Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 29, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

DO THE BRITISH WANT OUT OF IRAQ?....The Guardian reports today that a pitched battle is being waged by British forces against a dogged band of insurgents. These particular insurgents, though, reside not in Basra but in northwest London, and they argue that British troops could be better used in Afghanistan than in an increasingly hopeless holding action in Iraq:

They believe there is a limit to what British soldiers can achieve in southern Iraq and that it is time the Iraqis took responsibility for their own security, defence sources say...."What is more important, Afghanistan or Iraq?" a senior defence source asked yesterday. "There is a group within the Ministry of Defence pushing hard to get troops out of Iraq to get more into Afghanistan."

....The fierce debate at the highest military and political levels in the MoD is reflected in a passage of a leaked memo written by a staff officer at the Defence Academy, an MoD thinktank. It reads: "British armed forces are effectively held hostage in Iraq following the failure of the deal being attempted by COS [chief of staff] to extricate UK armed forces from Iraq on the basis of 'doing Afghanistan' and we are now fighting (and arguably losing or potentially losing) on two fronts."

The reference to the "failure of the deal" suggests that this was a pretty serious effort, and one that was not appreciated by U.S. commanders, who were said to be "deeply unhappy about British talk of troop reductions and complained that the British seemed interested only in the south of the country."

The fact that basic strategy is being debated at high levels isn't unusual. What is unusual is that this particular debate suggests that the highest ranking officer in the British Army believes three things: (1) Afghanistan is in serious trouble and needs more troops ASAP, (2) there's very little more that can be accomplished by the military in Iraq, and (3) British troop deployments are essentially being dictated by political considerations in the United States.

There's not much more to say about this except for one thing: the British Army got a new chief about four weeks ago, General Richard Dannatt. Was the attempted "deal" to transfer troops from Iraq to Afghanistan something that his predecessor initiated or something that he initiated? Is the British Army going to be commanded for the next three years by someone who apparently thinks the cause in Iraq is lost?

Kevin Drum 1:17 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (147)

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Comments

If the "cut and run" Democrats win in November, it doesn't matter what the British do.

Thomas1, I'm pretty certain the Democrats will lose big in November. The passage of the Terrorists Detainment Bill has shown to the American people Democrats can't be trusted because they care more about the rights of terrorists than the lives of Americans. Watch for a Republican landslide in November.

Posted by: Al on September 29, 2006 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

No, what's sad is the how low the IQ and age of the trolls here have fallen since the GOP's descent into the toilet.

Posted by: Thin White Guy on September 29, 2006 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

The Brits are simply showing their true colors. For all the pretense of being part of New Europe, they are really Old Europe. We don't need 'em.

Posted by: patriot on September 29, 2006 at 1:36 AM | PERMALINK

Would the one guy who's pretending to be 3 different, equally unoriginal and idiotoic trolls please grow the fuck up and slit his wrists or something?

Posted by: phleabo on September 29, 2006 at 1:38 AM | PERMALINK

Another way of asking the question at the end of the story is "Is the British Army going to be commanded for the next three years by someone who's a member or the reality based community and who realizes the obvious, that the Iraq war is beyond beying already lost?"

Posted by: Brian Boru on September 29, 2006 at 1:49 AM | PERMALINK

Didn't take long for the goons to lose the thread.

British forces are proportionatley more heavily stretched than the US. UK part of NATO in southern Afghanistan have had 3-4 days without action since July 23rd. There are supply difficulties to outposts. Canadians are probably as stretched. They've asked for 2500 additional troops and more air; promised so far, 1000 Polish in February.

Sure it's a choice. I've said as much in earlier threads. The US government has got to make some realistic and tough choices, but is frozen in "stay the course".

By November 2008, this preznut will have had 6 years in Afghanistan and 5 1/2 years in Iraq. If we go on as we are, you think anything will be any better then? Or worse? We are now over $500 billion for a war we were told would pay for itself. 3000 troops dead, 20,000 wounded, God only knows how many civilians dead or wounded, hundreds of thousands as refugees, and no clue where to go. And all the negative spin-off.

British politics still runs as a democracy. The invasion of Iraq was heavily opposed before action started. Rising casualties and knowledge of the strain being put on the troops on the ground will reduce support even for Afghanistan. It's a spill over from an unjust war of choice. Mistrust transferred.

British armed forces commanders are professionals. If you could remove them from political influence and get an honest assessment, I bet they would tell you the war in Iraq is lost unless there is a much greater military effort. I bet you the US commanders would say the same.

Anybody want to pony up for that?

Retired officers and officers of lower rank might (and have) tell it as it is. Otherwise they'll all bite their lip and do their duty. Faced with the reality of war it would be the duty of those commanders to face the politicians with real appraisals and choices. Mmm. Wonder if that has happened here in the US. We know a couple of Generals have retired or moved aside early.

Anyone actually think Iraq is on a winning trend here? Or that Afghanistan is still in remission? Other than the parrots!

Posted by: notthere on September 29, 2006 at 1:59 AM | PERMALINK

Mark Kleiman is part of the problem, not the solution. So, too, are Democrats who voted for such abominations of desolation.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on September 29, 2006 at 2:16 AM | PERMALINK

The Brits are simply showing their true colors. For all the pretense of being part of New Europe, they are really Old Europe. We don't need 'em.

Posted by: patriot on September 29, 2006 at 1:36 AM | PERMALINK

To the contrary. Another Repugnut who counts as worthless any loss of life -- civilians, allies, US troops -- and believe that they and only they know the one true way.

Said another way:

"No matter the lies, no matter the cost (well, as long as it doesn'y affect my comfortable arse), no matter the mistakes, disregard rampant corruption, follow my leader. Stay the Course!

'scuse me. Anyone here have a compass?"

Posted by: notthere on September 29, 2006 at 2:19 AM | PERMALINK

Ah! The White Man's Burden!

Posted by: gregor on September 29, 2006 at 2:33 AM | PERMALINK

I have been following this blog for a long time and it is unique in this whole Al/Not Al, Thomas1/Not Thomas1 identity shifting thingie. (Who was the other one...female I think.)

I haven't seen this in the comment section of any other Blog. It's almost a sport. And often rather well played, I have to say.

Kevin said the other day that he realy did get the strangest trolls, and he does. But he also has the most unique interplay between the real trolls and the satirical trolls.

It's actually pretty fun to watch.

But the way the Fake Al posts so quickly almost makes me think it is Kevin with pre-emptive trollisms. But that would be so post-modern...

Posted by: Charles on September 29, 2006 at 2:35 AM | PERMALINK

Not to mention the whole Charles/Charlie schtick...

;)

Posted by: floopmeister on September 29, 2006 at 3:03 AM | PERMALINK

(1) Afghanistan is in serious trouble and needs more troops ASAP, (2) there's very little more that can be accomplished by the military in Iraq

Perhaps, Kevin, but now that the Preznit can legally disappear people, the war is all but won.

Posted by: Disputo on September 29, 2006 at 3:04 AM | PERMALINK

prince charlie needs to remove the poodle. and get his country's soldiers out of the evil empire's invasions.

there are no terrorists other than israelis, blairists, and bushits.

and you can take that assessment to the bank.

Posted by: albertchampion on September 29, 2006 at 3:06 AM | PERMALINK

Then there is the fact that 60% of the British public want troops out of Afghanistan. That's right, Afghanistan, where a handful (by American standards) of British soldiers have been killed in the past few weeks.

I don't see this option getting much support from either side.

Posted by: KathyF on September 29, 2006 at 3:14 AM | PERMALINK

Is the British Army going to be commanded for the next three years by someone who apparently thinks the cause in Iraq is lost?

I don't think the British said bye-bye to Blair only to adopt another Bush lapdog.

Funny that the US doesn't like UK's pull out because at one point Rumsfeld was ready to proceed into Iraq without Blair, Jack Straw and the UK, back when both countries thought this was going to be easy Iraqi oilfield heist.

History will show that this war was never about anything but that oil.

Posted by: Cheryl on September 29, 2006 at 3:53 AM | PERMALINK

The big Afghan deployment was mooted as far back as 2004, but kept being put off because things never got better in Iraq. Thanks are due to the obvious politicians, plus Generals Sir Michael Jackson and Sir Michael Walker.

