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Iraq: Defining success down
Posted by: McQ on Monday, October 16, 2006

It appears a commission, supposedly backed by President Bush, will present options which will, in essence, redefine the mission and 'success' in Iraq.

According to the article in the LA Times, one of the options is not to "stay the course". In fact, the commission, headed by James Baker, seems to be focusing on two options.

Option One:
One, titled "Stability First," calls for continuing to try to stabilize Baghdad, boosting efforts to entice insurgents into politics, and bringing Iran and Syria into plans to end the fighting.
While on the surface this may be appealing, I'm not sure how realistic the premise is.
The former secretary of State, who was a longtime aide to former President George H.W. Bush, also said he favored reaching out to Iran and Syria.

"I personally believe in talking to your enemies," he said. "Neither the Syrians nor the Iranians want a chaotic Iraq … so maybe there is some potential for getting something other than opposition from those countries."

Bringing Iran and Syria into negotiations would require significant changes in U.S. policy.
Two points. One - I'm not sure the Syrians and Iranians aren't quite content, at the moment, with a 'chaotic Iraq'. I say that for the simple reason that a chaotic Iraq ties us down there and keeps a finger pointing to our lack of success. It also allows them a much freer hand in the rest of the region because we are so focused in Iraq.

Two - how willing are we, diplomatically, to reach out and ask for help from these two countries? We've virtually shunned them for years. And if we do decide to reach out, how willing will they be to cooperate? What's in it for them?

Frankly, given the problems the US faces in Iraq coupled with US treatment of the countries in question over the years, if I were them I certainly wouldn't be in any rush to cooperate in helping the US extricate itself from a very tough situation.

But putting that aside, if we were to have any success in approaching Iran and Syria, we'd have to sell out "democracy" as a condition:
"To bring them in, we need to stop emphasizing things like democracy and start emphasizing things like stability and territorial integrity," said James Dobbins of the Rand Corp., a former U.S. envoy to Afghanistan. "We need to stop talking about regime change. It's unreasonable to think you can stabilize Iraq and destabilize Iran and Syria at the same time."
Dobson's right. We'd have to drop the combative rhetoric and we'd have to trade democracy for stability.

But, in reality, and given which side has more to lose, I simply don't see this happening. Unless we're willing to completely back-off on Iran's nukes (I'd guess that would be their top demand for any sort of cooperation) there's no reason for Iran to help. And there is even less reason for Syria to do so (unless it can wrangle some concessions out of the US at the expense of Israel) - at least at the present time. Option one hits me as more of a pipe dream than anything we can really accomplish.

Option Two:
The other, called "Redeploy and Contain," goes further. It calls for a gradual, phased withdrawal of American troops to bases outside Iraq where they would be available for strikes against terrorist organizations anywhere in the region.
Call option two the "firebrigade" option. But not in the sense we're now considering it for use in Iraq. Because this firebrigade wouldn't necessarily be focused on Iraq or its government.

If you read this carefully, this option gives up "stability". Even though they don't say that, stability is being sacrificed for "containment". Essentially this option would allow Iraq to determine, by whatever means, how the power is going to settle out in that country. And that includes the "C" word - civil war.

Note - and this is very important - that the option doesn't say these troops would be available to support Iraq or the Iraqi government. They would be available for strikes against "terrorist organizations" in the region.

Like option one, this option also throws democracy under the bus as a prerequisite to "success".

Baker has said "staying the course" is off the table. He's also said "cut and run" is off the table. Some other things apparently off the table as well:
In his interviews, Baker said he did not support calls for an early withdrawal of U.S. troops. "I think that if we picked up and left right now that you would see the biggest civil war you've ever seen," he said.

He also said he did not agree with proposals to divide Iraq into three states for Sunni Arabs, Shiites and Kurds. "Most all the experts we've talked with think that might … trigger a civil war."

And instead of trying to bring democracy to all nations in the Middle East, he said, the U.S. should define success as achieving "representative government, not necessarily democracy."
There it is. If you believe Baker, and you believe Baker will be taken seriously, democracy is no longer a priority. That's not really news. We've been saying for quite some time here at QandO that what ends up establishing itself in Iraq may not at all resemble a Western-style democracy. But to begin to redefine success without it would indeed a change in policy and a complete redefinition of success for the administration.

