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Why is Iraq important?
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, May 23, 2007

OK, today is "why is Iraq important" day.

Well, most importantly, because al Qaeda thinks it is. Now whether you like that or not, or want to blame that on someone or not, it really doesn't matter at this point. That's what al Qaeda thinks and that is why al Qaeda is pursuing a victory in Iraq.

According to CNN:
President Bush on Tuesday declassified intelligence showing in 2005 Osama bin Laden planned to use Iraq as a base from which to launch attacks in the United States, according to White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

Johndroe said the intelligence was declassified so the president could discuss the previously secret material on Wednesday during a commencement address at the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut.

The speech will be aimed at defending a key part of the president's war strategy — the contention that the United States cannot withdraw from Iraq because al Qaeda would fill the vacuum in the Middle East.

"This shows why we believe al Qaeda wants to use Iraq as a safe haven," said Johndroe. He added the president will talk about al Qaeda's "strong interest in using Iraq as a safe haven to plot and plan attacks on the United States and other countries."
So, you're saying, how can they piece that together in a credible narrative?

Well let's begin with OBL himself. Osama bin Laden himself calls the struggle in Iraq a "war of destiny" – and has proclaimed "the war is for you or for us to win. If we win it, it means your defeat and disgrace forever."

Of course there are those among us who claim that it would have little real meaning in terms of handing al Qaeda a victory by withdrawing. Obviously, that's not true.

Given OBL's perspective on the importance of Iraq, he attempted to send a senior al Qaeda leader to Iraq (who had previously been the top commander in Afghanistan), Iraqi-born terrorist Abd Al-Hadi Al-Iraqi to take over command. But he never made it. He resides, now, in Guantanemo, having been captured late last year.

In January 2005 and before his death, OBL tasked Abu Musab al-Zarqawi with forming a cell to conduct terrorist attacks outside Iraq. The obvious point was to use Iraq as a base for these external attacks. In addition, OBL's guidance to al-Zarqawi was that America should be Zarqawi’s number one priority in terms of foreign attacks. Zarqawi responed by claiming that he had already come up with some good proposals.

During this time, OBL also told one of his senior advisors, Hamza Rabia, to send Zarqawi a briefing on al Qaeda’s external operations, including information about operations against the US mainland. Intelligence reports also said another senior al Qaeda advisor, Abu Faraj al-Libi suggested that bin Laden send Rabia to Iraq to help plan external operations. Abu Faraj said that if this effort proved successful, al Qaeda might one day prepare the majority of its external operations from Iraq.

Of course events conspired against those three and that plan. In May 2005, Abu Faraj was captured and taken into CIA custody. In December 2005, Rabia was killed in Pakistan. And in June of 2006, the terrorist Zarqawi was killed in Iraq. That obviously points to excellent intelligence work and such excellent intelligence work seem to argue for the validity of these reports from the intelligence community about al Qaeda's plans in Iraq.

BTW, the source for what I've outlined today is a senior administration official who I had the pleasure of talking with today on a conference call. If you have anything which contradicts this litany of al Qaeda plans for Iraq as a base for external attacks, I'd love to hear it. I've been looking since 9:30 when the call took place and, to this point have found nothing to contradict or discredit it.

Yes, I know we're at the mercy of the administration to release and interpret this as they think it will most benefit them, but then, there was a simple line in an AJC story this morning that caused me to take pause while thinking precisely that thought. Apparently whoever wrote the piece wondered as well and went back to check:
President Bush declassified intelligence Tuesday asserting that Osama bin Laden ordered a top lieutenant in early 2005 to form a terrorist cell that would conduct attacks outside Iraq —- and that the United States should be the top target. The information mirrored a classified bulletin from the Homeland Security Department in March 2005, reporting that bin Laden had enlisted Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, his senior operative in Iraq, to plan potential strikes in the United States. The warning was described at the time as credible but not specific and did not prompt the administration to raise its national terror alert level. Frances Fragos Townsend, the White House homeland security adviser, said the information was declassified because the intelligence community has tracked all leads from the information.
So if this is a carefully contrived attempt to spring this sort of an assessment at just the right time in order to bolster support for the war, the administration its enemies love to call "the gang who couldn't shoot straight", sure did manage to plan this a long way in advance didn't it? You know, plant the info in 2005, release it through Homeland Security, and say, in general terms, what it is now saying specifically?

I don't think so.

But hey, don't let me harsh your mellow. You've decided that there is nothing at stake in Iraq, that allowing whatever happens to happen after we leave is fine and that there's no real threat that can come from Iraq if we pull out now. It's merely an insurgency and we all know from past experience insurgencies don't follow us home. What's the big deal, right?

So, please, do continue on with your life. Sorry for the interruption.
 
