Wednesday, September 15, 2004
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This strikes me as really bad news
James Drummond and Steve Negus report in the Financial Times that the safest place in Iraq for U.S. personnel is no longer safe:
UPDATE: Douglas Jehl reports in the New York Times that the intelligence community is pessimistic about Iraq's future.posted by Dan on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM
So, since the number of troops in Iraq has not changed, has the insurgency gotten that much stronger, or has the Green Zone expanded so much that the troops we previously had for security are insufficient to cover the expanded perimeter?posted by: Ray on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
I wonder if it's time to start practicing using helicopters to take people off the roofs of the US embassy and other buildings in the compound.posted by: Bob Munck on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
Don't be such a pessimist! Stay the course! You must have faith! You must believe! Who needs more troops when we have our beliefs? (At least until the election, then we're in and who cares what you believe?) (Besides, there's money in defense! And we have no ties to H. I mean no ties after his annual deferred paychecks run out.)
But hey - fool me once, shame on, shame on you, fool me twice;.. well, you can't fool me again.
I get the message; I've been fooled once now.
"I wonder if it's time to start practicing using helicopters to take people off the roofs of the US embassy and other buildings in the compound."
I like that, Bob. But another four years of the same and we'll need the helicopters to get out our own country!posted by: germ on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
I'd say that the "safest place" in Iraq for Coalition troops has always been, and remains, the Kurdish territory in the north. The Shia areas in the south are also probably significantly safer than Baghdad, where both Sadr's goons and the ex-Baathists are present in numbers.
I also think the whole "Green Zone" concept has had its downsides. For one thing, it made it too easy for reporters to just hunker down inside and not venture out and see what was going on in the rest of the country. That has limited the stories we're getting back here in a big way IMO.
From the insurgents viewpoint, it seems to be pretty much textbook Vietcong strategy: get your opponent to stay in fixed static positions while you control the countryside, then go after them after you've had time to build up your strength. Is this the latter? Don't know yet.posted by: tagryn on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
I also think the whole "Green Zone" concept has had its downsides. For one thing, it made it too easy for reporters to just hunker down inside and not venture out and see what was going on in the rest of the country. That has limited the stories we're getting back here in a big way IMO.
Have you read any reporting about the actual conditions in Iraq? They don't go outside the Green Zone much because it's too goddamn dangerous. Either some pissed-off Iraqis are kidnapping them, or they're caught in the middle of a firefight (and on occasion getting killed on camera -- but hey, that guy wasn't American, so eh).
That says a lot about the actual facts on the ground, doesn't it? In other words, the security situation sucks so very badly that it's hard to get out to report on how badly the security situation sucks, let alone whether a school got repainted, or some Iraqi kids got some first-order medical attention.
And with what would you replace the "Green Zone"? Remember, it's not just those darn lazy reporters who are there, it's also the darn lazy US Embassy workers, (and before them the darn lazy CPA workers) and the darn lazy Iraqi government. I guess your point about making it too easy for the reporters to hunker down applies just as well to the people who were and are running the country.posted by: are you kidding me? on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
- I would prefer a much more active approach taken to confronting the insurgents, rather than trying to secure one small part of Baghdad. Staying inside a static position isn't the way to win against guerrillas, it just presents a nice big target for hit and run attacks. What's needed is to get into their staging and organizing areas, as the Israelis have done with the Palestinian bombers. Otherwise, you're basically just waiting for the next attack.
Whether the Iraqis will permit such a robust approach is something else. If Falluja and Najaf are any indication, the answer is probably not, which puts the coalition somewhat between a rock and a hard place.
- The reporters are different from embassy and gov't workers, in that it's their *job* to take risks to get the story. They knew beforehand that this wasn't going to be like reporting from New York or Beantown USA, so when I read about many not ever leaving the Green Zone yet filing reports as if they were "on the scene," yes, it is disappointing. Not many Arnett or Fisk types among them, it seems.posted by: tagryn on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
Dan, we all know it doesn't matter if Iraq's government completely collapesed tomorrow. The wingnuts would come up with some excuse and keep drinking the kool-aid. If Baghadad falls tomorrow, or we see insurgents looting the green zone in a month -- it still wont matter. The kool aid is too strong for that. The economy doesnt' matter. Nothing matters to people who can't think for themselves.
While we are talking about Bush's legacy, I think recent news from Russia really just seals the deal. Seriously, we can now include that Bush having turned back one of the greatest American victories of the 20th century by welcoming in a new dictator to Russia. Peering into his heart and soul and all.posted by: Jor on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
It's every bit as unfair to blame Bush for the "loss" of Russia as it was to blame Truman for the "loss" of China. As we're seeing now, our power is very limited in certain areas, and not recognizing this fact can lead to disaster.
Let's hope whoever wins the next election will implement that humble foreign policy that Bush promised us 4 years ago.posted by: Carl on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
Ditto, bump, whatever!
It struck me that last Sunday's violence had a sort of Tet like quality to it, okay not nearly as many US dead, but just a general impression that the US didn't really have control of much.
I BBC reporter reported that there was a *sustained* mortar barrage against the green zone "no one could make it stop," she said. That truly is bad. We are supposed to have shell tracking radar operating and arty units prepared to deliver overwhelming surpressing fire. If that is not possible now .... man. Of course I know the BBC is supposed to be lefty, but the woman is on the ground.posted by: stari_momak on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
If you go to the article it links to a second one that reports that over the last 5 months 3,186 Iraqi civiliams have been killed. This must take the total number of Iraqi killed over 15,000. Isn't this more than Saddam killed?
But it clearly is not the best example of how to wing "hearts & minds".posted by: spencer on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
The schools!posted by: Jon H on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
I haven't kept track of things closely enough to make a confident statement, but haven't things seemed to have turned decidedly downhill since we technically turned Iraq back over to the Iraqis? Perhaps their "government" is partially to blame as well?posted by: Justin on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
"Technically" is precisely the right word: we have not turned over control of the armed forces. The US military has overruled the official govt on a few occasions - most notably, in the amnesty offered insurgents. Whether or not you agree with US diktat in this case (i.e., that amnesty cannot be offered to insurgents who've killed Americans) it does reinforce the impression among Iraqis that the Iraqi govt is a US puppet.
And the jack-in-the-box strategy of mounting offenses against insurgent cities and then withdrawing with "Nothing Accomplished!" is, AFAIK, not only driven entirely by US command, but by direct order of the POTUS.posted by: CaseyL on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
"If you go to the article it links to a second one that reports that over the last 5 months 3,186 Iraqi civiliams have been killed."
Every Iraqi not wearing the new army uniform is a 'civilian'. Notice how we havent managed to kill a single actual insurgent? Lets not be silly here, we have no idea how many civilians have been killed because all we get from Iraq are lies. The entire population of Fallujah seems to be women and children, you'd think we'd manage to kill a military aged male just be chance by now.
Regardless, too few troops. That is just devastating. Right war, right place, badly bungled reconstruction. Ughh. I still wont even think of voting for Kerry, although I did hear he was in Vietnam.posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
Douglas Jehl has a very depressing piece on the cover of this morning's NYT. Perhaps it is most depressing because it is the government's official view - and yet one would never know from Bush that there is anything off plan in Iraq. Will the commander-in-chief be held accountable for recklessly sacrificing our children in Iraq, or will the whole nation wake up too late?posted by: comenius on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
Nice to see so many Kerry supporters can keep a cool head in a crisis. Run for the hills!! No, wait, here come the helicopters to take us to safety in...Canada? OH, if only I had voted for Kerry instead of Bush in 04. Mommy. Help.