In summary then, success in option one is stability. Success in option two is containment. In neither option is a democratic Iraq necessary.

Pretty sad given the opportunities we had to do this all right. As we discussed on the podcast yesterday, we won the war, but we totally and completely screwed up the "peace". In fact we've screwed it up so badly that we now have to redefine our mission and the acceptable end-state.

Pitiful.
 
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Option Two still sounds a lot like the Murtha plan to me.
 
Written By: Mithras
URL: http://mithrastheprophet.blogspot.com
McQ,

Pitiful indeed..... No clearly defined mission (goal posts keep changing), and no clear exit strategies. Just when we thought that we had the Vietnam-syndrome dragon slain, Iraq has resurrected it...
 
Written By: Ivan
URL: http://
This is bad news, because it means some countries (i.e. 3rd world) just cannot deal with modern democracy and "nation building."

It means in the future, it will be punitive expeditions with occupation only long enough to disrupt the bad guys. (Unless they are like the Kosovars or Kurds...)

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Oh, and yes, like Vietnam now, Iraqis will be looking back in 10-20 years and wondering why they opposed the USA in the first place...

In fact, it could be a lot sooner for the Sunnis...stupid pride, very stupid pride, on their part.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Am I the only one a little skeptical about Baker and Dobbins having sway in the current administration? Aren’t they leftovers from the old "realist" school of diplomacy? I haven’t been following this that closely, but, do no recall any administration spokesmen vouching for this study. Can anyone direct me to a concise read on this?
 
Written By: Metzger
URL: http://
Baker is a breath of fresh air, especially as regards Syria and Iran (it’s seemed obvious to me that we have to engage them for some time). But I think the real lesson is not how ’we screwed it up,’ but how the Administration didn’t understand that political and social realities sometimes cannot be molded by outside actors regardless of wealth and firepower. There are some problems that can’t be solved, some outcomes that are beyond reach. I doubt even a perfect policy would have worked. I think Baker’s group will be listened to, and we will "declare victory" and find a way to leave over a relatively short time frame. The GOP does not want the war to be continuing into the 2008 election.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Actually, I stand corrected. Murtha did call for an "immediate redeployment", not a "gradual, phased redeployment." Of course, he conditioned "immediate" on safety of the troops and such, so that could be a distinction without a difference.
 
Written By: Mithras
URL: http://mithrastheprophet.blogspot.com
Option one hits me as more of a pipe dream than anything we can really accomplish.
How about option one without the Syria/Iran BS component?
Like option one, this option also throws democracy under the bus as a prerequisite to "success".
How so? Democracy is not a precluded end-state from a civil war.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Harun wrote:
Oh, and yes, like Vietnam now, Iraqis will be looking back in 10-20 years and wondering why they opposed the USA in the first place...


Hmm, do you have evidence to support that claim about Vietnam? How many Vietnamese today think that opposing the U.S. intervention was a bad idea? Honest question, I haven’t read anything about it.
 
Written By: Mithras
URL: http://mithrastheprophet.blogspot.com
Mithras,

Do a google search using "vietnam boat people" to find a few articles describing how a lot of vietnamese found having the communists in power was much worse then having the americans around. You will also get a glimpse of the massive risks they took and hardships they faced while escaping from the communists.

 
Written By: TJIT
URL: http://
Good post, McQ. I find it hard to argue with your analysis. My only quibble is that I’m not sure this war was ever winnable, even if it hadn’t been botched as badly as it has. Things could have gone better, but I think the problems we’re seeing now would have surfaced sooner or later regardless.

What we’re faced with now is the worst of all situations. We are stuck in a deteriorating state pursuing a failed policy and we have no good options for extracting ourselves from it.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
If, as I suspect, the Administration is waiting for the elections to pass before redefining victory and facing some realistic choices, they should be held accountable for every US militay death in the interim.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
How so? Democracy is not a precluded end-state from a civil war.
It is also not "planned for". It may end up being a result (although I doubt it) but it wouldn’t be from anything we did or for which we planned. It would simply be an unlikely defacto end-state.

Essentially I’m saying option two replaces "democracy" with "containment" as a priority.

