The Pull Out

Once again, it appears as if the Bush administration is going to do the wrong thing for purely political reasons:

Even as debate over the Iraq war continues to rage, signs are emerging of a convergence of opinion on how the Bush administration might begin to exit the conflict.

In a departure from previous statements, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said this week that the training of Iraqi soldiers had advanced so far that the current number of U.S. troops in the country probably would not be needed much longer.

President Bush will give a major speech Wednesday at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., in which aides say he is expected to herald the improved readiness of Iraqi troops, which he has identified as the key condition for pulling out U.S. forces.

The administration’s pivot on the issue comes as the White House is seeking to relieve enormous pressure by war opponents. The camp includes liberals, moderates and old-line conservatives who are uneasy with the costly and uncertain nation-building effort.

It also follows agreement this week among Iraqi politicians that the U.S. troop presence ought to decrease. Meeting in Cairo, representatives of the three major ethnic and religious groups called for a U.S. withdrawal and recognized Iraqis’ “legitimate right of resistance” to foreign occupation. In private conversations, Iraqi officials discussed a possible two-year withdrawal period, analysts said.

There is no chance in hell that the Iraqi army, who just got their first tank, and is undertrained and understaffed and underequipped, is prepared to take over operations. If they are, fine. But I have my doubts:

As recently as late September, senior U.S. military commanders said during a congressional hearing that just one Iraqi battalion, about 700 soldiers, was considered capable of undertaking combat operations fully independent of U.S. support. Administration officials now dismiss that measure of readiness, saying more Iraqi units are able to conduct advanced operations each day.

A former top Pentagon official who served during Bush’s first term said he believed there was a “growing consensus” on withdrawing about 40,000 troops before next year’s congressional election. That would be followed by further substantial pullouts in 2007 if it became clear that Iraqi forces could contain the insurgency.

While drawing down 40k of 160k troops over the next year is certainly not cutting and running, I think it is pretty clear this decision is being based on domestic political considerations rather than facts on the ground.

Which, of course, makes this administration no better than the cynical Democrats who have been using this issue for their own political reasons. Worse, some might argue, since this adminstration led us into this war, and now seems unwilling to win it.

170 replies
  1. 1
    Sojourner says:

    I suspect it’s based on the growing realization that there is no way to win this thing. The same military leaders who whispered in Murtha’s ear are, no doubt, whispering in the ears of the Repubs.

    The sad reality is that the US can withdraw now or withdraw later but the result will be the same.

    The result will be civil war. A tragic end to a misbegotten war.

  2. 2
    Dexter says:

    What this shows is that things are going better in Iraq than any in the media are willing to admit. God willing, we’ll have the troops home by Thanksgiving 2006, and the Iraqis will have a peaceful democracy. Seems win-win and the ultimate rebuttal to those who have criticized this war from the beginning.

  3. 3
    ppGaz says:

    Okay, DougJXter has had his say. Now back to reality.

    The American people have made it pretty clear what they want. They don’t think the war was justified. They don’t think it is making them safer. They aren’t convinced that Iraq can handle being on its own, ever. They don’t think the administration has been straight with them.

    Your government really has no choice at this point. Since it cannot convince the people to change their minds, especially if the ham-handed and downright dumb approach that Bush and Cheney have taken in the last two weeks is any indication …. they are just plain out of bullshit. They are faced with two choices, since we don’t have a parliamentary system in which they could just slink away and become Fox News commentators. One is to stick to the current planless, no-end-in-sight boondoggle, and the other is to at least look like they have a plan to get out.

    If they chose A, then their ability to govern would be zero, and they would be the lamest ducks in history. Therefore, they are choosing B, because the people have already chosen it for them

    All due respect to the apologist crowd … what the hell did you expect?

  4. 4
    John Cole says:

    Explain to me how, in a post attacking the administration, I am a member of the apologist crowd? Or is this just another one of your reverse Rovian constructs, in that you’re either ‘with PPGAZ, or against him?’

  5. 5
    Dexter says:

    John, that’s how it is with these moonbats. Mark my words: if they ever gain a smidgeon of power, which is unlikely, they’ll all turn on eather other the way the Bolsheviks did.

  6. 6
    ppGaz says:

    Explain to me how, in a post attacking the administration, I am a member of the apologist crowd?

    I think we’re all a little touchy these days. I did not say you were a member of the apologist crowd. For the record, I’ll stipulate that you are not.

    Think …. Darrell. Also, just to make it a perfect day, I’ll even retract those blasts in which I have tied you to Darrell for rhetorical reasons. Darrell is out there on his own.

  7. 7
    ppGaz says:

    they’ll all turn on eather other the way the Bolsheviks did

    .

    That’s right, DougJ. And then some of us will become neocons.

    Have a nice day in personaland.

  8. 8
    ppGaz says:

    eather

    And slow down your typing. What, are you doing this while plaing online poker??

  9. 9
    Paddy O'Shea says:

    Does anyone really believe Bush is going to pull all those troops out of Iraq?

    C’mon, this is just like all that money he was going to send to New Orleans or New York City. Something stated for effect and then quickly forgotten.

  10. 10
    OCSteve says:

    A former top Pentagon official who served during Bush’s first term said he believed there was a “growing consensus” on withdrawing about 40,000 troops before next year’s congressional election.

    That is a complete disgrace. Any redeployment based on politics rather than a very obvious self-sufficient Iraq would be a slap in the face to the troops and to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

    I do expect some redeployment next year, but if it even smells like it is more related to mid-term elections than a clear need for fewer boots on the ground due to the Iraqis standing up – that will be the last straw for me with the GOP. I will be done with them. I doubt I will have a viable Democrat to vote for any time soon but I will vote Independent or not at all. They will never see another dime of my money and I will actively work against them.

    How do we go about getting a viable third party in this country?

  11. 11
    John S. says:

    Explain to me how, in a post attacking the administration, I am a member of the apologist crowd?

    Come on now John, nobody said you were a member (as I’m sure you discovered after re-reading).

    But seriously, this is what you would consider ‘attacking the administration’? Perhaps you are pointing out the things the administration is doing that you don’t like, but you seem to be saying the the fault lies with the anti-war crowd [domestic political considerations] and the ‘cynical Democrats who have been using this issue for their own political reasons’. Feel free to correct me if my presumption is incorrect.

    Is it ok for Bush to do something wrong and actually be responsible for it himself?

  12. 12

    Actually, I’ve been reading analysis since the spring that indicated it was time for a draw down of US forces on the order of 30,000-50,000 for a variety of non-political reasons. The reason you’re getting so much noise from the Dems about cutting-and-running is because come election time, they want to point back to now and say their patriotic dissent was the cause of the troop reductions, as I noted the other day.

  13. 13
    Darrell says:

    Think …. Darrell. Also, just to make it a perfect day, I’ll even retract those blasts in which I have tied you to Darrell for rhetorical reasons. Darrell is out there on his own

    I love how you loons obsess over me, even in threads where I don’t even post. Remember this: I OWN you kooks. I am in your heads and you can’t get me out. You mumble my name in your sleep as you pee your beds.

    Back on topic, John C is right. One of the things I most admired about the Bush admin was their resolve in Iraq and the WOT in general. Looks like they’re backing down for political reasons, while lying about the ‘readiness’ of Iraqi troops. My only disagreement is a quibble over this point

    makes this administration no better than the cynical Democrats who have been using this issue for their own political reasons

    While Repubs are responsible for their own actions, never forget which party/side is responsible for undermining public support for the war with lies of their own, with no regards for the cost of failure.. “war over lies”, “manipulated intelligence”, “no blood for oil”, etc. After matching those quotes with the party/side making them, ask yourself, which side is putting ‘party before country’ with regards to Iraq?

  14. 14
    Mike says:

    “OCSteve Says:

    A former top Pentagon official who served during Bush’s first term said he believed there was a “growing consensus” on withdrawing about 40,000 troops before next year’s congressional election.

    That is a complete disgrace. Any redeployment based on politics rather than a very obvious self-sufficient Iraq would be a slap in the face to the troops and to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.”

    So just as in Vietnam we’ll leave millions of civilians to the kind acts of the “revolutionists”. I would think this would gladden the hearts of all Libs. You won, as with Vietnam. Congratulations, enjoy your coming “victory”. I for one cannot WAIT until we get out of Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. And then some bleedheart liberal idiot cries out for military intervention to “save” some ethnic group, get the incompent criminal UN out of some fix, etc. That’s when we get a chance to say: “I don’t think so”…

  15. 15
    rachel says:

    My question is, are they really going to draw down the troops, or are they just making noises about drawing down the troops to pacify the American public for now? I guess there’s no way we’ll know one way ot the other because even if they are serious about this, events may cause them to change their plans. Or perhaps the administration is thinking of pulling out ground forces while stepping up air support of Iraqi forces at the same time? And if they were, would that be such a bad idea?

    I just don’t know.

  16. 16
    Steve S says:

    So just as in Vietnam we’ll leave millions of civilians to the kind acts of the “revolutionists”. I would think this would gladden the hearts of all Libs. You won, as with Vietnam. Congratulations, enjoy your coming “victory”. I for one cannot WAIT until we get out of Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. And then some bleedheart liberal idiot cries out for military intervention to “save” some ethnic group, get the incompent criminal UN out of some fix, etc. That’s when we get a chance to say: “I don’t think so”…

    WOO HOO! I was right.

    Bushie withdraws the troops, and all the wingnuts will blame the liberals for it, rather than deal with reality.

    Let me ask you something. What is your plan? Stay there for ever? Spend $200 billion a year, lose 1000 lives a year. To what end? For what purpose?

    It was bullshit to claim we’d be greated with sweets and flowers. It’s bullshit to think after two years of declining stability that leaving the troops there is going to improve things.

  17. 17
    Perry Como says:

    All good Americans know that political expediency is the highest goal for our truly great leaders. Only the most stalwart of politicians can distill Machiavellian machinations down to their purest form, creating a fine vintage of national and international buttfuckery for the masses to imbibe.

  18. 18
    Steve S says:

    That is a complete disgrace. Any redeployment based on politics rather than a very obvious self-sufficient Iraq would be a slap in the face to the troops and to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

    Bush already slapped those soldiers in the face when he invaded Iraq on a boatload of lies.

  19. 19
    ppGaz says:

    and you can’t get me out. You mumble my name in your sleep as you pee your beds.

    Thank you for that peek inside the brain of the complete laughingstock, D-man.

    As for Bush and his Monkeys here … It is disgusting now to listen to whines about a pulldown “for political reasons” ….

    You guys never had any respect for the people … which is why you had to gin up a war and get it going quickly before anyone found out just how thin the evidence was to support it …. which is why you joked about WMDs once you found out there weren’t any there …. and why you NOW pooh-pooh the idea of responding to public pressure.

    Public pressure is how the people exert their will, you assholes. The people run this country, not the arrogant lying cocksuckers in the White House. The people.

    So stop whining about “political pressure” and once again putting a finger into the eye of the people. Try listening to the people for once in your tin-eared lives.

  20. 20
    Eural says:

    So just as in Vietnam we’ll leave millions of civilians to the kind acts of the “revolutionists”. I would think this would gladden the hearts of all Libs. You won, as with Vietnam. Congratulations, enjoy your coming “victory”. I for one cannot WAIT until we get out of Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. And then some bleedheart liberal idiot cries out for military intervention to “save” some ethnic group, get the incompent criminal UN out of some fix, etc. That’s when we get a chance to say: “I don’t think so”…

    I’ll throw the ball back into the conservative/neocon court – this was one of the problems goofy liberals had with the Iraq debacle in the first place. There are plenty of other places around the world we could have intervened in with more success and while producing a greater good than in Iraq. But we didn’t. In fact prior to the 2000 election Bush was adament about not intervening or “nation-building” anywhere. So now we have lost our moral high-ground and our committment to really leading the world into the 21st century – and over what? Why Iraq rather than a better/more needy place? Try reading anything by any member of the neocon movement posted or published by the PNAC or AEI since the mid-90’s. It was never a secret. And now, thanks to the Bush/Rumsfeld incompetence it’s a national disgrace. Worst administration ever. Period.

  21. 21
    Richard Bottoms says:

    >Worse, some might argue, since this adminstration led us into >this war, and now seems unwilling to win it.

    It is amazing that this administration can simultaniously call Democrats cowards for seeking a withdrawal plan while anyone but a blind man could see they plan to pull out in a big way next year.

    Meanwhile Democrats all called moonbats for stating Bush’s willingness to lie at the sametime Bushco is obviusly lying about ‘staying the course.’

    Just waht will it take for Republicans to admit reality?

  22. 22
    ppGaz says:

    Worst administration ever. Period.

    I’ll wager that history records it thus. And the beauty part is, they have three more years to fuck up a whole list of things yet before they leave town. I really don’t think we have seen the full depth and breadth of their stupidity yet.

  23. 23
    Darrell says:

    There are plenty of other places around the world we could have intervened in with more success and while producing a greater good than in Iraq.

    Where? Although still counting the corpses, it looks like over 100,000 dead Iraqis murdered by Saddam, many with chemical weapons. He ran childrens prisons to torture the children of political opponents. He invaded two of his neighbors killing hundreds of thousands in those wars. Tell us Eural, which ‘other regime’ could we have toppled with ‘more success’ that you leftist vermin would have supported?

