Third Party & Independents Archives

August 22, 2007

Bush: 58,196 U.S. Dead in Viet Nam Not Enough

President Bush displayed enormous ignorance and simple minded thinking before thousands of Veterans in his speech in Kansas City, today. He said: “the legacy of Viet Nam was that our withdrawal cost large human suffering in Viet Nam and Cambodia after our departure.” Meaning, had he then been president, the U.S. death toll would have grown far larger, since he would not have withdrawn. But, there’s much more.

This is the same reasoning which forces Bush to remain in Iraq and entertain no other options. But, this reasoning begs the question: Why does he believe that thousands of Iraqis killing Iraqis after our leaving far outweighs thousands of our own soldier's losses by remaining? If President Bush appears stumped in this photo taken at the speech, it is because he is, by his own limitations. Following are some of the more glaring GW Bush limitations which he talks as if he is unaware of, and likely is.

Bush at VFW speechPres. Bush in 2004 when asked about parallels between Viet Nam and Iraq, said they aren't justified, they harm our troops, and help our enemy. Then today, he drew parallels between Viet Nam and Iraq of his own volition. Is he trying to harm our troops and aid our enemies as he said such parallels do in 2004? Or, is his ignorance of history and absence of complex thinking digging an even deeper hole for his poll ratings, and desertions from the Republican Party to the Independent voter class?

Col. Eaton said on Hardball, Bush had re-opened wounds for Americans. He was speaking for himself as well, since his father's name is engraved on the Viet Nam Memorial. Pres. Bush is now trying to use the Viet Nam example as justification for continuing the steady rise of American deaths in Iraq; in essence saying, there is no price to high for Americans to pay to permit him to justify his invasion of Iraq. It seemed clear to me that when Pres. Bush spoke of the legacy of Viet Nam, it was his own legacy that motivated his blatant contradiction of his own words in 2004.

Sen. John Kerry had a potent response to Pres. Bush's remarks. Kerry said

“Invoking the tragedy of Vietnam to defend the failed policy in Iraq is as irresponsible as it is ignorant of the realities of both of those wars,” Senator Kerry said. “Half of the soldiers whose names are on the Vietnam Memorial Wall died after the politicians knew our strategy would not work. The lesson is to change the strategy not just to change the rhetoric. ... As in Vietnam, more American soldiers are being sent to fight and die in a civil war we can’t stop and an insurgency we can’t bomb into submission.

President Bush's limited capacity for complex thinking was demonstrated in his following remark in the same speech: "Despite the mistakes that have been made, despite the problems we have encountered, seeing the Iraqis through as they build their democracy is critical to keeping the American people safe from the terrorists who want to attack us." President Bush reveals here, his black and white, forward or back, two choice only thinking.

In reality, there are many options for aiding Iraq and buying Iraq time, while substantially removing our forces from Iraq at the same time. But, such plans are complicated, sophisticated, and require a combination of diplomacy with regional Iraqi neighbors, pressure in the U.N., and announcing a date certain for the beginning of drawing down our troops in a controlled and secure manner, which both puts regional nations on notice that they must step forward by a date certain or face the consequences, and permits them the time and opportunity to increment their efforts and peacekeeping forces in an orderly fashion in step with our phased withdrawal.

But, clearly, President Bush is incapable of entertaining such a complex idea in his mind, let alone in his policy approach. Combined with his desperately short time to salvage some kind of positive legacy from his war in Iraq, it is clear the Bush Administration will write Gen. David Petraeus's report to call for more time and more troops, to expand the very limited success of the surge in al-Anbar Province to other areas, while also expanding the American death and casualty tolls.

The success in al-Anbar is as much due to the tribal leader's fear of, and fight against an al-Queda takeover, as to the U.S. surge that helped repel al-Queda to other areas of Iraq farther North in this endless game of whack-a-mole: (hit them here forcing them to move there, and start all over again). Whack-a-mole strategy can't work in the long run, precisely because we don't have sufficient troops to hold down the areas we repelled al-Queda from, and follow them to new areas of operation. And the Iraqi forces are still not reliable, often supporting the insurgency (one side or the many others) and even turning a blind eye to attacks on our GI's as reported to congress by Sec. of Defense, Robert Gates.

Much is being made today of the new poll numbers regarding approval rating for Congress put at an historical low of 18%. I have not seen the details of the poll, but, if it was well done, it will have factored in the differing reasons for such low approval. And I have no doubt that a sizable portion of respondents give low marks for Congress' inability to obtain a veto proof bill from enough Republicans to direct the withdrawal from Iraq. And it is clear that the Bush Administration is sending with Bush's speech the talking points to Republican Congressman to stump Democrat's efforts to force a conclusion to the losses of American lives and our children's debt burden resulting from Bush' s stubborn and unrelenting determination to repeat the mistakes of LBJ in Viet Nam, having not a clue that this is precisely what he is doing.

