Saturday, April 10, 2004
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Will there be a Tet Offensive effect?
David Brooks says that everyone needs to take a deep breath on Iraq:
Let's assume this is true -- and let's further assume that these uprisings will be put down. My question is, will this have the same effect as the 1968 Tet Offensive? Tet was a military disaster that nevertheless exposed a vulnerable administration to (accurate) charges that it had micharacterized how the conflict was proceeding -- and therefore a long-term victory for the North Vietnamese [You're comparing this to Vietnam!! Bad Drezner!!--ed. No, I'm asking a more specific question].
My tentative answer is that the political effect in the United States will not echo Tet. However, a Tet effect might kick in outside the United States -- in allied countries that have troops in Iraq, and within Iraq itself. In alled countries, countries that dispatched troops had restive populations to begin with -- this only makes it easier to mobilize mass action. In Iraq, those who oppose but fear insurgents are less likely to take positive action.
The Financial Times has stories on both phenomenon. In one article, they observe that, "Junichiro Koizumi, Japan's prime minister, faced the severest test of his decision to send troops to Iraq as his government sought support for a rescue of three citizens kidnapped by an Iraqi militia group." In another article, the FT reports:
Developing....posted by Dan on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM
Nope, the key question is what effect this whole thing has on moderate Iraqis.
If we lose them, we're fucked.
It's that simple.posted by: praktike on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
If this doesn't have a Tet-like effect on the American public, we should thank the press. By accentuating the negative so much over the last year, they've actually dampened the impact of the current crisis.posted by: Sean O'Hara on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
It's already had a Tet-like effect. Just look at the drop in support for the war and the increase in calls to leave(now 1/3 in latest polls).
If the situation gets worse, say we lose Iraqi moderates as prak mentions above, the Tet-effect will simply become stronger.posted by: GT on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
I though Mr Drezner was going on vacation for several days. Why the new postings? First a quick news blurb. Then extended commentary. Is this like the scene in Donnie Brasco ( one which Tony Soprano likes so much)?
"Just when I thought I was out --they pulled me back in"posted by: Don Williams on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
Will there be a Tet Offensive effect?
Is John Kerry going to testify before Congress again? It was that kind of delayed rear action that finally pulled the rug out, not Tet specifically.
Dan writes: "Let's assume this is true"
Why don't we stop assuming that what David Brooks transcribes from the White House is true? Why don't we face the reality that we are in a grave situation in Iraq where we are losing the support of the very people that we came to liberate?
Maybe if we start dealing with the real problem in Iraq, namely that the people are revolting against us, not just a few armed foreigners, loyalists to Sadaam, and crazed Anti-American Shiites, then we can start to get some real solutions for Iraq.
It might be too late, we might have made too many mistakes already, but we will not know unless we try. If we try to fight the majority of the people as if we were fighting a fringe minority we will lose. It is about hearts and minds and I don't see us winning many of those in Iraq this week.
I don't have the answer, but it wasn't my idea to invade Iraq in the first place. I only hope that the people who had all the answers a year ago can pull a rabbit out of their hat and come up with something that works today. But honestly, I am afraid that we just screwed up...big time.
So let's stop listening to David Brooks and Bush's crazy thoughts that all we need to do is stay the course. We are full steam ahead right into the proverbial Iceberg, lets figure out something other than running that iceberg over.posted by: Rich on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
Maybe if we start dealing with the real problem in Iraq, namely that the people are revolting against us, not just a few armed foreigners, loyalists to Sadaam, and crazed Anti-American Shiites, then we can start to get some real solutions for Iraq.
The majority of Iraqis are not participating in these actions. Instead it is the minority that does not want to see a democracy established.
The left can't even get the question right. How are we supposed to trust that they have the correct answer?
By now I expected US deaths in the tens of thousands, and civilian deaths in the hundreds of thousands, approaching a million. I guess I was wrong.
Ursus is right, it is about the question. I actually think the Bush is asking the wrong question. From what I read (i.e. quotes from Jack Straw, reports from Iraq) it sounds a lot like we are not winning the hearts and minds of the people. I think that we need to do that. Bush is asking how do we defeat the people revolting. Answer: Military force and stay the course. I am asking how do we win the hearts and minds of the rest of the people?
I would agree that the people (i.e. the majority of Iraqis) are not in armed revolt against the US. They are also not standing up to those who are and supporting the US. How do we get the majority of Iraqis to support the US and work with us to build a democracy in the region? Their words are not good enough, we need the governing council to not resign, we need the people to turn in insurgents (or whatever you want to call them).
With these goals I am not sure that Bush (forget left and right) are asking the correct questions and coming up with the correct answers.posted by: Rich on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
"The majority of Iraqis are not participating in these actions."
Where does this come from? Why are all Bush supporters sounding more and more like Baghdad Bob?
You don't need a majority to actively participate. You just need a majority to 'enable' by action or omission.
That's what is happening in Iraq. Even the Governing Council is turning against the US.posted by: GT on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
Re: comments about the majority of Iraqis not supporting the insurgents. Well, excuse me, just what the hell does that have to do with anything? I went through the "hearts and mind" exercise for a couple of years in Vietnam. Anybody think that the majority of the South Vietnamese supported the VC or the NVA? Popular uprising and all of that? Right. Most people are apathetic and will bend with the breeze. The victor is he who has the will and determination to get it done.
If you don't believe me, check the figures on how many colonists actively participated in the American Revolution. Check China. Check Iran. Check lots of other countries.
Empire's a bitch. Do we have the stomach for it? Old military saying: "lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way." Most people tend to opt for the latter.posted by: lost in rhetoric on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
Some of you are still more interested in your own poison than the canonical issue, but at least you're getting close.
The big problem is figuring out a way to get people off the fence. They need to believe that betting on the house is the smart play. This is a massive problem since the people have lived under tyrannical rule for 30 years, and in many cases the former enforcers are still living in their neighborhoods.
First, I would accelerate the use of rationing cards for local elections in the immediate term. Even with the problems that system has, the perfect is the enemy of the good, and the best way to disempower the radicals would be to have them get rejected at the polls. That would also legitimize the local councils and empower the Iraqi police. "Better" elections should of course still take place as soon as possible, but if nothing else, local elections will buy us more time and empower the internal security agencies.
I keep hearing that the IP doesn't have the cars and guns and uniforms they need, and that needs to have been fixed yesterday. There also needs to be significant punishment for traitors of the national forces; fire them, jail them, hang them, as appropriate. We're at war and we must make people believe that they should be betting on the house, not the insurgents.
Extreme violence from insurgents should continue to be met with force and containment, but should be accompanied with better explanation of the players and the response. Lesser violence should be met with non-lethal force. Use smokebombs (or whatever is allowed by GC rules) to empty a mosque, for example. But by all means, if somebody tries to use lethal force, kill them quick and start referring to their corpse as the body of a traitor before it gets cold.
There needs to be a deep-scale communications campaign to describe the process, where things stand, the role of various bodies in that process (eg, the UN role, versus the CPA, etc). The people need to be told that NOBODY -- not the Sunni Ba'athists, the jihadists, al-Sadr, or anybody else -- NOBODY will be allowed to derail the process underway. These messages neeed to be distributed across every available channel, and preferably should reach communities outside of Iraq so that the rest of the Middle East gets on the right story too. We've got idiots calling Iraq a new Palestine already and that has to stop right now.
We also need to accelerate development efforts. CSM says that unemployment is already lower than pre-war levels but it needs to be lower, and there needs to be more development in the poorer areas. Jobs and money give them something to lose.
I guess that's about five things I'd do to pull them over to our side. They're all things the administration is already doing, but it all needs to be done better and larger.
Anyone like to place bets that Bush will ignore these requests?posted by: Kat on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
posted by: Nikolai Zakarpats'ka on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
> The majority of Iraqis are not participating in these actions. Instead it is the minority that does not want to see a democracy established.
According to the last ABC news poll of Iraqis, 47% of Iraqis want a dictator in the short term. 28% said they wanted democracy in the short term. 42% support creating democracy five years from now. Still not a majority.
As for the size of the insurgency, 17% of Iraqis supported violence against the coalition. That's about 4 million people. 18% said that they had or might use violence against the coalition if needed.
That poll was before things deteriorated.
Here's the poll:posted by: Josh Yelon on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
The amusing thing here is the idea that we're somehow fighting for democracy in Iraq. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The most likely result of a genuinely democratic election in Iraq would be the Shi'a collectively voting for an Iran-style theocracy. I find it difficult to believe this Administration either desires or would permit that outcome.
There's only about two ways out of that -- setting up Chalabi or some cognate as a strongman in the Trujillo / Duvalier / Diem / Pinochet / Pahlavi / Marcos / Suharto / al Saud mold... Or allowing Iraq to fragment a la Yugoslavia, to reduce the scale of the chaos into something more manageable.
