Some Home Truths

Larison says what the DNC can’t:

It is true that last year Obama chose to increase the number of soldiers in Afghanistan, where the war effort had been chronically under-manned and under-resourced for most of the last decade, but this has been the one war in the last fifteen years that the U.S. did not choose to enter. It probably grates on many Republicans that the one war that comes closest to anything resembling a just or necessary war in the last decade is the one that they quite deliberately starved of resources and manpower. It is also probably discomforting that they did this to pursue a war in Iraq that has consumed far more lives, both American and Iraqi, and which had not even the remotest connection to American interests. Steele says that there are “other ways to engage in Afghanistan,” which confirms that he has no desire to disengage fully from the country, but if other “antiwar” Republican arguments are anything to go by he means that we should bombard Afghanistan from afar and hope for the best. Steele doesn’t really mean what he’s saying, but even if he did we shouldn’t take it seriously.

The DNC can’t say this because they might hurt the delicate feelings of all of the Democrats and the press who were wrong on Iraq, but it’s worth reminding ourselves of it once in a while, even though the magnitude of the waste and missed opportunity is depressing in the extreme.

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136 replies
  1. 1
    Corner Stone says:

    The DNC can’t say this because they might hurt the delicate feelings of all of the Democrats and the press who were wrong on Iraq, but it’s worth reminding ourselves of it once in a while, even though the magnitude of the waste and missed opportunity is depressing in the extreme

    Say what now?

  2. 2
    Bnut says:

    The one war in the last decade? I like how multiple wars in 10 years is something we just accept, like a proctology exam…

  3. 3
    frankdawg says:

    “Robert Byrd’s stance against the Iraq War came at a time when many other Democrats, cowed by Bush’s swaggering popularity, were too meek and frightened to say the same thing — even though they undoubtedly agreed with the late Senator. Byrd’s stand against the Iraq invasion is not just a testament to his own courage. It’s also a testament to the cowardice of other members of his party at an absolutely critical moment — an epic cave that may have altered the course of history and should never be forgotten.”
    — Greg Sargent

  4. 4
    mistermix says:

    @Corner Stone: IMO, the reason the DNC chose to put out a chest-thumping Rovian press release rather than a statement like this is because they’d risk offending Democratic politicians who (cravenly) voted for war with Iraq. That’s probably not very clear in the post. Blame the gin.

  5. 5
    El Cid says:

    Again, I’m not sure Steele even remembered when making the comments that Bush Jr. actually started the Afghan war. (I mean, if you’re talking about the U.S.’ involvement in an invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, which I think most people mean by the term.)

    “If he’s such a student of history, has he not understood that, you know, that’s the one thing you don’t do is engage in a land war in Afghanistan? All right? Because everyone who’s tried, over a thousand years of history, has failed,” Steele said. “And there are reasons for that. There are other ways to engage in Afghanistan.”

    This doesn’t sound like a chair of the Republican Party who’s aware that the Bush Jr. administration is the one which started a land war in Afghanistan.

    Given that quote, even Larison might be treating Steele’s comments with too much seriousness.

  6. 6
    El Cid says:

    @Bnut: Well, George H. W. Bush did brag that the first Gulf War beat the awful “Vietnam Syndrome” in which the U.S. was hesitant to directly use U.S. forces in large foreign wars, so, it appears he was right.

  7. 7
    beltane says:

    The problem is that we have no truly serious people in this country. We have one group of hacks, clowns, idiots, and sociopaths, and another group that is afraid of the hacks, clowns, idiots, and sociopaths. Our country may not yet be comatose, but it is certainly paralyzed. The DNC cannot say this because it is the truth, and the truth has been relegated to those people whom no one listens to.

  8. 8
    MikeJ says:

    The reason to go to war in Afghanistan was to kill ObL. Bush was too chickenshit to do it. Pity it will never happen now.

  9. 9

    . It probably grates on many Republicans that the one war that comes closest to anything resembling a just or necessary war in the last decade is the one that they quite deliberately starved of resources and manpower.

    I am glad it grates on them, and fucks with their sleep patterns and gives them gall stones. It makes me so angry, I want to break shit. It is beyond incompetence, it is depraved indifference, depraved indifference that wound up costing the lives of hundreds of thousands in the Iraq clusterfuck for no good reason, other than pure unadulterated hubris, not to mention a trillion dollars, a fraction of which could have built the infrastructure in Aghan. that possibly would have given them something worth fighting for. And no Cornerstone, we could not have won the war in Afghan. in a military sense, but we could have made it possible, at least for the non Taliban Afghans to win it. Though that is far from certain, even under the best conditions, it would have meant we gave it our honest best effort.

  10. 10
    El Cid says:

    @MikeJ: I’m not sure Bush Jr. gave much of a shit about bin Laden when it came to something he cared much more about — the invasion and occupation of Iraq that he and his Cheneyite friends had spent the prior decade or so jacking off about.

  11. 11
    Corner Stone says:

    @mistermix: mistermix, I like you. So, I’m going to forgive your attempt to blame alcohol here.
    But honestly, we’re well past all that craven voting BS nonsense.
    If the DNC wants to continue Ari Fleischer talking points, that has absolutely nothing to do with where we are now, nor why those same politicians keep voting in war supplementals.

  12. 12

    @mistermix:

    IMO, the reason the DNC chose to put out a chest-thumping Rovian press release rather than a statement like this is because they’d risk offending Democratic politicians who (cravenly) voted for war with Iraq

    This is likely part of it. The other part, and biggest imo, is dems still running scared at not being tough enough and with no articulated narrative on how dems view warmaking and a casus belli from a liberal point of view, which imo, is the majority view in our country. We have, as a people, not been eager to jump into wars, forcing politicians to goad, and even lie to make the case that would pull a majority of Americans into supporting a war they wanted. WW1 and WW2 are good examples of this, though they were arguably justified, at least WW2. It took a faked attacked to get the votes to start a land war in Vietnam, and a puke funnel of bullshit from the neo cons to get public support for Iraq.

  13. 13
    MikeJ says:

    @mistermix:

    IMO, the reason the DNC chose to put out a chest-thumping Rovian press release

    Jesus fuck, how stupid can you be? The reason they put out the press release is because it makes the Republicans look like pussies. Everybody else in the world is completely ready to think the RNC is led by morons and then Democrats complain about the tone of a goddamned press release. The RNC *is* led by morons, the DNC has to pander to moron followers.

    The side with the problem today is the republicans. Keep it that way. Don’t get all Janesy-wanesy about how they didn’t adopt your favorite argument. No wonder people joke about Dems snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

  14. 14
    The Dangerman says:

    @beltane:

    We have one group of hacks, clowns, idiots, and sociopaths, and another group that is afraid of the hacks, clowns, idiots, and sociopaths.

    I took a peak at one of the latest polls from Nevada; given that Sharron Angle is an idiotic hack and likely a sociopath (if she tans to a nice orange, she runs the table), I figured she’d be figuratively floating at the top of the tank after too many gaffes to list.

    As if; she still has a solid lead over Reid. How can that possibly be other than a large segment of the Nevada electorate has suffered massive brain damage from too much sun and/or gambling?

  15. 15
    Corner Stone says:

    @MikeJ:

    The reason to go to war in Afghanistan was to kill ObL.

    We needed to commit tens of thousands of troops to do this?

  16. 16
    Gian says:

    anyone else still waiting for the domino theory of modern democracy to spread over the middle east because of the invasion of Iraq come to pass?

    or the war paying for itself from oil revenue?
    or the WMDs?

    the fact that Saddam would’ve whacked Bin Laden given a chance still grates on me, the Bush admin said basically
    Sept 11 gives us a window of opportunity to get contracts in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq that we’ve wanted for a long time, so let’s do it.

    fuckers didn’t give a rats ass about terrorism/security before or after sept 11

  17. 17
    Corner Stone says:

    @El Cid:

    Given that quote, even Larison might be treating Steele’s comments with too much seriousness.

    I’m pretty sure Larison is just as fucking crazy as the rest of his tribe.
    He hides it well but he can’t do such all the time.

  18. 18
    Allan says:

    I thought Olbermann did a good job of emphasizing that these remarks by Steele are bracketed by Steele calling the attention of the Republican candidates at the event to what he was saying.

    Steele seems to be trying, in a fumbling fashion, to demonstrate how the candidates are being coached by the party to pivot away from discussions of the damage caused by Bush and turn everything back on Obama.

    This is one of those Joe Barton moments, where a fledgling Republican tactic gets killed in the cradle because it’s so badly bungled the first time it’s deployed (or in this case, was being rehearsed in friendly territory, and poorly, by someone who hadn’t bothered to memorize the Frank Luntz Words that Work).

  19. 19
    Honus says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck: “We have, as a people, not been eager to jump into wars, forcing politicians to goad, and even lie to make the case that would pull a majority of Americans into supporting a war they wanted.”

