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Murtha: Bloodbath? Who cares?
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, September 18, 2007

For whatever reason, I see Pilate symbolically washing his hands of the crucifixion of Jesus:
If pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq results in "a bloodbath," the guilt will rest with the Iraqi people and not with the U.S. Congress, according to Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), a leading proponent of withdrawing troops.

"Many have threatened that there will be chaos, a bloodbath, when the United States redeploys from Iraq, and this in fact may be the case," Murtha said in a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Monday. "If they continue to choose to spill blood, it will not be on the conscience of the United States."

Murtha said ethnic violence in Iraq would be "a continuation of decades of its own conflicts, which they and they alone can solve."
And with that Murtha indicates that he just doesn't care what happens to the Iraqis and they are worth throwing under the bus to have his way politically.

Of course, the same argument could be made for the Sudanese (Darfur), couldn't it? And given that argument, you'd have to ask why are we still in Kosovo?

There are credible arguments for withdrawing from Iraq, but Murtha, as usual, isn't making them.
 
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I think that it will eventually come out that Murtha is an American George Galloway. He’s a slippery bastard, as everyone saw in his coy negotiation with the fake Sheik in the Abscam sting way back there. (Then he was flipped by prosecutors and got off the hook.) That was one of the reasons the Democrats rejected him for a top leadership position when they took control of Congress.

The way he pursues withdrawal from Iraq, the adamant, undeterred by moral responsibility, seemingly out of leftfield approach, suggests to me that he’s working somebody’s else’s side of the street (i.e., not the American side of the street), and that he’s possibly being as careful about his venality as Duke Cunningham wasn’t.

But gosh don’t I hate to insinuate such a thing about a wonderful politician who declared our troops guilty of war atrocities before they had even been investigated.

"There are no more traitors, Sergeant Murtaugh."
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Short form: "F**k them little brown monkeys. Hey, it worked in ’72!"
 
Written By: richard mcenroe
URL: http://
Not to, um, bring up Hitler or anything but...

The Jews getting killed in Europe weren’t on our conscience either. It was the Germans doing it and there’s no reason at all we should have felt responsible. And since what really matters isn’t human suffering but our own guilt we had no reason to do anything at all.

People in the North weren’t guilty of slavery. The slaves on Southern plantations were not on their conscience. People had been participating in slavery since the beginning of time. Why take responsibility for something someone else does?

Same thing.

Not to advocate interventionism, but the choice NOT to intervene is the choice to actively allow atrocities and inaction absolutely involves blood on our hands. We are not only responsible for what we do but for what we don’t do. We are responsible when we see someone hurting and don’t help, when we see a crime and don’t report it, when someone is drowning and we watch it happen with a coil of rope at our feet that we fail to throw.

There may be good reasons not to intervene and the choice may be right and proper not to intervene, but the choice is to accept the guilt as necessary, not avoid the guilt. It’s accepting the blood on our hands due to inaction (or abandonment, whatever) because it is necessary.

The moral argument that it’s possible to keep our hands *clean* is infantile.

 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Many of the "withdraw troopers" here essentially admitted several months ago they weren’t real concerned about the possibilities of a replay of Killing Fields in Iraq if we struck the tents and pulled out.
That was in the midst of Operation "We support the troops but not the mission!".

Their usual defense is one of the following:
We’re not stopping it in Dafur, so why bother in Iraq.
They’ve been killing each other for hundreds of years anyway.
We made it worse by being there, so it will be our fault, but the sooner it’s over the better.

I’d prefer it if they stuck with their reality -
We don’t care, whatever it takes to elect a Democratic President and Legislature in 2008.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
What a disingenuous interpretation. Maybe he’s not so much saying that we don’t care as that we can’t prevent it - i.e. that having us present for the bloodbath is no improvement over the bloodbath occurring on its own. Isn’t that the attitude that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al had when they went in and created this mess? Where were you to accuse them of thinking "F*** them little brown monkeys" then? I challenge you to lay off the double standards for just one week. I know you won’t be able to.
 
Written By: Platypus
URL: http://pl.atyp.us
platypus, does tying yourself into logical contradictions like a pretzel appeal to you or did you just miss your yoga class this week?
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
I’m not the one trying to tie myself into a pretzel to rationalize a preexisting preference, joe. By what logic is it OK to go into a country, directly kill thousands upon thousands, wreck their infrastructure, and virtually ensure that thousands upon thousands more will die in internecine strife, and yet it’s not OK to recognize that yyour continued presence will not yield improvement? By what logic is one innocent in the first case and guilty in the second? By NO logic. There’s nothing even remotely logical about it. Such beliefs require a level of selective perception and moral relativism that is - thankfully - beyond most people.
 
Written By: Platypus
URL: http://pl.atyp.us
...yet it’s not OK to recognize that yyour continued presence will not yield improvement?
Argument by assertion.

I can just as easily turn that around to the other side. Why is it not OK for folks like you to recognize when progress is being made? Sounds like you’re in the "irreconcilable skeptic" camp, in which case no amount of evidence will change your mind, and your comments here are nothing but attempts to convince yourself.

Iraq is a complex, dangerous mess, it’s true, but saying no progress is being made is just dogmatic assertion. Black-and-white views are seldom correct, whether they are claiming that everything’s fine, or if they’re claiming (as you do) that everything’s bad.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
The worst part of the Murtha view is that he fails to account for worst effect of pulling out and leaving the Iraqis to be slaughtered by the thousand: No group in the Middle East would be likely to ever cooperate with us on a risky venture again for decades at least, no matter now important it was or what kind of promises we made. After our previous sins in setting up the Kurds to be killed in mass quantities by Saddam, it’s already hard to get anyone there to believe that we will really stick with anything long term. Pulling out would seal the reputation of Americans as cowardly and unreliable partners for a generation.

Now, it’s possible that he realizes this and just doesn’t say it. Certainly there are those on the left who would be all too happy with a world in which no one would trust Americans, because that makes it much harder to be "imperialist".
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Nice bit of projection there, Billy. This post was about a particular interpretation of Murtha’s position. That interpretation is only possible if one assumes not only that progress is possible but that Murtha knows it is. In other words, it’s not me but McQ who is attempting to reify one position in the "is progress possible" debate. Replace "recognize" with "believe" in my previous comment, if you like, and it changes *nothing*. It’s *still* inconsistent to condemn Murtha for his beliefs while failing to condemn those who started this war for theirs. My own degree of skepticism is utterly irrelevant. It’s McQ’s conveniently-changing degree of skepticism that is at issue.
Black-and-white views are seldom correct, whether they are claiming that everything’s fine
Funny, I didn’t see anyone making that point until the "progress is inevitable" assumption was challenged. I guess some people don’t think about "black and white" until someone shows them white.
No group in the Middle East would be likely to ever cooperate with us on a risky venture again for decades at least
Looks like argument by assertion to me. As usual, the commenters on this site need a big dose of Luke 6:41.
 
Written By: Platypus
URL: http://pl.atyp.us
Why is it not OK for folks like you to recognize when progress is being made?


It’s fine for people to recognize that military progress is being made, it is.

But many people, myself included, believe that even if the military does everything possible to create an environment for political stability to take hold, politically stability still will not take hold. It’s not a stretch to suggest that if one holds this opinion, then our continued presence, militarily successful or not is pointless and the only assured outcome will be the continued loss of American lives.

For my part, though I do not believe Iraq will become a stable democracy, we are there, we broke it, and as long as the military believes in the mission, I would not require a wholesale pullout. There is, I believe, and an odds off possibility that it COULD work out, not a likely enough scenario to make going in worthwhile, but perhaps good enough to stay a while longer.

In a decade or so, Iraq will become a stable state, but likely under dictatorial rule.

