War for Oil

Don’t you wish the Iraq war REALLY was for oil as the conspiracy nuts told us? If it was, we would have that $79 billion dollar surplus Iraq now enjoys. The country earns around $90 billion a year in oil revenues and Iraqi officials face the unusual dilemma of not being able to spend money as fast as it comes it.

Meanwhile, we Americans are paying for development projects. This is not how the textbooks describe empires. When the Romans took over Carthage, Egypt or Gaul, they MADE money. “To the victor belong the spoils”, is what the Romans always said. That was the way it was throughout history. We Americans broke the mold.

The American method is more enlightened. We started doing this big time with the Marshal Plan after World War II. American generosity made possible the reconstruction of war-torn Europe. Allies and former enemies alike benefited. But it was actually enlightened self interest. It helped us avoid the threats of chaos in Europe and still another rise of an angry and irredentist Germany. Our leaders back then understood that American prosperity would be enhanced by prosperous partners and that prosperity would hold back the evils of Communism. The often overlooked truth of a free market is that everybody is better off when everybody else is better off.

The Romans could profit from the spoils of war because their world was different. The ancient world was much closer to a zero sum game, where one person could gain wealth only at the expense of another. Our world, with its market economy, is a positive sum game, where we can all get richer through trade and better production methods.

We did both the right thing and the smart thing when we choose to help Iraqis to their feet rather than exploit the riches under them. We could not have enjoyed success in Iraq had we not taken the more holistic and enlightened approach. And American success in Iraq in establishing order is what made possible Iraq’s prodigious oil earnings.

We are on the way to a prosperous and stable Iraq that will be a partner of the U.S. rather than a menace to the world. Nevertheless, each part of the journey has different challenges and opportunities. A couple of years ago it looked like Iraq was spinning out of control and was greatly in need of proactive American generosity. As Iraq piles up money from oil revenues, some of the variables of the equation change. Iraq can pay for its own reconstruction and probably help more with the costs of maintaining its own security.

Trying to get Iraqis to pay for their own development is NOT a new policy. But the sheer size of the cash mountain has added a new urgency to the efforts and created many new opportunities.

Iraq is a rich country and until the 1970s was one of the most advanced countries in the Middle East, but in recent generations hydrocarbon wealth has been more a curse than a benefit as the oceans of oil fueled wars, facilitated tyranny and permitted mismanagement on a monumental scale. No country w/o such wealth could have afforded to sink so low but still allow the rulers to be so threatening. Iraq’s conflicts were not FOR oil, but they certainly were ABOUT oil. W/o the power oil could by, Saddam would have been someone on the order of Robert Mugabe – a horrible man and a local menace, but not a world concern. Oil wealth boosts the opportunity to do good or evil.

The money accumulating in Iraqi coffers must be used to produce good outcomes, to build infrastructure, to educate the Iraqi people and restore Iraq’s rightful place in the world. If it sits around too long, somebody will figure out how to steal it or employ it in some nefarious fashion. There are lots of projects that need doing in Iraq. In the recent past, the U.S. would have paid for them, but we are weaning them off American largess. Iraq is unique among war-torn states and developing ones in that it has the resources to pay for its own development. It is time they did.

Posted by Jack at August 7, 2008 4:49 AM
Comments
Comment #257958

Jack, the U.S. is enjoying a near half trillion dollar annual deficit, and Iraq is reaping an 80 billion dollar surplus. We are spending 10 billion a month over there.

What is wrong with this picture? Never mind, this picture would not make any sense to a Republican :-)

See, I was raised to believe that one takes care of one’s own family first, then gives as much as one wishes of the leftovers to charitable acts.

Apparently, Republicans believe in taking care of their vanquished as a higher priority than taking care of their own, and their children, and their grandchildren, who will suffer mightily under the national debt Republicans have burdened them with.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 7, 2008 5:53 AM
Comment #257962

Jack I still beleive one of the major reasons we went to Iraq was for the oil. Call me a conspiracy nut but nothing else made sense. Your arguement that because the government and its citizens didnt reap the gains from the oil war leaves out the fact that the big oil companies have reaped the gains in contracts they had lost years ago when Saddam came to power.
For that reason I also beleive the surge was successful, go figure because its the only thing that makes sense.
The lack of fiscal responsibility of those in charge you mention is disturbing just whose side are they on? Is there any chance we can invade ourselves? ;)

Posted by: j2t2 at August 7, 2008 9:37 AM
Comment #257967

Jack
You CANNOT seriously compare what we are doing in IRAQ with the Marshall plan!!
Now THAT is chutzpah to the nth degree!!
what a JOKE
After being told by Cheney, Rummy et al that “don’t worry, the Iraq oil will pay for everything” you seem to think it is ok that (if true, I am skeptical anymore about ANY “facts” in this Red Column)The Iraqi “government” is profitting while we are going deeper in debt paying for the rebuilding that their profits should be paying for
To me it is just one more example of the total incompentancy of this administration!
And you point to it with a measure of PRIDE!!
talk about clueless!
We are in this stupid war, 80% of the population is still against it, it is contributing to our economic woes, creating hardships of all nature here at home and you have the audacity to crow about how well the Iraqi Bank Account is doing!!!
GET A CLUE!

Posted by: Russ at August 7, 2008 10:08 AM
Comment #257968

David

Americans are generous people, but I don’t see this as simple generosity. People like to talk about addressing the root causes of conflict and terrorism. This is doing that. I find it ironic that some of the same people who told us that we cannot win this conflict by military means alone are now shocked that we are not using military means alone.

Re the debt – that is a serious problem, but the ENTIRE defense and foreign affairs budget is a smaller % of GDP than it was at any time since WWII, except for a few years around the late 1990s when we figured history had ended and we no longer faced any threats. The budget busters are entitlements, which make up already more than 66% of the outlays and this is the part of the budget that is growing.

J2t2

I don’t want to be Clintonesque but a lot depends on the use of the prepositions. The war was ABOUT oil, as I explained, but not FOR oil. W/o oil, Iraq doesn’t really matter. With oil does. We did not fight to TAKE that oil, but the presence of such an ocean of oil, both under Iraq and nearby, made it an issue of world security.

Russ

I think it is important to win the war AND address the causes so that we don’t have to go back again, or have bad guys coming to America. We have established reasonable security and peace. Now we are trying to secure the peace. Last year – less than a year ago – most Democrats told us we had already lost and that our best option was to cut and run. We proved them wrong and now they pretend that what they said was impossible was inevitable. But just get a video of Harry Reid saying we were defeated, watch Hillary say that she had to suspend belief to believe General Petraeus or see Obama tell us that the surge could not and was not working. Had we followed their advice, we would not have to worry about Iraq having a surplus because the whole place would be going to hell and taking a lot of Americans along.

If you read what I wrote a little slower and more carefully, you will see that the bottom line is that we can and should get Iraqis to pay for development. Beyond that, this has been the policy all along. I see that many Democratic leaders are now discovering this and will soon claim they made it up, so let me be clear.

The best way to end this conflict is through success. Democrats like Obama want to end the war and are not concerned how. I prefer the end the war in victory. We can do it. We have almost done it. Sorry that you are so clueless about the realities on the ground in Iraq. It is not 2006 anymore. Things have changed.

Let me ask a simple question and I mean no disrespect. The tone of your note is that you really don’t WANT to win in Iraq. Well do you?

Posted by: Jack at August 7, 2008 10:34 AM
Comment #257972

Jack
You inflated bag of hot air!!
Pull the old “you are against us — you don’t WANT TO WIN” — that is a total smokescreen Jack and one that clouds the real issue
WHAT I WANT IS ILLRELEVANT!!!
REALITY DUDE
I am not the one clueless about “realities on the ground”
You wrote (from the green zone I am sure??)
We have almost done it. Sorry that you are so clueless about the realities on the ground in Iraq. It is not 2006 anymore. Things have changed.
How about input from someone in the middle of it??
http://armyofdude.blogspot.com/2008/01/step-1-surge-step-2-step-3-pullout.html
He points out that the “surge” is not responsible for the reduction in violence, — you might want to check out reality.

Get the F*&K out of Iraq — we can win?? you are joking dude, — have you EVER heard of a “win” against insurgents??
Romans
British
Russians
any of that history come to mind???
Just what do you think we will win?
Friends in the Middle-EAST??
You think an Iraqi gov’t that is friendly with us will not be beseiged by their own people??
The only gov’t that will be friendly to the US will be a group of clowns who have sold out to the US Corporate interests by selling out their own country — Just how long to you think THAT sort of govt will last???
WIN??? You have to be kidding?
I don’t want to WIN this stupid game we never should have gotten into in the first place — YOU DON”T SEEM TO UNDERSTAND — there is NO WINNING here — only losers — all around
Americans
Iraqi’s
Middle East
NO ONE WINS
THERE IS NO RIDING OFF INTO THE SUNSET ON THIS FARCE OF BUSH’S CREATION. THIS IS NOT HOLLYWOOD, THERE ARE NO WHITE HATS.
Jack, you are still in La La land
We proved them wrong and now they pretend that what they said was impossible was inevitable.
WE????
What WE are you talking about
Proof??
Working??
What, where??
Electricty is still below pre-invasion levels
The gov’t cannot pull its head out of its own rear-end
Afghanistan is about to go back to the Taliban
Yea, sure looks like a winner to me dude!
Oil is at an all time high (to which this costly war contributed) our deficit is astronomical, our economy is in the tank
Yea, we are sure winning it here — sure feels like a winner to me, sure was worth all the sacrifice and pain and heartache
NOT
Tell me Jack since you are so focussed on “winning” just what is it our Contestants will take home with them for “winning” today!

Posted by: Russ at August 7, 2008 11:05 AM
Comment #257973

More from the REAL “on the ground”
http://armyofdude.blogspot.com/2008/07/enemies-with-benefits.html

Posted by: Russ at August 7, 2008 11:09 AM
Comment #257978

Jack-
The irony of all this is that with the Marshall plan, unlike the initial Iraqi plan, we actively funded reconstruction and used local labor to get it done. In this way, we rebuilt their economy, and their pride all in one fell swoop, and didn’t leave around a bunch of unemployed former combatants to give us problems.

In Iraq, the exact opposite happened. We expected them to use oil profits to rebuild, but the system was in a shambles, and the government wasn’t capable of pulling that together. Then we spent hundreds of billions of dollars on reconstruction that your policies failed to protect or audit. And now it turns out that they have tens of billions in excess that we didn’t know about.

This is not the first, nor the last time we will run the cord from the appliance, and find that the policy is not plugged into the wall.

The real problem here is the mismatch between means, policy, and results, and the stubbornly oblivious, even angrily contrarian attitude of this administration, which prevents correction of even the most obvious problems from being done in a timely fashion.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 7, 2008 1:03 PM
Comment #257985

David Remer wrote:

“Apparently, Republicans believe in taking care of their vanquished as a higher priority than taking care of their own, and their children, and their grandchildren, who will suffer mightily under the national debt Republicans have burdened them with.”

Apparently so does Nancy Pelosi and the rest of her Dem buddies in Congress, as this year the budget is projected to have $400 billion in red ink.

Obama has stated the need for Americans to learn a 2nd language. Congress (both Reps and Dems) needs to learn a 2nd language, as it is very apparent that the words “fiscal responsibility” are in some foreign language to them.

Posted by: Jim T at August 7, 2008 1:47 PM
Comment #257990

Jim T -

Blaming the Dem Congress for the red ink? Tell me, exactly how many pork-filled Dem bills did Bush veto?

And let’s not forget those oh-so-fiscally responsible Republicans when they had complete control of the White House and Congress. If they were so fiscally responsible, then what did they do with their four-year golden opportunity to get America fiscally back on track?

Did they improve on the surplus that Clinton (who was praised by the Republican Alan Greenspan for his economic insight) handed them? Or did they turn it into a deeper deficit than ever before?

FYI, three former heads of the Securities and Exchange Commission have endorsed Obama. Republican Paul Volcker endorsed Obama.

Jim, one thing I’ve seen time and time again is the Republicans accusing the Dems of being ‘fiscally irresponsible’…and then turn out to be more irresponsible than the Dems ever have been.

Deeds, not words.

Which presidents gave us a surplus (hint: Clinton), and which presidents EACH gave us deficits successively greater than all previous deficits combined? (hint: Reagan, Bush I, Bush II).

Deeds, not words. Who, exactly has been IN FACT, IN DEED more fiscally irresponsible?

And you can’t lay the blame or credit on Congress unless they have a veto-proof majority AND use it. The credit and the blame goes to the guy on top, as it always should. That’s why Truman said, “The buck stops here.” Deeds, not words.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 7, 2008 2:25 PM
Comment #257992

Re win against insurgents – yes. The British did it in Malaysia. We did it in Vietnam. If you recall the history in the proper order, the South was invaded by an army from the North in a Grant takes Richmond scenario, not an insurgency. The insurgency was essentially dead by 1972. Insurgencies were crushed in El Salvador, Brazil and soon in Columbia. Unfortunately, the Soviets you mention crushed insurgencies in Eastern Europe. The Romans managed to hang on to there empire for around 700 years (around 1700 if you include the East). They must have done something against those insurgents. We are doing it in Iraq. People tend to remember only successful insurgencies because they make history.

BTW – I have been to the green zone a couple of times. You should not negate the Green Zone living. People have been killed there. It is not a piece of cake, but I live and work in Al Anbar. I travel to the cities of the western part of that province, talk to people and walk around in markets etc. I admit to not seeing the “realities of war” because there is not much war left around here, but the places I visit were pretty hot in 2006 and early 2007. That is what you are remembering.

I am sorry you feel defeated, but your country is not. Your point of view is just a bit dated.