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Laime writes:
If, as I suspect, the Administration is waiting for the elections to pass before redefining victory and facing some realistic choices, they should be held accountable for every US militay death in the interim.
Agreed. And of all people, Shep Smith lays War Dead at Bush’s Feet, when Bush neocon loyalist Bill Kristol ADMITS the course cannot be changed until after the election, for political reasons:
KRISTOL: Well, I hope not because it really wouldn’t be the right thing to do and I think President Bush wants to do the right thing and I think he knows there’s a problem. He can’t probably do anything until election day. I very much hope after election day he takes a fresh look at Iraq, sends enough troops, surges the...goes on the offensive there and plays for victory because..

SMITH: Bill..

KRISTOL: it’s just too important to just, you know...

SMITH: It’s horrifying that you just said he can’t do anything until after the election. We’ve got men and women over there who are dying every day and you just said that the man who you support can’t do anything even though you believe he knows it’s wrong.

KRISTOL: I...I...urged him...
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://inactivist.org/
Option Two still sounds a lot like the Murtha plan to me.
What happens after we decide to essentially follow Murtha’s plan, with some Republican euphamisms and doublespeak to make it sound different?

Do we agree he was the guy that was right (not first, but early among the previously pro-war people) and that every Republican that disparaged his courage, patriotism, and even sanity owes him apology?

I think Warner’s analysis shows that Murtha is a lot closer to reality than the WH.

With back-handed props to the Bush administration, although they made huge mistakes every step of the way, there may not have been an executable plan that could possibly have brought desirable results once the invasion commenced.

As I have said previously, stability in Iraq is going to come at the hands of a brutal government, willing to ruthlessly attack any enemies or perceived enemies of stability. The government that stabilizes Iraq is going to look a lot like the one we deposed.

Cap
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
the course cannot be changed until after the election, for political reasons
Why, I’m impressed with the massive support from the left side of the political sphere for getting democracy in place in Iraq. All the brilliant ideas, all the people flooding there to help put the place to rights. I would hate to think that none of that happened for political reasons.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Do we agree he was the guy that was right (not first, but early among the previously pro-war people) and that every Republican that disparaged his courage, patriotism, and even sanity owes him apology?

No, we do NOT agree. And I doubt you’ll find many people people in the Marine Corps, at least, who agree with you. Bring up Murtha and what you’ll hear is a lot of hissing.

We are in the situation we are in in no small part because of the backbiting and constant sniping of men like John Murtha who have virtually ensured that we have fought with one hand tied behind our backs from day one.

That man is a disgrace to the uniform he once wore. He condemned enlisted men who hadn’t even been to trial yet in the press, a thing NO Marine officer with even the slightest shred of decency or honor would do, and then he LIED and said the Commandant of the Marine Corps had been the one who briefed him.

Except that’s not what the Commandant’s office says. And Murtha was the only who came charging out of the CLOSED briefing calling those men, who had not even been charged yet, murderers.

Shameful. In this country we have a small matter called innocence until you have have proven guilty in a court of law. No Marine officer would EVER brief Congress and say that these men were guilty - it would be prejudicial to a fair trial. And Murtha is such an idiot that he played right into the hands of their defense attorneys, who will now introduce this as evidence of improper command influence at trial.

What a jacka$$. This Reserve "Colonel" does not have the sense God gave an earthworm. He placed the Corps in an impossible position and caused needless heartbreak for these men’s families.

They deserved better.

The Corps deserved better.

His constituents deserved better.

Sorry to be so heated McQ but I’ve just about had it with Murtha.
 
Written By: Cassandra
URL: http://www.villainouscompany.com/vcblog/
Why, I’m impressed with the massive support from the left side of the political sphere for getting democracy in place in Iraq.

Mark, call me a conservative - a philsophical one, that is, but I don’t know how many hundreds of thousands of lives I can justify ending to make the survivors’s lives freer. Starting your own revolution may (perhaps) be moral, but starting someone else’s for them is a mixed moral bag.. even if less than hundreds of thousands bought it for it.

I think that chances are high that the outcome of whatever governance form we end up with after option two, it will ultimately be less totalitarian than what came before. So, now that everyone else is (finally) openly disgusted, I can point out that bright side.

