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Another example of "narrative dissonance"
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Remember what we touched on yesterday? Another perfect example today from a The New York Times editorial today:
The news out of Iraq just keeps getting worse. Now Turkey is threatening to send troops across the border to wipe out Kurdish rebel bases, after guerrillas killed at least a dozen Turkish soldiers. This latest crisis should have come as no surprise. But it is one more widely predicted problem the Bush administration failed to plan for before its misguided invasion — and one more problem it urgently needs to deal with as part of a swift and orderly exit from Iraq.
The news out of Iraq "just keeps getting worse?"

Reuters:
Violence in Iraq has dropped by 70 percent since the end of June, when U.S. forces completed their build-up of 30,000 extra troops to stabilize the war-torn country, the Interior Ministry said on Monday.

[...]

Interior Ministry spokesman Major-General Abdul-Karim Khalaf told reporters that there had been a 70 percent decrease in violence countrywide in the three months from July to September over the previous quarter.
Hell, the Marines are complaining there's no one left to fight and they want to go to Afghanistan. Yup, the news just keeps getting worse I tell you.

Yes, there are tensions on the border area with Turkey. The good news is we're ostensibly dealing with an ally and a government with which we have some history and some leverage. The Kurdish rebels aren't helping the situation and there may be some cross-border incursions by the Turks to punish the Kurds after they killed 12 Turkish soldiers, but to consider it as a catastrophic event is simply foolish.

And the solution from the NYT? The usual round peg in a square hole - a "swift and orderly exit" from Iraq. Yeah, that'll solve the problem. It seems with every bump in the road, that's their solution.

Oh, and of course, the NYT never mentions the fact that all of this might have been a bit easier on the diplomatic front if the House Democrats hadn't suddenly decided their highest priority was to attempt to pass a non-binding resolution to condemn "Armenian genocide", an act that took place under the Ottoman Empire about 100 years ago, but which they knew would poison relations with Turkey if passed. And of course that has nothing to do with administration planning, does it?

Meanwhile, The Washington Post provides a more rational and less hysterical view of the situation.
 
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Yesterday I mentioned that this hard push on the envelope of self-parody by the New York Times editorial page was due to the arrival a while back of the infantile Andrew Rosenthal as its editor. (His predecessor Gail Collins was merely a dreary puritanical aparatchik, who was born out of gas. With Rosenthal you get someone much more well disposed to throwing his feces around.)

But I was remiss yesterday in failing to mention that Rosenthal is of course only trying to please his boss, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher, about whom it could be said that he lowers the average IQ in a room so rapidly that a stiff breeze kicks up.

Sulzberger is a sort of naive well-intentioned postmodernist deep thinker who gets his feedback from, well, reading the New York Times.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Ah, McQ, when violence spikes, you find excuses why it’s not so bad, when violence goes down you try to somehow claim that this undoes all the harm produced by the Iraq fiasco, and think things are going to get better. What will you do when violence spikes again, or when the Iranian backed Shi’ite militias decide to stop sitting on their hands and wait for the Americans to do some of their dirty work? Face it, no matter how much you try to put lipstick on this pig, it’s still a pig, and there are a lot of us are going to make darn sure it doesn’t get repackaged as having been a worthwhile cause.

That said, due to the ethnic cleansing that has taken place, I still think partition is the best solution at this point. And then we need to get out, and learn the lesson that policy through killing and destruction is more costly than any benefits we get from it, and is at base unethical. Iraq has taught us a critical lesson about the inability to effectively project military power in a way to shape political outcomes, and about the dangerous unintended consequences of aggressive military force as an instrument of policy. And, of course, it ain’t anywhere close to over yet.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
PS - Monday 111 Iraqis killed, US airstrikes increase dramatically, with numerous Iraqi civilians killed by US airstrikes. This will not win any hearts and minds, and certainly busts the narrative that somehow things are going well in Iraq.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Ask Punch! Get answers to your tough questions from the owner and publisher of the New York Times

Q. Hey, Punch, we’re having a spot of trouble with Turkey this week. How do you think we should handle it?

Punch: We should withdraw from Iraq, of course. Our presence there only exacerbates regional tensions. The news out of Iraq just keeps getting worse.

Q. Punch, we seem to really be disliked in Europe. I traveled there this summer, and experienced a lot of anti-Americanism. What can we do about that?

Punch: The first step is to withdraw from Iraq. That will soothe the righteous fury of our former European friends, who were completely correct to condemn us for going into Iraq in the first place. Oh, and electing a Democratic president would help.

Q. The sub-prime mortgage crisis looks like it might gather some steam next year, and dampen our economy. What’s the solution?

Punch: First, withdraw from Iraq. That will free up funds that will enable us to balance the budget and allocate federal funds to those who are losing their 4000 sqft homes through no fault of their own, especially the women and children.

