Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
Iraq: Cautious optimisim from another Democrat
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It is just impossible to deny any longer:
U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly returned from a second trip to Iraq in five months encouraged that the mission there is going better and that by 2009 the U.S. military's role could be primarily as trainers and advisers.

"I feel we've made progress, and the other part is I feel we can see an end game in sight," Donnelly, D-Ind., told reporters on a conference call Tuesday from Washington. "It isn't we just keep plugging away in the hopes something will turn out right. Gen. (David) Petraeus is working a plan and we seem to be heading toward a place where the Iraqis can be self-sustaining and we'll have a smaller presence in the background."

Donnelly's findings were in stark contrast to his visit to Iraq last July, when he said the only positive thing that happened in that country since the beginning of the war in March 2003 was the ouster of Saddam Hussein.
The usual naysayers will show up here to take issue with Donnelly's words, but it is their words which sound more and more hollow each time they utter them.

(HT: Keith_Indy at A Second Hand Conjecture)
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
McQ, you seem to have defined "success" so far down that if even after five years Iraq can have some stability you’ll claim that the mission succeeded. That is, of course, absurd (and that result is something I doubt, as my December 10 blog explains). Nothing can take away from the abject failure of this policy. It’ll be great if we can extricate ourselves after a half decade without Iraq collapsing, but that doesn’t mean that the mission succeeded. Indeed, the amount of death, the orphans, the suffering, the destruction of infrastructure, the human cost are immense. The cost to the American economy has been intense, and the geopolitical result is a strengthened Iran and a US which has been shown to have severe military limitations. We’re not as powerful as we or others thought we were in 2003. So I hope we can leave Iraq relatively stable, but that in no way, shape or form constitutes any form of success. Iraq is a military and political failure. But the cost in needless suffering and loss of life is immense. Luckily, the public mood is such that the "Iraq syndrome" will hopefully be more resilient than the post-Vietnam mood was.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Wow Scott - that didn’t take long. And you got almost all your digs into one, run-on paragraph.

Donnely said (not McQ) "the mission there is going better"

Donnely said (not McQ) "I feel we’ve made progress, and the other part is I feel we can see an end game in sight,"

Donnely said (not McQ) "Gen. (David) Petraeus is working a plan and we seem to be heading toward a place where the Iraqis can be self-sustaining..."

So where you see abject failure, others see progress. Has there been a cost? Of course. Has it been run to perfection? Hell no. But the mission was to get rid of Saddam and make Iraq a freer, safer place. And that seems to be happening now. Much to your dismay.
We’re not as powerful as we or others thought we were in 2003.
Define powerful Scott. I’m curious as to what you mean by that statement.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
amount of death, the orphans, the suffering, the destruction of infrastructure, the human cost are immense.
According to Erb Logic, every war has been an "abject failure."

That’s why Erb is ignored by everyone except those that are trapped in his classroom.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
McQ, you seem to have defined "success" so far down that if even after five years Iraq can have some stability you’ll claim that the mission succeeded. That is, of course, absurd. And even if Iraq manages to become completely peaceful and calm and a beacon of freedom to the rest of the Middle East, nothing can take away from the abject failure of this policy.

It’ll be great if we can extricate ourselves after a half decade without Iraq collapsing, or even if they become a prime vacation spot, but that doesn’t mean that the mission succeeded. Indeed, the amount of death, the orphans, the suffering, the destruction of infrastructure, the human cost are immense. Saddam killing a couple of thousand a month for ten years was just fine with me, but we leftists with our finely honed moral sense believe Americans are not allowed to kill anybody for any reason, because we’re supposed to better that that. And the fact that those people would be living in a free society and therefore able to pursue vastly more rewarding lives than being abject victims of a dictatorship counts for nothing with us.

The cost to the American economy has been intense, and the geopolitical result is a strengthened Iran. Why Iran is strengthened when we’ll probably have a base right next door to them for the next twenty years is a complicated thing to understand, so you’ll have to read my blog post on that, in which I explain it via thousands and thousands or words that prove it via their sheer weight. And if you disagree with that analysis, I’ll say you are being emotional.

And the US has been shown to have severe military limitations. We’re not as powerful as we or others thought we were in 2003. The fact that we have effectively defeated a worldwide terrorist organization in two countries simultaneously doesn’t count, because they’re just ragtag brown people fighting against American imperialism. So I hope we can leave Iraq relatively stable, but that in no way, shape or form constitutes any form of success. Iraq is a military and political failure. But the cost in needless suffering and loss of life is immense. I realize I’m beginning to repeat myself by saying the same thing again and again, but I just have to stress that this is a failure and there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that could ever happen in Iraq that would turn it in to a success. Period. I just can’t bear the thought that it might be otherwise, because my entire world view would come crumbling down around me and I’d probably have to seek professional help to get through it. Luckily, the public mood is such that the "Iraq syndrome" will hopefully be more resilient than the post-Vietnam mood was, so I’ll have plenty of company among my leftist and academic friends who will all be agreeing what a failure Iraq was even after they become the Japan of the Middle East.
 
Written By: Ott
URL: http://cluelessprof.maine.edu
Boris Erb recites:
Nothing can take away from the abject failure of this policy
You mean other than the fact that it’s showing success, Boris?

Or are you suggesting that even if it succeeds it must be a failure because, after all, you predicted failure?

One thing I can say about you, Boris, is that when you effectively announced your solidarity with the car bombers a few years back, you meant it. Far from hoping for nothing less than defeat, you’ve taken a positive approach and have supported nothing less than victory, for the enemy.

You’ve had what is now officially a lifetime policy: if they’re an enemy of the United States, in any way, shape, or form, you’re with them. To the end.

I wonder if those old KGB officers who are still around from the days when American academics were being programmed to be exactly like you would get a special thrill out of checking off the list of techniques imbedded, as if by magic, in you.

(Thick Russian accent on)

1. Never admit that American foreign policy initiative is successful; always insist it is failure. Check.

2. Never allocate blame to enemy of America; always insist blame is on America for provoking enemy. Check.

3. Never credit American leadership with success; always derogate. Check.

4. Never criticize most treacherous Americans; always praise as representing American values. Check.

5. Never give America credit for past achievements; always point to imperfections as if they were whole picture. Check.

Etc.

(Thick Russian accent off)
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
So, Scott...what flavor Cool-Aid are you drinking this time around?
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Oh, and incase you think I’ve forgotten (I haven’t, since you refuse to post in that thread any longer):

Where, in either the Just War Theory or in the UN Charter does it say, or even suggest, that the killing of uniformed soldiers of one country by another is not considered casus belli?

You can repost your non-answer here
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
I clicked on the comments link just so I could read the inevitable (and predictable) Scott Erb comment. I needed a chuckle this morning.

He never fails to disappoint, in that regard.
 
Written By: Nathan
URL: http://
"Senator Harry Reid (D-Denial)" HT Brennan @ the American Pundit
Oh, I think bloggers should always use that moniker from now on...
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Nothing can take away from the abject failure of this policy. It’ll be great if we can extricate ourselves after a half decade without Iraq collapsing, but that doesn’t mean that the mission succeeded. Indeed, the amount of death, the orphans, the suffering, the destruction of infrastructure, the human cost are immense.
And to add to that, Saddam’s poor sons lost their rape rooms; worse, they even lost their lives. What an unmitigated failure.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Just checking in for something ’erbalicious.
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
Nothing can take away from the abject failure of this policy. It’ll be great if we can extricate ourselves after a half decade without Iraq collapsing, but that doesn’t mean that the mission succeeded. Indeed, the amount of death, the orphans, the suffering, the destruction of infrastructure, the human cost are immense.
Yep, WWII must be viewed as an abject failure as well. Even more death, destruction, and orphan making. And for what, so the Soviets could gobble up Eastern Europe, and the Japanese surpass us in technical matters.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
It’s kind of sad, and a bit disturbing, to see commenters here celebrate the results of ethnic cleansing. "Hey,great, Hutus aren’t killing Tutsis anymore. That proves we were successful in our efforts in Rwanda!"

The WaPo published a map the other day showing the radical transformation that post-Samarra Baghdad has undergone.

If progress is a series of walled off enclaves dominated by sectartian militias with a non-functioning, corrupt and Shia-dominated central government, then yes, there has been progress.
And to add to that, Saddam’s poor sons lost their rape rooms; worse, they even lost their lives. What an unmitigated failure.
Yes, instead of raping women, the current powers that be simply cut their heads off. Ain’t progress grand?
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
It’s kind of sad, and a bit disturbing, to see commenters here celebrate the results of ethnic cleansing. "Hey,great, Hutus aren’t killing Tutsis anymore. That proves we were successful in our efforts in Rwanda!"
and that was your buddy Clinton that did that one, bucko. But comparing the genocide in Rwanda to the War in Iraq is not only laughable, it’s crazy.

The fact is, the murder rate in Iraq is down, and those crazies existed long before we invaded Iraq, or are you conveniently forgetting the genocide of the Kurds in the North, the subjugation of women, the rape and torture rooms, etc? And that was WITH Saddam Hussein.

