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The Road to a Larger War
Posted by: McQ on Monday, July 09, 2007

In one of the most heartless, contemptible and short-sighted editorials written about any subject, a New York Times editorial yesterday, entitled "The Road Home", called for an immediate pull out of all American troops in Iraq.

Yes, agreed, I'm using harsh language in my description, but I think in this particular case, it is well warranted. Talking about how extracting American troops from Iraq should be the highest priority of Congress when it returns, the editorial follows with:
That conversation must be candid and focused. Americans must be clear that Iraq, and the region around it, could be even bloodier and more chaotic after Americans leave. There could be reprisals against those who worked with American forces, further ethnic cleansing, even genocide. Potentially destabilizing refugee flows could hit Jordan and Syria. Iran and Turkey could be tempted to make power grabs. Perhaps most important, the invasion has created a new stronghold from which terrorist activity could proliferate.

The administration, the Democratic-controlled Congress, the United Nations and America’s allies must try to mitigate those outcomes — and they may fail. But Americans must be equally honest about the fact that keeping troops in Iraq will only make things worse.
The Times outlines the probable scenario which will develop if we were to leave Iraq now. Knowing that, how in the world can the Times outline that horror and then with a straight face claim that if we keep our troops in Iraq doing so "will only make things worse?"

Worse than what? Reprisals, genocide, a stronghold for the proliferation of terrorism, ethnic cleansing and destabilizing refugee flows and enemy nations making "power grabs"?

A sentence following the first paragraph should have been added saying, "But we don't care".

We don't care if our leaving destabilizes the rest of the region. We don't care if it may provide a stronghold for the proliferation of terrorism. We don't care if Iran makes a power grab. We don't care if there is genocide. We don't care if there are reprisals. And we certainly don't care if the violence in Iraq spreads to other areas in a region critical to our national security.

We just don't care.

Nope, we must bring the troops home ... that's all that matters. At least for now. At least until it is much worse and we can't ignore the problem any more and we have to send many more of them back into a much wider, volatile and lethal situation.

It is one thing to mistakenly call for such action when you don't understand or miscalculate the probable consequences. Call it ignorance or naivete. But when you are fully aware of the most likely outcome for millions of people in another part of the world, as well as the effect on your nation's security and you blow it off in such a callus and cavalier fashion as has the NYT, then you deserve nothing but contempt in return.

And that is exactly what I feel towards the editorial board of the New York Times today.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

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Hey! At least they’re ’candid and focused’!
 
Written By: Cassandra
URL: http://www.villainouscompany.com/vcblog
I think more important than directing your anger at the New York Times, which is certainly justified, is the idea that the noise there making is precisely the same know is that the democrats have been making. Ironically, they been making it for the same reason. And, unfortunately, to the same result.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
But when you are fully aware of what will most likely happen to people in another part of the world and you blow it off in such a callus and cavalier fashion as has the NYT, then you deserve nothing but contempt in return.
The only difference between this and the way the left threw the people of S.E. Asia under the bus is that by writing this:
That conversation must be candid and focused. Americans must be clear that Iraq, and the region around it, could be even bloodier and more chaotic after Americans leave. There could be reprisals against those who worked with American forces, further ethnic cleansing, even genocide. Potentially destabilizing refugee flows could hit Jordan and Syria. Iran and Turkey could be tempted to make power grabs. Perhaps most important, the invasion has created a new stronghold from which terrorist activity could proliferate.

The administration, the Democratic-controlled Congress, the United Nations and America’s allies must try to mitigate those outcomes - and they may fail. But Americans must be equally honest about the fact that keeping troops in Iraq will only make things worse.
they’re trying to get to spin it into something that reflects better on them.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
This is that same old song about getting somebody else to do it.

The UN, the EU and Russia are gutless wonders of big words and small gonads.

The NYT has just re-upped for their portion of trying to give this problem to somebody, anybody, else. But, alas, there are no takers.

Frankly, if there had been a airport full of WMDs, the NYT would still be up for acting their part of the coward. What a bunch of useless lemmings.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Hey.

The NYT, the WaPo.

What’s reality compared to the driving need to supply the Liberal Narrative.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl,
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
McQ:

You characterize this:
Continuing to sacrifice the lives and limbs of American soldiers is wrong. The war is sapping the strength of the nation’s alliances and its military forces. It is a dangerous diversion from the life-and-death struggle against terrorists. It is an increasing burden on American taxpayers, and it is a betrayal of a world that needs the wise application of American power and principles.
as
heartless, contemptible and short-sighted
I think it is you, McQ, who is mistaken. The editorial is correct in all respects, including an honest admission that we do not know the full consequences of withdrawal and recognition that we must work hard to minimize the negative impact. We do, however, know the consequences of continuing to follow this Administration’s "policy":
This country faces a choice. We can go on allowing Mr. Bush to drag out this war without end or purpose.
In the alternative,
Or we can insist that American troops are withdrawn as quickly and safely as we can manage — with as much effort as possible to stop the chaos from spreading.
The American people made their decision long ago. You can continue lambasting people who disagree with you (including a growing number of Republicans), or you can accept the inevitable and try to make the best of a catastrophic mistake.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
The American people made their decision long ago. You can continue lambasting people who disagree with you (including a growing number of Republicans), or you can accept the inevitable and try to make the best of a catastrophic mistake.
Since when does two wrongs make a right? When did this logic change? Who sent out that memo?

And which decision are you talking about? Seems they made a decison back in 2002 - to give Saddaam one last time to come clean or face the consequences. Congress and the Senate voted on that one and the results were overwhelming. Then the UN Secuity Council weighed in and they were unanimous. He didn’t come clean and he got the consequences.

So be careful about the stating "The American people made their decision long ago." Someone might challenge you by asking you "What decision?"
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Off topic, from this week’s Economist I find:

Britain has 5,000 or so troops left in Iraq. They also have about 7,000 troops in Afghanistan. But our best ally is supposedly "overstretched" with its army near breaking point. Didn’t Britain field larger armies in the 19th century when it had a smaller economy and smaller population?

So, if nations of 60 million in Europe can only field 5,000 troops per head for a long term war, the total the EU could deliver comfortably would be 30,000 troops!

I don’t think we should count on them to help much.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
The Chinese have an estimated 1 million troops, active + reserve.

The Army of India has 2.5 million (active + reserves.)

Russia has 3.6 million.

These are the countries we ought to be partnering with for missions of global importance.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
The American people made their decision long ago.


The fact that the American people may have made a decision and that is reflected in the NYT editorial doesn’t make it right or any less contemptible.
You can continue lambasting people who disagree with you (including a growing number of Republicans)...
I’m not "lambasting" people, David ... I’m lambating a sick and craven idea which claims that just because we make a popular decision that decision doesn’t automatically become good, commendable or in our best interest in the long run.

And, just like the NYT, you completely avoid that argument.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
The American people made their decision long ago
The American people made lots of decisions.

Supporting going to war was one of them

Supporting continuing the war was another

Now they’ve made a 3rd decision?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
You miss the point. We can’t fix the region. Staying only exacerbates the problem and puts off inevitable conflicts within Islam. It is a vast over estimation of American power to "fix" other places by thinking somehow we can prevent the kinds of conflicts within Islam which might emerge. Even if we helped cause the problem, it isn’t ours to solve. Call that heartless if you want, I call it realistic.

Moreover, look at the US political scene: GOP Senators are switching on Iraq at an increasing pace. There is going to be no American political will to continue after Bush leaves, and they may pull the rug out from under him anyway. The US can’t fight much of a war, let alone a protracted "let’s fix this mess" conflict with over 70% opposing it! And, of course, you can’t assume a genocide or anything like that. We’re not really protecting Iraqis from Iraqis now anyway, it’s not like we’re preventing sectarian violence. Maybe if the US isn’t there they’ll come face to face with the fact they are responsible for their future and make the necessary decisions. It’s not like a Pol Pot is ready to take over or anything. So we have to learn our lessons, recognize the horrible consequences of our choice to invade, accept that we are incapable of fixing the situation, that this is up not only to the Iraqis but the actors in the region, and hope that we can play a positive role.