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And for yet another reason not to abandon Iraq...
From hiding, possibly in Iran, U.S. nemesis and radical anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is believed to be honing plans to sweep into the power vacuum made all the more intense by news that his chief Shiite rival has lung cancer. And he’s betting the U.S. won’t keep its troops in Iraq much longer.

Al-Sadr aides and loyal lawmakers have told The Associated Press the cleric’s ambitions mean he will avoid taking on the Americans militarily as he did in 2004, when his Mahdi Army militia fought U.S. forces to a standstill.

Instead, the 33-year-old cleric plans to keep up the drumbeat of anti-American rhetoric, consolidate political gains in Baghdad and the mainly Shiite south, and quietly foster even closer ties with neighboring Iran and its Shiite theocracy.

The strategy is based in part on al-Sadr’s belief that Washington will soon start pulling out troops or draw them down significantly, leaving behind a huge hole in Iraq’s security and political power structure, al-Sadr’s associates said.
But, hey, you know, keeping our troops there is just doing our enemies bidding. They want professional, capable soldiers in a place they can easily attack them, rather then coming to an open, poorly defended country where they can slaughter civilians with ease.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
You guys don’t get it: the current policy is failing, and given the state of public opinion the current track can’t work. While some may hope that somehow the surge will show dramatic improvement and public opinion will turn around, that’s really wishful thinking. The reason to change policy on Iraq and move to internationalize and regionalize the conflict in a manner that removes most American military operations is necessary in order to have a better outcome. And there is hope that the Bush Administration is thinking along those lines.

We can’t control the outcome. We can’t assure al-Sadr won’t get power, we don’t have the resources to engage in a massive social engineering program. The issue is not "continue the current policy or abandon Iraq" the issue is "find a policy that works." Step one in that process is to recognize and honestly admits the limits of our power and ability to shape a distant land’s political system, especially when so many forces that know the lay of the land the culture better than we do are operating, ruthlessly pursuing their interests.

It’s a strawman to argue against a position that says "Iraq is unimportant" or "things will be rosey when we leave." That is setting up a false dichotomy and avoiding the really difficult issues that exist in trying to develop something that can work.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
You guys don’t get it
Holy crap you’re an idiot...

The fact that CNN is reporting on vast improvements in Anbar, the fact that civillians on video now give their names (showing they no longer fear reprisals) and other such changes is LOST on you, isn’t it?

As I said elsewhere, this current statagy is the EXACT stratagy that Pelosi et al called for near the start of the year, but now claim is wrong.

You really, really want this to end badly, don’t you... It would validate your flawed perception of how the world really is.
The issue is not "continue the current policy or abandon Iraq" the issue is "find a policy that works."
When the Dems are trying to force a withdrawl and cut ALL funding, I think you might not understand your side’s ideal outcome...

And McQ:
But hey, don’t let me harsh your mellow.
You darn buzz-kill...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
We can’t assure al-Sadr won’t get power,
Sure we can, find him, and kill him, simple. But that’s besides the point.

Seeing as how the UN has still not defined what a terrorist is, I’m less then optimistic that they will be of any help in crafting a strategy for dealing with Iraq.

Nor am I optimistic that Iran will suddenly see the light and stop funding terrorists and insurgents in Iraq, or anywhere else in the Middle East. Not without a regime change there.

Syria will fold only when Iran folds on support of terrorism. Or when the current regime changes.

Otherwise, even if we leave Iraq, they have no impetus to change their policy. A strong, stable Iraq is a threat to both Iran and Syria, by way of example to the opposition in both those countries.

Most of the rest of the region is having enough problems holding onto power in their own countries without adding security forces for a regional solution.

So, who else is there? India, China, Russia? France? Pakistan?

A muslim force? Which strain of Islam, Shiite, or Sunni? Either is going to have people directly opposed and attacking them.

We’ve already shaped Iraq’s political system sufficiently for our purposes. It’s up to the Iraqis to use it and keep it going. They can’t do that without security. They can’t do that without some economic stability. And they can’t do that without reconciliation.

Things which Paetraus is working on.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
Holy crap you’re an idiot...
You’re just now coming to that conclusion?

The fact that CNN is reporting on vast improvements in Anbar, the fact that civillians on video now give their names (showing they no longer fear reprisals) and other such changes is LOST on you, isn’t it?
Of course it is, because it if wasn’t he’d be forced to actually THINK, as opposed to having his pre-determined anti-Bush narative to mouth.
You really, really want this to end badly, don’t you... It would validate your flawed perception of how the world really is
Precisely, which is exactly what I’ve said repeatedly that the left is very much invested in the failure of the United states in Iraq.



 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
You’re just now coming to that conclusion?
Not hardly. It’s just that he continues to find new and impressive ways to demonstrate that he’s actually getting dumber...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
...removes most American military operations...And there is hope that the Bush Administration is thinking along those lines.
Nope. Your own citation from a previous thread said the exact opposite.