Of course, the same would be true if we’d left Iraq in 2004, after the first elections. And the same would ... probably be true after another year there. But the longer we stay and the longer the carnage continues at this level, the more authoritarian the final government is likely to be.

As has happened so many times to various powers in history, we have equated military superiority with political control and been wrong.

McQ is right. Option one is not a pipe dream in all times and circumstances, but is very challenging right now and would take unconventional and possibly uncomfortable steps and genuine commitment on the diplo side, and probably more troops as well. Not only that, but there’s no guarantee that Syria/Iran could control the situation even if they wanted to.. anymore than we can. There is a Sunni/Shiite regional conflict swirling up here that may or may not go back in the bottle.

Option two is lower-risk of splashy additional failures. It is, basically, Murtha. The real question is whether Bush will do it. I don’t think he’ll pick either option, frankly. I think he’ll wait for Democrats to start piling on for Option 2, and then bash them for it, and continue that all the way to November 2008. I think he’ll stay there, no matter how badly things deteriorate, because he prefers the symbolic consistency to re-examining himself.
If I’m wrong, I’ll be happy.

Even if we pick Option 2, we’d be wise to talk to Syria/Iran. Iran, especially, has reason to fear what the fight their proxies are picking with the Sunni states. However, I’m not in favor of a grand bargain with Syria unless it includes signigicant democratization. They’re more vulnerable, more totalitarian, more strategically contradicted, and weaker.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Sorry to be so heated McQ but I’ve just about had it with Murtha.
No apology necessary, Cass ... I pretty much agree.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Option two is lower-risk of splashy additional failures. It is, basically, Murtha.
No, it’s not. Murtha is redeploy now! This instant. No hesitation, all of you out, now. That’s Murtha.

If you read the article carefully you’ll see Baker says he does not "support calls for an early withdrawal of U.S. troops. "I think that if we picked up and left right now that you would see the biggest civil war you’ve ever seen," he said."

That means he sees some things which still need to be addressed and that the redeployment would be phased over time. My guess is Baker’s timeline will be much shorter than CENTCOMS.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
The larger question is if this President can accept the more modest goals to be offered by Baker’s task force or if they will be met by resistance or even a campaign to discredit. It is increasingly difficult to determine where George Bush’s convictions end and his need to be right might begin. He has held fast to the argument that he isn’t concerned with polls or politics and yet his reported convictions continue to evolve to fit the changing circumstances. The essential question is how he actually views the concept of adaptation. The evidence suggests that he prefers to adapt his rhetoric to fit the circumstances rather than adapts his strategy to address the realities. As he receives this important report, I fear the former...but I’m hoping for the latter.

Read more here:

www.thoughttheater.com
 
Written By: Daniel DiRito
URL: http://www.thoughttheater.com
We are in the situation we are in in no small part because of the backbiting and constant sniping of men like John Murtha who have virtually ensured that we have fought with one hand tied behind our backs from day one.
No - we are in the situation we are in because the Bush administration started a war that it should not have started in the first place. A war that this administration had no idea how to win. The buck stops there, pal.
Every state must have its enemies. Great powers must have especially monstrous foes. Above all, these foes must arise from within, for national pride does not admit that a great nation can be defeated by any outside force. That is why, though its origins are elsewhere, the stab in the back has become the sustaining myth of modern American nationalism. Since the end of World War II it has been the device by which the American right wing has both revitalized itself and repeatedly avoided responsibility for its own worst blunders. Indeed, the right has distilled its tale of betrayal into a formula: Advocate some momentarily popular but reckless policy. Deny culpability when that policy is exposed as disastrous. Blame the disaster on internal enemies who hate America. Repeat, always making sure to increase the number of internal enemies.

As the United States staggers past the third anniversary of its misadventure in Iraq, the dagger is already poised, the myth is already being perpetuated.
The reason we have remained mired in this situation is because of people like you - apologists for an administration that has criminally mismanaged this situation from day one.

Worse, rather than accepting responsbility for this criminal mismanagement, rather than holding one single senior administration official accountable, the Bush administration has instead pointed figures at everyone else, the press, Democrats, John Murtha, Cindy Sheehan, Hollywood, and anyone else who had the brains to figure out a long time ago that we shouldn’t have invaded Iraq. And Bush cult members such as yourself are more than happy to repeat the administration’s lies.

