Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

February 27, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

REPORT FROM BAGHDAD....Riverbend writes about the mood in her Baghdad neighborhood:

It does not feel like civil war because Sunnis and Shia have been showing solidarity these last few days in a big way. I dont mean the clerics or the religious zealots or the politicians but the average person. Our neighborhood is mixed and Sunnis and Shia alike have been outraged with the attacks on mosques and shrines. The telephones have been down, but weve agreed upon a very primitive communication arrangement. Should any house in the area come under siege, someone would fire in the air three times. If firing in the air isnt an option, then someone inside the house would have to try to communicate trouble from the rooftop.

....Im reading, and hearing, about the possibility of civil war. The possibility. Yet Im sitting here wondering if this is actually what civil war is like. Has it become a reality? Will we look back at this in one year, two years...ten...and say, It began in February 2006...? It is like a nightmare in that you dont realise its a nightmare while having it only later, after waking up with your heart throbbing, and your eyes searching the dark for a pinpoint of light, do you realise it was a nightmare...

In related news, the Iraqi ministry of defense has promised to "crack down" on freelance militias and Sunni political leaders have agreed to rejoin talks about forming a government. Stay tuned.

Kevin Drum 1:20 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (119)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

AND - we painted 23 schools last week.

W

Seriously, how often do we have to listen to this stuff before someone figures out it ain't in line with reality?

Posted by: George W Bush on February 27, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

It does not feel like civil war because Sunnis and Shia have been showing solidarity these last few days in a big way.

This is not suprising at because the possibility of "civil war" was part of the Bush plan all along. By causing the imminent possibility of "civil war", the Bush Administration knew that this would force Sunnis and Shias to work together so there would be greater peace and security in Iraq which leads to freedom and democracry. As usual Bush does the right thing but liberals aren't willing to give him credit for it.

Posted by: Al on February 27, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

All you defetists, like Gore, Dean, and William F. Buckley, should be shot! Victory is ours!

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on February 27, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz hasn't been posting for a while. Maybe he's parachuted into Iraq, and that, finally, is turning this thing around.

Posted by: craigie on February 27, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

"tbrosz hasn't been posting for a while. Maybe he's parachuted into Iraq, and that, finally, is turning this thing around."
--

Doubt it. I hear AL packed his parachute.

Posted by: Jay in Oregon on February 27, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Am I the only person that thinks perhaps a signal of 3 gunshots is a really bad way to request aid from neighbors?

Posted by: charlie don't surf on February 27, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe he's parachuted into Iraq, and that, finally, is turning this thing around.

They gathered in wonderment around the giant black helmet. After a few moments of silence, an elderly gentleman, veteran of domestic atrocities, foreign invasions and unacknowledged occupations, pointed.

"al-Ned," he quavered.

"al-Ned! al-Ned!" rejoined the crowd, Sunnis and Shias united in their bubbling amusement.

And so it was that the plaid-shirted one singlehandedly brought to Iraq the peace--if only for a moment--and sense of shared purpose that Smirky's policies had rendered nearly hopeless.

Posted by: shortstop on February 27, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

shorty, you are a genius. I mean, for a girl.

Posted by: craigie on February 27, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Actually I haven't been posting much because I have a lot of work on my plate right now.

I knew it wasn't going to be a "civil war" a day or so after the bombing, and pretty much let the wishful thinking run its course here.

I also knew a long time ago that we were going to regret not taking out Sadr after the last "uprising." Sadr did not, IMO, have a part in blowing up the shrine, but he sure took advantage of the following chaos.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 27, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Hmm, read that report from riverbend myself, and I was immediately reminded of reports from former Yugoslavia after the first ethnic hostilities started. There were some villages that had a mixed, but yet close-knit population. It just took the common frenzy a few months longer to tear them apart...

Posted by: Gray on February 27, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

I would have sufficed, but I retired.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 27, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

I wish to second Gray, with respect to the Yugoslav analogy. Serbs, Croats and Bosnians got along fine living next to one another -- then, one day ...

Posted by: David in NY on February 27, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

"I knew it wasn't going to be a "civil war" a day or so after the bombing"
Aounds good, tbrosz, but how good is your judgement when it is tested against reality? Did you know that Saddam had no WMDs before? Did you know that there's an imminent danger of an Al Qaeda attack on 8/11? Did you know that your vote wouldn't count on election day 2000? Hmmm?

I prefer less "knowledge" that comes from the crystal ball and more reality-based scepticism...

Posted by: Gray on February 27, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

I also knew a long time ago that we were going to regret not taking out Sadr after the last "uprising."

Given our fabulous record of taking people out only to discover that the result is an even more fucked up situation, I'm just as happy not to have such regrets.

Posted by: David W. on February 27, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

craigie: Girl this. Can you see me now?

hee.

Posted by: shortstop on February 27, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Gray beat me to it. I don't how many Sarajlije (residents of Sarajevo in the Bosnian language) I spoke to after the war who never believed that what was going on in Croatia could happen in Bosnia. "But we--Muslims, Serbs, and Croats--lived like one big family. There's no way that it could happen here."
Well, it takes a hell of a lot fewer people to break an inter-ethnic peace than is commonly believed.

Posted by: mrjauk on February 27, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

I also knew a long time ago that we were going to regret not taking out Sadr after the last "uprising."

Yes, it's really too bad that Howard Dean and John Kerry ordered the US military not to take Sadr out...wait a minute, whose decision was that again? If we didn't take him out, to use Flanders' faux-macho ("faux-macho"? sounds like the newest Starbucks flavor -- Ed.) military term, it was because Bush and his commanders either weren't able to or decided not to. Once again, we are suffering the results of their incompetence and/or (it's "and" -- Ed.) cluelessness.

Posted by: Stefan on February 27, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK
I also knew a long time ago that we were going to regret not taking out Sadr after the last "uprising."

You know what I knew we were going to regret as soon as I learned of it? Deciding to try really hard, making plenty of concessions, to bring one Iranian-backed militant Shi'ite extremist group (SCIRI) and then doing everything possible to marginalize another (Sadr's) that was substantively little different.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 27, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

This newest fake Al isn't even trying, if you are not going to give the Al troll brand the respect it deserves please stop now and be a fake Patton or Alice or such.

Posted by: former fake Al on February 27, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Uh oh, Stefan has Kaus disease...

Posted by: craigie on February 27, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

If you are Sunni and you really want to warn your Shia neighbor, a better strategy is to shoot right at him, as if he were a lawyer.

Posted by: Matt on February 27, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Uh oh, Stefan has Kaus disease...

Come to think of it, I have been feeling a little obtuse lately....

Posted by: Stefan on February 27, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Reading Baghdad Burning makes me feel like I'm reading the Diary of Anne Frank. Each time she posts the executioners seem to be getting closer.

Posted by: Peggy on February 27, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

In Hindu Muslim conflict of 1947, Muslims would identify a Hindu by forcing him to drop his pants. I wonder how Sunni decides that a person is Shia or vice versa.

