Thinking Out Loud

Was just ruminating about a history of the Iran-Iraq war that I perused the other day. Convinced that the student revolution left Iran’s oil fields undefended, Saddam Hussein tried and failed to make a quick grab for the border provinces. After some skirmishing Hussein essentially pulled back and hoped that the Mullahs would let bygones be bygones. They didn’t. Iran sent everything it had after Iraq, with or without equipment and training, over and over again. They used waves of teenagers to clear minefields, losing the good part of a generation in the process. The Iranians would have taken a chunk out of Iraq if Hussein had not brought nerve gas weapons to bear. The apparent superiority of Iraq’s forces, the violence of its attacks and the practically genocidal loss of civilian volunteers didn’t seem to discourage them at all.

Anyhow, just a random thought on a Thursday afternoon. I’m sure that Iran will prove perfectly pliable to American intimidation, especially if we throw in a bombing raid or two. If that doesn’t work, well, bygones.






114 replies
  1. 1
    Zifnab says:

    They didn’t. Iran sent everything it had after Iraq, with or without equipment and training, over and over again. They used waves of teenagers to clear minefields, losing the good part of a generation in the process. The Iranians would have taken a chunk out of Iraq if Hussein had not brought nerve gas weapons to bear.

    I’m going to pretend that wasn’t an apology for Saddam using nerve gas.

    Much like the backlash massacre for his attempted assassination (and the rape rooms and torture cells where he dealt with political prisoners) Saddam had a history of using the most soulless tactics whenever he felt most threatened. This wasn’t a case of “nerve gas in self-defense”. That Iran’s equal ruthlessness doesn’t exactly excuse him.

  2. 2
    Jake says:

    Gee Tim, are you trying to imply that if another country – let’s call it the Zoonited Gates of Uhmuricuh – were to try to invade Iran the Iranians might not greet the ZGU as liberators?

  3. 3
    Pooh says:

    I don’t think it was an apology Zifnab, rather a statement of fact.

  4. 4
    TenguPhule says:

    Darrell will insist that none of it matters.

    After all, “what’s the worst they could do?” if they don’t have nuclear weapons?

  5. 5
    Tim F. says:

    I’m going to pretend that wasn’t an apology for Saddam using nerve gas.

    It’s a simple fact. For better or worse, many experts believe that Iraq would be a smaller country today if he had not used gas. Whether he should have done so is an entirely separate issue. I think that the general monstrosity of Hussein’s character is well enough established by now not to need a talismanic denunciation every time that he is mentioned.

  6. 6
    Larry M says:

    It’s time for a military coup – the evil fucker and his vice president are both actively psychotic mass murderers, and a coup is our only hope.

    [The first sentence is bad enough, but the rest probably breaks the law. Not on my blog. -ed]

  7. 7
    Jonathan says:

    The Iranian national pastime is chess, chess teaches one to think many moves ahead and to be patient while biding one’s time.

    Bush can’t even think one move ahead and is utterly impatient.

    Who do you think will will win?

  8. 8
    Mr Furious says:

    [The first sentence is bad enough, but the rest probably breaks the law. Not on my blog. -ed]

    Wow, now I’m curious…

  9. 9
    Steve says:

    I’m going to pretend that wasn’t an apology for Saddam using nerve gas.

    Yeah, uh, if your first reading leads you to conclude that Tim is a Saddam apologist, don’t you at least owe him the courtesy of a second reading? Good God.

  10. 10
    capelza says:

    I can’t remember what it is called off the top of my head, but there is a religious, quasi para military group in Iran that numbers 7 million. This isn’t the regular military, but remember that number…7 million.

  11. 11
    Punchy says:

    It looks like our Timothy has been watching The History Channel!!

  12. 12
    Krista says:

    The apparent superiority of Iraq’s forces, the violence of its attacks and the practically genocidal loss of civilian volunteers didn’t seem to discourage them at all.

    And Bush, with his depleted army, is poking them with a sharp stick.

    Honestly, I’m starting to get really scared for you guys. I don’t even want to say it out loud, but if he keeps up like this…he might start something that nobody will be able to fix.

  13. 13
    BobJones says:

    I think that the general monstrosity of Hussein’s character is well enough established by now not to need a talismanic denunciation every time that he is mentioned.

    After all, we can point to the concentration camps and mass slaughter of the Boer War now as perfectly reasonable strategies to pursue, a la Trevino, without having to denounce them.

    As an aside, Mr. Cole, what exactly happens when you pull out the BAN-anna phone like you just did with Larry M’s crazy ass? Does his IP address just get banned or do you unleash the hounds that shoot bees out of their mouths?

  14. 14
    Tim F. says:

    It looks like our Timothy has been watching The History Channel!!

    Well, there was nothing on Oxygen…

  15. 15
    Zifnab says:

    I think that the general monstrosity of Hussein’s character is well enough established by now not to need a talismanic denunciation every time that he is mentioned.

    It doesn’t hurt. Sometimes, just a disclaimer is nice. And this way I beat Darrell to the punch.

    Yeah, uh, if your first reading leads you to conclude that Tim is a Saddam apologist, don’t you at least owe him the courtesy of a second reading?

    And I did give it a second read. And it still sounded like, “War is messy (but my hands aren’t dirty so what’s the problem)” via Donald Rumsfeld.

  16. 16
    Tim F. says:

    what exactly happens when you pull out the BAN-anna phone like you just did with Larry M’s crazy ass?

    Actually I didn’t ban him. May I should have, I don’t know, but that was a warning.

  17. 17
    Krista says:

    Wow, now I’m curious…

    Check thy email, sir. I’ll explain.

  18. 18
    BobJones says:

    I can’t remember what it is called off the top of my head, but there is a religious, quasi para military group in Iran that numbers 7 million. This isn’t the regular military, but remember that number…7 million.

    I believe the word you are looking for is “Iranians”.

  19. 19
    Punchy says:

    or do you unleash the hounds that shoot bees out of their mouths?

    One of the all-time funniest Simpsons scenes ever.

  20. 20
    capelza says:

    Bob Jones..I went and looked it up. The group is the “Basiji” a volunteer militia. Now I have a feeling that the other 60 million plus might feel a tad martial, as well if we did something boneheaded there.

