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Lieberman on point
Posted by: McQ on Monday, February 26, 2007

Joe Lieberman's editorial in the WSJ today is exactly on point about the situation both in Iraq and in Washington:
I understand the frustration, anger and exhaustion so many Americans feel about Iraq, the desire to throw up our hands and simply say, "Enough." And I am painfully aware of the enormous toll of this war in human life, and of the infuriating mistakes that have been made in the war's conduct.

But we must not make another terrible mistake now. Many of the worst errors in Iraq arose precisely because the Bush administration best-cased what would happen after Saddam was overthrown. Now many opponents of the war are making the very same best-case mistake—assuming we can pull back in the midst of a critical battle with impunity, even arguing that our retreat will reduce the terrorism and sectarian violence in Iraq.

In fact, halting the current security operation at midpoint, as virtually all of the congressional proposals seek to do, would have devastating consequences. It would put thousands of American troops already deployed in the heart of Baghdad in even greater danger—forced to choose between trying to hold their position without the required reinforcements or, more likely, abandoning them outright. A precipitous pullout would leave a gaping security vacuum in its wake, which terrorists, insurgents, militias and Iran would rush to fill—probably resulting in a spiral of ethnic cleansing and slaughter on a scale as yet unseen in Iraq.
He is exactly right. Anyone who really believes that if we leave in the near future it will all be unicorns, rainbows and fuzzy puppies is due for a brain scan. So as Lieberman says, everyone needs to take a deep breath and step back for a minute and consider the present situation in Iraq in as cool, dispassionate and nonpartisan way as possible.

Additionally, they need to remember this:
Gen. Petraeus says he will be able to see whether progress is occurring by the end of the summer, so let us declare a truce in the Washington political war over Iraq until then.
And in the meantime, if you want to do something in Congress, do this:
Let us come together around a constructive legislative agenda for our security: authorizing an increase in the size of the Army and Marines, funding the equipment and protection our troops need, monitoring progress on the ground in Iraq with oversight hearings, investigating contract procedures, and guaranteeing Iraq war veterans the first-class treatment and care they deserve when they come home.
Those seem like not only the most reasonable things to do, but the most responsible. It is my sense, however, that there is no mood on the hill for either reasonableness or responsible action. Pity.
 
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Heh, he must be reading my blog!!!

http://asecondhandconjecture.com/?p=520

He’s hoping the Democrats will put politics on hold till the end of summer. He needs to share what ever it is he’s smokin’

The Democratic strategy has less to do with national security and more to do with gaining them political points.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://inactivist.org/blog/keith_indy
Personally Keith, I expect they are losing them at the moment.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
And in the meantime, if you want to do something in Congress, do this:
Let us come together around a constructive legislative agenda for our security: authorizing an increase in the size of the Army and Marines, funding the equipment and protection our troops need, monitoring progress on the ground in Iraq with oversight hearings, investigating contract procedures, and guaranteeing Iraq war veterans the first-class treatment and care they deserve when they come home.
Those seem like not only the most reasonable things to do, but the most responsible. It is my sense, however, that there is no mood on the hill for either reasonableness or responsible action. Pity.
Democrats are already planning on doing most of the things Lieberman lists in anticipation of the very real chance that their efforts to force disengagement will fall short.

This is just another example of war propoents trying to find reasons to silence their political opponents. If we’re not "emboldening the enemy" with our criticism we’re "not giving Petreus a chance". To quote Glen Greenwald’s response to Lieberman’s op-ed:
Most despicably, and most destructively, Bush followers like Lieberman and Bill Kristol have actually been insisting that Americans have a duty to allow them to spew their lies about Iraq without challenge. That’s what Lieberman means when he demands that Congress "put the brakes on" criticisms of the war and that "instead of undermining Gen. Petraeus before he has been in Iraq for even a month, let us give him and his troops the time and support they need to succeed." It is what he has always meant when he preached to Americans that "in matters of war we undermine presidential credibility at our nation’s peril." It’s the same thing Bill Kristol means when he instructs Americans to remain "quiet for six or nine months," and it is what Dick Cheney has always meant when he continuously claims that criticisms of the war undermine America and help the Enemy.