BTW – electricity generation is much higher than during Saddam. This has been achieved even with usually low water levels at the dams (the drought is not Bush’s fault, BTW) and necessary shut downs to repair and rebuild the years of neglected maintenance. The problem lies in demand, which is growing very rapidly as people are able to buy appliances etc. Supply doesn’t catch demand because electricity is essentially free when it comes off the grid. This is a legacy of socialism which is hard to correct. Many communities have their own generating capacity. They prefer not to use this because it costs money, but most people around the world who pay for electricity are probably less sympathetic than you are to that plight.


Stephen

Our projects employ lots of Iraqis. It makes sense for the Iraqis to pay for as much of their own reconstruction as possible. These are good goals. Do you disagree?

The policy up until 2007 was not working. THAT is the policy you are remembering and criticizing. The new policy (long advocated by John McCain, BTW) is working much better. Kids can play soccer in places were AQI beheaded police officers two years ago. Markets are open. Rebuilding is happening. It is good.

Glen

Newt Gingrich fought for a balanced budget at political and personal cost. Nancy Pelosi fights only to add to the deficit and hold hearings to embarass the president.

Oh yeah, she prevents votes on oil exploration.

Posted by: Jack at August 7, 2008 2:51 PM
Comment #257996

Glenn Contrarian wrote:

“And let’s not forget those oh-so-fiscally responsible Republicans when they had complete control of the White House and Congress.”

Sort of like when the Democrats had complete control of the White House and Congress during Truman, Kennedy, Johnson and Carter?

also…

“Jim, one thing I’ve seen time and time again is the Republicans accusing the Dems of being ‘fiscally irresponsible’…and then turn out to be more irresponsible than the Dems ever have been.”

Did I say that the Reps were financial deities? Nope. They squandered all the resources they were given.

What I AM saying is the Dems are no better than the Reps when it comes to being utterly incapable of living within a budget.

And do remember that when you point a finger at someone, three fingers are pointing right back at ‘cha.

You also wrote:

“Which presidents gave us a surplus (hint: Clinton), and which presidents EACH gave us deficits successively greater than all previous deficits combined? (hint: Reagan, Bush I, Bush II).”

Hint 1: Clinton AND Nixon.
Hint 2: Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Reagan, Bush I and Bush 2…all of which (except Bush 2) had a majority Democrat Congress.

See what I mean about fingers pointing back at ‘cha?

Remember the old “he who is without sin…” line? In spades, bro’.

While I have moved away from the Rep party, I remain a classic conservative…which includes the government living within a budget.

Posted by: Jim T at August 7, 2008 3:08 PM
Comment #257998

I think the best thing the USA could do in order to remove any conflict of interest, or any appearance that the war was for oil, would be to apply a 20 year moratorium on US oil companies acquiring drilling rights in Iraq. Let the Iraqi government chose from all the other foreign oil companies to work those fields, just not any US company. This would assuage any thoughts that the war was for oil, and go a long way in repairing our image in the minds of muslims in the middle east who believed our actions were ignoble.

Of course that would never happen because this war primarily about securing future access to Iraqi oil fields at a time when the rest of the worlds reserves were running out. Those oil companies were kicked out when Iraq nationalized their oil in the 1970’s, and they have been itching to get back in. Why do you think we are painting Hugo Chavez as the devil incarnate, and the CIA was involved in the failed coup, when he did the same thing recently? What went on in the meeting between Cheney and the heads of the oil companies back in 2001? We know it took place, but the details were kept secret.

The Iraq war was also an excuse to resume defense spending at cold war levels, and give billions to private contractor companies friendly to the administration. Jobs that our military used to do have now been outsourced at a much higher price to private companies. They did this in order to maximize the amount of troops that can be used for combat. If they went back to the older, cheaper way of doing things they would have no other choice but to reintroduce the draft to fill those positions, and they would have lost public support for the war much sooner, and the anti-war movement would be much stronger.

The Iraq war was a war of choice, that was simply a guise for the biggest heist for taxpayer money in US history.

Posted by: pops mcgee at August 7, 2008 3:37 PM
Comment #257999

Jack
Your history sure is flawed
anywho, I forgot how stupid and useless it is to engage you in any form of discussion, debate, as you dance around the points made like a Russian Ballet dancer — you refuse to acknowledge when your points are blasted down and continue to bring up illrelevant points (i.e. “You don’t want to win the war” — has McCain apologized to Obama for that accusation yet?? — after all there was alot of outrage and flack over that assinine accusation — so what make you think YOU can use it??)
give it up Jack, WAR is not for winning, it is for coming out less beat up than the other guy
You can survive it, but win??? that concept is for fools. (like the one that started this mess and those of you who are bound and determined to “win” if it takes every ounce of someone ELSE’s BLOOD)

Posted by: russ at August 7, 2008 3:49 PM
Comment #258000

No, Bro, Nixon did NOT leave a budget surplus.

“Intent on buying popularity, he watered and grew the Great Society programs that Lyndon Johnson had seeded, and he increased entitlement spending by a startling four percent of GDP. Nixon left behind a chronic deficit in the range of two to four percent of GDP—roughly the same as today’s. Coping with his fiscal dislocation would be the job of every president from Ford to Clinton.”

That’s from a July 2005 issue of The Atlantic

Lyndon Johnson, OTOH, DID leave behind a budget SURPLUS - he did it in an underhanded fashion to be sure, but it was still a SURPLUS. “While most economists are celebrating the arrival of the first surplus since President Lyndon Johnson engineered one in 1969 with a temporary 10 percent surcharge on income taxes….”

That’s from the Washington Post, Sept. 30, 1998.

The Daily Kos puts it in better perspective:

” * Only 5 of the past 40 budgets have been surpluses. All 5 were by Democratic presidents.

* The twenty years of budgets prepared by Republican presidents increased the national debt by $3,800,000,000,000. The average yearly deficit under Republican budgets was $190 billion.

* The twenty years of budgets prepared by Democratic presidents increased the national debt by $719,500,000,000. The average yearly deficit under Democratic budgets was $36 billion.”

http://www.dkosopedia.com/wiki/Deficit

Please note that the above numbers END in 2001 and do NOT take into account what W. did since then…which as you know would skew the numbers much further against the Republicans.

History, three former heads of the Security and Exchange Commission, Paul Volcker, and Alan Greenspan are ALL on the side of the Democrats.

What the Republicans have is rhetoric…and largely false accusations.

You posted: “What I AM saying is the Dems are no better than the Reps when it comes to being utterly incapable of living within a budget.”

Sorry, Bro - but that’s not what the facts show.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 7, 2008 3:53 PM
Comment #258001

Jack wrote
Your point of view is just a bit dated
Uhhh, I provided a link to someone who wrote his point of view (opposite of yours, but with a wee bit more credibility) on July 27, 2008 — seems a bit CURRENT to me Jack.
Not the same ol BS the admin is trying to pitch. http://armyofdude.blogspot.com/2008/07/enemies-with-benefits.html

Posted by: Russ at August 7, 2008 3:53 PM
Comment #258003

Russ

We disagree. You may not think my point of view is credible, but I am also writing from a first hand experience and it is August 7, 2008, and I get around a lot. You can also check the scores of milblogs if you want a complete point of view.

You will believe what you want. If you want to believe we are defeated, that is up to you. Others may agree with you. I have seen a different truth.

And don’t give me that crap about other people’s blood. Fortunately, most people who serve in Iraq come safely home, but everybody takes risks. I assume you would also risk your life and safety for the things you believe in, but if you limit your opinions to only those things where you are personally at risk, you won’t be able to do or say much.

Posted by: Jack at August 7, 2008 4:28 PM
Comment #258008

US Presidential candidates have clashed sharply in recent days on Iraq, Afghanistan and the War on Terror. Who’s right? How do they compare? Furthermore, the GOP base is not even warming up to mccain (of course, i could be wrong) and even though it’s still early in the game, this just proves to show how we see our candidates to-date. i know i will get burned for this, but i think mccain is a warmonger. i get the impression that he doesn’t care to what happens to our troops in the middle east and the other parts of the world. Can’t we just all get along? i think it is time for a purification; i think it is time for a change; i think it is time for obama time. Now that the candidates are set for the US Presidential Election, Barack Obama and John McCain are beginning to set the tone for their campaign.
http://clashorama.com/index.php?id=192

Posted by: Sheena at August 7, 2008 5:49 PM
Comment #258010

It is 2008.

Over one million Iraqis have died since the US invasion.

Over two million have fled the country, and another two million are internal exiles.

In 2007 alone, an estimated 800,000 Iraqis fled Baghdad.

No one knows how many Iraqis have been wounded.

The infrastructure is decimated. Rebuilding has been slow due to continual attacks on pipelines and anything to do with generating electricity.

No one can spend money on rebuilding, neither Iraqi nor American, because the situation is too dangerous.

Al Sadr demands a timeline for the US to leave, or threatens to end the cease fire. Ayatollah Al-Sistani also insists the US leave.

Al-Maliki calls the US a strategic ally. He calls Iran a dear friend. Al-Maliki supports the timeline proposed by Obama.

Elections have been pushed off again. The issue of Kirkuk threatens to become a cause for yet another round of civil war.

Very little has changed. The vast majority of Iraqis want the US out of their country. They are fond of American money, and they are pleased to receive US weapons, but they really, really want the US to leave.

And if anyone cares, they really, really hate Israel.

Iran has a wonderful new ally.

The US has spent… what?… nearly $600 billion in Iraq, with additional costs expected to push the total well over one trillion dollars, and incredibly enough, possibly well over two trillion. Over 4,000 soldiers dead, about 30,000 injured, with the number of veterans needing treatment expected to soar. How many families, American and Iraqi, have been devastated?

And what kind of word sums this up? Let me guess.

Victory.

Posted by: phx8 at August 7, 2008 6:23 PM
Comment #258018

Victory….a pretty simple word and basic in it’s definition, or at least used to be until Bush got hold of it and mutilated it.

vic·to·ry (vkt-r) n. pl. vic·to·ries 1. Defeat of an enemy or opponent. 2. Success in a struggle against difficulties or an obstacle. 3. The state of having triumphed.

————————————————————————————————————————

[Middle English, from Old French victorie, from Latin victria, from victor, victor; see victor.]
Synonyms: victory, conquest, triumph
These nouns denote winning a war, struggle, or competition. Victory refers especially to the final defeat of an enemy or opponent: “Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be” Winston S. Churchill.
Conquest connotes subduing, subjugating, or achieving control over: “Conquest of illiteracy comes first” John Kenneth Galbraith.
Triumph denotes a victory or success that is especially noteworthy because it is decisive, significant, or spectacular: preaching the eventual triumph of good over evil.

I’d like someone to tell me just which of the definitions best fits the status in Iraq today. I’m betting that Jack will be most creative in his choice, with editorializing, to boot.

Posted by: janedoe at August 7, 2008 8:00 PM
Comment #258021

jane phx8 I’m lost Jack said he’d prefer victory he is not claiming it.

Jack said

The best way to end this conflict is through success. Democrats like Obama want to end the war and are not concerned how. I prefer the end the war in victory. We can do it. We have almost done it. Sorry that you are so clueless about the realities on the ground in Iraq. It is not 2006 anymore. Things have changed.

So wars we won, that incurred a lot of expense are really losses. So if we win in Iraq, which I hope for too, we will actually have loss.

Or perhaps wars that go longer than five years should be an automatic loss?

You are justified in saying the war and region are wrong. I agree with that. However, end game must be victory.

Posted by: Honest at August 7, 2008 8:27 PM
Comment #258022

Victory?
Success??
Give me a break.
What is the measure of either
We went into this mess to prevent what?
Sadaam anhilating the world??
A threat to US security?
What??
Does anybody even remember the lies and BS that got us into this mess??
Just what is success??
That we leave in what way??
You guys throw out the words success and Victory, but what exactly does that represent?
We’ve had “Mission Accomplished”
We’ve had “they’ll be throwing flowers at our victorious troops”
In order to declare either Victory or Success you have to define what constitutes either.
So far I have only heard that the Dem’s plans would call for us leaving before either is reached
However I have not heard how it would be possible to EVER achieve either success OR Victory in IRAQ

I loved it when someone pointed out that it wouldn’t be right to leave earlier because it was too unstable, violent and dangerous, but now that things are “settled down” and getting better, we can’t leave because things are too good!!
So under that sort of thinking how can we EVER leave?
If there is fighting going on, we can’t leave
If there isn’t fighting going on — we can’t leave.
Just when and how do you envision this shining moment when we can bring our troops home?

and ya Jack — OTHER PEOPLES BLOOD — IT IS DAMN EASY TO SUPPORT SOMETHING OTHERS HAVE TO SACRIFICE FOR.
I imagine you are being paid well for your presence in IRAQ? — private contract? or are you donating your time thru an NGO??
Charity??
Exactly what puts you out there?
and yea, look at the Mil blogs — most will tell you what a cesspool it is and how the media and supporters like yourself are clearly clueless.

Posted by: Russ at August 7, 2008 8:55 PM
Comment #258023

only fools and idiots support wars

My earlier posts mentioned that, and it isn’t limited to this war
We lost in WWII
We may have defeated Hitler and saved the world, but we lost
It is noble that we fought, and defeated the tyrant, but if anyone thinks that we wouldn’t have preferred to do that without war, they would be nuts.

