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

 
Al Qaeda are barbarians (with update)
Posted by: Billy Hollis on Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Insurgents in Iraq detonated an explosives-rigged vehicle with two children in the back seat after US soldiers let it through a Baghdad checkpoint over the weekend, a senior US military official said Tuesday.
For the anti-war contingent, it's worth pondering that an immediate US pullout would probably eventually lead to barbarians such as these in control of Iraq. And perhaps eventually Afghanistan, Pakistan, maybe Turkey...

I presume you anti-war folks think there are benefits to an Iraq pullout that would balance such costs. Someday I hope to hear a coherent explanation of exactly what those benefits are. I'm obviously not going to get it from the Democrats in Congress. Perhaps some of our readers can help me out.

Update 5:00 PM CST 21 March, 2007

As a follow on, I just this moment ran across this, in which someone described as "perhaps the most prolific liberal writer in the Arab world" discusses what he expects to happen if the US pulls out of Iraq by 2009:
I predict that if such a premature American withdrawal from Iraq takes place in 2009, before 2015 Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Yemen, Iran, Afghanistan & Pakistan (at least) will be in the hands of radical Islamists with at least two nuclear powers among these countries.
For those who are convinced that our withdrawal will somehow reduce the violence, I'd be interested in how you would respond to this gentleman.
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
I would presume there would be more of these atrocities if we pull out. The experience in the former Yugoslavia shows with out outside security, there is nothing to prevent genocide, ethnic cleansing, and an increase in violence. I believe without the American presence, Iraq would disintegrate into a real civil war pitting ethnic and tribal enemies against each other, in a large scale replay of “The Hatfields and The McCoys.”
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
Cindy Sheehan’s beloved "freedom fighters" at work. Momma Sheehan must be so proud..

Damned butchers.
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
We provoke more violence than we prevent.

Simple enough for you?


 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
For the anti-war contingent, it’s worth pondering that an immediate US pullout would probably eventually lead to barbarians such as these in control of Iraq.

So Al-Quieda’s going to control Iraq’s government once we leave? Can I get you on record for that?

Or wait, if not, therefore what you suggest is not true, right? The people doing these attacks aren’t going to be running the country, exactly after all, huh? Sure, they might be cozy with it, but the Iraqi legislature is full of Sunnis who are merely cozy with, or passively approving, of this stuff already. We’re negotiating with tribal shieks in Anbar who have probably lent their people to stuff like this on the downlow in years past. We’re in bed with it, all of it.

When Gen. Petraeus, the guy leading the surge that you all are yammering at democrats for undermining, says, "there is no military solution to this problem", and "we are only buying time for a political solution", that’s code. It means people with dirty hands, like this, are going to walk free.

For the anti-war contingent, it’s worth pondering that an immediate US pullout would probably eventually lead to barbarians such as these in control of Iraq.

Right. So now that we’re here, the Iraqis in charge of Iraq right now are not, therefore, "barbarians"? You know, the kind of people that run death squads that cleanse vast swathes of Baghdad of all males from the religious sub-group from which the current children bombers are coming from?

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
We provoke more violence than we prevent.
Bovine Scatology.

What was the death rate in Iraq during the Hussein reign of terror? As great as or greater than the death rate today. Don’t forget the “Rape Rooms,” “Torture Chambers” and arbitrary “Executions” that took place during the Dictators rule. The Kurds will remind you of men women and children killed by poison gas at Saddam’s command. Iraq was not a garden of Eden before the invasion, you can’t expect a centuries long history of religious and a tribal bloodshed to end, just because one regime is replaced by another.

The removal of the Baathist regime will not stop the killing overnight. It does give the region a possibility, however slight, of becoming civilized, or at least not killing others because their religious believe or tribes are different.

These people are for the most part being killed by other Iraqi’s, had we not become involved they still would be killed by other Iraqi’s, but under the orders of Saddam Hussein. Under Hussein, the killings were organized by the state. Now they are organized by Mullah’s and Tribal Chiefs.

 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
Reminds me of Pizarro’s troops baptizing babies and then killing them - hey, they go straight to heaven! I am sure the Iraqi car bomber thinks the same thing.

"We provoke more violence than we prevent."

Risible.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
We provoke more violence than we prevent.
So that whole "Islamic State of Iraq" thing al Qaeda is starting is just to get us to leave? It’s not to try to control Iraq?

You know they have stated pretty clearly their regional Caliphal goals and us leaving is the first step in achieving them, not the goal, but the first step.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
I would be remiss if I take Erb on regarding some of his remarks and ask him to back them up and let "Glasnost" off the hook.

So, with that being said and to show everyone that I am an equal opportunity critic, Glasnost back up your statement, "We provoke more violence than we prevent." That is, if you can. If this is just your opinion, then so state that. Just like a**holes, we’ve all got opinions. And don’t just use the opinion of others to back up your own - don’t work that way. Show us your real debating skills and back up your statements.


 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Here is the benefit: We can feel good about ourselves again. Just like we did after Vietnam and the resulting genocide in Southeast Asia.

And when we are 80 years old, we can go out and protest another war against totalitarians. Vietnam = Iraq = ???. We can find our youth, wear our tie-dyes and slap on the puchulte oil. "We shall over come...." And show our true devotion to human freedom and liberty yet again.

Will you wingnut idiots ever get it? We show our true colors in the light of day and you repug morons still trust us!
 
Written By: Hypothetical Leftist
URL: http://
Hypo Left you bring up a point that makes me laugh at all the Iraq = Vietnam comments people make. It only proves their actual ignorance on the subject. If Iraq = Vietnam than we should DEFINITELY not leave without being sure things are done and stable. I would bet 9 out of 10 people who espouse the comment that Iraq = Vietnam would only have 1 thing to say about why they believe it. Something to the effect of "blah blah blah, quagmire, blah blah, not winning" The funny part is that Iraq WILL = Vietnam if we leave now right before things are finished. They see the connections, yet plan to MAKE THE EXACT SAME MISTAKE! Its ignorance, and its sad, even more sad is that those in charge like to do it as well.
 
Written By: josh b
URL: http://www.the-schragnasher.com
We provoke more violence than we prevent
What a load of cr*p.

Honestly, I don’t really believe that anything more is needed to respond to this.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
So Al-Quieda’s going to control Iraq’s government once we leave? Can I get you on record for that?
McQ said AQ would control the country, not the government. Did you intentionally confuse the two? You can control a contry militarily without ever touching the government. And if you think that AQ won’t continue its terror campaign after the US leaves, then you haven’t thought through this enough.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
Billy I think you drew blood from glasnost. I do believe that he is sputtering while writing that response.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
You know they have stated pretty clearly their regional Caliphal goals and us leaving is the first step in achieving them, not the goal, but the first step.
Actually the first step was drawing us into a place like Iraq - Bush happily obliged.
 
Written By: Ugh
URL: http://
We provoke more violence than we prevent.
As we all know, ethnic cleansing can only occur when we’re present, or....can only be noticed if the media is there to see it, and of course the media is only there because we’re there, and it’s safer for them to be there when we’re there, so thank God we’re there so they can have some daily blood to lead with.

Most other massacres and violence, well, we like to get that news later, much later, after it’s happened later, when they discover the mass graves later, after civilization returns to some hell hole later, you know, the same way we found out about the mass graves, rape rooms, etc in Iraq after Saddam fell.