  24. 24
    W.B. Reeves says:

    It’s an interesting historical twist. In Korea and Vietnam the Democrats went down with the shipwreck of their war policy, losing the White House to Republicans who rode into power promising to bring those wars to a conclusion. Eisenhower promised to “go to Korea”, Nixon had “a secret plan”. In the end, they both winded up declaring victory and pulling the plug. For ever afterward the Rightwing would argue that the Dems started wars but the Repo’s were the ones who finished them.

    Now it appears that they’ve decided to do without the Democrats direct participation and will handle the whole sorry spectacle themselves. An ill-conceived, ill-planned and therefore ill-executed military adventure collapsing under the weight, not of military but domestic political necessity. It’s enough to make one wonder if the Iraq debacle was ever about anything other than crass partisan calculation.

    It will be instructive to see how the hacks will try to spin this. How many will claim that the cut and run is actually victory, ala the Paris Peace accords? How many will claim that the Army was “stabbed in the back” by dissenters at home? Will any be honest enough to admit that this disaster has GOP stamped all over it? Doubtful, since the cult of toughness is central to what remaining mass appeal the GOP possesses.

    That’s why scepticism about whether such reports are more than propaganda ploys is justified. Regardless of how the true believers spin it, most of the population would see it for what it would be: capitulation. The GOP would clearly be running away from the war for fear of taking punishment in the 2006 elections. Playing politics the lives of the troops in so blatant a fashion would hardly seem a winning electoral strategy. To do this the Repo’s would have to be convinced that the alternative of “staying the course” would be even more disasterous to their political fortunes. I’m not sure they’ve reached that point. Nor is it certain that Bush would be willing to sacrifice his personal “legacy” to the interests of the GOP as a whole.

  25. 25
    ppGaz says:

    Nor is it certain that Bush would be willing to sacrifice his personal “legacy” to the interests of the GOP as a whole.

    Excellent post.

    I’d only comment that if Bush really thinks he is going to have a “legacy” that is anything more than the “whew!” we heard when Brownie retired from public service, he’s delusional. Bush has left a divot on this golf course that is going to take a long time growing back in.

  26. 26
    GTinMN says:

    I love how you loons obsess over me, even in threads where I don’t even post. Remember this: I OWN you kooks. I am in your heads and you can’t get me out. You mumble my name in your sleep as you pee your beds.

    Projecting again there, Darrell. Sorry to hear your nights are haunted by scary dreams of whimpering yet omnipotent liberal overlords, or maybe it’s all those giants made of straw you hysterically shriek at when you are ‘awake’? I’d recommend you get some professional help. Sounds like a classic case of Diapers Media syndrome to me.
    Oh, and nice attempt to blame Iraq on the Dems, but it won’t work. Too late, too many people are smart enough to remember that’s this is Bush’s war. Besides, I’m sure he’s too stubborn to do anything but ‘stay the course’. So no need to get all hysterical about this one just yet. But then again, I know you can’t help it.

  27. 27
    Mike S says:

    I love how you loons obsess over me, even in threads where I don’t even post. Remember this: I OWN you kooks. I am in your heads and you can’t get me out. You mumble my name in your sleep as you pee your beds.

    Main Entry: meg·a·lo·ma·nia
    Pronunciation: “meg-&-lO-‘mA-nE-&, -ny&
    Function: noun
    : a delusional mental disorder that is marked by infantile feelings of personal omnipotence and grandeur

  28. 28
    OCSteve says:

    How many will claim that the cut and run is actually victory, ala the Paris Peace accords?

    Not I. Any cut-n-run will be an unmitigated disaster. Iraq will see the worst of it but it will also embolden other whack jobs in the region.

    How many will claim that the Army was “stabbed in the back” by dissenters at home?

    I’ll go 50/50 on that one. 50% blame on the dissenters, 50% on the party that retreats in the face of victory.

    Will any be honest enough to admit that this disaster has GOP stamped all over it?

    If they retreat yes. Not following through would be a disaster and I would blame the GOP. I would be done with them.

  29. 29
    ppGaz says:

    I would blame the GOP. I would be done with them.

    If agreeing with you is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

    ;-)

  30. 30
    Darrell says:

    An ill-conceived, ill-planned and therefore ill-executed military adventure collapsing under the weight, not of military but domestic political necessity.

    Jane, I read your divorce from Ted Turner was messy

  31. 31
    ppGaz says:

    Jane, I read your divorce from Ted Turner was messy

    Darrell posts from the All The Way With LBJ headquarters …..

  32. 32
    OCSteve says:

    Public pressure is how the people exert their will, you assholes. The people run this country, not the arrogant lying cocksuckers in the White House. The people.

    Strategic decisions are not made by polling the public. The people exert their will in the voting booth every couple of years. Those they elect do then run the country (arrogant and lying or not). You want to change things – then win some seats just under a year from now. Frankly it wouldn’t bother me at this point because it is now painfully clear that the GOP does not know what to do with majority in both the House and Senate.

    And if they do this cynical evil thing they deserve to lose.

  33. 33
    Mac Buckets says:

    Tempest in a teapot, I think, John. First, the administration is only saying what they’ve said for months (“Iraqi troops are getting better” and “as they stand up…”), so I’m not convinced that there’s any profound statement here at all. The 40,000 number seems to be from a highly dubious unnamed source (and this is the LA Times, which also drops in a factually-incorrect “nation-building” ref in there for a [cough] goodwill measure).

    Second, as for political motivation, as Will Young (not the singer, I hope) said above, a limited drawdown has been discussed for months. The political rhetoric of the “pull out” Dems has been in response to, not the cause of, coming redeployments. Who can forget Teddy Kennedy this summer demanding small reductions in troop strength the day after the government came out with a report saying small troop reductions were foreseen? The Dems want to give the illusion that they are driving things (which is a mixed message to their “nothing is our fault — we don’t have any power” message, but these are the Democrats we are talking about).

    Third, I think it should be obvious that the complete Iraqi government next year will be the chief driver with respect to force reductions. How can Bush/Blair possibly say no to whatever an Iraqi parliamentary majority wants? They can’t, and they won’t. If Iraq thinks they stand a better shot against the terrorists without Western inflammatory presense there, hey, it’s their decision at that point. But if they say they want the coalition to continue at present or near-present levels, don’t expect major force withdrawl.

    Also, the chance of fullscale civil war, even if the coalition withdraws, is largely dismissed by Iraqis, who realize that Shi’ites and Kurds outnumber the Sunnis 4-to-1 and have majority control of the military now, so any future sectarian violence is more likely to take the current forms.

  34. 34
    ppGaz says:

    Strategic decisions are not made by polling the public

    That’s not your call. That’s the public’s call, and the job is delegated to trusted authorities. That trust has to be earned, it is not given freely to abuse as desired.

  35. 35
    BumperStickerist says:

    John,

    I’m taking a break from untangling Christmas lights so I won’t find the cites, but various milblogs had first hand accounts of the Iraqi’s abilities.

    They mentioned that the troops on line had the ability to perform policing/security functions at a level below that of the US forces but above the capabilities of AQ and the non-AQ “insurgent” forces.

    If you’re worried about Syria, Turkey, or Kuwait launching an invasion as part of a landgrab, then – sure, Iraq cannot at present defend itself from those forces.

    But they seem to be up to the primary tasks.

    And, iirc, withdrawing US troops as competent Iraqi take over was always part of the Bush doctrine. Though, feel free to question the timing.

    .

  36. 36
    OCSteve says:

    If agreeing with you is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

    Don’t worry – I’m sure you didn’t like my comment after that one so much ;)

    I’m hanging on by a thread now. This would certainly push me over the edge. Frankly I am just so tired of these life-long professional politicians of both parties. I think the best thing we could do for our country would be to institute strict term limits for both the House and Senate – like a single term. (I’ll trade you a Strom Thurman for a Ted Kennedy any day).

    If we limit the impact of a president to 8 years why the hell should some of these politicians be able to make a lifelong career out of professional politics?

  37. 37
    ppGaz says:

    But they seem to be up to the primary tasks.

    Like directing traffic and arresting shoplifters?

  38. 38
    ppGaz says:

    And if they do this cynical evil thing they deserve to lose.

    I’d be in favor of a Constitutional amendment that says, upon a vote of 3/4 of the electorate, every elected official in DC is out, and we have to start over.

    Sort of an orderly revolution. Just get rid of all the mealy mouthed jerks of all stripes, all at once. Gone. You’re Fired! Trump-style. Get your shit and get out.

    I think it’s time for a complete housecleaning.

  39. 39
    Mac Buckets says:

    You guys never had any respect for the people … which is why you had to gin up a war and get it going quickly before anyone found out just how thin the evidence was to support it…
    Public pressure is how the people exert their will, you assholes. The people run this country, not the arrogant lying cocksuckers in the White House. The people.

    So “The People” should be listened to only when they echo your views, right? Funny, when they elected Bush, “The People” were braindead hicks and wacko holy-rollers from Jesus-land. Michael Moore called Americans “idiots.” When 66% wanted the war in Iraq, “The People” were ignorant warmongers and dupes. Lefties called them “chickenhawks.” But you have the temerity to tell the Right that we never had any respect for the people? Nice try, but you’re no George Galloway when it comes to populist rhetoric.

    So now that 63% of them want to start drawing down troops, “The People” are noble, well-informed geniuses Speaking Truth to Power? Coincidentally, the polls agree with you this time! Shocker!

    Look, your romantic, naive notions of Democracy-by-Opinion-Poll (because they are always 100% accurate and unbiased, you know) aside, let me inform you that the US holds elections and maintains a representative republic for a reason. “The People” are too busy leading their lives, raising their kids, and doing their jobs to be expected to be versed in foreign policy. The vast, vast majority don’t sit beside in front of their computers commenting on political blogs all day, thank God. They are often swayed simply by whatever message they’ve seen most often on TV or heard most on the radio, be it “Saddam did 9/11” or “Iraq isn’t improving,” regardless of truth.

  40. 40
    W.B. Reeves says:

    Third, I think it should be obvious that the complete Iraqi government next year will be the chief driver with respect to force reductions. How can Bush/Blair possibly say no to whatever an Iraqi parliamentary majority wants? They can’t, and they won’t. If Iraq thinks they stand a better shot against the terrorists without Western inflammatory presense there, hey, it’s their decision at that point. But if they say they want the coalition to continue at present or near-present levels, don’t expect major force withdrawl.

    Past US regimes haven’t been so pliant with defiance from client governments. Particularly where US military interests were directly involved. When we fell out with South Vietnam President Ngo Diem the outcome was military coup and the assassination of Diem. The question in Iraq is whether there is any political force that could be backed for a similar move.

  41. 41
    OCSteve says:

    I’d be in favor of a Constitutional amendment that says, upon a vote of 3/4 of the electorate, every elected official in DC is out, and we have to start over.
    Sort of an orderly revolution. Just get rid of all the mealy mouthed jerks of all stripes, all at once. Gone. You’re Fired! Trump-style. Get your shit and get out.

    Heh. I could go for that. Get your shit and get out. I like that. Oh, to dream…

  42. 42
    BumperStickerist says:

    Like directing traffic and arresting shoplifters?

    Ummm…. yeah.

    /eyeroll

  43. 43
    Ron Beasley says:

    Having just read about 42 comments It appears everyone is missing the real “reality”, the military is become more broken everyday and just can’t do it any longer. At his point it’s too late to even do a draft. Of course politics come into play but hopefully the politics will speed it up before the military is completely destroyed. When Murtha came out for withdrawal you can bet he was channeling the Pentagon Brass and maybe even Rummy himself.

  44. 44
    Eural says:

    Darrell, calling someone “leftist vermin” is not a good way to have any kind of functioning discussion on the topic at hand. I’ve got a thick skin so I’ll still respond to your question – what country? Try just about any sub-Saharan African hell-hole. Heck, Somalia still needs a good cleanup. And I don’t disagree that Saddam was a “bad guy” its just the inane idea of taking someone who was contained (and most of whose violence was perpetrated 15-20 years ago)and turning him into the poster-child for intervention. Then, when Bush/Rumsfeld screw up turning that into a poster-child for future non-intervention. Again, why Iraq? Its where the neo-cons always wanted to go and the overwhelming evidence is that 9/11 was just the excuse they needed. They’ve screwed it (and our country!) up so don’t try to blame the “liberal vermin” for their incompetence and don’t try to back out of the moral/ethical/political responsibility we have as a super-power to make the world a better place in the future. Although, thanks to Bush, the Chinese may soon relieve us of that issue. How do you say, “with great power comes great responsibility” or “nature abhors a vacuum” in Mandarin?

  45. 45
    aop says:

    Again, why Iraq?

    1) Vast oil reserves (the invasion will pay for itself!)
    2) Strategic location for one or more “superbases.”
    3) Testing the neocon “spreading democracy” hypothesis that had been dormant for 15-20 years as pure theory.
    4) “We should’ve finished the job in ’91”
    5) “He tried to kill my daddy.”
    6) The possibility Saddam had WMDs.

    Although I do believe that there is a possibility that Iraq will become a self-sufficient democracy or quasi-democracy, notice that nowhere on this list is “the altruistic desire to bring freedom to Iraqis.” Anyone who pushes this idea needs to be laughed at, loudly.