This war was OPTIONAL — IT WAS NOT BROUGHT DOWN ON US LIKE WWII, WE CHOSE TO INITIATE COMBAT
Does the story about the TAR BABY come to mind for anyone??/

If attacked one has the right and duty to defend ones self (some even disagree with that — Quakers for example, however for another day)
however coming out of the fight, having prevented the other from killing you, you may not feel that you won.
look at the destruction, injury and trauma left in the wake of the battle, — this is winning?
4,000 dead soldiers
countless hundreds of thousands with PTSD coming home to beat and kill their spouses (or commit suicide, or end up homeless on the street)
This is winning?
Billions in deficits
This is winning?
for what?
What exactly have we “won”?
Increased security? — NOPE
Peace in the Middle East?? Nope
increased influence in the world?? Nope
secure Oil supplies? Nope?
The best you have to offer is that somehow Iraq might be able to (maybe) struggle back to the shape it was in with Sadaam (financially, stability, etc — albeit with the added freedom to shoot and kill each other at will)
WOW — excuse me if I don’t celebrate this sort of “win”

Jack, please tell me exactly what the fabulous door prize it is that we have “won” that is even close to worth ONE AMERICAN LIFE LET ALONE 4,000?
WHAT JACK? TELL ME WHAT EXACTLY IS THIS WINNING THAT YOU THINK WE WILL BE ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH.
I’m sorry but your lame answers only appear to me to be some BS EGO thing about winners and losers.
You just don’t want the American Name associated with Losing
We’ve already lost Jack — More than the war, and much more valuable than “the war”
this Victory you are chasing is too hollow and not worth the price, and there is no payoff in the end to make up for the loss.

Posted by: Russ at August 7, 2008 9:08 PM
Comment #258024

So after “winning” you will be able to Puff out your chest and proudly proclaim “We WON”!!!
Yeeeeha
So what?
as you peruse the wasteland around as you celebrate your “Victory” will you even have the insight to question
We Won???

Posted by: Russ at August 7, 2008 9:12 PM
Comment #258026

Actually, I’d prefer we’d leave on helicopters, perhaps from the top of our embassy. Shown on national TV, and then in classrooms, to prove we never should have gone in to begin with.

Seriously, why not just win and go home. The people that started the war won’t be in office. So if they puff their chests we should just yell them to go back to their oil company and STFU.

Winning would be a good thing, ensuring that the region (1) knew we would persistent, even if stupid in our original intent (2) would give us a friend in the region (3) would keep the our presense there to hopefully restrict terrorism more so than from USA.

Gotta go, I gotta do some chest thumping, my son’s football team just won.

Posted by: Honest at August 7, 2008 9:33 PM
Comment #258028

Honest, Jack has maintained nearly since day one, that we are doing wonderful things in Iraq. And boy, did he puff up when Dumbya did his famous carrier speech. And now that we’ve been there so long, we’ve gotten dam good at being there, so that’s obviously even better !
Some people just have distorted ideas of what success or victory is….

Posted by: janedoe at August 7, 2008 10:00 PM
Comment #258029

Jack

We did both the right thing and the smart thing when we choose to help Iraqis to their feet rather than exploit the riches under them

You forget to mention that it was us who knocked them to their feet to begin with. It was our military that destroyed their infrastructure. It was lack of insight and planning prior to a rush to preemptive war that caused us to fail so miserably after the initial onslaught. We had to get them back on their feet to effect infrastructure repair. We really had no choice. Granted the Iraqi’s are garnering profits from the sale of their riches. As it should be.
For you to imply that we did not go there for oil is just plain silly. Imo we went their to clear a path so the big boys could get back in to Iraq and get their greedy hands on all that wonderful fossil fuel. And in the meantime a select few got to enjoy no bid contracts and billions of dollars in profits at the expense of my children and I. I think it would be safe to bet my first born that behind closed doors, oil, a desire to control it and the greed that envelopes it were the main driving forces behind the invasion. Lets call it exploitation under the disguise of wmd, democracy, fighting terrorism, fighting them there so we don’t have to fight them here, or just simply overthrowing Saddam.

Don’t kid yourself or pat your party on the back too soon. The end of this story has not yet been written. Questionable motives still linger and still exude quite a stench. Your simplistic notion that money in the bank exonerates all failures and disproves all notions is weak at best.

Posted by: RickIL at August 7, 2008 10:46 PM
Comment #258032


WE WON! WE WON! WE WON! and it only cost us a few thousand of our young people, a couple trillion dollars and a 350 percent increase in the price of oil.

Now, if we could only figure out who the WE are that won.

Posted by: jlw at August 7, 2008 11:10 PM
Comment #258033

Which is it? Is the war not over and there is a lot more to be done/or withdrawal. Or we won at the cost of lives and reputation?

Posted by: Honest at August 7, 2008 11:28 PM
Comment #258039

Phx8

Some of what you say WAS true. Some is not and some needs explanation.

It is 2008.
Over one million Iraqis have died since the US invasion.
This is a high end estimate and it is not particularly useful unless compared against other things. For example, we used to regularly hear that 50,000 Iraqi children died each year because of UN sanctions. Saddam’s Iraq was not a healthy place and it was getting worse. In any society people die. How much is attributable to particular actions is always a question. It is true that the insurgents have killed and continue to kill many people. We are trying to stop that, and to a large extent are succeeding. If you are concerned with Iraqi lives, you should support us finishing that job.
Over two million have fled the country, and another two million are internal exiles.
Again, this figure is on the high side. The best and brightest fled Iraq during the Saddam times. People are returning, BTW. It is also very problematic to talk re internal exiles. People move every year. Some move out of harms way, but often they are also moving to follow jobs or opportunity. Iraq has not had an accurate census since 1958, which show the state of the nation pre-invasion. Many people are moving into the Western Euphrates Valley. Nobody knows how many or their precise motivations. I honestly believe that I and the people on my team know more about this than ANYBODY else, because we meet and talk to these people and try to count them, and I admit that we don’t know much. When people give you very definitive numbers and information about Iraq, you know they are lying.
In 2007 alone, an estimated 800,000 Iraqis fled Baghdad.
Estimated – see above.
No one knows how many Iraqis have been wounded.
Nobody knows how many Americans have been wounded doing simple household chores. You make an ominous, but meaningless statement.
The infrastructure is decimated. Rebuilding has been slow due to continual attacks on pipelines and anything to do with generating electricity.
This is no longer true. Iraq is producing and exporting more oil than it did in 2002. It is producing more electricity, although there is significant trouble measuring that too, since the electricity supplied by the grid is largely unmetered and free while many communities produce their own electricity, but do not report it.
The problem with power in general is no longer the insurgency or even the results of war, but simple capacity. Very little capacity was built in the last years of Saddam and it seems like none of it got routine maintenance. The whole thing is falling apart. Some of the infrastructure still being used was built by the British a long time ago. Other stuff was built by Eastern European contractors in the 1970s and 1980s. We know what a good job the communist block guys did on their infrastructure back home. Now imagine it thirty years later w/o routine maintenance.
No one can spend money on rebuilding, neither Iraqi nor American, because the situation is too dangerous.
This is not true. I have personally seen and been in places being rebuilt. It is astonishing to see the progress in places like Hadithah, which was indeed too dangerous to walk around ten months ago.
Al Sadr demands a timeline for the US to leave, or threatens to end the cease fire. Ayatollah Al-Sistani also insists the US leave.
Probably true. We WANT to leave. There is nobody who wants to keep this up. Sadr, however, wants all legitimate forces to leave so his militias can take over. It is sort of like saying that the gangs want the police to set a time table to leave.
Al-Maliki calls the US a strategic ally. He calls Iran a dear friend. Al-Maliki supports the timeline proposed by Obama.
Repeating, we also want to come home. We just think it should be based on objective conditions. The Iraqi politicians understand this, but they can score political points. This is NOT a heavenly place and it won’t be anytime soon. What it can be is reasonably democratic, stable and not threatening.
Elections have been pushed off again. The issue of Kirkuk threatens to become a cause for yet another round of civil war.
There never was a first round of civil war. There was a lot of chaos. The postponement of local elections is a big disappointment. It is part of a mixed, but generally hopeful picture of the whole.
Very little has changed. The vast majority of Iraqis want the US out of their country. They are fond of American money, and they are pleased to receive US weapons, but they really, really want the US to leave.
It depends on how you ask the question. Everybody wants us to leave and we want to leave too. But when you go into more detail, you find that there are conditions. Many of the local leaders in Anbar privately and sometimes in public beg the Marines to stay. We are drawing down, however. Our goal is to put the Iraqis in charge. They are learning fast, but they are still not confident enough to go it alone. If you hand over power, you have to have somebody to hand it over to. It makes no sense to give it to a thug who claims legitimacy based only on his power to intimidate. It would not be honorable for us to do that. That is what WOULD have happened had we been defeated or had we pulled out in early 2007. It is a dishonorable and dangerous thing. We avoided it so far and we probably can avoid it generally.
And if anyone cares, they really, really hate Israel.
Nobody really talks much about that. They got other problems. The chattering classes find this a very interesting topic and you can usually get a rise out of the population. It is sort of like talking about illegal immigration in the U.S. The talk is more fierce than the action. This is a valid concern, but as I said above, a negative in a generally positive picture.
Iran has a wonderful new ally.
The Iraqis generally despise the Iranians. Iran has power in Iraq as long as it doesn’t try to use it very much. Remember that Saddam fought a war with Iraq and more than a million were killed. The Iraqi Shiites fought the Iranians Shiites and both killed and died in great numbers. There is an Iraqi nationalism that is stronger than many outsiders think.
The US has spent… what?… nearly $600 billion in Iraq, with additional costs expected to push the total well over one trillion dollars, and incredibly enough, possibly well over two trillion. Over 4,000 soldiers dead, about 30,000 injured, with the number of veterans needing treatment expected to soar. How many families, American and Iraqi, have been devastated?
War is all hell. The alternatives to this war were not peace and prosperity. You have to make choices among bad alternatives. In retrospect, I think the invasion at the time and place and how it was done was a mistake. On the other hand, it would have been a monumental mistake to give up in 2006. It is easy to see the mistakes of the past. But we have to decisions today about what to do in the future. We have produced a reasonable outcome. The future will be better if we finish the job.
And what kind of word sums this up? Let me guess.
Victory.
Yes. Victory is better than defeat.

Russ

Just guessing, I think I have seen more of war and its results than you have. Anybody with that experience hates war. War is obscene and terrible. But the opposite of advocating war is not always peace.

As I wrote to Phx8, looking back the precise means of the invasion and its immediate aftermath contained many mistakes. Pulling out in 2006 would have been dreadful, however. We can see both these things in history, but our decisions are made today about tomorrow.

The best thing we can do TODAY is finish the job we have started. That will help us most easily bind up the wounds and move ahead. That will give us the most peaceful situation we can produce.

We all hate war. But saying that without further explanation is like saying that you hate disease, but refusing uncomfortable treatment to mitigate it. A responsible and honorable response to war is to hate it and to minimize its effects, but to recognize it as reality.

Jane
I didn’t start writing for this blog until fall 2004.

Posted by: jack at August 8, 2008 12:34 AM
Comment #258041


Jack here’s your spin: The war is over and the troops are coming home. Bush and Maliki will sign the agreement a week before the election. Bush will thank McCain for encouraging him to fire Rumsfeld and initiate the surge which brought the war to a successful conclusion. “We couldn’t have done it without you John.”

Of course, that won’t be enough of an October suprise by itself. Perhaps an insident with Iran, some other country or possibly involving terrorists as long as it is not on our soil, that scares just enough voters into believing the Republican spin that the world is still to dangerous to have anyone but a seasoned veteran and a proven military strategist like McCain at America’s helm.

Posted by: jlw at August 8, 2008 1:00 AM
Comment #258043

Jack,
The estimate of one million dead is based upon the ORB and Lancet numbers. They are the only reliable numbers we have to work with. If a person accepts those surveys, the figure today may actually be higher. Given all that has happened, I doubt anyone will ever compile a definitive number. Neither the American military nor the Al-Maliki government seem inclined to provide an accurate picture, but then again, it might not be a matter of intentional disinformation so much as it is the difficulty of doing surveys without getting shot.

Four million refugees is actually low. The best estimates provided by UN relief organizations is several hundred thousand above that.

Few refugees have returned, partially because of the danger, and partially because ethnic cleansing resulted in houses being occupied by squatters from another faction.

The number of 800,000 fleeing Baghdad in the period proceeding and during the first half of the surge should be a pretty reliable estimate. Relief groups can track the number of people in camps, and other nations can track their Iraqi refugees. Mouths to feed can be counted. But if skulls are buried underground or dumped in the Tigris, well, who knows how many of them are out there?

In retrospect, everyone wants to look back and divide periods of time into “rounds,” or episodes, or whatever. The slide into chaos was a steady downward slope which began after the invasion. The bombing of that temple marked the beginning of an extreme escalation in violence. The overall level of violence is back to the levels prior to the temple’s destruction. Oddly enough, the attacks per day statistic for when Obama recently visited was nearly identical to the last time he visited, in January 2006, just prior to the temple bombing if I recall.

I don’t think terms like victory or defeat will be useful in Iraq. The conventional invasion conquered Iraq, and deposed Saddam Hussein. He is dead, although the Baathists continue fighting under Al-Duri, his military commander. Years ago I read that Al-Duri was sick, in very bad health. Somehow, he’s still out there after five years, issuing proclamations and urging resistance. Go figure. Anyway, the conventional victory was followed by unconventional warfare. It’s more difficult to measure victory or defeat in the case of an occupation. Does a stable, democratic Iraq which detests the US and becomes closely allied with Iran meet the definition of victory?

Many Iraqis dislike the Iranians, I’m sure, and for good reason. However, many others see the Iranians as close allies. Many members of the Al-Maliki government, and many members of the ruling SCIRI (or whatever they call themselves now) party and Dawa spent the Saddam Hussein years in exile in Iran.

If the Al-Maliki government demands the US set a timetable and leave, and the US actually does withdraw, is that a victory or a defeat?

Posted by: phx8 at August 8, 2008 1:17 AM
Comment #258045

Sorry Jack, guess it only seems like it has been longer…. ;)

Posted by: janedoe at August 8, 2008 1:50 AM
Comment #258052

The lancet survey was not reliable. It is very much on the high side of all the estimates, so we understand that this is the highest possible number including all sorts of mortality even tangentially related to the conflict. I wonder how they would have estimated the numbers during the Saddam regime.