Posted by: Alex on September 29, 2006 at 5:19 AM | PERMALINK

We need to show these limeys we mean business. If Britain starts seriously talking about pulling its troops out of Iraq, we need to start thinking about mining the Thames, and perhaps a surgical military strike on British bases.

Posted by: Al on September 29, 2006 at 6:40 AM | PERMALINK

Hey Thomas1 -- do have any of those Doritos left?

Posted by: Al on September 29, 2006 at 6:43 AM | PERMALINK

That is a simple misstatement of easily verifiable case. Furthermore, you are conveniently eliding the time last week when you ran out of cash at the deli and I paid for your foul-smelling turkey sandwich.

Posted by: Al on September 29, 2006 at 6:46 AM | PERMALINK

Are you getting any work done over there? Seems to me you're just skypeing with your quote girlfriend unquote.

Posted by: Al on September 29, 2006 at 6:49 AM | PERMALINK

Am I supposed to be impressed? That last post was cut and pasted from mid-April 2002. I could post fifteen times a minute if I was pulling that crap.

Posted by: Al on September 29, 2006 at 6:56 AM | PERMALINK

Cretin. All right, I'm done for tonight, the new Al is coming in to take his shift in five. Buy you a beer at Steve's Reno?

Posted by: Al on September 29, 2006 at 6:59 AM | PERMALINK

It's very doubtful that the British army is all that interested in replaying this:

When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.

The enthusiasm for fighting in Afghanistan is based largely on opposition to the Iraq campaign. There is no evidence that large numbers of conventional troops will change much in the Hindu Kush, except to add another verse to Kipling's poem.

From a military perspective, everything in Afghanistan is more difficult than in Iraq. Everything. Fewer airfields, bad roads, long, vulnerable supply lines, no seaport, killing terrain that reduces the effectiveness of most weapons, high altitude and a history of successfully repelling foreign troops no matter how long it takes.

As somebody wrote, we'll grimace and do our duty, but nobody who knows much can think we'll have things any easier in the Kush. Especially if we leave Iraq in a mess behind us.

We're stuck for fair.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 29, 2006 at 7:12 AM | PERMALINK

The one advantage is that there are fewer US troops in Afghanistan than Iraq, so the place hasn't been fubared as comprehensively yet, i.e. there are still some civilians there who haven't been imprisoned, tortured, dispossessed, raped or beaten to death, and so we might actually get a bit more popular support. Plus, fewer US troops means less US air support, which means fewer British casualties.

Posted by: ajay on September 29, 2006 at 7:28 AM | PERMALINK

Insulting US troops is always fun, but don't be confused - we have far more support from Iraqis than we'll ever get from Afghanis.

If and when the Brits get deeply engaged in Afghanistan, they'll gladly take all the air support the Americans can provide. And there won't be total coverage at any time.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 29, 2006 at 7:37 AM | PERMALINK

Hey Drivelconveyor,

You're right. I'm sure the popular culture assumptions about 19th century military history are a driving force behind future british deployments. Come to think of it Afghanistan is a dangerously close to Mongolia. Beware the fierce men on short horses, red coats. Switzerland might be a better spot to redeploy.

Posted by: American Buzzard on September 29, 2006 at 8:00 AM | PERMALINK

Do the British want out of Iraq? The British never wanted to get into Iraq in the first place; Tony Blair wanted to get into Iraq. As soon as he is gone, the UK will start to withdraw.

Posted by: richard on September 29, 2006 at 8:00 AM | PERMALINK

One more thing to be said- the British have pulled their tanks out, and restructured their forces for supply by air, generally repositioning themselves southwards towards Kuwait. They have no intention of getting their foot caught in the door when the balloon goes up.

Posted by: serial catowner on September 29, 2006 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

American Buzzard, Kipling's verse wasn't a reflection of cultural assumptions. Rather, it was an accurate account of an all too frequent occurence in the experience of the British soldier. In all probability, the women no longer come with their knives, but the fate of a stranded soldier in Afghanistan today is no less likely to be fatal.

That in itself isn't reason to avoid greater involvement in Afghanistan, of course, any more than our casualties in Iraq are a reason to get out of that country. It's what we think might be accomplished by our greater presence that matters.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 29, 2006 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

Whatever else happens, "liberal" Tony Blair's reputation in history is as dirty as a desert battlefield. Deceiver, poodle, incompetent.

Posted by: Neil' on September 29, 2006 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

trashhauler - the casualty rate for the kabul garrison in 1842 was a good deal higher than 99%. Is that what you're predicting?

The pop culture sound bite response is "to never get involved in a land war response in Asia. The british military response was to invade and eliminate resistance in Kabul in 1843, invade again in 1878, etc.

Posted by: American Buzzard on September 29, 2006 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

Anyway, I suspect that Afghanistan would have spent a lot more time under the boot if they had a port and any natural resources worth exporting.

Posted by: American Buzzard on September 29, 2006 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

That's "still" pick up. My corset is a bit too tight this morning, but it helps me keep my girlish figure.

Posted by: Thomas 1.2 on September 29, 2006 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

How have the British managed to find themselves in Afghanistan for the FOURTH time since the early 19th century? The other three times weren't exactly successful, either.

Posted by: Speed on September 29, 2006 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks "Al/Thomas1". I needed that going to bed after yesterday's disgusting show of the complete moral rot that is the U.S. Between the "There is no right and wrong, only winning" Republicans and the "How can we help you sink to new depths of depravity?" Democrats, it was vomit-inducing. Today, we start the long road to recovery.

Posted by: shortstop on September 29, 2006 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

Cut and Run reminds me of that boy down in Texas who cut his lines, sniffed and ran from the drug testing of the TANG.

Or good ole Ronny who cut and ran from Beirut so they could drop into Grenada and have his guys pick up all of those CBIs and little stars on their jump wings.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 29, 2006 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

"Is the British Army going to be commanded for the next three years by someone who apparently thinks the cause in Iraq is lost?" - Kevin


That's your hope for this country, isn't it?

Posted by: Jay on September 29, 2006 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

Good morning. The 9:06 post isn't mine. The punctuation errors look familiar, though.

Say, does anybody know what might be coming on Tuesday, Oct. 3?

Posted by: shortstop on September 29, 2006 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

More of rdw's drivel?

Posted by: stupid git on September 29, 2006 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

The war in Irag can be won, but it will take great leadership which, unfortnately seems lacking with the current administration.

Bush would have to be honest and say that the number of troops will have to be increased to 500,000 and the current expediture of 500 billion will be considered a small figure to what will ultimately be spend. Unless he is honest and provides this leadership with a draft and putting the economy on a war footing then the forces should be withdrawen.

Posted by: Derek on September 29, 2006 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

Amazing, Jay thinks he's a serious person with serious criticisms of Kevin and the dems. What a Thomas1!

Posted by: Ace Franze, specific lunatic on September 29, 2006 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

American Buzzard wrote:

trashhauler - the casualty rate for the kabul garrison in 1842 was a good deal higher than 99%. Is that what you're predicting?
______________

No predictions, Buzz, except to say that large scale incursions into the Hindu Kush will always be shortlived. It's just too bloody difficult to support and sustain large formations in those mountains, nevermind what the Mooje have to say about it. And any permanent deployment of small units will soon enough attract the attention of the Taliban and be threatened with encirclement.
Neither is going to get us any closer to OBL, if that worthy is still alive.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 29, 2006 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

Two quick comments:

1) "Is the British Army going to be commanded for the next three years by someone who apparently thinks the cause in Iraq is lost?"

Thinks?

It's a bit more than thinks at this point, eh? US intelligence says it's over. And I imagine that the Brits figured that out a while ago too. Don't forget they already lost an occupation of Iraq 80 years ago.

Also, having lots of Canadian contacts - here's the big rub: They don't want to be under US command anymore. They don't like the US, they don't respect US commanders. And they don't like getting killed for what they perceive as US imperial interests.

That's going to get a whole lot worse. We are no longer the leaders of the free world - because there ain't nobody who wants to follow us.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on September 29, 2006 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

Wenck and Steiner are coming to relieve the fuehrerbunker and drive the Russians out of Berlin any moment now! Anyone who says differently hates Amurica.