Posted by: lib on February 27, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

"But we--Muslims, Serbs, and Croats--lived like one big family. There's no way that it could happen here."
Exactly! That was the common message from a few oasises of peace when the rest of the country was already in flames. Saw it on TV then. Sadly, the pressure from the outside proved to be too high...

Posted by: Gray on February 27, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

I'd take the Yugoslav analogy a bit further. The last people in Sarajevo who called themselves "Yugoslavs" were the educated, secular, multilingual elite; the university professors, the professionals. That is, people like Riverbend. She was a computer professional, speaks and writes fluent English, from an upper-middle-class family. She's a Sunni, but secular, with Shiites in her family.

The Sarajevo university profs thought until the very brink of the civil war (and even a bit past its beginning) that the war could be avoided. So, while I hope Riverbend is right, I fear that she might not be in the best position to predict the outcome, because it won't be the people in her neighborhood or family that launch the war.

Posted by: Joe Buck on February 27, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, kudos to Flanders for his use of scare quotes around "uprising," as if to imply it was no such thing. I look forward to future scare quotes strategically deployed around such linguistic outposts as the Iraq "insurgency," the "civil war," US military "torture" of prisoners and the American "retreat" from Iraq.

Posted by: Stefan on February 27, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

"Reading Baghdad Burning makes me feel like I'm reading the Diary of Anne Frank. Each time she posts the executioners seem to be getting closer."
Yup! That report about the raid was scary.

Posted by: Gray on February 27, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

So, while I hope Riverbend is right, I fear that she might not be in the best position to predict the outcome, because it won't be the people in her neighborhood or family that launch the war.

And sadly, when it does break out (though really, it already has) she'll just think it's her neighbors firing into the air for help.

Posted by: Stefan on February 27, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

I hope this isn't happening. I hope it SO much.

But I am afraid. This sounds like what good people in a strong neighborhood do initially as the violence spins out of control. They try to stop it. I remember people telling me stories like this in the early days of Yugoslavia. But those same neighborhoods didn't make it through the war.

I hope, I hope, I hope.

But if I lived in Iraq and I could leave, I think I'd be gone.

Posted by: theorajones on February 27, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

If average Sunnis and Shia living side-by-side in their neighborhoods had any real impact on the course of events, brotherly love would mean something. Similarly, the current political leaders don't have much real power over events. The religious/militia leaders will decide.

Posted by: jb on February 27, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, let's drop old Jimmy Carter into this fray, isn't peace making his specialty?

He could go into his Southern, peanut farmer, Jesus complex nervous grin; and pontificate a whole bunch.

Him and Muqtada al-Sadr should get along famously.

Posted by: Matt on February 27, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Him and Muqtada al-Sadr should get along famously.

I tried to picture this. The funny thing is that Carter would probably make it out of Iraq in one piece, whether he was sucessful or not.

Now picture Bush doing the same thing. All that would be left is the iron-on Commander-in-Chief patch that was hastily applied to his new "Peace President" outfit.

Posted by: enozinho on February 27, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Matt, give it up.

Mb>Don't pretend for a minute that any American has any more culpability for this than George Bush./ You can't blame this on Jimmy Carter.

The people on OUR side were the ones saying that Civil War was the default setting for Iraq once Saddam Hussein was removed from power, and preventing this eventuality while not impossible, would be hard as hell, and would take more than just talk. Why do you think we were so pissed off when Shinseki got fired? It was your side that said it would be flowers and that democracy would more or less magically happen free of charge once Saddam Hussein was gone.

You're the delusional, dreaming fools. This is a blunder of catastrophic proportions, and the Iraqi people will pay the price before we all do.

Posted by: theorajones on February 27, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

I knew that tbrosz wasn't going to stop posting his unique brand of patronizing pomposity a day or so after his last post, but I pretty much let the wishful thinking run its course here.

Posted by: trex on February 27, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, let's drop old George W. Bush into this fray, isn't fucking things up his specialty?

He could go into his Southern, fake cowboy, Jesus complex nervous grin; and pontificate a whole bunch.

Him and Muqtada al-Sadr should get along famously.


Posted by: Stefan on February 27, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

See Peter Daou on living through civil war in Beirut.

One day we'd see kids playing in playgrounds, parents shopping for food, sunbathers on the beaches, the next we'd huddle in bomb shelters as rockets rained down on the city. One day we'd drive to a mountain village to visit with friends, the next we'd hear about people being shot or kidnapped or disappearing on the same roads we traversed a day before. One minute we'd be sitting down to a quiet meal, the next we'd be racing for the basement as salvos of missiles slammed into buildings and streets and shops and homes.

The violence ebbs and flows, but for ordinary citizens - the lucky ones who survive - what remains is the misery and uncertainty, the demoralization and despair.

Yes, Riverbend, it may well have already started. Some historian may pick out some event, like the attack on the mosque, but you may well already be in it.

Posted by: JayAckroyd on February 27, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Gray:

Sounds good, tbrosz, but how good is your judgement when it is tested against reality?

Did you know that Saddam had no WMDs before?

No, neither did anyone else, although I hear a lot of people now claiming they "knew it all along."

I heard a lot of liberals back before the war telling us to stay back and let the U.N. do its work, and to disarm Saddam that way.

I don't recall any of them telling us to just pull the U.N. out of Iraq right away since there's obviously no need for them to inspect a nation that everyone knows has no WMDs.

Did you know that there's an imminent danger of an Al Qaeda attack on 8/11?

The August memo mentioned explosive attacks on buildings, and hijacking airliners for ransom. It also mentioned ongoing investigations on these matters. Doesn't really match the mythology built up around it.

Did you know that your vote wouldn't count on election day 2000? Hmmm?

Sure I did. I live in California. My presidential vote hasn't counted since 1988.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 27, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

I really like Riverbend. But I agree, she has so much hope that her country can get its act together if left to its own devices, she will be the last to believe a civil war is possible.

The Kurds don't want to be part of the country at all.

The Iranian shia see a chance to spread their fundamentalism - Sunni's will be second class at best, slaughtered at worst.

The Iraqi shia want the power the Sunnis denied them for so long.

Both Shia have a lot of baggage from being oppressed by Saddam and betrayed by the US.

The Sunni mostly had their shit together and had a more priviledged life, though one still filled with the background fear of living in a police state ruled by a Stalin wannabe. they've fallen th furthest, and have a very legitimate fear of anighilation.

The jihadis want to recruit desperate sunnis, and learn to fight Americans. They are not being held by flypaper. They are being given the greatest recruitment tool ever, complete with on the job training.

There are plenty of rational reasons for any given politician in Iraq to want a civil war. Even with crystal clear understanding, it would be possible to decide that more power could be gained than was risked, or that the Sunnis are too much trouble, or that control could again be imposed over the shia, or that Kurdistan boundaries could be set and defended. With the total chaos present, all sorts of incorrect analyses could make civil war viable.