Q. I’m been feeling rather low lately. I just don’t seem to have much energy. What do you recommend?

Punch: If we withdrew from Iraq, I’m sure you would start feeling better immediately. Our presence there is probably causing you to suffer mild depression.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Reuters reports -
Violence in Iraq has dropped by 70 percent since the end of June
The NYT reports -
The news out of Iraq just keeps getting worse.
McQ states -
Hell, the Marines are complaining there’s no one left to fight and they want to go to Afghanistan. Yup, the news just keeps getting worse I tell you.
Erb responds -
Ah, McQ, when violence spikes, you find excuses why it’s not so bad, when violence goes down you try to somehow claim that this undoes all the harm produced by the Iraq fiasco
Scott - the whole point of the last few posts is that no matter what is happening in Iraq (and sometimes being reported) you and you comrades will bang the drum that all is bad. Get it?
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
(Copied from previous Iraq thread)

No. No quagmire at all. The Kurds in Iraq are attacking Turkish and Iranian forces in their own countries. Turkey is on the verge of invading Kurdistan/Iraq. Now "Iraq" may actually turn against its own province to support Turkey. MEanwhile, we are arming to the teeth Sunni tirbesmen who were killing Americans until last week. We supoort everyone and no one in Iraq. We are throwing money and munitions at anyone who claims to be against AQ, even though AQ is not and never was the major problem in Iraq. (Not to mention it didn’t even exist until we got there.)

Poland is about to pull out of Irag. Britain is nearly gone. Iran continues its march toward nuclear weapons. Pakistan is on the verge of imploding. China and Russsia laugh in our faces. The U.S. has pulled the string and de-stabilized the entire region. At a staggering cost in money, materiel, and lives, not to mention international stature and prestige. And because our credibilty is in tattters, we couldn’t round up a coalition that would fit in a phone booth even if the word were afire. No, no quagmire. All according to plan. Good work.

It must be wonderful there in Bush Derangment Land where the GWoT™ is going perfectly.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
PS - Monday 111 Iraqis killed, US airstrikes increase dramatically, with numerous Iraqi civilians killed by US airstrikes.
Really? Well, the anti-war folks at Iraq Coalition Casualties still have this month running below last month, which itself was a drop of about half from the month before and the lowest number in a year and a half.

Oh, and the Internet has this thing called the hyperlink, so if you want to assert something such as the highlighted phrase above, it says a lot about your seriousness if you can link to a report that verifies it. I did a quick Google search and did not find any corroboration. This is the only thing I could find that seemed to match your description, and if you’re relying on reports such as this one, then I presume you live in the never-never land where we have magic weapons that can kill terrorists but are incapable of killing civilians. (Of course, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt here and presume that the other articles describing such mass civilian killing just have not been indexed by Google yet. But I’d still like to see that cite...)

You’re sounding increasingly desperate in rationalizing your position on this, Scott. Can you handle the pressure? What if violence continues to drop? Will you have to rely on random suicide bombings of eight or ten people to sustain you?
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
David writes:
(Copied from previous Iraq thread)
It’s sing-song clatter wasn’t diminished in the copying process.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Boris Erb snivels:
try to put lipstick on this pig, it’s still a pig, and there are a lot of us are going to make darn sure it doesn’t get repackaged as having been a worthwhile cause.
It was more than a worthwhile cause, Boris. It was and remains an essential cause.

In fact, as poor a job as the United Nations does, it was founded for the express purpose of dealing with regimes like Saddam Hussein’s, regimes that corrode the possibility of peace and stability. There are a few governments as thoroughly horrific as Hussein’s left in the world, but probably none that are worse. (You should try reading the UN Security Council resolutions about Iraq some day, Boris.)

We’ve accomplished great things in Iraq. And unless slithering eels like you have you’re way, we’ll see it through to its only rational conclusion, which is a reasonably modern civil society not based on wanton cruelty. And we’ll be prepared to do it again, if and when it becomes necessary.

None of that guarantees a sane world, but the sanity is in the trying. (And bravo and God bless to our troops, who put their lives on the line while creeps like you snivel about the cause.)

And a note about our strategic interests in Iraq: very high, very great, very broad. Note those are strategic interests, not imperial interests.

Your devotion to defeat in Iraq, to the detriment of the United States (always your first cause), to the detriment of Iraq and Iraqis (about whom you could care less), to the detriment of the Middle East, and to the detriment of the world, really brings us back to the question I addressed yesterday about the depth of your dishonest and the tricky nature of your stupidity. But let there be no mistake that both are guided by a narcissistic hatred of the United States.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Hollis asks Boris Erb:
Will you have to rely on random suicide bombings of eight or ten people to sustain you?
Sustain him? That’s always been his bread and butter. Boris loves a good car bombing because every car bombing makes him feel like he’s right, and there’s nothing — nothing — more important in the world than that to Boris.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Erb and David.

A year and a half ago you and your ilk were pointing to the death figures on a nightly basis as your reason for us to leave Iraq, saying that our (then) current ’Whach-a-terrorist’ strategy wasn’t working and wasn’t curbing the death, which you all cited as the PRIMARY problem in Iraq.

Today we see the deaths in Iraq decline so steeply that they make Philidelphia look like a warzone. Are you then going to demand that the US government withdraw from Philidelphia, who has more deaths per capita than Iraq as a whole?

Don’t be ridiculous. The fact is neither of you, nor your ideological allies of the Chaimberlainian Left, ever imagined we would be having such amazing military success at present time. The fact that you are now falling back on ’what happens when’ arguments only show you have NOTHING substantive to show for it, considering there’s nothing even in history you can pull up to support your hypotheticals. And THAT’S the point of this entire thread. Until Iraq has every single human being flying kites and petting bunny rabbits, and carebears parade the streets handing out free balloons to anyone who will take one, no one on your side of the aisle will EVER admit to any positive news coming out of Iraq, which is why you are all intellectually dishonest and (in the case of Erb) a disgrace to academia.

So much for ’facts’.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Wait a minute Erb....suddenly something happens and you’re BACK to touting the violence?

Just yesterday, things were quiet enough that you had to resort to calling Iraq a "policy failure"

Oh me, oh my.

How funny you are!
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
We all should thank David for providing us with so many straw men. With Halloween just around the corner, I think I’ll use one for a lawn ornament.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
A year and a half ago you and your ilk were pointing to the death figures on a nightly basis as your reason for us to leave Iraq, saying that our (then) current ’Whach-a-terrorist’ strategy wasn’t working and wasn’t curbing the death, which you all cited as the PRIMARY problem in Iraq.
I noticed that no one contested my summary of world affairs. The problem with Iraq is and has always been that there our invasion and occupation are causing myriad problems in Iraq itself and around the world. BushCo can move the goalposts all it wants, but all the propaganda in the world won’t help a bit. The entire region is destabilized and we have compromised our ability to shape events there and throughout the world. A catastrophe lurks behind every corner and there is no end in sight. All thanks to George Bush and the sycophants who support him. Congratulations. You must be very proud.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Right. ’Destabalized’ as opposed to what? When, exactly,was the Middle East ’stable’?

Your entire premise only works if you ignore the fact that the Middle East has naver been stable, at least not since one empire ruled almost all of it, and that was over a century ago. Now, unless I’m sorely mistakent, Bush and Co. weren’t around 100 years ago.

You might notice, however, that out of the myriad of problems you outlined, you also forgot to mention the underlying problems behind them:

Russia and China would laugh at us regardless, since anything bad for us is good for them.

Pakistan has been, for quite some time now, ready to implode, and it’s not our fault. But have you notice that their problem with India seems to have all but vanished? They were close to trading nukes before Iraq, yet I hear nothing about that.

As for Al Queda: where was it, exactly, that Zarqawi received treatment when he was wounded in Afghanistan in 01-02? Cos I really forget.

Finally, as for your nonsense on ’world reputation’: if you think the Europeans EVER liked us, then I have some snake oil I’d like to sell you. The Euro’s tolerate us because a. they can’t fight their own battles b. they OWE us and c. up until recently, they were terrified of the USSR and, for the East, still are. They’re pulling out because THEY CAN’T AFFORD SUPPORTING AN ACTIVE MILITARY thanks to their Socialist Systems. But you’ll notice how even Labor in the UK still support Iraq. Do you think the Torries would have pulled out, them being right wingers?

Don’t kid yourself. The only reason no one adressed your pathetic laundry list of nonsense is because they didn’t wish to waste their time. Lucky for you I’m bored.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Also, pop quiz:

Who were the first people to push regime change in Iraq and when was it done?

Answer: The Democratic Party in 1998 under President Bill Clinton.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Yes, the rest of the world is a "pathetic laundry list." Mission accomplished.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://

You’re sounding increasingly desperate in rationalizing your position on this, Scott. Can you handle the pressure?
Billy, are you in fantasy land? Iraq is a failure, and pretty much everyone knows it. You may be part of a blog that tries to create an alternative discourse, but I’ve been right on Iraq for over four years, the pro-war side has been wrong, and in fact I’ve explained why trying to turn a down turn in deaths (though with still a lot of violence) into some kind of claim this is success is absolutely absurd.

It’s also funny how this is cyclical. Violence goes down awhile, then the pro-war crowd tries to claim success. Violence goes up or some crisis erupts, then it’s all rationalization. This policy has been an utter and complete failure, especially on its own terms. There is no reason to think things are going to turn out good.

David’s summary is correct, I also noted that Shi’ite militias are very well armed and have not been at all weakened, though for now they are content to wait to see if the US will declare victory and leave. There has been no political reconciliation, there has been ethnic cleansing, and though the US is smartly talking to insurgents and not trying to defeat them but instead to co-opt them, it’s still dependent on the Shi’ites, and I think you know where that’ll lead.

I still think, as I said about five months ago, that partition has a chance to leave Iraq relatively stable. But even if that works, this war has been a complete disaster, and I believe it will mark the point where America’s unipolar moment ceased. It also shows the futility and immorality of using a war of aggression to try to shape political outcomes.

But shut your eyes. Forget the past. Foreget America’s weakened strategic and economic situation. Forget all the problems that remain...latch on to decreased deaths (though still significant and with massacres) and try to pretend that everything is all right. Do you see how insane that is?

