spare kidney. If not shame, I would expect that to engender at least a little regret. And if a new doctor reported a treatment that seemed to be saving his life, I would not expect you to trash him before you heard about the cure.

Posted by: Jack at September 15, 2007 8:42 PM
Comment #233032

Jack,

I think the vast majority of Democrats are extremely unhappy about what is happening to our country. The other sides chooses to these feelings with terms like “Bush hater”.

And if a new doctor reported a treatment that seemed to be saving his life, I would not expect you to trash him before you heard about the cure.

This is where we disagree on the facts. The patient is dying. It’s time to make the funeral arrangements.

Posted by: Woody Mena at September 15, 2007 10:45 PM
Comment #233034

Jack,
Someone described Petraeus as “the right general, three years too late and 250,000 soldiers short.”

His testimony did seem to contradict the GAO assessment. MoveOn provided links supporting their assertions.

Rooting for defeat? Prejudging the outcome?

If opponents of the war correctly conclude the US will not achieve victory, does that mean they are rooting for defeat? Is being realistic the same as being defeatist? Because staying the course, or the surge, or whatever, comes with a very real price. (By the way, here is a thought-provoking article on the costs of Iraq for US foreign policy, in terms of “soft power”). In Kirkuk, Sunnis are being paid something like $12,000/family to leave the city. Elections there have been postponed until next spring. Kirkus represents a potentially disastrous situation, one that has not even begun to be addressed.

Personally, I think there is no chance of the surge working.

I think achieving victory requires a fundamental change in strategy: Withdrawing from Iraq-Partition- Politically engaging the immediate neighbors, namely Iran, Syria, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, with their soldiers replacing US troops under a UN banner- America footing the bill-

The problem is, we are not even considering those kinds of changes. Worse, there is a constant drumbeat from the few remaining Neocons, including Lieberman, for bombing Iran, which almost everyone would agree is an absolutely terrible idea.

Short of bombing Iran, it seems likely the Democrats will be saddled with the mess in 2008. It has been an utter disaster: chaos, hundreds of thousands dead, millions of refugees, infrastructure devasted, cholera running rampant in the north, hundreds of billions of dollars squandered. It will take some sort of miracle for the situation in Iraq not to end even worse.

Posted by: phx8 at September 15, 2007 10:52 PM
Comment #233035

Woody

We disagree. I think there is a chance of success. If that was the only factor, we would be having a different sort of discussion.

Moveon.org did not disagree. In their headline they essentially called a career military officer a liar and a traitor for giving his opinion. That went way beyond the discussion we expect of honorable people.

When they lead with that line, they really cannot expect people not to take offense.

You might criticize the title of my post. You would be correct in assuming that I feel contempt and dislike for moveon.org, just as they feel contempt and dislike for our career military, as indicated by the title of their ad that they felt so sure of that they published it in the New York Times.

We cannot accept this. They chose their title at least as carefully as I chose mine. It would be even more dishonest of them to now pretend they meant nothing by it. THEY placed themselves where they are. They were willing to trash a career military officer and a career diplomat for doing their jobs. They called them liars and worse BEFORE they even heard what was said.

Posted by: Jack at September 15, 2007 10:58 PM
Comment #233037

phx8

Please see above. Move on administered a rhetorical sucker punch and then asked to have its point of view heard w/o prejudice.

I have said several times that while I disagee with arguments of war opponents, I find most of them reasonable. Moveon.org did not argue in the civil way.

I also dislike the Harry Reid defeatist approach. Even if he he turns out to be right in the end, I expect more from an American Senator than to count up possible partisan gains based on an American defeat BEFORE it has happened.

“I think achieving victory requires a fundamental change in strategy: Withdrawing from Iraq-Partition- Politically engaging the immediate neighbors, namely Iran, Syria, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, with their soldiers replacing US troops under a UN banner- America footing the bill”

Partioning might be possible, as might getting America to foot the bill. If you can cobble together a multinational force including Iran, Syria, Turkey & Saudi AND you can get them to actually do anything useful, you will deserve twenty Noble prizes. I have never seen, or even heard of such a force establishing peace anywhere in the world at any time in history. This is much more unlikely than a complete U.S. victory by next year.

Actually, I think if we pull out quickly, we may well get the soldiers of those places in Iraq - with the U.S. paying the price. But they will not be cooperating and there will be no peace.

Posted by: Jack at September 15, 2007 11:08 PM
Comment #233038

Jack-
This is the dance of oblivion that’s afflicted your party since the start of the war. You ask every time for the chance to redeem your failures, insisting that the evidence shows improvements or the possibilities of improvements, all while the facts indicate that fundamental measures of success are being failed. Then you call the people who express doubts about whether your latest iteration of Plan A will work cowards and quislings, defeatists and pessimists.

This you continue to do as the war wears on and people’s patience wears off; you ask each time for people to give you one more chance as if you’re entitled to ask for that forever.

In truth, nobody is. It’s arrogant to screw up continuously perpetually fall short of even self-imposed goals, then twist words and monkey with semantics to make it seem like you didn’t fall as short as you seemed to.

Nobody can afford to run a bad policy like this forever, and it’s certainly not going to gain support by being rammed continually down the throats of an unwilling American public.

You’ve had your chances. The only folks you have to blame for blowing this, are yourselves.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 15, 2007 11:28 PM
Comment #233039

Jack,
“If you can cobble together a multinational force including Iran, Syria, Turkey & Saudi AND you can get them to actually do anything useful, you will deserve twenty Noble prizes. I have never seen… such a force establishing peace anywhere in the world at any time in history. This is much more unlikely than a complete U.S. victory by next year.”

Probably true. Most civil wars end with one side winning a decisive military victory over the other, rather than through negotiation.

But the idea of negotiations involving neighboring countres is hardly new, and everyone would agree it offers a preferable outcome. The ISG recommended something along these lines, and many others have suggested the same. A successful negotiation means a satisfactory outcome for all parties. None of the neighboring countries want to see the Iraqi civil war expode across their borders, nor do they want an implosion drawing them into Iraq. All want to see Iraqi refugees repatriated. So all sides have a vested interest.

It will not happen under the Bush administration.