Absent evidence to the contrary, anything else is just pie-in-the-sky wish-fulfillment dreaming.posted by: Hal O'Brien on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
“Absent evidence to the contrary, anything else is just pie-in-the-sky wish-fulfillment dreaming.”
Are you hinting that things are not far better in Iraq since the removal of Saddam Hussein? The main thing is that the country is going in the right direction. A major cultural shift for the better is occurring. And yes, the worst seems to be over. The recent events appear to be a last gasp effort by the slime balls to dominate the process towards secular democracy. Things have been relatively peaceful in the last few days.
Should we worry about another Tet offensive effect? Not in the least. The liberal media are the most important reason why Victor Davis Hanson and others think we lost the Viet Nam War. These folks ran the show during that time period. We must not forget that few Americans had more than three TV channel options. Many journalists like Peter Arnett wanted us to fail---and slanted the news accordingly. Thankfully, we no longer are limited in our choices of media outlets. There are increasingly more radio talk shows, publications, and internet blogs like this one to help us to keep our balance.posted by: David Thomson on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
Yes David that seems to be the new strategy of the Bush supporters. Since the news coming out of Iraq are bad then just find another news source that has a better story to tell.posted by: GT on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
The most likely result of a genuinely democratic election in Iraq would be the Shi'a collectively voting for an Iran-style theocracy.
The poll was the latest in a series which this overwhelmingly Shia province has held in the past six weeks, and the results have been surprising. Seventeen towns have voted, and in almost every case secular independents and representatives of non-religious parties did better than the Islamists.
There is no evidence that the people would choose theocratic rule.
According to the last ABC news poll of Iraqis, 47% of Iraqis want a dictator in the short term. 28% said they wanted democracy in the short term. 42% support creating democracy five years from now. Still not a majority.
That's the same Oxford Research poll as used by the BBC and several others.
You are citing a single data-point which is at odds with the rest of the data, and are misrepresnting that one piece of data to boot. The data shows a strong preference for democracy. When asked about needs in the future (1 year and 5 years out), they say that a "strong leader" will be needed, but they DO NOT say that they want "a dictator". In fact, given the choice between "leader for life" and democracy, they choose democracy 2-to-1.
It is pretty sad when people feel like they need to misrepresent a single contrary data-point in order to make the world fit into their view of things.
BTW, the option for "a single strong leader" also refers to a strong president/PM position, as opposed to a presidential council or legislature.
I'm becoming increasingly pessimistic about Iraq. The problem is with the moderate so called "silent majority". They are weak and seem unwilling to stand up to the thugs. Thus, the US gets stuck with the impossible task of getting rid of the thugs while trying not to get obliterated by the media(Al-Jazeera). When it comes time for moderate, friendly Iraqis to take sides, too many will side with the worst Muslim scum hell-bent on taking them back to the stone age rather than the best intentioned American who can help their country prosper. That is the entire Arab/Muslim world's biggest problem. Religious/ethnic nationalism trumps everything else.posted by: Dan on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
My time in the Middle East tells me that siding with the presumed winner usually "trumps everything else." There are several ways to make the transition process a fait accompli, and several ways to encourage the citizenry to bet on the house. The current heightened conflict is an obvious part of that.
I agree that this is an information war as much as anything else, and that the opposition forces with a vested interest in failure are better able to fight that war since they are not limited to telling the truth (cf, the nationalists and fundamentalists that are opposed to democracy in Iraq, the lefties whose highest priority is damaging Bush, the anti-US/capitalism/* forces who need to reduce American power in order to advance their own geopolitical agendas, etc).
In the end though, we are still winning this thing, despite the doom and gloom paintings. The majority do not want theocratic rule, nor do they want the sunni baathists back in charge. We can do a better job, of course, but as of right now we are clearly the best positioned to pull this off.
Comments and suggestions from an actual Iraqi...
..he also has links to several other Iraqi bloggers.posted by: David Foster on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
The Cheney-Wolfowitz leadership in Washington, was not willing to see that the road to stability in the Middle East had to start with a coercive, even-handed, and hands-on policy with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Once a credible start had been made in that direction, more might have been done to regionally isolate Saddam (already effectively deterred). But no, from Day One of Bush’s term the Neocon dallied on the Palestine and terrorist fronts. Instead, their myopia was focused on getting Saddam and abrogating the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty. Now they have launched a totally unprovoked and unnecessary – not to say costly -- invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Irony # 1: Now we –the USA – have our own West Bank in Iraq. Only ours is half the world away. But there are parallel and escalating cycles of mass murder & retaliation that we now get to share with the Israelis.
Irony # 2: The resignations in the current Iraqi ‘governing council’ -- or whatever it’s called that we’ve set up there to hand ‘sovereignty’ over on 30 June -- blow me away. They remind me of the revolving door succession of prime ministers that have abdicated leadership of Palestinians. No qualified candidates can be found to serve under an occupational authority. Only quislings need to apply.
What denial. The war is lost.
Now the only question that needs to be answered is how many more Americans and Iraqis need to die. 50,000 of us and 3 million of them, that sound about right? Or have we adjusted the going rate for imperialism and hubris since getting our asses handed to us in Vietnam?posted by: jimbo on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
Apparently the generals listened to the IRaqis on something. They are calling for a cease fire. Let's see if it works and if Bush will let it slide.posted by: Kat on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
The Sunni Ba'athists in Falluja held onto their minority power through political terrorism (cf, plastic shredders, multilations, child prisons and mass graves). They have also since been involved in most of the hostilities aimed at derailing the transition to a democracy.
I challenge anybody to provide empirical evidence that the knobs in Fallujah are representative of the nation as a whole.
The war is lost? Your war perhaps, but not the one in Iraq.
ps--anybody who refers to Saddam's enforcers as "mujahideen" ("freedom fighters") was on the other side to begin with. These knobs are fighting for their own "freedom"... the freedom to re-enslave the populace under tyrannical rule.
Ursus is now on stage one, denial.
What comes next, anger?posted by: GT on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
lol... Denial was the recount phase in Fl. You've been in Anger ever since. November will bring Bargaining.
I wouldn't call this situation a crisis. Al Sadr must die. As soon as the Shiite holy days are over in a few hours, the troops can bomb him to hell and all will be well. Al Sadr is the key. If he disappears, the riots will end.posted by: Ricky Vandal on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
Dan, you quote Baghdad Brooks and want us to assume his word is true? He is practically quoting the administration line word-for-word. What's funny is that, the Guardian had an article the other day about how the Brits @ the CPA feel that their a 1/3 of their American counterparts are there to filter news for the re-election effort. Why do you think that the administration is a reliable source of information?
Did you miss Novak's column in the Sun Times? Where Rumsfeld stated a year ago,, that we would only have 30,000 troops inm Iraq? When has this administrations estimates on anything, ever been near the mark? How the military is practically on revolt, and Rumsfeld infatuation with a small agile military is messing up Iraq? That we started an unnecessary war when our military was stretched way, tooo thin?
Whatever happened to "accountability"? When will these grossly incompetent people be fired?posted by: Jor on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
Be aware as we read about the crisis in Iraq of a couple of things.
First, the methods used by both groups of insurgents against other Iraqis -- intimidation by assassination or threat of assassination -- are substantially identical to those used by the former Baathist government. This suggests, at a minimum, that three decades of Baathist rule have imposed on Iraqis a way of thinking that the promise of democracy and peace are not enough to change. More likely -- and given that Saddam Hussein's government differed from most other Arab governments only in the degree of its brutality -- the way it governed and the way insurgents act to discourage Iraqis from working to form a democratic Iraq reflects something basic about Arab culture that may take generations to change.
Second, remember that at least among Iraqi Shiites there is acute awareness of the fact that the struggle today is not just about the occupation, but about who will have power after the Americans leave. To this point Sistani and the other senior clerics have held back, evidently hoping that the Americans would take care of their Sadr problem for them. This has been an error on their part; they and their views on keeping clerics out of government have no more future in Iraq than the coalition if Sadr becomes seen as the leader of a resistance that helps lead to coalition withdrawal from Iraq -- that Sadr's people have allied themselves so enthusiastically with the Sunnis in Fallujah ought to convince them of this if they weren't already. It may be that a lull in fighting during Shiite festivals this month will provide an opportunity for the senior clerics to assert their authority.
There are, it seems to me, prospects for the coalition to get through this week's crisis and make it as far as a handover of authority to an Iraqi government in some form. But in the longer term the Bush administration has set the bar for success very high in Iraq, by defining our objectives there in terms of establishing a liberal democracy that would serve as a beacon of freedom for the whole Arab world. Though we have done some things badly wrong in Iraq in the last year there is an excellent chance that doing everything right would not be enough to clear this bar.
It is politically incorrect to say it, and most of Bush's domestic political opponents do not even want to think it, but the weakest link in the chain we have been attempting to forge in Iraq is a backward, inferior Arab culture too weak to sustain the very demanding political system we are attempting to graft onto it. I do not believe this will always be so, but changing cultures is the work of generations, not years, and generations we do not have.posted by: Zathras on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
So many lies, Ursus - thanks for standing in the line this weekend.
