Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 20, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

YES, THINGS CAN GET WORSE....After running through all the options available to us in Iraq and acknowledging that they have little chance of succeeding, Suzanne Nossel briefly raises a point that gets nowhere near enough attention:

9. If we don't begin a planned exit, there's a good chance we'll find ourselves in an unplanned one It's surprising that by now we haven't experienced the Iraqi equivalent of the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut or the dragging of a corpse of an American soldier through the streets of Mogadishu a decade later. But it seems likely that that day will come.

Conventional wisdom tacitly assumes that the worst that can happen in Iraq is a continuation of the current low-level civil war, resulting in the loss of thousands of Iraqi lives and dozens of U.S. soldiers each month. But as bad as that is, it's worth keeping in mind that the American occupation has actually made the Iraqi situation worse every single year since it began, and will probably continue to make things worse as long as we're there. And the worse the violence, the worse the Iraqi theocracy that eventually takes root in its wake is likely to be.

But that's not all. The dynamics of violence are nonlinear in the extreme, and the odds of an Archduke Ferdinand moment continue to rise inexorably as our occupation continues to make things ever worse and ever more unstable. A year from now, we could end up in the middle of a full-blown civil war costing a thousand American lives a month. We could end up taking sides in a shooting war against Turkey, a NATO ally. We could end up fighting off an armed invasion from Iran. We could end up on the receiving of an oil embargo led by Saudi Arabia. Who knows?

All of these developments may be individually unlikely, but you're not trying hard enough if you can't dream up plausible scenarios leading to each one of them. Pundits and policymakers alike should keep this in mind when they're mentally totting up the costs and benefits of staying in Iraq and concluding that we might as well try a Last Big Push because, heck, it can't do any harm to try. In fact, it can. The longer we stay in Iraq, the worse things are likely to get.

Kevin Drum 1:52 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (218)

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With the latest attack on a supply convoy in Iraq that resulted in the taking of U.S. hostages, it's getting perilously close to the point where a small unit in the field could be cut off from supplies, and then overwhelmed in a fight. Although I wouldn't doubt that our commanders in the field are already being very cautious about such a thing being sprung. But even an escalation of attacks on supply convoys would be bad enough.

Posted by: David W. on November 20, 2006 at 1:58 AM | PERMALINK

Who cares what happens to the Iraqis? Our pundit class and the politicians should be well protected from any fallouts from the fiasco.

Posted by: gregor on November 20, 2006 at 2:05 AM | PERMALINK

If we don't begin a planned exit, there's a good chance we'll find ourselves in an unplanned one I

Nonsense Kevin. Keeping troops in Iraq and staying the course is the best way to prevent a unplanned exit. By keeping troops in Iraq, we can use the troops to regain momentum in Iraq, momentum which was lost because of the Democrats victory in the Congressional elections and the terrorists now feel emboldened by the liberal victories. The troops can be used to foster a greater sense of stability and security in Iraq. This greater sense of stability and security leads to more jobs and lower unemployment, greater political cooperation among the Iraqi factions, and make it easier to train the new free and democratic Iraqi army. Once these good things happen in Iraq, we won't have to worry about a unplanned exit because the Iraqi people will see the wisdom and benefits of American troops staying in Iraq.

Posted by: Al on November 20, 2006 at 2:05 AM | PERMALINK

I agree, and have been saying for awhile it's better for us to make our own exit than to have it forced upon us.

Posted by: Jimm on November 20, 2006 at 2:14 AM | PERMALINK

Al - you are such a complete moron. For 3 straight years, post after post after post - you havebeen wrong. Completely, utterly wrong.

I can only assume you are ) George Bush 2 ) Karl Rove 3) Jeff Gannon.

Posted by: Jay in Oregon on November 20, 2006 at 2:15 AM | PERMALINK

Last Big Push

Nobody's gonna fall for this shit anymore*. It's late 2006. The repubs lost. Rumsfeld's gone.

Push from where to get to what with who to achieve ???? This is victory? Has history ever seen a stupider war plan.

Message to the shrubbery: Get yer tail between yer legs, prepare the mea culpas, get some reparation cash ready and leave already.

If they were planning a civil war, then they could claim success.

*("nobody" does not include the dead-enders who frequently post here)

Posted by: Foundation of Mud on November 20, 2006 at 2:24 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, Kevin, there is practically no upside left to "staying the course", but the potential downside ranges from more of the same into the infinite future to total geopolitical/military meltdown.

The solution: get out now. It's a no brainer.

aa

Posted by: aaron aardvarka on November 20, 2006 at 2:28 AM | PERMALINK

I think you are all missing the point here, Iraqi's don't think we are ever planning on leaving, because "facts on the ground" say we are staying - a billion dollar embasy, permanant air bases, etc.

They don't think we could be that stupid as to build these things and then just leave them, they just don't know us ;-)

What we need to do is convince them that we do NOT plan to occupy thier land forever, we need to stop construction of buildings and bases, we need to start taking actions that signal our intent, instead of just spouting words that fly in the face of reality.

Posted by: Rick on November 20, 2006 at 2:30 AM | PERMALINK

It's nice to see, though, that McCain has made One Big Push the non-Bush Republican alternative.

It'll be nice to run against that insanity in '08.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on November 20, 2006 at 2:36 AM | PERMALINK

J. in O.

Al is not a real person.

Al is short for algorithm.

This algorithm is regularly coded with updated (or not) GOP talking-points and has some kind of link-thingie to Political Animal.

If it ever fails to come in later than fifth in any of Kevin's threads then some poor asleep-at-the-switch, wet-behind-the-ears intern gets it in the ass from his genius-tactician repub overlord.

Literally. Gets it in the ass.

Posted by: Foundation of Mud on November 20, 2006 at 2:38 AM | PERMALINK

FoM -
I'm not in favor of Reparation Cash.

Because with this group in charge, you know who's pocket that's going to end up in?

Iranian Operative, master hypnotist, convicted embezzler, indicted murderer and US Currency counterfeiter, and close confidant of the Bush Administration, Ahmed Chalabi. Or one of his cronies.

And if not him, it will find it's way to some other miscreant. Bush's money always does.

Posted by: Impeach.Remove.Convict.Punish.Justice on November 20, 2006 at 2:39 AM | PERMALINK

NAME ONE MORE EFFECTIVE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE (OR AS IT WAS CALLED SECRETARY OF WAR) IN USA HISTORY THAN DONALD RUMSFELD; JUST ONE.

There has never been one; he conquered two countries and worked to set up democracies in both under nearly impossible conditions - all with about 3000 military fatalities over 3 1/2 years (about the number of military fatalities during the 4 year Carter Administration when we were fighting . . . er, uh, no one - look it up; there were more soldiers then, but even the rate of fatalities during the Iraq/Afghanistan War is only 30% above peacetime levels). He's done an A+ job. Blaming him for the civil unrest in Iraq is like blaming FDR for kamikaze pilots. Why are irrational jihadis and blood thirsty Baathists his fault? And this troop levels business is a red herring. Doubling troops means at least doubling casualties, either then or now; to what effect is mere speculation. Is that what people want? And doubling troop levels maybe means tripling casulaties since it gives IED-makers and suicide bombers more targets.

DONALD RUMSFELD HAS BEEN THE GREATEST SECRETARY OF DEFENSE (OR AS IT WAS KNOWN SECRETARY OF WAR) IN USA HISTORY. ONLY DELUDED, IGNORANT, POWER-HUNGRY, DESPERATE, PARTY-FIRST-NATION-SECOND HACKS COULD CONCLUDE OTHERWISE.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on November 20, 2006 at 2:43 AM | PERMALINK

The paranoid in me says _they_ want it to get worse. Like going to Mount Doom in the heart of Mordor, you have to be in the worst place to kill the evil.

Posted by: MobiusKlein on November 20, 2006 at 2:45 AM | PERMALINK

NAME ONE.

It's a disgrace that such a fine, competent, noble man like Donald Rumsfeld has been so maligned.

For all the bah-bah-bah on this site, I'd like to see someone name one better Secretary of Defense/War in this nation's history. Put TOH in your post and I'll search for it. For the record, a Secretary of Defense/War should be judged by their execution of Administration policy. So who was better in the USA past? And then back it up with some credible facts.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on November 20, 2006 at 2:54 AM | PERMALINK

Foundation of Mud on November 20, 2006 at 2:24 AM:

Push from where to get to what with who to achieve?

Well, the who part is being discussed:

Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) has long advocated returning to the draft, but his efforts drew little attention during the 12 years that House Democrats were in the minority. Starting in January, however, he will chair the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. Yesterday he said "you bet your life" he will renew his drive for a draft.
"I will be introducing that bill as soon as we start the new session," Rangel said on CBS's "Face the Nation." He portrayed the draft, suspended since 1973, as a means of spreading military obligations more equitably and prompting political leaders to think twice before starting wars.
"There's no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm's way," said Rangel, a Korean War veteran. "If we're going to challenge Iran and challenge North Korea and then, as some people have asked, to send more troops to Iraq, we can't do that without a draft."

I'm sure there's other options.

Posted by: grape_crush on November 20, 2006 at 2:55 AM | PERMALINK

QUESTION:

If Al-Qaeda and/or the Baathists insist on fighting us, and they do, why is on-going warfare in Iraq bad? Even if it lasts 100 years. Al-Qaeda is dying at a rate of like 20 to 1 against our soldiers, they are losing the PR battle killing fellow Muslims in far greater numbers, and those para-military sectarians and non-combatants dying, while horrible, generally are anti-USA anyway. Iraq is a good field of operations for us; why abandon it? Why exit when it serves our purposes? We are dying there, yes, and that is a bad aspect of being in Iraq; but we are also winning there. If anyone is losing by our presence, it's Al-Qaeda and the militant-minded Sunnis and Shites.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on November 20, 2006 at 3:01 AM | PERMALINK

TOH,
1 billion muslims in the world. Wanna fight all them?

Posted by: MobiusKlein on November 20, 2006 at 3:02 AM | PERMALINK

RMCK1:

I left a lesson-book for you at Chess Club on Steroids. Study hard now; learn about poverty; then voice an opinion and do so with more humility going forward.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on November 20, 2006 at 3:03 AM | PERMALINK

We are dying there, yes, and that is a bad aspect of being in Iraq; but we are also winning there. If anyone is losing by our presence, it's Al-Qaeda and the militant-minded Sunnis and Shites.

Wow, a full fledged member of the 101st Fighting Keyboarders. We honor your service.

Posted by: Killjoy on November 20, 2006 at 3:22 AM | PERMALINK

Bob:

I think The Objective Historian has a crush on you. There might be some conquerer/conqueree issues, though.

By the way, TOH, what's yer point with this Rummy shit. Liberals didn't fire him. The media didn't fire him. He left. Before the job was done. Is being a quitter/martyr part of the whole mythic greatest administrator-of-clusterfucks kaboodle.

Don't get me wrong. I generally enjoy your crapola.

Posted by: Foundation of Mud on November 20, 2006 at 3:33 AM | PERMALINK


The US needs to seriously consider the ideas in a new book by George McGovern and William Polk called "Out of Iraq Now."

They contend that the US must withdraw immediately, and that when it does so the fighting will subside, as it did in Algeria and other recent guerrilla wars.

According to Polk, once the insurgents get even part of what they're seeking the general population will cease to support them and just wish to get on with their lives.

I heard him describe his plan a few days ago on NPR. Of course the above is a gross over-simplification.

Posted by: harrison on November 20, 2006 at 3:39 AM | PERMALINK

"... the American occupation has actually made the Iraqi situation worse ..."

You cannot just blithely toss off statements like this without evidence. Especially when they are obviously false.

The people who actually know about these things (ie Iraqi leaders and US security personnel) believe that the situation in Iraq would be much, much worse without the US presence.