  46. 46
    Pb says:

    As usual, The Daily Show is ahead of the game:

    “While the Democrats are focusing on how we were misled to war, Bush is focusing on how to mislead us out of it. … If we were wrong about why we went in, we have to be wrong about why we’re leaving. Otherwise … it sends our enemies the message that America lacks the will to remain incorrect.” –“Daily Show” correspondent Rob Corddry, via about.com

  47. 47
    Perry Como says:

    7) The Best President Ever is a War President

  48. 48

    […] The simple fact is that the Administration itself is preparing to withdraw significant fractions of our troops from Iraq. Even supporters have cause to question the motivation therein. The position of most Democrats, that a phased and benchmark-driven withdrawal is neccessary, has been both vilified by the Administration (including the Vice-President) even as they prepare to implement largely the same plans. If there was a real will to succeed, the Democrats would be brought to the table and a bipartisan effort at formulating a withdrawal timetable or benchmark set would be made. Such an effort, instead of attack-dog postures as usual, would create a genuine feeling that there is both a commitment to win and a sincere understanding of the pressures on the home front. […]

  49. 49
    Northman says:

    A few points on the withdrawal numbers. The current US troop level is about 160,000, which is 20,000 more than usual due to the elections in December. Those extra 20,000 were going to be coming out anyway. Its whether or not they pull out another 20,000 after that that we will see if they’re serious.

    There are some “non-political” reasons for troop withdrawals. The Reserves and Guard units are nearly used up, given the two-year maximum on their call-ups, and recruitment is in the toilet. In simple terms, current US troop levels are unsustainable under current conditions. The only way to maintain them involve some politically unpopular alternatives. The draft being the most obvious, and probably politically suicidal. I don’t think anybody in Washington has the balls to try that. The other option is to “redeploy” US forces from some of the other 100 or so countries you have bases in. This has already happened in a limited sense, but you could keep things going in Iraq for quite some time if you stopped things like defending Germany from the Soviet Red Army.

    Now that it has become clear that a peacetime volunteer army (and budget) is incapable of fighting a long-term insurgency, (and it has been clear for quite some time,) nobody in Washington has the guts, or the support, to call for the kind of sacrifices it would take to have a chance at winning in Iraq. Basically that leaves you with a (possibly disastrous) withdrawal as your only remaining option.

  50. 50

    […] John Cole from Balloon Juice has these thoughts… There is no chance in hell that the Iraqi army, who just got their first tank, and is undertrained and understaffed and underequipped, is prepared to take over operations. If they are, fine. But I have my doubts. […]

  51. 51
    Eural says:

    To address a related point that I find confusing – why are the rabid supporters of the war so quick to point at the words of the Great Leader(s) since 9/11 but refuse to address their words prior to that date?

    Throughout the 90’s Rumsfeld, Chaney, Kristol, Perle, Wolfewitz, etc. all wrote/spoke reams about the need to use Iraq as a regional base to influence oil and politics in the ME. Yet, rightwingers seem to think that has nothing to do with our being there.

    The same rightwingers will spend hours quoting Clinton and others from the 90’s to support their contention yet refuse to acknowledge the very planning of the men now in charge from the same period.

    Is this intentional or is just plain stupidity at work? Darrell its your turn to answer the question.

  52. 52
    OCSteve says:

    Having just read about 42 comments It appears everyone is missing the real “reality”, the military is become more broken everyday and just can’t do it any longer. At his point it’s too late to even do a draft.

    You obviously have no idea what our military is capable of. The only thing broken here (or at least hinting at being in trouble) is political will.

    Of course politics come into play but hopefully the politics will speed it up before the military is completely destroyed.

    Wow. Exactly what force is that you believe can completely destroy our military?

    When Murtha came out for withdrawal you can bet he was channeling the Pentagon Brass and maybe even Rummy himself.

    Murtha “came out for withdrawal” years ago. His is not a change of heart – it is just being spun that way.

  53. 53
    Darrell says:

    Although I do believe that there is a possibility that Iraq will become a self-sufficient democracy or quasi-democracy, notice that nowhere on this list is “the altruistic desire to bring freedom to Iraqis.” Anyone who pushes this idea needs to be laughed at, loudly.

    Not on your list. But it was prominently mentioned by George Bush in virtually every one of his speeches in the year preceding the invasion of Iraq. It was also prominently mentioned in the Congressional authorization given to Bush.

    However, I’ll gladly stipulate that bringing freedom to Iraqi’s was not “the” reason for invading. My problem is with leftists, who prior to the toppling of Saddam told us how very much they cared about the oppressed and downtrodden across the world.

    Yet these same leftists opposed the toppling of one of the world’s bloodiest living dictators.. so we see how phony their human rights ‘concerns’ really were. Ironically, most leftists I’ve seen who railed about our cooperation with Uzbekistan because of the human rights abuses of that government.. these very same dishonest hypocrites opposed the toppling of Saddam, a regime which was unquestionably more brutal and murderous.

  54. 54
    Darrell says:

    Throughout the 90’s Rumsfeld, Chaney, Kristol, Perle, Wolfewitz, etc. all wrote/spoke reams about the need to use Iraq as a regional base to influence oil and politics in the ME.

    Can you refer me to where Rumsfeld wrote/spoke about the need to invade Iraq for ‘the oil’? Since, according you, he wrote/spoke “reams” about this, digging up some quotes should not be too difficult I hope

  55. 55
    OCSteve says:

    Throughout the 90’s Rumsfeld, Chaney, Kristol, Perle, Wolfewitz, etc. all wrote/spoke reams about the need to use Iraq as a regional base to influence oil and politics in the ME. Yet, rightwingers seem to think that has nothing to do with our being there.

    I’ll bite. We should have pushed through to Baghdad and ousted Saddam in ’91. Iraq is in the ideal place (geographically) to influence the ME – we should have done what we are doing now through the first half of the 90’s. I think the world would be a much better place today if we had.

    I don’t think you’ll find many ‘wingers denying the strategic value of Iraq – point out any that you know of. They just don’t think it is all about the oil. Although, my gas locally is back under $2.20 so maybe all that stolen oil is starting to have an impact on the market.

  56. 56
    aop says:

    Throughout the 90’s Rumsfeld, Chaney, Kristol, Perle, Wolfewitz, etc. all wrote/spoke reams about the need to use Iraq as a regional base to influence oil and politics in the ME. Yet, rightwingers seem to think that has nothing to do with our being there.

    There has never been any question that the war in Iraq is, primarily, a test case. Since the early eighties, the leading lights of the conservative intelligensia have maintained that supporting the status quo in the ME in order to preserve order, a la Brent Scowcroft and the advocates of realpolitik, is yesterday’s news–that the west has a vested interest in pulling the ME out of the middle ages and into the 20th century. You can immediately see the appeal of a lot of their ideas, at least on paper.

    Thus Iraq. We’ll see (and are seeing) how realistic the idea of imposed democracy is. I hold out hope that it will work, at least to some extent, in light of the billions of dollars and thousands of lives spent on this grand experiment. Not much hope, mind you, but a little.

  57. 57
    ppGaz says:

    So “The People” should be listened to only when they echo your views, right? Funny, when they elected Bush, “The People” were braindead hicks

    I’m sorry to deflate your rant balloon, but it’s me you are replying to, not the Satan-Michael Moore duo you seem to be preoccupied with.

    When the Supreme Court handed the 2000 election to the guy with the second most votes, I said, okay, he seems like a decent fellow, let’s give him a chance.

    Let’s just say … I wasn’t acting on the best available intelligence.

    But enough of making you look like the knee-jerk ass that you are … back to the topic. Your idea of honoring the people seems to be to beg, borrow or steal an election and then act like somebody made your guy the fucking king.

    Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.

  58. 58
    Ancient Purple says:

    Murtha “came out for withdrawal” years ago.

    Care to provide a citation?

  59. 59

    Bush Administration Reportedly Plans Major Iraq Withdrawals In 2006

    Now, let’s get this straight: centrists, moderates, Democrats and independent-thinking Republicans who posed tough questions about Iraq were guilty of undercutting the troops and wanted to “cut and run” while all of

  60. 60
    Darrell says:

    Since the early eighties, the leading lights of the conservative intelligensia have maintained that supporting the status quo in the ME in order to preserve order, a la Brent Scowcroft and the advocates of realpolitik, is yesterday’s news—that the west has a vested interest in pulling the ME out of the middle ages and into the 20th century.

    you’re correct. But why the pessimism (“little” chance of succeeding) in light of the progress which has been made? I’m not saying things couldn’t go horribly wrong, but Iraqis do seem to have enthusiastically embraced democratic elections, they are volunteering in large numbers to fight for their country, and a majority of Iraqis think the country is headed in the right direction.

  61. 61
    aop says:

    My problem is with leftists, who prior to the toppling of Saddam told us how very much they cared about the oppressed and downtrodden across the world.

    Yet these same leftists opposed the toppling of one of the world’s bloodiest living dictators.

    I am personally glad Saddam’s gone, but I think you’re misreading opposition to the war as being pro-Saddam. IMO, the UN (don’t laugh–this is a hypothetical) should have sent forces in after the Anfal campaign in the 80’s. The right’s ex post facto war justification vis a vis Saddam’s human rights violations smells a bit funny to me considering the worst of what he did was done 15 years ago.

    If the right is now officially the party of human rights, tell me when we’re planning on invading the Sudan.

  62. 62
    aop says:

    But why the pessimism (“little” chance of succeeding) in light of the progress which has been made?

    What I’ve been reading and hearing has not given me cause for overt happiness. It seems like the bombings have been ramped up lately. I agree the voting was a heartening development.

    I mean, everyone who posts on political blogs acts like they have a crystal ball, but the fact is, none of us know what’s going to happen. If I were to guess, I’d say the ultimate result of the invasion will not justify the cost, but we shall see. I do hope we don’t begin pulling troops for political reasons. If there’s a chance of making things work in Iraq, on any reasonable level, we should try to make it happen, considering how many lives and how much money has already gone into it.

  63. 63
    Darrell says:

    I am personally glad Saddam’s gone, but I think you’re misreading opposition to the war as being pro-Saddam

    I never suggested they were. Not once. But keep throwing out those strawmen if that’s what floats your boat. I was only highlighting their extreme hypocrisy, claiming to support the downtrodden and oppressed while actively opposing the forced removal of one the bloodiest living dictators on earth.

  64. 64
    aop says:

    I’m sorry, Darrell, but when you say things like

    these same leftists opposed the toppling of one of the world’s bloodiest living dictators.

    without bothering to go into any of the multitude of reasons why they might have honestly opposed the invasion, it sounds a whole lot like you’re saying those leftists were pro-Saddam. Live by the broad brush, die by the broad brush…

  65. 65
    Dexter says:

    What President Bush proposes is not “cutting and running”. What Murtha proposed was. If the Iraqis want us to leave, then we should. After all, they are a democracy. But to leave unilaterally with no plan and no way forward is cutting and running.

  66. 66
    Darrell says:

    without bothering to go into any of the multitude of reasons why they might have honestly opposed the invasion

    From those who constantly tell us how very much they care about liberating the oppressed, in which they claim human rights to be the pinnacle of their foreign policy, from these people, tell me, what ‘honest’ reasons would they have for opposing the removal of one of the world’s most brutal living dictator. That is, the very same leftists who decry the US using bases in Uzbekistan because of human rights abuses in that country. Yet those very same hypocrites opposed the removal of a dictator far more murderous and brutal.

    So tell me then aop, what are their ‘honest’ reasons for opposing the removal of Saddam, because I see lots of dishonest hypocrisy from the human right crowd on the left

  67. 67
    Dexter says:

    Darrel, why is it that the left is so quick to decry “torture” in our jails but so supportive of Saddam’s torturing of his own people?

  68. 68
    Darrell says:

    What President Bush proposes is not “cutting and running”. What Murtha proposed was

    Murtha clarified afterward that he thinks all our troops, with the exception of a skeleton oversight force, should be out of the country in 6 months. given the logistics involved, that would mean an immediate mad scramble out of the country

  69. 69
    Darrell says:

    Darrel, why is it that the left is so quick to decry “torture” in our jails but so supportive of Saddam’s torturing of his own people?

    The left was screaming that our military was guilty of “systematic torture” long before any evidence came to light. Of course, you’re being a DougJ jackass with your “supportive” of Saddam’s torture comment

  70. 70
    Dexter says:

    Of course, you’re being a DougJ jackass with your “supportive” of Saddam’s torture comment

    You can call me a jackass all you like, but the left was more than happy to look the other way when Saddam was torturing thousands, yet now they think even the most far-fetched allegations of torture on the part of our own soldiers nees to be investigated.

    You can defend your leftist friends all you like, but they simply couldn’t be bothered to care when Saddam was torturing and killing. Calling me a jackass doesn’t change that.

  71. 71
    OCSteve says:

    Ancient Purple:
    Care to provide a citation?

    Somalia. He was influential in getting Clinton to cut-n-run from Somalia.

    I don’t have Lexis/Nexis and the articles from ’93 are not archived online. I remember the discussion at the time, but not necessarily his name involved with it.

    The references I can find are similar to this quote from a September 22, 1993AP story:
    “Murtha, who has urged Clinton to withdraw U.S. forces from Somalia,

    He also said Iraq was unwinnable in May 04 but that was in the context of “if the pentagon doesn’t send more troops” or some such so I won’t twist that as I have seen some on my side do.

    But he is hardly the Dem Hawk that suddenly flipped that the media has made him out to be.