The commenter who mentioned Tet wins my award for historically informed analysis. I mean, could it be that this orgy of violence on the ground in Iraq is somehow related to November's election? Do the "insurgents" know about those elections? Damn clever of them, eh?
So, no, chicken littles, the sky probably is not falling (unless you live in 'bama, that is). But if you want to go on hunkering at home and waiting for the friendly helicopters, go ahead.posted by: Kelli on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
Wow, Kelli. We could sure use some on-spot reporting, from someone who's actually there. It's so great you're willing to take the time from your no-doubt busy schedule (building schools and giving classes in business development and democratic government) to let us ignoramuses know the real scoop in Iraq.
So: tell us what's really going on, from your unassailable vantage point.posted by: ciel on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
L'Shana Tovah, may you, and all of us have a sweet new year.
You're still a blind idiot. It was clear to me (and I have the proof in an email to the NYTimes dated February 2003) that though getting rid of Saddam was a noble cause, the history of the Chimp Administration was such that Chimp would fuck up everything in Iraq.
How did you earn your Ph.D? What does that Ph.D represent?
What blinded you? What has your blind following and arguing for Bush led to that you are now responsible for?
Looking back, did you knowingly make false arguments, or over the top arguments, not from fact but from wishing?
What steps will you take for my kids and for your kids or your future kids?posted by: jerry on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
Mark B. can you give me any reason to respect your judgement that everything we hear from the Iraqis is lies.
The quote is from the Financial Times a well respected conservative paper and they report that that this is an official report by the Iraqi government that is under the control of the US. You are probably correct that some of the dead are rebels, but so what. The overall number is correct, and it sure is not the way to mind the hearts and Minds.
The entire point is that because the Bush administration ignored warnings from the military, the state department, and almost every other knowledgable expert they did not devote enough resources to win the peace in Iraq. OK, anyone can be wrong. But a year later the Bush admin is still running around
My question, if Bush still refusing to face the truth about his policies because it would mean he might have to sacrifice part of his tax cut to really be serious about fighting the
Show me any reason to think that Bush does nto believe that his tax cuts are more important than the WoT and that Saddam was a greater threat to the US than Ben Laden.posted by: spencer on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
Regardless, too few troops. That is just devastating. Right war, right place, badly bungled reconstruction. Ughh. I still wont even think of voting for Kerry, although I did hear he was in Vietnam.
Mark. Why do you think the reconstruction bungling will not continue with this administration, particularly if they feel like their approach has been validated by a successful reelection?posted by: Appalled Moderate on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
Just a followup...
Daniel, on Yom Kippur, please do consider what mistakes you made that led you to support this President in this war, and contemplate what that support has led to, what you may be responsible for, and most importantly, what you can do in the coming days and years to right these wrongs and prevent such errors in judgement from happening again.
Me, I've got lots of my own mistakes and wrongs to others to think about too. Again, and sincerely, L'Shana Tova.posted by: jerry on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
Do you miss the sort of critical, informed, intellectually robust comments you used to attract? Then get off the fence and say something. Really, this is just getting silly.
Should we assume you are in or have just recently returned from Baghdad? Didn't think so. So why are you so sure you are right and I am wrong?
I may not be in Iraq, but I wasn't really commenting on the situation there to begin with, but rather on public opinion here in the critical run-up to Nov. 2nd. Are you suggesting that the current spate of violence there has nothing to do with our election?
Informed criticism is fine--I think Tony Blankley is right to suggest that the Bush strategy (to try to keep a lid on Iraq til Nov. 3rd) was blinkered and short-sighted. But the Kerry option--in a nutshell, pull-out regardless of the consequences--is even dumber. You can take issue with my conclusions but if you insist on questioning my right to weigh the issues because I am not currently dodging bullets in Fallujah you can SIUYA.posted by: Kelli on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
"Mark B. can you give me any reason to respect your judgement that everything we hear from the Iraqis is lies."
I thought I just did. Hospitals never seem to report adult male casualties. I grant you i was exagerating. The comparison to the Hussein regime is simply too absurd to let pass unchallenged. There is a major difference between victims being accidently killed because they were sharing a house with Syrian terrorists and victims being dropped in a plastic shredder for not celebrating Hussein's birthday with enough elan.
"Mark. Why do you think the reconstruction bungling will not continue with this administration, particularly if they feel like their approach has been validated by a successful reelection"
I dont doubt the reconstruction bungling will continue. I have no faith that Kerry will improve it, mainly because he has shown no inclination to tell us how (or if!) he plans to do so. Hence, a wash. More importantly, we mustnt forget that Iraq is simply not the only issue. Even if Bush loses Iraq (for which I will never forgive him) it pales in comparison to what I fear will happen with President Kerry 'confronting' Iran over nuclear weapons. We need Bush right now, but you have to take the good with the bad. Too bad, a guy like Joe Lieberman might have bridged the gap.posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
Just a reminder: the cause we have committed American lives and resources to is one that only Iraqis can make succeed.
We need to consider what that means. Destroying threats to the United States or to regional security is something the United States can do. Building a democracy in an Arab country is something we can only help to do. I understand the arguments about the things America has done wrong in Iraq; I have made some of them myself. But by its nature the cause we have committed ourselves to is one that could easily fail even if we did everything right.
It is considered at the least indelicate to suggest that liberal democracy in an Arab country is a wildly optimistic objective. John Kerry would never suggest such a thing; Howard Dean would never suggest such a thing. They accordingly fault the administration on its choice of means, which would be fair enough if the end everyone wants and wills were a realistic one.
It isn't. It never has been. It might be, assuming a certain pace of cultural advancement, in a matter of decades. Decades we do not have. America's future is what matters, and the great challenges to our future will not come from a mid-sized Arab country in a region important only because of an accident of geology.posted by: Zathras on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
Success in Iraq is not measured by how safe Americans are inside Iraq. It's measured by how safe Americans are outside of Iraq from hypothetical attacks by Iraq. In this sense Iraq has become much safer, at least for now. (I'm still thinking a WWI aftermath scenario is quite plausible, i.e. we might hear from Iraq again in 20 years or so, and it might be very unpleasant indeed.)
If George Bush is reelected, then success will be declared by fiat some time after an Iraqi election. Iraq will then become an "ownership society", including the ownership of its own problems, regardless of who participated in creating them.
After leaving Afghanistan and Iraq owning their own problems (aka in a mess), maybe we can then turn towards another country and make it also own its own problems. And we'll do the same at home, of course - everybody will own their own problems, but the government will be very compassionate about it and give even poor people $200/year in tax cuts (if they happen to pay income taxes, which many don't, of course) to make up for $300/month higher expenses to pay for their own problems.
Yes, this will be fun. Everybody in favor please do vote for Bush.
Ah, Zathras, I was trying to say the same thing you said. You said it better, of course, although you left out the domestic bit (unsurprisingly, since it was off-topic and you sure wouldn't agree with me anyway). :-)
"Yes, this will be fun. Everybody in favor please do vote for Bush."
Seemed like a compelling argument to me actually.posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
Mark, at least you do what you do knowing fully what the consequences of your (and Bush's) actions are likely to be. Unlikely many other Americans, I would say, who are simply ill-informed thanks to the smashing performance of our useless press corps.
One might wonder if one day Bush and those of his supporters who knew what he was doing will be held responsible for what happened and for what is going to happen. No, I don't actually wonder. Many people (and the two sets overlap a lot) still believe the Vietnam war was a good idea and would have been won if it hadn't been for anti-war protesters led by John Kerry.
