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The Iraq Study Group: options
Posted by: Jon Henke on Monday, November 13, 2006

Via Instapundit, I see that various Republicans are preemptively deploring the Iraq Study Group report, speculating that it will represent a failure of our will to win.

Look, I sympathize with everybody's desire to hoist the Churchillian flag, trot out Thatcher's "wobbly" admonishment and deploy the cliches in the service of victory. However — and this is a bitter pill that Republicans need to swallow in this one instance — Nancy Pelosi is right.
"This isn't a war to win, its a situation to be solved, and you define winning any way you want, but you must solve the problem," she said.
The problems remaining in Iraq no longer fall under the rubric of "war". If it were a war, we could win it by killing people and blowing stuff up. While security problems necessarily involve the occasional application of force, the dominant difficulties in Iraq simply aren't force-on-force problems.

The remaining problems are sociopolitical. No amount of firepower is going to resolve the intractable conflicts of interest between the Shiites and the Sunnis, or between various subgroups. No US troop level will convince the rival Iraqi factions that pluralism is better than asserting their own interests. They'll either find it in their interest to moderate. . .or they won't.

We cannot bring that about through "willpower".

During this last campaign, I had some criticism of Jim Webb's suggestion that we bring Iran and Syria to the table to negotiate the future of Iraq. I do worry about the prospect of letting Iran and Syrian define Iraq's future — it is objectionable on both moral and practical grounds — however, anybody who thinks that we ought not negotiate with our enemies on areas of mutual interest is practicing 4 year old willfulness, not foreign policy.

Our choices in Iraq lie in a spectrum between an ugly, Egyptian/Pakistani-style "democracy" and an outright bloodbath in which Iraqi leadership is won by the most brutal (and probably anti-American) group. All we can do at this point is to soften the landing by helping whichever 'our bastard' will accept a nominal alliance with us on areas of shared interest, including a press freedoms, sectarian tolerance, non-aggression deals, a temporary Status of forces agreement that allows the US to retain some influence and general non-support of terrorism.

I realize that doesn't ring in your ears like the strains of Sousa as Mark Steyn leads the Victory over Islamism Day parade, but it might actually represent progress. It might not be "worth it", but it's a lot better than the quasi-Vietnam Democratic plan to simply abandon ship as fast as we can, and then cluck-cluck while Iraq is taken over by the worst possible groups without any input from the US.

Much like, you know, South Vietnam.

If the ISG presents a plan to draw down in Iraq without completely abandoning them — a plan which allows us to retain influence without forcing us to bear the costs of the inevitable sectarian conflict — we ought to jump on it faster than the Democrats can say "Project Pursestrings".

Because they will.

Get over the chest-thumping rhetoric, and recognize that the time for tanks has passed and the time for clear-headed consideration of 'what's still possible' is at hand. Republicans used to understand that there were a lot of things that the government just can't do well, no matter how much money it threw at the problem.

Nation-building in a society that doesn't like our social architecture is probably one of those things.

In the meantime, if we have the chance to reduce our exposure in Iraq while still guiding them towards an optimal state of affairs, then we should take it and be glad it's available before distaste for the situation leads us to abandon another potential ally altogether.
 
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No amount of firepower is going to resolve the intractable conflicts of interest between the Shiites and the Sunnis, or between various subgroups.
Now you’re just being silly.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Yes let’s be grown-ups and redeploy Jon...and then when we’re gone the Democratic Congress can pull funding and support for the government, just like they did South Vietnam.

We CAN produce an acceptable result, but IF we redeploy now, we are fooling ourselves...and allowing ourselves to be fooled. Once the troops have withdrawn will Pelosi et. al EVER allow US forces to intervene or US funds to flow to support a "nasty Shi’i regime" in Baghdad? No Syria and Iran will get to interfere and meddle, to push for a regime of THEIR liking. Look at how the whole Hizb’Allah/Lebanon thing has turned out. Does anyone really consider what happened in Lebanon a victory for Peace? UNIFIL is failing to do its job, a job it NEVER INTENDED TO DO, and not a word is being said. Same thing in Iraq, we’ll negotiate with the interested parties, we’ll agree, they’ll violate their agreements and no one will do anything to enforce them.

I think the answer is that in listening to James "We Don’t Have Dog in this Fight" Baker we will be just making ur defeat SEEM nicer, but it will be a defeat. Does anyone remember the Foreign Policy successes of George ’41? No, they remember Saddam "winning" in ’91 and the "Realists" letting him stay in power. Mr Baker has already SUNK ONE BUSH, i hope he doesn’t get a chance to sink another.

I say avoid the Siren Song of Realism...
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Hmmm, it’s not really a war, and it’s not really peace. Sounds like a job for the "Dept of Everything Else"

I don’t see how abandoning Iraq is in our national interest, short term or long term. So, we must do our job there and make it work.

There are no easy choices or paths.

http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2006/11/us_strategy_for.html
Looking forward, we can expect the following:

* The US will withdraw to bases in Iraq (a completion of a trend that began last year to limit casualties) and many (perhaps half) of the US forces in Iraq will be withdrawn over the next year. This will likely be the only policy change that all decision makers can agree on. As a result, violence in Iraq will spike as unsupervised Iraqi troops are unleashed on civilians and guerrillas decimate isolated Iraqi units. It won’t matter to most of the people in the US as long as US troops aren’t involved.
* Iraqi oil production will completely collapse as the southern pipelines are severed due to chaotic violence. This reduction of 1-2 million barrels of oil a day will cause a return of $80 a barrel oil. Spikes above that price may occur as guerrilla attacks (both Shiite and Sunni) spill over into Saudi Arabia (see my new book "Brave New War" for more on trend lines in systems disruption). A big spike, due to a full take-down of a major Saudi facility or KSA government collapse, would have global implications. It would throw into disarray many developing countries, potentially including China.
* Iran will increasingly, despite ongoing conversations with the US (via Baker?), be blamed for the violence in Iraq and the KSA. Open conflict with Iran will continue to escalate due to this and Iran’s development of nuclear weapons. The multiplication and tightening of triggers for this war — from the complete resupply of Hezbollah’s ATGWs/rockets which may ignite a new war in southern Lebanon to a pre-emptive Israeli or US strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities to a US engagement with Iranian forces that escalates under its own steam — will make it almost inevitable.
http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=111006A
The Iraqi blogger "Sooni," who describes himself as a "free man" living in Baghdad, recently was asked what would happen if the US partitioned Iraq. "Just imagine it this way [sic] partitioning Iraq will create a small Iran in the south of Iraq and a small Afghanistan in the middle of it!"