  21. 21
    sysprog says:

    Them Persians ain’t good only at chess. Ever try playin em for real money in shesh-besh (backgammon)? They do know a thing or two about rolling the dice.

    Bush, meanwhile, thinks he’s playing Candyland.

  22. 22
    Larry M says:

    Well Tim, point taken. For the record, the way it was phrased I don’t think it was illegal – I give some thought to what I write even when I’m in rant mode – but you and John are the bosses here.

    But let me ask you a serious question, outside of rant mode. Your post makes it obvious that you have given at least some though to what a disaster – both in terms of our interests, and the rest of the world’s interests – a conflict with Iran would be. And now it looks likely that we are going to get the conflict.

    Oh, the question – at what point, if any, does advocacy of extreme measures to avert such a disaster become acceptable? Now if Bush was really a Hitler – and even I will be the first to say that he obviously is not – presumably you would agree that extraconstitutional means would be justified. At what point, though, does that become the case? How close are we?

    Consider those questions rhetorical if you would like.

  23. 23
    Pb says:

    Here’s a little Iran-Iraq war recap regarding the US involvement at the time, courtesy of the New York Times, circa 2002:

    The Pentagon’s battle damage assessments confirmed that Iraqi military commanders had integrated chemical weapons throughout their arsenal and were adding them to strike plans that American advisers either prepared or suggested. Iran claimed that it suffered thousands of deaths from chemical weapons.
    […]
    The Pentagon wasn’t so horrified by Iraq’s use of gas, said one veteran of the program. It was just another way of killing people—whether with a bullet or phosgene, it didn’t make any difference, he said.

  24. 24
    Andrew Foland says:

    The Iranian national pastime is chess, chess teaches one to think many moves ahead and to be patient while biding one’s time.

    Bush can’t even think one move ahead and is utterly impatient.

    Who do you think will will win?

    More importantly–these guys in Washington have been running an empire for about 4 decades; the Persians have been running empires for about 4 millenia. I imagine they know their way around a long-term power struggle.

  25. 25
    Davebo says:

    Keep in mind that Iran also used chemical weapons in the Iran/Iraq war, just not as extensively or effectively.

  26. 26
    Pb says:

    Keep in mind that Iran also used chemical weapons in the Iran/Iraq war

    Iran has WMD? Time to invade!

  27. 27
    Pooh says:

    Iran has WMD? Time to invade!

    No, they have WMD, not “have” WMD. Completely different protocol.

  28. 28
    Pooh says:

    . At what point, though, does that become the case? How close are we?

    That one has to even pause and think before rejecting this says so much.

  29. 29
    Paul L. says:

    Them Persians ain’t good only at chess. Ever try playin em for real money in shesh-besh (backgammon)? They do know a thing or two about rolling the dice.

    Bush, meanwhile, thinks he’s playing Candyland.

    How It Is Done

    The Washington Post reports U.S. troops raided an Iranian consulate in Iraq and seized a number of Iranians suspected of aiding the insurgency. No doubt the Iranians will squawk about the violation of diplomatic immunity, incursion on sovereign Iranian territory, international law, blah blah blah. I encourage them then to raid our embassy and consulates in Iran. …oh yeah, we don’t have any. Remember why? This is an early indicator that the gloves are in fact off, which is the key component to success in this change of strategy.

  30. 30
    jenniebee says:

    Ah, but you’re forgetting – Iran lost “the better part of a generation” twenty years ago, so their depopulation makes them an easy target now!

    Some think that the bombs then took out Iran’s capacity to wage war, but today Iranian women are still having babies, any one of which could, in about the same timeframe as Iran actually gets a functional backpack nuke, turn himself into a suicide bomber of mass destruction. We must strike now and kill those babies before one of them sells ‘shrooms in an American city. Or something like that.

    The only answer, of course, is to update the Schlieffen plan and move it, preferably via overhead transparency, to Iran. It’s a proven depopulator. Anyone who objects to this, say by suggesting that following this plan would be “to create a veritable hell on earth” obviously doesn’t understand that war is all hell. Costs of war – in men and treasure – are an intrinsic part of war, should be understood as given, and should therefore not be factored into any cost/benefit analyses. Besides, much of the cost goes back to American corporations, so it doesn’t really “cost” anything, as the American public would just have spent the money on something stupid anyway.

  31. 31
    Pb says:

    Now if Bush was really a Hitler – and even I will be the first to say that he obviously is not

    Of course not–but to quantify this a bit further, just check out the ol’ Bush – Hitler checklist!

  32. 32
    Pooh says:

    POTD from Jenniebee

  33. 33
    HyperIon says:

    the concentration camps and mass slaughter of the Boer War now as perfectly reasonable strategies to pursue, a la Trevino

    yes, i stumbled onto Trevino’s latest idiocy at Sadly, No!
    and then followed a link to Althouse where i encountered an epic penned by Al Malviva. Al’s “gist” is that he agrees with the fellow who said this:

    It isn’t very complicated. Wars are won by one simple formula.

    #1. Massively kill and otherwise pound all enemies, real or suspected, into utter submission. Keep it up until they beg you to stop. Scorch the earth if necessary. Even if not necessary, scorch the earth anyway just on general principles and to drive home the point.

    #2. After #1 above is accomplished, then and only then rebuild and engage in nation-building.

    LBJ looked for shortcuts. Nixon seemed to be looking for shortcuts, but I think he knew better. Bush and Rumsfeld, and their minions looked for shortcuts. But there are no shortcuts. There’s only one way. It’s why war is reviled. It’s why war is the absolute last resort. But as we have seen twice now in the last 40 years, doing less than what it takes to win is worse than doing nothing at all.

    what is left to say?
    beam me up, scotty. there in no intelligent sign of life here.

  34. 34
    Pb says:

    Al’s “gist” is that he agrees with the fellow who said this:

    [idiocy follows]

    Shorter idiocy:

    How wars are won:

    #1. Rape, Kill, Pillage, Burn! Rape, Kill, Pillage, Burn!
    #2. Are they dead yet? Yes? Well… do it again for good measure! Then enslave whatever’s left.

    Everyone looks for shortcuts, but there are none. Rape, Kill, Pillage, Burn! It is the only way. And the only thing worse than too much raping, killing, pillaging, and burning is… not enough raping, killing, pillaging, and burning!

    Fucking savages.

  35. 35
    gus says:

    Yeah, Paul L, that was an impressive display of military might, taking over an embassy. Has Ahmadinejad surrendered yet?

  36. 36
    avh says:

    “chess teaches one to think many moves ahead…”
    you don’t play much chess, eh? tons of evidence suggests that expert chess players look the same number of moves ahead as novices. it’s the increased level of sophistication in perceiving relationships between groups of pieces that characterizes experts. of course, that makes it even harder for dubya to play with the big boys…

    “you would agree that extraconstitutional means would be justified…”
    uh, not at all…

  37. 37
    Davebo says:

    So the US takes over an Iranian embassy and holds some of it’s Iranian diplomats hostage.

    Haven’t we seen something like this before?

  38. 38
    BARRASSO says:

    Bush has now lost one war (Iraq) he is on the way to losing another if he keeps taking from the second to give to the first, and it looks like he really would like a third. He may be the first to score a full hat trick of lost wars in one administration. I see how the Bush style of corporate governance works, it is all about failing upward, all that remains is his retirement package of 170 billion dollars.

  39. 39
    Zifnab says:

    So the US takes over an Iranian embassy and holds some of it’s Iranian diplomats hostage.

    Haven’t we seen something like this before?

    Assuming the Iranian hostages get shipped to Gitmo or Abu Garab, I think the US hostages in the 70s might have received better treatment.

  40. 40
    TenguPhule says:

    I encourage them then to raid our embassy and consulates in Iran. …oh yeah, we don’t have any.

    Right, US troops hit their embassy in Iraq….so naturally we must expect them to hit back in their own country.

    It’s not like we have diplomatic stations around the world now available as *legitimate* *targets* to Iranian attack thanks to this rank stupidity.

    Shorter Paul L: I aim to prove people wrong, Bush is *not* the biggest idiot on Earth, I am!

  41. 41
    BobJones says:

    It’s not like we have diplomatic stations around the world now available as legitimate targets to Iranian attack thanks to this rank stupidity.

    And its also not like we have 140,000 soldiers about to engage in “door-to-door” urban combat in a sprawling maze of a city in a country bordering Iran. And its not like the US is going to be relying on “allies” in this fight who are in an way beholden to Iran, and operating in hostile territory filled with people in any way sympathetic with Iran. What could go wrong?

  42. 42
    Jake says:

    Could this all be a desperate ploy to make us forget Osama bin Laden is still at large?

  43. 43
    Rome Again says:

    Honestly, I’m starting to get really scared for you guys. I don’t even want to say it out loud, but if he keeps up like this…he might start something that nobody will be able to fix.

    Krista, are you in Canada? If so, got room in a backyard for an RV? I can be there by Sunday (which is my birthday, I’ll bring the cake and ice cream).

  44. 44
    Rome Again says:

    Could this all be a desperate ploy to make us forget Osama bin Laden is still at large?

    Obama who?

  45. 45
    Sinister Eyebrow says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but embassies and consulates of foreign governments are legally classified as the sovereign territory of that foreign nation. For example, the American consulate in Mexico City is legally American territory and not a part of Mexico.

    Given the above, the US seizure of the Iranian consulate and it’s Iranian citizen employees is in fact an invasion of the nation of Iran and an act of war.

    Anyone still think that 2nd carrier group ordered to the Persian Gulf is just to “show” the US means business? If Congress can’t intervene and prevent these nutjobs from pulling the trigger on Iran, I have no doubt that is exactly what Bush will do. And then Iraq will go from the disaster it is now to a catastrophe that I don’t think anyone is truly prepared to contemplate when American troops find that they are fighting not thousands but millions of insurgents alongside a real army with real weapons. Encirclement for an army = annihilation.

  46. 46
    Tulkinghorn says:

    Jonathan Says:

    The Iranian national pastime is chess, chess teaches one to think many moves ahead and to be patient while biding one’s time.

    Bush can’t even think one move ahead and is utterly impatient.

    Who do you think will will win?

    There is a strategic dilemma in Chess identified by the German term “Zugzwang”. It describes a situation where a player is forced to accept one of two equally grave and demoralizing options, eg, make one move, lose your queen, make the only other possible move, and lose a bishop and knight.

    The Iranians have gamed this out–that is why we can not stay and can not leave Iraq.

  47. 47
    Rome Again says:

    Anyone still think that 2nd carrier group ordered to the Persian Gulf is just to “show” the US means business? If Congress can’t intervene and prevent these nutjobs from pulling the trigger on Iran, I have no doubt that is exactly what Bush will do.

    Tony Snow on Hardball just a short while ago said that ideas of the US planning any attacks against Iran is crazy thinking… but of course, he lies.

  48. 48
    Jake says:

    Tony Snow on Hardball just a short while ago said that ideas of the US planning any attacks against Iran is crazy thinking… but of course, he lies.

    Lie? Are you kidding? We have a president with a doctorate in crazy thinking and Masters in in ape-shit looniness and a black belt in the ancient art of FUBAR.

    But of course the other people of the Middle East should remain calm. This isn’t a plan to take over the entire region and suck out all the oil. Neither is it an attempt to wipe out Muslims and offer up their corpses to the Baby Jesus.

    That would be…crazy.

  49. 49
    Jonathan says:

    you don’t play much chess, eh?

    Not since I was a teenager when I was fairly good.

    Now I prefer to argue politics online.

    I think my point still stands though.

    Don’t chess playing computer programs look many moves ahead?

  50. 50
    Jonathan says:

    No, no, no. It’s rape, pillage and _then_ burn.

  51. 51
    Zifnab says:

    Don’t chess playing computer programs look many moves ahead?

    The really good ones typically play out millions of whole games just to find the highest chance of a win.

  52. 52

    What’s the worst [Iran] could do? if they don’t have nuclear weapons?

    Sink ships in the Strait of Hormuz, screw up the majority of the world’s oil supply, run gas prices up to $10 a gallon, sit back and watch the American economy collapse.

  53. 53
    Jonathan says:

    The Iranians have gamed this out—that is why we can not stay and can not leave Iraq.

    Most Americans seem to think that “furriners” are stupid because they don’t all speak english. I would be willing to bet that Bush thinks that.

    Not that Bush really speaks english either.

  54. 54
    gus says:

    War with Iran won’t happen. Sy Hersh was talking about it happening before the last election. It’s more crying wolf, right? Right? Please Jah, tell me I’m right!

  55. 55
    Rome Again says:

    Lie? Are you kidding? We have a president with a doctorate in crazy thinking and Masters in in ape-shit looniness and a black belt in the ancient art of FUBAR.

    But of course the other people of the Middle East should remain calm. This isn’t a plan to take over the entire region and suck out all the oil. Neither is it an attempt to wipe out Muslims and offer up their corpses to the Baby Jesus.

    That would be…crazy.

    S’okay, it appears Chris Matthews isn’t buying it either.

  56. 56
    ThymeZone says:

    This is an early indicator that the gloves are in fact off, which is the key component to success in this change of strategy.

    Yeah, see, up until now, the gloves have been on.

    That’s been the problem.

    The gloves.

  57. 57
    Jake says:

    Yeah, see, up until now, the gloves have been on.

    And they were the latex kind used for cavity searches.

  58. 58
    Rome Again says:

    War with Iran won’t happen. Sy Hersh was talking about it happening before the last election. It’s more crying wolf, right? Right? Please Jah, tell me I’m right!

    “Shall we play a game?”

  59. 59
    SeesThroughIt says:

    No, no, no. It’s rape, pillage and then burn.

    I thought it was “rape the horses and ride off on the women.”

  60. 60
    darrelplant says:

    I keep wondering how big a bite W has to take before he chokes like he did on that pretzel a couple of years ago.

    Afghanistan and Iraq have populations of around 30 and 25 million each, according to the CIA factbook.

    Iran has a population of about 70 million. One of the reasons Saddam’s attack against them was a bad idea was the disparate population sizes, even with better armor and weaponry — not that the Iranians were completely without things like planes left over from the Shah’s American-armed forces from before the revolution.

    Now, if the US is having problems controlling a combined population of 55 million, how effective are they going to be when they add another 70 million to the mix? Even if they do the kind of stand-off and shoot missiles war the new naval commander in Iraq would probably favor, there’s still a lot of guys on the ground.

  61. 61
    TenguPhule says:

    I thought it was “rape the horses and ride off on the women.”

    It’s “shoot the women and rape the chickens”.

  62. 62
    Debbie (aussie) says:

    This is really, really scarry!!! Does anybody know how many soldiers of the ‘coalition’ are in Iraq and the number that have died. Our ‘wonderful’ PM is fully behind this move by your ‘glorious’ Pres. I wonder if we have any ships in the gulf? Anybody know how I could find out? (sorry not very internet savy)

  63. 63
    Pooh says:

    Yeah, see, up until now, the gloves have been on.

    Was it Johnny Cochrane who said “if the glove does not fit, you must bomb Iran?”

  64. 64
    RonnyCanuck says:

    Bush on Sean Hannity oct. ’06:
    “The reason I say it’s good versus evil is that evil people kill innocent life to achieve political objectives.”

    So how many innocent people (collateral damage alone) in Iraq (for one place) has the US killed? 100’s? 1000’s? 10000’s?
    For political objectives. How many more wars will Bush start that kill masses of innocent people, for political hegemonic objectives? After all, it’s easier to pump and control oil from a wasteland, than when populations of recalcitrant natives are in the way.

    In whose hearts does real evil lie? Of course, beyond ‘The Terrorists’, only those who aren’t willing to suck the US corporate dick are evil and must be punished until they see the light, in Neo-con fantasyland.

  65. 65
    demimondian says:

    So how many innocent people (collateral damage alone) in Iraq (for one place) has the US killed? 100’s? 1000’s? 10000’s?

    Indirectly, hundreds of thousands,in Iraq alone.

  66. 66
    GOP4Me et al says:

    They used waves of teenagers to clear minefields, losing the good part of a generation in the process.

    They weren’t just teenagers, Tim. They were younger.

    From the book/website linked to via my name:

    Countless waves of untrained Iranian boy-soldiers armed only with plastic keys purportedly guaranteeing entry to heaven blew themselves up by the tens of thousands clearing mine fields or died charging into artillery barrages worthy of Verdun or Stalingrad. Iraqi missiles crashed through the night to spread terror among Iranian city dwellers hundreds of miles from the front. Relentless Iraqi and Iranian shelling destroyed each other’s cities and towns near the international border

    Iranian revolutionary society was prepared to sacrifice everything, with even less regard for the lives of its citizens than the French demonstrated after 1789 or the Russians after 1917. Pretty much the only thing that stopped the war was when Iraq got ready to drop nerve gas on Tehran. In the field, Iran did very well. They had American planes left over from the Shah (although finding replacement parts was a problem), a far greater manpower reserve, marginally better generals, and a fanatically devoted population. The leadership took Saddam on with the eventual aim of linking up with Syria to menace Israel directly. We had to pour money, weapons, and sundry other forms of assistance onto Saddam just to keep him in the fight.

    The bottom line is, the Dulles brothers were fools to let Churchill dupe them into overthrowing Mossadegh. And everything else we’ve done vis-a-vis Iran since then has compounded the initial fuck-up. I’d recommend reading “All the Shah’s Men” if you REALLY want to see bungled US covert action. Or, I guess you could read the newspaper, since the fuck-ups are ongoing, cumulative, and increasingly incomprehensible.

  67. 67
    Krista says:

    Rome Again Says:

    Krista, are you in Canada? If so, got room in a backyard for an RV? I can be there by Sunday (which is my birthday, I’ll bring the cake and ice cream).

    Yes indeedy. Bring enough cake for two (my b-day is on the 24th). Just bring a chainsaw, ’cause the price of admission is helping me clear my acreage.

  68. 68
    BadTux says:

    How wars are won:

    #1. Rape, Kill, Pillage, Burn! Rape, Kill, Pillage, Burn!

    #2. Are they dead yet? Yes? Well… do it again for good measure! Then enslave whatever’s left.

    This was Joseph Stalin’s favorite solution. Got a problem with, say, disorderly Ukranians? “No man, no problem.” Kill 1/3rd of the population, and the other 2/3rds will settle down. If not, repeat.

    The fact that today’s neo-cons advocate such Final Solutions is only slightly more frightening than the fact that there is a significant percentage of the American population who agrees with them, indeed, even advocate Hitler and Stalin’s “Final Solution to every problem”.

    But the majority of Americans aren’t fond of Final Solutions of that sort unless national survival is at stake (as it was during WWII). Given that, the only choice left is to declare victory and go home. If we can’t win (i.e. secure Iraq’s oil resources for America) the way we’re doing things, and the majority of the American people aren’t going to agree with doing what it takes to win (i.e., impose a Hitler or Stalin-style “Final Solution” upon every military-age Iraqi), there’s no useful purpose served keeping troops in Iraq anymore.

  69. 69
    Tim F. says:

    i.e., impose a Hitler or Stalin-style “Final Solution” upon every military-age Iraqi

    Dude, we remain in Iraq at the pleasure of the Shiites. If we did something completely stupid like, for example, taking on the Sadrists and SCIRI at the same time, or attacking Iran, our supply lines would dry up and we would be reduced to dynamiting everything that we can’t afford to airlift out.

    – Tim the despondent blogger

  70. 70
    merlallen says:

    During that war, I was stationed on a fast frigate in the Persian Gulf.
    Anyone care to guess what our mission was?
    And I can’t believe we would actually put a carrier group in that small place. The Straits of Hormuz are extremely narrow and easily defensible or easily blocked.

  71. 71
    avh says:

    “I think my point still stands though.”
    definitely. i tried to support it by mentioning that dubya’s in way over his head either way…

    “Don’t chess playing computer programs look many moves ahead?”
    indeed they do but that’s because they aren’t programmed to perceive the game like chess champions. really, the “evaluate every possible scenario” approach is a throwback to some antiquated artificial intelligence concepts that have since been widely abandoned (as far as modelling the way humans perceive situations).

  72. 72
    Jonathan says:

    Does anybody know how many soldiers of the ‘coalition’ are in Iraq and the number that have died.

    Approximately 140k “coalition” troops are in country right now. The number of US dead is just over 3k with another 21k or so seriously wounded, about one third of which have head or brain injuries.

    This link gives a good overview of the casualty statistics.

  73. 73
    Jonathan says:

    “Don’t chess playing computer programs look many moves ahead?”
    indeed they do but that’s because they aren’t programmed to perceive the game like chess champions.

    Interesting, I didn’t know that about chess champions not looking many moves ahead.

    Perhaps that’s why I never became a chess champion. ;-)

  74. 74
    demimondian says:

    In fact, alpha-beta pruning is not considered sufficient even for computer chess players. There’s a lot of strategic pruning in computer chess even now.

    But, no, human masters and above don’t appear to have any better ability to run through many lines than ordinary players. Instead, they are only aware of good lines going forward, and don’t evaluate the rest at all.

  75. 75
    robuzo says:

    “Iranian revolutionary society was prepared to sacrifice everything, with even less regard for the lives of its citizens than the French demonstrated after 1789 or the Russians after 1917.”

    There are some who believe that one of Iran’s aims was to gain control over its large population of restive and possibly troublemaking youth, in part by thinning them out through the use of human wave attacks. Horrible to contemplate, but there may be some truth to the theory. Iran faces a similar situation with its youth today. They may in fact a welcome another war as a way of dealing with an increasingly dissatisfied population of young people. That may sound paranoid, but I wouldn’t put much past the mullahs. Iran also has large numbers of cultured, educated urban professionals who may not be prepared to put up with this, but in the face of war with the US they may not have much choice.

  76. 76
    GDAEman says:

    I’ve heard that Hussein had given up some land to the Shah at one time. Then, after the Shah was ousted, Hussein thought he could take it back.

    My sense is the pressures for the US to attack and degrade Iran make such a thing almost inevitable:
    http://gdaeman.blogspot.com/20.....q-war.html

  77. 77
    p.lukasiak says:

    Yesterday, I was really afraid of the possibility that Bush would start a war with Iran.

    Then, oil prices FELL $2/barrel today — which suggests to me that assurances have been given to key players in the oil industry that while Bush is being permitted to rattle the sabres, steps will be taken (such as invoking the 25th amendment) to ensure that he isn’t permitted to take the swords out of their scabbards…

  78. 78
    jake says:

    The bad news: Extremists launched a rocket at the US Embassy in Greece.

    The good news: No one was injured AND they aren’t Islamists. More bad guys for Bush to chase!

  79. 79
    twodees says:

    ” If Congress can’t intervene and prevent these nutjobs from pulling the trigger on Iran, I have no doubt that is exactly what Bush will do.”

    I see the raid on the Iranian emabassy as pulling the trigger on Iran. It’s an act of war by definition. We’d better face the fact that Congress is on board with war on Iran. One of the disagreements that Democrats had all along with the handling of the Iraq invasion was that it didn’t include an invasion of Iran.

    Think back a little on how democrats have been saying that Iran should have been the target all along. Lewis Black, the standup comic who makes fun of Bush and crew from a democratic party standpoint joked last year that Dick Cheney’s shooting of a fellow quail hunter was illustrative of the current regime’s habit of shooting the wrong target as evidenced by the invasion of Iraq when Iran should have been the target.

    With a GOP controlled congress we get war on Iraq. With a democrat controlled congress we’re going to get war on Iran as well. Congress will be no help against the designs toward middle east hegemony. We may as well trust a goat with the job of head of security for our vegetable gardens as to trust politicians to stop making war against all reason.

  80. 80
    Darrell says:

    The bad news: Extremists launched a rocket at the US Embassy in Greece.

    Many in Greece are still incensed over the US bombing the Serbs in the Balkans in the 90’s.

  81. 81
    Darrell says:

    I see the raid on the Iranian emabassy as pulling the trigger on Iran. It’s an act of war by definition.

    Do you consider Iran’s flood of arms and support to those in Iraq trying to kill our troops similarly an act of war?

  82. 82
    Zifnab says:

    The bad news: Extremists launched a rocket at the US Embassy in Greece.

    The good news: No one was injured AND they aren’t Islamists. More bad guys for Bush to chase!

    Please. If the Greek Embassy had been flat out nuked, Bush wouldn’t bat an eye unless the guy who threw the bomb was wearing a turban.

  83. 83
    Zifnab says:

    Do you consider Iran’s flood of arms and support to those in Iraq trying to kill our troops similarly an act of war?

    Do you consider allowing Iraqi militias to seize whole stockpiles of armorments left behind by Saddam due to political prioritization of defending oil ministries to be an act of incredible Pentagon incompetence?

  84. 84
    Darrell says:

    Do you consider allowing Iraqi militias to seize whole stockpiles of armorments left behind by Saddam due to political prioritization of defending oil ministries to be an act of incredible Pentagon incompetence?

    What! You mean after Saddam intentionally spread arms stockpiles thoughout the country prior to our invasion that we didn’t secure ALL of them immediately? Such incompetence!

    Don’t ya just love how leftists keep floating that ignorant meme about how all our resources went into securing the oil fields. Too stupid for words. But typical.

  85. 85
    jake says:

    Bush wouldn’t bat an eye unless the guy who threw the bomb was wearing a turban.

    That and the ETA bombing in Madrid Prompts me to ponder: If a non-Al Quaida member blows something up, does it make a sound?

  86. 86
    Darrell says:

    Bush wouldn’t bat an eye unless the guy who threw the bomb was wearing a turban.

    Because Bush hates brown people.

  87. 87
    GOP4Me et al says:

    There are some who believe that one of Iran’s aims was to gain control over its large population of restive and possibly troublemaking youth, in part by thinning them out through the use of human wave attacks. Horrible to contemplate, but there may be some truth to the theory. Iran faces a similar situation with its youth today. They may in fact a welcome another war as a way of dealing with an increasingly dissatisfied population of young people. That may sound paranoid, but I wouldn’t put much past the mullahs. Iran also has large numbers of cultured, educated urban professionals who may not be prepared to put up with this, but in the face of war with the US they may not have much choice.

    That’s an interesting point. The French probably used waves of men and guns to weed out the ranks of the potential counter-revolutionaries in a similar way. I know for a fact that the Soviets loved squandering former Tsarist officers in this fashion, when commanders like Stalin weren’t murdering them outright. (To me, one of the worst stories of the Great Terror in France was when the Committee for Public Safety executed 300 Breton peasants who didn’t even speak enough French to understand the charges against them or argue in their own defense at their perfunctory trial.)

    Iran might have a chance to fritter away its newest generation of possible counter-revolutionaries if we go to war with them, but it seems probable to me that support for the regime has been somewhat bolstered by our sabre-rattling against them. National pride will generally take precedence over anti-government sentiment; that’s why the favored method of shoring up an unpopular regime chosen by despots, tyrants and fools throughout history has been to start wars on behalf of national pride, or at least to bring the nation close to such a war as possible.

  88. 88
    John D. says:

    Darrell,

    What! You mean after Saddam intentionally spread arms stockpiles thoughout the country prior to our invasion that we didn’t secure ALL of them immediately? Such incompetence!

    Al Qaqaa

    In my mind, that singular incident was the nadir of our invasion.

    We knew it was there. We knew what was in it. We knew where it was.

    And we did *nothing* to secure it. Nothing.

    This is not a “meme”. This is not a fantasy. This is what fucking happened, to our soldiers detriment. Get off your high horse and think about this clearly for a minute, then answer one simple question. We left 380 TONS of a very powerful convential explosive unattended in the middle of a war.

    Why?

  89. 89
    Darrell says:

    We knew it was there. We knew what was in it. We knew where it was

    A couple of obvious points that you would have asked yourself if you weren’t such an extremist leftard

    1. Who says those arms weren’t moved before the invasion?.. Saddam was spreading the arms cache throughout the country before the invasion

    2. Even if true, wouldn’t that be a screwup of the military commanders on the ground, who were understandably busy fighting Baathist holdouts and Al Queda?

    Ask yourself why you and so many other leftists never considered these likely possibilities, and what it says about you.

  90. 90
    Darrell says:

    We knew it was there. We knew what was in it. We knew where it was

    A couple of obvious points that you would have asked yourself if you weren’t such an extremist leftard

    1. Who says those arms weren’t moved before the invasion?.. Saddam was spreading the arms cache throughout the country before the invasion

    2. Even if true, wouldn’t that be a screwup of the military commanders on the ground, who were understandably busy fighting Baathist holdouts and Al Queda?

    Ask yourself why you and so many other leftists never considered these likely possibilities, and what it says about you.

  91. 91
    Zifnab says:

    A couple of obvious points that you would have asked yourself if you weren’t such an extremist leftard

    1. Who says those arms weren’t moved before the invasion?.. Saddam was spreading the arms cache throughout the country before the invasion

    Shorter Darrell: “I don’t believe my own lying eyes”

    The huge facility, called Al Qaqaa, was supposed to be under American military control but is now a no man’s land, still picked over by looters as recently as Sunday.

    This was in late 2004, long after we’d conquered Bagdad.

    2. Even if true, wouldn’t that be a screwup of the military commanders on the ground, who were understandably busy fighting Baathist holdouts and Al Queda?

    Soldiers who’s commanders were taking orders from… the Pentagon. You think the commanders on the ground just decided to let everyone guarding the bunker take a prolonged coffee break? Did a bunch of Al Queda just drive by in a big truck and train the US army out behind them? 380 tons of munictions just wasn’t a high enough security target?

    We could let the buck stop at the Pentagon. But, like any true keyboard commando, let’s all just blame the troops.

  92. 92
    GOP4Me et al says:

    A couple of obvious points that you would have asked yourself if you weren’t such an extremist leftard

    Read the article, Darrell:

    “After the collapse of the regime, our liberation, everything was under the coalition forces, under their control,” Dr. Omar said. “So probably they can answer this question, what happened to the materials.”

    Officials in Washington said they had no answers to that question. One senior official noted that the Qaqaa complex where the explosives were stored was listed as a “medium priority” site on the Central Intelligence Agency’s list of more than 500 sites that needed to be searched and secured during the invasion. “Should we have gone there? Definitely,” said one senior administration official.

    In the chaos that followed the invasion, however, many of those sites, even some considered a higher priority, were never secured.

    Apparently, we knew the weapons were there long before the invasion, Darrell.

    2. Even if true, wouldn’t that be a screwup of the military commanders on the ground, who were understandably busy fighting Baathist holdouts and Al Queda?

    If the commander in the field didn’t have enough troops, does the buck stop with him? Truman would’ve responded in the negative; then again, Truman probably wouldn’t have led us into this war in the first place. Blame the CIA, or blame Rumsfeld and Bush. I don’t see why the commander in the field has to take this from you, Darrell. Whoever he was, he didn’t ask to lead an undermanned column into Iraq.

    Ask yourself why you and so many other leftists never considered these likely possibilities, and what it says about you.

    That we’re literate? That we’re capable of abstract cognition? That we’re able to extrapolate inferences from analysis? That we can debate issues without resorting to invective and slander? What are you driving at here?

  93. 93
    GOP4Me et al says:

    Zifnab is a fellow leftard. Please disregard him, and me. You’re right, Darrell. This was everyone’s fault except Rumsfeld and Bush’s.

  94. 94
    Zifnab says:

    hehe. I think we got Darrell to stfu. That’s always satisfying.

  95. 95

    hehe. I think we got Darrell to stfu. That’s always satisfying.

    Ho, ho, ho! Christmas came late this year, fuckers!

  96. 96
    Jake says:

    Ho, ho, ho! Christmas came late this year, fuckers!

    It was delayed by the last throes of the War Against Christmas. Fortunately ZSC stayed the course, turned the corner, didn’t cut and run and he finally delivered sweet Christmassy victory. And ponies.

  97. 97

    It was delayed by the last throes of the War Against Christmas. Fortunately ZSC stayed the course, turned the corner, didn’t cut and run and he finally delivered sweet Christmassy victory. And ponies

    Yer darn tootin’ I did. Killed me a whole lot of them Aye-rack-ees, too!

  98. 98
    TenguPhule says:

    Even if true, wouldn’t that be a screwup of the military commanders on the ground, who were understandably busy fighting Baathist holdouts and Al Queda?

    Shorter Darrell: I blame the troops!

    Because Darrells are unable to determine that time moves in one direction and events take place in a linear progression.

  99. 99
    TenguPhule says:

    One of the disagreements that Democrats had all along with the handling of the Iraq invasion was that it didn’t include an invasion of Iran.

    Shorter Twodees: I am smoking some strong shit!

  100. 100

    Shorter Darrell: I blame the troops!

    Since the planning for this war was flawless, the only logical explanation was that people screwed up the execution.

    Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith are the greatest minds of our generation. To accuse them of poor planning is tantamount to lunacy.

  101. 101
    TenguPhule says:

    Don’t ya just love how leftists keep floating that ignorant meme about how all our resources went into securing the oil fields.

    Don’t you love how Darrells keep trying to spin the truth?

    We defended the oil ministry, we secured the oil fields, and the looters got the rest. Only after the fact did somebody realize you can’t defend all of the *pipes* where the oil goes through.

  102. 102
    TenguPhule says:

    Do you consider Iran’s flood of arms and support to those in Iraq trying to kill our troops similarly an act of war?

    They support the non-Sadrists, which being that Sadr is one of our enemies, leaves us rather fucked when it comes to the Shiite. Attack the groups that they back and you end up fighting the majority of Iraq’s population. As for the ‘flood’ of arms, link or site please. We’ve got no real proof that they’re smuggling arms in…not that they really need to with all the excess weapons and explosives already in Iraq.

    Iran backs the Shiite, Syria and Saudi Arabia back the Sunni, and we’re stuck in the middle between them. And illegally attacking Diplomatic posts is only making the problems worse.

    But for Darrells, failure is victory.

  103. 103
    John D. says:

    A couple of obvious points that you would have asked yourself if you weren’t such an extremist leftard

    1. Who says those arms weren’t moved before the invasion?.. Saddam was spreading the arms cache throughout the country before the invasion

    2. Even if true, wouldn’t that be a screwup of the military commanders on the ground, who were understandably busy fighting Baathist holdouts and Al Queda?

    Ask yourself why you and so many other leftists never considered these likely possibilities, and what it says about you.

    For the umpteenth time, I’m not on The Left. I’m, at best, center-right, as civil liberties dominate my politcal leanings. Please make a note of it — you may yet learn something.

    The major issue with Al Qaqaa is that we did nothing to secure a known site with RDX. We sent no troops there. We sent no drones there. We did nothing at all to monitor the site — no satellite imagery, no recon drones, not even one guy with a radio to give updates. We simply let it sit there for the taking.

    Decisions like that are in the strategic plans drawn up for an invasion. No units were sent into that area until long after the invasion was complete, so it cannot be blamed upon the local commanders. If we had insufficient troops to carry out the mission, then perhaps the invasion should have been delayed until such time as we HAD the personnel required.

    Oh, wait, that was discussed back then, wasn’t it? I seem to recall one Donald Rumsfeld saying something about it.

    It’s well past time for you to stop lying, Darrell. We’re not all leftists, we’re not all wrong, we’re not all insane. I personally considered the points you brought up and dismissed them as they make no logical sense or are contrary to confirmed evidence. Al Qaqaa was under IAEA seal, and was visited on March 15, 2003 where the seals were confirmed to be intact. We invaded on March 20, 2003. We didn’t get to Al Qaqaa with the 3rd ID until April 3, 2003 — and we DID NOT search for explosives. Nor did the 101st on April 10, 2003 when *they* were there. The embedded reporters confirm that the facility was not secured when thery left.

    It wasn’t until May 8, 2003 that we returned there, and that was to inspect the phosgene facility there. We didn’t look at the RDX containment area until May 27, when, shockingly, we discovered the seals were broken and the RDX missing.

    They did not secure these facilites because they were not told of the significance of them, even though the Pentagon was aware. That’s a failure of command, period.

    Also, in April of 2003, there was no Al Qaeda presence in Iraq. Stop with the garbage.

  104. 104
    Tom in Texas says:

    “Should we have gone there? Definitely,” said one senior administration official.

    The unnamed official continues:

    Has the war gone well? No.

    Is that our fault? Absolutely not.

    Am I still qualified to run the Department of Defense? Unquestionably not.

  105. 105
    TenguPhule says:

    Am I still qualified to run the Department of Defense? Unquestionably not.

    Corrected.

  106. 106
    Darrell says:

    WASHINGTON — A U.S. Army officer came forward Friday to say a team from the 3rd Infantry Division took about 250 tons of munitions and other material from the Al-Qaqaa arms-storage facility soon after Saddam Hussein’s regime fell in April 2003.

    ..He also said that the IAEA has not come forward with documentation that explains how it arrived at the figure of 377 tons of missing explosives. The IAEA so far only has verified in its paperwork that 219 tons of explosive materials were at Al-Qaqaa and surrounding facilities.

    Whoops I guess you enlighted folks in the reality based community never got the memo, huh? I blame Bush.

  107. 107
    Darrell says:

    So how many innocent people (collateral damage alone) in Iraq (for one place) has the US killed? 100’s? 1000’s? 10000’s?

    For political objectives. How many more wars will Bush start that kill masses of innocent people, for political hegemonic objectives? After all, it’s easier to pump and control oil from a wasteland, than when populations of recalcitrant natives are in the way.

    In whose hearts does real evil lie? Of course, beyond ‘The Terrorists’, only those who aren’t willing to suck the US corporate dick

    Kill 1/3rd of the population, and the other 2/3rds will settle down. If not, repeat.

    The fact that today’s neo-cons advocate such Final Solutions is only slightly more frightening than the fact that there is a significant percentage of the American population who agrees with them

    Some of you leftard kooks need help with your mental illness…seriously.

  108. 108
    GOP4Me et al says:

    Whoops I guess you enlighted folks in the reality based community never got the memo, huh? I blame Bush

    Well, if Fox news says it in a single-source story 3 days before the election, it must be true. The IAEA is to blame for Saddam’s weapons falling into the hands of insurgents.

    So how many innocent people (collateral damage alone) in Iraq (for one place) has the US killed? 100’s? 1000’s? 10000’s?

    No one knows. The only way to be sure is for you to go check for us.

    Some of you leftard kooks need help with your mental illness…seriously.

    Which mental illness might that be? Leftardation? Is that in the DSM-IV, or has a newer edition come out listing it?

    This is the part where you tell us to shoot ourselves, isn’t it?

  109. 109

    Here’s what David Kay had to say in the Boston Globe about the issue of unsecured weaponry:

    David Kay, a former weapons inspector in Iraq for the US government who led the Iraq Survey Group that searched for weapons of mass destruction, said that although his team of 1,400 investigators found no such weapons, they found small amounts of HMX and RDX — and hundreds of square miles of other conventional munitions — at unguarded sites across Iraq.

    ”The RDX, HMX, is a superb explosive for terrorists,” Kay said. ”The danger is that it’s gone somewhere else in the Middle East.”

    ”The military did not view guarding these sites as their responsibility,” Kay said, recalling that he witnessed US troops guarding the gates of the Tuwaitha nuclear facility while Iraq civilians carried away radioactive pipes and metal drums through other exits.

    ”There just were not enough troops to guard the number of sites. It was just crazy.”

    At the time, there was no major insurgency and US military officials felt the war had been won, Kay said, so the Department of Defense did not fear that the weapons that disappeared in widespread looting would be used against US soldiers.

    Later, as the insurgency heated, at least three major bombing sites in Iraq tested positive for HMX or RDX, Kay recalled.

    Kay said that late into fall 2003, more than 100 large ammunition storage points had been left unsecured; everything from conventional bombs to artillery shells and rockets were unguarded.

  110. 110
    Darrell says:

    Well, if Fox news says it in a single-source story 3 days before the election, it must be true.

    What part of “Pentagon news conference” don’t you understand? Here and here with many other “single” sources too. For a sense of perspective sorely lacking in the reality based community:

    MARK THOMPSON: Well, there are some 10,000 weapons caches that have been found in Iraq.

  111. 111

    For a sense of perspective sorely lacking in the reality based community:

    Well, if we didn’t have enough troops to secure the country, we shouldn’t have invaded. Which was the original point you were trying to deflect from.

  112. 112
    TenguPhule says:

    For a sense of perspective sorely lacking in the reality based community:

    Shorter Darrell: I am not only a liar, I am an incompetent fuckwit of a liar unable to read my own links.

    but those 250 tons were not located under the seal of the International Atomic Energy Agency — as the missing high-grade explosives had been. Defense Department spokesman Larry Di Rita could not definitely say whether they were part of the missing 377 tons.

    That’s it Darrell, keep on sucking like a good little Bushbot.

    While Pearson could not characterize the tonnage of plastic explosives his team removed and he could not remember seeing any IAEA tags on the bunkers, he said plastic explosives taken from the site were used to detonate thousands of tons of other munitions collected further north in Baghdad.

    *Spurt*

  113. 113
    MNPundit says:

    The Neocons and their allies will love this: Endless waves of fanatical, pagan, dark skinned people you get to shoot up? Isn’t that what their FANTASIES are made of?

    If there is a US attack on Iran then I will suddenly become an impeachment hawk.

  114. 114
    T. Mitchell says:

    ABC News Well here is one story, from March 2006 talking about the shaped charged that were smuggled into Iraq from Iran. Shaped charges, that means explosives used against armored vehicles, not the AK47’s that the insurgents in Iraq fight each other with.

    Another one, from 2004

    And one from the Brits

    So, for quite some time now we have had stories and suspicions of Iran supplying at least equipment, if not training and men-at-arms to attack American troops. I would say that would be a hefty ‘act of war’. Not to mention the fact that they have been at war with us since 1979, when they took our people hostage for over a year. For those that were looking for proof.

    There was also a story today or yesterday, and I apologize for not finding the link, that states these weren’t diplomats that were captured, but agents of the Irani Revolutionary Guard. This is exactly what Ahmedinejad wants, a weakened and overstretched America that he can help force out, so that he may ride in on the white horse and restore order (read: purge Iraq of all Sunna and install a Iran-esque Mullacracy) thereby gaining incredible influence and credibility with the Arab world.

    Meanwhile he can work on creating nukes in his backyard while the Irani populace includes, “Death to America! Death to the Great Satan and their Zionist ally!” in their Friday prayers.

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