Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 6, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

SURGE UPDATE....Whither the surge? The LA Times quotes a "senior Republican leadership aide":

For any kind of a surge, they would have to show that the surge itself was limited. It would have to be six months or a year, tops.

Compare and contrast with Sen. John McCain:

The worst of all worlds would be a short, small surge of U.S. forces. This troop surge [must be] significant and sustained; otherwise, don't do it.

Right. Meanwhile, AP reports that even Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki is skeptical about the surge. I would be too if I had read this:

Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, a U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, said this past week that any new effort to stabilize Baghdad would likely involve traditional, large-scale U.S. operations as well as nighttime raids by smaller, more mobile forces.

That should work well. After all, "traditional, large-scale U.S. operations" have been such a resounding success in the past. Crikey.

Kevin Drum 12:28 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (146)

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Comments

Well McCain may be wrong overall, but he's absolutely right in noting that a 6 month surge is guarenteed to fail and might as well not be attempted at all. The very idea of being able to clean up in six months is fundamentally in opposition to the key tenets of counterinsurgency operations.

Posted by: Anthony C on January 6, 2007 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

One way to show your ignorance is to open your mouth and speak. So, Senator McCain, tell us more about your ideas for Iraq!

Posted by: MarkH on January 6, 2007 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

This surge will be the straw that breaks the camel's back, watch and see. Our president's brilliant plan will show all you liberal America-haters the true genius of the CIC, and the utter cluelessness of all the generals, Democrat peaceniks and Republican cowards who insist that previous experience should inform present policy.

It's the right thing to do because Cheney told Bush to say so, and anyone who disagrees is nothing more than a cut-and-run pansy.

Posted by: The Real Al on January 6, 2007 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

"surge [must be] significant and sustained"

Hmmm... 'sustained' doesn't sound like it meshes with 'surge' very well.

More troops in Iraq = tossing sand against the tide.

What don't the Democrats understand about 'Impeach'?

Posted by: Buford on January 6, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Apart from all the other reasons why the escalation is a stupid idea, just recall the buzz when the idea first bumped up in November/December...Powell and others saying the "surge" in reality was an overlap: hold the troops currently in Iraq for a longer period while speeding up the deployment of stateside troops currently scheduled to rotate in. By definition this can't be sustained for much time at all. Moreover the costs imposed on the troops is just enormous. Finally, the material possibility of equipping the larger force given the Army and Marines are at breaking point already are enormous.

Anybody advocating for an escalation must show not only that it is desirable (in my opinion, an impossibility), but that it is possible. Where on earth are the additional troops going to come from.

This is faith-based strategy.

Posted by: Friend of Labor on January 6, 2007 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

the word is ESCALATION!

Posted by: klyde on January 6, 2007 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Here's a little guessing game to stir your weekend deliberations.

Guess who made these statements prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq:

“Because I know that as successful as I believe we will be, and I believe that the success will be fairly easy, we will still lose some American young men or women.”

“We’re not going to get into house-to-house fighting in Baghdad. We may have to take out buildings, but we’re not going to have a bloodletting of trading American bodies for Iraqi bodies.”

“But the point is that, one, we will win this conflict. We will win it easily.”

Anyone?

Posted by: Robert Dare on January 6, 2007 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

The target of the surge is not the insurgents in Baghdad, and they don't actually have to be suppressed in order for the goals of the surge to be achieved.

The target of everything in this war is, was, and will always be domestic US politics. It's not a war, it's a campaign commercial.

A problem is a better campaign issue that the solution, because you can run on the problem over and over again, but you can only run on a solution once.

If a.) there are no troops to surge with, and b.) a surge wouldn't actually change the facts on the ground in Iraq even if there were, and c.) in any sane world, such a policy wouldn't get within pissing distance of implementation, then it becomes necessary to consider another possibility.

They have no intention of surging. They know Iraq is going to shit, that the war is lost.

But the failure of, to quote the (sur)Real Al "the generals, Democrat peaceniks and Republican cowards" to step up and do the needful (i.e. impossible, i.e. irrational) will provide badly needed CYA protection during and after the humiliating US withdrawl.

The GOP can win the 2008 elections only if they lose the battle, and are seen to lose the battle, and are seen to lose the battle over re-enforcing the clusterfuck in Iraq, because 'their hands were tied'.

They're not going to get a 'victory'.
They're going to get a fiasco.
And if they can't make it be someone else's fiasco, they're screwed for a generation.

It's all of a piece with running against abortion, and doing nothing to stop it, running against illegal immigration, and doing nothing to stop it, running against bugetary madness, and doing nothing to stop it.

It's a long shot, but it's their only shot.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on January 6, 2007 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

It's essential to McCain's election prospects that he make sure that the "surge" that occurs doesn't match what he's calling for. After all, everyone knows that whatever Bush does is going to be yet another failure, so McCain must preserve his ability to say "I told you so." If Edwards can successfully paint Bush's policy as McCain's, then McCain's chances of becoming president fall drastically.

Posted by: KCinDC on January 6, 2007 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

So --- if an undermanned, time-limited "surge" is going to be useless (less than useless?) -- and that's what Bush chooses! -- can we assume McCain will vote to withdraw our ineffective forces from Iraq?