Ladies and Gentlemen — I give you yet another example of Erb’s "that’s exactly what I said" game.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Iran has enough problems of their own, they aren’t going to help in Iraq. Sure, they can throw a small amount of money at a problem, funding terrorism and factional militias, but they aren’t in the business of nation building or peace-keeping.

Unless we agree to stop pressuring them about weapons grade nuclear processing, they aren’t going to budge.

Besides, we should be doing everything we can to encourage the collapse of the regime in Iran. I know a lot of Iranians would be grateful for that.

http://www.pajamasmedia.com/2007/05/show_of_force.php
As the threat of sanctions was hovering down on Ahmadinejad’s government —adding more pressure upon him and the rest of his cabinet— the Iranian leadership was looking for a diversion to take the Iranian people’s minds off the real issues which he will be accounted for.

Teachers striking for equal pay, workers who for months have been barely paid enough to survive, university students uprising across Iran, women protesting, unrest in different parts of the country, the cost of living rising faster and faster, gasoline rationed, and the rivals in the Majlis (Islamic parliament) and other power houses of the Islamic Republic challenging him; they all are the nightmare that Ahmadinejad has to endure in the hope of politically surviving until the next morning.

In a political system with big figures like Rafsanjani and Khatami controlling the money, while Ahmadinejad holds the gun, the Iranian president is faced with obstacles that even his father figure, Chamran, and his godfather, Larijani, are unable to deal with in a serene manner. So what’s a repressive regime to do? Well, why not try focusing the attention to the youth’s social behavior creating an artificial crisis over the dress code?

Iran has a 70 million population with more than 50 million under 30. This makes Iran one of the youngest countries in the world. Along with firing squads and extrajudicial deaths, Khomeini brought his own version of Persian language and vocabulary when took over in 1979. Besides his odd accent, he took new and unfamiliar words -supposedly out of Quran- to daily conversations.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
Dr Erb, give it up, if all you have is the internationalization of Iraq as part of your answer it shows you must not be reading the daily world news.
The international community can’t do a damn thing, won’t do a damn thing, and doesn’t want to do a damn thing.
What more evidence do you need than what goes on in Africa every day under international auspices?
What the UN does on a daily basis? Zimbabwe heads the UN body on economic progress?, Libya chairs the UN Human Rights commission?
The IAEA reports about Iran on a regular basis and the international response to it is what? More sanctions?
North Korea? More sanctions?

If you think the current US policy is failing in Iraq, I can only imagine what the success probability of any international Charlie Foxtrot would be.

The fact of the matter is, to paraphrase Nicholson in A Few Good Men -
"And our existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to them, saves lives. They don’t want the truth because deep down in places they don’t talk about at parties, they want us on that wall, they need us on that wall".

I can’t imagine a policy more likely to fail than your internationalization/regionalization of the conflict, unless of course what you’re really after is a newer version of the Taliban.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
The reason to change policy on Iraq and move to internationalize and regionalize the conflict in a manner that removes most American military operations is necessary in order to have a better outcome.
Except that the Democrat’s current foreign policy has done little more than empower the sitting Middle Eastern regimes to oppress their internal pro-democracy activists and maintain their current pro-terror stances. How do you expect to effectively regionalize the conflict when your diplomatic tours have set back democracy there by years?

I suggest to you that regionalizing the conflict will mean that terrorists and fascists will take control of the entire Middle Eastern region from Lebanon to Iran. This is not a positive outcome for the US.
 
Written By: Jeff the Baptist
URL: http://jeffthebaptist.blogspot.com
Holy crap you’re an idiot...
Please, Professor Erb is no idiot. I for one, appreciate his civil dialogue... unlike what I see from many on the left.

I think he genuinely wants a favorable outcome for this country with regards to Iraq. I do believe that he’s giving up too quickly however and he places too much weight on current public opinion which can change at the drop of a hat. Unfortunately his ideas would lead to a self-fulfilling prophesy.
 
Written By: Bob
URL: http://
The issue is not "continue the current policy or abandon Iraq" the issue is "find a policy that works."
You need to either revise your statement or tell the Democrats they’re all wrong...
Congressional Democrats relented today on their insistence that a war spending measure sought by President Bush also set a date for withdrawing troops from Iraq. The decision to back down, described by senior lawmakers and aides, was a wrenching reversal for some Democrats, who saw their election triumph as a call to force an end to the war.

...

The Democratic leaders’ concession infuriated one of their own, Senator Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin, who failed last week in his attempt to win passage of a measure that would have cut off money for the war next spring.

“I cannot support a bill that contains nothing more than toothless benchmarks and that allows the president to continue what may be the greatest foreign policy blunder in our nation’s history,” he said. “There has been a lot of tough talk from members of Congress about wanting to end this war, but it looks like the desire for political comfort won out over real action. Congress should have stood strong, acknowledged the will of the American people, and insisted on a bill requiring a real change of course in Iraq.”
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
First, it appears that internationalization is on the Bush agenda too. While bloggers can hold on to hopes of "improvement" or the surge "working," the Administration has to deal with reality. If accurate, that story is very heartening — the President may adopt a policy I can support!