  72. 72
    Dexter says:

    Murtha is no hawk. I don’t care how many medals he won. Jean Schmidt was right: “Cowards cut and run. Marines never do.”

  73. 73
    Darrell says:

    Jean Schmidt was right: “Cowards cut and run. Marines never do.”

    Those were not her words, she was passing along that message from an active duty marine commander

  74. 74
    aop says:

    From those who constantly tell us how very much they care about liberating the oppressed, in which they claim human rights to be the pinnacle of their foreign policy,

    Since when does the left have a foreign policy?

    So tell me then aop, what are their ‘honest’ reasons for opposing the removal of Saddam, because I see lots of dishonest hypocrisy from the human right crowd on the left

    Once again, I think it was less “opposing the removal of Saddam,” and more opposing the invasion of Iraq – for lots of reasons. Fear of war, (justifiable) mistrust of Bush et al, feeling the benefit would not outweigh the cost, etc.

    I mean, I know where you’re coming from with this–I know some fringe lefties that could not summon a weak smile when Saddam was captured (although I think this has more to do with Bush Derangement Syndrome than a love of dictators). But overall, it seems like you’re asking for ideological purity from the left, and holding them to a much higher standard than conservatives. This “conservative” administration has had the fiscal restraint of a drunk fratboy in Vegas. Where’s the outrage?

    And again, since you’re seemingly intent on painting conservatives as the new champions of human rights, I look forward to our impending liberations of the Sudanese and most of sub-Saharan Africa, North Korea, China, and, of course, Saudi Arabia.

  75. 75
    OCSteve says:

    And before I have to read that Somalia has nothing to do with this – of course it does.

    Our retreat from Somalia is exactly what convinced OBL that America was a paper tiger and led to 9/11.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/.....rview.html

    And I’m not going to entertain the argument again that 9/11 has nothing to do with Iraq – of course it does. The world changed that day.

    What the hell will a retreat from Iraq lead to?

  76. 76
    Dexter says:

    Those were not her words, she was passing along that message from an active duty marine commander

    You’re right. I should have said “Commander Bubp was right.” In any case, it’s true.

  77. 77
    Dexter says:

    Our retreat from Somalia is exactly what convinced OBL that America was a paper tiger and led to 9/11.

    I was just about to say this. We had a president who cut and run. That’s why we were attacked on 9/11. Now we don’t. That’s why we haven’t been attacked since.

    America is strong when it stands tall and shows resolve. It is weak when it gives into liberal demands to cut and run and to tend to the comfort of evildoers. As long as we have strong conservative leadership, we will be safe.

  78. 78
    Darrell says:

    This “conservative” administration has had the fiscal restraint of a drunk fratboy in Vegas. Where’s the outrage?

    You must not be reading right leaning blogs and news sources if you posted that. Fiscal conservatives, including national review and others have literally hammered Bush over his out of control spending. Can you try again with a VALID example now, since you made the ridiculous claim that conservatives are holding the lefties to “a much higher standard”..

    (although I think this has more to do with Bush Derangement Syndrome than a love of dictators).

    Again, after I’ve clarified my position on this issue, you dishonestly suggest that I have stated or implied that the left “loves dictators”. I agree with your observation that so many on the left hate Bush so very much, that they betray their alleged dedication to human rights. In other words, they are unprincipled, dishonest hypocrites at their core

    And again, since you’re seemingly intent on painting conservatives as the new champions of human rights

    Never said that, never implied. I limited myself to the left’s hypocrisy on human rights while making no claims implying that conservatives are the “new champions of human rights”. Show me where I said or implied otherwise or have the honor to admit you simply made it up

  79. 79
    GTinMN says:

    Darrell Says:

    Jean Schmidt was right: “Cowards cut and run. Marines never do.”

    Those were not her words, she was passing along that message from an active duty marine commander

    Bullshit. first of all, she either lied about what the man said – according to him – or else he didn’t haved the guts to own up to it after he was contacted about it, so she likely made them up. What’s the matter Darrell, your news filter too efficient re: keeping the truth about ANYTHING out of your hysterically fearful and paranoid little mind?

    Secondly, it makes absolutely no difference who she attributed the word to, she spoke them to make her bullshit case, and she thereby owns them. What, are you going to claim she DISAGREES with what she said?

  80. 80
    ppGaz says:

    Calling me a jackass doesn’t change that.

    How about calling you DougJ?

  81. 81
    Darrell says:

    Bullshit. first of all, she either lied about what the man said – according to him – or else he didn’t haved the guts to own up to it after he was contacted about it

    Did the Marine commander deny saying that? Do you have links/evidence?

  82. 82
    MG says:

    How come there is NO mention of Centcom source documents from the first week of November? The OIF-5 rotation, starting next summer, currently lists only 9 brigades (down from the current number in the teens). The 1st Brigade, 1st Division had its deployment date changed from 1 DEC to sometime after 31 DEC.

    Historians look to source documents. Bloggers apparently are satisfied only with rumors, and then run with it to become Chicken Littles.

    Yeesh.

    MG

    PS: For sourcing, consider Google searches.

  83. 83
    ppGaz says:

    while actively opposing the forced removal of one the bloodiest living dictators on earth.

    Hey Darrell, you can chew on this and then shove it right up your ass:

    I actively oppose the forced removal of ANY dictators. Unless and until they are an immediate, unambiguous threat to this country or its citizens and allies, and there is no other alternative to abate the threat.

    Always, 365 days a fucking year. And if you want to oppose THAT, then you are a traitor and I ask you to get the fuck out of my country. America does not exist to rid the world of dictators. There’s not a family in this country that owes its kids to a US government that would spend them on that, nor to any foreign country that can’t get out of its own way.

    And if you don’t like that you can kiss my ass.

  84. 84
    Darrell says:

    Did the Marine commander deny saying that? Do you have links/evidence?

    I’ll answer my own question. It appears he did deny it. Furthermore, he wasn’t ‘active duty’ either. Schmidt is a lying idiot, or Bupb didn’t have the balls to stand by what he allegedly said. Either way, not good

    But a spokeswoman for the colonel, Danny R. Bubp, said Ms. Schmidt had misconstrued their conversation.

  85. 85
    aop says:

    you made the ridiculous claim that conservatives are holding the lefties to “a much higher standard”..

    I’m not talking about conservatives in general, I’m talking about you. You seem to be demanding some sort of weird ideological purity from the left running along the lines that, since they champion human rights, they therefore must support the ouster of any dictator, whatever the cost. It’s just an obtuse, fallacious argument.

    Never said that, never implied. I limited myself to the left’s hypocrisy on human rights while making no claims implying that conservatives are the “new champions of human rights”. Show me where I said or implied otherwise or have the honor to admit you simply made it up

    Ok. Earlier, I said, “nowhere on this list [of reasons for the invasion] is “the altruistic desire to bring freedom to Iraqis.” Anyone who pushes this idea needs to be laughed at, loudly.

    You said, “Not on your list. But it was prominently mentioned by George Bush in virtually every one of his speeches in the year preceding the invasion of Iraq. It was also prominently mentioned in the Congressional authorization given to Bush.”

    Therefore, in your mind, one of Bush’s (and by extension, his conservative base’s) main reasons for invading Iraq was “an altruistic desire to bring freedom to the Iraqis.” Also, your rabid assault on the hypocrisy of the left regarding human rights, coupled with your evidently black and white partisan worldview, certainly implies to me that you believe the right to be the non-hypocritical, human rights-defending faction. Or am I totally misreading you?

  86. 86
    Beej says:

    A few points:

    1. Advocating a withdrawal from Iraq in order to show that the Bush administration is a complete lying, cheating failure is not the way to bring honor and integrity back to the U.S. If you were around after the Vietnam debacle, did you notice anyone, anywhere showing their admiration for the U.S. after we cut and ran? (Incidentally, I was one of the protesters who DEMANDED that we get out of Vietnam NOW. I was wrong, the demands were wrong, and the country paid for the way it was done. We’re still paying.).

    2. Vietnam did teach a lot of lessons. It’s true that one of them was to stay out of other people’s civil wars. But one of the others was the one that Colin Powell kept repeating in the Gulf War: You don’t go to war unless you’re prepared to wage total war, you have clear objectives, and you have an exit strategy. The Bush administration has come up short on all of these criteria.

    3. All of that being true, the fact is, WE’RE THERE. So let’s ask the same questions now: Are we prepared to wage total war? What are our objectives? What should be our exit stragegy?

    Instead of swaying with the winds of public opinion (yes, the people have the final say, but any administration that governs by public opinion poll is in trouble. “Waging total war” includes doing whatever is necessary to rally public opinion for support of your policies, another failure of this administration.) true leadership consists of setting the course which analysis and reason says is best for the country and carrying it through as successfully and expeditiously as possible.

    That being the case, the question now is not “Was this war a good idea in the first place?” As many commenters here have pointed out, it really wasn’t. But we’re in it now. The question now is “What is best for the country now?” I have yet to see a real discussion of that. We need to have one.

  87. 87
    aop says:

    “What is best for the country now?”

    To make Iraq and the Iraqi military as stable as possible in as short a time as possible. Pulling troops for political reasons, if that’s what’s happening, would be chickenshit and a waste of the lives and money already spent. As they say, you can’t unshit the bed.

  88. 88
    W.B. Reeves says:

    Darrell,

    I’ll answer my own question. It appears he did deny it. Furthermore, he wasn’t ‘active duty’ either. Schmidt is a lying idiot, or Bupb didn’t have the balls to stand by what he allegedly said. Either way, not good

    I withdraw my comment on a previous thread that honesty and integrity are concepts foreign to you.

    Now I have to hold you to a higher standard.

  89. 89
    Beej says:

    aop,

    You and John C. are dead right on this one.

  90. 90
    Darrell says:

    I’m not talking about conservatives in general, I’m talking about you.

    Well then, if you were talking about me, I have harshly criticized Bush’s big spending ways numerous times on this very blog, so your example is/was absurd and invalid.

    Therefore, in your mind, one of Bush’s (and by extension, his conservative base’s) main reasons for invading Iraq was “an altruistic desire to bring freedom to the Iraqis.”

    Bush in his speeches, Congress in their authorization, specifically mentioned Saddam’s human rights abuses as ONE of the justifications. You dishonestly construe that into conservatives pretending to be the new “human rights champions”, when human rights was but one of over a dozen justifications given

    Also, your rabid assault on the hypocrisy of the left regarding human rights, coupled with your evidently black and white partisan worldview

    I see, my “rabid assault” and “black and white partisan worldview”. When you lack a valid point of argument, I suppose this is all you have left

  91. 91
    searp says:

    All this railing against lefties is hilarious. Does Gen. Wm. Odom qualify? Gen. Zinni?

    I agree we need a discussion on Iraq. I will start now: I think Odom is right. The presence of our troops is not helping achieve our policy goals.

    http://www.niemanwatchdog.org/.....thisid=129

  92. 92
    ppGaz says:

    Pulling troops for political reasons, if that’s what’s happening, would be chickenshit and a waste of the lives and money already spent.

    Some truth in that; in fact until recently it was my own position.

    However, the “waste” part is just rhetoric. There is no way to know whether staying there longer is going to produce a better outcome than an early pullout. It’s a gamble either way. The question, what are we gambling with? And are we just postponing the inevitable?

    I think that the Bush administration wants to have it both ways here. They want to be seen as declaring victory and drawing down, in order to game the 2006 elections. But they have to be careful not to do this so timidly that they lose the bamboozle effect, or so rapidly that they create the complete collapse of Iraq that they fear.

    Even if this delicate operation were doable, you’d have to wonder if the gang that can’t shoot straight can pull off such a maneuver? Personally, I doubt it. I think they will fuck it up. I have no reason … none, zero … to think otherwise.

    They have seen this war as a political operation from day one. They will fuck it up because in their heart of hearts they want to injure Democrats more than they care about the fate of Iraq, and they will employ their patented poor judgment. Hell, they’re doing it right now as we speak. They are mortally afraid of losing every bit of their carefully contrived cover of self-justification, it’s a wonder they can even take a crap these days.

  93. 93
    aop says:

    I see, my “rabid assault” and “black and white partisan worldview”. When you lack a valid point of argument, I suppose this is all you have left

    Hey, I calls ’em like I sees ’em. I read this blog enough to know you’re a partisan hack–and apparently spoiling for a fight, as well.

    Also, if your idea of a valid argument is, the tired, oversimple, and fallacious “liberals often support human rights. They didn’t support the Iraq war, which got rid of Saddam. Therefore, liberals are hypocrites” then I’ll take your assertion that I don’t have a valid argument as a compliment.

  94. 94
    Mac Buckets says:

    I’m sorry to deflate your rant balloon, but it’s me you are replying to, not the Satan-Michael Moore duo you seem to be preoccupied with.

    So you feel free to talk about the sins of “you guys” on the right

    You guys never had any respect for the people

    but you raise your hackles when I talk about the lack of respect for The People shown by the left? Geez, what a hopeless hack. Rent a set of principles first, to see if you might like to purchase some.

    OK, we’ll both pretend that you thought the American people were geniuses when they voted for Bush, when they wanted the war in Iraq, and when they thought that Saddam attacked us on 9/11. I’m sure you thought The People were right on target then. Riiiiight.

    Your idea of honoring the people seems to be to beg, borrow or steal an election and then act like somebody made your guy the fucking king.