Kevin, you personally are pushing a policy step which, if followed, is likely to result in a tremendous amount of bloodshed in Iraq. Do you expect people to not notice this? Do you expect them not to hold you personally responsible for your part in that bloodshed?

Posted by: am on November 20, 2006 at 3:40 AM | PERMALINK

Mud, I've never been sure that "Al" wasn't "AI", just an oppobot. Not that it matters.

We've actually already had a couple of atrocity moments. Weren't some of the soldiers from the group involved in the Haditha atrocity captured, killed and mutilated (most likely in a very disturbing fashion, in the opinion of Steve Gilliard)?

There have also been successful mortar attacks on American bases and one very nasty suicide bombing in a mess hall. How big does an event have to be, anyway?

Posted by: bad Jim on November 20, 2006 at 3:46 AM | PERMALINK

FoM would humbly like to replace "later" with "earlier" in the 2:38 AM post.

OK. Bedtime.

Posted by: Foundation of Mud on November 20, 2006 at 4:03 AM | PERMALINK

Best Kevin Drum post on Iraq EVER.

Posted by: js7a on November 20, 2006 at 4:33 AM | PERMALINK

But calling Al AI imposes the word "intelligence" on him, and you risk having his head explode. Maybe ASS, for Artificially Situated Stupidity.

Posted by: Kenji on November 20, 2006 at 5:15 AM | PERMALINK

The Objective Historian:
"he conquered two countries and worked to set up democracies in both under nearly impossible conditions"

Your tag should be revised to the Revisionist Historian.

On his watch the US Armed Forces shaped by eight years of Democratic Government invaded two countries and beat all organised resistance in short order. One of these invasions was completely unnecessary, politically motivated and verging on illegal.

He then failed miserably to secure the countries properly, deployed his forces dogmatically and refused to reinforce them to the levels his Generals publicly testified that they needed.

He also completely failed by refusing to reinforce the troops on the ground to provide the environment necessary to allow the democratically elected governments in the new states to do anything except wobble on quicksand.

Afghanistans government just about controls Khabul and in Iraq, one of the largest post-"Mission Accomplished" military operations was the re-invasion of Baghdad; which says much about the control the Iraqi government has.

Donald Rumsfeld, could have and should have insisted that they stayed the course in Afghanistan and assisted the government there to extend it's writ to their borders. Once the situation was stabilised and the Afghan forces sufficiently well trained and in sufficient control of things on the ground, that was the time to start thinking of invading another country.

Instead, he invaded Iraq...

The man played fast and loose with the truth, played fast and loose with the lives of the troops he was supposed to advocate for and played fast and loose with the American people.

I can only hope he flies to Rammstein AFB.


Posted by: Bad Rabbit on November 20, 2006 at 5:27 AM | PERMALINK

I have said for months that I fear a worst case scenerio in Iraq is inevitable--a embassy rooftop by helicopter retreat, a Kyber pass disaster as our troops scramble 200 miles down a single road to Kuwait. And if Bush won't back down and try to save these good kid soldiers and reservists, well, do we face a decision for impeachment as the inevitable result of an Iraq disaster caused mad king boy George?

Posted by: daver9 on November 20, 2006 at 5:30 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not so sure about this. The embassy rooftop happened 2 years after the US pulled out all of its combat forces; if we'd had 120,000 US troops in South Vietnam it wouldn't have happened. US troops in Iraq have become insanely focused on force protection precisely because of the Beirut and Mogadishu experiences, to the detriment of their counterinsurgency mission -- they shoot at anything that moves. The Russians in Afghanistan never had a Beirut moment; it just dragged endlessly, hopelessly on.

I'm not sure why one should think that things in Iraq are more likely to spiral out of control with US troops there than with US troops gone. As for the shooting war with Turkey, that seems just as likely if we leave and, say, the central government collapses, leading to a Kurdish declaration of independence.

Posted by: brooksfoe on November 20, 2006 at 5:51 AM | PERMALINK

The corollary to those not knowing history being condemned to repeat it, is that those who do are forced to watch.

I think a big part of the overall problem is a conceptual error that is funamental to monotheism. The absolute is basis, not apex. It is the eco-system, not the organism. It is what we rise out of and fall back into, not an all-knowing entity from which we fell and seek to return. The consequence is all these religious entities who think they are infallible and everyone else must be wrong. Hey, life and learn. It's what it's all about anyway. We destroy civilization and it leaves a few resources in the ground for the next time we start to get it together.

Posted by: brodix on November 20, 2006 at 6:17 AM | PERMALINK

Dienbienphus in the sand?

Posted by: bob h on November 20, 2006 at 6:48 AM | PERMALINK

I have also been anticipating a truly dramatic event that escalates this low-level civil war into something far more ugly or deadly. One truck bomb in the middle of the barracks at Camp Anaconda or a coordinated missile attack on the Green Zone could instantly raise the daily American death toll from three or four to three or four hundred or three or four thousand. It will happen if we hang around long enough. Count on it.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on November 20, 2006 at 6:59 AM | PERMALINK

... or the dragging of a corpse of an American soldier through the streets of Mogadishu a decade later.

We've already had problems like this in Iraq, it's just that so called "liberal" media only shows these things when happens to a Democratic President, but when it happens to Bush, the TV media is all to happy to hide it all for George W. Bush.

Reporter on ground contine to say the war is lost but you never know it from the TV coverage.

All hail the corporate owned media and their criminal president, they just can't say anything bad about King Bush.

Posted by: Cheryl on November 20, 2006 at 7:02 AM | PERMALINK

In my imagination none of those countries will allow the things Kevin said because they fear the power vacuum that will come about as the world's hegemon gets pushed over the edge into an even swifter decline and full scale retreat-- not just from the Middle East, but from everywhere. So, yes, plan the withdrawl as you said, but because the consequences of not doing it are even worse than these terrible scenarios you described. The GOP has dragged us to a precipice and are talking up jumping. I hope Americans don't agree.

Posted by: denniS on November 20, 2006 at 7:49 AM | PERMALINK

Brilliant analysis Kevin.


/sarcasm

Posted by: aaron on November 20, 2006 at 7:54 AM | PERMALINK

Retreat!!Surrender!!!Whatever--just so we lose....

Sincerely,

The U.S. leftists

Posted by: nikkolai on November 20, 2006 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

The vapid inanity of this post proves to me that liberals, or at least the modern incarnation of this sect, cannot intelligently consider foreign policy issues because of an inherent distaste for the crudities of human existence. "Conventional wisdom tacitly assumes..." What are you talking about? Possibly the conventional wisdom disseminated amongst the waiting staff at Hooters thinks this way - but most of your doctorate holding non-Hooters thinking types do not abide, while sober anyway, any such 'conventional' wisdom. But of course you have to assume such in order to prop up your idiotic thesis which seems to consist essentially of the brilliant deduction 'things are getting worse therefore we might as well leave'. Wow. The Golden Age of Pelosi arrives, with attendant court of simpering popinjays. Look on my works, Ye mighty, and despair.

Posted by: saintsimon on November 20, 2006 at 8:31 AM | PERMALINK

We have had the equivelant of the soldiers bodies being dragged thru the streets of Moqadishu. The insurgents attacked a group of soldiers at a checkpoint. They killed one and captured the other two whom they proceeded to torture, mutilate and kill. Only the Army's ability to supress the truth and our corporate whore media's complicity has kept knowledge of what happened to those soldier's from the US public.

Posted by: Klyde on November 20, 2006 at 8:31 AM | PERMALINK

"... the American occupation has actually made the Iraqi situation worse ..."

am: You cannot just blithely toss off statements like this without evidence. Especially when they are obviously false.


US intelligence report: Iraq war breeding more terrorists

By Tom Regan | csmonitor.com
posted September 25, 2006 at 12:30 p.m.

..

The intelligence estimate, completed in April, is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by US intelligence agencies since the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, and it represents a consensus view of the 16 different spy services inside government. The estimate asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread around the globe.

..


who needs evidence...when you have faith...


Posted by: mr. irony on November 20, 2006 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

One thing is clear the Iranians want us there. If we weren't there to fight the Sunni insurgency they would have too. We are in a loose - loose proposition. Stay there and be sucked dry or leave and face total humilitation. Far from containing the Iranians we are giving them the time they need to consolidate their power which is not a good thing. We are delaying the inevitable.

Posted by: aline on November 20, 2006 at 8:38 AM | PERMALINK

TOH

Since the title is Secretary of Defense, isn't Rumsfeld is out of the running as best given he failed to prevent 9/11?

No excuses allowed because cabinet-level positions require people able to step up from day one in office.

...

Posted by: Emma Zahn on November 20, 2006 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

MobiusKlein wrote:

"1 billion muslims in the world. Wanna fight all them?"
_____________________

No one wants to fight all muslims in the world. However, the fear is that failure in Iraq might eventually lead to that. The neocon theory is that unless something is done to counter the jihadist tide, our grandchildren will wind up fighting an truly existential fight for survival.

Even if one sneers at (or is agnostic towards) the neocons' theory, it is not unreasonable to think that failure in Iraq might result in fighting elsewhere in the Persian Gulf, with the added disadvantage of having another safe haven for terrorists.

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 20, 2006 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

"But as bad as that is, it's worth keeping in mind that the American occupation has actually made the Iraqi situation worse every single year since it began, and will probably continue to make things worse as long as we're there" "The longer we stay in Iraq, the worse things are likely to get."

Amazing certainty. Evidence not required.

It's the American presence in Iraq that has "actually" (lovely touch that word) made things worse every single day, not AQ or Iran or Syria, or the inherently fractious nature of Iraqi society or anything of the sort. If we had abandoned Baghdad right away, things would have been much better today. For certain. Actually.

Posted by: cecce on November 20, 2006 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

FWIW, Rumsfeld was involved in the 1983 Beirut disaster, as well: it was on his request that Reagan ordered the New Jersey to shell the Bekaa, which is what turned the Marines from a buffer force into a target, although Rumsfeld did NOT urge then-Defense Secretary Weinberger to change their rules of engagement accordingly.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 20, 2006 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

Who says we haven't planned for an exit? With that huge embassy in Baghdad, there will be plenty of roof space for a Saigon style evacuation.

Posted by: fostert77 on November 20, 2006 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

What could possibly be equivalent to the Marine barracks bombing that hasn't already happened to us in Iraq? A nuclear explosion in Baghdad? Bush doesn't even have the brains of Reagan who knew how and when to cut and run, at least.

Posted by: Ace Franze on November 20, 2006 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

ceece:

Krauthammer is spelling out your line today, replete with Frankin's quote: We gave them a republic and the Iraqis couldn't keep it.

So okay, it's not our military's fault for being there; it's the nature of Iraqi society, their fundamental tribalism and underdeveloped sense of national identity.

Well, duh. Any invasion opponent could've told you that in the Fall of '02.

But this analysis is hugely immoral. First, it vitiates the neocons' last remaining rationalization for invading Iraq. Secondly, it blames Iraqis for the consequences of being invaded.

I guess this is what happens to idealist justifications for a military invasion when it goes sour -- they invert and become the most cynical incarnation of colonialist cultural supremecy.

Which, after all, they were to begin with underneath that Straussian "noble lie."

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on November 20, 2006 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

Saintsimon said: Possibly the conventional wisdom disseminated amongst the waiting staff at Hooters thinks this way - but most of your doctorate holding non-Hooters thinking types do not abide, while sober anyway, any such 'conventional' wisdom.

If you're implying that the babes at Hooters find liberals hotter than conservatives - no argument from me!

Posted by: liberal hunk on November 20, 2006 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

The best time to leave Iraq as heroes has passed: the day after Sadam was found in that hole under the floor. The world would have understand our fight with him and forgiven our 'pre-emptive' war.

Too late now for any good outcome. Dividing Iraq in three parts and leaving immediately is the next best option. They'll work it out, with us or without us.

Pushing for that outcome by sensible the people in this country is OUR best option. Kevin is starting to make much sense on this issue and deserves our support. We'll all support politicians who share this view.

Posted by: slanted tom on November 20, 2006 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

The Pentagon is looking at 3 options, according to reports. Go Big, Go Long, or Go Home.

Long experience with mgmts tells me that one generally prepares three options---hot, medium, anbd cold, and by doing so guarantees that the bosses will choose the middle one. This is the Goldilocks Imperative.

Therefore, I expect that the choice will be to perhaps bump the troops up a bit real soon, then start drawing down to a maintainable force for some years.

The trick here is to figure out what the maintainable troop level is. If it is too low and too concentrated, you could have a Dien Bien Phu entrapment. If it is too high, it could be hard to maintain support at home.

I am not arguing here for one or another policy, just looking at likely outcomes from the decision making process.

JHH

Posted by: Jeffrey Harris on November 20, 2006 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

Quick - how many previous SecDefs' can you recall? I can come up with a couple that I recall because they were horrible - Robert MacNamara and Louis Johnson - Dick Cheney under Bush 41 because he didn't want to push on to Baghdad, and two from the Clinton administration - Les Aspen, because he passed away soon after leaving the post, and William Cohen because Bill Clinton tapped a Republican. There was another one, but without using Google, his name escapes me. The success of a Secretary of Defense is measured by how quickly he passes from memory and into the footnotes of history.

But who among us can honestly say that we will ever forget Rumsfeld? He has long since surpassed MacNamara in every area - he is more craven and more vitriolic and a bigger technocrat than MacNamara ever though about being. He has less thought for our troops and the mission he has asked them to complete.

I said it. Rummy is the worst SecDef in our history. Now I will back it up.

Rumsfeld has removed every bit of counterbalance in his way. Remember General Shinseki? The man who saw this Iraq fiasco coming, and was fired for saying so? The Pentagon climate is fetid, the atmosphere of command has been poisoned. He is great at bureaucratic knife-fights, but he is lousy at running Defense. His management style is authoritarian and rigid and those who come into his office to tell him news he does not want to hear learn quickly not to make that mistake again. Accountability is non-existant. Watch a press conference. He will answer the easy questions, usually with an insult or two. But ask him a tough question, and he shoves a uniformed officer in front of the mike and steps aside for a moment.

The Secretary of Defense is the civilian authority over evey man and woman in uniform, from the lowliest grunt to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and the SecDef answers only to the president.

Leadership is supposed to mean that the leader has penultimate authority and uses it judiciously; for everything, good and bad, rests on the shoulders of the leader, the man in charge. This man in charge has some strange notions about how the military works. Instead of sober analysis, he decides on a course that will be taken and then those beneath him are charged with first justifying his decision, then executing it. Instead of listing to those professional soldiers at his avail, he surrounds himself with yes-men who know better yet disgrace their uniforms by backing his plays.

He wants to run the Department of Defense like a business. Except it is not a business. It is a branch of government. Rumsfeld stubbornly clings to failed hypotheses of war-fighting, even in the face of staggering evidence to the contrary. He cuts the brass out of the decision-making loop, and totally disses them. He doesn't just undermine, he accuses, abuses and belittles the professional military advice, but relentlessly keeps them out of the decision-making process.

Everything that goes right is due to him, everything that goes wrong is the fault of the troops or the officers who command them. That's no way to run a meritocracy, and that is exactly what the military is.

Rumsfeld is so keen on his new ideas to *make everything better* that he has frivolously ignored the tried-and-true, to our nations peril, to our indicidual peril and to the peril of the troops in uniform. This tunnelvision has caused him to lash out At any and all who dare offer another point of view.

Rumsfeld, like his boss, flatly refuses to accept this reality that they have created. And they do not intend to. Bush has told us that this will be the responsibility of the next administration and the next SecDef to find a way out of this clusterfuck.

Morality you say? What is that all about? Morality is an outdated concept and it has no place in a Rumsfeld DoD. All of these offenses add up to a shredding of the Honor Code, and that is the most important principle of a free country. The Honor Code is why a free country can remain free, without falling under the tyranny of it's military. The Honor Code is the most important construct of all, and should it fail, it could set off a chain of events that might easily destroy our nation.

For these reasons, and oh so many more, Rumsfeld is the worst Secretary of Defense this nation has ever seen.

No one will ever forget the name Donald Rumsfeld.

Posted by: Global Citizen on November 20, 2006 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

You want to know my nightmare scenario? The British pull a Dunkirk on us and abandon the south (contrary to the myth created by Churchill, the British, not the French, were the surrender monkeys in 1940), and the Shiites decide to cut the highway from Kuwait to Baghdad depriving us of our fuel supplies. If that happens, our troops are truly fucked and they have to walk back to Iraq or they are airlifted out, abandoning hundreds of billions of dollars worth of equipment.

Posted by: Freder Frederson on November 20, 2006 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen:

Excellent takedown of Rumsfeld. Only one quibble with your post, though:

Dick Cheney may have been a lousy SecDef for any number of other reasons -- but not unleashing Stormin' Norman into Baghdad was not one of them.

That was absolutely the correct call. There is very little to argue that even 250k troops would have made the critical difference. Our coalition would've fallen apart and Japan would've backed away from continuing to pay for our presence there.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on November 20, 2006 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

I agree Bob. THe resulting power vacuum has been a nightmare. I should have made that clear. He was a lousy SecDef, but made the right call where leaving Saddam in place was concerned.

Posted by: Global Citizen on November 20, 2006 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

I'm with both David W in the first comment and Freder Frederson more recently. Sooner or later either an American unit gets caught in a bad ambush and nearly wiped out, with dozen or more killed or captured at once and a protracted battle to rescue them reminiscent of Black Hawk Down in Mogadishu, or the Shiites decide to boot us out and turn the south into a 300-mile long killing zone for our convoys, multiplying our casualties by a factor of ten overnight.
Or both.

Posted by: twc on November 20, 2006 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

We lost 14 Marines from Ohio in one fell swoop a year ago.

Posted by: Global Citizen on November 20, 2006 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

Global:

Right, that was the helicopter crash. Wasn't that in a two-rotor Chinook -- a copter I can't help associating with Vietnam?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on November 20, 2006 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

I must disagree with Suzanne on the result of the US not withdrawing from Iraq.

Al Queda has gone on record that they like us tied up in Iraq. They want us there.

Why would they do anything to upset that wish?

"Fighting terrorist there instead of in the US". Al Queda likely gave the Neocons that line.

It is not the car mechanic donating a couple of bucks to a "terrorist org." that is the problem. It is the terrorist neocons and their stoolies (GWBush) that is the problem.

I say, throw the whole gang in GITMO and see what we get. I bet we will find the actual perps in 11Sep, toot sweet.

Posted by: Sky-Ho on November 20, 2006 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

If we had to fight our way into Sadr City to rescue a besieged American unit, the resulting casualties among the Iraqis, both militia and noncombatant residents (think many hundreds killed and wounded) could provoke a broad uprising by the Mehdi Army militia. Which would not be good. I.e., (1) prompts (2), in my 10:06 post.

Posted by: twc on November 20, 2006 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

Not a chopper crash, a large roadside bomb. Here is the link.

Posted by: Global Citizen on November 20, 2006 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

Globe:

Thanks for refreshing my memory. We lost eight at a clip in a copter, though I forget when and where. I do think they were also Marines, though.

And of course, we lost over 20 when that suicider blew himself inside a commissary ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on November 20, 2006 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

If we had to fight our way into Sadr City to rescue a besieged American unit

We abandoned an American soldier to a Sadr militia. This outrages me. In the 90's, I sent my husband into a war zone. The bargain was that if the worst happened, his country our country would go get him. They broke that promise to that soldier and now the word of the department of edefense is worthless, faithless, feckless and immaterial.

Posted by: Global Citizen on November 20, 2006 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

The 14 Marines at once was from two big mines, no? And there were 21 or so killed in a Chinook crash. Those were bad -- and the next one will really reverberate here, now that people are fed up with the war and basically just want the dying to stop. Especiall if the next such major incident also involves a battle with 30 or 40 wounded.

Posted by: twc on November 20, 2006 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Good point (10:19), Global. rmck, I think there were 33 dead in that Mosul mess hall bombing. That's another awful scenario -- either a suicider or a car bomb somehow manages to penetrate the defenses and causes some serious carnage among a group of American troops. (Sort of like what happens to Iraqi civilians two or three times a week.)

Posted by: twc on November 20, 2006 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

twc:

And our wounded are becoming an increasing burden on the VA system. Never before in the history of warfare have so many guys survived catastrophic injury who would've previously died. I mean, gods bless advancing medical technology and quick evacuation from the battlefield -- but there's an untold story with the amount of severely wounded and traumatized, which I believe are approaching Vietnam levels because the wounded/killed ratio is so high compared to earlier wars.

Globe, you should know: How many severely wounded so far? Over 20k?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on November 20, 2006 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

28,000 seriously wounded. Over 12K unable to return to duty, out on medical discharges. Nearly a thousand amputees. A million have rotated through theatre and 1/4 of them need readjustment help and mental health counseling. But vet centers are being cut. Patients who should receive individual therapy are getting group therapy.

Slee well tonight. We have a quarter million people trained to kill not getting the readjustment help they need.

They are so very good at soldiers, but they leave something to be desired when it comes to makeing men.

Posted by: Global Citizen on November 20, 2006 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

That should have read:

They are so very good at making soldiers, but they leave something to be desired when it comes to making men.

Posted by: Global Citizen on November 20, 2006 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

That's a good point, Bob. My sense is that the total number of wounded is not yet at Vietnam levels, but I suspect that the severely wounded may be getting close. Lots of burns, amputations and brain injuries from the IEDs -- and they will require much care for many years. I'm guessing that the VA's budget has not been adjusted at all yet.

Posted by: twc on November 20, 2006 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

Global, that incident was outside Haditha,where the 6 marine snipers were also killed just days before.
Those incidents may explain the killings in November in that town.
You might also note the marines killed by the roadside bomb were riding (along with their interpreter), in a lightly armored amphibious vehicle. Interesting supply issue since the town is near the Syrian border in a desert.

The SIGIR also noted (10/31/05 report) the logistical problems of the first Gulf War were extant in the second.
Oh yeah, that Rummy was good. Too bad he had to fight with the army he had and not the one he wished he had.

Posted by: TJM on November 20, 2006 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

--->Even if one sneers at (or is agnostic towards) the neocons' theory, it is not unreasonable to think that failure in Iraq might result in fighting elsewhere in the Persian Gulf, with the added disadvantage of having another safe haven for terrorists.

You gotta be kidding me! What the fuck are they going to do--swim here???

Fix what's wrong with our border and port security and we won't have to fear them--they are more likely to keep shitting their own bed as opposed to coming here to try to kill us. Never bought that theory--they are NOT coming to behead us and put our womenfolk in robes and shit, dude.

Neocons=war criminals. Deal with it!!!

mm242

Posted by: mercury_man_242 on November 20, 2006 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

It was the army they had for the war they chose.

Posted by: twc on November 20, 2006 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

I'm guessing that the VA's budget has not been adjusted at all yet.

Actually, the funding for rehab and research for traumatic brain injury have been cut.

But $20 million was earmarked for a victory party!

Posted by: Global Citizen on November 20, 2006 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

--->Actually, the funding for rehab and research for traumatic brain injury have been cut.

