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Changing his mind
Posted by: Dale Franks on Saturday, December 08, 2007

General John Batiste has been an outspoken opponent of our Iraq strategy for the last few years. It's made him a darling of the left. Now, it appears that he's changed his mind. CQ has the detals.
 
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Freakin’ phenomenal.

So undeniable even Batiste can’t deny it any longer huh?

Who is next, Sanchez?

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
This is key:
Third, the counterinsurgency campaign led by Gen. David Petraeus is the correct approach in Iraq. It is showing promise of success and, if continued, will provide the Iraqi government the opportunities it desperately needs to stabilize its country. Ultimately, however, these military gains must be cemented with regional and global diplomacy, political reconciliation, and economic recovery — tools yet sufficiently utilized. Today’s tactical gains in Iraq — while a necessary pre-condition for political reconciliation — will crumble without a deliberate and comprehensive strategy.
The invasion of Iraq was clearly a failure in terms of the goals, expectations and costs. Yet we are there, and ultimately we have to recover in a way that will not lead to immense long term consequences — and we have to learn the lesson that we are not as strong as we sometimes think, and that invading another country is far more complex than what planners can imagine. The Iraq war must remind us that military power is risky to use, and interventionism can backfire.

Now that are there, however: 1) regional and global diplomacy is definitely central. I think that’s happening, I’ve been praising the Bush administration myself for their changes in tactics and goals (both here and on my own blog), and recent news about Iran is hopeful that perhaps there are developments there; 2) political reconciliation is the likely deal breaker here. I’ve been arguing that the safest route is to divide Iraq into three separate countries, keep US troops in Kurdistan, and allow the Iranians and Saudis to help keep the rest stable (Iran with its heavy influence over the Shi’ite section, and the Saudis in the Sunni section). If that doesn’t happen, I’m skeptical that political reconciliation will be real. At best, a quasi-authoritarian state where top Sunnis and Shi’ites share the oil spoils can do it, I doubt it can achieve a stable democracy; 3) economic recovery is helped by high oil prices, which probably will never come down again. But to really get to the people the corruption problem has to be solved, and we did a horrid job dealing with that (we even fed the flames) after the fall of Saddam.

So I see progress on 1, but not much hope on 2 and 3 at this point. But perhaps global diplomacy will achieve multilateral pressure on the domestic side and help out there too.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
You know I believe I can see pigs flying in the distance. It is getting to be an epidemic. Murtha and now Batiste! This kind of puts Sanchez’s words in a whole new perspective, doesn’t it Erb?.

Small Steps!
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
invading another country is far more complex than what planners can imagine.
Yeah, no one has any experience doing an invasion of another country.
It’s all new since you were born Scott, never happened prior to that.
Too difficult to handle for anyone so no one ever tried it before evil W.

By the way, we invaded Iraq just fine, we didn’t handle the reconstruction very well this time. We did a more than adequate job in Japan however, so why don’t you drop the ’too difficult’ thing, okay?

Everything takes time, except in the Liberal-left universe where things aren’t interested in participating in need to be wrapped up before din-din, but grand social(ist) experiments can run on for as many decades as it takes and nothing is ever declared a failure, it’s just something that ’needs tuning’.

And good to see you’re off the ’decline’ & utter failure Ira thing and on to the possibility that there may be success at some point in the future (hopefully not the far future).

You’re almost as good at triangulation as Hillary.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Iraq was an utter fiasco, Looker, because the neo-con vision of using American power to spread democracy and alter the international system to fit our interests and ideology was an impossible fantasy, built on theory but devoid of a true understanding of the importance of political culture, and the way populations react to foreign invaders — the idea we’d be greeted as liberators was absurd on its face. The Shi’ites would be glad we got rid of Saddam, but would not want us telling them how to run what they consider their country. The Sunnis would of course see this as a threat, and the Kurds would use this to try to get independence.

Nothing can turn the invasion of Iraq into a success. However, by recognizing reality and rejecting the idiotic neo-conservative fantasy we can get out of there without Iraq descending into chaos. But mark my words — comment 7399 — Iraq will be remembered as the signal for the decline of American power and America’s position in the world. We’re going to have to get used to that — and all the blog bluster in the world won’t change the economic and political reality.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The invasion of Iraq was clearly a failure in terms of the goals, expectations and costs. Well, at least my expectations weren’t met. If we had been able to invade with no more casualties than an occasional stubbed toe, and the total cost had been no more than $29.95, and if the Iraqis had hailed us as heroes and immediately adopted the entire US Constitution with their first president being as statemanlike as George Washington, then I might have considered it a success. But because of Bush’s innumerable mistakes, we were not able to meet such reasonable standards. So it’s a failure.