The situation we are in is John Murtha’s fault? You have quite literally lost your mind, haven’t you?

The current situation is this: Those persons who supported this war have disqualified themselves from commenting further on it. They have shown such a massive lack of judgment that anything they have to say on the matter is utterly meaningless. But they are also incapable of taking responsbility for the disaster that is Iraq. So instead, they seek to place blame on others. Always blaming others.

The ISG is a political fig leaf. It was set up to give the impression that Bush might be open to new ideas. But in the end, he will reject any and all suggestions it makes. Because that is who he is. Closed minded and unable to adapt. It is one of the main reasons for opposition to the war; Bush was literally the last person in the world capable of remaking the Middle East given the realities on the ground. The ISG exists for the sole purpose of trying to keep the GOP in power. After November 7, you will not hear of it again in any meaningful sense.

Iraq is the biggest foreign policy blunder in 35 years. It is the fault of the right wing. It’s that simple.
Shameful. In this country we have a small matter called innocence until you have have proven guilty in a court of law.
Tell that to Jose Padilla.

We used to have the concept of innocent until proven guilty. Until Bush and right wing apologists such as yourself decided that the executive branch should be invested with the power to lock up citizens indefinitely without access to the courts. I’m sorry, but Bush supporters and critics of John Murtha have absolutely zero basis to be complaining now about a lack of due process. You reap what you sow.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
No, it’s not. Murtha is redeploy now! This instant. No hesitation, all of you out, now. That’s Murtha.

If you read the article carefully you’ll see Baker says he does not "support calls for an early withdrawal of U.S. troops. "I think that if we picked up and left right now that you would see the biggest civil war you’ve ever seen," he said."


I’m sure that you won’t be the last to invent, believe, or argue a substantive difference between Baker #2 and Murtha. I doubt it. They were probably both talking to the same military sources. Both of the plans were pretty vague on the details of implementation. However, it’s politically useful to the Republicans - **and** to Baker - to present a difference, and it reduces cognitive dissonance for a lot of observers.

Baker doesn’t *want* his plan to be considered the same as Murtha’s. That would kill it or endanger, thanks to the demagogic hostility that the political right has already set in motion against all things associated with it.



 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://

The situation we are in is John Murtha’s fault? You have quite literally lost your mind, haven’t you?
Those who demonize Murtha really don’t get it. He’s known in DC as being very in touch with the thinking at the Pentagon. He’s giving an inside the military view of the conflict. That shouldn’t be hard to believe given the unprecedented criticism of Secretary Rumsfeld by former Generals while the US has troops in harms way. It doesn’t take much to read between the lines and recognize that the military has been used by politicians with grand schemes of shaping world politics in disregard to sound military advice.

I think a lot of the anger at Murtha is displaced anger by people who have taken a position they have to deep down know now is wrong about the war, but can’t bring themselves to blame those who supported the war, like themselves. Better to just demonize Murtha (eyes rolling)
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Baker doesn’t *want* his plan to be considered the same as Murtha’s. That would kill it or endanger, thanks to the demagogic hostility that the political right has already set in motion against all things associated with it.
Do you blame Baker?

Murtha’s plan was based on his claim that the "army is broken" and we had to rescue it by getting it out of there pronto. Now you may feel comfortable pretending I’m "inventing" a difference, but again, it was Murtha, not me, making the claim that was the basis for his "plan" (and yes, I’m aware he’s hemhawed around and tried to claim otherwise, but hey, I can see through a sham just as well as you can).

Baker is making no such claim. His plan, as vague as it may be at this time, seems to acknowledge two things: the Army isn’t broken and thus has some things it needs to do before it leaves.

To me that’s quite a difference.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
No, it’s not. Murtha is redeploy now! This instant. No hesitation, all of you out, now. That’s Murtha.
Perhaps you are confusing Murtha’s actual resolution that no one was allowed to vote on with the Republican sham resolution that was presented for vote?

