Iraq Round-Up

Once again, we have hosed the Kurds and appear to be tactily endorsing enshrining Sharia in the Constitution:

U.S. diplomats have conceded ground to Islamists on the role of religion in Iraq, negotiators said on Saturday as they raced to meet a 48-hour deadline to draft a constitution under intense U.S. pressure.

U.S. diplomats, who have insisted the constitution must enshrine ideals of equal rights and democracy, declined comment.

Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish negotiators all said there was accord on a bigger role for Islamic law than Iraq had before.

But a secular Kurdish politician said Kurds opposed making Islam “the”, not “a”, main source of law — changing current wording — and subjecting all legislation to a religious test.

“We understand the Americans have sided with the Shi’ites,” he said. “It’s shocking. It doesn’t fit American values. They have spent so much blood and money here, only to back the creation of an Islamist state … I can’t believe that’s what the Americans really want or what the American people want.”

Washington, with 140,000 troops still in Iraq, has insisted Iraqis are free to govern themselves but made clear it will not approve the kind of clerical rule seen in Shi’ite Iran, a state U.S. President George W. Bush describes as “evil”.

In other news, the military is still planning for the long haul:

The Army is planning for the possibility of keeping the current number of soldiers in Iraq — well over 100,000 — for four more years, the Army’s top general said Saturday.

In an Associated Press interview, Gen. Peter Schoomaker said the Army is prepared for the ”worst case” in terms of the required level of troops in Iraq. He said the number could be adjusted lower if called for by slowing the force rotation or by shortening tours for soldiers.

Schoomaker said commanders in Iraq and others who are in the chain of command will decide how many troops will be needed next year and beyond. His responsibility is to provide them, trained and equipped.

Although, after reading the first story, my initial reaction to the second piece is “Why bother? Just pull out and let the civil war start now rather than later.” Of course we can’t, but…

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155 replies
  1. 1
    Jim Caputo says:

    Just pull out and let the civil war start now rather than later.” Of course we can’t, but…

    I used to be part of the “I’m against it, but now that we’re in it…” camp, but at some point I became convinced that a civil war in Iraq isn’t just a possibility, but a strong probability. At that point, I decided there’s nothing wrong with withdrawing our troops sooner rather than later. I really don’t think there’s anything to be won by staying. Additionally, to NOT pull our troops out leaves them under the direction of the current administration and I think three more years of their decisions will not only be futile in Iraq, but disasterous for our military.

  2. 2
    ppGaz says:

    I posted this to another thread. If the dupe is illegal, please take down the earlier one, I think it works better here.

    —-/

    There is no history of liberal democracy in the Arab world.

    There is no evidence that liberal democracy can be “created” by the United States, in Arabia, anywhere …. much less in Iraq, a country with one of the most volatile histories in the larger volatile history of Arabia.

    The failure rate, worldwide, for the creation of liberal democracies in countries that did not previously have them, since the beginning of the twentieth century, is about 80 percent. That’s 80 percent failure, not in Arabia, but in the world. In Arabia, the failure rate is either 100 percent, or zero, depending on whether you think there has been a legitimate attempt at liberal democracy in Arabia.

    Here’s a blurb from a foreign policy wonksite:

    a successful campaign to bring democracy to the domains of rogues and villains really does presuppose either a major shift in U.S. attitudes toward the undemocratic ruling classes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and others that we have long called our friends, or a permanent condition of blatant diplomatic hypocrisy. If we do suddenly begin to act as though our long-time authoritarian allies are really enemies blocking the democratization of their countries (and with it the best guarantee of our protection from mass-casualty terrorism), we will, in effect, be choosing bad relations with ten mostly well-entrenched regimes, without any reasonable near-term prospect of replacing them with democratic governments.

    The history of American involvement in Arabia indicates that our policies have not fostered democratization, buit instead have fostered cozy relationships with repressive oligarchies (i.e., Kuwait and Saudi Arabia) … relationships which rather obviously are intended to protect western oil interests. Our previous relationship with Iraq, before 1990, was aimed at employing Saddam Hussein as a security guard against the misbehaviors of Iran; another entirely self-serving and manipulative policy adventure, in a long string of such adventures in the region. The United States has established a solid track record of supporting anti-democratic and oppressive regimes in the Arab region for its own short-term reasons; this could be one reason why we have acted so clumsily and ineffectively in taking on the problems of an Iraq suddenly separated from its previous government.

    One of several problems the United States has now in the region is that US foreign policy is widely seen there as a major contributing factor to the repression of democratic movements in the Arab region. The reason for this US approach is rather simple:

    Our policies have been based on what we thought our interests were, and our interests centered around oil (and still do). Arab history indicates that democratization is likely to open the door to political forces that are not seen as likely to be friendly to US and western interests, likely to lead to even more oppressive or more intractable regimes whose policies are driven by religious tenets. In short, it has been seen as easier and cheaper to keep kings and princes in power than to open the door to religious political factions and the instabilities that might erupt therefrom.

    In this sense, then, Iraq cannot be viewed as if it were a standalone operation out there in Arabia. What happens there will in fact affect the Arab region, for better or worse, and most importantly, the United States will not have control over those events.

  3. 3
    SomeCallMeTim says:

    Precisely what has to happen, John, before you admit that your support for the war was a mistake? Or have you already seen sufficient justifications for war, so that no matter what happens from here on out, we were right to go in?

  4. 4
    eileen from OH says:

    And a leading Shi’ite said, “No issue is more crucial. Whether Iraq is kept safe for Islam is more important than whether it is made safe for democracy.”

    Not really.

    But irony’s a bitch, ain’t it, Mr. Buchanan?

    eileen from OH

  5. 5
    Bob says:

    As far as the constitution hosing the Kurds, not this time. The Kurds are ready to walk, and in the twelve years they functioned autonomously between the wars, they’ve developed enough of an infrastructure and enough military oomph to believe that they can go on their own.

    The hosing won’t happen when we pull out either. While it will be interesting who wins the fight for the northern oilfields and Tikrit et al, my guess is that Kurdistan will do okay there too.

    The hosing will happen when Turkishn divisions cross the border, throwing NATO and the Mideast into more confusion than anyone could have dreamed. What does the US do then? What does NATO do? What does Iran do?

    Great plan, PNAC. Great plan, George.

  6. 6
    Caroline says:

    The way I see it is that fundamentalist islamic theocracy will be installed no matter what W. or any other administration official says. If you have 60% of the population wanting a theocracy, what do you do?

  7. 7
    Nate says:

    Although, after reading the first story, my initial reaction to the second piece is “Why bother? Just pull out and let the civil war start now rather than later.” Of course we can’t, but…

    John, as loathe as I am to have you go mano-a-mano with another vet (Vietnam, this time), here is his recommendation that we “Call it a Day”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....00114.html

    I’m not a “cut-and-run” librul, but contrary to winbgnut expectations, the death toll on both sides and the inability of the administration to do anything right is driving me crazy, so withdrawing may be the best plan.

  8. 8
    Far North says:

    There farthest that the Bush people got in planning the Iraq adventure was the the “top gun” landing on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln. They haven’t had a clue of what to do nor any idea what was going to happen after Bush declared “mission accomplished”.

    How any of Bush’s supporters have any faith in his judgement and abiltiies is beyond me.

  9. 9
    Mike S says:

    Up until about three weeks ago I was in the “can’t leave” camp. Then I met some people with a lot of expecriance in the ME. All of them had been for the war before it started and all of them had come to the conclusion that it was now too f*ed up to fix. They convinced me that it was time to get out.

    In the three weeks since every piece of news coming out of Iraq has only solidified that.

  10. 10
    Kimmitt says:

    The Kurds will walk if they get left out, simple as that. That’s why they’ve been gently ethnically cleansing Kirkuk, so that they’ll have the resources they need to run an independent country.

  11. 11
    scs says:

    I think we should take a middle way out and not leave completely but pull back to the bases. That way the soldiers will not be moving targets and the casualty rate should go down but we will have enough presence there to still call the shots. After all, we are still in Japan and Germany 60 years later and no one is complaining. The trick is to find a way to get the casualty rate down.

  12. 12
    Darrell says:

    Dean makes several good points with historical comparisons then concludes

    I can’t get worked up about this. Especially because I see no reason to believe that the Iraqi people will ratify a constitution that a strong majority of them strongly disagree with

    .
    Good point

  13. 13
    Mike S says:

    After all, we are still in Japan and Germany 60 years later and no one is complaining.

    One of my favorite memes.

  14. 14
    scs says:

    Hey you can’t argue with success

  15. 15
    Geek, Esq. says:

    The tragedy is that things could have been done much better.

    But they weren’t, and they won’t be as long as Don Rumsfeld is running the show over there.

  16. 16
    scs says:

    Okay, HOW could they have done better? Where is this magic plan that Rumsfeld missed?

  17. 17
    Mike S says:

    Okay, HOW could they have done better? Where is this magic plan that Rumsfeld missed?

    I guess you’ve been asleep for the last 3 years or so.

  18. 18
    hadenoughofthisyet says:

    Hoboy. How is it going to go over in Kansas if it turns out American soldiers died to create an Islamic republic like Iran?

  19. 19
    KC says:

    Thing is, the administration’s going to call this a victory, right? If they do, it’s a victory, right? Just want to make sure.

  20. 20
    ppGaz says:

    Okay, HOW could they have done better? Where is this magic plan that Rumsfeld missed?

    Well, you have this one guy, he’s called the “president”, and he sits at the middle of the big cabinet room table. See, he can tell the other guys, the “cabinet” fellers, what to do.

    He can say, now Don, I need you to put together a plan for me that shows how we are going to take care of this broken country after we break it … I mean, liberate it. We should be prepared for the worst in there. A long siege of insurgency and unrest. Now some of you fellers have been sayin, well, we’ll just go on in there and we’ll be welcomed as liberators, and we’ll just rig up a gummint of our friends and arrange for the oil shipments and whatnot, and we’re done.

    But that would be wrong. See, this country we’re breakin’ has no real track record of successful self government or democracy. Now, what about the fact that we are plannin’ to just fire all the militarily trained people in there on account of loyalty to Saddam, leavin’ us with no Iraqi resource to keep the peace and allow our new gummint to, well, govern?

    —-/

    See, it’s actually possible for leaders to lead, and to move as if they weren’t just making shit up and being in a reactive mode all the time, looking like they didn’t take the time and do the due diligence.

    In a parallel universe, I mean.

    In a parallel universe, where they don’t just make things up as they go along, and then talk all cocky and know-it-all when the cameras are turned on. And then later when it turns out they were mostly wrong, to just make up new things and toss them out there all cocky-like so as to confuse the people and fool ’em into thinking they got it all under control. When they don’t actually know what the hell they are doing, at all.

  21. 21
    StupidityRules says:

    Iran wins.

  22. 22
    neil says:

    “Why bother? Just pull out and let the civil war start now rather than later.” Of course we can’t, but…

    No, John, of course we can’t. We have to arm them first.

  23. 23
    Nate says:

    Hoboy. How is it going to go over in Kansas if it turns out American soldiers died to create an Islamic republic like Iran?

    Are you kidding? The theocrats over in Kansas LOVE the theocrats in Iran! They’re *family!*

  24. 24
    rafael says:

    What Bob said, if the kurds go their own way, Turkey is going to get pretty nervous and might intervene in the coming civil war.

    Somebody wrote a funny article once about Bush being a spy for Iran. It played on the Manchurian candidate movie. It’s scary how it actually makes a little sense.

  25. 25
    hadenoughofthisyet says:

    Are you kidding? The theocrats over in Kansas LOVE the theocrats in Iran! They’re family!

    You’re right. I didn’t even think of it that way. I’m sure the spinning will be along these lines — what’s wrong with incorporating more religion in a democracy? Simply replace “Islam” with “Christian”.

  26. 26
    TallDave says:

    People are getting way too worked up about sharia. Yes, it’s less than ideal; no it does not mean Iraqi is remotely a theocracy, any more than Britain is:

    The House of Lords has 724 members: hereditary peers, life peers, and bishops of the Church of England.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom

    No one is even discussing the possibility, afaik, that Islamic clerics be given unelected positions in Iraqi gov’t.

    ppGaz,

    There is no evidence that liberal democracy can be “created” by the United States, in Arabia, anywhere

    I guess you’ve never heard of Japan. Little country a few thousand miles off our West Coast, second largest economy in the world, Constitution written by the United States and forced down their throats… ring a bell?

  27. 27
    TallDave says:

    ppGaz,

    You also apparently know nothing about the hundreds of pages of documents done in preparation of setting up a new gov’t in Iraq, working with lots of Congressional input and expatriate Iraqis, for over a year before the invasion.

    All the carping done by people like you also tends o ignore how much worse things would be under the alternative: continued rule by Saddam’s blood-soaked police state, dotted with state-approved rape rooms and torture centers for anyone who criticized the regime, didn’t perform up to par at the Olympics, or just caught his rapist sons’ eye.

  28. 28
    TallDave says:

    The failure rate, worldwide, for the creation of liberal democracies in countries that did not previously have them, since the beginning of the twentieth century, is about 80 percent.