That's the truly scary part, in my opinion - that there is no reasonable hope that we will ever reach a consensus and truly learn from these kinds of mistakes. ("Mistakes? What mistakes?")
posted by: tagryn
Last I heard (no source) there had been around 30 journalists killed covering this war. I imagine that that's more than the combined total of warbloggers and neo-con 'think tank' people put together.posted by: Barry on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
OK. You're voting on the basis of Iran. That makes you a rather small demographic.
I think we're left with the question of what you can really do with Iran. Invasion is out of the question. There's no draft, and our troops seem busy. Maybe a selcted strike is in order, but for that you need rock solid intelligence. I am not exactly comfortable that our CIA is up to providing us with that.
What you have is good old containment and MAD. And, to be honest with you, that's where we'll end up even if the Kerry/Edwards make their dumb little offer, and farcical negotiations go on for a while.
So, I consider Iran a wash in the same way you look at Iraq.
(Hint to Kelli -- If you don't like the direction of the threads, take the opportunity bend them a bit, or encourage gw & Zathras to show up for a while.)posted by: Appalled Moderate on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
*I dont doubt the reconstruction bungling will continue. I have no faith that Kerry will improve it, mainly because he has shown no inclination to tell us how (or if!) he plans to do so. Hence, a wash.*
A wash - based on your holding faith or no faith.
We've come full circle in this post. Despite the evident bungling, it's really more of a "faith/no faith" decision. Campaign successfully sold!
Why is it the challenger's burden to explain how he will fix the President's mess? Shouldn't the fact that there is a mess be the overriding factor here?posted by: wishIwuz2 on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
We don't always agree, but your posts are always worth reading and invariably civil. Thanks.
I have a vague recollection of you. Have a nice summer vacation? How are classes going?posted by: Kelli on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
"OK. You're voting on the basis of Iran. That makes you a rather small demographic. "
I wouldnt say that, I am voting based on the entire WOT, of which Iran is capital component. As much as some parties would like to, you cant carve the WOT up into components anymore than you could WW2. Iraq is still an important objective, but not the only one by far. I would bet Americans in general are leaning towards Bush right now for that precise reason, Bush may make mistakes but his instincts are sound. Kerry seems to have no instincts at all. Kerry is absolutely the McClellan of this election. He will repudiate everything Bush has done to date, and not all of it has been bad. The world fears America again, and they fear defying George Bush. Kerry thinks that is a bad thing. I disagree. International Politics are not a Sixth Grade populatity contest. It is the most nasty, backbiting, dangerous game in the world where power is the only thing respected. Most of the important players respond to exactly 2 things, fear and greed. I have no hope that Kerry understands that truth remotely.
"I think we're left with the question of what you can really do with Iran"
True, but in asking that question the first thing you have to consider is how each candidate would approach the issue. Is this a critical priority America issue of vital interest, or is it a diplomatic snafu that will surely be worked out once we all sit down and express our feelings in an open and non-judgemental setting. All the options stem from that. We dont have time for Kerry to discover the Mullahs are a bunch of lying zealot bastards who are going to lie cheat and steal to get their nuclear arms, so that they can lie cheat steal and murder with the security of a nuclear deterrant. That is assuming they arent as crazy as they actually talk, in which case they may start a nuclear war in Allah's name. The luxury of thinking we understand these religious zealots is long gone.posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
People like Mark who are voting for Bush even though he bungled Iraq and Kerry doesn't have a "plan" for Iraq --- obviously are completely ignorant of most of thte facts. When people say Bush bungled Iraq, they mean he fucked it up worse than putting a 13-yr old dyslexic with ADD in charge of it. Bush lets 20-yr old freshly minted college graduates run Iraq for the entire first year! Highly respected conservatives have said the CPA was run by Bush '04 election campaign rather than qualified people. Etc. ETc. ETc. This isn't monday morning quarterbacking. This is a WTF is your common fucking sense?
You don't need to be a rocket scientist to realize its probabaly a bad idea to put a political science major straight out of college in charge of Iraq's economy, which he obviously successfully managed, from his single excel spread sheet. GIVE ME A GOD DAMN BREAK. THIS IS UNHERALDED INCOMPETENCE. People like Mark, who are being intentionally deceptive, need to be beaten with clue-sticks until they stop choking on the kool aid.posted by: Jor on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
On Russia, let me add that Bush STILL hasn't said jack shit about Putin effectively declaring himself dictator. Maybe there wasn't much Bush could have done to prevent it (I think he could have done at least a little more), but he should at least be publically pressuring Puting. Instead we have him "pearing into his heart and soul" and finding he's a good man. Can you say chump? (or chimp?).posted by: Jor on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
The Iranian goverment has a sseriously split personality. There are the reformists, led by Khatami, there's the Supreme Jurisprudence Khamenei, there are even more conservative and fanatical religous groups.
Regardless, my impression is that the Iranian revolution has lost a lot of its fervor. Khomeini, is dead, many of the original students who overthrew the Shah either died in the Iran-Iraq war or have become middle aged agitators like Ebadi (the Nobel Prize winner last year). A lot of the mullahs are more interested in money than advancing the cause of Islam.
All of this leads me to conclude that the Iranian government does not have a fanatic inclination to indulge in MAD with Israel. I beleve there is also a deep element of nationalism in the nuke program, which transcends reformists, mullahs, dissidents etc. That makes it hard to remove the nuke program.
Easy Solutions: None.
Re Iraq: Wrong war, wrong time, disasterous follow-up. In some ways, I hope Bush is re-elected. Most of his life, others (like Papa and his friends) have cleaned up Junior's messes for him. Now junior has created a mess beyond description -- he should clean it up himself. Also, if Kerry were to be elected, and Iraq turn out to be the disaster it looks like, we'll doubtless get wingnuts claiming for decades that Kerry screwed up the Iraq war. [ Just as right-wingers have been claiming for decades that anti-war protesters cost the uS Vietnam, whereas both LBJ and McNamara thought the war was unwinnable several years before that.posted by: erg on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
"People like Mark who are voting for Bush even though he bungled Iraq and Kerry doesn't have a "plan" for Iraq --- obviously are completely ignorant of most of thte facts"
Jor, I am confident i've forgotten more about whats happening in Iraq than you can squeeze into your tiny pea-brain. Long on breathless indictments, short on specifics. Hey, maybe you should join the Kerry campaign.
"People like Mark, who are being intentionally deceptive, need to be beaten with clue-sticks until they stop choking on the kool aid. "
If i'm anymore honest in my opinion on Bush's shortcomings i'll talk myself into staying home in November. Spare us another 'everything Bush has ever done since birth is disasterous on unparallelled scales, and everything Kerry will do will be magically successful (even if we have no idea what he will do)' diatribe.
On Russia, let me add that Bush STILL hasn't said jack shit about Putin effectively declaring himself dictator.
That's simply false. Powell protested on Monday.posted by: Al on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
Backing up to the actual article, you've got a 2nd hand report of an anonymous briefer. Well, he's not really anonymous because you know that he's in charge of perimeter security and he's a major. That's likely to narrow down to one man which the FT reporters cannot name because, by the rules of their game, they would then have to go with him to get comment and he'd then likely clarify things in a way that would not be conducive to their article thesis.
In short, this article stinks of manipulation and both sides in the comment thread, pro and con Bush (Kerry seems beside the point at this juncture) swallowed it hook, line and sinker. It would take ten minutes to go find a press officer and ask for the chain of command in terms of who is in charge of perimeter security and note down the relevant name. So why did they violate basic journalistic protocol and not seek comment and verify, on record if possible, the substance of the allegation? Piercing the veil of pseudonymity would have advanced the story if what you were after was the truth and it was easy to do so why not do it?