    No, I honor The People by acknowledging that their votes made Bush the President and Commander in Chief. Which they did. Sorry if Bush doesn’t let you vote on every issue through your beloved Opinion Polls, but that’s still not the way America works.

  95. 95
    aop says:

    However, the “waste” part is just rhetoric.

    Have to disagree with you here. We’re billions of dollars and thousands of lives into this experiment, and if we withdrew right now, it would mean the utter collapse of the new Iraqi government, military, and civil society. It would probably mean civil war. I was opposed to the invasion, but feel that at this point we’re, as they say in the poker world, “pot committed.”

    Real democracy flourishing in Iraq, I feel, is doubtful, but the difference between a stable Iraq and a former Iraq that degenerates into a terrorist-infested wasteland would be absolutely huge.

  96. 96
    Darrell says:

    I read this blog enough to know you’re a partisan hack—and apparently spoiling for a fight, as well.

    Look, you dishonestly asserted that 1) I support Bush’s big spending ways (a complete lie)
    and
    2) that I suggested conservatives were claiming to be human rights leaders of the world, a claim I never made or implied
    If by pointing out to you with your own verbatim quotes that you were doing this.. if that makes me a “partisan hack” who is “spoiling for a fight”, then whatever floats your boat. I agree with much that you say, but if you really do “call ’em like you sees ’em”, you would own up to your own mistakes. Especially when called on them with your own words

  97. 97
    Darrell says:

    They have seen this war as a political operation from day one.

    Unless you’re in the “oil for war” believers camp, going into Iraq was an extreme political risk for Bush. It amazes me to see how many kooks on the left actually believe that the Bush administration invaded Iraq for political gain, when in fact, invading Iraq was fraught with political risk. One of the reasons I believe George Bush to be an honest man, is because he had the balls to make such a bold, risky move with little political upside

  98. 98
    ppGaz says:

    if that makes me a “partisan hack”

    BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    If you are not a partisan hack, then ….

    We don’t get French benefits?

    Steely Dan is not one person?

    There’s no Santa Claus?

    Tell me there is SOMETHING to believe in …..

  99. 99
    aop says:

    1) fine, retracted
    2) sorry, still think you’re backpedalling from claiming Bush wanted to invade Iraq for humanitarian reasons. Maybe I’m conflating you with the many other conservative bloggers I’ve seen that imply or outright state that the right has some kind of moral high ground w/r/t human rights, when (if everyone was being honest) human rights weren’t/aren’t much of a concern on either side. If you really don’t think the right has any kind of moral high ground on this, then we’re in agreement, because I think both sides have had pretty shameful records–the current genocide in Darfur and the Clinton administration’s lack of action in Rwanda being two examples.

  100. 100
    ppGaz says:

    It amazes me to see how many kooks on the left actually believe that the Bush administration invaded Iraq for political gain, when in fact, invading Iraq was fraught with political risk. One of the reasons I believe George Bush to be an honest man, is because he had the balls to make such a bold, risky move with little political upside

    Not even DougJ could write that much horseshit in so little space, man!

    Get outta here. Really, go away. You’re making fun of yourself now.

  101. 101
    ppGaz says:

    We’re billions of dollars and thousands of lives into this experiment

    Well, you just made my argument for me.

    It is an experiment. It was an experiment when we went in there. It is still an experiment. It will be an experiment a year from now, or three years from now.

    Assign yourself the duty of going to ring the doorbells of the families of KIAs and telling them, we’re sorry, but your son or daughter is reported killed in action … for an experiment.

    On what moral grounds does this experiment continue? Iraq is no closer to defending itself today than it was two years ago, no matter what bullshit is coming out of the White House. Civil war is the most likely outcome, whether we withdraw today or a year or two years from today.

    I no longer agree with those who say otherwise, which until just recently, included me. I was wrong. This clusterfuck needs to be over.

  102. 102
    Darrell says:

    Maybe I’m conflating you with the many other conservative bloggers I’ve seen that imply or outright state that the right has some kind of moral high ground w/r/t human rights, when (if everyone was being honest) human rights weren’t/aren’t much of a concern on either side.

    fair enough.. but is it inconsistent to believe simultaneously that a) toppling a murderous dictator does give supporters of the war the moral high ground on the human rights issue AND b) acknowledge that human rights advancement was not THE only or even the main reason for invading? I don’t see inconsistency with that position

    My problem is with those on the left. Most lefties (ppgaz and some others excepted) have, over the years, constantly trumpeted the need to intervene in other countries to do something about human rights abuses. Pretty much all those same lefties were extremely vocal about US having military bases in Uzbekistan(bases needed to fight Al Queda and Taliban in Afghanistan, mind you) because of Uzbekistan’s miserable human rights record. I think it’s entirely fair to say that the left, far more than the right, has traditionally carried and waved the human rights flag. I also think it’s entirely fair to now point out how deeply hypocritical it is of these lefties to oppose the toppling of Saddam. If they were principled, they would have supported the toppling of Saddam on the human rights basis ALONE. But they didn’t, did they? I assert that the reason they didn’t is because by and large, they are unprincipled hypocrites who hate George Bush more than they care about human rights

  103. 103
    ppGaz says:

    toppling a murderous dictator does give supporters of the war the moral high ground on the human rights issue

    It gives nobody here any moral ground of any kind. And if you claim I will be right there to shove it right back up your ass, because it’s a lie.

  104. 104
    ppGaz says:

    waved the human rights flag

    Waving a flag is not starting a war, you horse’s ass.

  105. 105
    Dexter says:

    No, I honor The People by acknowledging that their votes made Bush the President and Commander in Chief. Which they did. Sorry if Bush doesn’t let you vote on every issue through your beloved Opinion Polls, but that’s still not the way America works.

    Amen, brother. This President does not govern by opinion polls. We had a “president” who did for eight years and you all know what that led to.

    Darrell: I don’t know why you continue to defend these lefties claiming that they didn’t support Saddam. They did, in effect, support him with their hollow threats and their Oil-For-Food kickbacks.

  106. 106
    Darrell says:

    It gives nobody here any moral ground of any kind. And if you claim I will be right there to shove it right back up your ass, because it’s a lie.

    Why is it a lie needing to be “shoved up my ass” to assert that removing one of the world’s bloodiest, most murderous living dictators is virtuous from a purely human rights perspective?

  107. 107
    Mac Buckets says:

    Amen, brother. This President does not govern by opinion polls. We had a “president” who did for eight years and you all know what that led to.

    Hey, if a President decides that he trusts polls to the extent that he thinks they should be a basis for policy, that’s his right (and it’s a politically safer path, too) as the President. It’s just that Government-by-Opinion-Poll is not a constitutional right, although some of the out-of-power strawgraspers obviously have convinced themselves it should be.

  108. 108
    ppGaz says:

    Why is it a lie needing to be “shoved up my ass” to assert that removing one of the world’s bloodiest, most murderous living dictators is virtuous from a purely human rights perspective?

    Why does anyone argue with you? It’s like trying to explain Duke Ellington to a cat.

    Because … take it all in Darrell …. you didn’t make him go away with the wave of a magic wand. You started a fucked up war that sucks down a billion dollars every ten days, kills between two and four US fighting men and women a day, and will probably end up plunging Iraq into a civil war within months after we declare “victory” and pull out. The war was started on the basis of intelligence that Big Dick himself described this way five days ago:
    “The flaws in the intelligence are plain enough in hindsight”. In other words, it was WRONG.

    In short, your little immaculate dictator-removal is arguably the biggest clusterfuck in modern US history, and has left your potatohead government without any credibility outside of the monkey zoo where you live.

    Shorter version? Because it was wrong, Darrell, and you don’t get “moral high ground” for being wrong.

  109. 109
    Stormy70 says:

    Ok, John. You rely on the New York Times or the LA Times for accurate reporting on the Bush Administration’s inner workings? Are you crazy, or do the infinite mistakes in reporting over the years not made any dents in their credibilty in your eyes? I am sad for your lack of knowledge.

  110. 110
    ppGaz says:

    This President does not govern by opinion polls

    He no longer governs at all. He’s as powerless as a president can be, and getting weaker by the day. Not even the Republicans in DC are listening to him any more.

  111. 111
    ppGaz says:

    DougJ, don’t you have some shoplifting to do? Aren’t you due for an arraignment? Isn’t there a colonoscopy appointment you are missing right now?

  112. 112
    Mac Buckets says:

    Why is it a lie needing to be “shoved up my ass” to assert that removing one of the world’s bloodiest, most murderous living dictators is virtuous from a purely human rights perspective?

    Because the war that liberated 20+ million Iraqis from Saddam’s heel killed 20,000 or 30,000 or (to the most gullible/anti-Bush) 100,000 or 120,000 Iraqis.

    You see, human rights should only be achieved by asking the dictators nicely if they wouldn’t mind giving up a large chunk of their absolute power so that their poor, powerless people, a large chunk of whom hate the dictator, can have a better life. What dictator could resist such a sales pitch? That’s why human rights are so rare.

  113. 113
    Mac Buckets says:

    Shorter version? Because it was wrong, Darrell, and you don’t get “moral high ground” for being wrong.

    Possibly the dumbest thing you’ve ever posted.

    He was talking about strictly humanitarian grounds That means, take the WMD and the intel out-of-play. The intel that said Saddam was an evil, sadistic prick who starved his own people so he could get rich was right on target.

    Strictly humanitarian grounds.

  114. 114
    Dexter says:

    Because the war that liberated 20+ million Iraqis from Saddam’s heel killed 20,000 or 30,000 or (to the most gullible/anti-Bush) 100,000 or 120,000 Iraqis.

    And may have prevented another 911. That’s the big thing. I hear lefties throw around figures like 300 billion dollars and I think if it prevents another 911 it is worth that a hundred times over.

  115. 115
    Rob says:

    If things had turned out the way that many on the right
    predicted, by now it would be obvious that Iraq was
    on the path to democracy, the rest of the middle-east
    soon to follow. Anyone who spoke out against the invasion
    would be indisputably shown to have inferior judgement.
    The pro-war crowd would be very much transcendent.

    One of the results would likely be the further strengthening of the Republican party’s hold on the US Senate and Congress. On the right and middle, Bush would probably be believed to be the greatest President since Lincoln. Seems like a pretty large political upside to me.

    Was he properly informed about what all might go wrong?

    My guess is that he knew pretty well what might go wrong during the invasion, but the risks there were correctly judged minor. I don’t see how anyone could have provided him with accurate information as to possible post-war consequences without conducting serious post-war planning.
    (Which was apparently not done.)

    In short, Bush knew there was a big upside and he didn’t completely understand the risks.

  116. 116
    ppGaz says:

    The intel that said Saddam was an evil, sadistic prick who starved his own people so he could get rich was right on target.

    Are you shitting me? INTEL? Any eighth grader could have figured that out. The world is full of evil pricks.

    There is no moral imperative to go to war against them.

    Darrell, like most of you country-fucking people on the right … that’s right, the Darrell speak cuts both ways, pal … like most of you America-degrading morons on the right, thinks he can retroactively insert “Evil dictator” where whatever failed war justification used to be, and everything evens out. It doesn’t.

    The war is justified only if there was an immediate threat to this country. Darrell gets no high moral ground. If I had my way, Darrell and people like him would be jailed for treason. Darrell is scum. Darrell thinks he can piss away billions of dollars and the best part of the American military for a bunch of Karl Rove word games.

    Darrell is wrong. Darrell is dirt. Darrell demeans this country and drags down this blog.

    Believe me, I am letting him off easy here. He does not deserve the kid glove treatment I am giving him.

  117. 117
    aop says:

    fair enough.. but is it inconsistent to believe simultaneously that a) toppling a murderous dictator does give supporters of the war the moral high ground on the human rights issue AND b) acknowledge that human rights advancement was not THE only or even the main reason for invading? I don’t see inconsistency with that position

    So now we’re back to the fact that you evidently think that invading Iraq does give righties the moral high ground–and around and around we go. I would say it gives the right the moral high ground if I was credulous enough to believe for a second that improving the Iraqis quality of life was anywhere in the top, say, fifty reasons the administration or its backers wanted to go to war. I’m tired of certain conservatives rigging up their concern with human rights after the fact.

    On what moral grounds does this experiment continue? Iraq is no closer to defending itself today than it was two years ago, no matter what bullshit is coming out of the White House.

    It continues on pragmatic grounds. It behooves us to try to ensure some sort of stability there. Iraq is closer to defending itself now than it was two years ago, although not where it needs to be. You may be right that it might fall into chaos the second we leave no matter what, but I think it’s worth trying to make it work on some level.

  118. 118
    MG says:

    There is NO lasting peace between liberal democracies and thug regimes. In this small world, either the thugs will act to weaken the democracies, or the democracies, by their existence will challenge the thug regimes’ right to rule.

    This inherent conflict will not resolve peacefully — the closer thugs get to losing power, the more likely they will resort to thug ways to stay in power. One of those thug ways is to blame outsiders for internal problems.

    I agree with ppGaz that there is no moral imperative to go to war against thug regimes. Indeed, moral imperatives don’t exist, so ppGaz proposes a red herring.

    The wiser question is, “under what circumstances should we use our power to subvert and overthrow regimes who, BY THEIR NATURE, act to undercut our liberal, historically aberrant way of life?”