    That’s a bit misleading. The “failure rate” for all gov’t’s is about 99% because sooner or later every gov’t in history fell, except for the ones currently in power. Also, the failure rate for countries in which the U.S. has invaded and helped them set up a new democratic gov’t seems to be pretty low: Afghanistan, Iraq, Japan, Germany, France, Italy…

  29. 29
    StupidityRules says:

    TallDave, great spin on the sharia law thing. The House of Lords. Great spin. Hopefully it won’t be used by the GOP or in the end you’ll have succeded in pissing off the US greatest ally in the GWOT…

  30. 30
    Bruce From Missouri says:

    Well, John, I hope all you conservatives are proud of yourselves. We took a country that had women’s rights, and that wasn’t bothering us in any significant way, and turned it into a haven for terrorism, and a hell for women.

    Congratulations.

    I will be snotty and say that I predicted damn near all of this before the first shot was fired, as did a lot of other people.

    Bruce

  31. 31
    Nate says:

    All the carping done by people like you also tends o ignore how much worse things would be under the alternative: continued rule by Saddam’s blood-soaked police state, dotted with state-approved rape rooms and torture centers for anyone who criticized the regime, didn’t perform up to par at the Olympics, or just caught his rapist sons’ eye.

    TallDave,

    are you just super-ignorant, or are you doing a I’m-so-rightwing-I can’t-tell-what’s-up-or-down Stormy/DougJ riff?

    “How much worse things could be”, or are? What is Iraq now, if not blood-sokaed? It’s not run by the police, true, it’s run by militias, as the Was Post reported today. There aren’t state-approved rape rooms and torture centers, just thousands of rapes, murders, sanctioned or otherwise, taking place in a lawless country, and the US is doing the torturing. Anyone who criticizes one of the militias or their higher bodies dies (as evidenced by Mr. Vincent last week), and hundreds of Iraqis and US soldiers are dying each week.

    How *could* it be worse, you moron?

  32. 32
    Russell says:

    Can someone please explain to me why Iraq has to exist as a single political unit?

    It appears, manifestly, obvious that Iraq naturally divides, like Gaul, into three parts: a relatively secular Kurdish north organized around something like a western democratic model, a theocratic Shia south, and a Sunni middle. I’m not sure what political tradition is natural to the Sunnis, other than a “strong man” quasi-fascist tribally identified statism.

    What’s wrong with letting each group take their own direction? The arguments I’ve heard is that it would be “destabilizing”. As far as I can tell, that particular horse is long out of the barn.

    Your thoughts are welcome.

    Cheers –

  33. 33
    GT says:

    File this one under the ‘Can’t win no matter waht you do” file for the U.S.

    On one hand get harraunged for imposing our ideals on others by force…

    On the other hand get the same sh*t for NOT doing that very thing…

  34. 34
    scs says:

    I have not heard one person ever come up with one concrete idea on what a better “plan” for the Iraq war entailed. It seems you pretty much have to do what were doing. You occupy first, then try and rebuild and you train an army and then try to organize a government. Again, where is that magic plan Rumsfeld missed? More troops? I think more troops would have been more targets. Better equipment? We have nothing that will withstand a strong roadside bomb, the source of most casualties. Even an armoured car woudn’t. More allies? Our “allies”, besides the Brits, have no armies to speak of. And maybe the French also, but dream on there. So what is the magic plan? Let’s hear it.

  35. 35
    scs says:

    And Nate, you’re right. Iraq was better under Saddam. Hey, he’s still around and healthy. Let’s just bring him back! That will make everything better, right?

  36. 36
    Caroline says:

    The best plan would have been to not do what we did. Let the inspections work.

    One thing that I think many Americans don’t know is just how much the Iraqi’s hated us before we invaded their country. Sadaam had been putting out anti-american propaganda ever since Gulf War I.

  37. 37
    ppGaz says:

    There is no evidence that liberal democracy can be “created” by the United States, in Arabia, anywhere

    I guess you’ve never heard of Japan.

    Japan is not an Arab country. There is no history of liberal democracy in Arabia. That was the point. Japan is not part of Arabia, Dave. Although, to your defense, they do have little brown people there. So it’s an easy mistake for you to make.

  38. 38
    ppGaz says:

    The failure rate, worldwide, for the creation of liberal democracies in countries that did not previously have them, since the beginning of the twentieth century, is about 80 percent.

    That’s a bit misleading. The “failure rate” for all gov’t’s is about 99%

    Uh, no. I said what I meant, and meant what I said.

    Since the beginning of the 20th century, the failure rate for conversion to liberal democracy has been about 80%.

    There is no rate available for Arabia, because there is no history of conversion to liberal democracy in Arabia.

  39. 39
    ppGaz says:

    You also apparently know nothing about the hundreds of pages of documents done in preparation of setting up a new gov’t in Iraq, working with lots of Congressional input and expatriate Iraqis, for over a year before the invasion.

    Uh, excuse me? The Iraq regime change was being planned in early 2002? And the government didn’t have enough decency, enough respect for the people, to let us in on it? All that stuff later in the year, just a charade?

    Then fuck them. Impeach the sons of bitches and put them all in prison, because we were lied to.

  40. 40
    Jimmy Jazz says:

    All praise is due to Allah. Neocons, neolibs, ignorant rednecks, and corporate board members, you are the proud parents of an Islamic theocracy.

  41. 41
    scs says:

    ppGaz, where did you get this info on the failure rate on democracies from? I would be interested to know which countries you are talking about because I can’t think of too many offhand right now. The ones I’m thinking of tend to stay democratic, but there could be some I’m not aware of.

    And Caroline, and others, I think the idea that I hear oft repeated that the Iraqi’s didn’t greet us with flowers is mostly revionist history. I remember watching CNN live, with my own eyes and seeing many many Iraqi people cheer and dance in the streets as the invasion wrapped up. Granted, a lot of people were looting as they were doing it, but cheering none the less. Obviously, 99.9 percent of those cheering were not Sunnis, but the Sunnis only make up 20% of the population. As 80% of the population, the large majority, were mostly happy with the invasion, I think we can safely say that Iraqi’s DID greet us with flowers. We can now officially retire the non-flower myth.

  42. 42
    Nate says:

    And Caroline, and others, I think the idea that I hear oft repeated that the Iraqi’s didn’t greet us with flowers is mostly revionist history. I remember watching CNN live, with my own eyes and seeing many many Iraqi people cheer and dance in the streets as the invasion wrapped up. Granted, a lot of people were looting as they were doing it, but cheering none the less. Obviously, 99.9 percent of those cheering were not Sunnis, but the Sunnis only make up 20% of the population. As 80% of the population, the large majority, were mostly happy with the invasion, I think we can safely say that Iraqi’s DID greet us with flowers. We can now officially retire the non-flower myth.

    This is, I think, the most *stupid* piece of Rush Limbaugh propaganda that I’ve seen in these forums. So you saw some Iraqis jumping up and down on the TV? Must have been true! So you saw all those Iraqis trample Saddam’s statue? That means 80% of the country was behind us! I’m much more offended by the wing-nut naivite than their stupidity, though one *does* go hand in hand with the other. I thought it was supposed to be a calk-walk, too. scs?

    I have not heard one person ever come up with one concrete idea on what a better “plan” for the Iraq war entailed.

    To paraphrase from Wargames: “The only winning move is not to play.” And we didn’t have to play. I’ll let that sink in while I compile a list of Rumsfeld’s EVIDENT mistakes, unless someone beats me to it first.

  43. 43
    TallDave says:

    Freedom and transparency versus terror and crime.

    All the pieces are in place for Iraq to continue to improve at the phenomenal rate it does now.

    Think of last year. Remember the siege of Fallujah? The police stations overrun in Mosul? Nothing remotely like that has happened this year. This year was elections and political wrangling and constitution writing and (later) more elections.

  44. 44
    TallDave says:

    ppGaz,

    The Iraq regime change was being planned in early 2002?
    And the government didn’t have enough decency, enough respect for the people, to let us in on it?

    ROTFLMAO!!! We can’t win: if we have a plan, we were planning to invade all along, if we don’t, we didn’t plan enough!!

    Aside from the self-defeating nature of your arguments, you seem pretty ignorant on the basic facts. The planning was public, plans to overthrow Iraq date back to the Clinton years, and it’s very common to plan for things that may or may not happen.

  45. 45
    TallDave says:

    Japan is not an Arab country. There is no history of liberal democracy in Arabia. That was the point.

    No, you said

    There is no evidence that liberal democracy can be “created” by the United States, in Arabia, anywhere

    We’ve never tried to create liberal democracy anywhere in Arabia. You might as well say:

    There is no evidence that liberal democracy can be “created” by the United States, in Mars, anywhere

    So I assumed when you said “anywhere,” you meant anywhere, since otherwise your statement is meaningless.

    Although, to your defense, they do have little brown people there. So it’s an easy mistake for you to make.

    Unlike you, I’m not a racist bigot who believes Arabs can’t handle democracy. Although, in your defense, Japanese are not brown, so maybe it’s general ignorance rather than prejudice.

  46. 46
    TallDave says:

    Nate,

    What is Iraq now, if not blood-sokaed? How could it be worse, you moron?

    Maybe instead of calling me names you could ask the Shia, who are still digging hundreds of thousands of their people out of mass graves. Or ask the 1.1 million killed in the Iran-Iraq war. Or the Kuwaitis. Or people of Halabja, who were gassed by Saddam.

    Or ask the thousands maimed, tortured, and raped by Saddam’s goons.

  47. 47
    TallDave says:

    Progress is always relative. Even a year ago, when things were much worse, Iraqis said the war was worth it.

    Thing about how strange it is for the country that was invaded to be more supportive of the invasion than the country of the invader.

    Hey Nate, while you’re compiling that amusing list of Rummy’s alleged “could have, should have, would haves” be sure to include whether you predicted them in advance like you expected Rumsfeld to, and how you can prove they would have helped rather than hurt matters.

  48. 48
    TallDave says:

    s/b Think about how strange it is for the country that was invaded to be more supportive of the invasion than the country of the invader.

    sorry

  49. 49
    ppGaz says:

    Unlike you, I’m not a racist bigot who believes Arabs can’t handle democracy.

    I said nothing of the kind, you lying sack of shit.

    I said that there was no history of democracy there.

  50. 50
    ppGaz says:

    We can’t win

    This isn’t a casino, Dave. There’s nothing to win.

    It’s about trusting your government.

    It’s about the fact that your government is in a fix of its own making. Squandering the peoples’ trust, the government now finds itself needing the support of the people to go on indefinitely with the Iraq “campaign.” How it goes about getting that support, I’ll leave up to you. But if what you say and do in here is any indication, the game is over. The numbers are headed south and your idiotic blurbs are not going to help the cause.

    If you come up with any new, good ideas, let us know. Otherwise we appear to be screwed.

  51. 51
    B. Ross says:

    I, for one, am heartened, nay, thrilled, that we have spent SO much American blood and treasure to install a Shi’ite Islamic Theocracy.

    So much better than a Sunni Islamic Theocracy, don’t you think?

    Oh, and sorry about those burqas, ladies. Oh, and not being able to have jobs, and not being able to walk alone on the street. I’m sure you won’t mind becoming chattel. Well, sure, we know you’re 50% of the population, but, hey, democracy’s such a bitch!

  52. 52
    scs says:

    ppGaz -still waiting for your list of democratic failures. And Nate- still waiting for your Rummy suggestions.

  53. 53
    scs says:

    Sorry about the cross-out there. And also Nate, the people cheering were not isolated staged incidents, but were widespread. I saw it on all different news channels, shown in many different towns, scenes of the same thing- people cheering. And not just one or two people, streetfulls of them, hundreds, maybe thousands, in each spot. I mean, didn’t you watch the news too? Now obviously I wasn’t there, but unless all the news rooms were in a conspiracy, these scenes seem to be a pretty convincing positive reaction from a large segment of the Iraqi population. And it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out why: the Shia and Kurds hated Saddam Hussein. Why can’t you just admit the obvious?

  54. 54
    Theseus says:

    Ummm, exactly what does “Arabia” mean? What, is that like “Arab Land” or something? I must have gotten my history and geography mixed up. Is that the “reality-based” term you’re using to describe the land of the “A-rabs”?

    Those brown fellas who, apparently, don’t have the intellectual sophistication or intelligence that say, our vastly intellectually superior elites have here to properly govern themselves, given a fair and decent chance. I suppose someone should dispatch the proper representatives of the “liberal” left to educate them on how hopeless their cause is, because, apparently, from all the polls and surveys of Iraqi public opinion done recently, they haven’t gotten the “liberal”-it’s-all-a-catastrophe/quagmire-meme and talking points. Dumb Iraqis, when *will* they learn??

  55. 55
    TallDave says:

    and the US is doing the torturing.

    Abuses under Saddam were systematic, approved, official policy and were rewarded by the regime. Abuses by the US troops are unusual, officially prohibited, and prosecuted.

    Frankly, equating Saddam’s abuses with our soldiers’ behavior, esp. when the vast majority are serving honorably, is despicable.

  56. 56
    TallDave says:

    This isn’t a casino, Dave. There’s nothing to win.

    Freedom, democracy, consensual gov’t? Maybe you don’t consider those “winning.” Try living somewhere without them and you’ll quickly change your tune.

  57. 57
    TallDave says:

    The numbers are headed south

    The numbers are almost all headed in the right direction. Sunnis are going to vote, there are no mass insurrections like Fallujah and Mosul last year, there are 5,000 more Iraqi troops every month, oil production is up, electricity production is up, there are more phones, the economy grew by 50% last year and is estimated at 35% this year…

  58. 58
    Nate says:

    And Nate still waiting for your Rummy suggestions.

    Boy, the ‘nuts are out in force tonight. Maybe it’s a full moon? Dunno.