Hal,Josh,GT : So "they" ALL want to put the mullahs back in charge, eh? Try 4%. And quit getting anything but your entertainment "news" from newsweek and abc. But don't beleive me - why don't you try asking the good citizens of the Republic of Iraq:
Jimbo, Jor: The Generals are in revolt and the war is lost? Gosh, none of the Generals OR Admirals up in my corner of the ring seems to think so. They must be spilling their souls to you after work from their PDA's on the Metro. Or maybe you have no subject matter expertise here at all.
Splash 4, Splash 5
One question, though: How does it feel to know that you four, Kennedy and Sadr are all taking the same tack on talking points? Pretty rotten, I hope.
Maybe you ought to read "RB" and "Lost in Rhetorics" excellent points and fiqure out which side is taking aid and comfort from your remarks. Yours are disgusting.
posted by: Tommy G on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
GT would have made it "you five", but I've seen no indication previously that would include him in Sadr's and Kennedy's company.posted by: Tommy G on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
"...that the struggle today is not just about the occupation, but about who will have power after the Americans leave."
There's the money quote of the thread - nice job, Zathras.posted by: Tommy G on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
If the hope of the pro-Admin bloggers is that this will all blow over, then they're bound to be disappointed. The sky isn't falling, but certainly the Iraqis aren't standing up for liberal democracy or siding with America.
Finally, the insurgents do not have to win a single battle for us to lose. All that is necessary is that they make things sufficiently unsafe to impede genuine political change and economic Reconstruction in Iraq for a few more months. At that time, more and more Iraqis will cease to believe in America.
Once they've turned away from us, then the sky will fall. It's not too late yet, but it will be given the status quo defenders of the Administration being in charge. According to their logic, the time to begin being concerned about how to treat a medical problem is when you lower the patient six feet under. Only then can you be absolutely sure that the present course will in fact be fatal.
We can fix this, if we start changing gears today. If we don't, it'll all go bad. That's about the sum of it all.posted by: Oldman on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
A note of history. The Tet offensive was a military victory, politicial defeat for the admin at the time. General Giap grand plan was to take the country at a single strike. To this end he committed the entire Viet Cong and several NVA divisions. The VC were nearly completely wiped out. Giap was demoted for his failure. What happened in the press was that this was seen as a defeat. It did not help that the Embassy ground was nearly overrun by a 19 man VC sapper crew. They were killed off inside the grounds but not before this was captured on TV. Kronkite made the statement that the US was losing. This was the tipping point for the war. From victory, defeat was grabbed.
Anyway, the possiblity certainly exists that the media will portray this as a giant failure, only time will tell. Will be defeat ousrselves before the enemy does?posted by: capt joe on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
Another historical note.
George Washington defeated a British field army exactly one (1) time – yet he won the war by maintaining an army in being. Continental victories by any commander were relatively rare in a war lasting seven years. In terms of major battles, the continentals won only at Saratoga and Yorktown. The British captured any city they wanted to – including at various points Boston, New York, Charleston and Philadelphia – and lost control of cities only by evacuation and never as a result of military defeat. Even without a “liberal media”, the British generally won the battles but lost the war.
Vietnam was roughly parallel. Tet was a tactical US military victory, but while the NVA was defeated, it was not destroyed. In the face of quite evident military defeat, they just kept coming back. By 1972, The NVA launched a countrywide offensive and was stopped from overrunning a South Vietnam defended by ARVN only by massive American air support. When that air support was not available three years later, South Vietnam collapsed like that house of cards that it was. Our “defeat” in Vietnam was not a military defeat, just as the British defeat in the American Revolution was not a military defeat. Both defeats were the result of a public consensus that the war was not worth any more blood or treasure.
Iraq is not Vietnam for many reasons – but claiming that the media has the power to make us defeat ourselves is simply not correct. We can win all the battles, but we cannot suppress Iraqi nationalism by military victories. The harder we push, the more we radicalize the opposition. It seems to me that “victory” should be defined as the creation of a stable Iraqi society, and I think that this goal is better achieved by avoiding military “victories” as much as possible.
Ahmad Chalabi == Bashir Gemayel
Our handover will be as meaningless as the Israeli installation Gemayel government in Lebanon, and our agreements with the Chalabi regime as empty as theirs.
Meanwhile, would someone explain why Brooks' analysis isn't whistling past the graveyard, after reading our generals on the ground leaking like crazy that our forces are utterly inadequate?posted by: Andrew J. Lazarus on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
Militarilly Tet was a disaster for the Viet Cong. They ceased to be an effective fighting force post tet, and all the important fighting from that point was done by the North Vietnamese. All things being equal that was a huge American victory. Is our situation similar? To some degree, certainly. No matter what the Cycle of Violence Cultists of the world will tell you, not everyone in Iraq is a martyr waiting for that one final provocation that will push them into blowing up the local market. There are a limited number of militant minded individuals willing to risk death by fighting Americans. The faster we kill this group off the better, because they are not replaceable. Furthermore they will fight democracy tooth and nail. Our goal now is to finish these insurgents off. We have fixed them, we better destroy or capture them. Leaving them wounded but alive is the worst case scenario, as they will be heroes. After that we must get back to the handover to show the moderates that we are both resolute and have good things to offer them.posted by: Mark Buehner on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
"There are a limited number of militant minded individuals willing to risk death by fighting Americans. The faster we kill this group off the better, because they are not replaceable".
Absolutely right!!! I hope you find opportunities to repeat that Mark.
Those of you who want to die for Allah--come to us. We will assist you.posted by: Rocketman on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
If we could have won in Vietnam, it would only mean setting up our own Catholic dictatorship as opposed to a Communist one. Maybe this was worth 58,000 fatalities, I don't know.
But the only justification for this war is that it was to set up some form of democracy. If we have to set up a Chalabi dictatorship, the war was a failure. Period.
We already have a pro-US dictator in the region, and we give him $2 billion in aid for the privilege. His name's Mubarak.posted by: Carl on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
The big assumption of the more lefty posters seems to be that Chalabi will be taking over once we leave. Why? Is the GPC functioning as his instrument? Evidence please?
If I'm Bush, I would looking for Chalabi to be sharing the same mass grave as Sadr. His group's lies about WMDs seems to be the source of his apparent lies about WMDs. His response to that was sort of a "whoopsy daisy, my bad" that got reported in the Washington Times,and nowhere else. He has been an impediment to a secularist constitution on the GPC. He's got ties to Iran. And he joined in the pressure (started by the French) that gave us this June 30 pullout date that is now starting to cause everyone so much heartburn.
So, what's the current evidence we're going to hand this over to Chalabi? (past ties to the CIA don't count.)posted by: Appalled Moderate on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
"There are a limited number of militant minded individuals willing to risk death by fighting Americans."
This appears to be purely wishful thinking. In fact the evidence is growing that there is no shortage of people willing to fight us or enable those that fight us. Just like in the West Bank.
Just look at the iraqi security forces. Supposedly they were the centerpiece of the new iraq. Over and over we heard how only the Iraqis could win this battle and how the Iraqi army and police would fight with US troops to ensure safety.
Of course that was all BS.
Not only have the iraqi forces refused to fight many are actively supporting the rebels, including giving them their weapons and, it appears, even fighting against the American troops.posted by: GT on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
There are a limited number of militant minded individuals willing to risk death by fighting Americans.What GT said. No wonder we're doing so poorly. All the evidence of the 20th Century is that anti-terrorist campaigns with high collateral damage create more terrorists, or at the least a population less willing to confront or turn in terrorists. (Sri Lanka, West Bank, Vietnam; heck, Occupied France, the list is endless.) I'm pretty sure this isn't American military doctrine for successful counterinsurgency, but it may well be the belief of the civilians in Washington.
The closely related fallacy is that the Iraq War must be a blow against Al Qaeda because any resources AQ devotes to Iraq against our highly-armed military are resources it can not deploy against soft targets in the American homeland. Hidden bogus assumption? That AQ's assets are finite and independent of the existence of the Iraq War. That's as silly as General Tojo planning on defeating the United States based on the November 1941 level of American forces, which IIRC had a standing army smaller than Portugal's.
As for Appalled Moderate's question about Chalabi:
Words and phrases like "many" and "no shortage", beg the question. The NUMBERS I've heard quoted are less than one percent of the population. Living creatures tend to prefer to survive. Humans are of course no exception. The support network necessary to override that will,(drugs and heavy indocrination)is limited.
The Iraqi people have lived under a system of government that has murdered over 300,000 people in the last few decades. Remember also that we implied support for an uprising in '91 then left the Shiited uprising high and dry, resulting in the slaughter of tens of thousands. It's understandable that there would be a certain amount of "wait and see" going on. It's up to us to prove to the Iraqi people that the have "backed the right horse".