Oh and links:
Here, here, here here

Reality destroys the attempt to create an alternate discourse where somehow Iraq is going well. It is still possible to leave Iraq relatively stable, especially now that we’re not trying to ’win’ so much as coopt the various groups and accept that the Iraq we thought we’d get (Democratic, modern, pro-western and pro-American) is now impossible. But even if we can pull that modest success off, this whole policy will still have been an utter and complete failure on pragmatic and moral grounds.

Oh, and Joel — we’ve always been liked by most Europeans, the change since 2003 in Europe and the world in their attitude about the US is palpable — perhaps you don’t travel much. And, given our reduced position in the world, our power is no longer respected by Russia, China or Europe. We have nukes, but as Iraq shows, our military isn’t all that useful.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
in short:

"Signs of success are not signs of success but rather alleviations in violence as the terrorists take a bit of a holliday, while signs of violent increases only further illustrate the failure in Iraq. This is all irrespective of what the Generals on the ground say, since they are goons in league with the Administration and incapable of putting two sentences together.

Also, any and all signs which may, in any way, be construed as ’success’, whether minimal or overwhelming are actualy let-ups in attacks by benevolent ’freedom fighters’ who are just waiting for us to leave so the fighting can stop.

Also, I am always right, everyone else is wrong, and the facts be damned. I’m the professor here."

The Gospel According to S. Erb

Thanks be to Hillary
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
PS - Monday 111 Iraqis killed, US airstrikes increase dramatically, with numerous Iraqi civilians killed by US airstrikes. This will not win any hearts and minds, and certainly busts the narrative that somehow things are going well in Iraq.
Oh and links:
Here, here, here here
Still waiting for the one hundred and eleven Iraqis killed link there sport.

The decimal system is fairly simple Scott.

Single digits indicate counts of things that number between 0 and 9 objects.
Double digits indicate counts of things that number between 0 and 99 objects.
Triple digits indicate counts of things that number between 0 and 999 objects.
etc.
(Eventually, you get to a Brazilian objects)
US airstrikes increase dramatically!!!!.....busts the narrative that somehow things are going well in Iraq!"
I think dramatic is what you’re being, 1 air strike, killing 11 people, 5 of whom were guys planting roadside bombs.

I gather we’re to gloss over that, um, mistake you made.
Pity you were called on it eh?

Yum, foot. See if you have room for the other one too.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Iraq is a failure, and pretty much everyone knows it.
Well thank you Pauline Kael, everyone in your DEPARTMENT knows it, but the people of Iraq seem to have trouble spotting the failure.

You know that whole deposed the dictator, installed a provisional ogvernemnt, wrote a constitution, held elections, produced a governing coalition and now seeing AQ falling apart, the Sunni’s joining the government, and violnece way down. Now in YOUR definition this is failure....boy I am glad I don’t ahve to submit work to YOU for grading/evaluation! You go on telling yourself and all your fellow professors that this is failure, it makes the narrative nice, preserves your egos and ideologies, and makes the wine and cheese tasting go much more smoothly.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
We have nukes, but as Iraq shows, our military isn’t all that useful.

Really? Out military isn’t all that useful? Really?

Then we should get rid of the military and just keep the nukes? But I bet you want us to get rid of our nukes as well, huh?
 
Written By: Twizz
URL: http://
We have nukes, but as Iraq shows, our military isn’t all that useful.
1. But don’t you dare question their support of our
troops!

2. So, in line with your ideology, we should give up our nukes, too, and just be defensless (if, of course, we accept your ridiculous premise, which is false....and ridiculous)?
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Looker, click the fourth (last) link in the series of links I gave.

It’s interesting how people love to ridicule, but you don’t really counter anything I wrote. You call names and lots of other rather meaningless things, but when it comes to substance, there isn’t much at all.

I think we should have a defensive military force, with a nuclear deterrent. But as an offensive force to fight aggressive wars to try to control the system and spread our ideology, our military isn’t very useful, and Iraq is proving that. Of course, just as the Roman Empire’s histories claim all its wars were defensive, American would-be imperialists try to rationalize our aggression by defining it as defense or somehow "liberating" others, and rationalize the death and destruction caused by simply saying "Saddam was bad."

No, I see a lot of emotion here, but not much real engagement, ideas, or reasoned debate.

Also, I am always right, everyone else is wrong, and the facts be damned. I’m the professor here."
You’re wearing your insecurity on your sleeve, Joel. I’ve admitted many times when I’ve made mistakes. When I caught you in one, you danced around, dodged, weaved, and seemed to say that if you admitted a mistake then somehow I’d use that against you in ghastly ways. You’re the one who seems afraid of not being seen as perfect. That’s why you react the way you do.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
We have nukes, but as Iraq shows, our military isn’t all that useful.
Sure unless you want to depose a dictator, bring peace to a turbulent nation, defeat terrorists, and disarm militias....
Sure a military, ALONE, can not do those things, but without them "World Opinion" and/or the Peace Corps is utterly pointless. (You might ask the monks and citizens of Burma about whether they’d rather have more world opinion or if they’d rather have the 504th PIR in the streets of Rangoon.) Why is this so hard to grasp in Maine, Dr. Erb?(Editorial note: I understand why, because it’s acknowledgement would produce cognitive dissonances and it is better to easier the world view than update it.)
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Of course, just as the Roman Empire’s histories claim all its wars were defensive, American would-be imperialists try to rationalize our aggression by defining it as defense or somehow "liberating" others, and rationalize the death and destruction caused by simply saying "Saddam was bad."
Who are these "American would be-imperialists?" And since you use liberting in quotes, am I to understand you in believing that Iraq was better off under Saddam?
 
Written By: Twizz
URL: http://
PS - Monday 111 Iraqis killed
You’re linking without comprehending.

The deaths listed in your antiwar.com link are not all on the same day, and they include "militants" if you bother to look at the links within the article.

But this is par for the course when it comes to your use of sources.

And speaking of sources and admitting mistakes, I’m still waiting for you to provide us with a Senate Rule that allows an end to debate with fewer than 60 senators. After all, it is a Senate Rule that no legislation can get out of the Senate without an end to debate.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
How is that our US power abroad hasn’t been rendered impotent by our misadventure in Iraq?

Think about it: a terrorist organization - based in Iraq - is waging a guerilla war against one of our NATO allies and what are we doing? Taking out the terrorists? Bombing them back to the stone age?

No. We are begging and pleading with our NATO ally to simply play nice, take it, and do nothing.

McQ calls this good news.
The good news is we’re ostensibly dealing with an ally and a government with which we have some history and some leverage.
So it’s good news that we have to beg and plead with our NATO ally not to take out a terrorist organization? Wow. Last time I looked we were on the good side in the GWOT. Would hate to see what bad news is.

One of the rationales for going to war in Iraq was that Saddam was allowing terrorists to operate out of Iraq in the war against the West. So now that we are in charge of Iraq what are we doing? Allowing terrorists to operate out of Iraq in a war against the West. Oh, and the war is being waged against a secular Muslim ally. A democratic, secular, Muslim ally.

And that’s the good news.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
I question the timing
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Boris Erb tries this lie:
Reality destroys the attempt to create an alternate discourse where somehow Iraq is going well.
Just because you demand that things in Iraq go badly, Boris, does not mean that reality will accomodate you. But God knows the car bombers were once able to deliver those bombings you needed to float your rhetoric.

I’m sure that they appreciated all the loyalty you showed them, if any of them are still alive.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
One of the rationales for going to war in Iraq was that Saddam was allowing terrorists to operate out of Iraq in the war against the West. So now that we are in charge of Iraq what are we doing? Allowing terrorists to operate out of Iraq in a war against the West. Oh, and the war is being waged against a secular Muslim ally. A democratic, secular, Muslim ally.

And that’s the good news.
A democratic secular ally that has pretty much devastated it’s Kurdish areas and population, in order to defeat Kurdish nationalism and which now looks askance at free, rich Kurds across its border. The PKK is a broken reed and has been for some time. The PKK is merely the EXCUSE the Turks need to justify their intervention in and subjugation of the Kurds next door, lest the Kurds next door provide an example for the Kurds, I mean the Kurdish Speaking Turks, in Turkey. You do know that at the end of the Third Gulf War the US expelled several Turkish SOF operatives fomenting "Turkmen Nationalism" in Kurdistan, as a causus belli to intervene in Kurdistan, ostensibly to protect fellow Turks from Kurdish depredations, but mostly to ensure that Turkey got some oil and that the Kurd’s experiment in autonomy and growth didn’t have adverse consequences for them in Turkey.

As Tubb’s said in Miami Vice, "I don’t see no victims here, just volunteers."
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
How is that our US power abroad hasn’t been rendered impotent by our misadventure in Iraq?
Because it showed that we can put however many troops and however much equipment we wish anywhere we might want to with ease.

Did we send the right numbers? No.

Could we have placed more at the start? Yes.

Any country that failed to see that wasn’t paying close enough attention.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
JWG writes of Boris Erb:
But this is par for the course when it comes to your use of sources.
Boris is notorious for never having two things: 1. serious logical arguments, and 2. nothing to back up his unserious and poor arguments.

What you get from Boris is the repetition of platitudes, a dismissive hand wave, and citations of "they" from the famous "they say" source, sometimes presented as "most scholars" or "most scientists" or "most people working in the field."

The links he offered in this thread are about as deep as his attempts to make sense ever go. Which is to say, not even a scratch on the surface.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Headline....
111 Iraqis were killed and 75 were wounded during attacks that included a raid by Iraqi National Accord members.
Professor Erb’s ’context’
PS - Monday 111 Iraqis killed, US airstrikes increase dramatically, with numerous Iraqi civilians killed by US airstrikes. This will not win any hearts and minds, and certainly busts the narrative that somehow things are going well in Iraq.
5 civilians killed by US airstrikes (the ones that dramatically increased, ONE...dramatic increase from....what, none?)
F-I-V-E civilians.

Your context sucks, but you knew that, I suspect what you did was deliberate.
You don’t hesitate to type 400 to 1000 word posts, but suddenly I’m betting you’re going to claim brevity is your middle name.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
You’re linking without comprehending.
Thanks, JWG. I was going to say something similar about that "antiwar.com" article. And that’s just a great, objective site to get your data from in the first place, isn’t it?

And note that the "bombing civilians" thing springs pretty much from one incident in which either 11 or 13 people were killed, depending on which article you check, and some undetermined number of them were terrorists planting a roadside bomb. But for Scott, it’s a holocaust! The whole thing’s a failure, I tell you! Why can’t you people face reality!
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Heh my bad.

S-I-X civilians.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
looker says to Boris Erb:
Your context sucks, but you knew that, I suspect what you did was deliberate.
Well, "deliberate" might be too strong a word, but not because the "couldn’t care less" motive wasn’t there. Just that "deliberate" would suggest that he made any effort at all. What he does isn’t as difficult as "deliberate;" it’s far easier than that.

Boris is a gigantism of laziness. His chatty typing rigorously excludes effort, let alone thinking, let alone clear thinking, let alone common sense. This is the enveloping narcissism of a self sated with wishes. In other words, it’s modern liberalism fallen into the reflection it wants to see of itself.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Boris Erb pretends he’s in his classroom bullying a freshman:
No, I see a lot of emotion here, but not much real engagement, ideas, or reasoned debate.
Boris, how does someone as simultaneously out of gas and perpetually in recourse to high dudgeon get the moxie to type a sentence like that?
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
A democratic secular ally that has pretty much devastated it’s Kurdish areas and population, in order to defeat Kurdish nationalism and which now looks askance at free, rich Kurds across its border
And the price of tea in China is what?

The PKK is a terrorist organization under US law. Turkey is a NATO ally under US law. Since the Bush administration either cannot or will not eradicate or even control the former, it is begging the latter not to defend itself.
The PKK is merely the EXCUSE the Turks need to justify their intervention in and subjugation of the Kurds next door, lest the Kurds next door provide an example for the Kurds, I mean the Kurdish Speaking Turks, in Turkey.
No, the PKK is a terrorist organization under United States law. The Bush administraiton knows where the PKK is. It knows the location of its bases. And yet it does nothing to kill the terrorists operating out of these bases. And so when secular Turkey, democratic Turkey, NATO ally Turkey attempts to defend itself from these terrorists, you call it subjugation.

Sad.

The Kurdish PKK is undermining our efforts to bring about a unified Iraq, and is attacking our NATO ally. Moreover, it is a terrorist organization. And it operates with impunity out of a part of Iraq that is considered the most successful with respect to our ostensible goals in Iraq.

This is the state of play in Iraq today. And yet, to listen to some who post here, we are making real "progress" in Iraq.

Insane.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Insane.
Nearly as insane as the powers involved working to deal with the problem using some time schedule established to satisfy you.

Sad.

Course we could take the Clinton approach, fling a couple of missles around at random and hope for the best. Do you suppose they have an aspirin factory?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
No, but I hear there’s a Chinese Embassy there.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Yes, because it is impossible that the Turks might have done something to cause the Kurds’ actions...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
9/11 presented George Bush with the greatest American foreign policy challenge since WWII. AQ and Islamofacism presented a genuine threat (and still do, unfortunately). But the AQ threat was never mortal. The Islamofacists cannot beat us. All they can hope for is that we beat ourselves. Which is exactly what Bush has been handing them ever since Afghanistan, both domestically and in foregn policy. With the Iraq invasion, Bush will go down in history as the worst president in American history. It’s as simple as that. As for Hillary, I have no use for her whatever. But I sure hope Bush hasn’t destroyed the planet before she gets sworn in.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Nearly as insane as the powers involved working to deal with the problem ....
"Dealing" with the problem? Ha ha. Good one. Bush is dealing with the problem by not dealing with it.

Again, I will say this slowly so you understand.

The ... PKK ... is ... a ... terrorist ... organization. It is operating out of Iraq. It has an estimated 3000 fighters. That’s right. 3000 armed terrorists. It has bases in Iraq. We are the military power occupying Iraq. We know where these terrorists are. We know where their bases are. We could destroy them. And yet we have not. Insiead, we are letting them attack our ally Turkey.

Bush is "dealing" with the problem by begging Turkey not to deal with the problem that he is not dealing with.

Dealing with the problem. Good one.
Yes, because it is impossible that the Turks might have done something to cause the Kurds’ actions...
So the Turks have brought this on themselves, huh? They deserve to be attacked by terrorists? I see.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
So the Turks have brought this on themselves, huh? They deserve to be attacked by terrorists? I see.
I really fail to see how, exactly, the PKK is a terrorist group.

And is it really so impossible for you to imagine that perhaps the oh so tollerant Turks might have done something to those eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeevil Kurds?

Not chance they’ve crossed the boarder before, and maybe the Kurds are fighting back?

I mean, your kind seem convicned we caused 9-11... Can’t you then extend that concept to conclude that the Turks caused this?

I mean, it’s only fair...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
No, MK is privy to the JCS meetings, White House briefings, interactions between the Turkish government and ours, and any and all liaisons going on with any Kurds of various flavors in various places.

See, he has an awesome intel network so he knows what’s going on everywhere, and knows no one is doing anything about this, and intends to do nothing about this.

He knows.

Just think how much fun he’d have with a couple of air strikes on Kurdish camps that slaughtered lots and lots of non-combatants.
All those Kurds, they’re terrorists, well, up until we kill them or we let the Turks kill them.
Then, like the werewolves in the movies, they’ll transform back into their pre-terrorist infected selves.
and they’ll be women and children again.
Won’t that be fun. Evil Bush, Evil Turks, Evil conservatives, bad bad bad.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
But the AQ threat was never mortal. The Islamofacists cannot beat us
Rubbish.

Absolute rubbish. There’s more to this than AQ being able to plant their flag in our capital...
With the Iraq invasion, Bush will go down in history as the worst president in American history
Laying it on a bit thick, no?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Iraq is a failure,
Zimbabwe is a failure. Iraq is a success that is far from ideal.
This policy has been an utter and complete failure, especially on its own terms.
I believe that is what is written on Saddam’s tombstone.
There is no reason to think things are going to turn out good.
No reason? Not a one? Can you define for us what you think "turn out good" means?
There has been no political reconciliation,
You need a qualifier, perhaps no "major" or "nationwide" reconciliation has taken place but the political struggles in Iraq don’t look that much worse than Bush vs. Congress.
and though the US is smartly talking to insurgents and not trying to defeat them but instead to co-opt them, it’s still dependent on the Shi’ites, and I think you know where that’ll lead.
Actually I don’t. Wherever will it lead?
I still think, as I said about five months ago, that partition has a chance to leave Iraq relatively stable.
Even if the Iraqis themselves don’t want it or think it is necessary?
But even if that works, this war has been a complete disaster,
If Iraq is a "complete disaster" can you tell us what you think Vietnam, Korea, WWII and the US Civil War were? Completer disasters? Megacomplete disasters? Supermega completest disasters?
Our current situation in Iraq is closer to Grenada than it is to any of the four aforementioned wars.
and I believe it will mark the point where America’s unipolar moment ceased. It also shows the futility and immorality of using a war of aggression to try to shape political outcomes.
The US was never unipolar. Removing Saddam from power was neither futile nor immoral. It was not a war of aggression. And wars have a long history of achieving desired politcal outcomes.
Foreget America’s weakened strategic and economic situation.
America’s strategic position was not stronger with Saddam in control of Iraq. And there are at least a dozen things wrong with our economic situation that would not be fixed if we had a trilion dollars back from Iraq.
Forget all the problems that remain...latch on to decreased deaths (though still significant and with massacres) and try to pretend that everything is all right.
Give me one quote from anyone of even minor importance that has ever said "everything is all right" in Iraq.
It is still possible to leave Iraq relatively stable, especially now that we’re not trying to ’win’ so much as coopt the various groups and accept that the Iraq we thought we’d get (Democratic, modern, pro-western and pro-American) is now impossible.
Which of those four do you think doesn’t describe Iraq now? And compared to who, the French? Venezuela?
But even if we can pull that modest success off, this whole policy will still have been an utter and complete failure on pragmatic and moral grounds.
You and a million of your pals can say it a million times but it’ll still just be an opinion based on subjective assumptions and personal values.
 
Written By: abw
URL: http://abw.mee.nu
But the AQ threat was never mortal. The Islamofacists cannot beat us
Rubbish. Absolute rubbish. There’s more to this than AQ being able to plant their flag in our capital...
Really? You honestly believe that Islamofacism can prevail over Democracy? You truly believe that a bunch of lunatic, stone-age, murdererous religious freaks can triumph over Western Democracy (not to mention the rest of the world)? I don’t think so. All AQ can do is prod, provoke and take advantage of overreactions. George Bush: the American gift to Islamofacism.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Erb puked:
Reality destroys the attempt to create an alternate discourse where somehow Iraq is going well.
But I thought that reality is a chimera, and that it only is what we want it to be. That’s what the left has been preaching for nearly sixty years. Odd that now you speak a completely different tune, Erb. In case you’ve missed it, there’s a name for that affliction: it’s called schizophrenia.

 
Written By: Sharpshooter
URL: http://
When Sadr himself calls people who attack US troops traitors then the left’s argument has come completely unglued. Humpty Dumpty never had it this bad.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
I really fail to see how, exactly, the PKK is a terrorist group.
The United States Department of State says that it is.

Arguing with wingers is hard work, if only because they refuse to acknowledge the most basic of facts.
See, he has an awesome intel network so he knows what’s going on everywhere, and knows no one is doing anything about this, and intends to do nothing about this.

He knows.
Waiting for that link to the article describing the latest US offensive against the PKK.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
But I thought that reality is a chimera, and that it only is what we want it to be.
That is apparently what the right wing believes. What you’re describing there is right wing fascism, a belief that power determines truth and reality.

And in reality David makes the best point: Al qaeda and the fascists who are trying to use Islam to promote their extremism are weak, a minority in their own culture, and are not a real threat to the US. Trying to portray them as a threat to fight some kind of "long war" or promote a policy of aggression is dishonest. The biggest threat to us comes from those who would want to subvert our principles and support needless offensive wars.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The United States Department of State says that it is.
And they would probably say that you’re a person deserving respect.

Fool me once, shame on me...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Al qaeda and the fascists who are trying to use Islam t/o promote their extremism are weak, a minority in their own culture, and are not a real threat to the US.
Not a real threat? I would think an organization that can pull of 9/11 is a real threat.
The biggest threat to us comes from those who would want to subvert our principles and support needless offensive wars.
And I wonder who that would be?

By the way, who again are the "would-be American imperialists’?
 
Written By: Twizz
URL: http://
The biggest threat to us comes from those who would want to subvert our principles...
Yes, Scott, and the following examples come to mind:

1. Hillary Clinton and assorted leftists and Democrats who insist that government control healthcare, subverting the idea that American citizens can take care of themselves and don’t need to be treated like children.

2. The entire Democratic Party and a huge slice of the GOP, who believe in doling out government favors to the highest bidder of campaign funds, subverting the principle of equality before the law.

3. Leftist academia, who are subverting the American principle of free speech by instituting "hate speech" codes that conveniently place competing ideas into a "hate" category so those ideas don’t get discussed on the merits, and the speakers who would espouse competing ideas can be banned from campus or pressured into not appearing.

4. Politicians all over the country in local governments who believe that all guns are evil and ban possession and use as far as they can get away with, subverting the prinicple of the right to keep and bear arms.

5. The Department of Education, Social Security, Medicare, and a plethora of other programs that subvert the principle of the Tenth Amendment, which for those who have forgotten due to everyone ignoring it, states:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved for the States respectively, or to the people.
Given that the US has been kinder to defeated enemies than any country in the history of the world, and is in the process of trying to help Iraq rebuild right now, I’m afraid I have to take all the above much more seriously as subversion of principles than the Iraq war and subsequent occupation.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
What you’re describing there is right wing fascism, a belief that power determines truth and reality.
So the winners don’t write the history books, say you?

Bloody amazing you’re still teaching. Then again, you are in the People’s Republic of Maine...

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Waiting for that link to the article describing the latest US offensive against the PKK.
Moving the goal posts? Now it has to be an offensive to satisfy you?
http://www.qando.net/
A Little Tri-lateral cooperation in the offing with Turkey?
Posted by: mcq
Hmmm, cruise missiles, air strikes, discussions about taking the PKK to task if it looks like the Turks will cross the border to do it themselves.

Ask and you shall receive MK, this is what you were after, right?
Plenty of chance for civilian casualties amongst the supporters of the PKK because Evil Bush takes action.
Right up your little wishy alley.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Bithead, fascists believe that truth is determined by power and will. Most of the rest of us don’t have that kind of relativistic power = truth belief. Given your response (which is a bit opaque), it sounds like you believe power = truth because "the winners write the history books." Of course, historians write history books, and often skewer the winners and show that the story the winners told was false. They do that because they think that something other than power and victory determines truth. Do you really think truth is determined by power and will? That might explain your posting style...

Billy H., I agree that most of what you list are bad or questionable ideas, but only number 3 (disallowing free speech on academic campuses) seems to be at true ’subversion of principle.’ Luckily, I’ve never been anywhere where I’ve experienced that (and I would fight against it if it arose). I guess Number 2 would qualify as well. It would be nice to see the tenth amendment interpreted in a manner that effectively empowered states at the price of the central government, but by principles I’m thinking more of ethical values than how we think power should be divided between state and central government (though again, I’m in favor of decentralization).
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Bithead, fascists believe that truth is determined by power and will
That’s the problem with fascists that you’ve apparently never figured out, Erb... the biggest lies in the world are invariably based on a small grain of truth. The one you point out, was theirs. Have you not yet figured out that it is that people who win the wars that get to determine which morality will prevail?

it sounds like you believe power = truth because "the winners write the history books.
It certainly is difficult to argue that point from an objective standpoint. Have you noticed , however, that an objective standpoint very rarely exists outside the college classroom?

Wow. Reality, what a concept!
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
That’s the problem with fascists that you’ve apparently never figured out, Erb... the biggest lies in the world are invariably based on a small grain of truth. The one you point out, was theirs. Have you not yet figured out that it is that people who win the wars that get to determine which morality will prevail?
A serious question, Bithead: Are you drunk when you post stuff like this? I mean, it’s bizarre. In any event, you can’t deny my definition of fascism, and you seem to be arguing that whoever wins wars determines truth. A strange world you inhabit, Mr. Bithead.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
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