Furthermore, the quote in the headline does not appear in the article. Who are they quoting? Did anybody ever represent that the Green Zone was totally secure? People have been lobbing in mortars for some time yet only now it's 'no longer totally secure' as the bad guys ramp up their pre-election offensive? Also, I like the flag. I believe it's the Saddam era flag they are using, you know, the one with Saddam's personal handwriting on it? Nice, impartial touch that bit.
Can we expect a bit more of the professionals, please?posted by: TM Lutas on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
So probably too dangerous now even for
But of course that's post-election, so
Safer than Christmas in Cambodia, i'd assume. Wish there was someone we could ask.posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
US casualties are escalating. Latest word form the frontis that our kids STILL aren't getting enough of the right kinds of equipment, body armor, etc. Parents are letting letters from their kids who are scared, plain scared, not only about the lack of equipment and ammo, but of a sense that no one is in charge, there is no plan, no one knows what's going to happen next.
Military experts, officers, diplomats, historians, past and present, are unanimous in declaring Iraq a complete cluterf*ck.
In fact, the only people who have sunny shiny happy things to say about Iraq are Bush partisans.
What's the latest US casualty count? 1017?
That's blood on YOUR hands. Those are the bones of children YOU'RE dancing on, to celebrate the triumphal supremacy of a man not fit to lick any of those kids' combat boots.
God Himself could peel you all like grapes and call it "Justice."posted by: Ciel on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
MARK posted: The world fears America again, and they fear defying George Bush.
REPLY: Really? And as evidence of this you would cite what? Loathing is not synomymous with fear. How much do the insurgents in Iraq fear America? As for defiance, it appears the Iranians who preoccupy your mind are quite willing to defy Mr Bush. It's important to distinguish between that which you hope to be true and that which may be shown to be true.posted by: Beltway Bandit on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
The snide remarks about my comparing out killing Iraqis compared to Saddam killing them is out of place. I was not making some leftist comment that out govt is always killer. Rather, I was just pointing out that it is no way to win hearts and minds. Our killing Iraqis is a measure of the fact that we are losing the war.
The morning NPR had an interview with an Iraqi that was a very strong supporter of the US. He served as a translator and was proud of it at first. He has now quit working with the US and has nothing to do with us. Yes, it was largely because he was scared for his life. But that still does not deny that it is a symptom that we are losing it and to deny that is to stick your head up your A _ _ .posted by: spencer on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
Safer than Cambodia in Christmas, Mark? Really think so?
Well than what's keeping such a brave soul as yourself interested in nothing less than a strong, safe America and free Iraq from marching on off to Iraq as trooper, journalist, trucker, construction worker, consultant, entrepreneur, set of additional hands?
Yeah, thought as much.posted by: jerry on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
How many of the insurgents are well-trained professional, seasoned military or al-Qaeda? Very small percentage as the rest are newcomers and joiners who hardly know how to shoot an AK. Get hard core with Fallujah and the majority will bail like rats off a ship. They think they have a chance right now due to our inconsistent go/no go policies of engagement. Fallujah is the example we make for the perils of insurgence, that plus 150k more ground troops from Putin and China we will get the place under control. We need to quell the insurgency now before it gets more momentum. All is not lost, we just need to realize that we are still at war and that anyone who picks up a weapon against coalition forces is the enemy and must be dealt with swiftly and harshly.posted by: Van on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
"MARK posted: The world fears America again, and they fear defying George Bush.
REPLY: Really? And as evidence of this you would cite what?"
posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
Kudos to you. Stand your ground. This is like shooting zombies in a mall.
God could peel us like a grape? Is this some kind of warm up for your creative writing homework? It'd make a really neat poster at the next Bush-hate rally, though. I'd run with it if I were you.
For a guy with a video-game name you have no clue and, what's worse, you fight like a girl. I can just see your nostrils flaring. Here's a little advice. Collect your thoughts, marshall your evidence (evidence? we don't need no stinkin evidence) and come back when you've got something to say--something not cut and pasted from Moveon.org.posted by: Kelli on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
Mark, you're a smart guy, as I've seen from several threads. And you're worried about Iran. Good. We all should be. American policy should be to discourage Iran from getting nuclear weapons.
Why, indeed, would Iran so badly want nukes?
Would it have anything to do with their having just seen a neighboring country that was doing next to nothing to harass America, suddenly and with blinding speed be invaded and devastated by the U.S. armed forces? Thus giving any reasonably brainy ayatollah a clear indication that whether America invades you or not has NOTHING to do with what you deserve, and EVERYTHING to do with the bizarre workings of American party politics?
And that, therefore, possessing nukes is the only remotely plausible way to preserve your national sovereignty?
If you were running Iran, Mark, wouldn't the Iraq war make you put your nuke program into triple-shift overdrive? Because it would make me do that. Iran is undoubtedly scared to death of us, and sees exactly one way to defend itself against what it sees as the U.S.-Israel axis.
Why has the Bush administration acted contrary to America's self-interest?
See Barbara W. Tuchman, The March of Folly.posted by: Anderson on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
Would it have anything to do with their having just seen a neighboring country that was doing next to nothing to harass America, suddenly and with blinding speed be invaded and devastated by the U.S. armed forces?
Why this bizarre pretense that Iran's nuke program only began when Bush referred to them as part of the Axis of Evil?posted by: h0mi on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
While you've stood behind your principles for the last two years, I'm afraid the president you continue to support has not.
- He has claimed that going after terrorists was his number one priority...and promptly invaded a soverign country instead, diminishing the forces fighting terrorists.
- He has claimed to have made the world safer...and increased terrorist activity worldwide (check the 2003/2004 Terror report, www.state.gov)
- He has claimed to bring democracy to Afganistan...and after two years we have no elections and recently supported a coup in Herat, one of the few economically successful parts of Afghanistan
- He has claimed to free the Iraqi people form Sadamn Hussien - and succeeded.
- He has claimed to to bring democracy to Iraq...and has managed to put a puppet governement in place that's spent more time looting the country then trying to rule it.
- He has claimed to improve human rights in Iraq...and has instructed and allowed the CPA and the puppet governement in power to systematically strip Iraqi women of their rights.
- He has claimed that invading Iraq would make the world safer for Americans...instead, in the words of General Odom this week, "we've done Bin Laden' job for him".
- He has claimed that the US would not abandon the Iraqi people...and speed up the departure of American troops from Iraq.
- He has systematically alienated our allies.
- He has weakened America's voice in international politics (look this week to Russia, and Putin's rebuff of American criticism)
- He has ignored the regional and humanitarian threat of north korea...and failled to follow up on his promise to stop rogue nations from aquiring nuclear weapons.
- He has failed to take action as required by the UN charter and US law to stop the Genocide in Darfour.
- He has failed to fund the HIV programs promised in Africa.
- He has tried several times to overthrow the democratically elected governement of Venezuela...and failed.
- He just made an American citizen, for the first time in our history, renouce his citizenship and be shipped to prison in Monarchy.
- He's pretty much managed to bankrupt us without giving the economic lift typically experienced by increased Government Spending. (see Paul Volkener this week on a 75% chance of a financial crisis in the next 5 years)
- He's put the American miltiary in such a position as to not be a strategic force for at least 6 months due to our disperal and overextension.
So explain to me, (left, hawk, pro-Afganistan, anti-Iraq) and everyone else, how any patriotic American can continue to support the Bush Administration?