On November 17, 2005, Murtha submitted the following resolution (H.J. Res. 73) in the House of Representatives[9]:
Whereas Congress and the American People have not been shown clear, measurable progress toward establishment of stable and improving security in Iraq or of a stable and improving economy in Iraq, both of which are essential to "promote the emergence of a democratic government";
Whereas additional stabilization in Iraq by U. S. military forces cannot be achieved without the deployment of hundreds of thousands of additional U S. troops, which in turn cannot be achieved without a military draft;
Whereas more than $277 billion has been appropriated by the United States Congress to prosecute U.S. military action in Iraq and Afghanistan;
Whereas, as of the drafting of this resolution, 2,079 U.S. troops have been killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom;
Whereas U.S. forces have become the target of the insurgency,
Whereas, according to recent polls, over 80% of the Iraqi people want U.S. forces out of Iraq;
Whereas polls also indicate that 45% of the Iraqi people feel that the attacks on U.S. forces are justified;
Whereas, due to the foregoing, Congress finds it evident that continuing U.S. military action in Iraq is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the people of Iraq, or the Persian Gulf Region, which were cited in Public Law 107-243 as justification for undertaking such action;
Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That:
Section 1. The deployment of United States forces in Iraq, by direction of Congress, is hereby terminated and the forces involved are to be redeployed at the earliest practicable date.
Section 2. A quick-reaction U.S. force and an over-the-horizon presence of U.S Marines shall be deployed in the region.
Section 3 The United States of America shall pursue security and stability in Iraq through diplomacy.
Then there’s this
Republicans led by Duncan Hunter of California, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, responded by proposing their own resolution (H. Res. 572) which read:

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately.
Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated right away.
Murtha’s plan was based on his claim that the "army is broken" and we had to rescue it by getting it out of there pronto. Now you may feel comfortable pretending I’m "inventing" a difference, but again, it was Murtha, not me, making the claim that was the basis for his "plan" (and yes, I’m aware he’s hemhawed around and tried to claim otherwise, but hey, I can see through a sham just as well as you can).
Look at Murtha’s resolution, no hemhawing necessary.

I have read where Murtha said that we should redeploy immediately (without compromising the safety of our troops), and I have read that his rational is that we need to leave because we ARE the problem and we ARE the target in Iraq. I have read where he indicated that the army was "broken" but that was not the rationale for redeployment. If there was a mission to be accomplished, Murtha would be behind the troops 100% doing everything he could to prevent the army from becoming "broken" but would never recommend a pullback from a real mission with real goals and real exit strategy.

The significance of Murtha’s position is not what his position is now, that is nto unique, a lot of people have felt the same way about Iraq for a lot longer than Murtha, the significance is that he IS a hawk, if there is a fight that needs to be fought, Murtha say let’s fight it.

Murtha is no longer alone among hawks who think we need to redeploy, hell, Republicans are sounding more like Murtha and less like his critics every day.

It’s amazing how well the RNC can push y’all’s buttons when they want to Swift Boat someone.

Cap
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
Perhaps you are confusing Murtha’s actual resolution that no one was allowed to vote on with the Republican sham resolution that was presented for vote?
Actually it has zip to do with any resolution. It has to do with statements where he said the army is "broken" and "worn out", living "hand-to-mouth" and "barely getting by".

So, sorry you wasted all that time fishing up the red herring, but no, not the resolution.
I have read where Murtha said that we should redeploy immediately (without compromising the safety of our troops), and I have read that his rational is that we need to leave because we ARE the problem and we ARE the target in Iraq.
Whatever ...that’s the Murtha plan.

That isn’t what Baker is talking about given what he said.

I don’t see the argument here. Baker isn’t doing Murtha in option two and you validate that point by admitting that Murtha was talking about redeploying "immediately".

Baker isn’t.
The significance of Murtha’s position is not what his position is now, that is nto unique, a lot of people have felt the same way about Iraq for a lot longer than Murtha, the significance is that he IS a hawk, if there is a fight that needs to be fought, Murtha say let’s fight it.
Nonsense. Being pro-military doesn’t make one a "hawk". This isn’t the first time Murtha has been ready to "redeploy" at the first sign of trouble.
It’s amazing how well the RNC can push y’all’s buttons when they want to Swift Boat someone.
Huh? Talk about a non-sequitur.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
the Army isn’t broken and thus has some things it needs to do before it leaves.

