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The only relevant question about Iraq
Posted by: McQ on Friday, September 08, 2006

As most know, I'm for finishing the job in Iraq and then leaving. That doesn't automatically mean I approve of the way the job, to this point, has been handled, nor do I believe the administration should escape criticism for that. But I do believe is it is important that we do what we've promised to do and not abandon Iraq prior to that fulfilling that promise. If we don't, I further believe it will have implications which would be far more destructive to our future foreign policy (and options) - and in the long run cost us more blood and treasure - than will gritting our teeth and completing the job in Iraq.

Now before I get the usual "what are the metrics, when will we know its done" questions, those have been published any number of times. It's not a question of them not being available to anyone with the desire to find them, it's a question of willful ignorance if you don't know about them or where to find them.

In a nutshell "finishing the job" means training up the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) to the point that they can independently and competently handle the internal and external security problems Iraq faces. The intent is to give the entire government the time and room to establish itself and assert its authority. While all of that is going on, progress in both the economy and rebuilding the infrastructure have been ongoing.

Given that, I'd like to discuss the latest Charles Krauthammer article in which he discusses some of this today. First, he discusses the two rationals for, as he states, "withdrawing from — let's be honest: abandoning - Iraq". They are:
(a) Iraq is not worth it, and (b) worth it or not, the cause is lost.
He gives John Kerry credit for the first. If you read it closely, it assumes a basically benign consequence if we pull out now.
"Iraq is not the center of the war on terror. The president keeps saying it is. The president keeps trying to push that down America's throat. It's wrong, it's a mistake and it's losing us the ability to do what we need to do in the region.''
You know, it's all about us and well, if we admit our mistake and just leave, everyone will understand and be our friend again. We cans start over in the region and be just as effective. Nevermind what happens in Iraq. No one will hold it against us and try to exploit what they see as a weakness. What happens, happens.

Krauthammer finds the reasoning to be "aburd".:
If the United States leaves, the central government in Iraq will collapse, and the beneficiaries will be Iran, Syria and al-Qaeda, the three major terror actors in the world today. It would not just be a psychological victory, but a territorial one. Al-Qaeda will gain a base in Mesopotamia; Syria and Iran will share spheres of influence in what's left of the Iraqi state.
Let me amend that by saying, if the US leaves 'now', or in the near future (next 12 - 18 months) chances are that central government will collapse. By leave, I mean completely. Everyone out, 'redeployed', no more presence in Iraq.

Now obviously that means a certain contingent of advisors and the like would remain but the combat power, the enforcement, would be out of the country. Krauthammer, like myself, believes that doing that too soon would indeed lead to a collapse of the government.

That's the touchy part in all of this. When is it appropriate to say they've had all the time they need? I'm of the opinion a 12-18 month timeframe if good (and it is essentially the timeframe Gen. Casey has used as well). As the latest report to Congress points out, the government there has been functioning for all of 90 days. Would that something as complex and as new as a Constitutional government with an insurgency (or civil war or whatever you prefer to call it) rumbling along could have all the kinks worked out and be "in charge" in 90 days. But even the most optimistic among us know that just isn't the case nor is it likely.

12-18 months should be sufficient, in terms of time to get their political and governmental feet under themselves. So if we rush for the door now, we do indeed play into the hands of Iran, Syria and AQ. We demonstrate that we are unwilling - not unable - to finish what we start. That is a critical point to nations and groups who are planning for a "long war" and looking for exploitable weaknesses. It would simply be a validation of the perception that we are not willing to spend the blood and treasure necessary to finish a job. More importantly, it validates the perception that we are casualty averse to the point that we are unwilling to accept even a low level of casualties (in relative terms) to do so.

Krauthammer then discusses the second rational for withdrawal:
The other rationale for withdrawal is that the war is lost and therefore it is unconscionable to make one more American soldier die for a cause that cannot be salvaged.

It is a serious argument from which we have been distracted during the last several months by the increasingly absurd debate over the meaning of the term "civil war,'' and whether Iraq is in one.

Of course it is. It began when the Sunni minority, unwilling to accept the finality of the Baathist defeat, began making indiscriminate war on the Kurdish-Shiite majority that had inherited the country as a result of the U.S. invasion.

Iraq is not Spain in the 1930s or America in the 1860s, but whether the phrase "civil war'' is to be used is irrelevant. The relevant question is, can we still win, meaning can we leave behind a functioning, self-sustaining, Western-friendly constitutional government?
Ping! That's the sound of Krauthammer hiting the nail on the head. Let me repeat his point, "
The relevant question is, can we still win, meaning can we leave behind a functioning, self-sustaining, Western-friendly constitutional government?"
At this point that is the only relevant question. Nothing else matters. Can we indeed manage this? That is where the debate should be centered. And Krauthammer identifies the answer:
And that depends on whether the government of Nouri al-Maliki can face up to its two potentially mortal threats: the Sunni insurgency and the challenge from Moqtada al-Sadr.
The point at which the Maliki government can and does address these problems will indicate the point that our time in Iraq has grown short. That's on the positive side. But what if he won't do either?

The first is fairly easy, as Krauthammer points out:
The vast majority of Sunnis are fighting not for ideology but for a share of power and (oil) money. A deal with them is eminently possible and could co-opt enough Sunnis to greatly shrink the insurgency.

[...]

Our ambassador in Baghdad has been urging the Maliki government to make the bargain.
This is a political decision which, if made, would most likely see more Sunni cooperation and less Sunni violence directed at the government and coalition forces. That's a pretty cheap "plus". We need to continue to push for that bargain to be struck and struck soon.

The second part of the equation isn't so easy, and, disappointingly, the Maliki government hasn't shown much willingness to this point to directly confront it. Again, it's early, but it is something which still needs to be confronted as soon as possible. Speaking of our ambassador to Iraq, Krauthammer points out:
He has also been urging it to get serious about the growing internal threat of Sadr's Mahdi militia, which is responsible for much of the recent sectarian violence and threatens to either marginalize or supplant the central government.

The only positive element in Sadr's rise has been a fracturing of the united Shiite front that can now allow some cross-sectarian (Sunni-Shiite) deals and alliances. But that requires a Maliki government decisively willing to deal with the Sunnis and take on Sadr.
The proper sequence for the actions would be to deal with the Sunnis and then Sadr. Obviously the government, if it is to succeed, must indeed confront and neutralize the power of Sadr. It cannot share it with Sadr. Doing so would marginalize the government, not Sadr. Dealing with Sadr would also lessen Iranian influence in Iraq and serve notice to Iran of Iraq's intent to not allow it.

At this point, however, the coalition must be available to the government of Iraq to succeed in this looming confrontation.

We just turned the army over to the government of Iraq. If the Maliki government is willing to do the things necessary to dampen the Sunni insurgency and confront the rising power of Sadr, the war in Iraq is eminently winnable.

If, on the other hand, it eventually refuses to do either (and I'm not suggesting it will) then we need to reconsider our options in terms of success in Iraq.

Bottom line:
The American people will support a cause that is noble and necessary, but not one that is unwinnable. And without a central Iraqi government willing to act in its own self-defense, this war will be unwinnable.
The time for the central government to take full charge of Iraq is drawing close. Withdrawing, at this point, is not an option. I'm not ready to say they have to assert themselves just yet, given the short time they've been a functioning entity. I think we owe them a bit more time as I mentioned as well as finishing the job of training the ISF to a particular standard. But at a point in the not to distant future, a decision point looms. We should make it clear that Iraq's actions at decision point (i.e. Iraq's government taking charge, making a bargain with the Sunnis and willingly confronting Sadr) will determine our continued support if necessary or the beginning of our withdrawal for good.

In reality, as many have pointed out in various ways, it is up to Iraq and its people to determine if this war is winnable or unwinnable. It is up to them to earn our continued support now. Regardless of outcome, however, our job is to finish what we said we'd finish regardless of what the Iraqis choose.
 
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Krauthammer? Ha, ha, ha!
 
Written By: hammerKraut
URL: http://
QandO seems to be attracting a lower grade of opposing commenters lately.

Or maybe they’ve perfected the leftist "commenting robot", based on comment spam robots. It simply finds the author of the piece cited, and puts "Ha, ha, ha!" at the end.

What a brilliant concept! It can be used almost any time:

"Steyn? Ha, ha, ha!" - Ynste

"Friedman? Ha, ha, ha!" - Manfried

"Rumsfeld? Ha, ha, ha!" - Sfeldrum
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
And in news today...

http://www.mnf-iraq.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5437&Itemid=18
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is now officially the commander in chief of his country’s armed forces.

Coalition forces handed over operational control of Iraq’s navy, air force and the 8th Iraqi Army Division in a ceremony Thursday at the Iraqi Ministry of Defense.

“It’s fitting I follow the commander in chief of the Iraqi forces,” said Multi-National Force – Iraq Commander Gen. George W. Casey Jr., who spoke following al-Maliki. “From today forward, the Iraqi military responsibilities will be increasingly conceived and led by the Iraqis.”

Prior to Thursday’s ceremony, Iraqi forces received commands from the Coalition force.

More Iraqi Army divisions are expected to follow the 8th IAD in the coming months.

“They had proved, through rigorous operation, that they were ready,” said MNF-I spokesperson Maj. Shawn Stroud, regarding the 8th IAD. “They were the unit that was fully prepared to do so through training, readiness and experience.”

The prime minister said Thursday’s ceremony was an historic event.