You asked Dan to come down from the wall (and bravo, I agree). Shouldn't you too? How what you fix this ungodly mess? Please, in detail, explain how "four more years" of this administration will make American safer.
c.posted by: c. on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
Powell has no power, EVERYONE knows that now. Bush NEEDS to say something NOW. He ought to at least be doing *something*. IF I believe he was competent, I'd believe he was doing something behind closed doors now, but you defijnitely shouldnn't be giving him the benefit of the doubt anymore. The most politically expedient thing for Bush to do is sit on his ass on this, and I'm sure that's what Rove is having him do.
If you want to continually believe Bush instead of believing your own two stinking eyes you are free to do that. But here are takes from two republicans in the nyt peice (i know, since they say iraq is a mess, they really aren't republican anymore, because republican means don't think for myself these days).
The situation in Iraq prompted harsh comments from Republicans and Democrats at a hearing into the shift of spending from reconstruction to security. Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, called it "exasperating for anybody look at this from any vantage point," and Senator Chuck Hagel, Republican of Nebraska, said of the overall lack of spending: "It's beyond pitiful, it's beyond embarrassing. It is now in the zone of dangerous
Thanks for again demonstrating that you truly are a deceptive idiot. In my comment, I posted TWO pretty damning facts. I'll repeat them here again, so you can ignore them again, and continue to choke on your kool-aid. (1) Bush put 20-something year old in charge of Iraq for ONE YEAR. Freshly minted poli-sci majors with NO experience in ANYTHING. Feel free to justify. (2) Leading conservatives thinkers and experts in democracy promotion who WORKED IN Iraq have said that the 1/3 of the CPA was run like Bush '04 election campaing headquarters (or full of political hacks with no experiennce in anything). Drezner posted botht hese stories to this blog. And they were both front-page. THATS JUST THE GOD DAMN START OF IT. But I eagerly wait your half assed explanations, that is if you have time from drowning in the kool-aid. Kelli, feel free to join Mark's cognitive-disonance and completely discredit yourself by ignoring facts. The more the merrier.
You have to call them, like you see them.
'Why this bizarre pretense that Iran's nuke program only began when Bush referred to them as part of the Axis of Evil?'
No, it began with the Shah of Iran.
But they have probably speeded it up recently.
As for the comment about Kerry not having a plan for Iraq -- of course he doesn't, because there is plan. The idea that Kerry might have a magical plan to fix Iraq is ridiculous. The reason not to vote for GWB is not predicated on that -- its predicated on a whole set of blunders on the Iraq issue, which have made us far less safer.
posted by: erg on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
"Mark, you're a smart guy, as I've seen from several threads. And you're worried about Iran. Good. We all should be. American policy should be to discourage Iran from getting nuclear weapons.
Why, indeed, would Iran so badly want nukes?"
Because they are bad people who do bad things and desire a trump card that will prevent anyone from stopping them.
Look, there are 2 possibilities here: that Iran was a peaceloving citizen of the world that suddenly became terrified for its sovereignty when GW Bush took down longtime enemy and provacateur Saddam Hussein, or that Iran is a terrorist state that sponsers vast levels of terrorism and forments Islamo-fascist revolution in the entire Middle East while slapping down the Iranian people with unprecidented brutality and they have been developing nukes for years and now that they are so close have punched it into overdrive before the determined US president stops them.
My problem with Kerry is that I think he agrees with you, America is the problem. If we give all kinds of assurances and goodies to Iran, they will make nice and be our friends. That is total bullshit that stems from fundamentally misunderstanding the purpose of those weapons. Iran wants nukes because, not only does it ensure the survival of their regime, it also gives them carte blanche to do what they will in the region (and with their missiles that region is quite large indeed, stretching into Europe). If a nuclear armed Iran becomes the next training camp for Al Qaeda or its ilk, what precisely can we do about it when Rome and Paris are in their target range? You think the Mullahs arent banking on that?
All this comes from that naive mindset that international gamesmanship is all about just sitting and handholding and sharing our pain with thugs like the Mullahs. They have an agenda, and it is our destruction and their assension. They make no secret of it. Why in gods name do you want to invent these appeasement generating excuses for why Iran is doing what it is in total character for them to do? The identical excuses have been made for the recalcitrance of every thug regime in history. Look at the Cold War, the EXACT excuses were made by the doves for everything the Soviets ever did, its always American belligerence to blame, even with the Soviets trumpeting 'we will bury you' to the world. We cant allow a man who thinks in those kinds of terms to win in November. That is why I support Bush, flawed and infuriating as he is.
h0mi: What pretense? Who said the Iranians weren't working on nukes before Bush came into office? The big difference is that, pre-Iraq, that might have been negotiable. Now, there is no way that a responsible Iranian leadership can afford NOT to build nukes, because there is no other way to preserve national sovereignty in Bush's world.
Mark: " Look, there are 2 possibilities here: that Iran was a peaceloving citizen of the world that suddenly became terrified for its sovereignty when GW Bush took down longtime enemy and provacateur Saddam Hussein, or that Iran is a terrorist state that sponsers vast levels of terrorism and forments Islamo-fascist revolution in the entire Middle East while slapping down the Iranian people with unprecidented brutality and they have been developing nukes for years and now that they are so close have punched it into overdrive before the determined US president stops them."
This either/or fallacy-stuff is beneath you, my friend. Elements of both are undoubtedly true. Iran has supported terrorists (so has the U.S., remember?). As for "unprecedented brutality," remember the Shah? SAVAK? Maybe you don't, but I bet the Iranians do.
As for "assurances and goodies," where on earth did these caricatures come from? When have I, or Kerry for that matter, said that? Carrot and stick, yes; playing Uncle Sugar, no.
Before Iraq, we had a threat against nations that didn't play by the nonprolif rules: our military force. That arrow is shot.
So now Kerry, or god help us Bush, is left with one crappy poker hand. Whose fault is that?
As for the fears of an omnipotent, nuclear Iran, these are simply unbelievable. If Iran was the first to use nuclear weapons, we would demap them. Our arsenal (and delivery systems, don't forget) is not going to be matched by anyone, except perhaps China, in our lifetimes. (Frankly, I'm not convinced that nukes are even that great a DEFENSE for Iran, etc., but I don't blame them for trying.)
I'm afraid you get a bit incoherent in your conflation of the Soviets and the Iranians -- "we will bury you," etc. I just read a Pulitzer-winning bio of Khruschev, and he NEVER had the least intention of starting a war against the West---and would likely have been deposed on the spot had he tried. Maybe so many people offer these "excuses" about Soviet Russia, etc., because they're true? Don't forget that possibility.posted by: Anderson on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
"This either/or fallacy-stuff is beneath you, my friend. Elements of both are undoubtedly true. Iran has supported terrorists (so has the U.S., remember?). "
True enough, but it is important to have clarity. If you go in thinking you can strike a deal with the Iranians, you have already lost. There is nothing we can offer them that is more useful or desireable than nuclear weapons. Negotiation is a tool that buys Iran time, nothing more. This is right out of NKs playbook. If you go in riddled with self-doubt hand-wringing over centuries of America's crimes, you're dead. They believe in what they are doing, which makes them dangerous. If we dont (like the Euros for instance) we cant win. If that means oversimplying, so be it.
"Before Iraq, we had a threat against nations that didn't play by the nonprolif rules: our military force. That arrow is shot."
We also had a reputation as a paper tiger who wasnt going to do squat to enforce nonproliferation. And our military arrow is hardly shot. We have many options short of invasion, and could pull that off if push came to shove. Not desireable, but we can walk and chew gum. If Iraq and Afghanistan is too much on our plate for the greatest military in the world, we might as well give up now.