If Murtha ever said the words "the army is broken", then he’s guilty of politician-speak. It obviously hasn’t disintegrated. However, you don’t need to use "is broken" to make the point: you could use "being degraded".


As for, some things it needs to do before it leaves

Such as?

Let’s put it like this: Baker #2 and Murtha look more similar than they do different.

and that the redeployment would be phased over time

More important than phased or unphased is whether or not C. Rice - not that she’s a good choice, just the best I can think of - sits down with all non-Al-Quieda figures running the violence right now and *gets something back* for the depature. The act of US depature is the last and best chance for changing the tone in the country and bringing about relative calm, but it is by no means guaranteed.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
If Murtha ever said the words "the army is broken", then he’s guilty of politician-speak. It obviously hasn’t disintegrated. However, you don’t need to use "is broken" to make the point: you could use "being degraded".
But he didn’t. And it was the basis for his claim we needed to get out of there. In fact, as noted in another reply, the words he used exactly were the army is "broken" and "worn out", living "hand-to-mouth" and "barely getting by".
Such as?
Logistics piece. Command and control. Etc., etc. The same stuff I’ve been talking about for a year.
The act of US depature is the last and best chance for changing the tone in the country and bringing about relative calm, but it is by no means guaranteed.
I don’t necessarily disagree. But that’s not the Murtha option. And that’s the claim which started all this back and forth.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I’m sure that you won’t be the last to invent, believe, or argue a substantive difference between Baker #2 and Murtha. I doubt it. They were probably both talking to the same military sources. Both of the plans were pretty vague on the details of implementation. However, it’s politically useful to the Republicans - **and** to Baker - to present a difference, and it reduces cognitive dissonance for a lot of observers.

Baker doesn’t *want* his plan to be considered the same as Murtha’s. That would kill it or endanger, thanks to the demagogic hostility that the political right has already set in motion against all things associated with it.
Exactly. Murtha never was advocating a sudden and total pull out, and he was speaking for a lot of people at the Pentagon. Murtha gave voice the reality of the problems in Iraq that a lot of people have been trying to hide or deny. Baker knows it too, and just is making it a politically acceptable alternative.

But hey, I don’t care. If they want to avoid cognitive dissonance by pretending this is vastly different, declare the mission a success, and change the definition of success, that’s fine. I don’t care about the political blame game. Most important is to end this fiasco as gracefully and quickly as possible. I think it will be a long time before the American people go for something like this again, and that might be the silver lining on this otherwise dark cloud.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Mithras,

Actually, you are right to question whether the Vietnamese really think that - I am sure some do, especially those that have ever visited Taiwan or South Korea. (Note the countries in Asia closest to being Amnerican puppets in the 60’s and 70’s are the richest now.)

But yeah, maybe a large proportion of the population were just happy to win that war and kick us out.

My suggestion for Iraq would be to lower the bar of success to the level of Colombia, Sri Lanka, or India. Yes, there will still be fighting, but it will be low level and not interfere overly in the nation.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Actually it has zip to do with any resolution. It has to do with statements where he said the army is "broken" and "worn out", living "hand-to-mouth" and "barely getting by".

So, sorry you wasted all that time fishing up the red herring, but no, not the resolution.
My point, that you steadfastedly refuse to acknowledge, much less debate, is that although Murtha had indeed indicated that the army is "broken" and "worn out", living "hand-to-mouth" and "barely getting by", these were comments based on the observations of his longstanding contacts in the military, but WERE NOT given by him as a rationale for redeployment.

Maybe I am not being clear enough, so let me try it this way...
The U.S. Army Reserve, tapped heavily to provide soldiers for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is “degenerating into a ‘broken’ force” due to dysfunctional military policies, the Army Reserve’s chief Lt. Gen. James Helmly said in a Dec. 20 memo to Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker.
This guy is not suggesting redeployment, he is commenting on what he has observed and he wants it fixed.

The army being, or not being broken, is irrelevant to Murtha’s desire for redeployment, it is simple observations he has passed along, just like Lt. Gen Helmly for the purpose of making it an issue so it gets fixed.

Murtha is echoing the sentiment of a gowing number of retiring generals.