“It’s a great and happy day in the history of Iraqis,” said al-Maliki.

During his speech, the prime minister also issued a warning to terrorists.

“Terrorists, we’ll see you have a great punishment, wherever you are,” he said. “Now here again we are challenging terrorism. We have to continue to work hard with other security forces.”

The deputy chief of staff for the Iraqi armed forces reiterated the prime minister’s statement.

“I think this is a monumental day, a great day for the Iraqi armed forces; it’s not a pleasant day for the insurgency.”
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://
As most know, I’m for finishing the job in Iraq and then leaving.

Whats this? McQ...a Colonialist?

What is the ’job’ to finish? what does the ’finished job’ look like?

"Establishing Democracy"?

You mean "democracy"? That nod/wink system of government establishing status quo coziness with American Business Interests?

Yes, indeedie, colonialism has benefitted the white races considerably. Get ’er done, McQ!
 
Written By: Rick D.
URL: http://
Yep. Definitely a lower grade of opposing commenter...
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
I have a real problem with Al-Qaeda will gain a base in Mesopotamia.

The logic that supports this contention is the same logic that leads many in Europe and on the hard Left to believe that they sit this one out or worse, aid al Qaeda in their quest.

The truth of the matter is that if we pull out of Iraq now, there is so little left of al Qaeda in Iraq that the Iranians will mop them up for us. The long standing quest by al Qaeda in Iraq to go after the Shia will be their undoing. And besides, the Iranians don’t need them when they already have the die hard supporters in Hezzbolah.
This would be much in tune with the methods employed by the Soviets when then took over Eastern Europe .. round up and dispose of the Resistance because while they are your friends today, they are your biggest threat tomorrow.

Unfortunately, al Qaeda isn’t the only terrorist threat in the world today. With al Qaeda gone, we will merely change the main players from a Sunni Saudi-born Wahabi Jihad for a Shia Iranian-born Hezzbolah Jihad. This change only moves the emphasis from "die infidel" to "convert or die infidel"; not much of a change.

While it will reduce the three major terror actors in Mesopotamia to two major terror actors and does render the statement Al-Qaeda will gain a base in Mesopotamia inoperative, it replaces it with the statement two major terror actors will gain a base in Mesopotamia; still a bad option.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Yep. Definitely a lower grade of opposing commenter...
Heh ... yup. RickD rarely disappoints in that regard.

Two immediate indicators point to a lower grade opposing commenter:

A) when it apparent by their questions that they haven’t even bothered to read the post. Many times that’s because

B) they show up with a new round rhetorical peg and are looking for any hole, even a square one, in which to pound it. In this case it appears Rick has learned a new term - colonialism - and was just dying to try it out.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
In reality, as many have pointed out in various ways, it is up to Iraq and its people to determine if this war is winnable or unwinnable. It is up to them to earn our continued support now. Regardless of outcome, however, our job is to finish what we said we’d finish regardless of what the Iraqis choose.
Yeah, tens of thousands of casualties and hundreds of billions of dollars and yet the US is powerless and relying on some of the most unreliable people on the planet to make it all seem worthwhile.

But hey, let’s talk about the poor quality of commenters. We wouldn’t want to admit that victory is out of our control. Oh wait, McQ just did.
 
Written By: davebo
URL: http://
"Davebo? Ha, ha, ha!" - bodave

Now, would call that an intelligent comment or not?

And, hey, you made a decent point about the Iraqi’s unreliability. So I wouldn’t put you in the same group as the others. Unless you want to be so considered, of course.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
But hey, let’s talk about the poor quality of commenters. We wouldn’t want to admit that victory is out of our control. Oh wait, McQ just did.
I’m not sure what you expect as a reaction when commenters don’t address the subject of the post. Why, did you find their "arguments" compelling?

As for the other: Iraq’s success is and always has ultimately been with the Iraqis. How it could ever be otherwise, or how you could have imagined it otherwise remains a mystery to me.

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
As for the other: Iraq’s success is and always has ultimately been with the Iraqis. How it could ever be otherwise, or how you could have imagined it otherwise remains a mystery to me.
Well, I’m not wild about the idea of putting the fate of US soldiers, sailors and airmen, not to mention treasure in the hands of foreigners.

You apparantly don’t have a problem with it.

But for someone so dissapointed in the quality of your trolls I did notice you ignored my comment yesterday about the August death toll in Iraq.

Don’t let it worry you, it’s just a blog right?
Now, would call that an intelligent comment or not?
Irony abounds eh Billy?
 
Written By: davebo
URL: http://
You apparantly don’t have a problem with it.
And how do you conclude that?

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Irony abounds eh Billy?
Indeed it does. And I suspect some of us see more of it than others.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Guess, he missed where it was up to the Germans and Japanese to ultimately prove their democracies sound...
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://
Wow, it could almost be inferred that my absence is regretted...

Cheerfully, there’s some common ground here.

the Sunni insurgency and the challenge from Moqtada al-Sadr.

These are indeed representative of the two sides of this dysfunctional coin in the Iraq dynamic. A good start.

The vast majority of Sunnis are fighting not for ideology but for a share of power and (oil) money. A deal with them is eminently possible and could co-opt enough Sunnis to greatly shrink the insurgency.

This is a sensible idea - I’ve been screaming since the amnesty plan that Dick Cheney killed that a political solution to the insurgency is the only possible answer.

Well, sorry to rain on your parade, but this administration is incapable of negotiating this deal. In fact, I personally believe that this deal cannot be negotiated while US troops remain in the country. Why? Because those representative of the insrugency have said that their fundamental condition is not just power and oil guarantee, but the departure of US troops, or at least a truce in the hot war against them.

It may or may not be possible to get the Sunni insurgents to pass on the US withdrawal condition, but I see no evidence that this administration has the neccesary ideological flexibility to even be interested in making that deal. It isn’t happening. There are no signs that it is in the works. Where is GWB’s public initiative to make truce with the Sunni insurgency? Where are the leaks on the quiet process? it’s not there.


And even it was, the chances of #1. working on its own are slim - much slimmer than they would have been in ’04 or ’05 -

because
of #2 challenge from Moqtada al-Sadr..

Guys, the sun will rise in the west before Maliki "takes on" Moqtada al-Sadr, on his own ethnic team and more popular than he is, not to mention backed by Iran, while a Sunni-Shiite war rages.

And, it’s not just Al-Sadr. That’s Charles Krauthammer’s convenient mental frame, but not truth. There’s a general Shiite militarism that goes beyond his organization and definitely beyond his person. It’s not unitary. Juan Cole is a good place to look at the other heads of the hydra.


 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Yeah, tens of thousands of casualties and hundreds of billions of dollars and yet the US is powerless and relying on some of the most unreliable people on the planet to make it all seem worthwhile.
Sounds like a description of the schools and the NEA in DC.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
And how do you conclude that?
Err.. because you’ve said so?


 
Written By: davebo
URL: http://
Err.. because you’ve said so?
No dave, that’s what you think he said.

That’s because your brain is damaged.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Gee Tom, truly a dizzying intellect.


Yours, GFY, ADYL
 
Written By: davebo
URL: http://
Davebo,

Whether Tom’s intellect is dazzling or not he is correct. Nothing McQ has said suggests what you say it does. Therefore, you should admit you were wrong, or admit your brain is damaged. I would stick with you were wrong so that Tom’s insult is disproved and you can then force him to admit he was wrong as well. Even steven and all that.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Nothing McQ has said suggests what you say it does.
Really? McQ has stated here that the success or failure of our mission in Iraq is entirely up to the Iraqis. So if we win it will be because the Iraqis stand up and if we lose, it will be due to their unwillingness to do so.

Now since we have indeed invested hundreds of thousands killed or injured and hundreds of billions of dollars in this venture, I can’t see how you can make that claim.
 
Written By: davebo
URL: http://
Dave I’m compelled by sense of outrage, but I can stop myself easily from wasting any horsepower on you. Your sort isn’t worth it. TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Err.. because you’ve said so?
Err ... no.

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Says davebo:
Well, I’m not wild about the idea of putting the fate of US soldiers, sailors and Nairmen, not to mention treasure in the hands of foreigners.

You apparantly don’t have a problem with it.
Lance takes him to task:
Nothing McQ has said suggests what you say it does.
Says davebo:
Really? McQ has stated here that the success or failure of our mission in Iraq is entirely up to the Iraqis. So if we win it will be because the Iraqis stand up and if we lose, it will be due to their unwillingness to do so.

Now since we have indeed invested hundreds of thousands killed or injured and hundreds of billions of dollars in this venture, I can’t see how you can make that claim.
It’s not his claim that’s in question. So show us davebo, where I apparently made the point, or said, that I don’t have any problem with ’that’.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Al-Qaeda will gain a base in Mesopotamia; Syria and Iran will share spheres of influence in what’s left of the Iraqi state.
And that would be different from the situation today how? According to all the people who are convinced that we’re fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq, they already have a base there, courtesy of the US invasion. The Shia parts of Iraq are already an Iranian sphere of influence, including the Maliki government. It’s made up of Dawa, SCIRI, Badr, & Sadrists, both Moqtada’s & Fadila. Maybe Sunni reliance on Syria becomes more overt, but so what?

Those aren’t the dire consequences of leaving but the consequences of the invasion and the failures so far. (And as Neo notes, is is silly to assume that this situation will remain staic when we leave.)