"As for the fears of an omnipotent, nuclear Iran, these are simply unbelievable. If Iran was the first to use nuclear weapons, we would demap them"
We know that, but its a terrible assumption that our enemies are as rationale and sane as we are. Regardless, you simply cannot treat a nation with nukes the way you would a nation without. Short of starting a nuclear war, there is much that Iran can and _will_ do relying on those weapons as insurance against reprisal. Think about how beligerant Iran has been over the years _without_ nukes, how they have pushed the razors edge. Worst of all, what if one of these nut cases decides its Allahs will that some terrorist should have a nuclear weapon? That is a real and terrifying possibility.
"Maybe so many people offer these "excuses" about Soviet Russia, etc., because they're true? Don't forget that possibility."
I think the peoples of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan, and East Germany might disagree with that analysis. Anderson, you are a bright guy, but America is not the bully. The Soviets were bastards, and so are the Mullahs, that is the comparison. It seems that every time our nation goes toe to toe with another form of fascism, some element of America decides that we are to blame and our enemy is just misunderstood. Dont buy it. You shall know them by their fruits.posted by: Mark Buehner on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
Have to just briefly slap down the "chickenhawk" argument that 'jerry' trotted out at http://www.danieldrezner.com/archives/001638.html#027727
First, its invalid as any ad hominem argument is - it tries to attack the person rather than the argument the person is making, which doesn't affect whether the argument itself is valid or not.
Second, the person making the CH accusation had better have been against the Afghanistan operation as well, otherwise they're just being a hypocrite if they're not in the military right now, by their own standards.posted by: tagryn on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
Mark: Given the format, it's understandable how much filling-in we commenters do to round out our perceptions of others' arguments. Still, I'm surprised by your perception of me (as a representative "liberal" type, I suppose) as thinking America's a "bully," to blame for its misfortunes, etc. No moreso than many countries and less than most, I'd say.
As for our speculations about what Iran will/won't do, it's probably not worthwhile for us to opine on so few facts. Consider that Pakistan, rife with "Islamofascist" sympathizers, already has nukes, belligerence, and a record of supporting terror. So the sky's already fallen, for what it's worth.
As for eastern Europe, yeah, they got sold down the river; Chamberlain's line about faraway people of whom we know nothing characterized most Western leaders' thoughts. But was there a likely alternative after 50 million Russian/Soviet dead, 2 world wars where Germany drove east, and the Red Army occupying Europe "from Stettin to Trieste"? Anyway, we see how well that worked, in the long run. I think you sound a little too much like J.F. Dulles and don't give Russian paranoia enough credit for its policies; maybe I'm wrong.
ANYWAY ... I can't begin to imagine what you think a President Kerry could do that would be worse than Bush has. I mean, what has Bush done about N. Korea? Iran? Pakistan? I think you're in for a disappointing four years if Bush gets his "mandate" and concludes that the public loves his leadership & wants 4 more years of the same. Thank god my boy won't be draft age by 2009. But hey, vote Bush. It's a free country ... for now. (After Osama nukes a city or two, who knows.) Good night!posted by: Anderson on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
With respect to Iran, I wish people would bear in mind that not everyone does everything because they are reacting to us. Iran started work on WMD programs as a direct response to its war with Iraq in the 1980s. It continued them in part because of the same international intelligence consensus about Iraqi WMD programs that spurred the American invasion last year. Elements within its government are seeking to cross the nuclear threshold now at least in part because they think the prestige of making Iran a nuclear power will benefit them in Iran's internal politics.
The story of Pakistan's development of atomic weapons was very similar. Neither of these countries is much interested in playing a game of nuclear chicken with the United States; neither are they acting out feelings of humiliation for something America allegedly did to them generations ago. They pursue their own policies for their own reasons -- the reasons are not always very good ones, but they have more to do with Iranians and Pakistanis than they have to do with us.
I mention this not to minimize the importance of the issue -- quite the contrary, in fact -- but rather to encourage focus as we consider it. The main reason nuclear proliferation has for decades been considered so dangerous is that the more countries have nuclear weapons the greater the likelihood is that one or more of them will go off. The danger is least between friendly countries like the United States and Britain; somewhat greater between hostile countries who nonetheless have established a stable deterrent relationship, like the US and USSR during the Cold War; and greatest where hostile countries that have not established a stable deterrent relationship are involved. Until India foolishly decided to go nuclear the world had faced the last situation only once, in 1969 as Soviet and Chinese forces clashed along the Ussuri River and Soviet leaders appear to have considered the possibility of a preemptive nuclear strike on China. There are no guarantees that some future crisis involving Pakistan and India, or Iran and Israel, or North Korea and anybody, will work out as well as that one did.
This is why preventing proliferation is important and why Iran in particular should be discouraged from crossing the nuclear threshold. My personal view is that in the effort to do this the Bush administration should let European countries take the lead (which it has done) in discussions with the Iranian government, while the United States wastes no opportunity to point out that the same Iranian factions most enthusiastic about spending billions on nuclear weapons development care more about that than they do the tens of thousands of Iranians left destitute by the Bam earthquake last December. Iranian politics has fault lines -- exploit them. However the task is approached we need to recognize how serious it is. If John Kerry has ideas on how to get the job done, as opposed to using Iran's nuclear ambitions as a talking point in his stump speech, well, now's the time.posted by: Zathras on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
"If Iraq and Afghanistan is too much on our plate for the greatest military in the world, we might as well give up now."
Agreed.posted by: J Thomas on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
I could have sworn Dan posted on Iraq, not Iran. I guess the wingnuts on the board realize Iraq is soo fucked up that tthey have nothign to say, but to keep chuggin the kool-aid to keep the cognitive disonance alive. The last thing they can do is hold Bush accountable, because the republican party believes accountability is only for the poor. At least, according to the communist, america-first haters at Reason and Catoposted by: Jor on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
While we are talking about Iraq and Bush royally fucking it up while taking no responsbility, it should be noted there are officialy no WMD in Iraq. I know, I know, the report was writtenn by a pinko-commi, appeasing, islamofascist -- but it is official.posted by: Jor on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
Wow -- this is a great thread! How come the the posts on outsourcing never get this juicy?posted by: stari_momak on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
" The world fears America again, and they fear defying George Bush.”
I “fear” AQ, but I sure as heck want to defy them. I want to destroy them, and our boneheaded Iraqi policy seems to have played right in to their hands. Fear doesn’t seem to be working too well against non state actors. I assume you agree that our Iraqi policy has created lots and lots of new non-governmental actors who seem unafraid to commit suicide with a car bomb. These suicide bombers don’t seem to care that Bush is a “… crazy mofo.”
As to “enemy” states, seems to me that Libya got sanctions lifted and is now actively seeking western investment to revive its economy. Reagan actually bombed Tripoli to try to kill Khadafi, IIRC, so why didn’t “fear” work then? As to Mushariff,, didn’t we make a deal about the bomb doctor and lift sanctions? Fear? Are these state actors afraid of our investment in their economies or something like that? Seems to me that the opposite is true.
“We know that, but its a terrible assumption that our enemies are as rationale and sane as we are.”
Did I imagine this – or did Kelli defend Bush upthread because the world now thinks that Bush is a (her words) “crazy mofo”? If they are irrational and insane, just how is fear supposed to work? If on the other hand, “enemy” states are rational, are we in danger of having our enemies argue, as Mark does with respect to Iran, that since we are led by “crazy mofos” and negotiation with us will not work, they must attack us first?
Iraq is crumbling; the wingnuts have to salvage something.