But, let it never be forgot, that Pres. Bush places a far higher value on Iraqis killing Iraqis which he believes he must prevent by keeping our own forces there, than he does on the lives of our own soldiers being killed by Iraqis by remaining there. His thinking on this was absolutely clear in making the case that the death toll in Viet Nam was too low, and that we should not have withdrawn, because the consequence was Vietnamese killing Vietnamese instead of Vietnamese killing Americans. Let it also not be forgot that the fears of JFK, LBJ, and Nixon that failing to engage in Viet Nam would result in communist spread throughout the world, never came to pass.

We must also not forget the killing fields Pres. Bush referred to in Cambodia were NOT as Bush asserted, a result of our withdrawal from Viet Nam, but had begun years before our withdrawal from Viet Nam and the Khmer Rouge were partially prompted to civil war by our bombing runs in Cambodia aided by American sympathizers and paid spies in Cambodia. More history missed by Bush's declaration: "I read books". (Comic books perhaps?)

The President also now seems to be making the argument that the Viet Nam war is responsible for 9/11, since he said our withdrawal from Viet Nam in response to the demand of Americans in the streets encouraged al-Queda to carry out 9/11. His reasoning being that OBL and other terrorists believed Americans have no stomach for war. So, in predictable fashion, Bush is taking his understanding of history from al-Queda? He even said in his speech, we must listen when al-Queda speaks. And apparently, he believes he should give al-Queda the advantage of knowing Bush will do the opposite of whatever al-Queda thinks. That kind of predictability does indeed embolden an enemy, and with good reason.

Pres. Bush is the last person Americans should be taking history lessons from. One has to question whether speech writers were allowed any role in writing Bush's speech. If they were, Bush would do well to ask them to leave his administration along with Rumsfeld, Rove, Libby, Powell et. al. If they weren't, we got a rare glimpse into the abject poverty in the mind of President George W. Bush.

Posted by David R. Remer at August 22, 2007 08:26 PM
Comments
Comment #230366

I can’t argue with you here. I would say that Bush’s ill fated attempt, is to demonstrate that withdrawal from Iraq can be compared to Vietnam. Is that not partially true? Why would it not be? A lot of people lost their lives in the what transpired after the withdrawal. Cart? Horse?

I get frustrated with convenient Vietnam/Iraq comparisons. They fit … they don’t fit. But we would have to institute the draft to realy draw accurate comparisons don’t you think? Committ similar levels of spending as a percent of GDP right? Of course not, but I do.

Bush will be immediately defined by the Iraq war and his actions. I get that, however is he really wrong for pushing the here and now arguement that pushes the idea that we are better fighting them there, not here? Sounds “sound” to me strategicially, I just don’t like how we arrived at this strategy.

Posted by: Honest at August 23, 2007 12:19 AM
Comment #230370

The mistake was going into Iraq in the first place. The same proved true in the case of Vietnam.

But how to correct a strategic mistake of such monumental proportions? “Stay the course”? Escalate? Withdraw?

Almost everyone realizes the surge, the escalation, will not work. That is not a knock on our soldiers. Based upon the writings by General Petraeus about counterinsurgency, it would take between 300,000 to 500,000 troops to stand a chance of quelling the insurgency. Unfortunately, that is not an option, short of a draft, and once again, nearly everyone recognizes Iraq does not represent a sufficient threat to our national security to warrant a draft.

Remember, the strategy of this surge was never the strategy of General Petraeus. This idea came from Frederick Kaplan of the American Enterprise Institute, and Petraeus accepted the idea of a surge as part of taking the job in the first place.

The basic idea was to provide enough security for the Maliki government to make progress. Sadly, the flawed nature of the Iraqi constitution guaranteed factionalism, resulting in the effective exclusion of Sunnis, and finally paralysis.

I do not blame Maliki. He was in an impossible position. The mere presence of American troops undermined the legitimacy of his government. He attempted to stay on the tightrope, but no one can perform a balancing act forever.

Is it a coincidence? Maliki visited Syria, and announced an oilpipeline deal with them. Suddenly, for the first time, Bush and other officials announce their disappointment with Maliki government.

The issue sucks the oxygen out of the room, and seems doomed to ignominious failure. It really is a horrible situation. The overriding strategy of the Bush administration ssems to be delaying the inevitable, and foisting blame for defeat on the next administration.

How bad will Iraq be after US withdrawal? Will it be as bad as Vietnam?

Maybe. Maybe not. It is worth pointing out there are already over two million Iraqi refugees in other countries, and perhaps two million more who have been internally displaced. In addition, hundreds of thousands are dead as the result of the violence and chaos.