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
This kinda reminds me of a young, democratic president and his ambassador to the UN explaining to people how we hadn’t quite reached a definition on ’genocide’ in Rwanda.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
That interpretation is only possible if one assumes not only that progress is possible but that Murtha knows it is. In other words, it’s not me but McQ who is attempting to reify one position in the "is progress possible" debate. Replace "recognize" with "believe" in my previous comment, if you like, and it changes *nothing*. It’s *still* inconsistent to condemn Murtha for his beliefs while failing to condemn those who started this war for theirs. My own degree of skepticism is utterly irrelevant. It’s McQ’s conveniently-changing degree of skepticism that is at issue.
I might respond to that if I could parse it. Except that I’m pretty sure that this:
My own degree of skepticism is utterly irrelevant.
is extremely unlikely to be true in anything you post.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Progress being made would be more credible if the people bleating that mantra didn’t have such a horrendous track record of declaring that progress is being made - whatever happened to all those battle ready Iraqi army units we heard so much about way back in 2004? The argument from the pro-war side that we can’t extricate ourselves from the situation they created in Iraq because something bad might happen is the most pathetic of all.

As for the Kosovo comparison, apparently there have been 3,500 U.S. casualties in Kosovo the last four years that have gone unreported by the MSM, right? Because that’s the only way you could seriously compare it to the occupation of Iraq.
 
Written By: Oliver Willis
URL: http://www.oliverwillis.com
John Murtha. Yet another Enemy Collaborator who dares to criticize the Great W(arrior). You know, maybe those people who have been W(rong) about absolutely everything to do with Iraq ought to be a bit more humble. Maybe they should listen to those who haven’t been wrong again and again and again. . . . Nah. Meritocracies are for chumps (and Enemy Collaborators).
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Progress being made would be more credible if the people bleating that mantra didn’t have such a horrendous track record of declaring that progress is being made
You mean like Dick Durbin, Keith Ellison and Brian Baird?
whatever happened to all those battle ready Iraqi army units we heard so much about way back in 2004?
The problem isn’t "battle ready Iraqi army units", the problem is the logistics and sustainment system. But you’d know that if you paid even nominal attention.
As for the Kosovo comparison, apparently there have been 3,500 U.S. casualties in Kosovo the last four years that have gone unreported by the MSM, right?
Whiz ... right over your head, Oliver.
"Many have threatened that there will be chaos, a bloodbath, when the United States redeploys from Iraq, and this in fact may be the case," Murtha said in a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Monday. "If they continue to choose to spill blood, it will not be on the conscience of the United States."
If that is the "guiding principle" per Murtha, why are we in Kosovo? Wouldn’t the same probably be true there? And if "they continue to choose to spill blood" why should we even be contemplating intervention in Darfur, since that does seem to be their choice, wouldn’t you say?

More importantly, a case can be made for ensuring a stable and secure Iraq being in the national interest of the US.

Build the same case for Kosovo. Or Darfur.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Doctor McQ, I think you’ve hit a nerve.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Oliver:
Progress being made would be more credible if the people bleating that mantra didn’t have such a horrendous track record of declaring that progress is being made...
Know exactly how ya’ feel Ollie. It’s been 40 years of the "War on Poverty" and still some people believe the bleatings of Ted Kennedy and others. But I know you won’t ’cause you seriously evaluate their track record don’t you.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
If that is the "guiding principle" per Murtha, why are we in Kosovo? Wouldn’t the same probably be true there?
Maybe, maybe not. Don’t just assume whatever’s most convenient and expect anyone but the Usual Suspects to follow along; make an actual case for one position or another. There are entirely credible and valid reasons to believe that Kosovo or Darfur is not the same as Iraq with respect to the efficacy of intervention. They’re different places of different sizes and military strengths, with different resources and alliances, involved in fundamentally different conflicts, so expecting the dynamics of intervention to be the same is not very rational. Consistency does not mean ignoring circumstances. The same principle applied to different situations may yield different results, and not be evidence of cowardice or treason or whatever other crimes you fatuously ascribe to Murtha.

Murtha is simply being a bit consequentialist. He believes, rationally (though only time will tell whether correctly), that our presence there is not helpful and therefore not worth the sacrifice of US lives. You might disagree, again rationally, but to characterize his position as one of callous disregard for anyone is unfair. He is simply looking at the reasons why we must not continue, while you look at the reasons we must. One of you is probably missing (or ignoring) half of the picture, but there’s no reason to assume it’s him.
 
Written By: Platypus
URL: http://pl.atyp.us
There are entirely credible and valid reasons to believe that Kosovo or Darfur is not the same as Iraq with respect to the efficacy of intervention.


Intervention is, in the case of Kosovo and Iraq, past tense. It’s done. We’re there.

Above is Murtha’s stated reason for leaving Iraq.

Tell me why his reasoning shouldn’t apply to Kosovo specifically and the Balkans generally. Tell me why it shouldn’t apply to Darfur and prevent us from ever intervening militarily.
He believes, rationally (though only time will tell whether correctly), that our presence there is not helpful and therefore not worth the sacrifice of US lives.
That may be, but that is not the argument he’s making. So, going simply by what he advances as his argument for withdrawal (i.e. they’re going to choose to kill each other when we leave so why not leave), why couldn’t the same argument be used for Kosovo (everything I read says the same is true there) and keep us from intervening in Darfur (where obviously they are choosing to continue to kill each other)?

He’s trying to rationalize withdrawal and pass off any responsibility for the blood-bath which would follow the precipitous withdrawal he favors by laying it at the feet of the Iraqi people and absolving himself and the Dems of any responsibility (and his claim to such lack of responsibility rests in his declaration of non-support for the war).

Given the reality of the intervention and the responsibility it brings with it, whether we like it or not, a withdrawal before our responsibility is complete, whether by the Dems or anyone else, would make the consequences their responsibility.

Once we get the ISF to a state of self-sufficiency where they can defend themselves and the state, then I think withdrawal is justified. What happens after that, well, we have little or no control over that.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
The United States ultimately cannot stop people from fighting if they want to fight. Why should someone living in rural America have their children sent overseas to kill, die, suffer psychological damage or physical injury to stop others who hate each other from killing?

The only way one can effectively intervene in such a case is if there is burden sharing by a number of states, and true multilateral agreement to intervene. Because, as much as our screw up might have caused the situation to unravel the way it did, the Iraqi people are responsible for their own choices. Whether Rwanda, Darfur, Somalia, Cambodia, or any other atrocity, you won’t get effective intervention without true international will. That doesn’t exist now, and clearly the American people don’t want us in that role.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Murtha indicates that he just doesn’t care what happens to the Iraqis
Touching. Truly touching. Your concern for the plight of the Iraqis brought a tear to my eye. Just a couple of minor points:

1. More than 70,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the U.S. invaded. Don’t those deaths count?

2. What will happen when the G(reat) Warrior and his FUBAR Geniuses decide that the Maliki government is "inoperable"? What if we are told by our Infallible Leaders that, while most unfortunate, it has become necessary to "neutralize" the Maliki government (and the Shi’ites it mainly represents), and that this might — again so unfortunately — result in military action by the U.S. (likely under the guise its new-found Sunni allies, a/k/a former Saddam loyalists, a/k/a (quite recently) the enemy) against said government? Ridiculous? Well, what if our Great Leader informs us that said military action is essential to our national security because (pick one or more): a) to stabilize the region; b) to neutralize Iranian influence; c) to protect our oil supplies; d) to fight Al Qaeda (always a winner!); e) because Jesus told W to do it.

3. Though nearly overcome by your poignant concern for the Iraqi people, I am a wee bit puzzled by your seemingly contradictory callousness toward New Orleanians (i.e., Americans) who were killed or whose lives were ruined due to governmental incompetence (failed levies) and indifference (let them drown in their own filth). I thought America (and Americans) came first. My bad.

P.S., We ain’t leaving Iraq so long as W(rong) is president. Not under any circumstances. Carry on.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Scott, please read what you just wrote. You’re an educated man, and it makes no sense.

My son-in-law is one of the urban Americans who joined the military of his own free will and went to Iraq, as ordered. He didn’t think ROTC was the Boy Scouts, honest. Unlike in my day, there isn’t even a draft. Nobody is press ganged or conscripted.

You offer no facts to back up your assertions about multiple states. I guess by that logic, the American Civil War wasn’t effective. I’ll counter with the assertion that when your objective is the total defeat and unconditional surrender of your enemy, the outcome is effective. Slavery is ended in the US, no State believes it can withdraw from the Union, and we still have troops on Japanese and German soil. That’s effective, international support notwithstanding.

We had allies in Korea, fought for a stalemate, and got one. Effective? Well, we didn’t lose, but a lot of people died to end up right where we started from.

The Europeans couldn’t even get to Kosovo without us taking them. International support can be overrated.
 
Written By: MarkD
URL: http://
Scott Erb:
Why should someone living in rural America have their children sent overseas to kill, die, suffer psychological damage or physical injury to stop others who hate each other from killing?
Because they volunteered for military service, knowing that all of this is a part of the job description?

Why do we keep sending policemen to break up gangs that insist on fighting each other? Don’t we care about the families of policemen? Let the Bloods and Crips and Aryan Brotherhood etc etc etc fight it all out themselves, we can’t win those hearts and minds.
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
1. More than 70,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the U.S. invaded. Don’t those deaths count?
They sure do, even though virtually all of those deaths came at the hands of your freedom fighting insurgency.
2.
Typical crap from you, Shagnasty. Can you write a simple statement or question without the sophomoric references. If you can’t offer an intelligent comment, why comment at all?
3.
Which has nothing to do with the topic at hand but is another sophomoric attempt at grandstanding. Recess is over, it time for your milk and cookies, little boy.
Carry on.
We will, thank you very much!

Bufoon
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Bufoon
I don’t normally engage in battles of wits with unarmed combatants but in your case I’ll make an exception. That’s b-u-f-f-o-o-n. Two f’s. Get a dictionary, Bush-Bot No. 1.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
The types of things Murtha says are intended to break both military and domestic morale and are not, as he claimed yesterday, merely a matter of policy differences. Indeed, he does have an authentic claim to understanding that much.

His earlier claim that "the army is broken" while the army is deployed in combat can only be understood as an attempt to demoralize the army as a whole and the deployed combat troops. And, indeed, he does have an authentic claim to understanding how that can get troops in combat killed. Broken morale is a killer.

His assertion that certain units were guilty of atrocities before the matter had been properly looked into is another attack on the morale of troops deployed in combat. And, again, he does have an authentic claim to understanding how that can get troops in combat killed as well.

This isn’t about a "policy difference."

This is about making the worst of a difficult combat situation.

And Murtha does have an authentic claim to understanding how that can get troops killed. Murtha was a Marine.

"There are no more traitors, Sergeant Murtaugh."
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Nah, Murtha was just trying to help with the Haditha situation. He figured that by making outright accusations of atrocities up front before anyone fully checked it out he’d force them to speed up the investigations and thereby be more likely to exhonorate those troops that much sooner.

yeah, that’s what he was thinking.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
looker writes:
Nah, Murtha was just trying to help with the Haditha situation. He figured that by making outright accusations of atrocities up front before anyone fully checked it out he’d force them to speed up the investigations and thereby be more likely to exhonorate those troops that much sooner.

yeah, that’s what he was thinking.
Exactly. It’s impossible to justify that accusation. Nor is it sufficient to note that Murtha is just another piece of s**t. The guy knows what he is doing, and it’s not a policy debate, nor is it just playing political hardball. That’s the camouflage.

And look at that bit of nonsense about immediate re-deployment to Okinawa. The man is not insane, but he makes an insane statement like that. He is specifically attacking morale, and that got lost in the background rancor of the last election cycle.

He also had the balls to charge into a leadership race when the Democrats took over. He’s not a lunatic, and he’s not just mongering for power. But he is saying things specifically aimed at demoralizing troops in combat.

That’s a serious matter and people ought to start picking it out of the background colors.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Because they volunteered for military service, knowing that all of this is a part of the job description?
I disagree that part of the job description is to prevent people overseas from killing each other. I don’t think the military is sold to people as an opportunity to be a world cop. In any event, how the military is used is ultimately a political decision, and there will not be public support for this kind of use of the military if it isn’t a broadly shared cost with international credibility and support.

That is why both the number of dead now, and any bloodbath that follows is the direct responsibility of those who made the decision to go to war, especially since the war was sold as likely to be quick, with us greeted as liberators. Any politician making a decision to get involved in something like this has to know that the result could be a bloodbath, and that public support will evaporate if things drag on without societal consensus that it is worth continuing. That is why choices to go to war like this are usually misguided. People will try to claim (like they do for Cambodia) that this means we have to stay longer. But there is no guarantee that staying longer will prevent anything, and in any event, the public will force a policy change as we’re seeing in Iraq now, and we saw in Vietnam.

As for domestic police, that doesn’t compare — we have sovereignty, people have chosen to want a police force, and support it. There is a difference between having security in ones’ own state, and trying to impose ones will or create security in another state.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Tell me why his reasoning shouldn’t apply to Kosovo specifically and the Balkans generally.
No, you tell us why it *should*. It’s your analogy, you’re the one who has to back it up.
going simply by what he advances as his argument for withdrawal (i.e. they’re going to choose to kill each other when we leave so why not leave)
I think his argument is more that they’re going to kill each other *whether we leave or not*. That’s a very different argument leading to very different conclusions. If we didn’t expect bloodshed until we left, then there might be a credible argument for not leaving, but if they’ve already started then there’s not. It’s blindingly obvious that they *have* already started, and by staying we only add one more faction killing Iraqis.
 
Written By: Platypus
URL: http://pl.atyp.us
No, you tell us why it *should*. It’s your analogy, you’re the one who has to back it up.
Done and done ... did you miss it?
That’s a very different argument leading to very different conclusions.
And it is irrelevant to the point I made, which, seemingly, you simply ignored.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Mark D, you’re missing the point. You are extremely unlikely to get successful intervention into another states’ ethnic fighting for civil war without multinational involvement. People in a state don’t see it as their business to prevent other people from killing each other due to their own disputes. And don’t get me started on Kosovo, that was another foreign policy blunder. Having other states on board doesn’t assure success if the mission is misguided.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Boris Erb writes:
I disagree that part of the job description is to prevent people overseas from killing each other.
Etc.

Easily one of the lamest arguments you’ve ever made, Boris, which would put it right into the Hall of Fame of Lame without the traditional five-year waiting period.

For starters, the Iraq mission had and has international credibility and support. Regardless of that, the U.S. always reserves the national security prerogative to engage an international matter withour "international credibility and support," particularly when it’s not possible to get it and the matter needs to be engaged.
I don’t think the military is sold to people as an opportunity to be a world cop.
The U.S. isn’t a world cop. It doesn’t engage the multiple conflicts that rage around the world in any given year. Our military role is that of the guarantor of strategic peace, and there is no greater threat to strategic peace than the Middle East, which is the most destabilizing region in the world, in which Iraq was the most destabilizing nation-state, an honor that now passes to Iran.

And we have that role as guarantor because we are the sole surviving superpower and are the only nation that can handle it, and we also have a national security interest in international stability. That role fell to us during and after WWII and was enhanced by the end of the Cold War. And we are pretty good at it. This episode in Iraq, which your ilk is having paroxysms about, is bargain basement intervention.

And that last sentence of yours I quote above has inherent to it your usual, probably automatic, effort (and an entirely lame effort) to pick up on a trope the would sow dissension in the military, in typical Baghdad Erb fashion: "You silly American soldier. You think you can defeat mighty [insert name of enemy] forces. You are not capable of...etc. You do not belong here. You not policeman of the world."

I wouldn’t mention that bit about the dissesion trope but for the fact that you notoriously pick-up on the Left’s theme of the day, and working on troop morale is a perennial favorite.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Nobody’s shooting at us in Kosovo.
Once we get the ISF to a state of self-sufficiency where they can defend themselves and the state, then I think withdrawal is justified.
And I want a gold-plated mansion, but hoping for it isn’t going to make it happen.

For the record I supported and support welfare reform. I consistently think that the solution to a head injury isn’t continuing to bang your head against the wall. Which is why I think we need to get out of Iraq. The people proclaiming success in 2007 are the same ones who in 2004 were discussing the success of turning over responsibility to the Iraqis - their record is kind of suspect.

That a few Democrats have noted the very limited situational success of the surge, does not negate the fact that it isn’t sustainable to have America babysitting Iraq forever (Hey look, I squeezed a ballon filled with water, see my section is completely free of water, feel free to ignore the increase in water in the rest of the balloon).
 
Written By: Oliver Willis
URL: http://www.oliverwillis.com
Boris Erb writes:
You are extremely unlikely to get successful intervention into another states’ ethnic fighting for civil war without multinational involvement.
The question of whether there is already or is going to be ethnic fighting is secondary to what the international stakes are. And the international stakes in Iraq are huge, and apparently beyond your comprehension, Boris.

There are many reasons why any number of other nations are not in Iraq helping us, and most of those reasons involve their incapacity or their unreliability or, in the case of regional states like Syria, Turkey, and Iran, etc., their unsuitability.

Does anyone, anywhere think that anyone, including the Russian Army, would want the Russian Army in Iraq, for instance?

And the embarrassed and embarrassing free-riders in Europe would be good for exactly what? Complaining? We could blame ourselves for creating a Europe that can’t get anything more than symbolic forces together, but give them a few years and they’ll blame us themselves.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Nobody’s shooting at us in Kosovo.
And that isn’t the point, Oliver. You can say it 100 more times and it still won’t make it relevant to the point.
And I want a gold-plated mansion, but hoping for it isn’t going to make it happen.
Yeah, that’s why we have a good number of soldiers over there actually training, working and embedded with them. No "hoping" involved.
That a few Democrats have noted the very limited situational success of the surge, does not negate the fact that it isn’t sustainable to have America babysitting.
Except progress means less babysitting, and that, of course means that at some point they’ll be able to take care of themselves.

And absolutely no one is claiming it is sustainable without us at this point in time. The difference between the two sides is one side sees progress and wants to capitalize on it and exploit it for the good of our national security and the other side sees it and wants to pretend it isn’t happening because it is damaging to their political position.

Cue Rep. Clyburn.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Murtha is simply being a bit consequentialist. He believes, rationally (though only time will tell whether correctly), that our presence there is not helpful and therefore not worth the sacrifice of US lives.
More likely, he is lining up more MoveOn $$$.

Any assumption that Murtha is anything but vile reflects willfull stupidity.

 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
it isn’t sustainable to have America babysitting Germany Japan South Korea Kosovo Iraq forever
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Don writes:
More likely, he is lining up more MoveOn $$$.

Any assumption that Murtha is anything but vile reflects willfull stupidity.
Right, but I think you have to take his venality to the next level to make sense out of the kinds of things he has said.

Remember, this was a guy who was in the room with the fake Sheiks in the Abscam sting and played a coy finesse on them. Then he got turned around by the prosecutors and got himself off the hook. Forget about all that "Murtha was a Marine" crap. He’s a wrong guy who knows how to get his.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Looker, argument by false analogy is a fallacious form of argumentation. Iraq is nothing like Japan or Germany, and the dynamics are totally different from Korea (hint: sectarian warfare, the political culture of the region, the limited American capacity, etc.) That’s why this policy has been a failure, and why even the best case scenario only achieves a "success" that has been defined so far down that it would have been considered failure in 2003.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Done and done ... did you miss it?
Asserting it’s done isn’t the same as actually doing it, but I shouldn’t be surprised because such counterfactual assertions are very much the hallmark of this war’s supporters.
And it is irrelevant to the point I made, which, seemingly, you simply ignored.
Au contraire, it is you who ignored Murtha’s point. Just because you prefer attacking a strawman doesn’t make his actual position irrelevant.
 
Written By: Platypus
URL: http://pl.atyp.us
Asserting it’s done isn’t the same as actually doing it, but I shouldn’t be surprised because such counterfactual assertions are very much the hallmark of this war’s supporters.
I’ll take that as an admission you have no answer to the point made and prefer to avoid it, not that I’m particularly surprised.
Au contraire, it is you who ignored Murtha’s point.
Heh ... it’s apparent you have no idea what Murtha’s or my point was/is - again no surprise. Building mountains out of the wrong molehills seems to be a specialty of yours.

But thanks for stopping by again. Your visits, while brief, at least entertainingly demonstrate your deep confusion over just about any topic posted here, thus making them a marginal net positive.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Boris Erb tries this:
Looker, argument by false analogy is a fallacious form of argumentation. Iraq is nothing like Japan or Germany,
Boris, Japan and Germany are nothing like each other. Japan is a civilization unto itself; Germany was one nation-state in the West. Yet we fought them both and occupied them at the cost of a national debt 150% of GDP and the loss of 400,000 men. How many men have we lost in Iraq? About one-third as many in four years as we lost on Okinawa in under three months.
and the dynamics are totally different from Korea...
And the dynamics of Korea were totally different from those in Japan or Germany. Did the Chinese army rush into Japan to help them defend against the Americans, for instance?
...(hint: sectarian warfare, the political culture of the region, the limited American capacity, etc.)
You’re such a damn fool, Boris. Iraq is a smidgen of Korea, Japan, or Germany, yet the stakes are nearly as huge. Our capacity for dealing with WWII was nearly nil before WWII. Our forces were in terrible shape going into Korea. We aren’t anywhere near exhausting our capacity in Iraq. We are, in fact, running a bargain basement intervention. We’re in a war and our deficits are running below the 30-year average.

Only someone with zero historical perspective make the kinds of arguments you make. Do we have something to fear in Iraq? Of course, that’s the nature of warfare. On a historical scale is our involvement there comparable to any major war we’ve ever been in? No, not one. It doesn’t even compare to the War of 1812 or the Mexican War, yet the stakes in Iraq are huge and involve the future of the global system of sovereign states and a whole coming era of potential international conflict.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
the stakes in Iraq are huge
that’s their point Martin, admission of failure in Iraq will be equivilent to not running a Republican candidate in 2008. And that’s the goal. MoveOn knows it, Pelosi knows it, Reid knows it, Murtha knows it, and many of those who’d like us to withdraw ’now’ are well aware of it.

They have such a ’long’ historical view of things you know, it runs back almost all the way to 1998.

Dr Erb will now relate to you how it’s caused a continuing decline in US ability to project power worldwide, and how our withdrawal, while it may have some unfortunate consequences, will somehow at least stem that continued decline.
With the French taking an increasingly bellicose stance, akin to our own towards radical Islam it’s essential we withdraw now so they stop that slide towards dis-enlightenment.
We’ll elect Hillary, send the remnants of GW’s administration and policies packing, and then it will be moon ponies for all (until the next attack, which will be solely the fault of the Bush administration for stirring up trouble in Iraq).
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
I think the UN would safely classify our efforts as a ’police action’.
Well, if it were 1950 it would.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
That’s b-u-f-f-o-o-n.
You’re right, Shagnasty. My bad. I meant sh*t for brains! Have a nice day.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
This Murtha exchange is pretty funny
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
CaptJoe - we’re not talking about Murtha’s Haditha accusation - His service allows him to slander current troops - respect his a-thor-ih-tie!

Great exchange though ain’t it?
Yet his credibility amongst the Murtha defenders remains un-diminished.
("Withdrew to the elevator"...that was a hoot)
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Oh, wow.

Murtha didn’t even know *anything* about the situation of the Haditha investigation and charges. "Is the trial over." Oh. My. Dog.

That’s what’s pissed me off about the Haditha thing from the start (*other* than the pure slander) is that Murtha, as a Congressman, is ideally placed to ensure that the military pursue the investigation with diligence. He is ideally situated to *assure* the US people that the truth would come out while building up the Marine Corp and traditions he supposedly supports by portraying them as reliable in persecuting the guilty and himself as part of that process. He chose not to. Not ONLY did he chose to tear down his former service and behave in a way harmful of the Marine Corp reputation and morale but he’s not even paying attention to the progression of the "trial!" (and isn’t he on the freaking armed forces committee?) Why isn’t he making sure that the truth is found and the guilty punished? Doesn’t he *care* that Marines are cold-blooded killers of innocent civilians?

But I amuse myself with the pointless questions. If he cared about justice for the innocent and the guilty he’d PAY ATTENTION.

Next time someone corners him in front of an elevator and asks about an apology to the Haditha Marines, they should make sure it’s a combat veteran. It would be fun to see the dick measuring once the simple version of "I was a Marine, you weren’t" doesn’t work so well. "But I was in *Viet-frigging-Nam*."

Reliving the glory days. It’s *necessary* that we leave Iraq in shame.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Iraq is nothing like Japan or Germany, and the dynamics are totally different from Korea
Scott — Another case of your over-reach. "Nothing like X, Y, or Z." Really, nothing? As usual, instead of making your argument, you police the bounds of discussion to fence off useful material for your opponents.

Of course, Iraq is not completely like Japan or Germany or Korea—this is an analogy—but it’s not totally dissimilar either, and I’m sure back then there were people like yourself saying that a stable, friendly democracy could not possibly develop in Japan.

There were no guarantees in 1776 or 1787 that the United States could succeed in the ambitious progams its founders had undertaken either.

I don’t know how things will work in Iraq; I don’t think you do either. You’re welcome to doubt its success, but your pronouncement that Iraq has always been a doomed undertaking is just an opinion.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
Looker, argument by false analogy is a fallacious form of argumentation. Iraq is nothing like Japan or Germany, and the dynamics are totally different from Korea (hint: sectarian warfare, the political culture of the region, the limited American capacity, etc.) That’s why this policy has been a failure, and why even the best case scenario only achieves a "success" that has been defined so far down that it would have been considered failure in 2003.
It’s not a false analogy, you’re just missing what’s actually being analogized. No one is arguing that the US should stay the course in Iraq because the nation of Iraq is like the nations of Germany or Japan in the forties, or Korea in the fifties. The analogy is between US strategies of general war against foreign enemies generally. It’s about victory and defeat. One can generally define victory as outlasting, by whatever means—military defeat, attrition, economic performance, luck— one’s opponent. Defeat can similarly be defined as being outlasted.

But out of curiosity regarding your "dynamics" argument above, are you saying that Iraq could not be pacified with a US effort on the order of what we expended against Germany, Japan, or even North Korea? Or perhaps you’re saying that even a fractional effort wouldn’t be worth stabilizing Iraq?

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: peter jackson
URL: www.liberalcapitalist.com
The Clyburn story is mostly bogus. And the issue here is one side is like the kid crying wolf for 4+ years about how things are going great in Iraq and how the rest of us are un-American for not acknowledging how great things are going when that’s just not the case. The vast majority of conservative support for this and the ongoing propaganda push is in order to cover ass for the GOP.
 
Written By: Oliver Willis
URL: http://www.oliverwillis.com
The Clyburn story is mostly bogus.
Well, except for the part where he said a positive report from Petraeus would hurt the Dem’s opportunty for withdrawal, which is their political position — just as McQ wrote.

But thanks for being a good lapdog for your employer, Oliver.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Good grief Oliver ... from your own link:
CLYBURN: Well, that would be a real big problem for us, no question about that, simply because of those 47 Blue Dogs. I think there would be enough support in that group to want to stay the course, and if the Republicans were to remain united, as they have been, then it would be a problem for us.
Bogus? The only thing bogus here is your claim.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
like the kid crying wolf for 4+ years
As far as I’m concerned, that’s the anti-war movement which declared the Iraq War an utter disaster from even before Iraq was invaded. I remember the complete, mournful silences from the left every time something good happened in Iraq like the deposing of Hussein or each of the elections in which millions of brave Iraqis risked their lives to vote, and recently the left’s fury that Petraeus returned to Congress to testify of progress in Iraq. It’s like the left really doesn’t care about democracy and freedom, which frankly does seem un-American to me.

We liberated 25 million of people from a brutal dictator, we eliminated that dictator’s threats to the region and his ongoing flouting of international law, we killed thousands of jihadists, we freed the Kurds in the north and the Shia Arabs in the south from the Hussein’s vicious persecution. The marshland in the south devastated by Hussein’s ecological war against the Shia is recovering. Al-Qaeda has been so hard-pressed in Iraq that they have resorted to bombing the Golden Dome Mosque and terrorizing Muslims, which has brought them censure from other Muslims all over the the world.

No, not all the news is good in Iraq, but there is a remarkable amount of good news in a country that was largely hopeless before, and the anti-war movement won’t hear any of it.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
That interpretation is only possible if one assumes not only that progress is possible but that Murtha knows it is.
A little late to the party, but I couldn’t resist this.

Platypus, do you understand how disconnected from reality Murtha would need to be to assume anything else? For that matter, how diconnected you would need to be to try and play such an angle.

Not that I put it past either of you, of course... (Or Willis, for that matter... yes, I see him doing his denial number, too...) but I tend to doubt projecting Murtha as being that far gone was exactly what you had in mind.







 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Iraq is a fiasco, Huxley. More have been killed in the four years after "liberation" than by Saddam in the era after Desert Storm. Women are far worse off now than under Saddam, violence occurs daily (suicide bombs, sectarian fighting) power and water are at levels worse than pre-war, the government is dysfunctional, and a new home for potential terrorists has been created. Moreover, the one state who is probably benefiting most from this is Iran, while Bin Laden and those of his ilk love to see how this divided America, cost hundreds of billions, stretched out the American military, drove up the cost of oil, and has made the world economy vulnerable. The only reason al qaeda can do anything in Iraq is because of the invasion, and the people they have there are almost completely recruits who joined because of our invasion.

I don’t know how long denial of reality can last. Gen. Odom called this war the biggest strategic disaster in American history and the evidence strongly supports that view. This has been bad for America, bad for the Iraqis, and bad for the region. It has been good for Iran, and good for al qaeda.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Iraq is a fiasco, Huxley. More have been killed in the four years after "liberation" than by Saddam in the era after Desert Storm.
More WHOM have been killed?
You would seem to have a basic problem with distinguishing between the players.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Women are far worse off now than under Saddam, violence occurs daily (suicide bombs, sectarian fighting) power and water are at levels worse than pre-war, the government is dysfunctional, and a new home for potential terrorists has been created. Moreover, the one state who is probably benefiting most from this is Iran, while Bin Laden and those of his ilk love to see how this divided America, cost hundreds of billions, stretched out the American military, drove up the cost of oil, and has made the world economy vulnerable. The only reason al qaeda can do anything in Iraq is because of the invasion, and the people they have there are almost completely recruits who joined because of our invasion.
I’m sure you saying all those things makes them so.
violence occurs daily (suicide bombs, sectarian fighting)
You’re right doc, it was better with people being dragged off to the torture prisons where daily violence could be done in a properly private and quiet environment by Saddam’s sons with the knowledge and assistence of the government.
cost hundreds of billions
much more expensive and longer running than our highly successful ’War on drugs’ right?
divided America

As opposed to the 2000 Supreme Court ordained election?
or as opposed to the movements to impeach, or not impeach Bill Clinton?
Or the Gay Marriage fight?
yeah, America only became divided because of Iraq, not because of the average daily behaviors of our political parties both in-power and trying-to-gain-power.
almost completely recruits who joined because of our invasion.
As opposed to the ones they recruited to fly planes into our buildings in 2001?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Looker, in some ways I’m seeing an America more united — against the war and against the President (in fact, I have more favorable views about the President than most people I talk to). This is especially obvious in talking with young people, whose views today are markedly different than a few years ago. It’ll be interesting to see where this leads politically, but I’m hopeful. I also think the youth are coming to a ’new consensus’ on gay marriage — opposition to that is mostly among older folk. My hope is that there is a kind of ’ethic of liberty’ growing, where people are skeptical of government power and authority. The ’national health care’ movement seems to be mostly the older generation as well. I may be wrong in that hope though — there does seem to be too much acceptance of a state active in peoples’ lives.

If you want to compare Iraq to the ’war on drugs,’ then I’d say you’re comparing one failure with another. End them both!

More people are killed today than were killed or tortured by Saddam’s secret police. Having the assistance of government or not doesn’t really matter to the victim.

The recruits in Iraq are indeed fundamentally different than those of 9-11. I’m not sure what your point is.

Bithead, more Iraqis and American human beings have been killed. That’s the "whom." Did you think I was talking about camels?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Boris Erb writes:
Iraq is a fiasco,
You are a fiasco, Boris.

And I note your attempt to re-state your calling any UMF students (and their parents) who don’t support "gay marriage" bigots.

Nice try, but the original statement is in the record.

And your attempt to align yourself with opinion polls about various issues does not help your pathetic arguments.

"Most people [you] talk to" is also no better a source for supporting your arguments than "most scholars" or "most who study international law," two of your other "they say" authorities.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Boris Erb writes:
More people are killed today than were killed or tortured by Saddam’s secret police.
First of all, you have no credible source for that. You would also need to factor into that the Iraqis killed during Saddam’s 9-year war with Iran and because of his ill-fated invasion of Kuwait.

You would also need to subtract from your "more people are killed today" those who are killed because they are insurgents or terrorists attempting to kill other Iraqis or the Coalition forces.

Now, with that out of the way, the fight today is for a reasonably free society, free of Saddam and his mob, and free of terrorists.

I know that you don’t think that is worth anything, but you’re also on the record, many times, that you think Castro is still "better than Batista," ignoring 45 years of totalitarian Communist dictatorship as if it were a sneezing fit.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
"Having the assistance of government or not doesn’t really matter to the victim."

No. But it matters to the society.

We’re treading precariously close to the "they came for the Jews and I said nothing because I was not a Jew" bit of it.

Or maybe close to Ghandi figuring that Jews should just let themselves be mass murdered until the Germans got tired of it. They would have gotten tired of it eventually... probably. And all told fewer *people* would have died. And since it "doesn’t really matter to the victim" if they died by an action of the government for no reason but their ethnicity or because of their political views or if they were criminals and deserved it or if they died fighting a war... it’s the same to the victims, to the dead people, right? So it’s *obvious* that fewer victims, no matter their circumstances, is better than more victims.

And it doesn’t matter that it’s the government who terrorizes since it’s possible to avoid that if one behaves properly?

Really?

Is this any different than saying that *nothing* is worth fighting for? Not just over there, some where, but here? For you and for me? For the world our children will inhabit?

Would it be worth it to you, Scott, if your children lived with the threat of being shoveled into a mass grave with your wife if they got on the wrong side of those holding government power? Or if you taught the wrong thing at school that you could be taken away and tortured?

Would that *really* be the same as if you were mugged in an ally by a criminal and shot or if you were eating in a cafe and a suicide bomber blew it up? Is it *really* all the same to the victim if it is the government or not?
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
And it doesn’t matter that it’s the government who terrorizes since it’s possible to avoid that if one behaves properly?

Really?
yeah, you’d think he might have noticed the emphasis on government cooperation of the slaughter.
All the same to him though. Following that line of thought along to a reasonable conclusion - we can stop administering the laws here in the US because we still have drunk driving, rapes, murders and robberies. In the doc’s version of the universe, if you’re a victim of these crimes it doesn’t matter to you if the government was complicit in them, or actively trying to stop them. All same same you see. In his version the Iraqi government we’re backing isn’t ever going to get a handle on the problem, but it will presumably get better if the Americans will just leave now and stop backing that government I guess.

Not to be really mean Doc, but with that as a basis for determining how you’re making judgements, we should be listening to your pronouncements because...?



 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Oh, and my point about the recruits is - they didn’t need us to invade Iraq to hate us enough to kill themselves to get some of us Doc.
They came here, and did it, long before we embarked on the Shock and Awe campaign.
You do get that point I trust.

Iraq is ground of our choosing for the fight, not ground of their choosing.
Sorry if you can’t understand the difference.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Looker, think through what you’re saying. If you followed that thinking, you’d end up rationalizing intervening in every state where we judged that government action was doing nasty things to people. Do you really want to go that route? Do you really want to replace the idea of sovereignty completely with "if America deems you to be bad, we can go in and enforce our standards?" If so, why aren’t we intervening in more places? If not, than clearly, Saddam’s government’s misdeeds are not enough to warrant intervention. Moreover, by 2003 Saddam was relatively weak, and perhaps he would have fallen on his own or died/been assassinated, and a new government might have been more malleable to lead a stable transition (his sons probably couldn’t have held on to power). Ultimately stable democracy is built from within in order to be effective; third world countries can’t jump from pre-modern institutions to modern ones at a snap of the finger.

As to recruits — al qaeda can still get numerous recruits that hate America, and it doesn’t take many to strike the US. Iraq has not changed that. What it changed is that it is stronger in the Mideast and in fighting battles within the Arab world. Al qaeda’s goal is ultimately to change the Arab world and overthrow regimes there — attacking us is a means to that goal, to try to weaken us and make it harder for us to support states in the region.

Synova, same to you — there are numerous states with repression. Does the ’they came for us’ argument not mean we should intervene everywhere we see oppression? But by what means do we make ourselves the arbiter of what constitutes grounds for intervention? And if intervention kills more than otherwise would have been killed (given how weakened Saddam’s grip was in 2003, that’s almost a certainty), then how have we helped?

Of course, we were supporting Saddam when he was at the height of his power and engaged in massive atrocities, we attacked him when he was at the bottom of his effective power. That made him easier to remove, but...
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Boris Erb writes:
think through what you’re saying. If you followed that thinking, you’d end up rationalizing intervening in every state where we judged that government action was doing nasty things to people.
The irony of you, Boris, asking someone else to think through what they’re saying. We intervened in Iraq for national and international security reasons. The final outcome for Iraqi society also has implications for national and international security, but our intervention brought with it the consequent responsibility for the outcome regardless of the national and international security implications.

None of that implies, not even to borderline morons I’m sure, that we would need to intervene wherever we found governments that mistreated their own people.
al qaeda can still get numerous recruits that hate America,
They had 20,000 plus of them through their camps in Afghanistan prior to 9/11. Who is managing and training all those new recruits post-Iraq invasion, Boris?
Synova, same to you — there are numerous states with repression. Does the ’they came for us’ argument not mean we should intervene everywhere we see oppression?
That’s funny, coming from someone who has routinely apologized for totalitarian regimes. See my first answer in this post to that canard.

By the way, Boris, have you noticed the huge increase in consensual governments around the world? Or is that another fact inconvenient to your desire to leave the Iraqis in the lurch?
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Boris Erb writes:
Of course, we were supporting Saddam when he was at the height of his power and engaged in massive atrocities,
The rottenness of your lies, Boris, isn’t diminished by their age and the decreased frequency of their use. I haven’t seen you take that one out and give it a try for a long time.

It is a lie because you know it’s not true. Or, maybe you could think it’s true and you’re just stupid. It’s hard to tell. But you do teach this stuff, right?

It’s a lie of fact: Hussein was a Soviet client. That’s why he flew MiGs and drove Russian tanks and had his intelligence services trained by the KGB.

It’s a lie of context: Because any cozying the U.S. did with Hussein was specific to the context of the Cold War and superpower tension in the Middle East.

The Gulf War, in 1991, where we extracted him from Kuwait and immediately affixed a genital cuff to him to keep him still, came almost precisely on top of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. Hussein was quick to move in the power vacuum caused by the Soviet collapse, and we were quick to put him in a box.

And by the way, Boris, you do not belong anywhere near a classroom, but you know that.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Looker, think through what you’re saying. If you followed that thinking, you’d end up rationalizing intervening in every state where we judged that government action was doing nasty things to people
No, you’re rationlizing into expansion of our Iraq deployment to infer we must carry it out everywhere - we’re IN Iraq already, we’re not obligated to go anywhere else. I might even argue, as you like to do, we helped make the mess.
Difference is, I’d like to see us clean it up, you’d like us to bail out now.
and perhaps he would have fallen on his own or died/been assassinated, and a new government might have been more malleable to lead a stable transition
and just as much perhaps the moon ponies would have come down and chased all the badness out of Iraq and everyone would have been happy forever there.
Perhaps if we let the Republicans regain control of the Senate and the House they’ll do wise and wonderful things this time!
Al qaeda’s goal is ultimately to change the Arab world and overthrow regimes there
And there we are, in the Arab world, in about the only part of the Arab world we could be in and operating as a fighting force that is allowed to kill Al-Qaeda on sight. As opposed to sitting on Okinawa watching them from over-the-horizon and making people take their sneakers off as they board airliners.
Of course, we were supporting Saddam when he was at the height of his power and engaged in massive atrocities, we attacked him when he was at the bottom of his effective power. That made him easier to remove, but...
You forget to mention that the United States used to allow slavery under previous administrations. Oh, wait, we changed policies.

I don’t know, are you suggesting we’re bullies and we should have taken him on at the height of his power or not at all?
What?
Perhaps you’re suggesting that after we’d supported Saddam against Iran we were obligated to continue to support him forever?
or we were obligated to let him do whatever he wanted afterwards?

But, gee, we supported Stalin’s government during WWII and then we changed our policies and got involved in a 40+ year cold war with the USSR?
Man, how can we do these things!
Are you trying to imply that once we pick a direction we ought to stick with it?
What are you trying to say when you point out things like "we were supporting Saddam when he was at the height of his power".

Course I might even, rather successfully, argue he wasn’t at the height at that point, or we wouldn’t have been supporting him unless you mean to imply that even at the height of his power he couldn’t have won against Iran by himself.

No, I think I liked my initial response to the last point - whatever.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Looker,

1. I’ve been consistent in recent posts and my blog to note that how we leave Iraq is important, and we have a moral obligation due to the problems we’ve created not to leave in a fashion that makes matters worse. I don’t think we have the capacity to truly "fix" Iraq, I think it’s a matter of trying to find a way to go that avoids worst case scenarios. So we’re more in agreement on that point than you realize.

2. I don’t buy the premise that the al qaeda we kill in Iraq would be a threat to us, or even be in al qaeda, if not for the Iraq war. From what I’ve read, we’ve helped them recruit to the point that there are more of them now than before 9-11.

3. The example of support for Saddam in the past, or for repressive regimes like the Saudis in the present, shows that our foreign policy is not driven by humanitarian concerns. We’ll ignore such concerns when we do not preceive our national interest at stake, we’ll use such concerns to rationalize action when it is at stake. I’m not saying that’s right, but that’s the way it is. The debate about Iraq is less about the humanitarian issues, but whether or not our national interest is at stake, and how do our actions affect it. That’s why we’re in Iraq but did not get involved in Rwanda, Darfur, or other places with repressive regimes or large scale violence (such as many regions in Africa).
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Boris Erb writes:
I don’t think we have the capacity to truly "fix" Iraq,
Well, Boris, I don’t think that we have the capacity to truly fix you.

But we might want to try lieposuction on you, on the basis of a good faith commitment to truth.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Boris Erb writes:
From what I’ve read, we’ve helped them recruit to the point that there are more of them now than before 9-11.
Can you point to any of them, Boris?
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Boris Erb writes:
The example of support for Saddam in the past, or for repressive regimes like the Saudis in the present, shows that our foreign policy is not driven by humanitarian concerns.
That’s correct, Boris. Our foreign policy is driven by our national security, our survival, and our national interests, as it should be. But did you notice, perhaps, how we helped the Japanese and those dreadful god-awful f**knuts, the Germans, back into the civilized world after we beat the crap out of them?

So, we have a similar plan in Iraq that we look upon (those of us with a sense of history and American values) as essential to our traditions and good nature.

I know you don’t understand any of that, but perhaps someone reading this discussion will be embarrassed for you in lieu of you having any capacity to be embarrassed.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Scott - I’m glad you present reasons to support "Iraq is a fiasco", but from what I know, much of what you say is arguable, if not flat wrong. I would like to see some cites for your claims.

Let’s start with the number killed under Hussein and after. These numbers are politicized on both sides. For those killed since Hussein, I look at Iraq Body Count (an anti-war group) for meaningful numbers, which currently stands at 72.5K - 79.2K.

For those killed under Hussein it’s harder to tell, but here are some of the numbers and sources that strike me as worth looking at:
1988, the Hussein regime began a campaign of extermination against the Kurdish people living in Northern Iraq. This is known as the Anfal campaign. The attacks resulted in the death of at least 50,000 (some reports estimate as many as 100,000 people)...

In April 1991, after Saddam lost control of Kuwait in the Gulf War, he cracked down ruthlessly against several uprisings in the Kurdish north and the Shia south. His forces committed wholesale massacres and other gross human rights violations against both groups similar to the violations mentioned before. Estimates of deaths during that time range from 20,000 to 100,000 for Kurds, and 60,000 to 130,000 for Shi’ites.
Wiki: Human Rights in Saddam’s Iraq

8. Continuing unlawful killings of political opponents. The number of those killed unlawfully is difficult to estimate but must be well in excess of 10,000 since Saddam Hussein officially seized power in 1980.

—David J. Scheffer, Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues
"The Case for Justice in Iraq"

Under the leadership of President Saddam Hussein, who seized power in 1979, the Iraqi government has committed a vast number of crimes against the Iraqi people and others. The victims of such crimes include up to 290,000 persons who have been “disappeared” since the late 1970s, many of whom we believe have been killed.
—Human Rights Watch
"Prosecuting Iraqi War Crimes"
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
Scott — When you and others call Iraq a fiasco or a catastrophe, I always wonder "compared to what?" Palm Springs?

I suggest consulting the Iraqis themselves. They are unhappy with Iraq and the United States in many ways. Nonetheless, in polls the majority have consistently said since the invasion that they are better off now than under Saddam.
"Would you rather live in Iraq as it is today, despite the violence, or do you wish you still lived under the rule of Saddam Hussein?"

People are always surprised to discover that a majority of Iraqis prefer what they have now, as bad as it is, to life under Saddam Hussein. The majority is not as large as it was before al Qaeda intentionally plunged Iraq into sectarian chaos, but a majority has always preferred a liberated but violent Iraq:
[graph follows showing this for years 2004-2007]
Reason and Emotion in Iraq
No one in the anti-war movement has ever had a substantive reply when I point this out. They either say it’s untrue without support or change the subject.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
Scott — If you are interested in more sources, I suggest "Back Talk" the site for the quote in my previous post. The author describes himself: "I am a professor at a research university, a registered Democrat, a liberal by some measures, but a radical conservative relative to the large majority of my colleagues."

His work is scrupulously supported with numbers, facts and careful logic. As a result, his work is on the dry side but of high quality.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
The last bit that goes back to the late seventies really isn’t relevant because I limited the time frame. I’ll note three points:

1. You are right that my claim is arguable. If you take low estimates of deaths since 2003 and compare it with higher estimates of deaths 1991-2003, then the Saddam era is deadlier. Comparing high estimates against high estimates (the Lancelet study guessed 650,000 dead since 2003, and that was I believe over a year ago, with Johns Hopkins researchers) then the era since the end of the war was deadlier. Low estimates compared with low estimates seem to yield a similar number (though I believe there are some low estimates for the current era that are lower than the ’lows’ you cite).

2. The deaths are continuing, so we won’t have a full picture any time soon. My claim, however was about to the present.

So yes, my claim is arguble, we can’t know for sure. But it’s not clear cut that Saddam’s death rate was higher either.

3. Saddam by 2003 was no longer in much of a position to attack Kurds, and the Shi’ite rebellion had been put down. It is, I believe, near certain that if Saddam had stayed in power after 2003 there would be far fewer dead Iraqis, and in general the living conditions of the Iraqi people would be better off. The US would also be relatively stronger in the region than today, and Iran relatively weaker.

All that said, perhaps my description accentuates the negative and yours the positive. From your tone and content I accept you believe what you post, and I believe my perspective. Ultimately a little bit of distance in terms of time from this event will clarify just how to categorize it. I think it is clear that the Administration vastly underestimated the cost of the war (in human and monetary terms) and believed it would be far easier to shape a political outcome. Indeed, most of those early goals have been defined dramataically downward. Regardless of whether or not we agree that the war was worthwhile, can we at least agree that there is a lesson to be learned here: Political outcomes are strongly influenced by internal political structures, and a theoretical belief that military power will be able to create an outcome we desire because we assume they want democracy and will be grateful for our intervention. We need to better understand a region, and not view military force and war as an expedient use of policy unless absolutely necessary. We should also learn the dangers of overselling a war (the public has been shocked by the cost, hence the drop in support), believing that success will silence the critics. If success comes quickly, it will — but if not, the support can evaporate quickly.

Also, it may be good to review the Weinberger-Powell doctrine on when to fight, and recognize the benefits of multilateral legitimacy (something we didn’t have here since most of the world and most scholars of international law do not buy and in fact emphatically reject the Administration’s effort to claim that UN resolutions already authorized the war)
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Huxley, Iraqi polls are a bit skewed since the majority Shi’ia will almost always claim things are better with Saddam gone. But I bet most of them will have a far more favorable view of Iran than of the US as well.

BTW, I am not a democrat. I’m independent, and would label myself a pragmatic libertarian. I do not favor high levels of government spending or many of the positions of Democratic candidates, and in general have a strong dislike of centralized governmental power. My opposition to the use of military power was just as strong in my critique of President Clinton’s Kosovo war, which I opposed (even got a letter to the editor in TIME magazine condemning that war). So for me this isn’t a right-left or conservative-liberal thing.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I read some of that blog, and he makes one glaring error. He seems to think that elections in Germany, France and elsewhere had voters choosing whether or not to act on what he calls ’childish anti-Americanism.’ I have to assume he is not a political science professor, since if he were he would realize that such elections are determined by the domestic conditions and context, and not driven by what people think about the US. If they had voted solely on ‘support for America,’ (and most of the pro-American folk haven’t offered real help, and in fact have cut down their commitments) then the pro-Iraq war side would have lost. An interesting blog; he lets his bias shine through, but I have no problem with that since everyone is biased and its good to be up front about it. And, while I’ll argue my position as strongly as I can, I enjoy it when people of opposing views argue their position strongly as well — and avoid personal animosity. That is how politics should be!
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Boris Erb on his claim that the killing of Iraqis post-Saddam has been worse than under Saddam himself:
All that said, perhaps my description accentuates the negative and yours the positive.
Actually, Boris, your description was merely a function of your wish, which can just be marked in the ledger as lying to save time on making distinctions without a difference.
BTW, I am not a democrat. I’m independent, and would label myself a pragmatic libertarian.
Boris, your tank is too full with fourth generation KGB anti-American propaganda for you to be anything but a socialist. In other words, you’re lying, probably in anticipation of or a response to local heat coming down on you in Maine. I predict that before next summer is done you’ll be eating Madame Nu’s[1] p***y and declaring her a "pragmatic libertarian" as well.

[1] Hillary Clinton, for those unfamiliar with the usuage.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
I don’t think we have the capacity to truly "fix" Iraq, I think it’s a matter of trying to find a way to go that avoids worst case scenarios. So we’re more in agreement on that point than you realize.
All the King’s horses eh?
I can only say, I’m not willing to tell the king to pull his men back yet because I don’t see any good outcome as a result of them doing so. I think 4 years is quite too short a time to propose that we would have ’fixed’ something like this.

Another analogy - we’ve stuck our foot into the boot.
Talking about whether or not we SHOULD have done that, or what reasons should have prompted us to do it, or whether or not our policies at first were wrong (QED) is out there with the phrase "it might have been".

I don’t see how a withdrawal is going to make anything better at this time, except for certain politicians here in the U.S., Jack Murtha is one of them.
I think it’s safe to say the Dems are going to take a different foreign policy approach than the Reps have, just as, to deliberately use a nasty historical precedent, they would have done in 1864 had they managed to win the White House. Blood, and treasure, spent to free people, which would have been wasted.

Following through with the current plan, we can’t perhaps predict the long term outcome.
Following the withdrawal plan through in the short term, oh yeah, we can pretty well predict what’s going to happen, and the future view on that path doesn’t logically predict a good outcome for many years to come. There is no way we can convince the world that the militants in the region will not have WON after we’ve done that. You think they have recruits now? heh, wait till they can trumpet their victory over the Great Satan.
Withdrawal now almost ensures our re-involvement in the region, possibly in a much larger capacity.

We’ve invested heavily in putting our forces over there, I’m not ready to kiss that investment goodbye so that later on we can invest twice as much again just to get back to where we already are.
I’ll stick with the unpredictable approach for the moment.


 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Looker, I think a withdrawal, to be effective, will take two years. The surge will continue into April. We have that amount of time to set up as peaceful a withdrawal as possible. I still lean towards a kind of partition, which would allow US troops to be stationed in Kurdistan (not something I’d normally favor, but given the reality of what’s happened since 2003, it’s a pragmatic compromise between my non-interventionist principles and the reality of our moral duty given the mistakes made). I do not believe we freed a people or see any comparison to the civil war at all, however. I also reject the President’s comparison with Vietnam and Cambodia (I discuss that in my blog today). I think there is good reason not to expect chaos and collapse once we leave, especially if we leave in an orderly manner and, I agree, not too quickly.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Boris Erb writes:
Looker, I think a withdrawal, to be effective, will take two years.
"...a withdrawal, to be effective..."

That’s a pretty amusing concept, Boris. My guess is that you’re weaseling around so that when we achieve a greater measure of success and some of our troops come home you’ll find a way to say that your policy preferences have finally been achieved.

You’ll do that just before jetting off to Baghdad to stay downtown in some luxury hotel and tour the city while attending a conference on "Why Iraq Failed."
I also reject the President’s comparison with Vietnam
Why, because his real comparison trumped the ahistorical one you used for years?

You are a granite head, Boris.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
I do not believe we freed a people or see any comparison to the civil war at all, however.
Check out the press of the time, loss, followed by loss, followed by loss, etc, etc, etc for the Army of the Pathetic Potomac was making people question any continuation of the war.
"Richmond is a hard road to travel".

My point was not to indicate we were freeing people, or to say it’s just like the American Civil War (War between the States, War of Northern Aggression).
My point was, now, like then, the Democrats were willing to cease fighting and pull back (and in the ACW - sue for peace).
If there was ever a way to ensure the time, money, and lives we’ve expended in the current effort were wasted, it’s to follow the Pelosi, Reid, Murtha demands for speedy withdrawal.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Except, of course, the civil war was 150 years ago and involved us on our territory. Today we’re involved in a big government social engineering experiment that doesn’t serve the national interest. And the issue of "assuring lives have not been lost in vain" is irrelevant; all that matters is doing the right thing in terms of the current national interest, and trying to minimize turmoil in Iraq when we leave.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
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