Yet we are there, and ultimately we have to recover in a way that will not lead to immense long term consequences such as us thinking we might actually be justified in a long-term presence in the Middle East. And we have to learn the lesson that we are not as strong as we sometimes think, because the weaker we imagine ourselves to be, the more our people will listen to those eminently reasonably leftists such as myself and then we can perhaps begin a comprehensive program of self-effacement, in which we spend a few decades prostrating ourselves before the rest of the world and continuous apologizing for our myriad sins. We must learn that invading another country is far more complex than what planners can imagine, even though the last two invasions we’ve done have gone off much better than we wise leftists feared. The Iraq war must remind us that military power is risky to use, so therefore we should never, ever use it, and interventionism can backfire while non-interventionism is a perfect policy that could never fail in a million years.

Now that we are there, however: 1) regional and global diplomacy is definitely central. I think that’s happening, I’ve been praising the Bush administration myself for their changes in tactics and goals (both here and on my own blog), and recent news about Iran is hopeful that perhaps there are developments there. You may have thought that I would never praise Bush, but if he begins to see a glimmer of how wrong he was and how right we were about Iraq and the entire Middle East all along, then I’ll throw a crumb or two that way. Certainly that Iran intelligence estimate proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that Iran is not nearly as bad as you neo-con, veins-in-your-teeth Neanderthals have been saying it is, and the fact that the Europeans don’t agree with that estimate is just evidence of how far even the wisest of polities can occasionally go wrong enough to choose pro-Americans like Merkle and Sarkozy.

2) political reconciliation is the likely deal breaker here. And I’m going to keep saying that even if Iraq’s legislature starts looking so effective it puts the US Congress to shame, because it’s entirely reasonable to impose standards and timelines on them that even our own country can’t meet. I’ve been arguing that the safest route is to divide Iraq into three separate countries, keep US troops in Kurdistan, and allow the Iranians and Saudis to help keep the rest stable (Iran with its heavy influence over the Shi’ite section, and the Saudis in the Sunni section). That way, everything except Kurdistan would eventually blow up in our faces, and I would be able to come back and say "I told you so", and I would never have to face the counterfactual that we might have succeeded if we had given the Iraqis a chance to form a real country instead of a set of tribal autarchies. If that doesn’t happen, I’m skeptical that political reconciliation will be real because if it were real I’d really have to face the fact that I don’t have a clue what I’m talking about and all you people I’ve lecturing in such a condescending fashion are really smarter than I am. At best, a quasi-authoritarian state where top Sunnis and Shi’ites share the oil spoils can do it, I doubt it can achieve a stable democracy, because my definition of a stable democracy is beyond the ability of, say, France.

3) economic recovery is helped by high oil prices, which probably will never come down again. And if they do come down, it’s just some kind of conspiracy between Bush and his oil-industry cronies to deflect criticism from the enormous windfall profits they are making right now. But to really get to the people the corruption problem has to be solved, and we did a horrid job dealing with that (we even fed the flames) after the fall of Saddam. We should have just imprisoned everyone who even smelled like they might be corrupt, and implement policies such as de-Baathification, even though I actually believe that de-Baathification was a bad policy because it helped the Sunnis. And my position is not inconsistent in the least, and if anyone claims it is, I’ll be back with ten thousands words of meaningless drivel to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m right, and if you disagree with me again, I’ll accuse you of being emotional about it.

So I see progress on 1, but not much hope on 2 and 3 at this point. And that’s a pretty big concession to make about #1, but I can make it because I’ve set the bar so high, that the others can never be met, or at least I’ll never have to admit that they are. But perhaps global diplomacy will achieve multilateral pressure on the domestic side and help out there too. I’m just saying that to be polite, since I don’t really think there’s a snowball’s chance in Hades of the Bush adminstration actually listening to use wise leftists enough to fit into such multilateral diplomacy.
 
Written By: Ott Scerb
URL: http://cluelessprof.maine.edu
"But perhaps global diplomacy will achieve multilateral pressure on the domestic side and help out there too."

Seriously, I think you overestimate global diplomacy and multilateral pressure.

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Nothing can turn the invasion of Iraq into a success.
I expect we’ll be able to have this motto iced onto a crow flavored cake and send it to you in say, 5-7 years with a polite note -
Bon appetite.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Looker, my blog today, December 10th, explains why the current optimism on Iraq is an illusion — that things are going to get bad again. It’s public, and if in five to seven years I’m proven wrong, I’ll admit it.

But you need to promise the same — that if things get worse again, or stagnate into authoritarianism, violence and instability, you’ll admit that the war was a mistake, and won’t take the cheap way of finding excuses (it would have worked but they did this wrong or that wrong) to avoid admitting you were wrong.

I’m suspect you’ll do the latter because, nearly five years after what was supposed to be a very different conflict, with a very different result, those who supported it still don’t have the strength of character to admit they were wrong. Instead, they make excuses for the last five years and then pretend that if somehow things can now get stable all the death, destruction, and instability might be worth it. That’s simply untenable — and that’s why still a majority of Americans are convinced invading Iraq was a mistake.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
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