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What it all Means
Posted by: Dale Franks on Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The big surprise of the night was that the Republicans lost not only the House, which we all expected, but that they lost the Senate, too. Most observers thought the odds were simply too high for the Democrats to run the table on Senate seats like they did.

The question, of course, is why did it happen?

First and foremost, I think, the War in iraq was the primary motivator. We're losing there, and we're doing so as a result of poor strategy, which the president has not heretofore seen fit to alter, and the Congress has not demanded an adequate accounting.

The most irritating thing about the current fiasco in Iraq is that, for the last three years, we at this magazine have criticized the strategy and tactics of the Bush Administration in Iraq.

At no time has the Administration engaged in the Low Intensity Conflict strategy that the military has supposedly been training in for the last 30 years. Whether it has been the failure of leadership that led to Abu Ghraib, the lack of consistency of our counter-insurgency efforts, our seeming unwillingness to increase troop levels to a number that is able to provide adequate security, to shutting down the flow of arms and insurgents from Syria and Iran, or a host of other things that we've called for countless times on the pages of this magazine, the Bush Administration has done none of it. As a result, we are on the verge of losing in Iraq.

Perhaps the things we have counseled here would have been ineffective as well. But it is certain that they couldn't have been more ineffective than the Bush Administration's reactive, minimalist policies.

The danger for the Democrats now is that if Iraq is irrevocably lost because our troops are withdrawn under pressure from a Democratic Congress, then future Republicans will most assuredly use it as a stick to whack them with, claiming that the Democrats "lost" Iraq. Fair or unfair, that is the reality.

We now face the very last chance to do what is necessary to avoid an all-out Civil War in Iraq, and leave behind a relatively free, democratic country. Frankly, since it would require a major increase in troop levels to provide adequate security, and a restructuring of the current Iraqi government to see off Nuri al-Maliki in order to end his apparent moves to set up for a Shiite victory in a burgeoning civil war, and a fundamental change in strategy to fight the insurgency, rather than the insurgents, I don't see it happening.

The Bush Administration was right to invade the country and overthrow the Iraqi regime. It was right to attempt to build a functioning democratic society. But it was sadly wrong in the half-hearted methods it used to try and accomplish the latter goal.

Tonight, it paid the full political price for those mistakes.

And at the end of the day, the American people realized that we are on the verge of defeat in Iraq, and demanded a change in direction. Whether the Democrats embody a change of direction that can stem the tide in Iraq is, of course, an open question. Indeed, many of the most visible leading Democrats would prefer not to even try. But, apparently, the American people felt that they couldn't possibly do any worse.

After all, if we're already losing, we can't lose...more.

In all probability, though, the Bush Administration has already sealed the fate of the Iraq venture, and the Democrats will do little more than oversee, to some extent, the final, sad denouement. The Islamists will be emboldened, and the possible results of that hardly bear thinking on.

The tragedy is that it didn't have to be that way.

For the Republicans, this is a chance to look at what the party supposedly stands for: smaller, less intrusive government. That means reigning in not only free-spending, high-taxing Democrats, but even, if necessary, a president of their own party whose performance fails to meet those goals.

It's also a chance for them to get back into contact with the majority of the American electorate, who, as a whole, have concerns about a number of issues as well, such as illegal immigration.

For now, though, congratulations to Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid, and the rest of the Democrats who will soon gather to govern. I sincerely hope they are as competent and primed for success as they think they are. And I hope, most of all, that rather than pursuing an abject retreat in Iraq, they are able to push the Administration in the direction of success there, assuming that is even possible at this late hour.
 
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I wouldn’t discount the influence of the corrupt culture in washington. Earmarks through the roof! Republicans squandered their majority - they were no longer fiscially conservative. I know several conservatives who voted democrat just to purge the republican party. maybe they can ’lick their wounds’ and reform by ’08.

They took advantage of the people - they knew we had no where else to turn. I mean, were doing a bad job... but you aren’t gonna put a tax and spend liberal into office are you???

Apparently... people did.

Sad really- I hoped for more from majortiy power they wielded. Oh sure the war in Iraq is a BIG component to those voting democrat, but the republicans alienated their base - and thats a big no-no.
Honestly I want to know what they were smoking spending like drunk sailors, and earmarking like no tomorrow. What did they think they would have to show for it come election day? Err ... we spend more than democrats...

Sad day - and I’m not even a republican.
 
Written By: WarCog
URL: http://
Ironically this result still shows that the oldline, big government liberal Democrats are still irrelevant. In 1994 the Republicans won the house and senate because they presented a very specific postive agenda. By 2006 the Republicans lost the house and senate (presumably) because they completely abandoned that agenda and became exactly, precisely what they had criticized for decaded: big spending, corrupt politicians whose only interest was to stay in office and deliver other people’s money to the home district. The Democrats gained control of the house by saying as little as possible other than a "new direction" whatever that means. The seats they won in order to put Charley Rangle, Nancy Pelosi, Barny Frank, Henry Waxman, etc, etc in power were won because the candidates who tokk Republican seats did not campaign like the oldline liberals listed above, but as "nicer" conservatives.

It has almost been comical watching guy’s like Rangle going around pretending like he wasn’t going to raise taxes and send spending through the roof. You could almost see him smirking everytime he opened his mouth. Bary Frank is going to "reform" Sanbanes-Oxley? Hah! Tax increases are only a "last resort" Nancy?

The bottom line: this was an election lost by the Republican party, a well-earned, well desrved kick to the collective crotch. Hopefully both parties learn the right lessons here, although something makes me doubt that eitehr will. It should be quite a spectacle watching leopards not change their spots.
 
Written By: DS
URL: http://
Oh well....it su*ks because my view of the Dems is- well you can guess what it is. But at the end of the day the GOP blew it. Lets see if they figure out why.

In the meantime it’s not all bad.....the GOP can use all of those tricks in the Dems obstruction playbook and they can’t say sh*t about it since they set the preecedent :)
 
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
the GOP can use all of those tricks in the Dems obstruction playbook
Obstruction is a word that Republicans will no longer be using. That was a buzzword Republicans used to try to convince people that just because you are in the majority, you should get anything you want.

I am looking forward to the Republicans using their minority powers to reign in the more outlandish Democratic proposals.

And don’t forget the veto pen.

Checks and balances at last.

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Obstruction is a word that Republicans will no longer be using. That was a buzzword Republicans used to try to convince people that just because you are in the majority, you should get anything you want.
Captin if you can call the Democrates ANYTHING BUT "Obstructionist" I’ll eat my hat...Bush fer it, we’re agin’ it...even if we were FER it under Clinton.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Oh and Iraq, the "Failure" what are you nattering on about Dale? How have we failed, except that the NYT tells us every day things are going badly? And what was the alternative(s) spell those out again? Oh the 500,000 man force, that was a non-starter from the get-go...that was self-deterance, no way that the US was going to support that deployment. And anything else...oh and the Army hasn’t been studying LIC’s for 30 years...it’s been studying defeating the Soviet Red Army or it’s proxies, because THOSE were things that it felt were doable, LIC was WAY too much "Vietnam" a topic that the Army is loathe to touch.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Oh and Iraq, the "Failure" what are you nattering on about Dale?
The one that is essentially obvious to everyone but you, apparently.
...oh and the Army hasn’t been studying LIC’s for 30 years
Uh, yes, it has. Tradoc went especially big on it starting in the 1980s. The problem was that no one was listening.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
I am looking forward to the Republicans using their minority powers to reign in the more outlandish Democratic proposals.
I’m looking forward to them reigning in all of their proposals if they can :)

Turnabout and such. Maybe if they get it crammed down their throats enough they’ll learn a lesson
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
...oh and the Army hasn’t been studying LIC’s for 30 years
Uh, yes, it has. In fact, I did many LIC exercises at higher level CPXs as a routine part of training.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Again Dale detail these defeats and debacles? You mean that there is NO CIVIL WAR in Iraq and that the Insurgency is winding down? I won’t dispute the "perception" of debacle, but i ask you EXACTLY what debacle was there?

Yeah the Army studied LIC... what did it produce as it’s doctinal manual, FM 100-6 AirLand Battle and AirLand Operations...the LID’s were designed to get to 3rd World quickly, to FIGHT THE SOVIETS, not so much to defeat guerrillas.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Yeah the Army studied LIC ...
Well, that’s what he said ...
the LID’s were designed to get to 3rd World quickly, to FIGHT THE SOVIETS, not so much to defeat guerrillas.
Well except for the LIC operations we were a part of in South America and elsewhere (mostly as advisors).

Also the entire purpose of Civil/Military Operations and the units to support it are based in LIC.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
McQ the Army STUDIED LIC’s it PLANNED for war witht he WTO and it’s proxies...
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
McQ the Army STUDIED LIC’s it PLANNED for war witht he WTO and it’s proxies...
Well Joe, having been in the Army at the time and having been a part of the training regime I can tell you that we did more than just "study" it ... we trained for it as well.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
OK McQ just tell me what perecentage of time training and procurement went to LIC versus preparing for the "Next War in Europe."
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
30/70 - it also depended on the unit we were training. Some years we did mostly LIC depending on the unit rotation.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
BUT THE ARMY, not your Light infantry unit spent it’s time, money and effort on the WTO...or did I miss the part about how the M-1 and M-2 series were also really, really valuable in El Salvador?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
BUT THE ARMY, not your Light infantry unit spent it’s time, money and effort on the WTO...or did I miss the part about how the M-1 and M-2 series were also really, really valuable in El Salvador?
Ever hear of the 92nd SIB? Don’t recall ever doing anything but LIC for them. Same with many others. Sometimes we did force on force, sometimes we did LIC.

The Army mandated a certain percentage of training be in LIC (remember Kosovo? It drove the requirement.) over a two or three year training cycle so we did that as a part of their training.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Withdrawal could actually help Iraqis more than the current system is helping them.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/opinion/08barton.html

This guy from CSIS, a very centrist and professional defense think tank, thinks so.

So it would a loss of prestige for the US, but a gain for Iraq. The hot war in Anbar between us and the Sunnis has to end for anything good to have even a chance of happening.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://

 
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