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The Democrat Soap Opera continues: As the Stomach Turns
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Brian Faughnan sends me a link to a story he's put together which is both sad and hilarious. It is hilarious because the two Senators involved, Durbin and Casey, both Democrats, are put in a position, by traveling to Iraq, where they can't deny the progress the Surge has made.

First Durbin answering a question from CNN's John Roberts:
SEN. DICK DURBIN: There were two important parts of this story, the military type as Senator Casey said the men and women were doing their best and making real progress. We found that today as we went to a forward base. The fifth year of the war, it's the first time we're putting troops on the ground to intercept al Qaeda. There's another side to this story the Brookings institution shouldn't miss. As we are seeing military progress, any political scene is discouraging. We are seeing the al Maliki government once branded the government of unity coming apart. We are seeing Sunnis and others leaving and not becoming the stability of this country.
This is breathtaking in its ignorance of the significance of the change taking place in Iraq. "It's the first time we're putting troops on the ground to intercept al Qaeda" isn't a "new course" Senator Durbin? I'd argue that if it is the first time, there's certainly something new about it.

And consider the fact that everyone but Senator Durbin seem to know that the purpose of the military side of the operation is to enable the political side the time and space it needs to come together and work. Durbin acts like political posturing by the Sunnis is the equivalent of the government coming apart ... this from a man who has spent his adult life posturing in the US Senate.

Next comes Senator Casey:
ROBERTS: I understand all of that. Everybody in the Democratic Party is saying the surge has failed. Senator Casey, do you agree with your colleague there are some signs of military progress here?

SEN. CASEY: Sure, there are, John. We have said in the beginning, our troops are doing their job.
Claiming the Surge has failed is saying from the beginning that "our troops are doing their jobs"? The claim comes from Democratic Congressional leaders. My goodness, the bald-faced perfidy you can see captured on video these days. And done with straight faces. They truly think you are too dumb to catch this stuff. You can watch the entire thing below, but you just have to shake your head at the chutzpah it takes to make that statement.

And after that little nod, we see the talking points again emerge as the other part of this seemingly clueless duo tries to convince the audience that, in reality, nothing has really changed:
SEN. CASEY: [continuing] The problem here is the president of the United States continues to insist on a stay the course policy, no change in direction, no sense the American people can determine there's a light at the end of the tunnel. That's why i think there's a bipartisan agreement right now to change the course. I think the president should listen to the will of the American people

ROBERTS: Senator Casey, you supported this bill to bring troops home. Have you seen anything to change your mind on that while you're there?

SEN. CASEY: No. I supported Levin-Reid and I voted initially, way back in the beginning of the year, against the surge. I think they're the right votes and continue to be the right votes. We have to make sure that the diplomacy and the political work that's done in Washington, as well as in Baghdad, what we're seeing now is the Iraqi government officials have left, we're seeing Sunni representatives have walked out and are boycotting. So the political work in Baghdad and Washington has to match the courage and the dedication of our troops. We haven't seen that yet.
As Brian notes:
Senator Casey's position—put succinctly—appears to be 'There is progress; there has been for some time. I opposed the switch to the current policy and I can't understand why the President won't change it.'

That argument won't fool anyone. Anyone with a television or internet access knows that Democrats have argued incessantly that Iraq in general and the surge specifically are failures. For them to suddenly acknowledge progress—and to pretend that they've been talking about it for a while—is silly.
It is like these people have never heard of video, audio and newspapers for heaven sake. For the record, on June 13 of this year:
Senate Majority leader Harry Reid and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi challenged the president over Iraq by sending him a letter, ahead of a White House meeting later on Wednesday.

"As many had forseen, the escalation has failed to produce the intended results," the two leaders wrote.

"The increase in US forces has had little impact in curbing the violence or fostering political reconciliation.

"It has not enhanced Americas national security. The unsettling reality is that instances of violence against Iraqis remain high and attacks on US forces have increased.

"In fact, the last two months of the war were the deadliest to date for US troops.
And in a CNN interview, when asked if he'd believe General Petraeus that the Surge was working and they were making progress, Reid said, "No. I won't believe him. Because it's not getting better ..." You can see that video here. Note also how Reid uses a half-truth to try to make a point about the winning the war militarily. He completely leaves out what else Petraeus says and then essentially calls Petraeus a lair (while at the same time asking us to believe Petraeus' point about not being able to win the war militarily).

Anyway watch this award winning performance by Casey and Durbin below. It is a keeper. And it is instructive. It should at least be considered for the daytime Emmys.

Politics reigns supreme even when the harsh light of reality in Iraq says their meme about lack of progress is all but dead. Like TNR and Beauchamp, they intend to stick by their story regardless of reality.

 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
Leftism circa 2007: Fake, but accurate...
 
Written By: Erb-Fan
URL: http://
Reid doesn’t want to be burdened with an over-abundance of facts...

It would make living with himself way harder.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Casey is a freshman Senator.

He pretty much ran a "Steve McQueen" (say as little as possible) campaign.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Except, of course, that the minor military progress (I say "minor" because Al Qaeda is a minor factor compared to, say, Shi’ite militias) have coincided with a worsening of the political situation. The idea that the "surge" can produce a real solution in Iraq is entirely false, particularly if you don’t pretend that the surge only just started (it’s been more than a Friedman Unit since Bush claimed the surge was starting).

So conservatives are basically arguing that even though our troops can’t do anything to produce an actual solution in Iraq (since killing a few people and calling them "Al Qaeda" does not, in fact, produce political progress), it constitutes "progress" to shoot a few extra people. And what’s more, pointing this stuff out is bashing the troops as opposed, to, say, the person who came up with the failed plan to pretend that this is a military issue. Cool.
 
Written By: M.A.
URL: http://
Oh, you mean these guys?
U.S.-led forces swooped into the Shiite militia stronghold of Sadr City on Wednesday, killing 32 suspected militants and detaining 12 others in fighting and an airstrike targeting alleged smuggling networks from Iran.
Thanks for stopping by, MA ... always nice to have someone validate the point of the post. Heck, you could have made it a threesome with Durbin and Casey.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
McQ, one raid does not refute MA’s point — indeed, there have been raids on Shi’ite militias since even before the surge. The point is that most of the militias are laying low and likely being armed by Iran so that they will be in a position to strongly influence if not control the political outcomes. Views like al-Sadr’s is mainstream.

I do disagree with MA that this isn’t real progress; however, it’s limited. In fact one reason the surge is working is that the administration recognized the limits of military power to create a positive result in Iraq, all it can do is buy time for political progress (I go more into "surge limits" in my blog entry posted yesterday). Malaki was essentially told to make that progress happen, and his government has instead gone into crisis with Sunnis leaving. The surge is directly mostly against al qaeda, and raids and pressure on Shi’ite militias isn’t significant compared to the scope of the problem.

I think it also behooves the administration and war supporters to make clear they understand the limits and the dangers. Otherwise, if things get ugly with the Shi’ites or sectarian violence say, next January, people will be saying "gee, I guess all the ’surge is working’ talk was another false hope."

 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
This is rich. Larry Flynt’s "morals investigator" claims that ..

"I have it on very, very good authority that major opposition research has already been conducted on Bill Clinton, and it’s going to be a massive smear campaign against him," he says. A group of former intelligence officers, he says, is "going to try to cripple Hillary through Bill.".

This couldn’t possibly be "crazy Larry" and his VIPS buddies .. no way.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Yeah. Well, what did I say last night, to Billy, about Erb?
It’s a typical ploy of Erb and his ilk, once cornered on a factual point to claim “it doesn’t matter. ” Aesop and his fable of the sour grapes seems to roar to mind here.
This is the same thing, just writ large.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
I have finished the massive Manchester volume on Churchill, and am working on a new bio on FDR.

There are three things that each of them share with GWB. Massive stones, a joy of bluffing and the ability to weather violent criticism.

One example of FDR’s stones and bluffing ability:

While Asst Secy of the Navy after WWI, his job was to sell off surplus naval equipment to European allies. One potential deal was for the then largest radio transmitter the US had set up in the heart of France. It would have cost millions to dismantle and remove back to the states, so FDR appeared to the French negotiator to have little leverage. In the middle of negotiations, a telegram was deliveredf to FDR the following effect: Tear down tower and remove to USA. Daniels (Josephus Daniels, SecNav was FDR’s boss). The Frenchman quickly offered $22 million, which FDR promptly accepted. Later, FDR revealed that he had sent the telegram to himself.

When stuff like this works, it generally yields good results. When it fails,
(e.g. Churchill’s Dardenelles Plan) it is a real stinker.

History will tell us into which category Iraq fits.
 
Written By: vnjagvet
URL: http://www.yargb.blogspot.com
Claiming the Surge has failed is saying from the beginning that "our troops are doing their jobs"?
I believe what they’re saying, Macaca, is that the surge may have success militarily, but without political progress by the Iraqis the military success will be limited and ultimately can’t fix everything itself (which is precisely what some crazed righty op-ed said yesterday in the post. This stuff is simple enough that even you should understand it)
 
Written By: jpe
URL: http://
McQ, what part of Copperhead Democrat isn’t clear by now? These people are objectively ant-American. Good news for America is bad news for them, and vice versa. The difference between now and the 60’s is that there are other channels for the truth other than Walter Cronkite, and people are starting to wise up. If Murdoch were really interested in shilling for conservatives, he would have bought another TV channel to continue breaking the stranglehold.
 
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
You guys are not dealing at all with the reality of the situation, nor of the actual political debate.

The Dems have said all along (as have the military leaders, including Petreaus), that there is no military solution to the Iraq situation.

You do seem to realize that the purpose of the surge is to creat room for a political settlement, but somehow you insist on pushing the line that because the military surge is succeeding a bit in creating that space, that therefore the surge strategy is working.

Obviously not. The surge will only work if the political space is used to bring an end to the underlying conflict. And there is no evidence whatsoever of that.

This is reminiscent of the arguments about the orginal invasion. No one really doubted that our troops could make it to Baghdad, and get rid of Saddam. Sure, some thought the Iraqi Army might fight back and make it tougher than it was, but no one doubted that we would succeed in that limited objective rather quickly.

The real question always was, what then? And you guys were always pushing the line that somehow the military victory was the only important issue. Thats probably what Rummy et al felt as well. And so we have this mess.

I think the problem is that you believe your own propaganda, and are limited by a very narrow perspective. The use of force, by our military is not an end in itself. Its value lies only in the extent to which it can contribute to a solution to the political problem.

How can you get it through your head that when the Dems say, and have said, that the surge can’t work, they were never referring to some impossibility of opening a window of reduced chaos. They feel the surge cant work because there is no indication that the political leadership is prepared to exploit that window to actually solve the undelying problems.

Sounds to me like a classic case of having a hammer and seeing all your problems as nails. Y’all look at this situation as primarily a military one, but it isn’t. It is a political dispute to which we are applying a military factor. Whether it is wise to do so, or whether it is effective has little to do with any military benchmarks. The only criterion of success, of "victory" is political progress toward a stable society.

I get the sense that many here have just the right mentality to be good soldiers, but are completely out of their depths when trying to understand the issues that those who use a military force must contend with.
 
Written By: Abe
URL: http://
I believe what they’re saying, Macaca, is that the surge may have success militarily, but without political progress by the Iraqis the military success will be limited and ultimately can’t fix everything itself (which is precisely what some crazed righty op-ed said yesterday in the post. This stuff is simple enough that even you should understand it)
I’m not sure what rock you’ve been hiding under but apparently you missed the broadcast of Harry Reid provided in the linked video where he says the surge isn’t working.

But then, you can’t even keep it straight that Jon worked for Allen and not me so it doesn’t come as a huge surprise.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
The Dems have said all along (as have the military leaders, including Petreaus), that there is no military solution to the Iraq situation.
So has every blogger on this freakin’ blog you nitwit.

What we haven’t said is the ’surge isn’t working’ as Harry Reid and the Democrats have, consistently, since it was announced. What part of that don’t you understand?!

Watch the freakin’ video that’s linked for heaven sake if you don’t believe me (something you obviously didn’t do before you wrote your pathetic comment).

The Surge is the military part and the military part has to succeed before the political part can ... THAT is what Petraeus has said. That is what we have said and it is that latter part you and the other wingnuts who beam in here conveniently forget each time you try to play this patently dishonest hand of yours.

Lord I get tired of the obtuseness and purposeful ignorance necessary to make stupid arguments like yours paraded around here like they’re actually worth something.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
there are two ways one can look at this, Bruce, both of which end up being the same thing.

1: The only path to peace is winning the damned war. After which reconciliation becomes an issue. Not until then.
2: Reconciliation is not a requirement for winning the war. Nor is it a requirement for peace.

Notice please, that the majority of this noise about how "military victory means nothing without reconciliation", has really been cranking up, since it became obvious to anyone with more than a couple of brain cells to rub together that the surge was in fact working. Their screams of ’the surge isn’t working’ was not aimed at reconciliation, but rather to denigrate the military... Abe’s attempts at re-writing history not withstanding.

Full reconciliation, in any event, is an impossible standard to meet in my view, regardless of how the military play works itself out. There’s always going to be large numbers of holdouts at the end of any war. There always has been. And by the way this is regardless of where those events occur, and regardless of the cultural influences one.

A few offhanded examples of victory, or at least the standoff without reconciliation, ended up being Korea, Vietnam, Germany, and so on.

I will further point out to you, that even directly with in that region, there hasn’t been reconciliation for a few thousand years, so what in the world makes these idiots think they’re going to be able to get reconciliation going now?

I’ll tell you why this comes up; the democrats have discovered themselves a nice little safety valve, by which they can still declare Iraq a failure, even if we managed to put together something militarily. Which, by the by, we are doing.

But the question that needs to be asked, in all of this, instead of letting the left dictate the issues, is not reconciliation, but rather the question ought to be whether not the rocky government is capable of maintaining the peace. Certainly, that’s been the major issue in any other war that we have fought in. Those two are completely different issues, so, I maintain that maintaining the peace, is not dependent on fall reconciliation.

Put another way, reconciliation is a nice to have, it is not a necessity. What is a necessity for peace is winning the damned war and defeating the enemy . Peace regardless of any other factor is secondary only to winning the war. Peace, is a direct product of winning the war. So, too, is reconciliation when it happens. Reconciliation only occurs, when you take away from our enemies the willingness to fight.

Pretty basic stuff, really.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us

1: The only path to peace is winning the damned war.
2: Reconciliation is not a requirement for winning the war. Nor is it a requirement for peace.
Both are at odds with Gen. Petraeus and the Administration, who each say that there isn’t a military solution, but that the military is only buying time to try to get reconciliation going — but if reconciliation doesn’t occur, then we’ll have to rethink our military commitment. (Note: McQ, with Bithead’s chiming in, clearly not "every blogger" says political reconciliation is necessary).

I will further point out to you, that even directly with in that region, there hasn’t been reconciliation for a few thousand years, so what in the world makes these idiots think they’re going to be able to get reconciliation going now?
Sunnis and Shi’ites have lived peacefully for centuries in most of the Muslim world and in Iraq. Saddam’s tribalism and fear of Islamic extremism helped kindle this. But again, your view is as much at odds with the view of the Bush Administration and their public statements as it is with the views of Democrats. It also contradicts Petraeus’ view. So I think maybe you need to study this a bit more.

McQ: Please show where Petraeus said the military part had to succeed before the political reconciliation could take place. It seems that the Administration has been using the surge to give the reconciliation time to succeed and the fear now is that the political crisis is growing worse, not better. That is not good news for the strategy.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"So has every blogger on this freakin’ blog you nitwit."

Gee, thats rather intemperate of you. Why didnt you just read the very next line of my comment where I acknowledge exactly the extent to which you have accepted part of that point?

"What we haven’t said is the ’surge isn’t working’ as Harry Reid and the Democrats have"

And as I tried to patiently explain, when they say that, they mean the surge strategy, and you seem to focus only on the military surge itself, and its purely military objectives. Reid et.al. have a higher strategic responsibility - to see both the military effort and the political effort as a complete approach. You focus only on the military.

Why is this so hard to understand?

"The Surge is the military part and the military part has to succeed before the political part can.."

Duh. You dont advance your argument by repeating the obvious.

"THAT is what Petraeus has said"

That is what everyone is saying, me too. Do you have a problem in basic reading comprehension, or are they just too many outrage molecules floating through your system that you cant think straight?

Let me try this once again. Reid et. al. are politicians. Their responsibilities are in the arena of political policy, which, by its nature, encompasses far more than military policy. They see the military as a tool to advance policy goals. If the goals are not being achieved, then they deem the apporach a failure. Even if the limited military objective, is succeeding in its assigned role.

Can you get that through your thick, venom-spewing skull?

Very few people who understand the POLITICAL situation in Iraq have any confidence that the window of opportunity that the military can open will be used to achieve real success in the POLITICAL process. And that pessimism is being proven correct on the ground. And no, it is not the military’s fault. They are doing their job very well.

Looking ONLY at the military surge, it is doing a fairly good job. Looking at the ultimate bottom-line, the overall SURGE STRATEGY for SUCCESS in Iraq, it is a failure.
Don’t be so frickin’ dense man.

"That is what we have said and it is that latter part you and the other wingnuts who beam in here conveniently forget each time you try to play this patently dishonest hand of yours."

You are the wingnuts, we are the moonbats, remember?
 
Written By: Abe
URL: http://
If the incidents described and linked by Wretchard in these two posts have any validity, there is a lot of hardball diplomacy going on behind the scenes. That diplomacy seems designed to put maximum pressure on the players who can improve Iraq’s political situation.

This is what I was referring to in my earlier comment about stones, joy of bluffing and ability to weather virulent criticism.

If these reports are true, even the Erbster and Abe may come away satisfied.
 
Written By: vnjagvet
URL: http://www.yargb.blogspot.com
On a side issue.

I’m havent read this site exhaustivly, so I dont want to put words in anyone’s mouth. But there has been a constant refrain from rightward blogs about something that I would like to ask y’all about.

Why is it that so many people who would praise Gen. Petraus for doing the clever job of cutting deals with the Sunni insurgents in Anbar (responsible for killing many Americans) to turn them against al-Q, are the same people who have hissy fits at the very idea of expecting the president to sit down and cut some deals to our advantage with the Syrians and the Iranians?
 
Written By: Abe
URL: http://
You generalize too much, Abe. I read this blog regularly and comment here from time to time.

You won’t see any "hissy fits" from me; and certainly no criticism of diplomatic efforts when linked up with an appropriately robust military effort to assure that terrorist activities designed to undermine a democratic or republican form of government in Iraq do not go unpunished.
 
Written By: vnjagvet
URL: http://www.yargb.blogspot.com
(Note: McQ, with Bithead’s chiming in, clearly not "every blogger" says political reconciliation is necessary).
Ummm.. Scott?
I’m a commenter.
Also, and not surprisingly, you mischaracterized what I said.

Sunnis and Shi’ites have lived peacefully for centuries in most of the Muslim world and in Iraq
Only under the point of a gun.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
And as I tried to patiently explain, when they say that, they mean the surge strategy, and you seem to focus only on the military surge itself, and its purely military objectives. Reid et.al. have a higher strategic responsibility - to see both the military effort and the political effort as a complete approach. You focus only on the military.
Because the military part of it is the prerequisite. military victory is required for anything else to function. Why is that so hard for you to understand?
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us

 
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