Posted by: Jay not Jay on September 29, 2006 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

"Osama bin Laden told "ABC News" in 1998 that America's humiliating retreat from Somalia emboldened his jihadists: "The youth were surprised at the low morale of the American soldiers and realized more than before that the American soldier was a paper tiger and after a few blows ran in defeat." - ABC News


Wasn't Clinton trying to kill Osama?

Posted by: Jay on September 29, 2006 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

It is rare to find anyone in Britain who likes the war or thinks that it will end with a positive result. Iraq is viewed as one great tragedy. To most, even the conservatives, Bush and his neocons are just a cruel joke, but of course they honor them for the power they wield.

Blair has stood alone on this from the very beginning and his image is that of a lone evangelical fighting the fight for righteousness sake even as the ship sinks hopelessly to the bottom. Needless to say, this kind of posture is an anachronism in modern Britain. It leaves a bad taste.

Britain is still in it because the government values the alliance with the United States and Labour values its majority, by which I mean its solidarity. Everyone is just groaning for Blair to go. They are just tired of his browbeating. Many hope the government will find a discreet way to get out of the Middle East and cut the loses. There is a sense of a shift in the long relationship with the US. The alliance will continue but it will take on a different character. Britons are not interested in being the enemies of the world, nor can they afford it.

Posted by: bellumregio on September 29, 2006 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

Jay finds Osama trustworthy!

Posted by: Ace Franze, specific lunatic on September 29, 2006 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

Samuel Knight wrote:

"US intelligence says it's over."
_____________

That's news to US intelligence.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 29, 2006 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, isn't anyone going to point out how we saved the Brits' asses in World War II?

Posted by: Alek Hidell on September 29, 2006 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

"Britons are not interested in being the enemies of the world, nor can they afford it." - bellumregio


That's only because your deathly afraid of enraging the vast muslim population that has settled in Britain.

Posted by: Jay on September 29, 2006 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Samuel, nobody would follow you antwhere.

Posted by: Jay on September 29, 2006 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

The UK will determine its actions according to their national interest, as it should be. However, no responsible UK politician is prepared to say that the end of their participation in the Iraq war will end their involvement in the Middle East.

The Brits will always give good account of themselves even if Parliament and the MoD reduces their combat capability to firing clothyard bolts.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 29, 2006 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

For strategic reasons the British will continue to be involved in the Middle East, as they have been for over 100 years. The point is simply that beyond Blair and his inner circle there is no faith in the long struggle to pacify the Middle East. The occupied countries are becoming more dangereous and more belligerent and the forces are exhausted. There is no money and not enough men to sustain such an operation and the lofty goals, however glorious, are phantasms.

Posted by: bellumregio on September 29, 2006 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

The snivelling little twerp Jay wrote: "That's your hope for this country, isn't it?"

Amazing. Someone posts a whole series of over-the-top parodies of the neo-brownshirt Bush-bootlicking mental slaves Al and Charlie ("Thomas1"), and then the real neo-brownshirt Bush-bootlicking mental slave Jay comes along with the real thing, and it's even more pathetically absurd than the parodies.

Jay, do you really think you are accomplishing anything except making a public fool of yourself and convincing people (who already didn't need any further convincing) that you are an ignorant propaganda-regurgitating dumbass?

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 29, 2006 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

...because there ain't nobody who wants to follow us.

This fact will continue to haunt us for generations. What the neocons and their wingnut sympathizers have failed to realize is how thoroughly Bush's Iraq War has undermined our ability to conduct a thoughtful, effective foreign policy.

Posted by: Wonderin on September 29, 2006 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

bellumregio wrote: "For strategic reasons the British will continue to be involved in the Middle East ..."

"Strategic reasons" is a euphemism for "oil". That is the one and only "strategic reason" that any of the "great powers" of the world have the slightest interest in the Middle East.

"... as they have been for over 100 years."

Since vast oil deposits were discovered there.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 29, 2006 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

"The point is simply that beyond Blair and his inner circle there is no faith in the long struggle to pacify the Middle East. The occupied countries are becoming more dangereous and more belligerent and the forces are exhausted. There is no money and not enough men to sustain such an operation and the lofty goals, however glorious, are phantasms." - bellumregio


Yeah, let's just give up. It's too hard, and since you don't really believe in anything, including yourself, just surrender. In fact Europe is use to giving up, they surrendered to Hitler as easily as they are apparently ready to surrender to Radical Islam.

What an inspiration they are. When the going gets tough, they surrender.

Posted by: Jay on September 29, 2006 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

"Jay, do you really think you are accomplishing anything except making a public fool of yourself and convincing people (who already didn't need any further convincing) that you are an ignorant propaganda-regurgitating dumbass?" - secularanimist.


Ladies and gentlemen (and liberals), the resident fascist has entered the room. Everyone say hello to secular.

Posted by: Jay on September 29, 2006 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

".....to conduct a thoughtful, effective foreign policy" - wonderin


Are you speaking of that thoughtful, effective foreign policy that resulted in Black Hawk Down, the 52 hostages in Iran in 1979, or the bombing of the Sudan aspirin factory?

There's so many fine examples in our past, I just wasn't sure to which one you were refering.

Posted by: Jay on September 29, 2006 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

bellumregio wrote:

For strategic reasons the British will continue to be involved in the Middle East, as they have been for over 100 years. The point is simply that beyond Blair and his inner circle there is no faith in the long struggle to pacify the Middle East. The occupied countries are becoming more dangereous and more belligerent and the forces are exhausted. There is no money and not enough men to sustain such an operation and the lofty goals, however glorious, are phantasms.
_______________

Could be, BR, but we can only fight the war in front of us. We can fight it where we are or we can fight it elsewhere. Let's pray it doesn't turn into a hundred year effort.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 29, 2006 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

Well, you don't see the Brits cuttting and running from Rockall.

I say, Rockall for the Rockallians.

Posted by: stupid git on September 29, 2006 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

When the going gets tough, they surrender.

There are hundreds of jobs that a 58 year-old could do in Iraq to support this all-important war effort that don't require physical strength or stamina.

If this is the war for civilization, get over there and fight it! You can drive a truck or work in an office or serve food in a mess hall. Are you that afraid of Muslims that you won't even go and do a desk job to support the war?

Dont be a coward. Get over there and quit wasting your time carping at people who are never going to take you seriously. Sweet fucking Christ!

Posted by: anybody who reads this blog on September 29, 2006 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

"Dont be a coward. Get over there and quit wasting your time carping at people who are never going to take you seriously. Sweet fucking Christ!" - nobody worth the air they breathe


As soon as you perform an abortion, marry your gay lover and let your teenage daughter get that abortion without parental consent, I will head off to Iraq. Deal?

Posted by: Jay on September 29, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Resident fascist, indeed!

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 29, 2006 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK
Anyway, I suspect that Afghanistan would have spent a lot more time under the boot if they had a port and any natural resources worth exporting.

What, poppies don't count?

Posted by: cmdicely on September 29, 2006 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist,
Yes, the strategic alliance with the United States begins with the overthrow of Mossadegh.

But we can distinguish this realpolitik from neocon true believerism in profound reordering of the Middle East. This transformation is thought to bring an end to projects like Operation Ajax and the possibility of regimes that resist the will of the West (like Iraq and Iran) because the whole Middle East will be transformed into an free market utopia where investors can do as they wish. It will also defeat the enemies of Israel. This is the so-called End of History or, as I like to say, Pax Capitalismo.

This is the Cheney administration's great dream of glory. They thought they could do it on the cheap, they thought that the people of the Middle East would embrace their brave new world, but it turns out it was much more dear than expected.

Posted by: bellumregio on September 29, 2006 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Jay wrote: "Ladies and gentlemen (and liberals), the resident fascist has entered the room. Everyone say hello to secular."

Thanks for answering my question.

Yes, you are determined to make a public fool of yourself and convince people that you are an ignorant propaganda-regurgitating dumbass.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 29, 2006 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist wrote:

"Strategic reasons" is a euphemism for "oil". That is the one and only "strategic reason" that any of the "great powers" of the world have the slightest interest in the Middle East.

"... as they have been for over 100 years."

Since vast oil deposits were discovered there.
___________________

Well, oil doesn't need a euphemism, but that's essentially correct. But so what?


Posted by: Trashhauler on September 29, 2006 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

As soon as you perform an abortion
???

You don't have a shred of self-respect left, do you? Embarrassing yourself daily here by showing you can't even get your facts and figures straight, much less post a cogent, sensible argument, isn't going to get it back.

It's one thing to prove you're stupid in public, it's quite another level of baffling idiocy to come back and do it day after day.

Posted by: anybody and everybody on September 29, 2006 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

"Yes, you are determined to make a public fool of yourself and convince people that you are an ignorant propaganda-regurgitating dumbass."


Posted by: SecularAnimist on Jay


I'm convinced! I'm convinced! Jay is a great persuader!

Posted by: Ace Franze, specific lunatic on September 29, 2006 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Derek wrote: The war in Irag can be won, but it will take great leadership which, unfortnately seems lacking with the current administration.

Bush would have to be honest and say that the number of troops will have to be increased to 500,000 and the current expediture of 500 billion will be considered a small figure...

Derek might be right, although our generals in Iraq aren't asking for that kind of troop increase at the monment.

Note that Derek takes for granted that great leadership won't come from the Democrats. That seems like an implicit criticism. Granted, they don't control either house of Congress, but minority parties can push issues when they want to. E.g., Mccain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform was opposed by most Reps, including the President, who signed it grudgingly. If they wanted to, the Dems could unify behind a strategy to win the war. They could pressure the President to adopt that strategy.

However, I don't think the Democratic leadership wants to win the war. Their public statements and their votes tell me that winning isn't that high a priority.

Voters ought to be worried. If the Dems take control of Congress, will they use their power to provide great leadership for winning the war? Or, will they ramp up their obstructionism to a higher level?

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 29, 2006 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

"and poppies don't count"

Just ahead of shishkas and other water pipes.

Actually, the Russians ran a pipeline out of Afghanistan in the 80s for natural gas. In addition, oil reserves have been found in Northern Afghanistan by the US Geological Survey, I have heard.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 29, 2006 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

"will they use their power to provide great leadership"

Nah, they'll probably just use the new terror bill to come after you. Sleep well.

Posted by: stupid git on September 29, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Anyone read that op-ed in TNR about Karzai and Musharraf?

I'm increasingly inclined to doubt not only that Iraq will survive this war, but Afghanistan (and Pakistan) as well - regardless of the number of troops in either place.

Note how the Taliban revival is taking place only in Pashtun areas. It's a smart strategy for them. They have a base of support in southern Afghanistan (as well as the badlands of Pakistan), and may be able to sustain a war of attrition for years if not decades.

How long before we start talking about partitioning Afghanistan, and letting the Pashtuns and other sects go their separate ways?

Posted by: Linus on September 29, 2006 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

although our generals in Iraq aren't asking for that kind of troop increase at the monment.

Wrong. They're just not allowed to say it publicly or on the record. Can't embarrass Bush:

Recently on CNN, Michael Ware reported from Iraq that US commanders have been privately telling him that they need "at least three times as many troops as they currently have there now, be that Iraqi and American or, even better, just three times as many as American troops." Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, three retired generals told a Democratic Policy Committee that the military itself needs more members. Indeed, General Eaton was quoted in Army Times as saying in a prepared statement that "The war on terror demands we mobilize the country and significantly increase the size of our ground forces."
Posted by: trex on September 29, 2006 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Linus wrote:

How long before we start talking about partitioning Afghanistan, and letting the Pashtuns and other sects go their separate ways?
_______________

Heh. Not without first moving the capital from Kabul to Kandahar.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 29, 2006 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

At least our invasion gave the Iraqis free speech, right?

Or no:

Iraqi Journalists Add Laws to List of Dangers

BAGHDAD Ahmed al-Karbouli, a reporter for Baghdadiya TV in the violent city of Ramadi, did his best to ignore the death threats, right up until six armed men drilled him with bullets after midday prayers.

He was the fourth journalist killed in Iraq in September alone, out of a total of more than 130 since the 2003 invasion, the vast majority of them Iraqis. But these days, men with guns are not Iraqi reporters only threat. Men with gavels are, too.

Under a broad new set of laws criminalizing speech that ridicules the government or its officials, some resurrected verbatim from Saddam Husseins penal code, roughly a dozen Iraqi journalists have been charged with offending public officials in the past year.

Currently, three journalists for a small newspaper in southeastern Iraq are being tried here for articles last year that accused a provincial governor, local judges and police officials of corruption. The journalists are accused of violating Paragraph 226 of the penal code, which makes anyone who publicly insults the government or public officials subject to up to seven years in prison.

http://tinyurl.com/zz4ep

Posted by: trex on September 29, 2006 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

The Spanish elected a new government after the one in power lied to the people about the bombers. They tried to blame the bombings on the Basque Separtists. Following this bombing and the withdrawal of Spanish troops, there have been no more incidents.

The British pulled out of Kenya - Terrorism diminished.
The French pulled out of Algeria - Terrorism diminished.

On another thread, one of our resident military expert trolls, explained that the US is on a mercy mission in Afghanistan to train NATO forces, in other words, bring them up to speed. As he was practicing re-stacking Jolly Green Giant cans in the event he might be recalled by the US Navy, he spoke of Afghanistan as a mere training area, sort of an OJT program.
Well, gutless Wooten, our area has lost some very fine individuals recently in this "mercy mission". They will, all, be sorely missed by their families and friends in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Keep stacking those green bean cans.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 29, 2006 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

thethirdPaul wrote:

The British pulled out of Kenya - Terrorism diminished.
The French pulled out of Algeria - Terrorism diminished.
_____________

Naturally, fighting diminishes after one side wins. The difficulty with the current conflict is in determining just what you lose if you give up. Neither the Kenyans nor the Algerians threatened to take over the entire region, let alone the world.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 29, 2006 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

trex wrote: [Our generals are] just not allowed to [call for big troop increases] publicly or on the record. Can't embarrass Bush:

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, three retired generals told a Democratic Policy Committee that the military itself needs more members.

trex shows what's wrong with the Dems. The Democratic Policy Committee was told that the military needs more members. So, do they call for a troop increase? No. They ignore that recomendation, at least for the purpose of actual policy. For the Dems, the Generals' recommendation is just a stick they can use for political attacks against the President.

trx's post confirms my point that the Democratic leadership would rather win the elections than win the war.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 29, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler: "Well, oil doesn't need a euphemism, but that's essentially correct. But so what?"

So, let's be very clear that the one and only reason that the USA, the UK, the French, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Russians, and all the other "great powers" have "strategic interests" in the Middle East is to gain and retain access to and/or control of the oil that is there.

The occupation of Iraq is a war for control of oil resources, and nothing else. All of the other reasons -- nonexistent Iraqi WMD, "spreading democracy", fighting a war of civilizations against "Islamic jihadists" -- are all bullshit.

And by the way, if the industrialized and industrializing world (e.g. China and India) continue business as usual and extract and burn all of the economically recoverable oil in the Middle East, the resulting GHG emissions and warming of the planet will end human civilization and lead to a mass extinction of most life on Earth, possibly within as little as a century.

That's what we are fighting for in Iraq -- our ability to make the Earth uninhabitable.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 29, 2006 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

trex shows what's wrong with the Dems. The Democratic Policy Committee was told that the military needs more members. So, do they call for a troop increase?

No. Nor did they call for a pony, a Republican conscience or a moment of competence from the president. That's why we're known as the reality-based ones.

Or did you mean that you think Democrats should be calling for a draft to support the Republican war? Given your lame attempts at disingenuity, I wouldn't be surprised if that's what you're suggesting, unless you think there's another way to get increased troops into Iraq right now. Have you tried lighting a candle and wishing really, really hard?

Posted by: shortstop on September 29, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist wrote:

That's what we are fighting for in Iraq -- our ability to make the Earth uninhabitable.
_______________

Again, SA, so what? The elements of national interest are no less real just because you disapprove of them.

Further, the idea that because national interest is as stake does not mean that all resulting rationales are bullshit. How we attempt to protect our national interests can be as important as why. Presumably, we'd prefer to win through the establishment of democracies, rather than continue to rely on tyrants and kings.


Posted by: Trashhauler on September 29, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop wrote:

That's why we're known as the reality-based ones.

Or did you mean that you think Democrats should be calling for a draft to support the Republican war?
_________________

The Republican War? Last time I checked, we were still one country. Which party are you suggesting is no longer American? Which no longer owes allegiance to the country? Jeez, just how far do you intend to carry partisanship?

If you regain power, are you going to start lining up the evil Republicans and shoot them? Nothing less would match such rhetoric.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 29, 2006 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Say, does anybody know what might be coming on Tuesday, Oct. 3?Posted by: shortstop on September 29, 2006 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

More of rdw's drivel? Posted by: stupid git on September 29, 2006 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

Sometimes random comments here give me such an unexpected laugh.

That was one. Thanks Git.

Posted by: E. Henry Thripshaw on September 29, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Neither the Kenyans nor the Algerians threatened to take over the entire region, let alone the world.

And neither have the Iraqi insurgents, so wtf is your point?

Posted by: Disputo on September 29, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler: What percentage of the citizenry still supporting an open-ended war do you think is Democratic?

Take your time.

Posted by: shortstop on September 29, 2006 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop: Or did you mean that you think Democrats should be calling for a draft to support the Republican war?

shortstop, it's an American war. The good and the bad that comes from the war in Iraq will affect us all. Incidentally, it was a bipartisan decision to go to war in Iraq, with support from Hillary, John Kerry, etc. But, even if the Dems had opposed going to war, we're one country.

A loss in Iraq would be a big boost for al Qaeda. If terrorists blow up the building where you or I work, they won't care which of us opposed the war in Iraq.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 29, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

When we start abdicating the principles that made the American experiment work realtively well for so long, and when we yield to nebulous fear to the extent that we will surrender liberty, it is over and we have lost.

Shortstop, I guess we better order us some burkas because our conservative bretheren have sold us out.

America - it was fun while it lasted.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 29, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

patriot says:
"The Brits are simply showing their true colors. For all the pretense of being part of New Europe, they are really Old Europe. We don't need 'em."

We don't need ANYBODY except the Saudis, whose hands we like to hold even though we know they've been using them to sign orders to perform amputations, floggings and executions according to sharia law. They've even written checks that helped pay for killing fellow Americans in terrorist actions. In spite of this, their hands are warm and comforting, glistening with the sheen of light crude. Sliding our hands in and out of their hands is like--well, if I told what it was like it would upset mainstream journalists who get faint when the grittier facts of life are referenced in plain terms in blogs.

Close your eyes and forget about the rest of the world to enjoy the sensations. We're the U.S. We don't need ANYBODY but our Saudi Arabian buddies who share our most important value--oil worship. With buddies like this we can buy all the soldiers we need, right?

Posted by: cowalker on September 29, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Nice try, ex-liberal. Why do you think the party in power, the one led by the president who adamantly refuses to consider troop withdrawals, hasn't called for a draft as the only possible means of securing the number of troops the generals say we need to continue this war?

Why do you think that might be?

Posted by: shortstop on September 29, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Wow - where did all these nutty trolls come from at once?

Anyway trash hauler - US intelligence does say it's over - ever wonder why there were so many leaks? Where did you think that the NIE came from?

Posted by: Samuel Knight on September 29, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Oh those pinkos in intel. What a bunch of Nancy-boys that lot is. The CIA can't wait to surrender to the terrists-who-want-you-dead. The FBI - wussies to a man, and don't get me started on those sniveling punks in the CID.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 29, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

LOL w/ GC

Posted by: Disputo on September 29, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

protect our national interests

The national interests of our children should be to make their parents proud of their bravery and intelligence. Parents will give them leeway to win appreciation and support if they join the US military and serve Bush's mission by going to Iraq. It is a good way to show allegiance to the country. The difficulty with the current conflict is in determining just what branch of the military our children should join. They lose if you give up democracy.

Posted by: Will on September 29, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop: Why do you think the party in power, the one led by the president who adamantly refuses to consider troop withdrawals, hasn't called for a draft as the only possible means of securing the number of troops the generals say we need to continue this war?

There are two questions: the draft and more troops. I think a draft wouldn't yield the kind of high quality, high morale soldiers we have in Iraq today. Given the complexity of current warfare, I think a draft is a bad idea. We need professionals, not cannon fodder.

It's not quite accurate to say that THE generals say we need more troops. Actually, SOME generals say that, others do not. I believe I heard Rumsfled say that the current number of troops is slightly up.

Anyhow, here are some possible reasons Bush isn't adding a lot more troops:

1. His generals tell him he doesn't need a big increase in American troops, and he's following their advice.

2. He doesn't want to take the political heat that a big troop increase would engender.

3. There aren't any more troops available, so he's pretending he doesn't need any more.

4. He doesn't want to win the war, because it's an issue he can use against the Dems.

5. He's just stupidly stubborn. He has no reason to not add troops.

I'll go with #1, because that's what Bush says, and I believe him.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 29, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Which party are you suggesting is no longer American?

The Party of Torture.

Posted by: Stefan on September 29, 2006 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

A loss in Iraq would be a big boost for al Qaeda.

Yes, it will be. Which is simply one more reason why we should never have attacked Iraq in the first place. Once we eventually withdraw from there in defeat, the myth of American invincibility will be broken.

Bush seems determined to subvert Theodore Roosevelt's maxim to "speak softly, and carry a big stick" with "scream hysterically, and let everyone see that what they thought was a big stick is actually a little twig."

Posted by: Stefan on September 29, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

"the myth of American invincibility "

After beirut and vietnam and somalia that was indeed a myth to most people outside the US.

Posted by: kb on September 29, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal, this is fun to watch, but the goalposts are staying right where you left them at 12:20. No, you can't move them. Sorry.

You are free to believe liars. You are not free to assume that because the rest of us don't, and thus decline to go along with an open-ended clusterfuck, we're unpatriotically refusing to participate in "America's" war.

There are no more professional troops, as anyone not playing Wishful Thinking knows. So I'll help you with the question you're afraid to answer: If Bush wants to secure Iraq, he needs to draft troops. He knows that to do that would be political suicide for every Republican for a generation.

Which rather takes us back to your wild-eyed accusation of 12:20, doesn't it? Does the GOP want to--how did you put it?--win the war or does it want to win elections?

Next time we'll talk about how wars cost money, and people who really want to win them find a way to pay for them instead of sticking the grandkids with the bill.

Posted by: shortstop on September 29, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

The Republican War? Last time I checked, we were still one country. Which party are you suggesting is no longer American? Which no longer owes allegiance to the country? Jeez, just how far do you intend to carry partisanship?

Jeez, just as far as the Republicans did during the 1990s, when in response to President Clinton's defense of the Kosovars from Serbian genocide Republican Senator Dick Lugar said "This is President Clinton's war, and when he falls flat on his face, that's his problem."

Posted by: Stefan on September 29, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

After beirut and vietnam and somalia that was indeed a myth to most people outside the US.

Actually, after the 1991 Gulf War, Kosovo and Afghanistan the reputation of the US military was riding high. There was a widespread perception that the military had learned the lessons of Vietnam and transformed itself into such a deadly high-tech fighting machine that was simply too technically proficient to be faced on the battlefield.

Now, of course....

Posted by: Stefan on September 29, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

"That's right, Afghanistan, where a handful (by American standards) of British soldiers have been killed in the past few weeks."


Oh well boohoo , maybe us brits really don't feel like supporting a country which has just made torture legal by supplying our troops to die for you.

A handful ? 20 british dead in aghanistan in september , which corresponds to 100 US dead.

Which is more that the US has lost in both Iraq & afghanistan in that month.And you're the country which is bleating about pulling out of both areas.

Posted by: kb on September 29, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

"Kosovo "

Was the time when the US bombed the serbian military for three months and managed to destroy 14 tanks and
20 artillery guns ?

"Afghanistan"

Northern alliance surely. And did they ever catch OBL ?

Posted by: kb on September 29, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

I'll go wI'll go with #1, because that's what Bush says, and I believe him.

I believe the honorable men who were actually on the ground risking their lives fighting, aren't trying to win elections, and haven't routinely misrepresented the facts - but I'm funny that way:

WASHINGTON - Adding to criticism of the Bush administration's prosecution of the war in Iraq, a retired senior general who commanded an infantry division in the conflict said Monday that requests by commanders in Iraq for more soldiers were repeatedly turned down.

"Many of us routinely asked for more troops," retired Maj. Gen. John R.S. Batiste said,

contradicting statements by President Bush and his senior aides that the administration has given the military all the resources it has asked for.

"There simply aren't enough troops there to accomplish the task," said Batiste, who has previously called for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign. advertisement

"It's a shell game we're playing in Iraq, and we've been doing it since Day 1. And we're still doing it today."


Posted by: trex on September 29, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan: I tried checking that alleged Lugar quote. I found it on a number of lefty sites, but without a link, so I can't tell if it's accurate nor what the context was.

Can you provide a link to the speech or document that included Lugar's actual quote?

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 29, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

disputo wrote:

(Quoting me) Neither the Kenyans nor the Algerians threatened to take over the entire region, let alone the world.

And neither have the Iraqi insurgents, so wtf is your point?
_________________

At least part of them have, haven't they? Even more, failure to stabilize Iraq would give the jihadists a safe haven for training and security similar to what they had in Afghanistan.

You don't really believe all the insurgents we face in Iraq are going to stop fighting us simply because we leave the place, do you?

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 29, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Lugar was quoted in the New York Times, May 5, 1999. The article is now behind the Time's payment wall, so for $4.95 it's all yours.

Posted by: Stefan on September 29, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop wrote:

Trashhauler: What percentage of the citizenry still supporting an open-ended war do you think is Democratic?

Take your time.
_______________

Probably no more than 16-18 percent, shortstop. What does that have to do with it being a Republican war. We don't wear a GOP patch on our uniform sleeves and we're all affected by the war, whether we like it or not.

It's one thing to blame the current Administration about getting us into the war. But it's still America at war, not just Republicans.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 29, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

And neither have the Iraqi insurgents, so wtf is your point?
_________________

At least part of them have, haven't they?

No, they haven't. And even if they have, so what? Anyone can boast -- it's not as if they have the capacity to.

Even more, failure to stabilize Iraq would give the jihadists a safe haven for training and security similar to what they had in Afghanistan.

Again, further evidence we shouldn't have attacked them in the first place. Moreover, this argument reverses causation -- it tries to use the fact that the Iraqis are resisting our invasion as a justification for the invasion in the first place.

You don't really believe all the insurgents we face in Iraq are going to stop fighting us simply because we leave the place, do you?

Yes, actually. 95%+ of the rebels are Iraqis who weren't fighting us before we attacked them, who are fighting us in order to expel the invader from their homeland. If we stopped attacking them, they'd no longer have reason to defend themselves against us.

Posted by: Stefan on September 29, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

You don't really believe all the insurgents we face in Iraq are going to stop fighting us simply because we leave the place, do you?

Did we keep fighting the Vietcong after we left Vietnam?

Posted by: Stefan on September 29, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

We don't wear a GOP patch on our uniform sleeves and we're all affected by the war

That's right. Our children want training and security, as well as our love and respect. Failure to provide them with a safe haven will not stop the fights.

Belief in fighting the insurgents in Iraq is the surest way our children are going to earn respect and honor.

Even if it is 16-18 year olds, they can fight a Republican war. Our affection is for the children who join with Bush and fight to preserve his mission, whether we like it or not.

Blame the current Administration about getting us into the war, but it's still America at war, and it should be Republican's children doing the killing.

Posted by: Will on September 29, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler, I suggest you go back and look at the original exchange to which you think you're objecting. It was ex-liberal's emotional contention that Democrats' failure to call for more troops is more reflective of wanting to win elections than wanting to "win" ths war. (Can't seem to use that word without quotation marks in this context, since "winning" has never been acceptably defined.)

I'm asking ex-liberal--and you--why you think it's the minority party's responsibility to obtain more troops for an open-ended commitment its constituents are overwhelmingly against. Further, I'm asking why the majority party and the administration, which refuse to consider withdrawal, have not called for a draft as the only way to bring a significant number of additional troops into Iraq. Please explain why, if the GOP is serious about winning this war and not simply the election, it is refusing to commit the necessary boots by the only means possible.

As for your repeated attempts to make the ruling majority's allergy to reality an argument for the entire nation's submission--cut it out. You want this war to go on indefinitely, start doing something to make it happen besides running your mouths.

Posted by: shortstop on September 29, 2006 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop: (Can't seem to use that word without quotation marks in this context, since "winning" has never been acceptably defined.)

Winning in Iraq means to me
-- overthrowing Saddam
-- Establishing a democratic government
-- that government can actully govern (i.e., the insurgency ends and security returns)

We're accomplished #1 and #2. We've done piss poor job at #3. If and when #3 is done, I would say we have "won" in Iraq.

I'm asking ex-liberal--and you--why you think it's the minority party's responsibility to obtain more troops for an open-ended commitment its constituents are overwhelmingly againsst?

shortstop, it's every eleced person's responsibility to do the right thing. The Dem leadership is trying to have it both ways -- blaming Bush for not having enough troops, but opposing the addition of troops.

Further, I'm asking why the majority party and the administration, which refuse to consider withdrawal, have not called for a draft as the only way to bring a significant number of additional troops into Iraq.

I've already argued that draftees would be poor fighters in today's modern army. If we decide we need more troops in Iraq, I'd rather see us move troops from somewhere else, like South Korea or Europe. Or, we could recruit more troops by setting higher goals and increasing pay and other incentives. However, that approach would take quite a while.

Please explain why, if the GOP is serious about winning this war and not simply the election, it is refusing to commit the necessary boots by the only means possible.

As I said, I don't think Iraq now needs more American troops. It needs the Iraqi troops to be deployed more effectively. There are over 300,000 Iraqi security forces. Their fighting capability, training, and equipment isn't up to American standards, but it must be better than the insurgents. I don't know why the Iraqi security forces haven't made more direct attacks on enemy strongholds.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 29, 2006 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

You don't really believe all the insurgents we face in Iraq are going to stop fighting us simply because we leave the place, do you?

One more question: how many Iraqi rebels were we fighting before we attacked them in March 2003?

Posted by: Stefan on September 29, 2006 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop, it's every eleced person's responsibility to do the right thing.

Taste the irony, shortstop! Taste it! It tastes like...freedom.

The Dem leadership is trying to have it both ways -- blaming Bush for not having enough troops, but opposing the addition of troops.

Liar. The Democratic leadership is not opposing the addition of troops -- if anything, it's calling for more soldiers and Marines to be sent to Iraq. It's the Republican regime which has so far opposed adding any more forces.

If we decide we need more troops in Iraq, I'd rather see us move troops from somewhere else, like South Korea or Europe.

Liar. We don't have any additional troops in South Korea or Europe, and you know that very well because I and others have explained that to you many many times.

There are over 300,000 Iraqi security forces.

No, there are not. Flat out lie.

Their fighting capability, training, and equipment isn't up to American standards, but it must be better than the insurgents.

It must be? Why? So far the few thousand Iraqi insurgents have proven themselves a match for 150,000 American soldiers, supposedly the best equipped, best trained, most lethal soldiers in the world.

I don't know why the Iraqi security forces haven't made more direct attacks on enemy strongholds.

Think real hard....


Or, we could recruit more troops by setting higher goals and increasing pay and other incentives. However, that approach would take quite a while.

Except, of course, that the Bush regime has in the past tried to CUT combat pay and other incentives for our soldiers, not raise them.

Posted by: Stefan on September 29, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

ex-lib: I tried checking that alleged Lugar quote.


here's another one....


"We're ruining an Army that took us 30 years to build," Republican maverick Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., told a group of reporters at a recent conference.


Army faces a major officer shortage

Web Posted: 04/08/2006 12:00 AM CDT
Sig Christenson
Express-News Military Writer

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/metro/stories/MYSA040806.17A.retention_bump.12f4345e.html

so.....who is this "We're.." he's talking about?

Posted by: mr. irony on September 29, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

The Dem leadership is trying to have it both ways -- blaming Bush for not having enough troops, but opposing the addition of troops.

Sounds to me like the Democratic leadership is calling for more troops, not opposing them:

Bush Critics Call for More Troops in Iraq
By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer
Thursday, June 30, 2005

...Sen. John Kerry, Bush's Democratic opponent in last year's presidential election, told NBC's "Today" show that the borders of Iraq "are porous" and said "we don't have enough troops" there.

Sen. Joseph Biden Jr., appearing on ABC's "Good Morning America," disputed Bush's notion that sufficient troops are in place. "I'm going to send him the phone numbers of the very generals and flag officers that I met on Memorial Day when I was in Iraq," the Delaware Democrat said. "There's not enough force on the ground now to mount a real counterinsurgency."

Biden argued, "The course that we are on now is not a course of success. He (Bush) has to get more folks involved.....

Posted by: Stefan on September 29, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

ex-lib: Winning in Iraq means to me overthrowing Saddam


yet..

more americans have died in iraq..

since..

saddam was captured..

than in all his time in power..

combined...

and multiplied...

many times...

Posted by: mr. perspective on September 29, 2006 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

ex-lib: Winning in Iraq means to me -- Establishing a democratic government

"Our mission is clear in Iraq. Should we have to go in, our mission is very clear: disarmament." - G.W. Bush 3/6/03

very clear...


Posted by: mr. irony on September 29, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

"I don't think.....Iraq now needs more American troops." - ex-lib 9/29/06


"I don't think.....anybody anticipated the level of violence that we've encountered.." - VP Dick Cheney 6/19/06

"I don't think.....anybody anticipated the breach of the levees..." - President GWB 9/1/05

"I don't think....anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and...use an airplane as a missile." - National Security Advisor Dr. Condoleezza Rice 5/16/02

Posted by: mr. perspective on September 29, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Their fighting capability, training, and equipment isn't up to American standards, but it must be better than the insurgents.

What evidence do you have for this statement, other than wishful thinking that contradicts the daily evidence coming in from Iraq?

If we decide we need more troops in Iraq, I'd rather see us move troops from somewhere else, like South Korea or Europe.

As has been explained to you in thread after thread in which you've participated, the numbers aren't there. We're practically picked clean in both locations. You continue to pretend not to have heard this because it conflicts with your wishful thinking.

Or, we could recruit more troops by setting higher goals and increasing pay and other incentives. However, that approach would take quite a while.

"Setting higher goals" is the beginning, not the end, of the process of "recruiting more troops." This is like the old joke: How to become a millionaire. First, get a million dollars.

Bush and this Congress have consistently cut and refused to increase military pay and benefits. But perhaps you can convince them to change their minds. Since you're serious about winning the war, you'll volunteer to have your taxes raised to pay for this, right? Or did you prefer to add it to your portion of Bush's astronomical deficit?

Your circular argument comes down to:

1. We must win.
2. To win, we must quash the insurgency and train Iraqi forces.
3. We will quash the insurgency and train Iraqi forces by winning.

And you call us not serious?

Posted by: shortstop on September 29, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK


ex-lib: Their fighting capability, training, and equipment isn't up to American standards, but it must be better than the insurgents.


The Pentagon says that "the -only- Iraqi battalion capable of fighting without U.S. support has been downgraded." February 25, 2006


got an update?

Posted by: laffin@exlib on September 29, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, to dream.

"I don't think anyone anticipated what a disaster my two terms turned out to be." Former President G W Bush March 15, 2009

Posted by: stupid git on September 29, 2006 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop: The Democratic leadership is not opposing the addition of troops -- if anything, it's calling for more soldiers and Marines to be sent to Iraq. It's the Republican regime which has so far opposed adding any more forces.

The Dems don't have a unified position on Iraq, but my impression is that the most popular position is to withdraw our troops on some prudent basis or prudent schedule. In other words, ISTM that most Dems support reducing troop level, not increasing it. A handful in Congress have called for troop increases, including John McCain, I think.

We don't have any additional troops in South Korea or Europe,

I'm undlear what you mean by no additional troops. We used to have quite a few troops in Europe and South Korea. Their nubmbers may be down, but I thought there were still some left there.

No, there are not [over 300,000 security forces].

Yes, there are. The Brookings Institution keeps track of things like this at http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/index.pdf
Go to page 25.

laffin@exlib - I don't need an update. You cherry picked one piece of a report that was quite positive about the Iraqi military. Go back and read the entire report.

Stefan: Sen. John Kerry, Bush's Democratic opponent in last year's presidential election, told NBC's "Today" show that the borders of Iraq "are porous" and said "we don't have enough troops" there.

See what I mean about trying to have it both ways. Kerry's currently favors withdrawal from Iraq on some prudent basis, yet you offer him as a supporter of increased troop levels.

Sen. Joseph Biden Jr., appearing on ABC's "Good Morning America," disputed Bush's notion that sufficient troops are in place...."There's not enough force on the ground now to mount a real counterinsurgency."

Biden argued, "The course that we are on now is not a course of success. He (Bush) has to get more folks involved.....

Biden came closer to a real policy recommendation. I don't know where Biden stands today.

But, note that Biden's main point wasn't getting the right troop level. If it was, he would have given a number. Did he want 10,000 more troops? 100,000 more? 500,000 more? Who knows?

Biden's main focus was blaming Bush for doing it wrong. That's an easy game to play. Whatever the number of troops in Iraq, someone can always say it's too high or too low.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 29, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

As I said, I don't think Iraq now needs more American troops.

Funny, generals who have devoted their entire careers to the understanding of modern military engagements and who've actually fought in Iraq, commanding entire infantry divisions, disagree.

Hmmm, who to believe?

Posted by: trex on September 29, 2006 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: Don't worry. Your inability to keep straight who you're responding to doesn't call your credibility in determining troop strength into further question. They're two fully distinct cases of you not having any idea what you're talking about.

Posted by: shortstop on September 29, 2006 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal is not and never was a "liberal." That's a ludicrous and transparently phony pose. His comments make clear that he is the most slavish of Bush-bootlickers. His facts are wrong. His "logic" is nonexistent. He regurgitates the same discredited spin over and over and over again. The only content of his comments is "Democrats are bad because they criticize Bush".

The main thing I have learned from reading the Political Animal comment pages over time is what a bunch of weak-minded, ignorant, self-deluding, dishonest dupes the Republican "netroots" are. Disgusting, neo-brownshirt bootlicking mental slaves, the lot of them.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 29, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

Stephan wrote:

Jeez, just how far do you intend to carry partisanship?

Jeez, just as far as the Republicans did during the 1990s, when in response to President Clinton's defense of the Kosovars from Serbian genocide Republican Senator Dick Lugar said "This is President Clinton's war, and when he falls flat on his face, that's his problem."
________________

So, why ever would you want to act that stupidly, Stephan?


Posted by: Trashhauler on September 29, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

There once was another head strong lad named George - Last in his class - probably would have been the same if there had been a MBA program at Harvard then -
Well, one day, he was at the top of a hill - Except for sending for Reno, sort of like the 4th up there in Turkey, he proclaimed, "Don't need any more troopers - You go to war with the ones you have"
Sometime later on a knoll far below, George, with that gorgeous flowing hair, was frantically trying to e-mail DoD for replacements - Well, not exactly, but if there had only been the web then.
Later President Grant, or was it Hayes, whatever, stated that he always sent more troops when requested by the field and to remember, in the west, to stay the course as we are bringing freedom to those reservations.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 29, 2006 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop wrote:

Their fighting capability, training, and equipment isn't up to American standards, but it must be better than the insurgents.

What evidence do you have for this statement, other than wishful thinking that contradicts the daily evidence coming in from Iraq?
______________

Contradicting what daily evidence from Iraq, shortstop? You've seen, perhaps, the daily CENTCOM ops summaries or read the dozens of AARs generated each day?

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 29, 2006 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

Trashhauler quoted Stephan: ... in response to President Clinton's defense of the Kosovars from Serbian genocide Republican Senator Dick Lugar said "This is President Clinton's war, and when he falls flat on his face, that's his problem."

Trashhauler asked: why ever would you want to act that stupidly, Stephan?

How many Democratic senators have acted "that stupidly" -- and that irresponsibly -- regarding Bush and Iraq, as not only Lugar but numerous other Republican senators and members of Congress did during the Clinton administration, not only regarding Kosovo, but regarding Clinton's efforts to go after Osama Bin Laden?

"Stupid", irresponsible, blatant, hypocritical partisanship is the essence of the modern day Republican Party, not of the present day Democratic Party.

The contrast is quite clear and quite dramatic: the Democrats care about America; the Republicans care about power and greed.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 29, 2006 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

So, why ever would you want to act that stupidly, Stephan?

Shorter Trashauler: why would you want to kick us in the teeth after we kicked you in the teeth? Shouldn't you treat us better than we treated you?

While this may be a potent argument when deployed on the playground, it's lost some of its efficacy in the last few years.

Posted by: Stefan on September 29, 2006 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

So far the few thousand Iraqi insurgents have proven themselves a match for 150,000 American soldiers, supposedly the best equipped, best trained, most lethal soldiers in the world.
______________

Now, just how profoundly ignorant of the military (or politically motivated) does one have to be to make such a statement as the one above?

Whenever confronted by US forces, these insurgents have lost the bulk of their fighters. They no longer seek force on force contact and cannot deny access to any area in the country. The use of mines and suicide attacks are the tactics of the weak, not the militarily powerful or successful. No matter how many IEDs explode, they can never alter the actual military power differential.

By what military measurement, aside from the fact that their continued existence suits your political purposes, are the insurgents a match for us?

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 29, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Um, just because they're not marching in orderly rows like Redcoats doesn't mean the insurgents have not been in some very real sense "a match."

As guerilla fighters they've been very lethal.

I mean c'mon: they don't have armor, they don't have air support, they don't have logistical support, their forces are outnumbered by orders of magnitude, particularly when you factor in the new Iraqi security forces -- and yet somehow they keep going.

Although to be fair, the violence casualties in Iraq have skyrocketed because there now there are at least three factions fighting each other, whereas there used to be just "an insurgency."

Dreadful poor planning, that.

The problem is now we're no longer just fighting insurgents -- we're fighting rising violence among groups that we know little about, that are splintering as we speak, that include the man on the street, and that include government agencies.

Posted by: trex on September 29, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

By what military measurement, aside from the fact that their continued existence suits your political purposes, are the insurgents a match for us?

By the simplest military measure there is: they're winning. We may win every battle there is, every engagement, yet we will still lose the war. And at the end of the day, that's all that matters.

Who won most unit to unit engagements in the Vietnam War? The US. Who controlled the skies? The US. Who controlled the seas? The US. Who had access to all areas in the country? The US.

Yet who lost the Vietnam War? The US.

Posted by: Stefan on September 29, 2006 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

Whenever confronted by US forces, these insurgents have lost the bulk of their fighters. They no longer seek force on force contact and cannot deny access to any area in the country. The use of mines and suicide attacks are the tactics of the weak, not the militarily powerful or successful. No matter how many IEDs explode, they can never alter the actual military power differential.

*sigh* It's fairly obvious, isn't it, that Trashauler doesn't understand the first thing about counterinsurgency or fourth generation warfare.

Replace "US" with "Soviet" in the paragraph above and it's a not too inaccurate description of the Afghanistan War in the 1980s. Just like America now, the Soviets had the edge in conventional military terms, and were able to inflict far more numerous casualties on the Afghans than the Afghans were able to inflict on them. And yet at the end of the day it was the Soviets who retreated in defeat, and the Afghns who held the field.

The Iraqi rebels don't have to "win" by beating us in battle -- they only need win by outlasting us, by being willing to fight for far longer than we are. And since they're fighting in their homeland, for their homes, families and religion, and since we're the foreign invader, guess who has the motivation to stick it out longer?

Posted by: Stefan on September 29, 2006 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

Whenever confronted by US forces, these insurgents have lost the bulk of their fighters.

"You can kill ten of my men for every one I kill of yours. But even at those odds, you will lose and I will win." -- Ho Chi Minh.

Posted by: Stefan on September 29, 2006 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

How many Democratic senators have acted "that stupidly" -- and that irresponsibly -- regarding Bush and Iraq, as not only Lugar but numerous other Republican senators and members of Congress did during the Clinton administration, not only regarding Kosovo, but regarding Clinton's efforts to go after Osama Bin Laden?

Moreover, Democratic Senators and Congressmen have given Bush every soldier and every dollar he's asked for to run this war. Bush has been denied no request for men and materiel whatsoever by the Democrats -- we have let him run this war in exactly the way he claimed he needed to fight it in order to win it. If, then, the war is lost, whose fault is that?

Posted by: Stefan on September 29, 2006 at 6:34 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: mmf铃声 on September 29, 2006 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

No matter how many IEDs explode, they can never alter the actual military power differential.

Can't they? Has any American been able to step outside of the Green Zone without a massive military escort for the last two years?

If the Americans can't move freely, then their influence is, by necessity, severely limited. I'd say the IEDs have been extremely successful, at a relatively low cost for the Iraqis, at altering the balance of power in their favor.

Posted by: Stefan on September 30, 2006 at 12:08 AM | PERMALINK


woof...

even to the bitter end...it'll be me, ex-lib and laura with

gwb...


can i fetch something...huh...can i?

Posted by: barney on September 30, 2006 at 8:23 AM | PERMALINK

Stephan wrote:

(Quoting me) By what military measurement, aside from the fact that their continued existence suits your political purposes, are the insurgents a match for us?

By the simplest military measure there is: they're winning. We may win every battle there is, every engagement, yet we will still lose the war. And at the end of the day, that's all that matters.
_______________

Well, Stephan, you'll have to explain this to me. How exactly are the insurgents winning?

Do they materially threaten our presence in Iraq? No.

Have they been able to establish any safe areas that are exempt from government control to the extent that they can openly show themselves? No.

Are they killing more American and Iraqi forces than they lose themselves? No.

Are they increasing their popularity among the Iraqi population? No.

Are their numbers increasing faster than they are eliminated? Unknown, but doubtful - the PIE reports an increase in terrorist groups, without numbers of participants. Also unknown is the impact of the subsurface sectarian killing. We don't know what toll that is taking on the insurgents.

In fact, the only undisputable evidence that they are winning is that the increasingly loud drum beat in the US saying so.

Bear in mind that victory is not our permanent presence in Iraq. It is the establishment of a stable, democratic Iraqi government. Despite their ability to create chaos, the insurgents have proposed no alternative ideology or plan for national governance. This is completely at odds with what successful insurgencies have always done. The Iraqi insurgency will fail because of their lack of a unifying national identity.

In a way, our chore is to enable the elected government to grow in strength while inculcating the idea of national identity in the army and police.

Finally (and once again), the insurgency in Vietnam, having been effectively neutralized by the end of 1969, was not a factor in the final Communist victory. All significant enemy action in the succeeding five years was the product of the regular North Vietnamese Army. The victory in 1975 was accomplished through a coup de main, rather than through insurgency. And there was nothing inevitable abou that victory. There never is.

The apparent sanguinity with which some in this country await our failure is not objective proof of its inevitability.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 30, 2006 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

Stephan wrote:

If the Americans can't move freely, then their influence is, by necessity, severely limited. I'd say the IEDs have been extremely successful, at a relatively low cost for the Iraqis, at altering the balance of power in their favor.
_________________

You forget, Stephan, that while it's dangerous for us to move around, we continue to do so, just as the Iraqis we support must and do all the time. Further, our mobility is not restricted in any way that affects our combat power, which limits the insurgent combat capability to random violence. They cannot threaten the viability of the Iraqi government.

Blowing up things has not increased the Sunni insurgents' political popularity and will inevitably cost them more than they gain. It is not coincidental that the appearance of nightly death squads expanded with the Sunni insurgents switch to targeting Iraqis with bombs. The Sunnis are far outnumbered and we can more easily come to a political solution with the Shiites. Attrition cuts both ways and the Sunnis are not getting the better of it.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 30, 2006 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

..and yet...


The US invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and...the overall terrorist threat has grown since 9-11. - National Intelligence Estimate Spring 2006

Posted by: mr. irony on September 30, 2006 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

mr irony wrote:

The US invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and...the overall terrorist threat has grown since 9-11. - National Intelligence Estimate Spring 2006
______________

Probably true. It would be hard to imagine any attempt to radically shift an entire region's political balance without creating whole bushels of opponents. Our chosen course is a high risk effort, without a doubt.

Posted by: Trashhauler on September 30, 2006 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK


trash: Probably true.....any attempt to radically shift....

you think?

1991 invasion - 400k troops

2003 invasion - 150k troops

heck of a job..

g.w....just a victim huh..

too funny trash...


Posted by: mr. irony on September 30, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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