The demands that Americans refrain from criticism of the war and the Leader have nothing to do with trying to create unity so that troop morale remains high. What they really want is the ability to continue to lie to Americans about Iraq without being challenged.
And what incentive to war opponents have to wait until late summer? So that someone whose assesment of Iraq they already disagree with can provide a rosy assessment that they will probably also disagree with? Or maybe things will just be indisputably worse and Bush will just come up with another strategy that doesn’t face facts, won’t work, and that we’ll have to apparently wait another 6 months before criticizing. A bad idea is a bad idea and there’s no such thing as a bad time to say so.
 
Written By: Badger
URL: http://
Or maybe things will just be indisputably worse and Bush will just come up with another strategy that doesn’t face facts, won’t work, and that we’ll have to apparently wait another 6 months before criticizing.
Except that we’ve already seen positive results from this one, and it’s hardly even begun. I mean, Bush is just following the recommendations from the generals, from the people on the ground, and also following the recommendations of democrats like Sylvester Reyes. Can’t we at least try the democrats’ strategy of increasing troop levels before we have the democrats trying to "slow bleed" the troops so the war will fail?
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
Democrats are already planning on doing most of the things Lieberman lists in anticipation of the very real chance that their efforts to force disengagement will fall short.
Nonsense. They’re right now engaged in putting strategies together which work against "funding the equipment and protection our troops need". What else do you call the "slow-bleed" strategy?

Whether or not they’re actually "planning" on those things isn’t the point Lieberman is making. He’s saying put everything else aside, to include these insane attempts to cripple the war effort and concentrate on those things he lists.

Here are the bald-faced facts, Badger ... none of these political tricks the Democrats are attempting are going to succeed. None. As Mitch McConnell has pointed out, much of the nonsense we’re seeing now is being driven by these early primary races in which Democratic candidates are reacting and pandering to their base. If you want the ultimate in politicizing a war, there it is.

Fact number two. The longer they waste time on tricks that won’t work, the longer the administration has to continue its strategy. None of this stuff is going to get through the Senate.

That is why even McConnell has said that if Democrats are serious, they should cut off funding for the war as that is the only true and legitimate way they have to stop the war. (And you can listen to him say it right here).

Lieberman is suggesting that instead of "planning" to do those things why not quit wasting time trying to cripple the war effort (and failing) and do what Congress should be doing instead (but isn’t)?
And what incentive to war opponents have to wait until late summer? So that someone whose assesment of Iraq they already disagree with can provide a rosy assessment that they will probably also disagree with?
Ah, I see ... so you again point out that you really don’t agree that recommendations or assessments from the commanders in the field are the best to listen too, is that it? Well except when they’re giving Bush recommendations and then it’s from their lips to God’s ears, right?

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Chris: Reyes voted for the non-binding resolution condemning the surge. He may have made some supportive statements when it was first proposed, but he is not currenly a pro-surge Democrat in any way.

McQ: Neither of your "facts" are really anything besides opinions. While I’m equally pessimistic about Democrats being able to pass deauthorization or the Murtha plan, it’s not like a bill defunding the war would pass either. Democrats still have to wait for the already authorized funding to run out in the first place, and making alternative attempts to stop the war doesn’t make that money run out any faster or slower.

And the idea that the only reason Democrats are pushing different proposals for ending the war is only because of the 08 Presidential field is farcical. Murtha isn’t running for president and neither is Levin. Democrats would be pushing disengagement legislation even if there weren’t a Presidential election coming up for the simple reason that Democratic voters and a majority of the country want to pursue a different strategy in Iraq and don’t support the surge.

Democrats have no reason to believe that anything besides defunding the Iraq war will really accomplish anything substantive. But, they want any move to disengage by witholding funds to be politically popular, and getting more moderate options out of the way by letting the GOP vote them down (or not allow votes at all) is a simple way to make defunding proposals more acceptable to voters.
 