Re refugees – it is not as you think. Most refugees don’t live in camps and it is very hard to figure out who is a refugee. Some people just move. Sometimes they feel compelled. By many definitions, if you are living in a different province than you were in 2003, they call you a refugee. Many Americans, who move among states, would qualify under those definitions.

Re victory or defeat – if the U.S. withdraws and leaves an Iraq that is reasonably democratic, stable and not a threat, that is victory. Our goal was never to conquer and occupy Iraq. It was always to stay as long as necessary and not longer. Nobody has ever articulated anything else, except our opponents.

All

My only goal is to do what is best for the U.S. from this point on. It is interesting to me that I write a simple post telling re the success we Americans are having and it creates so much anger among Americans. I am only telling things I see and things I have participated in recently. You may disagree but anger is inappropriate.

Posted by: Jack at August 8, 2008 5:35 AM
Comment #258058

Jack:

Since when do you (or anyone) get to choose whether anger is appropriate? There’s some arrogance for you.

Posted by: womanmarine at August 8, 2008 9:50 AM
Comment #258059

“Re win against insurgents – yes. The British did it in Malaysia. We did it in Vietnam.”

—Jack

WE DID WHAT IN VIETNAM??? Yea, we sure kicked those insurgent’s butts in Saigon (while fleeing from the American Embassy, leaving thousands to be slaughtered)! What did they brainwash you with in boot camp?

Posted by: angrymob at August 8, 2008 11:10 AM
Comment #258060

Jack,
You write: “Our goal was never to conquer and occupy Iraq. It was always to stay as long as necessary and not longer. Nobody has ever articulated anything else, except our opponents.”

That is simply not true. The Bush administration consistently refused to even pretend to call US military bases in Iraq temporary, even when the Iraq Study Group specifically recommended it. McCain famously stated the US would stay in Iraq, not for 50 years, but 100 years. The Bush administration and McCain have consistently opposed benchmarks, and then timelines, and while they have given many reasons, their actions are entirely consistent with an intent to permanently occupy Iraq. When staying “as long as necessary” means an open-ended occupation, with only vague and unmeasureable terms of success, it cannot be termed any other way than an exercise in colonialism.

We’ve discussed the Lancet survey before. It uses accepted polling techniques, and 90% of the reported deaths were supported by documentation in the form of death certificates. The numbers used ranges and margins of errors. You can deny the numbers put together by UN organizations and polling groups, but they are the best we have to work with, and the US and Al-Maliki governments do not even attempt provide credible information.

Like I said, I doubt we’ll ever really know how many people died or were wounded.

Posted by: phx8 at August 8, 2008 11:40 AM
Comment #258061


Jack: Bush didn’t butcher as many Iraqis as Lancet says? Bush only butchered innocent Iraqis so he could hang Saddam The Butcher? The world pretty much knew what Saddam was and much of the world perceives Bush in a similar light.

People who move from one province to another because of ethnic clensing are not refugees? It’s no different than moving from Ohio to California? People don’t usually move from one state to another because there are bombs falling from the sky, tanks are blowing apart houses and people with guns are killing your neighbors and family.

The Bush Administration only had good intentions for the Iraqis? The Administration never had any intentions of doing anything but help the Iraqi’s and then leave?
Then why the 75%-25% pro business split of oil revenues? Why 58 permanent bases? Why a 50 to 100 year occupation if that’s what it takes for them to see things the Neocon way?

That is just spin, Republican style. For the most part, the Administration’s intentions were pro American (neocon style) and pro capitalism ( pure laissez faire style). What the Iraqis may or may not of wanted wasn’t really a major consideration.

“My only goal is to do what is best for the U.S. from this point on.” Don’t you mean what is best from your perspective which may not be what is best for the U.S.? Haven’t you and the Administration decided that what is best for a particular segment of our population is what is best for the Iraqis?

I am suprised that you are suprised that your brand of spin creates so much anger. You perceive what you want to perceive and the Iraqis are willing to help you perceive that because they want to get us off their backs. Is it just coincidence that what you perceive is what the Bush Administration want’s the American people to perceive?

Things are going so well in Iraq that the elections have been postponed and Maliki will stay in power a little longer. Things are going so well that a Maliki mouthpiece say’s U.S. combat troops will only be needed for two more years and occupation troops five more years.

According to Bush and you, things are going so well right before our election that the American people would be foolish to elect anyone but McCain, right?

Posted by: jlw at August 8, 2008 12:20 PM
Comment #258062

Jack -

The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine are the gold standards of English-language medical journals in the world. If they say something, you should sit up and listen.

This is one of the worst traits I’ve seen on both the liberal and conservative sides - if a respected source says something that doesn’t jive with one’s political gospel, one has a tendency to have a knee-jerk reaction and call that respected source into question, no matter how good their data.

Sadly, this has been much more prevalent on the conservative side - which is why NASA and the CDC have regularly had their research and data muzzled, ignored, and even blocked by the Bush administration just because their data and research supported what scientists have been saying for years about global warming.

“Facts are stubborn things.” Reagan said that. It’s a true statement - and I just wish everyone would predicate their opinions on fact, instead of insisting that the facts must be determined by their opinions.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 8, 2008 12:31 PM
Comment #258064

jACK
I was reading your response above when I came to the statement
It makes no sense to give it to a thug who claims legitimacy based only on his power to intimidate. It would not be honorable for us to do that.

OH MY GOD
did you really say that?????

of course it would not be honorable, but that has never stopped the US Corporate controlled Govt from doing just that before!!!

It took me a while to quit laughing before typing this!!!

your responses are so much hot air, my laptop cooling fan goes into overdrive!!

Again, you have failed to define for me or anyone else, what exactly WIN or VICTORY or SUCCESS means
You keep saying we should do it, and it is the only ethical thing to do yada yada yada
but
How will we ever know that we’ve arrived if we don’t know what the destination is??

Please enlighten us as to what would constitute a “WIN/VICTORY/SUCCESS that would allow us to bring the troops home “HONORABLY”??

Posted by: Russ at August 8, 2008 1:32 PM
Comment #258068

My whole problem with all this talk of winning and success and the surge is working and so on is that I still haven’t seen that the Iraqi government is moving closer to a reasonable form of government that would make Iraq a stable place to live. Sure they have money - what does anyone think that Al Maliki is going to do with that money? They haven’t used any of it to get electricity to their people, does anyone think that this Shiite dominated government is going to take care of or treat equitably the Sunnis or Kurds? How can that be seen as success?

The irony of this whole thing is that we are on the verge of agreeing to a timetable to get the US troops out of Iraq in about the same time frame that Obama has been talking about. I don’t think that the Al Maliki government thinks that we have done our job and they are ready to take over and create a stable society for its people. Rather, I think they are trying to get the watchful eye of the US off of their actions so they can clean house of the Sunnis and Kurds and take power for themselves.

Does this mean I think we should stay in Iraq for 100 years as McCain has proposed? No. What I think this means is that this war was a huge mistake and that there is no happy ending, victory, success, or anything of the sort. We just created a mess.

The Dalai Lama made a profound statement that, “through violence, you may ‘solve’ one problem, but you sow the seeds for another.” I think it is especially relevant to Iraq. While Saddam was an evil bastard and I don’t feel sorry that he met the same fate he forced on many of his own people, the problems we created by forcing him out didn’t really fix Iraq’s problems it just created more. George Bush is too lost, stupid, ignorant too ever understand this and I don’t see that John McCain has ever learned this lesson either and his poor judgment stems from not seeing this as true and why I don’t think he should be president.

Posted by: tcsned at August 8, 2008 1:54 PM
Comment #258069

tcsned,
“… I think they are trying to get the watchful eye of the US off of their actions so they can clean house of the Sunnis and Kurds and take power for themselves.”

That’s a pretty grim assessment. It looks like the Sunnis and Shias have hosed off each other to the point of exhaustion. The Iranian allied faction of the Shias control the government, and the US has armed the Sunnis, so that seems to have reached a stand off for now.

The really scary situation is with the Kurds and Kirkuk and those oil fields. The Kurds just deployed two brigades of Peshmerga outside the city and raised the Kurdish flag. They are making some very inflammatory statements. In a fight, the Peshmerga could probably defeat both Shias and Sunnis combined, but Turkey has also threatened to intervene if Kirkuk becomes part of the Kurdish region of government.

Still, all in all, I agree with you. The Iraqis need to resolve this for themselves. It’s a horrible mess.

McCain seems clueless about Iraq, and both the Bush administration and he were blindsided by the Al-Maliki government’s endorsement of Obama’s approach. McCain seems to have a mindset where he wants to refight Vietnam; where, somehow, if we just stay long and enough and kill all the people who don’t want us there, everything will work out.

It’s not an approach worthy of our country, because Iraq belongs to the Iraqis, for better or worse. If they want the US to leave, well, there you go.

Posted by: phx8 at August 8, 2008 2:10 PM
Comment #258073

phx8 - I know it’s a grim assessment - I hate to think that Iraq is headed down a really bad path but I don’t see any sign that they are going to pull things together. I agree that the Kurdish situation is possibly the most volatile situation not only because of internal factors but also the situation with Turkey. They aren’t going to tolerate a Kurdish state on their border with their own internal problems with their Kurdish population. Inevitably it will lead to a civil war in Turkey too. Pandora’s box has been opened and it’s gonna be damn hard to shut it. We learned nothing from the lesson of Yugoslavia and what happened when that nation disintegrated. We learned nothing about occupying another country from our Vietnam experience. Once again proving that old adage that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it - and here we are repeating it.

This war was ill-conceived, they did not foresee any of the things that played out, they did not have a plan if things turned bad. Bush & Co.’s arrogance and stupidity are without bounds. Thank God that his 8 years will be a bad memory in a few short months. Unfortunately for Obama he will have a big mess to clean up.

Posted by: tcsned at August 8, 2008 2:31 PM
Comment #258103

Jack -

Russ has a point. Over the years, how many tyrants and despots have been supported and protected by American presidents? Like Saddam, for instance, and Musharraf, and a whole host of banana-republic thugs…and don’t even get me started on Iran-Contra….

And WHAT is that I just read? How bad Pelosi is for the deficit and how GOOD Gingrich was for it? Oh, come on! Tell you what - how about you dispute the following:

” * Only 5 of the past 40 budgets have been surpluses. All 5 were by Democratic presidents.

* The twenty years of budgets prepared by Republican presidents increased the national debt by $3,800,000,000,000. The average yearly deficit under Republican budgets was $190 billion.

* The twenty years of budgets prepared by Democratic presidents increased the national debt by $719,500,000,000. The average yearly deficit under Democratic budgets was $36 billion.”

http://www.dkosopedia.com/wiki/Deficit

Please note that the above numbers concern 1961-2001 and do NOT take into account what W. did since then…which as you know would skew the numbers much further against the Republicans.

History, three former heads of the Security and Exchange Commission (who endorsed Obama), Paul Volcker (who endorsed Obama), and Alan Greenspan (who praised Clinton’s economic acumen) are ALL on the side of the Democrats.

DEEDS NOT WORDS, Jack - the Dems HAVE historically been better for the economy…because even discounting W.’s willful ignorance, Republican administrations average budget deficit is FIVE TIMES that of the Democrats. DEEDS NOT WORDS.

“You know, Paul, Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.” Did ANY Dem say that? No. That was the current Vice President of the United States - Dick Cheney.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 8, 2008 5:34 PM
Comment #258105

Nice try, Jack. The war was/is about oil. Only the oil is not for the average American who pays the taxes and loses life and limb during the war. The war is for the oil contract rights for the wealthiest of our industries and citizens. This war has been enormously profitable for privateers, defense and construction contractors, and oil businesses. Like all other activities commenced by the current administration, the goal is to show growing economy numbers by allowing the ultra-rich to get ultra-richer while the poor get poorer and the middle class becomes the underclass (whiners, if you will — hey, Gramm just said what they all were thinking. He probably overheard the idea at a Norquist think tank/breakfast.)

Bad things happen to countries who neglect their poorest citizens while pampering their wealthiest. Russia, China, Cuba, check it out sometime.

Posted by: LibRick at August 8, 2008 5:42 PM
Comment #258119
No, Bro, Nixon did NOT leave a budget surplus.

Neither did Clinton…

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 8, 2008 10:26 PM
Comment #258120
Neither did Clinton…

Yes he did. If you allow the social security surpluses to cover the remaining budget deficits, then we had total budget surpluses in 1998, 1999, and 2000.

If you remove the social security surpluses from the tally, we still had surpluses on the remaining budgets in 1999 and 2000.

here is the link to the CBO.

Posted by: pops mcgee at August 8, 2008 10:52 PM
Comment #258121

http://www.letxa.com/articles/16

And this link explains how it is wrong. If the debt goes up, there was no surplus.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 8, 2008 10:54 PM
Comment #258127

Budgets are set by Congress. Every single year there was a budget surplus under Clinton, it was a budget created and passed by a Republican Congress.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at August 8, 2008 11:47 PM
Comment #258130

LO-
When, in science, we wish to test whether what we think is a cause is a cause, we take away the factor we’re curious about, and see how the suppose effect holds up.

Over the six years of the Clinton administration during which he and the Republican Congress ran things, the deficit was reduced to nothing and then some.

Over the six years of the Bush administration under which the Republican Congress helped run the country, debt and spending skyrocketed.

Whether it was the adversarial relationship or the dedication of Clinton to the cause of deficit reduction, we don’t know. But it is clearly obvious by now that whatever role the Republican Congress had in eliminating the deficit, it was not by itself responsible enough to have done it on its own.