They have:and we will.
Those of you that want to die for Allah. Come to us: we will assist you.
posted by: Rocketman on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
Are those numbers from the same people that told us last year that the Sunni rebels were no more than 5,000? I remember Andrew Sullivan writing that since (at the time, I think last september) we had killed or captured some 3,000 that meant the rebellion was on its last legs.
The numbers are meaningless. As pointed above and by George Will on the WP all succesful revolutions are pushed by a small group.
There is no lack of people willing to fight us or, as importantly, willing to enable those that fight us. There are 300,000 people in Fallujah. How many have come forward to denounce the Sunni rebels? None. Even those that don't fight are allowing those that do.
The "We will kill you all' postings sound macho and may make you feel good. But they mean little or nothing in Iraq. Already we are negotiating with the rebels. And many will simply disappear and attack again in a few months.posted by: GT on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
Some links for Andrew's stories:
Chalabi and the Pipeline:
The article is out of Newsday, but the original link is no longer for non-subscribers.
Chalabi intelligence payments and de-Baathification:
Chalabi meets Saddam was widely reported at the time, so the curious can go use google.
Sigh. The more you learn, the more stupid our policy looks. If they were going to get a puppet, couldn't they at least get a trustworthy one?posted by: Appalled Moderate on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
Today's WSJ has an article on how "Iraqis Increasingly Sympathize With Rebels".
And we now know that the US is negotiating with Sadr which, of course, means he will have greater legitimacy.
posted by: GT on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
er, here's real de-baath cite:
Like to google around more about the $300K per month. I have a hard time believing that we're still paying for a self-confessed liar to give us intelligence after admitting that he fed us bogus intellignece.
(But then, so much defies logic.)posted by: Appalled Moderate on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
If it's true that the military is always fighting the last war, it's equally true that the left is still fighting the cold war.
Look, we're not trying to prop up sockpuppets in order to contain another political movement... we're trying to institute a form of government that will be attractive enough to spread throughout the region on its own. Propping up Chalabi -- especially when he has such negative ratings with the people of Iraq -- is not going to happen, since that would be counter productive.
Have you guys forgotten Bush's speeches already, or do you simply dismiss them because no democrats (other than Blair) says the same thing?
1) It seems to me that a determined resistance can make Iraq extremely unprofitable for Cheney and his oil buddies. Occidental Oil lost over $100 million down in Colombia because FARC simply blew up their pipeline and the electrical grid over and over. (Bush has since intervened to protect Occidental's investment, under the hypocritical guise of a "war on drugs" and "war on terror" --thereby supporting the predatory oligarchy which has kept the Colombia populace in servitude for decades. )
2) Fighting a Marine company is one thing. But blowing up a pipeline that's hundreds of miles long, blowing up pumping stations, blowing up electrical substations and heavy transformers with mortars/RPGs, cutting communications cables,etc is something that anyone with a grudge can do at low risk.
3) Shooting RPGs at attack helicopters seems stupid --but sooner or later, it's going to occur to the Iraqis to shoot an RPG at a fuel depot or cut off the fuel line to the American air base.
4) It also seems strange that no US tanks have been reported lost. Anyone with a post hole digger and a few artillery shells can make a concealed mine field --tanks have a soft underbelly.
But the bottom line still seems to be that a throughly alienated group in Iraq could hurt corporate profits and investments there for a decade--especially if passively supported by/concealed by a large portion of the population.
War is run for a profit. Nations are limited in extent because it takes about 5 regular soldiers to subdue one guerrilla -- and as James Madison noted in the Federalist, a nation cannot support more than 2 percent of its population as full time soldiers over the long term. This economic law does not constrain the Bush Administration for the moment because the $Trillion costs are being dumped on the common citizens (via stealing from Social Security's assets) while the profits are going to a favored few (Bush's campaign donors.) But Bush's latest budget shows a projected federal debt in 2008 that is $3.8 TRILLION more than what he promised just three years ago.
The US didn't win the Revolutionary War because George Washington defeated the British -- the US won because George III was running the war on borrowed money and his Dutch bankers cut off his line of credit after Cornwallis had the shit kicked out of him by militias in the South (Cowpens, King's Mountain,etc.) The Dutch knew that a bankrupt Congress could not raise the money to support Washington's half-starved Continentals -- but they knew that a hundred thousand riflemen, lost in a trackless wilderness and with no center of gravity to attack other than log cabins, could not be subdued without a cost equal to two hundred years of whatever profits could be gained from postwar commerce. They also knew that no profits could be gained in the midst of an insurgency, when militia under Francis Marion, Thomas Sumpter, and Andrew Pickens could cut transport lines at will.
You've noticed wrong.
I repeat, there is no shortage of people willing to kill Americans.
Only a small number need do so at any one time. But it is not a finite number. Others are willing to take the place of those that have been killed.
I suggest you start reading a little more. Support fopr the rebels is growing in Iraq, as the WSJ notes today.
As for what we do in Iraq, we are negotiating with Sadr.posted by: GT on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
We are committed to transfer sovereignty before the elections. I take your point, but what are we going to do if Chalabi has a firm enough grasp on the levers of power to cancel the elections, or engage in substantial fraud?
I suspect you will answer that we'll overthrow Chalabi, or threaten to, "sovereignty" be damned. Fine. But wouldn't it be better to undermine his position now, rather than make it clear Iraqi sovereignty, at least until the elections, is sonmething best described between scare quotes?posted by: Appalled Moderate on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
Chalabi will lose any election. He would only survive if he were installed, which isn't going to happen.
The anti-FARC drug-war mish-mash in Columbia began under Clinton. More specifically, 'plan Columbia' was proposed by the Columbians themselves, backed by Congress, and enacted by Clinton. cf, http://www.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/americas/08/30/clinton.colombia/
The need for Don and Chomsky et al to call it imperialist aggression for control of natural resources is entirely transparent.
GT: Your information about Sadr is dated sir. As of seven minutes ago. Please check out Commandpost.com.posted by: Rocketman on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
posted by: Andrew J. Lazarus on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
Paying Chalabi for continued services is not the same thing as installing him as leader.
Wrong, It's negotiation still. Don't you watch movies?:
Dallas: "Anybody else want to negotiate?"
Purser: "Where'd he learn to negotiate like that?"
President (Listening from Command Post):"I wonder"posted by: Tommy G on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
It's interesting to me that on this thread a number of fairly wild allegations and analogies -- about America being in Iraq because of Ahmed Chalabi's business interests, Iraq's relationship to the Viet Cong and Fallujah's to the Tet Offensive, even George Washington's combat record -- have been extensively discussed. The point I raised earlier about whether democracy was a realistic objective in an Arab country has not been discussed at all.
This isn't a complaint, just an observation. Over two centuries of living under the American Constitution probably has led us to take certain things for granted, and one of them appears to be the cultural roots of the American political system. When Franklin was leaving the 1787 Convention in Philadelphia that drafted the Constitution he was asked what form of government it had given Americans. "A Republic," he said, "if you can keep it." Well, we could, but other countries have not been able to at different points in their history. There have always been reasons for that, and before proclaiming liberty throughout the Arab world the Bush administration might have considered whether some of those reasons apply in Iraq.
Take one just at random -- the positive enthusiasm of Sunnis in Fallujah (and Sadrists in Sadr City) for summarily killing people who speak out against them. You can't build a democracy on this kind of foundation, and you won't improve the foundation by building schools or health clinics (maybe you would over the course of fifty years, but no one is suggesting we stay in Iraq that long). To change a culture as badly flawed as this one we would need more than resolve and more than resources; we would need time, a lot of it, more than we have or should want to have.
What I'd like from the Bush administration and especially from CPA is greater public frankness about the obstacles on the road to Iraqi democracy, and the dangers to Iraqis that failure to reach that objective would mean -- civil war, communal massacres, Iranian control of a Baghdad government. The dangers are real, and fear of a worse alternative has often been a useful tool in prompting people to set aside their nature to build stable and tolerant political orders. I'm pessimistic about the objective in any event, but we don't help ourselves by pretending success is just a matter of "staying the course" and rounding up a few miscreants. Iraqis certainly do not believe that, and even most Americans are beginning to doubt.posted by: Zathras on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
Obviously, we won't know if Chalabi is installed as the leader, unless and until that happens. Arnaud de Borchgrave at the Washington Times thinks that's the plan, but I'll concede his analysis is not necessarily trustworthy.
Incontrovertible fact: installing Chalabi was part of the original plan, and indeed he was airlifted into the country in the initial wave so that his (imaginary) internal resistance movement could assume local control and let us leave. [Before, I posted that our plan was 30K US troops by 12/03, but recently that's been revised to Summer 03?!] And despite the manifest evidence that he is no real leader, but one of the most successful con-men of all time, we are continuing to favor him with large sums of money and mission-critical posts in the reconstruction of Iraq.posted by: Andrew J. Lazarus on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
It is nice to see the ususal suspects here scream that the sky is falling, it's Tet all over again.
