Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 19, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

CIVIL WAR....Borzou Daragahi of the LA Times writes from Baghdad:

"The message is clear, and the message confirms the sectarian differences," said Fadhil Sharih, a leader of the Sadr movement. "It seems clear that it's been moving toward the direction of civil war."

...."What is happening in Iraq is a disaster and a tragedy," Adnan Dulaimi, a Sunni Arab leader, said in an interview. "It's bloodshed and killing of the innocents, killing the elderly and women and children. It's mass killings. It's nothing less than an undeclared civil war."

...."I start to feel the need to say that there is a civil war," said Salim Abdullah Jabouri, a Sunni politician, "in order to borrow the tools and solutions of past civil wars to apply them here, and to call upon the international community to deal with Iraq's problems on this basis."

.... "It is actually a civil war," said Ayad Samaraie, a leader of the Iraqi Islamic Party. "It is action and reaction. And it is increasing day after day."

Daragahi also reports that Sunni and Shiite leaders are "far from an accord and often seem to talk past one another in discussing solutions for ending the spiraling violence." There seems no end in sight, and no plan from the Bush administration to even acknowledge what's going on, let alone try something new to halt the violence. Have they literally given up?

Kevin Drum 2:04 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (97)

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And figuratively, as well.

Posted by: Foundation of Mud on July 19, 2006 at 2:09 AM | PERMALINK

Have they literally given up?

Yes, they have. They don't even have any metaphorical corners left to turn. All that's left is to blame their policy failures on the Iraqis and the "Left".

Posted by: enozinho on July 19, 2006 at 2:13 AM | PERMALINK

What is this "giving up"? We still have the administration saying "Stay the course", Glenn Reynolds saying "win", and various neocons telling us that we ought to use the opportunity to invade Syria and Iran, and nuke North Korea for dessert.

Posted by: bad Jim on July 19, 2006 at 2:22 AM | PERMALINK

The only Americans who recognize the reality described by the quotes in Kevin's post are those that read progressive blogs and the foreign (i.e., Canadian and British) press. Why should Bush and Republicans feel any need to adjust to a reality-based policy? Reality to their base and, indeed, most Americans is what they see on cable and network television news. Not too many revelations about civil war there.

Posted by: DevilDog on July 19, 2006 at 2:28 AM | PERMALINK

Can't say I disagree, but what's the best strategy going forward? Seems like the Sunni elite want American troops to stay put and staunch the bloodflow and the Shia elite want the occupation ended asap. Is it time for an Iraqi referendum on the US occupation? Is it time to start talking to Iran and Egypt about sharing peace-keeping responsibilities?

Posted by: ui on July 19, 2006 at 2:28 AM | PERMALINK

"Have they literally given up?"

No. Your question implies that they were once seriously engaged in Iraq beyond a) winning elections b) sweetheart deals c) revenge.

I can perceive no evidence that ever were actively engaged. No, maybe that's too simple.

My latest theory: Bush was really serious and eager when he thought that US soldiers would be greeted with flowers and dancing in the streets. When that didn't happen he sort of lost interest.

Posted by: michael farris on July 19, 2006 at 2:39 AM | PERMALINK

reality has a well known liberal bias

Posted by: stephen C. on July 19, 2006 at 2:40 AM | PERMALINK

You can hardly call it "giving up" when they have proceeded from the get-go as though chaos in Iraq would be a positive benefit. Too harsh ? O.K. What of the wargamed predictions of the military, then ? Just "inconvenient truths" to be ignored or natural consequences of no importance ? There is an inevitable conclusion in there somewhere.

Posted by: opit on July 19, 2006 at 3:09 AM | PERMALINK

They failed to take out Sadr and his militias during the first uprisings two years ago. Sooner or later this will have to be done, and it's going to be bloodier for having put it off.

Posted by: gomez on July 19, 2006 at 3:11 AM | PERMALINK

It's just Bush's "vast carelessness" at work again.

"They smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back to their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess
they had made." - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Posted by: Gwailo on July 19, 2006 at 3:13 AM | PERMALINK

They failed to take out Sadr and his militias during the first uprisings two years ago. Sooner or later this will have to be done, and it's going to be bloodier for having put it off.

And it's also going to be just as unachievable.

Posted by: floopmeister on July 19, 2006 at 3:39 AM | PERMALINK


What happened to the argument that it's because the media keeps focusing on the negative? Why doesn't the media show more of the people who aren't being carbombed? One of one, all of the arguments of Bush are being dismantled by reality..

Posted by: Andy on July 19, 2006 at 3:51 AM | PERMALINK

Borrring. There's a new war now in Lebanon and Bush and Cheney don't have to do anything except talk tough....which is all they got. But the press loves it, and they love to do it. Bushco doesn't really seem to understand that we're occupying a nation whose majority population is hostile to Israel, and a big sloppy kiss for them as they bomb Muslims isn't likely to go over well with that population. It's as if these conservative clowns floating ideas about bombing Syria and Iran have completely forgotten Iraq and you know, winning hearts and minds. Attention deficit disorder?

Posted by: Mario on July 19, 2006 at 4:42 AM | PERMALINK

Any war can be won. In the twentieth century we have better weapons against mice, rats and roaches than we've ever had in the past.

That the populations of mice, rats and roaches are increasing at essentially the same rate as humans is not a credibly countervailing argument.

Posted by: bad Jim on July 19, 2006 at 5:09 AM | PERMALINK

They failed to take out Sadr and his militias during the first uprisings two years ago.

Anyone remember how that started? The trigger was Paul Bremer banning a Sadrist newspaper. I hope that medal of his looks shiny.

Posted by: ahem on July 19, 2006 at 5:47 AM | PERMALINK

The dramaitc waning of Americn global influence continues apace.

Bush has a brief bombing campaign or two left. Then he's dustbin of history material.

Posted by: HeavyJ on July 19, 2006 at 5:56 AM | PERMALINK

No trolls so far. Have they given up too?

Posted by: Barry on July 19, 2006 at 6:45 AM | PERMALINK

With 14,000 civilians killed in the first six months of 2006, I think this qualifies not only as a civil war, but also as one of the greatest human tragedies of the past 25 years.

Can someone explain to me again how this situation would be demonstrably worse if the U.S. pulled our troops out, say, tomorrow??

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on July 19, 2006 at 7:07 AM | PERMALINK

John McCain needs to go to Baghdad and tell them to cut the bullshit. Isn't that what he said his plan was?

Posted by: merlallen on July 19, 2006 at 7:08 AM | PERMALINK

Can someone explain to me again how this situation would be demonstrably worse if the U.S. pulled our troops out, say, tomorrow??

The only thing I can think of is the public execution of the current administration, and the emergence of a Saddam-like strongman who would eventually restore order, after a period of ethnic cleansing. In the end, I think the bodies would probably balance out.

Posted by: Del Capslock on July 19, 2006 at 7:41 AM | PERMALINK

but the schools are painted & they all have purple fingers on their triggers.

Posted by: al on July 19, 2006 at 8:04 AM | PERMALINK

For what it's worth, it seems like we've been "moving towards civil war" for the better part of the last three years.

In away, it's sort of like the "we can win in six more months" line that's been used for over two years now.

In short, things are either always getting better, or worse, depending upon who you talk to, but they never actually are better or worse. It's very strange.

Posted by: Jim D on July 19, 2006 at 8:09 AM | PERMALINK

"Seems like the Sunni elite want American troops to stay put and staunch the bloodflow"

This would be seen by Shia as taking sides in the conflict.

There are no possible circumstances in which this is a good idea.

Posted by: CN on July 19, 2006 at 8:19 AM | PERMALINK

Given up?

That presupposes that creating chaos in Iraq was not part of the plan from the outset.

An unstable Iraq means the US has to stay, to "prevent chaos". A stable Iraq might actually ask us to leave and not give us any option but to actually leave.

I firmly believe that creating civil war in Iraq was part of their plan all along. I believe I will be vindicated in this belief in, say, ten years time.

I paid too much attention to history and the US's record of fomenting civil wars in Central America, Africa, and Asia to believe they've changed their spots.

Iraq is an Example of What Happens when you Mess with Us, is the rationale here.

Simlplistic? Yes, but keep in mind who we're dealing with here.

Posted by: Monkey on July 19, 2006 at 8:23 AM | PERMALINK

All that's left is to blame their policy failures on the Iraqis and the "Left".

As predicted. tbrosz was called out for polishing up the loathsome dolchstosslegende in these threads months ago.

Posted by: Gregory on July 19, 2006 at 8:24 AM | PERMALINK

Bush and his supporters are all supposed to be great Christian scholars. How could they forget the old dictum "sow the wind, reap the whirlwind." I guess they are worse bible scholars than they are war fighters.

What do they say about George Bush, "all hat, no cattle" which is the Texas equivalent of "all flash, no substance."

Sorry to write in cliches, but there are no new thoughts on this topic. Every idea has been overused.

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 19, 2006 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

They failed to take out Sadr and his militias during the first uprisings two years ago. Sooner or later this will have to be done,

And after that, we can get started on taking out that Uncle Ho guy and his ragtag band. They have no real popular support either.

Posted by: brooksfoe on July 19, 2006 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

Your question implies that they were once seriously engaged in Iraq beyond a) winning elections b) sweetheart deals c) revenge.

Exactly.

Headlines that the Right apparently considers evidence of a successful and competent foreign policy, climate policy, and political philosophy:

U.S. response [in Lebanon] exasperates Americans

14 dead, 20 kidnapped in Iraq attacks

Israeli soldiers battle Hezbollah inside Lebanon

Conservative Reed concedes in Georgia primary

U.S. swelters under deadly heat wave

Time for Dickless Cheney to come out of hiding again and proclaim that the insurgents are desperate and on their last legs, that global warming is a figment of our imagination, that the radical Right represents the majority of Americans, and that the administration has a Roadmap to Peace . . .

The only map this administration has is a Roadmap to Nowhere.

It is clueless and adrift, a victim of its own arrogance and self-righteousness, wallowing in greed and self-interest, afflicted with hatred for freedom, the American public, and our soldiers.

Posted by: Advocate for God on July 19, 2006 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

"Have they literally given up?" may be the dumbest question Kevin has asked in months.

Most of the Dems have given up, yes. Murtha, Kerry, Dean, those guys have all given up.

Posted by: Down goes Frazier on July 19, 2006 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

(fingers in ears)

la-la-la-la-la! Can't hear you!

Posted by: al on July 19, 2006 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder what it will take for the powers-that-be to start calling it a civil war, period. One of the characteristic of alcoholic families, when deep in their addiction, is denial.

Everyone, the media, the public, the world, is waiting. It won't be a "civil war" until our President says it is, but he and his administration are addicted to war: Everything is going well in Iraq. We aren't losing.

Posted by: PTate in MN on July 19, 2006 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

"Most of the Dems have given up, yes. Murtha, Kerry, Dean, those guys have all given up."

Whereas most Repub politicians, against the desires of a majority of Americans, want to continue the exercise in futility. Give up on a futile occupation? You bet!

Posted by: Joel on July 19, 2006 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK


"Why doesn't the media show more of the people who aren't being carbombed? "

Maybe the people they might interview fear they would be next.

Posted by: no on July 19, 2006 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

All the remains to be determined in Iraq is who will be the last man asked to die for this mistake.

Posted by: Irony Man on July 19, 2006 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

I here tell that President Bush is an old pilot. Let me tell you a bromide my old flight instructor told me. A pilot is in a world of hurt if "he runs out of airspeed, altitude and ideas all at the same time." According to my old instructor pilot that situation meant the pilot was about to put a down payment on the farm right beneith his wings.

Well when it comes to Iraq our pilot/president and his entire administration have run out of airspeed, altitude and ideas all at the same time. Folks we are all passengers. I hope we all like farm down below. Mission accomplished?

Are there any Republican grownups who can take charge of foreign policy for the next two years?

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 19, 2006 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry about writing in cliches again, but there are no new ideas on this topic.

Irony Man, my daughter's best friend, an 18 year old girl private, is leaving for Iraq in just a few short weeks. While she is gone we are all going to worry that she isn't the one chosen to be the last to die for the Arbusto Iraq folly.

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 19, 2006 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

President Bush is guilty of "vast carelessness"

Sounds like the Democratic buttress to "Cut & Run"(TM)

Posted by: Jon Karak on July 19, 2006 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

Most of the Dems have given up, yes. Murtha, Kerry, Dean, those guys have all given up.

Conservatives certainly haven't given up wanting to send more American soldiers to their graves for no purpose and kill and torture more innocent Iraqi civilians.

How is that neocon foreign policy theory, that if we just talk tough and kill a bunch of people our enemies will be intimidated into silence and peace will reign in the Middle East, working out?

Americans in Lebanon: 'Please get us out'

15 dead, 20 kidnapped in Iraq attacks

Afghan towns captured in recent days by the Taliban

U.S. response [in Lebanon] exasperates Americans

Israeli soldiers battle Hezbollah inside Lebanon

Not so good, eh?

The Right keeps claiming that fanatic Islamists want all-out religious war in the Middle East, but it looks like it is Bush and the Right who are pushing for that outcome.

Posted by: Advocate for God on July 19, 2006 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

Jon Karak: Sounds like the Democratic buttress to "Cut & Run"

This sounds like right-wing rationalization and dishonesty.

Whose son or daughter are you willing to kill next just to prove up Bush's alleged "manhood", Jon?

Where were you when the GOP was encouraging "cut and run" in Kosovo and Bosnia, despite the fact that Clinton didn't lose a single American soldier in winning that war?

Where were you when the GOP was encouraging "cut and run" when it came to North Korea, Syria, Iran, the Sudan, and even Nazi Germany, etc, etc, etc.

Posted by: Advocate for God on July 19, 2006 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

I'm currently reading [on the beach this week, yeah!] Grant's autobiography. If you guys could read the exasperation folks had with Lincoln's meddling and micromanagement, stupid decisions that cost tens of thousands of lives unneccessarily, you might put this war in perspective. Did you know that in 1868, four years after Appomattox, and despite the superhuman statesmenship of Robert E Lee advocating surrender and cooperation, three states were still in too much chaos to participate in the Presidential election? [Texas, Mississippi, Virginia]
I am not comparing Bush and his crew to Lincoln. I have agreed with those that think Rumsfeld should be sacked, the war was and is being incompetently managed, etc. But it seems to me that the best thing the terrorists have going for them is American's demand for instant gratification. Reknittng the social fabric in Iraq is going to take at least as long as it it in South Africa, where the homicide rate, gang and warlord criminal activity, etc. would never be considered acceptable to westerners. I don't hear anybody arguing we should go back to apartheid though.

Posted by: minionn of rove on July 19, 2006 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

Are there any Republican grownups who can take charge of foreign policy for the next two years?

Short answer? No.

Posted by: Stefan on July 19, 2006 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

"...no plan from the Bush administration..."

What do you mean no plan?

Don't you know that "Condi" will be going over there?

That will surely fix things.

Posted by: marty on July 19, 2006 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

Advocate, I believe that Jon was saying that "vast carelesness" is our answer to the GOP's slur of "cut and run," i.e., Jon is on our side.

Posted by: Stefan on July 19, 2006 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry about the OT post, but here goes:

"In Georgia Tuesday, former Christian Coalition leader and Bush campaign official Ralph Reed lost the race for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor."

Doug M? Doug M? HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! You fucking loser.

Posted by: brewmn on July 19, 2006 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

If there is a Civil War in Iraq (and of course there isn't--its just the negativity of the MSM) it is not because of the failed policies and inattention of the Bush administration. No, it is all the fault of traitors and liberals like Cindy Sheehan, John Murtha and Kevin Drum.
Why? Because they undermined the president's war effort and tied his hands in Iraq.

How exactly did they do that? Umm, by being Negative Nabobs of Negativism. By not spreading the good news about Iraq. By not supporting the troops. By refusing to fully fund the president's requests for the effort in Iraq. They didn't do the last one you say?

You're just all traitors for questioning the president.

Posted by: Freder Frederson on July 19, 2006 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK


"I don't think anyone could have imagined this would happen." - mr. clueless

Posted by: mr. clueless on July 19, 2006 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

It's Nattering Nabobs of Negativism

Posted by: minion of rove on July 19, 2006 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

I'm currently reading [on the beach this week, yeah!] Lincoln's autobiography. If you guys could read the exasperation folks had with Lincoln's meddling and micromanagement, stupid decisions that cost tens of thousands of lives unneccessarily, you might put this war in perspective.

I'm currently reading Lyndon Johnson's biography. If you guys could read the exasperation folks had with Johnson's meddling and micromanagement, stupid decisions that cost millions of lives unneccessarily, you might put this war in perspective. After all, at first everyone was frustrated with how the Vietnam War was going, and the critics were out in full force saying we as a foreign invader ignorant of the culture and politics of the region could never win a guerilla war against a national liberation movement, but we stuck together and we won Vietnam in the end...right? Right?

The moral: beware of false and misleading historical analogies.

Posted by: Stefan on July 19, 2006 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

I'm currently reading [on the beach this week, yeah!] Lincoln's autobiography.

I hope it's a rainy day where you are, because otherwise why are you here? Get back on the beach, man!

Posted by: Stefan on July 19, 2006 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

I am not comparing Bush and his crew to Lincoln.

By contending that Lincoln's situation is analogous to Bush's Folly, actually, yes, you are.

Posted by: Gregory on July 19, 2006 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Reknittng the social fabric in Iraq is going to take at least as long as it it in South Africa, where the homicide rate, gang and warlord criminal activity, etc. would never be considered acceptable to westerners. I don't hear anybody arguing we should go back to apartheid though.

Well, Dick Cheney, who voted against a Congressional resolution calling for Nelson Mandela's release and called Mandela a terrorist, probably thinks they should go back to apartheid.

Posted by: Stefan on July 19, 2006 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

By contending that Lincoln's situation is analogous to Bush's Folly, actually, yes, you are.

And actually Lincoln did have mostly incompetent generals who really wouldn't fight. Bush on the other hand has plenty of competent generals who he simply won't listen to. Did anyone catch the Army Chief of Staff's press conference last week? His days are numbered.

Posted by: Freder Frederson on July 19, 2006 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

Reknittng the social fabric in Iraq is going to take at least as long as it it in South Africa, where the homicide rate, gang and warlord criminal activity, etc. would never be considered acceptable to westerners.

Your analogy presupposes that "reknittng the social fabric in Iraq" is possible, an assertion not in evidence. (As a counterexample, Yugoslavia split into component states in a bloody civil war.)

Too, your analogy is misleading, because you're comparing crime and homicide rates to the sectarian violence and mass carnage of Iraq -- i.e. you're comparing a nation in civil war (Iraq) to a nation that did not experience a civil war (SA). If South Africa suffered dozens of casualties from car bombs a day, somehow I missed it.

It also omits the fact that "westerners" did not intervene militarily in South Africa. Once again the question is begged: How many American lives must we sacrifice in this effort? And why, oh why, do so many of those who inssit that we must put American lives at risk not volunteer to set an example?

Posted by: Gregory on July 19, 2006 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

Monkey at 8:23 has it exactly right:

"An unstable Iraq means the US has to stay, to 'prevent chaos'... creating civil war in Iraq was part of their plan all along."

Of course, the simpleton cowboy was not let in on the real plan, and the neocon idealists were not disabused of their foolish optimism. But the real forces at work in Washington counted on a prolonged destabilizing civil war to justify a permanent American military presence in Iraq.

The greatest political asset these forces have is the total unwillingness of most Americans to even consider so cold and sinister a reality.

Posted by: reason, t on July 19, 2006 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

The Bush administration has already cut and run. The problem is, they've abandoned 130,000 American troops in the desert to fend for themselves and/or die in the process.

Posted by: brewmn on July 19, 2006 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

"giving up" is a cop out phrase...

Remember they "CAUSED" all of this.

This civil war is a function of their invasion.

In other words--

Point an index finger right at Bush's forehead and say outloud: War criminal.

Posted by: koreyel on July 19, 2006 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

But Kevin...

[long silence]

We're not [long silence]

...losing.

Posted by: gq on July 19, 2006 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

The Bush administration has already cut and run. The problem is, they've abandoned 130,000 American troops in the desert to fend for themselves and/or die in the process.

That's much better rhetoric than saying Bush is "killing" the troops and civilians, which few sensible people believe. Bush is responsible for, but not the perpetrator of the senseless death.

If the Bush economic philosophy is You're On Your Own (YOYO), why should we expect anything else for his other policies. We're going to "stay the course" without a real plan is tantamount to saying to the troops: You're on your own.

Posted by: gq on July 19, 2006 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK
They failed to take out Sadr and his militias during the first uprisings two years ago.

The real problem is that they included SCIRI and its militias in the running of Iraq and excluded Sadr and his militias; it would have been no harder to bring Sadr in at the beginning, rather than exclude him while including another group more tied to Iran.

Posted by: cmdicely on July 19, 2006 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

Have they literally given up?

Hmm..my magic 8-ball says...all signs point to yes...

Posted by: justmy2 on July 19, 2006 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

They failed to take out Sadr and his militias during the first uprisings two years ago. Sooner or later this will have to be done, and it's going to be bloodier for having put it off.

"Kill them all and let God sort them out."

Posted by: Thumb on July 19, 2006 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan: I'm currently reading Lyndon Johnson's biography.

Whose? Caro's? Dallek's? Another?

Posted by: shortstop on July 19, 2006 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

Oops, didn't see you were playing off minion of rove's idiot post. Am leaving now; too stupid to post today!

Posted by: shortstop on July 19, 2006 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

"An unstable Iraq means the US has to stay, to 'prevent chaos'... creating civil war in Iraq was part of their plan all along."

Assuming this WAS the plan, one has to wonder what the planners thought the rest of the bad guys would be doing while this took place?

While the cat's away, the rats will play.

If this was the plan somebody really failed to consider the cost of the plan.

Posted by: Tripp on July 19, 2006 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

"Have they literally given up?"

The scariest thing about this question is that it is difficult to answer. What would they be doing right now if they had given up? What would they be doing right now if they had not given up? Is there a difference between the two?

Posted by: reino on July 19, 2006 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

I'll say as much for Iraq. When I left last time (which was a couple of months ago) American forces along with Iraqi police forces had a stranglehold on 95% of that country. Baghdad was another story -- there was still a lot of violence there but not nearly as much as we hear about now. I have my share of stories about media interpretation and how it compares to what actually happens in Iraq. (For instance, the night I came in from patrol, sat down at the computer, and saw on Yahoo! news that a protest of "hundreds of insurgents" was going on in Tikrit (which is where I was stationed) that, upon investigation with my entire platoon, turned out to be nothing more than about 10 Iraqis who were paid to hold signs with anti-American rhetoric scrawled on them. Most of them couldn't even read what the signs said.)

Iraq needs tons of work still, but don't be so quick to believe everything you see on the news.

Posted by: smitty on July 19, 2006 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

"Have they literally given up?"

How dare you imply that Smirky the Chimp ever gives up - Why, did you not see him chew every last morsel, while "frat boying" with Tony the Miniature Poodle?

After Bremer closed the newspaper, Fred Barnes declared on FAUX that this was brilliant because it would force Sadr and his minions into the open where they would be wiped out in three days. Now, how many multiples of three has that been? Conspiracy Nut, a few months thereafter, posted that Sadr was meaningless because we had crushed his forces. Must have been crushed into fertilizer, where they replenished.

All the while, Fratboy keeps chewing and laughing while the loss of innocent civilians, er collateral damage, keeps mounting.

Posted by: stupid git on July 19, 2006 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Remarkable lack of pushback from Wingers so far. I guess they also, have given up.

Except, no, there's always still a dead-ender willing to double down with other people's lives.

Posted by: craigie on July 19, 2006 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Defeatists and traitors! If America isn't strong enough to win this war, then she doesn't deserve to survive! We must begin the process of blowing up our own cities and denying our people the means to live, since they have proven themselves too weak to defeat the hordes from the East!

(It sounded better in the original German)

Posted by: American Huckster on July 19, 2006 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

I don't understand why you have to undermine our president. Why don't you talk about the newly painted schools? Or the electricity that we've restored for the 100th time?

The sad thing is that I bet that's not far from the response from the conservatives.

Posted by: Tx Bubba on July 19, 2006 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Having a stranglehold on 95% of Iraq except for Baghdad isn't as good a deal as it sounds.

One Iraqi in four lives in Baghdad. It's like 95% control of Massachusetts outside i-495.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on July 19, 2006 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

Having a stranglehold on 95% of Iraq except for Baghdad isn't as good a deal as it sounds.One Iraqi in four lives in Baghdad. It's like 95% control of Massachusetts outside i-495.

Yes, we seem to control the empty desert where no people live. In the cities, though, the place with real live Iraqis, well, that's a different story.

And, to rephrase what another poster asked yesterday (I'm sorry, I can't remember who) is there one square inch of Iraq outside of Kurdistan where a GI can go to restaurant for a meal? Is there one square inch where an American can go out to visit his Iraqi friends openly, or where an Iraqi merchant can freely say that he's doing business with Americans, without them being immediately targeted for murder?

If not, then no, we don't have a "strangehold" -- unless "strangehold" is supposed to mean "we control it only for those exact moments when we're standing right there with overwhelming force, but the second our back is turned, we don't."

Posted by: Stefan on July 19, 2006 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Smitty, how many times did you leave your base unarmed and go out for a nice relaxing stroll among the Iraqis? You know, like the GIs in Saigon used to walk around that city, hang out, go to a restaurant, etc.? After all, if US forces had a "stranglehold" you should have been able to do that, correct?

Posted by: Stefan on July 19, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

yeah, max boot is a hoot today in the LATimes, much more than usual.

Posted by: nut on July 19, 2006 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

the us is so vulnerable right now, anyone can attack us and i think that is what's going to happen - we've got problems going on in japan, korea, africa, iraq, afganistan, lebbanon, israel - is it realy going to turn into wwIII? is what we're doing in iraq for nothing? is there really a benefit hidden somewhere amongst the lines? someone very very very special to me is being shipped off today to iraq and i'm scared out of my mind for him - if he doesn't come back i don't know what i will do - bush makes me so angry, i don't think he realized all the effects from his causes - we're all getting effected even though it's not directly, we're allllll impacted - gosh bush! i'm going crazy! i want my mike back home!

Posted by: lesley on July 19, 2006 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

The problem isn't that Iraq is in the midst of a civil war. The problem is that this information has been leaked to the American public, who really don't need to know what the Decider is up to.

Posted by: Karl on July 19, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

how come? why is that the problem? the "information" having been leaked to the American public - i don't see that as an issue - we have a right to know what's going on, and frankly, i don't think we truly have ANY clue whatsoever as to what is REALLY going on

Posted by: lesley on July 19, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not convinced that things in Iraq AREN'T going according to plan. Reducing Iraq to permement ethnic/tribal civil warring is and always was Step 1: Divide. Once all of our great new bases are in place, and we have an impotent, needy client government in place we will have Conquered sufficiently.

Isn't that why Israel is destroying Lebanon right now?

Posted by: rupescissa on July 19, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Have they literally given up?

Well, it appears that Bush has completely checked out. This would be funny if it weren't so deeply deeply frightening:

Bush's pig tales show disengagement
BY TIMOTHY M. PHELPS
Newsday Washington Bureau Chief

July 15, 2006, 9:03 PM EDT

WASHINGTON -- As Israeli warplanes were preparing an attack on Lebanon Thursday afternoon, and a Lebanese militia was aiming a rocket at the ancient Israeli city of Safed, President George W. Bush was bantering with reporters in Germany about a pig.

Bush kept bringing up the roast wild boar he was about to dine on at a banquet that night, even when asked about the swelling crisis in the Middle East, where pig meat is forbidden to religious Jews and Muslims.

"Does it concern you that the Beirut airport has been bombed?" a reporter asked. "And do you see a risk of triggering a wider war?"

"I thought you were going to ask me about the pig," Bush replied blithely....

Posted by: Stefan on July 19, 2006 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

freaking bush - he's just clueless, that's all i got to say - he may KNOW what he's doing, but i don't think he UNDERSTANDS what he is doing

Posted by: lesley on July 19, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

At 11:32 Smitty said:
I have my share of stories about media interpretation and how it compares to what actually happens in Iraq.

I'd be curious to know which parts of the article Kevin referenced you believe reflect media misinterpretation. Do you know of Iraqi politicians who don't think the current increase in violence is especially worrisome? One could say that the violence ebbs and flows, but what is the net result? Is it increasing? The deaths reported by the U.N. and the Iraqi police indicate an upward trend. Do you know of evidence to refute this?

Posted by: cowalker on July 19, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, where's Al to tell us the everything's really okay? Who are we going to believe, everyone else in the world or our own, lying president. Quick, shore of up the illusion; the holodeck is collapsing!

Posted by: Kenji on July 19, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

"Well, it appears that Bush has completely checked out. This would be funny if it weren't so deeply deeply frightening:"

Stefan, did you catch the Chancellors facial expressions while Bush was dropping hints about his desire to be the one "carving up the pig"?

I thought it was bit over the top, but then I saw the series of pic's that Josh Marshall ran with Bush trying to give the good Chancellor a shoulder massage...yeah, I got the full picture and now I fully comprehend what her thoughts were at that moment: 'you, sir, are a complete and utter embarrassment for the United States, and I pity the American people who have to suffer through your reign another two years.'

Yes, Mr. Bush, why let the world guess you're a functional idiot when all you have to do is open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on July 19, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

I told them to cut the bullshit. They didn't listen. That's my fault??

How about that roast pig, eh?

Posted by: George W. Bush on July 19, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

haha i luv it! the one who posted above me - i luv it! bu no, really, about the pig....how 'bout it huh?

Posted by: lesley on July 19, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Who can tell me a single civil war which was declared? The American Civil War wasn't. The Irish Civil War wasn't. The Spanish Civil War wasn't.

Who made up criterion like that? Scoundrels. Thugs. Gangsters.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on July 19, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Who's got time to worry about Iraq, when there are more important things to debate, like protecting the Pledge of Allegiance?

Posted by: Alf on July 19, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

hey, chicks like shoulder massages. what's wrong with you pussies?

Posted by: an al on July 19, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

If the Shiites and Sunnis want to engage in civil war, then we need to get the heck out of the way and let them have at it.

People seem to forget that Iraq as physically constructed today has very little history as a unified entity...it was cobbled together from three former Ottoman empire vilayets (regions).

For a country to exist, nationalism has to exist, and the what is destroying Iraq is the fact the people are much more loyal to their tribes and religious groups than they are to the concept of a unified Iraq.

Until that changes, and the various political and cultural entities which make up Iraq decide to prioritize the needs of the country over the needs of their particular group, the country of Iraq is doomed to conflict.

Posted by: MattW on July 19, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

The plan of the Bush administration is to back the elected government and continue to train and support its army. The Sunni/Baathist/jihadists forces tried for at least two years to weaken the government forces sufficiently that they could take over, but all that they accomplished was to weaken sufficiently that the central government could not dominate the Shi'ite militias. More recently, the Sunnis have abandoned the jihadists and most of the Baathists and have tried to make nicey-nice with the central government, but it will take a while to repair the damage that they did. Meanwhile, the U.S. and Iraqi armies are increasing their fight against the forces of Moqtada al Sadr.

This even as the Kurds remain at peace and coalition forces hand more sectors of Iraq to the Iraqi government. And the Iraqi economy continues to grow.

Hardly a simple situation.

The influence of Iran in Iraq is increasing. Among the Arabic and European nations, fear (or at least wariness) of Iran is also increasing. With G8 and the Arab leage criticising Hezbollah and implictly supporting Israel in the present fighting in Lebanon, I expect those groups to start in soon with stronger anti-Iran rhetoric. Perhaps then some action to reduce Iranian influence in Iraq, but not soon.

Posted by: republicrat on July 19, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK
With G8 and the Arab leage criticising Hezbollah and implictly supporting Israel in the present fighting in Lebanon,

While the Arab League has criticized Hezbollah, it has not, even implicitly, supported Israel. To characterize it this way is either dishonesty, or stupidity.

Posted by: cmdicely on July 19, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Dishonesty and stupidity are not mutually exclusive.

Posted by: reason, t on July 19, 2006 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

With G8 and the Arab leage criticising Hezbollah and implictly supporting Israel in the present fighting in Lebanon

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong wrong.

From the Arab League's Resolutions of July 15:

The Arab League Council at the ministerial level, at its extraordinary meeting (in Cairo) on 15 July 2006:

-- As it followed very anxiously and fully condemned the escalating Israeli aggression against the Lebanese Republic and the occupied Palestinian territories;

-- And after studying the dangerous developments connected with the Israeli aggression against civilians and the infrastructure in both the Palestinian territories and Lebanon;

-- And while it affirms its complete solidarity with the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples in the face of the Israeli aggression and war machine;

-- And as it takes into consideration the developments in the exacerbating situation in the Middle East as a result of the obstruction of the settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict in accordance with UNSC resolutions and the principle of land-for-peace, and the rise in the state of despair, frustration, and feelings of injustice and anger and the results of that;

-- And as it affirms the right of nations to resist occupation and aggression;

-- And after hearing the secretary general's report to the council, resolves:

1. To condemn continued Israeli attacks on Lebanon and the occupied Palestinian territories that harm civilians and damage the infrastructure, and affirms complete solidarity with them in the face of what they are being subjected to, and to warn of the danger of the entire region sliding toward a confrontation in view of the current escalation by Israel in both Lebanon and the Palestinian territories;

2. To call on the international community, and the UNSC in particular, to shoulder its responsibility and to move immediately to call on Israel to completely desist from its military hostilities....

http://aawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=3&id=5654

The Arab League condemned the Israeli attacks. Quit being so dense. Let go of the talking points, wishful thinking, and partisan obfuscation and let the bright light of reality shine into your awareness.

Posted by: Windhorse on July 19, 2006 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

smitty wrote: Iraq needs tons of work still, but don't be so quick to believe everything you see on the news.

The sad truth is, smitty is right. We should not believe everything we see on the news about how well things are going in Iraq.

Iraqi Death Toll Rises Above 100 Per Day, U.N. Says
by Kirk Semple
July 19, 2006
The New York Times

An average of more than 100 civilians per day were killed in Iraq last month, the United Nations reported Tuesday, registering what appears to be the highest official monthly tally of violent deaths since the fall of Baghdad.

The death toll, drawn from Iraqi government agencies, was the most precise measurement of civilian deaths provided by any government organization since the invasion and represented a substantial increase over the figures in daily news media reports.

[...]

United Nations officials said Tuesday that the number of violent deaths had climbed steadily since at least last summer. During the first six months of this year, the civilian death toll jumped more than 77 percent, from 1,778 in January to 3,149 in June, the organization said.

This sharp upward trend reflected the dire security situation in Iraq as sectarian violence has worsened and Iraqi and American government forces have been unable to stop it.

In its report, the United Nations said that 14,338 civilians had died violently in Iraq in the first six months of the year.

[...]

The United States government and military have not made public any specific figures on Iraqi civilian casualties or said whether they are keeping count.

The sad truth is that the US government and the US corporate media have not been telling the American people the sad truth about the thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians who have been killed, are being killed, and will be killed as a direct result of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Posted by: The Sad Truth on July 19, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

The scope of Bush's illusionary powers floor me. He traipses around on Air Force One, does his photo ops, his G8 meetings, thinks he's one of the Big Boys. He plays his part so well, oil heir from Texas leader of the free world. How illusion and reality must battle in that mans skull.

But money can insulate very well, and he will have very little trouble floating in his bubble for another 3 years, while the world disintergrates.

I wonder that Daddy didn't tell him he couldn't skim along as President the way he skimmed in the Reserves, that it takes actual engagement to run the US, that it is more than appointing pets, letting Cheney do his dirty work, and getting to view the aftermath of New Orleans from his clean fuel-guzzling aircraft.

Every time I see his smiling face on TV it makes me so sick and very sad. Sad for him, sad for US, sad for this globe that could use the voice of reason the US used to be.

Posted by: Madd Nadds on July 19, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

Faced with almost daily reports of sectarian carnage in Iraq, congressional Republicans are shifting their message on the war from speaking optimistically of progress to acknowledging the difficulty of the mission and pointing up mistakes in planning and execution.

Rep. Christopher Shays (Conn.) is using his House Government Reform subcommittee on national security to vent criticism of the White House's war strategy and new estimates of the monetary cost of the war. Rep. Gil Gutknecht (Minn.), once a strong supporter of the war, returned from Iraq this week declaring that conditions in Baghdad were far worse "than we'd been led to believe" and urging that troop withdrawals begin immediately.

Are the trolls partisan or aren't they: if they are not, then they must rip these "cut and run" members of the GOP a new one; if they fail to do so, they prove beyond any doubt that their position on Iraq is driven solely by partisanship.

Posted by: Advocate for God on July 20, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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