    *What Rumsfeld should have known (and was advised by others in his field about):*

    1) Rumsfeld claimed there were WMD’s hidden around Tikrit. “We know where they are.”

    2) Not enough troops for the invasion. Gen. Shinseki advised many more. Rumsfeld ignored him. TallDave’s balderdash about “that would have meant more targets!” is absolutely moronic, and goes against every occupation in history. “Nein, mein Fuhrer, we need LESS men in Russia. More targets!”

    3) Rumsfeld had troops protect everything oil, and nothing else. Looting, lawlessness, actual rapes, and the rape of the Iraqi museums, to which he responded, paraphrase: “Who could have known there’d be so many pots?” (Wingnuts: I know you don’t give a crap about history and culture, but this is the worst of his sins for me.)

    4) Rummy allowed Bremer to release all the *armed* soldiers from the army. These unpaid soldiers then went and worked for the insurgency.

    5) Rumsfeld et al. lied about the mounting insurgency, saying it was only “remnants and dead-enders.” Which it’s clearly not.

    6) Armor for soldiers and armor for vehicles. It is most egregious that 2 and a half years after the invasion that troops still don’t have sufficient body armor. Many, many deaths could have been prevented this way.

    7) The insurgency, as strong and alive as ever, despite TallDave’s weak protests, is the product of Rumsfeld’s shortsightedness. That they expected to be greeted as liberators in an Arab country is absolutely crazy, and they weren’t. If this is being welcomed by flowers and candy, I don’t want to see a real insurgency.

    8) Abu Ghraib.

    9) No planning for the occupation. The wingnut protest that he didn’t have enough time don’t count for crap. Make enough time, or suffer the consequences.

    10) Because most of our men, materiel and treasure are flowing to Iraq, Rummy has strained the Army severely. If there is a REAL emergency, say from Iran or North Korea, we shall be hard-pressed to meet it.

    OK, that’s all I could think of past midnight. Wingnuts, I don’t expect you to let any of these slide and let your golden hero get tarnished. You’ve all moved the goalposts for failure completely off the field! Therefore, we’re doing great! *Ignorance is Strength!*

  59. 59
    TallDave says:

    … there are hundreds of TV stations, radio stations, newspapers, Iraqis take control of more areas every month…

    I could go on. Iraqis said 70% to 30% that the country was headed in right direction in the last poll. Explain to me again how you and all the naysayers know better than the Iraqis themselves whether the situation is improving or getting worse.

    The answer is: you don’t.

  60. 60
    TallDave says:

    Nate, you’re much better at calling people names than making any kind of sense. All those points have been long ago debunked.

  61. 61
    TallDave says:

    1) The intel agencies were wrong. Not Rumsfeld’s fault.

    2) No proof that would have helped, and lots of reasons to think that would have them worse.

    3) Iraqis need the oil money more than the museums, and the “looting” turned out to be an inside job.

    4) They were conscripts. They went home as soon as no one was forcing them to stay.

    5) That’s certainly what it appears to be. Where’s your source proving otherwise?

    6) Rumsfeld isn’t psychic. Did you predict ever vehicle and soldier would need armor?

    7) 80% of them did greet us happily.

    8) The abuses were punished.

    9) There was lots and lots of planning.

    10) We’re more than capable of dealing with those threats.

  62. 62
    djc says:

    Nathaniel Merchant is a director of opera & theater residing in New York City. He specializes in re-discovering rare & neglected works from varied composers and playwrights including Verdi, Donizetti, Boito, Shakespeare, Jonson, Moliere & Müller. Also an adaptor & librettist, he is currently at work on several operatic and theatrical collaborations.

    And a witty, charming expert on miltary affairs to boot! What’s not to like??? You go girl!!

    Moonbat.

  63. 63
    scs says:

    Nate, I agree that some of the things you mentioned could have been done better. I am glad to see specific complaints for once. However, I also agree with TallDave that most of these things you mentioned would not and did not effect the ultimate outcome of what’s going on today. You have a small but dedicated segment of the population, moslty Sunni’s, who have found an effective method of fighting US troops, roadside bombs. That is the cause of the casualty rate, and ain’t much that Rummy plans or non-plans or anyone’s plans can do about it, short of pulling back the troops.

  64. 64
    ppGaz says:

    Freedom, democracy, consensual gov’t? Maybe you don’t consider those

    As I said, the Arab world has no history of liberal democracy. There is no evidence to support the assertion that such a thing can be created there, at will, by the US or any foreign occupier. At best, it’s an experiment. At worst, it’s a boondoggle.

    The outcome cannot be predicted, and whatever outcome is reached will be reached over a span of time during which events are not under our control.

    What you have here is a war that was ginned up on the basis of threats that did not actually exist, and which is now sold as a way to achieve a goal for which there is no evidence available to support the possibility of such a goal, nor is there any way to predict and control the events that might lead to the goal, or away from the goal.

    Add to that a solid track record for this administration of being wrong about this situation over and over again, and you have the current dillemma, Dave. People just don’t swallow the BS quite as readily as they used to.

  65. 65
    Nate says:

    The “good”:

    Nate, I agree that some of the things you mentioned could have been done better. I am glad to see specific complaints for once. However, I also agree with TallDave that most of these things you mentioned would not and did not effect the ultimate outcome of what’s going on today. You have a small but dedicated segment of the population, moslty Sunni’s, who have found an effective method of fighting US troops, roadside bombs. That is the cause of the casualty rate, and ain’t much that Rummy plans or non-plans or anyone’s plans can do about it, short of pulling back the troops.

    The bad:

    Nate, you’re much better at calling people names than making any kind of sense. All those points have been long ago debunked.

    The ugly:

    /snip from my website/ And a witty, charming expert on miltary affairs to boot! What’s not to like??? You go girl!!

    Why don’t you actually say something of substance, Dear Jesus Christ? Because attacking me personally like this just proves how threatening my posts are to you, and that you use culture only to mock. So Rove-ian of you…

  66. 66
    rilkefan says:

    1) The intel agencies were wrong. Not Rumsfeld’s fault.

    That’s truly hilarious as well as partly accurate. Important elements of the intel agencies tried to convince the admin that their Iraq WMD etc claims were crap, but Cheney strong-armed them, stove-piped them, set up alternate agencies to get around them. It’s only somewhat Rumsfeld’s fault that he wasn’t skeptical, knowing Cheney, and knowing how weak, uninformed, and malleable a President Bush fils is. But it’s certainly Rumsfeld’s fault that believing there were WMDs he then didn’t even try to secure them. Well, actually, it’s not clear to me he really believed, because he is a sharp guy.

    Oh, and it’s certainly Rumsfeld’s fault for ludicrously proclaiming certainty about the existence of WMD based on evidence that Powell referred to as a pile of – well, Powell was being charitable.

    Oh, and the failure to catch OBL – Rumsfeld’s fingerprints are all over that debacle.

  67. 67
    djc says:

    “Nat”

    You put the website link there, not me.

    In everyone of your “comments”, you call the poster you disagree with either a wingnut or a moron.

    Stunning originality.

    If you can’t stand the heat, jerkoff, go back to Kos.

  68. 68
    Nate says:

    *sigh*

    1) The intel agencies were wrong. Not Rumsfeld’s fault.

    Sure it was. He said, “They are there.” He assumes responsibility. That’s without even going into intelligence coercion.

    2) No proof that would have helped, and lots of reasons to think that would have them worse.

    No proof??????? What about the insurgency going on now? That’s like saying there’s no proof you need a tank of air when you go diving! And please list the reasons why more troops would have been worse! Even warmongers would disagree with you!

    3) Iraqis need the oil money more than the museums, and the “looting” turned out to be an inside job.

    It wasn’t FOR the Iraqis. It was for US. And if you don’t see the value in 3,000 year-old artifacts, I really can’t help you.

    What’s this blather about “inside job”? Who cares? The looting was widespread, systematic, and the US military did nothing to stop it!

    4) They were conscripts. They went home as soon as no one was forcing them to stay.

    No one *paid* them to stay. Without employment, they got “other” jobs.

    5) That’s certainly what it appears to be. Where’s your source proving otherwise?

    Just logic. If it was just “dead-enders and remnants”, could they have POSSIBLY held out against the US military and the Iraqi army this long? And done so much damage and created so much havoc that we are now negotiating with them?

    Don’t forget to explain away the Sadr brigades and the foriegn fighters too.

    6) Rumsfeld isn’t psychic. Did you predict ever vehicle and soldier would need armor?

    I don’t know what to say about this. There was *certain* to be SOME sort of insurgency. How about preparing for that? How about not having military families footing the bill for body armor?

    7) 80% of them did greet us happily.

    Please proove this crap, other than saying you saw it on TV and extrapolated. If 80% really WERE happy, we wouldn’t be in this mess now.

    8) The abuses were punished.

    Yes, some of the guards were punished. But it’s funny that these abuses were prevalenty at Gitmo, Bagram, and Abu Ghraib….all in different locations, don’t you know? No, the abuses have not yet been punished. Rumsfeld himself offered his resignation over this. Would he do that if abuses had been punished? He is *responsible*. Look the word up.

    9) There was lots and lots of planning.

    OK, lots and lots of bad planning. *Obviously.*

    10) We’re more than capable of dealing with those threats.

    Are we really? Are you in the Army and in the know? This is macho rhetoric if I’ve ever heard it. I’d ask you to give me a plausible explanation of what we’d do if Iran created a crisis, but nothing you’ve said yet is plausible.

  69. 69
  70. 70
    ppGaz says:

    ppGaz still waiting for your list of democratic failures. And Nate still waiting for your Rummy suggestions.

    Start here

    Zakaria

    See the notes on that page, and also look for the work or Bernard Lewis on the subject …

    Lewis

    The 80 percent worldwide, 20th century figure I mentioned was asserted by one or both of these gentlemen during a videotaped discussion of the subject covered by the cited papers. I’ve seen the figure in black and white but I haven’t been able to track that down for you.

    Anyway, this material should get you started on your study of liberal-illiberal democratization trends.

  71. 71
    djc says:

    ppGaz,

    I gather from your previous comments that you regard both the Arabs and Japanese as “little brown people”.

    You also stated, that because of of the lack of historical precedent, the little brown people of the Middle East aren’t likely to clue into this democracy thang (f*ck, half of the u.s electorate voted for McChimpyBushHitler, maybe democracy doesn’t work in ameriKKKa either!!)

    How would you explain the fact that the Japanese, who had no democratic tradion prior to their defeat in WWII, (being little brown people) has become one of the world’s great democracies?

    And speaking about little brown people (1 billion of them), how about India!

    Enquiring minds would like to know.

  72. 72
    Mike S says:

    And Caroline, and others, I think the idea that I hear oft repeated that the Iraqi’s didn’t greet us with flowers is mostly revionist history.

    There is no way this person is real. Every comment they have ever posted has been as divorced from reality as this one.

    My conclusion is that it is another incarnation of DougJ. No one else can be this dumb.

  73. 73
    TallDave says:

    As I said, the Arab world has no history of liberal democracy.

    Wrong. There have been parliamentary democracies in Iran and Iraq.

  74. 74
    TallDave says:

    Nate,

    Yeah, we’re getting so much free oil from Iraq.

    The rest of your points are equally ridiculous.

  75. 75
    Shygetz says:

    djc: ppGaz’s comment about “little brown people” was a popular snark at the Right’s perceived patronization and marginalization of minorities. His point was that there is no history of democracy in the Arab Middle East. That point still stands. The democratization of Japan was completely different. The Japanese were largely a culturally homogenous people who had been totally broken over the war, and whose leader (both temporal and spiritual) had surrendered unconditionally to the occupiers, blunting domestic resistance. Their most influential neighbor was America’s ally (China), so foreign resistance was small. Iraq is a culturally diverse region that was only held together by a secular strongmen; it had a history of suppression of the majority by an ethnic minority and tons of ethnic conflict. It also has a strong religious component, with uncowed religious leaders seeking temporal power. We are surrounded by nations and cultures that are anti-American and anti-democracy, which allowed easy foreign influence into Iraqi events after the invasion.

    There is nothing genetic saying that Iraqis cannot sustain a liberal democracy, but there are plenty of cultural reasons to say that they are not ready to do so. Case in point is the Constitution they are drafting; we hand them freedom, and they can’t wait to piss it away on a theocracy that strictly limits their rights. Another case in point–the oppressive insurgency. It is known that the insurgency includes both local resistance fighters and foreign agitators. The reports I have read suggested that the local resistance fighters are the ones that target the troops, while the foreigners target anyone and everyone, just trying to cause sectarian violence. I can understand the local resistance (although I don’t like it). However, how can a people who truly desire and are ready to fight for their freedoms continue to hide and protect foreign fighters in thier midst? Only in a few cases have there been reports of locals turning on the foreign fighters and expelling them from the community. If the culture of the country were truly ready to defend the freedom that we gave them, then they would be willing to fight tooth and nail against foreign fighters that kill Iraqis more often than they kill Americans. Another example that lasting freedom is not something that can be given; it must be paid for, or else it will not be held dear.

    And your ad hominem attack on Nate says nothing about him, and everything about you. Unless you are trying to claim expertise in this issue, in which case you should put up your cv and let us critique it. Otherwise, stick to the issue and leave the personal attacks to the experts on your side.

  76. 76
    Nate says:

    Nate,

    Yeah, we’re getting so much free oil from Iraq.

    The rest of your points are equally ridiculous.

    Really? Then dispute them, as I did with yours. Why are you just casually dismissing them? Because you *can’t* dispute them. All you guys have are castles in the air and ad hominem attacks. I’m shocked, shocked!

    Otherwise, stick to the issue and leave the personal attacks to the experts on your side.

    Sadly, he can’t. “You made me do it.” Doesn’t school start soon? These summer vacations are just too long, obviously.

  77. 77
    Shygetz says:

    TallDave: Parlimentary democracies in Iran? Oh, you mean the declaration of the republic under Mossadegh that lasted, what, less than a week (thanks in part to help from the CIA)?

    And a repuclic in Iraq? Oh, you mean the one established after the military coup, led by Qasim, in which Qasim (who was often referred to as the “sole leader”) retained all real power through careful use of the army and political trials. Almost all historians have the intellectual honesty to put the word republic in quotes when dealing with this one.

    C’mon TallDave, pull the other one.

  78. 78
    Cyrus says:

    djc,

    Forget the color of their skin. When I use the term “brown people” I’m usually (except for when I’m talking to an Indian friend of mine with a weird sense of humor) mocking the people on the right who are obsessed with both Arabs and Hispanics as dangerous aliens. I imagine ppGaz is doing the same. The people who were trying to look on the bright side of the Menezes shooting even after we found out he was innocent – hell, how could the police have known, right? If I had written what ppGaz did, you could have called my sense of humor offensive, inappropriate, or just not funny, or you could have been offended by my calling you a racist, but it would have been incorrect to call me one.

    Now, Japan – before the emperor took on a more godlike role (or maybe “retook a godlike role”) preceding World War II, it democratized. Quickly. It had a parliamentary democracy with competing parties and widely varying schools of political thought. In about 40 years, Japan progressed as far from rule by divine right to representative democracy as England had taken about 200 years to go. (They didn’t get up to modern standards, of course, but at the time parts of the US weren’t a democracy by modern standards either, so…) Then, as nationalism rose, the benefits of modernity began to be felt and Japan became the major player in the region, it regressed. The US did not create democracy in Japan out of nothing.

    And it didn’t in Germany either. It’s a popular bit of trivia that Godwin’s subject was democratically elected.

    As far as I know, a real democracy has never been created at gunpoint by an external force. Only from within. When liberal intellectuals (to be fair, small-l liberals, although our lines are very muddled anyway) are respected rather than being considered dangerous subversives and when a populist movement becomes stronger than the government it opposes, then you get a democracy. If it’s happened any other way, I’ve never heard of it. Examples?

  79. 79
    TallDave says:

    1) LOL maybe you can xplain why Rumsfeld is supposed to assume the intel agencies are wrong.

    2) There’s no proof more troops would equal less insurgency rather than more targets and more resentment.

    3) You let me know when that free oil kicks in. Meanwhile, the Iraqis need that $2.5 billion a month more than same vases stolen by museum employees.

    4) The Iraqi military was conscripts. They went home as soon as we entered Baghdad.

    5) That’s not logic. Of course they could hold out this long. They ruled Iraq for three decades. It’s only been two years.

    6)We did prepare; the troops expected to face combat had armor. We’re not psychic, and there’s never once in history been a perfectly planned war.

    7) I’ve posted the link in this thread already. An ABC poll found 78% oppposed violence against the invaders. Pretty unusual for an invasion.

    8) The abuses were punished. There’s really nothing more they can do.

    9) No war is perfectly planned. There were lots of contingencies planned for that never arose, like massive food shartages, massive water shortages, massive refugee problems, etc.

    10) Read up sometime on what a single U.S. carrier group is capable of; no nation in the world could defeat even one. We have around 12 iirc.

    Is that the best you’ve got?

  80. 80
    Nate says:

    Nate, I agree that some of the things you mentioned could have been done better. I am glad to see specific complaints for once. However, I also agree with TallDave that most of these things you mentioned would not and did not effect the ultimate outcome of what’s going on today. You have a small but dedicated segment of the population, moslty Sunni’s, who have found an effective method of fighting US troops, roadside bombs. That is the cause of the casualty rate, and ain’t much that Rummy plans or non-plans or anyone’s plans can do about it, short of pulling back the troops.

    Well, at least here se have *some* common ground! No wonder there’s a divide in this country! We say it’s sunny, you guys say it’s night. There’s nothing whatever to agree on.

    Obviously, I don’t agree that plans couldn’t have been made to forestall any kind of insurgency. Many of the criticisms of Rumsfeld’s planning have been made by *Republicans*, who are increasingly anxious about our progress, or lack of it, in Iraq. If things were going so well, or had been so well-planned, why is Chuck Hagel, as of yesterday, saying Iraq is more and more like Vietnam (and he should know!) From the NYT:

    Hagel, who was among those who advocated sending two to three times as many troops to Iraq when the war began in March 2003, said a stronger military presence by the U.S. is not the solution today.

    ”We’re past that stage now because now we are locked into a bogged-down problem not unsimilar, dissimilar to where we were in Vietnam,” Hagel said. ”The longer we stay, the more problems we’re going to have.”

    From an old Wash Post article:

    Before the invasion, for example, U.S. intelligence agencies were persistent and unified in warning the Defense Department that Iraqis would resort to “armed opposition” after the war was over. The Army’s chief of staff warned that a larger stability force would be needed.

    Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and his team disagreed, confident that Iraqi military and police units would help secure a welcoming nation.

    The State Department and other agencies spent many months and millions of dollars drafting strategies on issues ranging from a postwar legal code to oil policy. But after President Bush granted authority over reconstruction to the Pentagon, the Defense Department all but ignored State and its working groups.

    The problem here is that Rumsfeld and the neo-cons wanted a cake-walk…and they planned for it. They did not plan for looting, an insurgency, or anything else. I think you all are loathe to criticize them because then the idiocy behind this war becomes all too fully apparent. And scary.

  81. 81
    StupdityRules says:

    TallDave, it’s not some vases nor was is just vases. There was a reason that they were in a museum, they are a part of their history, which is rather old compared to that of the US.

    I’m also guessing that a country with enough nukes thrumps all twelve carrier groups. (Actually no one probably will come out of it alive, but the groups will be defeated.)

  82. 82
    Shygetz says:

    TallDave:

    1.) The person in charge of the intel got the Medal of Freedom. So, I guess the person responsible is Bush, not Rumsfeld. That makes me feel a lot better.

    2.) Troops as more targets? Maybe if we sent them in unarmed. Otherwise, they would be better able to patrol more areas in greater strength. As far as causing more resentment, I thought the Iraqis love us. Why would more of us there cause more resentment if they love us? One way or the other, TallDave, you can’t have both.

    3.) Why were the munitions dumps not secured? Now we are getting shot at by munitions where WE KNEW WHERE THEY WERE BEFOREHAND. If we had only secured them, we could have cut off a huge supply of armaments to the insurgents. Why were the streets not secured to stop all looting in the city? We could have if we had had the recommended number of troops.

    4.) The bulk of the Iraqi army was conscripts. The bulk of the American army in Vietnam was conscripts. The bulk of the Israeli army are conscripts. So what. The army didn’t just “go home” after the invasion of Baghdad. Bremer unilaterally disbanded the army. We could have used them (and paid them) to help keep the peace, but we didn’t. Big mistake. They were trained, they were equipped, and they were unemployed. Big surprise that many of them are now insurgents.

    5.) If the insurgency is just dead-enders and remnants, then why is the insurgency recruiting new members? This is a major problem with the neo-con approach to terrorism. They look at it like fighting a war with an normal enemy–the enemy has this many soldiers, so if we kill them all, we win. The difference is, this enemy recruits soldiers. It is not enough to kill the terrorists that exist, we must prevent others from relacing them. That is where we are failing, and it is in large part because of this complete (and some might say deliberate) failure to understand the nature of terrorism. “Know thyself; know thine enemy”–Sun Tzu

    6.) We know now, and yet there still is not enough armor being provided. What’s the excuse now? And the fact that the administration did not expect all troops to be involved in combat speak only to their egregious ind infamous false hope that we would be greeted with flowers and candy. In an insurgency, all troops are targets. There is no front line. Also, why were the main vehicles of choice not armored? Surely the administration thought that the armed patrols might run into trouble?

    7.) Yeah, funny how when your pollsters can’t go into the violent areas for fear of being shot, your poll tends to underestimate the violence. And it is not enough for 78% of them to oppose hurting us. They must be willing to act against the people who are for hurting us. History has shown that, in most cases, they are not willing to do anything but look the other way.

    8.) Nothing more they can do? How about establish they could have had sufficient oversight to prevent the abuses in the first place. How about they could have stopped trying to see how far they could stretch the Geneva Conventions before they would break? How about ending the culture of torture, including extraordinary rendition to countries that will torture the prisoners, eliminating the horrifying practice of indefinite internment without trial (or even formal accusation) and without international oversight? America’s honor has been completely tattered, and all you can say is we punished a couple of low-level grunts? Shame on you, TallDave.

    9.) No one expects a perfectly planned war. People expect a competently planned war and occupation. We didn’t get it. We got a nicely planned war, and a largely unplanned occupation with horribly insufficient (or nonexistent) contingency planning. Surely you know what contingency planning is, right TallDave? It’s where you try to plan for things that you hope doesn’t happen, but might, like food and water shortages, refugees, etc. And who doesn’t expect shortages and refugees when you “Shock and Awe” a country’s infrastructure out of existence? The question is, was the administration too dumb to know, or did they just not care; and which is worse?

    10.) Yes, I think that we could probably crush Iran’s infrastructure if we had to, but carrier groups can’t capture or occupy territory. Neither can bombers. They can’t hunt down terrorists, like Osama bin Laden (remember him? I don’t think Bush does). We would cause enormous humanitarian crises without any lasting change in Iran, and greatly increase hatred of America and the feedstock for terrorist recruitment. And if one country invades another, we’re stuck. We can punish the crap out of the invader, but we can’t kick him out once he’s there. Carrier groups are nice, but they don’t beat boots on the ground.

    If this is the depth of thinking in neo-con circles, then it’s a wonder how they obtained so much power. Oh yeah, they spread dirty rumors about peoples’ families, and America was dumb enough to fall for it. Just goes to prove: Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we
    deserve (George Bernard Shaw).

  83. 83
    ppGaz says:

    I gather from your previous comments that you regard both the Arabs and Japanese as “little brown people”.

    Yes, but I’m eight feet tall, so you have to put it in perspective.

  84. 84
    Nate says:

    Debunking TallDave’s *The Iraqis Think the War was Worth It*

    1) The results are from a year *and a half* ago, TallDave. What a difference time makes.

    2) Look at how many oppose the presence of coalition forces. A majority

    3) Look at the other trends. They’re very close, which means that any kind of slyump will bring has brough most Iraqis in the anti-American column. As much as we reality-based citizens get exasperated with the Administration’s screwups, the Iraqis must be twenty times as angry.

    4) I cannot believe with a full insurgency on the rise that the pollsters got everywhere in Iraq. I’m sure they didn’t interview many of the Sunnis or the Sadr brigades. Who are Shiite, fyi.

    For all practical purposes, this poll is meaningless now. Things have gotten much worse, though I know you are scrunching your eyes shut so you don’t see it. It’s this infantile desire not to deal with reality that has doomed us in Iraq.

    What excuses will you make in the future, when things start collasping? God only knows.

  85. 85
    ppGaz says:

    djc: ppGaz’s comment about “little brown people” was a popular snark at the Right’s perceived patronization and marginalization of minorities.

    Yes, partly. Also a snark at the fact that Tall Dave is a couple of beans short of a burrito.

  86. 86
    StupidityRules says:

    TallDave, the vases weren’t just some vases nor were they just vases. What was stolen was parts of Iraq’s ancient history. Just because the history of the US only goes 229 years back doesn’t mean than other countries/people doesn’t value their.

    Sure twelve carrier groups are force that most nations can’t defeat. But they are not undefeatable. There is these things called nukes that way too many countries have and some of the countries also have way too many of them.

  87. 87
    Cyrus says:

    TallDave –

    1), 6), and 9) – You’re right, it is hard to explain why Rumsfeld should have doubted the reliable facts and calculations coming from intelligence agencies. (You and I come at that question from different directions, but…) But if that’s merely hard to explain, it must be damn near paranormal how the anti-this-war people predicted what would happen. I mean, really, what we were smoking when we had those visions? I wish I could remember, because I could make a killing selling it to the NSA.

    You’re saying the administration shouldn’t be blamed for not being able to predict how bad things would get. But that’s exactly what the war’s opponents were doing. We were comparing Iraq to Vietnam before it was cool! No WMDs, violent resistance from the locals, quagmire, Iran getting a huge influence over the new Iraq – to some people, none of this was a surprise. The data was out there, and if different people had different interpretations of it, that says more about the people who were wrong than the people who were right.

    2) That’s true, there’s no proof that more troops would have mattered. There’s also no proof that if we had never invaded at all, Saddam wouldn’t have choked on a chicken bone in May 2003 and died and the Kurds wouldn’t have taken over and run things as democratically as we would have liked. What’s likely, however, is that it takes a ton more work to manage and rebuild a country than to knock off the leaders of its government. We’re seeing that right now. Whatever else you can say, things are going a lot worse than they should be. Hell, if nothing else, more troops might have been able to watch the oil fields and the museums at the same time.