You’re as much a dishonest joke as Erb is.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
According to Erb Logic, every war has been an "abject failure."
As a war, this was over in 2003 when Saddam was defeated. What made this such a failure (and I’m still amazed by the alternate reality you guys are in — in the real world everyone wants Iraq to be stable and us to be able to leave soon, but almost nobody thinks it was a successs or worth it) was that it turned into a big government social engineering experiment riddled with corruption, and leading to massive ethnic cleansing, death and destruction. But it proved the neo-conservative idealism to ’change the world’ with American power to be misguided. You can either learn from that, or live in denial.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
It’s kind of sad, and a bit disturbing, to see commenters here celebrate the results of ethnic cleansing. "Hey,great, Hutus aren’t killing Tutsis anymore. That proves we were successful in our efforts in Rwanda!"

The WaPo published a map the other day showing the radical transformation that post-Samarra Baghdad has undergone.

If progress is a series of walled off enclaves dominated by sectartian militias with a non-functioning, corrupt and Shia-dominated central government, then yes, there has been progress.
Iraq has disintegrated into a hypercorrupt broken state. The US has more stability only because it gave up on defeating the insurgents, and turns a blind eye to the Shi’ite militias most of the time, allowing them to control much of the Shi’ite area, finish off ethnic cleansing, and bide their time. Iran has benefited the most from this.

Also, those of us predicting these sorts of things back in 2003 were ridiculed — it would be a cake walk, Iran and Syria would shudder, Iraq would use oil revenues to rebuild, we’d have renewed prestige, and democracy would spread, the pro-war side said. Now they’ve changed their tune, defined ’success’ down to ’failure that isn’t war for infinity’ and hurl out the same vindictive against those who were right back in 2002 and 2003. However, it seems a bit desparate, and way out of touch with the mainstream these days. It’s too bad so few can say "You know, we had it wrong in 2003, things didn’t go at all according to plan, we failed in the original goals, the anti-war side was right in many of their warnings, but you know, we’re in this, we have to figure out a way to minimize the damage and try to help Iraq." Not ever admitting they were wrong is far too important to them — and is a real weakness.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The fact is, the murder rate in Iraq is down, and those crazies existed long before we invaded Iraq, or are you conveniently forgetting the genocide of the Kurds in the North, the subjugation of women, the rape and torture rooms, etc? And that was WITH Saddam Hussein.
Again, the issue isn’t whether the killing is down, the issue is why, and what are the long term implications. Those who support our continued occupation of Iraq simply will not acknowledge that the killing is down, especially in Baghdad, due in large part to the fact that ethnic cleansing has reduced the opportunity and motivation for killing.

And yes, there was sectarian conflict before we invaded. But nothing on the scale that exists now. The whole point of the WaPo map was to show that Baghdad was largely intergrated even in early 2006. Now it is not. Sectarian/battle lines have been drawn much more sharply.

And sure Saddam was a bad guy. But the question is whether he is any worse than the sectarian militias, religious nuts and Iranian backed thugs who have taken his place.

I guess I don’t see the difference between a woman who was raped by Saddam’s thugs and a woman who gets her head cut off by religious nuts because she doesn’t wear the veil, with the obvious exception that the latter is dead.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Boris Erb, following the guideline carefully:
As a war, this was over in 2003 when Saddam was defeated. What made this such a failure (and I’m still amazed by the alternate reality you guys are in — in the real world everyone wants Iraq to be stable and us to be able to leave soon, but almost nobody thinks it was a successs or worth it) was that it turned into a big government social engineering experiment riddled with corruption, and leading to massive ethnic cleansing, death and destruction. But it proved the neo-conservative idealism to ’change the world’ with American power to be misguided. You can either learn from that, or live in denial.
No, Boris, a conventional war was over in 2003. An unexpected counter-insurgency began in its aftermath and is now, after a long low-intensity conflict exploited for political purposes by the Left and by Democrats, coming along quite nicely. Thanks for helping encourage the al Qaeda demographic to come on down and get killed in the meantime. You were indispensible in that regard.

And, yes, Boris, war is always messy, so your recitation of the messiness of this one as if it were some grand indictment of this particular effort demonstrates, again, that you don’t understand war, at all.

And whether you like it or not, the U.S. has and is changing Iraq and the Middle East. There’s a way to go, but it seems that the Iraqis are busy killing your allies in Iraq and on their way to pulling the country together into a functioning civil society.

Do you long for the days when the car bombing seemed like it would never recede?
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Iraq has disintegrated into a hypercorrupt broken state.
Bwahahahahahahahaah - yep, because it was a kite flying people’s paradise before we arrived on the scene.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Boris Erb tries to re-narrate defeatism:
"You know, we had it wrong in 2003, things didn’t go at all according to plan, we failed in the original goals, the anti-war side was right in many of their warnings, but you know, we’re in this, we have to figure out a way to minimize the damage and try to help Iraq." Not ever admitting they were wrong is far too important to them — and is a real weakness.
You’ve been so busy saying exactly the same thing over and over again for five years, Boris, that you’ve completely missed the constant adjustment of strategy and tactics to conditions in Iraq. The Surge was an effort to consolidate all of the lessons learned and get as many elements on the same page as possible. You’re completely oblivious to what has happened.

And the "original goals" are still on the table, pal. A new Iraq is taking shape. It’s not going to be like Massachusetts, and no one ever expected that it would be.

We are still moving toward the most significant political change in the Middle East since Attaturk founded modern Turkey out of the ruins of the Ottoman Empire after WWI. We’ve done that with low American casualties, by any historical comparison, and at a cost in treasure that for serious warfare is negligible as a percentage of GDP. Our budget deficits have even dropped below the 40-year historical average, without raising taxes.

But you want to do what all the old KGB-programmed academics did going back to the 1950s and before: smear any American foreign policy effort. And anyone here who has been paying attention knows that you do that in every single case where the U.S. confronts serious bad guys militarily, and in many cases where there isn’t even a military component.

I sure hope your students are catching on to you. Not to mention the Maine taxpayers, because I know you "teach this stuff" to their kids.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
You’re as much a dishonest joke as Erb is.
I disagree with Erb quite a lot, but he in no way compares to mk. It isn’t even close as his/her many posts (though far fewer than he/she used to leave) over the years clearly demonstrate.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
the geopolitical result is a strengthened Iran
This sounds real good, but what proof is there that if the US had not gone into Iraq that anything would have been any better (be careful with your definition of "better"). There are more than enough scenarios that would have the region a more tense place, with human suffering much, much worse.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
idiot.

tell me this, Mkultra, what percentage of what ethnic group has been wiped out for this to qualify as ’ethnic cleansing’? Or are you simply going to pull an Erb, cite yourself and call us all idiots for not living in ’Erbolanida’?

Oh, and incase you think I’ve forgotten (I haven’t, since you refuse to post in that thread any longer):

Where, in either the Just War Theory or in the UN Charter does it say, or even suggest, that the killing of uniformed soldiers of one country by another is not considered casus belli?

You can repost your non-answer here
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Neo writes:
There are more than enough scenarios that would have the region a more tense place, with human suffering much, much worse.
The meta-scenario, to my mind, is that geopolitics fundamentally changed after the 9/11 attacks, and we could no longer gamble on the fiction that Saddam Hussein could be contained. He was never going to strike us conventionally, but had more than sufficient resources to engage in outsourced asymmetrical attacks. He needed to be taken off the board to show states, not just terror outfits, that we were serious about rogue regimes that continued to defy international standards. And in that latter department, the Hussein regime was the world leader in defiance, all of it adjudicated over 12 years by the UN Security Council, with clear enforceability provisions.

Iraq played a huge role in maintaining instability in the region, and the Iraqi regime already had to be restrained from punishing and killing its own people, including the Kurd minority and the Shi’a majority. Everyone knew the country was a mess internally, but that still remained secondary to a Hussein who had the capacity to order up terrorism without being able to be held directly responsible. And that’s what Iran has been doing for about 30 years anyway. But Hussein had a special hatred of the United States. We simply could not sit with a threat like that. That bone deep realism was merged with a more idealistic reform mission, not unlike what we did for Japan and Germany, because once you crack open the seal on a sick regime, you’ve got to bring it back along toward some sort of sane status quo. We didn’t, for instance, break the Nazis’ back and then walk away to let them fester in defeat and rebuild their sick regime.