The only thing they have left is to acknowledge that Bush is crazy as a bedbug, and to present that as a good thing.
Being easily frightened witless themselves, they think that tactic works well internationally.posted by: Ciel on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
(more Iran, sorry..)
MB - much of your assertions on Iran are singularly based on the knowledge (or utterly unshakable faith) in the irrefutable evil within their hearts.
Can you explain this condition -- about the Iranians, I mean?
I had a retort, but it's been more elegantly expressed by others:
Excellent point about the need to look at nuclear politics in relation to the local/regional context of individual states. One disagreement: India's decision to go nuclear was far from foolish, given its history of repeated wars with China, all of which it lost badly.
Here's a polite request (in deference to the sensitive ch2), lose the "wingnuts" slur. While you're at it, why not take time out from making giant Bush puppets to take a class on rhetoric and debate? Your inability to separate the argument from its proponent is quite frankly getting old. You persuade no one and alienate all.
Maybe you read all the new posts too fast and got a bit off course (it's a lovely day and I'm feeling generous). No one is suggesting that the world is made safer by having national leaders behave like so many inmates at your local nuthouse. I suggested earlier (and others made similar statements) that Bush is like the edgy (maybe a bit "off") sherriff with a trigger finger who you might have preferred, had you lived in the Wild West, to a strictly "by the books" lawman. The way I read them, commenters like Zathras and MB state (rightly) that proliferation is inherently destabilizing because we cannot know (much less control) all the factors going into the the decision to use such weapons.
I'll go further: India, for instance, has a democratic system of government but a much less secure command and control structure for its nukes that western countries or China. That is worrisome. But the situation in neighboring Pakistan is in many ways infinitely worse. And should the schizophrenic Iranian govt succeed in getting nukes, there could not possibly be a way of keeping a handle on them. Knowing this, the Israelis will strike. Knowing that Israel will strike, we cannot allow Iran to proceed. Insanity per se doesn't enter into the equation, my dear TT.
And if you think Iraq looks bad now, wait till you see what would happen should Kerry win. This is just a warmup--a softening of the US electorate's support for Bush (and you might, TT, want to ask yourself why that would be and whether you want to go along with it). With Kerry in the WH, you'd have a barrage of blooshed, followed closely by the "pull-out/we've lost" chorus of those who voted him in. We'd be out in a year, Iraq would become the new Afghanistan and we wouldn't even have the meagre hope of a missile defense shield, since Kerry will have turned all that money over to the Ministry of Ayurvedic Cures.posted by: Kelli on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
*With Kerry in the WH, you'd have a barrage of blooshed, followed closely by the "pull-out/we've lost" chorus of those who voted him in. We'd be out in a year, Iraq would become the new Afghanistan and we wouldn't even have the meagre hope of a missile defense shield, since Kerry will have turned all that money over to the Ministry of Ayurvedic Cures.*
Kelliii.. this is debate? Isn't this an example of the "inability to separate the argument from its proponent" -? Do not feed the Jor.posted by: wishIwuz2 on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
If I ignore it, will it go away?
As for my alleged sin of conflating argument/arguer: huh? I am (with great politeness and in a spirit of comradery) pointing out to TT where I think his analysis goes astray. Let's throw it to TT--do I cross some imaginary line? Can you take it, man?
Naturally, I could be wrong about a President Kerry. For one thing, the same press that has been kicking up its alarmist "we're losing Iraq" coverage these past weeks MIGHT cut him some slack. But I doubt it. Kerry is manuveuring himself into a corner where it would be a major, bone-jarring reversal to remain or even strengthen our presence in Iraq. I see nothing in his past record to support such an outcome. So I conclude that he will,in essence, cut and run.
Terrorists and insurgents CAN read, wish. So, knowing what they know, why would they NOT push matters to the brink sooner rather than later? I'm really curious. What's wrong with my prediction? Let's hear yours.posted by: Kelli on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
Nothing wrong with your prediction - just glad to see you call it a "prediction". My prediction? Nobody - not Kerry, not any serious candidate - will cut & run, at least not any faster than Bush is currently. But Kerry may try additional manuevers that Bush will not consider for fear of losing his "steadfast resolve" persona, or simply admitting to any mistakes.
But it's not just the press kicking up "we're losing Iraq" alarm. Now we've got the National Intelligence Estimate.
Can anyone shed some light on the National Intelligence Committee? They appear to be a fairly non-partisan crowd, or at least they don't appear to be pushing a politica agenda. Their website (http://www.cia.gov/nic/NIC_home.html) paints a picture of an even-handed panel of highly knowledgable experts.
So, the fact that the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq greatly contradicts the President's much rosier assessment leads me to believe that it's the President who is playing politics here. My judgement call.posted by: wishIwuz2 on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
*With Kerry in the WH, you'd have a barrage of blooshed, followed closely by the "pull-out/we've lost" chorus of those who voted him in. We'd be out in a year, Iraq would become the new Afghanistan and we wouldn't even have the meagre hope of a missile defense shield, since Kerry will have turned all that money over to the Ministry of Ayurvedic Cures.*
Kelli, who made Afghanistan "the new Afghanistan" in the first place? Why do you want to re-elect that loser?
And why do you doubt that, once he's not running for re-election, Bush will be out of Iraq just as fast?posted by: Anderson on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
I think the fellow who made Afghanistan the way it is in the first pace is Leonid Brezhnev. I think he's dead, now, and in any event, not having been born in the USA, is not eligible for the Presidencyposted by: Appallled Moderate on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
What AM said. And, I might add, while the Afghanistan of 2004 is no paradise, it's a damn sight better than it's been for at least a generation. Thank GWB.
Might want to check out Ralph Peters' latest for his take on the NIC (hint: he's no fan).posted by: Kelli on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
Can anyone shed some light on the National Intelligence Committee?
Ralph Peters, ME analyst writes today that the NIC report paints a bleaker picture to avoid blame in the event of things going south.posted by: Van on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
Time out. You're happy that the President of the United States, they guy who can take us to nuclear war if he can convince 3 cabinet members it's a good idea is edgy? WTF? Moto Seku Seku was edgy. Sadamn Hussein was edgy. David Koresh was edgy. You think these guys are good leaders?
You're also implying that the first and foremost duty of the President of the United States is the ability to quick on the draw, i.e. decide quickly to use US miltiary power and might. We're the biggest, baddest country in the world; we have the luxary of time. In fact, we built into our Constitution and various procedures a time lag so that we could gravely consider and take action after deliberation; not spur of the moment decisions. Nuclear first stike and invasion, of course, are exceptions. Do you believe that a President has failed in his duties if he consiers actions other sending in the US military at the first drop of a hat? Are you suggest that all international relations issues can be solved by use of our armed forces?
The way I read them, commenters like Zathras and MB state (rightly) that proliferation is inherently destabilizing because we cannot know (much less control) all the factors going into the the decision to use such weapons.
Read Stephen Van Evera and John Mearshimer on why proliferation can be stablizing; the real issue we have a country with proliferation is that other countries have amazingly poor C3I which can potential result in terrorists having nucs, or more likely, a nuclear accident because someone wasn't watching what they were doing.
India [snip] much less secure command and control structure for its nukes that western countries or China....But the situation in neighboring Pakistan is in many ways infinitely worse. And should the schizophrenic Iranian govt succeed in getting nukes, there could not possibly be a way of keeping a handle on them.
We don't know that. Don't assume that the schizophrenic Iranian gov would give use power to the Presidency. After all, he can't call out their military without permission from the Grand Council; I think Iran's Imans are sufficiently paranoid that they will hold on to that power at the highest levels - the same way China does. It's Pakistan and India where the power is handed out like it's some sort of poltiical favor where you've got to be the most worried. Democracy does not = intelligent use of nuclear arms.