I would like to see the US adopt a limited version of the Murtha “over-the-horizon”
approach: withdraw to the Iraqi borders, provide as much security as possible to prevent outsiders from entering, and to prevent the conflict from exploding across the borders into other countries.

But what does it matter? Bush will “stay the course,” and attempt to shift the blame for this fiasco onto someone else.

He really is a despicable president.

Posted by: phx8 at August 23, 2007 12:41 AM
Comment #230372

Honest, I have never been able to grasp Bush’s reasoning of ‘fighting them there so we don’t have to fight them here’. How is al-Queda in Iraq going to get here, swim the Atlantic Ocean? If al-Queda wants to strike the U.S., they are already trying and not from Iraq, but, from Pakistan, Indoensia, Malaysia or Mexico. It matters not whether we are in Iraq or not. The reasoning behind Bush’s rhetoric defies logical understanding as far as I can tell.

There isn’t a nation state in the Middle East which will stand by and watch al-Queda acquire control of the Iraqi government. That would threaten all Middle Eastern regimes and societal stability within them. Our leaving WILL NOT leave Iraq wide open to al-Queda takeover. Neither Iran nor Syria nor Saudi Arabia or Jordan or Egypt or any of the other regimes would allow that to happen.

Bush’s rhetoric is aimed at a public that has not thought this through or is not informed of the self-interest motivation of other Middle Eastern governments to insure al-Queda never gets a foothold anywhere in the Middle East. They weren’t aware or concerned much about al-Queda before 9/11. Middle Eastern regimes have not been asleep since 9/11, they have recognized the threat al-Queda poses to their own societies, let alone the U.S. My money is bet on the fact that if we pulled out of Afghanistan tomorrow, Both the U.N. and the Middle Eastern regimes would make hast to fill the void and pick up where we left off checking al-Queda in their own back yard.

Bush speaks as if he and we were the only ones affected or changed by 9/11 and the Iraq War. That is how myopic, ignorant, or whatever adjective you want to install, Bush is about the al-Queda situation in the Middle East. All heads of state in the Middle East profiting from OPEC directly or indirectly have an absolute vested interest in insuring al-Queda is checked, minimized, and if possible, eliminated. But, by that same vested interest in wealth, why should they volunteer to fight al-Queda when Bush is willing to foot the bill and attract al-Queda’s hostilities instead of them?

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 23, 2007 02:20 AM
Comment #230373

phx8, I have written agreement with your proposition many times here that Bush has but to run out the clock to, “in his mind”, shift the blame for Iraq on his successor. Dead right on. It is his only legacy option left ‘in his mind’ and likely his advisors, such as Rove, Wolfowitz, Gates and others.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 23, 2007 02:23 AM
Comment #230383

Good post, and agree with all of it.
Out of the people who worked for Bush, who finally said enough is enough and quit was Gen. Powell.
He was lied to, and unfortunately lied to others about what Iraq had and was found to be false(WMD).
Unfortunately the republicans in congress wanting to keep their jobs are still standing behind bush, instead of doing the right thing and vote for a time frame on when to start bring the troops home. Hopefully that will be soon and not 59000+ American deaths later.

Posted by: KT at August 23, 2007 09:49 AM
Comment #230389

Bush’s mind is made up.
Like setting concrete, it takes time to cure.
Logic does not work with him.
If you disagree with him, you are a traitor and aiding the enemy and terrorists to follow us here (from Iraq).
I’m not sure if Bush is really:

  • (1) that stupid,

  • (2) or dishonest,

  • (3) or in complete denial,

  • (4) or all of the above
Whether it’s (1), (2), (3), or (4), we’re screwed.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 23, 2007 11:09 AM
Comment #230390

David: I have two words for you:

The draft.

If we stay there indefinitely - we have to implement a draft. Simple as that. Especially when our ‘emboldened’ adversaries in that region begin to realize that we are stretched to breaking point already.

Luckily I’m an English citizen, and if Porgie’s grand plan for the subjugation of the American people continues, I can uproot and take my family to Europe, where they’re not all quite such morons.

Posted by: Jon Rice at August 23, 2007 11:11 AM
Comment #230393

Jon, quite right, those two words continue to be bandied about in D.C.

I have two words in response to The Draft. 1960’s Demonstrations. They will go hand in hand.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 23, 2007 11:22 AM
Comment #230396

Sorry, but the draft is not going to happen at the hands of the Republicans. If it does, it will be the Democrats that swing it. They may try to use the justification of Iraq to do it, but it will be on their hands. And it will be because they choose to implement it instead of leaving Iraq.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 23, 2007 11:49 AM
Comment #230397


David: Is this a case of the Presidents limited capacity for complex thinking or rather a case of the Administrations belief in the American peoples limited capacity for complex thinking? I think it might be the latter. I can see Cheney’s grimmy fingers all over this new retoric. They have played the people for fools before. I see no hesitancy on their part to continue to play their fools game on us. What is their alternative? Tell the truth? Nearly everything they have said in defense of their policy has been false yet they persist, we are still in Iraq and they are still persueing their objective.