    8) The people with their hands on the jumper cables and glowsticks, who had no choice but to follow orders or face disciplinary action and who were put in very difficult positions in general, were punished. The people who wrote policies and legal opinions saying it was acceptable, were promoted. There’s at least one more thing we can do – fix that.

    9) No one was asking for a perfectly planned war without one mistake made. Just a war where the planning doesn’t ignore obvious facts. Trying to solve the problems of terrorism from and tyranny in the Middle East like we did would have been like trying to win the Civil War by invading Britain.

  88. 88
    ppGaz says:

    What I meant to say was, Dave is a couple of kernels short of an ear of corn.

    I mean, Dave is about one bristle short of a full hairbrush.

    I should say, Dave is a noodle or two short of a casserole.

    That is, Dave is a couple grains short of a full sandbag.

    You could say, Dave is one javelin throw short of a track meet.

    Dave, it might be said, is about one state map short of a road atlas.

  89. 89
    Darrell says:

    1.) The person in charge of the intel got the Medal of Freedom

    Agreed. Awarding the Medal of Freedom to Tenet was wrong. Is it too late to revoke it? However, TallDave’s point still stands that Rumsfeld was not in charge of intelligence

    2.) Troops as more targets? Maybe if we sent them in unarmed. Otherwise, they would be better able to patrol more areas in greater strength.

    100% speculation on your part. More troops, armed or not, mean more targets for IEDs, car bombs, etc.

    3.) Why were the munitions dumps not secured? Now we are getting shot at by munitions where WE KNEW WHERE THEY WERE BEFOREHAND.

    I remember when Kerry and left tried to lie their asses off about this before with the accusations that we didn’t secure the Al Qaqaa weapons dump. Turned out to be BS accusation. What’s more, I’ve read that a number of munitions dumps were moved into residential neighborhoods shortly before the war. What? We didn’t know about every single munitions dump in the country? .. many in hospitals, schools, and mosques. Fire Bush over this!! Most importantly, securing a munitions dumps is a tactical operation whose responsibility is the military commanders in Iraq, not President Bush.

    4.) The bulk of the Iraqi army was conscripts. The bulk of the American army in Vietnam was conscripts. The bulk of the Israeli army are conscripts. So what

    True enough, but because of the brutality of his regime, is there any honest doubt that conscripts under Saddam would be far, far more likely to go home then say, the Israeli soldiers you compared them to?

    5.) If the insurgency is just dead-enders and remnants, then why is the insurgency recruiting new members?

    Recruiting new members among Iraqis? Do you have evidence to support that claim or did you pull that one out of your ass?

    How about ending the culture of torture

    typical leftist kook

  90. 90
    John S. says:

    Darrell-

    Congratulations! You have taken the art of semantics to a whole new plateau. Your capacity for parsing exceeds that of even the great Satan Clinton.

    O’Reilly and Limbaugh could learn a thing or two from you.

    And, you should be awarded your very own Medal of FreeDumb.

  91. 91
    Darrell says:

    it must be damn near paranormal how the anti-this-war people predicted what would happen

    yes, the left “predicts” every US military action to be an immoral racist quagmire, they smear our soldiers as uneducated hicks without any other options besides the military, that we invaded Iraq “for the oil” .. yeah, you aholes are really paranormal

  92. 92
    Darrell says:

    oh, and don’t forget the predictions of the “paranormal” left of the rising up of the ‘arab street’ and more terror at home. How’d those work out?

  93. 93
    ppGaz says:

    How’d those work out?

    Dunno, Darrell. How’s public support for the war, and for the potatoheads’ handling of it, coming along?

    How long will you continue to beat the same dead horse, in the face of the collapse of support?

    Right to the bitter end? If you guys are so right, why aren’t people listening any more?

  94. 94
    Nate says:

    oh, and don’t forget the predictions of the “paranormal” left of the rising up of the ‘arab street’ and more terror at home. How’d those work out?

    Well, if I were British and anywhere near the rock you live under, Darrell, (thank god I’m not!), I’d clock you for that, for the terror *has* hit home in London. Or didn’t you know?

    Further, foreign fighters are pouring into Iraq, the standing of the US in the Arab world is at an all time low, and as for more terror at home: I’m in New York, on the front lines, so to speak, and it’s a distinct possibility that the next terror attack will happen here rather than some farmhouse in Wyoming. So while you rant and rave and brag about how there’s no terror at home, my family and I and millions of others are on pins and needles. We didn’t see the last one coming, and I lost a friend in that. *Fuck you, coward!*

  95. 95
    Demdude says:

    Intteresting article from Juan Cole.

    Ten Things Congress Could Demand from Bush on Iraq

    Here.

  96. 96
    Demdude says:

    Sorry John. Having trouble with links for some reason.

    http://www.juancole.com/

  97. 97
    kl says:

    Fuck you, coward!

    And yet he looks so happy and calm in the picture…

  98. 98
    scs says:

    PPgaz, I read your article by Fareed Zakaria. Long, but good. I am already a Fareed fan. His point was not that other people cannot handle democracy, but that democracy itself can be used as an excuse for the presidents and/or majority to lord over the minority and engage in some pretty repressive actions. He emphasized that democracy must be accompanied by liberal forces to work. Such forces were separation of powers, a bill of rights and a culture of respect for individual rights. He says that countries who have a minimum living standard and a history of local civic organizations fare better.

    So anyway, we can also try to instill these ideas of liberalism into the Iraqi soceity through setting up checks and balances in the government and by an education campaign. Whether it works or not, who knows, but I think its still worth a try.

  99. 99
    Jeff says:

    Darrell– I am not a leftist, but how is being anti-torture a “leftist” position? A kooky leftist position at that…I love that this is what passes as debate on the topic of whether lawyers at the highests levels of our government at the urging of their masters created an environment wherein it was inevitable that torture (of terrorists and non-terrorists alike) would happen. You just change the terms– torture is not “torture,” prisoners of war are not “POW’s” for Geneva purposes, acts that for at least 50 years were considered beyond the bounds of the Army field manual are now considered to be within the four corners of that guidance. Not being okay with torture, instead of being the default American position, is now the rantings of a leftist kook.

    And this idea of “what plan did Rummy miss”– Jesus Christ. One, this assumes that going to war in the first place was a given (much like the “you go to war with the army you have” line of BS). When in fact, the precise timing of the war, and whether there would be a war at all with regard to Iraq, was entirely ours to determine. Even given that, what plan you ask? How about the plan his own generals suggested, that involved about twice as many troops, or more? More targets, MY ASS. That’s why we conducted D-Day with only 2 ships, one airplane, and 10 infantrymen– because we didn’t want to present too many targets to the Germans. No wait, we invaded Normandy with the largest naval armada in the history of the world. Way back in WWII, before Rummy’s transformative ideas took hold, they thought having enough people to do the job was more important than not presenting too many targets. Of course, WWII was a war of necessity, and not a theatrical gesture, so maybe different rules apply. Maybe optional wars are appropriate venues for testing pet theories at the expense of American servicemen. What plan. How about a plan where we waited to upgrade our body armor and Humvees before we invaded? How about a plan that did not depend on absolutely ever single thing going exactly right? How about a plan that included a, you know, PLAN for the post-invasion phase of the war?

  100. 100
    TallDave says:

    I see Nate and ppGaz are still handier with insults than facts. Well, to each his own.

    Sticking to my forte, I’d like to note the electricity situation continues to improve. From the AFP wire today:

    Production has risen to 5,370 megawatts, the highest level since 1991, according to officials.

    Things are getting better. Insurgents still manage to cut power lines around the country, but that doesn’t exactly endear them to the other Iraqis.

  101. 101
    ppGaz says:

    So anyway, we can also try to instill these ideas of liberalism into the Iraqi soceity through setting up checks and balances in the government and by an education campaign. Whether it works or not, who knows, but I think its still worth a try.

    Alright, I’ll put down the WingnutSmasher Model 1000 Mallet long enough to speak to your suggestion.

    I’ll take the suggestion at face value: You think it’s “worth a try.”

    I strongly disagree. “A try” is not quantified. If you asked me, would I support an expenditure of ten billion dollars to “try” such a thing, I might say yes; I’d want a plan and some measurables and deliverables and a timeline.

    If you asked me if the United States should enter into an ugly war that has no apparent plan with a beginning, a middle and and end, no apparent limit to what it might cost, a large and unmanageable casualty burden, unspecified, unpredictable and apparently unfavorable consequences in terms of our standing with the people in the region at large, alienation of most of our Western allies, splitting our own country into hostile factions, and paralyzing our own government to the point that the suggested war becomes the focal point for every argument …. I’d say, what, are you out of your mind? Who in the world would make a bargain like that?

    Yet, that is exactly the bargain you are asking me to make.

    The answer is, respectfully, no.

  102. 102
    ppGaz says:

    Things are getting better.

    That’s your final answer? Things are getting better?

    Mark your calendars. We will meet here one year from today, Dave, and see what there is to see.

    So far, every smiley prediction of things getting better with respect to Iraq has turned out to be wrong. You are sitting on a powder keg that becomes civil war under a number of plausible scenarios. You are looking at direct invovlement with Iran in those scenarios. You are looking at complete and abject failure of any “progress” in the imaginary “War on Terror” as a result of this fiasco. Radical terrorism metastasizes further with each passing day.

    Suggestions for abatement of the mess you’ve created are centered around notions of unity and focus on the part of the Iraqi people themselves, but your government cannot even bring about unity among its own citizens … for that matter, not even among members of its own party.

    Your idea of “better” and mine are a little out of alignment.

  103. 103
    Darrell says:

    Darrell—I am not a leftist, but how is being anti-torture a “leftist” position? A kooky leftist position at that

    Oh yeah, I remember now writing that anyone being anti-torture is a kooky leftist.. oh, wait, I never said or implied that. How honest of you. What I did write is that anyone who screams that the Bush administration has created a “culture of torture” IS a leftist kook.

    More targets, MY ASS. That’s why we conducted D-Day with only 2 ships, one airplane, and 10 infantrymen—because we didn’t want to present too many targets to the Germans.

    One thing I have learned is that left, by and large (a few exceptions), are not bright, and certainly not well informed. Does it really need to be explained to you that the nature of warfare in Iraq is completely different than what fought during D-Day?? We are fighting against guerrilla tactics (IED’s, car bombs), not a standing army. * shakes head in disbelief * that I actually had to explain that

  104. 104
    TallDave says:

    I actually read Fareed’s book The Future of Freedom. It has a lot of relevance toward what we’re doing in Iraq.

    Most interestingly, there exist ranges of GDP per capita at which 2/3 of democracies fail, at which 2/3 of democracies succeed, and at which no democracy has ever failed.
    I believe the ranges were something like 0 – $6000, $6000 to $9,000, and above $9000. As Fareed puts it, once democracies become rich, they are immortal.

    Iraq will probably move into the second range this year. Within 5 years, they could be in the third.

  105. 105
    TallDave says:

    ppGaz,

    Actually, most predictions have come true: Iraqi troops are getting better, elections were held, electricity production grew, the economy grew phenomenally.

    For all your “civil war, powder keg, blah blah blah” rhetoric, you cannot escape the fact that Iraqis themselves say things are improving.

    As much as you hate the idea, the democratization of Iraq is succeeding, and will succeed.

  106. 106
    Nate says:

    As Fareed puts it, once democracies become rich, they are immortal.

    Yes, the immortal Weimar Republic! Those were good times!

  107. 107
    ppGaz says:

    Iraq will probably move into the second range this year

    Apparently no point is too obvious that you cannot miss it, Dave.

    Look at the title of the article I cited; it’s about “Illiberal Democracy.” A democracy is not a democracy.

    Egypt, for example, is a “democracy” because there are elections and people vote. But candidates are approved by the government. The people have no real power to change the government, or replace the leaders. It’s a democracy in name only. An illiberal democracy. Basically, a cover for a ruling party that has no intention of giving up its power. Or in some cases, a cover for a corrupt oligarchy whose real intent is to steal the wealth of its country and put it in its own pockets. For an example of the former, see Iraq and Saddam Hussein.

    There is no history of stable liberal democracy in Arabia, Dave, as I said.

    And your statement about rich = immortal? It only applies when the citizenry achieves a stable middle class status. Further, money does not make a democracy stable. The stability has to be there on its own merits. The problem in Arabia is that that stability has been impossible to achieve. Why that is, arguable. But that it is, not arguable.

  108. 108
    Cyrus says:

    Darrell,

    I’m 23, so I couldn’t say what the leadership and/or the majority of the American left predicts for every single war. And of course no movement is totally homogenous and monolithic – opinion on this war on the left ranged from conspiracy theories to “go for it.”

    But I don’t remember too many accusations of racism or fears of quagmires in Bosnia or Gulf War I. As for smearing the troops (all the troops, not just the ones torturing car thieves for kicks), you must have amazing mind-reading skills, because anonymous blog posters aside, no liberal did that. At least not from the left – I’ve seen a long list of quotes going around lately about right-wing pundits who were just convinced that Bosnia would be a disaster. And if you honestly think that the motivations for this war had nothing to do with oil, then you aren’t paying attention. Hell, that flaming liberal John Cole said it was part of the motivation.

    And I didn’t think of bringing up the prediction that Iraq would increase terrorism worldwide, so thanks for bringing it up. As Nate said, that came true too.