    MG

  119. 119
    ppGaz says:

    Indeed, moral imperatives don’t exist

    Sure they do. Profound and unambiguous threats to the US create such imperatives. We are morally bound to defend ourselves against them if possible. The Constitution requires that we “provide for the common defence.”

    The requirement is clear and simple. In the age of nuclear weapons and mass destruction, it is also required that we be damned sure we are right before launching such a defense.

  120. 120
    Darrell says:

    I would say it gives the right the moral high ground if I was credulous enough to believe for a second that improving the Iraqis quality of life was anywhere in the top, say, fifty reasons the administration or its backers wanted to go to war.

    It certainly was in the top 10. You seem to ignore that Bush championed the human rights angle as part of his justification in just about every one of his speeches in the year preceding invasion. Sorry, but you can read his speeches for yourself, this is a fact. It’s fair to say that human rights alone probably would not have convinced many on the right to invade Iraq. But that doesn’t mean that it was not recognized that the removal of a blood soaked dictator would not be a desirable benefit from a human rights standpoint. I believe it was unquestionably a virtuous thing from a human rights standpoint, something you don’t seem to want to acknowledge. And with such a clear benefit to a more principled left, a left which had in the past, so aggressively waved the human rights banner telling conservatives how much more they cared about the oppressed than the cold-hearted conservatives. You would think such a movement would have embraced the removal of one of the most murderous, oppressive dictators on earth. But they didn’t, because they hate George Bush more than they care about human rights and suffering of the oppressed

    It’s not as if most on the left offered good reasons for opposing the war at the time. Unless you consider “no blood for oil” a good reason. Remember, even most leftists back then thought Saddam had WMDs, but still didn’t want to invade. Principled leftists on the left like C. Hitchens saw the deep hypocrisy on the left and split.

  121. 121
    aop says:

    Sure they do. Profound and unambiguous threats to the US create such imperatives. We are morally bound to defend ourselves against them if possible. The Constitution requires that we “provide for the common defence.”

    The requirement is clear and simple. In the age of nuclear weapons and mass destruction, it is also required that we be damned sure we are right before launching such a defense.

    An good question to ask migh be, “Under what conditions can civilized, first-world countries agree that they have a moral imperative to act?” I’d say in cases of genocide, we have a moral imperative–when one group is defenseless against the onslaught of another. Saddam’s Anfal campaign in the late 80’s rose to that level. Darfur and Rwanda, etc.

    When you go down the list it becomes depressingly clear that we only go to war out of a “moral imperative” when we have, or feel we have, something very valuable to gain.

  122. 122
    ppGaz says:

    It’s not as if most on the left offered

    You know what, Darrell. I don’t know what value you add here. You cannot utter a fucking sentence without phrases like “most on the left” embedded in it. Every issue, every question, every thread is an opportunity for your tiny brain to do battle with itself and conjure up some “most on the left versus me” view of the thing, and go on and on about it forever.

    Why don’t you just shut the fuck up? The world is not a contest between your stupid view, and “most on the left.”

  123. 123
    Darrell says:

    You cannot utter a fucking sentence without phrases like “most on the left” embedded in it.

    I should have said, most of the anti-war left.. sprinkled with a number of Bush hating angry cranks like ppgaz

  124. 124
    Darrell says:

    When you go down the list it becomes depressingly clear that we only go to war out of a “moral imperative” when we have, or feel we have, something very valuable to gain.

    Yeah, like an attempt to improve our security after we’ve been attacked

  125. 125
    ppGaz says:

    Yeah, like an attempt to improve our security after we’ve been attacked

    Might be convincing, if there were any evidence that our security has actually been improved. There isn’t any.

    Terrorism appears to be on a steady increase in activity.

    No threat in Iraq actually existed.

    Risk Management Solutions (RMS) has announced the launch of a ‘Terrorism and Security Risk Manager’ online service, a new information source for insurers writing global terrorism risk. The service is provided in collaboration with Jane’s Information Group and is linked to the RMS Global Terrorism Risk Model to provide up-to-date information on terrorism activity for insurers to use in their analysis of terrorism risk around the world.

    The data available in the information service provides the clearest picture ever established of the growing activity rates of global terrorism. Terrorism activity increased for the third consecutive year in 2005, following a decrease in 2002 after the initial military phase of the global war on terror and the removal of the Taliban government in Afghanistan. In the past twelve months the number of ‘macro’ terrorism attacks (car bombs or worse) worldwide has more than doubled from the previous year. This excludes Iraq, where the insurgency has increased to a rate averaging more than two damaging attacks a day during 2005. Terrorism activity continues to spread to more countries, with macro attacks occurring in more than 30 territories last year, compared to 20 the year before. In the past eight years, 76 countries have experienced some form of a macro terrorism attack.

    The collaboration between RMS and Jane’s involved a complete categorisation of a catalogue of 23,000 terrorism events over the past eight years in order to provide insurance companies with a sophisticated online search engine to analyse data on targeting, attack modes, and activity trends in 228 territories worldwide. In addition, Jane’s has provided a unique analysis and scoring system of the counter-terrorism environment in each country, and provides news, analysis and commentary, profiles of terrorist and insurgent groups, and city risk tiering within each country.
    October 2005

  126. 126
    aop says:

    Yeah, like an attempt to improve our security after we’ve been attacked

    Right! Because Saddam was a bad man with drone aircrafts. Mushroom clouds! Wait–no, no, no–we did it for the good of the Iraqis, remember? I mean, the conservatives did it for the good of the Iraqis. Whew, kind of hard to keep it straight…

  127. 127
    Darrell says:

    No threat in Iraq actually existed.

    Well established terrorist ties

    Unaccounted for known WMDs

    Expelled inspectors out of country in 1998. Did not let them back in country without 100k soldiers pointing a gun at him

    Countless violations of 1991 terms of surrender

    And because Dems so recently told us Saddam had WMDs

    “We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.”
    — Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002

    “We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction.”
    — Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002

    “The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons…”
    — Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002

    “In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members … It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.”
    — Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

  128. 128
    Eural says:

    Hey, I’d like to jump back to the “moral high ground” thing brought up earlier. According to Darrell and others the fact that we went after Saddam gives us the moral high ground. I would, normally, tend to agree with that point of view except for the following:

    1) We went after Saddam based on “manipulated” evidence cherry-picked to fit our pre-planned policy. The UN stuff was all a detour to placate Blair and Powell. So – we started our pre-planned, pre-emptive war based on a lie (refer to Poland, 1939 for further examples). Let me get this straight. Saddam was sooooo bad in 2003 that if Bush had simply told the truth about his regime and its immediate threat no one would have supported the invasion? Hmmmmm….

    2) By your reasoning anyone who doesn’t support the removal of Saddam is morally reprehensible. Where does that leave the Reagan administration which systematically helped arm Iraq and created the very threat we face – even while Saddam was actually gasing his own people?

    3) What does that say about the Bush administration which now employs a certain Mr. Rumsfeld who was the liason between Saddam and the Reagan Whitehouse? Shouldn’t they distance themselves from such reprehensible madmen?

    Sounds like the “moral high ground” is the stuff they never roll out in August since that’s a bad time to introduce a new product…heh.

  129. 129
    Darrell says:

    Right! Because Saddam was a bad man with drone aircrafts

    Right aop, Saddam had never used or produced nasty WMDs before, right? I mean what was it back in 1998 when he kicked out inspectors, 4 tons of unaccounted for Vx and something like 200 tons of weaponized chems.. Saddam could be trusted right?

  130. 130
    Darrell says:

    1) We went after Saddam based on “manipulated” evidence cherry-picked to fit our pre-planned policy.

    Bullshit lie pushed by the left. George Tenet, head of the CIA at the time said it was a “slam dunk” case that Saddam still had WMDs.

    2) By your reasoning anyone who doesn’t support the removal of Saddam is morally reprehensible.

    No that’s your convoluted ‘reasoning’. My reasoning is that removing a murderous dictator like Saddam from power is more virtuous than leaving him in place

    3) What does that say about the Bush administration which now employs a certain Mr. Rumsfeld who was the liason between Saddam and the Reagan Whitehouse? Shouldn’t they distance themselves from such reprehensible madmen?

    In case you didn’t know, at that time Saddam was in a war with the tyrannical mullahs of Iran, a regime which had kidnapped Americans. Not sure how much liason activity Rumsfeld was involved with Saddam, but I’m sure such an informed person as yourself could enlighten us

  131. 131
    Darrell says:

    Looks like Rumsfeld really pulled strings back then to arm Saddam

    B-B-BUT B-B-BUSH Lied People died(TM)! Halliburton!

  132. 132
    Darrell says:

    Oh, and in addition to our own intelligence agencies believing Saddam had WMDs, so did the intelligence agencies of Britain, Germany, Russia, China, Israel, and France

    But Bush Lied, right?

  133. 133
    ppGaz says:

    No threat in Iraq actually existed.

    Cut the crap Darrell. No actual threat existed.

    Violations of a treaty are not an immediate threat.

    Expulsion of inspectors is not an immediate threat.

    THERE WAS NO ACTUAL THREAT. The fucker didn’t even put up a difficult fight when we invaded his country.

    “Unaccounted for” something or others are not an actual threat. It’s a perceived threat that could have been crossed off the list without having a war.

    The war was not necessary, not matter how many times you post the same lying shit over and over again.

    Now get the hell out of my country, you treasonous piece of dirt.

  134. 134
    ppGaz says:

    But Bush Lied, right?

    Yes, he did. But not nearly as often as you do.

    Go away. Shut up.

  135. 135
    ppGaz says:

    mean what was it back in 1998

    He did something in 1998, so we started a war in 2003?

    That’s your idea of a threat?

  136. 136
    ppGaz says:

    My reasoning is that removing a murderous dictator like Saddam from power is more virtuous than leaving him in place

    Well you are wrong, Darrell. That’s a fucking lie and you are a goddamned liar.

    “Removing a dictator” is not a surgical procedure where you sew up the patient and send him home the next day. In this case it’s a complete clusterfuck of a war that has damaged this country, and those of you who support it are traitors and murderers.

  137. 137
    Darrell says:

    Go away. Shut up.

    There is a chill wind blowing in this country. I feel as if ppgaz is trying to silence dissent, that he is trying to impose his McCarthy-ite vision of free speech upon us. Don’t let ppgaz strip us of our freedoms!

  138. 138
    ppGaz says:

    What’s the matter Darrell? You can dish it out, but you can’t take it? Don’t like the taste of your own medicine?

    You’re a coward.

  139. 139
    Darrell says:

    it’s a complete clusterfuck of a war that has damaged this country, and those of you who support it are traitors and murderers.

    I feel my patriotism has been challenged!

  140. 140
    Darrell says:

    You’re a coward.

    *Glass crashes on floor*

    You have besmirched my honor. Pistols at dawn!

  141. 141
    ppGaz says:

    I feel my patriotism has been challenged!

    You have no patriotism. You just have a big mouth.

    If you think the world should be rid of dictators, why don’t you strap on a helmet and go out there and rid us of a few? You’re all mouth and no cattle, Darrell. You’re a fake.

    Come down off your “moral high ground” and kiss my ass.

  142. 142
    ppGaz says:

    You have besmirched my honor.

    First you have actually have honor, Darrell.

    Bravely attacking a country five years after they do something you don’t approve of, and calling it a response to a “threat”, doesn’t look like honor to me. It looks like you’re a damned fool.

  143. 143
    Eural says:

    OK Darrell:
    http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB82/

    So know we have evidence that Rumsfeld/Reagan negotiated arms and financial deals to aid Saddam in his war against Iran while he was gasing his own people and being the dispicable madman we all know and love. Yet, lying to pre-emptivelly invade said madman, 20 years after his crime is morally acceptable? Tenet’s “slam dunk” is such a joke only the most unread and unthinking could still claim it was supported by anything other than Tenet’s politics and ambition. Also, saying a point made by the other side is a lie doesn’t just make it so (although Rove has built a career based on using that strategy on the unthinking out there – present company excluded). Darrell – please actually answer a question. You cherry-pick one point (or make up another) and then move on. Is Reagan and/or Rumsfeld morally culpable for aiding and abetting Saddam at a time when he was committing crimes against humanity?

  144. 144
    Darrell says:

    Tenet’s “slam dunk” is such a joke only the most unread and unthinking could still claim it was supported by anything other than Tenet’s politics and ambition

    Except that not only ALL our intelligence agencies believed Saddam to still have WMDs, so did the intelligence agencies of Britain, Germany, Russia, China, Israel, and France! Yes, Eural really is that f*cking stupid..

  145. 145

    […] John Cole over at Balloon Juice also thinks these pullout plans are sprouting from the recent press and debate instead of facts: While drawing down 40k of 160k troops over the next year is certainly not cutting and running, I think it is pretty clear this decision is being based on domestic political considerations rather than facts on the ground. […]

  146. 146
    Darrell says:

    Is Reagan and/or Rumsfeld morally culpable for aiding and abetting Saddam at a time when he was committing crimes against humanity?

    Reagan and Rumsfeld are as morally culpable for aiding and abetting Saddam (to the miniscule extent that we aided him) in the same way that FDR is morally culpable of aiding and abetting Joseph Stalin during WWII. God so many on the left are such idiots

  147. 147
    John S. says:

    Darrell sez:

    Bullshit bullshit bullshit bullshit bullshit. Bullshit bullshit bullshit bullshit bullshit. Bullshit bullshit bullshit bullshit bullshit. Bullshit bullshit bullshit bullshit bullshit. Bullshit bullshit bullshit bullshit bullshit. Something about lefties.