Posted by: jlw at August 23, 2007 11:51 AM
Comment #230398

Or, if a Republican wins in 2008 but the House and Senate are still in Democratic control… That will be an interesting situation to say the least. If the new Republian president keeps us in Iraq would the Democrats THEN have the political will to rescind authorization and/or funding to get the troops home or will they keep on the course they are on now of rolling over, especially since the new Republican president would have a ‘mandate’ so to speak…

2008 is looking more and more interesting all of the time.

And yes, it is very possible that a Republican will win in 2008. Catch OBL and do something positive about illegal immigration in the next 18 months and it will be mostly lights out I think… Not that this administration will have a chance of doing that, but still mental exercises are interesting.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 23, 2007 11:53 AM
Comment #230400

Which is? (and oh gawd please don’t say money and/or oil, that is getting so very old)

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 23, 2007 11:54 AM
Comment #230402

Rhinehold, it has been Duncan Hunter on the Campaign Trail calling for the draft as much as a year or more ago, to create the manpower needed lock Iraq down, and insure victory (I would call it complete subjugation, but different Iraqis would have different views, no doubt becoming more positive over a time, and then turning negative again if requests to leave were not honored.)

Democrats would raise the issue of the draft ONLY as a political tool, not with the intent of actually reinstating it, from what I have heard from Democrats.

Folks on both sides have called for national mandatory service which can include, but, would not be exclusively, military service.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 23, 2007 11:56 AM
Comment #230404

Rhinehold, the Pyramids in Egypt are very old too, but, still just as real.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 23, 2007 11:58 AM
Comment #230405

Rhinehold, no Republican with the intent to keep us in Iraq could POSSIBLY be elected in ‘08. Checked the polls recently. Let’s stay within the realm of the possible, shall we?

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 23, 2007 12:00 PM
Comment #230407

David, we need to check the polls in June 2008. Remember how there was no chance of a Democratic president in 1996? What did the polls say then?

As for the democrats and the draft, Democrats have been calling for it for years, they see it as the only ‘fair’ way to ensure participation in the military by children of rich white men. It’s just the poor and black who are in the military, remember…

Rangel Introduces Bill To Reinstate The Draft

Rep. Charles Rangel introduced a bill in Congress Tuesday to reinstate the military draft, saying fighting forces should more closely reflect the economic makeup of the nation.
Posted by: Rhinehold at August 23, 2007 12:06 PM
Comment #230408

jlw said: “Is this a case of the Presidents limited capacity for complex thinking or rather a case of the Administrations belief in the American peoples limited capacity for complex thinking?”

Well, they have access to the polls like everyone else. And only an administration led by a person with limited capacity could look at those polls on the Iraq situation and conclude the people are of limited capacity and can be brought around.

This is a simple case of Republicans playing to the only limited base they have left, 31% of Americans still registered Republican and about 7% of the 35% of Independents. Republican strategists are working on 2012 when they can blame Bush’s successor for the consequences of either Staying or Leaving Iraq. Running out the clock while staying in Iraq to pass it on, is there ONLY game plan in light of the polls.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 23, 2007 12:07 PM
Comment #230409

Rhinehold, thanks for the bit on Rangel. Like I said, it is a political tool. The Democratic base does not want the draft reinstated and every Democrat politician knows it.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 23, 2007 12:08 PM
Comment #230410

There are more stories going around that the Maliki government is close to being swept aside.

It is kind of interesting, how few democracies have succeeded around the world.

Generally speaking, it only has succeeded on a national level in a relatively few countries. Most of those are ethnically and culturally homogenous.

Many more countries seem to practice democracy successfully on a local level, but the practice falls apart on a national level.

Notable exceptions are Turkey and India. What makes them different? Although both experienced colonialism, or colonized others, both countries experienced great success in the past by having their own empires. It is almost as if a residual aura of self-respect carried them through the transition from military defeat and colonialism to democracy.

But most countries fail, especially those created as a result of colonialism.

Iraq seems like another example of failure, a miserable failure. And a very sad one.

Posted by: phx8 at August 23, 2007 12:11 PM
Comment #230413

phx8, I don’t know about Turkey. But, with India, it was a clear case of an educated Brahman class with economic and political power who saw the example of the U.S. and Western Europe’s economic success under democracy that highly motivated them to adopt the system. It was the best system available for preserving their wealth against gigantic and overwhelming numbers of poor and destitute in their country.

