Why I Love Blogging

Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) writes at TPM from Iraq, listing things she thinks need to be done to stabilize the country and make progress. These include:

1.) Get the power on.
2.) Get the oil out.
3.) Get the government ministries going.
4.) Get Zarqawi.

Each item has a little blurb why this is important.

The first, and I mean very first, commenter (noblesseoblige), writes:

Dear Rep. Harman:

Your suggestions to get Zarqawi, get the power on, get the ministries going, etc, are excellent.

None of them ever occurred to us and we thank you for the tip.

Respectfully yours,
— CentCom Commander Gen. John Abizaid

PS If you think we should also bring about peace, stability, and prosperity, don’t hesitate to let us know.

Heh.

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71 replies
  1. 1
    Steve says:

    So obvious, and yet, so undone.

  2. 2
    BarneyG says:

    It might be a good idea to increase the number of battle ready divisions and not decrease them (from 3 in June to 1 in Sept).

  3. 3
    KC says:

    Oh well, I figure we’ll have a vote, claim victory, and stay in our “defensive crouch”–Rep. Harman’s words, not mine–for a while longer.

  4. 4
    Brad R. says:

    That’s no fun. Here’s my list:

    1.) Invade their country (check)

    2.) Kill their leaders (soon-to-be-checked)

    3.) Convert them to Christianity.

    Yeah, so the third one’s gonna take a while. I say we send James Dobson and the entire Focus on the Family ministry to do the job.

  5. 5
    jg says:

    I would also suggest giving our troops some body armor. You know, just in case.

  6. 6
    Shygetz says:

    Man, that was a great one! An illustration of the need to think (and make sure you have something to say) before you write.

  7. 7
    Brad R. says:

    I would also suggest giving our troops some body armor. You know, just in case.

    I don’t see how body armor will help convert the Iraqis to Christianity, jg. C’mon, man, where’s your head at?

  8. 8
    Brad R. says:

    I also love this:

    If there’s one area where I was impressed, it is how many resources are devoted to catching Abu Musab al Zarqawi. He’s beginning to make tactical mistakes like the savage murders of Shia school teachers, which played very badly inside the country.

    I can’t imagine anyone, even Zarqawi, thinking that slaughtering school teachers was a good PR move. I mean, if Zarqawi killed a bunch of teachers and the whole country CHEERED, it’d clearly be time to pull up the stakes and flee as fast as possible.

  9. 9
    Steve S says:

    I suggest sowing the soil with salt. It worked for the Romans against Carthage.

  10. 10
    Geek, Esq. says:

    Sounds like John Kerry’s Iraq policy.

  11. 11
    jobiuspublius says:

    Did General John “Smart Ass” Abizaid ever notice how the US military was sent to Iraq with his hands tied to his ankles by someone other than Rep. Jane Harman?

  12. 12
    jobiuspublius says:

    Opps, replace his with it’s.

  13. 13
    Shygetz says:

    jobiuspublius–I don’t know about you, but when a US Representative gets on a public forum and says that kind of stuff, I feel a bit patronized. I don’t think John’s point was that the Republicans are great and the Dems are stupid; I think it was more the idea that the blogosphere cuts through the bullshit better than any kind of face-to-face media. And in some cases, I agree. Anonymity (or even distance) can be very liberating.

  14. 14
    jg says:

    I don’t see how body armor will help convert the Iraqis to Christianity, jg. C’mon, man, where’s your head at?

    I know but freedom is messy. I just want the peeps in charge to think about something that MIGHT happen once in a while.

  15. 15
    TallDave says:

    You would think security was Iraqis’ biggest concern, but surprisingly it’s actually electricity shortages.

    Of course, the security situation is largely responsible for the electricity shortages, as the idiot insurgents keep attacking the infrastructure (they really need better PR advice).

    On the plus side, there are 86 Iraqi battalions taking the fight to the enemy today; a year ago, there were only a couple. We hold Fallujah, Tal Afar, and will be taking Ramadi, Qaim, and the rest of the border towns before the December elections (which, Iraqi bloggers are claiming, secularists are expected to make a much stronger showing); a year ago, they were no-go zones. So there’s a good chance things will look quite different in January.

  16. 16
    srv says:

    It’s good that we’ve always had a plan and enough troops to accomplish those goals.

  17. 17
    Steven D says:

    This is what’s really great about the blogosphere…everyone has their own takeaway from every post. I thought John’s point was that most commenters don’t know good ideas when they see them. I thought Rep. Harman’s ideas were right on the money. I realize that in the current bitterly partisan atmosphere in Washington, that Rep. Harman’s suggestions would have fallen on deaf ears. But it seems to me that had we followed her suggestions two years ago, the whole thing would be over by now and President Bush would be getting the Nobel Peace Prize. A little bipartisanship can go a long way!

  18. 18
    jg says:

    Of course, the security situation is largely responsible for the electricity shortages, as the idiot insurgents keep attacking the infrastructure (they really need better PR advice).

    You can’t be serious. You think attacking the electricity generation and the oil pipelines is a bad idea for the insurgency? Its perfect for them, we get blamed, and we’ll continue to get blamed. The shit worked before we got there and let it all get destroyed and looted. Now no matter what happens, we are the reason the AC doesn’t work in summer.

    Anonymity (or even distance) can be very liberating.

    I was wondering about this recently. How much anonymity do we have here. I’m sure this site is read by higher ups and its fairly easy to find out who we really are. Scary if you think about it.

  19. 19
    Steven D says:

    Tall Dave~

    Good point. Nobody likes getting blown up in the dark.

  20. 20
    Narvy says:

    An illustration of the need to think (and make sure you have something to say) before you write.

    when a US Representative gets on a public forum and says that kind of stuff, I feel a bit patronized.

    Sigh. I am an admirer of Rep. Harman, and if all she said was what John cherry-picked chose to edit into the blog entry, I would be sorely disappointed. However, there are a few other sentences in the refernced TPM post. Call her a ninny and a twit if you wish, but please do it after reading the entire article. (I’d block-quote the whole thing, but that would bring the Wrath of John.)

  21. 21
    jg says:

    On the plus side, there are 86 Iraqi battalions taking the fight to the enemy today

    86 battalions? Where do you get this number? How many are capable of fighting without US soldiers holding thier hands?
    http://www.washingtonmonthly.c.....007229.php

    For what its worth Drum says there is 1 battalion capable of fighting on its own.

  22. 22
    Narvy says:

    there are 86 Iraqi battalions

    Of which 85 can’t function without a US presence.

  23. 23
    RSA says:

    The point of Harman’s post is that these are things by which you can measure progress (except maybe the last one, which is done or not-done). If you can measure progress (and if progress is actually happening), you can do more than say, “Stay the course.”

  24. 24
    Narvy says:

    I’m sure this site is read by higher ups

    And the self-importance award goes to … the envelope, please …jg! (Wild applause!)

    Dude, you’ve got to be joking. BJ is a fun place to trash the administration, but to think it’s monitored by “higher ups” is absurd. Now, Daily Kos, that’s another matter entirely.

  25. 25
    jg says:

    I’m not saying we’re all being monitored but I bet their checking it out.

    I’m not worried that anything I say will raise attention though.

    Thanks for being a dick about it. I appreciate it.

  26. 26
    Narvy says:

    Thanks for being a dick about it. I appreciate it.

    Hey, Dude, always a pleasure.

  27. 27
    Narvy says:

    Oh, jg, don’t mind the snark. It’s my native tonge and I frequently lapse into it.

  28. 28
    Narvy says:

    Should have been “tongue”. But you knew that. My second language is typo, in which I am very fluent.

  29. 29
    jobiuspublius says:

    Shygetz, I don’t know what John Coles point is in posting this thread. My point is that Abezaid’s problems stem from somewhere else, but, he attacks Harman. You know, Harman is from that other party. That seems to be the SOP since Worst-POTUS-Ever came into power. Case in point, BDrownie at that congrssional hearing the other day, Condi “don’t impune my integrity” Rice to Boxer, Alberto “Torquemada” Gonzalez, etc.

  30. 30
    srv says:

    jg,

    Nobody up the chain wants to know the truth, then they might be held accountable. When you’ve got people like Hoagland wondering who’s going to tell the Emperor he has no clothes:

    http://www.dailystar.com/daily...../95450.php

    Our leadership doesn’t read newspapers, watch the news, or read blogs. Rove does, but he’s not telling anyone how much he’s screwed up.

  31. 31
    Narvy says:

    I don’t know what John Coles point is in posting this thread

    He’s tired of acknowledging Republican stupidity and is trying to balance it out.

  32. 32
    Narvy says:

    Nobody up the chain wants to know the truth

    All the more reason for them to read our comments.

  33. 33
    John S. says:

    Too bad the Bush Administration checklist had more in common with the Underpants Gnomes from South Park:

    1) Invade Iraq
    3) Democracy spreads throughout the Middle East

    Mission accomplished.

  34. 34
    John Cole says:

    My point was that no matter who blogs about what, if you have an open forum, you are going to be treated to the never-ending sarcasm of your commenters. Plus, the comment was just funny.

    Anything other than that reads too much into this post.

  35. 35
    Oh,Boy.Stupidity! says:

    Our leadership doesn’t read newspapers, watch the news, or read blogs.

    Of course not. The Admin is too busy counting dead bodies stacked up in the Superdome and countering Dan Rather’s oh-so accurate memos…

    Yeah, I’d feel so much better if the Admin was tooling around, posting here. You can learn so much!

  36. 36
    Brad R. says:

    My point was that no matter who blogs about what, if you have an open forum, you are going to be treated to the never-ending sarcasm of your commenters. Plus, the comment was just funny.

    Nooooo, John, your just apologizing for Bush again!!1! ;-)

  37. 37
    Narvy says:

    Whatever substance there may have been in this thread seems to be over. Can we go home now?

  38. 38
    jobiuspublius says:

    Narvy Says:

    Whatever substance there may have been in this thread seems to be over. Can we go home now?

    Ok, can we chew on this then?

    September 30, 2005
    Tone, Truth, and the Democratic Party

    (Cross-posted on DailyKos.com)

    To the Daily Kos Crew:

    I read with interest your recent discussion regarding my comments on the floor(1, 2, 3) during the debate on John Roberts’ nomination. I don’t get a chance to follow blog traffic as regularly as I would like, and rarely get the time to participate in the discussions. I thought this might be a good opportunity to offer some thoughts about not only judicial confirmations, but how to bring about meaningful change in this country.

    Maybe some of you believe I could have made my general point more artfully, but it’s precisely because many of these groups are friends and supporters that I felt it necessary to speak my mind.

  39. 39
    Rick says:

    Yeah, I’d feel so much better if the Admin was tooling around, posting here. You can learn so much!

    Sad to say, there are some here whose conduct and intensity indicates they believe that to be the truth. Serious Discussions Abound!

    Cordially…

  40. 40
    kenb says:

    The post (as quoted by John anyway) reminds me of Monty Python’s “How To Do It” sketch:

    Alan: Well, last week we showed you how to become a gynaecologist. And this week on ‘How to do it’ we’re going to show you how to play the flute, how to split an atom, how to construct a box girder bridge, how to irrigate the Sahara Desert and make vast new areas of land cultivatable, but first, here’s Jackie to tell you all how to rid the world of all known diseases.

    Jackie: Hello, Alan.

    Alan: Hello, Jackie.

    Jackie: Well, first of all become a doctor and discover a marvellous cure for something, and then, when the medical profession really starts to take notice of you, you can jolly well tell them what to do and make sure they get everything right so there’ll never be any diseases ever again.

    Alan: Thanks, Jackie. Great idea. How to play the flute. (picking up a flute) Well here we are. You blow there and you move your fingers up and down here.

    Noel: Great, great, Alan. Well, next week we’ll be showing you how black and white people can live together in peace and harmony, and Alan will be over in Moscow showing us how to reconcile the Russians and the Chinese. So, until next week, cheerio.

    Alan: Bye.

    Jackie: Bye.

    (Children’s music.)

  41. 41
    John S. says:

    Sad to say, there are some here whose conduct and intensity indicates they believe their own bullshit to be the truth.

    Cordially…

  42. 42
    Rick says:

    John S.,

    That too. Not that I was thinking particularly of you, but if the Birkenstock fits…

    Cordially…

  43. 43
    John S. says:

    Rick-

    Not that I was thinking particularly of you, but if the dunce cap fits, it will go nicely with your Birkenstocks…

    Cordially…

  44. 44
    Rick says:

    See, if only Emporer Chimpy McHitlerburton would just browse blog comments, he’s be in touch with Real People and Higher Truths and Deep Thoughts.

    Why you aren’t WH Chief of Staff is a doggone shame.

    Cordially…

  45. 45
    jobiuspublius says:

    If BDrownie, Jerktoff, Worst-POTUS-Ever, et. al., were as avid the blog denizen as some of us are, they would have known a thing or two about Katrina.

  46. 46
    skip says:

    CentCom Commander Gen. John Abizaid needn’t concern himself, given that things have been in their last throes for a good while now–as the all-wise VEEP himself assured us.

    So let’s get on with it. Disengagament will simply be a matter of extracting dried flowers and melted candy from those unused M16s.

  47. 47
    Rick says:

    John S.,

    After the two comments above, need I say–or you parrot– more?

    Cordially…

  48. 48
    Shygetz says:

    Rick–Cordially? To quote a great Spaniard:

    “You keep using that word. I do not think it means, what you think it means.”

    Exasperated…

  49. 49
    Shygetz says:

    jobiuspublius–I know she said other stuff, all of which was also unhelpful. I know that the Admin made a mess of the situation. I know that they are to blame. Knowing that doesn’t help me right now. I already know how we can tell if Iraq is doing well, and the partial list she gave us is not news. Does she (or anyone else) have any clue how to accomplish her goals? If not, we should just leave, because this situation is FUBAR.

  50. 50
    John S. says:

    Rick-

    I would take the time to come up with something original – rather than parrot – if I thought you were worth the effort.

    Cordially…

  51. 51
    jobiuspublius says:

    Shygetz Says:

    jobiuspublius—I know she said other stuff, all of which was also unhelpful. I know that the Admin made a mess of the situation. I know that they are to blame. Knowing that doesn’t help me right now. I already know how we can tell if Iraq is doing well, and the partial list she gave us is not news. Does she (or anyone else) have any clue how to accomplish her goals? If not, we should just leave, because this situation is FUBAR.

    I agree with all of that. But, I don’t see what’s the purpose of pileing on Harman and I expect a General to know better. Maybe he used her to get a word out edge wise. Ah, yes, I forgot the strategic value of scapegoating.

    The comment right after Abizaid’s is interesting:

    Re: The View From Iraq (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by delicatemonster on Sep 30, 2005 — 12:48:59 PM EST

    Dear CentCom Commander Gen. John Abizaid,

    While it’s good of you to enter the fray with your clever quip about being notified by Rep. Harman of some fairly obvious problems in Iraq which your command has yet to successfully address, may I humbly suggest as a taxpayer, and thus, for the most part, YOUR and Rep. Harman’s employer that you please get back to work and:

    1) get Zarqawi, turn on the power, revive the ministries, and, as you note, additionally, provide for peace, stability and prosperity in Iraq, something that was in greater evidence, by all accounts, before the U.S. military made its oh so subtle footprint.

    In addition, it would be good if you could do a few other things that I’m sure Republicans and Democrats would equally cheer:

    2) Catch Osama Bin Laden. Remember him?

    3) Stop, stop, stop the practice of torture at Abu Ghraib, Bagram and anywhere else our Service men and women may be practicing it.

    Thank you for the time,
    A concerned U.S. citizen and primary employer

    BTW, It seems noblesseoblige is not at the first post.

  52. 52
    jobiuspublius says:

    The point is, what if Hot Tub Tom had made that post? Would Abizaid have made those wisecracks?

  53. 53
    Bob says:

    I’d like to have some of whatever TallDave is smoking. We have medical marijuana here in California for glaucoma, but I don’t think you can get a prescription filled for blind faith.

  54. 54
    TallDave says:

    jg said: You can’t be serious. You think attacking the electricity generation and the oil pipelines is a bad idea for the insurgency? Its perfect for them, we get blamed,

    jg, you seem to be assuming the Iraqis are idiots who will embrace the people wrecking their lives, rather than not only blaming the people actually wrecking things but demanding (from us and their elected gov’t) the insurgents be stopped by any means necessary.

  55. 55
    TallDave says:

    Bob,

    I think you need one for blind stupidity.

  56. 56
    Bob says:

    By the way, there was a story in the London Independent a week or so back about how 1.1 billion of the 1.3 billion that was supposed to go to arming all those Iraqi soldiers last year had been ripped off. In the story it mentioned that almost all the funds to get the electricity and sewage going had also been liberated in the general direction of the Grand Caymans.

  57. 57
    TallDave says:

    86 battalions? Where do you get this number?

    From Gen John Myers, this morning.

    How many are capable of fighting without US soldiers holding thier hands?

    My understanding is there are 10 U.S. advisers in every battalion. This is how you build an army; you don’t just give them guns and say “Have at it boys!” If you want to call it hand-holding, fine. But they are out there fighting, and they took the lead in Tal Afar.

  58. 58
    TallDave says:

    FYI, they are probably going to need those advisers for the next 2-5 years or so. Frankly, I’m surprised we have even one Iraq battalion running around by itself.

    The reason is the same reason that the old Iraqi “Army” self-disbanded at the time of the invasion: as in most Mideast armies, there was no NCO corps. NCOs are the glue that hold together an army, and it takes a long time to develop such a corps.

    In lieu of NCOs, like most Arab countries the Iraqi “Army” had platoon-level IIS agents holding guns to conscripts’ heads. Why do the Arab armies have this in common? Think about the mechanic of dictatorship for a minute, and it’s obvious: loyalty to the current head of state must be strictly enforced among the military if the dictator wants to stay in power. If a general knows his troops are loyal to him, he could be dictator himself pretty fast.

  59. 59
    TallDave says:

    Interesting tidbit on Iraqi forces and how they are progressing:

    General Casey reiterated the point made by Rumsfeld, that the insurgency is failing in Iraq and discussed the state of the Iraqi security forces.

    “On the military side, coalition forces and Iraqi security forces continue to pressure terrorists and insurgents across Iraq. And Iraqi security forces are progressing and continuing to take a more prominent role in defending their country. Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about. In May, Iraqi security forces conducted about 160 combined or independent operations at the company level and above, so about 100 people as company level, and about 160 operations. In September, that was over 1,300, and then our transition teams that we have put with the Iraqi security forces have greatly enhanced their development and their ability to operate with us. We are at the point now where 80 percent of all of the company- level and higher operations that are done are combined operations with the Iraqi or Iraqi independent operations — big step forward.

    “Additionally, we expect to have 60[000] to 70,000 more Iraqi security forces available for referendum security than we had in January, and by the time of the elections, we expect to have about 100,000 more Iraqi security forces available to protect those elections than we had in January. So as a result, for example, I only had to ask for an additional 2,000 coalition troops to protect the referendum and election process this year vice 12,000 in January”

  60. 60
    jg says:

    jg, you seem to be assuming the Iraqis are idiots who will embrace the people wrecking their lives

    Of course. Thats exactly what I meant. In no way was I implying that the people of Iraq were smart enough to know that we were the cause of the insurgency, which is sabotaging the electricity and killing civilians, or that Bush once declared that Iraq is where terrorists should go if their looking to do battle with the USA.

  61. 61
    skip says:

    Even if everything TallDave and Gen. Westmoreland— oops, Casey— said were true, what we’d get in the end is a Shiite theocracy, allied to Iran. That is not, in my view, a result worth the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars–and the loss of good will worldwide.

  62. 62
    jobiuspublius says:

    That was very interesting TallDave, thx for the info. It’s alot better than your usual.

  63. 63
    Rick says:

    Oh, woe! John S. believes himself to have uncorked a beaut, and I *so* chastened.

    Cordially…

    P.S. And Shygetz, do yourself the favor of looking up the meaning of “cordially.” Increase Your Word Power ™.

  64. 64
    John S. says:

    Thanks for the tip, Rick!

    cor·dial

    n.

    1. A stimulant; a tonic.
    2. A liqueur.

    So when you say cordially, it’s your way of letting us know that you’re all liquored up. That explains a lot, although you could just say…

    Drunkenly…

  65. 65
    Com Con says:

    I have to think that this whole “fact finding trip” or whatever it is by Harman is not the right way to project a strong image the insurgents.

    Having someone, and a woman at that, over there second-guessing the president makes us look weak as all get out. I’m not saying that I think a woman shouldn’t do somethign like that, but to the Muslim mind it’s a sign of weakness to get second-guessed by a woman like that.

  66. 66
    TallDave says:

    what we’d get in the end is a Shiite theocracy, allied to Iran.

    I don’t how this piece of leftist, defeatist tripe manages to stay alive as a meme. I still haven’t heard anyone explain why Iraqis will flock to the banner of a religious dictatorship that’s extremely unpopular even in its native Iran. It’s an insult to the Iraqis.

    The secularists, btw, are expected to make large gains in December. That’s because unlike in Iranian “democracy,” Iraqi candidates are not disqualified if the clerics don’t approve them.

  67. 67
    TallDave says:

    . In no way was I implying that the people of Iraq were smart enough to know that we were the cause of the insurgency, which is sabotaging the electricity and killing civilians,

    And so jg joins the tinfoil brigade. Let me guess, Bush was behind 9/11 too, right?

  68. 68
    Retief says:

    Does anybody here believe that if getting the power on were the top priority of the US forces in Iraq, those forces could not acomplish that goal? Are 140,000 of our troops really incapable of building and protecting the infrastructure to provide electricity to Baghdad 24 hours a day?

    IMHO It’s we won’t, not we can’t. We choose not to.

  69. 69
    maybee says:

    jobiuspublis says:
    “I agree with all of that. But, I don’t see what’s the purpose of pileing on Harman and I expect a General to know better. Maybe he used her to get a word out edge wise. Ah, yes, I forgot the strategic value of scapegoating.”

    Ummm….I’m not thinking that is really Abizaid posting, are you?

  70. 70
    Rick says:

    John S.,

    Ow!! Ouch!!! HEY, QUIT IT!!! You’re *really* hurting my feelings (such little amount as a conservative is believed to have).

    Cordially…

  71. 71
    Bruce Moomaw says:

    Well, there’s no particular evidence that the White House has thought of her ideas yet.

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