You are taking statements he has made on one topic and you applying them to another, though Murtha has never, ever said we need to get out because the army is broken.

He said we need to get out because of the reasons set forth in the amendment I posted, you know, the one you called a red herring.
I don’t see the argument here. Baker isn’t doing Murtha in option two and you validate that point by admitting that Murtha was talking about redeploying "immediately".

Again, you appear to see the word "immediately" and ignore everything else.

If Baker says that we should get out in the next six months, or as soon as practicable after that, you would say that this is different from Murtha’s plan because Murtha said "immediately". This would would require you to ignore precisely what Murtha said he meant by "immediately" when he began to push this debate.
Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) has pushed the public debate in the media and in Congress about bringing U.S. troops out of Iraq, stating that they should be brought home “immediately,” adding, “within the framework of practicality.” His time frame for “redeployment” is six months.
So if Baker says that we should get out in the next six months, or as soon as practicable, you will be being disenguous if you say that differs from Murtha because Murtha said "immediately", because the only actual difference would not be when the troops were to be redeployed, but rather the use of a single word in describing the withdrawal.
It’s amazing how well the RNC can push y’all’s buttons when they want to Swift Boat someone.
Huh? Talk about a non-sequitur.
Sorry, you’re right, I was responding to Cassandra’s passion and did not note that. My point is/was that I believe Cassandra is being played by the pols. I say this because she is obviously seething about Murtha while he is the best friend the military has, and if she weren’t being played, she would likely be on board with the numerous high ranking officers who have retired to tell the same truth Murtha has told, that essentially our current administration are the ones who lack respect for those who are willing to lay down their lives for us.

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
"How many Vietnamese today think that opposing the U.S. intervention was a bad idea"

As a wild guess, I would say at least the million or so Vietnamese who came to the US.

**********************************

"We are in the situation we are in in no small part because of the backbiting and constant sniping of men like John Murtha who have virtually ensured that we have fought with one hand tied behind our backs from day one"

Which hand would that be, the one holding nukes?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Scott Erb says:
Those who demonize Murtha really don’t get it. He’s known in DC as being very in touch with the thinking at the Pentagon.
He’s known in Washington for being very "in touch" with the Pentagon... but not the pointy end, the supply tail. He spends his time getting military pork for his district, since that’s exactly the behavior that has insured his reeelction for years. Mistaking this for an in-depth knowledge of strategic and tactical thinking within the Pentagon is understandable, if wrong.

The guy is the typical two-bit pol, and thinking that he’s some great military thinker is simply a way to assign more weight to his opinions than they deserve.

And Baker?... His track record doesn’t give me a lot of warm fuzzies about any plan that he’d concoct.
Captin Sarcastic quotes
The U.S. Army Reserve, tapped heavily to provide soldiers for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is “degenerating into a ‘broken’ force” due to dysfunctional military policies, the Army Reserve’s chief Lt. Gen. James Helmly said in a Dec. 20 memo to Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker.


The US Army Reserves are "worn out" to the extent that they were not designed for the mission that they have been tasked with, ans have run out of resources.

Maybe you should look at the differing missions assigned to the "Reserve" vs the "National Guard" and you’d realize what that comment was about. Short version - the Guard are pointy end and the Reserve are support and staff functions. The portions of the Reserve that are "worn out", are mostly the Civil Affairs guys, since the RA has very little by way of that function.

He also says:
I believe Cassandra is being played by the pols. I say this because she is obviously seething about Murtha while he is the best friend the military has, and if she weren’t being played, she would likely be on board with the numerous high ranking officers...
I don’t think you have read her blog - if you did, you’d realize that she’s married to a active duty Marine officer. There isn’t a lot of info, but from various hints, I’d say that he’s at least field grade, if not a general grade officer. Her discussion made clear that this was a generally held opinion among her husbands compatriots.
 
Written By: bud
URL: http://
Her discussion made clear that this was a generally held opinion among her husbands compatriots.
So the secret opinion is the one the CinC would like them to have, and the public opinion of officers who can now speak freely, is the opinion the CinC doesn’t want to hear.

Doesn’t this sound a little convenient to you?

Do you really only the one’s that are leaving have these nagative opinions?

Really?
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://

 
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