And any group could correctly decide that the US will back them in return for oil rights.

Posted by: Mysticdog on February 27, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

The August memo mentioned explosive attacks on buildings, and hijacking airliners for ransom. It also mentioned ongoing investigations on these matters. Doesn't really match the mythology built up around it.

Again with this lie. As others have pointed out to him many, many times, if you prevent the initial hijacking you prevent the attack. It doesn't matter whether they were planning to hijack the plane for ransom or to ram it into a building, since the protection against it is the same -- prevent the hijacking. But Bush, as we all know, didn't do one damn thing to stop it.

Posted by: Stefan on February 27, 2006 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Please Kevin, can you not fall for the constant wishing here?

Civil wars like this always start despite the fact that most people don't want the war. The classic prisoner's dilemma example shows why. Every faction would must prefer peace. But what they absolutely must do - is avoid losing a civil war. So they all take actions to do so, actions which at some point almost inevitably lead to civil war.

Lebanon, Yugoslavia are two excellent examples of how factions vying drove the country into civil war despite the fact that most people didn't want it.

All the wishful thinking in the world is NOT going to help in Iraq. Prayer is not a plan. A hard headed review of the major options by people who know what they're doing might hold out hope. But right now it's pretty clear that the current leadership in the Pentagon don't know what they're doing.

Which leads me to my only suggested line to all Democrats. When asked about Iraq: say first - fire Rumsfeld and his cronies and put someone in charge who knows what they're doing.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on February 27, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

I don't recall any of them telling us to just pull the U.N. out of Iraq right away since there's obviously no need for them to inspect a nation that everyone knows has no WMDs

Then as usual you weren't listening. The inspections were the proof of our case that Iraq had no WMD's, and were discontinued when the results began contradicting administration propaganda and interfering with plans for a war that was a fait accompli.

Posted by: trex on February 27, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

I heard a lot of liberals back before the war telling us to stay back and let the U.N. do its work, and to disarm Saddam that way.

Which turned out to have worked. Funny thing, that.

I don't recall any of them telling us to just pull the U.N. out of Iraq right away since there's obviously no need for them to inspect a nation that everyone knows has no WMDs.

Bush pulled the plug on the U.N. WMD inspectors because their work was undermining his stated rationale for going to war.

Posted by: David W. on February 27, 2006 at 3:25 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan:

But Bush, as we all know, didn't do one damn thing to stop it.

Notice you overlooked the investigations mentioned in the memo.

And, as long as we're on that subject, who would have suddenly stood up on the basis of that memo, when no hijacking had occured in the U.S. since 1991, and ordered the airlines to spend millions of dollars of increased security?

President Al Gore? Gore's past performance and priorities are already on record in this exact area. How many times do I have to rub your nose in that little fact before it finally sinks in?

What's really hilarious about posting here is that you keep labeling yourselves the "reality-based" side of the argument.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 27, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

I don't recall any of them telling us to just pull the U.N. out of Iraq right away since there's obviously no need for them to inspect a nation that everyone knows has no WMDs

There was such a need since Bush was threatening to invade, and those of us who felt that Iraq had no WMD thought that an inspection regime run by the UN was the best way of proving to the world and the US govt. that Iraq had no such capability. Of course, what we didn't know was that Bush had already made up his mind to invade, no matter what.

Posted by: Stefan on February 27, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

I suppose Gore received a memo saying that 'Al Queda determined to attack within USA' when he was a VP, and did not do anything.


I assume that tbrosz has a copy of that memo.

Posted by: lib on February 27, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

This thread is like a tbrosz' greatest hits...from his snide implications that the fear of a civil war in Iraq was "wishful thinking" to his deranged defense of Bush's inaction in the face of the August PDB, it's a veritable gold mine of dishonesty. Bravo, tbrosz.

Posted by: Gregory on February 27, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Poor Dems keep hoping and praying for full-scale Civil War in Iraq.

So far, the momentum toward democracy and civility are holding together in Iraq. On the internet there are reports of demonstrations AGAINST the insurgent attacks on Mosques. That is great news for Iraq.

Posted by: Paddy Whack on February 27, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

And, as long as we're on that subject, who would have suddenly stood up on the basis of that memo, when no hijacking had occured in the U.S. since 1991, and ordered the airlines to spend millions of dollars of increased security?

Well, as long as we're playing the coulda-woulda-shoulda game. . . if *I* were president, I wouldn't force anyone to spend a dime. I'd just draft legislation stating that any airline that didn't take adequate measures to prevent hijackings would be held liable to any civil suits for damage.

Then they'd have cleaned up their acts. The absence of such legislation, of course, (in addition to the massive handouts, and bankruptcies of the past 5 years), is essentially nothing but corporate welfare.

Posted by: NOise on February 27, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

And, as long as we're on that subject, who would have suddenly stood up on the basis of that memo, when no hijacking had occured in the U.S. since 1991, and ordered the airlines to spend millions of dollars of increased security?

Who would have? Impossible to know. But what we do know for a fact is that Bush was President and Bush did nothing. "Someone else might possibly have fucked up as badly as I did if they'd been in my position" is not, generally, considered a defense for inaction.

President Al Gore? Gore's past performance and priorities are already on record in this exact area. How many times do I have to rub your nose in that little fact before it finally sinks in?

Again, as far as I know, Bush and not Gore was selected president by the Supreme Court. Was Gore also given a copy of the memo? Gore was not president. Bush was. Bush did nothing. Therefore it doesn't matter what Gore might have done, since we know what Bush did do (or, more accurately, not do).

What's really hilarious about posting here is that you keep labeling yourselves the "reality-based" side of the argument.

Well, yes, since I'm talking about what actually did happen in the real world, while Flanders keeps talking about what might have happened in the fantasy world in which Gore was President in August 2001.


Posted by: Stefan on February 27, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

President Al Gore? Gore's past performance and priorities are already on record in this exact area. How many times do I have to rub your nose in that little fact before it finally sinks in?

First of all, go fuck yourself.

Secondly, Gore's views on airline security from three years prior are irrelevant to what actions he might have taken if presented with the new information contained in the August PDB.

I think we all can agree we wouldn't have taken a month off at his ranch and ignore it after only having been in office seven months.

Posted by: trex on February 27, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

President Al Gore? Gore's past performance and priorities are already on record in this exact area. How many times do I have to rub your nose in that little fact before it finally sinks in?

Read your link, Tom, and yes, I have to admit that is pretty bad. I won't try and defend it.

Two questions, though:
1. Have we now established a precedent, where Mother Jones can be cited as a source for citicizing the government?
2. How does that article jibe with your contention that we need to get government out of commerce? What kind of safety records would airlines have if even this minimal FAA oversight was removed?

Posted by: craigie on February 27, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

I think we all can agree we wouldn't have taken a month off at his ranch and ignore it after only having been in office seven months.

I'd love it if we could all agree to stop calling the piece of property Bush bought in 1999 as a prop for his presidential campaign a "ranch" and call it what it really is, a 1,000 acre private estate. It'll make it so much easier for the average American to relate to.....