Knowing this, the Israelis will strike. Knowing that Israel will strike, we cannot allow Iran to proceed. Insanity per se doesn't enter into the equation, my dear TT.
Who ordered a pull out on June 30th? GW Bush. Who order the marines to give up miltiary control of Falluja to the insurgents? GW Bush. Who ordered the CPA to treat Ahamd Chalabi like he was the coming of Christ? GW Bush. Who ordered our troops to act like policemen throughout Iraq, when they've been trained to be soliders? GW Bush. Who abandonded Afghanistan, and despite your comments on how great it is, turned ever place by Kabul back into a free fire zone? GW Bush.
Bush is already pulling out. The chorus of "we's lost" has aleady started and includes the neo-cons who supported the war. Like you I think we should stay and clean up our mess. I think John Kerry will say the same thing because if he doesn't then Iraq will be a complete disaster....which you know, that's what his running mate John Edwards said at the convention. The president, who can match words to deeds in this regard, is still pulling out regular miltiary our and replacing about .5 with guardmen and keeping them in their firebases. Explain to me how that isn't advancing to the rear.
and we wouldn't even have the meagre hope of a missile defense shield, since Kerry will have turned all that money over to the Ministry of Ayurvedic Cures.
*Might want to check out Ralph Peters' latest for his take on the NIC (hint: he's no fan).*
He also writes for the NY Post. That gives me half the story. So what's the political opinion from the other side?posted by: wishIwuz2 on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
Kelli & Appalled Moderate:
The Russians did not cause Afghanistan to become a playground of Islamic fundies with "death to America" written on their hearts. That was Pakistan and the CIA. See Ghost Wars by Steve Coll.
As for how much better things are in Afghanistan, look where you're taking your comparison point. The Taliban are back, the place continues to be a hotbed for terror ... and will likely remain that way, because instead of cleaning it up, we acted like a 5-year-old with ADD and ran off to play in Iraq.
"Thanks, GWB" --- thanks for blowing off the perpetrators of 9/11 in favor of playing Dad's Avenger in a peripheral theater. When the next terror attack on America comes out of Afghanistan, who are you going to blame? Brezhnev?posted by: Anderson on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
We have a class of idiots, who no matter what happens keeps drinking the kool-aid, I term these people wingnuts. I believe Mark and Kelli are good examples. Let's look @ their track record.
- In Late'02 / Early '03 they were probably telling us Saddam would surprise us with a mushroom cloud. How'd that one turn out again?/
- After it was clcear there would be no clouds, they warned us of other WMD, bio and chem. How'd that one turn out again?
- In August/July '03 -- and CHENEY STILL TODAY, STILL TODAY!@$, tells us Iraq had significant links to Al Queda. Again, what happened there?
- In Oct '03, when people were saying Iraq is a mess, what were the wingnuts saying?
- In May '04, we find out Bush put 20 year olds in charge of Iraq's economy for a year, and conservative experts who were their said 1/3 of the CPA was Bush/Cheney '04 campaign headquarters. Wingnuts tell us, dont' worry, experience doesn't matter, only political loyalties do.
- Also in May, wingnuts tell us Abu Ghraib was the result of a few bad apples? -- WHAT WAS it really though?
- Come October '04, We now know the British Govt thinks both Iraq and Afghanistan are disasters. The US's own NIE says Iraq is bordering on disaster. Your own two stinkin eyes should be telling you teh same. Innumerable # of ex-cia, ex-nsa, west point profs, generals, diplomats, etc. etc. all say Iraq is heading for disaster. 3/4 of neo-nuts who supported this war say iraq is chaos.
AND YET, we still have wingnuts like InstaShill, Mark, and Kelli who supprot the president cause of the War On Terror. IN NYC, the place MOST effected by terror, 1 in 10 planned on PROTESTING the president. NYC is going overwhelming Kerry. IT's amazing that the people most effected trust kerry, BUT the 101st fighting keyboarders believe BUSH, is still good.
posted by: Jor on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
Jor, okay, Mark and Kelli are wrong, poor things. Now sit down. Breathe. Have a drink ....posted by: Anderson on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
Jor - I believe my "own two stinking eyes", thank you very much. You really ought to take a look at the Arab experience in terms of dishonestly run wars. There are certain hallmarks of the kind of falsely run military campaigns that are very much unavoidable, even more so in an open society like the US than in arab dictatorships. The last time you saw them on display was Baghdad Bob's "so sad it's funny" press conferences where Iraq was always winning but the front line under discussion kept getting closer to Baghdad.
The truth is that you can make a great deal of noise for a time by being willing to take unwise casualties and running through your cadre so that the cupboard will be bare in 6 or 9 months. Anybody can do it but when you've sent your last sucker into the enemy's guns, you have to fold up shop and end hostile operations. Tet was very much like that and the Viet Cong never recovered from its Tet offensive losses.
What is the strategic benefit of all these suicide attacks beyond pissing off Iraqis, and how does it get the other side closer to winning other than psychologically pressuring us to give up and cave? If you can't come up with something, then what's going on is just that, a psychological operation. If we don't give into it, they will run out of men and have to fold up shop and we will have won a war of attrition.
This was all there for us to see in the famous Zarqawi memo that laid out the impossibility of continuing operations past Iraqi elections. The terrorists have a deadline to beat. They have to make us break, to put off elections, to cancel them, or just militarily pull out before the elected Iraqi government takes office. Given that real deadline, they're burning through cadre and killing off the men who should be training and recruiting others into their forces.
TM, the problem I have with your analysis is that we aren't facing just one insurgency. We're facing a bunch of different insurgencies, that would probably be fighting each other if they didn't have us to fight.
If one of them is burning away their men in suicide attacks, that one will probably fold. That leaves the others.
Still, if Allawi could convince iraqis that there's only one insurgency and Zarqawi is it, he'd win.
Imagine you're back in the movie Red Dawn. A bunch of teenagers are up in the hills making little futile attacks at the russians who have armor and artillery etc. It's stupid but you have to kind of admire them for trying. One of the kids comes home to visit his mother, and the next day after he leaves the russians make an airstrike on her house, killing her and his kid sister and also destroying 3 other houses nearby. They announce it was a terrorist safehouse. They also announce that the terrorists have started kidnapping russian and cuban and other foreign civilians and cutting their heads off.
You know that *your* teenagers aren't kidnapping civilians. It must be some other insurgency somewhere else.
Does this seem like a plausible interpretation? If it's right, to win by attrition we have to kill a significant fraction of the 18-year-olds every year, and we have to make that such a big fraction that fewer in next year's crop join the resistance.
It's time we began talking troop withdrawl. This war is about to be lost. We need to demand our troops be withdrawl and give it to the insurgents. Were going fight them here in time. Lets stop spending billons over there and begin securing our country here. They are coming its just a matter of time. Stop wasting lives and money and give it up. More American lives we be lost as well as the Iraq citizens. We finally withdrew from Viet Nam ...why not Iraq.posted by: Libby Singleton on 09.15.04 at 11:35 PM [permalink]
Libby, we haven't given it that old college try yet.
AFter we lost china, we decided never to lose another nation after the media notices, without a good solid fight.
Year before last I published the claim that an antiwar movement that concentrated on getting information to the public might get us out of there with only 2000 casualties. I'm more pessimistic now.
However, we have publicly announced tha we'll leave if the IG or the TG tell us to. They just might do that.
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