The fun thing about the internet age is that you can go around the Washington Post/New York Times/LA Times filters ane get *real news* from someone other than the "Hilton Hotel commandos" of the major media and their pro-Jihadi "minders":
This is from Strategypage.com:
IRAQ: Let's Hear it for Tyranny
April 12, 2004: Many Iraqis are angry that American troops are fighting back at Sunni and Shia gangs that have been killing and terrorizing Iraqis and foreigners. The Iraqis demand that some other, less violent, way be found to deal with the Iraqi thugs. In the past, the only Iraqi solution to dealing with these thugs was to submit to them, an approach which led to tyrants like Saddam Hussein. Bad habits are hard to break. Many Europeans are angry as well. But these are the people who have brought us Adolph Hitler, Joe Stalin, Francisco Franco, Benito Mussolini (and many others), in the last few generations. So they know a lot about how to nurture tyranny, and want America to learn from the European experience. In fact many Arab nations are criticizing the treatment of Iraqi terrorists and murderers. None of the Arab nations has a functioning democracy, all are ruled by men who exercise power through force. So opposing the treatment of the murderers in Fallujah, and Sadrs thugs in the south, can be seen as professional courtesy between Arabs. The mass media, by and large, reports all this with a straight face.
The ceasefire in Fallujah, to facilitate negotiations between tribal elders and gunmen, is holding. Arab doctors say that over 600 Iraqis have died in Fallujah, and that most of them have been women and children. The doctors are almost certainly lying, as Arab, and especially Iraqi, officials have consistently lied in situations like this. The marines are operating under rules of engagement that avoided civilian casualties, although some did occur. The Iraqi gunmen would try to protect themselves by firing from among unarmed civilians. This did not always work. Most of the dead in Fallujah are armed men caught shooting at marines or Iraqis.
Two of the three battalions of the new Iraqi army was brought in to perform security in parts of Fallujah where the gunmen had been cleared out. One of those battalions refused to enter the city. Some of the troops said they "would not fight Iraqis." This was described as a "command failure," meaning that the Iraqi officers were not up to the task of leading and motivating their troops. This has long been a problem with Iraqi troops and it is recognized that selecting and training competent Iraqi officers will be a major task.
Marines continue to fight Sunni Arab gunmen in other parts of the Sunni Triangle west of Baghdad, while army and coalition troops fight Sadr gunmen in the south.
Official and traditional Iraqi leader continue negotiations to end the fighting. The gangs of Iraqi gunmen are getting cut to pieces by American troops, but the images of the fighting shown on the Arab media, and broadcast back to Iraq, reflects poorly on the Iraqi leadership. There has been an "understanding" that if the Iraqi leaders prevented large scale opposition, the coalition would flood the country with Iraqi police and security troops and pour in money, foreign aid workers to rebuild the country after three decades of Baath Party plundering and mismanagement, hold elections and leave. The current violence by Baath Party and Shia radical gangs represents the failure of Iraqis to even tolerate the rebuilding of their own country, and reflects poorly on the traditional Iraqi leadership. While many Iraqis complain that the country has not been rebuilt in a few months or a year, most Iraqi leaders know better, and know that there have been progress month by month. And that if Iraq is allowed to fall back into it's traditional cycle of armed gangs fighting for power, all will be lost. This does not play well, or at all, in the media, but it is the sort of illusions you have to deal with in Iraq.
April 11, 2004: The Iraqi leadership has finally asserted itself and negotiated a ceasefire in Fallujah and an admission that the criminals in Fallujah must be brought to justice. The Shia leadership has been after Muqtada al Sadr even before the fighting began. But al Sadr continues to defy the Shia leadership and is shrilly calling for Iraqis to rise up against foreign troops in Iraq. The Shia leadership does not want to go to war with Sadr, but Sadr is increasingly at war with them.
A major ally for Sadr, and obstacle for Iraqi leaders, is the Arab (and to a certain extent, European) media, in which the removal of Saddam and reconstruction efforts are portrayed as an insult to Islam and and a disaster for the Iraqi people. Most of the gunmen in Fallujah are the thugs and torturers who tormented Iraq for decades, but are portrayed as Arab nationalists fighting for Iraq's freedom. Sadr, and his gunmen, are despised and feared by most Iraqis, but that fear prevents Iraqis from speaking out publicly as long as Sadrs young thugs roam about freely. Iraqis will tell you privately of their fears, but the unwillingness to stand up for their own rights is a major problem in getting Iraq to "work."
Coalition leaders, and even the troops, have been telling Iraqis for over a year that they have to stand up and fight for their own rights and freedom, or else they will be again ruled by Baathist or radical Shia thugs. These exhortations have had some effect, as dependable Iraqi police and security units are showing up in the operations against the Sunni Arab and Sadr gunmen. But this sort of personal responsibility is not something many Iraqi have been able to practice for the last three decades, Moreover, those Iraqi who were willing to fight tended to flee the country (about 20 percent of Iraqi did so during Saddam's rule), and these more prosperous and assertive Iraqis are resented when they return to help rebuild the country.
There have been several very frank, and loud, meetings between coalition leaders and the Iraqi governing council. The Iraqis, acutely aware of the hiding they are taking in the Arab, and Iraqi, media, want the coalition to make everything better, right away. The coalition leadership tells the Iraqis to get real and get with the program or see Iraq burn at the hands of the Saddam loyalists and Shia radicals. The Iraqis have apparently seen the light, as they have hustled to hunt down the groups kidnapping foreigners and threatening to murder them. Three Japanese are to be released, and the Iraqi leaders realize that if any of these foreigners, largely aid and reconstruction workers, are kidnapped and killed, Iraqis will be tagged as ungrateful savages and future relations with nations contributing to Iraqi reconstruction will be difficult.
Freedom has to be earned in blood and what is going on now is the blood price for that is being determined in Iraq.posted by: Trent Telenko on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
I don’t understand this intense hostility towards Chalabi. Iraq may need someone like him. He is not be a perfect human being, but Chalabi does not seem like some sort of slime ball. Is Jack Shafer right in his article in today’s Slate?:
The answer: Jack Shafer is almost certainly correct! He is a fair minded journalist who earns my respect. Nonetheless, I still see no reason to be overly concerned about Chalabi. At this moment, I think he will do far more good than harm.posted by: David Thomson on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
"This appears to be purely wishful thinking. In fact the evidence is growing that there is no shortage of people willing to fight us or enable those that fight us. Just like in the West Bank."
Ill be happy to look at the West Bank. Israel has managed to kill less than 2000 Palestinians since the current uprising began _nearly 4 years ago_. Marines may well have killed that many in less than a week in Fallujah. We have forgotten what war means. More men died in a single day at Antietem than have died in the entire Iraq operation _plus_ the Israeli occupation combined. By about 10 to 1.
It is the recent 'moralizing' of war that has created this illusion of a cycle of violence. Even our astounding ability to target enemy combatants more and more precisely havent stemmed the tide of perception, now if you kill too many _combatants_ you are perpetuating the cycle. Madness! War is about breaking the enemies will to fight. You do that by killing the bravest and frightening the rest with the prospect of immenent death. Showing weakness emboldens your enemy making them stronger. As I said, our main problem is that we havent wiped out enough militants. Does anybody actually think the number of fighters is proportional to the likelihood of certain death? That is insane, and hence a religion to believe it based on pure faith.posted by: Mark Buehner on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
“Does anybody actually think the number of fighters is proportional to the likelihood of certain death? That is insane, and hence a religion to believe it based on pure faith.”
This unfortunately seems like the unofficial policy of the Democrat Party. I have long argued that the Democrats are engaging in a form of dishonest pacifism. They simply cannot move past their perception of the war in Viet Nam. John Kerry would put our country at great risk. I also notice that Andrew Sullivan is rapidly losing all hope for the Massachusetts senator. He appears ready to throw in the towel.posted by: David Thomson on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
In case you wonder where my hostility to Chalabi comes from, check here
This is a Washington Times article, where Chalabi kind of sort of indicates maybe the wmd intelligence he was feeding folks was bad, but so what.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
“This is a Washington Times article, where Chalabi kind of sort of indicates maybe the wmd intelligence he was feeding folks was bad, but so what.”
The link isn’t working. Did Chalabi intentionally deceive us regarding the WMDs? I haven’t seen anything suggesting that this might be the case. We needed to invade Iraq regardless. The culture of the Mid East must be changed. Iraq is merely the first domino to fall. And yes, the recent events are probably a blessing in disguise. We have faced down the fanatics lurking in the shadows. It should get much easier after this. Am I right? Well, the improving stock market doesn’t seem too worried.
There's an extra space in the last part of the address. Chalabi responds to "senior intelligence officials" citedin the article this way:
During an interview, Mr. Chalabi, by far the most effective
"We are heroes in error," he said in Baghdad on Wednesday. "As far
"Our objective has been achieved. That tyrant Saddam is gone, and
Mr. Chalabi added: "The Bush administration is looking for a
Mr. Buehner's understanding of counterinsurgency warfare is off-the-wall.
I'll tell you a secret, Mr. Buehner. I don't know exactly why the Nazi occupation of Serbia, the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and the Indonesian occupation of East Timor failed, but I'm damn sure it wasn't from failure to kill enough of the enemy.
I've seen the quote attributed to Mark Twain: A fanatic is someone who having lost sight of his objective, redoubles his efforts.
Mr. Buehner has lost sight of what purported to be his objective: a stable, prosperous, and democratic Iraq. Now he'll settle for an Iraq quaking in fear under hated American domination. We invaded them for that outcome???posted by: Andrew J. Lazarus on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
“’We are heroes in error," he said in Baghdad on Wednesday. ‘As far as we're concerned, we've been entirely successful.”
I entirely agree with him. This doesn't bother me in the slightest. Chalabi didn’t admit to lying. Unintentional error is something we can accept.
“Now he'll settle for an Iraq quaking in fear under hated American domination. We invaded them for that outcome???”
Your question wasn’t directed towards me, but I’m rude enough to add my two cents. We have eliminated Saddam Hussein. The situation in Iraq is vastly better. Shangri-La? Nope, but the polling shows that most Iraqis consider themselves more hopeful about the future. This “quaking in fear” silliness is only in your imagination. Where are your polling data?posted by: David Thomson on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
Seducing our government into a billions of dollars war, 100s of soldiers killed, thousands of soldiers wounded war does not earn one the thanks of a patriotic American. Yeah, our government was a little too anxious to believe Chalabi, because he was saying what the Bushies wanted to hear. But these kind of lies go a little beyond something like, y'know, screwing an intern.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
Re Zathas comments at 2:26 above:
This isn't a complaint, just an observation. Over two centuries of living under the American Constitution probably has led us to take certain things for granted, and one of them appears to be the cultural roots of the American political system. When Franklin was leaving the 1787 Convention in Philadelphia that drafted the Constitution he was asked what form of government it had given Americans. "A Republic," he said, "if you can keep it." Well, we could, but other countries have not been able to at different points in their history. "
George Washington didn't enter the Revolutionary War until the British government, tired of spending large sums protecting American colonists from the Indians, prohibited settlements west of the Appalachians and extended the Canadian border south to the Ohio River. Honest George, who claimed 30,000 acres on the banks of the Ohio,was not amused.
The very creation of the Constitution was an illegal conspiracy under the Articles of Confederation -- and was carried out in secrecy.
These rich men accomplished their aims via whores like Alexander Hamilton and the other Federalists -- whose policy was that "the country should be run by the people who owned it" (Dick Cheney couldn't have said it better.) Hamilton actually argued for imposition of a US monarchy at the Constitutional Convention.
During the first administration, Hamilton,as Treasury Secretary, set up a scheme to redeem Continental War bonds and state bonds at full face value. At the time, they were selling for roughly 15 cents on the dollar. The rich men (including Hamilton's father in law) and members of Congress in on the scheme got the inside word early, bought up the bonds at devalued prices from Continental Army veterans, and made profits of 600% when Hamilton publicly announced the scheme. This was an early transfer of massive wealth from the common taxpayers to the wealthy --on the scale of $60 billion? in today's dollars.
The next scheme was to create a standing army (for "national defense") and to then send it into Ohio to perform ethnic cleansing so that politically connected land syndicates like Soames Associates, Ohio Land Company, etc could claim million acre tracts and sell them to the common citizen at huge markups.
The average citizen only got a break after Thomas Jefferson and James Madison joined with George Clinton and other anti_Federalists to found the Democratic Party and exterminate the Federalists in the election of 1800. The Democrats controlled the government for the 50 years thereafter.
The Democrats win in 1800 was fortunate. By that point , the Federalists had passed the Sedition Act, trying to make it a crime to criticize their thievery.
See, e.g., "Eagle and The Sword" by Richard Kohn and "The Founding Finaglers" by Nathan Miller.
"I'll tell you a secret, Mr. Buehner. I don't know exactly why the Nazi occupation of Serbia, the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and the Indonesian occupation of East Timor failed, but I'm damn sure it wasn't from failure to kill enough of the enemy."
Well, there is the Clifts notes version of imperialism, editted heavilly. You make it sound like conquest is some sort of unheard of new idea never successful tried before. In fact the opposite is the case. As far as Afghanistan, exactly two powers in the history of the world managed to tame that land, Alexander and the US, using similar methods. Ally with friendly tribes, attack unfriendly enemies with brutal precision, leave the local customs as intact as practical, offer the inhabitants good things. There are still towns named after Alexander to this day. The Russians managed to fail on most of those scores.
In his 4:34 pm post above, David Thomson says
I entirely agree with him. This doesn't bother me in the slightest. Chalabi didn’t admit to lying. Unintentional error is something we can accept.
Chalabi didn't admit to lying. What he's basically indicated recently is that if we're stupid enough to believe him, then we deserve to get screwed.
Chalabi, who heads the Iraqi National Congress exile group and has close ties to the Bush administration, says the CIA should have done a better job analysing information received from defectors he steered their way.
"This is a ridiculous situation," says Chalabi, who still maintains that weapons of mass destruction will be found in Iraq.
Chalabi said the CIA knew defectors could be biased and that even the press was saying "defectors have an ax to grind, don't believe them".
"Now you're telling me that despite all this public evidence, the United States government took our word without checking out the people?" Chalabi said incredulously .
"Intelligence people who are supposed to do a better job for their country and their government did not do such a good job." >>
ha ha ha ha What an electoral endorsement for Bush and his subordinates (Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Cheney, Rumsfeld,etc.)
“The point I raised earlier about whether democracy was a realistic objective in an Arab country has not been discussed at all.” -- Zathras
I tend to think that our objective should be stability in the near term. "Democracy" can be an aspirational goal in the long term, but to answer your question directly, and as I have said on other threads on this blog, I think that “democracy” in Iraq in the near or even medium term is a pipe dream.
My point about the American Revolution was that domestic reactions to “military victories” like the defeat of the NVA in the Tet Offensive will not “grasp defeat from the jaws of victory” due to the defeatist attitude of the “liberal media” as has been asserted. There was no “liberal media” in Britain in the 1780’s, but the British government still decided that the cost of the war was too high to justify a continued effort to suppress the revolution. The US government came to this same conclusion in Vietnam, but that was several years after the Tet offensive. Iraq is different for many reasons – one of the larger ones being that there is no declared outside force supporting the insurgency as there was in the other two conflicts.
The media’s reporting that we have lost control of several cities and that there is a substantial violent insurrection in Iraq by two of the three largest ethnic groups in Iraq might lead folks to believe that “the mission is not yet accomplished” and that the commitment we are being asked to make is likely to be larger than we were led to believe. We probably have the ability to suppress these insurrections, but I really don’t see how these facts can be reasonably controverted or that reporting that they exist is defeatist. Reporting difficulties is not the same as “grasping for defeat”.
Moreover, the “liberal media” should have little effect on the popular support of Iraqis for those who oppose the US. I doubt many of these insurgents read our newspapers. We appear to be changing our status in Iraq from a “liberator” and outside referee among factions to an “occupier” and outside opponent of all factions. Instead of “crushing” opposition by our use of force, we appear to be creating and strengthening popular support for the opposition and making it very difficult for moderate elements in Iraq to cooperate with us while maintaining their own legitimacy. If “...redoubling our efforts...” means “ ... killing a few more bad guys...”, there is a real question that this would be an effective counterinsurgency strategy. If, on the other hand, “…redoubling our efforts…” means increased security, we simply don’t have sufficient force available to us to maintain security without violence. Our apparent inability to maintain security shown by the rash of kidnappings and the occupation of police stations and other government buildings emboldens resistance rather than suppressing it. We need more boots on the ground to maintain security/intimidate the insurgents and minimize the necessity of violent suppression. Our real problem is that there simply are no more “boots” available to us for reasons that can squarely be placed at the feet of the Bush administration.
This is not Tet and the rebels are not the NVA (or even the VC), but our inability to overawe these elements without resorting to violent suppression cannot advance our goal of stability. The idea that we can “kill the bad guys” without creating more “bad guys” ignores this reality. Still, I don’t think we are as yet close to the point of losing our resolve – even though this insurrection has weakened public support for the war in Iraq. The questions become: (1) to what have we committed ourselves; (2) for how long have we committed ourselves; (3) are we in a position to take on further commitments at this time; and (4) will we meet our commitments?
“But these kind of lies go a little beyond something like, y'know, screwing an intern.”