And if "western-friendly" is really a requirement for success, then this is a lost cause. The government of Iraq was always going to be heavily influenced by Iran. Maliki’s is no exception. Maliki himself spent his years in exile in Iran and Syria. He ran Dawa’s Jihad office, responsible for among other things bombing the American and French embassies in Kuwait, and coordinated with that other Iranian client, Hezbolah. The Iranians were the ones who sponsored all of these anti-Saddam groups Dawa, the splinter from Dawa that is SCIRI, the now independent military arm of SCIRI, Badr, etc. It’s great that he’s working in the US instigated politicl process but to think that he, or any govenment of Iraq is going to be "western-friendly" once our troops are gone is delusional.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
So show us davebo, where I apparently made the point, or said, that I don’t have any problem with ’that’.
I apologize McQ. I obviously forgot all about your multiple posts in early 2003 pointing out that attempting to bring democracy to Iraq might not be a swell idea.

Again, I’m terribly sorry for misrepresenting your opposition to the war.
 
Written By: davebo
URL: http://
Retief makes several excellent points.

There are so many assumptions on which McQ’s prescription is premised that are so completely wrong and misguided that it is hard to know where to begin.

The first, of course, is that the Bush administration is competent enough to accomplish the prescription. It is not. Repeat. It is not. The problem with McQ’s analysis, as is usually the case, is that his ideological affinity for the Bush administration makes it impossible for him to understand this.

Many Democrats want to pull out not because they want to abandon Iraq, but because they understand that the Bush administration is simply incapable of making the situation there better. It is that simple. There is no point in letting more Americans get killed when the administration simply cannot win.

Why is this so hard to understand?
Posted on Wed, Sep. 06, 2006

Commentary

Top military leaders insist new U.S. strategy is desperately needed in Iraq

By JOSEPH L. GALLOWAY
McClatchy Newspapers


Debating issues of war and peace and America’s role in the world aren’t off limits in this fourth year of war in Iraq, and they aren’t a sign of anything but the health and vibrancy of our democracy, however much President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld might wish otherwise in a tough election season.


In hopes of furthering that debate, this week I asked more than a dozen top Army and Marine Corps generals - active duty and retired, dissidents and administration loyalists - to address what we should do now in Iraq.


All of them agreed that America’s strategy and tactics in Iraq have failed, and that President Bush’s policy of "staying the course" in Iraq isn’t likely to produce anything but more frustration, more and greater problems for the United States in a dangerous world, and more and bloodier surprises for the 135,000 American troops in Iraq.


"Lack of security and lack of governance have pushed Iraq into the rise of a civil war," said one retired senior general. "The message is clear: We have a failed strategy, and we need new leadership and a new strategy to secure (our) interests in the region." The U.S. has important issues in the Middle East - not least of them Iran, he said, "but we cannot do much while bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan."


"The problem thus far, as you know, has been lack of serious planning, poor selection of people in charge ... screwed-up assessments and assumptions, no building of international and regional cooperation, trust in non-credible exiles and too much spin and ad hoc-ery," said retired Marine Gen. Tony Zinni, who formerly headed the U.S. Central Command, with responsibility for 32 nations, including Iraq and Afghanistan.


Zinni, who was among those who counseled continued containment of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq rather than war and regime-change, continued: "The current bankrupt course we are staying is focused only, or almost only, on security and is not complete even in that area."


"Until we back up and assess what we have gotten ourselves into, I fear we will see a repeat of the war in Vietnam," said retired Marine Lt. Gen. Paul Van Riper, who recently called for firing Rumsfeld. "Our military will again fight a series of battles and engagements in Iraq without the overall purpose that a good campaign plan provides."


The need for change, all the officers agreed, is urgent if the U.S. to avoid a catastrophe whose ripple effects would cripple American influence in the Middle East and worldwide, leaving us a superpower in name only, and a beleaguered superpower at that.


Though it’s far more difficult today because of lost opportunities, Zinni said, if the administration acted fast, a better outcome could be pulled out of the flames. To get Iraq right, he said, would take five to seven years, "and it means a much more comprehensive and well-planned set of programs to build political, economic, social and security institutions."

McQ simply does not understand the nature of the problem. And he likely never will.

The other flawed assumption is that there is an element in Iraqi society, particularly Shiite Iraqi society, that is powerful enough and independent enough to take on the mullahs and the miltias. Newsflash: There is no such element. Repeat: there is no such element. Malaki certainly is not part of any such element, as Retief points out. Again, McQ simply fails to grasp this rather obvious fact.

Everyone who has thought for even a moment about Iraq knows that the Bush administration is simply incapable of doing the job, even if it cannot be done. Since Bush will be in charge 2 more years, that means the only rational course is to redeploy out of Iraq. There is no other choice.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
I apologize McQ. I obviously forgot all about your multiple posts in early 2003 pointing out that attempting to bring democracy to Iraq might not be a swell idea.
We have a search function, Davebo. Go. Find them. Show everyone. I’d be interested in seeing them myself.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
MK, Zinni commanded Central Command up to 2000. He’s been out of the loop since and is engaged in trying to sell his book "Battle Ready," (May 2004) in which, as described, "Zinni has handed up a scathing indictment of the Pentagon and its conduct of the war in Iraq."

What a surprise he’d reach those conclusions or that you’d parrot them.
The other flawed assumption is that there is an element in Iraqi society, particularly Shiite Iraqi society, that is powerful enough and independent enough to take on the mullahs and the miltias.
Actually, there is. Let me repeat that for you, MK. There is ... and as of yesterday Maliki owns them lock, stock and barrel. It isn’t a question of power, the power exits. It’s a question of will and ability. The ability is almost ready. We’ll now see, in the near future, if the Iraqi government has the will to use the power it holds to take the country from the militias.

But that doesn’t change the basic truth that you and davebo seem intent upon ignoring as you attempt to introduce Haybale McStrawman at every turn. It is and always has been up to the Iraqi people as to whether this government succeeds or fails. And our job, no matter how hamfisted we’ve been about doing it, has been to buy the time and space necessary for them to make that happen.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
You’re talking in circles McQ, that or you can’t make up your mind.

 
Written By: davebo
URL: http://
MK, Zinni commanded Central Command up to 2000. He’s been out of the loop since and is engaged in trying to sell his book "Battle Ready," (May 2004) in which, as described, "Zinni has handed up a scathing indictment of the Pentagon and its conduct of the war in Iraq."

What a surprise he’d reach those conclusions or that you’d parrot them.
What a surprise that you would attack the messenger rather than engaging the message. So why don’t you enlighten us: What evidence leads you to believe that the Bush administration is competent enough to get the job done?

It’s funny, you think Zinni doesn’t know what he’s talking about. And yet, the "authority" on which you base your post is that well known military strategist ... Krauthammer.

Zinni v. Krauthammer. Hmmm. Who knows more about military strategy?

Ha ha ha ha ha.
Actually, there is. Let me repeat that for you, MK. There is ... and as of yesterday Maliki owns them lock, stock and barrel.
Malaki is an Iranian pawn. I suggest you re-read Reitef’s post.

You just don’t get it.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
What a surprise that you would attack the messenger rather than engaging the message.
Yeah, it does sound rather like you. But in this case there’s an actual reason to question the "messenger’s" message.
So why don’t you enlighten us: What evidence leads you to believe that the Bush administration is competent enough to get the job done?
What part of this didn’t you understand?
That doesn’t automatically mean I approve of the way the job, to this point, has been handled, nor do I believe the administration should escape criticism for that.
Oh, wait ... I see ... as usual you didn’t read the post. What a surprise.
Who knows more about military strategy?
You still don’t understand do you? This has nothing to do with "military strategy". And that is another reason Zinni comes off as stale and uniformed. No wonder you quote him ... he sounds a lot like you.

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
You’re talking in circles McQ, that or you can’t make up your mind.
2003. Multiple posts. Search function. Put up or shut up.

Clear enough?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
It’s called sarcasm McQ. Some folks are slow on the uptake.

So in all seriousness, you supported spreading democracy in Iraq, and my original point is correct. You have no problem whatsover putting the fate of American soldiers and the treasury of our country in the hands of foreigners.

You just have a problem admitting it. Which is understandable given the current situation.

So now that the entire evolution is riding on the will of Iraqis you’ve birthed a convenient scape goat for when we finally give up on them.

 
Written By: davebo
URL: http://
You have no problem whatsover putting the fate of American soldiers and the treasury of our country in the hands of foreigners.
Why, we’ve never done that before.

Well, other than West Germany, Japan, South Korea, the Phillipines, Grenada, South Viet Nam, and Afghanistan.

Although I missed where our soldiers are under Iraqi command so I’m not certain why their fate is under Iraqi control.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Since Bush will be in charge 2 more years, that means the only rational course is to redeploy out of Iraq. There is no other choice.
No other choice? Such paucity of imagination, MK!

Why, I can think of a couple of alternatives without breaking a sweat. Especially since your side of the aisle is positive it will be in control after those 2 years.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
It’s called sarcasm McQ. Some folks are slow on the uptake.
Heh ... nice try davebo. Sarcasm doesn’t come in the form of claims with dates attached. No one is that slow on the uptake.

You let your alligator mouth overload your hummingbird a$$ again and got caught. What a surprise.
So in all seriousness, you supported spreading democracy in Iraq, and my original point is correct.
I supported taking out Saddam and the Baathist regime in 2003. I said nothing about "spreading democracy" as a policy. I understand the argument, and certainly understand why some would think it to be a good idea, but as something I supported us "spreading". Uh, no.
You have no problem whatsover putting the fate of American soldiers and the treasury of our country in the hands of foreigners.
Well given that anytime you undertake nation building whether planned or unplanned, the fate of that nation rests in the hands of the people of that nation to make it work or not.