They understood that a democratic government run by the Brahman class, with a mixed economic system providing for some of the needs of the lower classes, and engaging the international market place with a cheap labor base, would be the best option for insuring both foreign aid and support and insurance against uprisings and civil disorder.

The caste system in India insured the people would go with the Brahman class, regardless of what form of government they adopted, for awhile. But, to insure longevity of Brahman class wealth, they needed to adopt a system that would improve the conditions of the poor, move the agricultural economic base toward an industrial and technological base, and the Western model was obviously the best available for that purpose and their circumstance, especially with foreign aid in the offing.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 23, 2007 12:25 PM
Comment #230414

phx8,

I agree, the real reason that Iraq will fail is because it was put together through external forces instead of internal ones. There is no logical reason why it should stay a single country at all, IMO.

The only way to get any kind of peace there would be to break it apart and let the warring factions have their own piece of the area, which is most likely what is going to happen in the long run, once we get tired of trying to hold it together and leave, leaving them to their own devices. It will be the natural order of things but will be very bloody, though it need not have been if this president had allowed the UN to come in and see that this needed to be done and implemented it from the outset.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 23, 2007 12:26 PM
Comment #230424

David,
Good observaton on India. It underwent partition in 1948, which caused a lot of suffering, subsequent wars with Pakistan, and to this day the issue of Kashmir remains unresolved.

Rhinehold,
For me, part of the frustration of Iraq is the continued attempt to “stay the course,” and solve the problem with our military. There are other options, but it all amounts to armchair quarterbacking by me. Unfortunately, the consequences of the current course are not an abstract exercise. My son is draft age, and there as unlikely as it seems, I perceive it to be a real danger… and of course, other people who are there are endangered too, not to mention the squandered money, and so on.

No one thinks we will attack Iran, but unexpected things can happen. No one at the time thought Vietnam would turn out so badly for Laos and Cambodia.

Posted by: phx8 at August 23, 2007 02:09 PM
Comment #230425

According to the NYTimes Bush is declaring that a Free Iraq is within reach. This is diametrically opposed to what the new Intelligence Estimate says about Iraq - violence is up, Iraqi forces are not up to independent control, and the government is unwilling or incapable of acquiring consensus control of their own country.

Please! Bush is MORE than aware of what the Intelligence Estimate says. Ergo, Bush is lying as monumentally as ever. That or God is supplying him with inside scoop which the Intelligence Communities aren’t privy to. Take your pick.

But this lie fits nicely into the game plan of passing the quagmire on to his successor and laying blame for the failure of a Free and Unified Iraq ally at the feet of his successor. Who said Rove was fired, or resigned?

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 23, 2007 02:10 PM
Comment #230427

Actually, I think that Bush in his heart believes that if he just keeps up trying to make Iraq free through military force they will eventually get the hint and become good and decent folk, despite what we are seeing. I think he believes that we are just seeing the bad stuff now as a natural progression on to the good stuff.

It’s part of the ‘fundamentalist’ nature, belief in something that has no basis in fact. Part of the reason why I question anyone who is willing to believe in something that there is no evidence to suggest to be a good leader because they’ve already shown that mindset.

But, polls tell us that the majority of people in the US are in the same mindset so what to do?

So while some of the more pragmatic in the administration and RNC may see things the way you do, David, I think that they would rather have said bugger all to the Iraq war by now as well, trying to get 2008 in their win column. It’s been those with the ‘hard belief’ that has been keeping us there against the reality that it was time for the UN to step in 4 years ago.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 23, 2007 02:32 PM
Comment #230432

Rhinehold, my daughter believed in Santa Claus too, but, Santa Claus did not really deliver her presents or grant her wishes, or withhold presents if she wasn’t nice and good. Who the hell cares what Bush believes? Are his actions working? That is the relevant question.

The National Intelligence Estimate just released says they aren’t. Now we are receiving cautions about a rise in domestic born terrorism arising from our own citizens. Pretty damn good indicator that Bush’s policies are having disastrous consequences.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 23, 2007 02:53 PM
Comment #230434

David,

Excellent article. I especially appreciated your mentioning Bush’s reference to the “killing fields”. When I heard that I was once again left shaking my head in disbelief. I can only imagine that Bush truly is a complete and total idiot or he simply believes that he’s gotten away with lying so much for so long that he can make anything true just by saying it’s so.

IMO two words now undeniably describe Bush: “Dangerously Delusional”!

On the battlefield a commander would be removed by his subordinates if he’d so obviously departed from reality.

Posted by: KansasDem at August 23, 2007 02:57 PM
Comment #230437

David, I agree! I am just saying that I don’t think Bush is ‘staying this course’ because of any evidence, only that he believes it to be the case in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. That’s the problem with ‘beliefs’, they require faith in the face of evidence to the contrary.

That doesn’t make it good or ok, it just makes it what it is, I suppose. It also explains why reason and logic is not going to disuade him from this course, only the action of the congress to pull authorization or funding will do that, and we see now that they don’t have the political will to do that, unfortunately.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 23, 2007 03:06 PM
Comment #230438


David R: When Bush was planning his invasion, the Administration began hamering us with the false intelligence and their inuendo, Saddam is a friend of Osama, Saddam helped plann 911, We got to get Saddam before he gets us, etc. A majority of the American people fell for it and were with the President. Hell, 30% of them still believe it.

The war is not what caused the Presidents plummet in the polls. After the election of 2004, Bush was riding high in the saddle. He claimed that he had a mandate from the people and he was going to use it to save(destroy) Social Security. That is what laid George Bush low.

Today, the chaos in Iraq is holding the Presidents poll numbers down, but they are slowly creeping up. What can the Presidents people attribute this slow creep upwards in the polls to. It just about has to be the Administrations continued retoric about the terrorists. Like, it is going good, not great but good in Iraq and if we weren’t there we would be fighting the terrorist hoards on our beaches. They fooled us once and knowing them, I’m sure they think they can do it again. It may not work again, but what have they got to loose.

This is why I said that it may be the Bushies that have contempt for our ability to think our way thru their fear mongering retoric. If they are slightly successful, the president’s poll numbers creep up to 45%. The President leaves office with a little bit of dignity and dumps the whole mess, the war, the economy, the massive debt on his predecessor.

Posted by: jlw at August 23, 2007 03:08 PM
Comment #230444

What I don’t get, jlw, is that when Clinton tied OBL and Hussein together in his bombing of Al Shifa, everyone on the left agreed with it. In fact, I don’t think Clarke or Tennent have every said that they believed that event to be anything else then what they always said. But when a Republican says it… well, it is IMPOSSIBLE.

The fact is, most of the people who believe there was some link between OBL and Hussein are right, as the 9/11 report stated, but there is no proof of any coordination on 9/11 or that they had an ongoing ‘committed’ relationship. They worked together when it was expedient and agasint each other when forces drove them in that direction.

And most people believe that because the DEMOCRATS told them that in the late 1990s.

Former Secretary of Defense Cohen defends, in his testimony to the 9/11 Commission in 2004, along with other cited Clinton security cabinet members in their separate 9/11 Commission testimony, the necessity of destroying Al Shifa.

At the time, the intelligence community at the highest level repeatedly assured us that “it never gets better than this” in terms of confidence in an intelligence conclusion regarding a hard target. There was a good reason for this confidence, including multiple, reinforcing elements of information ranging from links that the organization that built the facility had both with Bin Laden and with the leadership of the Iraqi chemical weapons program; extraordinary security when the facility was constructed; physical evidence from the site; and other information from HUMINT and technical sources. Given what we knew regarding terrorists’ interest in acquiring and using chemical weapons against Americans, and given the intelligence assessment provided us regarding the al-Shifa facility, I continue to believe that destroying it was the right decision.

Posted by: Rhinehold at August 23, 2007 03:21 PM
Comment #230445

The sad thing about this war is that there are a lot of parallels between it an Vietnam. The same stupid mistakes are being made by the politicians now that were made in Vietnam.
One of the biggest is there isn’t any real mission anymore.
Just like in Vietnam troops are being sent in to take real estate and then ain’t being allowed to hold it.
There aint enough troop to get the job done right.
The strategy has failed but there aint any new strategy being put on the table.
The Country’s government aint stepping up and taking care of business like it should.
And when we do leave there will definitely be a blood bath.


phx8

Almost everyone realizes the surge, the escalation, will not work.

None other than Hillary herself said the other day that the surge is starting to work. Are ya calling y’alls fair haired girl a liar?


d.a.n
Try (4)


Jon Rice, David, Rhinehold
The drat might be our only hope for getting the number of troops to get the job done in Iraq.
But if the draft did manage to get reinstated (and I doubt it will)it wouldn’t work today.
Thanks to Carter pardoning all the draft dodgers from Vietnam I think that a whole heap (98%)of folks of drat age would head up to Canada and wait for another President to pardon them after the war is over.


Posted by: Ron Brown at August 23, 2007 03:22 PM
Comment #230454


Rhinehold: The situation in Congress is not a matter of political will. The people voted the Democrats into power to stop the war. The problem is that they didn’t vote for enough Democrats to get the mission accomplished. The Democrats don’t have the votes to get by a Republican fillibuster nor a Presidential veto. The people are blaming Congress for their own failure to recognize that the President and his allies in Congress don’t give a damn about the will of the people. Even without a fillibuster, the Democrats in the Senate couldn’t pass a bill on Iraq with a simple majority without getting a Republican or two to vote with them because of Liberman.

Our government sucks but, we can’t look to the government for the cause, it lies elsewhere. Those who have taken control of our government with their money do every thing they can to keep us divided on issue after issue, from abortion to global warming, etc. They own the media and they use it effectively to keep widening that divide.

The fault for all of that lies squarely on the shoulders of we the people. Most of us think that those who don’t think the way we do, believe what we believe, do things the way we would do them are somehow flawed or evil. Because of this we fall for the traps laid by those who want to usurp our power by keeping us divided.

Posted by: jlw at August 23, 2007 04:10 PM
Comment #230455

Ron,
Hillary can say whatever she wants. I do not care. She will play to the middle for as long as possible, and then, as a matter of political expediency, shift whichever the wind blows next year.

Meanwhile, here is a link to the latest NIE document on Iraq:
http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/docs/nie-iraq-stability/

Posted by: phx8 at August 23, 2007 04:13 PM
Comment #230461

Rhinehold said: “only the action of the congress to pull authorization or funding will do that, and we see now that they don’t have the political will to do that, unfortunately.”

This may be changing real quick, Rhinehold. Sen. John Warner just told Bush he can no longer back the Administration on staying the course. He said we need to set a date certain, and he recommends we begin by pulling 5000 troops out at Christmas.

Warner is the most respected Republican Senator in the Senate. With him parting company on Staying the Course, others will surely follow, as in those facing reelection bids in ‘08. The ball is now leaving the Democrats court back into the Republican’s court, as I see it.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 23, 2007 05:30 PM
Comment #230463

jlw, that is certainly how many on the right want to view the future. But, my instincts say it will not play out that way. Recruiters are struggling. A growing portion of our forces in the Middle East are reaching breaking points, as evidenced by the enlisteds editorial to the NY Times. Bold, gutsy, and desperate move by these soldiers on active duty.

What this means is that without help from other nations in substantial numbers, the situation in Iraq can only get worse by Nov. 2008, and far more Righties will be coming out and speaking out against the War and Bush’s management of it. That I believe will spell the death knell for Bush’s legacy. His base is all he has. If it fractures over Iraq, his legacy is gone.

Sen. John Warner today said he is throwing in the Bush towel, calling for a date certain to begin reducing our troop strength in Iraq, and calling for 5000 troops to be sent home by Christmas. Warner is the most respected Republican in the Senate and NO ONE can ever call him a dove or soft on national defense looking at his long record on the issues. The fracture has begun.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 23, 2007 05:38 PM
Comment #230468

The President’s point that many people suffered as a result of our defeat in Vietnam was accurate. Whether or not something else could have been achieved is for historians to debate.

A precipitous pull out from Iraq would cause as bad or maybe worse consequences. Even Dems are beginning to recognize this.

As for “staying the course”, I wish Bush opponents would update their understanding of Iraq. The course changed radically. We have an new commander, a new SecDef, a new country team in Iraq and a new strategy. I guess if you define staying the course as anything other than embracing defeat, you can say we are staying the course. Otherwise, we have changed course.

Warner called for the pullout (a symbolic number) to pressure the Iraqis, BTW. It is not the beginning of anything.

The situation is in Iraq is starting to turn around. It is much better for us to work to improve our situation than to run off. The risk of staying with the new strategy is much less than the risk of leaving too soon.

Posted by: Jack at August 23, 2007 06:22 PM
Comment #230471

Ahh Jack…ever the believer. Damn the torpedos, and full speed ahead, but watch that undertow when it all starts going down the drain. You and dubya himself may be the only person(s) in history that refused to accept the reality of this situation.

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at August 23, 2007 06:51 PM
Comment #230490

Jack said: “The President’s point that many people suffered as a result of our defeat in Vietnam was accurate.”

And it is just as accurate to say that he would have chosen to trade many more American lives in exchange for saving civil waring Vietnamese lives. Just as he is doing now in Iraq. 3,800 and counting, and no amount is too high for Bush, since he would would have elevated the 58,165 even higher had he been president. By his own words, 58,165 American lives lost was not enough, because he views having withdrawn from Viet Nam a mistake.

Jack said: “A precipitous pull out from Iraq would cause as bad or maybe worse consequences.”

Please quote 5 prominent politicians calling for a precipitous pull out from Iraq. I will help. Dennis Kucinich (D) and Ron Paul (R) make two. Do it, if you can.

Jack said: “The course changed radically. We have an new commander, a new SecDef, a new country team in Iraq and a new strategy.”

BullCrap. That is window dressing, and NO! Absolutely NOT a new strategy. It has been the strategy for years since Bremer to use our military to buy the Iraqi government time to get their forces and political act together. That is NOT a new strategy. Changing rhetoric is not a change in policy. Calling the same course with some more troops is a change in Rhetoric, Jack, NOT a change in strategy. We played Whack a Mole for years, and except for al-Anbar, we still are. Al-Anbar is stable because our troops are tied down there protecting that mole hole while al-Queda and insurgents take their efforts East and North.