So, since 9/11 we have been fighting an counter-asymmetrical war (the most important reason for pre-emptively ending the Hussein regime but which really features a comprehensive global effort) that took a turn into counter-insurgency in Iraq that in turn got the Erbs hot for an American defeat, as something like that necessarily does. Now that we’re turing that counter-insurgency toward success, the defeatists will be trying all manner of false narratives. You’ve seen Erb himself nearly take credit for the turnaround (Bush, you see, adopted his policies), then just as quickly assert that there could never be success in Iraq, and that it will always be a tragic fiasco no matter how successful it turns out to be.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
This sounds real good, but what proof is there that if the US had not gone into Iraq that anything would have been any better (be careful with your definition of "better"). There are more than enough scenarios that would have the region a more tense place, with human suffering much, much worse.
Sure, one can imagine better or worse scenarios, but I think a clear lesson here has to be one of learning humility — we aren’t as powerful as many thought, and our military is of limited value to achieve political results. Unfortunately I don’t think most Americans take Iraqi suffering as being real; we are so concerned about Americans dying that Iraqi innocents seem largely forgotten. That kind of dehumanization of others is dangerous, I think.

I think we’ve seen the Administration learn that lesson and shift policy. They’ve done so in a credible manner (e.g., slowly and without sudden rhetoric changes, unlike Carter’s ’my eyes have been opened.’) In fact, the Bush administration is following a path that is a lot like what I was thinking should be done a year or so ago (in my own blog, and in exchanges here with Keith, I think). So policy is improving.

I know that in blog commentary one has to expect more emotion and flames against those who go against the conventional wisdom of that particular blog ideology, but I honestly think that it’s important for those who supported the war to not just try to spin everything to avoid admitting it’s very possible they could have made a real error in supporting that war (and arguing that ’progress is being made, stay the course, and all the other slogans from the past years). Nor do I think they should be too giddy that somehow this surge has really created a fundamental difference. You gotta look at this with open eyes, and people left and right seem far too concerned with protecting their own ideological and political position than really thinking critically and clearly.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
learning humility
Then the rest of his comment is about how smart he thinks he is.

Seriously, does Erb post this stuff as a comic warmup?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
almost nobody thinks it was a successs or worth it
What percent is "almost nobody" in a mind bogged down with Erb Logic?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Boris Erb fabricates:
Sure, one can imagine better or worse scenarios, but I think a clear lesson here has to be one of learning humility — we aren’t as powerful as many thought, and our military is of limited value to achieve political results.
Let’s see:

Removed dangerous psychopath and his regime. Check.

Instituted process leading to new government. Check.

Encouraged writing of new constitution. Check.

Helped hold a national referendum on new constitution. Check.

Helped hold an election for a national government under new constitution. Check.

Waited patiently for national government to form. Check.

Instituted military surge to increase security and suppress insurgents and terrorists. Check.

Cultivated civil cooperation among Iraqis at grassroots level. Check.

At all points along the way showed innovative, adaptive capacity probably unknown with any other military in the world. Check.

Took minimal casualties. Inflicted maximum casualties on enemy. Check.

Certainly nothing there to indicate that "our military is of limited value to achieve political results."

We’ve responded to every single challeng we’ve faced in Iraq, learned who all the customers in the saloon are, and have offered Iraqis a very good choice and a very bad choice. The good choice gets them to coherent civil society; the bad choice gets them a spot at the mortuary. And we bend over backwards to be fair and accomodating.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
we aren’t as powerful as many thought, and our military is of limited value to achieve political results.
You keep saying this over and over to the point where I think you really believe it.

"We aren’t as powerful as many thought" BS! Show me any military in the world that could have taken down an adversary of Iraq’s strength (By that I mean numbers of men, tanks, etc) in 3 weeks. Prior to the war we were beseiged from the anti-war left and yokels like yourself with:
"The US cannot fight an urban war!"
"10,000 war dead to take Baghdad!"
"There aren’t enough body bags available to do the job!"

And the list goes on and on. And the result? Baghdad fell in 3 weeks. And it took that long because 25% of the invading troops were not allowed to participate from the North, Turkey. With the equivilent of 3 divisions we took on an army of over 500,000 and captured their capital in 3 weeks. For what cost? Less than 500 total casualties - dead, wounded, missing. And today our military is something it wasn’t in 2002 - war veterans. No other military in the world wants to face us today - they wouldn’t stand a chance, and they know it!
our military is of limited value to achieve political results.
And nobody here has said any different. Our military has been asked to do an impossible task and guess what Erb? It is succeeding. But it could not have done it alone. It has taken 8 million Iraqis going to the polls creating a government. It has taken tens of thousands of Iraqis joining the constabulary and military in the face of Al Qaeda suicide bombings and attacks. It has taken the common citizenry in Iraq to choose between the perverse government of Al Qaeda to their own people. It took them a while but they have chosen or are in the process of choosing. And Al Qaeda and their kind are being kicked out. Is the govenment corrupt? Yes - so what! Show me one government in the region that is not! It is their government - one of their choosing. If it is too corrupt for the people, well that is what elections are for, aren’t they? And at the end of the day it will still be of their choosing.

You and yours have missed this boat from the very beginning. You assumed the goal was a US-like democracy compliant to our wishes. WRONG! The goal was for the Iraqi’s to stand up for themselves. PERIOD! And the Iraqis are on their way to achieving that goal - you are the one who is in denial.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Scott E - is your problem that we didn’t have the right strategy at the start? (After your preferred course of not going to war in the first place wasn’t chosen.) That we took "so long" to adapt to the situation at hand.

Some historical context of previous wars ought to disabuse you of the notion that we ever get things in war right on the first try.

That’s just the way it is, and the best we can do is be adaptable. War will sometimes be necessary, and it is a bloody shame that we always enter it with bad assumptions. But that fact is not unique to this administration.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
but I honestly think that it’s important for those who supported the war to not just try to spin everything to avoid admitting it’s very possible they could have made a real error in supporting that war
We did the right thing in removing Hussein from power, my feeling on that will never change. We can attempt to do the right thing and have it fail you know, but that will never mean it wasn’t the right thing to do.
And it was never a matter of staying the course for people like you, who were dead set against it in the first place.

Short of parades down Main Street Baghdad just before the Iraqi’s suddenly started acting like Americans in Chicago, two weeks after the ’war’ was over, nothing would have satisified you. For a person looking critically and clearly, if you think we had an expectation of a sudden miracle occuring just because of an application of American military power tells me you were never viewing this clearly and critically.
I had the same expectation that we’d be out of there in under 2 years that I have for Santa to leave me a new BMW in the driveway between the hours of midnight and 5 AM on December 25th of any given year.

As an example - we’re STILL IN KOSOVO. Why, for heaven sake, do you think anyone with any realisim would have envisioned Iraq suddenly becoming the garden of Eden again less than 4 years after Saddam Hussein was removed from power?

The people railing against Iraq are the sorts who will allow any social experiment they favor to go on for decades, tinkering with it all the while, despite it’s failures, but treat something like rebuilding a nation seriously? treat it like something that takes at least 5 years (even that isn’t even close to realistic)? Not gonna happen, especially if it might make George W Bush look good.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Keith Indy writes:
Scott E - is your problem that we didn’t have the right strategy at the start?
Erb’s problem is that we might win. He’s so upset that things have turned around that he’s denying that success is even possible. His fallback position will be that the costs were too high. He will never admit that we are achieving and could finally achieve our essential goal of a free, independent, self-governing Iraq in the context of a reasonably modern civil society with a reasonably modern democratic government.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Unfortunately I don’t think most Americans take Iraqi suffering as being real
Prof. Erb — And I would certainly include you in that category since you continue to wring your hands in faux concern for the Iraqis while ignoring their suffering under Hussein. Iraqis have consistently polled that deposing Hussein was worth the suffering that has followed, yet you repeatedly and casually ignore this basic reality.

Though things are currently looking up, no one can say for certain how Iraq will work out, but the Iraqis now have the possibility of a future they choose, not one chosen by psychopaths—Saddam Hussein and his sons. I think they’ve got a good shot at a brighter future. I also know that is a future you will continue to spit on while claiming to be more rational and moral.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
tell me this, Mkultra, what percentage of what ethnic group has been wiped out for this to qualify as ’ethnic cleansing’?
How many people have been killed in Iraq? You tell me. But that’s not the issue. Ethnic cleansing is defined as follows:
Forcibly displacing or exterminating an ethnic population from a particular area in order to assert the identity and power of another ethnic group.
Now, if you look at the map of Baghdad I linked to, you can see that is exactly what has happened there. Are you seriously disputing the fact that there has been widespread ethnic cleansing in Baghdad? Again, look at the map I linked to and explain to me why it does not conform with the definition cited above.

The difficulty arguing with wingnuts such as yourself Joel is that you are not willing to agree on even the most basic of facts. Kind of like how wingnuts continue to claim that Saddam had WMD.
Where, in either the Just War Theory or in the UN Charter does it say, or even suggest, that the killing of uniformed soldiers of one country by another is not considered casus belli?
What in the world does this have to do with any of the points I made? I was talking about ethnic cleansing, growing Islamic fundamentalism, the domination by militias, and the Shia dominated, Iranian-backed, ineffectual and corrupt Iraqi government.
Why, for heaven sake, do you think anyone with any realisim would have envisioned Iraq suddenly becoming the garden of Eden again less than 4 years after Saddam Hussein was removed from power?
Because we were told that by the war’s backers. We were told we would be greeted as liberators. We were told that Iraqi oil revenues would pay for the war. We were told we would not need several hundred thousand troops.

The Orwellian efforts to re-write history are astounding.
Erb’s problem is that we might win. He’s so upset that things have turned around that he’s denying that success is even possible. His fallback position will be that the costs were too high. He will never admit that we are achieving and could finally achieve our essential goal of a free, independent, self-governing Iraq in the context of a reasonably modern civil society with a reasonably modern democratic government.
We are achieving this goal? Really?

According to the Pentagon, the Iraqis say the opposite is true. From the WaPo:
Iraqis of all sectarian and ethnic groups believe that the U.S. military invasion is the primary root of the violent differences among them, and see the departure of "occupying forces" as the key to national reconciliation, according to focus groups conducted for the U.S. military last month.

....

Dated December 2007, the report notes that "the Iraqi government has still made no significant progress toward its fundamental goal of national reconciliation." Asked to describe "the current situation in Iraq to a foreign visitor," some groups focused on positive aspects of the recent security improvements. But "most would describe the negative elements of life in Iraq beginning with the ’U.S. occupation’ in March 2003," the report says.
So the Pentagon says that Iraqis see us as the impediment to progress. And the Pentagon says that the Iraqi government still has made no significant progress toward reconciliation.

So, in effect, the Pentagon is saying the opposite of what you claim. What a bunch of moonbats.

The bottom line is this: The surge was supposed to allow the Iraqi government the space and time to do what it is not doing, namely, reconciling the various forces through a political solution. So no, we are not achieving even this modest goal.

The problem is that with our continued occupation, the Shia dominated corrupt central government has zero incentive to reconcile with the other power brokers. Why should they? As long as Americans are there to keep the relative peace, there is no incentive.

And those who believe we should stay in Iraq have not and cannot explain why this status quo will change. They can’t explain because there is no explanation. Instead, they run around accusing those who are calling for withdrawal as "not wanting to win" instead of acknowledging that the powers that be in Iraq don’t want to reconcile.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
MK Ultra, an idiot in the main, writes:
the Shia dominated corrupt central government has zero incentive to reconcile with the other power brokers.
Sounds like any U.S. city dominated by Democratic party bosses.

But it still sounds better than Saddam and his two lovely boys killing anyone who looked at them cross-eyed, and hoarding $50 billion in cash for whatever revenge whim struck them on rolling out of bed in the morning.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
I don’t think most Americans take Iraqi suffering as being real
This argument works both ways.

The inaction in Durfur can be directly tied to the side of the logic of those on the other side of the argument in regard to Iraq, and visa versa.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Prof. Erb — And I would certainly include you in that category since you continue to wring your hands in faux concern for the Iraqis while ignoring their suffering under Hussein.
Hardly — and the old "Hussein was bad so therefore all we do is justified" card doesn’t work. First, the Saudis are more repressive than Saddam was, and by 2003 Saddam’s power was very limited. We were supporting him when he could really do damage, we attacked him when he was barely holding on.

And I think Iraq would have been better off to let Saddam’s life run its course. His sons weren’t capable of really taking power once he was gone, and maybe Iraq could have evolved without the bloodbaths and the current chaos.

We’ll never know. But this time we were the cause of a lot of the suffering and the unleashing of vicious forces, and while we might comfort ourselves with imagined alternate realities where things would have been worse without our intervention, that’s only speculation. I really think we need to learn NOT to rely on military power to try to reshape politics when it isn’t absolutely necessary for self-defense or other-defense (and other-defense only in limited circumstances). Actually, I think the Bush Administration has, perhaps grudgingly, learned that.

We did the right thing in removing Hussein from power, my feeling on that will never change.
When are we justified in intervening, and by whose standard do we judge? After all, would it have been the right thing for some advanced civilization to intervene and remove the evil American government that enslaved blacks, didn’t let women vote, and was conquering indigenous people? Or was the right thing to realize that the society had to advance slowly, on its own terms. IOW, I’m a proponent of the prime directive!
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Now, if you look at the map of Baghdad I linked to, you can see that is exactly what has happened there. Are you seriously disputing the fact that there has been widespread ethnic cleansing in Baghdad? Again, look at the map I linked to and explain to me why it does not conform with the definition cited above.

The difficulty arguing with wingnuts such as yourself Joel is that you are not willing to agree on even the most basic of facts. Kind of like how wingnuts continue to claim that Saddam had WMD.
I have. In fact, I just finished a class on Genocide and Ethnic cleansing you might have enjoyed.

Now, logical fallacy and being Erb, Jr. aside, when they speak of ethnic cleansing, part of the requirement is for either a. there to be a concerted effort to specifically target an ethnic group or b. for there to be government complicity in such an action. In Iraq, neither case is true. What you had (notice the tense) is sectarian violence, NOT ethnic cleansing.

Ethnic Cleansing is what existed in Iraq under Saddam Huissein. Get your wordage in order before you come to the table. See, that’s the problem with you crazy liberals, you think with your a@@ and not with your head. :)
What in the world does this have to do with any of the points I made
That wasn’t directed at you, that was directed at Erb. He’s been playing logical fallacy in another thread and lost, and I’ve been calling him on it until he apologizes. Think of it as forcible humility.
Because we were told that by the war’s backers. We were told we would be greeted as liberators.
We WERE greeted as liberators! Did you forget the jubilation in the streets? How we were welcomed with flowers and cheers? It wasn’t until the abysmal handling of the occupation that the proverbial $hit hit the fan. But to say we were greeted as anything short of messiahs is a willing departure from reality or an intellectual dishonesty of Erbian proportions.

but no one EVER said that Iraq would turn into an Utopic society upon the death of Saddam. it was said this would take time: any person with two brain cells and a neuron knows that an occupation is measured in years, not months.

So the Pentagon says that Iraqis see us as the impediment to progress. And the Pentagon says that the Iraqi government still has made no significant progress toward reconciliation.

So, in effect, the Pentagon is saying the opposite of what you claim. What a bunch of moonbats.
except for the catch 22: if we leave, those forces that have been murdering civilians by the hundreds of thousands will return and attempt to create a Tabliban like State in Iraq. That, and it’s almost assured that Iran will turn Iraq into a satellite state, two things which we simply cannot allow to happen.

So while the people want to see us gone (understandably: nobody likes to be occupied) now that the situation has finally calmed down and they can breathe without worrying about being blown up, if you look back at articles during the times of peak violence, you’ll notice they all said they wanted us to stay. Don’t believe me? Google ’Iraqi’s want us to stay’.
The problem is that with our continued occupation, the Shia dominated corrupt central government has zero incentive to reconcile with the other power brokers. Why should they? As long as Americans are there to keep the relative peace, there is no incentive.

And those who believe we should stay in Iraq have not and cannot explain why this status quo will change. They can’t explain because there is no explanation. Instead, they run around accusing those who are calling for withdrawal as "not wanting to win" instead of acknowledging that the powers that be in Iraq don’t want to reconcile.
You cannot be this naive.

You are seriously expecting that in 2 years, a government that hitherto only knew subjugation, terror and torture, to magically turn into a master Democratic state?

Do you realize how fast things have moved in Iraq? In two years they’ve completely created a government and constitution from scratch. It took us two attempts and 13 years and a Civil War to accomplish that. It took Britain even longer, and France is on it’s, what? Fourth Republic now? Germany took years to reestablish after WWII, as did Japan. Yet, for some reason, you expect a process that under the best of circumstances and during relative peace takes decades to happen in a war-torn society in two years?

The fact that fighting a COIN we’ve managed to do this much is nothing short of astounding, as can be seen by simple historical comparisons. The fact that we’ve curtailed a serious insurgency in under a year is miraculous.

That’s your problem, Mk, you are incapable of acknowledging truths where they contradict your talking points.

And who else is saying what I’m pointing out, you might ask? Check your local Democratic Congressman.

 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Q seems to consider Democratic Congressmen as a great source of authority and knowledge on subjects when they agree with him on Iraq. When they say anything else, they magically revert to being gibbering idiots. It’s all very convenient.

What I’m personally curious is to how long you can keep picking fights with the liberals in your head. Few of the ones I know are now arguing that Iraq is currently getting worse. The argument is more like: the place still sucks, we’re spending two hundred billion dollars a year and still getting Americans killed to apply a band-aid that’s not likely to last. Meanwhile, we’re only strengthening and arming the forces preparing for the Final Showdown.

The Iraqis seem to agree.

But that’s irrelevant. Yeah?

We get the progress. We’re just not impressed with your argument that "only half of the five times as many Iraqis are now dying per month now" = "we were right about everything and this makes everything ok!"

Erb is basically right. It was a disaster for years. If it gets cleaned up, it’s a disaster that’s over, not some kind of redemption for the idiots running the country. I suspect the voters agree, but hey, see you in 2008! Good luck!



 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Here is more on what the Iraqis think.

Meanwhile, the war everyone seems to forget in Afghanistan is looking like a possible defeat for NATO.