Can a Democratic administration and a Democratic Congress reduce the deficit together? We’ll have to find out.

The Republicans have set themselves high as leaders, but have not backed this leadership with the actions that would have lent credibility to their claims.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 9, 2008 12:38 AM
Comment #258134

Glen & Russ

Just because we have at times supported tyrants in the past doesn’t mean you should advocate doing it today. Was it good to do back then? If your answer is no, why so eager to accept it now?

I will also have to remind you of the 0.47% figure, which is the amount of Saddam’s arsenal supplied by U.S. firms. He was a client of the Soviet Union throughout most of his tenure and we were not good buddies of the Soviets back then as you my recall. During the Iraq-Iran war, we tilted toward Iraq and allowed our Arab allies to share intelligence that helped prevent an Iranian victory. Even with the gift of hindsight, that still doesn’t look like a bad idea.

Sometimes you have to make choice among bad alternatives. We now have a choice between a bad alternative and what looks like a decent one. Your argument is that since we chose bad alternatives in the past, we should just go with the bad one now. That is senseless and immoral. I am certain that is also what you would call it if a Republican president proposed it.

Phx8

You think the place is going to hell. I see a different reality. I am sure we both hope I am right, but neither of us has a lock on the future.

Glen

Re the budget – I have talked about that subject before, but this post is about Iraq. I often fall into the trap of digression, but not this time. Maybe later.

LibRick

The war is ABOUT oil, but not FOR it. The nuance is important. Oil still runs the world. We cannot ignore it. But if the war was FOR oil, we would currently have that $79 billion. Since we don’t, the argument that the war was FOR oil falls flat, no matter what the conspiracy nuts want to say. That is an inconvenient and embarrassing truth for them. It is sort of like constructing an elaborate case for murder and then discovering the putative victim is not dead.

Stephen

You cannot apply science to politics. You have way to many variable and a complete inability to do experiments. It is just silly. You are not a silly person; stay away from the silly things.

Politics is based on experience of one-time events and lots of guesses. It is also based on on power and preference. In short it is almost the opposite of science.

Posted by: Jack at August 9, 2008 1:29 AM
Comment #258135
And this link explains how it is wrong. If the debt goes up, there was no surplus.

From your own source:

“Interestingly, this most likely was not even a conscious decision by Clinton. The Social Security Administration is legally required to take all its surpluses and buy U.S. Government securities, and the U.S. Government readily sells those securities—which automatically and immediately becomes intergovernmental holdings.”

So even though the regular budget (not counting SS) had a surplus, and Social Security had a surplus for the year 2000, the SS surpluses HAD TO BE USED to buy US securities adding to the intergovernmental holdings. So public debt went down, but intergovernmental holdings went up by a slightly larger margin for that year.

By that accounting method, the only way for the total debt (public + intergovernmental) to go down would be to run a surplus for both the regular budget and SS, AND the surplus for the regular budget would have to be higher than the surplus for SS. The surplus for SS would still be added to the intergovernmental holdings, but the larger surplus of the regular budget would be applied to reduce the public debt, and the total debt.

So Clinton did run a surplus and reduced the public debt in 2000.

Posted by: pops mcgee at August 9, 2008 1:49 AM
Comment #258137

Jack -

YOU were the one who brought up the comparison of Gingrich and Pelosi and the deficit, not me. I simply replied to you with facts you cannot deny.

And considering what you believe to be ‘senseless and immoral’ - a better fit for ‘senseless and immoral’ would be this illegal and unnecessary war that Bush and Co. lied us into waging….

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 9, 2008 3:54 AM
Comment #258164
The war is ABOUT oil, but not FOR it. The nuance is important.

Sorry Jack, but your semantic games don’t change the outcome. We don’t have the money, but we sure are trying to get the Iraqi’s to agree that most of the money should go to US companies. Your posts are so arrogant and condescending to anyone who disagrees with your assessment of things. I hate to be the one to tell you, but you could be wrong.

Posted by: womanmarine at August 9, 2008 3:51 PM
Comment #258173

Woman

The Iraqis got the money. We do not. If you claim somebody robbed you, but he doesn’t take your money, gives you a lot of his own and only tries to persuade you to buy something at some later date, it just doesn’t sound like robbery.

Re arrogance - is there really anybody here who isn’t? People regually lecture me on things I know a lot more about than the average person. I am probably one of the few people who has lived in Iraq and talked to Iraqis. Yet I am told that I am out of touch with reality because I don’t follow the Dem spin.

In this article, I am talking only about things I have actually seen. It is my opinion, certainly, but it is based on actual experience. Today, for example, I will go on a foot patrol in an Anbar city. I do this often. We talk to random Iraqis. I am not very much afraid of being killed or hurt and I expect most people will be very friendly. Some will offer tea. Most will complain about us and the Iraqi government, but they feel free enough to do that. Most of the complains will be valid, but prosaic. They will complain that our vehicle create traffic problems or that the local government failed to connect their houses to the water grid. This is the real Iraq in Anbar. It is not that violent meatgrinder it was in 2006. Things are being rebuilt.

Th biggest challenge is that Iraqis think we are smarter and abler than we are. When there is somethign wrong, they think we COULD fix it immediately and just are not. This includes things like water and weather, BTW.

This is all true as far as I have personally seen. I don’t know what others have read. Yes, I do value what I see with my own eyes more than what somebody in the U.S. says he knows because he saw it on TV. Call that arrogance if you want; my goal is to fight ignorance.

I could be wrong, but I am the one who saw it, not you.

Posted by: Jack at August 9, 2008 11:57 PM
Comment #258174
Yes, I do value what I see with my own eyes more than what somebody in the U.S. says he knows because he saw it on TV.

Jack, you’re dealing with something much more blinkered and entrenched than what anybody saw on TV. You’re dealing with the echo-chamber rhetoric of left-wing blogs, wherein anything said that doesn’t participate in a stock set of self-referential cliches just does not and never will compute.

The refrain on the left of any US war being “fought for oil” was already a staple of left-wing conspiracy theorists well before the invasion of Iraq. They were already saying about Afghanistan, where oil is a factor so tiny as to be non existent.

They said the same thing about Somalia. They said it about Clinton and the Kosovo intervention. And, as we all know, it was a major refrain during the first gulf war.

It’s like a religion—once you buy in, everything else seems to be suddenly explained.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at August 10, 2008 1:09 AM
Comment #258175

Jack -

Nothing compares to seeing things firsthand. However, just because someone has been someplace for a period of time does NOT mean he knows what brought him there.

In your article, you twice infer that Saddam was a menace to the world. You base that on…what?

WMD’s? There were NONE. Bush was TOLD there were none and that they were NOT trying to make any…and what did he do to the one who publicly pointed out the FACT that Iraq was NOT accumulating yellowcake?

Supporting al-Qaeda? They did NOT. Bush’s boys based this supposition on intel gained from torture…which a group of the most successful WWII Allied interrogators said was NOT a way to gain reliable intel. Al-Qaeda was NOT in Iraq and was NOT affiliated with them in any way…but they are now, now that Saddam’s gone….

“Spreading democracy”? Is that it? Do we ‘spread democracy’ by force?

So WHY did we go to Iraq, Jack? HOW, exactly, was Iraq such a ‘menace to the world’ that we needed to IGNORE Saddam’s offer to voluntarily step down and go into exile (like Idi Amin did (and see how many thousands of lives we did NOT have to spend to go kill him and take over Uganda))? HOW, exactly, was Iraq such a ‘menace to the world’ that we needed to violate international law and the Geneva Convention to invade Iraq?

WHY did we go to Iraq?

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 10, 2008 2:36 AM
Comment #258176

Jack -

While you and I disagree on much, we do agree on “America broke the mold”. England, to be sure, set the stage, but we made it happen.

That said, let me tell you a sea story. I was on the USS Ranger (CV 61) in the early 80’s. We pulled out on the ‘Westpac from hell’ (too long to print here) in the early summer of ‘83. The fourth day out, we were told we would not be going straight to Hawaii as scheduled, but we were going south to do circles in the water down around Central America.

While we were there, we held an air show for some Guatemalan general. Nice air show - way cool…saw some stuff you can’t see on land. Anyway, time passed and we finally headed west once more to cut more circles in the waters of the Indian Ocean (where we almost exchanged fire with a Soviet destroyer).

Back in those days we didn’t get the news every day. In fact, we got the news once a month - one PAGE of news. But being a news junkie even then, I read it…and saw that there had been a coup in Guatemala by some general on such-and-such date. The name of the general was the same as the one who had attended the air show. The date of the air show was the day before that general held a coup in his country.

Now you must bear in mind that during the Cold War, one didn’t divert an aircraft carrier battle group without notice on just a whim…and to say it was merely coincidence that the general was on board the Ranger the day before he took over his country…well, I think I’ll leave it to your judgment.

Just a story about another month in U.S. foreign relations, that’s all.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 10, 2008 3:07 AM
Comment #258178

Tell me why so many seem to be ignoring this??

http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/08/06/10836/

Posted by: janedoe at August 10, 2008 3:36 AM
Comment #258185

Glen

My original post and most of what I try to say is about what we do NOW, in the present to build for the future. I don’t talk about how we got in. I am talking about what we do now. You are right that I was not in Iraq during Saddam time. I can see the profound damage his rule did to the country. There is ample evidence of that. I can see the remains of his vast arsenal – almost none of which is American, hence my oft repeated comment that we were not his main support. I can talk to people who had family members murdered or themselves were tortured by Saddam. This included almost everybody, BTW. These things, indeed, are not enough to provoke a war with the U.S., but they do indicate that this regime was very bad.

I have argued on many occasions re the causes of the war. Unlike you guys, I see some nuance and ambiguity, enough that I will let future historians sort it out. That is why I don’t write much about that.

This is past. You can hate Bush. He will be out of office very soon. You can hate Rumsefeld; he is already a private citizen. Our choices are about the present and the future.

This is what I can say from my own observation. The surge has worked. We were lucky in the timing this time, since it coincided with a general rejection of AQI, especially in Al Anbar. I can say from observation that Western Iraq is mostly peaceful and recovering both from the war and from the 30+ years of mismanagement. I can also say from personal experience that the 30+ years before the war caused more intractable damage than the war itself. Those are things I know from what I have seen.

Based on them, I believe we can achieve success and that we are on the verge of doing so. I believe that we will leave an Iraq that is reasonably democratic, stable and not a threat. I also believe that this will be the first step in a general transformation of the Middle East. These things are my beliefs about the future. You may disagree, but your disagreement will be based on your secondary knowledge of the situation, whereas I base mine no primary knowledge.

Janedoe

Indeed. If the Democrats in Congress believe this is credible they should immediately hold hearing. In fact, if they find it is true, they should impeach. They have the power to do this w/o Republican agreement. If they are not doing it they must believe the allegations are not credible or they are shirking their duty.

So ask them that question. Are the Democrats craven cowards or do they not believe the allegations?

Posted by: Jack at August 10, 2008 11:18 AM
Comment #258187

Jack, perhaps the Democrats who were swept into power in Congress want to live up to their statement that they were not going into office to prosecute Bush, but to turn policy around. Perhaps the Democrats have decided that the country would be better served by not pursuing an impeachment, even one based on a legitimate charge of abuse of office. Perhaps the Republican abuse of the impeachment process in the Clinton prosecution has denigrated the impeachment process from a legitimate tool to one now tainted as a political weapon.

Posted by: LibRick at August 10, 2008 11:53 AM
Comment #258188

LibRick, I think to a certain extent you might be right. That they know impeachment divides more than promotes unity. However, they have had a few hollow votes on impeachment led by Kucinch and they did spend a lot of time leading up to November 2006, bashing Bush, threatening impeachment, and promising their base and independent votes that “they would” hold Bush accountable.

Thankfully Bush is out and no one named Clinton or Bush will be in the White House.

Posted by: Honest at August 10, 2008 12:06 PM
Comment #258200

Honest,

Not so fast… Remember, Hillary only ‘suspended’ her campaign, not ended it. And with Obama losing ground and showing several very wide chinks in his armor, there may be some movement by the time Denver rolls around…

At least, that is what the pundits are talking about. Of course, it has been quite slow news-wise so I am not sure I would take any real stock in it.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 10, 2008 7:34 PM
Comment #258201

Why are they ignoring?

Well,

1) it was posted on Commondreams.org

2) the link to the source of the article doesn’t go to anything suggesting what is stated. In fact, I am having a hard time finding any evidence at all.

3) it sounds like the other side did when declaring all of this documentation was proving what we now know to be questionable or false.

4) Suskind has been having quite a tv schedule lately, I haven’t seen him mention it on any of these shows…

Basically, it sounds like so many accusations on blogs with no attempt to look into the validity because there is no reason to. It drives traffic and pushes their partisan view, why take the time to investigate?

I agree with Jack, if there is something there, why isn’t Congress looking into it?

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 10, 2008 7:46 PM
Comment #258202

Glenn,

There were lots of reasons to remove Saddam.

First, your assertion that there was never any link between Saddam and al Qaeda is incorrect. See Richard Clarke who, to this day, asserts that they worked together on al Shifa and that was the main reason for Clinton’s attack on the plant. Or the 9/11 Report which disputes your statement of fact.

Second, there are more terrorist groups out there than al Qaeda. Saddam has had a long history supporting many of them.

Third, we were given evidence from Russia that Iraq was about to attack the US with a terrorist attack.

Fourth, Iraq was routinely attempting to shoot down US and UK planes. In fact, the number of attacks increased dramatically in the first nine months of 2001, leading up to 9/11.

Five, Saddam was under sanctions which he choose to defy (chapter seven sanctions, in case I hear the old ‘so is the US’ crap) and as a result was starving his country to death.

Six, Beyond just the starving, there was the rape torture and murder of the citizens of Iraq as a routine.

Seven, Listed in the top 5 of both the Human Rights Watch and State Department’s State Sponsors of Terror, Iraq was uniquely into everything they could to further Saddam’s desire to rule the Middle East and push his agenda against the United States (both Republians and Democrats).

There are more. If you want to read more, go to http://www.watchblog.com/thirdparty/archives/001765.html for a start.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 10, 2008 8:01 PM
Comment #258204

Rhinehold, I heard the same thing for the first time this past week. And have wondered why we have not seen more Hillary out promoting Obama to her base. I just assumed it would not help, but she is really lying low for a final opportunity in Denver? Maybe the Green Bay Packers can offer her $25 million to stay retired from Presidential races.

I would have thought, bet, that Obama would have gotten a lift after the magical mystery tour in Europe and the Middle East.

Posted by: Honest at August 10, 2008 9:48 PM
Comment #258205

Rhinehold,
A link between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein? Lol. Any, um, you know, proof? Something better than “asserts” or “disputes” or-hey, this is good, nice touch- suggesting that Saddam Hussein supported other terrorist groups, so it doesn’t matter that what you are saying about Saddam & OBL remains unproven? And what is this? “Evidence” from Russia? Does that “evidence” have any resemblance to “proof”? You know, certainty, a proven fact, that kind of thing? Iraq was going to attack the US? Snort. With what?

No one thinks Saddam Hussein was a good guy. He was the result of a colonialist policy which cobbled together antagonistic elements into one country, an ungovernable conglomerate which Saddam Hussein held together by force. As we have discovered to our endless shame, he was the product of Iraq, and not vice versa. In any case, nothing you say comes within a country mile of justifying an illegal and immoral invasion and occupation.

Over one million Iraqis are dead as the result of the US invasion. Another four million are refugees. War crimes are so ugly. Please, do not justify and rationalize a despicable course of action.

Posted by: phx8 at August 10, 2008 10:06 PM
Comment #258206
4) Suskind has been having quite a tv schedule lately, I haven’t seen him mention it on any of these shows…

Then I’d say while you were watching for something, he was talking……on numerous programs since mid week.

http://www.ronsuskind.com/thewayoftheworld/

Posted by: janedoe at August 10, 2008 10:12 PM
Comment #258207

By the way, if anyone wonders what a continuation of eight years of Bush would look like under McCain, take a look at the conflict between Georgia and Russia over South Ossetia. McCain is ready for confrontation and a resurrection of the cold war. Nice. All because one of his top campaign guys served as a lobbyist for Georgia, and pushed McCain to support them. If anyone questions McCain’s competence on foreign policy, just watch him when it comes to Georgia. He is bellicose without good cause, and worse, grossly incompetent.

One word for McCain: warmongerer.

After this Sunday evening I will be out of the country for two weeks, & unable to reply to comments-

Posted by: phx8 at August 10, 2008 10:36 PM
Comment #258208
By the way, if anyone wonders what a continuation of eight years of Bush would look like under McCain, take a look at the conflict between Georgia and Russia over South Ossetia. McCain is ready for confrontation and a resurrection of the cold war.

Phx8, the very thing the cold war was supposed to prevent—and did prevent—was this spectacle of Russia sending armored divisions pouring over the borders with its neighbors.

Now you say McCain is a “warmongerer” for calling on Russia to stop bombing and invading its neighbors. Nice!

What, pray tell, is “bellicose” in McCain’s position? Is he agitating for us to go to war with Russia? No.

This is a typical liberal response—even telling the aggressor to stop when his bombers, tanks, and naval forces are waging all-out war is just too risky! Passive, pathetic, supine whimpering is the face of massive aggression has been the liberal response for decades for now, and it would be merely sad if it wasn’t for the danger of these folks actually assuming power.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at August 10, 2008 11:15 PM
Comment #258210

LO,
Do you blame Russia? The US invaded Iraq with far less justification, and far less provocation.

Georgia’s democratically elected president promised to bring back the rebellious province of South Ossetia into the country of Georgia, despite the wishes of South Ossetians, wishes ratified in a referendum. Remember, the South Ossetians want to Russian. So, Russia assured the security of South Ossetia with “peacekeepers,” essentially Russian troops.

Georgia launched an unprovoked attack, including GRAD rocket attacks against an urban center which killed a large number of civilians, as well as Russian troops. The Georgians attempted to occupy South Ossetia.

Bad idea. Very bad idea. Russia ended that attempt in a heartbeat; not only that, the Russians continued rolling. They didn’t just kick the Georgians out of South Ossetia. The Russians are seriously pissed, and they are refusing to stop rolling until the president of Georgia is ousted.

There are a lot of possible approaches to this problem. But to label Russia as the aggressor and unilaterally side with Georgia is not only wrong, it is stupid, and even worse, dangerous. Yet this is precisely what McCain is doing.

McCain is tight with the Georgians because of one of the top guys in his campaign, who was a lobbyist for the Georgian government. Under normal circumstances, the US would be supportive of the Georgian government, because it is a democracy, albeit a very corrupt one. However, simply being a democracy does not justify launching a violent and aggressive attack and being able to count on US support. Or does it?

The Georgians sowed the wind, and they are reaping the whirlwind.

Posted by: phx8 at August 11, 2008 12:30 AM
Comment #258211

It’s time to extricate ourselves from this mess and call it a success. I’ve often said on this board that: it’s good Saddam is gone, That w deserves credit for deciding that it’s time that he go, that the war was conducted very badly, primarily because of the poor leadership from our “commander-in-chief”, and finally, that we have lost this war. One need only add up the costs and compare them to the benefits. I have hopes that it will turn better, that the current government will not end up being a subset to a foreign government, Iran, but the prospects are not good. The idea that 20,000 committed insurgents could tie up the United States and its + 1,000,000 man army for six years is beyond belief to me. Anyone who could look at what has been expended for what has been earned and come out of it saying: look, w, was right and the dems wrong, has a learning curve that is just about flat. I’m a liberal democrat, not sold on Obama. He lacks experience. His “I’m an outsider and will change the way we do business in Washington” does not ring true to me. McCain is better than he is being portrayed but I will still vote Democratic in November. Republicans have had the chance to show what they can do over the last many years, and they have failed. Failed in a way that I didn’t think possible.

Posted by: Charles Ross at August 11, 2008 12:55 AM
Comment #258214

Charlie,
Obama is relatively inexperienced, that is true, but compare his approach to the problems with Georgia/Russia/South Ossetia to McCain’s approach.

Our ally, the democracy of Georgia, attempted to solve a problem with force. Big mistake. Now Russia is seriously kicking their butt. What is the proper US response?

It’s a no-brainer. Obama calls for a neutral mediator to solve the problem. Ding ding ding! Right answer. He doesn’t blame the Georgians for being stupid, or the Russians for going postal on the Georgians.

McCain, on the other hand, sides with the Georgians and against the Russians, and blames the Russians for overreacting, saying their relationship with the US will suffer. Gong! Wrong answer. McCain is a colossal dumbass.

McCain: “Russia should immediately and unconditionally cease its military operations and withdraw all forces from sovereign Georgian territory.”

Obama: “I think it is important at this point for all sides to show restraint and to stop this armed conflict.”


Posted by: phx8 at August 11, 2008 1:36 AM
Comment #258222

Phx8, should I be surprised that your description of the lead up to the war is taken almost word-for-word from Russian propaganda?

Georgia launched an unprovoked attack, including GRAD rocket attacks against an urban center which killed a large number of civilians, as well as Russian troops. The Georgians attempted to occupy South Ossetia.

This is laughable—especially the part about an “unprovoked attack.”

If these rocket attacks and casualties actually occurred (which is not corroborated by any independent media), what the hell were Russian troops doing in South Ossetia in the first place?

Unprovoked attack indeed! South Ossetia is legally part of Georgia—as recognized by the United Nations and all international law. It has been semt-automonous and there’s a movement there for independence, but Russian troops claiming to be have been the victim of “unprovoked attacks” while already illegally within a place which is now according to all international law within Georgia’s border is utterly ridiculous.

If South Ossetia wants independence from Georgia that is a matter between them and Georgia, of which they are currently a part. For Georgia to hold possession of part of its own country is not an “occupation” that is any of Russia’s business. It’s like saying that the US is occupying Oregon. What’s worse is that Russia isn’t just restricting its military actions to Ossetia but is bombing Georgian cities and installations throughout the country and sinking their ships at sea.

McCain’s statement is right on and Obama’s statement—which you love so much—is weak, futile and completely worthless. It’s nothing but a pathetic squeak that nobody—certainly not the Russians—have any reason to even pay attention to. It’s not leadership, and its not even diplomacy because it’s just another vague and pointless speech by Obama. The only thing, really, that Obama has ever shown himself good at.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at August 11, 2008 10:43 AM
Comment #258223

L.O. -

What, exactly, would you have either candidate do? Economic sanctions? Move an aircraft carrier battle group into the Black Sea to challenge the Russian blockade of Georgian ports? Send war materiel to Georgia? Or ally yourself militarily with either side?

I don’t presume that we go down Chamberlain’s road of not caring of a “far away people in a far away land of whom we know nothing”…but beyond political posturing, we are not in a military position, neither an economic position, and we certainly are not in a political position to do anything about it.

Y’know, perhaps if we weren’t already fighting two wars - one of which is unprovoked and illegal - and be economically groaning from the costs of the war and seven years of base greed and mismanagement at the highest levels, we could do something about it…and THAT, sir, is why - just as a captain is responsible for whatever happens on his ship (whether it’s his fault or not) - the president is to be held responsible for whatever his nation can do or canNOT do.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 11, 2008 11:12 AM
Comment #258226

And L.O. -

In a different thread, you made several accusations against Obama, and five days ago I asked you for your references to those accusations so I could research the veracity of your accusations and verify YOUR side of the story.

That was five days ago. My request is still the last post on that forum thread. Please back up your accusations. Here’s the link:

http://www.watchblog.com/democrats/archives/006083.html#comments

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 11, 2008 11:49 AM
Comment #258231

Our debt is really much, much higher than a trillion when you consider that we have Medicare and Social Security costs we have no real money for. We are drowning in a sea of debt.

As far as Iraq’s “surplus”, they may have some money, but they still need to fight a war and build an entire country’s infrastructure - electricity, roads, etc. with it.

Anyone who is looking at our country and thinking we are in good shape with nothing to worry about or that Iraq is in great shape money-wise is delusional.

Regardless of the merits of this war (personally, I see none), we have no more money to pay for it. I realize this is a politically incorrect thing to say, but the terrorists won when they lured Bush into the Middle East and convinced him to burn all of America’s money there, and then borrow into a sea of debt from which some economists say this country will NEVER recover. There were smarter ways to fight Al Qaeda, IF you believe that’s really why we were over there.

Btw, it’s hard to take anything you say seriously in a post where you suggest we won Vietnam.

Posted by: Max at August 11, 2008 11:59 AM
Comment #258236

Glenn, all of that is readily available on the internet. Just google something like “Obama gaffes” or the precise words I used to make those “accusations.” I don’t have the time right now to be your research assistant.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at August 11, 2008 12:12 PM
Comment #258238


“It’s a no brainer. Obama calls for a neutral mediator to solve the problem.”

I imagine the McCain people will have a field day with that. If elected, Obama will accept a neutral mediator to solve our differences with other countries including Iran. If Obama thinks it is appropriate for Russia and Georgia to accept a neutral mediator to solve their dispute, then he must think that it is appropriate for America to do the same.

Jack: I guess we know what Iraq will be spending it’s surplus on, government salaries. The number of Iraq government employees has nearly doubled since 2005.

The Iraqi private sector economy is in pitiful condition.

We just gave the Iraqi army what amounts to another $10 from every man, woman and child in America.

Posted by: jlw at August 11, 2008 12:16 PM
Comment #258254

Uh-uh, L.O.

I will NOT let you get away with that. If you make an accusation, if someone calls you on that accusation, you should have the COURAGE and HONOR (if not the simple courtesy) to back it up.

Otherwise, you are only a rumormonger, and NO BETTER than any of those who spread malicious rumors to justify their personal suspicion or hatred, whether it’s “Obama’s a Muslim!” or McCarthy’s “I have right here in my hand a list of 225 confirmed Communists!”, or “the Jews eat children!” (which ‘blood libel’ antisemitic tradition began in early medieval England).

If you can’t - or won’t - back it up, then don’t say it.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 11, 2008 1:26 PM
Comment #258261

LibRick

Nobody believes that, not even you guys. They got nothing. If the Dems have a case, bring it on. We will end up taunting you a second time.

Phx8

Yes, Russia invades a peaceful European country with a democratic government, killing many people and the only thing Obama folks can think about is lobbyists and domestic politics. When I heard that charge, I thought it was ridiculous. Shame on you guys for repeating it and shame on the Obama campaign for being so narrow minded and stupid.

Obama is more interesting in making political points than his county’s interests. The response of his campaign is sophomoric and out of touch. He is not ready to be president.

And those pro-Russian statements are reminiscent of what we heard from the peace movement of the 1980s. Yes, no matter what happens the left will say America is worse. In that movie “Independence Day” the left would have sided with the aliens. After all, we provoked them in the 1950s by shooting down one of their flying saucers.

Posted by: Jack at August 11, 2008 2:34 PM
Comment #258271

“Yes, Russia invades a peaceful European country”

Peaceful? By all accounts, Georgia perpetuated the initial actions; in a region that Russia had peacekeeping units. For all those that criticize the UN for not being more forceful (obviously you never read the UN Charter), you would think that the Russian’s response would be more respected by those on the Right.

The force and intensity of the Russian response is troubling, sort of reminds me of a phrase that many were so proud of once, “Shock and Awe.”

I don’t know who is in the right or wrong in this incident, but by all Geo-Political rationale. Russia is demonstrating to its neighbors that a close relationship to the West isn’t perhaps in its best interest. Of course, not that we would ever do such a thing, we would never plan an invasion or overthrow of a country such as … Cuba.

I’m not saying Russia is more right than we were in how we conduct foreign policy. But I cannot condemn them for a type of response many here would defend if it were our President doing it.

Posted by: Cube at August 11, 2008 3:56 PM
Comment #258272

this thread is past it’s expiration date…

Posted by: angrymob at August 11, 2008 3:57 PM
Comment #258274

“In that movie “Independence Day” the left would have sided with the aliens.”

I thought you said you wouln’t digress in this thread.

Anyway, everyone knows that the aliens were just dreadlocked hippies from the future, those damn liberals. Damn their long hair, marijuana cigarettes…their peace and free love. They need to get a job those aliens… *merr (in 1950’s Dad voice)

Posted by: angrymob at August 11, 2008 4:03 PM
Comment #258277

Jack -

“no matter what happens the left will say America is worse”

See, that’s the difference ‘tween thee and me. To you, there seems to be only ONE side to the story, and that’s America’s.

To me, there are always at least two sides to the story…and America does not always do that which is right. For instance, do you know of the American general back in the Huk insurrection back after we occupied the Philippines following the Spanish-American war? This general issued an order: “Kill every Filipino male over ten years old.”

Rah, rah, rah America!

DISSENT, Jack is ALSO patriotic. If you want to stop Americans from pointing out America’s flaws, then here’s how to do it:

“Naturally the common people don’t want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, IT IS THE LEADERS of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is TELL THEM THEY ARE BEING ATTACKED, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. IT WORKS THE SAME IN ANY COUNTRY.”

Hermann Goering
The Karl Rove Way to Political Power, p. 54

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 11, 2008 4:30 PM
Comment #258280

“All you have to do is TELL THEM THEY ARE BEING ATTACKED”


it is sorta like the Lupis diagnosis of political science. Only in medicine it is typically a chronic and fatal disease.

Posted by: angrymob at August 11, 2008 4:43 PM
Comment #258292

Goodby watchblog.
I can no longer support this blog. In this article alone Jack was crucified with personal attacks which are clearly against rules of participation and not one moderator has made a comment.

It seems to me that Watchblog has become as biased as the mainstream media and like the mainstream media, their subscriptions will dwindle. Please cancel my subscription.

I realize this probably should have been done with an e-mail, but since the issue that “broke the camel’s back” is this article, I think it’s approperate here.

I thank you for your efforts

Goodby

Posted by: BOHICA at August 11, 2008 9:31 PM
Comment #258294

Ever consider Bohica, that you are so inflamed because you share the same beliefs as Jack? and merely don’t agree with some of the other ones ?

Posted by: janedoe at August 11, 2008 9:56 PM
Comment #258300

Glenn

Dissent must be logical and appropriate. It is not clever or patriotic just to be against. I understand it is much easier to find fault than to create progress. That is why so few do the building and so many like to tear down or just live off the progress.

America is not perfect. But if you look at the entire history of the world, you will not find a large power that has been so generous.

In the case of Russia and Georgia I am ashamed of some of the comments my fellow Americans are making. The same clowns who cried about our invasion of Iraq to fight an evil dictator who had attacked his neigbors and was an ongoing menance, are making excuses for Russia because a democratically elected president and the people of Georgia are not perfect.

The perfect is the enemy of the good. Most of those yelping the loudest have no idea what they are advocating. They want to throw Georgia under the train not in spite of but BECAUSE they have been friendly to the U.S. This happens to our friend when the left plays domestic politics with international affairs.

Nobody is perfect. I think of it like this. Nobody can swim from California to China. Does that mean that some people are not better swimmers than others? Are any four of us “just as good” as the American Olympic swimmers who just one the rely? We cannot swim to China; they cannot swim to China. A liberal would make a equality of that.

Posted by: Jack at August 12, 2008 1:38 AM
Comment #258301

Jane

At the risk of making you think I am more arrogant, many of the people who write here just don’t understand what I write. I cannot explain it to them, since they lack the necessary experience and I am not that good with words. It is like describing the ocean to someone who never left Kansas.

Posted by: Jack at August 12, 2008 1:40 AM
Comment #258302

Has nothing to do with understanding you, but agreeing with you….or not.

Posted by: janedoe at August 12, 2008 2:32 AM
Comment #258303

Jack -

Do you realize your assumptions about liberals are just as far off base as you believe liberals to be in the first place? I have YET to hear any liberal say that we should abandon Georgia to the Russians “BECAUSE they have been friendly to the U.S.”

Unless you can show otherwise, Jack, that is a blatantly FALSE accusation made by you.

Jack, I am a liberal and a patriot, and I say you can’t back up your claim…at least not with any reference that’s as far left as the wacko Aryan Brotherhood is to the right.

I HAVE heard one other liberal say there’s two sides to the story…and THAT is why I’m reserving my judgment, because I want to hear the WHOLE story before I go off half-cocked accusing Russia, as most of the media and (as far as I’ve seen) ALL of the Conservatives seem to have done.

You said one thing I strongly agree with - that the perfect is the enemy of the good. However, there’s a corollary: “Good enough is the enemy of better”, courtesy of Admiral Gorshkov of the Soviet Navy.

Jack, we do SO many things right - but we do a lot of wrong things too. Does the simple fact that we do so much right somehow make it wrong to point out what we do wrong? How can we get better if someone doesn’t point out where we can BE better?

You and I will both agree that America is good, and that America will NEVER be perfect. HOWEVER, is America ‘good enough’ to the point that she doesn’t need to be better?

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 12, 2008 2:46 AM
Comment #258304

errata on the fourth sentence in the previous post:

“at least not with any reference that’s as far left as the wacko Aryan Brotherhood is to the right” SHOULD read, “unless it’s from a reference that’s as far to the left as the wacko Aryan Brotherhood is to the right.”

GOT to be more careful….

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 12, 2008 2:52 AM
Comment #258308

I don’t know about throwing anyone under a bus, but I do remember Beslan being seared into my brain. Which democracy elected those folks?

I don’t recall any liberals defending Saddam, but if you say so. I think some people thought it might be problematic overthrowing an Arabic state in the midst of Islamism, but then I guess I haven’t rewritten history as much as some are wont to do.

I seem to hear about invading Northern Mexico for their incursions, lately. Perhaps that is my imagination.

Oops I forgot, it’s election time. We don’t want to elect a possibly Muslim Black man who hangs out with Paris. Ah, context, and priorities. Thank God for those. BTW, has Iraq achieved pre war oil output, yet?

Posted by: googlumpugus at August 12, 2008 6:44 AM
Comment #258324

“Conspiracy Nut”:

Alan Greenspan, from his memoir, published September 2007:

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

Greenspan later told the Washington Post that a lower-level White House official (whom he did not identify), told him, “Well, unfortunately, we can’t talk about oil.”

Jack’s article demonstrates that among those who are still intent on carrying water for the Bush Administration’s unnecessary war orchestrated on lies, this fact remains firmly in place: One can’t talk about the oil, or you will immediately be labeled a “Conspiracy Nut.”

Here’s another “Conspiracy Nut”:

John McCain, May 2008:

My friends, I will have an energy policy which will eliminate our dependence on oil from Middle East that will then prevent us from having ever to send our young men and women into conflict again in the Middle East.

Strangely enough, this comment got no attention from the media, but many on the left caught it, and saw it for exactly what it is: McCain was publicly admitting here that the Bush Administration’s quest to “spread democracy” in the Middle East was a complete sham. It had nothing to do with protecting ourselves against future attacks, or freeing oppressed people, or even protecting Israel. It was all about gaining control of foreign oil.

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at August 12, 2008 10:53 AM
Comment #258327

It was all about gaining control of foreign oil.

Well, sorta. Remember Saddam’s continual breaking of OPEC quotas, invasion of Kuwait (killing babies in incubators) and threats against Saudi Arabia? Of course it’s really about Israel. Protecting people, not oil fields. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Remember Saddam’s deals with Russia? Remember the pipeline in Afghanistan?

Our reasonable objective is to protect and maintain “friendly countries” to supply us with oil in a war. Germany was starved of oil, which was the major tactic that killed their war machine. That and the syphilitic psychosis of Hitler A sleszy side deal is the backdoor grabs for money. As long as it doesn’t conflict with national security, who’s gonna complain?

Keeping a lid on Saddam’s output and keeping oil in “friendly hands” is the objective. If a few billionaire’s make a couple of bucks, all the better. Of course, that was also our objective in the 50’s in Iran.

This is the real politik of the situation…and what is going on in Georgia.

Posted by: googlumpugus at August 12, 2008 12:40 PM
Comment #258328

Glen

I meant American leftists, not liberals. The two categories are not identical.

The left cuts America almost no slack, but is very accommodating to others. We see it in the Georgia case. What if America had done something like that. Would the left reserve judgment?

I don’t think the left is always unpatriotic, just short sighted. IN their quest to be fair to all, they are unjust to the U.S.

It is a sign of an effective person to look for the things he did wrong in any situation. It is always your fault anytime anything goes wrong for you. It is just not always ONLY your fault. To be effective, you need to look for things you did or could do because those are your only point of leverage.

The problem with applying this wise advice to countries is that politics come into play. Bad players take advantage of the perceived opportunities. They play on a kind of joint and several liability theories for the U.S. The U.S. might be 5% to blame, but they want it to pay 100% of the costs.

In the Georgia case, I have already heard that this is payback for Kosovo or some similar slight to Russian power. Can this be true? No, it cannot. Even if Russia feels aggrieved, it doesn’t follow that it can take out its wrath on a non-participant.

Jane

All that I am saying is that the things I write re Iraq are based on what I have seen with my own eyes, tasted or felt. What I write is based on people I have personally spoken with or meetings I have myself attended. AND this experience is as recent as a couple hours ago.

This is primary information. Primary information is the source journalists and historians are supposed to seek. You can disagree with my opinions and predictions about the future, but it is not particularly useful to get angry when I report my observations, which most people have not experienced.

You may think I am just lying. Maybe I see the world differently than you do. But I literally trust my life to Iraqis almost every day and I feel comfortable doing that.

Google

And Belsan in related to the U.S. and/or Georgia in what way? It was a terrible crime, but it was not an American incident.

If you don’t recall liberals defending Saddam check into the history of the events. Remember those volunteer “human shields”?

VV

Read carefully. I explained that the war is ABOUT oil, not FOR oil. If it was FOR oil, we would have that $79 billion in oil. Is this distinction too much for you?

Posted by: Jack at August 12, 2008 12:43 PM
Comment #258330

The Iraq War was partly about oil and that part has worked out quite well for those who derive profits from oil.

The war was also about world domination, Pax Americana. That part has been a failure and a disaster for our country. The loss of life and wealth caused by natural disasters in this same time period are nothing compared to the losses suffered by us and others because of the Bush/ Cheney Pax Americana disaster.

Posted by: jlw at August 12, 2008 12:53 PM
Comment #258332

>Read carefully. I explained that the war is ABOUT oil, not FOR oil. If it was FOR oil, we would have that $79 billion in oil. Is this distinction too much for you?

Posted by: Jack at August 12, 2008 12:43 PM>Read carefully. I explained that the war is ABOUT oil, not FOR oil. If it was FOR oil, we would have that $79 billion in oil. Is this distinction too much for you?

Posted by: Jack at August 12, 2008 12:43 PM

jack,

I don’t know about VV, but it is too much for me…We bagan this Iraq stupidity shortly after Cheney/Bush created our national energy policy at meetings involving only oil and energy men known to our own ‘energy’ men, Cheney/Bush.

The fact that this money seems to be a surprise to some does not mean Cheney/Bush doesn’t have a plan for it. What is shocking is that it has taken this long for him to act. He should have acted before it became public information…oops!, I forgot…we are talking about Cheney/Bush. He doesn’t care about public knowledge…he goes to war even after the public finds out his reasons are corrupt.

Posted by: Marysdude at August 12, 2008 1:25 PM
Comment #258333

Oops1, again. I meant after the inner circle knew better, not the public. Good damned thing I ain’t running for president, ain’t it?

Posted by: Marysdude at August 12, 2008 1:30 PM
Comment #258342

Jack -

leftist, liberal…what, really is the difference in the modern definition. Again, I defy you to find a reference - ANY reference - where a leftist says that we should abandon Georgia to the Russians “BECAUSE they have been friendly to the U.S.”

Again, this leaves out those leftists who are as far to the left as the Aryan Brotherhood is to the right.

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 12, 2008 3:07 PM
Comment #258362

Jack, There’s always a few fringe nuts. Remember the guy that killed the Unitarian Church members for their liberal beliefs? How does the nutty fringe make your argument?

Beslan has nothing to do with America, except to make absurd our belicosity towards Russia defending it’s own borders and people. Of course, Russia isn’t at all concerned about Georgian pipelines or Black Sea ports. It’s all about saving the people. Like we are so concerned about Israel, and Texans on the Border.

My cynical meter is on overload today. Naked power usually has little to do with saving anyone. It’s mostly about grabbing wealth and power. It doesn’t much matter if you are American, Russian, Chinese or Arabian.

Posted by: googlumpugus at August 12, 2008 6:03 PM
Comment #258374
4) Suskind has been having quite a tv schedule lately, I haven’t seen him mention it on any of these shows…
Then I’d say while you were watching for something, he was talking……on numerous programs since mid week.

Erm, that is what I said… On how many of these shows did he mention this part of the book?

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 12, 2008 9:32 PM
Comment #258375
Beslan has nothing to do with America, except to make absurd our belicosity towards Russia defending it’s own borders and people. Of course, Russia isn’t at all concerned about Georgian pipelines or Black Sea ports. It’s all about saving the people. Like we are so concerned about Israel, and Texans on the Border.

It’s about saving people by blowing them up? Interesting… Saving those people that were being pulled out of apartment buildings blown up by Russians, well, the parts of them left anyways. Should listen to the BBC once in a while…

Russia isn’t concerned about a country publicly stating that it was friends of the US and refuses to not be a Russian state. Again, interesting…

Oh, and I like how they just decided to send in, what, *1,000* tanks? Just had them lying around near the border did they? Didn’t have this planned for weeks? Astonishing…

I think your cynical meter is broken.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 12, 2008 9:37 PM
Comment #258376

Oh, and I *loved* Obama’s response to work towards a UN Security Council resolution to the problem.

BTW, since when did Georgia become Russian territory again? You mention that Russia is defending its own borders, I am just curious how that works when they weren’t in Russia at the time?

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 12, 2008 9:38 PM
Comment #258379

Since he had been invited on because of the release of the book, it was the subject of the interview Rhinehold. Go figure that he talked about the book and the main subject which was the forged information by Bushco. Here is one quote from just one program:

Barnicle: Suskind Book Charges Bush&Cheney with ‘4000 Murders’ By Geoffrey Dickens (Bio | Archive) August 7, 2008 - 18:24 ET

Ron Suskind’s charge, that the Bush administration forged a letter to falsely link al-Qaeda with Saddam Hussein, landed the journalist/author not only a spot on Thursday night’s “Hardball,” but also the following recommendation for his book, The Way of the World, from guest host Mike Barnicle:

MIKE BARNICLE: And in reading the book, I have to tell you, in reading all your stuff, I admire all your stuff. But in reading this book and these charges that have laid out here and because of my background, covering like city stuff and everything for years, I can’t help but come to the conclusion, at the end of this book, this book is basically charging the President of the United States, or the Vice President of the United States with being an accessory, before the fact, to 4000 murders and more in Iraq. They lied us into war, according to this book.

The following is an excerpt of the interview as it occurred on the August 7, “Hardball”

Posted by: janedoe at August 12, 2008 9:59 PM
Comment #258380

Jack:

I explained that the war is ABOUT oil, not FOR oil.

I think it’s very clear that the Iraq war and ongoing occupation has been about:

1. Gaining control of foreign oil on behalf of Big Oil.
2. Imperialism, aka, Pax Americana, as jlw mentioned.
3. To rip off American taxpayer dollars on behalf of defense contractors, private security contractors and a whole range of other mercenary corporations.

If it was FOR oil, we would have that $79 billion in oil.

Whose “we”, paleface?

Is this distinction too much for you?

Yeah, the distinction you’re trying to make really is too much. In fact, this whole misbegotten, unnecessary war perpetrated on lies has been too much, in every way I could possibly name.

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at August 12, 2008 10:02 PM
Comment #258381

Mmm, Hyperbole, num num.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 12, 2008 10:03 PM
Comment #258383
I think it’s very clear

To a predisposed mind, yes.

In the face of facts, no.

Where you decide to play may have something to do with that…

But the assignment of motive and then looking for clues for that motive is different then coming to a conclusion by looking at facts.

Like, have you noticed that the futures market of oil has gone up only after the Democrats gained control of the House and Senate? But was actually pretty low before then, even though we were losing in Iraq before but are winning now? Or that by not lowering taxes on fuel prices when they were higher because it would garner fewer tax receipts, we ended up using less oil (I *hate* the word ‘staycation btw) and as a result ended up with fewer tax receipts and now a larger July deficit than expected…

I’m sure that we will hear how Bush is to blame for our budget problems the last two years, but the last time *I* checked, the House is responsible for passing a budget…

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 12, 2008 10:12 PM
Comment #258384

BTW, fun fact number 42, More people believe that the Republicans control both houses of congress now than believe that Iraq was behind 9/11….

Who says that Democrats aren’t good at fooling people!

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 12, 2008 10:14 PM
Comment #258387
the assignment of motive and then looking for clues for that motive is different then coming to a conclusion by looking at facts.

The motive, as I outlined in my previous post, is there. The facts have become as plain as they could be. And the conclusions this nation has reached is more than obvious.
Well, at least it is to the majority of our citizens.
The American people know that the Iraq war has been an enormous mistake, and that the administration took us there on lies and ginned up intelligence, and they want it to end.

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at August 12, 2008 10:30 PM
Comment #258393

VV,

Hilarious.

Man: We are doing this because of X.

Other Man: Well, we know man is really doing it because of Y, and no matter what the proof (or lack of) is, we know it to be true. It doesn’t matter that the fact lead to a different conclusion (as Jack has pointed out) it’s just another part of Man’s grand plan. He’s such a genious even though he’s an idiot…

I’ve never said that people were smart, VV. Say something to people often enough and they will start to believe it. You know, like saying that Obama is a Muslim. Yet, you don’t see the similarities, do you…?

The fact is that Saddam had been an issue for 12 years, most people, including Democrats, wanted soemthing done, but because of political nonsense it didn’t happen until 2003. For example, Clinton wanted to remove him in 1998, but was blocked from doing so militarily by the Republican congress who were idiotic enough to think it was because of Lewinsky. Yet they jump on the bandwagon as soon as it is a Republican president, and then the Democrats start crying foul. It’s about perception and political power…

I know, you are going to eschew anything stated that supports an invasion of Iraq, but the issues were there and I’ve laid them out too many times to keep doing it. It gets tiring countering inuendo and supposition with facts, which is why these days people just tune out and the agendaists keep going.

BTWVV,

Hilarious.

Man: We are doing this because of X.

Other Man: Well, we know man is really doing it because of Y, and no matter what the proof (or lack of) is, we know it to be true. It doesn’t matter that the fact lead to a different conclusion (as Jack has pointed out) it’s just another part of Man’s grand plan. He’s such a genious even though he’s an idiot…

I’ve never said that people were smart, VV. Say something to people often enough and they will start to believe it. You know, like saying that Obama is a Muslim. Yet, you don’t see the similarities, do you…?

The fact is that Saddam had been an issue for 12 years, most people, including Democrats, wanted soemthing done, but because of political nonsense it didn’t happen until 2003. For example, Clinton wanted to remove him in 1998, but was blocked from doing so militarily by the Republican congress who were idiotic enough to think it was because of Lewinsky. Yet they jump on the bandwagon as soon as it is a Republican president, and then the Democrats start crying foul. It’s about perception and political power…

I know, you are going to eschew anything stated that supports an invasion of Iraq, but the issues were there and I’ve laid them out too many times to keep doing it. It gets tiring countering inuendo and supposition with facts, which is why these days people just tune out and the agendaists keep going.

BTW

The war wasn’t a mistake. The implementation, especially by the main culprit, Rumsfeld, was an unmitigated disaster. But, since some people can’t seem to separate the two or even accept that a difference of opinion on the topic is even possible, there is no way to encourage broaching the divide in favor of political rhetoric, is there?

Gates and Patreus are the good guys, too bad Bush didn’t have the intelligence to have them in charge before.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 12, 2008 11:03 PM
Comment #258394

Wow, sorry for the double-formatting there, not sure what happened… :/

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 12, 2008 11:04 PM
Comment #258396

Rhinehold:

not sure what happened… :/

That seems obvious in the general sense.

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at August 12, 2008 11:22 PM
Comment #258398

Congressional Budget Office report: Iraq Contracts Have Cost Taxpayers At Least $85 Billion Since Invasion.

The study states that approximately 20 percent of all of the funding for operations in Iraq has gone to contractors. Btw, this does not include the monetary figures for 2008, so the current total is actually even higher.

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at August 13, 2008 12:44 AM
Comment #258399

And….?

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 13, 2008 12:55 AM
Comment #258401

And… Read the linked article, and look at the pdf of the report.

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at August 13, 2008 1:19 AM
Comment #258403

Right, and 20% of the funding is going to pay for roughly the same number of people. It *may* be as expensive to use military personnel (which we could keep in reserve if we need them and keep a strain off of their service).

It still seems like a bargain to me, not sure what the issue is. It’s not like they are fighting, they are doing construction and food services, etc. Some are doing security, perhaps they shouldn’t, but it doesn’t appear to be a big deal to me…

Perhaps you could explain why it is?

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 13, 2008 1:39 AM
Comment #258404

BTW, why is Huffington shooting ‘popup ads’ at me? That’s rude…

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 13, 2008 1:42 AM
Comment #258405

I think the article explains very clearly the numerous ways that using privatized mercenary contractors (such as Blackwater, and Kellogg, Brown, & Root - which are really the same company) has been a terrible idea. In so many areas and in unprecedented numbers, these entities have taken on tasks formerly supplied by our military, for our military, and have done a damn poor job of it. Indeed, they have actually posed a serious danger to our troops, and have been endangering America’s reputation with their actions. They have also been ripping us off, and haven’t been held accountable in any way, shape, or form for any of these things.

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at August 13, 2008 2:09 AM
Comment #258407

Sorry, made a mistake above. KBR and Halliburton are really the same company, rather than Blackwater and KBR.

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at August 13, 2008 2:45 AM
Comment #258436

Rhinehold,

I guess I need to start italicizing my sarcasm. My point was countries always note grand ideals while killing people. We’ve killed millions “saving” them. Russia certainly has as valid a reason for invading Georgia as we did Iraq or even Afghanistan. My point was there is always a hidden agenda. US domination was a hidden agenda of WWII. Germany and Japan decided they didn’t like the balance. Of course in history, they were evil, we were good. Those in the middle getting blown up probably don’t really believe either argument.

Is their moral equivalence between the US rise to power and Lenin? Probably. We slaughtered the native population and enslaved Africans, stole land at gunpoint from Spain and France. Would I prefer to live under the current US regime or Russia? Probably the US. As someone who works all day and gets by would it make a big difference in my life? Maybe, maybe not.

Posted by: dogbert at August 13, 2008 3:14 PM
Comment #258437

Privatization,, unfortunately, is a buzzword for political pay off.

We are learning slowly, it almost never saves the money it is claimed to, and usually degrades whatever service is privatized.

Posted by: googlumpugus at August 13, 2008 3:19 PM
Comment #258443

VV -

“Whose “we”, paleface?”

LOL! The sere economy of three words at the right place and time far outweighs the brute force of page upon page of oft-overlooked text. That’s I lesson I should take to heart.

I think you counted coup indeed, Tonto!

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at August 13, 2008 4:04 PM
Comment #258444

oops, dogbert is googlumpugus. i used that login for a joke in the pet column.

Posted by: googlumpugus at August 13, 2008 4:21 PM
Comment #258447

Jack,

I respectfully disagree. We never should have gone into Iraq. Back in the late 50’s and early 60’s when I was practicing “duck and cover” because the “godless Russians” were going to kill us all. The same or worse propaganda was feed to the people behind the Iron Curtain. Then came years of war we had something to do with, and finally years of the embargo, which I’m sure was spun to make us look like the worst people in the world. ( I cry about not being able to believe my own government, but over there it can be total propaganda.) So now we’re going to invade 35million people who are afraid of us and hate our guts. After years of the embargo, their military was in bad shape. So the actual conquest would be easy, but what then. Even if most of them were happy to see Saddam go, most of them still hated us and were afraid of us. Which would make it hard to occupy!

Was the occupation mismanaged? Even Bush admits it was! I also said a long time ago “We need to fire the contractors and hire the Iraqis” If the average working age male Iraqi was making 15 to 20 thousand dollars a year Iraq would be a much different place. You don’t want the electricity to go out if you have a plasma TV. But then poor working Iraqis don’t give campaign donations like multinational corporations do.

There is no Iraq war! If we were at war with Iraq, all we’d have to do is kill enough Iraqis that all the others would surrender. We’re very good at killing people. But the problem in the “war of terror” is that we’re having trouble finding the people we want to kill. I put the quotation marks around war on terror because in my opinion it’s just the moral equivalent of war, like the war on poverty and the war on drugs.

The problem started right after 9/11 there was a brief discussion on what to do. Some how the idea of a police action was deemed soft of terror. So we have brave solders (who can’t speak the language and don’t know the customs) kicking in doors looking for the insurgents. The collateral damage far out weighs any good they might do. At the same time Iran has Hamas and Hezbollah building hospitals and schools. They understand that the battle ground is in the hearts and minds of the people. It’s like taking a football team to a basketball game. Every time we sack the guy with the ball they throw free throws. We can’t figure what’s going on. You might think Bin Laden is out of the picture, (I hope you’re right), but five years ago he escaped with a thousand of his closest followers. Since then the price of oil has tripled or quadrupled and Bush’s cowboy diplomacy has made his recruiting easier. We need to secure our infrastructure!

I guess if you elect an oilman and a war profiteer, you shouldn’t be surprised when the price of oil quadruples, and we have wars every where.

EVERYONE ELSE

What ever happened to civil discourse? Just because you disagree with someone is no excuse for the kind of belligerent name calling I’ve seen in this blog! I agree with BOHICA. If this is what Watchblog has diminished into, I need to find a different blog to follow! I know the republican talking points on the war on terror makes me mad too, as I see our prestige and security go down the tubes. But there is no excuse for your kind of behavior! I for one am going to miss Jack’s insight even if I disagree with what he says.

Posted by: Mike the Cynic at August 13, 2008 4:34 PM
Comment #258475

Everyone else?

Posted by: googlumpugus at August 13, 2008 9:46 PM
Comment #258500

Sorry googlumpugus, and anyone else who didn’t dog pile on Jack. Anytime you lump a lot of people into one group, you’re going to mischaracterize somebody.

For too many years the “right” has mercilessly attacked anyone who disagrees with them. That takes all the fun out of arguing politics.

Posted by: Mike the Cynic at August 14, 2008 12:30 PM
Post a comment