I have a lot of ideas on why Iraq is important, what is happening and what is to be done. I will not take space here to go through them all, but I summarize it in my blog today, May 23. I will in future entries in my blog explore how the post-surge policy can look and the obstacles it faces. In short, I’m trying to think beyond the pro-war or anti-war side and think about what can actually work.

It’s time to get beyond name calling and actually deal with the tough issues because Iraq IS important, and what happens there matters.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Keith, I think I gave you the link before but I can find it again (and I’ve read other stories on a similar line) that Iranian reformers don’t want the US to meddle in Iranian affairs because it creates a backlash against them. We have to be very careful; if average Iranians think we are disrupting Iranian politics in order to shape it, you’ll see an anti-American backlash. Iran’s hardliners have never represented majority Iranian opinion and until the US invasion of Iraq they had been losing control of Iranian society. So it’s not like we can just "undermine the regime" and expect it to fall. We tried that with Cuba in the 60s where we had a lot more influence and access and, well, Castro is still holding on.

I certainly do not identify with the Democratic party or the Democrat’s foreign policy debate. I’m fiscally conservative and reluctantly internationalist. I’d prefer a more isolationist (not in terms of trade but in terms of government action) path, but in today’s globalized world that’s not possible. And one has to embrace reality.

I think a key difference in your view and mine is in our assessment of American power and the ability of the US to influence the region effectively. I think you overestimate our ability to effectively shape or create outcomes we want. While I’d rather not work with Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran, I think the strategic reality necessitates that out of national interest. There are Muslim states in the region (we’re on good terms with many) which could support a peace keeping or even a Chapter 7 security operation, but the make up and limits would be difficult to hammer out.

Also, I think removing the emotion of having America militarily involved would undercut the appeal of al qaeda and other radical organizations. Quoting propaganda where they proclaim Iraq is central to their plan isn’t credible; of course they are going to claim that when the US is widely perceived as failing there, they want to grab public credit. In reality, whether they know it or it (and I am pretty sure they do) our current policies are helping them. We’re in deep enough to arouse anger and hatred, but not enough to actually defeat them.

So how can we determine which of us is right about: a) America’s power and capacity to get results; and b) if our presence in the region helps or hinders the appeal of terrorist fascism abusing the name of Islam?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
why is Iraq important. Well, most importantly, because al Qaeda thinks it is.

wow, two lines in and we’ve already conceded the initiative to a non-state terrorist group. Are you sure that this is what they teach at West Point and in the COIN Manual? Because you have just committed the US to staying in Iraq indefinitely.

The day we leave Iraq, or even the day we start a significant drawdown in troops, someone somewhere will claim victory on behalf of AQ. So? We’re so fragile that we can’t stand being taunted by a bunch of punks? My god, this really is the Brer Rabbit story brought to life.

AQ’s claim of victory would be a lot more hollow if we had Bin Laden’s head on a pike.

yes, there are places in Iraq with less violence than Bagdad. They also tend to be the places where the ethnic cleansing is over.
 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
First, it appears that internationalization is on the Bush agenda too.
Gee, ya think? Did it require an article quoting an unnamed former official to clue you in, or could you have listened to what Bush himself has been saying since day 1 (For Example)?

Erb conviently ignores the cited evidence I have provided in a previous argument pointing out the work already being done by the specific agencies in his beloved article (this is what — the third or fourth time you have linked to it?).

More importantly, Erb ignores the part in the article that contradicts Erb’s master plan of troop withdrawal:
The former official, who is familiar with administration thinking, predicted Mr Bush would instead ask Congress to agree a six-month extension of the surge after Gen Petraeus presented his "progress report" in early September...The Pentagon announced last week that 35,000 soldiers from 10 army brigades had been told they could expect to be deployed to Iraq by the end of the year. That would enable the US to maintain heightened troop levels of about 160,000 soldiers through to next spring
The Bush agenda and the Erb agenda are two very different things. Don’t let Erb tell you differently.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
OK, today is "why is Iraq important" day.

Well, most importantly, because al Qaeda thinks it is.
Because fighting on ground carefully chossen by one’s enemies is always a good idea.


Oh and looker, Nicholson is the villain in A Few Good Men.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Because fighting on ground carefully chossen by one’s enemies is always a good idea.
Ok, so fighting them in the US is a good idea? Can we do it in your home town? That choice would be ok for me.

I think that the choice of the ground for the fight was the US call in this case unless you guys are agreeing that AQ was in Iraq all the time and not attracted to Iraq by them.
 
Written By: cap joe
URL: http://
I would rather we could work with Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, and a whole host of other nations to solve Iraq, and other problems. We share similar interests, and so, should share the burden of solving them.
Iran’s hardliners have never represented majority Iranian opinion and until the US invasion of Iraq they had been losing control of Iranian society.
They are still losing control of society, as I point out in a blog entry today. Any involvement by the US in Iran is going to be with the express purpose of toppling the current regime, and hoping that a more representative, less hostile regime will take it’s place. I’d consider a country that was neutral and not supporting terrorism in the Middle East a step in the right direction. And I wouldn’t care if they didn’t sell us oil.

The administration has contingency plans, should the surge fail, that shouldn’t surprise anyone. They certainly also have contingency plans for bombing and invading Iran.
So how can we determine which of us is right about: a) America’s power and capacity to get results; and b) if our presence in the region helps or hinders the appeal of terrorist fascism abusing the name of Islam?
Well, we could leave, and see what happens over a decade, but that would be an ugly experiment in comparison to what is occurring today.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
Ok, so fighting them in the US is a good idea?
That’s not an option, most of the insurgents would not want to and not have any chance to get to the US. Al qaeda has other operatives they can send to the US, the few foreign fighters they have there aren’t being drained away from people that can come to the US. After all, they only need 19 to make a huge impact. Nothing we’re doing in Iraq is keeping the US safer. And Capt, do you really think the US was trying to draw al qaeda into Iraq by invading?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Oh and looker, Nicholson is the villain in A Few Good Men.
Ah, I see, then I’m not allowed to think the sentiment still applies?
Gee, this is sorta like not being able to quote Nathan Bedford Forrest, only now we can’t paraphrase non-existent bad guys either.
Because fighting on ground carefully chossen by one’s enemies is always a good idea.
Carefully chosen? I guess ’careful’ in their case means ’any place there are people from the United States’.
But we’re so silly, you’re right as always Retief, it was much smarter to fight them in the World Trade Center.

Dr Erb disagrees with you though, he says we were choosing the ground by invading Iraq, and we knew we were doing so. Ya know, I don’t often agree with him, but I think he’s right.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Because fighting on ground carefully chossen by one’s enemies is always a good idea.
Retief has become a master at missing the point here lately.

Retief, did you read the post? Or, as usual, did you stop at the second sentence?

If you read it, what was it’s point?

Oh, yeah, AQ would choose to base in Iraq and take the war (fight) to the US.

Where are we fighting them?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Good morning, class. If you recall, we agreed that the best time to closely observe and authenticate the LN was during one of its relatively rare “turn on a dime” moments when the way it works may be exposed to scrutiny.

When the veto override vote failed we observed two articles, one in the NYT, a known guidepost of the LN, and practically the same article in the WaPo, another major purveyor. Now the NYT is the ne plus ultra of signalers that a change is necessary in the LN, but when the WaPo sends the same signal concurrently, we have a confirmed sighting of the LN in action.

As you recall, the signal was identified at that time as a clear directive to “get off the ‘Get Out Now’ position and await further direction”. This, of course, was a major change from the LN prior to that day. Our current test case, Professor Erb, immediately changed course, going from “Get Out Now” to “We must have a better plan" (to be determined). We are now in that middle ground, waiting for direction as to the proper new policy for Iraq.

Since we last discussed this project someone raised the issue of why someone like Professor Erb would slavishly follow directions from the NYT et al. Well, that is an interesting question. Let me just say that once one has committed to the idea that a particular political movement or party is definitely the best one to hold political power, then whatever that movement or party indicates that it needs to attain that power is worthy of support, even if a particular request is not clearly understood at that time.

So today we have Professor Erb saying:
”The reason to change policy on Iraq and move to internationalize and regionalize the conflict in a manner that removes most American military operations is necessary in order to have a better outcome.
Note the use of “move to” and “most”. No more burning rubber in getting out and remove all troops now stuff.
”The issue is not "continue the current policy or abandon Iraq" the issue is "find a policy that works.”
Which leaves plenty of room for a leisurely partial withdrawal as indicated by developments. And incidentally, abandons the “abandon Iraq” issue.

Recall that Professor Erb has carefully laid a foundation for justifying his “change of heart” on this issue (or any other). Remember that this is not about what Professor Erb believes or says (not necessarily the same thing). It is tracking the direction of the NYT and the WaPo to a corresponding change in the “thinking” from Professor Erb.

I suggest that if you re-read the articles you will see that Professor Erb has discovered “new information” and has undergone one of his vaunted changes in position due to receipt of new information and the digesting thereof. He can be expected to claim that this is a common occurrence and indicates no collusion. OK.

It is only when we draw back from this microcosm and see the panorama of LN purveyors making the exact same change at the exact same time that we can posit that something more than individuals upgrading their thinking is going on.

Of course, the netroots cannot be expected to change their life blood position so quickly. I am sure that those in charge of the LN considered that problem carefully before endorsing this change. If you care to do some extra credit work you may follow the lefty blogs over the next few weeks and see how they deal with this problem. By the way, the LN purveyors fairly often split apart before coming together again. That is normal for such an informal organization.

Semi-finally, consider that perhaps the information that President Bush declassified (or the plan to declassify it) was leaked to those in charge of the LN just before the two articles appeared. Seeing this coming, they really had no choice but to hang the netroots out to dry, did they? Well, that is an interesting speculation, isn’t it?

And finally; remember that there is nothing wrong with joining with others, be they the MSM and the other purveyors of the LN or the rightwingnoisemachine, so long as our traditional regard for the truth is honored.

Class dismissed.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
What is it you think Osama wanted from the US when he destroyed the WTC? He expected the US to invade and occupy a muslim country so that he could use that invasion to split the people of the middle east from the regimes ruling them. He badly miscalculated that Afghanistan would be the kind of graveyard for the US that it was for the Soviets. So what did Bush do after proving Osama wrong with swift vicoty in Afghanistan? Bush immediately rescued Osama’s strategy by invading Iraq. Right there is where defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory. The analysts at Rand also think our occupation of Iraq has been a huge victory for Al Qaeda.

So yes. A bloody occupation of a muslim country in the middle east is precisely the ground that Al Qaeda chooses. Just because Al Qaeda wants Iraq to be the central front in their war against us doesn’t mean we should agree.

Perhaps if I put this into a right-wing idiom it will help. To use a WWII analogy, the French claimed their border with Germany was the central front in the war. That’s why they built all those fortifications there. The Germans were not required to agree.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Our current test case, Professor Erb, immediately changed course, going from “Get Out Now” to “We must have a better plan" (to be determined). We are now in that middle ground, waiting for direction as to the proper new policy for Iraq.
To be fair, Professor Erb has been quite consistent, going back to Bosnia, in opposing the involvement of American military power in other countries.

Now, his views, or the presentation of his views, have changed somewhat in the past months, but so have a lot of peoples.

That said, I do think there are many in the camp you are describing Robert.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
What is it you think Osama wanted from the US when he destroyed the WTC? He expected the US to invade and occupy a muslim country so that he could use that invasion to split the people of the middle east from the regimes ruling them. He badly miscalculated that Afghanistan would be the kind of graveyard for the US that it was for the Soviets. So what did Bush do after proving Osama wrong with swift vicoty in Afghanistan? Bush immediately rescued Osama’s strategy by invading Iraq. Right there is where defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory. The analysts at Rand also think our occupation of Iraq has been a huge victory for Al Qaeda.

So yes. A bloody occupation of a muslim country in the middle east is precisely the ground that Al Qaeda chooses. Just because Al Qaeda wants Iraq to be the central front in their war against us doesn’t mean we should agree.

Perhaps if I put this into a right-wing idiom it will help. To use a WWII analogy, the French claimed their border with Germany was the central front in the war. That’s why they built all those fortifications there. The Germans were not required to agree.


Exactly.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Retief, that link is to an article dated 18 months ago. A lot of high-level AQ operatives have been killed since then. I’m sure Iraq isn’t looking like a huge victory for them now.
 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
I have changed my views on Iraq; a year or so ago I was arguing that leaving Iraq may not yield a negative result, even if nothing was in place. It is in large part by listening to many posting/linking here (even having to dig through the usual insults) that I’ve become convinced I was wrong in that view. I still am convinced the current tactic is failing, but my position has changed. I try to be self-critical and I do take seriously the arguments made by those with whom I disagree.

The problem with Robert’s conspiratorial "narrative" is that I’m utterly disgusted with the Democratic party, both in its approach to foreign policy and domestic policy. I doubt that disgust fits in with what Robert would expect the "liberal narrative" to maintain.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
So yes. A bloody occupation of a muslim country in the middle east is precisely the ground that Al Qaeda chooses. Just because Al Qaeda wants Iraq to be the central front in their war against us doesn’t mean we should agree.
Is there another venue you’d like to suggest sir? because, trust me, Al Queda isn’t going to go away just because we don’t engage them on ground of someones choosing.

You’re back to Cap Joe’s suggestion perhaps that we engage the next match in your town? If not, what are you proposing as a method for dealing with Al Queda?
Perhaps you favored the Clinton administration’s approach of arbitrarily committing what have historically been considered acts of war by destroying aspirin factories, tents, and camels in territories that are not under U.S. jurisdiction?
Or, let me guess, any plan but Bush’s plan is your plan. No doubt this plan involves concrete methodologies such as "doing it better and smarter".
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
The Iraq War is an unmitigated disaster for reasons too numerous and profound to explain here. Suffice it to say that we live in a democracy and the war, whatever its merits or demerits, simply cannot be sustained without public support. Now that the American people know we were tricked into the war, whatever tepid support it had at its inception has long since disappeared. That matters greatly. All the authoritarian ranting and partisan sniping to the contrary won’t change anything.

What to do? Withdraw, re-group, and find a better venue in which to fight the Islamofacists. I believe that, unfortunately, the opportunity to do so will present itself soon enough. If not, then we will have won some other way. If so, we will defeat them because the American people — if not the rest of the world — will be fully behind the effort.

The current course is wasteful, divisive, and counterproductive. It is long past time to correct our mistake and fundamentally change our strategy.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Withdraw, re-group, and find a better venue in which to fight the Islamofacists. I believe that, unfortunately, the opportunity to do so will present itself soon enough. If not, then we will have won some other way.
Well Dave, except for the fact that you neglected to say "smarter and better" like, for example "find a better venue to fight the Islamofacists smarter and better!", I like your plan.
Perhaps we’ll win ’some other way’ by declaring victory and going home to wait for the next explosion here on American soil.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Ok, so fighting them in the US is a good idea?
That’s not an option, most of the insurgents would not want to and not have any chance to get to the US.
It was a rhetorical question. But considering what happened twice to the WTC and the fact that the fort Dix guys were illegals who snuck in from Mexico then their certainly does not seem to be that much difficulty getting into the US.
What is it you think Osama wanted from the US when he destroyed the WTC? He expected the US to invade and occupy a muslim country so that he could use that invasion to split the people of the middle east from the regimes ruling them.
No. He was certain that the US would tuck tail and become totally isolationist so he could foster revolt in the Gulf states and build the beginnings of the Caliphate. That was the key reason behind it. When it did not happen, he was then sure that he could beat the US in Afghanistan and then Iraq. With Iraq, it can be debated as to how much success that is achieving.

You know for a character from Keith Laumer’s book, you certainly lack the humor and intelligence that the fictional Retief displayed. Perhaps time to step up your game or get another nom de guerre.

 
Written By: cap joe
URL: http://
Oh, yeah, AQ would choose to base in Iraq and take the war (fight) to the US.
An intention that has been foiled. And how were two of the three AQ leaders your source suggests were driving this effort neutralized? By the occupation troops? No? What, it was by inteligence work elsewhere? Oh. And Zarqawi? By airstrike, is it? Your own evidence suggests that preventing AQ’s wishes from fulfillment is better accomplished by spies in Pakistan than troops in Baghdad.
He was certain that the US would tuck tail and become totally isolationist
Upon what do you base this interpretation?
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Why isn’t AQ in the US now? If, as pointed out above, Iraq is all that dangerous for AQ operatives, why don’t they beat the troops home instead of following them?

Witness the effect of a single 2-person relatively unprofessional sniper team on DC. By Zeus, you’d think that AQ would be able to infiltrate at least one highly skilled sniper team for each of LA, NY, DC. That’s only six people and they could seriously terrorize three major cities.

Alternatively, AQ is a small bunch of huge blowhards with little military experience and no ability to operate quietly in an English-speaking country. In which case, "fighting them there so we don’t fight them here" is no only amoral (i don’t recall the iraqis volunteering to be flypaper) but profoundly stupid.

Remember, the point is to kill terrorists faster than we breed them. As long as we have substantial forces in Iraq, we will be breeding terrorists. It seems to me that we are adult enough to survive the inevitable taunts from AQ operatives that will come from withdrawing the bulk of our forces, then work with whatever government survives the civil war to ensure that Iraq does not become a base for AQ.

And since the Shia are likely to win, that shouldn’t be much of a problem.

of course, this means that we will have spent about $1 trillion (a nice chunk of change) to eliminate a secular counterweight to Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran, in order to have that country tilt more to our avowed enemy.

what other military/geopolitical move has been more stupid — the German invasion of the Soviet Union in WWII?

 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
Osama bin Laden himself calls the struggle in Iraq a "war of destiny" - and has proclaimed "the war is for you or for us to win. If we win it, it means your defeat and disgrace forever."
It still does not mean he is correct. If there is a seperate and better way of defeating AQ to the happiness of America it does not matter what OBL says - he would be just plain wrong.

Not that leaving and retreating is going to defeat AQ, but if some other avenue becomes apparent there is no good reason to maintain troops in Iraq.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Add to that - America has no good interest in continuing a "war of destiny" indefinitely with AQ.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
what other military/geopolitical move has been more stupid — the German invasion of the Soviet Union in WWII?
Yes, that would probably qualify! The sad thing is there were a lot of people, especially experts on the Mideast, giving dire warnings about how this would play out, and they were neglected in favor of the neo-conservative dream of "spreading democracy" and reshaping the Mideast to create conditions to expand American values in the 21st century. When ideology blinds one to reality that leads to trouble. You still have people who see this as some threat to western civilization or war of the worlds, a kind of romantic dramatic fantasy that allows one to get meaning from the idea of being involved in an existential struggle. That’s completely ridiculous, but you get even intelligent people caught up in that. Still, we do have a humanitarian duty to try to make sure things don’t devolve into genocide and to end the violence in Iraq which kills often over 100 a day. But how? Military force and the "surge" certainly can’t do it. We need a completely new approach.

 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Upon what do you base this interpretation?
public statements by AQ honchos and their joke on the "US paper tiger" who run at first blood. We have made these statements true, take Lebanon, Somalia, etc.
Witness the effect of a single 2-person relatively unprofessional sniper team on DC. By Zeus, you’d think that AQ
Both of these were recent muslim converts and inspired by AQ actions.

Remember, the point is to kill terrorists faster than we breed them.
So, extrajudicial covert killings. I would believe you wanted to kill terrorists if you weren’t complaining about detainees in Gitmo whose major complaint seems to be weight gain and not enough basketballs. It would help if your buds in the media were exposing every covert action they could get their hands on.

So I call BS at your statements.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
God help the day you guys need serious long term medical treatment - the doctor will prescribe the approach, and if it doesn’t work within a day, you’ll declare it a failure and demand they try something else.

Yes, the ’great’ Rumsfeld was this century’s McNamara, but you might at least give Petraeus some time to succeed with the new approach (you know, a NEW approach, like the one you’re all screaming we need...) before you demand yet a newer one.

Then again, success is something a number of you aren’t interested in seeing, of this, I’m firmly convinced.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
The information in the quote from 2005 was declassified by Bush in 2005, when Chertoff was sworn in. There is nothing new about it, as Robert Block of the WSJ reported today on KCRW. Go to KCRW and listen to the interview of Block.

The real story here is that Bush’s purpose here is to mislead the public that this is newly declassified, when it is not.

And you expect this patently dishonest administration to lead us to anything positive in Iraq?
So if this is a carefully contrived attempt to spring this sort of an assessment at just the right time in order to bolster support for the war, the administration its enemies love to call "the gang who couldn’t shoot straight", sure did manage to plan this a long way in advance didn’t it? You know, plant the info in 2005, release it through Homeland Security, and say, in general terms, what it is now saying specifically?

I don’t think so.
Wrong again.
Recently, we learned that Osama bin Laden has urged the terrorist Zarqawi to form a group to conduct attacks outside Iraq, including here in the United States. We’re on a constant hunt for bin Laden. We’re keeping the pressure on him, keeping him in hiding. And today, Zarqawi understands that coalition and Iraqi troops are on a constant hunt for him, as well. Coalition and Iraqi forces have caught and killed several of his key lieutenants. We’re working every day and night to dismantle his network and to bring him to justice. (Applause.)
Source? WhiteHouse.gov Speaker? Bush.

Nothing was announced Tuesday we didn’t know already. Including Bush’s mendacity.

Is the story true? Who knows. But that wasn’t the point of this post or the purpose of the White House. The purpose was to assert that this information was new to the public when it clearly was not.

Geez, these people can’t even mislead well. And they are supposed to solve the problem that is Iraq? And we should send more troops to die for them?
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
As long as we remain in Iraq, we will be successful. Terrorist wind up dead, but most importantly, there is no vaccuum as long as we’re there. At the rate they’re going, the Iraqi government will be able to fill any pontential vaccuum themselves sooner rather than later, but we will remain in Iraq, most likely in Kurdistan, for a very long time.

Iraq is important because it borders Saudi Arabia. Osama Bin Laden sees himself as the next Caliph, but he doesn’t care about Indonesia or the Phillipines or even Afghanistan. He wants Saudi Arabia. It’s Saudi Arabia that is the most important to him. He hates the US because of our support for the house of Saud. He has attacked us repeatedly hoping to get us to bug out of the region for a number of honor reasons, but most importantly because we stand between him and his conquest of Saudi Arabia. Next to Afghanistan and Iraq, where is AQ most active? Saudi Arabia. In his writings, he goes on about the Saudis incessantly, but most of us here in the west dismiss these ravings as some sort of inscrutible Arab thing that doesn’t involve us. To Bin Laden’s mind however, Saudi Arabia is the key to the restoration of the Caliphate. And for the most part, he’s right.

yours/
peter.

 
Written By: peter jackson
URL: www.liberalcapitalist.com
do you really think the US was trying to draw al qaeda into Iraq by invading?
No, I don’t. I think we tried to draw al qaeda there by staying.
 
Written By: Arcs
URL: http://
We don’t need 180,000 troops in Iraq to nip these kinds of plans in the bud. Especially when our presence destabilizes the country and provokes the broad sectarian war and failed state-issues that enabled Al-Quieda to grow strong enough in Iraq to make it a primary staging point in the first place.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://

 
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