But we have to face reality, and the reality is that this is a situation we can fix for "make right." Our power is limited.

But this chapter is nearing an end; we will leave next year, the only question is how, and if we leave completely or are able to leave some troops in place (in my blog on July 5-6 I gave my scenario for avoiding the worst outcome — but like it or not, US military involvement is going to wind down soon, and without achieving a stable Iraq. But maybe the Iraqis can figure out how to do it themselves.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The Chinese have an estimated 1 million troops, active + reserve.

The Army of India has 2.5 million (active + reserves.)

Russia has 3.6 million.

These are the countries we ought to be partnering with for missions of global importance.

Even though they have different and opposing policy preferences to the US in many areas? Even though the PRC and Russia have Sh*te troops? I’ll stick with her Majesty’s Royal Sheep Buggerers if you don’t mind.

Plus, Keith I think your numbers are grossly off. I think the PRC has more than 1 million troops, and are you sure Russia has 3 million troops? The first number is small and the second one is much too big.

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
The fact that the American people may have made a decision and that is reflected in the NYT editorial doesn’t make it right or any less contemptible.
Perhaps, but in a democratic republic where the military is subject to civilian control, it makes the decision regardless.
I’m lam[s]bating a sick and craven idea which claims that just because we make a popular decision that decision doesn’t automatically become good, commendable or in our best interest in the long run.
True as far as it goes but it doesn’t go very far. First, the NYTimes (and many other right-thinking Americans) have concluded that it is in America’s best interest to withdraw from Iraq. You may disagree, but it is unfair, I think, to suggest that those who disagree with you have not considered the consequences. Let’s face it: there are no good options; that’s what makes the Iraq War such a colossal blunder. We must make the best out of a terrible situation. In my opinion, the Bush adminsitration has entirely squandered any claim to credible leadership on the war, so its simple-minded insistence on plowing ahead heedlessly merits little respect.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
First, the NYTimes (and many other right-thinking Americans) have concluded that it is in America’s best interest to withdraw from Iraq. You may disagree, but it is unfair, I think, to suggest that those who disagree with you have not considered the consequences. Let’s face it: there are no good options; that’s what makes the Iraq War such a colossal blunder. We must make the best out of a terrible situation. In my opinion, the Bush adminsitration has entirely squandered any claim to credible leadership on the war, so its simple-minded insistence on plowing ahead heedlessly merits little respect.
I think a key point is that the Administration did try a major shift in policy after the 2004 election, and on diplomatic, strategic and tactical fronts has moved to a much more competent policy. The shift of power from Cheney and (now departed) Rumsfeld to realists like Rice and Gates showed they started to understand that their original plan was built on illusions, and reality turned out much different than theory. However, even this change is not working, and they are running out of time. McQ seems to assume there is a way to somehow "fix" the situation and avoid internal sectarian violence. I don’t see anyway we can do that, especially if we recognize political realities at home (but even if the war still had a lot more support I doubt we could, the army is stretched the breaking point).

This column from Robert Novak is troubling. It suggests that the Bush Administration doesn’t understand the depth of opposition to this war in the heartland and how he doesn’t have political capitol or time to plan a neat policy shift. That decreases the likelihood of tying a withdrawal to a multinational plan that might work.

 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
We can’t fix the region
Scotty Sez: Lets just nuke it!!!
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
its simple-minded insistence on plowing ahead heedlessly
But I thought the narrative was that the Iraqis were talking about how we’ve been changing plans all these years...

Let’s see, I think the narrative is, Bush should only listen to the generals that disagree with him...

Yeah, Joe, the number for China is 3 million. Took the numbers from 2 different sources.

And, so they sometimes have different foreign policy objects then we do, when we share the same objectives, shouldn’t we be willing to partner with them?
on diplomatic, strategic and tactical fronts has moved to a much more competent policy. ... However, even this change is not working, and they are running out of time.
How are you measuring whether the change is working or not? We are in Operation Phantom Fury +17 days?

The Iraqi parliament has decided to cut short it’s vacation. The Oil Law bill is ready for debate. Iraqi security forces are making continual gains in size, and competency. US troops are making progress in clearing operations, and with hunting down terrorist/insurgents. al Sadr appears to have run back to Iran, as the government has continued to target the Mahdi militia (there by showing they aren’t just targeting Sunnis.)
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
First, the NYTimes (and many other right-thinking Americans) have concluded that it is in America’s best interest to withdraw from Iraq.
You continue to argue the ad populum fallacy, David, and avoid the point ...
You may disagree, but it is unfair, I think, to suggest that those who disagree with you have not considered the consequences.
Good grief ... absolutely false David ... the consequences are spelled out in the editorial, in detail.

Secondly, I’m not here to be fair.

What I find contemptible is the fact that the NYT and those who support its demand know what will happen and seemingly don’t care. In a few short paragraphs they are able to throw the fate of thousands, if not millions, of people to the dogs with a simpering appeal to others - who’ve demonstrated no previous inclination or desire to do so - to intervene and save them. That is to assuage their conscience when the inevitable happens.

The most contemptible part is the fact the NYT has foreknowledge of what will happen, to include understanding that it may mean we have to re-involve ourselves in a larger conflict when the price would be much higher in blood and treasure - and don’t seem to care.

You may find that to be acceptable because polls tell you the majority of Americans don’t care either. As I said, I hold in contempt those who would condemn a region and its people to the horrors outlined above regardless of how many there are ... just as I hold in contempt to this day, those who abandoned South Vietnam.

If there is any parallel to Vietnam, this is it.

Oh, and the fact that it can and might be done and there’s nothing I can do about doesn’t lessen my contempt one iota either.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Scott, "it’s not like a Pol Pot is ready to take over." So those gentle "Muslims" who are loping off heads and slaughtering other Muslims daily are going to join the representative government when we leave? Maybe will just luck out and get a Sadam version 2 (You know bigger, badder, with ultra-cleansing power). By the way the only thing "built on illusion" is the thought process that let you choose your profession.
 
Written By: coater
URL: http://
Well, Keith, we’ll see, but the "making progress" claims and belief that anything the Iraqi parliament does makes a difference on the ground haven’t panned out in the past. Al Sadr has also gone into hiding many times, and to Iran once before. The complexity of the situation is such that we can’t know why, or if this is even a good or bad thing (is he scared of Malaki, or just negotiating for better arms and supplies?). Meanwhile it’s undeniable that American politics is moving quickly for withdrawal of at least a good share of the American forces there, especially with the military so overstretched (which I think is why GOP Senators are switching, they are very concerned about the state of the US military). So none of this seems new or different, and meanwhile sectarian violence continues with some massive bombs and high death counts this last weekend. Time will tell, but as each day passes the chance of major changes in Iraq before we withdrawal seems less likely. But in an odd way, it may be a good time to time. Al qaeda threatens war against Iran, Sunnis in Iraq turn on Al qaeda...perhaps the Iraqis can work this out themselves better without us giving them benchmarks and trying to pressure them into a particular path. We’ll see.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
McQ, nobody knows what will happen. And, of course, it’s not clear anything the US can do can prevent whatever will happen from happening. A lot of people said that after the war the US would be greeted as liberators, they were certain that by 2007 the Iraq war would be a memory, replaced by a functioning, stable, free Iraq as a model to the rest of the region. They were wrong. Now many of these same people look at the sectarian violence and say they know things will get much worse if we leave.

But that’s a dubious claim. We aren’t really protecting Iraqis from sectarian violence as it is, and we are a force radicalizing the region. Remove us, and you might remove the biggest obstacle to the Iraqis and other states in the region forging a solution to the divisions that does not involve something like a "genocide." Perhaps the longer we stay, the more difficult it will be for them to find a path to stability.

So please, no "we know what will happen." We don’t. There will be violence, we don’t know how much, we don’t know if it will be worse if we stay longer, and there is no reason to think we can fix it. But we can rationally choose to leave in a way that tries to help those there reach their own agreements. We probably have less than a year to do that.

But beyond that, I think the more we stay to try to fix things, the more broken they will become.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The Editors of the NYT complain
[The war in Iraq] created a new front where the United States will have to continue to battle terrorist forces and enlist local allies who reject the idea of an Iraq hijacked by international terrorists. The military will need resources and bases to stanch this self- inflicted wound for the foreseeable future.
Hasn’t Bush been saying from the WOT get-go that we would take the fight to the enemy? Why characterize this particular upshot of the Iraqi war as a "self-inflicted wound"?

But never mind that. The big concerns are the nature of the resources and location of the bases that the military will need:
The bottom line: the Pentagon needs enough force to stage effective raids and airstrikes against terrorist forces in Iraq, but not enough to resume large-scale combat.
So, the royal we of the NYT do not really object to our continued military tweaking of events in Iraq. They just don’t want the potential for significant American blood on the ground over there. And, as McQ perspicaciously puts it, they just don’t care about the consequences of snatching the troops out of harms way. If, I’ll warrant, the clearing them out of there can be fashioned into a feather in the Dem’s campaign chapeau. Which — depending on how bad things get how fast — may be more of a trick than the NYTers imagine.

Be careful what you advocate for. (Pardon my preposition.)

Finally, no comment (of mine) on this piece would be complete without snickering about the line just ahead of that last quote I pulled:
The White House should make this choice after consultation with Congress and the other countries in the region, whose opinions the Bush administration has essentially ignored.
Is that not hilarious? Congress juxtaposed against "other countries in the region," I mean. Like, you know, Iran and Syria, who don’t exactly wish for US victory. . .either. Even at the NTY, the truth will out, I suppose.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
Is that not hilarious? Congress juxtaposed against "other countries in the region," I mean.
And also, totally disregarding the commanders in theater...
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Be careful what you advocate for. (Pardon my preposition.)
I’m sorry Linda, but that is something up with which I shall not put.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
nobody knows what will happen
Scott, that’s not the point. The NYT editorial spells out the disaster to come:
Americans must be clear that Iraq, and the region around it, could be even bloodier and more chaotic after Americans leave. There could be reprisals against those who worked with American forces, further ethnic cleansing, even genocide. Potentially destabilizing refugee flows could hit Jordan and Syria. Iran and Turkey could be tempted to make power grabs. Perhaps most important, the invasion has created a new stronghold from which terrorist activity could proliferate.
And McQ is right on point when he says they need to add "But We Don’t Care!"

That is the whole point that McQ is trying to make. Even with prior knowledge the worst will happen, the NYT advocates we should depart immediately anyway. Why? Because they don’t care!

And I believe that is a more dangerous state of being than the current situation.

(Note - To quickly fix the problem of ending a sentence with a preposition, one should merely add ", *sshole." or another such object for the preposition to the end, thereby relieving themselves of the potential horrors of the grammar police.)
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
I won’t post a long post here, but at my blog today I argue that it may well be better for Iraq if we leave soon than if we stay. People seem to be assuming we can make things better, I don’t think we can. We haven’t the time or military force to change the situation, and I think trying to enforce our view of how they should structure their system and settle their disputes only sets up more disputes in the future. I also disagree that the NYT piece said they knew it would be worse. They said it COULD BE worse. Then again, it might not be.

Somehow in these discussions people have morphed "could be" in the NYT to a claim they said there "will be."
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
It’s an interesting day when an American libertarian argues in favor of continued occupation of a foreign country, and uses as justification the protection of the foreigners from each other.

I guess you think that the British and/or French should have intervened in our civil war.

Alternative 1: The US is in an existential war against a powerful and committed enemy. Defeat is not acceptable.
Conclusion: Escalate. Flood Iraq with peacekeepers; tell Americans that we will stay in Iraq at least a generation.
Requirements: Much higher taxes and likely a draft. And leadership from the White House.
Likelihood of any of this happening: Just about zero.

Alternative 2: The US is involved in a multi-party civil war. Success is impossible.
Conclusion: Withdraw.
Requirements: A new president.
Likelihood: Just about 100%.

Alternative 3: After years of telling the American people that the winning strategy is in place, the Adminstration now actually has a winning strategy.
Conclusion: Stick it out.
Requirements: Trust of the American people.
Likelihood: HA! A substantial majority of the American people now believe that the decision to go to war and the occupation were made on the basis of lies. A nice thing about democracies is that when the people believe the Executive is a liar, they get to pick a new one.

So we’re having some success among Sunni tribes in fighting Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia (AQIM). So? AQIM didn’t even exist before the invasion. The fact that we’re just now stamping out this component of the insurgency 4 years into the occupation is hardly anything to be proud about.

What’s the US going to do about Kurdish desire for independence? What about Sunni insistence on amendments to the constitution? What about Shia desire for payback for the depradations of the Saddam era?

What about the right of people to self-governance?
 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
Even with prior knowledge the worst will happen, the NYT advocates we should depart immediately anyway. Why? Because they don’t care!
I disagree. First, the NYTimes — and let’s face it, in this instance the NYTimes suffices as a proxy for the American public — does not know what will happen when we withdraw. It is surely prudent, I would say, to consider unpleasant outcomes and prepare for alternate scenarios. (Need it be said again that the failure to do so is one the primary reasons Iraq is now in catastrophic straits?) The NYTimes at least suggests a starting place on how to ameliliorate the consequneces. I’m sure they — and all others, like me, who beleive we ought to withdraw from Iraq — would appreciate any other thoughts or ideas. However, as much as I have concern for the plight of Iraq, I am more concerned with what is best for the United States. In my opinion, like that of the NYTimes, the best interests of America militate a withdrawal. Instead of saying those who advocate withdrawal "don’t care," perhaps it is the Bush Adminstration and its dwindling band of enablers who really "don’t care" as they subbornly cling to a catastrophic policy.

In any case, the writing is on the wall. Time to prepare for withdrawal.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
" First, the NYTimes — and let’s face it, in this instance the NYTimes suffices as a proxy for the American public — does not know what will happen when we withdraw"

Not in precise detail, but we sure as he** know some of the things that will happen—more of the same that is happening now. To imply that we have absolutely no idea of what will transpire if we leave is at best moronic.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
those who advocate withdrawal "don’t care,"
No, nothing you can say or do or write can ever prove you care one whit. You want out and it seems that, at the latest, in January 2009 you will get your wish. I only hope you can look back in twenty years and not feel regret. But if you are anything like your Liberal brothers and sisters of Viet Nam - you won’t. They sure don’t feel any regret for leaving those people to their fate. Neither will you.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
I only hope you can look back in twenty years and not feel regret. But if you are anything like your Liberal brothers and sisters of Viet Nam - you won’t. They sure don’t feel any regret for leaving those people to their fate. Neither will you.
Is that what this intransigence is all about? Viet Nam? For god’s sake, move on.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
It’s an interesting day when an American libertarian argues in favor of continued occupation of a foreign country, and uses as justification the protection of the foreigners from each other.
It might be interesting, Francis, if that’s what I was saying ... but it’s not ... there are much wider implications noted, but, as usual, you choose to ignore them in order to oversimplify and then erect the expected strawman.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
First, the NYTimes — and let’s face it, in this instance the NYTimes suffices as a proxy for the American public — does not know what will happen when we withdraw.
Come on David, you’re smarter than this.

The NYT is saying EVEN if that happens it doesn’t care.

That’s contemptible on its face.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Is that what this intransigence is all about? Viet Nam? For god’s sake, move on.
Oh for heaven sake ...
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
No, the NYT is NOT saying that even if it does happen, it doesn’t care. That’s simply not true. The NYT says bad things could happen, and we need to try to mitigate them. But we might not be able to. It’s a realistic appraisal which says that staying now is worse than leaving, and we don’t know what will happen. But to say the NYT’s says they don’t care is not telling the truth.

Sheesh. We need to have a reasonable discussion about how best to leave, since it’s clear that we will leave within a year. Instead it’s this silly ’they don’t care about what will happen’ and other emotional claptrap. The pro-war side isn’t acting any better than the radical anti-war side with their anti-Bush rants. Let’s get reasonable and discuss, not accuse and hurl insults.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Somehow in these discussions people have morphed "could be" in the NYT to a claim they said there "will be."
Eh, I’m pretty sure that’s how it’s gonna be, if history and human nature is any guide.

Care to wager on it?
First, the NYTimes — and let’s face it, in this instance the NYTimes suffices as a proxy for the American public
They function as a proxy for the Democratic Party, nothing more.
Is that what this intransigence is all about? Viet Nam? For god’s sake, move on
All of a sudden, we find one aspect of the Vietnam/Iraq comparison that the left doesn’t wish to wallow in? AMAZING!

PS- The same exact sentiment (if not the very words) were spoken once before. And lots of people moved on then. They moved on into the spirit realm unwillingly.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Two parents take their kids into a pottery store. The kids excite a dog and cat who belong to the owners. Clearly, the store owners shouldn’t have had a dog and cat there! They go crazy running around. The parents tell the kids they can’t leave until they calm down the dog and cat. But their efforts to calm them only excite them more. The store owners say "go, we’ll take care of things," but the parents refuse saying "our kids excited your pets, they have a responsibility to stay until they calm them down." So the kids keep chasing the dog and cat, with the parents saying "if we leave, we’ll just leave two excited pets to do more harm."
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Except the store owner (the Iraqi government) does not want us to leave yet.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Is that what this intransigence is all about? Viet Nam?
No, it’s not about Viet Nam but the arguments you present are ominously similar to those given by the Anti-War left back in the day. But its is the Anti-War Left of today that keeps bringing Viet Nam analogies into the discussions. The quagmire! The bankrupt ruling government! And the list goes on and on. But when the analogy hits home, hits where you don’t want it to hit - You want to move on!
All of a sudden, we find one aspect of the Vietnam/Iraq comparison that the left doesn’t wish to wallow in?
Well, wallow in it! Get hip deep into it! I see a lot of whining about what the NYT did or did not say in the piece, so let’s look at it.
Americans must be clear that Iraq, and the region around it, could be even bloodier and more chaotic after Americans leave. There could be reprisals against those who worked with American forces, further ethnic cleansing, even genocide. Potentially destabilizing refugee flows could hit Jordan and Syria. Iran and Turkey could be tempted to make power grabs. Perhaps most important, the invasion has created a new stronghold from which terrorist activity could proliferate.
I did not say it would, the NYT said it could. They try and mitigate the horror to come
The administration, the Democratic-controlled Congress, the United Nations and America’s allies must try to mitigate those outcomes - and they may fail.
But the NYT followed with
But Americans must be equally honest about the fact that keeping troops in Iraq will only make things worse.
Looks to me like they are advocating the answer - get out no matter what. ’Cause if we stay it would be worse. You can parse those words any way you want but the intent is pretty clear and the bottom line is - they don’t care! You want me to move on. Good. I will. When you stand up and admit to yourself that you don’t care either. You want an honest debate? So let’s be honest. You don’t give a sh*t what happens to those people. Get us out of there and the devil take the hindmost!
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
The store owners say "go, we’ll take care of things,"
However, the store owners are not yet saying that.

Because someone’s uninvited ferret is also egging on the dog and cat. Precisely because its owner hates the parents, and doesn’t care about the store owners...
the fact that keeping troops in Iraq will only make things worse.
So, if we leave it could get worse, but if we stay it WILL be worse. And they (or anyone else) are certain of this how?
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
and you, McQ, as usual fail to address the hard issues.

1. Americans don’t support the war. Maybe it’s the fault of the eeevil liberal MSM, or maybe your fellow citizens are capable of exercising their own judgment and coming to a different conclusion than yours. But we’re having a Presidential election in ’08 and the candidates from both parties are going to have to explain their strategies in some detail. (I doubt a Nixonian secret plan will be adequate.) Respecting the will of the majority is an integral component of the democratic system.

2 We are borrowing staggering sums of money to pay for the war. Really large federal deficits are not sustainable and have a number of adverse impacts on the economy.

3. Iraqis are fighting for the future of their country. We fought once over liberty from the British / Royalists and once over slavery / states’ rights. The Iraqis appear to be willing to die over religion. As a military man, you should appreciate the idea that some things are worth dying for. How can we possibly persuade people who are from a radically different culture that a negotiated settlement is the best and most honorable course?
 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
SShiell: how can stating that things could get bad if we leave, and they would be worse if we stay mean that they don’t care? That just doesn’t follow. Can any body show me specifically any way to read the NYT editor and come up with the conclusion that they don’t care? It’s asserted that they don’t, but it’s not in the editorial.

Keith, no one is certain. And I honestly, seriously, hope I’m wrong and your optitism that the surge is working and Iraqi political leaders are starting to get the job done is correct after all. You’ve been in favor of the war for I presume the whole war, I was against it from the start. That means we each bring bias to our analysis, and while I think we both try to adjust for that, it’s going to be part of anyone’s analysis. Still, if your optimism about the surge is wrong, what next? How can we fix things? Isn’t it time to think about how to leave in the case of surge failure or limited success? It seems the public and now even Republicans in Congress are pushing that way, so our time frame is limited. What is the best way to go? One problem is that if the debate is just "stay or go," then there won’t be enough discussion on how to go if "go" is the choice.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I was against it from the start.
So is it possible, that this influences your reasoning, now? Is this why you try to minimize the effect of our leaving before the job is done?

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
I guess you think that the British and/or French should have intervened in our civil war.

Gee. I don’t know.

Were terrorists shipping in land mines and bombs and not only inciting violence between the North and the South, but doing their damndest to prevent peace from being negotiated during our Civil War?

Funny. I don’t recall that part being in my history books.
 
Written By: Cassandra
URL: http://www.villainouscompany.com/vcblog
and you, McQ, as usual fail to address the hard issues.
Well at least you implicitly admit your nonsense was a strawman. Now let’s look at your supposed "hard issues".
Americans don’t support the war
When have I claimed they did? My question to you is "so what?" It changes nothing about my point above.
We are borrowing staggering sums of money to pay for the war.
As opposed to borrowing even more staggering sums of money to play social engineer. Waging war is at least a Constitutionally approved endeavor.
How can we possibly persuade people who are from a radically different culture that a negotiated settlement is the best and most honorable course?
I have no interest in persuading them of such things. I have an interest in helping them get to a point they can defend themselves.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
As opposed to borrowing even more staggering sums of money to play social engineer. Waging war is at least a Constitutionally approved endeavor.
Was there a war declared? This is even a real "war," or is it a social engineering experiment for Iraq? Also, your first two words should be "in addition," not "as opposed."
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I haven’t conceded a d*mn thing.

So what that Americans don’t support the war? My god, do you really believe that extending the surge to January ’09 is going to make a substantive difference? What happened to everything about 10 years to win a counterinsurgency? If Americans don’t support the war, the next President will withdraw our troops. (See Nixon & Vietnam.) Why wait?

Nice dodge on the money question. Didn’t the Republican party control both Congress and the White House until just recently?

I have an interest in helping them get to a point they can defend themselves.

Who in this sentence is "them"? Who are they defending themselves against?

Sunni vs. Shia? Shia vs. Sunni? Kurds vs. everyone? "Iraqis" vs. someone else?

btw, thanks for conceding that our government’s stated purpose for the surge — to provide enough peace and quiet to allow for a political reconciliation — holds no interest for you.

 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
Francis, the point of this thread is rather simple. It’s got nothing to do with how much money is being spent. It’s got nothing to do with how the British or French may or may not have supported the Confederacy in the American Civil War. (What the f*ck does that have to do with anything?) It has nothing to do with whose fighting for the future of what. It has everything to do with what the effect of our leaving will be - and that you don’t care! You don’t give one hoot, one holler, one big or small pile of sh*t!

Let’s be honest for once. Let’s just say it and get it over with - You will achieve your one and only goal and that is to leave Iraq - completely and immediately. (And when that is done, you will then step over to Afghanistan and leave it too. But that is for another thread.) Right now it is simply - get the h*ll out of Iraq and what happens next - well, sigh, that’s not my problem.

Leave Iraq! Is there anything under heaven that will dissuade you from that one and only goal? If so, what is it? And if not, then just fess up!
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Some of us were very concerned about what invading Iraq would lead to, and cared deeply about the numerous people killed, most of whom would still be alive if we hadn’t chosen invasion as a way of dealing with Saddam. Did you care about them at that time, SShiell? Or did you believe that this would be best for them in the long run? It seems that things turned out even worse than most of the pessimists before the war expected, but clearly we wouldn’t be facing this kind of dilemma of "no good choices" if we hadn’t invaded. Well, we’re there. The question is, is it better to stay or go? If one thinks staying is worse than going, then if one cares, one has to argue that we leave. Frankly, I think the real issue is HOW do we leave. Except for hope that the surge will work, no one has really posted much of an argument on how one could get Iraq into a shape where the same problems won’t happen when we go. So, given that the surge is likely to be seen through as long as politically feasible by the President, and given that this gives us until early 2008 to consider the best path, how should we leave. It’s irrelevant to argue for staying because politically, that’s not in the card. It’s hopeful to argue the surge will work, but in case it doesn’t, we should think about the alternative.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
SShiel: on the chance that you’re actually interested in a debate, let’s have one. I’ll go first.

1. What is the purpose of keeping troops in Iraq?

My answer: According to the administration, to ensure the security needed to develop a political solution.

2. Is there any evidence that our troop presence is contributing positively toward that goal?

My answer: Very little. "At least 12 ministers from the 38-member cabinet are no longer attending cabinet meetings. There has been little progress on benchmark legislation, including oil revenue-sharing and a law to set a date for provincial elections. Seventy-four members of Parliament are boycotting the 275-member body, which, when combined with the members who rarely attend anyway, means that Parliament often lacks a quorum and cannot do any official business. More important than sheer numbers, however, is that even though one Sunni Arab party is considering compromise, the larger main bloc, Tawafiq, is still refusing to participate. [from the NY Times]

Large factions of both Sunni and Shia reject the current government, as being too favorable to the other side. There appears to be no viable center.

3. Is there any evidence that our troop presence is contributing negatively?

My answer: Yes. Al Qaeda In Mesopotamia was non-existent to feeble prior to the invasion. After the invasion (excuse me, liberation), they became monsters. Our current success in hunting down AQIM only became possible when Sunni tribes got tired of the atrocities AQIM was causing. Conclusion: the Sunni tribes will eliminate AQIM without our help once we stop attracting AQIM fighters to Iraq.

4. What about the slaughter that will follow our departure?

My multi-part answer: (a) There are things worth fighting your own countrymen and dying for. For Americans it was liberty from the Royalists and the end of slavery. For the Iraqis, it appears that religious differences are worth fighting and dying for. (Note that this was true for Christians for several centuries.) Once people have seized on the idea that a particular belief is worth dying for, getting them to change their minds usually involves killing large numbers of people. No one has adequately explained to me how we persuade the Iraqis, without killing them, that their own civil war is not worth fighting. (Thus the analogy to our own civil war — would the slavery issue been solved if the British had invaded DC?.)

(b) No one really knows what will happen once we leave. How can you possibly be sure? We know so little about that culture and that country that we are mapping our insecurities onto one possible future.

(c) There are any number of departure plans. Do we encourage a soft partition? Do we create a hard partition and station troops on the border? Do we leave troops in Kuwait / Kurdistan / Saudi Arabia / UAE? Different departure / draw-down plans could have dramatically different effects on Iraq’s possible futures.

5. What role should American public opinion play?

My answer: Everything. This is a democracy and we the people get to decide whether the occupation should continue. I haven’t the faintest idea why the NYTimes chose to publish this particular editorial now, since it’s clear that Bush will keep as many troops in Iraq as he can until Jan. 20, 2009. But there is an election coming up in a little more than a year, and American citizens deserve an honest answer from each of the candidates for President as to what he (or she) will do upon taking office. A Nixonian "secret plan" for peace with honor is unacceptably vague.

6. What other considerations should be taken into account in deciding a future course of action?

My answer: US blood and treasure. Our history to date of bungling the occupation. The opportunity cost of continued occupation. The impact on our strategic long-term goals in the Middle East (which, as best I can tell, are a schizophrenic combination of advocating for liberty, advocating for democracy and ensuring the flow of oil from Saudi Arabia).

These are my thoughts. The ball’s in your court; answer as you wish.
 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
"Staying only exacerbates the problem... I think the more we stay to try to fix things, the more broken they will become...at my blog today I argue that it may well be better for Iraq if we leave soon than if we stay....We need to have a reasonable discussion about how best to leave...What is the best way to go? ...this gives us until early 2008 to consider the best path, how should we leave....It’s irrelevant to argue for staying because politically, that’s not in the card.(sic)"
Once again Professor Erb does not support the (NYT-dictated) LN.

sarcasm/hulmor alert

Come on, people. Leaving right now might conceivably be the correct policy. But not recognizing the propaganda of Mr. LN...
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
So what that Americans don’t support the war? My god, do you really believe that extending the surge to January ’09 is going to make a substantive difference?
If I didn’t I wouldn’t be advocating it Francis. That’s how this stuff works.
Nice dodge on the money question.
Not a dodge at all ... it is a Constitutionally approved expenditure and I have no problem with it. What part of that didn’t you understand?
Didn’t the Republican party control both Congress and the White House until just recently?
Uh yeah ... when was the last libertarian Congress in session?
Who in this sentence is "them"? Who are they defending themselves against?
Good lord ... do I have to hold your hand in this thing? You know perfectly well who "them" is and you also know who they’re defending themselves against ... that is if you’ve been paying attention, something I’ve come to increasingly doubt.
btw, thanks for conceding that our government’s stated purpose for the surge — to provide enough peace and quiet to allow for a political reconciliation — holds no interest for you.
That’s inclusive in the deal, Francis, but I wouldn’t expect you to know that.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
To all the lefties out there; What part of Death to America, do you not understand?

These people mean to kill and enslave us.

They say so themselves. Islam’s stated purpose is to rule the world.

World domination is their goal.
 
Written By: unkawill
URL: http://
"...whether the occupation should continue..."(my emphasis).
Guess you don’t have a dictionary handy.
"I haven’t the faintest idea why the NYTimes chose to publish this particular editorial now...But there is an election coming up in a little more than a year..."
Disingenuous, Francis, disingenuous. The minions need a strong signal on which way the LN is going to go so that they can properly herd the sheeple.

This article signals the end of the "let us be reasonable" period of the LN. Note how quickly Professor Erb shifted his tone. No more consideration of reasonable alternatives - it suddenly is just get out now.

Liberals love to be part of the herd - or, perhaps fear not being part of the herd (and thus subject to the liberal eye-roll and smirk) would be more accurate. As the faithful take up the cry, look for poll after poll showing the sheeple getting on board.

Liberal tradition of caring for s? Consequences of leaving now? Apparently not a problem, don’t you read the Times? The need to elect Democrats overrides any consideration of such matters. "Hang traditional liberal values. The sheeple will eat anything we feed them. Oh sure, they will be confused at first. But, as we feed them a chorus of our think-tank- polished dogma and obliterate any liberal who dares to go the wrong way on the issue of what happens if we leave now..."

 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
Hmmmm. Weird. The s had a word that was omitted from the final sentence. It was of any bad meaning. I wonder if innocense will be omitted too. No, that made it through just fine.
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
Neoneocon has a plausible theory about why the NYT picked now to issue their editorial (which, incidentally, has absolutely nothing to do with signaling the purveyors of the LN):
"The Times is...terrified...What is the source of the terror the Times feels? It’s what’s known as "the Nixon scenario."
The rest of her take on the article is also worth your while.

 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
Link corrected, this theory...
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Well, Francis, you want a debate, let’s go. But first, answer the one and only question I posed for you. The one question that comes directly as a result of this particular thread. And it has nothing to do with the American Civil War:
Leave Iraq! Is there anything under heaven that will dissuade you from that one and only goal? If so, what is it?
Before I start any debate with you, answer the question. Because your answer will tell me whether a debate with you is even possible.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
SShiell:

things that will persuade me to keep substantial numbers of troops in Iraq:

1. a formal request from the Iraqi parliament and real progress made in the Iraqi parliament to resolution of major issues; and
2. an honest statement from the President as to what the future American commitment looks like and why the next President should continue his policies no matter what party wins the office.

alternatively:

I have yet to hear an argument for staying that, to me, outweighs the reasons for leaving. But I try to keep an open mind, despite accusations of herd mentality. (anyone who writes Liberals love to be part of the herd doesn’t actually know any liberals.) So have at it. Persuade me that I should support the occupation.
 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
Persuade me that I should support the occupation.
To begin with, if the occupation is you idea of what we are doing there, then you have already made up your mind. But, on the slight chance you are sincere, I will give it a shot using your own points as reference.

1. What is the purpose of keeping troops in Iraq?

Your answer: According to the administration, to ensure the security needed to develop a political solution.
My answer: Agreed.

2. Is there any evidence that our troop presence is contributing positively toward that goal?

Your answer: Very little.
My answer: "To ensure the security needed" is the purpose of the surge. And with that there has been considerable success. Provide the security so the political forces then have room to work.

3. Is there any evidence that our troop presence is contributing negatively?

Your answer: Yes.
My Answer: Any evidence our troop presence is contributing negatively can be refuted as easily as you can claim otherwise. In Anbar Province, tribal leaders once opposing the US presence are now joining us in the slaughter of AQ. That looks pretty positive to me. So far we have transitioned 6 provinces to Iraqi control. Looks pretty positive to me.

4. What about the slaughter that will follow our departure?

Your multi-part answer: Evades the entire point of this posting.
My answer: There would be no such slaughter if we "ensure the security needed to develop a political solution."

5. What role should American public opinion play?

Your answer: Everything.
My answer: Nothing - and everything. Nothing: When America makes a commitment, then it should stand up for it. As I stated in an earlier comment "Even with prior knowledge the worst will happen, the NYT advocates we should depart immediately anyway. Why? Because they don’t care! And I believe that is a more dangerous state of being than the current situation."
Everything: Do you think the persons who are wielding arms against us do not read our own papers, blogs, etc? They are getting their butts kicked on a daily basis. They are at the point of refusing combat with our troops because they lose and lose badly when they face us. 40 and 50 to one are the kill ratios and they are on the losing side. The only success they have is through IEDs, suicide bombers, and watching and hoping our will evaporates. We leave and without winning a single battle or engagement, they will have won the war.

6. What other considerations should be taken into account in deciding a future course of action?

Your answer: US blood and treasure. Our history to date of bungling the occupation, etc.
My Answer: One - We have indeed bungled our way to the point we are in at this time. And if you were to compare our performance to that of other wars, we didn’t do such a sh*t hot job in the early days of any of those either (Civil War, World War II, etc). But, as in other conflicts, we are in a position to rectify that. I agree there has to be some measure of political progress made by the Iraqi government. But, as you said yourself, "to ensure the security needed to develop a political solution" is the point of the surge. Pointing out the political failures without the surge completing its job it disengenuous at best. I am not asking for the moon here. Give it a chance and then draw down as the Iraqi government and military step up only makes sense. If the security situation improves and the Iraqis are still squabbling, then to h*ll with them.
Two - Iraq is the focal point of the "War on Terror". And this does not come from our own politicians, this comes from Al Qaeda. They are throwing their entire resources into this fight for one purpose only - our departure and defeat. And with it they win. One of the main reasons Bin Laden brought the fight to us with 9/11 was his belief we did not have the will. He believes we are decadent and weak. And I believe with our departure the war will now become "The Long War" because they will follow us home. You don’t believe that - Fine. And if you are wrong?
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Do you think the persons who are wielding arms against us do not read our own papers, blogs, etc? They are getting their butts kicked on a daily basis. [...] The only success they have is through IEDs, suicide bombers, and watching and hoping our will evaporates. We leave and without winning a single battle or engagement, they will have won the war. — SShiell
And of course along with watching and hoping, they assault our will to fight. I found these mock movie posters, linked by Drudge the other day, so horrifying I wouldn’t even look at them all. And, really, what was so horrifying was the sense that they might just as easily have been made by anti-war activists — including the editors of major newspapers — in this country as by al Qaeda. However different their declared intentions and rationales, our enemies and those in our midst who just don’t believe them certainly share the same goal. And aren’t too terribly picky about the means they use to pursue it.

Honestly, if you weren’t told who made the posters, would you actually know? And do you not even now have some inkling of doubt?
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
Webster’s New Collegiate defines propaganda as:
The spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person. Ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one’s cause or to damage an opposing cause.
Linda, regardless what Harry Reid and others are saying, we are winning the war in the trenches - our military is second to none. But we are losing the information war. I want to say propaganda because that is precisely what our enemies are putting in the press.

Early in the war there was a minor controversey over writers being commissioned by DOD to write about the war. The controversey caused the Department of Defense to step back and rethink and retool our journalistic methodologies.

And just as our troops have been hampered with unrealistic rules of engagement in this conflict, we have also been fighting a war of words and images with our "cameras and keyboards" tied behind our backs.

I live and work right outside a naval base and come into contact with Navy and Marine personnel every day. They are glad, even eager, to show you the pictures they brought back from Iraq and it is amazing how they differ from what you see from MSM.

Unless we learn how to fight and win the information war, we will lose any other conflict we may ever become involved, regardless of the events on the ground.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
SShiell,

I think a fundamental difference in your perspective and mine is that I don’t consider this a war. The war was won in 2003, Saddam’s army was routed. What followed has been an effort at nation building, a social engineering experiment gone awry because there wasn’t enough knowledge about the culture, society, divisions, and problems in constructing a viable democracy and market economy (we needed to nip corruption in the bud, we did the opposite!) The military has been sucked into a mix of insurgency and civil war, all designed to be able to adapt and move around, never winning any battles, but able to do enough damage to destabilize society, sabotage infrastructure, and ultimately make it too costly for America to stay. I don’t see how we could "win" in such a situation. Sure, we win all the battles, you can read Michael Yon and hear the military talk about victories in the trenches, but the sectarian violence remains, and insurgents and militias remain, doing enough to disrupt things, but not really engaging the Americans fully. When the US goes on the offensive, they know about it ahead of time and are able to move and adapt.

This hurts us in numerous ways — overstretching the military, costing hundreds of billions, weakening our ability to use resources to aid moderate Muslims and develop better and more effective counter-terrorism policies, and addressing other serious issues. Perhaps pouring gasoline on the region as we have will spark a wider war which we can’t prevent. That’s why the news is so frustrating, it’s not pictures of Iraq that matter, it’s getting some kind of stable political system that functions without violence. We’re very distant from that, many believe as distant as we’ve ever been. So the issue to me is how to we design a new policy that takes us out of this untenable position and creates at least a good possibility that the Iraqis will work out the differences themselves. I see no evidence the "surge" will bring anything but short term gains in limited regions, though the work to build alliances between tribes against al qaeda is very promising.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"I think a fundamental difference in your perspective and mine is that I don’t consider this a war. The war was won in 2003... ultimately make it too costly for America to stay."
I wish I had a way to enter "search for" to see how many times Professor Erb has repeated this Tired Tirade on QandO. Is it just me or has he cut and pasted it at least 8 times? "The war was won in 2003...we have bungled the aftermath..."

Doesn’t mean that the statement cannot be true, but this propaganda technique has been (over) done so many times in so many films and TV programs that one would think that it would cease to have any power. Apparently Professor Erb’s intensive academic propaganda training indicates that such methods are still effective.

So tell us one more time how the war is over and that we have screwed up, sorry, bungled (it is important, I believe, to use the same exact same phrasing on each repetition) the aftermath.

Another few times and I will be wary of turning over a Queen of Diamonds.
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
I want to say propaganda because that is precisely what our enemies are putting in the press. — SSheild
It’s precisely what the press is putting in the press. There’s been that constant drumbeat of get out of there, get out of there, get out of there since day one, with actual military accomplishments unremarked and obvious consequences of withdrawal dismissed out of hand. And now the NYT has the gall to baldly state as "fact" — without so much as a shrug in the direction of evidence — that "keeping troops in Iraq will only make things worse."

And it’s okay, of course, to argue that, if you actually, you know, argue it. But this is just about presenting anything — anything — that might undercut any and all military effort to follow through on its mission.

Honestly, as things stand now, I wouldn’t put it past the NYT to sponsor a contest to design dead soldier fake movie posters that they could run as full-page antiwar ads. That’d have the same degree of factual content as their bleeding editorial and rely to no greater extent on cynical fear-mongering.
Unless we learn how to fight and win the information war, we will lose any other conflict we may ever become involved, regardless of the events on the ground.
So many people tout public opinion as the ultimate, sacrosanct arbiter of how to proceed in this or any war. But public opinion is shaped by the presentation and interpretation of information and can only be a valid as the information upon which it is based. Yet we see the NYT and so many other papers of record and heretofore respected news sources posture themselves as though in deference to the opinion they have nurtured tirelessly, by hook and by crook. The editors of the NYT announce demurely that "[a] majority of Americans reached these conclusions months ago." Gee. Wonder how.

Probably the best way to fight and win the information war is the way it’s being done on the internet — by sidestepping the blinkered pawns of party politics who are so enthralled by privilege that they can’t perceive real threats to freedom or credit the need to fight them.

And that includes Harry Reid.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
I wish I had a way to enter "search for" to see how many times Professor Erb has repeated this Tired Tirade on QandO. Is it just me or has he cut and pasted it at least 8 times? "The war was won in 2003...we have bungled the aftermath..."
Here ya go, Bob. Don’t overlook that there’s three pages of it.

I don’t get the thing about the Queen of Diamonds.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
It’s from "The Manchurian Candidate" which is, I believe, the paradigm for brainwashing movies. It has a modern remake. The "trigger" for the brainwashed subject is to take a deck of cards and turn them over, one by one, until the Diamond Queen, which triggers...well, you must see the movie.

Unlike most liberals, I will now click on the link you provided and see what that leads me to.
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
Hmmmm. Ms. Morgan actually did a search of QandO based on Professer Erb and the year 2003. If you are still trying to "get" Professor Erb I commend her link to you. Just for ducks, I decided to go through the entries and count the number of times Professor Erb has reminded us that the war was won in 2003. Since I had only to reach 8 to be proven correct, I counted only the pure form.

Eleven (count ’em) 11 statements that "the war was won in 2003". Perhaps Professor Erb should don a flight jacket and land on a carrier; he is so enamoured of this fact, which he is so wont to repeat, word for word.

 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
Just to be fair, Bob.

Of course some very true things just can’t be noted too often. ;)

I’ll put The Manchurian Candidate in my queue.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
4. What about the slaughter that will follow our departure?

...
[SSHiell] answer: There would be no such slaughter if we "ensure the security needed to develop a political solution."


I disagree. From Basra to Bagdad to Kirkuk, the majority of the violence is intra-Iraqi. They are killing each other because there is, for now, no political solution acceptable to a sufficient number of people.


 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
ScottE isn’t the only person with the opinion that the war, the violent clash of nations armies, was over in 2003. I’ve said much the same various times.

Now, it isn’t so important to tally up how many times someone has said something, unless you are looking for consistency, which it would seem you have found in ScottE’s statements. You could also try "looser rules of engagement," or "take the gloves off," for equally empty turns of phrase. For, while those phrases certainly paint a vivid picture, they are lacking in the detail needed to form policies or opinions of them.

The war against Saddam’s regime WAS won in 2003. That phase of the the conflict was brilliantly planned and executed. What has happened since has been poorly planned, and poorly managed. The troops, as they are want to do, have done their best in the worst possible situations.

What we are in now has two fold nature.

Occupation with some home grown and externally supported resistance, with a side of foreign terrorists.

How we got here isn’t as important as where we go (except in so far as where we’ve been informs us of doing better now and in the future.)

At this point in time, I’m looking for progress against benchmarks, not completion of those benchmarks. I think a fair reading of the 18 points that Congress passed, will show that there is some progress in most of those points. Some are complete, some have major progress, and many have a little progress. Considering that we are currently at day 19 (or so) of the major combat operations phase of the surge, and the Iraqi government is only 1 year old, I would say, it’s time to stay steady and not panic.

We have 2 1/2 months till the next quarterly report. At that time, see where we are, and then reassess where we go. In the mean time, instead of grousing about !!!!, how about the Democrats form a delegation to go help the Iraqis wrangle with their problems. After all the Democrats have such talent at quickly passing laws in our established democracy, it should be now problem for them to get over there and help them solve their problems.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Now, it isn’t so important to tally up how many times someone has said something, unless you are looking for consistency... For, while those phrases certainly paint a vivid picture, they are lacking in the detail needed to form policies or opinions of them.
Oh, sorry. I didn’t realize the idly curious were trying to piece stray conversation into policy.
...how about the Democrats form a delegation to go help the Iraqis wrangle with their problems.
Oh dear God. Well if the Iraqis weren’t scared of what Americans were threatening before, I’m sure they are now!
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
From Basra to Bagdad to Kirkuk, the majority of the violence is intra-Iraqi. — Francis
So what? If a radical element of the Presbyterian Church wanted to do your type in, would it matter to you that they were American? Would you resent a third party intervening to save you and your family?
They are killing each other because there is, for now, no political solution acceptable to a sufficient number of people.
There is no political solution acceptable to a sufficient number of people because they are not yet safe from being killed by each other — and by those who would hijack their country, much to the peril of our own.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
Returning to this, from SShiell:
Early in the war there was a minor controversey over writers being commissioned by DOD to write about the war. The controversey caused the Department of Defense to step back and rethink and retool our journalistic methodologies.

And just as our troops have been hampered with unrealistic rules of engagement in this conflict, we have also been fighting a war of words and images with our "cameras and keyboards" tied behind our backs.
You’re saying here that Defense policy prevents troops from disclosing facts about their activities in Iraq for reasons other than the security of our forces and the Iraqis they protect?
I live and work right outside a naval base and come into contact with Navy and Marine personnel every day. They are glad, even eager, to show you the pictures they brought back from Iraq and it is amazing how they differ from what you see from MSM.
Or is it primarily that big media are indifferent, or dimissive, or even hostile to news that could be construed as good news about progress in Iraq?
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
There would be no such slaughter if we "ensure the security needed to develop a political solution."

I disagree. From Basra to Bagdad to Kirkuk, the majority of the violence is intra-Iraqi. They are killing each other because there is, for now, no political solution acceptable to a sufficient number of people.
But that is the whole point. If "ensure the security needed to develop a political solution" the violence will be curtailed or contained. It will not and cannot be eliminated altogether - we don’t even have "safe" cities in our own country.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
You’re saying here that Defense policy prevents troops from disclosing facts about their activities in Iraq for reasons other than the security of our forces and the Iraqis they protect?
The troops and their access to the outside world is closely scrutinized primarily for security reasons. But, security aside, at one point milblogs by troops in country were to be completely curtailed. DOD stopped for a moment and retooled its policy to stop that type of madness. But there are still considerable restrictions on any milblogs in country to this date.
Or is it primarily that big media are indifferent, or dimissive, or even hostile to news that could be construed as good news about progress in Iraq?
I can’t say that MSM is indifferent but they are most assuredly dismissive of anything that can be construed as good news from the war. The next time you see a serviceman or woman, after you thank them for their service, ask them if they had been to the war. Ask them what they think of the MSM coverage of the war. I have yet to meet a single person to give me a positive response to that question - enlisted or officer.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Scott Erb: I agree with you that we have already won the war but are having troubles securing the peace. But I do not understand your position from that point on. On the one hand you are saying we are stuck in a conflict
to destabilize society, sabotage infrastructure, and ultimately make it too costly for America to stay. I don’t see how we could "win" in such a situation.
And then on the other hand you are saying
I see no evidence the "surge" will bring anything but short term gains in limited regions, though the work to build alliances between tribes against al qaeda is very promising.
I have to say that it appears you are talking out of both sides of your mouth. We have already had the "Surge has failed" discussion months ago and you are still stuck on that theme even though you conceded you were too hasty before. With the surge officially about 22 days into the full operations, you can see only limited gains. Well, I see something different. I see a series of events, centered on Baghdad, with the purpose of rolling up the insurgency. You cut off their access around the capital in a series of operations and once those operations are done, you move into the capital to complete the process. It is a process of limited gains to be sure but when viewing the forest you have to widen you focus away from the trees to take in the whole picture.

I also have to say this is a war that has been going on for a long time. Just like the Second World War did not begin on 7 December 1941 - Japan had been fighting China since 1931 and there had been fighting in Ethiopia in 1934 and in Spain in 1935. This war did not start in 2003 with this latest invasion or even 1991 with Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. It may have started in 1978 with the taking of our hostage in Tehran or even before that. The point here is there is a long and bloody war going on that Iraq is merely the centerpiece for the moment. How we deal with this part of the war will dictate how the rest of the war will be fought. The end of the war in Iraq could be the beginning of the end of this current war or just the beginning of an even longer and bloodier war that we can not even imagine.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Ouch! Ms. Morgan. Et tu brute?

Of course, there is a difference in the respective positions between Professor Erb and me. I make no bones about the fact that I am attempting to influence reader’s thoughts in a particular (openly disclosed) manner. I support the U.S. Government in its combat efforts, of whatever party at the time. We elected them, they know more than we do and they deserve our support unless and until we replace them at the polls. Parenthetically, not only did we not elect the NYT, no one can tell me who or what is behind their efforts to control America.

The LN is a threat comparable to the Communist Conspiracy that threatened America for so many years and should be dealt with in the same manner. It had useful idiots (who happen to resemble the sheeple in many ways) as well as fellow travelers who claimed other allegiances, but who worked insidiously for the aims of the Communist Party.

Professor Erb and the other purveyors of the LN are attempting to gain control of America. Well and good if they do so openly and stand the tests of our political process. The LN is based on untruth. What they say is simply not true. It is a process designed to manipulate the truth to be used to gain control of our government. For what purpose? They don’t say.

Presumably, it is a liberal purpose, but not necessarily! Professor Erb could find himself the victim of a Christian Evangelical Military movement clever enough to recognize the usefulness of the LN and artful enough to manipulate it for their ends.

The LN and any other effort based on lies and disinformation should be exposed and turned out, along with its purveyors.


 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
I make no bones about the fact that I am attempting to influence reader’s thoughts in a particular (openly disclosed) manner.
But you’re so bad at it. Alleging a "liberal narrative" conspiracy with no argument or content, and playing rhetoric games is so empty that you are incapable of convincing anyone. Call me old fashioned, but I believe in reason, rational discourse, and evidence. Nah, you consider those "liberal rules" for discussion. You prefer post modern rhetoric games. To each his own, I guess.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"...you consider those "liberal rules" for discussion...
In many, if not most, cases, the party doing the framing wins. With all of the think-tank-generated liberal rhetoric freely available these days, once one lets liberals do the framing of the issues, truth is the first victim. Internet magazine posting and comments move quickly (and, er, erratically) and offer little opportunity for a commenter to build a case.

Yes, it is difficult to track the LN - one of its advantages - since it moves in fits and starts and quickly disavows (you know what I mean here) any existence when mis-steps occur. Nevertheless, its existence can be proven by noting and observing its operation.

Simply calling attention to it and alerting people to its methods should render it ineffective to anyone other than the sheeple. Of course, the sheeple demand it, or its equivalent, being too busy or lazy to expend the effort required to formulate a political philosophy of their own. These drones make the whole process possible. The LN or its equivalent will forever lead them.

However, when the LN becomes polished and organized enough to mislead those who really care...

 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
Here, for example, is an example of a narrative. The technique is evident. I would contend that the base information for this narrative is mostly the truth. One can argue with the interpretation, but not with the facts cited. Yes, I know that the left will be arguing that these facts do not exist, etc., but let us be reasonable here.

The LN is ignoring these facts, leaving nothing to be challenged in the prepared narrative except the fact that they are being ignored. The “rightwingnoisemachine” tactic has convinced many on the left that facts can be ignored unless they come from “approved” sources, making the LN possible.
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
So what? If a radical element of the Presbyterian Church wanted to do your type in, would it matter to you that they were American? Would you resent a third party intervening to save you and your family?

If the Presbyterian Church launches a civil war against California agnostics, the presence of the Chinese army is NOT, repeat NOT, going to help solve the underlying disagreements. And as the Chinese Army bungles its way around Los Angeles, killing thousands of innocents and claiming that the dead are Canadian infiltrators, the Chinese Army is likely to become really unpopular too.
 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
From Bob’s TCS Daily link:
But al Qaeda’s largest harvest from "random slaughter" strategy was realized in America. Through acts of indiscriminate violence transmitted by the media, insurgents brought their war to America’s living rooms. The atrocity-of-the-day is the principal informational input most Americans receive. This forms their knowledge base. The public does not live in the villages and mahalas of Iraq. Patterns of recovery, of normalcy, are not evident.

This is the essence of 4th Generation Warfare. And al Qaeda is clearly winning it.
And:
The Coalition and al Qaeda are fighting two different wars. While General Petraeus strangles the insurgent hydra head-by-head, al Qaeda’s message of slaughter and despair saps the American public of its will.
Seems like Johannes, though, goes through a lot of GRP hoopla to reach some obvious conclusions: "[T]he American ’center’ is fluid and easily swayed" and is constituted by "[c]itizens who would prefer victory if given reason to hope."

But not calling anybody sheeple — that’s nice.

 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
Well, good luck with the Presbys then, Francis. I’ll pray on your behalf that the "underlying disagreements" have nothing to do with golf!
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
Unfortunately, there is a denial bias out there that believes that educated liberals are much, much too smart to be fooled by a narratative that has no basis in fact. Describing the misguided and ignorant liberals who are its main target is a necessary part of making the LN concept believeable.

How does one tell the difference between a smart liberal and a sheeple? Simple. Posit that much of what appears in the NYT political sections is literally not true. Observe the reaction. If you get an immediate: "Yes, but..." you are dealing with a smart liberal. The sheeple? They begin to nervously eye the nearest exit and begin placating the obvious nut case they have been confronted with.
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
Then, Notherbob, you have to apply the same standard to Fox news (and of course talk radio). The Sheeple will respond to a claim that Fox or Rush might be wrong on a lot of things by condemning the speaker as an evil liberal, while the smart conservative will say "Yes, but..."
In many, if not most, cases, the party doing the framing wins.
Walter Lippmann wrote a piece called "The Essential Opposition," which said that for democracy to function, you must do more than tolerate free speech, you must listen to, take seriously, and engage different points of view. You must recognize that you might be wrong. The most dangerous thing in a democracy is if two "sides" decide that political discussion is war, and less important than making the best choices or learning from the other side is to simply "win." Some of us really are interested in different points of view, and in self-critiquing our own position. Some of us think the "left vs. right" or "liberal vs. conservative" dichotomy misguided and limiting. Your belief that framing is more important than rational engagement explains why you tend not to actually debate an issue and focus more on rhetoric games. For you truth doesn’t matter, but power does. That says a lot.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"For you truth doesn’t matter..."
I see. Take the centerpiece of my position and give it the LN treatment. Nice.
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
In media studies, sociology and psychology, framing is an unavoidable process of selective control over the individual’s perception of the meanings attributed to words or phrases. Framing defines how an element of rhetoric is packaged so as to allow certain interpretations and rule out others. Media frames can be created by the mass media or by specific political or social movements or organizations.
Well, the phenomenon exists, and both sides do it to one extent or another.

For instance, the gun control debate, especially ASSAULT WEAPONS. (dun dun dunnnn)

They were supposed to be the big problem in the 90’s, yet if you looked at the statistics at the time, they only accounted for something like .013 % of homicides. You were more likely to be hit by lightning then killed with an assault rifle. And then what does Congress do, they make an arbitrary list of features to ban, all in an attempt to include as many rifles as possible.

That entire argument was about framing. For instance, hunters don’t need automatic weapons. That may be true, but the AWB didn’t ban automatic weapons, and so that argument didn’t hold water. But it was used throughout the debate.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com

 
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