Written By: Badger
URL: http://
Murtha isn’t running for president and neither is Levin
Neither is Bush Badger, so why’s he pursing this approach in Iraq?, because, by your reasoning, it can’t be about the Presidency in 2008.
majority of the country want to pursue a different strategy in Iraq and don’t support the surge.
We agree, we want a different strategy than the one pursued when Rummy was practicing his 7000 mile screwdriver techniques, and so far, we have one.

Where you get your expert absolutist knowledge that Americans don’t support the surge (a different strategy), well, that’s another question.
I’ve seen that contention twice in your posts today and wonder what evidence you have that could support such conviction about what strategy Americans want.

I see no evidence they want us to pack up and abandon the mission either, which is pretty much the only strategy offered by the Murtha party. You know, you have to HAVE an alternative strategy to offer Americans, and so far the only one offered by the Dems is withdrawal, right now, but not right right now as that would be precipitous!, just, um, right now.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
The Democrats have already established a track record of supporting troops with more than just their mouths. MacCaskill’s recent response to the Walter Reed scandal is an example, but the consistant support for the funding of veterans’ services, the legislative efforts to expand those services, the support for verterans running for office are more examples.

The Republicans refuse to exercies oversite of expenditures, even to the point of getting rid of the staffer whose primary job was to birddog investigations into abuses of the contract process. the Democrats, on the other hand, are already exercising oversite throught he approriate committees.

I commend Lieberman for his recognition that it will be necessary to have more funds and more personnel to sustain the effeort that posters here claim to suppport. A few weeks ago Lieberman also said that a tax increase will be needed. He was on point about that, too. Am I correct in assuming that the posters here and the Republicans in Congress will follow his lead and push for a tax increase to pay for the war and the expanded Army?
 
Written By: laura
URL: http://
As Mitch McConnell has pointed out, much of the nonsense we’re seeing now is being driven by these early primary races in which Democratic candidates are reacting and pandering to their base. If you want the ultimate in politicizing a war, there it is.
The only thing worse than having the war run run by Donald Rumsfeld would be to have the war run by Matt Stoller, as the Dems fall over themselves trying to meet the demands of the nutroots for an immediate pull-out.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
The Democrats are going to show their support for the troops, right after they vote for something showing their non-support for the the mission they are on...

They have their priorities.

Nope, no need to raise taxes to support an increase in the size of the military, just need to cut funding to any number of programs that are should not be in the Federal government.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://inactivist.org/blog/keith_indy
Am I correct in assuming that the posters here and the Republicans in Congress will follow his lead and push for a tax increase to pay for the war and the expanded Army?
I can hardly wait to see what your buddies will tack onto it for expenditures ’for the children’.
You know, if they play that game right, maybe they can get GW to veto it and blame the Republicans, but that’s risky, so far he hasn’t seen a spending bill he didn’t like.

How about we de-fund the expenditures to fix that hole on the gulf coast of Louisiana where we’re wasting money hand over fist.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Looker:

I am always happy to back up my statements when asked:
Think Progress is reporting that new polling shows that 58% of Americans support the Murtha proposal and 67% oppose the surge strategy (it was 65% in mid-January). The poll will be released officially today at 5 EST.
 
Written By: Badger
URL: http://
Lieberman sez: There, the battle of Baghdad is now under way.

False. The battle for Bagdad has been underway since 2003.

L sez: And a new strategy is being put into action, with thousands of additional American soldiers streaming into the Iraqi capital.

false. this is a new tactic. the strategy — turning Iraq over to Iraqis — remains the same.

L sez: For the first time in the Iraqi capital, the focus of the U.S. military is ... ensuring basic security

this kind of stuff drives me crazy. L, the President and his supporters have told us since the first day of the occupation that the tactical approach was correct. remember Rich Lowry’s "we’re winning" on the cover of National Review. Now we need an apparently radically different tactical approach (although just how different remains not much discussed) and there isn’t even a moment’s consideration for the whiplash induced by the change of direction. Put simply, since he’s been wrong every step of the way, why in Thor’s name should he have any credibility now. Especially since he seems congenitally incapable of recognizing past error.