That much is obvious. It could, perhaps, happen with a Democratic administration. Osama Barack, despite his mildly alarming inexperience, approaches issues with a fundamentally conciliatory approach. Or, Hillary could send Bill Clinton to spearhead the effort…

Btw, the Al-Sadr faction withdrew from Parliament. The Al-Maliki government is literally hanging by a thread. Only 23/40 cabinet positions are operating, and the only supporters of Al-Maliki left in the legislature are the 53 Kurds, SIIC/Dawa, and 12 other parliament members from small parties.

Posted by: phx8 at September 15, 2007 11:43 PM
Comment #233040

Jack,

I am not going to defend MoveOn, but I really don’t care either. The facts on the ground matter more than any newspaper ad. Complaining about how mean and nasty these guys are doesn’t make our position in Iraq any stronger. It’s the favorite Republican strategy these days: Hey, look over THERE!

Anyway, that’s all I have to say on the matter.

Posted by: Woody Mena at September 15, 2007 11:47 PM
Comment #233042

Stephen

“You’ve had your chances. The only folks you have to blame for blowing this, are yourselves.”

You do not understand. This is not a political thing. A defeat in Iraq will be a defeat for Bush AND a defeat for America. I want the U.S. military and diplomacy to succeed.

phx8

The U.S. is trying to get others to cooperate. It is not really a new idea. It is just one that is not working, since various players have conflicting priorities and some are not acting in good faith. What would you offer the Iranians that the Saudis, Turks, Syrians, not to mention particular Iraqi groups would accept? Now substitute the other permutations and blame Bush if you want, but do not expect much UNLESS the U.S. can help the Iraqis establish some order.

All the players want a solution, but none of them want the same solution.

Woody

Not defending moveon.org is not enough. Good people should condemn what they did. I would have no trouble condemning a right wing hate headline like that. If the leading Dems had merely said that this headline was unacceptable to them, we could all move on.

We would still disagree about Iraq, but none of us would be associated with the hateful clowns.

Posted by: Jack at September 16, 2007 12:08 AM
Comment #233043

“I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil”
Alan Greenspan

Posted by: phx8 at September 16, 2007 12:09 AM
Comment #233045

Jack-
A defeat for Bush would be a defeat for America? I’m almost tempted to say that’s obvious, but there’s one problem with your formulation: it gets things backwards, and it targets the wrong focus as the meaningful center of the criticism.

A defeat for Bush is a defeat for Bush. It only becomes political when Bush tries to make the skeptical look treacherous, the dissenters look disloyal, and the critics seem like persecutors of Bush and the Soldiers.

What you want and what you can get are two different things. The Bush Administration waited after years of trauma, reprisals, sectarian takeovers, major American battles and all the assoicated build-ups of tension to take a real radical change of course, and that one just turned out to be yet another round of staying the course, just this time with a different name and even worse manpower deficiencies at work. You’ve built up too much negative history and are applying too little manpower for too little time to get things done right.

The charge that we’re somehow prejudging the Bush administration is not credible. We have plenty of experience and facts to draw from in reach the conclusion that Bush’s war is a failure, and that Bush has mismanaged things. Prejudgment is deciding on things before you have most of the relevant, important facts. It can’t be said that with four and a half years of experience, we lack for a supply of that. Quit claiming prejudice when what you really want to claim is that we shouldn’t have the gall to disagree with your bound to succeed cours of action.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 16, 2007 1:04 AM
Comment #233046

Craige Holmes
The intell community did ,as you point out”miss ” the fall of the Soviet Union. I do not believe that to be an accident either.They are very good at what they do. They have a different agenda. Had they told us the truth about the Soviets being a paper tiger,no great threat to our security, the huge military build up of the Reagan years would not have happened. It would not have been deemed necessary and certainly not worth the tremendous debt that our grand children will still be paying.Their goal was and is to furthur an American domination of the world.
I am trying not to be shrill about this but a look at our history reveals a distinct propensity for empire from the earliest days. The conquest of the Indian terratories,the Mexican War,the Spanish American War,the Philipine War,Hawahii,the real motivations for our entry into WW1,countless incursions into S.America,Vietnam and now Iraq demonstrate this.The intell community are not just part of this but a driver.For all our sakes we need to get them under control and remove the imperialist from power.That age has passed and the fates will not be kind to those that persist.

Posted by: BillS at September 16, 2007 1:05 AM
Comment #233047

“I understand that you are moved by the sight of individual suffering. But I can tell you that suffering will not end, and probably become much worse, if we pull out before time.” Jack


No you can’t tell me that because you don’t know this any better then anyone else. It’s a presumption on your part and those people and our people both want us out.


“Maybe you believe that when we leave they will all come together in peace. That is the triumph of hope over experience, but you are entitled to your opinion.” Jack


And you think they will come together in peace with us their? Are you kidding? The whole reason 9-11 happened is because we occupied their territory. Ever since we over threw the Iranian government in the 50’s we have created our enemy. You may be comfortable with an living under the hegemony of Imperial rule but in my opinion it’s everything in the world that this country is supposed to be AGAINST. It’s THEIR oil not ours and the fact that we went and used most of ours up by the 70’s in not their fault.

It’s time to bring our troops home and let the Middle East settle its own problems while we focus on defending our own country. And it’s time for the oil companies to start getting their product to the market with out the backing of the US military and the peoples treasury.

They’ve so blinded and frightened people like you into thinking this is all about terror when nothing could be further from the truth. It’s all about them selling you their product and having you pay a huge part of your income to protect their product. It’s a lot like serfdom. They’ve even got you making their arguments for them and defending their indefensible actions.

You need to open your eyes because you claim to be an advocate of free market economies and this has NOTHING to do with a free market economy. This is an economy planned from the top down….planners of the worst sort.


Posted by: muirgeo at September 16, 2007 1:08 AM
Comment #233048

Jack
phx8 issued a challenge. Can you dispute the facts in the moveon ad? Did you read them? The only thing I have against Moveon is they gave you and other hawk spinsters something other to discuss.Bunch of amatures.I hope Moveon apoligize for offending the delecate sensibilities of those that have made careers of ordering the deaths of tens of thousands.Hate for them to get their feelings hurt.
Did you approve of the swiftboater ads?

Posted by: BillS at September 16, 2007 1:38 AM
Comment #233050

Muirego

My experience (which is extensive an multinational) tells me that there will be a bigger bloodbath if we fail. YOu are right that I do not know the future, but that is what I believe.

You blame 9/11 on us occupying their territory. Which territory are you talking about? Osama bin Laden was elected by nobody and has on legitimate territory.

I know you do not think that Iran had something to do with 9/11, but your prose implies it. I just point this out before somebody else does.

I agree that the oil that lies under the countries of the Middle East is ultimately under the legitimate control of the countries there. It is, however, more complicated. Exploration, technologies etc also deserve compensation.

You may have noticed that since the 1970s, we (the U.S.) has not controlled the oil supplies. We are a consumer of oil, as you point out.

I also agree that the price of fuel should be much higher. As you know, I favor a carbon tax. I prefer that oil pay its way. But the idea that if the U.S. was not involved the Middle East would be happy and peaceful ignores the region’s history.

The problem of the Middle East IS oil. We agree. But again it is more complicated. Oil gives bad guys and wierd guys power to reach out and hurt others and us. Somebody like Robert Mugabe in Zimbawe or Lukashenko Belarus are very bad, but w/o the steroid power of oil, they remain local menaces about which we hear little. If you gave these guys 20 billion a year in revenue from what is much like a windfall, they too would be trouble.

BillS

The Soviet Union became a paper tiger because it declined; it did not decline because it became a paper tiger. The Soviet Union was crippled by low prices for oil and natural resources in the late 1980s. You can see how Russia gets more powerful today with higher prices. They also suffered when Reagan turned up the heat. We were VERY active in E. Europe. The heroic people of those countries resisted communism, but they may have lacked the resources and support to do it had the U.S. not helped out.

I remain convinced that if Carter had been reelected in 1980 and followed by Mondale, the Soviet Union would be with us today and - like contemporary Russia - growing stronger as the price of oil and primary products rises.

I know that you and others here believe that U.S. actions have the power to produce outcomes. Muirego evidently thinks that a dozen CIA agents in 1953 determined the whole subsequent history of the Middle East. Why is it so easy to believe that these happy few were able to overthrow a government in Iran (and many others) and maintain another in power for nearly 30 years and yet a concerted effort by the U.S. over many years was completly ineffective against enemies such as the Soviet Union.

Stephen

I just like to point it out since people seem to forget. An American defeat in Iraq will be very bad for the U.S. and the world. Many do not seem to understand this. They seem to think that we can just call it quits and blame Bush.

The big news is that Bush will be gone soon. Our problems with Iraq will abide. If we pull out too soon, there will be more bloodshed and danger.

I believe that the risk of leaving too soon is greater than the risk of remaining. We will continue to disagree about this, but I see no reason why things will improve if we just leave. Most of the Iraqi deaths are from sectarian violence, terrorism or insurgents targeting civilians. This will not stop if the U.S. troops leave. The U.S. troops are holding this down to some extent, maybe no enough but some.

Posted by: Jack at September 16, 2007 2:08 AM
Comment #233051

BillS

Petraeus answered them.

He did not say the situation was perfect or settled. He mentioned progress since the surge.

As the General explained, we had a significant change in strategy in January. We are more on the offensive and there are more troops involved. This creates more casualties during the surge. Moveon.org would have noticed that on June 7, 1944 U.S. casualties were much higher than they were on June 5, 1944 and in the next year they were higher than in the previous year. I do not suppose the moveon.org guys are very good at history.

General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker both acknowledged that political progress was not sufficient. Moveon.org did not need to call them liars since they agreed. That is still the biggest challenge. Of course, we could point out that the U.S. Congress evidently cannot get an immigration reform passed and they will not even touch entitlement reform. Sometimes the political piece is the last part of the puzzle to fall into place.

There is now significant disagreement about progress in Iraq. Many Dems have come back talking about military progress and are now working to shift their arguments. I think the success of the surge has surprised many people. It was not expected to finish the job by now. It was meant to turn the tide and it seems to have done that.

I guess if you sum up, you can say that moveon.org is a bit hysterical in its name calling. They see the glass as half empty and are sure it will soon be all empty. Petraeus is more experienced in these things. He is calmer and more thoughtful. He did not need to call names. He sees a half full glass and thinks we might be able to do better.

I am unable to predict the future, but I see reason for hope. Moveon.org is also unable to predict the future, but they see nothing but darkness. I want to work toward success and think it is still possible. Moveon.org has given up and preemptively seeks defeat.

Posted by: Jack at September 16, 2007 2:25 AM
Comment #233060

Moveon.org, or Rush/Fox News even the General cooks the books and news toward their views.
I hope there is a withdrawl soon, but I will believe it when I see Bush do it, but it will never happen while he is in office in my opinion.

Pullout and let the Iraq’s go at it or better yet invade Iran and make this even a bigger war, but wait isn’t that what chenney wants anyway. More money for haliburton and bush inc.

Posted by: KT at September 16, 2007 11:08 AM
Comment #233063
Not defending moveon.org is not enough. Good people should condemn what they did.

They should not have used the word “betray” or said that he is “cooking the books”. Other than that, I don’t find anything offensive about the ad. A general is not a holy being who is above criticism. Their basic argument is that he has not been credible in the past, so we shouldn’t trust him in the future. You may disagree, but you can’t say that that type of argument violates the standards of decency.

Hillary Clinton is probably going to be the leader going to be the leader of our military soon, and I bet the things your side will say about her will make this ad look quaint.

Posted by: Woody Mena at September 16, 2007 11:33 AM
Comment #233069

Oh, our defeat in Iraq has been bad for us, no doubt, and chaos has been a consequence. Don’t you understand? it’s already happened. Wars aren’t decided all at once. Bush has been losing this war for quite some time, and the current desperate scramble hasn’t made up for it, and really can’t. Bush allowed the chaos to grow beyond the ability of the forces we have in Iraq to restore order.

Bush wants credit for trying. He wants credit for some progress, even though, for the most part, it’s insufficient progress. The Benchmarks were not intended to be soft aims, but hardcore goals, to be attained in the most part, not barely moved towards or utterly failed.

If this were education, your definition of winning the war would be social promotion. You define making progress as winning. The rest of us define that mediocre level of success as merely failure on a lesser level.

Political reconciliation is the only strategic outcome that can even get us close to a positive outcome, and the Bush Administration has utterly failed to get that. Without that, there’s no true security. You guy have been obsessing over keeping the troops in Iraq, but you really haven’t thought out the political and diplomatic dealmaking that will be required to allow us to leave on a responsible basis.

As for the WWII comparison? Well, we didn’t have all this technology to enable us to reduce casualties and increase our ability to to project lethal force. We couldn’t drop smart bombs on bunkers. We didn’t have our soldiers wearing Kevlar.

However, we have to realize that the strategic situation was different. We were facing an enemy equal or even slightly superior in technology. We had a clear strategic goal, with unambiguous measures of progress. FDR and Truman didn’t have to tapdance around trying to redefine success. They could define victory, the end result desired.

The Republicans can’t and won’t define victory, because at this point it’s beyond them. There will be no American style Democracy, at least not by American hands. They will only define success, so they can get themselves out from under the pall of their own mistakes.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 16, 2007 12:02 PM
Comment #233071

Jack,

What a frustrating post. I guess your party will never tire of hiding behind the flag and making up reasons to cry foul. Am I honestly supposed to believe that the same people that supported the Swift Boat Veterans, who insinuated Kerry was unAmerican and a wimp by calling him “french”, that felt it was a great idea to insult nations around the world who called this war into question, who support the VP calling other senators foul four-letter words, who regularly insinuate that Democrats are unpatriotic and want to “cut and run” have had their feelings hurt by this?

This is the difference between Republicans and Democrats: Hillary is presenting her plan for universal health coverage today, Guiliani has taken out a full page ad in the times trying to smear Clinton as responsible for this moveon.org ad. Your party has no shame, no substance. It’s insulting to even be talking about this, the same way it was insulting to have to defend Kerry for looking “french” and all the other distrations your party engages in.

Posted by: Max at September 16, 2007 12:32 PM
Comment #233076

Jack
Its not always a bad personal trait but you would be hopeful if you were on fire. The justification for the surge was to allow breathing room for the political process to work. It has failed in that regard. No arguement from the Generals or the Whitehouse on this except for allowing fascist back into the government and a smattering of extra-legal oil revenue sharing.
My comments regarding the Soviet Union were about our intelligence communities agenda. I do not believe they were not aware of anything as huge as Soviet weakness but instead kept it under wraps for the political purpose of vastly increaseing the military for the purpose of colonial expansion..
As to a Carter/Mondale victory leaving the USSR intact,just fun but pointless historical speculation. I suspect the Soviet empire would have collapsed anyway out of poor and top heavy management. You are correct that the fall of oil prices had great effect. One more reason to commence a Manhatten Project to move away from fossil fuels.Any chance of that happenning with Rep support?Not likely. Their fall would have happened without the massive military buildup by the US or our arming the Afgan rebels,some of whom have turned their guns on us.Since then we have been rapidly adding the lost colonies to our de facto empire,or trying too at any rate.
The effect of US involvement in the fall of democracy in Iran and the installation of the Shah should not be underestimated. Its a facinating story you should look into. The CIA was activly involved beyond question. It was a near thing. Some agent had thought it failed for a time. The CIA considered it a victory after the Bay of Pigs catastrophy. There is still great animosity in Iran over it. Look at the historical outcomes it led to and do not dismiss it so lightly.
You might want to look at an artical in Harpers predicting a sustained assault on Iran.


Posted by: BillS at September 16, 2007 12:48 PM
Comment #233077

Woody

“Besides that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play.

As I said, if you leave out the inflammatory comments, all we have is an honest disagreement. I would not have written this post if moveon.org would have entered the honest debate.

Re Hillary (or any Dem) I do not believe any serious politician really will pull out of Iraq precipitously. We saw a major change in the last couple of months. The moveon.org folks are not amused. The Code Pink is more clearly a lunatic fridge. Harry Reid is wisely keeping his profound thoughts largely to himself. I am more hopeful now that wee can come to a bipartisan modus vivendi (if not agreement) about what to do about Iraq. What we need to do now is get some of the rancor out of the debate.

This is the future I see it:

- U.S. troops will be in Iraq for at least five and probably more years. George Bush will not pull them out and neither will his successor, Democrat or Republican.
- The situation in Iraq will begin to stabilize.
- The central power in Iraq will never be able to exert strong control over the country.
- Iraq will devolve much of the real authority to regional and local authorities. It may develop into a kind of Belgium model (although less peaceful).
- Iran will overplay its hand and the situation within the country will head toward collapse, making a grand deal with the U.S. possible (Nixon in China scenario)
- We will look back on Iraq as a botched by useful step in bringing the benighted and unstable Middle East into the more peaceful community of nations.
- George Bush will be seen as someone who had the right idea, but the wrong initial execution and as a flawed messenger.
- The anti-war fanatics will tell stories about how they were again betrayed by the Dems, but they will not learn any lessons. Like the Bourbons, they forget nothing and learn nothing.

Stephen

Victory in Iraq is a reasonably democratic and stable Iraq that is not a threat to its neighbors. We will achieve this - not Republicans & Dems, but Americans & Iraqis.

Posted by: Jack at September 16, 2007 12:50 PM
Comment #233080

BillS

It depends on what part was on fire. But you can be sure that if I was on fire, you can bet I would be looking for pool of water or rolling on the dirt and I would put off deciding who was to blame for my predictament until after.

Re Soviet Union - I do not believe in historical destiny. I think the interesting thing now is the resurgence of Russia. It is run by the old KGB folks, the same guys who ran the Soviet Union. I believe if the Soviet Union could have passed through around a decade time of troubles, it could be resurging right now with the resurgence of commodity prices and some changes in personnel (if not system).

The U.S. helped push the Soviet Union over the edge, took the opportunity when it was available.

You recall the quote from Julius Caesart, “There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life Is bound in shallows and in miseries”.

Leadership involves seeing these tide changes. After that, everything looks easy and inevitable.

Posted by: Jack at September 16, 2007 1:01 PM
Comment #233082


The United States made it’s bed in the Middle East in 1947 and we have been wallowing in it every since. If you don’t believe me then ask Lieberman. As a result, some in this country now feel that we have no choice but to subjigate the peoples of the Middle East and deprive them of their primary resource.

Now, the Neocons, who through their ignorance and ineptitude have created chaos in Iraq, proclaim that if we withdraw chaos will ensue and like the Phoenix, the Persian Empire will be reborn from the ashes of chaos to destroy America.

If George Bush fails to fulfill his destiny by invading Iran before leaving office, all that the Neocons and their corporate allies have tried to achieve could be lost.

In my opinion, there is only one hope of getting the Iraqis to come together as a nation. We must announce that we are going to withdraw our troops and set dates for their withdraw. The Neocons will do everything in their power to prevent this from happening.

As long as the Neocons are insisting that we stay in Iraq at least until the oil is used up and as long as they insist that oil contracts and rebuilding contracts are controlled by American corporations, the Iraqis have no incentive to come together and the World has no incentive to help us.

Posted by: jlw at September 16, 2007 1:05 PM
Comment #233083

Jack said: “I would not have written this post if moveon.org would have entered the honest debate.”

Crap, Jack. MoveOn asked a question. Is Petraeus betraying the American people by claiming to be honest while reporting progress on a mission given to him by Pres. Bush? The General would be a damned fool to come back and report he has made no progress on his mission. His mission was to make military progress. Therefore, his report is going to reflect that.

You can’t ask him if his mission will successfully fulfill Bush’s policy objectives. His role is not to critique or even fulfill Bush’s policy objectives. His role is to fulfill the military objectives given him. He reported there has been progress in that regard, limited progress.

So, the answer to MoveOn’s question is, NO! Petraeus has not betrayed the American people. It is the media, the partisans, and the party leaders who have made far more of MoveOn’s question than was ever there.

Given that Petraeus’ report was, for the most part, though not entirely, accurate, the next question for Congress and the people is, how can America insure the political progress by the Iraqi government that must be made in order for Bush’s policy to become successful? So far, the answer to that question has been, America Can’t ! And that should be the pinnacle of the debate taking place.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 16, 2007 1:15 PM
Comment #233084

David

You hit on a problem when you say “Bush’s policy”. It is Bush’s policy, but it is also America’s policy.

I do not know if you know the distinction between being involved and committed. If you think bacon and egg breakfast, the chicken is invoved and the pig is committed. His ass is in it. Dems are thinking themselves as the chicken when in fact they are the pig.

I have made a lot of moveon.org because it was an extraordinarily insulting ad. If that came from a single blogger, even a single individual or a small time organization we would just treat it like an Ann Coulter moment. But this was in the NYT. Moveon.org is a major bank account for the Dems. They cannot claim a rookie slip and Dems should not be able to dodge the company they are so closely keeping.

Posted by: Jack at September 16, 2007 1:47 PM
Comment #233085


“This, BTW, is victory.”

Jack, could you elaborate on the part about the new Iraq not being a threat to it’s neighbors? For instance, if we choose to invade Iran or Syria, would we be disappointed if the new Iraq refused to help us and refused to allow us to stage the invasion from their territory?

How does the Administrations announcement that we will form a lasting, South Korea type arrangement with Iraq fit into your “This, BTW, is victory.” senario? Do you think that it will take at least 50 years before the conditions that you say will constitute victory are achieved? Would a lasting relationship which commits the American military to a generational involvement in Iraq be a natural bi-product of the conditions you have given to determine victory or would it actually be a condition that you failed to mention?

Posted by: jlw at September 16, 2007 1:48 PM
Comment #233086

SD
They have indeed redefined victory,at least the defintion for public comsumption but they have achieved or are well on the way to achieveing the real victories they seek. They have established control of most of the Mid-East oil reserves. What we are quibbleing about now is wether the maintenence of this control will be directly by US troops or by an Iraqi puppet army or rather at what point the puppet army can take over. They do not expect to ever really allow true Iraqi independance.
The drum beat for war with Iran is getting stronger.Gates,in an interview on PBS,stated that the military has the capability of another front. The US is labeling a large segment of Irans forces as terrorist and pushing MIC contractors to speed up cost estimates .Publicly they are speaking of Iranian involvement in the Iraqi conflict as without question without presenting any reliable evidence much like the buildup for the Iraq invasion.The explosive projectile weapon they are accusing Iran of suppling are simple to make. I saw how to do it on the Discovery channel.

Posted by: BillS at September 16, 2007 2:20 PM
Comment #233088

Jack-
Maliki’s government has had defections left and right. Claiming that the power will devolve to local regions while the country becomes calmer overall is a nice way to both accept that grim fact, yet pretend that things will turn out all right. But that’s rosey, best-case scenario thinking, and all that’s come of that in the course of this war is fiasco, because anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

To elaborate, nobody’s going to be satisfied with the status quo. Each side is going to work to undermine the other. There’s a reason America went with a strong federal system, rather than a weak confederacy: with a diverse set of colonies with well-established cultures, only such a system could create a manageable government from what we have.

But the framers had an advantage Iraq does: the states weren’t fighting each other in the streets.

I think you and other Republicans are arguing in circles trying to avoid one very difficult truth: Iraq is a failed state, and our policies are what made it that way. Does it matter whether Bush had good intentions? Well, you know what they say the road to hell is paved with.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 16, 2007 2:45 PM
Comment #233094

However, General Petraeus seemed quite honest when asked:

    “Is Iraq making us safer ?

General Petraeus responded:

    I don’t know.

He’s definitely caught in the middle for some really … whatever you want to call it.

But, should General Petraeus be the focus?

It seems to me a lot of Republicans and Democrats alike got us into this mess, managed it very badly, and our troops (who deserve much better) are paying the awful price for it.

Are the voters going to be lured (once again) into the divisive, distracting partisan warfare, blame our troops, and continue to repeatedly reward politicians with 90% to 95% re-election rates?

The voters are responsible too, and no better than the politicians they keep rewarging with 90% to 95% re-election rates.

Our troops deserve much better.

Iraq should get their act together fast.
We can’t and shouldn’t stay there forever.
Especially if they don’t want us there, and that may already be the case based on many polls.

Some use the excuse that the terrorists will follow us here.

Well, it appears they are already here. And near-wide open borders and ports (despite a BILL passed to build fences, but no money to fund it) doesn’t make much sense either.

Some use the argument that we can’t afford failure in Iraq.

I’m not sure we can afford to be successful in Iraq.

Haven’t we done enough to and for Iraq?
What will it cost to bring order to Iraq?
Is it even possible?
Who really thinks Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds will ever get along (at least, any time in the near future)?

If it was me, and I had the choice of sending or keeping troops in Iraq, I’d have to say “NO, start bringing our troops home now”, because:

  • (01) That is not the right thing to do to our troops.

  • (02) We broke it, but we’ve tried to correct it. Iraqis have to take some responsibility too.

  • (03) We’ve done enough. We’ve been trying for years to fix it. But it may be unfixable, and/or the price to fix it is too high.

  • (04) Our troops are being used for nation buidling. Is that right? At what cost? At any cost?

  • (05) There are terrorits in Iraq, but much of it is because we are there too. Shias, the majority of the population, are not likely to tolerate Al Qaeda once we leave. So, is the Alqaeda threat overstated? Is it fear mongering to say “they [terrorists] will follow us here”?

  • (06) Iraq may descend into civil war. That’s their choice. The only thing preventing it before 2003 was the brutal oppression of Saddam Hussein. Are we doomed to stay in Iraq indefinitely to prevent civil war? Can that even stop civil war?

  • (07) So what if Iran and Iraq join up, if that’s what they want. Both are predominantly Shia. Are we the world police?

  • (08) What if terrorists follow us here? They’re going to come here anyway. Seems to me we shouldn’t make it easy for them with near wide-open borders and ports.

  • (09) We can’t force democracy on three or more factions that can’t get along (unlike Japan and Germany that were mostly one culture/ethnicity).

  • (10) Iraqis are not stepping up to the plate fast enough (and may never do so). Especially if we keep providing security for them.

  • (11) Bahgdad is 250 square miles in area. That is only a tiny 0.15% of the total 167,975 square miles in Iraq (672-to-1 ratio), and it took 160,000 troops (plus other coalition troops) and several years to make any progress. What does they tell us? The Kurds seem to be doing better in the North, but not for long if Sunnis and Shias won’t allow it to continue.

  • (12) Even if the country was split up three ways (which seems plausible), will the three regions get along? Is that our responsibility? Is that the job of our troops? Could I tell our troops “you must go to Iraq”. For how long? How much longer? Is this really what our troops should be doing? Can peace be obtained by force when no political solutions exist?

  • (13) Despite good intentions, we may be doing more to incite more violence in Iraq. And I’m not sure I understand why, but 61% of Iraqis polled believe that the violence would decrease if U.S. troops departed. Does that mean we are actually making things worse? Most Iraqis seem to think so. Or perhaps most just hate us and want us gone? 70% of Iraqis polled want U.S. forces to be gone within 18 months. Thus, they seem to understand that a sudden vaccuum is not a good thing.

  • (14) “Stay the course” plan is not much of a plan. That could easily mean staying there indefinitely. Iraq’s reconstruction and assistance can not be addressed by the U.N. and other nations as long as the U.S. occupation remains open-ended. Again, we may be doing more harm than good? Staying the course may be the worst thing we could do?

But that is not up to me.

Or is it? One thing I can do is not reward (with repeated re-election) the irresponsible incumbent politicians in Congress that foolishly got us in this entire mess (and largely based on WMD that did not exist), and are now keeping us there. Most Americans agree. Let’s see if the will put their votes where their mouths are, or continue to blindly pull the party lever; putting the importance of winning of seats in Congress above all other matters.

Posted by: d.a.n at September 16, 2007 4:52 PM
Comment #233153

Jack said: “You hit on a problem when you say “Bush’s policy”. It is Bush’s policy, but it is also America’s policy.”

Wrong again, Jack. It is Bush’s policy. The polls show Americans and Iraqis alike, in a majority, want our occupation of Iraq to come to a close sooner than later. That is American’s policy. Bush’s policy is entirely different and deaf to American’s choice of policies.

Please don’t paint the target that rightfully belongs on the Bush administration on the American people’s backs. The American people have matured and become educated to the reality on the ground in Iraq. The Bush administration is still moving goal posts and redefining the end game in search of some form of vindication for its having committed the greatest blunder in American history since the South attempted to secede from the Union.

The American Congress, people, and Bush share the responsibility for having invaded Iraq. But, Bush and his administration now stand largely alone in pursuing this occupation in the hopes the Iraqi people will rescue them with political objectives Bush can live with.

There will be a resolution in Iraq one day, and many 10’s of thousands will die to achieve it. But, that resolution will be an Iraqi or, Middle East regional solution regardless of whether more Americans die and another half trillion American dollars are spent there or not. Hence such horrendous American expense is not justified for no other purpose than the useless attempt to politically salvage Pres. Bush’s and his administration’s legacy.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 17, 2007 10:25 AM
Comment #233202

Chuck Hagel on sending Petraeus to sell Bush’s policy.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 17, 2007 2:04 PM
Comment #233222

David

The President is responsible for America’s foreign policy. If it goes well, we benefit. If it goes poorly, we suffer. If the Middle East falls into chaos, nobody will be able to say, “Well that was Bush, so we do not care”.

That is what I think many people are missing. It seems to me that some liberals seem to think they can just repudiate the policy. That is not how it works. Politically - IN the U.S.- it makes sense. Outside our country, it is like you trying to duck your wife’s credit card bills by saying that you told her not to spend so much. Liberals can make it an even greater reason to dislike Bush if they want, but they and all Americans pay the price for any mistakes, so it is incumbent upon all of us to work hard for success.

Posted by: Jack at September 17, 2007 5:09 PM
Comment #233239

I guess it is natural for some of us to proffer our credentials as a point of argument, but considering the anonymous nature of this blog, and the inability for any of us to verify the credentials of any of the bloggers here, I find that rather thin gruel.

I think muirgeo and phx8 have offered great links to a discussion of the fawning aspirations of General Petreaus who is the most recent general to fall on his sword (o.k. not a death blow yet)for the failed Iraq policy. The twisting of reality for political expedience is betrayal of those who are dying for a failed cause and blundering foolishness of a morally bankrupt president.

Jack’s feeble dismissal of understanding the source of anti-American sentiment given our manipulative and deadly policies of the past 50 years in the Middle East (and South America) explains his position completely. Happy Ignorance. History did not start today, or on 9-11. History will not look kindly on those who continue to support this fiasco. That is not a personal attack on Jack, whom I happen to like, inspite of the Watchblog Manager seeing muirgeo’s similar early sentiments, as such. This isn’t support for Bin Laden either, or justification. It’s called reality.

Thanks, muirgeo and phx8.

Posted by: alien from the planet zorg at September 17, 2007 6:50 PM
Comment #233248

alien

There are many books written on the history and causes of anti-Americanism. I wrote a whole series on it myself. You can see it in the archives. There are links to various studies. Go to my archives and search work “anti” and you will find a half dozen exploration of the reasons for anti-Americanism. It is a very old ideology. Anti-Americanism actually predates our independence. I suggest you look at a book called Uncouth Nation. It is written by a European leftist who knows some history.

If you read my comments, you also know that I disparage the Middle East policies of the last 50 years, when we prioritized stability over liberty. The Bush policy, BTW, was a departure from this tradition in general. However, his Iraq policy was in line with policies of the previous decade (Clinton & Bush I).

I only wish we were as powerful as some people attribute over the last centuries. I would be perversely proud if my country was really responsible for so many bad things over the past couple of centuries. That would mean that we Americans, who make up only around 5% of the world population must be really smart if we can dupe, intimidate or coopt the other 95% over the course of many generations.

Posted by: Jack at September 17, 2007 7:52 PM
Comment #233261

Jack-
Clinton did not invade Iraq. Bush stopped at the border. Bush 43’s policy was not in line with theirs- neither would have unilaterally invaded on their own, much less done so pre-emptively without so much as a ounce of confirmed evidence. You are right about one thing: Bush did not value stability. Unfortunately, he’s failed to realize what the framers did two centuries ago: liberty cannot long endure a lack of stability. It takes the rule of law balanced with the personal rights to allow people to have what freedom they can have.

I can tell you something else for sure: the reception we get next time will be considerably less cordial than the rose pedals neocons still wait for.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 17, 2007 9:48 PM
Comment #233264

Alien,
You are welcome.

Jack,
“Our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or
enemies, but as liberators.”
General Stanley Maude
Proclamation upon entering Baghdad, 1917

It is true, past Middle East US policy favored stability over liberty, but that statement ignores the motivation behind the policy. Two primary considerations have motivated US policy: 1) Oil, and 2) Israel. Bush deviated from past policy by introducing instability. The underlying motivations remain the same. Considerations of liberty are sacrificed again and again; partly because liberated Arabs do not share the US agenda, particularly in regard to oil and Israel.

General Petraeus did, in fact, cook the books.

Like I said earlier, I do not have a problem with propaganda aimed at the US public during a time of war. But propaganda is highly inappropriate when it is used to start a war. And if it is going to be used during a war, to claim we are “winning,” at some point the propaganda needs to match reality- to be a spin, and not just a flagrant lie.

Petraeus lied about the success of the surge, and diminished violence in Iraq. Given the history of the Bush administration in Iraq, that dog will not hunt anymore. Gates & Petraeus & Crocker do best when they shoot straight with the public, because the other option went out the window due to excessive use.

Posted by: phx8 at September 17, 2007 10:13 PM
Comment #233266

Jack,

“…when we prioritized stability over liberty.” Ah, but would that were true.

Sadly, what we have prioritized is a colonialism toward oil and the forced feeding of Israel down the throats of the Arabs.

The memory of the excesses of Savak, Sadam Hussien, The Saudi Royals, King Hussein, various Turks, The Kuwaiti Royals, is long. A family who loses a loved one at the hands of those puppets we unleashed and supported will not let that memory die. Their are always those who will connect us to those actions and look for our arrogance and insensitivity to gin up support for their cause. Bush blew a wonderful opportunity to change the dialogue in the mid east. We had some moral standing. We lost any chance of that.

Our history of aggression against those who are weaker is long. Democracy means little to a man tortured for his beliefs. Some choose to see us as far better than the rest of the world, and ignore those we have trampled along the way.

This may not justify the even worse actions of those who use our past to manipulate their own people, but if we ever wish to change that dialogue and actually weaken the strength of the terrorist argument, we must not be tone deaf to those we have harmed and are harming.

The lies being told about freedom and progress are just pacifications for the masses. Greenspan is now backpedaling from telling the naked truth in his book. Reality can be a cold awakening. The Native Americans weren’t savages. We massacred them for their land. The Arabs have died in the millions, in struggles over control of the oil fields and resettlement of the Jews, not because they are nomads constantly in battle. The South Americans are tired of their Banana Republic status, and the slaughters we have been party to.

Pablum about freedom or stability won’t hide the lie from those who know the truth(domination and greed), and lived and died by it.

Saddam’s mistake was bucking OPEC and the Saudi’s, and foolishly Bush II thought it was time to show them who was king, but unlike is father was an idiot who listened to like minded chicken hawks who wanted to play war. How dare he threaten the king’s fiefdoms!! Well, Saddam is dead and Bush is a ruined President.

As much as you want Iraq to bend to U.S. will it will not. There is a basic lack of understanding of our time in history. It is this very kind of stupid policy that is fueling terrorism. Attack the terrorists, leave a small footprint. The lies that Petraeus is telling is only deepening our problems and forestalling the inevitable. The fuel we are consuming in Iraq alone, is further deepening our dependence. It way past time for an intervention. I know it is hard, but you must stop drinking…..the kool-aid.

Posted by: alien from the planet zorg at September 17, 2007 10:45 PM
Comment #233267

phx8

The Brits did liberate Iraq from the Ottomans. They installed a King and the country was more stable and prosperous than ever before until 1958. Iraqis were among the richest & most literate people in the region during that period. This was by no means a perfect period, but compared to the times that went before and those that came soon after, this was pretty good.

Iraq is a tragedy a long time in the making. It was very promising even into the 1970s. Then it fell into despotism and ruin that just got worse and worse. If we can merely help them regain their positive trajectory, I will be very proud and I expect most Iraqis will be content.

Iraq has lots of challenges, but it is fundamentally a rich country, not only speaking of oil. Agriculture was neglected under Saddam, but could provide a big plus. The marshes of southern Iraq are being restored; date groves are being replanted. Education was neglected under Saddam, but could be restored. I am unwilling to write them off when it looks like there is a chance.

Posted by: Jack at September 17, 2007 10:51 PM
Comment #233270

Jack,
The history of Iraq in the 20th century was basically a history of colonial exploitation. The British strategy was to arm & place a Sunni minority in power, who by virtue of its being a minority, would be forced to rely upon the Brits in order to keep their power. Saddam Hussein and the nationalist Sunni Baathists were a direct result of British colonial policies.

I agree with the general tenor of your comment.

Finally, I would disagree that it is not up to us to “write them off.” The US may have broken Iraq, but we do not own it. We need to forget about a large military presence, permanent military bases, and forcing oil contracts, given on beneficial to Exxon, BP, and Dutch Shell, upon the Iraqis.

I would be willing to see US troops used along the borders, to secure the borders as much as possible, as a way of preventing conflict from exploding into neighboring countries, or imploding and drawing adjoining nations into Iraq. I would be willing to see an international presence establish a police force, and rebuild the Iraqi Interior Ministry from the ground up… To engage the region in talks… But we keep staying the course. Until the US gives up the idea of owning Iraq, an ideal unworthy of us, it will be more of the same.

Posted by: phx8 at September 17, 2007 11:27 PM
Comment #233274

I was beginning to wonder, with all the political furor that has been raised over the Moveon.org full page ad calling Gen. Petraeus a traitor, just how long it would take the Press to attempt to justify and condone it.

Though nearly all Republicans and most Americans would agree that such an outrageous and despicable characterization of the four star Gen. David Petraeus was completely un-called for, left wing bloggers, and now USAToday is implying that Republicans are being hypocritical. They are claiming that the attack on Petraeus is equivalent to the attack on Sen. John Kerry by the Swift Boaters in 2004, and that Republicans who were not critical of the Swift Boat ads should not be critical of Moveon.org’s ad.

USAToday blog reports

“McCain said in a statement that “there is no greater slander to a soldier than an accusation of betrayal to his nation. I do not understand why those seeking to be commander-in-chief have yet to forcefully denounce, in their own words, this McCarthyite attack on our commander. I hope they would reconsider their silence.”
“McCain has some high ground here. In 2004, when it should be noted that he wasn’t a candidate for anything, he characterized as “dishonest and dishonorable” an ad by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth that attacked Democratic nominee John Kerry’s service in Vietnam. McCain said he wished President Bush’s campaign would specifically condemn it. Bush never took that step.”

Giving equivalency to criticism of;
Sen. John Kerry- who belittled and protested against his own country in times of war, and, some would even say, aided and abetted the enemy by such protests in retrospect nearly forty years after the Vietnam War’s end,

to the criticism of;
General Petraeus- who presently heads the War in Iraq, being responsible for the morale and actions of our forces, not only today, but for years to come,

is just beyond the pale. The obvious claim is that McCain has some moral high ground, however, this also implies that others who did not denounce the Swift Boaters do not have such high ground. The writer is sure to note that Bush did not criticize the Swift Boat ads, therefore, giving the Democrats the out on denouncing the Moveon.org ad. This idea of moral equivalency and that Republicans are being hypocritical in light of the Swift Boat ads even furthers my opinion that the left wing bloggers and their willing accomplices in the media (who simply repeat the blogger talking points) have no clue as to the damage and consequence of their words and actions during a time of war, and is further evidence of their justifications for playing politics with anything and anyone pertaining to this War.

It is my prediction that more and more media entities will begin to parrot this accusation against the Republicans within the following week to try to soften the issue for Moveon.org and the Democrats who refuse to denounce this ad. I will be watching.

JD

Posted by: JD at September 17, 2007 11:48 PM
Comment #233281

JD,
“Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.”

Just a general observation: It took a lot of bad decisions and a lot of gross incompence on the parts of Bush & Cheney to bring us to this point. Everyone one of us, regardless of political affiliation, is poorer for their crappy leadership. And that is putting it kindly. I can only hope the next administration will do better, because they will undoubtedly be saddled with the consquences- we all will.

Posted by: phx8 at September 18, 2007 1:24 AM
Comment #233294

JD,

You were of course referring to Hannity, O’Reilly, Beck and Limbaugh when you said….

“and their willing accomplices in the media (who simply repeat the blogger talking points) have no clue as to the damage and consequence of their words and actions”…

weren’t you?

Posted by: alien from the planet zorg at September 18, 2007 11:15 AM
Comment #233310

alien from the planet zorg said: “History will not look kindly on those who continue to support this fiasco. That is not a personal attack on Jack, whom I happen to like, inspite of the Watchblog Manager seeing muirgeo’s similar early sentiments, as such.”

alien from the planet zorg, the WatchBlog Manager’s warning to muirgeo was in response to his following comment:

“They will look to people like you, who, simply to save face will call for more of their deaths and maiming to win something that is unwinnable. People like you who want another 6 months worth of lives , another years worth of lives another 10 years worth…they will look to you and people like Petraeus and Bush.”

If you fail to recognize muirgeo’s comment as a critique of the messenger instead of their message, I assure you, your comment privileges will be revoked if you violate the same Rule for Participation at WatchBlog, as it seems appropriate to warn you now, of them. Our rules apply to all who violate them.

If you have any further comments regarding how WatchBlog is managed, I strongly recommend you direct such comments to managing_editor@watchblog.com which is where such comments rightly belong, not here where our rules clearly state that comments should remain on the topic of the article, which WatchBlog’s management clearly is not.

Posted by: Watchblog Managing Editor at September 18, 2007 1:42 PM
Comment #233349

Jack,

If I could I’d send this in an email. I’ve been reading vol. 1 of Doris Lessing’s autobiography: Under my Skin. I think you’d find the latter chapters fascinating as Lessing discusses her involvement and eventual disillusionment with the communist party in Rhodesia before and during WWII.

Posted by: Gerrold at September 18, 2007 7:35 PM
Comment #233370

Gerrold

I will look it up.

You know that communism and similar socialist experiments probably looked good in the 1930s. In theory, those things work very well. It was only after we saw the disasterous results that we could see the truth.

Posted by: Jack at September 18, 2007 9:55 PM
Comment #233457

Jack,

It’s all tied up with the times. In Rhodesia, for instance, the native population was of course suppressed; the only people saying anything beyond “you got to show them who’s boss” were those on the Left.

I always have seen Communism as an almost natural reaction to the conditions of the time — throw in some idealism, toss in an intolerable state of affairs (intolerable for those who didn’t blind themselves), and voila. Class stratification, worker exploitation, institutionalized sexism and racism — there had to be some sort of reaction, and in given the state of affairs, the sort of cult thinking of “practicing” communists is not too surprising. It’s very easy to see why thoughtful people would have become communist. Still, there was a lot of cognitive dissonance. Lessing is quite revealing about the psychology involved.

The Communists who seem to have got through it without too much mental/psychological damage were those who couldn’t quite ignore the facts — such as the atrocities in the Soviet Union.

Posted by: Gerrold at September 19, 2007 1:00 PM
Comment #233966

Jack,

Petreus claims we are succeeding.
He also claims that is why we need to stay in Iraq another 5 - 10 years.

And this doesn’t bother you?
You buy this? It makes sense to you?

Sounds like he “betrayed us” to me!

Posted by: RGF at September 22, 2007 5:39 PM
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