    Why does anyone even bother? Honestly.

  148. 148
    ppGaz says:

    Why does anyone even bother? Honestly.

    I hear ya. Most of the time I don’t even bother to read Darrell any more. But now and then, when he is really full of it and I am in a mood, I just like to give him a taste of his own obnoxious bullshit.

    You never know what pearls of wisdom you’ll get from him. Today, we found out that Saddam’s 1998 behavior was on Darrell’s list of Reasons Why We Had to Have a War in 2003.

    I’ve heard of delayed reactions, but … really!

  149. 149
    John S. says:

    But now and then, when he is really full of it and I am in a mood, I just like to give him a taste of his own obnoxious bullshit.

    I hear ya’. My favorite brand of Darrell Bullshit® is when he starts carrying on about how he is ‘in our heads’ and we ‘have nightmares’ about him.

    Although he may actually have a point, inasmuch as the guy standing on the corner handing out leaflets and screaming about how the Earth is really flat gets in my head and causes me to have nightmares.

  150. 150
    ppGaz says:

    Except that not only ALL our intelligence agencies

    All of your talking points are belong to us, Darrell.

    Yours are about a year and a half old.

    The new ones are like so: Sure, the intelligence was wrong, but it’s the Democrats’ fault we started a war!

    Try to keep up.

  151. 151
    carot says:

    The Vietnam war and iraqi war should never have been begun unless there was a clear exit strategy. The reason is half the country are left wingers who are generally against war. So generally only a small proportion of them will be convinced to back a war, and if it doesn’t go well that proportion will simply swing back against it. Further independants will tend to swing toward a war and then against it if it goes badly.

    So any democracy has only a short time to win a war unless there are good results (like Bosnia)or a clear purpose (like WW2), because enough people will turn against it for politicians to cut and run to save their jobs.

    But the Republicans should have known this was inevitable, they should not have planned on long term support for a war strategy like this. So all that happens is like Vietnam the job doesn’t get finished because the national will was never there from day one. Planning on the basis of a non existent national will gives the predictable result of wasted money and lives.

    What they should have done is what they probably planned to do with Chalabi. Put in a more sympathetic dictator, lift the sanctions to make him popular then get out or stay in a few bases. Either that or leave Saddam alone and lift sanctions as a quid pro quo for permanent inspectors.

    What happened was just money wasting, life wasting bullshit.

  152. 152
    Eural says:

    Gotta call it a night but thanks for the conversation. And Darrell, the name calling really doesn’t help. It just belittles you and undermines your arguments credibility. Snark is funny, being childish and foul-mouthed is just annoying.

  153. 153
    Mike says:

    “ppGaz Says:

    But Bush Lied, right?
    Yes, he did. But not nearly as often as you do.”

    Apparently, so did the following:

    “[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq’s refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs.” — From a letter signed by Joe Lieberman, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara A. Milulski, Tom Daschle, & John Kerry among others on October 9, 1998

    “This December will mark three years since United Nations inspectors last visited Iraq. There is no doubt that since that time, Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to refine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer- range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies.” — From a December 6, 2001 letter signed by Bob Graham, Joe Lieberman, Harold Ford, & Tom Lantos among others

    “Whereas Iraq has consistently breached its cease-fire agreement between Iraq and the United States, entered into on March 3, 1991, by failing to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction program, and refusing to permit monitoring and verification by United Nations inspections; Whereas Iraq has developed weapons of mass destruction, including chemical and biological capabilities, and has made positive progress toward developing nuclear weapons capabilities” — From a joint resolution submitted by Tom Harkin and Arlen Specter on July 18, 2002

    “Saddam’s goal … is to achieve the lifting of U.N. sanctions while retaining and enhancing Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs. We cannot, we must not and we will not let him succeed.” — Madeline Albright, 1998

    “(Saddam) will rebuild his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and some day, some way, I am certain he will use that arsenal again, as he has 10 times since 1983” — National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, Feb 18, 1998

    “Iraq made commitments after the Gulf War to completely dismantle all weapons of mass destruction, and unfortunately, Iraq has not lived up to its agreement.” — Barbara Boxer, November 8, 2002

    “The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retained some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capability. Intelligence reports also indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons, but has not yet achieved nuclear capability.” — Robert Byrd, October 2002

    “There’s no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat… Yes, he has chemical and biological weapons. He’s had those for a long time. But the United States right now is on a very much different defensive posture than we were before September 11th of 2001… He is, as far as we know, actively pursuing nuclear capabilities, though he doesn’t have nuclear warheads yet. If he were to acquire nuclear weapons, I think our friends in the region would face greatly increased risks as would we.” — Wesley Clark on September 26, 2002

    “What is at stake is how to answer the potential threat Iraq represents with the risk of proliferation of WMD. Baghdad’s regime did use such weapons in the past. Today, a number of evidences may lead to think that, over the past four years, in the absence of international inspectors, this country has continued armament programs.” — Jacques Chirac, October 16, 2002

    “The community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists. If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow.” — Bill Clinton in 1998

    “In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security.” — Hillary Clinton, October 10, 2002

    “I am absolutely convinced that there are weapons…I saw evidence back in 1998 when we would see the inspectors being barred from gaining entry into a warehouse for three hours with trucks rolling up and then moving those trucks out.” — Clinton’s Secretary of Defense William Cohen in April of 2003

    “Iraq is not the only nation in the world to possess weapons of mass destruction, but it is the only nation with a leader who has used them against his own people.” — Tom Daschle in 1998

    “Saddam Hussein’s regime represents a grave threat to America and our allies, including our vital ally, Israel. For more than two decades, Saddam Hussein has sought weapons of mass destruction through every available means. We know that he has chemical and biological weapons. He has already used them against his neighbors and his own people, and is trying to build more. We know that he is doing everything he can to build nuclear weapons, and we know that each day he gets closer to achieving that goal.” — John Edwards, Oct 10, 2002

    “The debate over Iraq is not about politics. It is about national security. It should be clear that our national security requires Congress to send a clear message to Iraq and the world: America is united in its determination to eliminate forever the threat of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.” — John Edwards, Oct 10, 2002

    “I share the administration’s goals in dealing with Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction.” — Dick Gephardt in September of 2002

    “Iraq does pose a serious threat to the stability of the Persian Gulf and we should organize an international coalition to eliminate his access to weapons of mass destruction. Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to completely deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.” — Al Gore, 2002

    “We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction.” — Bob Graham, December 2002

    “Saddam Hussein is not the only deranged dictator who is willing to deprive his people in order to acquire weapons of mass destruction.” — Jim Jeffords, October 8, 2002

    “We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction.” — Ted Kennedy, September 27, 2002

    “There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein’s regime is a serious danger, that he is a tyrant, and that his pursuit of lethal weapons of mass destruction cannot be tolerated. He must be disarmed.” — Ted Kennedy, Sept 27, 2002

    “I will be voting to give the president of the United States the authority to use force – if necessary – to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security.” — John F. Kerry, Oct 2002

    “The threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real, but as I said, it is not new. It has been with us since the end of that war, and particularly in the last 4 years we know after Operation Desert Fox failed to force him to reaccept them, that he has continued to build those weapons. He has had a free hand for 4 years to reconstitute these weapons, allowing the world, during the interval, to lose the focus we had on weapons of mass destruction and the issue of proliferation.” — John Kerry, October 9, 2002

    “(W)e need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime. We all know the litany of his offenses. He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation. …And now he is miscalculating America’s response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction. That is why the world, through the United Nations Security Council, has spoken with one voice, demanding that Iraq disclose its weapons programs and disarm. So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real, but it is not new. It has been with us since the end of the Persian Gulf War.” — John Kerry, Jan 23, 2003

    “We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandates of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them.” — Carl Levin, Sept 19, 2002

    “Every day Saddam remains in power with chemical weapons, biological weapons, and the development of nuclear weapons is a day of danger for the United States.” — Joe Lieberman, August, 2002

    “Over the years, Iraq has worked to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. During 1991 – 1994, despite Iraq’s denials, U.N. inspectors discovered and dismantled a large network of nuclear facilities that Iraq was using to develop nuclear weapons. Various reports indicate that Iraq is still actively pursuing nuclear weapons capability. There is no reason to think otherwise. Beyond nuclear weapons, Iraq has actively pursued biological and chemical weapons.U.N. inspectors have said that Iraq’s claims about biological weapons is neither credible nor verifiable. In 1986, Iraq used chemical weapons against Iran, and later, against its own Kurdish population. While weapons inspections have been successful in the past, there have been no inspections since the end of 1998. There can be no doubt that Iraq has continued to pursue its goal of obtaining weapons of mass destruction.” — Patty Murray, October 9, 2002

    “As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware that the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is an issue of grave importance to all nations. Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.” — Nancy Pelosi, December 16, 1998

    “Even today, Iraq is not nearly disarmed. Based on highly credible intelligence, UNSCOM [the U.N. weapons inspectors] suspects that Iraq still has biological agents like anthrax, botulinum toxin, and clostridium perfringens in sufficient quantity to fill several dozen bombs and ballistic missile warheads, as well as the means to continue manufacturing these deadly agents. Iraq probably retains several tons of the highly toxic VX substance, as well as sarin nerve gas and mustard gas. This agent is stored in artillery shells, bombs, and ballistic missile warheads. And Iraq retains significant dual-use industrial infrastructure that can be used to rapidly reconstitute large-scale chemical weapons production.” — Ex-Un Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter in 1998

    “There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years. And that may happen sooner if he can obtain access to enriched uranium from foreign sources — something that is not that difficult in the current world. We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction.” — John Rockefeller, Oct 10, 2002

    “Saddam’s existing biological and chemical weapons capabilities pose a very real threat to America, now. Saddam has used chemical weapons before, both against Iraq’s enemies and against his own people. He is working to develop delivery systems like missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles that could bring these deadly weapons against U.S. forces and U.S. facilities in the Middle East.” — John Rockefeller, Oct 10, 2002

    “Whether one agrees or disagrees with the Administration’s policy towards Iraq, I don’t think there can be any question about Saddam’s conduct. He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do. He lies and cheats; he snubs the mandate and authority of international weapons inspectors; and he games the system to keep buying time against enforcement of the just and legitimate demands of the United Nations, the Security Council, the United States and our allies. Those are simply the facts.” — Henry Waxman, Oct 10, 2002

    Idiot.

  154. 154

    […] Second, Azis correctly notes that politics is driving policy. The simple fact is that the Administration itself is preparing to withdraw significant fractions of our troops from Iraq. Even supporters have cause to question the motivation therein. The position of most Democrats, that a phased and benchmark-driven withdrawal is neccessary, has been both vilified by the Administration (including the Vice-President) even as they prepare to implement largely the same plans. If there was a real will to succeed, the Democrats would be brought to the table and a bipartisan effort at formulating a withdrawal timetable or benchmark set would be made. Such an effort, instead of attack-dog postures as usual, would create a genuine feeling that there is both a commitment to win and a sincere understanding of the pressures on the home front. […]

  155. 155
    ppGaz says:

    over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical

    You can post that stuff from now until Hell freezes over … but there was no actual threat …. and I’m the idiot?

    The full story of the corrupt and treasonous lying cocksuckers and their deliberate war manipulations is only now coming out. I sincerely hope that George Bush and Dick Cheney go to jail for what they did.

  156. 156
    Mac Buckets says:

    Tenet’s “slam dunk” is such a joke only the most unread and unthinking could still claim it was supported by anything other than Tenet’s politics and ambition.

    I’d love to hear evidence of any part of that beyond your assertion that it is so. In pre-emptive response to what would no doubt be an entertaining piece of fiction, I would note that the CIA under DCI George Tenet gave President Clinton consistent intelligence since at least 1995 that Saddam still had WMD and the capability to make more. Why on earth do you assert that Tenet’s recommendation for two years under Bush would be any different than it was for over five years under Clinton?

    Also, saying a point made by the other side is a lie doesn’t just make it so (although Rove has built a career based on using that strategy

    …and the Democrats are making a whole campaign based on it.

    Is Reagan and/or Rumsfeld morally culpable for aiding and abetting Saddam at a time when he was committing crimes against humanity?

    Good question. Of course they are, to the small extent that we helped Saddam, but that culpability is, of course, balanced by the good done by defeating the Iranian fundies in the eighties. Being a world leader, you naturally wind up, often circuitously, with some level of blood on your hands. You can only try to prevent even more blood being shed.

  157. 157
    Mac Buckets says:

    You can post that stuff from now until Hell freezes over … but there was no actual threat …. and I’m the idiot?

    So what we need is a President who can time-travel, so your amazing 20/20 hindsight can be used for something other than whining! Because in 2002-2003, only two Presidents, two Secretaries of State, the CIA Director, six years worth of Congressmen, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the rest of the Western media, and the worldwide intelligence community thought that Saddam was a threat. I’m sure you knew better, but that lot isn’t as plugged-in as you are.

    The full story of the corrupt and treasonous lying cocksuckers and their deliberate war manipulations is only now coming out.