You are inferring that Chalabi lied. There is no proof. He merely conceded that everything worked out in the long run. Once again, we had to invade Iraq. Chalabi’s assertions regarding WMDs were of secondary importance. Our soldiers have not died in vain. This is a war that had to be fought---better sooner than later. Procrastination results in further terrorism.posted by: David Thomson on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
“This is not Tet and the rebels are not the NVA (or even the VC), but our inability to overawe these elements without resorting to violent suppression cannot advance our goal of stability. The idea that we can “kill the bad guys” without creating more “bad guys” ignores this reality.”
Violence often works splendidly. You are just too influenced by our defeat in Vietnam. Killing bad guys does not encourage further trouble. Actually, the exact opposite is to be expected. You are another reminder why Democrats cannot be trusted with national security issues. There are just too many who can’t forget the so-called lessons of Vietnam. You will almost always find an excuse to do nothing.posted by: David Thomson on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
Chalabi had all sorts of "sources" in iraq, which he peddled to the CIA and anybody else. I think he probably had a good idea of the reliability of what he was peddling. Obviously,the CIA felt they could depend on his vetting of the sopurces. So, yeah, I infer that he lied:
And the spirt of what Chalabi says is more like this:
"Our objective has been achieved. That tyrant Saddam is gone, and the Americans are in Baghdad. What was said before is not important."
The fact that our credibility is in tatters and that it looks like our soldiers died for a WMD lie "is not important." Y'know, as long as the greater good for Chalabi is "achieved".
Look,I understand Iraq as a democatization project as a rationale for war. However, that was not how the war was sold. And what you are going to have to accept is that the whole Iraqi project has been put into danger by the collapse of the great selling point for war.
The British in Malaysia (and I'm relying on a few sections of long-ago reading) concentrated on creating an alliance with anti-Communist Malays. They used a firm promise that they would de-colonize (we can give the Iraqis no such promise without fingers crossed) and turned ethnic differences to their advantage. (A disproportionate number of the Communists were of Chinese ancestry.) They had a plan from the beginning, and as best as I can tell, it is quite different from what Mark Buehner suggested above. Buehner is concentrating on wasting the rebels in Fallujah. All of my examples suggest that this way lies failure. (The Kurds make a poor analogue of the ethnic Malay for geographic and demographic reasons.)
Nor would I be so confident about the conditions in Afghanistan.
[Aside to David T: Yo do know Chalabi is a convicted fraudster already, right? He says Saddam framed him. Just the way there's always an excuse for why the Nigerian Bank Account has so much money.]posted by: Andrew J. Lazarus on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
If you haven't been paying attention nobody minds killing bad guys extreme some squeamish pacifists. The real issue is how many non-bad-guys do we piss off by the collateral damage done in killing bad guys. That ratio's level is non trivial.
The real reason that no one is discussing your question of whether Democracy is a reasonable goal for an Arab culture is that:
(i) Nobody is sure because it hasn't really been done before.
I wish that the pro-transformation people would admit that they really don't know if it's possible, and are taking a risk. At that point, the nation could have a dialogue about whether the risk is worth it and what the cost will be, and whether we are committing sufficient resources to succeed at it.
Instead, we get bleating "Would you rather still have Saddam in power." assinine braying out of them.
This is still a democracy. Last I heard, the electorate or their representatives weren't exactly asked if they wanted to be part of a mission to transform the entire Middle-east region. It would be nice, seeing as this is still a democracy nominally, if we did discuss and agree on such an agenda instead of the neocon apologists trying to make everyone feel guilty about not wanting to take the most historic gamble in Western Civilization since the Crusades.
Their failure to address this consent of the governed - here - much less over there increasingly convinces me that they're trying to get away with slipping it in on the sly - manipulating the public to do what they could never openly get them to agree to. This is pretty reprehensible, and they shouldn't be surprised that having failed to get the agreement of the public that the public decides to bail on them when they realize that it's been a bait and switch job.posted by: Oldman on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
I've just seen an interesting polling result on this issue.
Warning - campaign politics turnout, finance & spending neep ahead.
FWIW, I normally ignore polls on such issues as those so often use rigged questions that it just isn't worth my time to go through them carefully looking for potentially credible information. This one caught my eye on one detail, though - it indicates some division among Democrats.
Here's the URL for the story, plus an excerpt concerning the point which interests me. I'd appreciate it if someone would post a URL for the poll itself so I could look at it carefully.
"... But the poll taken Thursday found sharp partisan splits on whether the Iraq war was justified and whether to get tougher - with independents generally siding with Republicans.
Some 60 percent of independents and 78 percent of Republicans say U.S. military action in Iraq must intensify to quell the violence.
But Democrats tilted the opposite way - 48 percent said the United States is unlikely to achieve its goals in Iraq and should reduce its military efforts, while 45 percent favor getting tough ..."
A 48/45 split among Democrats on this particular issue is interesting. One of the questions I've had about presidential election polling in general has been reliability in voter turnout projections.
The 48/45 split here may be an indication of significantly greater pro-war feeling among Democrat voters than generally expected. Sure it is also possible that it doesn't, but I'm speculating and see some possible patterns to watch for.
If this poll result does in fact indicate a material split among ordinary Democratic voters concerning the war on terror (keep in mind that Clinton was not a dove and neither was Richard Clarke), Kerry could have a turnout problem in November which would have major effects on downstream Senate, Congressional & state campaigns.
If he doesn't move to the middle on the war, conservative and moderate Democrats will tend to stay home and not vote for any Democratic candidate. If Kerry does move to the middle, anti-war Democrats might vote for Nader or stay home.
Worse for Kerry, the chief effect of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law seems to be the relative independence of soft-money spending from presidential campaigns, and not any actual reduction in electoral spending.
I.e., the ideologues spend their soft money in ways more congenial to their ideology and less in coordination with their party's nominee.
So right when Kerry is trying to create a moderate, responsible and mildy aggressive general election image as a terror-fighter, the Democratic partisans and rich lefties in general will be spending as much or more money on precisely the sort of partisan screeds likely to turn off the voters in the middle whom Kerry is trying to reach.
And this poll here indicates that more of those are Democrats than previously believed.
This could be interesting.
And sure it's speculation, but it's fun speculation for campaign politics junkies like me.posted by: Tom Holsinger on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
"The very creation of the Constitution was an illegal conspiracy under the Articles of Confederation -- and was carried out in secrecy."
Man, oh, man - it just doesn't get any better than that. Hey, Williams - How'd you enjoy "The Matrix"?
Thanks for clearing things up, Don. I appreciate people letting me know that I shouldn't waste my time pretending to discuss issues with them.
Wow. Hey Prof - what's it take to get banished from here, anyhow? DO you not think you've got a serious candiate for "second" here?posted by: Tommy G on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
Last I heard, the electorate or their representatives weren't exactly asked if they wanted to be part of a mission to transform the entire Middle-east region.
The congressional authorization of 2002 specifically and explicitly cites the Iraqi Liberation Act of 1998 as a reason for war. Furthermore, nobody in their right mind would believe that we could remove Saddam and skip out without bringing in a government of some kind, and (please correct me if I'm wrong) I do not recollect anybody advocating anything except democracy.
The vote for authorization was held shortly before the mid-term elections. For all practical purposes, the mid-term vote became a referendum on how representatives had voted for the war. Tom Daschle frequently complained about this in fact, saying that the vote should come after the mid-terms, alluding that the representatives should be able to vote their concious instead of their constituency.
Over the 14-month "run up" to war, the populace debated all of these issues, informed their representatives of how to vote, and here we are, building a democracy.
If you snoozed through that exercise, it's your fault.
Dear Faux Oldman,
You are letting loose a red herring and hitting a straw man all at once. Nobody within the Admin including the President was advocating as the primary reason to take on Iraq was to liberate it. That was an afterthought, meant to quell dissenters. It's hard to be against democracy.
The other thing is that I asked specifically why those who promote regional transformation continually evade the question of whether they've gotten a mandate from the electorate to do this thing. Well as it turns out, invading Iraq and liberating it is not a mandate to liberate the entire Mid-east.
And if you missed out on that, then you are the one who was snoozing - in logic class.posted by: Oldman1787 on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
Calling Algeria a democracy either flatters the one or stretches the accepted meaning of the other, don't you think? What Algeria does have is endemic communal violence occasionally lapsing into civil war, more along the lines of what one can expect in most Arab countries not held down by force, and the most likely outcome in Iraq once the Americans leave.
The question of when America voted to transform the Middle East is a couple of steps behind the one about whether this was an achievable goal. Now, it may be. But it is wildly wishful thinking to think it an easily achievable goal, and we might have had a better grasp of this concept if Americans -- not just the Bush administration but almost all of its Democratic critics -- were less glib in dismissing decades of American policy in the region with pious talk about the immorality of "propping up dictators."posted by: Zathras on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
1) Since Mr Drezner is "assistant professor of political science at the University of Chicago", I think it more likely that he will snicker at Tommy G's naivete and lack of knowledge than that Drezner will censor my statement of historical fact.