Posted by: Stefan on February 27, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

lib:

Read the article. That commission wasn't formed because somebody decided it was a nice day to form a commission.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 27, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile, back to the deteriorating situation in Iraq....

Posted by: Stefan on February 27, 2006 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz wrote: What's really hilarious about posting here ...

What's really hilarious is the way you will dive to the utmost depths of dishonesty to defend the Bush administration's grotesque failures, criminal negligence, shocking incompetence, and blatant corruption. Why do you expend so much effort constructing a fake, phony dreamworld in which nothing the Bush administration ever does is ever, ever wrong?

Oh, yeah. It's the tax cut, stupid.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 27, 2006 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

a 1,000 acre private estate.

Yes. With, apparently, a serious brush problem.

Posted by: craigie on February 27, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

a serious brush problem.

There's an extra R in that sentence.

Posted by: shortstop on February 27, 2006 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

Hi Tbrosz, how's your wife today? Feeling any better?

Posted by: Judy on February 27, 2006 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

Sod off, Judy. tbrosz, really, you're reaching here. This is undignified and desperate even by your standards. Think about your place in history!

Posted by: shortstop on February 27, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK
Again with this lie. As others have pointed out to him many, many times, if you prevent the initial hijacking you prevent the attack. It doesn't matter whether they were planning to hijack the plane for ransom or to ram it into a building, since the protection against it is the same -- prevent the hijacking. But Bush, as we all know, didn't do one damn thing to stop it.

Well, that's because -- as Dr. Rice explained -- no one told either her or him that they were supposed to do anything about it. You can't expect either a busy chief executive or his "National Security Advisor" to determine a need for action on their own, can you?

Posted by: cmdicely on February 27, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

There's an extra R in that sentence.

You are my hero

Posted by: craigie on February 27, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

craigie:

Yours was pretty much the only reasoned response so far.

I have no problems with citing Mother Jones. Do you?

I have never said the the FAA should not have a role in airline security, never mind airline safety, although I'm not sure that turning over the entire operation to the Federal government was necessarily the best course of action. That was done more for political reasons than anything else.

I also think that arming pilots should have proceeded a lot more rapidly than it has, and Bush's lack of support can be held to blame for part of that.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 27, 2006 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

What's really hilarious about posting here is that you keep labeling yourselves the "reality-based" side of the argument.

Reality or Lurid Fantasy? You Decide!

"Al Qaida had a base of operation there up in Northeastern Iraq where they ran a large poisons factory for attacks against Europeans and U.S. forces."
Source: Richard B. Cheney Delivers Remarks at a Bush-Cheney 2004 Fund-Raiser, White House (10/5/2003).

"He's had years to get good at it and we know he has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons."
Source: Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, NBC (3/16/2003).

"We recently found two mobile biological weapons facilities which were capable of producing biological agents."
Source: President Bush Talks to Troops in Qatar, White House (6/5/2003).

"We found the weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories. You remember when Colin Powell stood up in front of the world, and he said, Iraq has got laboratories, mobile labs to build biological weapons. They're illegal. They're against the United Nations resolutions, and we've so far discovered two. And we'll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong, we found them."
Source: Interview of President Bush by TVP, Poland, White House (5/29/2003).

"We said they had a nuclear program. That was never any debate."
Source: Donald Rumsfeld on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, ABC (7/13/2003).

"The area in the south and the west and the north that coalition forces control is, is substantial. It happens not to be the area where weapons of mass destruction were dispersed. We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat."
Source: Donald Rumsfeld on This Week (2/13/03)

"I think that the people of Iraq would welcome the U.S. force as liberators; they would not see us as oppressors, by any means. And our experience was after the Gulf War in '91 that once the United States acted and provide leadership that in fact, the community, the region was more peaceful for some considerable period of time."
Source: Dick Cheney, CNN American Morning, (9/9/02)

"There's a lot of money to pay for this. It doesn't have to be U.S. taxpayer money. And it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people. They will now own those assets instead of a dictator that owns them, and they should spend them for their own welfare. We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon."
Source: Paul Wolfowitz, Congressional Hearing, (March 27, 2003)


Posted by: Stefan on February 27, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone know what it usually feels like at the start of a civil war? Did it feel nasty in Beirut right before hell broke loose there? Or Sarajevo?
I'm guessing that most people are sensible and decent and that they act even more decent when they sense that order could break down. But that they are not the ones who start the civil war. They just get caught up in it.
But that is just my guess and I would love to hear actual facts.

Posted by: kevin on February 27, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

"Please Kevin, can you not fall for the constant wishing here?"

Kevin just needs to cheer up the troops, and nothing brightens the day of a liberal than a civil war.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on February 27, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

"Judy," whoever the fuck you are, fuck off. You're way way out of line to mention someone's wife or family. It's threatening and personal and has no place here.

Posted by: Stefan on February 27, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

"But that they are not the ones who start the civil war. They just get caught up in it.
But that is just my guess and I would love to hear actual facts."

Liberals love civil wars almost as much as they love racism. Sometimes, they'd even go so far as to create fake incidents so they can condemn it.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on February 27, 2006 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

"I don't recall any of them telling us to just pull the U.N. out of Iraq right away since there's obviously no need for them to inspect a nation that everyone knows has no WMDs" - Personally, I can't claim to have been prescient on this question. I believed that Saddam did have chemical and biological weapons and an active program for the development of nuclear weapons. Thus, I thought that when Bush mounted a sufficiently credible threat to persuade Saddam to allow U.N. inspectors back in Iraq, that was a good thing. After the inspectors had been running around the country for awhile finding nothing, even when we told them where to look, it occurred to me to wonder if the WMD's were actually there. Thus, it seemed only reasonable and sensible to allow the inspection process to continue, rather than embarking on war. Why on earth I thought the Bush administration might attach any importance to doing what was reasonable and sensible, I cannot now recall.

Posted by: chasmrich on February 27, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

I have no problems with citing Mother Jones. Do you

Nope. But they're, you know, liberals.

I have never said the the FAA should not have a role in airline security, never mind airline safety,

No, you haven't said that specifically. But everything you've ever posted would lead one to believe that you think safety would be better addressed by the private sector. I'd say your own link shows where that would lead. Especially if the government then banned the "frivolous" lawsuits of the grieving families.

Hey, maybe NOise is on to something upthread...

Posted by: craigie on February 27, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

""Judy," whoever the fuck you are, fuck off."

What's wrong with asking how someone's wife is doing?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on February 27, 2006 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

What's really hilarious about posting here is that you keep labeling yourselves the "reality-based" side of the argument.

More Reality or Lurid Fantasy? You Decide!

"Pentagon Contradicts General on Iraq Occupation Force's Size"
By Eric Schmitt
New York Times
February 28, 2003

Mr. Wolfowitz...opened a two-front war of words on Capitol Hill, calling the recent estimate by Gen. Eric K. Shinseki of the Army that several hundred thousand troops would be needed in postwar Iraq, "wildly off the mark." Pentagon officials have put the figure closer to 100,000 troops.

....In his testimony, Mr. Wolfowitz ticked off several reasons why he believed a much smaller coalition peacekeeping force than General Shinseki envisioned would be sufficient to police and rebuild postwar Iraq. He said there was no history of ethnic strife in Iraq, as there was in Bosnia or Kosovo.

He said Iraqi civilians would welcome an American-led liberation force that "stayed as long as necessary but left as soon as possible," but would oppose a long-term occupation force. And he said that nations that oppose war with Iraq would likely sign up to help rebuild it. "I would expect that even countries like France will have a strong interest in assisting Iraq in reconstruction," Mr. Wolfowitz said. He added that many Iraqi expatriates would likely return home to help.

....Enlisting countries to help to pay for this war and its aftermath would take more time, he said. "I expect we will get a lot of mitigation, but it will be easier after the fact than before the fact," Mr. Wolfowitz said. Mr. Wolfowitz spent much of the hearing knocking down published estimates of the costs of war and rebuilding, saying the upper range of $95 billion was too high....Moreover, he said such estimates, and speculation that postwar reconstruction costs could climb even higher, ignored the fact that Iraq is a wealthy country, with annual oil exports worth $15 billion to $20 billion. "To assume we're going to pay for it all is just wrong," he said.

Posted by: Stefan on February 27, 2006 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

Yours was pretty much the only reasoned response so far.

One of the amazing things about tbrosz is that after characterizing fears of civil war in Iraq as "wishful thinking" and then undergoing all sort of dishonest mental gymnastics to avoid admitting Bush's inaction in the face of the PDB -- and here's a hint, tbrosz: existing investigations or no, Bush still took no action whatsoever to defend this nation -- he evidently thinks he deserves a reasoned response. That fact alone signals even more derangement than his constant water carrying for Bush -- after all, as SecularAnimist pointed out, Bush did deliver those sweet, sweet tax cuts.

Tbrosz, you get the response your posts deserve. Shame on you.

Posted by: Gregory on February 27, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

> Stay tuned.

I just realized that "Kevin Drum" is actually the blogging nym of Deborah Howell!

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on February 27, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

As they say in the stock market nobody rings a bell at the top (and at the bottom). Same rule applies to civil wars. Nobody rings a bell when it starts. You just have to look at the signs and make your own judgement.

Things are still getting worse in Iraq by the month. There has been sectarian violence for the last two years (remember all those hundreds of shiites killed in mosque bombings caused by mortars and suicide bombers? And all those sunnis disappearing everyday -- kidnapped by people in uniforms?) and this mosque bombing is just an unambiguous signal that it is getting worse. You don't have this many deaths on a weekly basis if this isn't a chaotic and civil war like situation.

It is hard to accept, but the signs say a civil way is already under way.

Posted by: observer on February 27, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

What's wrong with asking how someone's wife is doing?

"Judy" is attempting to intimidate tbrosz by, apparently, mentioning his wife's name, a name tbrosz has never shared with us, and is therefore implying that she knows something about tbrosz and his family. This is a contemptible and loathsome gutter tactic, and it has no place here or anywhere else.

Posted by: Stefan on February 27, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

In other news, a Sunni mosque was bombed today...

Civil war is the inevitability of this profoundly fucking stupid war no matter when it starts.

Posted by: n.o.t.l.f. on February 27, 2006 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

FUBAR, 24/7. Infinite FUBAR. The quintessential FUBAR. All FUBAR, all the time.

Posted by: Doofus on February 27, 2006 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

This is a contemptible and loathsome gutter tactic, and it has no place here or anywhere else.

Too right.

Posted by: craigie on February 27, 2006 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

Tboresz, we know you are an ignorant partisan sock puppet of George Bush, but don't you ever read anything? Your knowledge of well, fuck all, is a mile wide and a centimeter deep (inch deep scholars are on a higher level than you will ever reach).

The Gore report asked for increased airline security. The report was immediately attacked by the conservative press (a smarter person than you - or a really smart animal- could look it up) and by people just like you- Republicans who put party before country. The legislative proposals were DOA in the Republican Congress.

Now, as other sentient beings have tried to point out to you, Gore was never President nor was he any kind of elected official in 2001. How he might have reacted to the PDB in question is unknown, unknowable, and not germane to how your inamorata failed to react. How difficult is that for you to understand?

Yes, Al Gore was on record in 1998 as asking for increased airline security- something the Republican Congress was on record as opposing. Could you, as a troll cut-and-paste monkey moron, explain exactly how you think this is a plus for your side?


Posted by: solar on February 27, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Heh guys, whole-heartily agree with those who told Judy not to mention a wife. Well done, that was creepy.

Also please, let's ignore the trolls. Hard enough to think about and understand those making sophisticated arguments. No need to waste your time pointing out the obvious.

And when someone says repeatedly that Liberals on this site want a civil war, that they want US soldiers to suffer. They they're a troll.

One other note: one thing that makes Iraq even more dangerous than Yugoslavia, Lebanon and other countries that blew up in civil war is that in those cases, most of the neighboring countries didn't want a civil war to happen. But in Iraq almost every single neighbor wants a piece and their populations all hate the United States - a lot.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on February 27, 2006 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

I predicted a civil war in Iraq in early 2003 on a now-defunct web site. I am a liberal. These two facts, my dear tbroz (it was you wasn't it), do not mean that I wished there should be a civil war. Indeed, I stated them in the fervent hope that others (like you) would examine the reality of what our invasion of Iraq and removal of Saddam would cause. I hoped, in fact, to prevent this civil war. But you and your pathetic ilk, who insisted that we invade, thus risking destabilization of the region and events like Hamas taking over Palestine, have brought us to this pass. I wish that the civil war you and your like have caused could be avoided. But the policies of Bush-Rumsfeld-Cheney have virtually assured that it will happen.

I hope that the civil tradition Riverbend represents will prevail, but our government has done little to assure that it will. Perhaps a new administration could do better.

Posted by: David in NY on February 27, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

As Craigie has pointed out, for tbrosz to provide a Mother Jones article as the evidence of whatever he wants to say about Gore, relevant or not to this discussion, is like Jerry Falwell using quotations from Quran to justify his medieval positions on women.

Posted by: lib on February 27, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

is like Jerry Falwell using quotations from Quran to justify his medieval positions on women.

You laugh, but can that be far away?

Posted by: craigie on February 27, 2006 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

Not to give this Judy character too much attention, but we tell him to STFU every time he appears. He's showered with contempt and ridicule, and yet he keeps doing it, appearing to get off on it. Is this person, like Hostile, a GOP plant?

Posted by: shortstop on February 27, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

his medieval positions on women.

An unfortunate choice of wording. Or perhaps not.

Posted by: shortstop on February 27, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I've been called out. I do want a civil war. I want Iraq to be be remembered as the most spectacular foreign policy failure of the last fifty years. Maybe then it will represent the last gasp of this misbegotten neocon policy of preemptive war, and of "projection of American power," by which, of course, they mean American military power. These fucking pussies who don't know how to shoot a gun saying that murder on a massive scale is the only way to solve what is ultimately a political problem.

If it takes the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents and the permanent damage to the United States' standing in the world, so be it. I didn't start the fucking thing. The people who did should be remembered for their crimes against humanity and the rule of law, and all of their supporters should be condemned by history right along with Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice.

Once the death toll in this war has passed even the highest totals attributed to Saddam Hussein and his regime, will the neocons and all who supported this war still insist that it was worth it?

Posted by: brewmn on February 27, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

An unfortunate choice of wording. Or perhaps not.

Hah!

Posted by: Stefan on February 27, 2006 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

nothing brightens the day of a liberal than a civil war.

I dunno - seems like some folks at Fox get twinkles in their eyes when you mention a possible Iraq civil war.

Posted by: Irony Man on February 27, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

craigie:

Many victims of airline terrorism have, in fact, sued the airlines for lax security (among other lawsuit targets, including Libya and al Qaeda.) Without doing more research I don't have any info on how successful these suits have been. As far as I know, airline companies don't have special immunity to such suits (they should not have such immunity IMO), but I haven't looked that up either.

Ironically, having the government now fully responsible for airline security will probably give the airlines a legal "out."

Just to steer this back on topic, Riverbend is one of the better blogs out of Iraq, and one I check out frequently. Still, it should be remembered that her family held a privileged position under the old regime, and some of her attitude is a bit reminiscent of a white woman complaining about how good things used to be in South Africa.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 27, 2006 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

...some of her attitude is a bit reminiscent of a white woman complaining about how good things used to be in South Africa.

That's funny, coming from someone who thinks that there is a chance that deseggregation is responsible for the lowering of reading scores among African Americans.

Posted by: nut on February 27, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

another opinion here:

http://iraqthemodel.blogspot.com/

Posted by: republicrat on February 27, 2006 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

It's all well and good for Kevin and many of the posters here to cheerlead for the worst possible outcome in Iraq, it seems they will not soon be satisfied. As long as Kevin has decided to link to Riverbend, why not read what Omar has to say. Here it is:
http://iraqthemodel.blogspot.com/

Just a warning - he's not reflexively anti-Bush.

Posted by: Brian on February 27, 2006 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

Since nut scooped me, here's another site worth reading:
http://www.healingiraq.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Brian on February 27, 2006 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

that would have been republicrat, not nut. my bad.

Posted by: Brian on February 27, 2006 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

As Craigie has pointed out, for tbrosz to provide a Mother Jones article as the evidence of whatever he wants to say about Gore, relevant or not to this discussion, is like Jerry Falwell using quotations from Quran to justify his medieval positions on women.

Not so. It's like Falwell quoting the Quran to justify an asserion about Moslem beliefs about women.

What Iraq has in common with Yugoslavia and Lebabnon is that the borders were drawn by external powers. In the case of Lebanon, the power arrangement was undermined by the fact that the Islamic population grew faster than the Christian. In Y and I, strong men managed to dominate the politics and unify the country. In the case of Yugoslavia, there was civil war because the central power tried to maintain control after the demise of the unifying person of Tito had passed away.

czechoslovakia also was a nation whose boundaries were drawn by outsiders, and that was maintained as a single country by a succession of powerful central governments. When the last of these fell away, the nation separated peacefully.

While these mosque-related "troubles" [analogy with Northern Ireland] have been underway, the Iraqi army has raided a town in Anbar province and captured one of the henchmen of Zarqawi. Reportedly, they did this without American support.

Posted by: republicrat on February 27, 2006 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

Samuel Knight above argues that the civil war will likely result from the prisoners' dilemma. Possibly, but the American army is there to prevent conquest of one faction by the others. Once it becomes clear that no faction can be conquered, there may be a relaxation and peaceful separation, or a canton-style government, instead of civil war.

The Kurds have had a democratic government for about 10 years now, but the early years, 1991-1996 were not so democratic and amicable. the first democratic government of the United States also did not work so well.

Posted by: republicrat on February 27, 2006 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

Since [republicrat] scooped me...

Is it still a "scoop" if he just opened the TPM e-mail a little faster?

Posted by: shortstop on February 27, 2006 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

for tbrosz to provide a Mother Jones article as the evidence of whatever he wants to say about Gore, relevant or not to this discussion, is like Jerry Falwell using quotations from Quran to justify his medieval positions on women.

Not so. It's like Falwell quoting the Quran to justify an asserion about Moslem beliefs about women.

You're both completely and elementarily wrong. It's like me using quotations from the Quran for evidence about Jerry Falwell's positions on women.

Why is it that people have such a hard time with elementary rhetorical parallels?

Posted by: brooksfoe on February 27, 2006 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

In the case of Yugoslavia, there was civil war because the central power tried to maintain control after the demise of the unifying person of Tito had passed away.

Belgrade tried to maintain control over Slovenia, too, but the straightforward military conflict there lasted about five minutes before they let Slovenia go. The civil wars happened in Croatia and Bosnia, because the populations there were mixed, and the local Serbian populations were (justifiably, to some degree) anxious that their livelihoods and welfare would be threatened by the accession to power of secessionist ethnic nationalists. Since the same political imperatives had led to the election of a rabid ethnic nationalist in Belgrade, the stage was set. Once the initial violence got started, everyone fled to his own ethnic militia, and the spiral of ethnic cleansing and brutality commenced.

The kind of intersectarian solidarity Riverbend describes in her post reminds me of Sarajevo, circa 1991. Sure, in multiethnic neighborhoods, particularly intellectual-elite types of neighborhoods, people pull together. That kind of response can withstand perhaps a few months of full-scale civil war. Then people either emigrate or join their side.

Posted by: brooksfoe on February 27, 2006 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

Possibly, but the American army is there to prevent conquest of one faction by the others.

If the Shiites resolve to take over the country, and we attempt to stand in their way, then the curve meets the asymptote, and Iraq becomes Vietnam.

Posted by: brooksfoe on February 27, 2006 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

Well, Riverbend spends most of her blog pretending Sunni's do no terror and accusing US troops/Iraqi police of brutality. Now the Sunni terrorists she supports have ignited a war with Shiite terrorists, she's whining for help.

I think a period of Shiite retaliation might bring home an object lesson here.

Posted by: McA on February 27, 2006 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

we attempt to stand in their way, then the curve meets the asymptote, and Iraq becomes Vietnam.

Posted by: brooksfoe on February 27, 2006 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

True. Don't stand in their way. In an insurgency always support the majority. Use your influence to prevent open ethnic cleansing.