    I won’t hold my breath for the amazing proof that almost everyone in the Western world’s governments — except for the Democrats who just happen to be running for office next year — were in on the plot to manipulate intelligence and lie to the naive, gullible, ignorant Democrats who just happen to be running for office next year. That tale should be a sidesplitter.

    I know enough to realize that this whole “misleading” nonsense is just a 100% partisan campign issue that will vanish into the ether right after the 2006 midterms, to be resurrected in 2008 if the DNC decides it has any legs left.

  158. 158
    Terry Ott says:

    This thread has been entertaining, apart from the name calling and telling people where to stick things and directing them to live in other countries (smile).

    I’m “just an independent voter” with no particular axe to grind…. coming to the conclusion that two parties are not enough by at least one. And, sincerely conflicted by the facts and situation, which I pore over quite a bit now in my retirement.

    Conflicted? Yes. I’m old enough to know that when we went in, we’d be there for a long time and there would be emotional fissures in the US before we had accomplished what needed to be done. So, conflicted by the notion that “we need to get out”, but that “we need to get it right”. Both arguments have merit. Old enough to know that half-assed planning and half-hearted attention to details leads to disastrous results — which may or may not leave open the possibility of succeeding in some sense by sheer force of will and perseverence.

    Conflicted, also, by the realization that much HAS changed as a result of biting off what may still be more than we can chew. And much of that WILL be for the better, eventually. Conflicted? Yes. By the fact that well-meaning people, idealogues in some cases but realists in other cases, have very opposed perceptions about what is actually going on, what the trends and possibilities are, even apart from their differing opinions about the motivations behind it all.

    But the BIGGEST conflict in my mind comes when I try to envision what group of people, leaders, in this country has the vision and ability to carry out some sensible future-oriented policy re: Iraq and the Middle East, and the resistance to radical Islam terror tactics.. Where is the “XYZ Doctrine” that we should have debated and still SHOULD debate, and that would provide some sense of direction that at least a majority of us could coalesce around? Where are the true “statesmen, or statespersons if you prefer” that have to step up now and reason things through to figure out the desired outcomes in an apolitical way?

    Given the futile nature of “the opposition” (by Democrats, in this case), I think it is highly likely that: (1) we have about 4 more years of “slogging” to do in Iraq in some kind of phased way, and (2) the McCain/Rice administration will ultimately be the ones who take us to the final stage, which will be “wary oversight from a distance” and “nurturing” something resembling a democracy in Iraq.

    That’s all folks! That’s the outcome I see. And, by the way, in about the same time frame I see the decline of “terrorism” as we know it now (in its grand moments in the sun), because the people of the world will just finally get so disgusted by it that it will be marginalzed and contained.

  159. 159
    Mac Buckets says:

    Apparently, so did the following:

    Those Democrats saying that Saddam was a WMD threat were all misled by Bush…even the ones from 1998, when they’d never met Bush. Just ask them!

    (Videotape, October 2, 2002):
    REP. GEPHARDT: In our view, Iraq’s use and continuing development of weapons of mass destruction, combined with efforts of terrorists to acquire such weapons pose a unique and dangerous threat to our national security.
    (End videotape)
    MR. RUSSERT: “A unique and dangerous threat.” We have not found any such weapons. Were you wrong or misled?
    REP. GEPHARDT: Tim, I didn’t just take the president’s word for this. I went out to the CIA three times. I talked to George Tenet personally. I talked to his top people. I talked to people that had been in the Clinton administration in their security effort. And I became convinced, from that, all of that, that he either had weapons of mass destruction or he had components of weapons or he had the ability to quickly make a lot of them and pass them to terrorists.
    Look, after 9/11, we’re in a world, in my view, that we have to protect the American people from further acts of terrorism.

    OK, well, maybe ask some other Democrat, one who didn’t care enough back then to do his own due diligence, or read the intel reports.

  160. 160
    Birkel says:

    Yes, pulling down to roughly the number of troops who conquered the entire country will result in Iraqis taking over all the functions American forces have handled over the last year.

    What? With only 120K instead of the 135K that were there for the first year and a half Iraq is likely to devolve into another Vietnam.

    /being a useful idiot who buys everything hook, line and sinker

  161. 161
    TallDave says:

    I think it is pretty clear this decision is being based on domestic political considerations rather than facts on the ground.

    With all due respect John, if you believe that you haven’t been paying close enough attention to either the military situation or the general troop levels.

    http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf (page 18)

    The baseline for normal operations has been about 138K. That comes up 10-20K for major events like the elections. After the December 15th elections, even if everything else was the same we’d expect troop levels to drop by 10-20K.

    Add to that the fact all operations are reportedly now required to be joint operations with Iraqi forces. Given that we know there are at least around 80K ISF troops capable of such operations (and a lot more fulfilling policing roles), that puts us pretty far ahead of the number of effectives we’ve ever fielded even with another 30-40K U.S. troops going home. Add to that the 5-10K additional Iraqi troops coming online every month, the clear-and-hold efforts underway along the Euphrates, the 71 tanks the Iraqis just received from NATO, the fact the insurgents cannot win a single platoon-level engagement with ISF or U.S. forces, and the increasingly limited areas in which the insurgents can openly operate, and you have a situation in which U.S. troops are increasingly unnecessary.

  162. 162
    TallDave says:

    and you have a situation in which U.S. troops are increasingly unnecessary.

    Or at least, large numbers of infantry are increasingly unnecessary. We could see a continuing role for close air support for quite some time, perhaps as long as a decade or more.

    Also, the Kurds (who not only really did greet us with flowers, but are now actually airing commercials thanking the U.S. for liberating them) are begging us to put a permanent base in Kurdish Iraq. So we could be there a while — hopefully on much happier terms than at present.

  163. 163
    Perry Como says:

    Mac Buckets Says:

    thought that Saddam was a threat

    A threat to the US? Not likely. He was so neutered that he had to keep up his WMD pretentions to presume to be a power in the region. Megalomaniacs are great in one way: you can be sure their goal is to remain in power. Pushed at the last moment, Saddam was willing for full bore inspections. Instead we have lost > 2,000 of our best.

    This is one of the things that really bothers me about modern “conservatives”. The extrusion of power. It’s anathema to conservatism. Now “conservatives” believe that pre-emption is a defense. There is always a threat. Look back to Common Sense.

  164. 164
    smijer says:

    Sorry to jump in so late… I just found this thread…

    In RE to whether JC is a member of the apologist crowd.

    a) No, not the Bush apologist crowd – not by any stretch.
    b) And I love him dearly, and find him very educational, but
    c) He’s almost notorious as a member of the War apologist crowd.

  165. 165
    ppGaz says:

    I’m sure you knew better, but that lot isn’t as plugged-in as you are.

    Well, you can enjoy slathering on the sarcasm all you like, but like it or not, I did know better, and I said so at the time. I said that if Iraq had WMDs that couldn’t be verified without onsite inspection, then there was no way for him to employ them without first exposing them to reconnaissaince view … and giving plenty of time to react before he could do any serious damage. I said that he had no apparent delivery system which would permit him to deploy any such weapons outside of his borders on any scale large enough to present a threat to the US or its allies. I said that his behavior since 1992 had been consistent with thievery, not craziness, and not imperialism or some other motive involving expansion. I said that his anti-US attitude was a rational response to our anti-Iraq attitude, and not a reason to think that he had some motive for waging war with this country. I said that while he certainly acted like a despot, he had never acted like a crazy despot … and only a crazy despot would mount any serious challenge to the United States, knowing that any deadly force mounted against us outside of his borders would be met with even deadlier retaliation and certain annihilation … in other words, all evidence pointed to him being completely contained, and deterred.

    I’ll argue that my assessment in 2002 was quite superior to the bogus one being pimped by your potatohead government, and my question is, given their vast resources, and given the fact that my assessment was based just on reading the paper and being mindful, as a lay person, of the recent histor of the region, and the history of mesopotamia going back 80 or so years, and drawing simple, reasonable conclusions … what is their excuse for getting it so completely wrong?

    The question is not why I wasn’t president, the question is why the folks who are charged with knowing these things didn’t know them …. and didn’t even seem to ask the right questions which would have allowed them to know them.

    Not only did they get the Iraq question wrong, they also had gotten the Al Qaeda question wrong. Radical muslims tried less than ten years earlier to bring down the WTC, and even a cursory glance at worldwide Islamic radicalism would show that there was no reason to think that they wouldn’t try it again. While you mount your smokescreen defense of the Spuds (Hey, over there! Jackalopes! Democrats were wrong too!), try to figure out how this collection of geniuses managed to sleep through the terrorists’ run-up to 911. Even if you can do that and still defend the asshole spuds with a straight face, a la Darrell and the other great students of history we have in here, then you’ll have to explain to me why the American people should then, or now, have confidence in this government of pooch-screwers and mealy mouthed con artists?

    Keep defending them though, because you deserve them, believe me. And you deserve the complete collapse of confidence in them now being shown by the people. And you deserve the overthrow of them that is coming to a series of elections near you. And you deserve the scorn and ridicule that you attract in here. And you deserve the shame and guilt that go along with being completely wrong, and completely thick-headed about simple and obvious issues like these. I got news for you, Macster. Iraq was not rocket science. Any roomfull of high school history students could have figured it out better than George Bush and his zoo full of neocon fuckheads.

  166. 166
    Perry Como says:

    Someone deserves a valium.

  167. 167
    Mac Buckets says:

    Someone deserves a valium.

    Obviously, re-writing history makes him irritable.

  168. 168
    Mac Buckets says:

    Well, you can enjoy slathering on the sarcasm all you like, but like it or not, I did know better, and I said so at the time.

    Sadly, the strangers at the bus-stop just looked at you strangely and turned away…

    Radical muslims tried less than ten years earlier to bring down the WTC, and even a cursory glance at worldwide Islamic radicalism would show that there was no reason to think that they wouldn’t try it again.

    You knew The Truth about 9/11 beforehand and didn’t tell anyone? Are you Jewish? Traitor!

    Any roomfull of high school history students could have figured it out better than George Bush and his zoo full of neocon fuckheads.

    That’s it — focus your hate on Bush. Ignore six years worth of Congressmen and the Clinton administration and all of the Western media, who thought the same as the Bush Administration about the intelligence about Saddam and the terrorist threat to the WTC. Because only Bush would be dumb enough to think that Saddam had WMD. Only Bush wouldn’t know, as you did, AQ would attack the WTC again. Don’t mention what the left said and thought. Even if they were wrong, too, if you forget about them, you can pretend they were right. Don’t even think about them. Maybe people will forget if you forget. After all, only Bush could be dumb enough. It’s all about Bush.

  169. 169
    Mac Buckets says:

    I know enough to realize that this whole “misleading” nonsense is just a 100% partisan campign issue that will vanish into the ether right after the 2006 midterms, to be resurrected in 2008 if the DNC decides it has any legs left.

    And apparently, The People are getting the same message vis a vis Democrat partisanship.

    51% polled by a bi-partisan firm say the Dems are criticizing for partisan advantage vs. 31% who say the Democrats are legitimately trying to help the war effort with their criticisms.

    70% say Democrat criticism hurts troop morale. 55% of the Democrats say this.

    Ouch. See, when the GOP starts putting their message out their (finally!), the polls come around. Polls are pliable. That’s why we govern by elections, not opinion polls.

  170. 170
    John S. says:

    See, when the GOP starts putting their message out their (finally!), the polls come around.

    And with that piece of amusement, I can go to bed with a smile on my face.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Second, Azis correctly notes that politics is driving policy. The simple fact is that the Administration itself is preparing to withdraw significant fractions of our troops from Iraq. Even supporters have cause to question the motivation therein. The position of most Democrats, that a phased and benchmark-driven withdrawal is neccessary, has been both vilified by the Administration (including the Vice-President) even as they prepare to implement largely the same plans. If there was a real will to succeed, the Democrats would be brought to the table and a bipartisan effort at formulating a withdrawal timetable or benchmark set would be made. Such an effort, instead of attack-dog postures as usual, would create a genuine feeling that there is both a commitment to win and a sincere understanding of the pressures on the home front. […]

  2. […] John Cole over at Balloon Juice also thinks these pullout plans are sprouting from the recent press and debate instead of facts: While drawing down 40k of 160k troops over the next year is certainly not cutting and running, I think it is pretty clear this decision is being based on domestic political considerations rather than facts on the ground. […]

  3. Bush Administration Reportedly Plans Major Iraq Withdrawals In 2006

    Now, let’s get this straight: centrists, moderates, Democrats and independent-thinking Republicans who posed tough questions about Iraq were guilty of undercutting the troops and wanted to “cut and run” while all of

  4. […] John Cole from Balloon Juice has these thoughts… There is no chance in hell that the Iraqi army, who just got their first tank, and is undertrained and understaffed and underequipped, is prepared to take over operations. If they are, fine. But I have my doubts. […]

  5. […] The simple fact is that the Administration itself is preparing to withdraw significant fractions of our troops from Iraq. Even supporters have cause to question the motivation therein. The position of most Democrats, that a phased and benchmark-driven withdrawal is neccessary, has been both vilified by the Administration (including the Vice-President) even as they prepare to implement largely the same plans. If there was a real will to succeed, the Democrats would be brought to the table and a bipartisan effort at formulating a withdrawal timetable or benchmark set would be made. Such an effort, instead of attack-dog postures as usual, would create a genuine feeling that there is both a commitment to win and a sincere understanding of the pressures on the home front. […]

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