Tommy G might console himself with James Madison's sophistry in Federalist 40 regarding this issue.
2) Absent a tuition check from Tommy G, I will limit further comment to the following quote from a letter sent to New York Governor George Clinton by the two New York delegates (Robert Yates and John Lansing Jr) who left the Convention a few weeks after it started:
1st. The limited and well-defined powers under which we acted, and which could not, on any possible construction, embrace an idea of such magnitude, as to assent to a general constitution, in subversion of that of the state.
From these expressions, we were led to believe, that a system of consolidated government could not in the remotest degree, have been in contemplation of the legislature of this state? for that so important a trust, as the adopting measures which tended to deprive the state government of its most essential rights of sovereignty, and to place it in a dependent situation, could not have been confided by implication; and the circumstance, that the acts of the convention were to receive a state approbation in the last resort, forcibly corroborated the opinion, that our powers could not involve the subversion of a constitution, which being immediately derived from the people, could only be abolished by their express consent, and not by a legislature, possessing authority vested in them for its preseveration. Nor could we suppose, that if it had been the intention of the legislature, to abrogate the existing confederation, they would, in such pointed terms, have directed the attention of their delegates to the revision and amendment of it, in total exclusion of every other idea."
The full letter, laying out their prescient view that the Constitution would destroy liberty for the American people, is here:
--or select entry CLXVII from the list here:
Maybe Tommy G could look at the AntiFederalist Papers --written circa 1787-78. See http://www.wepin.com/articles/afp/index.htm .posted by: Don Williams on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
What Oldman (the real one) said, in spades. I'm a retired U.S. Army officer and I've got no problem with killing bad guys. But I have to ask all of those who've now embraced the absolute rightness in the U.S. going off overseas and liberating the poor, oppressed peoples of the world how they would have reacted if the run-up PR campaign had focused on this objective rather than on the WMD objective. I guess I'm slow, but I see a tiny little difference between fate of the nation and "making the world safe for democracy." Some of that annoying fine print about the oath I've taken to support and defend the Constitution. But you need not be bothered by that. After all, military people are kind of weird.
I missed this one. Damn! And after all the fun I had those years in Vietnam. Do you want them to call me back next year to liberate the North Korean people? And from there, maybe the Iranians? Take care of the Axis of Evil? Shit, maybe we can liberate the Mexicans, too. They suffer under a corrupt political system, too, with some pretty undesirable fallout for the U.S. I'm ready, 24-7. Just say the word. I'll stay overseas forever, fighting the good fight. But, you know, it sure would be nice if some of you came along. I might need help.posted by: lost in rhetoric on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
Mexico isn't invading and threatening our allies, isn't engaging in genocide, isn't in violation of a cease-fire agreement, etc etc etc.
Agreeing to change one government (and make no mistake, that's what we did) is only analagous to any other scenario if [b]all other conditions[/b] are present.
[ps--I accidentally posted as Oldman before; cookies aren't getting set and I goofed manual entry]posted by: Ursus on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
... if all other conditions are present ...
Tepid response, Ursus. Mexico was tongue in cheek. Is that the best defense you've got?posted by: lost in rhetoric on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
Nobody within the Admin including the President was advocating as the primary reason to take on Iraq was to liberate it. That was an afterthought, meant to quell dissenters.
Uh-huh. Here's the debate for:
Democracy in the Middle East
and the debate against:
Illusions Of Iraqi Democracy
Clearly there was a debate.
The other thing is that I asked specifically why those who promote regional transformation continually evade the question of whether they've gotten a mandate from the electorate to do this thing.
Given the outcome of the prior debate, the timing of the vote on that debate, and the stated desire of certain parties to put some time distance between their reelection and the 70% public support (aka, "mandate"), I would say yes.
Lost in rhetoric, i'm shocked --shocked that you forgot that under our great system, the military is subordinate to civilian leaders.
Marine Corps Major General Smedley Darlington Butler explained it clearly back in the 1930s:
I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.
I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.
There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its "finger men" to point out enemies, its "muscle men" to destroy enemies, its "brain men" to plan war preparations, and a "Big Boss" Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.
It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.
I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.
I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.
During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents. "
General Butler, by the way, won two Congressional Medals of Honor.posted by: Don Williams on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
Ursus the minor,
A debate between two writers in media pieces? Based on that every single scenario from creating clones, going to mars, having thermonuclear war, would have already been debated and gotten a consensus from the American people if we use such a silly and pathetic standard.
Of course, such a standard comes as no surprise from such as you. No, the case was not debated nationally and it was expressly not approved of by the American electorate.
Bah! The standard for the response to the request keep on dropping mind-numbingly lower. The American people were not presented with the option to (a) Transform the Middle East and (b) they have not in any way endorsed this mandate.
If the standard for a national debate is a few pro and opposing media articles, and a mandate the same then one could claim a mandate for gay marriage - or against it - and so such a standard is completely silly. Just like the writer proposing it.posted by: Oldman on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
Let me be very clear on this point... I do not support military action for the sole purpose of establishing democracy -- that is the argument of notable war liberals such as Paul Berman, but which is actual textbook imperialism by my accounting.
However, nations that threaten us are rightly subject to an array of responses, and instituting a liberal democracy -- by force if needed -- is one of many such valid responses.
A debate between two writers in media pieces?
Did you guys miss naptime or something? First you argue that the reference to the subject in the authorization for war (the explicit reference to the Iraqi Liberation Act of 1998) is not proof of a debate, and then you argue that the presence of a debate (the cited articles, dated at the time of the vote on the authorization) does not prove there was an authorization.
If the standard for a national debate is a few pro and opposing media articles, and a mandate the same then one could claim a mandate for gay marriage - or against it - and so such a standard is completely silly.
The mandate was the vote to proceed.
A vote to invade Iraq, not transform the Middle East! I see no sign of the American people wishing to bail on Iraq, but I also fail to see them signing up enmasse to get drafted to go over seas to fight a string of additional wars!
Middle-east "transformation" was something imposed by a bunch of eggheads on this whole deal. The American people have not debated that, and they do not at this time support that.
In addition, you better check your standards for a mandate even for the Iraq war since even a lot of Republicans are bitter in retrospect that they were sold on bad WMD claims. A vote procured by means of deception is not a mandate at all but a swindle. Maybe the Admin wasn't lying, but it sure wasn't in possession of damning facts the way they claimed they had to Republican law-makers to secure that vote!!!posted by: Oldman on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
Sheesh. Your claim was that the subject was raised afterwards as appeasement. That has been proven false. Admit your error.
I'm not suggesting that there's a mandate for war anywhere else (cf, my response regarding Mexico). That's your strawman.
Oldman: You stole my thunder.
Ursus: Weak stuff. You gotta do better. Or I guess I did sleep through the part where anyone who actually holds office in this administration told the American people and the Congress something along the lines of, "Oh, by the way, you understand that even if those WMDs we're so exercised about are't there and Iraq is not a threat to the U.S., we're such good guys that we still intend to shed American blood and treasure to ensure that the Iraqi people live happily ever after."
Don Williams: I am very familiar with General Butler's thinking, and although I think he overdrew his thesis somewhat, I know where he was coming from. It should also be noted that, in Butler's day, the Marines were the go-team that spent much of their time making banana republics safe for American corporate interests. With the exception of China, other services weren't caught up in the racket to the same extent. Times were much simpler then and the adversaries were much more primitive. Think about our military actually making a serious effort to eradicate the Colombian and Mexican drug cartels. Which come to think of it, could perhaps be justified on national security grounds, if you buy the war on drugs rhetoric.
The military in Butler's days was very small and comprised of men with a soldier of fortune mindset. Enlisted personnel were overwhelming single, poorly educated and had few prospects in the greater society, especially during the Depression years. Today's military, with its emphasis on quality and education, is very different. What I fear is that an expeditionary mindset on the part of our government will result in many of the best voting with their feet, particularly when one considers that the majority are married (and spouses have a vote in career decisions) and have many opportunities in the greater society. The military is the fulcrum upon which all of the national security hoo-rah rests; what if we they don't show up?
BTW, there is no "Congressional" Medal of Honor. Butler holds two Medals of Honor. Congress is not a party to military decorations. Above Legion of Merit, they are awarded by the president. Below that, by the Secretary of Defense or the secretary of the military department. Congress does, however, "advise and consent" to officer appointments and promotions.posted by: lost in rhetoric on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]
Speaking of weak argumentative skills, got any more strawman you want to retroactively label as "tongue in cheek"? Alrighty then, go sleep it off.
I took this from the "official site of the Congressional Medal of Honor":
The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States. Generally presented to its recipient by the President of the United States of America in the name of Congress, it is often called the Congressional Medal of Honor.
I don't really have a dog in this fight, but.posted by: Andrew J. Lazarus on 04.10.04 at 03:26 PM [permalink]