Posted by: McA on February 27, 2006 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

McAsshole, never having read the website in question, throws out this fetid lie:

"Well, Riverbend spends most of her blog pretending Sunni's do no terror and accusing US troops/Iraqi police of brutality. Now the Sunni terrorists she supports have ignited a war with Shiite terrorists, she's whining for help."

which couldn't be further from what is actually written there. We know you are an illiterate, pathologically lying fuckwit ("...Sunni's do no terror.."" heehee) but why do you have to keep proving it over and over?

Posted by: solar on February 27, 2006 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

I knew it wasn't going to be a "civil war" a day or so after the bombing, and pretty much let the wishful thinking run its course here.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 27, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Iraqs deadly surge claims 1,300

Morgue figure eclipses other counts since shrine attack

By Ellen Knickmeyer and Bassam Sebti

Updated: 10:43 p.m. ET Feb. 27, 2006

BAGHDAD, Feb. 27 - Grisly attacks and other sectarian violence unleashed by last week's bombing of a Shiite shrine have killed more than 1,300 Iraqis, making the past few days the deadliest of the war outside of major U.S. offensives, according to Baghdad's main morgue. The toll was more than three times higher than the figure previously reported by the U.S. military and the news media.

Hundreds of unclaimed dead lay at the morgue at midday Monday -- blood-caked men who had been shot, knifed, garroted or apparently suffocated by the plastic bags still over their heads. Many of the bodies were sprawled with their hands still bound -- and many of them had wound up at the morgue after what their families said was their abduction by the Mahdi Army, the Shiite militia of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

But at the morgue, where the floor was crusted with dried blood, the evidence of the damage already done was clear. Iraqis arrived throughout the day, seeking family members and neighbors among the contorted bodies.

"And they say there is no sectarian war?" demanded one man. "What do you call this?"

So much for the what miserable toads "know" about what's happening in Iraq.

Posted by: trex on February 27, 2006 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

So sad. If someone didn't know there was a civil war simmering in Iraq, events of the past week should wake them up. The toll reported by WaPo is too high, even for those of us who feared the toll is higher than what Iraqi officials were admitting.

Only the blind can fail to see the reality of the ugly situation in Iraq. Will the US public continue to remain blind to the incompetence exercised in their name and with their tax dollars?

Posted by: bt on February 28, 2006 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK

You know, it is in a sense true that by staying in Iraq, we prevent the outbreak of full-scale civil war. We give them somebody to hate besides each other.

Posted by: brooksfoe on February 28, 2006 at 12:59 AM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe, you wrote several nice posts, including your lesson on analogies -- which I think is a joke. Anyhow, about this: If the Shiites resolve to take over the country, and we attempt to stand in their way, then the curve meets the asymptote, and Iraq becomes Vietnam.

Obviously I don't know that can't or won't happen, but it seems to me that the Shiites do not want to conquer the whole country, and don't have anything like the military power to fight through American troops; the Iraqi army with US support did not have a lot of trouble driving the Mehdi army out of Najaf and Nasiriyah.

I wrote a couple days ago about the prospect of the conflicitng sects relocating to avoid mixing if the sectarian violence continues.

I wonder: there is much Shiite on Sunni violence, hundreds, possibly thousands killed over tha last many weeks. Does anyone know how many of the Sunnis were powers in the Baath party? It makes some difference.

Posted by: republicrat on February 28, 2006 at 1:05 AM | PERMALINK

It's frustating to me to have to say this, but Iraq is not Vietnam. The reason I say it's frustrating is because I have routinely written and blogged about those who dismiss comparisons to Vietnam. They go too far; there are similarities to Vietnam, and it is not improper to discuss Vietnam and what we learned (if anything) and try to apply it to Iraq. At the same time it is equally clear that Iraq is NOT Vietnam. The political dynamics are different, but what primarily is the difference is that in Vietnam we waded into a conflict that already existed, whereas in Iraq we have created the conflict. In that sense our moral culpability for having begun this insurgency is far, far greater than our moral culpability in Vietnam, in which hundreds of thousands if not millions of Vietnamese were killed by our weapons. In Vietnam we were only guilty of the inncoents we killed; in Iraq we are responsible for every single person that has died who wouldn't have died were Saddam in power, or had we done a better job from the beginning. And if Iraq falls to pieces and thousands or hundreds of thousands are millions die, than it will be our fault. As for the political dynamics, in Vietnam we did not have the insurgents asking us to stay for fear that they would be overwhelmed. In Iraq there are those on both sides who clearly desire us to stay and enforce some kind of peace and stability on the other side, which puts us in a very different position than in Vietnam. Just remember, there are many similarities, but many critical differences, and they are not the same.

Posted by: Alexander Wolfe on February 28, 2006 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

republicrat,

Face it, the situation is chaotic but it was wholly predictable.

Now, after the fact, you are essentially saying "I don't know any facts but maybe it will all sort itself out."

Well duh. I was saying exactly the same thing after we invaded - get the hell out and let it sort itself out.

We wasted billions of dollars and thousands of lives for nothing. We bombed schools, rebuilt them, painted them, and now they are getting bombed again. What a frigging waste.

Posted by: Tripp on February 28, 2006 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

Samuel Knight, either above or on a different thread, presented civil war as a nearly inevitable outcome of the prisoners'dilemma. That is an interesting idea. There are some complications:

the Kurds want peace and prosperity; the Shiites want peace and prosperity (there are significant expressions of unwillingness to kill other Moslems, though there are also armed gangs killing former Baathists and other Sunnis); almost all of the Sunnis want peace and prosperity. However, some of the Sunnis, the Baathists, seek reconquest more than they seek peace and prosperity; on my reading, the Shiite militias seek to impose Sharia law where they live, but do not seek the conquest of the rest of Iraq; but there is worse. The jihadists seek suicide, murder and destruction. There isn't in the prisoners' dilemma an agent like the jihadists who actively seek to kill themselves in the act of destroying others' lives and property.

I don't mean to dismiss the analogy outright, only to keep the discussion going.

Posted by: republicrat on February 28, 2006 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

Zogby just polled the troops in Iraq and asked them how long they thought they should stay there.

The poll is the first of U.S. troops currently serving in Iraq, according to John Zogby, the pollster. Conducted by Zogby International and LeMoyne College, it asked 944 service members, "How long should U.S. troops stay in Iraq?"

Only 23 percent backed Mr. Bush's position that they should stay as long as necessary. In contrast, 72 percent said that U.S. troops should be pulled out within one year. Of those, 29 percent said they should withdraw "immediately."

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/2/27/235919/485

Puts to bed the argument heard here all the time that the troops are gung ho about this and want to stay in Iraq until we've achieved "victory."

Apparently not.

In fact, they seem to be expressly disagreeing with Bush's desperate argument that leaving now would somehow dishonor the dead by an overwhelming majority, and tacitly agreeing with the positions of Murtha and Sheehan.

Posted by: trex on February 28, 2006 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

republicrat,

Playing around with analogies is fun and all, and it lets us all pretend that we are watching a game of Risk with the dice rolling and blocks of wood moving around the board, but so far I have not seen or heard any analysis that was even close to what my parents said back in '78.

They said the Middle East is full of numerous factions who have been fighting each other for hundreds of years. They align and realign themselves in countless configurations.

For you or any other Westerner to spout off about what the Kurds "want" or the Sunnis "want" is the height of hubris and arrogance.

We were fools to go over there and think we could "fix" things with the wave of a hand and military force and some magical thing called "democracy."

You are a fool now if you think you can figure this out and present any sort of solution in a blog comment section.

Posted by: Tripp on February 28, 2006 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Iraq is closer to Malaysia or the Philippines. Ethnic based insurgency, with US siding the majority.

Note - that Singapore of the Federation of Malaya was kicked out to prevent ethnic fighting.

Posted by: McA on February 28, 2006 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

By the way, in the current Harpers the estimated cost of this horrific war to each American taxpayer is just under $20,000.

And given that the average net worth of households in the bottom 20% is -$1400 and they, not the .0001% at the top who demanding more tax cuts, are the ones expected to somehow pay for this crap, if only in the obscene 'budget discipline' posturing being engaged in by the GOP, something's gotta give somehow.

Soon.

Posted by: CFShep on February 28, 2006 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

As counterpoint to the frequent discussions of the Prisoner's Dilemma I offer this ancient tale:

The Scorpion and the Frog

The frog agrees to carry the scorpion across the raging river because the scorpion promises the frog that he will will not sting him.

Halfway across, the scorpion stings the frog.

The frog asks, with his dying breath, why the scorpion would do such a thing since it means they will both die.

The scorpion says that it becuase he's a scorpion, as the frog well knew, and that it is his nature as a scorpion to sting. It's what he does.

Posted by: CFShep on February 28, 2006 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Tripp, about this: You are a fool now if you think you can figure this out and present any sort of solution in a blog comment section.

This is a blog, and a place for debate and comment. Each of us writes a tiny fraction of what he or she believes. It is not yet known whether your parents were more knowledgable than I am, but we do know that neither your parents nor I can be fully summarized in a few short paragraphs. They said the Middle East is full of numerous factions who have been fighting each other for hundreds of years. Surely it is no more arrogant to claim, on the basis of what we have all read lately, that most Sunnis and Shi'ites want peace.

The real point of my post was to highlight the one group of people that clearly wants neither peace nor prosperity, and who are willing to die to prevent either. Those jihadists might be everybody's enemy, and they might soon be seen by all groups to be everybody's enemy.

Everything posted here is posted with, and read with, a coalition of "maybe" qualifications.

Posted by: republicrat on February 28, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

The scorpion says that it becuase he's a scorpion, as the frog well knew, and that it is his nature as a scorpion to sting. It's what he does.

Posted by: CFShep on February 28, 2006 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

And if you believe arabs are all scorpions, when do you plot their genocide. After all, its just pest control.

Posted by: Mca on February 28, 2006 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

http://www.mortonhollow.com/jpanaljeppa/deep-anal-fisting-free.html - deep anal fisting free http://www.mortonhollow.com/jpanaljeppa/deep-anal-fisting-free.html
http://www.continentalhomehealth.com/titsmovies/big-breast-groups-adult-black-tits.html - big breast groups adult black tits http://www.continentalhomehealth.com/titsmovies/big-breast-groups-adult-black-tits.html
http://www.mortonhollow.com/jpmature/mature-porn-australia.html - mature porn australia http://www.mortonhollow.com/jpmature/mature-porn-australia.html
http://www.guasaveva.com/xzasians/asian-girls-free-no-email.html - asian girls free no email http://www.guasaveva.com/xzasians/asian-girls-free-no-email.html
http://www.mortonhollow.com/jpmature/mature-older-blonde-gallery.html - mature older blonde gallery http://www.mortonhollow.com/jpmature/mature-older-blonde-gallery.html
http://www.guasaveva.com/picsgays/gay-personals-sex.html - gay personals sex http://www.guasaveva.com/picsgays/gay-personals-sex.html
http://www.guasaveva.com/picsgays/gay-lesbian-same-sex-marriage-canada.html - gay lesbian same sex marriage canada http://www.guasaveva.com/picsgays/gay-lesbian-same-sex-marriage-canada.html
http://www.guasaveva.com/picsgays/young-teen-twink-gay-sex.html - young teen twink gay sex http://www.guasaveva.com/picsgays/young-teen-twink-gay-sex.html
http://www.mortonhollow.com/jpanaljeppa/anal-ass-fucking-movies.html - anal ass fucking movies http://www.mortonhollow.com/jpanaljeppa/anal-ass-fucking-movies.html
http://www.mortonhollow.com/jpmature/older-women-free-thumbnails.html - older women free thumbnails http://www.mortonhollow.com/jpmature/older-women-free-thumbnails.html
http://www.mortonhollow.com/jpanaljeppa/anal-cream-pie-video.html - anal cream pie video http://www.mortonhollow.com/jpanaljeppa/anal-cream-pie-video.html
http://www.guasaveva.com/xzasians/asian-naked-mom.html - asian naked mom http://www.guasaveva.com/xzasians/asian-naked-mom.html
http://www.mortonhollow.com/jpmature/free-adult-porno-picture-thumbnail-galleries-mature-post-gallery.html - free adult porno picture thumbnail galleries mature post gallery http://www.mortonhollow.com/jpmature/free-adult-porno-picture-thumbnail-galleries-mature-post-gallery.html
http://www.mortonhollow.com/jpanaljeppa/slap-ass.html - slap ass http://www.mortonhollow.com/jpanaljeppa/slap-ass.html
http://www.mortonhollow.com/jpmature/mega-mature-tgp.html - mega mature tgp http://www.mortonhollow.com/jpmature/mega-mature-tgp.html
http://www.mortonhollow.com/jpmature/year-fat-old-women-years-fuck.html - year fat old women years fuck http://www.mortonhollow.com/jpmature/year-fat-old-women-years-fuck.html
http://www.mortonhollow.com/jpmature/older-women-pussy-feet.html - older women pussy feet http://www.mortonhollow.com/jpmature/older-women-pussy-feet.html
http://www.mortonhollow.com/jpmature/senior-pictures-expensive.html - senior pictures expensive http://www.mortonhollow.com/jpmature/senior-pictures-expensive.html
http://www.continentalhomehealth.com/titsmovies/african-titties-beer.html - african titties beer http://www.continentalhomehealth.com/titsmovies/african-titties-beer.html
http://www.mortonhollow.com/jpmature/big-titted-fat-older-women-arses.html - big titted fat older women arses http://www.mortonhollow.com/jpmature/big-titted-fat-older-women-arses.html
http://www.mortonhollow.com/jpanaljeppa/anal-techniques-sx.html - anal techniques sx http://www.mortonhollow.com/jpanaljeppa/anal-techniques-sx.html
rAngvauVeSsxyUHdl

Posted by: MIzKcvAhTL on March 1, 2006 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly