George W. Bush’s Accomplishment

Assume the worst. GWB misled the world and himself and got us into a war in pursuit of the audacious & arrogant goal of bringing democracy to the Middle East. This would not be the first time a president has done something like this in a high stakes situation. The perception depends on what comes next.

FDR was busy fighting the Germans and tweaking the Japanese long before Pearl Harbor. He consistently and consciously misled the American people, who were generally pacifist and sometimes specifically pro-German. I am sure glad he did and freedom loving people all over the world should be happy that he pursued the audacious goal of stopping totalitarian regimes and spreading democracy.

But think of how this might look to the half-empty folks. In order to accomplish this task, FDR allied with one evil dictator (Stalin) to defeat another evil dictator (Hitler). In the process he made Stalin much stronger. Ten years after the allied victory in WWII, totalitarian regimes controlled significantly more of the earth’s territory and population than they had ten years before.

In fact, we did not significantly roll back totalitarianism until a generation later in 1989.

America’s increasingly evident success in Iraq (what bin Laden declared his central front in his war against the West) and a more general decay of terrorist networks indicate that George W. Bush made a correct, if risky and sometimes poorly implemented choice when he decided to confront Saddam Hussein.

As in the case of piracy, we will never completely eradiate terrorism and as in the case of post WWII totalitarianism, it will take time to defeat even the most aggressive forms. Destroying some might even make some others relatively stronger. The victory over Hitler removed Stalin’s western enemy and allowed him to extend his power far to the west all the way to the Elbe and for a time it looked like all of Europe would fall victim to Soviet communism.

You need both. Strength w/o generosity is mere aggression. Generosity w/o strength is appeasement. History teaches us that strength coupled with generosity is what creates lasting peace. In other words, you can make concession only after it is made clear that you don’t have to. They have another word for making concessions under duress. It is defeat. It takes courage not to give in when things look bad.

If the defeatist had their way, by now we would be pulling out of a bloody civil war in Iraq with AQI resurgent and all the world telling us that it was all we could expect. Defeatists were sure that winning in Iraq was not on the agenda. Islamic terrorism was in the ascendancy and we would just have to get used to it. Fortunately some Americans still value courage over expediency.

Republicans lament that George W. Bush just doesn’t seem to care about political concerns. He does what he thinks is right, even when few agree with him. This is a nearly unique trait among politicians. Of course, it is relatively easier for him, since this is his last term. Cheney never considered running at all. The Bush legacy is done in on inauguration day 2009. Some would say that Bush held on in Iraq in order to preserve what is left of his legacy. If he did that, he also preserved the interests of the United States and that is a fine legacy.

There are costs to any course of action. We know how much going into Iraq has cost, but had we not gone into Iraq and left Saddam Hussein in power, as politicians such as Barack Obama advocated, what would have happened? We can know with the certainly of hindsight

Saddam did not possess WMD. We know that now and Dems make a big deal of that. But what does that mean? What would have been the consequences of learning that key fact after American forces stood down in late 2002? If was proved (and it would have been) that Saddam was WMD free, he would have been off sanctions, probably by the end of 2003. Sanctions were not working very well anyway, as many countries were actively subverting them, but they did discourage some of Saddam’s more egregious behavior. Sometime in early 2004, we would face a Saddam Hussein newly buoyed with the prestige of having faced down the U.S. AND w/o sanctions. What about no-fly-zones? They were also dependent on the UN resolutions. They go too. Saddam could continue his role as paymaster for various terrorist groups with impunity and with greater freedom of movement.

And then Saddam would have gotten even richer. Iraq is currently earning around $70 billion a year in oil revenue. This is up from around $20 billion Saddam was getting. The price of oil is being driven by DEMAND not supply, so there is every reason to believe that Saddam would be getting that much money and more. He would have every incentive to pressure other Gulf producers to scale back supply and with his victory over the U.S. behind him, the Saudis et al would be likely to take his threats seriously.

What about Al Qaeda? We always hear that there were no operational links between Al Qaeda and Saddam re 9/11, but we see now that former Baathist insurgents in Iraq can easily cooperate with AQI. With his $70 billion in revenue and abiding hatred for the U.S., Saddam would be an attractive partner for Al Qaeda, especially if the U.S. is pushing them to the wall. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Remember that Hitler and Stalin had no trouble agreeing to divide Poland.

So absent the U.S. invasion, the world of 2008 has a different set of threats, but it is not necessarily a safer or more prosperous place. In fact, there are lots of reasons to believe it would be even more dangerous. Thank you Barack Obama.

So Obama was clearly wrong about the surge and I certainly believe he was wrong to advocate leaving Saddam Hussein in power.

In the same issue of “Stars & Stripes” where I read re the big drop in causalities in May was an article about digging up the mass graves from the Saddam’s earlier genocides (not the plural). This is the guy we fought. This is the guy we deposed. This is the guy Obama would have left in power (and probably promised to meet w/o preconditions.) Some judgment!

Maybe we need to think of both sides before we make a decision. His supporters tell me that Barack Obama will not honor his promise to abandon Iraq and that he will follow the Bush policy of tying withdrawals to conditions. I hope they are right.

BTW – This is a very good article re fighting terrorism and what works.

Posted by Jack at June 6, 2008 1:51 AM
Comments
Comment #254654

Jack -

“Saddam could continue his role as paymaster for various terrorist groups”. That’s your first misconception. It has already been shown that the ‘links’ between Saddam and Al Qaeda were based on faulty intel…as were the WMD claims.

If suspicion of future support of terrorism is enough to warrant a U.S. invasion, then we should have long ago invaded those countries who are PROVEN to support terrorism - like Syria and Saudi Arabia.

Your comparison of Saddam to Hitler and Stalin misses the mark. He should be compared, instead, to a less savory version of Yugoslavia’s Tito, who ruled his country with an iron fist. What happened when Tito finally died? Balkanization on religious and ethnic terms…just as is likely to occur in Iraq.

Here’s a quick lesson in diplomacy for you: just because a dictator is inhumanly cruel and evil and is capable of doing harm to America, such does not mean we should invade. We could not have beaten Hitler without Stalin (and if you think otherwise, you need to read up on just how much a relative sideshow the Western Front was compared to the Eastern Front). Remember also that the Soviet Union stated many times that they were going to defeat us, e.g. “We will bury you!”

Another example would be China’s Mao Tse Tung, whose ‘Great Leap Forward’, wherein between 16.5 and 40 million died in a government-caused famine between 1957 and 1961…and over half a million who didn’t agree with his policies were executed in 1958 alone. http://chronicle.uchicago.edu/960314/china.shtml

Jack, I’m not trying to insult you, but the logical extension of your premise that we had justification to invade Iraq demands that we should have invaded the Soviet Union and China - both of which had far greater means, motive, and opportunity to do America grievous harm.

But instead, our presidents were patient, steadfast, and did not yield to the temptation of preemptive attack. The Soviet Union finally fell (as do most dictatorships in time), and China decided that Wal-Mart was more profitable than conquest.

Bush was not patient as were his predecessors, steadfastly refused to acknowledge the intel that conflicted his belief about Saddam’s WMD and intentions, and yielded to the temptation of preemptive attack in violation of the Geneva Accords…and is thus by definition a war criminal.

Jack, I hope you now see your error in logic.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at June 6, 2008 4:16 AM
Comment #254659

Glen

Glen
Saddam very openly paid money to the families of suicide bombers. He clearly was a supporter of terrorism in general.

Beyond that, I think you misread my article. I am not advocating that we should have invaded Iraq to fix a general evil dictator problem. I happen to believe that the intel at the time indicated that Saddam was a gathering thread. BTW - gathering is the word Bush used, not imminent. He said we have to deal with a gathering threat before it became imminent.

In diplomacy and international politics you are always bound by the possible. If we could have dispatched the Soviet Union in 1949, it would have saved us 50 years of conflict and suffering. It was not possible. It cost us a lot more than 4000 American lives fighting world communism over the next decades.

The Yugoslavia example doesn’t hold. Yugoslavia did not sit on or near half the world’s oil supply and Tito did not invade four of his neighbors, fight a war with the U.S. or provide such support for world terrorism. Yugoslavia was just an unstable ethnic mix. Iraq was a regional menace.
I should have better explained my reference to democracy. McClellan says that Bush pushed the war because of a grand vision of democracy in the Middle East. This alone was probalby a reach too far and I don’t believe that is what happened BUT even if it was, we still have the other conseqences mentioned.

I am using the WWII comparision to show precisely how hard it is to get things the way you want them.
Mainly, I am trying to show the simple fact that NOT invading Iraq also had consequences.

The Obama policy of leaving Saddam in power would have resulted in a more dangerous world. Logic dictates that if you advocate a policy, you have to figure out its logical outcomes. Obama advcated:

-Saddam in power with
-more money
-greater prestige
-still a grudge against the U.S.
-no sanctions

Those were the very predictable results of not invading. Could we live with them? Maybe. But you have to recognize the consequences

There is no error in logic. It would be illogical to argue what you mentioned, but that is not what I am doing.

Posted by: Jack at June 6, 2008 5:31 AM
Comment #254661

So, I presume the Son’s of Liberty were clearly terrorist supporters as well?

Paying Palestinian martyr’s families in a country under constant siege from Israel, is humanitarian if anything. Israel has been a terrorist state from it’s inception. Does that make us terrorist supporters?

This old argument is so tired, it’s pathetic. If this is the best argument McCain can come up with, he’s cooked. Iraq is about oil. There was no other American interest there.

Posted by: googlumpus at June 6, 2008 6:44 AM
Comment #254662

googlumpus

Please check my previous posts where I explain HOW Iraq was about oil. To sum up.

Oil brings power. Saddam had oil power, which made him more dangeous than local menaces like Mugabe or Lukachenko. W/o oil, Saddam (and bin Laden etc) would be local pirates. Yes. No oil, no war. If you want to be simplistic, you can make that all there is.

I find it deeply insulting to compare American patriots to people who purposely target women and children. I don’t recall any situations in the U.S. revolution when patriots sent suicide bombers to kill loyalist civilians.

If you see a moral equivelence between George Washington and Yassir Arafat, we have no further use to talk about it. You are too far gone. If this is not your intention, please cut out the implications.

Posted by: Jack at June 6, 2008 7:02 AM
Comment #254670

Jack, good judgment requires objectively weighing the pros and cons and deciding in a manner that maximizes the pros, and minimizes the cons. Bush et. al. failed this test in every way imaginable.

Obama has squarely and objectively weighed the costs of our occupation in Iraq, and the benefits, and rightly decided that our occupation is vastly costing America more than we are gaining from it.

It is such an obvious analysis, it doesn’t surprise me a bit that Republican ideologues like you (on this issue) and John McCain, just can’t see it. It’s time for a change from ideologues who chant American world hegemony at any cost, to rational, objective pragmatism that commits to maximizing the pros, and minimizing the cons. That of course, would be Barack Obama in this presidential election race.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 6, 2008 8:29 AM
Comment #254677

Jack,
Have to make this quick work is starting. What about all those Iraqi law-makers and cabnet members testifying before congress this week telling them they want America to.
1. Set a time-table for withdrawl (D idea)
2. No permenant Bases (D-idea)
3. Leave no troops behind (as in 0)
Look the article up people came out Wed or Thurs.
Your party is years behind the power curve, It is time to give Iraq what it wants its country to pass or fail on its own.

Posted by: timesend at June 6, 2008 9:06 AM
Comment #254678
“Saddam could continue his role as paymaster for various terrorist groups”. That’s your first misconception. It has already been shown that the ‘links’ between Saddam and Al Qaeda were based on faulty intel…as were the WMD claims.

Ah, the old terrorsm = al Qaeda argument. *sigh*

From : The Case for Invading Iraq that I posted several years ago

State Support of Terrorism

First, this is the list of wounded and killed by groups supported by Iraq:

� Abu Nidal Organization (ANO) � Killed 407 (10 Americans) and Wounded 788 (58 Americans)
� Ansar Al-Islam � Killed 114 (1 American) and Wounded 16
� Arab Liberation Front � Killed 4 and Wounded 6
� Hamas � Killed 224 (17 Americans) and Wounded 1,445 (30 Americans)
� Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) � Killed 44 and Wounded 327 (2 Americans)
� Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) � Killed 17 (7 Americans) and Wounded 43 (1 American)
� Palestine Liberation Front � Killed 1 (1 American) and Wounded 42

For a total of 811 people killed (36 American) and 2,667 people wounded (91 American). The source was the U.S. Department of State, Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, �1968 - 2003: Total Persons Killed/Wounded�International and Accepted Incidents.� Figures. It was prepared for National Review author Deroy Murdock.

Hussein�s hospitality toward these mass murderers directly violated United Nations Security Council Resolution 687, which prohibited him from granting safe haven to or otherwise sponsoring terrorists. We also know from the 9/11 report that there was a connection to al Qaeda, though we are unsure (no smoking gun) of what level that relationship may have developed into. However, their communications that continued to exist up to and beyond 2001 are troublesome to many. When looking at the amount of terror that they did support over the years, in both the 80�s and 90�s, it is not hard for many to suspect there was more than just a passing relationship.

Some of the high ranking terrorists that Iraq had links to are:

� Abu Abbas. Abbas masterminded the October 7�9, 1985, Achille Lauro cruise ship hijacking in which Abbas�s men shot passenger Leon Klinghoffer, a 69-year old Manhattan retiree, then rolled him, wheelchair and all, into the Mediterranean. Abbas briefly was in Italian custody at the time, but was released that October 12 because he possessed an Iraqi diplomatic passport. After 2000, Abbas resided in Baghdad, still under Saddam Hussein�s protection.

� Khala Khadr al Salahat, a member of the ANO. Al Salahat and Nidal furnished Libyan agents the Semtex bomb that destroyed Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, on December 21, 1988, killing 259 on board and 11 on the ground.

� Abu Nidal. As the Associated Press�s Sameer N. Yacoub reported on August 21, 2002, the Beirut office of the ANO said that he entered Iraq �with the full knowledge and preparations of the Iraqi authorities.� Nidal�s attacks in 20 countries killed 407 people and wounded 788 more, the U.S. State Department calculates. Among other atrocities, an ANO-planted bomb exploded on a TWA airliner as it flew from Israel to Greece on September 8, 1974. The jet was destroyed over the Ionian Sea, killing all 88 people on board.

� Abdul Yasin. �U.S. forces recently discovered a cache of documents in Tikrit, Saddam�s hometown, which shows Iraq gave Mr. [Abdul Rahman] Yasin both a house and a monthly salary.� The Indiana-born, Iraqi-reared Yasin had been charged in August 1993 for mixing the chemicals in the bomb that exploded beneath One World Trade Center, killing six and injuring 1,042 individuals. Indicted by federal prosecutors as a conspirator in the WTC bomb plot, Yasin was on the FBI�s Most-Wanted Terrorists list. ABC News confirmed, on July 27, 1994, that Yasin had returned to Baghdad, where he traveled freely and visited his father�s home almost daily.

� In addition to these four high level terrorists, the US received knowledge of three separate terrorist training camps in Iraq, including Salman Pak, which Khidir Hamza, Iraq�s former nuclear weapons chief and Sabah Khodada, an former Iraqi Army Captain, report was used for training of assassinations, explosions and hijackings. Khodada, who worked at Salman Pak, said, �Training includes hijacking and kidnapping of airplanes, trains, public buses, and planting explosives in cities … how to prepare for suicidal operations.� Khodada added, �We saw people getting trained to hijack airplanes… . They are even trained how to use utensils for food, like forks and knives provided in the plane.� A map of the camp that Khodada drew from memory for Frontline closely matches satellite photos of Salman Pak, further bolstering his credibility.

— list compiled by author Deroy Murdock

According to State Department reports on terrorism, before the removal of Saddam’s regime, Iraq was one of seven state sponsors of terror. So far we have a top human rights violator and one of 7 states sponsoring terrorism.

BTW, according to Richard Clarke there was collaboration between al Qaeda and Saddam in regards to al Shifa.

Finally, the knowledge that Russia had given us intel that Iraq was planning on attacking the US after 9/11…

Well, the sentiment that Iraq was quietly sitting around accepting their fate is absurd.

Posted by: Rhinehold at June 6, 2008 9:40 AM
Comment #254689

Rhinehold -

Wow. 811 people killed, 36 of whom were Americans. Ooooh, that’s certainly a GRAVE national threat.

Compare that to the 99 Americans who were on the nuclear sub USS Scorpion when it went down in 1968. There are strong indications that it was torpedoed by a Soviet sub…and that the U.S. government knew it at the time. Fortunately, instead of going off half-cocked and starting a nuclear war, the president let it remain an ‘accident at sea’.

Bush, OTOH, apparently saw the 36 dead Americans as justification to sacrifice thousands more Americans.

Good thing George W. Bush wasn’t president when the Scorpion went down, huh? He was too busy staying clear of Vietnam….

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at June 6, 2008 11:28 AM
Comment #254690
Jack wrote: GWB misled the world and himself and got us into a war in pursuit of the audacious & arrogant goal of bringing democracy to the Middle East.
Agreed.

Not to mention the 99+ blunders to follow it.

Yep, that’s quite an accomplishment:

    G.W. Bush (43) will likely go down as one of the worst presidents (if not the worst) in American history.
That’s not easy to do, but he somehow succeeded at it.

Of course, in all fairness, he had the help of do-nothing Congress, and the majority of voters that repeatedly reward corrupt and irresponsible incumbent politicians with perpetual re-election.

Posted by: d.a.n at June 6, 2008 11:29 AM
Comment #254696

Even if removing Saddam was justified, risking the lives and limbs of U.S. troops for nation-building and policing the Iraqis’ civil wars is not (especially while Congress is giving itself raises 9 of the last 10 years while our troops go without armor, adequaet medical care, and promised benefits).

The way American fights wars, its a wonder more countries don’t invite us to invade their countries so that we can rebuild them, and be their police.
This doctrine is very generous, but the U.S. can not afford to be the world police, and it can not afford to rebuild every nation it decides to invade.

We need better priorities:

  • 195,000 Americans per year (534 per day) are killed by potentially preventable medical mistakes (more than all Americans killed in all American wars (combined):
      the American Revolution (4,435), the War of 1812 (2,260), the Indian Wars (1,000), the Mexican War (1,733), the Civil War (462,000), the Spanish American War (385), WWI (53,402), WWII (291,557), Vietnam War (58,209), Korean War (36,574), the Iraq Gulf War (529), and the current Iraq war Mar-2003-present (4,050 as of 24-APR-2008)!
  • 40,000 deaths per year (110 per day) due to automobile accidents.

  • Each year, an estimated 1310 (3.6 per day) to 4380 (12 per day; perhaps more) Americans are killed by illegal aliens (8% to 27% of the total of 16,528 homicides in the U.S. in 2004). GAO-5646 Report (9-May-2005) reported (with a study group of only 55,322 illegal aliens from only three states (TX., AZ., and CA.) between 1947 to 2004) 1 homicide every per 86 hours (5992 homicides), and an average arrest rate of 13 times per illegal alien.

  • Respect for our U.S. Troops, and 15 Reasons to Leave Iraq:
    • [01] Win What?: Some people say we need to “win” in Iraq. When people say that, what do they really mean? What is trying to be won, and at what cost? But more importantly, what is the highest priority for the U.S. and its troops? Is the effort in Iraq the best way to make the U.S. safer? And would it be an issue now, had the mission been as easy as it was originally predicted by Bush, and some in the civilian administration?

    • [02] Saving Face: Some people say we need to “win” in Iraq. But some are really saying they want to “save face” for Bush and some in the executive branch? Because even if the U.S. leaves Iraq, there is no “defeat”, and there is no shame for our U.S. Troops. For those merely trying to “save face” with the life and limbs of our Troops is shameful and despicable. It is despicable to force our U.S. Troops to risk life and limb for nation-building and policing civil wars, unless it is the best way to make the U.S. safer. Especially if it is seeking redemption for Bush and some in the executive branch who started a war based on false intelligence. Redemption and “saving face” is not, and should not be the goal (not at the risk of U.S. Troops losing life and limb); especially if it is not the best way to make the U.S. safer.

    • [03] What Defeat?: Some people say leaving Iraq is forcing “defeat” on the U.S. troops. False. There is no “defeat”. This so-called “defeat” does non-exist, because even if the Iraqis’ fail to make their nation livable, that is not and will not be a “defeat” of the U.S. Troops’, who have sacrificed much to fight terrorists and police the Iraqis’ civil war.

    • [04] Many U.S. Troops Say Leave Iraq: Besides, a large percentage of U.S. Troops believe the U.S. should leave Iraq.
      • In Feb-2006, 72% of U.S. Troops in Iraq said: end the war in year 2006.

      • 90% of retired and current military officers say the U.S. military has been stretched dangerously thin by the Iraq war (19-FEB-2008). A phased withdrawal from Iraq would relieve the strain on over-stretched ground forces. Most of the Army brigades in Iraq have not had the required 2 years between deployments that are necessary to train and equip properly. At least 4 brigades now in Iraq have not even had a year between deployments. A phased withdrawal would allow the U.S. to bring the Army National Guard back to the States to focus on Homeland Security, at least 1 airborne brigade available as a strategic reserve, and 1 airborne brigade in Hawaii in case the only brigade still in South Korea needs reinforcement. If necessary, the U.S. could still maintain a military presence in the region (e.g. a brigade in Kuwait, and a carrier with Marine forces), in case threats such as the re-establishment of Al-Qaeda training camps in Iraq or a military intervention by one of Iraq’s 6 neighboring nations.
    • [05] Most Americans Say Leave Iraq: Most Americans believe the U.S. should leave Iraq. The U.S. has now been in Iraq for over 5 years (since MAR-2003).

    • [06] Many Iraqis Say Leave Iraq: A large percentage (35%-to-47%; it varies with conditions) of Iraqis want the U.S. to leave now. The Iraqis may never step up to the plate to secure peace in their own nation if the U.S. is doing it for them. As long as the Iraq knows that the U.S. will not “stand down” until the Iraqis “stand up”, the Iraqis will not be motivated to make the difficult choices about how to govern their own nation. Also, a plan would put the 6 bordering nations on notice that they must become more constructively involved in Iraq’s future, or suffer the consequences of a failed state.

    • [07] World-Opinion Says Leave Iraq: Most people across the world believe the U.S. should leave Iraq. (67% as of SEP-2007)

    • [08] So What If the Military is Voluntary? Some people will say the military is voluntary, as if that matters. However, only joining the military is voluntary, and troops thereafter have to go where ordered, or be court-martialed, incarcerated, and punished. Therefore, that is all the more reason to show respect for the troops, and not force them to risk life and limb via endeavors that are not making the U.S. safer.

    • [09] Whose Supporting Al-Qaeda, and Why?: Some Iraqis are supporting the approximate 1,300 Al-Qaeda in Iraq, but that support would disappear since the common goal of forcing the U.S. to leave Iraq would be gone. As for the remaining 1,300 Al-Qaeda in Iraq, the 27.5 Million Iraqis should be more than able to deal with them.

    • [10] The Iraqis Are Culpable Too: If the Iraqis’ subsequently fail (after the U.S. leaves) to make Iraq adequately livable and peaceful, that is their own fault. The U.S. can not police Iraq forever, and forcing our troops to risk life and limb for nation-building and policing civil wars is an injustice to our troops, unless it is truly the best way to make the U.S. safer. Even though the U.S. invaded Iraq, it is now time (after more than 5 years) for the Iraqis to govern their own nation, regardless of whether they can do it themselves (or not), because it isn’t the best way to make the U.S. safer. The Iraqis may be determined to have their civil war, regardless of any efforts to prevent it. If the U.S. deos not have any plan for leaving Iraq, the U.S. will never be in control of its own destiny. Without such a plan for getting out by a certain date, the U.S. will remain hostage to events on the ground.

    • [11] It’s NOT the U.S. Troops’ Fault: Even though the U.S. invaded Iraq, it is not the U.S. Troops’ fault that the CIA, Bush, and some in the executive branch based it on false intelligence (i.e. no WMD), and the continued occupation of Iraq is not the best way to make the U.S. safer. The reasons for being in Iraq in the first place are questionable since no significant amount of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) were ever found. And it is difficult to deny that control of the oil has something to do with the entire matter. If being the world police is the duty of they U.S. Troops, there are a lot of other nations in the world that currently need policing too.

    • [12] The Humanitarian Argument: There is no doubt that a humanitarian argument can be made that the U.S. should fix what it broke. However the Iraqis are also culpable for this entire mess. They helped in creating this entire mess, despite the blunder of no WMD. The U.S. doesn’t owe it to the Iraqis to continue nation-building and policing the Iraqis civil war any longer. The U.S. has now been in Iraq for over 5 years (since MAR-2003). However, the humanitarian argument still does not trump the overriding priority: U.S. Troops should not be used for nation-building, policing civil wars, or other purposes unless it is the best way to make the U.S. safer.
      In fact, a plausible argument can be made that the occupation of Iraq is a no-win situation and it is making both the U.S. and Iraq less safe (if not the entire region, since the U.S. is not very well liked in that region).

    • [13] Hypocrisy: It is hypocrisy to fear-monger about terrorists “following us home” from Iraq, should the U.S. pull troops out of Iraq. First of all, terrorists can come from many places all around the world, as evidenced by the terrorists of 11-SEP-2001, which were mainly from Saudi Arabia (not Iraq). And if the fear of terrorists “following us home” from Iraq were valid, then why not pull our troops out of Iraq, and secure our own national borders, and enforce existing illegal immigration laws? Especially since 11-SEP-2001 was perpetrated by several illegal aliens, 18 of the 19 terrorist hijackers on 11-SEP-2001 possessed 13 state-issued drivers’ licenses and/or 21 other ID cards, and all 19 terrorits had obtained Social Security numbers; some real, some fake: www.cis.org/articles/2002/back1202.html . The terrorists of 11-SEP-2001 very simply tapped into an enormous market of fraudulent documents that exists because 12+ million illegal aliens have successfully breached our borders and now reside here illegally, anonymously, and spawning wide-spread document and identity fraud that threatens our ability to distinguish illegal aliens from U.S. citizens and legal foreign residents. IDentity theft is also the fastest growing crime in the U.S. Thus, all of those reasons makes the argument about terrorists following us from Iraq back to the U.S. not only weak, but ridiculous and hypocritical. And even if there was some truth to it, there are better ways to deal with it, such as securing our own borders and enforcing existing laws.

    • [14] The U.S. Can NOT Afford the Cost: The U.S. can not be the world police. Not only is the human cost too high, but the U.S. has $53.2 Trillion of nation-wide debt (3.81 times $13.86 Trillion GDP!). The U.S. won’t be in a position to do much of anything if it destroys its own economy by growing debt of nightmare proportions: One-Simple-Idea.com/DisparityTrend.htm#NationWideDebt
    • [15] Bottom Line - PRIORITIES: The overriding priority is that U.S. Troops should not be forced to risk life and limb for nation-building and policing civil wars, unless it is the best way to make the U.S. safer. Some people (even some troops) say the troops want to “win”. However, what some in the military want is not the overriding priority. The only acceptable reason to force U.S. Troops to remain in Iraq is if it is the best way to make the U.S. safer (which it is not, because there are better ways to make the U.S. safer, such as securing the borders and ports, and enforcing illegal immigration laws, since many of the terrorists of 11-SEP-2001 were illegal aliens and had violated many immigration laws). Forcing U.S. Troops to risk life and limb for nation-buildinkg, policing civil wars, and other inappropriate purposes shows a horrible disrespect for our U.S. Troops, and a complete lack of priorities.

Posted by: d.a.n at June 6, 2008 12:39 PM
Comment #254697

d.a.n. wrote:

“G.W. Bush (43) will likely go down as one of the worst presidents (if not the worst) in American history.”

Lyndon (that son-of-a-bitch) Johnson is without a doubt the single worst president in American history. But don’t ask me…just TRY to ask the almost 60,000 dead best and brightest he is responsible for in America’s MOST unnecessary war.

As to G.W. Bush being one of the worst presidents…you’ll get no argument from me.

Posted by: Jim T at June 6, 2008 12:56 PM
Comment #254698

Jack,
Careful! The GOP wants out of Iraq as soon as possible. If McCain and the party go into November with Iraq hanging over their head, they will lose. It’s that simple. Even worse, Obama has made it clear the DNC will not accept PAC or lobbyist money for the general campaign. You should like that. However, it puts enormous pressure on McCain. He does not have the grass roots or internet support, so in the financial competition, he will be brutalized. And worst of all, Obama is willing to do town hall format debates. Between campaign financing and Iraq, it’s going to be ugly. So! McCain and the GOP need a Hail Mary TD, and they need it soon.

Welcome to the Security of Forces Agreement:

This is the chance to declare ‘Victory’ with a capital ‘V’. It’s going to be tough going. Bush is pushing for the agreement by July 31st, and he’s withholding @ $20 billion in funding from the Al-Maliki government until they agree.

That’s what all those protests the other day were about. The Iraqis don’t want a replay of the 1930 agreement with Britain, which cemented their colonial status, so they’re profoundly uneasy, even with $20 billion dangling before them.

Posted by: phx8 at June 6, 2008 1:21 PM
Comment #254703

Jim T.

I won’t argue that.
I agree that L.B.J. is possibly the worst.
Yes, and that is why I said G.W. Bush (43) is one of the worst presidents in American history.

Some presidents have been judged harshly for not accomplishing much, but these two presidents should be judged very harshly for starting unnecessary wars and using our troops for missions that were NOT making the U.S. safer.

Posted by: d.a.n at June 6, 2008 1:42 PM
Comment #254705

Jim T., by that standard, Nixon was the third worst to LBJ and GW Bush. He lied through his teeth about winding the war down in the early years of his first term. It fell Ford to actually end it, with Nixon disgraced and out of office for breaking and entering authorization, spying on political opponents and fellow Americans, and covering up his authorizations all the while sacrificing his administration appointees to safeguard himself.

Nope, I would have to rank Nixon up with Polk, Harding, Hoover and of course our current failure in chief, GW Bush.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 6, 2008 1:53 PM
Comment #254707


The American People like to take pride in the fact that no country, perhaps in all of human history, has given more of it’s wealth, in the cause of charity, to other nations and peoples. The American People like to ignore the fact that the same is true about the amount of wealth that we have given to terrorists, terrorist organizations and terrorist dictatorships.

Was Saddam guilty of giving funds to terrorists or at the least, the families of terrorists? Yes, he was. Is Iran guilty of doing the same? Yes, they are. However, the amount of support given by them pales in comparison to what has been given to terrorists by the Saudi Arabian Thiefdom and the smaller Arab Oil Thiefdoms. Of course, we like to ignore what our buddies, our friends, our allies are doing and exaggerate what our non-allies are doing.

Jack: You need to curtail your conservative capitalist propaganda for a while and let the Liberal capitalists propaganda have it’s turn in the limelight. In case you haven’t noticed, with the exception of a few diehard true believers, your audience has left the theater.

I know that the thought of loosing Laissez Faire Land right when you had it within the range of your grasp must be eating away at the linning of your stomach but, that is just the way life is. You win some and you lose some.

You have seen that the Blue Zone has been turned into a church by the true believers and that their missionaries are trying as hard as they can to convert the Green Zone. They are doing a half decent of it, they have converted to leader of the Green Zone into a true believer and faithful follower.

Jack, you need to get with the new program and produce a like minded product for the Red Zone. If I might be so bold as to suggest a topic, perhaps you should focus your article on the controversy surrounding the elusive father of HE WHO WALKS ON WATER. The history of the myth dictates that to be considered for the position of Demigod one has to have magically sprang from the loins of a woman, the earth, the waters or the sky through the intervention of a God. Perhaps an immaculate conception article would be appropriate.

Posted by: jlw at June 6, 2008 2:04 PM
Comment #254709

LBJ takes a lot of the blame for Vietnam, but if I recall, more American soldiers died under Nixon. The presidential ranking of LBJ should be low, but I think he stays away from bottom feeder status based upon civil rights legislation and his support for it.

Polk had an agenda- obtaining territory from Mexico- and he accomplished his goal. He was competent. It’s just that the Jacksonian version of America involved some very questionable acts, ideas about Manifest Destiny which are no longer accepted.

What makes Bush so uniquely poor, and earns him the “worst president ever” sobriquet is that his situation was so utterly self-inflicted. It was a matter of simply being hideously wrong again and again, appallingly incompetent, so comfortable with cronyism and corruption in his party, so… uninterested in the constitution, in legislation. And the thing is, he did it to himself.

He went from some of the highest approval ratings ever enjoyed by a president (after 9/11). A rally round the flag moment gave Bush carte blanch to do anything he wanted. He was still on solid ground with the American people through Afghanistan.

Unbelievable.

But count on Bush and the GOP not to sit idly by as November looms. The economy just lost jobs again for the fifth straight month, and the unemployment rate jumped. Oil set a new all time high, $136. Yikes!

So Bush and the GOP MUST change the dynamic. They might have a very hard time convincing the Iraqis to accept colonial status by July 31st.

More likely, the Israelis will bomb Iran with out blessing and backing.

Posted by: phx8 at June 6, 2008 2:09 PM
Comment #254712

David

Obama advocated withdrawing from Iraq a couple of years ago and opposed the surge. Experience has shown that he was mistaken in his belief that we were defeated back then.

Going forward, the change in strategy that took place at the end of 2006 and the success of the surge has given the next president (maybe Obama) options.

If Obama follows the Bush strategy of making withdrawals conditional on the situation on the ground, we have given Obama the gift of options. If he abandons Iraq precipitously, he will throw that gift away and truly create another Vietnam, only worse.

Timesend

I believe in legitimacy and respect Iraqi sovereignty. If the Iraqi government actually makes such a formal request, I would be content to leave Iraq. People talk a lot about thing they really do not intent to do. Consider the example of the Democratic Congress. I will wait for the ACTUAL request.

Phx8

The sources of the money doesn’t bother me very much. Obama should abide by public financing rules of elections, as McCain will do. Everything else is theatrics.

Re Iraq – McCain said a long time ago, when opposing BUSH on Iraq, that he would rather lose an election than have America lose a war. I agree with that.

Everybody wants to get out of Iraq as quick as we can. Some of us prefer to do it with courage when the job is done. Others just want to run out, no doubt screaming and shouting. The goal is the same. Methods differ.