Jack said: “Warner called for the pullout (a symbolic number) to pressure the Iraqis, BTW. It is not the beginning of anything.”

More BULLCRAP! Warner is calling for a date certain to begin withdrawing troops. That changes everything when the most prominent Republican in the Senate parts company with the President. It is unprecedented in this war, and with Republicans facing reelection by constituents demanding an end to this drain upon America’s vitality and resilience, more will follow Warner’s position. It changes everything, politically.

Jack said: “The situation is in Iraq is starting to turn around.”

Yes, around and around and around in circles making no progress toward an independent Iraq whatsoever. Adding more troops simply makes the Iraqi government more dependent on American support, much like welfare checks made recipients more dependent upon our own government.

The risk of staying without a deadline to motivate both the Iraqis and the regional neighbors to move to step in as we step out, is far greater than announcing we are leaving beginning on such and such a date.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 23, 2007 09:27 PM
Comment #230499

David

If you are for a withdrawal of our forces as conditions permit, we agree. I do not want us to be in Iraq a minute longer than we need to be.

The irony is that as we made lots of mistakes in Iraq, opponents called for a new strategy. Now that they got one, opponents are showing their true intentions. They just want to get out.

I have notices a public opinion shift. It is becomming clear that the new strategy is showing some good results. Our diplomacy is working better too. Even Dems are talking a little less about pulling out. Now, as you say, they are hedging.

By September, we will reach a general consensus. We will stay in Iraq only as long as we need to and get out quick as we PRACTICALLY can. I do not really care if we call that a Republican or a Democratic plan, nor do I care who claims credit. Let’s finish the hard work we have undertaken. It is what we as Americans should support.

My guess is that we will have significant drawdowns by early next year. It will be possible because Iraqi forces will take more of the burden. But we we not be “out” by November 2008, nor probably by November 2012. But by then it will not matter any more than our troops in Bosnia or Korea did.

We will have “won” and all those who thought otherwise will forget their earlier errors and claim that everybody knew this would be the outcome, much like what happened after 1989.

David, we are gonna do great things, for which nobody will give us any credit.

Posted by: Jack at August 23, 2007 11:28 PM
Comment #230502

Jack said: “The irony is that as we made lots of mistakes in Iraq, opponents called for a new strategy. Now that they got one,”

No, Saying they have a new strategy does NOT mean they have changed strategy one iota. Our troops are doing what they have been doing for years, fighting insurgents and al-Queda while waiting for the Iraqi government to get its act together. NIE says they aren’t getting it together. The surge, is nothing more than more troops. More troops sufficient to remain stationed in al-Anbar province and prevent al-Queda from returning is NOT a change in strategy.

It accomplishes NOTHING new either in getting the Iraqi factions to act like a unified independent self sufficient Iraq which is the goal, by all accounts. Your adamant refusal to acknowledge these facts is puzzling.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 24, 2007 12:11 AM
Comment #230567

David,

Nice piece, very thoughtful. But here is a brief summary of your post. BUSH IS A FASCIST IDIOT!

Having said that, again, when it was annouced tha Bush would be speaking about parallels between the BUSH/Iraq was and Vietnam, I was wondering who was going to give Bush a history primer. His ignorance IS irresponsible, but the truly irresponsible act was committed by portion of the electorate that voted for this moron in the first place.

We shouldn’t be surprised that the audiance to which idiot Bush can deliver his Iraq malarkey (or anything other pseudo-policy that might fly out of his mouth) is dwindling. I suspect his next audience will be kindergartners, if they don’t prefer to have his wife read them stories.

Posted by: Kim-Sue at August 24, 2007 03:04 PM
Comment #230571

Kim-Sue, I fail to see how such name calling and derogatory remarks toward Bush or the electorate, moves us forward to a better and more capable future. This kind of derogatory remarks, while effectively reflecting one’s passion, do not constructively lead to the kind of consensus needed to improve voters decisions, politics, or government. Instead it simply adds to the divisiveness that permits marginal and sub-par persons from achieving positions of power and responsibility, in my view.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 24, 2007 03:50 PM
Comment #230720

Yes, calling Bush a FACIST IDIOT does not do justice to the seriousness of the number and severity of his blunders, constitutional violations, the quagmire in Iraq, ignoring existing laws, abused pardons, fueling partisan-warfare, alienating allies, pitting American citizens and illegal aliens against each other, etc., nor all the help he got from Do-Nothing Congress that supported and/or allowed it.

Posted by: d.a.n at August 26, 2007 01:06 PM
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