    This isn’t just reflexively assuming the worst of the military or the country in general, there were good specific reasons for every belief I mentioned. And it’s not just Monday morning quarterbacking either, all the info was available before the events happened. WMDs is the best example: if there really were WMDs in Iraq after Operation Desert Fox in 1998, why did a dozen different pieces of evidence for them each get cited, publicized and discredited in turn? Nigerian yellowcake, aluminum tubes, a makeup factory I think… After the third or fourth, reasonable people caught on that there was nothing there. Bush supporters, on the other hand, shifted their nervousness from pictures of a makeup factory to pictures of trucks.

    The information was out there. Don’t blame the people who didn’t ignore it for the actions of those who did.

  109. 109
    Darrell says:

    Yes, the immortal Weimar Republic! Those were good times!

    The Weimar Republic failed because of high unemployment and poor economic conditions. Seems to underscore TallDave’s point, don’t you think?

  110. 110
    Theseus says:

    A post from a milblogger taken from stats compiled by the archconservatives over at the Brooking Institute. It’s not all good news mind you, but it’s nowhere near the sky-is-falling-hysterical-quagmire rhetoric that the left would have us believe. Why is that, I wonder?

    Friday, August 05, 2005
    Iraqi stats
    Things you must know here:

    Salient points:

    The enemy seems to be running out of anti air assets, and is not getting replenished from outside the country. This is evident in the marked decline in the number of U.S. helicopters downed.

    The number of African-Americans among the U.S. dead appears to be underrepresented somewhat, vis-a-vis the U.S. population. This is not surprising, since economics often leads blacks to enlist in support specialties which will hopefully help them get ahead in life; whereas the infantry is largely made up of maladjusted white boys like me.

    The total number of insurgents captured or killed so far exceeds the maximum estimate for the number of insurgents at any time, by a factor of 2. So not only have we won the war, and annihilated the enemy, but apparently we’ve done it twice. OIF III is apparently still working on their quota.

    The Iraq prison population has doubled since January.

    Saudi Arabia contributes more jihadi warriors than its closest rival, Syria, by a factor of five. I think that’s why Saudi security forces fight Al Qaeda so much. The object isn’t to capture or kill them, so much as convince them that life is easier in Iraq. Of course, once the United States eventually leaves Iraq, these foreign fighters are going to head right back to Saudi Arabia, and be a problem for them all over again.

    Total U.S. troop strength in Iraq is NOT trending down, but is indeed sharply higher than it was in February of this year.

    The number of reserve component troops is getting much higher. The Army has not provided figures, for some reason, for the last several months. They should be pressed on this.

    Overall trend on attacks on oil and gas pipelines is down, but they still remain a target.

    Number of daily attacks is near peak levels, and has maintained there for the last three months.

    The total number of Iraqi security personnel increased by 83% last year.

    Iraqi GDP for 2004 will exceed 2002, in U.S. dollars. Unemployment is down. Estimated Iraqi GDP grew by 74% year-over-year vs. 2003 estimates.

    Next time some uninformed yobsucker kvetches to you that coalition forces haven’t been able to restore electricity to Baghdad, point out that currently, nationwide electricity production is actually 15 percent higher than prewar levels. (4541 Mw in July 05 compared to 3958 before the war.) Baghdad hasn’t quite caught up to its prewar levels yet (I can hear Riverbend complaining from here), but you must remember that Saddam’s government diverted power to Baghdad from all over the Euphrates River Valley and to loyal cities and areas, at the expense of the outlying towns.

    The number of telephone subscribers has gone up 4,500 percent compared to prewar levels.

    The number of Iraqi internet subscribers is up 3,268 percent over prewar levels.

    There are five TIMES more cars on the road since prewar levels.

    67% of Iraqis polled believe Iraq is moving in the right direction, vs. 20% believe Iraq is moving in the wrong direction. The overall trend of the favorable response is strongly up since December/January, when 49 percent of Iraqis gave the “right direction” response to the poll.

    82% of Iraqis believed their lives will be better a year from now. 2% of Iraqis believe their lives will be worse. The trend of favorable responses has skyrocketed since December.

    40% of Iraqis in Sunni areas believe Iraq is heading in the right direction. Last year, that figure was 15-20%.

    93% of Iraqis oppose the use of violence toward political ends. Only 2-4% support attacks on security forces and infrastructure. [My take: Of 25 million Iraqis, that translates to roughly 500,000 Iraqis. Divide those in half and you get 250,000 males. Multiply that by roughly 60 percent (WAG on percentage of males of military age): 150,000.

    Of those 150,000, only one in ten will have the balls to actually do anything about it, versus talk. That leaves you with 15,000 insurgents, plus another thousand or so foreign fighters.

    Roughly in line with previous estimates of 15,000-20,000, out of whom, as noted, we have killed or captured approximately 40,000. We are therefore fighting an insurgency consisting of possibly negative 15,000-20,000 soldiers. And as we kill more and more, the absolute value of the insurgency grows higher every day.

    71% oppose the presence of coalition forces in Iraq. 23% support it.

    73% of Iraqis polled believe the transitional government is either very representative or generally representative of the Iraqi people. 4% say it is not at all representative.

    When asked if lives were better before the war, 60.7 percent of Iraqis disagree or strongly disagree. 37.3 percent felt their lives were better before the war. Residents of Abu Ghraib were apparently not included in the sample.

    90.1% of Iraqis say they are hopeful for the future. 6.3% disagree or strongly disagree.

    89.4 percent of Iraqis say they believe things will get better slowly. 7.7% disagree or strongly disagree. Iraqis are therefore more hopeful for their future than Blue state residents are for their own.

    When asked to prioritize what Iraqis want their government to deal with, electricity was number one on the list. Terrorism was number eight.

    That should only surprise people in Baghdad. The vast majority of neighborhoods throughout Iraq are just trying to get on with their lives and rarely, if ever, see a terrorist strike first-hand.

    Did anything in this report make the pages of today’s or yesterday’s New York Times?

    No. Not a damn mention.

    Splash, out

    Jason

  111. 111
    Darrell says:

    At least not from the left – I’ve seen a long list of quotes going around lately about right-wing pundits who were just convinced that Bosnia would be a disaster

    There is not a “long” list of names, but a handful. Once Bob Dole took a strong position in favor of bombing the Serbs, Repubs with few exceptions got on board

    And if you honestly think that the motivations for this war had nothing to do with oil, then you aren’t paying attention.

    Since all I have written about oil is the left’s hateful smear that Iraq is a “war for oil”, perhaps it would useful to clarify exactly what role you think oil plays in this conflict

    if there really were WMDs in Iraq after Operation Desert Fox in 1998

    Shooting bombs from a distance without on-the-ground personnel to verify what exactly was hit, how is it that you conclude with such confidence that Desert Fox destroyed Saddam’s WMDs?

  112. 112
    Darrell says:

    One of the main reasons that Repubs (and some Dems) opposed Clinton’s actions in Bosnia for a time, is that unlike President Bush with Iraq, Clinton did not obtain or even seek congressional approval to involve us militarily in the Balkans. Quite a difference, wouldn’t you agree?

  113. 113
    John S. says:

    I wonder at what point after Magellan had circumnavigated the globe when a large majority of people still thought the world was flat, the ‘world is round’ community decided it was easier to let ‘flat-earthers’ keep their convictions rather than spend their time and energy knocking down all the little ‘flat-earth’ straw men that were constantly being erected.

    I reckon when someone keeps coming at you with the same irrational drivel over and over again, no matter how many times and different ways you refute their argument, there comes a point when you just give up. I guess one need only sit back and be content that in time, common sense and fact will eventually win.

  114. 114
    Nate says:

    The Weimar Republic failed because of high unemployment and poor economic conditions. Seems to underscore TallDave’s point, don’t you think?

    Then *logically* (I know you hate that word), rich democracies aren’t immortal, are they? Because there’s always the possibility that a rich democracy becomes poor, and slides into facism. Right?

    Plus, Tommy Franks thinks we can still be rich and turn into a proto-dictatorship: The recently retired, nearly 40 year US Army veteran, former commander of Centcom, Iraq war leader and household name, speculates in a men’s lifestyle magazine on the consequences of a weapons of mass destruction terrorist attack against the West: “The Western world loses it’s freedom and liberty . . . it causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event.”

    TallDave, I’ll be waiting also in a year to see where your fabled Iraq will be at that time.

  115. 115
    Nate says:

    We are fighting against guerrilla tactics (IED’s, car bombs), not a standing army. * shakes head in disbelief * that I actually had to explain that

    And the point you always seem to miss, bright boy, is that if we’d had enough boots on the ground *from the beginning*, it’s very likely the insurgency would not have developed so rapidly. Most of Iraq is not controlled by us and hasn’t been for most of our stay, because we simply don’t have the manpower. Anything we take we are obliged to give back to the Iraqi army, local militias, or just abandon. That’s why Fallujah keeps being an insurgent stronghold after our repeated offensives.

    * shakes head in disbelief * that I actually had to explain that

  116. 116
    Darrell says:

    Then logically (I know you hate that word), rich democracies aren’t immortal, are they? Because there’s always the possibility that a rich democracy becomes poor, and slides into facism. Right?

    Except that the Weimar republic was never rich. It started with a destroyed economy from WWI, with the burden of reparations and confiscated factories as a result of Versailles. A more truthful characterization of the Weimar economy would be a poor destroyed economy which became even worse

  117. 117
    Don says:

    The intel agencies were wrong. Not Rumsfeld’s fault.

    It amazes me that this kind of statement crops up repeatedly despite how many times we’ve heard that government should be run as a business. How long can the spear-carriers fuck up before a CEO gets tossed on his ass? How long can a department head shrug and point as his underlings before HE goes?

    If any company had screwed up a new product rollout or market expansion or (pick your major initiative comparison) as badly as the Iraqi Adventure has spiraled out of control with regards to approval, costs and timetables (we’ll ignore the question of fatalities) the board of directors would have fired every damned last bit of upper management.

  118. 118
    John S. says:

    Quite a difference, wouldn’t you agree?

    That war resolution Bush got really is really something special, since the act cited several factors to justify a war:

    * Iraq’s noncompliance with the conditions of the 1991 cease fire
    * Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, and programs to develop such weapons, posed a “threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region”
    * Iraq’s “brutal repression of its civilian population”
    * Iraq’s “capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction against other nations and its own people”
    * Iraq’s hostility towards the United States as demonstrated by the 1993 assassination attempt of George Bush Sr, and firing on coalition aircraft enforcing the no-fly zones following the 1991 Gulf War
    * Iraq’s connection to terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda
    * Fear that Iraq would provide weapons of mass destruction to terrorists for use against the United States

    Source

    Which of these justifications for war were prescient or even current? Which of these justifications even panned out? Which of thes justifications would logically have distated that on the eve of war, Bush would tell the American people:

    My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.

    On my orders, coalition forces have begun striking selected targets of military importance to undermine Saddam Hussein’s ability to wage war.

    Source

    The major difference is that Clinton took us to war without Congressional approval for something that was real, whereas Bush got Congressional approval for a war based on fictional circumstances.

    Quite a difference, indeed.

  119. 119
    Andrei says:

    “One of the main reasons that Repubs (and some Dems) opposed Clinton’s actions in Bosnia for a time, is that unlike President Bush with Iraq, Clinton did not obtain or even seek congressional approval to involve us militarily in the Balkans. Quite a difference, wouldn’t you agree?”

    That’s bullshit imho.

    The whole thing was happening during the Clinton/Lewinsky fiasco, and the GOP was doing everything it could to put the hammer to Clinton. Some in the GOP were even making the specious claim that Clinton was bombing Afghanistan and going into Kosovo to distract the American public from his “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

    It was all typical partisan hackery instead of focusing on the real problems. And the flipping of the GOP on the issue since with regard to using force is still typical partisan hackery.

  120. 120
    Jeff says:

    Darrell– Thanks for the history lesson. Doing a quick Google search, I discovered that Normandy was in France, and not the middle east at all, so my analogy really was way off. Of course, one might wonder what Germany would have been like if we had tried to occupy it with 100,000 troops. Too bad Rummy wasn’t around then to test that theory. Which was kind of my point. But then you knew that. *shakes head in disbelief that internet posters include little asides in their comments to indicate body gestures, then scratches self, adjusts underwear, and continues to type*

    On the war for oil issue, this was a war for oil, even if only in the sense that we would not give two craps about the place absent the presence of oil and our crack-whore-like dependence on same. I think it is silly to pretend that oil is not the central issue, just as I think it is silly for liberals to say stuff like “no war for oil” because it is approximately like saying “no war for food” or “no war for air.” Until we start building cars that run on salt water, or figure out cold fusion, we are going to have “wars for oil.” But they don’t have to be ill-timed, poorly planned, understaffed, dishonestly sold, ultimately unsuccessful (hello, $3 a gallon gas!) wars for oil.

  121. 121
    scs says:

    ppgaz says (still don’t know how to do the grey blocking thing)

    If you asked me if the United States should enter into an ugly war that has

    1. no apparent plan with a beginning, a middle and and end, no apparent limit to what it might cost,

    2. a large and unmanageable casualty burden,

    3. unspecified, unpredictable and apparently unfavorable consequences in terms of our standing with the people in the region at large, alienation of most of our Western allies,

    4. splitting our own country into hostile factions, and paralyzing our own government to the point that the suggested war becomes the focal point for every argument

    …. I’d say, what, are you out of your mind? Who in the world would make a bargain like that?

    (I did a little creative editing such as numbering there for clarity.)

    Anyway, out of your list, I would say only “2. a large and unmanageable casualty burden,” has any real weight.

    The rest about no plans, and splitting our country into hostile factions and affecting world opinion is all hot air. Opinions change contantly and no one will argue if we achieve success. I say a little civil strife is worth the chance of success of democracy in the Middle East.

    And your point about democracy not being established in the Middle East is not all that relevant. We haven’t established one there yet because we haven’t tried before. Now we’re trying. If we set up a good system, considering Iraq does have somewhat of an educated middle class, part of Fareeds’ criteria, it might work out. There is no way to say definitivley it won’t. So what’s your point?

  122. 122
    ppGaz says:

    So what’s your point?

    I’ve stated and made my point.

    Your “response” is essentially, “Yeah? So?”

    Let’s just say that I’m not convinced. I stand on my earlier “not worth it” speech.

    It isn’t worth it, and will not be seen to be worth it. the american people are rapidly finding it not worth it. The game is over, the ship has sailed.

    There isn’t going to be any “success” achieved. All we can manage is a cruel stasis, based on troop levels we cannot sustain indefinitely. The clock is ticking. This hoedown is out of tunes.

  123. 123
    Cyrus says:

    There is not a “long” list of names, but a handful. Once Bob Dole took a strong position in favor of bombing the Serbs, Repubs with few exceptions got on board

    I’ll have to take your word for it, but I’ve checked the dates on a few of the quotes, and every date I’ve found is in 1999. Well after anyone would care about Bob Dole. And the names I’m seeing are Delay, Hannity, Scarborough, Bush…

    Since all I have written about oil is the left’s hateful smear that Iraq is a “war for oil”, perhaps it would useful to clarify exactly what role you think oil plays in this conflict

    Well, to stick to what’s simple and beyond all doubt, the U.S. is extremely involved in the Middle East. Is that because they need our help and intervention really that much more than, say, Africa? Or is it because they’re sitting on the national resource that both literally and figuratively fuels our economy? If Iraq and the rest of the region didn’t have a ton of oil, we wouldn’t be involved there nearly so much.

    And calling it a “hateful smear” when someone suggests a stronger relation between oil and this war is Orwellian newspeak. It’s diluting and misusing the words “hateful” and “smear.” Maybe it’s a hard concept to grasp, but one doesn’t have to be a malicious extremist to be suspicious of Halliburton getting no-bid contracts in Iraq when their former CEO is the vice-president.

    Shooting bombs from a distance without on-the-ground personnel to verify what exactly was hit, how is it that you conclude with such confidence that Desert Fox destroyed Saddam’s WMDs

    Because we didn’t find any when we got the people on the ground after the recent invasion, because WMDs weren’t used against us when we invaded, because satellite photos can be quite detailed, it’s an amazing new technology, you might have heard of them, they were considred pretty reliable when this administration was selling the current war to us…

  124. 124
    Cyrus says:

    scs,

    I like to think I’ve done a relatively good job of avoiding personal attacks – not perfect, of course, but better than most – but what you said here is ridiculous.

    And your point about democracy not being established in the Middle East is not all that relevant. We haven’t established one there yet because we haven’t tried before. Now we’re trying.

    Have you been paying attention at all? Democracies have been established many, many times. But they have never – and if you have any counterexamples, be my guest – successfully been established at gunpoint by a foreign force. It doesn’t matter that we haven’t tried establishing one in Iraq before or not. What matters is that Iraqis haven’t tried. And right now, with sharia being written into their constitution, I don’t see how you can say it might still work out. We can still hope that this constitution doesn’t get approved, despite the stamp of approval from the US ambassador Khalilzad…

    And if you truly think that #2 of your version of ppGaz’s comments was the only one, then again, you aren’t paying attention. #1 and #3 are the causes of #2. The problems we are having with Iraq were almost entirely preventable. Unless you think that the death toll is just peachy, then #1 and #3 are pretty damning criticisms of the war itself and/or the prosecution of it.

  125. 125
    Darrell says:

    Maybe it’s a hard concept to grasp, but one doesn’t have to be a malicious extremist to be suspicious of Halliburton getting no-bid contracts in Iraq when their former CEO is the vice-president.

    The no-bid contract awards to Halliburton started under Clinton for the Balkans, so yes, there is a large element of hateful smear to the term “war for oil”. Since few companies have the expertise to manage that size and scope of engineering: infrastructure, oil production facities, refining facilities, buildings and power plants, there are few companies able to competently handle the task. Bechtel, Halliburton, maybe Halcrow in the UK… only a small number of companies with that expertise, which is why we went through the process of qualifying contractors in the 1990’s. The contracts are cost +, because in war, there is no predicting the amount of work to be performed. In Kuwait, Saddam set the wells on fire. In Iraq, we didn’t have nearly that problem..and so forth.

    Is that because they need our help and intervention really that much more than, say, Africa? Or is it because they’re sitting on the national resource that both literally and figuratively fuels our economy? If Iraq and the rest of the region didn’t have a ton of oil, we wouldn’t be involved there nearly so much.

    It was middle eastern spawned terrorism which attacked us at Khobar towers, USS Cole, and on 9/11. It is the terrorism aspect of the middle east, NOT the oil, which is why we are more involved in that region. After 9/11, isn’t this obvious. Terrorism is not limited to Al Queda in Afghanistan, it is, by and large a problem stemming from the middle east

    Because we didn’t find any when we got the people on the ground after the recent invasion, because WMDs weren’t used against us when we invaded

    I take it you are unaware that Saddam did not use WMDs on our troops in Gulf War I although we found thousands of tons of them, along with a nuclear program which was dangerously close to developing a bomb. Why didn’t he use WMDs on our troops in Gulf War I? who knows..

  126. 126
    Darrell says:

    But they have never – and if you have any counterexamples, be my guest – successfully been established at gunpoint by a foreign force

    Japan’s government before and during World War II was completely controlled by the military. Japan is a hugely successful example of a democracy established at gunpoint

  127. 127
    ppGaz says:

    Japan’s government before and during World War II

    Yes, list all the parallels, Darrell.

    How long do you think before Iraq starts making elegant little transistor radios, and before the Arabic version of “Sukiyaki” hits the American music pop charts?

  128. 128
    Darrell says:

    apologies for the very sloppy grammar & punctuation in my previous post

    Jeff wrote:

    Of course, one might wonder what Germany would have been like if we had tried to occupy it with 100,000 troops

    Well, 60 years after the end of WWII, and up until recently we had 70,000 of our troops occupying their country… How about that? Not sure how many troops we had stationed there immediately after Germany’s surrender, but we have had massive numbers of our troops in Germany for a long time.

    On the war for oil issue, this was a war for oil, even if only in the sense that we would not give two craps about the place absent the presence of oil and our crack-whore-like dependence on same

    This war was about fighting terrorism post 9/11, not oil

  129. 129
    Darrell says:

    Yes, list all the parallels, Darrell.

    Japan at that time, like the middle east now, was very much a fanatical honor-shame based culture. A successful middle east not governed by despots would have ripple down benefits throughout the region and the world which could exceed that of Japan’s success

  130. 130
    ppGaz says:

    A successful middle east not governed by despots would have ripple down benefits throughout the region and the world which could exceed that of Japan’s success

    So, you are boldly taking a stance for a despot-free world, there, Darrell?

    Bwaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahahahaha!

    A moon made of green cheese would go a long way toward lowering the cost of green cheese …. the benefits would ripple down throughout the green cheese industry.

    See, I like you, Darrell …. you get the positive mojo flowing. Let a smile be your umbrella!!

  131. 131
    scs says:

    Cyrus, I think you are forgetting Japan, Germany, Italy after WWII, South Korea, former Yugoslavian countries, Soviet Union and Eastern Europe with the arms race, etc. Sometimes democracy at gunpoint is the ONLY way to establish a democracy.

    I agree with Darrell and I think Japan is a great parallel. Remember, Japan in the 40’s was not like the Japan today. They were a poor, militaristic soceity, with no tradition of power of the people. If they could do it then, why not the Arabs today? Of course, as PPgaz reminds us, democracy is not a be-all, end all, you need the liberal institutions to go with it. Even Japan took a long time down the democratic road. But even if Iraq makes a LITTLE progress in that direction, whether as one or 3 countries, that would be great news for the world.

  132. 132
    ppGaz says:

    If they could do it then, why not the Arabs today?

    Because Arabia is not Japan.

    Different. Take a look at Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. These are not “poor countries.” Their leaders are not backward troglodytes living in the 17th century. Their kids are sent to school in Britain and California. They send their relatives to Scottsdale to shop at Neiman-Marcus. They are rich, sophisticated, and greatly Westernized. Their English is impeccable.

    Do you imagine for one second that the flailings in Iraq are going to persuade these oligarchies to give up their grip on billions of dollars and turn their countries into Denmark, or Wisconsin?

    Most Arab countries like their situations just the way they are. They are not out to change the world, they are out to charge the world, and continue to fill their coffers. They are not Japan, with its malignant dreams of Pacific domination. They are contented, fat and happy, spoiled, and perfectly suited to another 20 years’ enjoyment of their cartel.

    The comparison with Japan could not be more inapt …. but if it could, Darrell will come up with the way to make it more inapt.

  133. 133
    scs says:

    Well, I suppose the rich people in those Arab countries are happy. But the poor, probably the majority of people in those countries, aren’t. They are the ones who may want change and hopefully, will work for it.

  134. 134
    ppGaz says:

    But the poor, probably the majority of people in those countries, aren’t. They are the ones who may want change and hopefully, will work for it.

    C’mon, man. Think about what you are saying. The poor Arabs will rise up against their rich, oil-baron governments that are fully supported by the United States …. and create new democracies?

    Don’t you understand? American policy in the region has been hostile to democracy in these countries for half a century! And it still is, as we speak.

    The noise coming from the White House? Look and listen again. You’ve been played for a fool. Do you really think that a family which has three-plus decades of close personal and business ties to a repressive Saudi oligarchy is going to lead the Arab world to a new democractic future?

    Let’s get serious here.

  135. 135
    scs says:

    Sure. Why not? George got out of the oil business and went into the baseball business, remember? Its a new day man, don’t live in the past!

  136. 136
    ppGaz says:

    Its a new day

    Yes it is. It’s the day on which Dems have finally figured out exactly what they have to do vis a vis Iraq:

    Nothing. All they need to do now is stand back and let the GOP continue digging. No need for Dem unity at all. When your opponent is poking his eyes out, you just hand him a pencil.

  137. 137
    DougJ says:

    Japan at that time, like the middle east now, was very much a fanatical honor-shame based culture

    Iraq is light years ahead of where Japan was at a comparable time in its development. And Iraqi casualties are far lower than what the Japanese people suffered. And the Iraqi constitution is far more enlightened than what the Japanese ultimately ratified. Gee, this is going pretty well, isn’t it?

    Imagine if Air America had been around during WW II. I have one question: do you think we’d be speaking Japanese or German right now?

  138. 138
    Cyrus says:

    Darrell,

    Japan is not, in fact, an example of a democracy being created by outside force. Immediately before WWII it was controlled by the military, but from about 1890 to the 1930s it was a constitutional democracy. It probably wouldn’t be considered considered a democracy by today’s standards, but then a lot of its contemporaries weren’t. We didn’t create a democracy after WWII, we just restored it. It might seem too nuanced, but in the latter case there’s the proven desire by the people to have a democracy, the bureaucratic structures are already in place, the entire country knows how to function within the rules of a democratic system rather than rule-by-strongman or rule-by-divine right… none of which existed in Iraq. I notice that they all keep getting left out of lists of parallels.

    And the complaints about no-bid contracts to Halliburton are baseless. Fine. How does that make “war for oil” a “hateful smear” rather than, if it’s only based on that one accusation, an argument from ignorance? (It wouldn’t be the first time…)

    Yeah, this seems like nitpicking and it’s probably making you think I’m even dumber than you already did, but it’s not just nitpicking. Ten years ago it was a “hateful smear” to say that the President had a man killed. Now, according to you, it’s a “hateful smear” to say that the president’s ties to the oil industry are too close. How much disagreement and dissent do you think should be acceptable against a Republican president? Any? At all? This is like what people were talking about a week or so ago in the RINO threads, about how John Cole didn’t used to be a moderate but now he is. Things are changing, and I for one don’t think it’s for the better.

    It was middle eastern spawned terrorism which attacked us at Khobar towers, USS Cole, and on 9/11. It is the terrorism aspect of the middle east, NOT the oil, which is why we are more involved in that region. After 9/11, isn’t this obvious. Terrorism is not limited to Al Queda in Afghanistan, it is, by and large a problem stemming from the middle east

    But we were heavily involved in the Middle East when terrorism was a much smaller problem than it is now. Was the first Gulf War about terrorism too?

  139. 139
    ppGaz says:

    Imagine if Air America had been around during WW II. I have one question: do you think we’d be speaking Japanese or German right now?

    Well, If Bush had been president, after Pearl Harbor, we’d have attacked Thailand.

  140. 140
    Jeff says:

    Darrell–

    Until recently we had 70,000 troops in Germany facing down the Red Threat– not exactly an “occupation.” If we are in Iraq facing down the Iranian threat (which actually would not be a bad justification for being there, and maybe the Bush administration will try that one next) then again, we’d need a hell of a lot more than 130,000 troops. Or “targets” as you like to call them.

    Back to your “just more targets” theory, why is 130,000 the magic number? Wouldn’t 50,000 be even better? Fewer targets, dontcha know?

  141. 141
    Theseus says:

    SO, let’s see now, the two examples that ppGaz gives us to pontificate about how unsuccesful the transition to democracy has been over the 20th century (just how many liberal democracies were there in 1900? 2005?) happen to be not only supporters of the second Iraqi war BUT proponents of the democratization of the Middle East as the long term solution to combating Islamic terrorism for pretty much the same reasons President Bush advocates. It’s not difficult for anyone with half a brain to understand since after 9-11, one of the most influential scholars consulted by the White House happened to be Bernard Lewis, particularly with Vice-President Cheney. And though Zakaria has been subsequently highly critical of the administration, he hasn’t changed his overall tune. He, like Thomas Friedman and other liberal hawks support the overall goals, the war itself and its strategic goals but are wary, to an extent, of the manner in which the Bush administration goes about implementing some of those goals (which is perfectly natural, since their worldviews differ in some respects). In other words, they actually UNDERSTAND the Middle East and what ails it.

    They also know, being actual Middle Eastern experts and all, what “Arabia”, you know, actually means, both historically and geographically. I’d assume they would be equally perplexed with how you choose to use that word. But hey, you’re a Middle Eastern expert right? You know more about those wacky Mohammedans, living in the Land of the A-rabs, presumably, “Arabia”, than any of us here?

  142. 142
    Darrell says:

    How does that make “war for oil” a “hateful smear” rather than, if it’s only based on that one accusation, an argument from ignorance?

    I suppose anything could be possible.. in the same way that those screaming “Bush = Hitler” could be really be ignorant rather than hateful. I mean, no doubt you can find a number who really believe that Bush is on par with Hitler, right?

    Same with “war for oil”. Are you denying that such language strongly implies that we invaded Iraq to steal or control the oil? I say that’s pretty clearly a hateful smear without a shred of truth to it.

    How much disagreement and dissent do you think should be acceptable against a Republican president? Any? At all?

    Let me put the question to you, do you find it acceptable, comparisons of Bush to Hitler? because there were lots and lots of ‘Bush = Hitler’ signs in protest marches. How about ‘Bush is controlled by zionists’?

    But we were heavily involved in the Middle East when terrorism was a much smaller problem than it is now

    Not to be snarky, but what do you mean ‘heavily involved’? We had troops in Lebanon in the early 1980’s which had nothing to do with oil. We have had concerns over Iran since the Ayatollah took over in the 1970’s. Same with security concerns over Libya, Syria, and other oil producing countries in the region.

  143. 143
    Darrell says:

    Jeff wrote:

    Back to your “just more targets” theory, why is 130,000 the magic number? Wouldn’t 50,000 be even better? Fewer targets, dontcha know?

    I guess you missed my first post on the subject, in which I stated that such second guessing on troop levels is “100% speculation”

  144. 144
    ppGaz says:

    . I’d assume they would be equally perplexed with how you choose to use that word

    Well, they wouldn’t want to discuss it at all, for a variety of reasons. “Arabia” in my context is easily defined as the region of the world where Arabic is the predominant language, or the root of the dominant language. t is a somewhat broader definition than simply the “Arab peninsula.” This will suffice:

    Politically, the Arabian peninsula is divided among the following countries:

    * Bahrain – technically an island just off the coast of the Peninsula
    * Kuwait
    * Oman
    * Qatar
    * Saudi Arabia
    * United Arab Emirates (UAE)
    * Yemen

    Its northern limit is defined by the Zagros collision zone, a mountainous uplift where a continental collision between the Arabian plate and Asia is occurring. Therefore, all or parts of the following nations can also be considered part of (greater) Arabia:

    * Iraq
    * Israel
    * Jordan
    * Lebanon

    The only thing you need to know about Arabia is that it has no history of liberal democracy*. There is no model or example of any planned transition, in Arabia, to liberal democracy. There is no evidence to support the hypothesis that any particular transition model can be expected to succeed. That’s my point, those are the facts, and whatever you said about it is irrelevant.

    Additionally, I point you to the history of American policy in this region since WWII (I choose this period for the simple reason that it’s my lifetime and I can call up my information about it). American policy in the region has been based loosely on schmoozy relationships with, and support of, oligarchies which operate a tightly-controlled oil cartel in the region. In short, our policy has been demonstrably anti-democracy, for the reasons I’ve already stated. Again, those are the facts, and you can say whatever you like, the facts won’t change.

    This country has no record on which to base a plan, no model to follow, no clear and unambiguous goals, no timetable, no measurables against which we or any other Western citizens can measure progress, no legacy of support of democracy in the region … we couldn’t even cobble up a rationale for the idea that widespread “democracy” in the region would do anything but degrade, if not destroy, the delicate and arguably corrupt balance of power and dependency that exists there now (see: OPEC).

    Sloganeering around ideas like “democracy” in Arabia is dishonest, empty, and contrary to the record we’ve created for the last fifty years.

    I don’t care who GW Bush has consulted with. The present policy and direction is unsupportable on any level.

    * I exclude Israel from my list because it is Arab or “part of greater Arabia” by virtue of location only. It has no dominant Arab cultural foundation in its present incarnation. Lebanon is listed as a “republic” by the CIA’s website, but has only recently emerged from a 16-year civil war; whether it can be placed into the “stable liberal democracy” category is arguable; my argument is that it cannot yet. Yemen recently became “unified” after two decades of unrest between northern and southern districts, and a southern secession episode is on the books as recently as 1994. I cannot place this country on a list of successful liberal democracies at this time. I am not aware that my evaulations here are contrary to any widely accepted view, but I am glad to entertain evidence to the contrary.

  145. 145
    Rome Again says:

    There is no evidence that liberal democracy can be “created” by the United States, in Arabia, anywhere …. much less in Iraq, a country with one of the most volatile histories in the larger volatile history of Arabia.

    And for the religiously inclined (DougJ, Stormy, et al.), Babylon will always be Babylon because God deems it so, and to try to change that is to try to turn the parts of the Bible that speak of Babylon into a lie. We cannot change Babylon into a positive entity, so it’s really not worth $300 billion+ to find we ended up installing another evil form of Babylonian rule.

    On the other hand, $300 billion+ DOES buy a LOT of oil. Hmmmmm!

  146. 146
    Rome Again says:

    Great plan, PNAC. Great plan, George.

    Hey, I don’t like George as much as most Dems I know, but give George a break on this one, he didn’t make up the plan. The plan was created when Clinton was in office (Abrams/Armitage/Bennett/Bolton/Dobriansky/Kristol/Perle/Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz and Woolsey… among others) Source

    The plan was presented to Clinton while he was in office, but he didn’t buy it. George was just a stooge who ate up the idea (finish the job his Daddy couldn’t? Hmmm?). “W” didn’t draw the plan up.

    Sort of like Woodrow Wilson being the stool pigeon to taking the US off the Gold Standard and replacing it with the creation of The FED. Wilson didn’t conjure up the idea (that was actually the brainchild of a group of several men known as the “First Name Club” at a two week secret meeting in Jekyll Island, Georgia (I’ve stayed at that resort, eerie when you know what happened there), which became known as the Aldrich plan. The Aldrich plan was defeated in Congress but was re-introduced a few years later as the Federal Reserve Act, Wilson didn’t create it, he just endorsed it, that’s all.

  147. 147
    Rome Again says:

    Okay, HOW could they have done better? Where is this magic plan that Rumsfeld missed?

    Have you ever heard of General Erik K. Shinseki? He wanted at least 300,000 troops on the ground in Iraq. For that he was fired. That number, 300,000 troops, was, according to many ME experts who went on television afterwards, a proper amount.

    Source: Pentagon Contradicts General on Iraq Occupation Force’s Size

  148. 148
    Rome Again says:

    How much disagreement and dissent do you think should be acceptable against a Republican president?

    How much disagreement and dissent was acceptable against Clinton – (A Democratic President)? Why is the word Republican inserted as a qualifier in there at all?

    If a man is sitting in the Oval Office, we’re paying his salary and he’s doing what quite a few of us feel is a crappy job running this country, we should be able to say so… just as “Republicans” did when Clinton was in office.

    Why is it that a a former President receiving a blowjob is worthy of dissent when a current President lying to get us involved in a war we’re losing isn’t?

  149. 149
    Darrell says:

    Why is it that a a former President receiving a blowjob is worthy of dissent when a current President lying to get us involved in a war we’re losing isn’t?

    Live by the cliche, die by the cliche

  150. 150
    Rome Again says:

    ROTFLMAO We can’t win: if we have a plan, we were planning to invade all along, if we don’t, we didn’t plan enough!!

    Dave, the plan was in place while Clinton was in office (before 2002 – see my source above for PNAC plan that was presented to Clinton when he was in office), but the plan never called for contingencies that currently exist. They expected our forces to go in, be greeted with flowers and hugs, as liberators, and that would be it. They didn’t plan for an insurgency.

  151. 151
    Rome Again says:

    Live by the cliche, die by the cliche

    That’s not an answer.

  152. 152
    DougJ says:

    Have you ever heard of General Erik K. Shinseki? He wanted at least 300,000 troops on the ground in Iraq. For that he was fired. That number, 300,000 troops, was, according to many ME experts who went on television afterwards, a proper amount.

    Look, we got Saddam out with the smaller number of troops we used. Doesn’t that show Shineski was wrong?

  153. 153
    Rome Again says:

    Look, we got Saddam out with the smaller number of troops we used. Doesn’t that show Shineski was wrong?

    If getting Saddam out was the only initiative that needed to be accomplished, yes… but that’s not so. We’re still in Iraq because there’s still work to be done. We can’t do it with the small amount of troops we have. Many military experts were calling for a larger contingent of troops. The reason why we’re sitting in a quagmire right now is because we didn’t commit enough of them. But according to you, the job is finished, so I guess it is time we bring the troops home now, huh?

  154. 154
    Theseus says:

    Well, they wouldn’t want to discuss it at all, for a variety of reasons. “Arabia” in my context is easily defined as the region of the world where Arabic is the predominant language, or the root of the dominant language. t is a somewhat broader definition than simply the “Arab peninsula.” This will suffice:

    Arabic, or variants of it, is also the dominant language in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and other North African states as well. Sorry to nitpick, but the political term normally used is either Arab World or the Arab Middle East. These are also somewhat dubious terms as well, because they reek of pan-Arabism, when in reality, there is tremendous amount of diversity and differences among and between various Arabs.

    The only thing you need to know about Arabia is that it has no history of liberal democracy*. There is no model or example of any planned transition, in Arabia, to liberal democracy. There is no evidence to support the hypothesis that any particular transition model can be expected to succeed. That’s my point, those are the facts, and whatever you said about it is irrelevant.

    Well, technically you’re right (expect for Lebanon, which HAS had some history of liberal democracy and is in the process of tryting to reestablish that history as we speak), the Arab World, by and large, has no real history of liberal democracy. That was also true for many, many other parts of the world up UNTIL they took the necessary steps needed towards establishing a relatively liberal, representive democracy. Every country is different, some succeed better than others, others take much longer. But that doesn’t mean, if given a chance, they will necessarily fail. Regardless of backround, all human beings are essentially the same. There is no reason to suggest that most human beings, if given an honest choice, would choose to live under a dictartorship (regardless of its justification) rather than choose freedom and liberty. Now, the tragedy of the Arab World is that they have consistently imported some of the worst of Western experiments be they social, political or economic models. Up to now, they have been unable or unwillingly to make the necessary yet difficult adjustments needed on their own. And this is where we can help and have indeed helped, whether you guys want to see it or not.

    Additionally, I point you to the history of American policy in this region since WWII (I choose this period for the simple reason that it’s my lifetime and I can call up my information about it). American policy in the region has been based loosely on schmoozy relationships with, and support of, oligarchies which operate a tightly-controlled oil cartel in the region. In short, our policy has been demonstrably anti-democracy, for the reasons I’ve already stated. Again, those are the facts, and you can say whatever you like, the facts won’t change.

    The facts can and are changing; it is you who want to remain locked in the past. The US, in my opinion, has been castigated (rightly, to an extent) by mostly the left, over the past 50 years for its cozy support of Arab dictators and tyrants (though this was an unfortunate but necessary evil within the context of the Cold War). It seems to me the president’s policy is attempting, slowly but surely and often unevenly, to try and change the dynamics. Obviously, he can’t completely overturn US policy overnight. But at least he’s trying and a relatively democratic Iraq will put additional pressures (through their own people) on these regimes to change their political cultures. And, in the long term, it will align the US with the forces of the ME who really matter: its people. It’s smart policy for the US, but mostly, it’s the right policy for the people of the region.

    Sloganeering around ideas like “democracy” in Arabia is dishonest, empty, and contrary to the record we’ve created for the last fifty years.

    Your opinion. Not facts. Again, you may want to handcuff yourself to the US’s past history, but others would rather move forward.

    I don’t care who GW Bush has consulted with. The present policy and direction is unsupportable on any level.

    Well, that’s conveniant. Why bring up parts of their work (which you presumably agree with) to attempt to buttress your point then? It seems to me their views on Iraq and the democratization of the ME would be even more relevant given what you brought up concerning their previous work on this topic. You can’t have it both ways.

  155. 155
    Shygetz says:

    DougJ says:

    Look, we got Saddam out with the smaller number of troops we used. Doesn’t that show Shineski was wrong?

    We could have gotten Saddam out with 10,000 guys if we had to. Shinseki’s appraisal was for the occupation of Iraq, not the initial conquest. If you’ll pay attention, we are having trouble with said occupation. A logical reason for this trouble is that we don’t have enough troops present to counter the insurgency.

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