BTW – maybe we should withhold funding in any case.

During Saddam’s time, Iraq earned $20 billion a year. Now it is $70 billion. It is part of the success of Iraq that they can afford their own reconstruction and that is something we should phase out.

Re the economy – it is world wide trend. Unemployment around 5% doesn’t frighten me that much. The Germans are bragging about their low unemployment rate. It is the lowest it has been for almost a generation – at 7.5%.

Jlw

I don’t know exactly what you are talking about. I tend to write about the free market too.

Re Iraq – I know I am taking an unpopular line. I don’t do things because they are popular and I don’t pander and say what I think people want to hear. I am not a Democrat. Iraq is currently the most important issue we face – at least the one that a president can most influence. It is important to tell the truth to the power of the media establishment and the Democratic defeatists.

Posted by: Jack at June 6, 2008 2:41 PM
Comment #254714

Jack,
Fyi, report came out today, and the unemployment rate jumped from 5% to 5.5% in just one month.

And I see Chops just posed an article on the unemployment rate.

Posted by: phx8 at June 6, 2008 2:58 PM
Comment #254715

Jack,

Do you think nation building and policing Iraq’s civil wars are making the U.S. safer?

Do you think the 27.5 million Iraqis are incapable of finishing-up and dealing with the approximate 1,300 Al-Qaeda now remaining in Iraq?

What are your reasons for staying in Iraq any longer? Up to now, I haven’t seen any reasons that are very convincing; not anything that justifies putting our troops in harms way; not anything that is making the U.S. safer.

Or, is it all about maintaining a prescence in Iraq for some other reason (some other reason other than making the U.S. safer)?

What ever your reasons are, I’d like to see a list of them.

Do your reasons trump the biggest priority ?

    Bottom Line - The overriding priority is that U.S. Troops should not be forced to risk life and limb for nation-building and policing civil wars, unless it is the best way to make the U.S. safer. Merely winning any conflict is not the goal, if that goal is already flawed from the beginning. Making the U.S. safer is the goal. The only acceptable reason to force U.S. Troops to risk life and limb is if it is the best way to make the U.S. safer. If terrorists are a threat (wherever they are coming from), there are better ways to make the U.S. safer, such as securing the borders and ports, and enforcing illegal immigration laws, since many of the terrorists of 11-SEP-2001 were illegal aliens and had violated many immigration laws). Forcing U.S. Troops to risk life and limb for nation-buildinkg, policing civil wars, and other inappropriate purposes shows a horrible disrespect for our U.S. Troops, and a complete lack of priorities.

Posted by: d.a.n at June 6, 2008 3:02 PM
Comment #254717
Jack wrote:David, Obama advocated withdrawing from Iraq a couple of years ago and opposed the surge. Experience has shown that he was mistaken in his belief that we were defeated back then.
Regardless of what Obama think, our troops have not been defeated.

Even if they leave now, they have not been defeated.

Some people here have some awfully strange ideas about winning and losing.

No matter which way you slice it, there are no justifiable reasons for using our troops for missions that are not making the U.S. safer (or less safe).

The invasion of Iraq was unnecessary.
Some say we broke it, so we have to fix it.
Well, we’ve been there 5 years.
That’s enough.
26.5 million Iraqis should be able to deal with the remaining 1,300 Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
If not, then that’s unfortunate, but it’s not the duty of American troops to risk life and limb to nation-build and police the Iraqis civil wars.
Especially while do-nothing Congress is giving itself 9 raises in the last 10 years, cu$hy perk$ and benefits, and voting on pork-barrel for their wealthy, big-money donors, while our troops go without armor, adequate medical care, and promised benefits.

Posted by: d.a.n at June 6, 2008 3:13 PM
Comment #254718

d.a.n.

We are cleaning up chaos and an insurgency in Iraq. We have defeated most, but much like bacteria, you have to get the last ones or they come back.

A victory in Iraq will show that we can defeat the terrorists in the place THEY called the central front. It will help hasten the spread of democracy in the region and increase stability.

A defeat will cause the opposite. It is risky to stay, riskier to leave too soon.

It is a risk I am willing to take and it shows no disrespect for U.S. troops. Don’t portray the guys in Iraq as victims. That is disrespect.

Posted by: Jack at June 6, 2008 3:16 PM
Comment #254721
Jack wrote:d.a.n. We are cleaning up chaos and an insurgency in Iraq. We have defeated most, but much like bacteria, you have to get the last ones or they come back.
Cleaning up?

Do you really thing we’re that stupid.
The condition in Iraq is very fragile.
Why?
Not because of Al-Qeada alone (of which there are only about an estimated 1,300 Al-Qaeda in Iraq).
The reason is because the Iraqis are determined to fight amongst themselves (the various factions).
Is that the best argument you have?

And whose fault would it be if 26.5 million Iraqis are incapable of to deal with the estimated 1,300 Al-Qaeda remaining in Iraq?
Do you think 26.5 Million Iraqis are incapable of finishing-up and dealing with the remaining Al-Qaeda in Iraq?

Jack, you still failed (as expected) to answer the questions.

Is nation-building and policing the Iraqis’ civil wars the duty of our U.S. Troops?
Is nation-building and policing the Iraqis’ civil making the U.S. safer?
Should our U.S. troops be put in harm’s way for nation-building and policing the Iraqis’ civil wars?
Why can’t these important question be answered by those that think we need to stay in Iraq?

Jack wrote: A victory in Iraq will show that we can defeat the terrorists in the place THEY called the central front.
Hmmmmmm … interesting statement indeed.

Again, there are only about 1,300 Al-Qaeda remaining in Iraq.
Funny how you continue to portray the primary problem as a terrorist problem.
Al-Qaeda is not the major problem in Iraq.
The major problem is that Iraqis can’t get along with each other.

Our U.S. troops have already sacrificed enough.
The Iraqis do not deserve any more of our help.
We’ve already done enough.

Is that the duty of our U.S. Troops?

Jack wrote: It will help hasten the spread of democracy in the region and increase stability.

Yikes!

Since when did that become the duty of our U.S. troops?
Is that the best reason you can come up with?
Now I’m starting to understand the major malfunction here.
It’s the same major malfunction behind Vietnam and Korea.

Is that the duty of our U.S. Troops (to risk their lives for nation-building and policing civil wars; especially if they are not making the U.S. safer)?

Jack wrote: A defeat will cause the opposite. It is risky to stay, riskier to leave too soon.

Nonsense. The U.S. has not been defeated.

Even if our troops leave now, they have not been defeated.
Such conclusions are so 1 dimensional and simple minded.
And if the Iraqis squander this opportunity (with Saddam now gone), that’s their own problem, and it still does not justify putting our troops in harm’s way for nation-building and policing the Iraqis’ civil wars.

Is that they duty of our U.S. Troops?
It is a risk I am willing to take and it shows no disrespect for U.S. troops.
Hmmmmmm … how easy some people find it to risk others’ lives for what they believe.

Is that they duty of our U.S. Troops?

Jack wrote: Don’t portray the guys in Iraq as victims. That is disrespect.

Nonsense. In fact, that is pure bullshit and one of the lamest and most dishonest tactics to obfuscate the issue … something that appears to being increasing in frequency lately.

The real disrespect is forcing our troops to risk life and limb for missions that are not making the U.S. safer.

But it is understandable.
There are no good explanations and reasons for disrespecting our U.S. troops by forcing them to risk life and limb for missions that are not making the U.S. safer.

You still failed (as expected) to answer the questions:

  • (1) Do you think nation building and policing Iraq’s civil wars are making the U.S. safer?

  • (2) Do you think the 27.5 million Iraqis are incapable of finishing-up and dealing with the approximate 1,300 Al-Qaeda now remaining in Iraq?

  • (3) What are your reasons for staying in Iraq any longer? Up to now, I haven’t seen any reasons that are very convincing; not anything that justifies putting our troops in harms way; not anything that is making the U.S. safer.

  • (4) What ever your reasons are, I’d like to see a list of them. Do any of your reasons trump the biggest priority ?
      Bottom Line - The overriding priority is that U.S. Troops should not be forced to risk life and limb for nation-building and policing civil wars, unless it is the best way to make the U.S. safer. Merely winning any conflict is not the goal, if that goal is already flawed from the beginning. Making the U.S. safer is the goal. The only acceptable reason to force U.S. Troops to risk life and limb is if it is the best way to make the U.S. safer. If terrorists are a threat (wherever they are coming from), there are better ways to make the U.S. safer, such as securing the borders and ports, and enforcing illegal immigration laws, since many of the terrorists of 11-SEP-2001 were illegal aliens and had violated many immigration laws). Forcing U.S. Troops to risk life and limb for nation-buildinkg, policing civil wars, and other inappropriate purposes shows a horrible disrespect for our U.S. Troops, and a complete lack of priorities.
The reasons you give are still not convincing. Not even close.

Posted by: d.a.n at June 6, 2008 3:59 PM
Comment #254722

LBJ had redeeming qualities. He actually called the families of some of the casualties in Vietnam. Bush43 invited the Dalai Lama to the White House twice, and signed a bill for that underwater national park in Hawaii, and that’s about it. I thought Franklin Pierce was the previous title holder of worst POTUS, a collateral relation of momma Barbara Pierce Bush.

Posted by: ohrealy at June 6, 2008 4:01 PM
Comment #254723

ohrealy,

Not a big Bush fan, but he has called the families of casualties in Iraq…

Posted by: Rhinehold at June 6, 2008 4:03 PM
Comment #254724

CORRECTION:

Jack wrote: It is a risk I am willing to take and it shows no disrespect for U.S. troops.

Posted by: d.a.n at June 6, 2008 4:06 PM
Comment #254725

phx8 wrote:

“LBJ takes a lot of the blame for Vietnam, but if I recall, more American soldiers died under Nixon.”

Nope. Go to this link and use your calculator.

1964-1968 (Johnson) = 35,957

1969-1973 (Nixon) = 20,863

Posted by: Jim T at June 6, 2008 4:09 PM
Comment #254729

Rhinehold, thanks for the info, I didn’t think W had the cojones.

R B Hayes and Benjamin Harrison were other examples of popular vote losers that became POTUS.

Posted by: ohrealy at June 6, 2008 4:36 PM
Comment #254738

Jack: You say that Obama’s election would lead to us losing in Iraq. It is a possibility but, it is not a certainty. You repeatedly refuse to admit that the Bush Administration refuses to allow the Iraqi people complete autonomy over their government and especially their economy. Instead, the Administration has repeatedly applied the carrot of bribery to the Iraqi politicians in an effort to get them to sell their people out. If the Iraqi politicians were to do that, they know that the would need the U.S. military indefinately to protect them from their own people.

So what if the Iraqi’s want to establish a Socialist/Capitalist economy. It is not really any of our business. Your side has been predicting the imminent collapse of the European economy for several decades now. Somehow they keep chugging along.

What I have not heard Obama say is that he has taken into consideration the fact that the Iraqi people, including many of their current politicians, had virtually no experience in running a government and have had little success at it since the establishment of their new government. This is because the Administration has pumped billions of our dollars into their government while requiring little or no accountability for the wise use of it. This has allowed many of the politicians to abscond with or misappropriate much of that money. The bribe money handed out by Bush and, I’m assuming, some of our corporations has done nothing but make a bad government situation worse.

I am in full agreement with establishing a time table for the withdraw of troops from Iraq. However, if Obama ignores what the Bush Administration has been doing to the Iraqi government, tells the Iraqis that they have had more than enough time to get their act together and that he is pulling us out in a year or less, I believe the potential for Iraq to fall back into chaos will be great. The door will be left open for Iran to fill much of the void and I wouldn’t be the least bit suprised if Turkey makes a grab for the Curdish region and the northern oil fields.

I believe it will take a year and a half to two years of continued but diminishing military support, new elections in Iraq and a new U.S. State Department to clean up the mess caused by the current one before Iraq will become stable.

Posted by: jlw at June 6, 2008 5:17 PM
Comment #254778

d.a.n

Re risking others’ lives - please recall that I am writing this to you from Al Anbar province, which you may know is in Iraq. Any “stupid” idea I have affect me first.

Jlw

Re Obama meaning defeat in Iraq

I am actually a bit more optimistic about that for two reasons. First, the surge has given the next president some real options. Obama (if he wins) would have a clear option of choosing defeat or working for success. I think he will choose success.

The second reason I am optimistic is that I think Obama’s position is evolving as he gets more experience. He was pandering to the movon.org nut cases, but if he becomes president I am becoming more and more confident that he will not radically change our policy in Iraq.

I am just doing my small part to try to set the record straight and help him reach the right conclusions.

BTW – Obama should visit Iraq – soon. Then he would understand that many of the things he (and you guys) claim to want to do are already being done and they are working. We can call it a bipartisan success. I am not worried about sharing the credit as long as there is success to share.

Posted by: Jack at June 7, 2008 1:51 AM
Comment #254794

Jack,
My friend, to say that President Bush did not accomplish anything would be wrong. I mean with gas up more than 400%, the cost of living going up as house prices crash through the floor, and near 0% growth expected this year. I wish he would stop trying to accomplish things.

Yes, for less than 30% of America P{resident Bush may of done everything perfect. However, the last time I check the words to the Preamble of the United States of America it is “We the People” and that means that 70% plus or minus the room for Error can demonstrate why his Actions and Words harmed America and what “We the People” are suppose to stand for.

I mean never have owned a million dollars I wonder what the Millionaires a year ago think about the Presidents’ Policy to shrink the Dollar while not supporting the purchase of Federal Reserve Special Treasury Notes. What is the current loss in home prices and inflation?

So Jack, thanks for asking about President Bush Accomplishments. Because why I still do believe that Iraq was a Diplomatic Blunder, the one thing that may sway me to register to vote this year is for McCain or Obama stand up and say that it is not about winning the War in Iraq, but Securing the Peace with the Citizens of Iraq.

Care to give me odds on that happening?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at June 7, 2008 7:48 AM
Comment #254799

Henry

Presidents do not control the world price of gas. Demand is higher than ever because of China and India. We failed to make the necessary investments 10 years ago.

House prices are another GLOBAL bubble. It didnt start in the U.S. and the U.S. is not the place that experienced the greatest ups or downs.

We experienced robust growth from 2002-2007. We still have not suffered a recession. Not that bad. Besides, the president doesn’t control the economy either. It is based on long term trends.

Re Iraq it is always about securing the peace with the people of Iraq. I would use a different verb. We are securing the peace FOR the people of Iraq and the American people. This is worth fighting for because the alternative is too bitter.

I think the odds of this happening are probably around 80%. We have an excellent chance of success. In fact, I believe failure is almost impossible if we keep our political nerve.

Posted by: Jack at June 7, 2008 9:00 AM
Comment #254803

Jack, it is so difficult to agree with you when you speak in this manner without the benefit of hard data and facts to constrain your wishful view of reality.

First, I have to agree, THIS President does not control the world price of gas. He could have ameliorated America’s price of gas by refusing to fill the national petroleum reserves at peak prices and instead filling them price troughs. But, where’s the profit for his oil buddies in that, right? Additionally, the President could be releasing oil reserves NOW to lower the price of oil to our refineries, but, that is not in his playbook because the RECORD profits of oil companies and their dependents like gasoline refineries are favored by THIS President.

It was the U.S. that burst that global housing inflation. Increased population and increased wage growth in the world increased demand for housing in China, India, and a host of other nations like the U.S. But, it was the US that burst that bubble and it was the US lack of collateralized assets to support its mortgage paper, that caused most of the credit problems in Europe and elsewhere where foreign banks and corporations held so much of our debt in the form of investments in American banks and mortgage companies.

We did NOT experience robust growth from 2002-2007. In 2002 we were still struggling our way out of the tech. bubble and constricted GDP growth. 2003 was somewhat better. It was 2004-2007 that there was robust growth, BUT ONLY for a small number of Americans, primarily major investors in commodities, mortgage backed securities, and exports/import industries. It was a fantastick period for financial and oil company exec’s.

But, for the Middle Class and the majority of Americans these years were nothing more than stagnant in terms of holding their own wealth and wages vs inflation in balance. And the lower middle class lost ground.

Whether we have suffered a recession or not has yet to be determined but, the impact on American non-wealthy working families has very negative with millions facing the loss of their homes, health insurance, jobs, and savings for their children’s growth and development.

As for Iraq, the simple fact is we don’t have the money or affordable credit capacity to continue occupying that nation, Jack. The homeland in the U.S. is posing ever greater threats to the future sustainability of our nation’s future, and Iraq has become a completely unaffordable preference.

Budgeting, as you well know Jack, is a matter of establishing what is essential and what is optional. It would be nice if we could create a peaceful, stable, democratic ally in Iraq, but, the national debt and deficits here, the terrible state of American education threatening our economic and political viability in the future, and 10’s of millions of Americans without health care insurance, jobs, and increasingly, an ability to pay their taxes to keep this nation afloat, is by far the greater need.

One does not plan charity spending for one’s neighbor Jack, when one’s home is on fire. America’s economic future is smoldering and threatening to catch flame. It is not the time to budget the needs of the people of Iraq. It is time to use our resources to secure our own economic and political future.

At $12 billion dollars a month, Jack, and a weakened and drained military, your 80% prognostication for Iraq is still a decade or many away, and therefore, utterly and completely unaffordable as an option for the American tax payers present and future.

Your view of Iraq, Jack, is financially unachievable for the U.S., Jack, thanks to Republican’s management of both America’s economic future and Iraq.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 7, 2008 11:03 AM
Comment #254810


Jack wrote: d.a.n
Re: risking others’ lives - please recall that I am writing this to you from Al Anbar province, which you may know is in Iraq. Any “stupid” idea I have affect me first.

Do you think that gives you some sort of immunity, special insight, or some other vast advantage?

If so, then why not answer these simple questions:

  • (1) Do you think nation building and policing Iraq’s civil wars are making the U.S. safer?

  • (2) Do you think the 27.5 million Iraqis are incapable of finishing-up and dealing with the approximate 1,300 Al-Qaeda now remaining in Iraq?

  • (3) What are your reasons for staying in Iraq any longer? Up to now, I haven’t seen any reasons that are very convincing; not anything that justifies putting our troops in harms way; not anything that is making the U.S. safer.

  • (4) What ever your reasons are, I’d like to see a list of them. Do any of your reasons trump the biggest priority ?
      Bottom Line - The overriding priority is that U.S. Troops should not be forced to risk life and limb for nation-building and policing civil wars, unless it is the best way to make the U.S. safer. Merely winning any conflict is not the goal, if that goal is already flawed from the beginning. Making the U.S. safer is the goal. The only acceptable reason to force U.S. Troops to risk life and limb is if it is the best way to make the U.S. safer. If terrorists are a threat (wherever they are coming from), there are better ways to make the U.S. safer, such as securing the borders and ports, and enforcing illegal immigration laws, since many of the terrorists of 11-SEP-2001 were illegal aliens and had violated many immigration laws). Forcing U.S. Troops to risk life and limb for nation-buildinkg, policing civil wars, and other inappropriate purposes shows a horrible disrespect for our U.S. Troops, and a complete lack of priorities.
The reasons you give are still not convincing. Not even close.

Posted by: d.a.n at June 7, 2008 12:22 PM
Comment #254811

Jim T -

Hi bro - I have to disagree on whether LBJ was the worst president even though he bears the lion’s share of the blame in ramping up our involvement in Vietnam. Don’t get me wrong - I clearly remember watching you looking at the draft numbers in the paper, and I cannot blame you for your opinion.

However, I also remember that the threat of communist expansion and thermonuclear war was far greater than anything the Islamic extremists pose; you surely remember the duck-and-cover drills we had even in grade school in the Delta.

In other words, LBJ did not manufacture the threat. He did not need to blow unsubstantiated hints of intelligence out of proportion as the recent Senate Intelligence Committee report shows Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld certainly did.

Furthermore, LBJ was not responsible for an economic meltdown as is Bush - in case you didn’t know, in 2003 the attorneys general of all fifty states sent a letter to Bush warning him of the looming subprime crisis. Did Bush do anything about it? He did WORSE than nothing - he ignored their warnings and enforced a Civil-War era law to negate the steps states had already taken to avert the crisis.

Just yesterday the news reported that one in eleven mortgages were either behind in payments or in foreclosure.

Add to this Bush’s approval of torture by waterboarding (the U.S. Army executed a Japanese soldier for waterboarding a U.S. P.O.W. in WWII).

Then there’s his negation of habeus corpus. IOW, we can now be arrested and imprisoned without charges, without evidence, and without access to representation. All he needs do is declare one an enemy of the state. Does this sound a little bit like life under communist rule? Yes, it does.

And then there’s his continual refusal to allow anyone in his administration testify on anything that might come back to bite him, citing ‘executive privilege’. Even NIXON at his worst never dared direct his people to ignore a congressional subpoena!

Most troubling of all is the combination of his executive order 51 which essential gives him the entire authority of the government…and his statement, “If this were a dictatorship, it’d be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I’m the dictator.”

If we have a peaceful transition to the next president - even if it’s McCain - we should all be deeply grateful for being able to begin our journey back from the abyss.

No, LBJ was not the worst president, because the presidency is not simply about just or unjust war.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at June 7, 2008 12:45 PM
Comment #254815

d.a.n.

Making lists is silly. I don’t go that route.

I will answer your questions if the premises were right. Re policing civil war. If we were doing that, it would not be a good idea. We are creating stability, which is good. Can the Iraqi’s defeat Al Qaeda, probably, but there we again have the chaos problem. My reasons for staying in Iraq is because I think the risk of staying is less than the risk of leaving too soon. I have written about that on many occassions.

Re being in Iraq - yes, it does give me some special insights not shared by those who have not seen it recently. The news media is behind the curve. But I wrote that in response to your Hmmmmmm … how easy some people find it to risk others’ lives for what they believe.” You can say lots of things about me, but that one is just wrong. I chose to come here to do my duty and it is not easy for me to advocate risking my life or those of close associates and friends. Just don’t try to pull that on me and we will be okay. I am immune to that particular criticism.

Posted by: Jack at June 7, 2008 1:49 PM
Comment #254822
Jack wrote: Making lists is silly. I don’t go that route.
Nonsense. You make lists in many of your posts to help substantiate your articles.
Jack wrote: I will answer your questions if the premises were right. Re policing civil war. If we were doing that, it would not be a good idea.
Jack, How many (approximately) Al-Qaeda/terrorists do you think are now left in Iraq?

Don’t you think, after 5 years, the Iraqis ought to be able to deal with what’s left?

Jack wrote: We are creating stability, which is good.
That depends on the cost.

Not if American troops are risking life and limb for any reason that is not making the U.S. safer.

Jack wrote: Can the Iraqi’s defeat Al Qaeda, probably, but there we again have the chaos problem.
Jack, The Iraqis will never step up to the plate as long as someone else is doing most of the work (not to mention the Iraqi government officials going on a 1-to-2 month vacations).
Jack wrote: My reasons for staying in Iraq is because I think the risk of staying is less than the risk of leaving too soon.
Risk of what? And what cost?

Is it making the U.S. safer?
Obviously, you think so.
OK, how is it making the U.S. safer?
Is it worth putting our troops in harm’s way any longer?

Jack wrote: I have written about that on many occassions.
I know, and it still doesn’t make sense.
Jack wrote: Re being in Iraq - yes, it does give me some special insights not shared by those who have not seen it recently.
s Not so much that it matters. By the way, I lived in Iran for a year and a half, and have been all over the middle east, so I know how it is there. It’s volatile. It’s chaos. If you think we’re going to change that, you’re wrong. We can not be the world police. We can’t afford it, unless it is making the U.S. safer, and that you have still failed to prove. The U.S. won’t being doing much of anything for anybody if we don’t start paying more attention to our own business; if we go completely bankrupt, which may not be that far away.
Jack wrote: The news media is behind the curve.
I don’t think so. No one can see everything that goes on, but the big picture isn’t hard to see.

The surge brought some peace, but it is very fragile, because the Iraqis and various factions can not get along with each other, and that’s not going to change any time soon.
As for terrorists, there ain’t very many of those left, and 27.5 million Iraqis should be able to deal with what remains. If not, then that’s unfortunate, but we can’t be the Iraqis’ police force for the next 100 years … which is probably pretty accurate as to how long it would take to bring peace to that region.

But whether and when peace is possible in Iraq is not the main priority.
The main priority (or question) is:

    Is it making the U.S. safer? If yes, how?
If you can’t answer that, then we should not be risking our troops any longer in that mission.

Jack wrote: But I wrote that in response to your Hmmmmmm … how easy some people find it to risk others’ lives for what they believe.” You can say lots of things about me, but that one is just wrong. I chose to come here to do my duty and it is not easy for me to advocate risking my life or those of close associates and friends.
Jack, unless you can make a better case that our occupation of Iraq is making the U.S. safer, then you are wrong.

If you can make a solid case, I’ll be happy to admit I am wrong.

Jack wrote: Just don’t try to pull that on me and we will be okay. I am immune to that particular criticism.
No dice Jack. Unless you can make a solid case that putting our troops in harm’s way in Iraq is making the U.S. safer, then the comment was very appropos. Unless you can make a case, our troops should not be forced to risk life and limb for any mission that isn’t making the U.S. safer. You can try to make a humanitarian case, but the Iraqis have had 5 years to get it together.

It is that lack of good reasons why the majority of Americans want to leave Iraq.
Most Americans have not seen any convincing reasons to continue to put our troops in harm’s way, and they believe the Iraqis have had long enough to get it together (especially if the Iraqi government has time to take 1-to-2 month vacations).

Posted by: d.a.n at June 7, 2008 4:25 PM
Comment #254861

Why should we “assume” the worst lie of the far left is true when we already know that it’s not?

Posted by: StephenL at June 7, 2008 8:01 PM
Comment #254881

Americans are willing to endure mass casualties for a good cause, but not for geopolitical BS, or strategic mistakes.

At the end of the day, we already have been defeated. We aimed to create a functional Democracy. Best we’ll get out of this is a failed state that sometimes holds elections, whose politicians, absent our presence, can’t keep control of their own country. That’s not victory, and continuing to compound that failure by propping up that government is just an uglier version of defeat.

Victory would have been the ability to leave Iraqi soldiers and police alone to fairly and properly administer their own country’s security. Instead, we’re stuck playing referee, stuck taking up their slack. Continuing to take up that slack, even for the best reasons is not victory, it’s an uglier version of defeat, so long as the Iraqis do not step up to the bat.

Victory would have been a strong power counterbalancing Iran in the Middle East. Instead, we’re backing a government that’s buddy-buddy with Iran. The irony is, the guy who doesn’t back Iran is the religiously intolerant guy who’s been killing our soldiers, and who our friends were unable to defeat in Southern Iraq. The proper term for being forced by political considerations to prop up an unpopular ally of Iran is defeat. Continuing to spend money and lose lives to do all this strategic good for Iran is an uglier version of that same defeat.

A victory in Iran would have been to keep the sectarian forces in Iraq from breaking the peace. They have been slaughtering each other, and continue to kill each other. That was a defeat for us, and the fact that we’re still afraid of leaving for what they might do to each other in our absence, means this defeat is ongoing.

I am not a defeatist by nature, but I think it’s better to admit failures early and do something about them early, if you don’t want to change short term failures into these kinds of long term catastrophic defeats.

You folks want to act like events are still hazy, as if the verdicts of history haven’t been rendered, but what’s happened has happened, and the longer the right remains in denial, the less we will be able to do to make our withdrawal anything but a catastrophe.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 7, 2008 10:29 PM
Comment #254885


Jack: You still refuse to address my main point, that the Bush, Cheney, Jack economic vision for the new Iraq is not shared by the people of Iraq.

Imperialist extremism in the pursuit of corporate profits is no crime. That is the Bush/Cheney philosophy. I hope it is not yours as well.

Posted by: jlw at June 7, 2008 10:59 PM
Comment #254895

Jack refuses to answer the most basic questions.
Perhaps being to close to the chaos is a factor?
I lived in the middle east for years.
It’s delusional to think you can eliminate chaos there.

Posted by: d.a.n at June 7, 2008 11:34 PM
Comment #254908

Jack,
The President does have a lot of control over the cost of oil considering it is directly linked to the strength of the American Dollar and the Policies that control it.

No, a tax cut in the time of war to not seeing the need to use the strength of the dollar to secure the Homes of Americans can be directly linked to something said by President Bush a few years ago. And why it will take a Learned Economist to expose the problem, I do believe that I mentioned at the time that America was fixing to have the same problems that we as a nation and a society faced in the 70’s and Early 80’s.

And as far as robust growth between 2002-2007, I cannot see how that is possible considering the Dow Jones is setting at 12,000 points. For wasn’t it 10,000 right after9/11?

Yes, telling some people that they have more toilet paper may make them happy; however, since the debate is about making Real Money. I challenge the so called experts to prove that an American living today is financially better off than they were in 2002. Remember, President Bush asking for the splitting of two pieces of gold into four?

And Iraq, can you show me were any civil, political, or religious leader in the last 7 years that has referred to Winning the Peace in the Middle East through Force?

No, as long as those Citizens over the age of 30 still believe that they are put on Earth to serve the Kings and Queens of the World instead of the other way around. The Game will always be about the Rich maintaining Power over the Masses through Oppression. For don’t they still teach that in Business School?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at June 8, 2008 4:40 AM
Comment #254910

d.a.n.

We don’t agree re Iraq. You will not understand my views and I do not understand yours. I find it very interesting, however, that you can so easily dismiss actual boots on the ground experience.

For example, if you would pay closer attention to the news, you would understand that Iraqi forces ARE stepping up. They take more casualties than we do. They are in the deserts chasing the bad guys where we do not go. In a nearby city, insurgents cut the throats of 12 police officers. They die just like we do. You may oppose the war, but please stop denigrating the brave Iraqis who ARE fighting for their freedom.

We trust our lives to Iraqis every day. They need help with training and they are up against some formidable problems, but they are coming along.

People often talk about Iraqi casualties. Who do you think those people are? These are people the insurgents are killing; these are police recruits that the bad guys are targeting. BTW – the guys I am talking about are Sunnis fighting Sunni insurgents and AQI.

On the plus side, it is true the insurgency is running out of steam. Suicide bombers are less common and they are almost always foreigners, unless they are children or developmentally disabled people that the bad guys rig up.

You mention you lived in Iran. Good. How many years ago? Things change and in these conditions they change fast. Besides, experience in Iran doesn’t mean much in Iraq.

Jlw

Do you have any idea what that economic vision is? We are trying to help the Iraqis get on their feet and doing whatever practical things seem to do that. The Iraqis still have state owned enterprises; they still have lots of government regulations. They might be better off w/o them, but everybody understands that you cannot make shocking jumps.

Our “vision” for Iraq is for it to be a prosperous country run by Iraqis. I think that is the American vision. Is yours very different?

The American hope is that Iraq is rich enough to pay its own bills and develop. Fortunately, they are getting that way quick. Do you oppose this?

We are encouraging agricultural renewal with better crops rotations. Bringing them technologies to help with soil salinization. Giving them advice on solar and wind energy. With all due respect, like d.a.n. you really have no idea about what is going on.

Our policy is an American policy. It will not change very much is Barack Obama gets elected, unless he really screws up. What is happening now is that all this defeatist talk is just making things harder to fix.

Read this slowly - We CHANGED strategy significantly at the end of 2006. We emphasized protecting the civilian population. It is working. There is a very clear break between what what happening in 2005-6 and what is happening now. It is not the same.

If you want to criticize the 2003-6 strategy, go ahead. It did not work. John McCain criticized Bush all those years re. So did many Dems. It CHANGED and it is working.

Henry

Did you have any stock investments? Check your own porfolio and tell me WHEN you started to lose money (i.e. 2000) and when you started to gain it again (i.e 2003).

The price of oil is related to the dollar, but it has generally gone up. Beyond that, the dollar is not something the president controls. The Fed is independent.

Posted by: Jack at June 8, 2008 5:14 AM
Comment #254917

Jack,
To say that the numbers played with by the Financial Wizards of the day represent real growth in the value of the dollar let me remind you that in the 70’s the motto was “In God We trust, all Others pay Cash” for the simple fact that a Dollar today will keep buying less and less until the Fools in Charge figure out how to stabilize runaway inflation.

And the fact that the Price of Oil Rises as the Dollar Falls is a question that a Banker is going to have to answer. Because for some strange Logic and Reason the Elders and Powers-that-Be of the 70’s as well as the Grandparents of Society will not let me explain the other side of that Learned Debate of Knowledge and Wisdom.

However, the “Go Shoping” Policy of President Bush after 9/11 instead of appealing Americans to buy War Bonds for a lack of a better word is well within the control of the President. For as a Conservative I am shocked that you did not know that was why President Regan in the 80’s came up with the slogan “Buy American.”

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at June 8, 2008 8:50 AM
Comment #254942

Jack,

“Did you have any stock investments? Check your own porfolio and tell me WHEN you started to lose money (i.e. 2000) and when you started to gain it again (i.e 2003).”

You continually use the stock market as your benchmark as to how well people in America are “doing”, yet you never have cited any statistic as to how many people actually are actively invested in the stock market.
So, other than those that are invested through a retirement account through their place of employment, how many people in this country actually own enough stock to truly make money?

Surely someone of your economic acumen has such information at their fingertips. I don’t want to hear that everybody can, or should own stock, I want to see a statistic that cites how many people actually own stock. I’ve looked and I can’t find any.

Any statistic you quote about the “worth” of stock is meaningless, because until a stock it is sold it’s just paper, and with the rise of e-trading it isn’t even that.
The numbers you cite about how groovy the stock market is doing are merely theoretical, and even those that have “made a killing” in the stock market had to cash out to realize any true return on their investment, and if anyone sells enough of any stocks to “make a killing” it lowers the “worth” of those stock to anyone else that owns them.

Jack, I’m quite sure that there are a few people in this country that are doing very well, because the stock market is doing well. I’m also sure that there are more that aren’t doing quite so well, and there are even more that aren’t doing well at all.

Posted by: Rocky at June 8, 2008 2:19 PM
Comment #254964
Jack wrote: d.a.n. We don’t agree re Iraq. You will not understand my views and I do not understand yours.
That’s right.

I’ve asked many important (and simple) questions that you either can not answer, or refuse to answer.

Jack wrote: I find it very interesting, however, that you can so easily dismiss actual boots on the ground experience.
Jack, A very large percentage of U.S. troops also think Iraq has had more than enough time to get their act together.
Jack wrote: For example, if you would pay closer attention to the news, you would understand that Iraqi forces ARE stepping up.
Nonsense.

I do pay attention, and they are NOT stepping up.
If it were really true, you would have also included some proof.
But you didn’t.
As of May 2007, only 6,000 Iraqi troops were trained and able to function independently of U.S. Forces.
That is NOT not nearly good enough for a nation that has 27.5 million people.
Should U.S. troops be used to continue trying? How long is too long?

Jack wrote: They take more casualties than we do.
That’s true. Still, there are 27.5 million Iraqis, versus 150,000 U.S. troops (a ratio of 183.3 to 1). Starting to get the picture?
Jack wrote: They are in the deserts chasing the bad guys where we do not go.
In a nearby city, insurgents cut the throats of 12 police officers. They die just like we do. You may oppose the war, but please stop denigrating the brave Iraqis who ARE fighting for their freedom. Jack, that comment is pure bullshit.

I’m not denigrating the Iraqis that have stepped up to the plate.
I’m denigrating the Iraqis that have not.
There’s a huge difference … another of many facts you so conveniently twist and obfuscate (as usual).

Jack wrote: We trust our lives to Iraqis every day. They need help with training and they are up against some formidable problems, but they are coming along.
Again, I commend the Iraqis that have stepped up to the plate, but only 6,000 Iraqi troops trained and able to function independently of U.S. Forces aint nearly enough for a nation of 27.5 million people. Do the arithmetic.
Jack wrote: People often talk about Iraqi casualties. Who do you think those people are? These are people the insurgents are killing; these are police recruits that the bad guys are targeting. BTW – the guys I am talking about are Sunnis fighting Sunni insurgents and AQI.
Jack, too many Iraqis side with those insurgents.

The Iraqis do NOT want to get along with each other. When are you going to figure that out?
For example:

  • Daily Insurgent Attacks, Feb 2004 - Total = 14

  • Daily Insurgent Attacks, July 2005 - Total = 70

  • Daily Insurgent Attacks, May 2007 - Total = 163

  • Estimated Insurgency Strength, Nov 2003 - Total = 15,000

  • Estimated Insurgency Strength, Oct 2006 - Total = 20,000 - 30,000

  • Estimated Insurgency Strength, June 2007 - Total = 70,000

  • Estimated Insurgency Strength, June 2008 - Total = ??,???
HHHMMMmmmmm … seems to be increasing. Not decreasing.

At any rate, any stability you see now is very fragile.
Can General Petraus drive about yet in unarmed/unarmored humvees as John McCain he could in Mar-2007?

We can not police Iraq indefinitely.

Jack wrote: On the plus side, it is true the insurgency is running out of steam. Suicide bombers are less common and they are almost always foreigners, unless they are children or developmentally disabled people that the bad guys rig up.
It’s temporary and fragile. A fact you refuse to admit.
Jack wrote: You mention you lived in Iran. Good. How many years ago? Things change and in these conditions they change fast. Besides, experience in Iran doesn’t mean much in Iraq.
Iraq has been worse (for many decades) in many ways than Iran. But I’ve been in the middle east, and I know how volatile and chaotic it is. Enough to know that you are delusional if you think it is going to change any time soon. We can not be the world police. Besides, there are other nations that are equally chaotic (or worse). Why are we in those nations too? What’s up with that? Care to tackle that obvious inconsistency? Hook, line, and sinker.

I’ll ask again, but suspect there the questions will still be ignored (as usual) …

  • (01) Is continuing to put U.S. Troops in harm’s way in Iraq making the U.S. safer?

  • (02) Aren’t there many better ways to make the U.S. safer?

  • (03) Which country has more terrorsts? Afghanistan or Iraq? Afghanistan is slipping away.
  • (04) If Iran is making trouble in Iraq, why not secure the 250 mile border (which is less than one-third the 830 mile border between Texas and Mexico)? Put 12,500 troops on that 250 mile Iran/Iraq border and that would be 50 troops per mile (on average, a soldier ever 105 feet); . 12,500 is only 8.3% of the 150,000 U.S. Troops in Iraq. Better yet, put Iraqi troops on the borders too.
  • (05) Should U.S. troops be used for nation-building and policing civil wars if it is not making the U.S. safer?

  • (06) If the U.S. troops are making the U.S. safer, how? Aren’t there still better ways to make the U.S. safer?
  • (07) There are not many Al-Qaeda left within Iraq (about 1,300). Why can’t 27.5 million Iraqis deal with it? Why does the Iraqi government instead take 1-to-2 month vacations?

  • (08) Haven’t the Iraqis had enough time to get it together? Will the Iraqis ever (sufficiently) step up to the plate if U.S. troops continue to do too much for the Iraqis?

  • (09) Why aren’t other nations being asked (or allowed) to help out with the situation? Why have most other nations now left Iraq? Perhaps those other nations also feel like the Iraqis have had more than enough time to get their act together? Or perhaps they realize that it is quite possible that the Iraqis will never get their act together. As of May 2007, only 6,000 Iraqi troops were trained and able to function independently of U.S. Forces. That is not not nearly good enough for a nation that has 27.5 million people. Should U.S. troops be used to continue trying? How long is too long?

  • (10) Regardless of the humanitarian argument, the highest priority is still: Should U.S. troops be used to continue nation-building and policing the Iraqis? Another priority is the monetary cost. Already, as of May-2008, about $600 Billion has already been spent. Another $200 Billion was requested for year 2008. The cost of deploying one U.S. soldier in Iraq for one year is about $390,000. $1 billion in tractor trailers, tank recovery vehicles, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and other equipment and services provided to the Iraqi security forces is missing (source: www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/12/06/iraq/main3584247.shtml). Feb-2007 Congressional hears say $10 Billion was lost due to mismanagement and waste in Iraq. Halliburton overcharges classified by the Pentagon as unreasonable-and-unsupported were $1.4 billion (or more) in year 2007. KBR, a former Halliburton division, tasked to supply the U.S. military in Iraq with food, fuel, housing and other items received - $20 billion, $3.2 Billion of which the Pentagon auditors deem “questionable-or-unsupportable”. There are 180,000 orivate contractors in Iraq, working in support of U.S. Army Troops (as of August 2007; source: www.thenation.com/doc/20070827/engelhardt). How can the U.S. continue to fund all of this when the U.S. has $53.2 Trillion of nation-wide debt, rising inflation (i.e. excessive money creation), and numerous pressing problems, growing in number and severity? Can the U.S. afford to be the world police?

  • (11) If terrorism is the issue, why not focus on existing immigration laws and border security? After all, 18 of the 19 perpetrators of the WTC attacks on 11-SEP-2001 (some who were illegal aliens and/or had violated several immigration laws), possessed 13 state-issued drivers’ licenses and/or 21 ID cards (source: www.9-11pdp.org/press/2004-12-03_factsheet.pdf), and all 19 hijackers had obtained Social Security numbers (some real, some fake; source: www.cis.org/articles/2002/back1202.html). The terrorists very simply tapped into an enormous market for fraudulent documents that exists because tens of millions of illegal aliens have successfully breached our borders and now reside here illegally; anonymously; spawnning widespread document and identity fraud that threatens our ability to distinguish illegal aliens from U.S. citizens and legal foreign residents; and giving rise to the fastest growing crime in America: identity theft.

  • (12) Bottom-line: Should U.S. troops have to risk life and limb for any mission that is not making the U.S. safer? Especially when there are better ways to make the U.S. safer. By the way, 60% of Americans want U.S. troops out of Iraq (MAR-2008 source: www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-03-12-warpoll_N.htm ; MAR-2008 source: www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/03/28/opinion/polls/main2619034.shtml ; MAY-2008 source: www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/002257.html).
It seems to me you would want to address these important questions. What does it mean if you won’t (or can’t)?

Regardless of who the next president is, what can the next president accomplish if sabotaged and saddled with the same irrsponsible and corrupt Congress?
Perhaps enough voters will vote more responsibly when enough of them are jobless, homeless, hungry, or worse?

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and deserve).

Posted by: d.a.n at June 8, 2008 8:28 PM
Comment #255007
Henry Schlatman wrote:To say that the numbers played with by the Financial Wizards of the day represent real growth in the value of the dollar let me remind you that in the 70’s the motto was “In God We trust, all Others pay Cash” for the simple fact that a Dollar today will keep buying less and less until the Fools in Charge figure out how to stabilize runaway inflation.
That’s right.

Get ready for more inflation and economic instability.

The monetary system is a usurious, dishonest, inflationary, upside-down pyramid-scheme, in which money is created as debt (see 47 minute video).

Why can no one tell us where the money will come from to pay the mere INTEREST on $53.2 Trillion of nation-wide debt, much less the money to reduce the PRINCIPAL $53 Trillion of nation-wide debt (e.g. DEBT=PRINCIPAL+INTEREST), when that money does not yet exist ?

Why are so many politicians and economists silent (excluding David Walker, former U.S. Comptroller), and unwilling to deal with the frightening consequences ?

  • Glen Beck/David Walker: www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-16u9x3tfE

  • David Walker - America’s future - Part 1: www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIgrxpp97OQ&feature=related

  • David Walker - America’s future - Part 2: www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXr_Ga_n0pY&feature=related

  • David Walker - Leading to Bankruptcy: www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXr_Ga_n0pY&feature=related

  • To make matters worse, we are transferring our wealth from the U.S. to oil producing nations (many that don’t like us).

    At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and deserve).

    Posted by: d.a.n at June 9, 2008 12:19 PM
    Comment #255020

    Jack -

    You said, “People often talk about Iraqi casualties. Who do you think those people are? These are people the insurgents are killing; these are police recruits that the bad guys are targeting.”

    The people being killed are ALSO the collateral damage, the women and children…and what is left are the bereaved, and the memories of who were unjustly killed by America (in their eyes)…and the burning desire for revenge - which desire can last for generations.

    Also, I could be wrong, but it appears you believe the stock market is doing fine. Right now, the Dow Jones index is at 12234.32 - that’s about 4% higher than the highest point during the Clinton presidency. If you think that’s good, then check out the historical progress of the DJIA at http://stockcharts.com/charts/historical/

    You’ll see how the DJIA had bumps and valleys…but since Bush took over it has plateaued and has shown less real progress than during any four-year presidential term since the early seventies.

    Furthermore, the dollar has been taking a beating…which translates directly into the costs we pay at Costco, Wal-Mart, and the gas pump.

    Add that to the housing meltdown which IS in large measure Bush’s responsibility - see http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/13/AR2008021302783.html - and it becomes obvious just how detrimental Bush has been for America (and that’s NOT counting his attack on the Constitution).

    No, Bush has NOT been good for the economy…and his misadventure in Iraq has earned us enemies for generations to come.

    Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at June 9, 2008 3:10 PM
    Comment #255050

    GW Bush also added 3trillion more to the national debt. Between GW Bush GH Bush snd Reagan admins are responsiple for 70% of debt. I want to know how Mcain or Obama are going to stop this trend. Tired of Govermnt livig beyond means!! Earl

    Posted by: Earl at June 9, 2008 6:46 PM
    Comment #255058
    Assume the worst. GWB misled the world and himself and got us into a war in pursuit of the audacious & arrogant goal of bringing democracy to the Middle East.

    That’s not assuming the worst, Jack.

    A far worser assertion could be the audacious & arrogant goal had nothing to do with democracy, for example. Remember, it was not the first justification made. One of the first were the famous mushroom-shaped clouds over american cities, IIRC…

    For an exact worst scale measure, only GWB could tell. Wait. No. Not necessarily. That’s me assuming he knows what he did/do, again.

    Sorry.

    Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at June 9, 2008 8:42 PM
    Comment #255060
    The price of oil is being driven by DEMAND not supply

    Nope. It’s driven by both (demand is high, supply is structurally limited) *and* speculators who bet on evolution of the formers two.

    On a more general note, you’re playing with temporal paradox. You use the fact that as soon as american GIs entered Iraq Al Quaida move there to fight them to claim that even without GIs they will.
    But you have no proof.
    Nobody have.
    In fact, that’s exactly what proof the White House had in 2003. None. Threat were unprovable.

    But yet they resort to 1% doctrine to avoid to justify attacking a foreign nation.

    Maybe Bush and his supports deal with that, but I’m far from forget this, and if the US image drop worldwide since is any indication, I’ll bet that I’m not alone.

    From an heroic defender nation, US became an aggressor, live in everyone TV all over the world.

    And this is Bush legacy.


    Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at June 9, 2008 8:58 PM
    Comment #255064
    We are trying to help the Iraqis get on their feet and doing whatever practical things seem to do that.

    Being invaded made them fall on their knees.

    The Iraqis still have state owned enterprises; they still have lots of government regulations. They might be better off w/o them, but everybody understands that you cannot make shocking jumps.

    But yet not everybody understands that only iraqis should decide what’s better for them, not US, not you, not me. Sovereign state does not work one-way.

    We trust our lives to Iraqis every day. They need help with training and they are up against some formidable problems, but they are coming along.

    Formidable problems created by US invasion.
    Sure, they had problems before too. But not as “formidable” as now.

    That’s why I don’t believe one second your guys are trying to help the Iraqis get on their feet. I believe your guys are trying to find a way to go home without too much geopolitical shame.

    Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at June 9, 2008 9:40 PM
    Comment #255066

    Jack

    You said:

    Oil brings power. Saddam had oil power, which made him more dangeous than local menaces like Mugabe or Lukachenko. W/o oil, Saddam (and bin Laden etc) would be local pirates. Yes. No oil, no war. If you want to be simplistic, you can make that all there is.

    I find it deeply insulting to compare American patriots to people who purposely target women and children. I don’t recall any situations in the U.S. revolution when patriots sent suicide bombers to kill loyalist civilians.

    Somehow I don’t think Sadam’s scuds were going to reach American shores. We were there in Desert Storm to protect Saudi and Kuwaiti oil fields. Why? The Saudis and Kuwaiti’s have more than enough money to protect themselves. Sadam had no interest in the US until we proceeded to be a hired gun for Saudi Interests.


    Comparing war of 2008 with war of 1778 is rather absurd, but if you actually believe the patriots were innocent dandies, who never harmed women or children, it is you who are too far gone, and wh o has watched too many movies.

    From wikipedia:

    By July 4, 1776 the rebels had gained control of virtually all territory in the 13 States by violently suppressing the Loyalists, demanding that they all give up their loyalty to the King. Those who refused to do so ran the risk of being tarred and feathered, (which often killed the loyalists) as a deterrent to others. Neutrality was not permitted. Those that were still determined to remain loyal contributed to the war by giving aid and volunteering to fight with the British army.

    Businesses were burned, and while it is difficult to find reference to women a children being “collateral damage”, they undoubtedly were. These were the same men, after all, who enslaved blacks and slaughtered Native Americans.

    I don’t know how Yassir Arafat has anything to do with Iraq, but no I think he was a power hungry and corrupt leader. His cause, however, was far more legitimate than a group of wealthy smugglers defying taxes.

    War is never about being nice and gentlemanly, no matter how many idiots try to make it noble.

    I often suspect conservatives of being unaware of the origins of their own nation, but your response seems to confirm this.

    Posted by: googlumpugus at June 9, 2008 10:02 PM
    Comment #255141

    Jack,

    Pretty good article. I will have to give it some thought. I don’t know if I will get around to writing a counter-point article or not. But you wrote:

    Saddam would be an attractive partner for Al Qaeda, especially if the U.S. is pushing them to the wall.
    Please!

    Posted by: Ray Guest at June 10, 2008 4:47 PM
    Comment #255150

    Jack -

    Apparently you can fool ‘Ray Guest’, but some of us will call out the faults in your reasoning - and here’s the major fault in your quote that interested Ray: Al Qaeda and Saddam hated each other. If Al Qaeda did not look to Saddam for help and shelter when times were bad, and if Saddam never bothered to negotiate with Al Qaeda when Bush was about to invade, then they certainly wouldn’t have done so if times were better. You should also bear in mind that Saddam (as demonically evil as he most certainly was) cared little for religion, and he held little truck with religious extremists of any stripe, whether they are of the “America is satan” Al Qaeda or “Jews are going to hell” Bush.

    In other words, Jack, your propositions in your post are ASSUMPTIONS…and I well remember the old saying about the word ‘assume’.

    Remember, Saddam even offered to go into EXILE to avoid a war, but Bush refused to let him go.

    Which sorta reminds me of when Idi Amin was allowed to go into exile with his billions. I think he’s still alive, but in any case he lived - or is living - out his life in peace. Yes, that’s a gross miscarriage of justice…but think of all the innocent blood and taxpayer dollars that weren’t wasted to kill one evil, depraved tyrant.

    Herodotus said, “No one is fool enough to choose war instead of peace. In peace, sons bury fathers. In war, fathers bury sons.”

    I wish Bush would’ve taken that to heart, as the world did when Idi Amin was allowed to go into exile.

    “Those who forget the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.”

    Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at June 10, 2008 7:32 PM
    Comment #255157

    Glenn Contrarian,

    For the record: I don’t agree with Jack. I just thought that he had an interesting spin that I would like to refute, time permitting. My reference to the quote from his article was intended to indicate that the idea that Saddam would ever work with Al Qaeda was ridiculous on its face. The part of article that I found interesting and in need of thoughtful refutation was the comparisons between WW2 and Iraq.

    Posted by: Ray Guest at June 10, 2008 9:21 PM
    Comment #255176

    Regardless of the reasons and false intelligence used as an excuse to invade Iraq, and Bush’s numerous blunders that followed, it is interesting that those advocating that the U.S. remain in Iraq are unable or unwilling to answer a few simple questions:

    • (1) Is risking life and limb of U.S. troops in Iraq making the U.S. safer?

    • (2) If the answer to (1) is Yes, then how?

    • (3) If the answer to (1) is Yes, then are there possibly better ways to make the U.S. safer than boots on the ground witin Iraq?

    • (4) If terrorists following us home from Iraq (as asserted by John McCain), then why not secure the U.S. borders and ports, and enforce illegal immigration laws better? Especially since 18 of the 19 perpetrators of 11-SEP-2001 (some who were illegal aliens and/or had violated several immigration laws), possessed 13 state-issued drivers’ licenses and/or 21 ID cards (source: www.9-11pdp.org/press/2004-12-03_factsheet.pdf), and all 19 hijackers had obtained Social Security numbers (some real, some fake; source: www.cis.org/articles/2002/back1202.html).

    • (5) If Iran is making trouble in Iraq, why not secure the 250 mile border (which is less than one-third the 830 mile border between Texas and Mexico)? Put 12,500 troops on that 250 mile Iran/Iraq border and that would be 50 troops per mile (on average, a soldier ever 105 feet); 12,500 is only 8.3% of the 150,000 U.S. Troops in Iraq. Better yet, put Iraqi troops on the borders too.

    • (6) Lastly, should U.S. troops ever have to risk life and limb for missions that are not making the U.S. safer, or when there are better ways to make the U.S. safer? Especially when Congress is giving itself 9 raises in the 10 years between 1997 and 2007, cu$hy benefits, and perk$, while U.S. troops risk life and limb, go without amror, adequate medical care, and promised beneifts? Especially when the 27.5 million Iraqis have had over 5 years to get it together, the Iraqi government officials are taking 1-to-2 month vacations, and (as of May 2007) only 6,000 Iraqi troops were trained and able to function independently of U.S. Forces. 6000 (or even twice or triple that many) is not not nearly good enough for a nation that has 27.5 million people. If that ratio of 1/2033 (150,000 U.S. troops per 305 Million U.S. population) is used for Iraq, the Iraqis should have at least 13,500 troops (much more if the ratio of all U.S. troops per total U.S. population is used). Should 150,000 U.S. troops be used to continue trying to nation-build and police the Iraqis, when that relative peace is very fragile and temporary only as long as 150,000 U.S. troops remain to police the Iraqis? Is the humanitarian argument strong enough to sacrifice U.S. troops to nation-build and police the Iraqi population, when Iraqis have had over 5 years to get it together? How long is long enough? The U.S. has $53.2 Trillion of naiton-wided debt, and serious economic issues. Is the human and monetary cost worth pursuing this mission? How many Al-Qaeda are now left in Iraq (compared to 27.5 Million Iraqis)? Which country has more terrorsts? Afghanistan or Iraq? Afghanistan is slipping away (source: www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/26/AR2007102601955.html).
    If these questions can not be answered, then doesn’t it raise questions about the true motives behind U.S. military presence in Iraq? Especially when John McCain keeps saying (as least 3 or more times) that Iran is assisting Al-Qaeda (which is false), and trying to spin things as being more rosy than reality?

    Posted by: d.a.n at June 11, 2008 10:13 AM
    Comment #255255

    To understand what you really have with Bush, I suggest you read the Articles of Impeachment introduced Monday night by Dennis Kucinich. What he says may be scary but it is right on. Of course, you’ll have to read it on-line as our weak press (even the so-called liberal NY Times) is not covering it.

    Posted by: Tom at June 11, 2008 10:10 PM
    Comment #255925

    Jack wrote:
    It is a risk I am willing to take and it shows no disrespect for U.S. troops. Don’t portray the guys in Iraq as victims. That is disrespect.


    What risk are YOU taking Jack???
    that slays me

    I am willing to risk every ounce of YOUR blood ….”

    it is our 18-30 year old troops lives, limbs, our economy, our nation’s security that YOU are willing to risk.
    ‘Awful courageous of you Jack
    or just Awful period

    You also made a statement concerning having to stamp out every last terrorist (like bacteria, remember??) — now there is job security for you — will make sure McCain’s goal of staying in Iraq for 100 years will come true.

    Posted by: russ at June 18, 2008 1:08 PM
    Comment #257029

    Jack:
    Just an observation: Oil prices are controlled more by the demand in the futures market than by demand by the consumer. At this moment, we have an ample supply of oil for our needs. It’s the anticipated supplies in the future that drive the market up. Add to that the speculation inherent in the market and you have the mad rise in price that we see now.
    So it’s incumbent on us (and our government) to do everything it can to free us from our oil dependency at the earliest possible moment. Bush has not taken the lead on this quest, and in fact has done whatever he can to scuttle it. The latest move is his effort to slow down solar energy deployment for “environmental reasons”. That from a president with a horrific record on the environment shows what his true intentions are.
    Why can’t we all get together on this one issue? Can’t both sides push the government into taking the necessary actions to speed up the development of alternative sources of clean energy? Why must this be a “liberal issue”, according to conservative pundits? Why would Bush commit such an egregious act when his motives are so transparent, with almost no one on the right calling him on it?
    You’re a smart guy, Jack. Maybe you can answer that last question for me.

    Posted by: Cole at June 28, 2008 7:33 PM
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