Keep on those rose colored glasses, McQ!
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Boris Erb just lies, in five different directions at once:
Hardly — and the old "Hussein was bad so therefore all we do is justified" card doesn’t work. First, the Saudis are more repressive than Saddam was, and by 2003 Saddam’s power was very limited. We were supporting him when he could really do damage, we attacked him when he was barely holding on.
Such blind ignorance of your own field, Boris. A dictator exercising absolute power who is "barely holding on" suggests even more catastrophic conditions for his country than one exercising absolute power and in complete command. In fact, the Hussein regime, it is now generally recognized, had become incoherent, in a word, which made it more dangerous, both internally and externally. But that’s all stuff above your pay grade.

And we (meaning the U.S.) never supported Hussein. He was a Soviet client, and they barely knew what to do with him after he attacked Iran. We helped Hussein ever so slightly with some intel when he was about to be overrun by Iran. Otherwise, we made standard international overtures in the Cold War context. Seconds before the Soviets collapsed, in the opening phase of the post-Cold War power vacuum, Hussein made his move, into Kuwait. We stopped him on the spot and put him in a box, where he remained until we removed him from power in 2003. In the meantime, however, the spectre of asymmetrical warfare surfaced, and Hussein, with $50 billion in personal pocket change and a sovereign state security apparatus at his disposal could no longer be allowed to hold those cards, not after 9/11, at least.

Do you actually think, Boris, that your hairballs of lies can’t be picked apart?
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Boris Erb focuses on the buttons to the exclusion of the coat:
Here is more on what the Iraqis think.
More indication that you never read beyond the lead.

Those were U.S. military focus groups, and they see the results as positive: Iraqis agree on something that can bring about national reconciliation.

That’s pretty fast progress. I think it took the German’s many more years to start hating us after we pulled them out of the Nazi death swoon.

Although I have much higher regard for the sense of national pride among Iraqis than I do for the pathetic Germans.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Boris Erb, squinting through the death rattle of his corrupt ideas:
Keep on those rose colored glasses, McQ!
I realize, Boris, that you will grasp at any glimmer of defeat, but don’t you know that your desires are ghastly black?
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Here is more on what the Iraqis think.

Meanwhile, the war everyone seems to forget in Afghanistan is looking like a possible defeat for NATO.

Keep on those rose colored glasses, McQ!
I would like it to be noted for the record that there was no talk of ’defeat’ in Afghanistan while the US was in overall command.

You’re right about everything, we should go back to negotiating and talking to(bribing and buying off) unruly regimes just like Europe has traditionally done. When those regimes get to be a big enough problem they can ask us to mobilize our young men to fix it.

Till then, no sane terrorist or terrorist state is going to bomb Farmington, so you’ll be safe.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
I would like it to be noted for the record that there was no talk of ’defeat’ in Afghanistan while the US was in overall command.
Then came Iraq. Attacking Iraq may yield a stronger Taliban in Afghanistan. Osama must be chuckling.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Boris Erb, deepening in his black delusion:
Then came Iraq. Attacking Iraq may yield a stronger Taliban in Afghanistan. Osama must be chuckling.
Yes, Boris, in an undisclosed location, hidden even from direct communication with his Erbs, Osama surely chuckles, like a mad prince locked in a tower.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
like a mad prince locked in a tower
Or a mad professor wrapped in his academic robes.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
SShiel comments:
Or a mad professor wrapped in his academic robes.
Boris isn’t mad; he’s just never bothered to pay attention. It’s too demanding.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Then came Iraq. Attacking Iraq may yield a stronger Taliban in Afghanistan. Osama must be chuckling.
Little historical re-write there don’t you think, or is Martin right that a political science, Middle eastern international policy junkie like you really is oblivious to actual fact.

Here’s the actual fact - We invaded Iraq in 2003, NATO took official control of the war in Afghanistan on October 5th, 2006.

Care to retract your statement saying our invasion of Iraq in 2003 caused a problem for NATO in Afghanistan between October of 2006 and December of 2007, or should we mark you down as a full time Poly Sci professor and part time blatant historical revisionist?

Regarding Afghanistan, oddly this falure problem didn’t surface until after NATO took over. Wow. These are the same guys you want us to get permission from if we decide we might need to put on new socks.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Classic Erb - who states:
Here is more on what the Iraqis think.
Then links to an article which concludes:
Overall, the report said that "these findings may be expected to conclude that national reconciliation is neither anticipated nor possible. In reality, this survey provides very strong evidence that the opposite is true." A sense of "optimistic possibility permeated all focus groups . . . and far more commonalities than differences are found among these seemingly diverse groups of Iraqis."
Do you even READ what you link to? Okay, now that you’ve had your pants pulled down AGAIN, is it okay to call you an idiot? See, I PROVED that you are an idiot, so this gets me off the ad hominem hook, doesn’t it?

Anyone, can I get a ruling?

Is Erb an idiot, or am I just being emotional?
 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
Erb’s an idiot.

And a coward, too. I’ve been proving him wrong over in this thread for a while now, but he just cut and ran when I proved him to be wrong....which brings me back to that point:

incase you think I’ve forgotten (I haven’t, since you refuse to post in that thread any longer):

Where, in either the Just War Theory or in the UN Charter does it say, or even suggest, that the killing of uniformed soldiers of one country by another is not considered casus belli?

You can repost your non-answer here
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Jeff, I agree with the report’s conclusion. Indeed, I think our invasion allowed radical elements to create a level of violence and conflict between groups that does not reflect the reality, especially after years of secular rule. That makes me hopeful that ultimately the Iraqis can overcome the problems, once our influence is out of there.

Joel, the UN charter doesn’t list all the things that are not a cause for war — the fact you word your question in such an awkward, negative manner suggests you know you’re wrong. In any event Article II seems pretty convincing. Clearly if your soldiers are killed that isn’t always justification for going to war; indeed, most of the time it is not, and almost never justification for invading another country. I’ve given you this answer many times, and you’ve not defended your position, so you appear to auto-repeat.

Looker, NATO took over (with us providing most of the forces to be sure, especially in combat situations) because our invasion of Iraq made us unable to really sustain efforts there. If Afghanistan is lost, then our invasion of Iraq is directly to blame. Iran strengthened, the Taliban strengthened, lots of death and destruction...no, you can’t put lipstick on this pig, the decision to invade Iraq has led to a fiasco. I’ve been noting in my blog for awhile now how Afghanistan is getting worse, and nobody seems to notice. It’s a shame, if we had really focused on Afghanistan we could have accomplished something positive. Instead, well, we’re in far worse shape now than in 2002.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
2003 to 2006.
Three years, one short of our time to date. We ran it for 3 years.
We were in Iraq that whole time, it’s not a sudden change.

You’re delusional, the entire paragraph you wrote me in response demonstrates it.
You’re caught in a self induced paradigm that you can’t or won’t step out of, and what your wrote sounds like the ravings of a guy sitting in a padded cell repeating the story that got him parked there in the first place.

They took over because it’s supposed to be a shared burden, because it’s supposed to be one of your vaunted coalitions. Because they supposedly recognized it needed to be fixed and were willing to try.
If we can’t sustain our effort in Afghanistan because of Iraq, where the hell are the other countries that ’think we’re crazy for spending half the worlds military budget’.
It’s in their interest for it to succeed too, they agreed to Afghanistan, they went into Afghanistan, they’re now in charge of Afghanistan....so...
Where. Are. They?

I’ll tell you where, they’re prepositioning themselves to throw up their hands in dismay and get the hell out because we’re not there in large enough numbers to do the bulk of the work any more. Meaning we’ll have to go back in and try to fix it one more time.

The point I am making is NATO, a group of countries who you want us to suck up to every time we need to fart, can’t seem to handle the problem without US being there. You know, the Americans, the guys who the world doesn’t view as leaders, the guys whose military has proved to be weaker than expected, the guys who are in decline.

Looks to be like the rest of them are declining when we’re not around to hold their hands.

Bumps in the road, Pax Americana baby. Get used to it.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Joel, the UN charter doesn’t list all the things that are not a cause for war — the fact you word your question in such an awkward, negative manner suggests you know you’re wrong. In any event Article II seems pretty convincing. Clearly if your soldiers are killed that isn’t always justification for going to war; indeed, most of the time it is not, and almost never justification for invading another country. I’ve given you this answer many times, and you’ve not defended your position, so you appear to auto-repeat.
That’s where you’re wrong.

The fact is, the UN Charter leaves it up to subjective opinion on what is considered justifiable for going to war. In fact, and I have cited it more times than you have cited ANYTHING, there is already precedent for a country going to war because of attacks on their soldiers.

Also, no one is talking about an invasion, so you’re once again being dishonest. The fact is, according to precedence in International Affairs, the killing of uniformed soldiers of one country by another IS casus belli.

If it isn’t, provide a citation that says so. It’s that simple. You have to back up your assertions with credible sources. I’ll be waiting for one.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Boris Erb, inspiring guffaws:
Indeed, I think our invasion allowed radical elements to create a level of violence and conflict between groups that does not reflect the reality, especially after years of secular rule.
Does everyone see the value of academic tenure, now?

That comment alone should have Boris returning to his college office to find the locks changed and his things in a cardboard box with a note pinned to it that reads, "Get out, you’re fired." But tenure prevents that sort of justifiable and immediate dismissal.

"[O]ur invasion allowed radical elements to create a level of violence..."

Well, no, and yes. Once the seal was broken on the Hussein regime, the angry Sunni hornets, who are 20% of the population, would naturally be worried about how the 70% Shi’a who had been treated like dogs under Saddam would react. That and the fact that the Sunni elite would no longer have all the perks of power, were the real causes of the intial stage of violence.

But the situation under Hussein was always dangerous, always filled with state-generated violence, and those out of favor, which was essentially everyone not in the core elite, lived in fear of the regime, which tortured and killed as it pleased under the auspices of Iraq’s sovereign power.

When the seal was broken, all hell could have broken loose, and everyone knew it. All hell did not break loose, but a low-intensity war of terror bombings and the like did ensue.

It was and is the presence of the American military that kept that from becoming worse and helping Iraq edge its way toward a civil society unlike what they had under Saddam’s oh-so-generous "secular rule."

The convenient nature of your forgetfullness, Boris, always impresses me as that of a child testing the limits of lying.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Bumps in the road, Pax Americana baby. Get used to it.
Alas, you’re the one deluded. Economically and politically, the US is in real trouble. I don’t know what kind of dance and weave you want to do to try to pretend that our shift of resources and emphasis to Iraq somehow is irrelevant to the problems in Afghanistan. Blaming the Europeans is a bit silly — frankly, why should they be fighting wars we start anyway? From both a US and European perspective I say NATO is obsolete.

The idea of pax americana has been proven impossible. Russia is rising, so is China, there is more resistance to the US in Latin America, and the US has proven relatively impotent in trying to guide global events recently. We’ve been shifting ground on Global Warming due to pressure.

No, looker, you’re closing your eyes to reality, locked in a world view that you don’t want to leave. As I warned before the Iraq war when all the nationalists were clamoring about a cake walk, turning left to Syria, reshaping the Mideast, etc.: Reality bites. Watch, learn.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Watch, learn.


Oh yeah, I’ll get started on that now, because, prior to this, I haven’t paid any attention you know. Thanks for the great advice there.
I also want to thank you for the daily guided tour of your varied fantasies.

One more time - Europe acknowledged the need to do something in Afghanistan.
Now that it’s on their shoulders they’re starting to queue up to get out the door, that’s not our fault.
And you, keep, ignoring/denying, that our shift in emphasis to Iraq started in 2003, but they didn’t take command until 2006, and NOW all of a sudden there’s a problem in Afghanistan in 2007.
Seems pretty clear to me where the problem is.

And the ’watch and learn’ lesson is there’s no reason to ask the Euro’s permission to do anything because when they don’t want to do it they obstruct it, and when the allegedly want to do it, they mean they want US to do it.
Bali as a case in point, their latest dance on Global Warming, a post I notice you kept far away from.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Boris Erb, ever pumping old KGB-style bilge:
Alas, you’re the one deluded. Economically and politically, the US is in real trouble.
Culturally, Boris. The U.S. is in trouble culturally, and you, unfortunately, are part of the problem. Help us out and move back to the Fatherland, would ya. And make sure to take the commie wife and your genetic drift with you.

But economically, well, the 3rd quarter GDP number has not been revised, it stands at 4.9% growth. Fastest growing quarter in four years. Exports booming. Things have probably slowed down in the 4th quarter, so take heart.

Politically? Well, you are correct, current divisions in the country suggest that there is a 50-50 chance that a Democrat will be elected president.

Then there are the budget deficits, nicely down below the 40-year average, in a time of war.

Could a crisis of capitalism be far behind?

Then this:
why should [NATO] be fighting wars we start anyway?
So, Boris, are you saying that 9/11 was an inside job? Because that’s the only way we could have "started" the war in Afghanistan.

But perhaps the 50+ years of European free-riding on the American defense dime might inspire some gratitude in those slobs, or maybe just a tad bit of resolve and competence in taking up duty in Afghanistan.

But how you do talk like a slithering eel about the United States, Boris. It’s as though you have a shingle out that reads "will work for food for any enemy of America."
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
We dropped the ball on Afghanistan by getting involved in Iraq. Blaming Europe for our failure is utterly ridiculous and in fact dishonest. If we can’t finish what we start, if we’re too weak to handle what we claim has to be handled (we promised Afghanistan wouldn’t be forgotten, we’d get Osama, etc.) then be up front about it, don’t hide behind lame excuses like "well, the Europeans should have done it, yeah, that’s it!"

Frankly, if I were a European I’d be demanding European forces leave Afghanistan. Europe’s Euro is rising, they are making very important economic ties with China and Russia, and America is of decreasing importance to them. They don’t want to be enemies, but the days of a close alliance are over. The geopolitical situation has shifted, America is of less relative importance. The times, they are a-changing.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Boris Erb can’t help himself, he sees an opening to bash the U.S.:
We dropped the ball on Afghanistan by getting involved in Iraq.
Even if that was true, Boris. Since we are already on the ground in Afghanistan, when the circumstances suggest it’s time, we can pick the ball up again. But...
Blaming Europe for our failure is utterly ridiculous and in fact dishonest.
No one is blaming "Europe" for our failure. I’m blaming Europe/NATO for its failure, its military incoherence and incompetence in managing the situation in Afghanistan.

And please, Boris, pushing the word "dishonest" out of your own mouth, it just doesn’t work.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Then Boris announces his plans to take the Erbs elswhere, or so one would expect:
Frankly, if I were a European I’d be demanding European forces leave Afghanistan. Europe’s Euro is rising, they are making very important economic ties with China and Russia, and America is of decreasing importance to them.
Indeed, it would be proof positive of Europe’s rise to run straight away from their only serious military commitment.

And let’s show our "decreasing importance" by not footing Europe’s security bill any longer.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
and in fact dishonest
Says the little black pot to the kettle.

Europe willingly undertook responsibility in Afghanistan. It was the ’good war’ that you said was a just war.
Now it’s ’our fault’ after they took over command that it’s started to head into the dumpster. And noticing that they aren’t holding up their end of the effort is ’blaming’ them.

You harp about the decline of American power, and about how it’s better when we share responsibility with other nations to accomplish worthy international goals. That is precisely what is supposed to be happening in Afghanistan professor.
If we can’t finish what we start, if we’re too weak to handle what we claim has to be handled (we promised Afghanistan wouldn’t be forgotten, we’d get Osama, etc.) then be up front about it, don’t hide behind lame excuses like "well, the Europeans should have done it, yeah, that’s it!"
I think you should calmly reflect on the fact that for months you’ve insisted on us sharing responsibilities and cooperating with allies to accomplish worthy goals. Having done that in Afghanistan, it appears that our allies are unable to bear their portion of a co-operative load. Our force still constitutes the largest contingent of troops in Afghanistan, so, we’ve hardly ’forgotten’ have we.
And we are still there, doing our jobs, aren’t we. We’re not the ones whining about how we can’t send 8 more helicopters and a couple of companies of men.
We’re not the ones talking about pulling out and going home, are we?
Not even the Democrats are talking about abandoning Afghanistan.
We dropped the ball on Afghanistan by getting involved in Iraq.
Afghanistan prior to 2007, running in parallel with Iraq, no one was talking about it being a failure. You can continue to ignore the dates, but that won’t make them go away. Afghanistan didn’t start getting talked about as being a problem until after NATO took command. You just don’t like it much, do you, when facts get in the way of your tidy little storyline, and you have nothing, except bluster at the moment, to come back with. So you start this business of implying that my pointing out the Euro’s don’t seem to be co-operating very well in the one effort they agreed to co-operate in, is somehow a dishonesty.
I don’t see it, but then I’ve seen you get involved in little ’liar liar’ fights with other posters, so to see you tread into an area where you claim I’m being dishonest doesn’t surprise. I could have sworn you didn’t do that sort of, you know, personal attack thing. Perhaps that was a little strong, perhaps you meant to say you ’suspected’ I was being dishonest, otherwise there’s not enough weasel words wrapped around it for safety.

And then there’s the usual -
Frankly, if I were a European I’d be demanding European forces leave Afghanistan. Europe’s Euro is rising, they are making very important economic ties with China and Russia, and America is of decreasing importance to them. They don’t want to be enemies, but the days of a close alliance are over. The geopolitical situation has shifted, America is of less relative importance. The times, they are a-changing.
Cut and run on a ’just war’, that would be your plan? your method? your answer? Abandon the effort, leave the United States to hold the bag, and cozy up to Russia and China. How does that work in your universe where you expect the United States to co-operate with Europe in the future?
One would think it might lead the United States to continue to practice cowboy politics instead of bringing them to heel.
I would think a sharp Poli-Sci guy would have thought of that.



 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Looker, you cannot deny that if the US had focused on Afghanistan rather than go into Iraq, the situation would be much different. Afghanistan has been deteriorating for years now, this isn’t a new story, it’s only one that hasn’t gotten much notice. By 2004 the central government only controlled Kabul, and opium production and war lords gained prominence, as the Taliban continued a steady re-surgence. This is not new, this has been taking place for years.

I noted on my blog on September 14, 2004: Afghanistan is not stable either — they have large sections controlled by war lords or the Taliban. I also noted on June 29, 2005: In this case leaving would also make it easier for us to help Afghanistan (which is falling into more violence and chaos due to neglect — it is becoming a true terrorist haven again), and really work against terrorism. On May 4, 2006: Assumption one, however, was incorrect. Afghanistan remains in turmoil. It’s not in the news as much as the troops there are hunkered down, but the Taliban has regained control of vast sections of the country, and warlords control other areas. Karzai may be pro-American, but outside Kabul, his power is limited. Afghanistan again is the top world opium producer, and in many sections terrorists have haven and can train. The victory there was incomplete, and the forces remaining aren’t able to create stability and unity. My mentions of on going and increasing problems in Afghanistan increases after that to relative frequent mentions throughout 2006, typical of that is this from September 26, 2006: In Afghanistan the assumption was that the Taliban was defeated, and a small NATO contingent could lead the reconstruction. There was a false sense of how easy it would be to construct an Afghan democracy, with too much emphasis placed on the opinions of educated Afghan dissidents and exiles. A concerted positive post-war effort in Afghanistan could have yielded a true success; neglect is threatening to turn it into failure. You’ll like the next day’s blog, Sept. 27, 2006, "The Rise and Fall of Great Powers."

Note: I was noticing something you were not. That should get you to maybe take seriously the possibility that I’m well informed on this and not just dismiss what I say because you don’t like it.

Finally November 29, 2006 (scroll to the last entry) "Losing Afghanistan" I point out how even Pakistan’s foreign minister noted the Taliban was winning. This was over a year ago. Again, this isn’t new!

I don’t think it is in the national interest of the EU or the US to pay the price necessary to get total victory in Afghanistan. That might have been possible given intense effort from 2001 to 2005 or so, but Iraq drained resources away. Would we have succeeded had we focused on Afghanistan? I don’t know, the country tends to be a slayer of powers trying to control it. But at this point, I think it has to be left to the Afghans, with any international effort being through the UN.

By the way, I think our exchange reflects the fact that as a specialist in European foreign policy, I think like a European on these issues. You think in a typical American mindset. Our apparent talking past each other is an example of why NATO ultimately is obsolete, the Europeans and Americans see different worlds. The Europeans in general see the US in decline, the EU as rising, and have redefined their security and economic interests to include China, Russia, and other parts of the world. The US is still useful as a friend and fellow democracy, but nothing like the Cold War.

They believe that during the Cold War they paid a tremendous price by having their land the primary likely battleground and staging area, and that US policy was driven by American interests, not a desire to ’help Europe.’ Many if not most Europeans believe that after the late sixties, a Soviet invasion of Europe was extremely unlikely, and by the eighties they feared America starting a war that would destroy Europe as much if not more than the Soviets invading. The Cold War is almost two decades in the past, but American thinking still seems to think the Europeans rely on the US for defense. They don’t. In fact, if you take away the American military, Europe’s militaries are the best trained and most effective on the planet. They don’t need the US for protection, they don’t feel they owe a debt to the US. They are willing to work with the US on issues of common concern, but think the US has a misguided belief in the efficacy and morality of military intervention, and in fact Iraq is teaching the US a needed lesson in humility.

Insults aside, the reality is we’re viewing the world from two very different perspectives. (To be sure, there is vast diversity of opinion in both Europe and the US) In time, reality will make clear which of us was closer to the mark.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I think like a European on these issues
Well, that says it all then.
I understand seeing things from another perspective.
There’s a difference between seeing them from another perspective, and believing that other perspective to the point where you start to sound as if you loathe your own country.

You continue to place the burden for success in Afghanistan on the United States, in an effort that was supposed to be shared. And you have no problem doing so. If my neighbor asks me to help mend his fence, and I and my 3 sons come over to help, that doesn’t mean I think it’s okay for him to sit on his @ss and supervise while ’my family’ fixes his problem. And when my sons leave to do something else, that doesn’t mean his fence not being done should become OUR problem, even if we feel an obligation to complete the task we’ve undertaken in good faith to help him. Maybe with your European perspective that looks like an acceptable demonstration of a co-operative effort.

Europe on the rise...Europe has at least as many 800 lb gorillas in their collective living room as we do.
Declines in productivity, declines in indigenous population birth rates, skyrocketed social program costs, meaningless government regulation up the wazoo, and, military forces that their governments think are only suitable for jobs as palace guards. Their approach to terrorism for years has been essentially the same as their approach to weather control, "you can’t control it, just learn to live with it". They have a long long long tradition of putting up with, kowtowing to, and bribing, pirates.
That might have been possible given intense effort from 2001 to 2005 or so, but Iraq drained resources away
Right there, all summed up, it was NEVER a co-operative effort, and you never expected it to be, because you’re attributing the re-direction of our ’declining’, ’ineffective’ military assets from Afghanistan to Iraq as the proximate cause of failure in Afghanistan.
But those of us who understand what co-operation is really supposed to mean recognize that Afghanistan is not just our problem, it’s their problem too. But they, and you, seem to think it’s a problem the US ought to bear responsibility for.
It’s on the other side of the world from us, why should we care? But we do, and they don’t, until it interferes with their lives.
Nothing, not one thing, you said changes the fact that they agreed to work with us in Afghanistan, and have not held up their end of ’fixing the fence’.
They believe that during the Cold War they paid a tremendous price by having their land the primary likely battleground and staging area, and that US policy was driven by American interests, not a desire to ’help Europe.’
Yeah, let’s go ask the East Germans, Czechs, Poles, etc, what price Western Europe would have paid for a Soviet occupation. Let’s pretend that it was the fear of the French Army, or the Bundeswehr that kept the Russians from coming through the Fulda Gap. Let’s pretend the US didn’t spend dime one to provide a shield for them for 40 years to build up their countries so they didn’t look like the wasteland Eastern Europe was under Soviet occupation.
And those Russians, yes, let’s cozy up to the people who are beginning to look back fondly on the days of the Soviet empire under Stalin.
How nice when you can ignore the facts of history and sit 60 years later boasting the outcome would have been the same even if the Americans had packed up after 1945 and gone back to North America.
What people like you, and them, ’think’ and what probably would have ’been’ are two completely different things.
Don’t whine to me about Europe, they weren’t strategic nuke targets, we were, on their behalf. The Russians wouldn’t have bothered to radiate what they could easily have overrun.

For the record, I’ve been talking about Euro’s from the continent. I don’t consider the Brits to be Europeans in the sense I’ve been speaking of here. Usually they’re the only ally we can count on.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Europe’s militaries are the best trained and most effective on the planet
I’m sorry, I missed this statement amidsts all the other clutter in your last transmission.

Well, that’s, um, an interesting, and I agree, quite obviously European point of view. Effective at what, exactly?
You genuinely believe this statement don’t you.

And ’insults’ aside, I think you honestly do believe the things you write, so the only one implying any insult with statements about dishonesty, was you.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
looker asks Boris Erb:
You genuinely believe this statement don’t you.
Well, that depends on what you mean by "genuinely," "believe," "statement," "don’t" and "you."

Reality, you see, is a social construct, and Boris’s words are merely part of a probabilistic quantum field that takes on new meanings faster than Boris can change his own "positions." So, your question is vague, and full of bluster, and I think you’re lying, and your insults have no sting. And the United States is to blame, and it’s in steep, steep decline. There’s a crisis of capitalism coming, with the dollar weak, Iraq a disaster, and the Euro (and the Euros, themselves) on the rise. That’s why they should leave Afghanistan, because Americans left it in their hands.

Erb has more at his blog.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
I understand seeing things from another perspective.
Back in grad school we used to have some raucous Friday night happy hours, which included a conservative Republican, a libertarian, a couple neo-Marxists, a couple post-modernists, a few liberal Democrats, and others. As we debated, sometimes people were yelling at each other, accusing each other...and then, when the debate ended, went out for dinner. The idea that it was "different perspectives" was assumed — each person argued their perspectives. And it got heated. But there was also eye contact, also contact outside of that particular context, body language, and a give and take that allowed people to quickly say "OK, you have a point there, but..."

Here on the internet it’s all down in words. No body language or other contexts to compare to, so people imagine how the words are meant. And they seem far more serious here. If someone had said, "oh, that’s a dishonest statement..." in a real debate, it would have quickly been forgotten or matched and then forgotten. Here the word is out there, it’s "the record." Moreover, people tend to see their own words as being softer and more reasonable than they are read by others, and vice-versa.

The result: a heated debate turns personal, and on internet debates it quickly happens that people start personally disliking those with whom they disagree (even while liking or excusing the behavior of those with whom they agree). So yeah, it’s perspective, it’s a debate, but it’s not personal and I certainly don’t assume I’m right. I argue my perspective to the best I can, then listen to the counter arguments and decide if they are very strong and warrant my rethinking my perspective. That is why I was exacerbated when talking about American decline — you ridiculed it and got angry about it (it seemed to me), but you didn’t even touch my argument on why I thought it was happening. Therefore, you gave me no reason to rethink my position — and it seemed to me you weren’t giving much reason to accept yours.

Everyone knows of and knew of Europe’s stretched out military commitments when the US asked NATO to play the lead role in Afghanistan. The shift was out of necessity, the US could not afford leading two wars. But the Europeans doubt (correctly, I believe) that it’s in their interest to expand the effort in Afghanistan. I don’t think too many people would deny that the US shifted attention from one war to another, and thus Afghanistan has not gotten the resources or attention it would have otherwise gotten.

Yeah, let’s go ask the East Germans, Czechs, Poles, etc, what price Western Europe would have paid for a Soviet occupation
The Soviets didn’t have the capacity to occupy western Europe. By the eighties, they couldn’t even take Afghanistan. They got to occupy the East because their troops were there after defeating Hitler. But the idea they could or would see it in their interest to try to take over the West would be irrational. Right after the war the Soviets were reeling from the cost of defeating Hitler, more conquest against hostile forces would have been difficult, and after Europe started to rejuvenate, esp. after German rearmament, the cost became very high. So I don’t thinkt he Soviets were much of a threat to western Europe, especially from the mid-sixties on.

There is no evidence that the Soviets could have or had motivation for more conquest. What you can imagine might possibly happen isn’t enough to counter the Cold War documents (now including many from the Soviet side) so suggest that wasn’t credible. And by the mid-eighties, virtually impossible to imagine.

Oh, and you must have missed all the talk about "winnable nuclear wars" limited to the "European theater." That’s what motivated the European peace movements in the early eighties, they feared that some conflict somewhere else would lead the US and Soviets to a war that would inevitably destroy Europe because that’s where most of the weapons were. And the idea that the Soviets could easily overrun western Europe is simply false. Their conventional superiority relied on unreliable Warsaw pact allies, and they could not have held or controlled the population of western Europe — look at the problems we’re having with tiny Iraq!

Oh, are you doubting that the European militaries are second to the US in training, technology and capacity? Who would you put ahead of them. China? (Lots of weaknesses in China’s military, I don’t think they can compare, though in numbers they are the closest). Russia’s military has been weakened considerably. So if you doubt that, please let me know who would say is ahead of Europe, other than the US. Canada?

Yet that’s all history now. There will be different perspectives, different arguments. Clearly states base their current foreign policies on national interest, and the Europeans read those issues differently than the Americans, and thus take different foreign policy positions. That’s how it has to be.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Oh, are you doubting that the European militaries are second to the US in training, technology and capacity?
Nope, due to present circumstances where we have combat experienced men? I think pound to pound we’d defeat them in battle.

I’m assuming you mean do I think, not do I doubt.
Firstly, their relative size is a ’capacity’ limitation. I wouldn’t expect, say, the Dutch, or the Belgians to have a huge army, even if we weren’t present in Europe. If they did, their neighbors ought to be a little alarmed.

Do I think they have good troops, sure, I’m sure they have some units that are pretty good. I’m sure they have units that couldn’t pour piss out of a boot with the instructions written on the heel too.

But here’s your statement -
Europe’s militaries are the best trained and most effective on the planet
Best trained, most effective, on the planet. Unless best and most both have changed meanings you’ve posited they are the best, that means, um, the best. #1, top, head of the class.
Most, that means, um, the #1, top, head of the class.
You said it, not me.
You didn’t say there were on par with ours, you said they were the best and most. That would mean better than ours.

There’s no other way to interpret that, hence my bothering to mention it.

As to the other various proof’s that the Soviets couldn’t, etc. Great, as I said, here you are, 60 years later demonstrating in retrospect they probably couldn’t. And Wellington, the man never defeated by Napoleon, defeator of Napoleon, considered a genius in war, swore up and down that Winfield Scott had committed a collusal blunder in invading Mexico, cutting himself off from his base of supply at the coast and marching on Mexico city.
Scott succeeded and Wellington’s analysis was wrong. Even historically looking at it the same conclusion might be reached, that Scott was doomed.
Yet.

So a historical analysis of Soviet strength might have indicated they would have failed in an attempt to conquer and occupy all of the European plain north of say, the Alps. And history has demonstrated that Hitler ought not to have been able to engage the Russians and drive them back to Moscow either, but he did.
So, you can ’show’ historically the Russians wouldn’t be able to do it, but I sure as hell would bet that Stalin might have been willing to try to grab a bit more, say, up to the Rhine, if there hadn’t been an American presence to restrain him.

This is an argument we’ve had before, you continue to confuse the ability to take and hold ground from a military perspective with the ability to successfully and peacefully reconstruct something from the rubble afterwards.
The Soviets didn’t give a rat’s @ss about reconstructing conquered territory.
In fact, they had a habit of denuding ’civilized’ aspects of conquered countries to ship those aspects back home to the Motherland.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Boris Erb tries:
Here on the internet it’s all down in words. No body language or other contexts to compare to, so people imagine how the words are meant.
You mean like in books, Boris?

Or in newspapers?

Or from the telly?

Do you seriously think that anyone believes that your body language could help you? Seriously, get yourself a psychiatrist.

And you’re not engaging in a college bar bull session, where there is quick forgiveness for being an idiot. You’ve been part of various fora online for over a decade.

When you come up the big loser, first you blame your interlocuter, then you blame the forum, then you blame the internet.

I have a serious question for you, Boris: Are you actually a human being, or are you an android?
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Just read through all these comments... could be experiencing the first signs of a stroke... Scott Erb!!!! Damn you! I read and read your comments, and shake my head.

Scott - how do you get from -
Europe’s militaries are the best trained and most effective on the planet
To
Oh, are you doubting that the European militaries are second to the US in training, technology and capacity?
Oh wait, in your world, logic ceases to exist. Never mind.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Looker, no time to answer your whole post now, but you quoted me only partially. Here is my full statement:

In fact, if you take away the American military, Europe’s militaries are the best trained and most effective on the planet.

Now, I could accuse you of being intentionally dishonest, and taking only part of a sentence, quoting it, and then trying to claim that I said Europe’s militay was better than ours — when the full quote clearly shows otherwise. But I think it’s another example of how easy miscommunication can be in this kind of discussion.

I’ll try to get to the rest of your post later tonight.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Wow, even meagain not only misquotes me by leaving off the "if you take away the American military," but uses that to insult me. You guys, read more carefully!
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
About Boris Erb’s claim:
In fact, if you take away the American military, Europe’s militaries are the best trained and most effective on the planet.
Nonsense.

The IDF, pound for pound, is the best trained and most battle-hardened military after the U.S.

When they kicked the crap out of Hezbollah a year and half ago, you were as always deriding them and pulling for the terrorists. But they weren’t the one’s screaming for a cease-fire.

I don’t know much about the Chinese military, but I’m sure it would just laugh at the Europeans.

So, your comment is just your usual gibberish. You’re a simpy Europhile. Is someone supposed to be surprised by that? But what you really take to best is European anti-Americanism, that’s what really excites you.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/

This is an argument we’ve had before, you continue to confuse the ability to take and hold ground from a military perspective with the ability to successfully and peacefully reconstruct something from the rubble afterwards.
Since most of your post was apparently a misunderstanding of my claim about Europe’s military, there isn’t a lot I guess I need to respond to. My analysis on Soviet capacity involves holding or maintaining control, not reconstructing something from the rubble. In the Cold War histories that have come out since Soviet era documents became open, there wasn’t any serious thought in the USSR to actual attempts to conquer the West. The only thing that came close was contingency plans should Germany rise again.

The thing about foreign policy analysis is not to conflate what is possible with what is probable. In any event, by the seventies Europe had recovered from WWII. NATO should have been disbanded then due to the inability of extended deterrence to operate effectively, assuring differences like the crises within NATO in the early 80s. By the late eighties Europeans trusted Gorbachev more than Reagan. I think the organization is obsolete, Europe can take care of itself, and its interests are not as much in line with American interests as in the past.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Oh, and looker, more on America’s decline.

This was an interesting snippet:
This is a credit-card war. Americans will be paying Chinese banks for years after George W Bush has left office. Even though the current war costs about 1 per cent of America’s annual $13,247bn GDP (Vietnam represented about 9 per cent), it is difficult not to see a perfectly plotted story line in this. America, the only superpower of the moment, is financed by its chief competitor in a prolonged exercise of distraction that absorbs a huge amount of money and much of its policy making and diplomatic energies. At the same time, the very nature of that distraction weakens US influence all over the world.
It’s definitely a new world.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider