Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 30, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

STANDING UP....George Bush says "we'll stand down as they stand up" they being the Iraqi army and security forces. And guess what? They're up! We're pretty close to meeting our original target of 300,000 trained soldiers and police.

So can we come home now? Of course not. As Thomas Ricks reports, "the meaning of the phrase appears to have changed":

More recently, Bush has...added more conditions, saying the troops can come home "when our commanders say . . . the Iraqi government is capable of defending itself and sustaining itself and governing itself."

Military officers and other experts interviewed in recent days said that the Iraqi training program has worked but that its success is undercut by the lack of strong Iraqi political leadership. "You fix the government, you fix the problem," said an Army battalion commander who has seen hard fighting near Baghdad this summer.

No kidding. And how long will that take? Ricks's sources suggest five to ten years.

You know, I really wish Bush would just acknowledge this. I'd like to hear him give a speech something like this:

Yes, I'm a stubborn guy, and I continue to believe that success in Iraq is absolutely vital to our future security and to the overall war on terror. A failed Iraq would be a disaster.

But you know what? It's turned out to be a lot harder than we expected. Still, we have to succeed in Iraq, and our best guess is that this will require us to stay there for at least another decade. So tomorrow I'll be asking the Pentagon to extend overseas combat tours to 18 months, which will allow us to increase our troop strength in Iraq to over 200,000 soldiers. I'll also ask Congress for authorization to permanently stand up 30 new combat brigades for the Army and Marine Corps. And then I'm going to personally review the records of our senior officers in Iraq, and I'm going to fire every single one of them who doesn't get the fact that we're fighting a counterinsurgency, not World War II. And that business of discharging Arabic linguists who happen to be gay? I'm stopping it right now. The Iraq war is more important than our own piddling culture wars.

Oh, and I've asked Don Rumsfeld for his resignation. A fresh start needs a new leader.

Or something like that. Don't get me wrong: I'd oppose this plan because I don't think it would work. But I'd at least have some respect for Bush if he concretely acknowledged what it would take to accomplish his goals in Iraq and was willing to fight for them with at least the same tenacity that he fought to wreck Social Security. After all, wrecking Social Security is hardly the "calling of our generation," is it?

Of course, this would require Bush to take some genuine political risk, so I think it's safe to say we'll never see it happen. He'd rather kick this particular can down the road to whichever sap happens to occupy the Oval Office in 2009.

Kevin Drum 5:09 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (94)

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After all, wrecking Social Security is hardly the "calling of our generation," is it?

Of course not. Bashing fags is the calling of our generation.

Oh, and giving money to Paris Hilton.

Posted by: craigie on September 30, 2006 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Hahaha Kevin, that doesn't even sound remotely like Bush.

Yes, I'm a stubborn guy, and I continue to believe that success in Iraq is absolutely vital to our security. Some would say that... we should heh, cut and run... I strongly disagree. A failed Iraq would be a disaster. heh.

But you know what? War is hard... It's a lot harder than some of my opponents expected. Heh. Still, we have to succeed in Iraq, and our best guess is that this will require us to be stay there for at least as long as it takes. So I'll be asking everyone to calm down, go shopping, and help our economy. And then I'm going to institute accountability in our armed forces, so we can hold every senior officer accountable if they don't get us results in our war on terror. The War on Terror is more important than our own piddling political battles, and I hope my friends in the Democrat Party see the light and stop, you know, resisting America.

That's more like it.

Posted by: MillionthMonkey on September 30, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

Of course not. Bashing fags is the calling of our generation.

Oh, and giving money to Paris Hilton.

Don't forget removing all those dangerous, leafy green "fuels" littering our national parks. As a bonus, this removes highly flammable oxygen from our atmosphere.

Posted by: scarshapedstar on September 30, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

Bush is an MBA. MBA types never admit mistakes. It is always someone elses' fault.

Posted by: molly bloom on September 30, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

He'd rather kick this particular can down the road to whichever sap happens to occupy the Oval Office in 2009.

Hooboy, Jeb's gonna be pissed if he does that.

Posted by: glin on September 30, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

i'm not actually sure that he can kick iraq down the road to january, 2009: the situation on the ground may not allow him to.

meanwhile, i'm not taking the time right now to read ricks, but how is it that we know that the training program has "worked?" because someone involved in the training program says so?

Posted by: howard on September 30, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

I really think that Bush read a book once - or looked at the pictures, at least - and from that he believes that, like Wilson, his reputation will improve dramatically many years after he leaves office. To which, all I can say is:

Hahahahahahahaha!

Posted by: craigie on September 30, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

Well as long as we're dreaming, why not add this bit to the speech:

    The war in Iraq is currently costing us two billion dollars a week. I believe that this war is worth fighting and so I believe we should pay for it ourselves, rather than putting it on the credit card and sending the bill to our children.

    Therefore, I am proposing that we repeal the tax cuts passed at the start of my administration and we use the additional revenue to pay for the cost of this war. And I will support a raise in pay for our servicemembers to offset the tax increase, so that the financial burden will fall on those of us here in the states.

Posted by: Oregonian on September 30, 2006 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Bush is so goddamn weak on terror. The cowardly deserter.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on September 30, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

...I'd oppose this plan because I don't think it would work. But I'd at least have some respect for Bush if he concretely acknowledged what it would take to accomplish his goals...