Yep, we’re provoking violence, and we cause more than we prevent. If it weren’t for us being there, those bombers wouldn’t have been forced, FORCED! to use a couple of kids to demonstrate their manly, brave, heroic prowess.

One would have thought the facts of the case were bad enough, but alas, no, in addition to the facts, we discover we actually caused it.
Yeah, it’s all us, we cause it, all of it, all the time.
If only we’d listen to the voices crying in the wilderness.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
glasnost, I’d answer your comments in detail if I understood them.

I’ll make a short try based on what I think you’re driving at. First, I said that if we pulled out right away, Al Qaeda would *probably* end up controlling the country (not necessarily the government, as Steverino pointed out). If we stay until the government becomes strong and stable enough, and we’ve eroded enough Al Qaeda elements, then Iraq has a much better chance of being an open and stable society.

That also gives Afghanistan more time to travel the same path, because Al Qaeda’s efforts are fungible to some extent. If they succeed in Iraq, I believe they will turn their sights on Afghanistan next, in the attempt to deny us any success in the Middle East at all. Since various Al Qaeda spokesman have said the same thing, I don’t think that’s much of a stretch, so I wouldn’t expect you to disagree.

And you’ve still dodged the question asked in the original post. What are the likely benefits of a pullout? Do they justify the likely costs?

Pointing to others who are semi-barbaric to excuse real barbarians is not much of a defense of your position, as far as I’m concerned. Most of the rest of the folks around here don’t seem too impressed by it either. I don’t like the death squads, and I’m hoping to eventually see them eliminated. And, for what it’s worth, the death squads mostly want us to leave as well, so that they can more easily go about their business. In essence, you’re backing a position (a US pullout) that *both* sets of barbarians would agree with.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, is it still America’s fault?
 
Written By: Josh
URL: http://
We provoke more violence than we prevent.
I agree with Glasnost. What do you expect when brown-skinned third world noble savages are deprived of their humanity by Imperialist Zionists occupiers? Wouldn’t you murder your own children if faced with the same situation? To me this travesty simply demonstrates the villainy and racism of the Bush administration.

Just ask this guy I saw at the SF protest the other day. Zombietime took a photo of him and put it on his page here. He is in the 4th picture down, wearing that stylish straw Panama hat. He sums up the whole thing quite brilliantly. Was that you, Glasnost?

 
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
URL: http://www.warning1938alert.ytmnd.com
Ugh is correct. Bush’s biggest mistake was trusting the Left and media to do the right thing and not subvert the war from the start. Oops.
 
Written By: L
URL: http://
Of course it is, Josh. It was the lousy Americans who enticed people out of the woods with those crazy movies and reality TV shows they make people watch. And the Americans also chopped down the tree to feed their insatiable demand for paper.

Wait, that would mean somebody WAS there to hear the tree fall...

Look! Global Warming!
 
Written By: Wacky Hermit
URL: http://organicbabyfarm.blogspot.com
The bill has not been reported out of committee yet. Just looked on THOMAS and no joy, so we really don’t know the extent of the pork rolled into the bill and/or how much of the true intent of the bill has been deleted to pay for the pork.
 
Written By: member of the military/industrial complex
URL: http://
Bush’s biggest mistake was trusting the Left and media to do the right thing and not subvert the war from the start. Oops.
Right, cause if the media and the Left focused only on the good news coming out of Iraq, the insurgents and al Qaeda would have eventually decided "you know, we really don’t mind over 100,000 heavily armed troops of the ’Great Satan’ marching around an Arab country. Let’s be friends/go home."
 
Written By: Ugh
URL: http://
Ugh: Nope, the end result will be a retreat from Iraq and a bloodbath. Bush should have forseen that the Left and media would betray the people of Iraq. Shame on him for being stupid and naive. And a bigger shame on the Left and media.
 
Written By: L
URL: http://
Thanks for a civil response, Billy.

What are the likely benefits of a pullout?

I thought the phrase "we provoke more violence than we prevent" clearly indicated the correlated belief that pulling out would lead to a reduction in violence.

Of course, we know this isn’t true, because a lot of people shout at us that it isn’t.

This has nothing to do with the U.S. What it has to do with is a very simple rule that civil wars are rarely improved by the presence of foreign armies on one side or the other. Nope. They’re not. In fact, they’re vastly more often wildly expanded.

It takes a special sort of brain to see four years of US presence correlate with four years of steadily escalating violence, and then when people suggest that removing one of the correlating factors might alleviate the other one, that you’re insane.

But anyway, regardless of whether the reasons for pulling out are correct or not, you wanted to know what they were. That’s what they are. Whether they’re correct or not is a separate issue, but that’s the case. It’s hardly an immoral one.

I’ll make a short try based on what I think you’re driving at. First, I said that if we pulled out right away, Al Qaeda would *probably* end up controlling the country (not necessarily the government, as Steverino pointed out). If we stay until the government becomes strong and stable enough, and we’ve eroded enough Al Qaeda elements, then Iraq has a much better chance of being an open and stable society.

I don’t agree. I don’t agree that Al Qaeda would end up controlling the country. I don’t think it would end up controlling the government, and it’s pretty clear that Al-Queda’s priority in Iraq is massacreing Shiites. I expect that the Shiites would hang Al-Quieda out to dry, especially in terms of any organized official power structure.

Of course, this raises the idea of a vastly expanded civil war when we leave: which is just that, an idea. Since large numbers of people are fighting on the self-declared condition of "until the Americans leave", I do - not - agree - that us leaving will result in an expanded civil war. I think us leaving would result in a deal being worked out that could quite easily involve handing Al-Queida over to be wiped out.

Now, it’s possible that some Al-Queda presence in Iraq in some form could survive, which is why we need some troop presence in the area to rub out anyone planning attacks on the US. That’s a vastly different mission than the current one: which brings us to No.2:

and we’ve eroded enough Al Qaeda elements, then Iraq has a much better chance of being an open and stable society

I don’t see us eroding Al Qaeda. I see us providing them a superb opportunity for institutional growth. A lot of smart professionals feel similarly. Like, the CIA. And practically every other genuine professional analyst in the world.

Pointing to others who are semi-barbaric to excuse real barbarians is not much of a defense of your position, as far as I’m concerned.

It’s not just "pointing to others", it’s getting the message across that the idea of punishing all the evildoers until they’re gone and the good guys win is a fantasy. Real civil wars don’t end that way. People with blood on their hands walk away free. Sometimes just the lower-level guys: sometimes the higher-level ones as well. Wars don’t end with the total annihilation of all the "bad guys". The US civil war didn’t end that way, the Lebanese-Hizballah war of last year didn’t, couldn’t, and wouldn’t end that way. When the circumstances are right, no one in this room bats an eye when bloody hands walk free. (Ayad Allawi? Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim, head of SCIRI?) It’s all contextual.

There’s an imaginary gap you’re proposing, Billy, between an imaginary path where everyone with ######## blood on their hands is punished for it, and one where we let ######## butchers walk away free, and my point is that it’s not real. We’ll be letting butchers walk away free regardless. The Bush Admin’s plan endorses it as well as the opposition. It’s just a question of which ones and how many. So we can get past the moral basics in isolation and get to the real moral question: what course of action is most likely to result in less loss of ######## life?

I don’t disrespect people who think that staying in Iraq prevents further ######## death, and therefore we should do it. It could even be said as a morally noble goal. I just think they’re wrong: that they are not and will not achieve their goals.



 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
So, if we pull out is al-Qaeda in Iraq going to pull out???

Because they are causing a large portion of the bloodshed.
A lot of smart professionals feel similarly. Like, the CIA
Isn’t that an oxymoron.

Do you mean the CIA that thought it was a slamdunk that Saddam had WMD??? And missed so many other international developments over the decades???
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
Oh, and how about that our presence and the surge have made possible such bold actions as this...

http://www.pajamasmedia.com/2007/03/flash_iraqi_tribes_battle_alqu.php
The Al-bu Issa tribes in Amiriyat al-Fallujah, backed by local police and the MNF, clashed today with members of the al-Qaeda linked “Islamic State in Iraq” terror organization, according to al-Hurra TV.

The tribe involved in the clashes has opposed al-Qaeda for months now and is part of the Awakening Council

The battles that are still ongoing have so far left 39 terrorists killed including the “ministers of oil and war” of the terror organization. Six policemen and 11 tribal fighters were also killed during the fighting.

The report adds that US troops found and securely detonated a tanker filled with chlorine gas the terrorists were planning to use in chemical attacks on the area.

Meanwhile, a police force of 500, conducting raids in northern and central parts of Ramadi, captured weapons and bomb-making material, and arrested dozens of suspects.

Tracking….

UPDATE: More on the tribes involved — “These tribes have been sending thousands of young men to join the government security forces or their paramilitary units to cooperate with US and Iraqi commanders to fight insurgents.”
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com/
Apparently, anti-war protests radicalize muslims and provoke violence. From the WAPO:
"Seeing non-Muslims speaking out and protesting against the war made me think I should do something stronger," he said.

He said he and Omar first discussed the idea of a bomb hoax around September 2004.

"He said, ’What if we do something that would stand out,’ " Ibrahim said. "Something like fireworks or firecrackers, something that would make noise and cause panic."
 
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
URL: http://www.warning1938alert.ytmnd.com
A lot of smart professionals feel similarly. Like, the CIA. And practically every other genuine professional analyst in the world.
That is just false Glasnost. The CIA has not endorsed the idea that leaving Iraq would lead to a diminution of Al Qaeda’s power, and has explicitly warned that us leaving would result in a bloodier mess.

As for "genuine" professional analysts, most do not subscribe to that belief either, though a few do. Many believe Iraq was a mistake or that we should leave despite those two issues, but not because they believe either of those two claims.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
I will say Glasnost, that I agree that Al Qaeda would likely lose out to Shia death squads. It is at this point, due to US pressure, a pretty pitiful bunch. If the militia’s lay low (I still do not understand why that is such a black mark in your book) I suspect the US will be able to reduce them even further, though they will always be able to launch the occasional attack.

If we do leave, Al Qaeda will grow in power at first, as the Sunni’s turn to them and bloodshed goes through the roof. Eventually though the Shia will accomplish reducing them to a rump force as well. Lots of blood will spill first though, and we might get to see what 600,000 dead really looks like.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Well of course AQ would leave Iraq... They want to kill us, and we’re close there. If we leave, they’d go find other hunting ground... Like America...
 
Written By: Scott
URL: http://
And missed so many other international developments over the decades???
Yeah. Picture this one.
"Yes, this is the East German desk."

pause

"The Berlin Wall did what?"
Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
I just think they’re wrong: that they are not and will not achieve their goals.
The implication is, therefore, that if some hard metrics appear, such as reduction in violence over a signficant span of time, then you would be willing to reconsider. No?
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Do you mean the CIA that thought it was a slamdunk that Saddam had WMD???

Come on, Keith. The CIA never thought that at the ground level. They were bulldozed by their supervisors, political appointees at the top, and the Office of Special Plans in the DoD into putting their stamp on questionable facts, and then muzzled as to the implications of those facts. That much has been clear, simply from listening to people who have left the agency, in combination with the institutional methodology of how the wrongest statements occured.

If we do leave, Al Qaeda will grow in power at first, as the Sunni’s turn to them and bloodshed goes through the roof. Eventually though the Shia will accomplish reducing them to a rump force as well. Lots of blood will spill first though, and we might get to see what 600,000 dead really looks like.

See, Lance, this is speculation. You’re entitled to it. Go ahead. But other people can speculate differently as to what would happen. And that’s why people who think we should leave, think we should, in fact, leave: because they don’t agree on what would happen.

I personally think that the Sunnis and Shiites would work something out if we left, and the Sunnis would sell AQ down the river. They only put up with them for the shared purpose of killing Americans, the Sunnis for specific goals and AQ for universalist ones. And thus, violence would decline.

The implication is, therefore, that if some hard metrics appear, such as reduction in violence over a signficant span of time, then you would be willing to reconsider. No?

Well, it depends on what I’d be reconsidering. I’d be glad that the violence was reduced, and I’d consider it an accomplishment. But if I thought that the evacuation of troops would reduce violence even further than current reductions, I’d still advocate for it.








 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
I personally think that the Sunnis and Shiites would work something out if we left, and the Sunnis would sell AQ down the river. They only put up with them for the shared purpose of killing Americans,
yeah, that car bomb in the market with the two kids, yeah, that
was done to kill Americans, good thinking there.

The Mosque bombings, yep, you’re right, targeting Americans.

The police recruiting station bombings, yep, targeting Americans.





 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Come on, Keith. The CIA never thought that at the ground level. They were bulldozed by their supervisors, political appointees at the top, and the Office of Special Plans in the DoD into putting their stamp on questionable facts, and then muzzled as to the implications of those facts.
This is the false line of reasoning that is used by the opponents of the war. In fact prior to the invasion every intelligence agency of note in the world thought Iraq had WMD. The British, French, German, Russian and other intelligence services reported Iraq had WMD. Were they “bulldozed” by the Bush administration? I think not. Egypt warned the administration to expect chemical attacks prior to the invasion. Hillary Clinton said, Bush the elder, her husband and Bush the younger all had intelligence that Saddam had chemical and biological weapons.

Intelligence is rarely completely correct. A good example is the Cuban missile crisis. Only now have we found out there were more than one hundred tactical nuclear weapons in Cuba ready for use if we invaded.

The unreliability of intelligence is why we have the phrase “Fog of war.”
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
But if I thought that the evacuation of troops would reduce violence even further than current reductions, I’d still advocate for it.
Well, that sounds a bit like a "heads I win, tails you lose" proposition. If the violence increases, you say "We’re causing it and we should get out." If it decreases, you can say "It would decrease even more if we left."

Both positions have the assumption that we are somehow the proximate cause of the violence, and therefore the violence would decrease if we left. As best as I can tell, there is not a shred of evidence to support that point of view. It is, in my mind, somewhere between an opinion and wishful thinking.

Certainly, if our best guidance is Vietnam, then the opposite happened. Millions died, not just in Vietnam, but also in neighboring countries caught up in the same struggle (mainly Cambodia).

We left Beirut - the violence continued. We left Iran - the violence continued, and we’re now contending with Iranian backed violence in neighboring countries.

On the other hand, we went into Kuwait, and still have a presence there. They are in the middle of an economic boom. No violence to speak of. (I talked to a Kuwaiti last week about that, and have a post on it that I need to finish.) We protected the Kurds - the result is a relatively peaceful society making significant strides towards openness. In Afghanistan, the general feeling is that we’ve given them a more stable society than many have seen in their entire lives. Violence levels are pretty much under control there.

So, glasnost, tell me again why you’re so utterly sure that our presence causes the violence. Given the stuff I just listed, why are not willing to at least give the benefit of the doubt to our Iraq effort? Yeah, it’s certainly more challenging for a variety of reasons. But this fatalism of Iraq war opponents like yourself looks completely unjustified to me.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Come on, Keith. The CIA never thought that at the ground level. They were bulldozed by their supervisors, political appointees at the top, and the Office of Special Plans in the DoD into putting their stamp on questionable facts, and then muzzled as to the implications of those facts
And yet, no investigation has been able to turn up any of this...

Interesting.
the Sunnis would sell AQ down the river.
Dude, keep up with the news, THEY ARE DOING THAT NOW, AS A RESULT OF THE SURGE. We stay in the neighborhoods, they feel comfortable giving us info on al-Qaeda and death squads. We live, we get no intel.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Luckily it will probably won’t happen, but if we leave and the situation deteriorates significantly, can I expect that you will apologize for being so contemptuous of the idea that it would be worse for the Iraqi’s? Seriously, I’ll give you a guest post. I don’t know if we will be able to salvage this thing, though some signs are positive at the moment. I am willing to bet that when we leave, if the situation isn’t markedly better, that it will take a turn for the worse. If it doesn’t, I’ll admit that I was wrong. In writing, on my blog, I’ll ask Glenn Reynolds as a personal favor to link to it.

Will the Sunnis sell Al Qaeda down the river? Maybe, but if they do it won’t mean Al Qaeda won’t cause mayhem anyway. Then throw in the Baathists, who are pretty damn vicious themselves.

Oh, and if we provoke more violence than we prevent, how come the violence is worst when we leave places or are not in force?

So, we have a deal, right?
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Well, that sounds a bit like a "heads I win, tails you lose" proposition. If the violence increases, you say "We’re causing it and we should get out." If it decreases, you can say "It would decrease even more if we left."

Yeah, see, I didn’t construct the position based on how easy it was to defend.

Both positions have the assumption that we are somehow the proximate cause of the violence, and therefore the violence would decrease if we left. As best as I can tell, there is not a shred of evidence to support that point of view. It is, in my mind, somewhere between an opinion and wishful thinking.

Yeah, sure. How about the shred of evidence that the Sunni insurgency has made a cease-fire conditional upon a U.S. withdrawal plan announcement?

Why, Billy, shouldn’t we be the proximate incentive for violence, exactly? Because we’re the nicest bunch of armed foreign soldiers dictating Iraq’s political conditions, as you could ever hope to meet? The basic parameters of our mission itself are incentive to violence.

Certainly, if our best guidance is Vietnam, then the opposite happened. Millions died, not just in Vietnam, but also in neighboring countries caught up in the same struggle (mainly Cambodia).

This is a blinkered view of the history of that war. The political extremism and evolution of the regime in Cambodia is a result of the two decades of warfare in Vietnam, and couldn’t possibly have been caused by us "leaving" Cambodia, because we never had a meaningful presence in Cambodia to begin with, just raids and bombing. Staying engaged in North Vietnam would not have stopped the Khmer Rouge, and it’s disingenuous to suggest otherwise.

As for Vietnam, we killed 1.5 million people died as a result of the war. How many people died in Vietnam as a result of political upheaval following the end of the war? By all means, quote me some stats. Vietnam is largely an example of the U.S. leaving, and the killing ending.

Beirut and Iran are not comparable circumstances. Beirut was, best case, a short-lived peacekeeping operation, and Iran was.... an embassy. Not exactly the U.S. Army engaged in a full-scale counterinsurgency op against half the country.

To go back to the beginning:

What it has to do with is a very simple rule that civil wars are rarely improved by the presence of foreign armies on one side or the other. Nope. They’re not.

Vietnam is, in fact, a great example of how the war doesn’t end until the foreigners leave. DRC Congo is another good example. Northern Ireland. The Second Lebanon war is, in fact, another good example, if you dig a little deeper (the PLO had to leave, and the Israelis had to leave, and the government Israel propped up had to collapse, and then it was bascically over). How many more shall I give here? Kashmir? Indonesia and East Timor?

Of course, in the interests of fairness, sometimes things do not, in fact, go well after foreign armies leave. See, Afghanistan and the USSR. It’s not a guarantee that a U.S. departure will end the violence. It’s just the sense of certainty that the violence will not end until sometime after we leave. That’s how the vast, overwhelming majority of a) foreign occupations by Western powers or b) foreign-assisted civil wars have played out. No serious student of modern warfare would dispute.

It’s a possibility that things will get worse after we leave. Not a guarantee, not a certainty, just a possibility. We could do a lot of things to make that less likely in the manner in which we leave, but I can’t guarantee that we will, in fact, do those things.
We’re going to have to leave at some point, the organized mass violence is not going to stop while we are there, and our continued presence only adds to the number of people dying before we can get to the part where people die in the process of the system actually stabilizing itself.

Now, Lance, if the organized mass violence actually stopped while 150,000 U.S. forces remained in the country (other than, of course, with a general truce agreement between all sides, which I also absolutely support as an alternative course of action that I don’t currently see as likely) - if we obtained a classical "victory" - now, then I will be glad to say that I didn’t expect that, and I was wrong.

A ’reduction’ in violence from catastrophic to merely terrible really isn’t enough to say that our presence is now no longer a problem.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
For those who are convinced that our withdrawal will somehow reduce the violence, I’d be interested in how you would respond to this gentleman.

Here goes: being an Arab, even an "Egyptian intellectual", doesn’t make you accurate or informed. Islamic control of a few of those countries in the next decade is a strong possibility, due to the conflict between Islamic political movements and tyrannical authoritarians in those countries, conflicts that predate the invasion of Iraq, in some cases by decades. That possibility exists absolutely regardless of US actions in Iraq. I see the guy is predicting that all of them will flip. That leads to my initial impression of him as a flake, and alarmist, and a would-be manipulator of the gullible. His predictions are very unlikely.

Care to explain how the U.S. staying in Iraq will make all those Islamic movements magically give up and dissapear? Cause we’re staying, and they ain’t dissapearing.
And we can keep staying, and some of those countries are headed towards Islamic control, regardless.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Glasnost: You have some very interesting points to make but once in a while you base you opinion on what appears to be a "self-evident" facts that slide by the reader. Cases in point:

"We provoke more violence than we prevent."

"This has nothing to do with the U.S. What it has to do with is a very simple rule that civil wars are rarely improved by the presence of foreign armies on one side or the other. Nope. They’re not. In fact, they’re vastly more often wildly expanded."

From these you were able to develop some rather convincing arguments. But I question the basics. Could you back the statements up? For the first, I do not think you can back that one up so if it is an opinion, then please so state.

For the second, I’m interested in the argument but I have to admit I cannot come up with a historical situation that mirrors your statement. You’ve rightly challenged others on their statements - please respond to mine.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Now, Lance, if the organized mass violence actually stopped while 150,000 U.S. forces remained in the country (other than, of course, with a general truce agreement between all sides, which I also absolutely support as an alternative course of action that I don’t currently see as likely) - if we obtained a classical "victory" - now, then I will be glad to say that I didn’t expect that, and I was wrong.
Not going to happen. The violence will continue after we leave, whenever we leave, though mass violence won’t happen in the best case because it isn’t happening now. If we leave with the government stable enough and benign enough (both up in the air at this point) our leaving might reduce the violence. Some Baathist and Al Qaeda elements (and therefore their Shia opponents as well) will continue on for quite a while. What we are trying to avoid by leaving is mass violence. That is not what we have now (though before the surge it was getting pretty bad in Baghdad) and the goal would be for the government to do approximately as well once we leave. No place in the Middle East (except maybe Kurdistan) will avoid violence for quite a while, whether state or stateless actor initiated.

So no, we won’t be able to stop the violence, but if the government is strong enough it could make your wildly optimistic scenario play out. If it isn’t, then deals will not be made, too many think they can win for that, and most Iraqi’s still want us to stay because they know that as well.
A ’reduction’ in violence from catastrophic to merely terrible really isn’t enough to say that our presence is now no longer a problem.
Who said our presence isn’t a problem? It is a net positive, as the citizens of Baghdad are making clear to reporters on a daily basis in Baghdad right now.

I guess that means we have no deal. I wasn’t asking about a "classic victory." I was asking that if we leave precipitously, without a political deal or a strong enough government in place, and Iraq spirals into a mess will you admit that you shouldn’t have been so contemptuous of those who warned it would likely happen. If we leave and the violence does not significantly increase I’ll say "I was wrong." My calculus is not based on a belief that we will be able to accomplish the goals outlined above. It is based on I am very sure not accomplishing those goals will be a disaster for the Iraqi people. I don’t believe being assured of success is what should drive our actions. It doesn’t have to even be likely. Some things are worth doing just because you might be able to avoid something really awful. There are other reasons, but that is a central one.

Anyway, no deal, I got it.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Glasnost is a gas-bag. Those who are requesting links to back up Glasnost statements just don’t get Glasnost. If you nail Glasnost with irrefutable links, Glasnost will (no doubt at great personal cost) scare up some links to respond. Those links will be so incredibly bad that a whole new controversy will start. Otherwise, expect more rhetoric and opinion just as in the examples in this thread. Tea houses have long featured garrulous windbags like Glasnost. If he is not your cup of tea, fine. Don’t waste time requesting links.
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
Oh, I should also point out a few problems with your argument as well.

Vietnam is, in fact, a great example of how the war doesn’t end until the foreigners leave. DRC Congo is another good example. Northern Ireland. The Second Lebanon war is, in fact, another good example, if you dig a little deeper (the PLO had to leave, and the Israelis had to leave, and the government Israel propped up had to collapse, and then it was bascically over). How many more shall I give here? Kashmir? Indonesia and East Timor?
I am not going to go into each of these cases at this point, but saying that the violence ended at some point when foreign armies left does not logically imply that leaving at any point would have accomplished the same thing. Non sequiter.

Nor are those situations analogous to this one.

You also leave out all kinds of examples where a military presence squashed violence so that we hardly mention them anymore. Say, Germany post WWII.

Finally Vietnam.
As for Vietnam, we killed 1.5 million people died as a result of the war.
We did no such thing.
Vietnam is, in fact, a great example of how the war doesn’t end until the foreigners leave.
What? The war didn’t end because of that. First, when we left we did leave a government which could control its country. The Viet Cong were a shattered remnant. Leaving at that point made sense. If it had stayed that way I would have considered it a painful, but successful venture. Whether it was worth it or not is another thing, but I don’t want to debate that.

Unfortunately it did not stop the violence with North Vietnam, which invaded twice. The first time, with our aid, they spanked the North. The second time John Kerry and his allies cut them off and they fell. Some cessation of violence.

Nor did it stop there as they killed (and the "they" is used properly there) imprisoned, and drove to their deaths hundreds of thousands more on the high seas (probably around 250,000.)

The North Vietnamese murdered approx. 1.7 million citizens. Not war dead, democidal killing. Mostly in the North (where we were not) approx. 450,000 in in Laos and Cambodia, mostly after our withdrawal.

All told, the post war era saw the regime murder around 1 million, though reasonable estimates can go over double that. So yeah, much war ended, but the killing did not. There were war dead afterward by the way, but I don’t think adding them in is necessary.


 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Beirut and Iran are not comparable circumstances. Beirut was, best case, a short-lived peacekeeping operation, and Iran was.... an embassy.
Beirut was short-lived because we got out and made no serious attempt to make the "peace-keeping" stick. That’s exactly what you wanted, right? And the violence is still going on, as Hezbollah incited a small war just a few months ago, which is still simmering.

Look, we did exactly what you would have recommended there, and the result is still open-ended killing. That’s my point - that your claim that our leaving results in less violence is not supported by the facts on the ground in the Middle East. And I have counter-examples of Kuwait and Afghanistan to show that our presence can result in a relatively peaceful outcome.

Yes, "Iran was.... an embassy." Do you realize that forcible takeover of an embassy is an act of war? Carter showed restraint that they did not deserve, and didn’t incite a "cycle of violence" as some on the left like to chant. And today, we’re trying to get that same regime to stop producing nuclear weapons and stop fomenting violence throughout the Middle East. Hard to see that our restraint reduced the violence or potential violence from Iran.
That’s how the vast, overwhelming majority of a) foreign occupations by Western powers or b) foreign-assisted civil wars have played out. No serious student of modern warfare would dispute.
Are Japan and Germany in the dark ages as far as you are concerned? And I’m not interested in "foreign occupations by Western powers", I’m interested in US examples. What the French do in Algeria doesn’t necessarily resemble what we do elsewhere.

I don’t like occupations, nor the wars the precede them. But I would like living in a perpetual security clamp-down (with the attendant erosion of liberty and increase in power of the state) a lot less. Not to mention the prospect of releasing the Middle East to chaos and the increase in probability of nuclear terrorist that results.

****

Lance, it appears glasnost has no situations under which he would reconsider his "our presence causes more violence than it stops" position. He completely blew off the counter-examples of Kuwait and Afghanistan.

I came to support the Iraq war, despite my earlier opposition to the invasion of Somalia and various other foreign interventions, because all the alternatives look worse. The potential cost of a Middle East in which we have no serious leverage is too dangerous to contemplate. We can’t do anything significant about containing nuclear terrorism in the Middle East if we have no presence there, and it is manifestly clear that if terrorists can obtain nuclear weapons they will show zero compunction about using them.

I think that’s the root difference between our position and glasnost’s. Ours is a pure cost-benefit calculation, and he doesn’t want to examine all the costs of his viewpoint. He clearly does not want to contemplate the results of potential post-pullout chaos and violence, not just in Iraq, but throughout the Middle East and the rest of the world. In a sense, I can understand that. As a libertarian, I’m generally suspicious of government wielding power, and many on the left are even more philosophically opposed to what they think of as "imperialism". Accepting the totality of bad effects from a pullout would seriously challenge such a philosophical viewpoint.

After 9/11, some of us reached the point of accepting the necessary risks and costs of foreign intervention, despite our philosophical predilictions to the contrary. But it seems that others won’t reach it until much more horrific results are visited upon us, and of course some never will. They’ll be fleeing radioactive cities chanting "we need to understand why they hate us".
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
They’ll be fleeing radioactive cities chanting "we need to understand why they hate us".
Forgot to mention that still others will "stand corrected".
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
This is a blinkered view of the history of that war. The political extremism and evolution of the regime in Cambodia is a result of the two decades of warfare in Vietnam, and couldn’t possibly have been caused by us "leaving" Cambodia, because we never had a meaningful presence in Cambodia to begin with, just raids and bombing.
The mass murder in Cambodia was an effort to avoid the obvious failure of Communism in the USSR and PRC by Pol Pot. In effect, it was a rational response to an observed problem that other revolutions had resulted in. It also shows that Pol Pot was smarter than your typical Western leftist; he recongnized the problem and had a plan to deal with it . . .

Cambodia likly fell to Pol Pot for the same reason South Vietnam fell to the North; the Americans pulling the support plug . . .
As for Vietnam, we killed 1.5 million people died as a result of the war. How many people died in Vietnam as a result of political upheaval following the end of the war? By all means, quote me some stats. Vietnam is largely an example of the U.S. leaving, and the killing ending.
Vietnam is an example of the US leaving an ally to the fate of Communist invasion. During Tet ’68 the VC were destroyed; in ’72 the North’s invasion was defeated by ARVNs supported by US air assets and material aid; Gen. Giap was canned as a result. That victory could have (and should have) been repeated in ’75, except the "Watergate" Congress pulled the plug.

Vietnam was just one battle in the Cold War, a war we won, no thanks to the likes of you.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I think that’s the root difference between our position and glasnost’s. Ours is a pure cost-benefit calculation, and he doesn’t want to examine all the costs of his viewpoint.
It is interesting that, in the other thread, he advocated using force (the law) to essentially disarm Americans (give them the "non-lethal" weapons he prefers).

He believes "violence-begits-violence", but is blind to his own proposed violence.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Beirut was short-lived because we got out and made no serious attempt to make the "peace-keeping" stick. That’s exactly what you wanted, right? And the violence is still going on, as Hezbollah incited a small war just a few months ago, which is still simmering.

Billy, for the third time, the point is:

What it has to do with is a very simple rule that civil wars are rarely improved by the presence of foreign armies on one side or the other. Nope. They’re not.

Beirut didn’t end when the US left because the Israeli army was still squatting there, attempting to pull off roughly the same thing we’re trying to pull off right now.

Actually, when Israel pulled out of most of Lebanon, the violence mostly stopped, and when they pulled out of the security belt, the violence - between Lebanese forces and Israel - mostly died down. If you doubt me, look at Israeli death totals from Lebanese related actions when Israel was in Lebanon from when they were out between, oh, 1974 and 2005.

Of course, no, the Israeli-Arab conflict is of course not over simply because Israel pulled out of Lebanon. Surprise, wars do happen for reasons other than and not simply related to the presence of foreign armies. I didn’t say otherwise than that. What I said was:

what it has to do with is a very simple rule that civil wars are rarely improved by the presence of foreign armies on one side or the other.


And I have counter-examples of Kuwait and Afghanistan to show that our presence can result in a relatively peaceful outcome.

Kuwait: not a civil war. Afghanistan: not peaceful. Relatively peaceful compared to Iraq. Relatively less foreign troops. But of course, I haven’t said that all foreign armies on the presence of someone’s else’s soil always created mass violent conflict under all circumstances. What I did do was point to a wide variety of circumstances and historical situations where the presence of foreign armies in civil wars, makes them worse. You’ve chosen to completely ignore those examples, and you won’t even acknowledge, not that the US presence is definitely exacerbating the violence in Iraq, but simply that from historical precedent, this would certainly not be an unusual outcome.

Hard to see that our restraint reduced the violence or potential violence from Iran.

I dunno, Billy. We supported a tyrant in Iran for two decades and backed him until he fell. Whoever came next in Iran was not predisposed to like us a whole lot. Some would say that, far from being restrained, we encouraged failed counter-coups in Iran, confronted them in the Persian Gulf, and led the west in supporting Saddamn Hussein in invading the country.

But yeah, the regime in Iran are not a bunch of nice guys, and it’s not really our fault. The argument is not that "not invading countries mean they will become our friends". This is clearly not always the case. The point I’m making is limited to, once again, :
1) foreign troops rarely make civil wars get smaller,
2) I believe that a US withdrawal from Iraq is more likely than not to lead to less violence within that country
3) The anti-US-insurgent violence will not end while we are there.

Now, it’s clear you’re changing the basis of your advocacy here

The potential cost of a Middle East in which we have no serious leverage is too dangerous to contemplate.
We can’t do anything significant about containing nuclear terrorism in the Middle East if we have no presence there, and it is manifestly clear that if terrorists can obtain nuclear weapons they will show zero compunction about using them.


Well, first of all, our leaving Iraq does not result in us having "no serious leverage" in the middle east, nor does it somehow magically enable us to prevent nuclear weapons spread. But hey, I notice that these are reasons for staying in Iraq other than the suggestion that our staying there is making violence less likely. If you want to argue about the costs and benefits to US power and our strategic position in the ME if we pull out, vs. if we stay here, believe me, I’m ready to have that argument as well. (For example, have you considered that the greatest impediment to attacking Iran is our large number of bullseye targets across the border in Iraq? I personally don’t mind if the right wing noise machine never figures that out).

But that’s not the argument we’re having. We’re discussing the effect on Iraqis if the US troops leave. I’ve said all I can say there.

I don’t agree, as you won’t be surprised about, these reasons either, but I’ll assume this means you’ve conceded the humanitarian point.

He clearly does not want to contemplate the results of potential post-pullout chaos and violence, not just in Iraq, but throughout the Middle East and the rest of the world.

If it makes you feel better, you can believe that. But I’ve contemplated it, all right. I don’t agree with them. I think they’re wrong. Erroneous, incorrect, and lacking in a basis of serious, objective, detailed study of similar historical situations.



 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Lance: I wouldn’t go as far as to say that there are no historical examples where the withdrawal of foreign troops from a civil war failed to stop the war. Clearly, there are examples where this occurred.

There are examples where the withdrawal of foreign troops largely ended the war, and examples where it did not. Based on what I’ve learned over the years, I’d say case 1 outnumbers case 2. But it’s not a guarantee that the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq will end the violence in that country.

It’s my judgment call. It’s my belief. Especially if you imagine the US leveraging is serious influence with the other foreign powers supporting the civil war to make it end in concert with the withdrawal.

What I take exception to is the perception in some quarters that anyone who thinks a civil war will end when the supporting foreign troops leave is just smoking crack, some deranged zealot pulling absurd ideas out that have no historical precedent or logical correlations. It’s clear that civil wars end in that matter often, if not regularly.

Frankly, even if the violence does get worse when we leave, it’s clear to me that it won’t *end* until sometime *after* we leave. Or, I suppose, possibly, reach a political arrangement where we get to stay, and hunt for Al-Quieda, but nobody shoots at anybody else. I don’t consider that arrangement likely, but if it was possible to arrange, I would consider that also an acceptable outcome. I have no confidence that this administration has the temperament or credibility to make such an arrangement.

Otherwise, we’re going to kill and be killed until we leave. There’s no happy ending here. So the most we are doing, even in the worst-case scenario that things are going to get worse, is postponing that scenario to no gain and a lot of blood and treasure loss.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Lance, I can’t take your deal because I’m not certain that the violence will get better after we leave. I just think that it has a better chance of doing so than if we stay there.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
But I question the basics. Could you back the statements up? For the first, I do not think you can back that one up so if it is an opinion, then please so state.

For the second, I’m interested in the argument but I have to admit I cannot come up with a historical situation that mirrors your statement. You’ve rightly challenged others on their statements - please respond to mine.


Sheill, not clear exactly what are the first and second things here you’re referring to. I threw some examples off the top of my head of scenarios where civil wars failed to improve after the withdrawal, or agreement to withdraw, foreign troops. If you want to call my axiom there an opinion, than do so. I don’t think any broad predictive axiom about nation-state behavior or war behavior can ever be called a fact.

I do feel that I’ve studied quite a few wars and that study is the basis for my opinion. However, I don’t have a reference book of that study here in front of me to back that up with pages of detail. I invite you to undertake your own study, and make up your own mind.

Don’t use the internet. Use real books. Multiple and randomly selected ones per subject.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Well, first of all, our leaving Iraq does not result in us having "no serious leverage" in the middle east, nor does it somehow magically enable us to prevent nuclear weapons spread.
OK, the last point I’m going to make on all of this:

Leaving Iraq seriously degrades our leverage in the Middle East, especially over Iran. It could lead (and many believe that it will lead) to our eventual expulsion from just about anywhere we have a presence there now.

You seem to be implying in the sentence above that there’s no significant difference in our ability to contain nuclear weapons if we have a serious presence, including Iraq, than if we are eventually forced out. Sorry, but I just think that’s silly. If we leave Iraq in disgrace, we will continue to be forced out of our roles in other places until and unless we make a stand. It would probably be Afghanistan next, and you guys would be saying that we should pull out of there because of this "no foreign occupation", "less violence if we leave" ideal you’re so attached to. Then Pakistan would probably give into Islamist domination. Lebanon probably. Perhaps eventually Kuwait - at least that’s the Kuwaitis think, based on a conversation I had with one last week. (I’ve still got to get that post up.)

Might as well make that stand now, because if we don’t, we’ll either be forced to mostly withdraw from the region, or we’ll have to stand and fight somewhere else. In that case, the Islamist enemy will be even more determined to stick it to us until we give up, because that strategy keeps working - they know exactly how to push you guys’ buttons to exert maximum pressure back here at home (exactly how do feel about being their pawn, anyway?).

The Islamist fanatics have made it clear that they are going to keep up the pressure. Giving them what they want doesn’t dissuade them from that - it encourages them to be even more bold. The cheapest way to beat them back is to stay with what we’re doing right now. It will almost certainly be more expensive later, unless we just want to get out and let the whole region stew, which I believe is your position whether you realize it or not. That leads to the cauldron in which nuclear terrorism is likely to be born. And we’ll have no way to stop it, or even necessarily know it’s happening until it’s too late, because we won’t be there.

Glasnost, it’s really easy to say nuclear terrorism is unlikely and not that big a deal, and that you’ll "stand corrected" if you turn out to be wrong. But this is real life, not an academic debate in which you can just concede a meaningless defeat. Even relatively small probabilities of nuclear terrorism demand an engaged strategy to prevent it. Any such strategy that has a reasonable chance of effectiveness demands boots on the ground until the people decide for themselves that they’ve got better things to do than hate and fight Westerners in the name of religion.

I’ll give you the last word, because I’ve pounded on these points as long as I’m prepared to. I think the other readers have gotten a pretty good idea of where we both stand.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Glasnost: ”...I threw some examples off the top of my head...I don’t have a reference book of that study here in front of me to back that up with pages of detail. I invite you to undertake your own study, and make up your own mind.”
See. No links. No references. Simply the top of his head. Everybody got it now?
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
Don’t use the internet. Use real books. Multiple and randomly selected ones per subject.
Do use the internet.

Use real books, too, but not randomly selected ones.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Glasnost,

You have accepted a conclusion which doesn’t follow. The examples you gave, even to the extent I agree with you (and in cases such as Vietnam obviously it doesn’t work as you claimed) are not analogous at all. Our military and the forces in most of the situations you bring up are attempting very different things in very different situations. History can provide food for thought, but the fighting in Iraq is not because of us anymore. The insurgency is not fighting us just because we are there. The vast majority of attacks against civilians are perpetrated by people who will fight on after we leave.

Lebanon’s civil war was over by the time Israel left. The fight was against them, so yeah, the fighting ended. Israel wasn’t there to end the civil war, or improve Lebanon, they were there to attack and defend against attacks from the PLO. Once again, different. The war in Vietnam was not against us, it was against a non communist government in the South. In that situation our leaving and removing support just meant the defeat of the South. It didn’t help anything to abandon them, and it didn’t end any violence to leave. It just determined who would die and that it would be a far larger number.

I could go situation by situation, but each situation you mention is just not analogous. When they are they don’t help your case. You didn’t mention the Balkans. Our presence didn’t solve everything, and it has suffered from a similar level of bungling as Iraq (though luckily it has turned out to be a far less deadly situation.) I have no problem pointing out however, that foreign troops did lessen the violence.

While they were brutal themselves and committed numerous war crimes, the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia (in the middle of civil war) did improve things there as well.

The question is what about the specifics in this case would lead one to believe it will reduce violence. Despite your claim earlier, almost no professional analysts believe that, the local population doesn’t believe that (which in most of the cases which you cite that fit your argument, the population at minimum agreed with withdrawal being a good idea) and the forces we are facing don’t even claim that.

Frankly, even if the violence does get worse when we leave, it’s clear to me that it won’t *end* until sometime *after* we leave.
Well, no kidding. Logically you can’t reverse that and say therefore if we leave the violence will stop. I could have said in 1942 that the war would not stop until we stopped fighting, but that hardly means that if Ike had ordered our troops to sit on their tails the fighting would have stopped.

Our leaving when appropriate will have the potential to reduce violence. I will point out again that in many of the cases one can look at foreign armies leaving may have been necessary to end the violence, but that doesn’t mean leaving at any point accomplishes that. When matters a lot.

In fact, I am not even sure that is true in Israel’s case in Lebanon. Once the civil war died down Israel leaving obviously reduced violence inside Lebanon. Israel leaving earlier may not have. Anyway, that war wasn’t about Israel and I think it is a stretch to say that Israel prolonged the fighting between the various factions at all. When the fighting became about them it helped.

This is a different situation and it will not observe any neat set of formulas.

 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Glasnost:

I was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. I think I am fairly well read on the subject but once in a while someone surprises me. I can handle it - I do not claim to be all knowing and would be a fool to so state. But having said that I do have some credentials in the area. I am a student of history, with Bachelors and Masters to show for it. I had a 24 year career in the Military and retired as a LTC - and spent my entire career basically studying war.

And from my reading there are no examples for your claims when they are held up to the light. The closest one is Viet Nam but that example died with the 1968 Tet offensive. VN was a Civil War and our presence there did exacerbate the violence. Until Tet. Tet destroyed the Viet Cong. Giap planned Tet for two objectives - the destruction of the Viet Cong, who he felt was getting way too big for their britches and had to put in their place and incurring as much damage on the US as was physically possible. Militarily, it was a disaster for the Viet Cong - they were incapable fo fielding much of anything from that day on. Psychologically, it was a great victory for the North because even the great Walter Cronkite threw in the towel. But it was definitely the end of the Civil War. And our departure there four years later only precipitated the disaster that followed. Go ask the dems about how proud they are of that one.

And as far as "We provoke more violence than we prevent" all you have is opinion. You can’t back it up so why don’t you just say so. I can deal with someone’s opinion. You, like me have one - just like we each have an a**hole. No better or no worse. You "think" we provoke more violence, fine. But don’t claim it as fact!
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Well, Billy, we don’t agree. But you invited the case to be made, so I did it.

Even at low probabilities, nuclear terrorism is indeed something to be concerned about. But us being in Iraq isn’t stopping Pakistan’s deterioration, nor will it stop Iran’s acquisition of nukes. Proliferation is not a question we have an easy answer to. Invading Iraq won’t make it go away.

If we leave Iraq in disgrace, we will continue to be forced out of our roles in other places until and unless we make a stand.

I’ll tell you one thing I’m against, just about everywhere: extrapolating maximal trends from isolated events. This is your fear speaking, Billy. It robs people of the ability to make rational cost-benefit calculations, because they look at said isolated event, and they feel a gut association with the maximal scenario, and so they hold fast. A lot of military commanders have lost a lot of wars with the "Not One Step Back" order, for reasons just like that. They usually make arguments about morale.

We are free to make individual decisions about every global situation involving US forces, Bill. US history since WWII has been one of just about continuous military intervention. I have to tell you, that’s not changing anytime soon.


Even relatively small probabilities of nuclear terrorism demand an engaged strategy to prevent it. Any such strategy that has a reasonable chance of effectiveness demands boots on the ground until the people decide for themselves that they’ve got better things to do than hate and fight Westerners in the name of religion.


Whether or not it involves boots on the ground, it doesn’t require boots on the ground in massive concentrations applying blunt instruments to entire societies.
It just doesn’t work out well.

I’ll take the last word, since it’s offered:

(exactly how do feel about being their pawn, anyway?).

Well, Bill, I respect your opinion and all, and you have a right to it, and we probably both want Americans to be safe in a peaceful world. But you think I’m their pawn, and I think you’re their pawn. US troops trying to remake Iraq is the Christmas gift to Al-Quieda that keeps on giving. It gives them a utility and a meaning to the local populations that they would never otherwise have.

Every successful insurgency strategy depending on baiting the more powerful enemy into bleeding himself dry. It’s working like a charm.




 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Lance, I don’t know as much about Vietnam post-US departure as I’d like to. Someday I hope to be able to look into

Our leaving when appropriate will have the potential to reduce violence.

Well, you know, you sort of have some daylight with my own opinion there, actually. The US could withdraw in various different ways. If it was really, really, preeminently concerned about Iraqi civilians and Iraqi stability, it could genuinely negotiate with Iran and Syria to have them squeeze their respective clients in unison. Iran and Syria aren’t natural enemies - Syria is the #1 nation involved in bleeding us in Iraq, and it’s not clear what Syria would gain from backing a dead-end conflict in Iraq, stirring up Islamic radicalism that frightens it almost as much as we do. They’d sure like to get their million Iraqi refugees back home.

I’ve believed since 2004 that what’s blocking a negotiated settlement with the Sunni dead-enders and their foreign backers is the withdrawal of US troops. I came to that conclusion by listening to the Sunnis involved. Every situation really is different, and civil wars don’t, it’s true, always end when foreign armies leave. I still think this one stands a good chance of doing so.

Our leaving when appropriate will have the potential to reduce violence.

This is sort of an interesting statement. In all seriousness, what does "appropriate" look like? What are you thinking of, waiting for, etc? You say yourself it’s not the "end" or "surrender" of the Sunni insurgency. So, when is ’appropriate’? I’d respect the pro-stay position more if I thought they knew what they were waiting for to leave, and that it was something achievable.


...
You, like me have one - just like we each have an a**hole. No better or no worse. You "think" we provoke more violence, fine. But don’t claim it as fact!

Shiell, I don’t claim it as fact. You asked a serious question, and the measure of seriousness with which I accorded it should be measured in that I didn’t just try and blow an answer out of my butt.

If I had a month and a grant, I’d be glad to create a detailed briefing for you of wars in the last two centuries where foreign troops prolonged civil wars. But you’re not offering the money, and I don’t have the time. I wasn’t intending to knock your education. I don’t think most people here (like Lance, for example) would disagree that this happens. We might have different opinions on how often, but it’s not an uncommon scenario.

Just think about it logically. The civil war that would otherwise be able to be won by the dominant side, thanks to the foreign troops supporting the weaker guys with an untouchable power base, perhaps overseas goes on, and on, and on, and on, until said troops give up and go home.

How does the USSR in Afghanistan sound for an example of that? Of course, that war didn’t die down when the USSR left, but they sure kept it going an extra five years longer to no recognizable gain.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
I’d respect the pro-stay position more if I thought they knew what they were waiting for to leave, and that it was something achievable.
Uh, I would suggest when the Iraqi government was capable of keeping order and fighting the insurgency and the militia’s with less help from us. We draw down as appropriate.

Is that achievable? Of course it is. Whatever our complaints about the pace, the Iraqi forces are more capable than they were. Progress is being made. Will it be achieved? I don’t know. That is the generally the state of affairs in most things, but I see plenty of evidence it is possible, including history. Both Vietnam and Korea attest to that. In many ways those were harder situations, especially Korea.

Can I describe exactly what the state of affairs would be? Of course not, we need to allow for flexibility in what that state might look like.

I came to that conclusion by listening to the Sunnis involved.
Funny, they sometimes say these things, and other times they say other things. Some are lying, some mean it, but only because they believe it means that they will have free rein to take power back. Of course that is unlikely, the Shia are no longer weaker than the Sunni. Others are just fooling themselves, because they believe the others. Funny enough, almost half the Sunni want us to stay, so obviously you are not listening to everybody. I guess, like Omar at ITM, they are just bought and paid for by the western media. I guess hopefulness and desire for the transformation of their country from a vicious dictatorship has to have some ignoble motive. Of course the problem with that is they had the same basic viewpoint when they were just a novelty. At least you didn’t praise the Baathist princess Riverbend. I won’t insult her by claiming she doesn’t believe her stuff, she is just a fascist who for some reason appeals to significant sectors of the left. So anyway, you take your view from listening to a group that represents less than 10% of the population (pro withdrawal Sunni’s) and that convinces you? I just need to let you know, that won’t work with me.
The civil war that would otherwise be able to be won by the dominant side, thanks to the foreign troops supporting the weaker guys with an untouchable power base, perhaps overseas goes on, and on, and on, and on, until said troops give up and go home.
True, luckily that is not the case in Iraq. We are backing the dominant side. The issue is can the dominant side be made up of people who won’t massacre the Sunni? That is the real battle, and the best chance of that being true is slowly bringing enough order for the Shia to feel secure enough not to do so. Tough task given Sunni behavior and the baleful influence of Sadr and Iran. Tough, but doable. It will probably take a good while, but hopefully they will surprise me.

your theory is correct though. If we leave the war probably will end, the violence will not, but the dominant side will win. If that is all that is important I would suggest leaving. It isn’t, because the dominant side winning isn’t appealing if it means a massacre of the Sunni or an even bloodier war to find out who really is dominant. Of course it could get even worse, others could intervene on behalf of their religious cousins who are not so delicate as we are.
How does the USSR in Afghanistan sound for an example of that?
You know, if we were getting our head kicked in for five years like the Soviets I might feel different. Instead, until the bombing of the Samarra mosque we were making progress, that reversed with the rise of the death squads from a problem to the dominant fact of life in Baghdad. That has been reversed for now. In no way does it resemble the Soviet experience in Afghanistan.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com

 
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