How you warp that into the a suggestion that I have "no problem whatsoever putting the fate of American soldiers", etc. blah, blah, "in the hands of foreigners" though is simply beyond comprehension ... for normal people. For you, I’m sure it makes sense.
So now that the entire evolution is riding on the will of Iraqis you’ve birthed a convenient scape goat for when we finally give up on them.
Hello in there. The "entire evolution" has always ridden on the will of the Iraqis. Who’s freakin’ will did you think it rode upon?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
The other flawed assumption is that there is an element in Iraqi society, particularly Shiite Iraqi society, that is powerful enough and independent enough to take on the mullahs and the miltias. Newsflash: There is no such element. Repeat: there is no such element

To add a little more explanatory power to this basically true statement:

With Shiites and Sunnis engaged in a civil war, where is Maliki’s motivation to unilaterally disarm and militarily engage those from his own ethnic team? How would he survive the instant and total legitimacy crisis amongst the ethnic Shiites that are supposed to re-elect him? Where will this government’s constituency come from once Shiites are alienated? Where does the government get the troops to simutaneously fight the Sunnis and put down Moqtada Al-Sadr, thus expanding the field of war to the entirety of Iraq’s territory minus Kurdistan?

Lastly, why does anyone think that Maliki wants to eliminate the Sadrist movement? From his point of view, Sadr is what keeps his government from being as powerless as Alawi’s.
The politics of this for a Shiite Iraqi are something akin to - but much more intensely - attempting to impeach President Bush in April 2003.



 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
You have no problem whatsover putting the fate of American soldiers and the treasury of our country in the hands of foreigners.
Show me where or how this is happening in Iraq...

The ultimate outcome of the endevour is in the hands of the Iraqis.

Our forces are under our control, and so their "fate" is not in anyone elses hands.

You just don’t have any dots connecting the two points.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
Keith,

I was referring to those already killed or wounded. Poorly worded for sure.

If the Iraqis fail to "do their part" in all of this what will they have died or been maimed for? What will we have spent half a trillion dollars for?

My point is that America should never commit it’s military to a mission who’s outcome is beyond their control.

That said, if Iraq falls apart, we don’t really have to worry about it becoming a base for Al Qaida. For terrorists sure, but the Shia majority is not going to look the other way while a Wahabi terrorist group trains and operates in their country.

 
Written By: Davebo
URL: http://
"My point is that America should never commit it’s military to a mission who’s outcome is beyond their control."

So then the US should never fight another war, which is really your point, right? The only reason the uber anti-war Left doesn’t claim Afghanistan is a failure, lied about reasons for invasions is because doing so would scream to the US Electorate: "We have no interest in defending this country."

The Left doesn’t care about Iraq, the troops or the outcome. They just don’t like war, and now their left with this in Iraq: "we couldn’t stop it, but losing it is almost as good."
 
Written By: Come on, Please
URL: http://
Well, McQ, let’s play through the scenarios that need to happen. You suggest that the Sunni insurgents must be targeted first. When they go down, I assume, the Shi’ites will have less of a need to cleave to the militants in self defense. They will embrace the national army as the protector of the people, and the government will gain legitimacy across the country.

Well, we’ve been trying to nail the insurgents for three years and we have failed. And in much of that time we’ve applied a carrot-and-stick approach. Especially since Khalilzad arrived in Baghdad, the US position has been to woo Sunni tribal elements into support for the government. But this has failed for a couple reasons, and is likely to continue to fail.

For one, contrary to Krauthammer, the Sunnis want a little more than power. They feel they are the rightful rulers of Iraq as they have been for hundreds of years. The parallel is with with white Southerners during Radical Reconstruction. It wasn’t simply that they wanted their power back. It was that they thought they were the natural rulers of the South, and so any form of terrorism (in the form of the Ku Klux Klan) was justified. The fact that so many Sunnis fail to accept the fact they are a demographic minority - and thus the Shi’ite victory was the product of fraud - is a sign of this ideological strength. Sunni Arabs cannot be easily bought off.

Second, all attempts to curry favor with selected Sunnis have resulted in short-term divisions within Sunni society between those who accept the new deal and those who don’t. And every time, those who accept the new deal get murdered. Why? Because they are completely outnumbered by fellow Sunnis who fight on for ideological reasons, and because the US doesn’t have enough troops to protect them. As a result, cities like Ramadi are essentially in insurgent hands. (The great Tall Afar exception was the product of a large Kurdish population and the complete loss of support for Al Qaeda forces that set up shop there. AQ in Iraq is, and has always been, unpopular among Sunnis. Thus, it is a small, though brutal, player.)

Third, the new Iraqi Army is staffed so heavily with Shi’ites and Kurds that local Sunnis are likely to see it as more evidence of siege. They’d rather stick to their own guerrilla forces in opposition to a regime they deem illegitimate than join up with an impotent force led by officers hostile to them.

The fourth reason why the "woo the Sunnis" approach has run into trouble is that the Shi’ites have grown increasingly distrustful of US motives. We are, right now, in a precarious position where our efforts to woo the Sunnis (with the help of the Sunni Muslim Khalilzad) are insufficent; yet those very efforts are alienating Shi’ites who tend to view the Sunni population at large as responsible for the crimes of the Saddam era and the terrorism of the post-Saddam era.

So, the "woo the Sunnis" strategy has failed, and barring a massive influx of new US troops to pacify Anbar province and west Baghdad, it will continue to fail. So how about Krauthammer’s approach, which is to rely on Maliki to do his job and curb the Sadrists first. Well, here’s the essential problem: Maliki is Prime Minister right now because he earns the support of 30 Sadrist MPs. If he turns the Iraqi army against the Sadrists, he will lose the support of those 30 MPs, and will lose a majority in Parliament. By law, that means Iraq must hold new elections. And the consequence of new elections is hard to predict: a very likely outcome is that Sadrists will increase their representation three-fold, and an outright Sadrist would take over as PM. The reason for this is that since the elections of 2005, the Shi’ite population has been gravitating toward the Sadrists, including many who formerly backed the more moderate SCIRI and Dawa. The existing government, led mostly by SCIRI (and with a Dawa PM) has been utterly incapable of delivering services and keeping security, thus causing a drop in support. The spiritual leader of the Iraqi Shia, Sistani, has lost much of his influence as well. Especially since the February 22, 2006 Samarra bombing, Shi’ites have decided that restraint and moderation have failed. They look to the Sadrists to defend themselves from the Sunni insurgents, who we already see, are as viable as ever. Of course, another possible result is no elections at all and a total collapse of even the pretenses of government. In that scenario Kurdistan declares independence, pulls its men out of the Iraq army, and leaves a large-scale civil war behind.

So what is to happen? Krauthammer hopes that the split between Shi’ite factions will cause new alliances to develop between the Sunnis and Shi’ites. That’s possible, of course, but it’s very likely that such an alliance would pit the more militant members of each side together against the United States. Actually, I don’t think such an alliance is going to happen at all. The civil war in Iraq will continue as before. The Iraq army will continue to be either useless on its own, or fragmented along intra-Shi’ite lines. And Maliki will be as marginal as ever. Meanwhile, Iran continues to gain influence in Iraq - not just through the Sadrists but also through its old friend, SCIRI. Other Sunni regimes in the region, including Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia will continue to funnel money and weapons secretly to the Sunni insurgents, so as to keep Iran’s influence in check. And Syria will continue to be a revolving door for outside money and weapons to sneak into Iraq.

Am I pessimistic then? Yes. I think it’s lost, and our job is to minimize the fallout at this point. Kerry and Murtha are wrong: the spillover will be disastrous. How we minimize it should be the real discussion in Washington. I see the US influencing events in Iraq less and less every day - and not in a good way. Even the new Baghdad offensive, launched to great fanfare and with early signs of success, has turned out to have very little effect. Sectarian murders are as common in Baghdad now as they were before the new August 7th deployment. We’d better find a face-saving move to salvage our reputation in the region and keep Iran honest, or we’ll be forced out in a more humiliating fashion.
 
Written By: Elrod
URL: http://
davebo,

I have to agree with Come on please, what war is ever within our control? Even piss ant challenges like Panama and Grenada are not in our control long term. All wars can do is eliminate certain outcomes (say by toppling Saddam or Hitler, though even that is not fully in our control) and hope to influence what happens afterward. That the eventual outcome will be better than what came before or something we will like is always doubtful. Which is why war is not to be taken lightly.

It runs like this, a particular situation is "real bad," that is a known outcome, so we change that on the basis that it is "real bad" and there are a range of possible outcomes from that action which "might be better." "Might be better" is preferred to "definitely bad." Since "might be better" is the best we can hope for war should only be used when there is a "definitely bad." For me Saddam was a "definitely bad" situation. You may disagree that it was bad enough, but it has nothing and should never have anything to do with the idea we will definitely succeed in having something better because that can only be a hope. That part of a military mission is always beyond our control, though hopefully within our influence.

That is why we don’t invade France because they are irritating, or Canada for their oil. Not that bad and we can ignore the French and buy Canada’s oil cheaply.