That's been my opinion of Bush since he was anointed King of the GOP back in 1999. I could respect him if it was simply differences of opinion; the fact that he denies the legitimacy of any disagreement, and refuses to learn from his mistakes... there's no dealing with such a person.

Posted by: Grumpy on September 30, 2006 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

He'd rather kick this particular can down the road to whichever sap happens to occupy the Oval Office in 2009

I actually think it's much much worse than that. Bush thinks he is God's Warrior. Bush thinks his enemies are the minions of Satan. Until you accept the scary but inescapable fact that our President (and I suspect our Secretary of State) is a religious delusional who thinks this 'war' is being played out on a metaphysical level--by which I mean, he's fucking nuts--, you can't even begin to talk about solutions. Cheney's evil, plain and simple; and Rumsfeld's just an incompetent, arrogant jackass, too dumb to realize how far his head is up his ass. But Bush is crazy.

Posted by: Jim on September 30, 2006 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

The only speech I want to hear is:

"I have always been a quitter. To leave office now is entirely consistent with every instinct in my body.

Because as president, I must put the interests of America first.

Therefore, I will resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow."

Posted by: Winda Warren Terra on September 30, 2006 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

MillionthMonkey: That's more like it.

Yes, it is. And much less pointless than Kevin's version. Very funny, very well done and composed with surprising speed.

Posted by: Rave on September 30, 2006 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

He doesn't just think his enemies are minions of satan - He truly believes they are. And that is why he is so scary.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 30, 2006 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

Molly notes that MBAs make no mistakes. Also, Bush admitted his one mistake years ago; that of dinking too much alcohol. He is uncapable of admitting any more. To admit mistakes in Iraq would be to admit his failure as a person. After all, he has done virtually nothing right in his life so far. After he leaves office, he will follow the Gerald Ford path, as opposed to the Jimmy Carter/Big Dog approach. No Nobel awaits aWol.

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr on September 30, 2006 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

When we're talking about 300,000 trained soldiers and police here, do we really mean 300,000 Shiite militiamen with new uniforms?

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf on September 30, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

But maybe the Hague awaits aWol...

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 30, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

MillionthMonkey, very much more like it.

This man is a psychotic who cannot grasp reality and will never admit a mistake, and by extension, because he can look into a man's soul, thinks his team is infallible too.

He's gone 3 years without changing a thing. Now is not the "right time" for a change in course.

The commanders who say the training has worked and the problem is political, simply lie.

Last week there was a brigade that refused to deploy to Bagdad. The whole force is inherently flawed, and, seemingly, incapable of being properly disciplined and trained. When they had to close the police academy (for, was it, 2 weeks?) the commandant said a good number of students/cadets never came back.

The Iraqi security and police units continue to be extremely variable in quality, generally undertrained, poorly led, underequipped, have no meaningful heavy, air or logistical support of their own. The police, in terms of police work, are totally overwhelmed and understaffed in investigative, interrogative and forensic expertise.

This optimism is based on total fabrication. They have gone through dismemberment and 3 iterations of training. They have totally failed to overcome the ethnic bias and to integrate units.

They are not any closer to being able to "stand up" now than they were 2 years ago. Unless the political change is based on the magical and unlikely event that the "government" drops all ethnic bias, corruption, fix the constitution, agree on shared resources and spread fraternal amity throughout the nation.

We/they still haven't even fixed their hospitals yet!

Amazing.

Posted by: notthere on September 30, 2006 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone besides me think that President Bush's denial of reality has gone past stubborness and has become creepy?

Posted by: Patrick Kennedy on September 30, 2006 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

The Pathological President and his Imperial Imperative...That more like it, Patrick Kennedy?

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 30, 2006 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

Damn-it Kevin---

what happened to your blog--it's tiurned into a far left wingnut idiot spewfest--I can usually read thru a thread here and come away with something to think about--this crap is old

Posted by: charlie w on September 30, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter charlie w: The truth hurts! Waaa!

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 30, 2006 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Hey--Bush sucks--but you guys--pht!

Put some intelligent thought in your day--it's good for you

Posted by: cw on September 30, 2006 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

If we offend so, don't let the pixel-door hit you in the ass on the way out. pht!!!

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 30, 2006 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

I don't trust bush with a TV remote, let alone the "football."

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 30, 2006 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

Better yet Charlie W., please take 5-10 min and give us a concise statment (say, 100 words)and inform us of the basis you have for your belief that GWB has been effective in this whole Iraq ordeal. Tell us what "victory in Iraq" means and what GWB has done to get us there.

For bonus points, outline any characteristics of our involvement there that would lead you to say,"Darn! This is really screwed up. Its not worth the costs. We need to wind this down, ASAP."

Posted by: Keith G on September 30, 2006 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

I hope George W. Bush lives to be 105 so that he can see history's judgement.

Posted by: Louis on September 30, 2006 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

Patrick Kennedy --

Websters:

PSYCHOPATHIC PERSONALITY: 1. a person characterized by emotional instability; lack of sound judgenment, perverse and impulsive (often criminal) behavior, inability to learn from experience, amoral and asocial feelings, and other serious personality defects; he may or may not have psychotic attacks or symptoms.

How apt is that!

Posted by: notthere on September 30, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld landed squarely in this camp recently. Referring to numbers of trained Iraqi forces, he told a reporter: "If we look at it one-dimensionally like that, there's no answer to the question, because the problem is not a military problem. In fact, the reality is that it's a political governance problem, and it's a governmental problem, and it's a problem of reconciliation."

In Rumsfeld's own words this is not a military problem. Glad to see someone in this administration seems to finally get it, even if t is Rumsfeld, and even if it appears to be little more than an attempt to escape blame . In any case, those words should be shoved back down the throat of the administration--and every candidate that advocates "stay the course".

Posted by: has407 on September 30, 2006 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

"we'll stand down as they stand up"

"stand up" never meant "enroll in the appropriate number", it meant "achieve control". the numbers, the training, the combat experience, the weapons, are all steps in that direction.

As for your claim that you'd respect Bush more if he were as discouraged as you, I don't think so.

Wasn't John Kerry's goal a free, stable, and democratic Iraq? that sounds good to me.

Posted by: papago on September 30, 2006 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

If I didn't repeat it here, all of six people would read it.:)

Bush insisted Saturday that those of us who view the 2003 invasion of Iraq in a negative light are responsible for the growth of anti-American terrorism, and we are "buying into the enemy's propaganda." He just accused my husband, a retired USAF Major, of being a terrorist coddler.

Them's fightin' words.

"The only way to protect our citizens at home is to go on the offense against the enemy across the world," (emphasis mine) the president said. "So we will remain on the offense until the terrorists are defeated and this fight is won." (Remember this: His brats-of-priviledge are not suiting up for the festivities, and wouldn't even if they could pass the drug screen, which I seriously doubt. They aren't even joining TANG.)

What does he mean by that statement, you may ask. Well I will answer. He just stated that sovereignty of other nations need not be observed, that all nations must yield to the will of his "Imperial Imperative" or face dire (military) consequences. The United States reserves the right to invade any nation, any where, any time, on his whim.

Read between the lines, America - he just declared war on Iran.

As the mid-terms draw near, the desperation of the president is palpable, and he is grasping at electoral straws, trying to scare Americans away from the Democratic candidates he fears will curtail his Imperial Imperatives.

Watch him folks, his actions are those of a desperate man or a cornered animal, and both are dangerous creatures capable of unimmaginable violence and destruction. We the electorate are the last line of defense. We must neuter him by installing a democratic house and senate to rein in his unchecked power and temper his fatalistic world view. And we must never venture down this path again. There be monsters here.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 30, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

papago: "stand up" never meant "enroll in the appropriate number", it meant "achieve control". the numbers, the training, the combat experience, the weapons, are all steps in that direction.

The administration/DoD set the numbers and defined the metrics. And those numbers represent something quantifiable, by the DoD's own standards. You want to make them mean something else, fine; your prerogative. But substituting your own ad-hoc interpretation of what those numbers mean in order to excuse the failure is so much bullshit.

Posted by: has407 on September 30, 2006 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

Who is still supporting our policy on Iraq?

Not the military, not the intelligence agencies, not the Dems, not the Europeans, nor Chinese, nor Russians, Musharif is agin it.

Let me see? Jerry Falwell and Dick Cheney seem to be the only supporeters left.

Posted by: Matt on September 30, 2006 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

You want to make them mean something else, fine; your prerogative.

In other words, move those goalpoasts!

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 30, 2006 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

Let me see? Jerry Falwell and Dick Cheney seem to be the only supporeters left.

You forgot Barney and Laura.

Posted by: gregor on September 30, 2006 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

You forgot Barney and Laura.

If I was Barney, I'd be whizzing in his shoes.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 30, 2006 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

Extraordinary article on the stolen 2004 election in Ohio,

http://www.freepress.org/departments/display/19/2006/2162

In Clermont County, which contributed significantly to Bushs margin of victory, researcher Dr. Ronald Baiman discovered a suspicious use of replacement ballots, that are meant to be issued only if a regular ballot is somehow spoiled by a voter. In a random draw of one ballot from each of the 192 precincts, against huge odds, Baiman found a replacement ballot. Baiman asked that the next ballot from the precinct be drawn and it, too, was a replacement ballot. Continuing pulling ballots from that same precinct, Baiman witnessed 36 straight replacement ballots in a row, a virtual statistical impossibility. Dr. Philips recorded only five spoiled ballots in this same precinct, raising the question of where the other 31 replacement ballots came from.


Just the tip of the iceberg. Just the tip.

Posted by: cld on September 30, 2006 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

And they didn't even have to show ID to rig an election.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 30, 2006 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

Bush is mentally ill and should be impeached on medical grounds alone, not to mention his treasonous acts and shredding of the Constitution.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on September 30, 2006 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

I hope George W. Bush lives to be 105 so that he can see history's judgement.

Posted by: Louis on September 30, 2006 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

It wouldn't matter if he lived to be 205. He'd still be saying "History will show I was right." And it still will not.

There has never been a successful politician or general who disconnects from reality. Everything he does is without judgement or compassion. He follows his gut and has no brain -- not in the sense of complex issues.

He is in no way interested in detail. Nor does he employ people who will define the subtleties. He seeks agreement with his views. In this, he, Cheney and Rumsfeld are alike, and so dangerously isolated, but use the power of their position to maintain "equilibrium". All those who disagree are dismissed or devalued. Those who diagree to the point of moral necessity are treated as pariahs, traitors, and, maybe soon, illegal combatants.