Leaving Iraq will be worse than leaving Vietnam, not necessarily in terms of bloodshed, though that will be no comfort to those who will be slaughtered, but because the jihadist threat today is more dangerous than the Soviet threat then. Despite lacking - so far - in similar capabilities to the Communists, our enemies more than make up for it with an insatiable bloodthirsty ruthlessness. The honor that Mr. Carroll sees in defeat will soon be forgotten should Al Qaeda establish a caliphate in Anbar Province and begin a healthy trade in the export of mayhem throughout the West. The Furies that will visit us from such a redoubt will engender much more than a little longing that we had stayed.
http://enterpriseresilienceblog.typepad.com/enterprise_resilience_man/2006/11/development_in_.html
I have written before that development begins with security. Without it you don’t have a chance. Where violence has not been as great a problem, reconstruction projects have done much better. Even there, however, a Development-in-a-Box approach could have improved things. Development-in-a-Box uses best practices, internationally accepted standards, and communities of practice to ensure that projects undertaken have the best chance to succeed. The approach also involves training local populations to manage and maintain infrastructure. Such an approach was sadly lacking in Iraq.

Poor planning and coordination by U.S. officials meant that even successful individual projects failed to do the job; for example, health-care centers were built at great cost but had no water and sewer service. Poor work-site management by contractors meant that some projects went awry. And now that the United States is handing over reconstruction efforts to Iraq, many involved with the process worry that the Iraqis don’t have the training or the money to keep U.S.-built facilities running.


Great beginnings deserve great endings. "Overall, 88 percent of planned projects — about 12,000," Witte reports, "have been completed, with just 4 percent yet to begin." Unfortunately, but there doesn’t appear to be a "happy ever after" ending in Iraq. The money committed for construction is nearly gone and many Iraqis see no difference in their circumstances.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://inactivist.org/blog/keith_indy
One other thing to keep in mind...

Increase security there, and you’ll deal with 90% of the problem. That is a tough nut to crack.

http://www.mnf-iraq.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7212&Itemid=109
He cited changes in Iraq’s security situation, with violence down during the past two weeks since Ramadan ended and diminishing capabilities of al-Qaida in Iraq.

Efforts by Iraqi Security Forces and Coalition troops, and most recently, by tribal elements in Anbar province, are proving effective against al-Qaida operatives, he said. “We continue to see evidence that our efforts are achieving results against their ability to finance and both execute and conduct operations.”

Meanwhile, sectarian violence remains a challenge, with death squads and illegitimate armed militias threatening the security situation, Caldwell said. More than 90 percent of these incidents are occurring within 30 miles of Baghdad, he said.

Caldwell said Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s work with tribal sheiks and religious leaders to promote religious reconciliation and unity is “promising.”

Another positive change, he said, is the Iraqi Government’s focus on improving its security forces and Maliki’s initiative to increase their numbers to improve their flexibility and responsiveness. Currently, 319,000 Iraqi Security Forces are trained and equipped. Previous plans had set a goal of 325,000 Security Forces, but Maliki wants 355,000.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://inactivist.org/blog/keith_indy
I agree with Joe. This may be a bitter pill but that does not mean it has to be cyanide. Once out we will never go back in - no matter what promises are made or what assurances are given.

Quit calling this anything other than what it is - snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. We went there for one reason, depose a tyrant. We succeeded. We convinced ourselves that now that we have won the war we need to win the peace. In that we have failed to accomplish. Notice I said "failed to accomplish", not failed. There is still work to do to accomplish that. And we all recognize it.

You want to put timelines in place - realistic timelines - go for it. you want to pull out - fine - then call it what it is - F**KING RETREAT. We are not redeploying because that suggests we may come back. We won’t. This will be a retreat and the rest of the world knows it.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
The problems remaining in Iraq no longer fall under the rubric of "war". If it were a war, we could win it by killing people and blowing stuff up.
You are talking about war like it is some kind of abstract and seperate form of action, which must be committed to or avoided. To a realist war is merely diplomacy by other means.
I do worry about the prospect of letting Iran and Syrian define Iraq’s future — it is objectionable on both moral and practical grounds — however, anybody who thinks that we ought not negotiate with our enemies on areas of mutual interest is practicing 4 year old willfulness, not foreign policy.
Negotiations with Syria and Iran can range from asking please, please provide assistance to build a safe democratic Iraq - to decapitation strikes against the Syrian or Iranian leadership and then asking the new leaders for same assistance.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Look, there may have been a time when we could reasonably believe we could have a fully democratic Iraq that is also a strong ally to the US. But that time has passed now and polling in Iraq, such as it is, has consistently shown.

At this point, ironically, our best hope is to prevent Iraq from becoming the new Afghanistan to terrorists. Which more than anything else, perfectly describes what a cluster f@ck this war really was.
 
Written By: Davebo
URL: http://
I say avoid the Siren Song of Realism...
Unintentional humor award.
We CAN produce an acceptable result,
By acceptable, you mean, a government in control of its territory and with mass slaughter coming to an end and the surrender of guerilla reisistance to US occupying forces? Yeah? How? By all means, reveal the secret plan to change all the trend lines from their consistent flat/downward path.
If the ISG presents a plan to draw down in Iraq without completely abandoning them — a plan which allows us to retain influence without forcing us to bear the costs of the inevitable sectarian conflict — we ought to jump on it faster than the Democrats can say "Project Pursestrings".
Because they will.
Oh, come on. Most of the Democratic plans on the table involve redeployment to Kurdistan and Kuwait, with plenty of room from there to run SpecOps, air support, and etc. The problem is that we already have a failed state, even with US troops in full engagement mode. It will remain a failed state for the near future whether we keep the troops in, make moderate drawdowns, or even run the imaginary end of all support path.

Furthermore, Iraq’s drift into the Syria-Iran axis is not preventable. It took two decades of Syrian military occupation of Lebanon to turn even a plurality of the population there anti-neighbor. Right now, like it or not, most of Iraq has very few good feelings towards us and a lot more towards Iran and Syria. Anything *less* than a transparently bought-out junta dictatorship will inevitably be closer to Syria/Iran than to us. Have you listened to Moqtada Al-Sadr for as many as two speeches? No amount of covert US arms shipments will save that.

I understand that you’re trying to use the Specter of the Disasterous Democrats as a lever to get liberal-haters to come to grips with reality, but frankly, people need to come to understand the right reasons for the right policies. Iraq’s deterioration over the past x years, combined with the current regional culture and shared set of assumptions, make a pro-American government very unlikely. The best we can hope for is a place at the table, but we can’t count on it. Whatever we do, the odds of Iraq being an Iranian ally are high. And when the Iraqi government becomes complicit in, say, outing CIA assets keeping tabs on Iran, or sabotaging economic pressure on the borders, neither Republicans nor Democrats will have an easy time faking cooperation.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
The bipartisan group also contains the seeds of a bipartisan solution to the Iraq problem, and theoretically engagement with Iran and Syria could yield diplomatic benefits.

The danger of an ideology-driven foreign policy is that one defines an enemy as an enemy no matter what. Realism accepts that today’s enemy, while perhaps not tomorrow’s ally, doesn’t necessarily require a war sooner or later. Many who oppose opening to Iran and Syria assume a future war with these states, and assume them to be Hitlerian. Realists don’t discount that possibility, but prefer to engage first — not appease — to determine if mutual self-interest can’t yield results.

It might be that all the rhetoric about ’world war IV’ and inevitable future conflict in the Mideast is misguided. It’s possible that a policy that assumes such a future would create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Nixon opened to the Communist world and set up a peaceful end of the Cold War. Only Nixon could go to China — Mao’s rhetoric was as vehement then as Ahmadinejad’s now — and maybe only Bush can go to Tehran. In my blog today I even speculate that if Bush handles these issues well, he might have his best two years ahead, contrary to all conventional wisdom.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I’m not sure what you guys think I’m advocating, but you don’t seem to understand it. I’m not suggesting we abandon them...I’m suggesting that we limit our troops engagement and continue to support our potential allies in Iraq. I specifically don’t want us to abandon them.

If your view of this is as simple as "keep the troops there=win" or "draw down=lose", then you don’t seem to have any grasp of what the problem actually is. The violence is a symptom of the problems, not the cause.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
Jon I don’t think YOU grasp that drawing down troops and limiting casualties is merely the first step to leaving entirely and allowing the Congress to pull support for Iraq.

Glasnost are you high? Iran and Syria are not well-loved in Iraq...this might be your way of fooling yourself into believing that it is "inevitable" that Syria and Iran will be involved.

Scott Erb, when you look at Syrian and Iran today you can not rationally conclude that they are going to be players that are going to help the US. They don’t have to be Hitlerian or I want to go to war with tomorrow, but two dictatorships hostile to the US and Israel are going to "help" us? And YOU’RE talking Realism?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
What is the overarching strategy of the Democrats that troop drawdowns support? Is the proposed force reduction in support of the Bush strategy to help the Iraqis build a stable democracy? To force the Iraqis to "stand up" to reach that end?

If that is the case it implies that the Democrats believe the Iraqis are actually capable of "standing up" but have been heretofore unmotivated to do so.

If the Democrats’ proposed troop drawdown is not in support of the Bush strategy of establishing a working democracy in Iraq, what strategy is it in support of?

It’s remarkable that the Democrats have attained their new power and no one has a clue what their overall goal is concerning Iraq.
 
Written By: Fyro
URL: http://
It might be that all the rhetoric about ’world war IV’ and inevitable future conflict in the Mideast is misguided. It’s possible that a policy that assumes such a future would create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Nixon opened to the Communist world and set up a peaceful end of the Cold War.
Um.....Nixon is responsible for ending the cold war!?!?!

You don’t teach history, do you?
Only Nixon could go to China — Mao’s rhetoric was as vehement then as Ahmadinejad’s now — and maybe only Bush can go to Tehran
Bush can....but Jews can’t.

See the problem?

No...of course you don’t. People like you never do.

*SIGH*
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Glasnost is right. We broke it; but we can’t fix it. Iran is very likely to informally annex Iraq, at least what remains after the inevitable partitioning — de facto or otherwise — by religion/ethnicity. Then what? If I am not mistaken, al Qaeda depises the Shiites even more than it does America. Let Iran deal with the Islamofacists there. Maybe it will force political Islam to moderate. Then perhaps the world can come together to combat the Islamofacists the way it might have had we not invaded Iraq in the first place. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not predicting this rosy outcome, merely hoping for it and recognizing our limited options.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://

Scott Erb, when you look at Syrian and Iran today you can not rationally conclude that they are going to be players that are going to help the US. They don’t have to be Hitlerian or I want to go to war with tomorrow, but two dictatorships hostile to the US and Israel are going to "help" us? And YOU’RE talking Realism?


They’ll help as it is in their interest to help. Also, Iran had been reforming gradually, it wasn’t until the last elections that the hardliners won both the Majles and the Presidency. I think the biggest disadvantage of the Iraq war was that we emboldened the hardliners in a country far more powerful than Iraq: Iran. That undercut, at least for a time, the reform movement there. The active Iranian reform movement doesn’t want US help either, and certainly doesn’t want an attack on Iran. As Nixon proved with the evil empire — you deal with potential adversaries based on the existing conditions, and over the long term history will make its own calls.

As for Syria, young Asad, and the fragility of his personal rule (as a Baathist dictator — a secular Alawi) means that Syria has a lot it needs. It’s anti-Israel primarily due to the Golan Heights, but its real interest is stability to undercut and avoid an Islamist revolt. Both Iran and Syria have real interests which could create conditions for some agreements to rachet down the tension.

If tried, though, it has to be done with in a way which is straight forward; the Iran-Contra scandal showed how not to attempt a diplomatic opening with Iran! Iran and Syria also have a vested interest in ultimately seeing Iraq stabilize. If we continue the Iraq war the voter ire in 2006 will only grow by 2008 (can you say President Lamont? Just kidding)and politicians will be forced to pull us out. If we engage Syria and Iran we try to shape the outcome so that it’s not simply them moving in as we retreat. Key would be to assure Iraqi independence and stability.

But it can’t hurt to sit down and talk with the Iranians and Syrians. Keeping our distance doesn’t seem to bring benefits.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Um.....Nixon is responsible for ending the cold war!?!?!

You don’t teach history, do you?
I see you disagree with my statement, but yet only insult it rather than counter it. Nixon isn’t solely responsible, but detente and Ostpolitik helped create conditions that allowed its peaceful demise. The Soviets got complacent after the Helsinki accords were signed, believing themselves now legitimized. They allowed more travel, and western influences seeped in. Ostpolitik directly created the kind of ties and mindsets that would yield the 1989 "uprising." So Nixon and Kissinger get a lot of credit on that front.

Reagan gets credit, but not because of high defense spending. He simply continued a massive spending increase started by Carter (and he spent less than Carter’s projections). Reagan gets credit for actually changing US policy (defense spending increases stopped in real terms after 1986) after he came to believe Gorbachev meant what he said. Gorbi got credit in Moscow for "taming Reagan," and after the Soviet military concluded that SDI wasn’t really such a big threat Gorbachev could work with Reagan to peacefully end the Cold War. Reagan followed his gut on Gorbachev, and many conservatives were mad at him (or accused Shultz and Weinberger of not letting Reagan be Reagan).

Also a cause for the end of the Cold War was globalization — market economies were outperforming the Soviet bloc, and interdependencies were increasing so much that the Soviets really couldn’t hope to avoid economic collapse (they even realized this back in the mid-seventies — or at least the KGB did, the bureaucrats at the time dismissed that as needlessly alarmist).

I don’t know what you mean about Jews and Tehran. Iran has a Jewish community (Islam officially demands tolerance and respect for other religions, especially other people of the book), as well as a Christian and I believe a Zorastrian community.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Bush can....but Jews can’t.
That’s odd given that Iran has the largest jewish population in the region short of Israel.
 
Written By: Davebo
URL: http://
Considering the number involved, that’s not saying much.
But yes, they are there.
All they have to do is be quiet and don’t try to emigrate, or worship, or be overtly Jewish.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Considering the number involved, that’s not saying much.

Estimates range as high as 40,000.

All they have to do is be quiet and don’t try to emigrate, or worship, or be overtly Jewish.


Not at all. They are discriminated against in employment, but they are free to worship with some restrictions, the biggest being a ban on the distribution of Hebrew texts.

However this is grossly off topic.
 
Written By: Davebo
URL: http://
I’m glad to see this blog starting to come around on Iraq.
 
Written By: Nicolai Brown
URL: http://www.nicolaibrown.com/iraq/timeline.html
All we can do at this point is to soften the landing by helping whichever ’our bastard’ will accept a nominal alliance with us on areas of shared interest, including a press freedoms, sectarian tolerance, non-aggression deals, a temporary Status of forces agreement that allows the US to retain some influence and general non-support of terrorism.
And who would this be? It’s not a coincidence that you do not name this person, or bastard, or whatever.

Think about it. No one who currently seeks power in Iraq is ever going to ally with the United States. To the contrary, his power will derive from his opposition to the United States, not from America’s support. That’s the dynamic in Iraq right now.

Everyone in Iraq is an enemy of the United States, at least among the power brokers. The biggest impediment to getting out of Iraq now is an unwllingness of those on the political right in the United States to grasp this fundamental fact. We don’t have a horse in this race that can win. The various sides are at one another’s throats, but that does not mean we have any friends among them. We don’t.

That’s why phased withdrawal without regard to the mess we may end up leaving behind is the only option. I defy you to name anyone, or any political group for that matter, whom we could back that would come even close to achieving the goals you set out above.

Iraq is a disaster that simply cannot be remedied by the United States. It’s that simple.


 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Bring Saddam Hussein and the Baath party back to power. It will be ugly initially, but Iraq will be stable pretty soon.

 
Written By: Ivan
URL: http://
Scott Erb is delusional..I know it now. Detente won the Cold War? Keep telling yourself this, Scott. Detente and Ostpolitik PROLONGED the war, because they allowed trade and "accepted" the East European situation. It was the Pople, Solidarity and Reagan that ended the Cold War.

That was good Helsinki, got the Russians "complacent." Man that’s what I always say at my alma mater’s football games, "We just let them score the first 28 points to get them to drop their guard."

Carter TALKED about defense increases, Reagan actually carried them thru. And no I don’t believe that Carter intended to spend MORE than Reagan, you can tell your 18 y.o. freshpeople that but I was alive and voting during that era.

Oh and you can ask the ba’hai about that whole "tolerance thing" in Iran. Scott you are a sad case, the regime in Teheran is Xenophobic and Raqbidly Shi’i and you are trying to tell yourself, at least, that "Hey they got Jews. They must be OK."?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Considering the number involved, that’s not saying much.

Estimates range as high as 40,000.
Iran’s population is over 68,000,000. 40,000 seems like a big number, but it’s less than 0.1% of Iran’s population.

Just clarifying a point.
 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
That’s why phased withdrawal without regard to the mess we may end up leaving behind is the only option.
Heh, thank you Mr. 1973 re-visited.

You’re right MK, just like on the other thread, there’s only one option, Yours.
Damn it must be nice to be as wise and knowledgeable as you are.

Would you be willing to give us the solution for Palestine while you’re at it?

You have improved though, you’ve acknowledged you don’t give a tinker’s dam for the Iraqis and you’ve moved past the point where you’re pretending you do.
Good on ya, the first step in correcting a problem is admitting you have one.
You’re not interested in freedom or any of that crap, you’re just interested in being proved right.

As I asked before though -
How soon MK? How soon will be soon enough for you? What are you going to do if Nancy and Jack don’t follow whatever timetable you have in your head and they take longer to get out than you like.


And the numbers I see quoted on Jews in Iran is @25,000 - estimated.
Numerous sources. 35,000 was the highest estimate.
Okay, I’ll retract not free to worship - the others stand.
 
Written By: Looker
URL: http://
You’re right MK, just like on the other thread, there’s only one option, Yours.
Damn it must be nice to be as wise and knowledgeable as you are.

Would you be willing to give us the solution for Palestine while you’re at it?
Ok, smart guy. Why don’t you enlighten us. Who is our horse in Iraq? SCIRI? Sadr? Who? Please explain what magical force in Iraq is going to rise up and bring about a semblance of security? And while you’re at it, why don’t you tell us why this Shia strongman is going to be able to tame the Sunnis without massacring them, Rwandan style? And at the same time be our ally?

Again, it’s all well and good to say we have to stay the course until we find that magical strongman. But there is no one currently in the game right now who is going to do our bidding.

The Shia are not going to let the Sunnis assume power, and the Sunnis are not going to let Shia assume power. Not without a full scale civil war. Nothing we do or don’t do is going to change that.

Now, tell me why I am wrong. Please. Let me know.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Scott Erb is delusional..I know it now. Detente won the Cold War? Keep telling yourself this, Scott. Detente and Ostpolitik PROLONGED the war, because they allowed trade and "accepted" the East European situation. It was the Pople, Solidarity and Reagan that ended the Cold War.
You make an assertion, but you don’t back it up or explain why. You insult, but don’t try to engage. I guess if something contradicts your opinion you just insult and state your particular opinion.

That was good Helsinki, got the Russians "complacent." Man that’s what I always say at my alma mater’s football games, "We just let them score the first 28 points to get them to drop their guard."
Now you ridicule, but you don’t offer any alternative or substance. Apparently your approach when confronted with ideas that are different than what you’ve chosen to believe is to attack and ridicule. OK, though that’s usually not a sign that you’re really engaged in serious thought.
Carter TALKED about defense increases, Reagan actually carried them thru. And no I don’t believe that Carter intended to spend MORE than Reagan, you can tell your 18 y.o. freshpeople that but I was alive and voting during that era.
Carter started the defense build up, and there is every indication he was going to carry them through. But hey, if something contradicts your opinion, just claim you don’t believe it. Keep that mind nice and closed, friend!

Oh and you can ask the ba’hai about that whole "tolerance thing" in Iran. Scott you are a sad case, the regime in Teheran is Xenophobic and Raqbidly Shi’i and you are trying to tell yourself, at least, that "Hey they got Jews. They must be OK."?
Now you mix insults and some kind of ramble about Iran, I’m not sure what you’re trying to say there.

You should learn to actually confront opinions different than your own with substance and even learn to question your pre-existing beliefs. That can be hard, but it can also be very rewarding.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I don’t disagree that progress lies outside simply an ongoing presence of US troops. But what progress will we make with Iran which is out to oppose or ridicule us whenever they get a chance. Also our failure in Iraq plays into their advantage.

What could we possibly bring to the table with Iran that would be of common interest? I can imagine one or two things that will come back to bite us in the ass, like letting them advance their nuclear weapons program unchallenged.

It’s easy to say let’s sit down at the table with Iran. But that’s no more a plan than saying ’stay in Iraq until the Iraqi forces are up to speed’.

The paper tiger reputation we obtained from Vietnam is a large reason why we have a problem now. Reinforcing it now will cost us for decades to come. That’s not chest thumping, that’s pragmatism.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
The paper tiger reputation we obtained from Vietnam is a large reason why we have a problem now. Reinforcing it now will cost us for decades to come. That’s not chest thumping, that’s pragmatism.
Exactly so. So part of the solution must be not reinforcing that particular perception ... and that means not immediately redeploying outside of Iraq. Some shifting around within and some pushing on Iraqis to take the lead more quickly ... yes. Beginning redeployment outside of Iraq within 4 to 6 months? No.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
You make an assertion, but you don’t back it up or explain why. You insult, but don’t try to engage. I guess if something contradicts your opinion you just insult and state your particular opinion.
OK the Pope mobilized Poland, Solidarity mobilized Poland, Reagan led an arms buildup that resulted in the collapse of the USSR. OK, it’s no longer assertions.
Now you ridicule, but you don’t offer any alternative or substance. Apparently your approach when confronted with ideas that are different than what you’ve chosen to believe is to attack and ridicule. OK, though that’s usually not a sign that you’re really engaged in serious thought
Like YOURS was a serious thought. Helsinki got the Soviets complacent...oh puh-leeze, if that’s what you’re teaching man I am in the wrong business. You know I took classes from some of the formost authorities on the East Bloc, and read many of the seminal works on that bloc, too, and you know NEVER ONCE WAS THAT POSITION ASSERTED. So yes I heap scorn on that notion...had you advanced that the UFO Space Aliens had contributed to the end of the COld War I would heap scorn on that, too, without reference to evidence.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I am a 2 tour Vietnam Vet, recently retired from 36 years in the Defense Industrial Complex after working on many of the weapons our forces are using in the Middle East as we speak.

If you are interested in a view of the inside of the Pentagon procurement process from Vietnam to Iraq please check the posting at my blog entitled "Odyssey of Armaments".

The Pentagon is a giant, incredibly complex
establishment,budgeted in excess of $500B per year. The Rumsfelds, the Administrations and the Congressmen come and go but the real machinery of policy and procurement keeps on grinding away, presenting the politicos who arrive with detail and alternatives slanted to perpetuate the machine.

How can any newcomer, be he a President, a Congressman or even the Sec. Def. to be - Mr. Gates- understand such complexity, particulary if heretofore he has not had the clearance to get the full details?

Answer- he can’t. Therefor he accepts the alternatives provided by the career establishment that never goes away and he hopes he makes the right choices. Or he is influenced by a lobbyist or two representing companies in his district or special interest groups.

From a practical standpoint, policy and war decisions are made far below the levels of the talking heads who take the heat or the credit for the results.

This situation is unfortunate but it is ablsolute fact. Take it from one who has been to war and worked in the establishment.

This giant policy making and war machine will eventually come apart and have to be put back together to operate smaller, leaner and on less fuel. But that won’t happen unitil it hits a brick wall at high speed.

We will then have to run a Volkswagon instead of a Caddy and get along somehow. We better start practicing now and get off our high horse. Our golden aura in the world is beginning to dull from arrogance.

 
Written By: Ken Larson
URL: http://www.rosecoveredglasses.blogspot.com
Scott Erb is delusional ...
Finally something we can agree on.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Well, to give credit where credit is due. Carter did start financing the mujahdin in Afghanistan so that the Soviets would invade, there-by creating the Soviets Vietnam. Of course, we also know what else that led to.

Carter also decided that taking over a US embassy wasn’t an act of war. And we also know where that led.

The Soviets were on a long slide to dissolution from the start, despite all the useful idiots and fellow travelers in this country who were trying to carry their water and cover for them. Each administration greased the way, some more, some less. Credit and failure often goes to whoever happens to be in office when the hot potato lands.

Reagan did do a lot to help grease the slide though. He probably helped it fall faster then it otherwise would have under a less confrontational policy.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
You should learn to actually confront opinions different than your own with substance and even learn to question your pre-existing beliefs. That can be hard, but it can also be very rewarding.
Scott , I reference you to ornerywp’s dress down of you last night. Put best, I believe, with the following...

Pot. Kettle. Black.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
The paper tiger reputation we obtained from Vietnam is a large reason why we have a problem now
The classic and, apparently, indestructible fallacy that got us into this mess in the first place. The terrorists have the nuts of who surrender to this doctrine in a paper sack.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Of course, when a realist talks about "stability" in the Middle East, they mainly are talking oil prices.

So, if the course we wish is stability in the ME, we will make deals with anyone so long as they promise to keep oil at a decent price and volume. They’ll still get our money in aid, and in oil purchases. The only thing that will be different will be it wont be our soldiers "over there" trying to maintain security and being killed. It will be local despots keeping their populations in line (while we turn our head and ignore their worst behaviors.)

But hey, so what if they die, so long as we don’t. If they can’t rise to the task of liberating themselves, f’em right.

That’s realism.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
Scott , I reference you to ornerywp’s dress down of you last night. Put best, I believe, with the following...

Pot. Kettle. Black.
Put downs are irrelevant. What matters is argumentation — content and substance. Put downs are easy; I would prefer vigorous debate with someone of an opinion different from my own — that is the best way to learn, and learning about the world and how it operates is to me perhaps the most exciting aspect of life.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The Soviets were on a long slide to dissolution from the start, despite all the useful idiots and fellow travelers in this country who were trying to carry their water and cover for them. Each administration greased the way, some more, some less. Credit and failure often goes to whoever happens to be in office when the hot potato lands.

Reagan did do a lot to help grease the slide though. He probably helped it fall faster then it otherwise would have under a less confrontational policy.
But Reagan did know when to change policy when Gorbachev entered, that is important too. In general, though, you’re right — it was an sick, even evil system, doomed from the start.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
OK the Pope mobilized Poland, Solidarity mobilized Poland, Reagan led an arms buildup that resulted in the collapse of the USSR. OK, it’s no longer assertions.
Carter began that arms build up, whether you want to accept that or not — Carter had a vacillating foreign policy, but after the invasion of Afghanistan and the other events of 1979, he shifted to Brzezinski and a hard line. He’s the one who said we’d fight a war for oil after all.

I do give the Pope some of the credit, though solidarity wasn’t because of the Pope. I saw Walesa speak live once, pretty impressive.
Like YOURS was a serious thought. Helsinki got the Soviets complacent...oh puh-leeze, if that’s what you’re teaching man I am in the wrong business. You know I took classes from some of the formost authorities on the East Bloc, and read many of the seminal works on that bloc, too, and you know NEVER ONCE WAS THAT POSITION ASSERTED. So yes I heap scorn on that notion...had you advanced that the UFO Space Aliens had contributed to the end of the COld War I would heap scorn on that, too, without reference to evidence.
The view I put forward is hardly unique to me. After Helsinki Brezhnev and the old guard felt they had achieved equal status with the US. They ignored warnings from the KGB about the coming economic collapse, and they opened up to the West in travel, communication, and especially in Germany the allowed things to loosen up in a way that set up the events of 1989.

I have no doubt that you’ve taken classes from good people and they didn’t give you an interpretation that credited Nixon and detente/Ostpolitik with setting up the fall of the Soviet Union. That’s a less popular interpretation in the US than in Europe. And, of course, I can accept that there are different views. But heaping scorn on it because you haven’t heard it before and it strikes you as wrong seems essentially to be approaching this with a closed mind. Neither of us are uninformed or ignorant about these issues; perhaps its better to discuss than heap scorn.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Good post, Jon. But what sort of change in strategy should we take? To me, it seems we should protect what we still have, and project power where we are still able. That means, redeploy our troops to Kurdistan to protect their "nation." Keep Special Forces in Iraq proper in order to train the army and maintain our stated commitments to the elected Iraqi state. Anything more than that is counterproductive at this point. We should also redeploy troops to Kuwait. No, I don’t think the Iraqis will suddenly "get it" and start taking internal security seriously. Iraq is less than the sum of its parts. The Iraqi government and Iraqi army are unable to maintain control of the country because they can’t, not because they won’t.

The role of US forces going forward (other than Special Ops) is to keep Iran honest in case of a full-scale invasion of Iraq, and use air power to destroy any blatant Al Qaeda build-up within Anbar or Baghdad. As far as internal peacekeeping within Iraq, sadly, I don’t see how we even help anymore. I suppose there is some point at which we would intervene to prevent full-on genocide. Unfortunately, the difference between the status quo and that hideous future is one of degree, not kind. At what point, then, would the massacres demand re-intervention? I have no idea.

The task now is to minimize our losses and continue to fight both Sunni Islamist jihadists and the Shi’ites of Iran. It won’t be easy. But Iraq is no longer within our control. Better to recognize that now than later.
 
Written By: Elrod
URL: http://
Put downs are irrelevant. What matters is argumentation — content and substance.
Well, courtesy of JWG, again from last night...
Previous Erb:

But, I guess, that wouldn’t be as emotionally satisfying. Better to throw an insult at someone who thinks differently than you.

and

But when someone...calls names, it suggests maybe the reason for your anger is deep down you know I have a point, but you just don’t want to bring yourself to admit it.

and

the level of your insults show that deep down, you know I’m right.

According to "Erb Logic," Scott has admitted that he knows deep down Rush Limbaugh is right on the issues. Man, that’s gotta hurt!
So apparently you are not above the ’put down’. But I did not regard this as a put down, but rather a dress down. And you never quite responded to it -
Try actually listening to your opponents. I’ve spent years debating seriously and civilly with everyone from avowed fascists to avowed communists to anarcho-capitalists. I’ve read so much news and so many policy briefs and so many blogs that I couldn’t possibly name all the sources if you gave me a week to try to track them all down. I’ve debated just about every aspect of the Iraq War. I’ve changed my mind on many issues great and small, though usually only after a great deal of debate getting down to very small details. I force my opponents to prove me wrong, and they do from time to time.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
The classic and, apparently, indestructible fallacy that got us into this mess in the first place
I’m sorry, I thought I remembered something about the strong horse and the weak horse...now who could’ve said that?
 
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
I don’t think YOU grasp that drawing down troops and limiting casualties is merely the first step to leaving entirely and allowing the Congress to pull support for Iraq.
So... troops must remain in Iraq as targets because you speculate that they won’t be allowed to act in Iraq from a perimeter position later?

Some of them will die, but that’s a sacrifice you’re willing to make.

And who hates the troops?

Cap

 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
So apparently you are not above the ’put down’.
I doubt anyone is. But I try not to "put down" except in response to insults. I also notice that when people agree with someone they ignore the insults they make, but when someone with whom they disagree insults, it is seen as condenscending or unfair. I guess that’s human. But if I’m going to post in a forum where my views are not common, I’ll have to adapt.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Captain Sarcastic,

You do realize that often in war the troops have to be sacrificed for a strategic goal, i.e. a doomed feint attack, etc.?

I also think the re-up numbers pretty much tell you that the troops don’t mind their chances too horribly.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
"the dominant difficulties in Iraq simply aren’t force-on-force problems."

Didn’t John Kerry say something about it being more a police and intelligence matter than a military one? Or was he talking about the war on terror?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Let me try to explain something to you people:

Scott Erb is often delusional, but he is also a straight-up bloody liar when it suits his purpose, which it very often does. It is a stock complaint of his about "substance" when the suck-tide isn’t running his way, and I could point you to any number of exchanges in Usenet in which he was having his ass handed to him, fact-by-fact and cite-by-cite, and the best he can do is snip an opponants’ text in a hopeless reply, hoping nonetheless that nobody saw what happened. My personal favorite was a bout over the economics of gold, although there was also a running fight with David Freidman that had dozens of spectators rolling in the aisles with howling laughter. Even Freidman, known for his patient tone, ended up disgusted.

Erb is a bean-brained socialist, always in favor of the worst interests of anything American, and it is an appalling disgrace upon the University of Maine that this sickening creature is actually charged with responsiblity for informing (!) young minds.

It’s not for nothin’ that I named him "Mr. Mercury" nearly ten years ago. There is not a single point in favor of freedom around which he will not slide every single chance he gets and at the expense of fact, truth, and even his own dignity — you should forgive the joke. Anynone attempting to take him seriously is very conscientiously advised to just stop it.

He’s a kickball. Try that instead, and don’t waste your time.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
The Maine Mosquito: "But Reagan did know when to change policy when Gorbachev entered, that is important too."

Yeah, like when he walked out on Gorbachev in Reykjavik.

Shut up and sit down, fool.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
I’m sorry, I thought I remembered something about the strong horse and the weak horse...now who could’ve said that?
Exactly Shark. glasnost, our enemy is a very idealogical enemy. They articulate their ideology every chance they get. How many times are they going to have to explain it before you believe them?

Dude, we are involved in a war of attrition. Please stop and take the time to reason out the implications of this. Unlike the Tango, it only takes one to initiate a war of attrition. Attrition is the only strategy by which the very weak can defeat the very strong:

Jon is right in that we don’t owe the Iraqis a solution to their ancient tribal and ethnic feuds. It’s simply not within our capacity to accomplish. But we owe these people a shot at freedom as a matter of national honor. We already bailed on them once in 1991, and they were slaughtered by the tens of thousands as a result. But what we are doing in Iraq today are the institutions required to settle social conflict in a non-violent way. And that is why the moment the legitimate, elected government of Iraq becomes capable of defending itself from the a**holes, our work is done, honorably. The rest is up to the Iraqis.

But most importantly we owe it to ourselves to make sure that our enemies and potential enemies understand that the US, when moved to war, will never, ever relent until either they quit fighting us or there are none of them left to fight. That’s not chest-thumping. That’s victory, the only practical (and thus moral) justification for war.

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: peter jackson
URL: www.liberalcapitalist.com
Yeah, like when he walked out on Gorbachev in Reykjavik.
Billy, you need to learn some history. Gorbachev and Reagan got very close to an agreement at Reykjavik, and it set up the INF agreement the next year. That meeting was historic in that both Reagan and Gorbachev talked seriously about building down nuclear arsenals, and in fact the Europeans were shocked that the two superpowers would discuss this without bringing them into the discussion. To think that somehow Reagan "walked out" and was rejecting Gorbachev is absurd. Do you really have such a warped understanding of history?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
And to add to what peter says, we must make sure that our allies and potential allies understand that we wont give up on them.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://inactivist.org/blog/keith_indy
"To think that somehow Reagan ’walked out’ and was rejecting Gorbachev is absurd."
I didn’t say that Reagan rejected Gorbachev, ProfessorBoy: it was the other way around. It’s inexplicable, but this VRWC report fails to mention that Reagan had offered to share SDI technology with Gorbachev, who refused. (Go figger it.) Anyway, that was the end of the conference.

You bloody ignoramus.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
But most importantly we owe it to ourselves to make sure that our enemies and potential enemies understand that the US, when moved to war, will never, ever relent until either they quit fighting us or there are none of them left to fight. That’s not chest-thumping. That’s victory, the only practical (and thus moral) justification for war.
Politics is the art of the possible. Even if I agreed with your read, which I don’t for a variety of reasons, one has to deal with the world as it is. And here is the situation: 1) the public is in no mood for a war of attrition over Iraq; if we are not out of there by 2008 the only way someone will be elected President is if they promise to somehow end the conflict soon; 2) this isn’t really a war of attrition — the US won the ’war’ against Iraq, now it’s a matter of trying to create a stable political structure. To that end American presence hurts rather than helps, as it gives cause to Iraqi nationalists, and has led to a situation where over half the Iraqi people think its legitimate to target Americans soldiers; 3) American political ideals are an aspect of our political culture and way of thinking. If a foreign power had attacked us in 1830 because of our atrocities against black slaves and our ethnic cleansing of native populations that would be justifiable by our standards today, but would have united Americans against that foreign force then. We can’t reshape Iraq political culture to fit the ideal of modern America.

Ultimately the solution is not victory since no one can even define what victory is except in vague terms "a stable, democratic Iraq." The solution is stability, and that is best achieved by getting out of Iraq in an orderly manner, working with countries in the region and being engaged diplomatically and politically to try to work towards reasonable stability.

Again, politics is the art of the possible. If you set impossible goals, failure is inevitable.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Much like, you know, South Vietnam.
Um, South Vietnam was just fine until it was re-invaded by the very hostile neighbor we negotiated a truce with.

In this case, of course, the Iranians in particular are working below the radar by supporting proxies, so as not to create an open casus belli that would reinvigorate U.S. popular support for fighting Iran. No amount of promises by Iran to stop doing that will be credible if Iran calculates, correctly, that a resumption of support for proxies will not bring our troops back into the field.
 
Written By: Crank
URL: http://www.baseballcrank.com
Um, South Vietnam was just fine until it was re-invaded by the very hostile neighbor we negotiated a truce with.
I think you missed my point entirely. Our mistake in Vietnam was not in drawing down troop levels — or even, eventually, in leaving. Hell, we probably could have secured our interests with far fewer troops.

Our mistake was in abandoning South Vietnam, when only a modicum of support for the lesser of the available evils could have secured our interests in the region.

The same applies in Iraq. It’s important that we don’t abandon them to the most brutal group available; we need to maintain a presence and influence in the region, so that the outcome aligns with our interests.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
"It’s not for nothin’ that I named him "Mr. Mercury" nearly ten years ago."

I like that image. Very appropriate.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
He also puts me in mind of Professor Irwin Corey, but without the jokes.

http://www.irwincorey.org/video.html
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I didn’t say that Reagan rejected Gorbachev, ProfessorBoy: it was the other way around. It’s inexplicable, but this VRWC report fails to mention that Reagan had offered to share SDI technology with Gorbachev, who refused. (Go figger it.) Anyway, that was the end of the conference.
You said Reagan walked out on Gorbachev. That was false. Perhaps you were trying to be ironic, I guess. But you seemed to think you were refuting my claim that Reagan was smart enough to know that he could deal with Gorbachev — that Gorbachev was serious about reform — and alter his policy towards the USSR. It is forever to Reagan’s credit that he did that rather than follow the far right who said Gorbachev was faking it and was just a more clever hard core totalitarian.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
No amount of firepower is going to resolve the intractable conflicts of interest between the Shiites and the Sunnis, or between various subgroups.
Sorry, that’s just not correct. Consider what would be happening if this was Germany or Japan, immediately post WWII.

"We just got attacked by terrorists from that village." "Fine, round up 100 hostages from that village for each American hurt. If there’s not enough people in that village, grab from villages nearby from the same clan. Announce all the hostages will be executed in 1 week unless all the attackers are turned over to us, alive for interrogation."

Repeat a couple of times. Result: no more Sunni villagers looking the other way when terrorists set up.

All legal under international law. All perfectly doable. We can win, we’re just not choosing to do so. And, in the process, killing far more people than would be killed if we just decided to get serious.
 
Written By: Greg D
URL: http://
Our mistake was in abandoning South Vietnam, when only a modicum of support for the lesser of the available evils could have secured our interests in the region.

Yes, perhaps we might have been spared the disas... oh, wait a second. Wait, perhaps if we’d kept supporting one of the sets of brutal autocrats in a civil war, less innocent people would ha... oh, wait a second. Hey, all you boat people mythologizers, how many people died in Vietnam *after* we lost the war compared to how many died *during* our war? Rather less, huh? Has that fact yet impacted this debate?

glasnost, our enemy is a very idealogical enemy. They articulate their ideology every chance they get. How many times are they going to have to explain it before you believe them?

Peter, their ideology is a weapon to warp your mind. You think you understand this, but you don’t. Their ideology has power over you, power to make you react to it, as it does over the decision-making processes of this country, and this is all to their benefit. So the answer is, never.

It’s all about ego. Ego, and half-brained theories of intimidation and morale. Oh, Osama Bin Laden laughed at us, so we invaded a country and screwed it up and the resulting chain of events let lots of innocent people die. Oh, but we can’t leave, because Osama Bin Laden will laugh at us, and maybe lots of innocent people will die. It’s a perverse negative feedback loop where each bad decision makes it seem more important to try to regain control of the deteriorating situation, without taking into account how the same scenario led us to the last bad decision.

The forces of Islamic fanaticism will prophecize any possible outcome as a victory for the terrorists, and the locals, ignorant, and angry will believe it. But the only real victory comes when they successfully manipulate us into self-destructive acts. That’s how an attritional strategy works. It’s a lot like how the AIDS virus works.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
All legal under international law. All perfectly doable. We can win, we’re just not choosing to do so. And, in the process, killing far more people than would be killed if we just decided to get serious.

Yes, by drastically escalating our level of killing, we can kill less people when the higher level of killing makes everyone surrender. I’m sure Saddamn claimed that those were his intentions as well.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
"You said Reagan walked out on Gorbachev. That was false."
It most certainly was not. That’s exactly what happened.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
"All legal under international law."

I am unfamiliar with that particular law. Perhaps you could cite it?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
It most certainly was not. That’s exactly what happened.
*eyes rolling*

Don’t let reality intrude on your ideology-driven understanding of the world, Billy.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"You said Reagan walked out on Gorbachev. That was false."
It most certainly was not. That’s exactly what happened.
Billy, as you already stated with much more experience than I, facts don’t matter to Erb.

This is just another example in a long line of historical ignorance that Scott "The Truth Hurts So I Lie My A** Off" Erb has demonstrated in these threads.

McQ asks us to pray for his students, but I think my prayers will be more specific. I pray that at least some of his students have the ability and desire to investigate actual history rather than swoon over Erb’s make-sh**-up-as-he-goes-along mentality.

At least we have the advantage of living and participating through some of the history that Erb mangles. His students don’t have that background, which is what makes them such perfect targets for his lies.

Even though Erb will ignore it, here’s the WaPo remembering Reagan:
The issue came to a head at a 1986 summit meeting between Reagan and Gorbachev at Reykjavik, Iceland, where the Soviet leader insisted on restricting SDI to laboratory research. Although SDI was then no more than a laboratory program, Reagan reacted, as special assistant Jack F. Matlock Jr. wrote later, "as if he had been asked to toss his favorite child into an erupting volcano" and walked out of the meeting.
*eyes rolling*
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
But he’s a PhD, JW, and he teaches this stuff.

Now, you watch. The back-fill on this will be a sight to behold. If, that is...
"Seems to me
You don’t want to talk about it
Seems to me
You just turn your pretty head and walk away"


(The James Gang)
...he doesn’t just blow out like a bad tire.

But I’m the one with the "ideologt-driven view of the world".
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Even though Erb will ignore it, here’s the WaPo remembering Reagan:
Everybody knows that SDI is why those talks failed. What do you think I’ll ignore?

Here’s something from the book German Foreign Policy: Navigating a New Era by Scott Erb:

Reagan and Gorbachev met in Geneva in 1985 and agreed to have a summit in the United States the next year. Progress was slow, however, and on October 11-12, 1986 the two met in a ‘pre-summit’ at Reykjavik, Iceland, to set an agenda for the proposed future summit. The world was shocked when the two adversaries nearly reached an historic agreement to reduce offensive nuclear arsenals on both sides. While the failure to reach that agreement made what had been a near breakthrough seem yet another Cold War disappointment, both President Mitterrand and Chancellor Helmut Kohl were stung by the fact that all this happened without consultation. Both the French and German foreign policy establishments feared that the American guarantee of European security could be supplanted.
The issues being discussed involved European-based weapons and were essential to the question of how to defend Western Europe, yet the American President was apparently on the verge of deciding unilaterally on a deal that would have had a profound effect on European security and NATO policy. When the INF agreement was reached in 1987, formalizing much of what almost was accomplished at Reykjavik, Kohl originally opposed the arrangement which would require eliminating all intermediate range weapons from Europe. Ironically (and irritatingly for the Reagan administration) the Germans had gone from wanting more action on arms control than the United States was willing to undertake, to thinking the US was moving too quickly.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
What do you think I’ll ignore?
Billy nailed it. Goodnight, Gracie.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
"’German Foreign Policy: Navigating a New Era’ by Scott Erb.

Allow me to coin a phrase:

"Publish and die," Erb.

 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
What do you think I’ll ignore?
Billy nailed it. Goodnight, Gracie.


Can’t answer the question, can you? You realize that I’m not ignoring anything, but you aren’t man enough to admit you’re wrong. That’s OK — I expect nothing more from you.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
If it started out as a war, but is now no longer a war, when did the war end?
 
Written By: Tracy Smith
URL: http://
Iraq needs mercenaries for peace

As Venezuelans know so well, it is impossible to build a real democracy upon abundant oil. Democracy is about creating a level playing field, and, therefore, if you want a real chance at democracy in an oil-rich land like Iraq, you need first to distribute their oil revenues equally among all their citizens. For Iraq, distributing their oil revenues upfront, in cash, would carry a special significance since not only would it help to solve the problem of their oil being located only in some parts of the country, but it would also foster an additional bond of national identity among all the Iraqis, be they Sunnis, Shiites, or Kurds. The possibility for each citizen to receive perhaps a couple of thousand dollars a year would promote interest in reaching normality. The World Bank could be the perfect candidate to help implement a very transparent sharing of the oil revenues for Iraq.

In a world where so frequently mercenaries are used for wars, why don’t we help Iraq contract their own citizens, using their own money, to be mercenaries for peace?

Per Kurowski
A former Executive Director of the World Bank (2002-2004)
http://teawithft.blogspot.com/
 
Written By: Per Kurowski
URL: http://perkurowski.blogspot.com/
"but you aren’t man enough"

Such a sexist remark from a member of the enlightened academic community. Best to hope that noone from Moose U. sees it.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"but you aren’t man enough"

Such a sexist remark from a member of the enlightened academic community. Best to hope that noone from Moose U. sees it.
*shrug* I’ve never been politically correct.

 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Can any of you answer my question? if so, please do. What options are left to Congress to force Bush to comply if Bush chooses to ignore the Iraq study group (aka Baker-hamilton commission)?
 
Written By: historybuff
URL: http://

 
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