Once again, you can disagree on how bad having Saddam in power was, or the likelihhod of a positive outcome, but no war is fought because we can control every outcome ourselves. By that metric no war will ever be fought, in fact even defending gainst an invasion would fail that test.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: www.asecondhandconjecture.com
glasnost,

With Shiites and Sunnis engaged in a civil war, where is Maliki’s motivation to unilaterally disarm and militarily engage those from his own ethnic team? How would he survive the instant and total legitimacy crisis amongst the ethnic Shiites that are supposed to re-elect him?
Some Shiites and some Sunnis are engaged in sectarian violence. The Shiites and The Sunnis are not engaged in a civil war. Maliki’s motivation is the same as that of any other politician. He’s got a job to do and assuming that he wants to keep it, he needs to produce results.

Are you saing that Iraqis are incapable of self-governance based on the rule of collectively enacted law? If so, why?

If you believe that, then your opposition seems both sensible and intractable. Is that what you believe?
Lastly, why does anyone think that Maliki wants to eliminate the Sadrist movement? From his point of view, Sadr is what keeps his government from being as powerless as Alawi’s.
Um, maybe his own army, with superior equipment and training?


 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
What is "finishing the job"?

The administraton says the job is "to establish freedom and democracy". Do you really believe that?

Case in point: Election of Hamas which is a clear example of what citizens in the MidEast would elect as their government if there were free elections in Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia - the key Arab allies of the USA. Clearly the US is not for democracy if the "wrong" government gets elected.

However, I will answer what "finishing the job" should really mean: lasting peace in the MidEast. However, the US is the last country at this point to accomplish that. Why? Because we have destroyed our credibility by 1) blinded support of Israel, esp. this last Lebanese war; 2) our corrupt bungling of the Iraq mission - no infrastructre rebuilding (electricity isn’t even back to pre-war levels) and 3) allowing civil war.

What has been accomplished? Profiteering by defense contractors beyond imagination. Billions will never be accounted for in the Iraq war, and you can be sure that many a Swiss bank accounts of US defense contractors have had some large deposits in the last three years. This is the main purpose behind the neo-conservative movement: profit off the government whether it is the $50 billion Homeland Security budget or the $450 billion Defense budget.

If you have any doubt about the millions flowing into the hands of the neo-conservative defense industry, just go to http://www.washingtontechnology.com to see who has won the latest contracts. Just read some of these contracts to see how DOD and DHS can dole out millions and never have to account for it. Most of the top executives of the companies winning these contracts were working in the DOD or DHS just 2 or 3 years ago.

The Iraq war is being lost on many accounts (our total ignorance of the Arab world, Iraq never being a true country to begin with, inept management, etc.) but the overriding reason is the profiteering and greed of the Defense Industry.
 
Written By: Mike Tracy
URL: http://
However, I will answer what "finishing the job" should really mean: lasting peace in the MidEast.
Well, that’s a tall order that means turning thousands of years of history and enimity around. When did we set that as the goal of OIF? I thought we went in to take Saddam out and leave a better Iraq in our wake.

It’s little wonder that that can’t be the definition of finishing the job. We’ve already done that.

I also adore that if the Shiites and Sunnis can’t get along, it’s America’s failing. Things were just fine between them before we barged in, right?

Moving the goalposts is one thing, but I never expected to find them in orbit. This thing is unwinnable. Not in the traditional sense, but because no matter what we accomplish, it won’t ever be good enough for the naysayers.
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
Pablo’s comment above is worthy of an award of some kind. It succinctly rebuts the nattering of the naysayers and encapsulates the real issue in this discussion. Brilliant.
 
Written By: Notherbob2
URL: http://
Thanks, notherbob2. But I’d also like to add that we’re doing no worse a job of peacekeeping in Iraq than any blue-helmeted force has ever done anywhere. And yet we’re sending another one of those into Lebanon to bring lasting peace into the Middle East.
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
Well, that’s a tall order that means turning thousands of years of history and enimity around. When did we set that as the goal of OIF? I thought we went in to take Saddam out and leave a better Iraq in our wake.

It’s little wonder that that can’t be the definition of finishing the job. We’ve already done that.
Pablo,
That only makes sense if we refuse to take President Bush at his word. He doesn’t just want a "better Iraq in its wake"; something which he clearly has not achived. He wants a democratic revival that will lessen the pull of terrorism and extremism across the region. It isn’t the naysayers that moved the goalposts. It was George W. Bush who moved the goalposts because his initial and most widely publicized casus bellum flopped.
 
Written By: Elrod
URL: http://
glasnost,


With Shiites and Sunnis engaged in a civil war, where is Maliki’s motivation to unilaterally disarm and militarily engage those from his own ethnic team? How would he survive the instant and total legitimacy crisis amongst the ethnic Shiites that are supposed to re-elect him?
Some Shiites and some Sunnis are engaged in sectarian violence. The Shiites and The Sunnis are not engaged in a civil war. Maliki’s motivation is the same as that of any other politician. He’s got a job to do and assuming that he wants to keep it, he needs to produce results.
So he does. The results he is expected to produce are the crushing of the Sunnis, not their reclaiming into the fold a la Krauthammer. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the capability to do it, with or without the Medhis. But even less so without them than with them. Thus: civil war, during which, as usual, politicians are punished for... not winning.
Are you saing that Iraqis are incapable of self-governance based on the rule of collectively enacted law? If so, why?

If you believe that, then your opposition seems both sensible and intractable. Is that what you believe?
Yawn. Strawman. What I believe is as follows: The Iraqis are not capable of ending their civil war in the near future for as long American troops are attempting to be on one of the sides.

Governance has little to do with it, except that those being governed tend to think that those governing are doing a pretty poor job under conditions of civil war, and it tends to be objectively true as well.

Lastly, why does anyone think that Maliki wants to eliminate the Sadrist movement? From his point of view, Sadr is what keeps his government from being as powerless as Alawi’s.
Um, maybe his own army, with superior equipment and training?
riiiiight.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Some Shiites and some Sunnis are engaged in sectarian violence. The Shiites and The Sunnis are not engaged in a civil war.
Right, and some Lebanese fought each other in a communal militia war between 1975 and 1990. But most Lebanese did not engage in a civil war. Thus, the Lebanese did not engage in civil war. What kind of logic is this, Pablo?

Just because most ordinary Iraqis want peace, stability and democracy doesn’t mean they’re going to get it. If that were the case we’d almost never have war. Politics is a mean business. Self-determination and democracy are certainly possible in Iraq. But considering the inability of the elected political representatives of the various factions to keep a lid on violent guerrilla forces acting in their own behalf, I’d say the chances of peaceful democracy are a ways off.

I second glasnost on the last point too. "Training and equipment" are the least of the Iraqi army’s problems. Motivation and loyalty are a wee bit higher.
 
Written By: Elrod
URL: http://
Glasnost,
So he does. The results he is expected to produce are the crushing of the Sunnis, not their reclaiming into the fold a la Krauthammer. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the capability to do it, with or without the Medhis. But even less so without them than with them. Thus: civil war, during which, as usual, politicians are punished for... not winning.
So, your mind reading and your future telling capacities are running at full force? You’re claiming things as fact that you seem to be hopeful for, at best. Who expects Malaki to crush any other group but violent insurgents? You? You know what his intent and his desires are?

What group is at war with the government, and has the juice to put on such a fight? You can’t have a civil war without a group that fits the bill, and there isn’t one.
Yawn. Strawman.
Nonsense. It’s the central question. The ultimate question. Answer it, or decline to do so. But don’t mischaracterize it. Do you think the Iraqis are capable of self governance under the rule of law? Yes or no? No further qualifiers are necessary.
riiiiight.
More dodging. Why do you want this to go badly, glasnost? Why are you cheering for an Iraqi collapse?
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
More dodging. Why do you want this to go badly, glasnost? Why are you cheering for an Iraqi collapse?
There it is again... If you don’t agree with Bush, you are cheering for a bad outcome.


Why is it that a realistic assessment of the situation is tantamount to siding with the enemy, and why is it that ANYONE thinks Bush is right?

Let’s look at Bush’s track record...

Was Bush right to turn America’s counter-terrorism focus from Afghanistan to Iraq?

Was Bush right to step aside at Tora Bora?

Was Bush right he when he claimed that Iraq had massive stockpiles of WMD’s?

Was Bush right he when he claimed that Iraq had reconstituted a nucleart weapons program?

Was Bush right he when he claimed that Iraq had unmanned aerial drones that could be launched to the US?

Was Bush right he when he claimed that Iraq could launch a WMD offensive within 45 minutes?

Was Bush right when he claimed that Iraq would provide WMD’s to al Qaeda?

Was Bush right we he (his cabinet) claimed that Iraq would be a cakewalk?

Was Bush right we he (his cabinet) claimed that Iraq was connected to al Qaeda?

Was Bush right when he (his cabinet) claimed that our forces would be greeted with sweets and flowers?

Was Bush right when announced "Mission Accomplished"?

Was Bush right we he (his cabinet) announced that we were in the last throes of the inusrgency?

So now Bush believes that having forces is better than having our forces outside of Iraq?

Based on Bush’s track record, it seems that the best way to determine the right course of action would to be ask what Bush would do and then do the opposite.

Of course that’s ridiculous, even a broken clock is right twice a day, so you still have to do the analysis.

There is a case for staying in Iraq, and there is a case for getting out redeploying in proximity. I can see merit in both scenarios, but frankly, I see greater merit in redeployment, primarily because it allows us to focus on our primary responsibilities to fight al Qaeda and al Qaeda associated groups, and get out of the police business. Imagine if your local police were made up of people who did not speak and were natives of a country that you had been told was the Great Satan for 20 years? How’s that going to work out for you?

Anyone who has supported Bush’s decision making from the start should finally recognize that he simply fails to make the right call, over and over and over again.

Maybe they are playing the odds, figuring that it should be statistically impossible for him to not be right eventually?

Oh wait, I understand now, it’s not Bush wasn’t right, it was the anti-war left that made all these decisions turn out wrong. By not supporting the President 100% and they caused the WMD’s to not be there, by not supporting the President 100% and they caused al Qaeda not to have been connected with Iraq, by not supporting the President 100% and they prevented the Iraqi’s from welcoming us with sweets and flowers.

Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Cap



 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic (yeah, that one)
URL: http://
Oh, and I forgot this one...

Was Bush right to have Missile Defense high on his priority list and international terrorism off the list when he became President?

and this one...

Was Bush right to told the CIA agent that delivered the PBD of August 6, 2001, that he had "Covered his ass" and then taken absolutely no addtional steps as a result of this information?

and this one...

Was Bush right to demote counter-terrorism from a cabinet level position?

and this one...

Man, I could just go on and on.



When was Bush right?????

Cap
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic (yeah, that one)
URL: http://
There it is again... If you don’t agree with Bush, you are cheering for a bad outcome.
No, that’s not there at all. It has nothing to do with who one agrees with.
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
There are two reasons that the war in Iraq is not going to end any time soon.

1. The Iraqis do not want it to end. They know that if they “stand up” and the US soldiers leave, the money from the US pouring into that country will eventually stop. They don’t want their sugar daddy to leave. They will milk this for every penny they can.
2. Military contractors, including Halliburton, does not want it to end. They are making a lot of money on this war. Stop the war and the money stops.

The only way that the war is going to end is for the US to give the Iraqis a deadline for departure. Once they realize that the sugar daddy is moving out then you will see them standing up real fast. We can not be expected to baby-sit the Iraqis forever while they have a civil war.

We have been in Iraq almost as long as we fought World War II. It is time to give a deadline and leave.
 
Written By: clearwaterconservative
URL: http://
Was Bush right to turn America’s counter-terrorism focus from Afghanistan to Iraq?
I don’t know. History will bear that out. But why do you assume any focus was shifted, and why is that a bad thing if it was?

Was Bush right to step aside at Tora Bora?
Huh?

Was Bush right he when he claimed that Iraq had massive stockpiles of WMD’s?
Dunno. Ask the Kurds. Or maybe this Clinton guy: Former President Clinton, in an appearance on "Larry King Live" on July 22, 2003, said, "… [I]t is incontestable that on the day I left office, there were unaccounted for stocks of biological and chemical weapons. We might have destroyed them in ’98. We tried to, but we sure as heck didn’t know it because we never got to go back there."


Was Bush right he when he claimed that Iraq had reconstituted a nucleart weapons program?
We’ll never know. THANK GOD!

Was Bush right he when he claimed that Iraq had unmanned aerial drones that could be launched to the US?
See above.

Was Bush right he when he claimed that Iraq could launch a WMD offensive within 45 minutes?
How long did it take those SCUDs to reach Israel back in 91?

Was Bush right when he claimed that Iraq would provide WMD’s to al Qaeda?
Why do you seem to reflexively trust a guy who murdered millions, gave 25K to support Palestinian suicide bombers, invaded Kuwait to steal their oil, gave asylum to Ramzi Yousef and Abu Nidal?


Was Bush right we he (his cabinet) claimed that Iraq would be a cakewalk?
The toppling of the Hussein regime was a relative cakewalk. No one ever said the aftermath or the GWOT would be. Don’t be deliberately obtuse.

Was Bush right we he (his cabinet) claimed that Iraq was connected to al Qaeda?
Why is Al-Q in Iraq now? Why would Zarqawi choose to fight and die there if Iraq and Al-Q had no connection? Wasn’t the Z-man in Iraq in 2000 or so with Al-Q of Mesopotamia? (Am I wrong on the last one?)

Was Bush right when he (his cabinet) claimed that our forces would be greeted with sweets and flowers?
I watched it on CNN. The Iraqis looked pretty happy when they were toppling that Saddam statue. How about all the people that voted? But obviously, a lot of the Iraqis are a hell of a lot smarter than you. That country was still riddled with SH’s spies and supporters. After living under the boot of oppresion for decades, at the first sign of light, ONLY AN IDIOT would start celebrating like it’s 1999.

I think the Purple Fingers say much more than a few tailgate parties, don’t you?

Was Bush right when announced "Mission Accomplished"?
Absolutely. The M.A. sign was an idea by Tommy Franks to commemorate the fact that the USS Abe Lincoln was being retired from the war. Furthermore, Phase 1 of the mission to topple SH was accomplished. Again, don’t be an ass.

Was Bush right we he (his cabinet) announced that we were in the last throes of the inusrgency?
Probably not. But again, time will tell. Has any

So now Bush believes that having forces is better than having our forces outside of Iraq?
Huh?
 
Written By: Come on, Please
URL: http://
Was Bush right to have Missile Defense high on his priority list and international terrorism off the list when he became President?
At the time, I’d say yes.

It’s easy in hindsight to point to the 9/11 attacks as evidence that the country shouldn’t have placed missile defense higher than counter-terrorism. However, the first semi-military confrontation of Bush’s term was with China, not a terrorist organization. Further, given that North Korea now has nuclear capabilities, give me one good reason why we shouldn’t be working on missile defense.
 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
We have been in Iraq almost as long as we fought World War II. It is time to give a deadline and leave.
We’re still in Germany and Japan, 60 years past the end of World War II. Shouldn’t we give them a deadline first?
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
Krauthammer misidentifies the first problem:
The vast majority of Sunnis are fighting not for ideology but for a share of power and (oil) money. A deal with them is eminently possible and could co-opt enough Sunnis to greatly shrink the insurgency.
Indeed the vast majority are not interested in killing Shia as its own good. These Sunni have been accomodated democratically into the government, this problem was as good as solved. They are in government mandated by their participation in the voting process.

But a religous extremist fringe of Sunni (Al Qaeda Iraq) gain from bombing Shia mosques and market stalls and cell phone kiosks. It is the actions of this Sunni minority that has created the sectarian tension in Iraq. No political compromise will bring them to the table. They needs killing or a strangulation of supply resulting in a near death experience.

Enter Al Sadr, who is doing what is needed to beat this vicious, fanatical, terrorist insurgency - he is killing Sunni who may or may not be linked to the violence on the likelihood that some of them are. This is the proven simple local solution a guerilla insurgency. The Iraqi government is constrained by America from doing this needful thing.

America prefers not to kill people in that sort of semi-indiscriminate manner and so is trying to find a way to strangle the insurgency by cutting off Iraqi tribal support, external Al Qaeda support and general funding from whoever backs Al Qaeda. Progress on this front is slow, because America is works in cooperation with allied governments that are not particularly concerned with ending Sunni extremist religious practice or brotherhood.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
I don’t know. History will bear that out. But why do you assume any focus was shifted, and why is that a bad thing if it was?
Typical semantic games, let me make this clearer for you.

Let’s look at Bush’s track record...

Is there any evidence that Bush was right to turn America’s counter-terrorism focus from Afghanistan to Iraq?

Is there any evidence that Bush was right to step aside at Tora Bora? Since you didn’t understand this question, here’s a quick history lesson...
The Bush administration has concluded that Osama bin Laden was present during the battle for Tora Bora late last year and that failure to commit U.S. ground troops to hunt him was its gravest error in the war against al Qaeda, according to civilian and military officials with first-hand knowledge.
Is there any evidence that Bush was right when he claimed that Iraq had massive stockpiles of WMD’s?

Is there any evidence that Bush was right when he claimed that Iraq had reconstituted a nuclear weapons program?

Is there any evidence that Bush was right when he claimed that Iraq had unmanned aerial drones that could be launched to the US?

Is there any evidence that Bush was right when he claimed that Iraq could launch a WMD offensive within 45 minutes?

Is there any evidence that Bush was right when he claimed that Iraq would provide WMD’s to al Qaeda?

Is there any evidence that Bush was right when he (his cabinet) claimed that Iraq would be a cakewalk? And if invading a country and replacing it’s government are not part of the equation used to make these assertions, why would are they so stupid?

Is there any evidence that Bush was right when he (his cabinet) claimed that Iraq was connected to al Qaeda?

Is there any evidence that Bush was right when he (his cabinet) claimed that our forces would be greeted with sweets and flowers?

Is there any evidence that Bush was right when announced "Mission Accomplished"? And no, the banner was not placed by the Navy, the crew, nor was it in any way associated with the mission of the Abraham Lincoln. The WH lied for a while, covered by the Navy, but eventually the truth came out that the WH ordered and hung the banner and that it was not requested by the Abe Lincoln crew or the Navy.

Is there any evidence that Bush was right when he (his cabinet) announced that we were in the last throes of the inusrgency?

Is there any evidence that Bush was right to have Missile Defense high on his priority list and international terrorism off the list when he became President, even though President Clinton’s Security Advisor told them that the greatest threat to US national security was terrorism?

Is there any evidence that Bush was right when he to told the CIA agent that delivered the PBD of August 6, 2001, that he had "Covered his ass" and then taken absolutely no addtional steps as a result of this information?

Is there any evidence that Bush was right when to demote counter-terrorism from a cabinet level position?

So now Bush believes that having forces inside of Iraq is better than having our forces outside of Iraq?

Based on Bush’s track record, it seems that the best way to determine the right course of action would to be ask what Bush would do and then do the opposite.

Of course that’s ridiculous, even a broken clock is right twice a day, so you still have to do the analysis.

There is a case for staying in Iraq, and there is a case for getting out redeploying in proximity. I can see merit in both scenarios, but frankly, I see greater merit in redeployment, primarily because it allows us to focus on our primary responsibilities to fight al Qaeda and al Qaeda associated groups, and get out of the police business. Imagine if your local police were made up of people who did not speak and were natives of a country that you had been told was the Great Satan for 20 years? How’s that going to work out for you?

Anyone who has supported Bush’s decision making from the start should finally recognize that he simply fails to make the right call, over and over and over again.

Maybe they are playing the odds, figuring that it should be statistically impossible for him to not be right eventually?

Oh wait, I understand now, it’s not Bush wasn’t right, it was the anti-war left that made all these decisions turn out wrong. By not supporting the President 100% and they caused the WMD’s to not be there, by not supporting the President 100% and they caused al Qaeda not to have been connected with Iraq, by not supporting the President 100% and they prevented the Iraqi’s from welcoming us with sweets and flowers.

Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Cap

And by the way, we ended our occupation of Germany long ago, we have troops there for protection against the USSR... or was that technicality an inconvenient truth? We have troops in Japan to defend Japan as their Constitution precluded them from having an a force large enough to defend themselves.

You can start equivocating now
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic (yeah, that one)
URL: http://
"Is there any evidence that Bush was right when he (his cabinet) claimed that Iraq was connected to al Qaeda?"
Why don’t we ask the Clinton Justice Dept.?

From the Justice Department indictment on Nov. 4, 1998, charging bin Laden with murder in the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa: "Al Qaeda also forged alliances with the National Islamic Front in the Sudan and with the government of Iran and its associated terrorist group Hezbollah for the purpose of working together against their perceived common enemies in the West, particularly the United States. In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the government of Iraq."

I already answered your other questions. But now it’s my turn:

How would the US be better off with Saddam still in power?

The Bush administration has concluded that Osama bin Laden was present during the battle for Tora Bora late last year and that failure to commit U.S. ground troops to hunt him was its gravest error in the war against al Qaeda, according to civilian and military officials with first-hand knowledge.
Source please. I acknowledged mistakes have been made. Why can’t you acknowledge that part of the course of action and subsequent results have yielded positive results? Because they have. And if you can’t see that, you’re as blind

 
Written By: Come on, Please
URL: http://
Sorry. Preview and all that....

Last sentence of prior post: And if you can’t see that, you’re simply blind and partisanly close-minded.

From the Iraq Lib. Act of ’98:

The Congress makes the following findings:

(1) On September 22, 1980, Iraq invaded Iran, starting an 8 year war in which Iraq employed chemical weapons against Iranian troops and ballistic missiles against Iranian cities.

(2) In February 1988, Iraq forcibly relocated Kurdish civilians from their home villages in the Anfal campaign, killing an estimated 50,000 to 180,000 Kurds.

(3) On March 16, 1988, Iraq used chemical weapons against Iraqi Kurdish civilian opponents in the town of Halabja, killing an estimated 5,000 Kurds and causing numerous birth defects that affect the town today.

(4) On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded and began a 7 month occupation of Kuwait, killing and committing numerous abuses against Kuwaiti civilians, and setting Kuwait’s oil wells ablaze upon retreat.

(5) Hostilities in Operation Desert Storm ended on February 28, 1991, and Iraq subsequently accepted the ceasefire conditions specified in United Nations Security Council Resolution 687 (April 3, 1991) requiring Iraq, among other things, to disclose fully and permit the dismantlement of its weapons of mass destruction programs and submit to long-term monitoring and verification of such dismantlement.

(6) In April 1993, Iraq orchestrated a failed plot to assassinate former President George Bush during his April 14-16, 1993, visit to Kuwait.

(7) In October 1994, Iraq moved 80,000 troops to areas near the border with Kuwait, posing an imminent threat of a renewed invasion of or attack against Kuwait.

(8) On August 31, 1996, Iraq suppressed many of its opponents by helping one Kurdish faction capture Irbil, the seat of the Kurdish regional government.

(9) Since March 1996, Iraq has systematically sought to deny weapons inspectors from the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) access to key facilities and documents, has on several occasions endangered the safe operation of UNSCOM helicopters transporting UNSCOM personnel in Iraq, and has persisted in a pattern of deception and concealment regarding the history of its weapons of mass destruction programs.

(10) On August 5, 1998, Iraq ceased all cooperation with UNSCOM, and subsequently threatened to end long-term monitoring activities by the International Atomic Energy Agency and UNSCOM.

(11) On August 14, 1998, President Clinton signed Public Law 105-235, which declared that `the Government of Iraq is in material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations’ and urged the President `to take appropriate action, in accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws of the United States, to bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations.’.

(12) On May 1, 1998, President Clinton signed Public Law 105-174, which made $5,000,000 available for assistance to the Iraqi democratic opposition for such activities as organization, training, communication and dissemination of information, developing and implementing agreements among opposition groups, compiling information to support the indictment of Iraqi officials for war crimes, and for related purposes.

From David Kay’s initial 2003 report:

What have we found and what have we not found in the first 3 months of our work?

We have discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations during the inspections that began in late 2002. The discovery of these deliberate concealment efforts have come about both through the admissions of Iraqi scientists and officials concerning information they deliberately withheld and through physical evidence of equipment and activities that ISG has discovered that should have been declared to the UN. Let me just give you a few examples of these concealment efforts, some of which I will elaborate on later:


* A clandestine network of laboratories and safehouses within the Iraqi Intelligence Service that contained equipment subject to UN monitoring and suitable for continuing CBW research.

* A prison laboratory complex, possibly used in human testing of BW agents, that Iraqi officials working to prepare for UN inspections were explicitly ordered not to declare to the UN.

* Reference strains of biological organisms concealed in a scientist’s home, one of which can be used to produce biological weapons.

* New research on BW-applicable agents, Brucella and Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), and continuing work on ricin and aflatoxin were not declared to the UN.

* Documents and equipment, hidden in scientists’ homes, that would have been useful in resuming uranium enrichment by centrifuge and electromagnetic isotope separation (EMIS).

* A line of UAVs not fully declared at an undeclared production facility and an admission that they had tested one of their declared UAVs out to a range of 500 km, 350 km beyond the permissible limit.

* Continuing covert capability to manufacture fuel propellant useful only for prohibited SCUD variant missiles, a capability that was maintained at least until the end of 2001 and that cooperating Iraqi scientists have said they were told to conceal from the UN.

* Plans and advanced design work for new long-range missiles with ranges up to at least 1000 km - well beyond the 150 km range limit imposed by the UN. Missiles of a 1000 km range would have allowed Iraq to threaten targets through out the Middle East, including Ankara, Cairo, and Abu Dhabi.

* Clandestine attempts between late-1999 and 2002 to obtain from North Korea technology related to 1,300 km range ballistic missiles —probably the No Dong — 300 km range anti-ship cruise missiles, and other prohibited military equipment.
 
Written By: Come on, Please
URL: http://
Are you saing that Iraqis are incapable of self-governance based on the rule of collectively enacted law? If so, why?

If you believe that, then your opposition seems both sensible and intractable. Is that what you believe?


If you argued in 1861 that the American civil war was not likely to end in 1862, were you making a disguised statement that the US was incapable of self-governance? Or were you actually observing the balance of forces?

If I argue that South Africans fail to end the AIDS crisis in their country tomorrow, am i, shock and horror, aruging that South Africans must be sub-human in their ability to solve problems? F*ck you, Pablo. Of course not.

Pablo, I didn’t answer your question because I found it both insulting and irrelevant, much as if you asked me in response to my statements, "are you a communist? If so, your opinions would make sense. So, are you?"
I tried, actually, to downplay the question, because the only other alternative was rubbing your face in the collosal bad faith and stunted logic that would result in asking me that question. But I see you’ve chosen to double down.

You’d love to shrink both my choices and the potential outcomes of the world down to a binary one: If the Iraqis are capable of self-governance under *some* set of circumstances, than anyone who believes that **US policy** (among other circumstances, of course) is dooming them to fail to achieve specific metrics, must in fact be arguing that the Iraqis are *racially or culturally incapable of self-governance*!! So, now, instead of discussing whether or not a given US strategy will produce desired outcomes, I’m taking your perverted test for master-race theories.

I am of course not arguing anything like that the Iraqis are incapable of self-governance. Both the Iraqi people and any given human society may, or may not, successfully self-govern over any given time period, depending on the prevailing conditions.

As I specifically stated in response to your question: What I believe is as follows: The Iraqis are not capable of ending their civil war in the near future for as long American troops are attempting to be on one of the sides.
Nonsense. It’s the central question. The ultimate question. Answer it, or decline to do so. But don’t mischaracterize it. Do you think the Iraqis are capable of self governance under the rule of law? Yes or no? No further qualifiers are necessary.
It’s not the central question. In fact, since any given or imaginable grouping of people on the planet under any imaginable system is "capable" of self-governance under law, under the right conditions, and since what actually happens in states varies as widely as can be imagined without regard for theoretical capability, it’s an absolutely meaningless question. Answering yes to it is axiomatic and has zero predictive power as to what events will actually occur or why they are occuring.

Why do you want this to go badly, glasnost? Why are you cheering for an Iraqi collapse?

Why are you trying to stifle critical thinking on US policy, Pablo? Why do you want the US to fail in Iraq by encouraging it to stay with policies that are failing?

Why are you actively working with Al-Qaida in Iraq and the Iranian government, by stifling the debate in America that could enable us to change our policies from one that accidentlally empowers terrorist organizations, to one that could actually dry up support for them?

Not so much fun to be on the receiving end of rhetorical bullsh*t, is it?
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Man, I forgot about the "WMD-related program activities." Now THAT’s a blast from the past.

Would the US be better with Saddam still in power? You bet. He was the best bulwark against Iran - even while bluffing about WMD. He kept Al Qaeda out of Iraq - because he feared them, not because he wanted to help us. Saddam was a brutal thug. But he served US interests by staving off two much more powerful American enemies in the region. Had we replaced Saddam with a function pro-western government then I would say, in hindsight, we did better to get rid of him. But instead our incompetent Administration created a failed state, an incubator for Al Qaeda, and an arena for Iranian expansionism. So if we’re going to debate counterfactuals, we might as well account for the competence of the people who were actually in power to lead the mission.

Oh, and the Washington Post reports today that Anbar is lost, according to the US Marines. I feel so confident in our leadership...
 
Written By: Elrod
URL: http://
From the Justice Department indictment on Nov. 4, 1998, charging bin Laden with murder in the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa: "Al Qaeda also forged alliances with the National Islamic Front in the Sudan and with the government of Iran and its associated terrorist group Hezbollah for the purpose of working together against their perceived common enemies in the West, particularly the United States. In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the government of Iraq."
Oh my, you are listening to way too much Limbaugh.

The original sealed indictment did indeed contain a reference the indicated that al qaeda was working with Iraq, subsequent indictments removed this assertion because it was second hand and could not be supported, and the prosecutors indicated as much then, and in front of the 911 Commission Report. One would have to skip every indictment subsequent to the erroneous first indictment to make the argument you are making. They have a name for argumentation of this type.
In early 1998, Mary Jo White, then the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, handed down a sealed indictment of bin Laden and several other Al Qaeda operatives on charges of conspiring to attack the United States. This indictment included a sentence stating that the terrorist group and Iraq had agreed not to work against each other and agreed to cooperate on acquiring arms:

Al Qaeda also forged alliances with the National Islamic Front in the Sudan and with the government of Iran and its associated terrorist group Hezballah for the purpose of working together against their perceived common enemies in the West, particularly the United States. In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq.

On August 7, 1998, Al Qaeda bombed the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. A subsequent investigation by Fitzgerald into these attacks led to a new indictment, issued on November 4, that superseded the sealed indictment issued by White. But in the section characterizing Al Qaeda’s various "alliances," the new indictment omitted the reference to Iraq:

USAMA BIN LADEN, the defendant, and al Qaeda also forged alliances with the National Islamic Front in the Sudan and with representatives of the government of Iran, and its associated terrorist group Hizballah for the purpose of working together against their perceived common enemies in the West, particularly the United States.

On his December 9 broadcast, Limbaugh falsely stated that the November 4 indictment charging bin Laden with the African embassy bombings "disclosed a close relationship between Al Qaeda and Saddam’s regime." But only the original indictment, issued before the bombings took place and unsealed when the subsequent indictment was handed down, alleged an Iraq-Al Qaeda link. As noted above, the November 4 indictment on the embassy bombing charges made no allegations of such a connection.

When Fitzgerald appeared before the 9-11 Commission on June 16, 2004, commission member Fred F. Fielding asked him about the evidence that led to the inclusion of the Iraq-Al Qaeda reference in the original indictment. Fitzgerald responded that this claim was the result of testimony provided by former Al Qaeda operative Jamal al-Fadl and noted that it had been removed from the superseding indictment. He testified that while he was able to corroborate al-Fadl’s allegations regarding Al Qaeda’s connections to Iran and Sudan, he could not similarly substantiate the claim regarding the group’s relationship with Iraq, as a June 16, 2004, Washington Post article reported:

Patrick J. Fitzgerald, now a U.S. attorney in Illinois, who oversaw the African bombing case, told the commission that reference was dropped in a superseding indictment because investigators could not confirm al Qaeda’s relationship with Iraq as they had done with its ties to Iran, Sudan and Hezbollah. The original material came from an al Qaeda defector who told prosecutors that what he had heard was secondhand.

The Bush administration has concluded that Osama bin Laden was present during the battle for Tora Bora late last year and that failure to commit U.S. ground troops to hunt him was its gravest error in the war against al Qaeda, according to civilian and military officials with first-hand knowledge.


Source please.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A62618-2002Apr16?language=printer
I acknowledged mistakes have been made.
Really? I must have missed that
Why can’t you acknowledge that part of the course of action and subsequent results have yielded positive results? Because they have. And if you can’t see that, you’re as blind
Actually, I would have thought that there would have been accidental positive results from bad decisions Bush has made, but unless you want to talk about positive results for some individuals in Iraq and Afghanistan, or some corporations who have had some very positive results from Bush’s decisions, the actual state of terrorism in the world is much, much worse than it was before Bush began trying to stop it.

We have less constitutional protections, so I guess that’s a positive, if you don’t like freedom.

Our government is WAY bigger and costs a lot more, so I guess that is a positive, if you like big government.

The prosthetic limb business is brisk thanks to the unnecessary incursion into Iraq, I guess that’s a positive for the prosthetic limb business, not so much for the wounded soldiers.

Iraq is MORE likely to endanger us as a result of the invasion than it was when Saddam was in control, not directly as a state, but indirectly as a training ground for terrorists.

Iran is MORE dangerous as a result of eliminating Iraq as a potential competitor in the region. You want to know why Saddam always hinted that he WMD’s even though we could find no actual evidence that he had them?

It’s Iran, stupid.

Wait, there is something genuinely positive that Bush has done. He was 100% right to go into Afghanistan, and I supported this decision, along with most of the world. It was the right thing to do. Al Qaeda was HQ’s in Afghanistan and the Taliban was harboring, protecting, and assisting al Qaeda.

I thought Bush handled the China incident reasonably well, for such an awkward situation.

What do you think Bush has done right?

Cap



 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
I tried, actually, to downplay the question, because the only other alternative was rubbing your face in the collosal bad faith and stunted logic that would result in asking me that question. But I see you’ve chosen to double down.
Nonsense. You called it a strawman. Do you do this often? I’m glad to know that you concede the possibility of success, given the raw material involved in the problem.

As I specifically stated in response to your question: What I believe is as follows: The Iraqis are not capable of ending their civil war in the near future for as long American troops are attempting to be on one of the sides.
American troops are on the side of the democratically elected government. Who is going to beat them? What has this enemy "won"? Why can’t the Iraqi government win? Because you say so? Many Sunnis do not see it that way. They think the presence of American troops is to their benefit.
In fact, since any given or imaginable grouping of people on the planet under any imaginable system is "capable" of self-governance under law, under the right conditions, and since what actually happens in states varies as widely as can be imagined without regard for theoretical capability, it’s an absolutely meaningless question. Answering yes to it is axiomatic and has zero predictive power as to what events will actually occur or why they are occuring.


No, glasnost, it’s a description of the Middle Eastern status quo. Rule of law has come from the whim of a dictator for all of recent history.

This is a whole new ballgame for them, and the second question (having agreed upon the answer to the first) is whether they’ll take advantage of the opportunity they now have. Vast majorities of Iraqis have already done so in clear defiance of the same forces that want this government to fail.
Why are you trying to stifle critical thinking on US policy, Pablo? Why do you want the US to fail in Iraq by encouraging it to stay with policies that are failing?


I’m not trying to stifle a thing. On the contrary, I’ve had to repeat myself here just to draw you out. You, on the other hand, contort every problem you can imagine into a catastrophe, stomp your feet and insist that it’s all bad, bad, bad! You’ve got Maliki as a failure when the guy hasn’t even been in office for four months. You construe sectarian violence being committed by a tiny minority of Iraqis, largely in Baghdad, as proof that we and the Iraqis have already lost. And your only solution seems to say that we can only hope to salvage anything out of Iraq if we leave it to al-Qaeda and Iran to infest with jihadism. That’s not just defeatist, it’s foolish.
Why are you actively working with Al-Qaida in Iraq...
No, you see we’ve largely wiped out al-Qaeda in Iraq (a clear American/Iraqi win that I don’t hear you talking about) through our failed policy of chasing the bastards down and killing them. Somehow, this has not caused them to replicate by the order of magnitude you folks have been insisting they would. But if you believe in magic like the jihadi Hydra theory...and if you believe OBL is sitting in Tora Bora just waiting for Howard Dean and the Screaming Eagles to come get him...and that Iran really likes having all those Americans bogged down next door arming and training all those Iraqis...
and the Iranian government, by stifling the debate in America that could enable us to change our policies from one that accidentlally empowers terrorist organizations, to one that could actually dry up support for them?
Who is stifling debate, glasnost? I’m looking for you to put up adecent argument. Oh, and you should check into Saudi/Jordanian/Egyptian support for the Iranio/Hezbollan strain of jihadism. It’s layered, nuanced, balanced. I think you’ll like it.
Not so much fun to be on the receiving end of rhetorical bullsh*t, is it?
Actually, I enjoy it. I just ball it up and stuff it right back where it came from. You?
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://

 
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