The only way he'll be shown to be "right" is if the middle eastern countries become democratic. It will be a very revisionist historian to justify his role because surely, even at this point, it is obvious that the US military threat, previous moral high standing, $550 billion, and all the lives involved could have brought us closer to ending the "global war on terror" and brought more democracy to the world than the route so far followed under his, and only his direction.

I don't think that is deniable.

Posted by: notthere on September 30, 2006 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

You know, Kevin, I don't get this trope of putting words into Bush's mouth. "I wish he'd do a speech like...." Pundits have done that a lot, and it's idiotic. It's worthless. It's like saying, "You know, if Bush would do what I tell him to do..." He won't.

If Bush wants to give a speech, he'll give a speech. He gives lots of speeches. None of them are worthwhile-- they're usually pernicious and repetitive. What pundits keep trying to do with this "my sample Bush speech" is to pretend that this guy is ever going to do the sensible thing (apologize, change course, fire Rumsfeld). But worse than this, the speech-trope pretends that what counts is a speech. It just buys into Bush's insane idea that giving a speech is what counts-- not good policy, not principles, not the truth, not competence, nothing but saying things in the right order.

You can do better than that tired nonsense. No one ever had to say, "This is the speech Churchill/FDR/MLK ought to give." Because while they gave very good speeches, the speeches were merely the manifestation of their values and policy and actions. The actions have to be there, and then the speech will come.

Posted by: oops on September 30, 2006 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

If you are going to write a speech for Bush, it is imperative that you start off with "Five years after 9/11, the worst attack on American soil in our history..."

Other than that, MillionthMonkey nailed it. Heh.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 30, 2006 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

Have you seen this Iraqi polling material from PIPA, Kevin? I should think you'd find it quite interesting; and it speaks directly to when we should "stand down."

Posted by: Gary Farber on September 30, 2006 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

We had a whole thread on the topic a few days ago when the poll first came out - complete with cool pie-charts and everything.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 30, 2006 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

Iraqi army and police......Guys with AK-47s in pickup trucks.That's it!............I've got 3 grandsons 9,3,and 1 ,I will do all I can to stop it but I see them having to do their time in Iraq.The trolls might want to feed their kids and grandkids into this maw but I don't!And FUCK YOU,I gave a tour in Vietnam for my country.You FUCKING CHICKENSHIT CHICKENHAWKS!

Posted by: R.L. on September 30, 2006 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

Running down the comments here, I'm not sure you should be throwing pyschological judgments around so loosely. About half of you look to be three inches short of a mental breakdown. Better hope you win next month.

Posted by: sarkman on September 30, 2006 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

--300,000 trained soldiers and police.

So what is with the insurgency, the step up in attacks?

Is it a milita police and soldier force?

Posted by: Cheryl on September 30, 2006 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

Iraq has an unemployment rate in excess of 25%. The system of central electrical generation and distribution is completely unreliable. There is an inadequate supply of potable water, and the system for disposing of sewage is constantly breaking down. The average age is 19. And, the country is awash in automatic weapons and munitions.

We are not currently doing anything substantive about any of those conditions. And, yet, all we talk about is airy fairy "leadership" and ideology and staying the course.

I don't particularly want to argue about the limits of social engineering, but is there something preventing us from talking about the beginnings of social engineering?

On what planet, would it be possible to pacify a country where the average is 19, there is a massive unemployment, completely inadequate infrastructure for urban life, and a virtually unlimited supply of automatic weapons and explosives?

How is it, that the Administration can fail completely and totally with respect to every goal set for the CPA in the Reconstruction, and then be allowed to use the rhetoric of "staying the course"?

The only purpose of a rhetoric, which emphasizes the importance of not "abandoning Iraq", in a context where Iraq is maintained in an intolerable condition, is to fix the blame for the grand failure on the first fool, who is responsible enough to try to repair the damage.

Posted by: Bruce Wilder on September 30, 2006 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

Gary - that's a significant poll.

Maryland poll - NY Times.

The majority of Iraqis now favor attacks on American forces. It's utterly amazing how you think the situation has hit rock bottom, and can only improve, but it just keeps getting worse and worse, and nothing the administration has done has made the problem better.

"The poll also found growing support for attacks on American forces, with 61 percent of the respondents saying they approved, compared with 47 percent in January. Support for the attacks was strongest among Sunnis, at 92 percent. But support among Shiites rose to 62 percent in September from 41 percent in January. Only 16 percent of Kurds favored attacks on American troops."


Posted by: Andy on September 30, 2006 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

Iraq has an unemployment rate in excess of 25%. The system of central electrical generation and distribution is completely unreliable. There is an inadequate supply of potable water, and the system for disposing of sewage is constantly breaking down. The average age is 19. And, the country is awash in automatic weapons and munitions.

Unemployment rate used to be almost 50 percent.

Electrical generation in August was 4,430 MW, from a pre-war level of 3,958. Reason for power problems is Baghdad used to get all the juice and nobody else. Before the war, Baghdad got 16-24 hours of power, and the rest 4-8. Now Baghdad gets about 6 and the rest of Iraq gets 11.

As of March, there are a million more Iraqis with access to potable water than there were under Saddam, and 4.5 million more people with sewer system coverage. The bottleneck in the latter is water treatment, which needs to catch up.

There's a reason the average age of Iraqis is 19. Hint: It has nothing to do with a war that only started three and a half years ago.

Posted by: clockwatcher on September 30, 2006 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK


"I'll be asking the Pentagon to extend overseas combat tours to 18 months..."

Hell, why don't we just extend combat tours to a lifetime and have Halliburton build some assisted living quarters in the Green Zone?

You know, after they finish gumming down the morning oatmeal, they can be bused out to frolic over the rubble of Baghdad--"live" decoys looking for undetonated roadside bombs.

Posted by: 8 on September 30, 2006 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

It's just a few weeks before the November election.

At what point do the Dems tell us their plan???

Posted by: Havlicek stole the ball on September 30, 2006 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

Here's the end of the Thomas Ricks article, for those who didn't click the link:

A Marine officer who has fought in Anbar province and an Army captain who just returned from Baghdad agreed, both saying they fear that all the U.S. military is doing is training and arming Iraqis to fight a looming civil war.
Posted by: bad Jim on September 30, 2006 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

Instead of a plan, Bush wants to inspire the country by calling a war veteran who gave both of her legs in Iraq fighting for his lies a coward and a traitor.

No greater shame is imaginable, but I'm sure Bush will surprise us with something greater before long, as there is no limit to the depths of depravity and cowardiceness that he will stoop to in order to continue holding the political power that he has wasted and abused.

Posted by: Advocate for God on September 30, 2006 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

At what point do the Dems tell us their plan???

When are you and the GOP going to tell us yours?

Posted by: AfG on September 30, 2006 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

They are already standing down when Foley is standing up.

Or may be standing up when foley is standing down.

Whatever man.

Posted by: gregor on September 30, 2006 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, yeah. The GOP gave us their plan and it not only failed, but put the US in greater danger.

Thanks, but no thanks.

No plan is better than a plan to lose.

Posted by: AfG on September 30, 2006 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

sarkman: About half of you look to be three inches short of a mental breakdown.

Four inches farther away than you.

Posted by: AfG on September 30, 2006 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

For all their bluster about homosexuals being pedophiles, it turns out that it is the GOP that is the party of pedophiles!

Posted by: AfG on September 30, 2006 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK
Wasn't John Kerry's goal a free, stable, and democratic Iraq? that sounds good to me. papago 7:03 PM
That was then, now 61% of Iraqis think killing Americans is good. 71% regard American forces as destabilizing. Remember Mao's dictum guerilla fighters are fish swimming in a sea of peasants, who provide logistical support

61% of the population is a big sea even in a small country. Is Bush prepared to kill 61% of Iraqis? His lickspittle sycophants are, but their skin is never were their mouths are.
Bush has never given any indication that he will leave Iraq in any circumstance. All the talk of withdrawal is meaningless until the bastard is removed from office and sanity returns to American government.

About half of you look to be three inches short of a mental breakdown.sarkman 9:01 PM

That's preferable to 100% of 'publican lemmings marching the American army off a cliff and taking the economy with them.
At what point do the Dems tell us their plan??? Havlicek stole the ball 10:14 PM

At what point to 'publicans tell the truth and divulge the facts about Iraq?

Posted by: Mike on September 30, 2006 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

You left one thing out. To stay in Iraq for another decade would require reinstating the draft. This is politically impossible, and THAT is why the administration is in such a mess.

Posted by: bosco on September 30, 2006 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

Instead of a plan, Bush wants to inspire the country by calling a war veteran who gave both of her legs in Iraq fighting for his lies a coward and a traitor.

Major Tammy Duckworth. Please, I beg of the Publicans - attack this woman. Call her a coward. Accuse her of wanting to "cut and run." I dare you. I double-dog dare you. Call her a coward and watch it blow up in your face. Peter Roskam is learning that lesson. He accused her of wanting to "cut and run" from Iraq. That's a good one - she will never physically run again, because she lost her legs in combat.

This from the man who never served a day in uniform. Not since scouts anyway.

Pure Publican fecklessness.

Posted by: Global Citizen on September 30, 2006 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, clockwatcher? The reason the average age of the Iraqi population is important is because of what that means for the insurgency. Hint: a country with an average age of 19 is going to have a lot of young men around. That means more potential recruits for the insurgency.

25% unemployment doesn't help, either. The US had about a 25% unemployment rate at the height of the Great Depression. (Although the way in which the two rates were measured may make the comparison meaningless.)

Posted by: mwg on September 30, 2006 at 11:47 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I totally agree with you. Bush would probably add 10 points to his approval rating if he gave a speech like that. And then it would probably drop 20 points once the reality sank in with the public.

"We'll leave Iraq when the first Iraqi spaceship has landed on the moon."

Posted by: Speed on October 1, 2006 at 12:16 AM | PERMALINK

Hi Everybody,

This is kind of embarrassing, but last night I saw the new Jackass movie. Johnny Knoxville reminds so much of Bush with how resolute he is when everyone is in pain and everything is on fire. Anyway, I now have a rabid squirrel stapled to my sack and it hurts like a motha. Does anyone know what to do? I don't know where else to turn to cuz you guys are my only friends. Please someone help me to get this rabid squirrel off my balls!

Sincerely,

Al

PS - Foley is hot and I would totally do it with him.

Posted by: Al on October 1, 2006 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK

Unemployment in Iraq?

The Brookings Institute Iraq Index for August '06 is 25-40%. That's a pretty big varinance!

And compared to what?

Female employment in the West is much, much higher.

Are we including all the youth in the last 4 years who might have been employed?

You know, unemployment and under-employment in the US is much higher than stated month to month. With that much social disruption, I bet you it is way higher than that stated in Iraq.

What do you think?

Posted by: notthere on October 1, 2006 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

What do you think?

Would be interesting to compare it to the unemployment rate across Iraq under Saddam. Then you start getting into the "Soviet harvest figures" problem, although there's some numbers here. Surely sanctions should be factored into this, too.

The numbers will be fuzzy. A lot of people in Iraq are not formally employed, but making a living in various self-employments. This would make the number artificially lower. Also, are the Iraqis being counted working for private companies with a long-term future, or on U.S.-funded reconstruction? That might make the number artificially higher. Whatever the numbers, the Iraq Index preparers believe that the employment situation is improving over time.

There's obviously more money flowing than there used to be. Figures for consumer goods show a lot of growth. Whether that reflects real growth or just a large influx of aid money is another question.

I think that the population as a whole in Iraq is doing better economically, but that those who were living high on the hog under Saddam are not doing anywhere near as well as they were. Think South Africa when they dumped apartheid.

Posted by: clockwatcher on October 1, 2006 at 12:55 AM | PERMALINK

I think that the population as a whole in Iraq is doing better economically,

Thank you, hard-working American taxpayer! The money you're sweating hard every day to earn is being transferred to us, Iraqi Muslims who hate your guts and would kill you as soon as look at you, at the rate of $2 billion taxpayer dollars a week! We thank you for working so hard and then giving us your money for free!

Actually, no, we don't thank you -- but we'll still take your money! Because, like suckers, you'll keep handing it over! Fuck you, infidel Americans sons of whores -- and don't forget to send the check!

Posted by: Arminius on October 1, 2006 at 1:11 AM | PERMALINK

Hey Charlie, here's something to think about.


Jerry Falwell created Liberty university so that it would be as far-right as Harvard is far-left.
[Falwell quote]

Okay, that I can accept. But why then is Falwell, of the far right, kissing the butt of the Eastern Liberal establishment of Bush?

Why? Huh, to me, the far-left and far-right have gone so far they are now basically gone full circle. Capitalism [marxism] is basically neo-liberalism [social democracy] Both eventually create a dictator [george] or a monarchy [george] or a tyrant [george]

Heh think about that!!

Posted by: Not Charlie on October 1, 2006 at 1:13 AM | PERMALINK

Just think of what you could get for $2 billion a week, American taxpayer -- improved schools, roads, health care, public libraries, hospitals, more cops on the street, more firefighters, more protection for your pensions, port and airline security, etc. But thanks to George Bush and the GOP, that money is not being spent on you, the Americans who earned it, but is being given to us, the Iraqi people! That's why "There's obviously more money flowing than there used to be."

Thank you, American taxpayer -- and hey, stop slacking! Work harder! After all, we've got to get our money from somewhere, and so why not from you? You don't expect us to support ourselves when we can get the American taxpayers to do it for free, right?

Posted by: The Iraqi People on October 1, 2006 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

...About half of you look to be three inches short of a mental breakdown. Better hope you win next month.

Posted by: sarkman on September 30, 2006 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps you could give a more appropriate mental appraisal of the preznut!

Waiting to hear!

Posted by: notthere on October 1, 2006 at 1:25 AM | PERMALINK

Hitler=Fascist dictator Bush=Neo-liberal Monarch

both accrued Unitary Executive powers [Carl Schmitt]

And, as you know, both cloak themselves in Christianity!! [both are also madmen]

Hitler=Goebbels/Carl Schmitt+Reichstagg
Bush=Karl Rove/Addington/Yoo+9/11
=================================
Thank you, American taxpayer -- and hey, stop slacking! Work harder! After all, we've got to get our money from somewhere, and so why not from you? You don't expect us to support ourselves when we can get the American taxpayers to do it for free, right?
Posted by: The Iraqi People

Sorry Iraqi people that money went to Halliburton\Bechtel\Parsons. Maybe Bush will use some of that money fron his cash crop [wink wink] in Afghanistan to send to you!

Posted by: Not Charlie on October 1, 2006 at 1:26 AM | PERMALINK

I think Bush should just admit that we are in the Middle East to control the oil and have no intention of leaving until the oil runs out.

Posted by: NeoLotus on October 1, 2006 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

Americans are addicted to statistics - but where did these stats come from? From the boys and girls sitting in air conditioned KBR offices in the GZ? Or from that democratically elected and oh so effective Iraqi government?

Posted by: CQB on October 1, 2006 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

I was under the impression that economic engagement was touted here by Kevin and others as a superior method of dealing with potentially hostile nations than military force. Has that changed?

Posted by: clockwatcher on October 1, 2006 at 1:46 AM | PERMALINK

...I think that the population as a whole in Iraq is doing better economically, but that those who were living high on the hog under Saddam are not doing anywhere near as well as they were. Think South Africa when they dumped apartheid.

Posted by: clockwatcher on October 1, 2006 at 12:55 AM | PERMALINK

Based on what?

And all the Iraqis that weren't so high on the hog but had an income and were not being hunted?

The US has decided from the start NOT to monitor domestic indicators, from death to jobs. Why? No wonder we have no idea what is going on. They don't want us to. Surprise!

If you have a better source let us know!

Brookings institure figures, Unemployment:
Jun 04 - May 04: 30 - 45%
Jun 04 - Nov 04: 30 - 40%
Dec 04 - Dec 04: 28 - 40%
Jan 05 - Oct 05: 27 - 40%
Nov 05 - Jul 06: 25 - 40%

Given the range and LACK of indicated improvement, no decrease in range of estimate, you might think me excused for thinking that, probably, there has been little if any.

The size of any black or invisible market is hardly helping the "government" establish themselves. Maybe you'd like to include the trade in ammo, explosives and RPGs in that number?

Think what?

Posted by: notthere on October 1, 2006 at 1:49 AM | PERMALINK

I was under the impression that economic engagement was touted here by Kevin and others as a superior method of dealing with potentially hostile nations than military force. Has that changed?

Posted by: clockwatcher on October 1, 2006 at 1:46 AM | PERMALINK

Look, of course there's more money flowing there. All the troops and ancillaries are spending some of their money and there are numbers employed using US $, plus there's some oil money although they still have to import refined fuels so the net is less than seems. That does not make an economy.

Economic engagement is not a command economy dominated by external money. I'm not clear what your inference is. Clarify!

Posted by: notthere on October 1, 2006 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

From the Brookings Institute Index:

There is an inherent difficulty in measuring the Iraqi rate of unemployment over time. Because recent estimates are likely to be more accurate than older ones, but also higher, this means that despite an improvement in the economic situation nationwide, the numbers give the impression that it is getting worse. Considering the increase in entrepreneurial activity after the end of the war, we have for the purposes of this database assumed that there has been an improvement in unemployment levels, and hence weighted information supporting such a conclusion heavier than contradictory data reports.

You might also want to look at figures for phones, cars, internet access, and per capita GDP.

Is the lust for failure in Iraq so great that any sign of a positive has to be greeted with not just skepticism, but outright hostility?

Posted by: clockwatcher on October 1, 2006 at 2:14 AM | PERMALINK

Clockwatcher --

But Brookings give rates of unemployment that are, over the range, lower, and admit giving heavier weight to all information for improvement. So these are the best numbers!

Look, clockwatcher, if you really were you would know the sands of time run downwards. Tasks need to be completed, and have to be desired to be completed from the start. Action to the goal, not action for action's sake.

There is no lust for failure, only frustration that failure has been the goal of this campaign.

You can take a deserted island, bring in 100,000 troops and have an economy. When they leave, what do you have? A desert island.

Here we have Iraq. If you substracted the US superstucture tomorrow, what would you have? Not a lot.

Those of us who saw the pursuit of war as wrong-headed in 2002 don't need to be hit over the head because your glorious leader has totally failed to reach any objective as stated in Feb '03, thank you very much.

Posted by: notthere on October 1, 2006 at 2:37 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: mmf铃声 on October 1, 2006 at 4:16 AM | PERMALINK

clockwatcher,

why dont you post links for any of your statistical statements?

Like, for instance:

Electrical generation in August was 4,430 MW, from a pre-war level of 3,958.

According to a 2003 fact sheet by USAID
http://www.usaid.gov/press/factsheets/2003/fs030815.html
.."pre-conflict generating levels of 4,400 MW."

That means youve just reached pre-war levels right now.

Posted by: Detlef on October 1, 2006 at 7:29 AM | PERMALINK

How does someone get as fucked up as George W. Bush? What a despicable human being. If his parents had any decency, and it's pretty clear that they don't, they would disown this walking pile of excrement.

Posted by: The Liberal Avenger on October 1, 2006 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

Note that the political risk Kevin addresses isn't the risk of losoing an election, because Bush can't run again. It's the risk of the country losing so much support for the war, that we pull out.

I think the speech Kevin would like Bush is give is not so different from what he has said, if you read between the lines. His challenge as a leader is to maintain support. He does so by presenting optimistic views.

That's traditionally what leaders do. FDR said, 'The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." He didn't say, "I have no expertise on ending depressions. It will probably last another ten years," even though the latter comment would have been more accurate.

Posted by: ex-liberal on October 1, 2006 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

"FDR said, 'The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." He didn't say, "I have no expertise on ending depressions. It will probably last another ten years," even though the latter comment would have been more accurate."

But did FDR cause the Depression? No, he inherited it. So people didn't blame FDR because he couldn't wave a magic wand and make it go away. On the other hand, Bush is entirely to blame for the disasters in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Posted by: Speed on October 1, 2006 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

It's hard to come up with a non-cynical explanation of Bush's behavior regarding Iraq.

For me, it's even difficult to come up with a non-cynical explanation for why so many apparently normal American citizens, in my community, support him. I have certainly lost some respect after hearing some the explanations.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on October 1, 2006 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

A few decades back, Samuel Huntington played with statistics from apartheid South Africa by adding up the number of per-capita phones, sanitation, etc. to create a "Happiness Index." Using this index, he concluded that black and colored South Africans loved apartheid. About a month later, the Soweto uprising took place. Whenever neocons use the number of phones rising as proof of progress in Iraq, just remember where such logic had led before.

Posted by: Reality Man on October 1, 2006 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

ex-lib: if you read between the lines. His challenge as a leader is to maintain support


maintain support...


"Former White House chief of staff Andrew Card on two occasions tried and failed to persuade President Bush to fire Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, according to a new book by Bob Woodward that depicts senior officials of the Bush administration as unable to face the consequences of their policy in Iraq. . . .

"Woodward writes that Bush considered the move, but was persuaded by Vice President Cheney and Karl Rove, his chief political adviser, that it would be seen as an expression of doubt about the course of the war and would expose Bush himself to criticism."

can't have that....

'The truth is that the assessment by intelligence experts is that next year, 2007, is going to get worse and, in public, you have the president and you have the Pentagon [saying], 'Oh, no, things are going to get better,' he tells Wallace. 'Now there's public, and then there's private. But what did they do with the private? They stamp it secret. No one is supposed to know,' says Woodward."


On CNN, Jack Cafferty had this to say: "President Bush is absolutely certain that the United States is on the right track in Iraq. That's according to this new book by Bob Woodward. In fact, Bush is so sure that he supposedly told a group of Republicans gathered at the White House quote, 'I will not withdraw even if Laura and Barney are the only ones supporting me', unquote.

"Apparently it doesn't matter that almost two-thirds of Americans oppose the war in Iraq.

That only a quarter of this country thinks we're winning the war in Iraq.

And that most Americans think the situation in Iraq has degenerated into a civil war, 65 percent, as long as Barney supports him."

(both excerpts from washingtonpost.com)

exactly...

gotta have priorities...

Posted by: mr. perspective on October 1, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Drip, drip, drip . . .

Yet more news that Bush didn't give Congress the same intelligence he was seeing, a third major intelligence report hidden from Congressional Democrats and the public, showing again that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Condi, Congressional republicans, and their supporters have continually lied on this point, just as they've lied about "success" in Iraq, just as they lied about ongoing genocide in Iraq, just as they lied about WMDs in Iraq, just as they lied about Iraq'a links to the terrorists.

Liars, liars, liars.

The public knows.

Good bye, GOP.

You've destroyed yourselves with your lies and your support for and protection of pedophiles.

Your claim to moral superiority just took a fatal blow.

Everybody now knows what we've known all along - conservatives have no moral center, only self-centeredness.

Posted by: Advocate for God on October 1, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

mr. perspective on October wrote:Former White House chief of staff Andrew Card on two occasions tried and failed to persuade President Bush to fire Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, according to a new book by Bob Woodward..."Woodward writes that Bush considered the move, but was persuaded by Vice President Cheney and Karl Rove, his chief political adviser, that it would be seen as an expression of doubt about the course of the war and would expose Bush himself to criticism."

BFD. When you're President, there will be people giving advice in every possible direction. If Bush had fired Rumsfeld, then Woodward would've blasted Bush for ignoring the advice of Cheney and Rove.

Woodward presents Cheney and Rove's advice as being political, not based on whether they believed Rumsfeld was doing a good job as SoD. It's easy to deduce that this bit of gossip came from Card or someone close to him.

'The truth is that the assessment by intelligence experts is that next year, 2007, is going to get worse and, in public, you have the president and you have the Pentagon [saying], 'Oh, no, things are going to get better,' he tells Wallace.

Are these the same intelligence people we relied for the WMDs in Iraq? They couldn't see what was going on in the present, let alone project the future. Nobody knows how 2007 will go.

I'm optimistic, because we have accomplished so much already.
-- Defeated Saddam
-- Captured Saddam
-- Established a Constitutional democracy
-- Pretty much defeated the al Qaeda insurgents.

The current problem is mass killings of Sunnis by Shias abd vice versa. Ending that strife is a big, big challence. Based on our success in the other challenges, I believe we (and the Iraq government) will succeed in this one as well. Just last week there was an agreement among a group of Sunni and Shia tribes in Anbar to work together to end the violence there.

On CNN, Jack Cafferty had this to say: "President Bush is absolutely certain that the United States is on the right track in Iraq. That's according to this new book by Bob Woodward. In fact, Bush is so sure that he supposedly told a group of Republicans gathered at the White House quote, 'I will not withdraw even if Laura and Barney are the only ones supporting me', unquote.

This quote shows how unfair Kevin was to charge Bush with being unwilling to take "genuine political risk." Time will tell whether Bush's policies succeed, but he is certainly taking political risk.


Posted by: ex-liberal on October 1, 2006 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

shorter ex-lib: the gop and gwb are victims....

Posted by: mr. perspective on October 2, 2006 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Is the lust for failure in Iraq so great that any sign of a positive has to be greeted with not just skepticism, but outright hostility?

With this comment, "clockwatcher" reveals him/her/ityself to be not just an apologist for Bush, but another dishonest one. (As "ex-liberal" does with his/her its every post, of course.)

Thanks to "clockwatcher" and "ex-liberal" for cofnirming, yet again, that even his apologists admit that there's no honest means of defending Bush's staggering mendacity, incompetence and corruption. I nominate you both for a free vacation in Baghdad.

Posted by: Gregory on October 2, 2006 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

I voted for Bush in 04. But, I have been saying since 12/04 that the fact Rummy is still on the job is prima facia evidence that Bush does not want to win the war; but use it for an election tool. Which he did very well in 02 and 04.

Posted by: Rodney A Stanton on October 3, 2006 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK


rodney...


we told you so...

Posted by: 49-percent of 2004 voters on October 3, 2006 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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