L sez: Gen. Petraeus says he will be able to see whether progress is occurring by the end of the summer.

The purpose of the surge is not only to tamp down violence. This country — like every other country on the planet — cares very little about civil war death tolls in foreign countries. The purpose of the surge is to tamp down violence, so that a satisfactory political reconciliation can be reached. Measured by this standard, driving Sadr out of the country (or down to Basra) is a sign of failure, not success. He has established a powerful political bloc that can outwait the Americans indefinitely. He needs to be included, not excluded.

When the US forces Turkey to allow Kurdistan to declare independence, that’s real progress. When the Constitutional Convention reconvenes, that’s real progress. When the Convention issues a Constitution that has majority support within the Kurdish, Sunni and SHia communities, that’s real progress.

Until then, we have simply substituted one authoritarian state for another, just like in Basra.

 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
"The Democrats have already established a track record of supporting troops with more than just their mouths."

Really, Laura? And then your next point is to talk about McCaskill’s "response"? Sounds a whole lot like words on paper. Try again - this time with more than just hand waving at the point. Show us how "The Democrats have already established a track record of supporting troops with more than just their mouths." Give us some concrete examples - Non-Binding resolutions don’t amount to a hill of beans or one atom of concrete. So show us your examples. Supporting veterans who run for office? That’s nice but they also supported a Muslim (Ellison of Minnesota).

Dare I say it one more time? Stand up and Defund the war or STFU! There, I said it.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
I think the editorial is a splendid gesture of great good sense and extraordinarily politic. Lieberman really knows what to do with a catbird seat. It’s just hilarious - and fortuitous, really – that the nutroots put him in this position. Go, Joe!

Badger:
Democrats…want any move to disengage by witholding funds to be politically popular, and getting more moderate options out of the way by letting the GOP vote them down (or not allow votes at all) is a simple way to make defunding proposals more acceptable to voters.
Yeah, well, good luck with that.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
Francis:
...driving Sadr out of the country (or down to Basra) is a sign of failure, not success. He has established a powerful political bloc that can outwait the Americans indefinitely. He needs to be included, not excluded.
Let him show his fitness for inclusion.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
false. this is a new tactic. the strategy — turning Iraq over to Iraqis — remains the same.
Uh no .. the former mission was "transition" which was, essentially, a training mission in which we trained up the ISF to fight an insurgency and protect the population. The combat mission was mostly aimed at force protection (and some counterterrorism). It featured raids, sweeps and clearing operations. But then we left.

The new mission, that of the troops in the surge, is the security of the population. Concurrent with that is a continuing training mission as well as a force protection mission.

What we’re doing in Baghdad now is a different mission than the one we were doing previously from a military standpoint. That’s why I’ve repeatedly used the phrase "clear and hold" to differentiate what is happening now as opposed to before. That means that now, instead of leaving we stay and protect.

Oh, the strategy has always been to turn it over to the Iraqis, but that’s a political strategy, not a military one.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
No Francis, it is a good thing when those who wish to use violence for their own ends are marginalized and excluded.

Or should we be trying to bring the KKK and Aryan Nation into our political process and making accommodations for them in our society???

A split within Sadr’s "powerful political bloc" is a good thing.

http://www.iraqslogger.com/index.php/post/1601/Iraq_Papers_Monday_Sadr_Speaks
The letter comes as a possible sign of a shift in the policies of the Sadr Current. Sadrist officials had consistently supported the Baghdad plan and said that their organization will not hinder its execution. Muqtada’s statement comes as a marked reversal of previous positions.

These stances of the Sadr Current have to be read in the context of a possible split in the Shi’a political bloc in Iraq. Reports speak of intensifying inter-Shi’a rivalries, especially in the south of the country, which has become a scene for political purges, arrests and assassinations. Sadr’s references to “non-sectarianism” may indicate a rift with his Shi’a bloc and an outlook towards political alliances with other forces in Iraq.
Clearing the way of radicals and obstructionists is giving those truly want reconciliation and peace a chance to breath and work together. And that is a good thing.

http://iraqthemodel.blogspot.com/2007/02/operation-baghdad-week-ii.html
More occupied mosques are also being returned to their original keepers and earlier today Sunni and Shia worshippers gathered to hold joint prayers in several places in Baghdad as we saw on TV.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://inactivist.org/blog/keith_indy
On how many points can I find issue with Lieberman? Let me count the ways...

First, his belief that American soldiers should be sacrificed to prevent "a spiral of ethnic cleansing and slaughter on a scale as yet unseen in Iraq". Cold as it is, our military should only be used to protect America and not to keep Iraqis from killing one another.... or in Yugoslavia... or in the Sudan... or anywhere else where American lives and property are not at risk.

Two, his argument that those arguing care more about the political fight here than the real fight there. Does he really think those arguing don’t care about what is happening in Iraq, that we’re arguing solely to have something to argue about? Regardless of which side one takes, we’re arguing about Iraq because what happens there matters a lot to us and it’s insulting for Lieberman to suggest otherwise.

Three, his focus on ’holding’ neighborhoods as an end in of itself. What matters long term is whether the Sunnis and Shiites ever decide to live together and share power and resources. It’s funny in a sad sort of way, that so many (including Lieberman) who recognize that the Palestinian/Israeli conflict won’t be solved until the Palestinians truly accept Israel don’t see the same holds true here. Clearing neighborhoods won’t do anything so long as the crazies hate one another and prefer to fight than to settle and share power. And nothing I’ve seen from Petraeus addresses how he/we are going to go about getting them to, in the words of (I believe) Golda Meir, love their kids more than they hate their neighbors.

Fourth, his statement that "Many of the worst errors in Iraq arose precisely because the Bush administration best-cased what would happen after Saddam was overthrown". Precisely? He doesn’t know that, and nobody else does either. While every armchair general is free to speculate, nobody knows what would have happened had we done something else. It’s possible that things are actually better now than they would have been had the Administration been more pessimistic; it is possible the situation could have been worse, far worse, and it’s silly for anyone to claim to know for sure that decision A led to situation B.

Fifth, his insistence that we take ’time out’ and give Petraeus time. Why bother, if we’re convinced it won’t work? From my perspective, all we’re doing by waiting is throwing more good American lives away... after those that have been, yes, wasted.
 
Written By: steve
URL: http://
From my perspective, all we’re doing by waiting is throwing more good American lives away...
steve, better contact your Congressional representatives right away and urge them to defund. The more time you waste talking to us, and the more time they waste with all their namby-pamby nonsense, the more American lives get thrown away.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
Badger -
Thank you for the cite.
There are some contradictory results in the survey, but I see your argument point.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Linda:

Actually, I don’t believe Congress can defund the war in Iraq. As I see it, Congress decides how much money is to be allocated to defending the country and the President gets to decide where and how to spend it. If Bush wants to spend all of the money allocated for our defense in Iraq, that is his perogative as C-in-C. It’s not for Congress to micromanage the defense budget: no insisting on certain weapons, no keeping bases open, no defunding particular operations.

And while I know there’s probably no support, legal or political, for this view, principle is principle... so I won’t be calling my congressman and Senator and demanding that they defund. Not that they would, but I won’t ask.
 
Written By: steve sturm
URL: www.thoughtsonline.blogspot.com
"Actually, I don’t believe Congress can defund the war in Iraq. As I see it, Congress decides how much money is to be allocated to defending the country and the President gets to decide where and how to spend it....
It’s not for Congress to micromanage the defense budget: no insisting on certain weapons, no keeping bases open, no defunding particular operations."

Please tell me you are kidding.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://

 
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