    Bullshit. I can’t remember how many times I’ve hear that we should “just go kick some Arab ass” in the past twenty years. The American populace, especially since there isn’t a draft anymore and we have all those high tech weapons, which let us kill thousands of Iraqis in Gulf War I with inly a few hundred casualties, loves a war. Only now, that Iraq and Afghanistan are turning into Vietnam II, and our economy is cratering under the weight of these trillion dollar adventures, does it seem a little less fun. Have you talekd to anybody other than the 25% here that are the least bit troubled by those Abu Ghraib photos?

    Lie and goad us into a war? You had to have your eyes taped shut to believe the shit that they used to justify the Iraq war, especially of you were old enough to remember Vietnam.

  20. 20
    burnspbesq says:

    If I had a hundred people like Larison, Frum, and Bartlett I could build a responsible center-right opposition party in this country, and we could turn South Carolina into a concentration camp for teabaggers, birthers, and other undesirables.

  21. 21

    @Honus:

    Bullshit.

    Bullshit to your bullshit. I said we as a people, not certain groups of rednecks, which we have plenty, but hardly a majority. What I stated is historically true, when talking about committing this country into a full ground war. The media loves a war, wingnuts love a war, but most people are more concerned with making ends meet and who’s leading the pack on American Idol. Afghan was different. It was not only justified but required, politically, no matter who was president. That is separate from it being botched by Bush however.

  22. 22
    Corner Stone says:

    @burnspbesq:

    If I had a hundred people like Larison, Frum, and Bartlett I could build a responsible center-right opposition party in this country

    Jesus fucking Christ.

  23. 23
    Honus says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:Bulllshit right back. If we dislike war so much, why are we still in Iraq and Afghanistan, and why does every defense appropriation pass overwhelmingly? Because not supporting a war is the surest ticket to losing an election. Face it, general, we are a country of rednecks.
    I agree that historically we have been averse to war, but Bush I was right that we forgot the lessons of Vietnam and now you can’t lose by favoring war.
    I only hope that these two latest disasters help us regain that reticence, but I’m not optimistic. See dangerman at #14 above.

  24. 24
    Delia says:

    @Honus:

    Bullshit. I can’t remember how many times I’ve hear that we should “just go kick some Arab ass” in the past twenty years.

    This.

    And more. How many chickenshit wars have we been involved in since Vietnam ended? With stupendous enemies like Grenada, Panama, etc.? Most of the country was happy to go rah, rah over these adventures. It’s only now when things get nasty for our side and people realize it’s not just a storybook that they start looking round for somebody to blame.

  25. 25

    @Honus:

    I agree that historically we have averse to war,

    Since this was the only point I was making, why are your knickers in a twist? And public opinion has been south on Afghan. for a long time now. The public being apathetic in learning historical lessons, with the attention span of bacteria, is different than being eager for wars. I think we have more than our fair share of rednecks, but we are lousy with political indifference.

  26. 26
    tkogrumpy says:

    I love Steele. Another one of those gifts that keep on giving.

  27. 27
  28. 28
    KS in MA says:

    Larison: “Steele doesn’t really mean what he’s saying.” Bottom line. He never does. His mission in life seems to be to say the weirdest possible thing, regardless of the issue, simply in order to grab the spotlight away from the Democrats. I’d say he’s doing a pretty good job of it.

  29. 29
    Jeffro says:

    Just waiting for Dems to slam home the case that if we hadn’t a) wasted $1T in Iraq and b) wasted $1T in tax cuts for the rich during the Bush years, we’d sure be sitting a lot prettier nowadays…

    ……

    …or the new-found knowledge (thanks, WaPo!) that the Tea Party is just the Republican base unfettered…

    ……

    …or that, if it weren’t for the stimulus – and another round of it that’s desperately needed in the states, now – we’d be in an Almost Great Depression…

    ……

    ……

    Shoot, you win a couple of election cycles against people who are utterly incompetent and it takes the edge off…

  30. 30
    Glidwrith says:

    @Corner Stone: Correct me if I’m wrong, but I recall reading that the Taliban offered to give up OBL with a nice little bow if the US wouldn’t invade – and it was declined.

  31. 31
    Ahasuerus says:

    @burnspbesq:

    If I had a hundred people like Larison, Frum, and Bartlett I could build a responsible center-right opposition party in this country

    Certainly more erudite, and perhaps slightly less willing to cater to the insane caterwauling of the dominionists and neocons who currently comprise the “conservative” party, but responsible? I really don’t think so. What I’ve read of Frum and Bartlett leads me to believe that they are interested only in accumulating wealth and power at the expense of everyone and everything else, and they’ll sell out you and me and the future of this country to do it.

    Larison, however, may just be honest enough to consider. Which of course means that he’s just a goddam hippie RINO sellout.

    …and we could turn South Carolina into a concentration camp for teabaggers, birthers, and other undesirables.

    Why do you hate South Carolina? What did the Palmetto State ever do to you?

  32. 32
    demimondian says:

    You know what? The best part of all this is getting lectured by Erick Lucianesson about moral authority.

  33. 33
    demimondian says:

    @Glidwrith: You are, in fact, wrong. The Taliban, in fact, directly refused to yield him up.

  34. 34
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @burnspbesq:

    If I had a hundred people like Larison, Frum, and Bartlett I could build a responsible center-right opposition party in this country, and we could turn South Carolina into a concentration camp for teabaggers, birthers, and other undesirables.

    We already have a center-right opposition party. It’s called half of the Democratic Party. The other half’s usually ok though…

  35. 35
    Steeplejack says:

    @mistermix:

    Never blame the gin. Never.

  36. 36
    Uloborus says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:
    I agree with you in every detail. I will add on your side of the argument that only 9/11 scalded the American people enough to bring about war fever, and Bush had to hurry to push Iraq through because it was already dimming. Bush Classic’s decision to merely push an invading army out of a friendly country was controversial, as was an honest-to-god peacekeeping mission in a disintegrating Yugoslavia. Things like Grenada got through because the American public was barely aware they occurred at all.

    I do wonder if congress might have actually believed Bush The Younger’s claim that Saddam had WMDs. I mean, they knew the guy. It might well have been inconceivable to them that he’d lie to congress to start an unnecessary war. I don’t really know. I find the Democratic congress’s actions all through Bush’s administration to be incomprehensible.

  37. 37

    If I had a hundred people like Larison, Frum, and Bartlett I could build a responsible center-right opposition party in this country

    It is a sad state of affairs when these three, (and I am no big fan of Larison) are the sanest wingnuts to work with as a semblance of responsible wingnuttery. But there it is, and compared with most of the remaining lunatics, these guys seem like mini Ike’s in our current devolving state of conservatism.

  38. 38
    Honus says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck: sorry general, didn’t mean to get so excited. You are right that historically we have been goaded into wars, but until recently opposition to war has not been political suicide.
    I guess what’s getting me so upset is the extent to which we are destroying our economy for these wars. We have spent trillions, with no end in sight, while our schools, roads and general economic development is going to shit. And it is political suicide to suggest we alter this course. (if the president was a republican, opposition to the Afghan war would once again be tantamount to treason)

  39. 39
    Daddy-O says:

    “…the magnitude of the waste and missed opportunity is depressing in the extreme.”

    Nothing causes me more sorrow than this concept. Nothing.

    Iraq and Afghanistan is each and of itself, never mind together, a complete and perfect waste of the most resources and time and limbs and lives that has ever occurred in our history. And no amount of spin will ever change that.

    The real miracle is how George W. Bush didn’t end up on the very bottom of those recent Presidential ratings. I will never understand or agree with that. He is the Worst President Ever, and probably always will be.

  40. 40
    fucen tarmal says:

    i think its eminently foolish to think anything about the gop runs on rhetoric. you can have a thousand center right columnists typing all day every day, and another shift at night, they could raise points worthy of consideration like monkeys typing fhowhwoirefhoewifhhhf trying to write war and peace…

    it wouldn’t matter in the least. the party does not move on ideas, rhetoric, or anything of the sort. its all about the long money, the rhetoric they produce is a tool. it doesn’t have to be convincing, it just has to be a counterpoint.

  41. 41

    @Honus: Everyone is on edge these days, and I am because current polling seems to indicate, at least for the present, that a majority of Americans are once again considering putting the wingnut jackals back into power. Blows my mind. But I also think many of them will come to their senses before election day. I sure as hell hope so.

  42. 42
    Corner Stone says:

    @Glidwrith: Either way. What is your point?

  43. 43
    jeff says:

    Wrong. Although the above snippet provides a nice out for why Obama chose to escalate this war, it neither suffices as an explanation for Obama nor the DNC. Al Qaeda’s presence in afghanistan is smaller than pakistan’s and it most assuredly is not serving as a safe haven for AQ or Bin Laden. That was a worthy police action at one time – but fighting the Taliban is not. Not only is the Taliban not threatening the US but the war serves only counterproductive strategic purposes; Predators bombing wantonly creates precisely the problem we need to avoid.

    Moreover, it is a mission with no tangible conclusion or result. I have friends serving (yes, I’m of that age) and it pains me that Democrats have jumped so corrosively to the causes of the “long war” and “nation building.” We are not fighting Bin Laden; we’re probably creating him.

    These are the unspoken truths the DNC and others do not wish to discuss. Afghanistan may have had more noble origins than Iraq (which the anti-war dems have yet to truly extricate us) but that is becoming less apparent by the day. Please do not gloss over this.

  44. 44
    Glidwrith says:

    @Corner Stone: My point is if OBL was offered to us, we obviously didn’t have to invade to get him. I also did a quick google check and found a UK Independent article (http://www.independent.co.uk/n.....31436.html) and a youtube clip from NBC dated 2/27/01 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDvVZ2Gn-9g) followed by Keith Olbermann saying nothing was ever done about the offer to surrender him. (Uh, forgive me if I didn’t get the links right, if I still haven’t figured it out)

    Even if he had been surrendered, I rather doubt the US would have left the Taliban in power, but perhaps there wouldn’t have been a convenient boogeyman for Bush to use.

  45. 45
    El Cid says:

    The Taliban sort of offered to hand bin Laden over, but not really to the US.

    The Taliban would be ready to discuss handing over Osama bin Laden to a neutral country if the US halted the bombing of Afghanistan, a senior Taliban official said today.
    __
    Afghanistan’s deputy prime minister, Haji Abdul Kabir, told reporters that the Taliban would require evidence that Bin Laden was behind the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US.
    __
    “If the Taliban is given evidence that Osama bin Laden is involved” and the bombing campaign stopped, “we would be ready to hand him over to a third country”, Mr Kabir added.
    __
    But it would have to be a state that would never “come under pressure from the United States”, he said.
    __
    Mr Kabir urged America to halt its air campaign, now in its eighth day, and open negotiations. “If America were to step back from the current policy, then we could negotiate,” he said. “Then we could discuss which third country.”
    __
    Large explosions caused by American bombs and missiles have been reported to the south and east of the Afghan capital, Kabul, this evening.
    __
    The sky above the city has been filled with tracer fire from Taliban anti-aircraft guns once again.
    __
    Before the start of the air campaign, the Taliban had demanded evidence of Bin Laden’s involvement in the attack and had offered to try him before an Islamic court inside Afghanistan – proposals that the US promptly rejected.

    Saddam Hussein offered to withdraw from his illegal aggressive invasion of Kuwait in exchange for some token concessions, i.e., investigation of Kuwaiti slant drillings. The U.S. (ie, ‘the coalition’) wasn’t interested.

    [Note: clearly there is a follow-up judgment on the likely seriousness of the conditioned offer, which I think was likely in the latter case and unlikely in the prior case, and in the case of bin Laden you could argue that extra time would allow for an escape, etc. Not so for occupying forces in another country.]

  46. 46
    Glidwrith says:

    @El Cid: Thanks, the offer certainly sounds weasel-worded and it was more than I found in a quick search.

  47. 47
    El Cid says:

    @Glidwrith: I don’t see it unreasonable for the Taliban, or any government for that matter, to have demanded the U.S. present evidence for bin Laden’s role in the attack. Just because the U.S. says “he was” doesn’t mean some other government should go along — well, except for the prospect that the U.S. can destroy your nation-state if it feels like it. The offer to try him in Afghan Islamic court — well, this was the Taliban, which, despite their power in solidifying control of their country from the warlord chaos hell in which it had descended, are a bunch of fundamentalist loons. I don’t think they quite conceived what a, well, world-historic situation they were dealing with.

  48. 48
    Glidwrith says:

    @El Cid: True enough – I guess I’m starting to just get a little brainwashed that anytime our government says something is so (ie prez says terrorist=must be one), it is.

    Getting late here – ‘night.

  49. 49
    srv says:

    @demimondian: Actually, you are wrong, and probably more wrong than we’ll ever accurately know. Just because the Taliban did not (or could not) unconditionally acceed to GW’s timetables or exact demands did not mean they would never turn OBL over to us or someone else.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl.....terrorism5

  50. 50
    srv says:

    @Honus:

    You are right that historically we have been goaded into wars

    Wow, you really surrendered the high and low ground pretty quickly to Stuck. Goaded? What a loaded word. I’m trying to remember a war that a majority had to be dragged kicking and screaming into supporting.

    I guess what’s getting me so upset is the extent to which we are destroying our economy for these wars.

    So if it we could fuck up the ME more economically, it wouldn’t bother y’all so much?

  51. 51
    burnspbesq says:

    @Ahasuerus:

    Why do you hate South Carolina? What did the Palmetto State ever do to you?

    Clemson. Seriously – purple and orange unis?

    Also Ivory Latta, the single most annoying person in the history of women’s sports.

  52. 52
    El Cid says:

    @srv:

    So if it we could fuck up the ME more economically, it wouldn’t bother y’all so much?

    That’s not so much a “y’all” as an operative assumption in U.S. foreign policy from the end of Vietnam to the Bush Jr. invasion of Iraq. (Afghanistan seeming to most Americans a reactive move, and not one which would involve an interminable occupation.)

    The first Gulf War was huge, but the U.S. managed to extract payments from other nations, and focused on massive bombing campaigns of destruction throughout the country and traditional battles against fixed and mobile weaponry and troops.

    Reagan wanted the U.S. to directly invade and occupy Nicaragua, but at the time, this was quite controversial when a preview ‘white paper’ was released.

    Most of the people I knew and worked with at the beginning of the Bush Jr. invasion of Iraq didn’t think it was a great idea, but they thought it would mostly be a bombing and quick shoot’em-up type affair, not the sort of decades-long, hysterically costly disaster it was.

    Maybe if we’re lucky the Vietnam Syndrome will be replaced by the Iraq Syndrome, a regenerated wariness for these big wars of occupation, but I don’t think that will affect willingness to continue drone wars or whatever other technological options open up.

  53. 53
    Nick says:

    @Honus: I was going to say the same thing. We as a people love wars, have since Korea…as long as A.) we win them, B.) we don’t have to sacrifice anything and C.) Other people fight them.

    On a related note, I often like to talk about when my great aunt from Italy was in the country a couple of years ago and she was mortified by one of those commercials where the kid is trying to talk his parents into letting him/her join the Army. She was shocked that in a country that goes to war as often as we do, parents would actually be against the idea of their children in the military (something celebrated in rather pacifist Italy)

    The hypocrisy astonished her.

  54. 54
    Nick says:

    @srv:

    I’m trying to remember a war that a majority had to be dragged kicking and screaming into supporting.

    Spanish-American War
    World War I
    Korea

    Depending on what historian you ask, the American Revolution and the Civil War.

  55. 55
    Nick says:

    @Glidwrith: No, that wasn’t true, they didn’t believe there was enough evidence to warrant extraditing OBL.

    Though some believe they would’ve been happy to give him up but needed the support of the Mullahs in the countryside lest they be overthrown by the Northern Alliance. They were on rocky ground before 9/11.

  56. 56
    Nick says:

    @El Cid: Um, he had admitted to doing it. That’s evidence enough I think.

  57. 57
    Nick says:

    @Honus: We may not like war when we can’t win it, but we LOVE the troops, so we support sending them money…that’s why supplementals pass.

  58. 58
    Brachiator says:

    @El Cid:

    Most of the people I knew and worked with at the beginning of the Bush Jr. invasion of Iraq didn’t think it was a great idea, but they thought it would mostly be a bombing and quick shoot’em-up type affair, not the sort of decades-long, hysterically costly disaster it was.

    I don’t understand the thinking here. Gulf War I saw battles in the open desert and also involved removing the Iraqis from Kuwait. Afterwards, the Kuwaitis could resume governing.

    US forces initially moved quickly through Iraq but, by definition, they created a vacuum as they toppled Hussein’s government. Yeah, Bush/Cheney was pushing the BS inspired by Chalabi and the neocons that a fully functioning government would magically spring up behind invading US forces, but I am still astounded that anyone ever believed this.

    Of course, it helped that dissenting voices and analysts in the State Department and other agencies were stifled as the official government policy became “thinking, bad. Brute force method, good.”

  59. 59
    El Cid says:

    @Nick:

    Um, he had admitted to doing it. That’s evidence enough I think.

    Before the U.S. invasion, and then long after, bin Laden denied responsibility for the attacks.

    Messages issued by bin Laden after September 11, 2001 praised the attacks, and explained their motivation while at first denying any involvement.[57] On September 16, 2001, an Al Jazeera news presenter read a message purportedly signed by Osama bin Laden, in which the following words were stated:
    __
    I stress that I have not carried out this act, which appears to have been carried out by individuals with their own motivation.
    __
    In an interview with Osama bin Laden, published in the Pakistani newspaper Ummat Karachi on September 28, 2001, he stated: “I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge of these attacks, nor do I consider the killing of innocent women, children and other humans as an appreciable act.”
    __
    There was reportedly no way to prove the e-mail published in Pakistan came from bin Laden. The Taliban denied he had access to any communications.

    In November of 2001, after the US invasion, the US claimed to have recovered a videotape of bin Laden discussing the attacks. With regard to Taliban comments that OBL was without communication, they were in my view either ignorant of the situation, naive dupes, or flat out deceptive, or, given their odd talents, both.

    So, no, OBL had not admitted to the attacks by the time that the Taliban was talking, or whatever you want to call it, with the US.

    Why do people say dumb shit like, “Um, because X” without knowing, or even giving the slightest shit, what they’re talking about?

    I guess we best start protecting ourselves against all the inflation, because of the deficit.

  60. 60
    El Cid says:

    @Brachiator: I don’t think there was a lot of ‘thinking’ going on in the general public [i.e., those not already participating in debates on the subject, such as the people I was working with]. No complexities were suggested. Nor did I know a lot of people who really wanted to get into it, if they weren’t skeptical already. [Or just leery about big wars in general.]

    For those who didn’t think it was a big thing, it was all about the difficulty of the primary part of the operation, you’d topple Saddam and the bad guys, and then mumble mumble something or other FREEDOM.

    I think there were pictures and films in peoples’ heads, and for those who could remember it, given the comments I heard at the time, they were repeats of the first Gulf War which stopped before a full-bore invasion and occupation.

  61. 61
    srv says:

    @El Cid: I used to think a lot of folks making the economic case were using it to buttress a moral one. Not so much now. Maybe it was just b/c I was in college in the 80’s, but the DFH vote seems much smaller now.

    The complete lack of interest in the drone wars appears to be equal across the entire political spectrum, save a few DFH’s and Civil Libertarians.

  62. 62
    El Cid says:

    @srv: There are already suggestions that drones should be brought on line to serve in the U.S. for domestic law enforcement (and not just border operations), and I assume that as they get smaller, that may just happen. Who knows, if we actually invent Terminator robots and send them abroad and to crime zones, would there be much opposition then?

    In any case, removing the threat to the lives of military or police personnel in carrying out a comparatively targeted deadly force operation (i.e., not carpet bombing or nuking) right now seems a pretty acceptable option politically, at least, among the domestic population. People attending Afghan wedding parties may differ.

  63. 63
    fucen tarmal says:

    the single most annoying person in the history of women’s sports

    that would be whomever married the spice girl, the one who was sent here to save soccer.

  64. 64
    srv says:

    @Nick:

    World War I
    Korea

    Meh, while I think there were much more vocal minorities to WWI, I don’t think the population really had to be dragged. They had no problem digesting the propaganda and beating up the local Huns and Irish.

  65. 65
    srv says:

    @El Cid: Wondering if any recent scifi has moved from the support our troops memes to support our robots.

  66. 66
    El Cid says:

    @srv: Whether or not people seemed receptive, the US government had a huge propaganda campaign for the war, coordinated with leading media figures, and in addition to harsh repression against those advocating against serving (the notion that this was too far for first amendment rights) and by the post office shutting down mailing of publications the Postmaster General thought too subversive. I don’t think all this trouble would have been taken if these efforts didn’t seem necessary. I don’t think there was much mumbling about ‘Hun atrocities’ before the propaganda wurlitzer started.

  67. 67
    DPirate says:

    the magnitude of the waste and missed opportunity

    To say nothing of the outright evil of it all.

  68. 68
    Resident Firebagger says:

    I’d like to believe it’s “just” to go into Afghanistan, but all we seem to do there is incinerate wedding parties…

  69. 69
    Brachiator says:

    @El Cid:

    I don’t think there was a lot of ‘thinking’ going on in the general public [i.e., those not already participating in debates on the subject, such as the people I was working with]. No complexities were suggested. Nor did I know a lot of people who really wanted to get into it, if they weren’t skeptical already. [Or just leery about big wars in general.]

    I don’t disagree with you here, but I was wondering a bit more about the Decider and his crew.

    I know there has been stuff about Dubya wanting to take Sadddam out because he said bad things about his daddy. And there is all the neocon stuff out there for public consumption. I discount war for oil (I don’t think that Saddam was averse to making deals). The general idea that the US just loves them some imperialism doesn’t quite scratch it.

    Added to this is the Bush Administration’s decided lack of interest in bin Laden prior to 9/11 and their relative disregard of Afghanistan once they got the hots for Iraq.

    None of the stuff out there for public consumption, nothing that you hear out of the mouth of Cheney or Kristol adequately offers a coherent explanation for this folly, not even “here’s the crazy bullshit that these clowns believed.”

    I am not into conspiracy theories. But I assume, for now, that Bush and his people knew that the crap that they were dealing to the public were lies, that they did not believe this themselves. So I wonder what it is that they thought they wanted. Or is that they thought that no matter what they wanted or why, they could force Iraq and Afghanistan to bow to their will.

    For those who didn’t think it was a big thing, it was all about the difficulty of the primary part of the operation, you’d topple Saddam and the bad guys, and then mumble mumble something or other FREEDOM.

    Yeah, I know what you mean. But I recall the delusional briefings of Baghdad Bob, and the relative ease with which US forces moved through the country. You could see that the Republican Guard was overrated, that Saddam was not getting accurate information and so could never offer any resistance. But at the same time, you could also see the signs of Iraqi’s infrastructure unraveling, and that the US had no plan in place of protecting museums or providing a workable temporary substitute for the government that they were toppling.

  70. 70
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:

    Quick question from an outsider — just when has America been averse to war? There may have been a few weeks here and there in the past two hundred or so years that American troops have not been out there fighting and conquering and occupying but I’m having some trouble remembering them. Lessee, from memory there’s the War of 1812 when you tried to conquer Canada, the wars of conquest against the Native Americans through the first part of the 19th century, the Texican annexation of the Mexican territories in the name of restoring slavery, the Civil War, the fighting in Canada again, the military-led cracking of Japan’s bamboo wall by Perry, the military involvement in China and the Boxer Rebellion, the conquest and annexation of the Phillipines, the Spanish-American War, WW one, the invasion of the Soviet Union in the 20s, Panama, WW two, Korea, Vietnam, Libya, Grenada etc. not to mention the 50-year-long Cold War which promised instant radioactive death to anyone who threatened World Peace.

    I think the biggest single mistake you guys made was the decision to relabel the War Department as the Department of Defense. It has fooled you into believing the propaganda that Americans are truly peace-loving friends of liberty.

  71. 71
    frankdawg says:

    @Brachiator:

    But they did have a plan for protecting the oil ministry oddly enough.

    As to the believability (by Bush, Dems, media) of the pre-invasion bullshit I will say this: I was reading European and Asian news sites & they carried the same debunking stories –
    The aluminum tubes were not capable of uranium enrichment according to the UNAEC and the US Dept of Energy nuke people.
    It was impossible for Niger to supply yellow cake in anything like the quantities needed, or those claimed by Bush.
    CIA analysts were complaining that they were told to ether find ‘evidence’, make it up or shut the hell up.
    Bush had met with Blair & told him when the invasion would happen & got UK co-operation in jinning up the intel.
    Weapons inspectors in Iraq said they were getting complete co-operation from the government of Iraq.
    Weapons inspectors past & present said Iraq was not capable of producing any significant WMD.
    The US ordered weapons inspectors out of the country so we could start bombing.

    Anyone who believed the bullshit Boy George & friends spread either wanted to or was ignorant. The US media did a great job of hiding the truth & deserves kudos for intentionally keeping people ignorant.

  72. 72

    @Nick:

    We as a people love wars, have since Korea…as long as A.) we win them, B.) we don’t have to sacrifice anything and C.) Other people fight them.

    bullshit. We have been indifferent to wars, but “love them” wtf is wrong with you people. Fucking sloppy to throw shit around like that. We will, as a people, if sufficiently convinced of, or lied to. go along with then for but a short while, until it becomes obvious we were sold a bill of goods, and that they were unnecessary, or unwinnable, especially unwinnable.. Being to lazy to remember history, or think critically, or generally care to seriously question the crap we are being fed for a casus belli, but “loving wars” is claptrap.

  73. 73

    @Robert Sneddon:

    but I’m having some trouble remembering them.

    Maybe cause your own blood soaked history (if you are British) is clowding your judgment, and because you are a wanker. Those would be my first two choices as to why your memory is shaky.

  74. 74

    @Nick: And WW2 prior to Pearl Harbor. FDR had been trying to get public support for our joining the war, but had largely come up short. It took a massive attack on us to rally public support.

  75. 75

    @srv:

    The definition of goaded.

    2. An agent or means of prodding or urging; a stimulus.

    Hardly this

    I’m trying to remember a war that a majority had to be dragged kicking and screaming into supporting.

    You puma ideologues are getting more and more prone to willful misinterpretation of things said around here to make your dogma arguments. Stop it please.

  76. 76
    El Cid says:

    @Brachiator: I don’t think it’s necessary to find one, true cause for the right wing / liberal hawk desire to take down Saddam and Iraq.

    Yes, there were those who either wanted control of Iraqi oil or to take it off the market to make other oil production prices — and profits — increase. There were hard core ideologues who wanted to demonstrate unilateral U.S. imperialism. There were those who wanted to destroy any independent nationalist development in the Middle East. There were those who saw Saddam and his regime as a threat to Israel’s most militarist policies, directly or indirectly. There were those who wanted to demonstrate to the US domestic political system that non-aggressive policies with a regionally powerful state would not be tolerated. There were those who simply hate Arabs and Muslims. And there were also those who were frustrated at Bush Sr’s refusal to finish off Saddam.

    Multiple causes for giant foreign policy moves are quite normal. US interventions in Congo / Zaire throughout the 1960s was not solely business interests or ‘anti-Communism’ or imperialist control of the region’s valuable resources for Western investor interests or to influence the entire continent’s and the third world’s independent nationalist movements, etc., but all of those and more.

    Though I do think Cheney had a rather huge influence on Bush Jr., and I myself think that at the very immediate hours and days after 9/11, Bush Jr. was nearly panicking that it would rob him of glory. And maybe Darth Fourthbranch Cheney could step in at that time and promise him — correctly for a time — that an invasion of Iraq was just the thing to distract the public from his glaring failure to secure Americans against a massive terrorist attack. Just my own intuition, without evidence.

  77. 77
    debbie says:

    As it turns out, the Republicans are the real practitioners of Affirmative Action. How else could Steele still have a job?

  78. 78
    El Cid says:

    @El Cid: By the way, I forgot to mention that in the World War 1 days — and before, and after — citizens weren’t ‘volunteering’ for these wars, but conscripted / drafted.

  79. 79
    John O says:

    I hate to get all realpolitik on this, but isn’t the only sensible and rationally viable solution to Iraq and Afghanistan to pull all the way out, claim we’ve inflicted enough suffering already and just can’t afford it anymore, but also officially note as a matter of future policy that if/when we are hit with a major attack on civilians, we’ll have to come back to Country X for a (fixed) spell until our bloodlust is sated again?

    It seems to me this is morally, politically, militarily, and internationally justifiable, and there are probably enough members of the press and Republican war/deficit mongers to provide political coverage for the policy were it sold well.

  80. 80
    El Cid says:

    @Robert Sneddon: Don’t forget the constant invasions, overthrows, occupations, and insurgency wars in favor of right wing anti-nationalist tyrants throughout South and Central America and the Caribbean, as well as supporting insurgencies in Angola and Mozambique, in part to aid our friend apartheid South Africa. That is, until Cuban troops kicked the asses of South African forces in Angola’s Cuito Cuanavale.

  81. 81
    El Cid says:

    @John O: I actually thought the John Kerry maneuver to blame the mess on the failures of the local governments, despite all our efforts and benevolence, would be the only way to withdraw while keeping the militarist propaganda structure intact. It may still be.

  82. 82
    Honus says:

    @Nick: Don’t forget WWII. A significant part of the electorate was even favoring the Germans. (Henry Ford, Joe Kennedy) The republicans were isolationist, and it took Pearl Harbor for FDR to get a majority to support a declaration of war.

  83. 83
    John O says:

    @El Cid:

    Sure, add that in to your reasons to leave, too.

    It’s weird: It’s not like everyone doesn’t know these things to be true, i.e., corrupt local gov, we can’t afford it, we’ve caused a lot of suffering already, we’re going to get hit again, etc. You’d think reality would step up and claim some more policy makers not in the least the POTUS, but no.

  84. 84
    El Cid says:

    @John O: You don’t understand. Our new counter-insurgency policy fixed Iraq and now will fix Afghanistan. If you don’t believe this, you’re ‘betting against the troops’, which is, of course, a carnal sin.

  85. 85
    matoko_chan says:

    @El Cid: The MAIN reason we went into Iraq was that Bush was a SWEG (stupid white evangelical guy). That is what the Bush Doctrine (aka the Epic Fail of the Manifest Destiny of Judeoxian Democracy in MENA) is all about. Bush actually thought he’d see Warren and Dobson performing mass conversions to xianity on the mosque steps in Baghdad and Karbala.
    What a retard.
    Cheney is a soulless rapacious businessman that saw the war as both profiteering for the american mil-industry complex and a way to consolidate Republican hegemony forevah. Cheney miscalculated the timing on the Econopalypse is all……that was supposed to happen AFTER a democrat got elected on the pendulum backswing. They tried to push it out as far as they could with Greenspan forcing down interest rates.
    That an’ the demographic timer have bugger the GOP now.

  86. 86
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @Honus:

    Germany declared war on America in support of their allies the Japanese who the US did declare war on after the Pearl Harobr attack. The Japanese government never did deliver a formal declaration of war to the US.

  87. 87
    Honus says:

    @srv: No, I wouldn’t be happy about cheap was, either. I am disgusted by stupidity of the choices we make; by the fact that we seem to have no problem spending trillions to fuck up the Middle East, but the prospect of spending a similar sum for education, heath care or infrastructure is met with derision from both the electorate and the punditry. I often consider how much stronger and more secure asa country we would be if we had spent a trillion paying our carpenters to rebuild the Gulf Coast after Katrina instead of pissing it away in Iraq.

  88. 88
    El Cid says:

    @matoko_chan: That is a good element to add, one which I forgot, and if you feel that was the main reason, fine. I’d just note that in my opinion, though the President is in the end, as Bush Jr. would say, The Decider, the foreign policy establishment is a huge apparatus, and on the Iraq case, heavily divided. But the institutions and elite forces pushing for it were favored by the Administration.

  89. 89
    El Cid says:

    @Honus: Remember, you can’t solve problems by throwing money at it, unless it’s wars, the ‘defense’ industry, preferred federal contracts to political elite-connected industries, subsidies and tax breaks to large corporations, etc. But schools? That’s just a recipe for failure, which is why our richest elites always go to the most impoverished, underfunded schools, so as not to be tainted by failure.

  90. 90
    Honus says:

    @El Cid: And in the appalachians, at least, draft evasion was a popular tradition. The first half of Sgt. York isn’t a fable; those young men in the Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia mountains didn’t want to go off to Europe to fight and their families hid them and lied to the government to keep them out of the service.

  91. 91
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @El Cid:

    Those cases of US support for assorted right-wing dictatorships and assorted murderous terrorist forces aren’t the War Department’s responsibility, they’re State Department foreign affairs work, aided by the CIA and deniable contractors (see Bay of Pigs for an example). Occasionally there’s military involvement in training and equipping “freedom fighters” such as bin Laden’s anti-Soviet forces in Afghanistan or the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia but that doesn’t involve major use of the annual half-trillion bucks of war funding that gets whisked through Congress every year on greased skids.

  92. 92
    WereBear says:

    @El Cid: Darth Fourthbranch Cheney could step in at that time and promise him—correctly for a time—that an invasion of Iraq was just the thing to distract the public from his glaring failure to secure Americans against a massive terrorist attack

    I find this to be the most compelling argument about the situation.

    No one clings to a solution so fiercely as when they suspect it is a bogus one; yet would love for it to be true.

  93. 93
    Honus says:

    @Robert Sneddon: You got me there. I guess that thing at Pearl Harbor was just an unfortunate mistake, like the Liberty attack.

  94. 94
    matoko_chan says:

    @El Cid: yup.
    Sadly COIN cant work…its an “impossible problem”.
    COIN is just a software patch for the epic fail of the Bush Doctrine.
    Bush honestly believed that Iraqi citizens would embrace Our Wunnerful Judeoxian Democracy that he was bringing them. Unfortunately the working model of more democracy in MENA means more Islam, not more little tame brown clone christian americas, lawl. “a soap and water common school society extending from one end of the globe to the other”.
    Surely none of Bushes advisors believed that crap, but Bush sure did.
    Like Gog and Magog. I bet Cheney kept him leashed and muzzled close after that.

    Incredibly, President George W. Bush told French President Jacques Chirac in early 2003 that Iraq must be invaded to thwart Gog and Magog, the Bible’s satanic agents of the Apocalypse.
    Honest. This isn’t a joke. The president of the United States, in a top-secret phone call to a major European ally, asked for French troops to join American soldiers in attacking Iraq as a mission from God.
    Now out of office, Chirac recounts that the American leader appealed to their “common faith” (Christianity) and told him: “Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East…. The biblical prophecies are being fulfilled…. This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins.”
    This bizarre episode occurred while the White House was assembling its “coalition of the willing” to unleash the Iraq invasion. Chirac says he was boggled by Bush’s call and “wondered how someone could be so superficial and fanatical in their beliefs.”

    But no one can talk about Bush’s moronic evangelical motivations.
    Because that means 5000 american soljahs and 100000+ iraqi muslims died for stupid WEC tricks.
    A lot of what Obama does reflects his job. He’s the CinC. If we scrutinize Bush’s motivations for “democracy promotion” too closely we will find out that Bush was motivated by sillie religious tropes and evangelical christianity. That will be incredibly demoralizing for the troops. Like torture, Obama believes the history books will tell the tale, without crushing the morale of the american soljahs in his charge.
    Obama is a machiavellian pragmatist….Mullen, Petraeus, and McC told him they could get us out in 3 years with COIN.
    he gave them a shot.

  95. 95
    El Cid says:

    @Robert Sneddon: The most recent counter-insurgencies of the 1980s didn’t greatly involve military expenditures, though there certainly were plenty of military advisors, transfers of weapons and hardware from military control to state national and state guards so as to be then transferred to our preferred terrorists and death squads.

    Before that, for roughly the first three quarters of the 20th century, they were in fact direct military efforts.

    If one is interested in methods and bureaucratic definitions, military / State is a huge distinction. In overall US foreign policy terms, the distinction between methods and bureaucratic choice for those on whom the policies are falling.

  96. 96
    El Cid says:

    @matoko_chan: Reagan really admired the evangelical Christian motivations of the Guatemalan genocidalists intent on wiping out their indigenous Maya and hill-dwelling population, and enthusiastically labored to keep advising, diplomatically protecting, and supplying their genocidal campaign, though I don’t think this was a major causal factor in the policy.

    Of course, it’s also important to remember that no one powerful gives the slightest shit about the lives of civilians wiped out by their policies other than as it presents policy and political problems.

  97. 97
    El Cid says:

    @El Cid:

    the distinction between methods and bureaucratic choice for those on whom the policies are falling

    — add ‘is not so meaningful’.

  98. 98
    Brachiator says:

    @El Cid:

    I don’t think it’s necessary to find one, true cause for the right wing / liberal hawk desire to take down Saddam and Iraq.

    I’m not looking for a one true cause. But, for example, looking at the various possibilities you list, I note that they all have bad outcomes, which should have been considered by these supposedly serious people.

    By the way, there a couple of things you note that I particularly find interesting.

    There were hard core ideologues who wanted to demonstrate unilateral U.S. imperialism.

    Yeah, I think there was a lot of this. Neocons and others were positively giddy with the idea that with the demise of the former Soviet Union, the US as the lone superpower could do anything, anytime, anywhere.

    There were those who simply hate Arabs and Muslims.

    While whipping up anti-Arab frenzy was good for public consumption, Dubya and his cronies had crazy love for the Saudis and other Muslim oligarchs.

    Though I do think Cheney had a rather huge influence on Bush Jr., and I myself think that at the very immediate hours and days after 9/11, Bush Jr. was nearly panicking that it would rob him of glory.

    For some reason, I don’t see Dubya as complex psychologically, so I don’t see him itching for glory.

    And maybe Darth Fourthbranch Cheney could step in at that time and promise him—correctly for a time—that an invasion of Iraq was just the thing to distract the public from his glaring failure to secure Americans against a massive terrorist attack. Just my own intuition, without evidence.

    But here is the crazy thing. Wasn’t there the press conference where Dubya dismissed the importance of finding bin Laden? And yet, they tried to distract the public from their failure to secure them against a massive terrorist attack by downgrading the importance of the architect of that attack and then upping the ante by declaring a wider, impossible war against terror, Islamo-fascism and people who tried to steal mom’s apple pie.

    And there is nothing to suggest that the Bush administration was doing anything to deal with any actual threat while they were throwing up the smokescreen of the Iraq invasion and occupation.

    Maybe it is simply that these people were too stupid and too arrogant to see the disasters that could result from any and all of their feverish dreams.

  99. 99
    matoko_chan says:

    @El Cid:

    if you feel that was the main reason

    it was Bush’s main reason. he was channeled by Cheney and the rest of his smarter handlers towards Iraq, because, simply, Iraq was richer and had oil reserves. They told Bush that Iraq would be “easier” to culturally terraform. That is why there were no plans to create interim societal infrastructures. Because Bush’s advisors told him we would be greeted as liberators bringing the magnificent gifts of western culture and judeoxian democracy. Who knows, mebbe they believed it too. Western culture chauvinism, its whats for dinner! Shut up and swallow, small brown muslim people.
    Big White Christian Bwana wasn’t dead after all ……just having an old person nap i guess.

  100. 100
    matoko_chan says:

    @Brachiator: Iraq was no way a smokescreen. The strat boiz just thought “democracy promotion” would work better in Iraq, because Iraq was relatively rich, had an educated population, economic infrastructure, etc.
    Iran was probably their first choice, in terms of exploiting an invasion and culture terraforming opportunity, but it was “too big a bite”.
    Membah, we had been helping Saddam try to fix the Iranian problem, when he suddenly went rogue and attacked Kuwait.

  101. 101
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @Hon@Honus: us:

    It was not inconceivable that the isolationist members of Congress could have prevented the US from engaging in the European theatre of WWII if Germany had not declared war on the US on Dec 11 1941. It would perhaps have been the smart thing to do, to concentrate all their efforts on fighting the Japs, the nation who had actually attacked an American outpost (remember Hawaii was a colonial possession at that point in time, like the Phillipines, not actually part of the United States per se).

    Germany was never a immediate and direct threat to the existence of the US; its aim and focus was always on Europe and liebensraum in the east as a benefit of its destruction of the Soviet-inspired Bolshevik conspiracy against the Aryan race. Even the Japanese were focussed on their own back yard territorially speaking, aiming to be a world power with an empire like the US and the European states. They had no intention of attempting to conquer and occupy the US.

    In the end this was made moot by Germany’s declaration of war and the US found itself in a two-front war.

  102. 102
    matoko_chan says:

    @Brachiator:

    these people were too stupid and arrogant

    Yup.
    And the evangelical thing factors in too. WECs fervently believe that the whole world is just panting for an opportunity to hop onboard the Jesus-bus.
    COIN is the thing that purely amazes me.
    Petraeus and Mullen are smart guys, but COIN absolutely cannot work.
    It is mathematically impossible. COIN is based largely on SNT (social network theory). The claimed “success” in Anbar province was that generated trusted networks in the occupied population forced out al-Q. That is the whole take-and-hold surge/mini-surge strat. The trusted networks keep the population from backsliding.
    But the truth on the ground is that denoding adversary networks creates exponentially more enemy nodes than are destroyed, because influence propagates along both political/social and blood kinship connections.
    That is one thing McC was frustrated about, is that drone strikes created a minimum of two insurgents for every single denoding.
    So it wasn’t like we are even running in place….we are running backwards.

  103. 103
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @matoko_chan:

    Kuwait was supposed to be Saddam’s payoff for the grinding war he had fought against Iran all through the 80s. He checked in with the US State Department before launching a short victorious war to reclaim Iraq’s nineteenth province and they said “Meh, whatever.” which he took to be a go-ahead.

    Saddam’s biggest reason for being pissed off with the US afterwards was that they broke the Deal.

  104. 104
    Svensker says:

    @demimondian:

    @Glidwrith: You are, in fact, wrong. The Taliban, in fact, directly refused to yield him up.

    The Taliban offered to turn him over to a neutral third party which would then figure out what to do with him. This was a face-saving maneuver for the Taliban who would then not be accused of turning a fellow Muslim over to the Satan U.S., but Li’l Shrub declined. See here There was supposed to be a link to this: http://www.infowars.com/saved%.....aliban.htm

    Because Shrub & Co were always clueless dicks, we now have 2 wars, a fascistic security state and a devastated economy. But hey, drill baby drill we’re number one USA! Let’s kick Iraqi butt!

  105. 105
    matoko_chan says:

    The purely amazing thing about the Bush Doctrine and population centric COIN, is that both strategies are hideously foundationally flawed, and the mil still kept/keeps pushing them.
    Both strats deliver the opposite of the desired outcome.
    The Bush Doctrine generates islamic states, and pop-centric COIN generates more insurgents than it destroys.

  106. 106
    matoko_chan says:

    @Robert Sneddon: Coming from the morons that brought us Operation Ajax that sounds perfectly plausible.

  107. 107
    Svensker says:

    @matoko_chan:

    But no one can talk about Bush’s moronic evangelical motivations.
    Because that means 5000 american soljahs and 100000+ iraqi muslims died for stupid WEC tricks.

    Dubya may have believed that — he is stoopid enough. But I believe he was manipulated by Cheney and the crew around him, Wolfowitz, etc., into going into Iraq. The fact that Dubs saw himself as the head of a Crusader army saving the world just made it easier for them to get him to do what they wanted. I think by his 2nd term Dubya had awakened a bit to the fact that he had been Cheney’s dupe and he resisted the rush to war against Iran.

  108. 108
    matoko_chan says:

    @Svensker: you don’t know how lucky we are that the eco-bubble popped when it did.
    Bush and Cheney absolutely knew it was coming……but they were pushing it out with Greenspan’s help.
    They were trying to time it as a housewarming gift for the next occupant of the White House.
    They didn’t really care who got it, as long as they could push it into next administration.

  109. 109
    matoko_chan says:

    @Svensker: agree.
    Bush was used.
    But Wolfie and Cheney bought into Our Super Judeoxian Democracy Promotion too or they would have planned some interim infrastructure.
    Stupid WEC tricks.

  110. 110
    matoko_chan says:

    I think….Obama understands that COIN can’t work.
    He ax the generals how to gtfo Afghanistan.
    Petraeus, McC, Mullen, all supported the mini-surge.
    Obama is the CinC….he has to give it a try.
    The Generals said….

    McC + 100 billion/annum + mini-surge + pop-centric COIN + 100k troops + 3 years == withdrawal

    But it didn’t. McC resigned because withdrawal is july 2011 and we can’t get there from here. COIN has already failed.
    He shot off his mouth and blamed Biden and Eikenberry, but the truth is O gave him what he asked for and he failed.

  111. 111
    matoko_chan says:

    The claimed “success” in Anbar province was that generated trusted networks in the occupied population forced out al-Q.

    i should point out that Petraeus, the father of COIN, was able to force out al-Q because they weren’t local, so they don’t have blood kinship network connections in Anbar. In 2008 Petraeus said a surge strategy in Afghanistan probably couldn’t work, (likely for the very reason i cite). The Taliban have both kinds of connections because unlike al-Q, they are local.
    Also drone useage was not prevalent in Anbar. Drones are very, very bad for popcentric COIN, because the collateral damage on civilians propagates ginormous amounts of influence on local nets.

  112. 112
    Corner Stone says:

    @Glidwrith:

    My point is if OBL was offered to us, we obviously didn’t have to invade to get him

    And my point was that either way, it did not matter.
    If they made a genuine offer to give him up, or a weasel offer to maybe give him to a third party, or told us to F off and come get him ~ none of that matters.
    We did not *have* to invade Afghanistan. For any reason. We had many tools to choose from.
    We chose poorly.

  113. 113
    Brachiator says:

    @matoko_chan:

    Iraq was no way a smokescreen. The strat boiz just thought “democracy promotion” would work better in Iraq, because Iraq was relatively rich, had an educated population, economic infrastructure, etc.

    Alternative voices at State and elsewhere and even the advice of the British and possibly even the Israelis were stifled here. Aside from Chalabi, who had not actually lived in Iraq in years, the US did not appear to have a relationship with any leader (apart from the Kurds).

    But anyone with half a brain should have been able to see that toppling the secular authoritarian government would unleash a conflict between Sunni and Shia. Hell, colleagues at work were discussing this (granted, this included a sizable number of people originally from or knowledgeable about the region), and wondering WTF Bush was thinking.

    Iran was probably their first choice, in terms of exploiting an invasion and culture terraforming opportunity, but it was “too big a bite”.

    I don’t recall seeing anything from even the most feverish neocon suggesting that the US invade Iran. I never heard any hints or suggestions that this would be doable from the Iranian community in Southern California.

    Membah, we had been helping Saddam try to fix the Iranian problem, when he suddenly went rogue and attacked Kuwait.

    We played Iraq and Iran off each other, radicalized Iran, ensured that no future Iranian leader would ever tilt toward the US, and doubly ensured that the Iranian people would never tolerate the installation of a US backed puppet regime.

    RE: these people were too stupid and arrogant

    Yup. And the evangelical thing factors in too. WECs fervently believe that the whole world is just panting for an opportunity to hop onboard the Jesus-bus.

    Yeah. Possibly. I can imagine Dubya being plugged into this, and certainly a lot of evangelical citizens. But it’s hard for me to see that many people in higher levels of government believed this. Certainly, neocons didn’t believe this crap.

    @Svensker:

    The Taliban offered to turn him over to a neutral third party which would then figure out what to do with him. This was a face-saving maneuver for the Taliban who would then not be accused of turning a fellow Muslim over to the Satan U.S., but Li’l Shrub declined.

    This is plausible. It also perhaps explains why Saddam didn’t just say, “Fuck it, come on in and look for all the WMDs you want, you lying duplicitous mofos.” He couldn’t co-operate with the US in any way without appearing weak.

    But I’m not sure that the American people would have accepted anything other than immediate, unconditional accession to US demands, but Bush certainly made it worse by being blind to other possibilities. But also, it has to be noted that it is not clear how genuine the Taliban offer was. And given the enormity of the 9/11 attacks, the Taliban were stupid to be stuck in trying to save face. And also keep in mind that the Taliban still did not give up bin Laden after a bombing campaign began, but before troops were put on the ground. This should have been a sign that their negotiating position was weak.

    I should point out that Petraeus, the father of COIN, was able to force out al-Q because they weren’t local, so they don’t have blood kinship network connections in Anbar. In 2008 Petraeus said a surge strategy in Afghanistan probably couldn’t work, (likely for the very reason i cite). The Taliban have both kinds of connections because unlike al-Q, they are local.

    Very yep.

  114. 114
    El Cid says:

    @Robert Sneddon: Personally I think Saddam made a huuuuuge interpretive mistake of April Glaspie’s (sp?) response about the U.S. not being interested in border issues.

    I think that at most, the U.S. wouldn’t be too much concerned about Saddam intimidating Kuwait at the borders where slant-drilling into Iraqi territorial oil fields were.

    Saddam, I think, took this way, way, way wrongly and conquered the entirety of Kuwait, and this was a horrific threat to the U.S. control of Middle Eastern oil states by a powerful regional nationalist force.

    My view.

  115. 115
    El Cid says:

    @Brachiator:

    anyone with half a brain should have been able to see that toppling the secular authoritarian government would unleash a conflict between Sunni and Shia

    My view is that the Bush Juniorites and the Fourthbranch Cheney brigades figured that all hell might break loose in Iraq, but they just didn’t think it would present a political problem for them domestically.

    And had it not been for domestic political pressures due to their giant, murderous, incompetent clusterfuck, they never would have cared in the slightest what chaos was going on, except for maybe making sure the oil facilities and lines were safe.

  116. 116
    gerry says:

    In what way was the Afghanistan war necessary?????

  117. 117
    matoko_chan says:

    @Brachiator:

    neocons didn’t believe this crap.

    untrue.
    its primal western culture chauvinism and pure Big White Christian Bwana 101 for Aspiring Colonialists.
    The GWOT was RELLY a global war on al-Islam, inspite of Bush’s denials.
    the muslims get it, even if stupid americans don’t.

  118. 118
    Nick says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:

    We will, as a people, if sufficiently convinced of, or lied to. go along with then for but a short while, until it becomes obvious we were sold a bill of goods, and that they were unnecessary, or unwinnable, especially unwinnable.. Being to lazy to remember history, or think critically, or generally care to seriously question the crap we are being fed for a casus belli, but “loving wars” is claptrap.

    It’s not difficult to sell a war to Americans, considering most people supported invading Iraq before Bush even made a peep about it

    As recently as February, 59% wanted to either take immediate military action or keep the option on the table with IRAN…you don’t think it would be very easy to sell a war with Iran right now?

  119. 119
    matoko_chan says:

    @Brachiator:

    I don’t recall seeing anything from even the most feverish neocon suggesting that the US invade Iran.

    i could tell you where i heard it, but then i’d have to kill you.
    ;)
    this was right out of the think tank threat/risk assessment matrix. it never made it to being floated in media as a trial balloon.

  120. 120
    matoko_chan says:

    wondering WTF Bush was thinking.

    he was thinking like an evangelical christian, lol.
    they ALL really believe that if they could just get their missionaries in there to thump bibles the brown people would be fighting to get on board the Jesus bus.
    In the evangelical collective hivemind the brown ppl are ignorant, you, see, and ripe for harvesting for Jesus.
    proselytizing doesn’t work worth crap with educated fellow americans, so they need to export that shit over seas.

  121. 121

    @Nick:

    As recently as February, 59% wanted to either take immediate military action or keep the option on the table with IRAN

    Yea right, this is solid evidence America “loves wars”. In this particular area precision of language has a very big meaning differential.

  122. 122
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @gerry:

    America needed to pound on someone, anyone after 9/11 and Aghanistan was about the only place that could be realistically designated for the pounding. The Saudi government’s elbow-deep involvement in the attack was papered over as the world’s dependency on Gulf oil production meant the Wahabbi Saudi monarchy were inviolate and the Pakistanis have nukes. It’s a bit like the way Reagan used to kick Libya around in the 80s; nobody liked Qadaffi and his military was a joke so he made an easy target regardless of what he had done. Afghanistan became the millenial punchbag for the US to work out its anger at being attacked.

    The mistake was deciding to stick around in Afghanistan and perform nation-building and regime change, carrying out the “train the internal security forces” schtick like any Afghan male needs to be taught how to kill his neighbour, that sort of thing. A quick punishment beating, OK but the rest of it is a waste of time, effort and money. The Afghans are quite happy to make money from the continuing presence of NATO troops and they positively welcome the roads being built, new houses etc. There’s also the bribes and corruption, the trade in women and heroin to the foreign soldiers bored out of their skulls etc. Getting blown up by drones is bad, yes, but it’s not like there wouldn’t be other risks to life and limb otherwise. Afghanistan same old same old.

  123. 123
    Arclite says:

    and which had not even the remotest connection to American interests.

    Yup, (oil) absolutely no (oil) interests for us (oil) there. I guess (oil) some of the sand could be made into (oil) computer chips (oil) or something. Maybe (oil) that was the (oil) rational?

  124. 124
    srv says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck:

    As always, you get it wrong, and can’t help but trip yourself over teh google.

    Goaded:
    driven: compelled forcibly by an outside agency

    Propaganda does not equal forcing people to become a mob. It was quite a natural state of affairs for a majority of Americans of that era, as it has always been. Propaganda wasn’t necessary for the mob to get their war on, it was necessary because there was a vocal minority in opposition.

    I know you can’t see the distinction, but we always are wanting to help you mental 5th graders.

    You puma ideologues are getting more and more prone to willful misinterpretation of things said around here to make your dogma arguments. Stop it please.

    You should read up on history sometime, it would do you some good to actually read about an era and not just regurgitate something you saw on wikipedia. Or at least not always run to the weakest definition of those big words you try to use so errantly.

  125. 125
    srv says:

    willful misinterpretation

    Oh, yeah, now I’m a PUMA? lol

    Sheesh, you really need to get your troll handle DB back up, or just leave again. We can’t help you if you can’t make any sense.

  126. 126

    @srv:

    Goaded:
    driven: compelled forcibly by an outside agency

    this must be from the Greenwald/FDL dictionary of wanking firebaggers. Here, I will give you a link to Merriman -Websters

    the dictionary that earth people use.

    Okay genius, Name me a single instance other than after Pearl Harbor or 9-11 where the public become a mob demanding the US go to war? And I am talking about a sustained land war. They all had to be led and/or lied to in supporting those wars, with pro active propaganda, usually with fear of one thing or another. and even then, were reluctant.

    It’s ideologues like you who give the wingnuts ammunition for claiming liberals are nutbugs. The rest of us have to spend our precious time cleaning your steaming piles of stupid from the democratic party carpet. DFH my ass. I say moron.

  127. 127
  128. 128
    Brachiator says:

    @matoko_chan:
    RE: neocons didn’t believe this crap.

    untrue. its primal western culture chauvinism and pure Big White Christian Bwana 101 for Aspiring Colonialists. The GWOT was RELLY a global war on al-Islam, inspite of Bush’s denials. the muslims get it, even if stupid americans don’t.

    Many neocons are non-Christians. There is nothing in the evangelical delusion of “clearing out the region for the return of the Baby Jebus” that would be meaningful to them, although they clearly are willing to exploit the sentiment. And again, the Bush’s deep love for the Saudis complicates the idea that these goons simply wanted to wage war on al-Islam.

    RE: I don’t recall seeing anything from even the most feverish neocon suggesting that the US invade Iran.

    i could tell you where i heard it, but then i’d have to kill you. ;)

    We all have our sources. I may have seen some of the same stuff that you have, and other stuff as well.

    In the evangelical collective hivemind the brown ppl are ignorant, you, see, and ripe for harvesting for Jesus. proselytizing doesn’t work worth crap with educated fellow americans, so they need to export that shit over seas.

    I am deeply non-religious, but grew up around a lot of evangelicals. And conversion by force has more been a feature of the Catholic Church in the past, than of the evangelical movement, which emphasizes a personal coming to Jesus, not bending to religious authority.

    You get nutcases like Ann Coulter talking about forced conversion of peoples. But she circles her own little hateful planet.

  129. 129
    matoko_chan says:

    @Brachiator: no!
    you are not getting it.
    its judeoxian culture chauvinism, western culture chauvinism.
    its the second coming of Big White Christian Bwana and the British Raj and the conquistadores.
    the core meme that ours is better than yours you stupid primitive muslim browns and you should be damned grateful we are bringing it here.

  130. 130
    matoko_chan says:

    @Brachiator: remember how we were going to be greeted as liberators?
    That is why there is all the AEI hype about evuul Islam, and why AHA gets six figures a year to bash al-Islam.
    AEI is the Pipes/Malkin/Huntington/Spengler school of how horrible islam is.
    al-Islam is a religion just like xianity…for example the recent bombing and burning of a Sufi school?
    That is what the Talis always do. The Taliban are conservative fundamentalists, like the xian religious right in America. The Sufis are the liberal intellectual elite of al-Islam…we dance, we drink wine, play music, and read the Qu’ran for ourselves. The Taliban will kill us and burn our schools whenevah they get the chance.
    They have done it for centuries.
    Just like the teabaggers would like to burn down liberal universities and kill the intellectuals and elites in this country.
    But they can’t…because of the rule of law.
    So the smart thing to do….is not engaging in religious (clash of cultures) war of the judeoxian west against a religion with nearly 2 billion adherents….but build sufi schools and mosques….fund the PeerZada brothers(Lahore international arts festival) in stead of the drone program….stuff like that.
    Use ISLAMIC law to protect minorities and intellectuals.
    It would work better than what we are doing now.
    If we are picking a fight with al-Islam on their own personal turf, we are going to get our asses kicked.
    ;)

  131. 131
    Mnemosyne says:

    @srv:

    I hate to say it, but the definition you quote and the example they use to illustrate it don’t match up. “A mob goaded by blind hatred” is not “compelled forcibly by an outside agency,” unless we’re talking about some kind of Department of Blind Hatred.

    The noun definition of a goad is a stick you use to prod reluctant animals along with, and that’s where “goaded” comes from — people are poked and prodded until they finally go along. So I think the general’s definition is closer than yours.

  132. 132
    Nick says:

    @General Egali Tarian Stuck: I would say, yes, when more than half the population sees war as an option after two rather disastrous wars bankrupted their country, it’s pretty clear IMO, this country loves wars. Imagine how people would feel about IRan if Iraq and Afghanistan were successfull and ended quickly?

  133. 133

    t’s pretty clear IMO,

    opinions like assholes are afforded each of us. You have a nice 4th Nick, I mean that.

  134. 134
    Brachiator says:

    @matoko_chan:

    you are not getting it. its judeoxian culture chauvinism, western culture chauvinism. its the second coming of Big White Christian Bwana and the British Raj and the conquistadores.

    I get it. I just don’t think it adequately explains it, although I think it is part of the background.

    remember how we were going to be greeted as liberators? That is why there is all the AEI hype about evuul Islam, and why AHA gets six figures a year to bash al-Islam. AEI is the Pipes/Malkin/Huntington/Spengler school of how horrible islam is.

    This is the propaganda for public consumption. This doesn’t tell me much about the thinking of the people who planned this crap. Malkin and her ilk are little weasels who are willing propagandists for the conservative movement because they are psychologically damaged and desperately need to please their elitist handlers.

    Just like the teabaggers would like to burn down liberal universities and kill the intellectuals and elites in this country. But they can’t…because of the rule of law.

    The rule of law is a thin veneer keeping the teabaggers from plunging the US into religious primitivism. Conservatives can’t burn down universities, but they can turn public schools in places like Texas into ignorance factories and use home schooling, supported by tax breaks, to create a generation of barely educated drones who would make Sarah Palin look like an Einstein.

    Use ISLAMIC law to protect minorities and intellectuals.

    I’m more into the separation of church and state, but whatever people democratically and peacefully choose works for me.

  135. 135
    Gian says:

    Cheney and his buddies had wanted a renewed invasion of Iraq since the 1990s

    look at the names on the project for a new american century.

    I know much of it happened before broadband was everywhere, but they still proudly host the letter sent to Clinton begging to remove saddam from power… in 1998

    http://www.newamericancentury......letter.htm

  136. 136
    Dayv says:

    @gerry: Pipelines to build, global hegemony to reinforce, etc.

    No, wait, I mean, burqas and buddha statues! That’s it! Dang Taliban!

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