Yes--jail for the motherfuckers that did that, please. J A I L. Prison. lock them up and forget to feed them.

mm242

Posted by: mercury_man_242 on November 20, 2006 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

And Condi is auditioning for a reprise of My Fair Lady - Only this time, she will play Prof Higgins and will sing, "Why can't the Iraqis be more like the Vietamese?"

Hmmm, I wonder how those Vietamese were able to become so successful? The late switch to Capitalism? The overthrow of an American puppet government? Standing at the base of our embassy and saying, "Yo'all come back, hear"?

So, perhaps the Iraqis should be a'gettin' on with it. Now, let me see, which came first?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 20, 2006 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Remember that the Katrina response was so pathetic because all of the Louisiana Guard's deep-water vehicles were in Iraq.

Posted by: Global Citizen on November 20, 2006 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Rejected Historian
I'd like to see someone name one better Secretary of Defense/War in this nation's history. Put TOH in your post and I'll search for it

Henry Stimson

From Wikipedia

Henry Lewis Stimson (September 21, 1867 October 20, 1950) was an American statesman, who served as Secretary of War, Governor-General of the Philippines, and Secretary of State. He was a conservative Republican, and a leading lawyer in New York City. He is best known as the civilian Secretary of War during World War II, chosen for his aggressive stance against Nazi Germany, with responsibility for the Army and Air Force. He managed the drafting and training of 12 million soldiers and airmen, the purchase and transportation to battlefields of 30% of the nation's industrial output, and the building and decision to use the atomic bomb.

Posted by: tomeck on November 20, 2006 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

tomeck:

Nice call.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on November 20, 2006 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

If Al-Qaeda and/or the Baathists insist on fighting us, and they do, why is on-going warfare in Iraq bad?

Because we risk a larger regional war ? Because we are turning muslims (the largest religion in the world) against us ? Because its costing a lot of resources and returning very little in the way of results ?

By all accounts, Al Qaeda represents a very small percentage of the insurgency. Most of the violence in Iraq is secular.

See:Abizad, Kissinger, Casey, etc..Iraq is a political problem that isn't going to be resolved through military force.

Posted by: Stephen on November 20, 2006 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

I think that Al here is the parody Al again.

Posted by: humble blogger on November 20, 2006 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

I've said it before, so I will say it again, the only answer is a scheduled withdrawal. This is not being unfair to Iraqi's, as it gives them 6 months to get their forces up and running. Right now, Maliki has NO incentive for Americancs to leave. We are providing him not only with military protection, but with political cover, as well. With American troops around, he can complain about their actions, earning his bonafides amonth the Iraqi public.

According to Gen. Abizaid, there are zero - ZERO - Iraqi squadrons that can act independent of American troops. After 3+ years, that is unfathomable. If you oppose "One Last Puch", or adding more troops, or scheduled withdrawal, you're basically committing yourself to "stay the course", which is the worst of the options.

Scheduled phased withdrawal - it's the only viable option.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on November 20, 2006 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

"One Last Puch" should be "One Last Push". Freudian?

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on November 20, 2006 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

--->I've said it before, so I will say it again, the only answer is a scheduled withdrawal. This is not being unfair to Iraqi's, as it gives them 6 months to get their forces up and running.

The problem is, what will they do with the six months? they've pissed away three years. Six months is too longt--our troops gotta start leaving so they get the message. And the message is this--quit fucking around and make yoruself a country. We're done. Bye.

mm242

Posted by: mercury_man_242 on November 20, 2006 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Global,

For a more interestng view of SecDef, have you perused Thomas Gates record while serving under DDE? He was responsible for creating the Joint group which oversaw the coordination of SAC and the Navy's Poseidon efforts.

One of Rumdumb's problems, was that he thought he was hired to be The Offensive Coordinator, instead of the Defensive Coordinator - His new concept of the "East Coast Offense" has not been as well received as that of the "West Coast". Opposing DCs can never defeat it head on, but can get it out of rhythm with sneak blitzing schemes.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 20, 2006 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Fantastic post by Global Citizen at 9:52; what an excellent summary of the Rumsfeld pathology and how it has harmed the military.

Good observations by Bob as well at 9:40 on the neocon ass-covering that is now taking place and its emerging memes.

Posted by: Windhorse on November 20, 2006 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I have to say, ordinarily I'm not a fan of your posts because I often consider them fairly conventional, run of the mill, etc. But here, you've sort of boldly made an unconventional (and largely correct in my view) assessment. Good post.

Posted by: Sparhawk on November 20, 2006 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

Sparhawk:

That's the thing about BushCo. Even reflexive moderates wind up pushing the tinfoil envelope, because as bad as things may *appear* to be -- time after time their reality turns out to be even *worse* than some of the conspiracy theories ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on November 20, 2006 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

Above all, let's remember and be wary: (1.) It was the Bush misadministration and it's Republican/business/neocon allies that got us into this mess and screwed it all up. (2.) Bush is still trying to avoid blame, as we can see from the scheme to say that if only we tried one last push, and if we don't of course he and his apologists will say that's what lost the war... They will try to pin it on everyone else, and we must be prepared to fight back and fight hard.

Posted by: Neil' on November 20, 2006 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

melosebrain,

You might not be far off - This could be "One Last Putsch".

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 20, 2006 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

I have to go to class now, but I must say this was a rather pleasant exchange. I certainly did not miss the charlie troll.

Catch you all later.

Posted by: Global Citizen on November 20, 2006 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Neil':

That is absolutely true. We're witnessing the seeds of the "stab in the back legend" (forget the German word) -- and it's quite significant that McCain's carrying its water. It's not going to happen -- but this untried plan will become GOP base's main talking point on how the Dems "lost" Iraq after we pull out.

And it won't matter that we pulled out according to Baker's or anybody else's expert recommendation. This will merely become an article of faith, the way that appointing John Carter Vincent and John Service as "old China hands" in the diplomatic corps who tried to warn about the corruption and inept leadership of Chaing Kai Shek became how we "lost" China to Mao's armies ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on November 20, 2006 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

That's the thing about BushCo. Even reflexive moderates wind up pushing the tinfoil envelope, because as bad as things may *appear* to be -- time after time their reality turns out to be even *worse* than some of the conspiracy theories ...

"I deeply resent the way this administration makes me feel like a nutbar conspiracy theorist." -- Teresa Neilsen Hayden

Posted by: Stefan on November 20, 2006 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Globe:

*SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH*

Don't speak its name. Seriously, you might jinx it.

Have a good class.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on November 20, 2006 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

We're witnessing the seeds of the "stab in the back legend" (forget the German word)

Dolchstosslegende.

Posted by: Stefan on November 20, 2006 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

--->We're witnessing the seeds of the "stab in the back legend" (forget the German word)


The word is Dolchstosslegende

Posted by: mercury_man_242 on November 20, 2006 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

The dupe was unintentional--my bad.

Posted by: mercury_man_242 on November 20, 2006 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

But it was twue, it was twue.

Posted by: Adolf H on November 20, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

mm242:

Well it's a great word -- and definitely worth committing to memory. Now if only I knew how to properly *pronounce* it ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on November 20, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Nonsense Kevin. Keeping troops in Iraq and staying the course is the best way to prevent a unplanned exit. By keeping troops in Iraq, we can use the troops to regain momentum in Iraq, momentum which was lost because of the Democrats victory in the Congressional elections and the terrorists now feel emboldened by the liberal victories.

Bwaaaaa They were emboldened by Bushies Mission Accomplished sign!!

And after 43 months of GOP Stay the Course of course they are emboldened!!

And after FOX news gace them two million dollars they were further emboldened!!

Not to mention when Bechtel pulled out, before the elections, they were further emboldened!!

Really AL where do you get such goofy ideas? Do you really think congress is gonna don some kevlar vests and go fight in this war?

Do the troops automatically become Liberal because more chickenhawks are elected? Of course not.

Posted by: Ke|/|N DumB on November 20, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

For the administration to use the term "Big Push" is unwise and an unfortunate reminder of WWI. The British generals used that term throughout the war in reference to the latest military offensive that would end the war. As it turned out, each "Big Push" would merely wind down without the expected result, but with a huge influx of casulties. For Brits and Commonwealth persons, the term has the same connotation as "light at the end of the tunnel" for Americans of Vietnam War vintage.

Posted by: oofda on November 20, 2006 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin when are you gonna Ban AL?

He offers nothing but the same old Rovian blame game time and time again. Always some goofy opinion that he heard on FOX news, Or Rush Limbaugh, maybe Jonah Goldberg.

AL do you ever think for yourself?

Posted by: Ke|/|N DumB on November 20, 2006 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

--->For the administration to use the term "Big Push" is unwise and an unfortunate reminder of WWI.

Is there a German word for people who are childish and can't learn from their mistakes? Because I've got fucking schadenfreude watching them go to pieces lately.

mm242

Posted by: mercury_man_242 on November 20, 2006 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

oofda:

Thanks for the history. Heh, a "big push" played out in a trench warfare stalemate. Nice.

Well, if you don't like "big push," there's always "wizened little shove."

(apologizes to Frank Zappa)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on November 20, 2006 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

Guess we are gonna have to spam kevins blog until he bans AL and forces him to take his opinions back to freekrepublic where the hate mailers congregate.


Guess we are gonna have to spam kevins blog until he bans AL and forces him to take his opinions back to freekrepublic where the hate mailers congregate.


Guess we are gonna have to spam kevins blog until he bans AL and forces him to take his opinions back to freekrepublic where the hate mailers congregate.


Guess we are gonna have to spam kevins blog until he bans AL and forces him to take his opinions back to freekrepublic where the hate mailers congregate.

Guess we are gonna have to spam kevins blog until he bans AL and forces him to take his opinions back to freekrepublic where the hate mailers congregate.


Guess we are gonna have to spam kevins blog until he bans AL and forces him to take his opinions back to freekrepublic where the hate mailers congregate.

Guess we are gonna have to spam kevins blog until he bans AL and forces him to take his opinions back to freekrepublic where the hate mailers congregate.

Guess we are gonna have to spam kevins blog until he bans AL and forces him to take his opinions back to freekrepublic where the hate mailers congregate.

Posted by: Ke|/|N DumB on November 20, 2006 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Inateresting point about the "Big Push" in WW1 and when tied in with the popular song of that ear "and we won't be home until it's over, over there" has the elements of stay the course.

However, I do believe that Rumdumb and the neo-cons would have very much liked to have either conducted one Putsch in, say, Teheran or Damascus, or a series of them before they lost power - Something theraphutic for them secretly overthrowing governments. The Putsch Gang that couldn't shoot straight with the public.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 20, 2006 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

L33t DeWD:

Cut it out.

Kevin can't either siteban or implement registration and ban by valid email address.

It ain't Kevin's issue. It's WM's -- they can't afford to spring for a software update to the newer version of MoveableType.

You have an issue with that -- take it to Kevin in email.

Thanks.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on November 20, 2006 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

Conservative Deflator:

I have also been anticipating a truly dramatic event that escalates this low-level civil war into something far more ugly or deadly. One truck bomb in the middle of the barracks at Camp Anaconda or a coordinated missile attack on the Green Zone could instantly raise the daily American death toll from three or four to three or four hundred or three or four thousand. It will happen if we hang around long enough. Count on it.

You'd better hope not. The resulting orgasm will probably kill you.

Posted by: fraka on November 20, 2006 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

The problem is, what will they do with the six months? they've pissed away three years.

Absolutely, but have they pissed away 3 yrs because Dumbya's given them a blank check? "We will stand down as Iraqi forces stand up" is a load of BS. It should be, "You have to have 100,000 troops ready by March 1, beacuse we're removing half our troops on that date". If they don't get the message then, they never will.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on November 20, 2006 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

Well, if you want Al banned, you had better ban Kevin - Al is Kevin's alter ego - He likes to stimulate the debate - sort of a sick, Point-Counterpoint - Al is the James Kilpatrick to Kevin's Shana Alexander. Or the SNL takeoff, Ackroyd to Curtin.

Posted by: stupid git on November 20, 2006 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin seems to advocate setting our overall military policy only by possible worst-case scenarios.

So would it be prudent to retreat in Iraq if the chance of these terrible things happening was greater than, let's say, 1 percent?

Of course the premise here is that there is NO chance of a successful outcome if the U.S. continues to support the Iraqis. Zero.

Posted by: billw on November 20, 2006 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

There aint enough Indians in the world to defeat the 7th Cav......George Armstrong Custer

Posted by: R.L. on November 20, 2006 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

It's surprising that by now we haven't experienced the Iraqi equivalent of the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut or the dragging of a corpse of an American soldier through the streets of Mogadishu a decade later. But it seems likely that that day will come.


I've wondered the same thing. If I were in charge of the Iraqi insurgency, I'd want a big symbolic victory to show that not only can't the US provide security for Iraqis, they can't even protect themselves. Something like taking out an entire convoy or destroying an entire combat unit. The best reason I can come up with to explain why this hasn't happened is the apparently fragmentary nature of the insurgency. It could be that no single insurgency group is powerful enough or professional enough to accomplish a big operation like that.

Also, maybe they don't see the need. They're winning, maybe they feel that nothing's broken.

Another point, perhaps insurgence groups spend resources on targeting other insurgents or civilians, the US military is only one of several targets.


It's a very interesting question.

Posted by: Horatio Parker on November 20, 2006 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

billw:

Why not? We *invaded* Iraq on the 1% chance that they had an active WMD program.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on November 20, 2006 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen wrote:

We abandoned an American soldier to a Sadr militia. This outrages me. In the 90's, I sent my husband into a war zone. The bargain was that if the worst happened, his country our country would go get him.
__________________

That's never been the bargain, GC. The promise is that they'll try to get us, but only so long as it does not adverselyaffect the mission or extract an unreasonable cost from other troops or the nation.

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 20, 2006 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

And now on Armed Forces Radio, another rendition of the late great Sam Cooke's "Save the Last Big Push for Me"

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 20, 2006 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

--->It ain't Kevin's issue. It's WM's -- they can't afford to spring for a software update to the newer version of MoveableType.

They don't need to upgrade--the IPs are available on the administrator's end. If they chose to use the software properly, they could end this problem in a couple of weeks of steady banning. All blog software has the IPs of everyone who posts--try to double post too quickly, it registers your IP and stops you. This software also has a feature that bans your IP if you get caught in that spam filter. It ain't bad but it ain't the best. The best is what In These Times uses--they solved their Freeper problem over a year ago.

But that's wrong--the IPs are there. You just gotta do the homework.

Then, the IPs could be handed over to the Feds and the whole thing would disappear, depending on whether the Feds actually do something about this issue.

mm242

Posted by: mercury_man_242 on November 20, 2006 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

TOH

Hans Asperger

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on November 20, 2006 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

--->That's never been the bargain, GC. The promise is that they'll try to get us, but only so long as it does not adverselyaffect the mission or extract an unreasonable cost from other troops or the nation.

Way to duck his point and conflate the issue, asshole.

We *abandoned* a soldier to the enemy. Period. End of the fucking discussion.

mm242

Posted by: mercury_man_242 on November 20, 2006 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

Trashauler,

But they did have to change the mission to that of "Operation Backword Together".

I imagine a certain Lt Col would have liked to have conducted that operation one morning in Montana starting at the bottom of a ravine.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 20, 2006 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

tomeck:

Nice call.

Bob

Agreed. It appears that if Stimson was Secretary of Defense, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would have been over a lot sooner. Of course, there would have been a few more civilian casualties...

The trouble may have started when "Secretary of War" became "Secretary of Defense."

Posted by: billw on November 20, 2006 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

mercury_man_242 wrote:

"(Quoting me)'Even if one sneers at (or is agnostic towards) the neocons' theory, it is not unreasonable to think that failure in Iraq might result in fighting elsewhere in the Persian Gulf, with the added disadvantage of having another safe haven for terrorists.'

You gotta be kidding me! What the fuck are they going to do--swim here???

Fix what's wrong with our border and port security and we won't have to fear them...."
_________________

mm, you'll notice that sentence you quoted said, "fighting elsewhere in the Persian Gulf." It wasn't intended to address the fear of terrorist attacks in the CONUS. That is a distinctly different, though related, threat.

We are unlikely to become so disengaged from the rest of the world that we can rely solely on defenses to protect us and our interests. If fighting occurs elsewhere in the Middle East, we'll be involved, to one degree or another.

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 20, 2006 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

The hypocrites screaming that we did not tear apart part of Baghdad to rescue one soldier should sit down and shut up.

While I, too, think that they should have done so, had they overrode the Iraqi leadership and destroyed a civilian area with heavy casualties in the process, I would not have condemned them for that. You certainly would have.

Posted by: monkeybone on November 20, 2006 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

--->We are unlikely to become so disengaged from the rest of the world that we can rely solely on defenses to protect us and our interests. If fighting occurs elsewhere in the Middle East, we'll be involved, to one degree or another.

No quarrel with that--how bout we figure out a way to stop using their goddamned oil?

mm242

Posted by: mercury_man_242 on November 20, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

--->While I, too, think that they should have done so, had they overrode the Iraqi leadership and destroyed a civilian area with heavy casualties in the process, I would not have condemned them for that. You certainly would have.

Have fun abandoning our troops asshole. What if it was you? What if IT WAS YOU???

Didn't think you had a comeback for that.

Melvin...

mm242

Posted by: mercury_man_242 on November 20, 2006 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

Global Citizen:

28,000 seriously wounded. Over 12K unable to return to duty, out on medical discharges. Nearly a thousand amputees.

The current figures on this are 21,678 total wounded in Iraq. Of these, 11,801 returned to duty within 72 hours. I don't know how many of the remainder returned to duty at a later time.

In any case, "28,000 seriously wounded" is misleading.

Posted by: billw on November 20, 2006 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

mm242:

Oh absolutely on both counts. Sometimes posters get stuck in the spam filter and keep getting throttled until they re-login a few times to get a new dynamic IP.

Any blog software is going to have your IP; I didn't mean to imply otherwise. Only that this particular version of Moveable Type doesn't have a ban-by-IP feature. I'm not sure what In These Times does, but over at BlogForAmerica we solved most of a hellacious troll problem in the heat of the primary (when Dean was the frontrunner so we had a bunch of saboteurs, sadly enough, from the other Dem candidates) by implementing a validated registration system.

I completely support that -- unfortunately, WM doesn't want to invest in either the time or the money to upgrade -- to either a newer version of MoveableType or another software package entirely.

Hey, you know about this stuff -- maybe you could write Kevin and offer your services to install a registration system. Although there'd be a few dissenters, I think the majority of people here would support that. Seriously.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on November 20, 2006 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

"What if was YOU?"

mm242, I'm sure he would have the decency to call in coordinates of his location and beg them to "Fire for effect".

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 20, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

--->Hey, you know about this stuff -- maybe you could write Kevin and offer your services to install a registration system. Although there'd be a few dissenters, I think the majority of people here would support that. Seriously.

Right now, not comfortable. This group--not as unified as some I've seen.

The problem with knowing what people should do is this: you can't beat them over the head with what they should do. You take the clients needs and you do your level best to explain it, but, bottom line, you can't make that horse drink out of the stream.

mm242

Posted by: mercury_man_242 on November 20, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

--->Of these, 11,801 returned to duty within 72 hours.

They're still wounded, aren't they???

mm242

Posted by: mercury_man_242 on November 20, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

The promise is that they'll try to get us, but only so long as it does not adverselyaffect the mission or extract an unreasonable cost from other troops or the nation.

That's a goddamn stirring slogan. It almost brings a manly tear to my eye....

Come to think of it, it would make a great war movie: the Rangers are about to take off on their raid, and just before they leave their grizzled colonel (played by Kevin Costner) gives them a stirring send-off:

COLONEL: Men, you're dropping right in the thick of the fight, but remember you're doin' this for your country. You're doin' this for America. And don't forget that if things get bad, if they cut you off, we won't leave you behind...so long as it does not adversely affect the mission or extract an unreasonable cost from other troops or the nation. Now go out there and get 'em! Huah!

Posted by: Stefan on November 20, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

mm242:

Fair enough on both counts. Just a suggestion.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on November 20, 2006 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

'the worst is not,/ So long as we can say, "This is the worst."'

-William Shakespare, King Lear, IV.i.27

It's that special Bush magic that just as you think he can go now lower, he really puts his back into it and gets so much worse than anyone dreamed possible.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on November 20, 2006 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

The Iraq Coalition Casualties Count website has a total of over 46,000 non-mortal casualties (this includes victims of disease and non-hostile injuries).

http://icasualties.org/oif/

Posted by: Windhorse on November 20, 2006 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

We broke a country. Killed at least 150k of their people, destroyed their infrastructure, and dismantled their government.

And we're just going to LEAVE?

Don't we have some moral obligation to fix this mess Bushco got us into?

Posted by: dontcallmefrancis on November 20, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Heard! Understood! Acknowledged!, Sir! HUA!
Now, where do we enlist?

Oh, my, the recruiters will be so underwhelmed.

Posted by: United Trools of America on November 20, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

dontcallmefrancis:

Reparations. Cash money. A pledge not to fuck with their country ever again.

About the best we could hope to offer, at this point.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on November 20, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

don'tcallmefrancis,

Yes, you have a point - We should have sort of a BushCo Lebensraum policy - Resettle All Republicans in Iraq - With their vast expertise, finances, and religious fervor, they could rebuild the country. With their immense respect and tolerance for other religions and people of color, they could work "miracles" upon the land. Babylon reborn by the Baptists and their ilk. Shrub could retire to his Crawford East ranch.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on November 20, 2006 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Bob

Thanks. I got pissed the other day when some reporter wrote that Rumsfeld was the only Sec/Def to have to fight two wars at the same time. So Iraq and Afghanistan provide a bigger challenge than Germany and Japan? Give me a break.

Tom Eck

Posted by: tomeck on November 20, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, the report was on NPR. I sent in an e-mail to them saying that if they wanted to be correct they should say Rummy was the only Sec/Def to fight two LOSING wars at the same time.

Posted by: tomeck on November 20, 2006 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

"The vapid inanity of this post proves to me that liberals, or at least the modern incarnation of this sect, cannot intelligently consider foreign policy issues because of an inherent distaste for the crudities of human existence. "Conventional wisdom tacitly assumes..." What are you talking about? Possibly the conventional wisdom disseminated amongst the waiting staff at Hooters thinks this way - but most of your doctorate holding non-Hooters thinking types do not abide, while sober anyway, any such 'conventional' wisdom. But of course you have to assume such in order to prop up your idiotic thesis which seems to consist essentially of the brilliant deduction 'things are getting worse therefore we might as well leave'. Wow. The Golden Age of Pelosi arrives, with attendant court of simpering popinjays. Look on my works, Ye mighty, and despair.""

Thus the cock crows upon his dung heap.............

Posted by: OXYMORON on November 20, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

TOH:

As the finest secretary of defense in our nation's history, I offer up George C Marshall.

His achievements were too numerous to list here, but the best known is obviously the Marshall plan, which was a successful, peaceful way we re-built not one, not two, but three heavily militarized nations. In fact, the Marshall plan is the ideal by which Iraqi and Afghanistani reconstruction is (and should be) judged. Considering that the Marshal plan enabled a nation devestated by two atomic blasts to be safe and have a burgeoning economy in a short amount of time, I would think that, being objective, you would agree Rumsfeld isn't fit to be mentioned in the same breath as Marshall.

http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1874.html

Posted by: An Anonymous Patriot on November 20, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

For the administration to use the term "Big Push" is unwise and an unfortunate reminder of WWI. The British generals used that term throughout the war in reference to the latest military offensive that would end the war. As it turned out, each "Big Push" would merely wind down without the expected result, but with a huge influx of casulties.

I was thinking the same thing myself. However, may Bush's use of the term is just a signal that he's finally be honest with us.

Posted by: tomeck on November 20, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

I notice none of the trolls have anything to say about Global Citizen's summary at 9:52. I usually come here for his/her commentary.

Posted by: kgb on November 20, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

An Anomyous Patriot:

Woah. An even better comparison than Stimson -- considering that 1) the neocons can't get enough of that WW2 analogy and 2) Marshall did nation-building the *right* way, with an appreciation for soft power, world legitimacy and, for the most part, political restraint. He didn't demand that Western Europe become uber-capitalist emulators of us, the way the Iraq Year Zaro group so laughably tried, that first year in the Emerald City ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on November 20, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

kgb:

The trolls in general have been kind of demoralized as of late ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on November 20, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

I'm still here, full of morals (which is more than I can say about Bob / rmck1 who promised to leave once and for all). But, since I disagree with the rest of you about the success of Iraq, it's no surprise we also disagree about history's ranking of U.S. SecDefs.

Posted by: Jeffery on November 20, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

TOH and An Anonymous Patriot:

While Marshall was brilliant in every other post mentioned, Secretary of Defense for less than 1 year during the Korean war (which he also resigned after a stalemate and the start of lengthy peace negotiations in Kaesong on July 10, 1951) was definitely not one of those.

Posted by: Jeffery on November 20, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone else want to argue who the best U.S. Secretary of Defense was? Keep in mind that Gates has not been confirmed to the position, so don't count Rummy out just yet.

Posted by: Jeffery on November 20, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

"inexorably"?

another complication here:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-2461268_1,00.html

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on November 20, 2006 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Ya know, I actually lol'd at Al's first comment. Really, quite a piece of satire.

Posted by: Bribes on November 20, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Jeffery

Marshall retired as Sec Def on Sept 12, 1950. Korean War started June 25, 1950. I hardly think you dan blame him for anything in that war since he was in office for less than 3 months of the war.

Also, you seem to be ignoring my recommendation of Stimson as a Sec Def who faced much greater challenges than Fumblesfeld and with greater success.

Posted by: tomeck on November 20, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

All of these developments may be individually unlikely, but you're not trying hard enough if you can't dream up plausible scenarios leading to each one of them.

If you suppose in advance that those are the only "plausibls" alternatives, then you can only see defeat.

Interesting that you mentioned the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, since it led to the liberation of Syria, Iraq, "Saudi" Arabia, Lebanon and Jordan from the Ottoman Empire. Perhaps that means that Iraq is moving "inexorably" toward a canton-style federation like Switzerland.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on November 20, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Well, by definition, keeping troops in Iraq does indeed prevent an unplanned exit. Do you laugh out loud whenever you read the dictionary too? The big question is whether the treasonous Democrats in Congress will defund the war now or not.

Posted by: Jeffery on November 20, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Also

Nothing I say in support of Stimson implies that makes our current disaster #2. Global Citizen nailed it on Rummy's legacy.

Posted by: tomeck on November 20, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

The big question is whether the treasonous Democrats in Congress will defund the war now or not.

You know as well as the rest of us that there is no even remotely serious effort in Congress to defund the war. But at least if you wingnuts keep making this arguement you'll be able to pat yourselves on the back next year because you shamed the Democrats into supporting the war by not defunding it.

Idiot.

Posted by: tomeck on November 20, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Al --

Don't forget lower taxes. Keeping American troops in Iraq will result in lower taxes for Iraqis, which will make them love us even more.

Posted by: cailte on November 20, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Jeffrey:

Thank you for responding. Marshall hastily accepted the post of SecDef after serving as SecState because the military's morale was so low during the Korean War. Many historians view his term of SecDef as successful, having avoided starting a conflict with China. However, many ultra-hawkish senators viewed this idea as folly, and wanted to initiate war with China. The leader of these pre-neoconservatives, and the Senator who pushed for Marshall's resignation was Joseph McCarthy, who later accused Marshall (and many others) of being communist. Joseph McCarthy's quote (on the senate floor):

"if Marshall was merely stupid, the laws of probability would dictate that part of his decisions would serve America's interests."

Although this is a difference of opinions based on whether you view the truce between the Koreas as success or failure, my opinion remains that Marshall was the best SecDef we've ever had, as well as one of the most important and successful statemen of the 20th century.

Posted by: An Anonymous Patriot on November 20, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, but that last post was to Bribes.

As for tomeck, we disagree about history's judgment, but let's not disagree about the facts too -- Stimson was Secretary of War, not Defense, and perhaps you are thinking of Louis A. Johnson, who retired on September 19, 1950 -- Marshall served as the next Secretary of Defense from September 21, 1950 to September 12, 1951:

http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1874.html

Posted by: Jeffery on November 20, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

An Anonymous Patriot:

You're welcome. However, using your criteria (basically "not getting us into a direct shooting war with any superpower"), every SecDef including McNamara's failure in Vietnam ranks equally as high -- my criteria (and I think history's criteria, so I don't know which historians you are referencing) is how well they did the job of defending America -- I agree that judgment is clouded whether you think Korea was a success, failure, or (as I view it) a negotiated stalemate. I appreciate your candid and civil replies.

Posted by: Jeffery on November 20, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Jeffery

Sorry, I did get the dates wrong on Marshall. My bad.

But you're nitpicking about Sec Def/War. Same job, different title. By any measure, Stimson had the tougher job and greater success.

Posted by: tomeck on November 20, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

As for tomeck, we disagree about history's judgment

For those of you unfamiliar with our resident sociopath Charlie/Jeffery, whenever he loses an argument to you he asserts that you must "agree to disagree" with him. That's the way he tries to save face and deflect from his poor reasoning skills.

He can Google Wikipedia entries like nobody's business, though.

He's just an attention whore trying to derail threads. Ignore him.

Posted by: trex on November 20, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

tomeck:

No need to apologize. I'm not sure if this is on Wikipedia, but I actually appreciate the historic line in the sand between SecDef and Secretary of War -- for instance, Lincoln's Secretary of War, Simon Cameron, lived before the nuclear age and never had to contemplate dropping A-bombs on fellow Americans -- once we are done ranking modern-day Secretaries of Defense, though, I'll be happy to join you in a comparison and contrast to Secretaries of War.

trex:

Pleased to see you too, good chap.

Posted by: Jeffery on November 20, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Don't we have some moral obligation to fix this mess Bushco got us into?

If, perhaps, we could fix it. But if our staying makes things worse and worse (as it has been doing, steadily, for the past three and a half years) then the best course of action may be to leave.

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

Here is my ranking of the best U.S. Secretaries of Defense:

1) Donald H. Rumsfeld

2) Richard B. Cheney

3) Caspar W. Weinberger

4) James Forrestal

5) Thomas S. Gates

6) George C. Marshall

7) Louis A. Johnson

8) Charles E. Wilson

9) Elliot L. Richardson

10) Robert A. Lovett

11) Neil H. McElroy

12) Clark M. Clifford

13) Frank C. Carlucci

14) James R. Schlesinger

15) Harold Brown

16) Melvin R. Laird

17) Les Aspin

18) William J. Perry

19) William S. Cohen

20) Robert McNamara

Posted by: Jeffery on November 20, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

for instance, Lincoln's Secretary of War, Simon Cameron, lived before the nuclear age and never had to contemplate dropping A-bombs on fellow Americans

That's like saying Donald Rumsfeld never had to contemplate vaporizing Iraqis with nucleic disintegration Z-rays. Lincoln and Cameron had to contemplate the most awful weaponry at their disposal being used on fellow Americans.

Posted by: wally on November 20, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

In the largely self-refuting article to which Matthew linked, a Colonel Macfarland says that Al-Qaeda in Ramadi is down to a few hundred guys. Further, the conventional wisdom is that they number less than five thousand in Iraq.

So when Bush said as recently as November 4th that we're "fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here," he's saying that we have a total of nearly half a million coalition and Iraqi troops combined to fight maybe two thousand guys, and yet the lion's share of the troops aren't positioned anywhere near these guys?

And the number of daily attacks and Iraqi casualties keeps increasing.

Obviously he counts on the dismal thinking skills of Wikipidiots everywhere to sell crap like that.

Posted by: trex on November 20, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

wally and tomeck:

Here are all the Secretaries of War in American history -- feel free to rank them -- then we can compare and contrast your top choices vs. mine:

Henry Knox (September 12, 1789 - December 31, 1794)

Timothy Pickering (January 2, 1795 - December 10, 1795)

James McHenry (January 27, 1796 - May 13, 1800)

Samuel Dexter (May 13, 1800 - January 31, 1801)

Henry Dearborn (March 5, 1801 - March 4, 1809)

William Eustis (March 7, 1809 - January 13, 1813)

John Armstrong, Jr. (January 13, 1813 - September 27, 1814)

James Monroe (September 27, 1814 - March 2, 1815)

William Harris Crawford (August 1, 1815 - October 22, 1816)

John C. Calhoun (October 8, 1817 - March 4, 1825)

James Barbour (March 7, 1825 - May 23, 1828)

Peter Buell Porter (May 23, 1828 - March 4, 1829)

John Henry Eaton (March 9, 1829 - June 18, 1831)

Lewis Cass (August 1, 1831 - October 5, 1836)

Joel Roberts Poinsett (March 7, 1837 - March 4, 1841)

John Bell (March 5, 1841 - September 13, 1841)

John C. Spencer (October 12, 1841 - March 4, 1843)

James Madison Porter (March 8, 1843 - February 14, 1844)

William Wilkins (February 15, 1844 - March 4, 1845)

William L. Marcy (March 6, 1845 - March 4, 1849)

George Walker Crawford (March 8, 1849 - July 22, 1850)

Charles Magill Conrad (August 15, 1850 - March 4, 1853)

Jefferson Davis (March 7, 1853 - March 4, 1857)

John Buchanan Floyd (March 6, 1857 - December 29, 1860)

Joseph Holt (January 18, 1861 - March 4, 1861)

Simon Cameron (March 5, 1861 - January 14, 1862)

Edwin M. Stanton (January 20, 1862 - May 28, 1868)

John M. Schofield (June 1, 1868 - March 13, 1869)

John Aaron Rawlins (March 13, 1869 - September 6, 1869)

William Tecumseh Sherman (September 9, 1869 - October 24, 1869)

William W. Belknap (October 25, 1869 - March 2, 1876)

Alphonso Taft (March 8, 1876 - May 22, 1876)

J. Donald Cameron (May 22, 1876 - March 4, 1877)

George W. McCrary (March 12, 1877 - December 10, 1879)

Alexander Ramsey (December 10, 1879 - March 4, 1881)

Robert Todd Lincoln (March 5, 1881 - March 4, 1885)

William C. Endicott (March 5, 1885 - March 4, 1889)

Redfield Proctor (March 5, 1889 - November 5, 1891)

Stephen B. Elkins (December 17, 1891 - March 4, 1893)

Daniel Scott Lamont (March 5, 1893 - March 4, 1897)

Russell A. Alger (March 5, 1897 - August 1, 1899)

Elihu Root (August 1, 1899 - January 31, 1904)

William Howard Taft (February 1, 1904 - June 30, 1908)

Luke Edward Wright (July 1, 1908 - March 4, 1909)

Jacob M. Dickinson (March 12, 1909 - May 21, 1911)

Henry L. Stimson (May 22, 1911 - March 4, 1913)

Lindley M. Garrison (March 5, 1913 - February 10, 1916)

Newton D. Baker (March 9, 1916 - March 4, 1921)

John W. Weeks (March 5, 1921 - October 13, 1925)

Dwight F. Davis (October 14, 1925 - March 4, 1929)

James W. Good (March 6, 1929 - November 18, 1929)

Patrick J. Hurley (December 9, 1929 - March 4, 1933)

George H. Dern (March 4, 1933 - August 27, 1936)

Harry H. Woodring (September 25, 1936 - June 20, 1940)

Henry L. Stimson (July 10, 1940 - September 21, 1945)

Robert P. Patterson (September 27, 1945 - July 18, 1947)

Kenneth C. Royall (July 19, 1947 - September 18, 1947)

Posted by: Jeffery on November 20, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

--->Here is my ranking of the best U.S. Secretaries of Defense:

You've got to be batshit crazy to think you can put them in a list like that.

Now do the Transportation Secretaries, and then maybe you can do the HUD Secretaries, in order, best to worst, with a blurb next to your faves!

Fucking go read Tiger beat magazing, shitsack.

mm242

Posted by: mercury_man_242 on November 20, 2006 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

Trex: He's just an attention whore trying to derail threads. Ignore him.

Good advice.

Posted by: a on November 20, 2006 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

--->Redfield Proctor (March 5, 1889 - November 5, 1891)

Well, no question about it--Proctor is going to have to float to the top of this bowl full of turds, if only because he insisted on equipping our troops with the finest in Horse flesh and initiated a pay increase for our frontier troops to fourteen dollars a week, plus he began researching whether or not it made sense to equip each cavalry troop with a wheeled Gatling gun.

*Please* fuck off a die a horrible, horrible death with rats in your mouth, okay?

Thankyouverymuch!

mm242

Posted by: mercury_man_242 on November 20, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

I think Jefferson Davis is right up there with Rumsfeld. About as loyal to the nation as well.

Posted by: tomeck on November 20, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan wrote:

"Men, you're dropping right in the thick of the fight, but remember you're doin' this for your country. You're doin' this for America. And don't forget that if things get bad, if they cut you off, we won't leave you behind...so long as it does not adversely affect the mission or extract an unreasonable cost from other troops or the nation. Now go out there and get 'em! Huah!"
___________________

That's about it, Stefan. It's called the principle of unlimited liability and is a central tenet of the military profession.

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 20, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

If Bush had been president and Rumsfeld secretary of war when the South fired on Fort Sumter in 1861 --

Bush immediately sets into motion a plan to dispatch the entire Federal army to Minnesota to face the threat from the Sioux plains Indians. When congressmen point out that there is a rebellious army just across the Potomac, Bush gives a speech about an "axis of evil" across the continent: the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Comanche. Loyal newspapers publish stories of atrocities by the Indians. Columnists accuse opponents of treason for not supporting the troops being put in harm's way.

The army arrives in Minnesota and immediately routs the largest Indian encampments. The president takes a train west for a triumphant victory parade. The tribesmen head for the hills and revert to hit-and-run attacks. The Confederate government begins shipping them money and weapons. When this news is leaked, Vice President Cheney points out that this proves the serious nature of the threat, the Sioux are trying to destroy the union.

By 1864, the U.S. Army is holed up in its forts and hundreds of soldiers have been killed in ambushes and booby traps. The recently established state government of Minnesota has largely vanished, and the Canadians are beginning to look interested. Meanwhile, the south has established lucrative trade routes with Europe and South America.

In the 1864 election, the president says in a speech, "A vote for the Democrats is a vote for the savages." In 1865, the army is withdrawn. Minnesota is no longer a state but reverts to territorial status. Further settlement of the far West is in doubt, and Canadian traders begin to flood the region.

For decades afterwards, veterans write to newspapers complaining that they were sold out by the liberal cut and run crowd.

Posted by: wally on November 20, 2006 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

You know as well as the rest of us that there is no even remotely serious effort in Congress to defund the war. But at least if you wingnuts keep making this arguement you'll be able to pat yourselves on the back next year because you shamed the Democrats into supporting the war by not defunding it.

Depends, I suppose, on your definition of "serious." If it's Kucinich, you might have a point.

Posted by: billw on November 20, 2006 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

Sigh.
Just once I wish that the pundits who so cavalierly send our soldiers off to die on the basis of some half-assed armchair reasoning would be men who ,for once in their lives, got within 5 miles of an active battlefield.

How about the blogsphere adopt a rule: If you haven't joined the military and gone to Iraq by this point, you shut the fuck up when the question of further deployments come up.

Posted by: Don Williams on November 20, 2006 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK
In the largely self-refuting article to which Matthew linked, a Colonel Macfarland says that Al-Qaeda in Ramadi is down to a few hundred guys. Further, the conventional wisdom is that they number less than five thousand in Iraq.

So when Bush said as recently as November 4th that we're "fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here," he's saying that we have a total of nearly half a million coalition and Iraqi troops combined to fight maybe two thousand guys, and yet the lion's share of the troops aren't positioned anywhere near these guys?

And the number of daily attacks and Iraqi casualties keeps increasing.

Obviously he counts on the dismal thinking skills of Wikipidiots everywhere to sell crap like that.

Bush counts on the dismal thinking skills of his base every time he opens his mouth.

Posted by: ch3 on November 20, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

I ran across this from noted historian and Pulitzer Prize winner, David McCullough, on another thread and thought it was relevant here too:

If Modern News Media Around in 1776,
Colonialists Would Have Lost

If the present-day news media were around in the 1770s, the United States of America never could have won the Revolutionary War, author/historian David McCullough charged in a taped interview to plug his new book, 1776.

Appearing on CNBC's Tim Russert aired Saturday night, McCullough asserted that if the Continental Army efforts led by George Washington "had been covered by the media, and the country had seen now horrible the conditions were, how badly things were being run by the officers, and what a very serious soup we were in, I think that would have been it" for the colonialists and the British would have won.

In the midst of a discussion of how if the wind had been blowing a different direction, the British fleet could have sailed up the Hudson River and trapped Washington's army, but that provident wind and fog allowed Washington and his men to escape to fight another day, McCullough added:

"I have to say too if that war had been covered -- this is the most important year in the most important conflict in our history -- if it had been covered by the media, and the country had seen now horrible the conditions were, how badly things were being run by the officers, and what a very serious soup we were in, I think that would have been it too."

http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2005/cyb20050620.asp#4 Posted by: Jeffery on November 20, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Don Williams:

So much for the concept of civilian control of the armed forces . . .

Posted by: Jeffery on November 20, 2006 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

...because everyone knows that the blogosphere controls the armed forces....

Sigh... can we get some smarter monkeys?

Posted by: PaulB on November 20, 2006 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

If Washington's army had had no successes and no strategy, with the country in complete chaos - Tories and revolutionaries murdering each other in the streets - by 1780, four years later, I suspect that would have been it for the revolution, too, media or no media.

Posted by: wally on November 20, 2006 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

Smarter monkeys would realize that being a veteran of the war is not a requirement for having a comment on it. This is a very superficial view of things.

Iraqi veterans, and those still on duty there, do comment on the internet, on many of the milblogs. Those with pro-war attitudes are routinely spat on in places like this.

Posted by: elemendorf on November 20, 2006 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

elemendorf:

I, for one, would gladly relinquish the next 10 Presidential elections to the sound judgment of U.S. vets.

Posted by: Jeffery on November 20, 2006 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

--->Smarter monkeys would realize that being a veteran of the war is not a requirement for having a comment on it. This is a very superficial view of things.

might not be a requirement, but it SURE does help you with the whole fucking issue of credibility and self-interest, don't it???

See,chickenhawks? No fucking credibility. Advocate war--too chickenshit to go fight in it--no credibility.

How many times this gotta be spelled out to you?

Dumbass motherfucker, shut up and shit someone else's bed, okay?

mm242

Posted by: mercury_man_242 on November 20, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

I, for one, would gladly relinquish the next 10 Presidential elections to the sound judgment of U.S. vets.

You voted for Gore and Kerry?

Posted by: wally on November 20, 2006 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

LOL wally, of course not! Gore and Kerry did not get a majority of the veteran vote (unless you are not counting any of their overseas ballots either).

Posted by: Jeffery on November 20, 2006 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

"See,chickenhawks? No fucking credibility. Advocate war--too chickenshit to go fight in it--no credibility.

How many times this gotta be spelled out to you?"
_________________

It would only need to be spelled out once - if it made any sense. Which it doesn't.

Experience in war or its lack does not affect a citizen's right to an opinion about the country and its future. Participation in war gives one an appreciation for some of the complexities involved, a knowledge of some of the processes, and a healthy respect for keeping one's ass down. It does not give one all the answers, nor does the lack of direct experience necessarily make a person's comment less valid.

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 20, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

I, for one, would gladly relinquish the next 10 Presidential elections to the sound judgment of U.S. vets.
Posted by: Jeffery

Sure about that? In the last election, Iraq and Afghanistan vets ran as Deomcrats at a ratio close to 10:1 versus those that chose to run as Republicans. Funny thing that.

Posted by: cyntax on November 20, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

TOH:

Just off the top of my head, how about Edwin Stanton (under Lincoln), Elihu Root (under McKinley and TR), Henry Stimson (under FDR and Truman), George Marshall (also Truman), James Schlesinger (under Nixon and Ford); heck, I'd say Bill Cohen (republican serving under Clinton) was a better SecDef than Rumsfeld. If I could think of many others who've held the post, I'm sure I could lenghten my list.

As for your characterization of those who'd reach a different conclusion than you, I guess that includes those party-first-nation-second retired flag officers and the folks who wrote the "Rummy's gotta go" editorial for the military newspapers. I think GC's 9:52 conclusion is closer to the truth: Rummy as the worst SecDef ever.

DONALD RUMSFELD HAS BEEN THE GREATEST SECRETARY OF DEFENSE (OR AS IT WAS KNOWN SECRETARY OF WAR) IN USA HISTORY. ONLY DELUDED, IGNORANT, POWER-HUNGRY, DESPERATE, PARTY-FIRST-NATION-SECOND HACKS COULD CONCLUDE OTHERWISE.

Posted by: The Objective Historian on November 20, 2006 at 2:43 AM |

Posted by: Global Citizen on November 20, 2006 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

Posted by: keith on November 20, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

I said the "sound judgment" of vets as the electorate -- not the left-wing wacko minority present in any demographic -- I also said PRESDIENTIAL elections. Gore and Kerry did not get a majority of the veteran vote (unless you are not counting any of their overseas ballots either).

Posted by: Jeffery on November 20, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

keith:

I already posted all of their names (and my ranking) above.

Posted by: Jeffery on November 20, 2006 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

nor does the lack of direct experience necessarily make a person's comment less valid

Way to miss the point, "Trashhauler" -- one suspects deliberately, but surely not -- why, such deliberate obtuseness would be dishonest!

What we're talking about here is zealously advocating a war and then pointedly -- see Goldberg, Jonah and Cheney, Dick -- refusing to fight in it, usualyl citing "other priorities." We aren't talking a difference of opinion here, we're talking insisting that others bear the sacrifice.

And let's not forget that Bush also insists on paying for the war with a tax cut. Real Americans have overwhelmingly rejected the cost of this war in American blood and treasure. Who gives a damn about chickenhawks who think they get their wargasm for free?

Posted by: Gregory on November 20, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

mercury_man_242

Posted by: kryten on November 20, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

I said the "sound judgment" of vets as the electorate -- not the left-wing wacko minority present in any demographic -- I also said PRESDIENTIAL elections. Gore and Kerry did not get a majority of the veteran vote (unless you are not counting any of their overseas ballots either).
Posted by: Jeffery

So really, you just mean vets that agree with you? Cause any that don't are wackos?

Thanks for clarifying just how much you "honor" and "value" the sacrifices that vets makes. But hey, as a Republican you're hardly in the minority; vets are just convenient window trappings to you and your party. Which is why on veterans issues Republican Senators, as a group, always score below Democrats.

Posted by: cyntax on November 20, 2006 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Seriously though, folks, I'm curious. Precisely through which method would the US be -defeated- in Iraq? I don't mean "worn down until we decide that it's hopeless and pack up and go home", which is arguably possible (inevitable, some of you would say.) But I look at this thread and see people talking about Dunkirk and the freakin' Khyber Pass!

If you're going to actually force a military unit off ground it's holding, you need superior numbers, firepower, or organization. You can't dislodge mechanized infantry out of position with a bunch of guys packing AK-47s and RPGs. You really can't do it with an irregular force. Most of all, you certainly can't do it in the face of artillery and air strikes. The Iraqi military couldn't inflict that kind of defeat on the US if it had magically hidden during the invasion and popped out in the middle of Baghdad tomorrow, so how is the same thing going to be done by a bunch of irregulars?

The US keeps the level of violence it uses in Iraq dialed down pretty low, precisely because we're trying not to kill civilians in job lots. But if it comes down to leveling neighborhoods or losing units, expect impromptu urban renewal. You can argue (easily) that the US armed forces are not the best occupation troops ever to exist, but when it comes to outright fighting? Please.

If you want to make a Vietnam parallel, keep in mind that the NVA had more armor in their 1975 invasion than the Germans attacked -Russia- with in WW2.

Posted by: Avatar on November 20, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

cyntax:

Who said I'm a Republican? I think the question pending, though, is whether YOU are comfortable or not letting only active duty and former military vote for President of the United States?

Avatar:

Very good points -- the U.S. military cannot lose this war.

Posted by: Jeffery on November 20, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory wrote:

"What we're talking about here is zealously advocating a war and then pointedly -- see Goldberg, Jonah and Cheney, Dick -- refusing to fight in it, usualyl citing "other priorities." We aren't talking a difference of opinion here, we're talking insisting that others bear the sacrifice.

And let's not forget that Bush also insists on paying for the war with a tax cut. Real Americans have overwhelmingly rejected the cost of this war in American blood and treasure. Who gives a damn about chickenhawks who think they get their wargasm for free?"
_________________

Gregory, the insistence that a chickenhawk's opinion is meaningless because they supposedly don't want to fight themselves is a rather transparent means of avoiding discussion. It's a strictly ad hominem approach that has nothing to do with the merits of the argument. It says, in effect, "I don't have to listen to you, you are obviously unfit to comment."

Who gives a damn what they think? We all should, since they are our countrymen. No less, "real Americans" than anyone else. What's more, nobody has a monopoly on wisdom and it is always good to hear the other side.

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 20, 2006 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

Avatar: Remember the famous conversation between Colonel Harry Summers and the nameless NVA colonel in Paris, when they met as old soldiers and got drunk. Colonel Summers (as he would when he'd had a few) got a mite belligerent, and growled at the guy: "You know, you never beat us on the battlefield."

The NVA guy looked at him, lifted his glass and said: "True -- but irrelevant."

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 20, 2006 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

If you're going to actually force a military unit off ground it's holding, you need superior numbers, firepower, or organization. You can't dislodge mechanized infantry out of position with a bunch of guys packing AK-47s and RPGs. You really can't do it with an irregular force. Most of all, you certainly can't do it in the face of artillery and air strikes. The Iraqi military couldn't inflict that kind of defeat on the US if it had magically hidden during the invasion and popped out in the middle of Baghdad tomorrow, so how is the same thing going to be done by a bunch of irregulars?

Let's ask the Afghan mujahideen how they did it to the Soviets in the 1980s, since they seem to have done it with an irregular force in the face of artillery and airstrikes....

That's the whole point of guerilla warfare. You don't have to dislodge mechanized infantry out of position -- what you can do is force them to maintain that position by making open movement increasinly difficult for them, by slowly chipping away at the edges, forcing them to spend a disproportionate cost in time, money and lives relative to the gain.

Sure, the US could stay in Iraq forever -- if that was all it was ever willing to do, if it wanted to pull back from all its commitments around the rest of the globe and spend all its money and all its military might. But since we're not willing to do that, then there will come a point at which we realize that we're spending 10X in time and money for X amount of gain, and we're going to give up and quit.

Posted by: Stefan on November 20, 2006 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Who said I'm a Republican? I think the question pending, though, is whether YOU are comfortable or not letting only active duty and former military vote for President of the United States?

No, the question is why are any vets who don't share your views wackos.

Why would anyone be comfortable with what you're proposing, including veterans?

Posted by: cyntax on November 20, 2006 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

I see Al is as fucking deluded as ever.

Posted by: angryspittle on November 20, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

"[T}he question pending...is whether YOU are comfortable or not letting only active duty and former military vote for President of the United States...."
___________________

Jeffery, this is a pretty silly argument, isn't it? We do not place such limitations on citizenship in this country, nor should we. The frachise might be used stupidly, by ignorant people, but the right to vote is an essential part of being a citizen, even when they choose to not exercise it.

It would be a betrayal of our country's principles to have two classes of citizenship, whatever discriminator was used.

In case you are borrowing the idea from Robert Heinlein's "Starship Troopers," remember that he was not advocating such an idea. In fact, he expressly pointed out in Dubois' exposition that such a system could only come about through historical accident and could only be defended because it had worked during a time of chaos. RAH would probably be the last person to have suggested limiting the franchise to the military. Instead, what he meant to illustrate is that governments function best when their citizens actually feel personally responsible for the government's actions. That's an entirely different idea.

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 20, 2006 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

TH, kudos for taking the time to explain that more eloquently than I had the patience for.

Posted by: cyntax on November 20, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Before the election I read of an October 10, 2006 big missile attack on the U.S.'s "Forward Base Falcon" - outside of Baghdad. It seems there may have been 300 U.S. casualties, hushed up by government & media, perhaps.

Posted by: JoAnn C. on November 20, 2006 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

My "modest proposal" was in direct response to Don Williams's (why not go all the way, I say):

How about the blogsphere adopt a rule: If you haven't joined the military and gone to Iraq by this point, you shut the fuck up when the question of further deployments come up.

Which was first commented (and "comment" is being generous) on by PaulB and then elemendorf's very astute observation:

Iraqi veterans, and those still on duty there, do comment on the internet, on many of the milblogs. Those with pro-war attitudes are routinely spat on in places like this.
Posted by: Jeffery on November 20, 2006 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Precisely through which method would the US be -defeated- in Iraq?

The insurgency doesn't have to defeat our Army in order to defeat our political goals in Iraq. Everyone knows the place is going to go to an even deeper level of hell whether we pull out now or 10 years from now. As in Vietnam, this is a war of attrition. They Iraqis have nowhere to go, so they're going to stay and fight. How long will we be willing to stay in a no-win battle?

Posted by: tomeck on November 20, 2006 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

It's not a "no-win battle", but regardless, as long as it takes for the Iraqi government to defend itself or the Dems to defund the war -- see Bill Kristol thread above -- whichever comes first.

Posted by: Jeffery on November 20, 2006 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

Did you guys see that News Corp. canceled the O.J. book / TV special?

Posted by: Jeffery on November 20, 2006 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

How many Vietnam vets does it take to change a lightbulb?

Don't know?

That's right, man, you weren't there, you don't know!

Posted by: wally on November 20, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin is right that things could get worse if we stay. But they could also get worse if we leave. U.S. military activity right now has both stabilizing and destabilizing effects. The destabilizing effects are obvious -- most Iraqis want the U.S. out, and the U.S. military is both an excuse and a target for violence.

The stabilizing effects of the U.S. presence may include (a) preventing the civil war from getting so bad that the states surrounding Iraq feel a need to intervene, (b) possible warfare among surrounding states that could grow in scale and scope, and (c) internal conflict within surrounding states, such as Syria and Saudi Arabia.

I don't think you can say that "the U.S. presence is destabilizing, so we should leave," because of course it is destabilizing -- but it also has stabilizing effects. You can't really make a judgment about whether to leave or stay unless you consider the ways that "things could get worse" if we leave, as well as how they may get worse if we stay. Unfortunately, I don't see how most of us sitting here in the U.S. can make a sound judgment about that.

Posted by: jwh on November 20, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

Which is why the study groups are looking into that ...

Posted by: Jeffery on November 20, 2006 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

The people arguing that the factual current levels of rising lethality in Iraq are to be balanced favorably against speculation of more rapidly escalating bloodshed upon a US withdrawal should be ignored.

They are unquestionably the same people who argued that the threat posed by pre-war Iraq and the disturbing domestic horrors of that failed state were less tenable than the results of an invasion planned and executed by their chosen leaders.

These citizens were quite wrong. A world without the invasion and with one more aging nutjob dictator presiding over a crumbling nation would be a better world than we now have.

The fact that almost none of the people who wanted the war even admit that it has produced a bad outcome should be ample reason to totally ignore them now.

Both of my Senators and my Representative from Vermont voted against authorizing the Iraq war and I have consistently been for immediate withdrawal.

Why do the advocates of demonstrable failure continue to use their ego protecting predictions as arguements? Prewar predictions by those against the invasion that the outcome would be bad were scoffed at. The grisly outcomes as they unfold are discussed as though they were unpredictable by anyone and surely better than what may have occured had we not preemptively invaded a nation.

My elected representatives and I were ignored and the corpse count is accelerating going on 3 years. It is time to ignore those who have been ignoring us and demand our leaders get us out of Iraq. Barak Obama is calling for withdrawal starting in 6 months he's 180 days too slow.

In 1968 Vermont Senator George Aiken advised the nation we should declare victory in Viet Nam and get out. Nine years and an untold number of mothers burying their children later we did just that. It's like deja vu all over again.

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Posted by: fsg on November 21, 2006 at 6:02 AM | PERMALINK

I don't think you can say that "the U.S. presence is destabilizing, so we should leave," because of course it is destabilizing -- but it also has stabilizing effects. You can't really make a judgment about whether to leave or stay unless you consider the ways that "things could get worse" if we leave, as well as how they may get worse if we stay. Unfortunately, I don't see how most of us sitting here in the U.S. can make a sound judgment about that.

I don't think you can say that "the U.S. presence is stabilizing, so we should stay," because of course it is stabilizing -- but it also has destabilizing effects. You can't really make a judgment about whether to leave or stay unless you consider the ways that "things could get better" if we leave, as well as how they may get better if we stay. Unfortunately, I don't see how most of us sitting here in the U.S. can make a sound judgment about that....

Posted by: Stefan on November 21, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

The Objective Historian:

For a Historian, you are pretty stupid.

The Secretary of Defense was never called the Secretary of War. The Secretary of War is now the Secretary of the Army, just as the War Department is now the Department of the Army.

The Secretary of Defense was created AFTER WWII when the jointness concept became vogue.

Before that there was the War Department (which included the Army and the Army Air Forces) and the Navy Department (which included the Navy and the Marine Corps).

Get it right, moron!

Oh, and you are wrong on everything else too.

Semper Fi

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Department_of_War

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Posted by: top on November 23, 2006 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

How could U.S. forces be considered responsible for current Iraqi sectarian civilian deaths?

Posted by: Michael Williams on November 23, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

How could U.S. forces be considered responsible for current Iraqi civilian deaths?

Aren't they killing each other?

Aren't the U.S. forces are trying to stop this?

Posted by: Michael Williams on November 23, 2006 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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