No "I told you sos" if he doesn't! Hypocrite!

Posted by: Ellen1910 on January 6, 2007 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

The question I wanted answered with regards to a surge is, what is going to change during the surge that means things won't snap back to the way they are now? The bad guys can be patient and just wait it out, no?

Posted by: Red State Mike on January 6, 2007 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Escalation of troop levels, increased raids on the Baghdad civilian population, the deployment of attack carriers to the Persian Gulf, the making of a Naval attack officer head of CENTCOM, and the secret police chief taking over the State Department make me blue.

Posted by: Brojo on January 6, 2007 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

[OFFENSIVE CONTENT DELETED]

"the word is ESCALATION!"

Ha! Liberals playing with words again. Liberals want to legislate their socialist - pacifist ideology through the english language.

Well, while your busy trying to capture our reality and writing it down, the conservatives are out there making reality! And you can't keep up!

Posted by: egbert on January 6, 2007 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

Finished crying over your little kitty yet?

"the word is ESCALATION!"

Ha! Liberals playing with words again. Liberals want to legislate their socialist - pacifist ideology through the english language.

Well, while your busy trying to capture our reality and writing it down, the conservatives are out there making reality! And you can't keep up!

Posted by: egbert on January 6, 2007 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

The point of a "surge" would need to be to establish order, with the hope that institutions of government could then be prepared to take over.

It is unlikely that anything less that a very large scale increase in troop strength can pacify Bagdad, but as of now, we don't have the troops, we don't have the equipment, and we don't have a competent government in Iraq to take over.

Posted by: CapitalistImperialistPig on January 6, 2007 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

The point of a "surge" would need to be to establish order, with the hope that institutions of government could then be prepared to take over.

It is unlikely that anything less that a very large scale increase in troop strength can pacify Bagdad, but as of now, we don't have the troops, we don't have the equipment, and we don't have a competent government in Iraq to take over.

And we don't have a competent administration here to plan or accomplish almost anything.

Posted by: CapitalistImperialistPig on January 6, 2007 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK
The question I wanted answered with regards to a surge is, what is going to change during the surge that means things won't snap back to the way they are now? The bad guys can be patient and just wait it out, no?

From thinkprogress:

CNN reports “President Bush is expected to announce his new Iraq strategy in an address to the nation early next week.” According to the BBC, “The speech will reveal a plan to send more US troops to Iraq.”

Last night on NBC News, Jim Miklaszewski reported that the new strategy will be announced next Tuesday, and that an administration official “admitted to us today that this surge option is more of a political decision than a military one.”

Just weeks ago, CentCom commander Gen. John Abizaid told Congress “I met with every divisional commander, General Casey, the corps commander, General Dempsey, we all talked together. And I said, in your professional opinion, if we were to bring in more American Troops now, does it add considerably to our ability to achieve success in Iraq? And they all said no.”

http://thinkprogress.org/2007/01/03/escalation-political-decision/

Posted by: obscure on January 6, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

The question I wanted answered with regards to a surge is, what is going to change during the surge that means things won't snap back to the way they are now? The bad guys can be patient and just wait it out, no?

That's a quagmire for you.

Posted by: Pennypacker on January 6, 2007 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Here's the rationale behind the surge.

There are 27M people in Iraq. Theoretically, if you could station a US soldier for every person in Iraq, you would have no violence. That's becuase every Iraqi could be controlled.

Applying this reasoning, as we approach that magical number of 27M, we realize increasing returns for security. That is the logic behind surging. The surge will acheive greater security becuase the marginal benefit from the added security exceeds the marginal costs. Therefore, we should continue to surge.

Posted by: egbert on January 6, 2007 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

That's some impressive logical and statistical gymnastics there, egbert. I'll give it a 9.8

Posted by: Geology Rocks on January 6, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

The bad guys can be patient and just wait it out, no

That's the genius of McCain's plan. The 40 year surge will be so long that able bodied terrorists, insurgents, and Sadr militia members will have to use walkers to place their IEDs and will be so senile they might even forget that they hate us.

Seriously though, I think McCain has been trying to come up with a plan that is politically untenable for Bush. He wants to be able to say that he had a plan for victory that would have worked. If Bush comes out for a "sustained surge", McCain will probably call for a sustained surge with ice cream on top. If you don't put ice cream on top you might as well withdraw.

Posted by: B on January 6, 2007 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Here is a graphic to help you get your head around the current shake-up in the brass and the State Department.

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 6, 2007 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

"They have no intention of surging. They know Iraq is going to shit, that the war is lost."

Can't we just *sneak* out somehow? Seriously. We say what we want to say.. continuously redeploy troops (they're moving around as in a shell game of sorts) and get them out a bit at a time..?

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on January 6, 2007 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, Egbert, you give the word "creep" a whole new depth of meaning.

Posted by: SqueakyRat on January 6, 2007 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

That's becuase every Iraqi could be controlled.

What a beautiful authoritarian dream. Perhaps we could employ a clever electrical engineer to design a robotic flying drone. Make 27 million of them and program them individually to be the 'guardian angel' of each Iraqi. Or maybe some nano-bot could be developed and placed inside each Iraqi's brain or spine or some place the bio-engineers think best. That way we could just make the Iraqis themselves robotic drones, working in the peaceful oil fields for camel's milk and dates. What a beautiful dream.

Posted by: Brojo on January 6, 2007 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

After all, "traditional, large-scale U.S. operations" have been such a resounding success in the past. Crikey.

Indeed. But nobody'll notice when the new troops turn around and attack Iran!

m, don't let them throw too much sand in your eyes

Posted by: max on January 6, 2007 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Escalation is a last, desperate effort by the Bush Administration to set right its undermining of years and years of patient, balanced, graduated Western diplomatic and military effort to secure the Middle East for the forces of peace and moderation that exist there and elsewhere. This failure with all it crudity by Bush-Cheney is what makes George H.W. Bush weep and constitutes their legacy and the legacy of the Republican Party and all those who joined them and continue to support them to this day. It is a failure of epic proportions that cannot be set right by a pitiable last-minute patch. Nor can it be set right by grandiose plans for the invasion of Syria and Iran and such things. The failure by the Bush Administration is what you get when you put cowboys in charge. It's what you get when you put a bull in a china closet. The best that can happen now is to contain these people so that they can do little more damage and then get them out of office and out of power as soon as practicable to be replaced with leaders who will attempt to resume the patient, gradual and balanced effort toward peace and moderation in the Middle East that indeed was making headway before the Bush-Cheney crowd bounced onto the scene.

Posted by: richard on January 6, 2007 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Some way to block Egbert completely? That was so totally uncalled for. You have to wonder how someone gets so much hate inside them.

Posted by: Cal Gal on January 6, 2007 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't it interesting that the debacle we're undergoing is the result of a 5-4 Party-line vote by the Republican majority on the U.S. Supreme Court upholding a 535-vote tally in favor of Bush-Cheney in Florida.

Posted by: bob t on January 6, 2007 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

You have to wonder how someone gets so much hate inside them.

Best I can figure is it requires a strict, militant Christian upbringing. Can anyone else find any other common threads to such pathologies?

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 6, 2007 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Let's be careful about juxtaposing the word "genius" and the name "McCain" no matter what the context or argument.

The aging McCain now is in the hands of his politicl advisers who are feeding him what to say -- and not doing a very good job of it so far. For example, their clumsiness recently got him rightly booed by an astute audience of young people in Iowa. The old man pathetically pleads with his handlers to "fix it" but instead they more often than not stupidly wind up fixing him.

Posted by: aj on January 6, 2007 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Cal Gal:

I have just as much right to post here as do you.

Always amazes me how those who most preach tolerance are those who are most intolerant.

Posted by: egbert on January 6, 2007 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Bush is not going to give up trying to win the Iraq War until his term ends or until someone takes the keys away from him, in which case he will not be responsible for whatever happens next.

That is the victery plan an it is a real good plan.

Posted by: grytpype on January 6, 2007 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

OK egbert, we have 140,000 troops there now, which is 0.518% of your magic number of 24 million. Everyone now agrees that troop level is insufficient to secure the country.

When The Great Decider adds another 20,000 troops, we will be at 0.67% of your magic number.

Does that sound like a smart plan to you? Likely to succeed? Probably does, because you're about as dumb as a bag of dicks.

Posted by: grytpype on January 6, 2007 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

The one aspect of the "surge" that is being downplayed or just ignored is that the additional troops will be used to disarm the various Shi'ite militias, primarily Al-Sadr's Mahdi militia.

In other words, the Bush plan is nothing less than a declaration of war against the Shia majority, which has largely avoided contronting U.S. army.

Total defeat of the U.S. in Iraq is immanent if this strategy comes to pass.

Perhaps an opposition party that spent less time writing polite denunciations of the new strategy, and one that used the consititional power granted to it to bring this renegade president to justice, could stave off this disaster. But that seems unlikely given the myriad of hacks like Clinton, Biden, and Reid who dominate the party.

Posted by: smedleybutler on January 6, 2007 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

Sure eggburt, you can post here like anyone else. However when you make personal attacks on the host of this website, you only reveal what a dick you really are as you cannot articulate your point otherwise.

Probably just another bitter whitebread who never got a woman living with his parents, like that abject loser who sent the fake white powder to Keith Olberman.

Posted by: Dave Stu on January 6, 2007 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

I just made a surge in my pants.

Posted by: egbert on January 6, 2007 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

And it was yummy!

Posted by: egbert on January 6, 2007 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Give war a chance.

Posted by: John Lennon on January 6, 2007 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

egbert at 2:57pm was a FAKE!

Kevin, you're losing control of this board!

Posted by: egbert on January 6, 2007 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

purge. surge. purge. surge. rinse. repeat.

Posted by: ghost of stalin on January 6, 2007 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

yes egbert you have a right to post; but I really don't know why you do, as nobody here fucking likes you. Is this how you go through high school, trying to fit in with a crowd that does nothing but laugh at you.

Posted by: japhy on January 6, 2007 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

More killing is unacceptable as this is simple manipulation of public opinion by the emperor and his war mongering administration.
Thugs in suits who think we need more death.
So they push for yet one more disasterous course for the emperor's troublesome ego. The little man. He has more riches to gather, and soldiers' deaths are at best an after-thought.

And the grotesque McCain on Friday promoting the emperor's vile policies. He is so honored to appear with his dear friend Joe Lieberman, and believes the war is still winnable. He agrees the solution is a political one, but wants more war, more destruction, more death, before economic growth. A fighting chance to achieve reconciliation, he lies.

He repeats, the surge must be substantial, and it must be sustained. Oh, and no time line with regard to our troop surge. That would embolden the enemy. We like to say that. And engage in reconstruction activities after we blow them to bits. We will give the Iraqis and their partners the best time to succeed.

And Lieberman, stroking McCain, saying I just ended an election campaign; you are just beginning one, my colleague and friend, we agree absolutely. The enemy is an axis of evil...as seriously as fascism and communism in the last century, he proclaims, citing Iran. We will create a new path, and it remains self-evident.
The majority of Iraqis are thankful we liberated them, he lies..."believing in the mission." The worst thing, he says, would be a compromise in the Congress. The battlefield is in Iraq, not in Congress..."

The poor Iraqi people, at the mercy of these war mongerers.

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 6, 2007 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

This is what a voting for a supposedly religious President gets you: blatant immorality in the guise of obeying the command of God.

Despite their electoral gains, Dems are still too wimpy to point out the immorality of it all.

Posted by: gregor on January 6, 2007 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone take heed of the fact that the Army has said that it can only muster 9,000 troops for the so-called surge?

One question that hasn't been addressed is why and how the world's most expensive military machine can't seem to control a country the size of Iraq. We spend more money on our military than the rest of the world combined and after five years the situation is Iraq is so dire that we have to scrape up troops in a desperate attempt to secure our seven mile long supply line between the Baghdad airport and the Green Zone.

Where'd the money go? The Republicans chose not to ask this question. I hope that the Democrats will.

Posted by: Dennis on January 6, 2007 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Money is flowing. If you get a chance, please read online.wsj.com: Pentagon Redefines 'Emergency' by Jonathan Karp 1/3/07 page A5

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 6, 2007 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

After the press conference Friday, to cameras, as they left the room: Lieberman actually said the enemy just ain't us--it's the rest of the world. It will be totalitarian. Women's rights, gay rights, all we valued. We are very strong, we have the guts and the resources to do it, everyone is the enemy. Thank you.
McCain says you will see most Republicans support the president. We are talking about 4 brigades in Iraq. We haven't seen the president's numbers. We are not guaranteeing success. It is directly related to the president's ability to sell it, he just about said.
Lieberman says we are talking about war here...victory in Iraq.

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 6, 2007 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

Nancy Pelosi need only ask W one question:

"How did you plan to pay for it?"

Posted by: Alfred E. Newman on January 6, 2007 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

The surge.

Too little to late, Bush can't find enough to make a difference and McCain is what, a military draft?

But, of course, McCain won't say that specifically, running for President and all, but it's what McCain really wants, isn't it?

Like I said, it's too little to late. Someone should ask McCain why the Republican Party merely sat and let Bush wait far to long before "the surge" become the last ditch "political" effort allowed to confront the truth about how badly Iraq was doing?

McCain is part to the problem, not a solution.


Posted by: Cheryl on January 6, 2007 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

When the surge fails, McCain (and Lieberman and the AEI) will say that "their" surge would have worked! -- the INFERIOR surge that actually took place was:

1. too small and/or

2. too short and/or

3. undermined by unpatriotic Americans and/or

4. sabotaged by an uncooperative govt. in Iraq

etc.....

Can it not be pointed out to him (and Bill Kristol) RIGHT NOW that ALL THOSE THINGS CAN BE GUARANTEED, IN ADVANCE, TO HAPPEN???

Given that, how can he justify doing it????

Posted by: question on January 6, 2007 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin should talk about this:

NEW YORK -- After many years of decline, the number of murders climbed this year in New York and many other major U.S. cities, reaching their highest levels in a decade in some places. Among the reasons given: gangs, drugs, the easy availability of illegal guns, a disturbing tendency among young people to pull guns when they do not get the respect they demand, and, in Houston at least, an influx of Hurricane Katrina evacuees.

Houston, of course, blames it all on those "niggers" despite the fact that every city recorded an increase in the number of murders. What can you expect from Texas?

Here's betting that all crime is up in major cities, not just murders.

WHY is that?

Is it because Bush is above the law?

Is it because our fellow Americans see a President that does NOT abide by ANY laws, indeed, Bush sees no reason too, law doesn't apply to Bush and company? Law doesn't apply if your President?

A country that see it's government corrupt, will see no reason to follow the rule of law itself. This is why crime is up, Bush does not follow the law, why the hell should anyone else?

This is why impeachment is a darn good idea and why Pelosi should never remove this opinion. Democracy depends upon the rule of law, Bush MUST be held accountable.

Posted by: Cheryl on January 6, 2007 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

McCain will get his sustained surge. If the surge troops are too few to make a difference and the surge time too short to make a difference, Bush will either 1) have to admit he was wrong or 2) extend the surge, thus sustaining it.

There exists no evidence to suggest Bush is capable of option 1. McCain will be left to quibble over the number of troops. But of course we know the rebuttal to that. There are no more troops to send. His solution was not possible in the first place.

Posted by: Gex on January 6, 2007 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

"Always amazes me how those who most preach tolerance are those who are most intolerant."

I love the 'tolerate my intolerance' demands made by the Christianists. Why won't those gays tolerate a Constitutional Amendment singling them out? Why won't non-Christians tolerate religion in schools teaching its usual intolerance?

Egbert, we're not saying you can't believe what you want to believe or say what you want to say. But taking a pot shot at someone who just lost a pet is not civil behavior by any standard. You love intolerance, so why not celebrate us not tolerating you? Intolerance is fun for everyone!

Posted by: Gex on January 6, 2007 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

"Perhaps an opposition party that spent less time writing polite denunciations of the new strategy, and one that used the consititional power granted to it to bring this renegade president to justice, could stave off this disaster. But that seems unlikely given the myriad of hacks like Clinton, Biden, and Reid who dominate the party."

Yes, but the Dems are in a lose-lose situation no? Bush cleverly created a situation with no good options whatsoever. He is now choosing one of the worst options available to address the problem. If the Dems fight that off, they are left with the original set of bad options, any of which will have disastrous results, but be the Dems fault.

It sucks, because as has been noted in other threads, the prudent political thing to do is let Bush and McCain do what they want and watch it fail. Of course morally, the American troop and Iraqi casualties make this an unpalatable option.

Sux.

Posted by: Gex on January 6, 2007 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

One of the many tragedies of this pointless and relentlessly bloody occupation of Iraq is that many other important issues, both domestic and foreign, are going unheeded.

For example, while Bush is “surging” away in Iraq, the Taliban are promising a bloody year in Afghanistan. Shouldn't this be the real front in this fictitious "war on terror"?

And on the home front, did you know that the American people aren’t even allowed to know who has visited the White House anymore? While you were focused on our troops dismantling a Third World country, Bush and his merry band of criminals were focusing on dismantling the Constitution.

Aren't things going well with The Decider in charge?

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 6, 2007 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

The American voter wants the Iraq War ended and ended quickly. And the American voter knows who is supportive and who is not.

The American voter knows and knows well that Senator McCain is among those who continue to support the Iraq War and that Senator McCain supports prolonging the Iraq War and that Senator McCain even supports sending more troops to drag it out.

Thus it is the American voter vs. Senator McCain. Guess who wins.

Senator McCain is so yesterday.


Posted by: delbert on January 6, 2007 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

You know, the best way to deal with egbert it to ignore him. It's that simple. Why on earth would you engage in a flame war with him? Unless, of course, you are a graduate of the AOL chat rooms where flaming was the thing and folks jousted with anonymous and delighted 13-year-olds day in and day out. Just ignore him. He's just playing. Don't play. It's beneath you.

Posted by: sam the man on January 6, 2007 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

Jeebus

I guess it's one thing to call Verizon or AT&T and get the "you're just another bean in our massive corporate entity, always irrelevant and meaningless" BS from those massive corporate pigs, BUT the f**cking military is into this too. It's a corpotate thing, military life is completely meaningless.

Army leaders to apologize to slain soldiers’ families

By Gina Cavallaro
Staff writer

Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Richard Cody announced today that he and other Army leaders will personally contact the families of about 75 deceased officers and 200 wounded officers to apologize for sending them a letter encouraging them to consider returning to military service.

The letters were sent Dec. 26-28 to more than 5,100 Army officers who recently served and were supposed to have been generated from a list that had been “scrubbed” for injured or deceased soldiers.

Your son/daughter/husband/wife was just another bean in Bush's oil war in Iraq.

This why you don't send your kids off to Iraq, because your kid is not a commodity, your kid is not toilet paper for Bush's using.


Posted by: Cheryl on January 6, 2007 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, Cheryl, sure wish your toilet paper metaphor makes it into the public consciousness. Wow.

Posted by: burton on January 6, 2007 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of the old man, I saw a tv news report a few weeks ago that strung together some of John McCain's comments over the past several years supporting the Iraq War. The report was intended to emphasize the consistency of his position over time. Inadvertently, I'm sure, it instead gave the appearance of a campaign attack ad taken out on him . . . and I never saw it again. Harbinger of the future nevertheless?

Posted by: john d on January 6, 2007 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

NBC News Pentagon Correspondent Jim Miklaszewski said "administration officials told them that the surge option is more of a political decision than a military one because the american people have run out of patience, and Bush is running out of time to achieve some kind of success in Iraq"

This is shameful manipulation.

Lindorff and Olshansky's book The Case for Impeachment must be flying off the shelves.

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 6, 2007 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Egbert, you cold-hearted asshole -- Even Tony Blankley of The Washington Times (and, who has a son in the service) is calling it "escalation".

Posted by: Tilli (Mojave Desert) on January 6, 2007 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

Drudge has a red banner up alleging that Israel is planning a tactical nuclear strike against Iran. He has been wrong many times before, but…..

This could be the beginning of something very ugly, folks.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 6, 2007 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

U.S Democrats Mull Trying To Cap Iraq Troops Levels
By THOMAS FERRARO, REUTERS

The U.S. Congress could possibly limit the number of U.S. troops in Iraq by forcing President George W. Bush to seek approval from lawmakers for additional deployments, a top Democratic senator said on jan. 5.
Assistant Senate Majority Leader Richard Durbin said that was just one of several options before Democrats, who took over control of both the House and Senate this week from Bush’s Republicans.
Top Democrats, including Durbin, said the party would not seek to cut funding of troops already there because that could undermine their safety. But with Bush considering an increase in the number of U.S. forces in Iraq, Durbin told reporters he and fellow Democrats have discussed trying to cap the number there as a potential option.
Asked how, Durbin said, "It could be legislation that requires the president to come for congressional approval for troops over a certain level."
"I’m not telling you that is where we will end up, but there are a lot of things on the table," Durbin said after a closed-door meeting of fellow Democrats preparing for the new 110th Congress that convened on Jan. 4.
To pass such legislation in the Senate, Democrats would need the support of a number of Republicans. Democrats control the Senate, holding 51 of 100 seats. But 60 votes would be needed to end a possible procedural roadblock.
Durbin acknowledged bipartisan support would be needed, but said, "if you notice there are more and more Republicans who are starting to have second thoughts about the president’s policy."
Let's start writing Repub senators. Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 6, 2007 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

Oops! Here's the link from DefenseNews for the Reuters story at 7:13 PM:
http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?F=2464568&C=america

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 6, 2007 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

Shelia Samples at politicalcortex.com in her take on things-------
"The (Iraq Study Group)report basically said--you screwed up again, Junior--big time. Iraq is so broke, you can't own it, you can't fix it and you can't leave it. You're stuck there, which is fine, because you can't leave until you get the oil. Which is why we put you in office and sent you over there."
"Get that oil law finalized so we can get the oil contract before China, India and Russia get there."

No one forgets the Iraq invasion was planned years ago. Wolfowitz, Cheney, Rumsfield and
Libby et al. fixated on Iraq in the 90's, and they all salivated with Bush 43 after nine-one-one, inventing tall tales about mushroom clouds. This PNAC crowd was already on record about wanting Iraq's oil.
May Patrick Fitzgerald soon expose these crimes.

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 6, 2007 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile, AP reports that even Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki is skeptical about the surge. I would be too if I had read this: ...

Caldwell appears to be responding to an initiative announced by Maliki today, and which was initiated today--not something that would come with a future "surge". Specifically:

In the opening battle of a major drive to tame the violent capital, the Iraqi army reported it killed 30 militants Saturday in a firefight in a Sunni insurgent stronghold just north of the heavily fortified Green Zone.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, speaking only hours earlier at a ceremony marking the 85th anniversary of the Iraqi army, announced his intention for the open-ended attempt to crush the militant fighters who have left Baghdad in the grip of sectarian violence.

Of note:
...Al-Suneid, who is also a member of parliament, said the new drive would focus initially on Sunni insurgent strongholds in western Baghdad.

...An Iraqi army general said commanders would operate independently, a sharp break with Iraqi military tradition of heavy central control, and would be held individually responsible for failure.

This looks more like an attempt to establish (Shia) facts on the ground ahead of any future and more up-close-and-personal US involvement that might otherwise interfere.


p.s. The NYT link in your post does not contain the quote from Caldwell, although there are several other similar AP reports which do.

Posted by: has407 on January 6, 2007 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

Is Dr. Rice leaving?

When ABC's Martha Raddatz asked about one such rumor, Snow's response required a rare stage direction in the White House transcript:

"Q Do you want to comment -- there's speculation that the reason that Mr. Negroponte is going to move over to State is because Dr. Rice will leave in several months and that he's in a position to take over. Do you want to say anything about it?

What is Rice going to do, run for president?

Posted by: Cheryl on January 6, 2007 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

Is Bush opening your mail?

There's been lots of media pickup of James Gordon Meek's New York Daily News story yesterday about another Bush signing statement -- this one asserting his right to open mail without a warrant for foreign intelligence collection. (See yesterday's column.)

Would Bush have opened Joe Wilson's mail? Of course Bush would have, that vindictive nasty little pig that he is. The Bushie bunch will do whatever they deem necessary to anyone, anywhere that they concider a threat to their administration.

Its impeachment time.

Posted by: Cheryl on January 6, 2007 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

As others have pointed out, the proper codeword is "escalation," and will be transmitted to our usual ass-monkeys in the media. Use it from now on.

Posted by: dnc on January 6, 2007 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

If Israel uses nukes on Iran, the entire Israeli administration and the international bankers who own them should be rounded up, sent to the Hague, tried for crimes against humanity and executed.

Posted by: blog on January 6, 2007 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

Friend of Labor: Apart from all the other reasons why the escalation is a stupid idea, just recall the buzz when the idea first bumped up in November/December...Powell and others saying the "surge" in reality was an overlap: hold the troops currently in Iraq for a longer period while speeding up the deployment of stateside troops currently scheduled to rotate in.

True for 2007. Based on Kagan's plan--the unveiling of which McCain and Lieberman were at on Friday, and which appears to be the basis of most speculation--the "surge" is accomplished by:

  • Increase Army rotations from 12 to 15 months.
  • Increase Marine rotations from 7 to 12 months.
  • Accelerate deployment of Army units scheduled for Q2-07 to Q1-07.
That produces a peak of about +32,000 troops in Sep-07 (+25,000 in Baghdad and +7,000 outside Baghdad).

However, the plan also calls for sustaining increased troop levels well into 2008; that "requires mobilizing about six National Guard briagades that are not currently scheduled to deploy." That, in turn, requires an immediate and concerted effort to increase overall US force and readiness levels (recruiting/retention, training, provisioning, etc.).

In short, the plan calls for accelerating and stretching planned deployments in 2007 to buy time to get the additional troops needed to sustain the plan into 2008. That appears to be marginally feasible; typical estimates suggest we can add about 7,000 troops/year. Whether it's useful is another question.

Posted by: has407 on January 6, 2007 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

What's this euphemistic bullshit? A "surge" is just "stay the course".

Fuck Bush.

Posted by: angryspittle on January 6, 2007 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

I think we should drop Cheney into Fallujah in his fucking underwear.

Posted by: angryspittle on January 6, 2007 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

Marginally feasible is putting it lightly. The army is nearly broken now, extending their tours any further is the recipe for a serious breakdown.

Posted by: blog on January 6, 2007 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

What's this euphemistic bullshit? A "surge" is just "stay the course".
Posted by: angryspittle on January 6, 2007 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

No, the purest form of "stay the course" is one soldier, air-dropped into downtown baghdad with a big sign that says "fuck all Arabs, all muslims must die!"

As soon as this guy is torn apart and killed by an angry mob, Bush drops another one in.

This is the purest form of "stay the course"

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on January 6, 2007 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

How about a surge that wins?

Please. Forget timetables.

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on January 6, 2007 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

It cannot be WON. It could never have been WON. Iraq is like Vietnam in that respect. Many know this. More will accept it. Some never will.

Posted by: R.L. on January 6, 2007 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

Overheard in an Officers about two weeks ago, in reference to the CinC: If brains were fisible material, this stupid mother fucker wouldn't be able to blow his own nose."

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 6, 2007 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

A new CBS poll says there is only 23% support for Bush's Iraq policies. His overall rating--30%.
And a big 68% say they are optimistic about the new Democratic Congress

Posted by: consider wisely on January 6, 2007 at 9:20 PM | PERMALINK

I have just as much right to post here as do you.

Posted by: egbert

That's right! Just as long as he's posting from Iraq, he can say whatever he wants.

Posted by: craigie on January 6, 2007 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

You want a surge that wins? Get a time machine, and another 150,000-350,000 troops in 2003. Maintain order from the beginning. Secure all Iraqi ammo depots. Don't disband the Iraqi army. Pay Iraqis to rebuild their own country instead of Halliburton and crew with their imported workers. In other words, do it right from the start.

I'm not sure it would have worked then, either, but unless Bush can magically pull a hell of a lot of troops out of his ass a surge is absolutely useless.

Posted by: mwg on January 6, 2007 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

Thhis "surge" term is pure PR. Something tells me that Bush and Cheney have been drinking too much Surge.

By "surge" the White House implies that an increase in troops (a) resembles a natural phenomenon, such as a tidal wave or a lightning strike that causes a power surge; (b) will be powerful like the aforesaid tidal wave or power surge; (c) will happen rapidly and overwhelmingly, since a surge never happens slowly.

None of these things are likely to be true.

Posted by: sara on January 6, 2007 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

Don't you just love it when folks opposing escalation nevertheless fall into the propaganda trap of the Bush Administration by calling it "surge"? You know, like it was some harmless little Friday night football game where the Tigers "surge" to a 14-0 victory over the Panthers?

Posted by: bill l on January 6, 2007 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

In view of this and the appointment of Fallon, they seem to be planning more than a "surge."
Israel plans nuclear attack on Iran.
The Sunday Times January 07, 2007
ISRAEL has drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons.
Two Israeli air force squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear “bunker-busters”, according to several Israeli military sources....
Under the plans, conventional laser-guided bombs would open “tunnels” into the targets. “Mini-nukes” would then immediately be fired into a plant at Natanz, exploding deep underground to reduce the risk of radioactive fallout.
“As soon as the green light is given, it will be one mission, one strike and the Iranian nuclear project will be demolished,” said one of the sources....

Is the plan is to disrupt the oil supply of the West and send us into a depression?

Posted by: Mike on January 6, 2007 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

blog: Marginally feasible is putting it lightly. The army is nearly broken now, extending their tours any further is the recipe for a serious breakdown.

Agree. That's the warning many in the upper echelons have expressed, which is the basis for suggestions that a 6-12-month "surge" (depending on source) is the best that can be achieved. However, Kagan et. al. are calling for much more:

Many of the proposals in this section can be summed up briefly: the nation must be put on a war footing. That does not mean a return to the draft. It is possible and necessary to maintain a volunteer military while fighting this war and beyond. It does, however, mean abandoning peacetime bureaucratic routines within the Pentagon and throughout the defense establishment. It means that the president must issue a call to arms. It means that Congress must provide the necessary financial support. It means that everyone involved in the defense of the nation must make supporting the troops fighting this war the number one priority. It is disgraceful that the nation has not been placed on a war footing even this far into such an important conflict, but it is essential to transform this state of affairs if the United States is to conduct the operations necessary to avoid imminent defeat and pursue victory.
Yes--if the administration's rhetoric is to be believed--it is "disgraceful that the nation has not been placed on a war footing even this far into such an important conflict". Maybe there was a time when a call to put the nation on a "war footing" or a "call to arms" might have been successful (if not the mission); that time has passed, along with the administration's credibility.

Posted by: has407 on January 6, 2007 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

Escalation of the war, with the media blitz of the word 'surge,' is the latest pretext for continuing the occupation and embracing staying the course.
This administration has had less congressional oversight than than any other in our history.
The nightmare started when the US Supreme Court kicked the crap out of states' rights by stomping all over the presumed authority of Florida--appointing this man to office.

Posted by: consider wisely on January 6, 2007 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

Kagan is delusional as well. The only way to put the nation on a war footing is with a draft. The republicans who support the war are not exactly lining up to enlist.

Posted by: blog on January 6, 2007 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

the remaining 23% supporting Bush should line up and enlist

Posted by: consider wisely on January 6, 2007 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

This is why it's important to force Bush to declare the mission for sending more troops would be, AND to call what's going on in Iraq what it is - A civil war.

Because staying means that we're fighting the very people that we went to war to liberate from our old partner, Saddam Hussein (after we discovered that none of Bush's other stated reasons for preemptively attacking Iraq were true).

If we remain in Iraq, we will be choosing sides. Shi'ites over Sunnis (while targeting Sadr/Shi'ites on the sly). Until Bush-Cheney gets the war in Iran gets going.

In the past when we encouraged conflict between the different Islamic factions (in order to keep them occupied hating and killing each other, while we schemed with the Royal families to steal the oil and get rich), it was below the radar and not in the mainstream media. There were no cell phones, no internet, no alternative media exposing the truth of what our government was doing to others around the world, in our names. The denials and condemnations by our government that we're the "good guys" ring false when faced with proofs that overwhelm all of the Hill & Knowlton spin.

The Sunnis and the Shi'ites, each was holding the other by the tail. But then old 'bull in the china shop'-Bush came on the scene.

Susan Molinari (a former Republican member of Congress, a divorcee, a one termer, she left after snagging herself a husband, another Republican congressman) was back on the air waves last week pushing the rhetoric, "We all want to leave Iraq, but finding the right way to leave is very difficult."

It's not difficult at all, Ms. Molinari: We just LEAVE.

You know how to leave, don't you, Ms. Molinari?: You put one foot in front of the other and GO.

"How can I miss you when you won't go away?"
~Dan Hicks

Posted by: Maeven on January 6, 2007 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

Here's some of what the distinguished Simon Jenkins has to say in The Sunday London Times on the planned escalation of the Iraq War:

"Leaders contemplating defeat far from the front are always tempted to order “one last push”. Thus did Hitler order the battle of the bulge, Nixon the bombing of Cambodia and Reagan the blasting of the Shouf to cover his retreat from Lebanon. A general must pretend to victory even in the jaws of defeat, or his soldiers will not fight. America has 1m men under arms. Surely they are not to be beaten by a few hundred guerrillas in the suburbs of Baghdad? So Bush will tell them to make one last heave, however pointless. He does not want to share his father’s legacy of cutting and running from Iraq.

"To such callousness for the lives of others, reason has no response. War is so awful that most people can grasp it only through metaphor, as a football game or a business takeover or a pub brawl or, at best, some other war retrieved from history. The conflict in Iraq is beyond metaphor. It is the most dangerous, heart-breaking and hopeless that those who have witnessed recent wars can recall. Certainly the risks taken by soldiers on the ground and the terrifying existence endured by ordinary Iraqis are worse than in anything I have witnessed. Independent reporting is near impossible.

"Military intelligence is non-existent. Bombers do not know where to bomb, soldiers whom to kill, generals when to negotiate."


Posted by: aj on January 6, 2007 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

excellent point, Maeven, about the alternate media of cell phones and internet exposing messy details of what goes on in our name.

And, from Dan Hicks..."Where's the money?"

Posted by: consider wisely on January 6, 2007 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

Bush has been sticking his head up his ass for years.

Now he wants to surge his head up his ass.

Posted by: olds88 on January 6, 2007 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

The Democrats have only just now taken the seats which allow them not to allow Iraq to be an authorized war at all because it violates the conditions laid upon the President to commence the engagement in the first place. Escalation ? Not what the American voter authorized. Out .... before Israel escalates the conflict and provides a new flurry of pre-planned assaults billed as "responses".
There is not much time. Remember the seasonal timetable affecting military operation : at least there was one for the original Iraq assault.
Tony Blair is to be out of power this summer. Everything has to be in place before he leaves office.
Impeachment papers have been filed already - remember ? Roll and go. He who hesitates is lost.

Posted by: opit on January 6, 2007 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

Senator Reid and Nancy Pelosi sent a formal protest of the escalation just on Friday--it is a start. I suspect the administration is specifically trying to put the new congress in a bind. That frat boy stuff never seems to go away.

Posted by: consider wisely on January 6, 2007 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

blog: Kagan is delusional as well. The only way to put the nation on a war footing is with a draft.

In a practical sense, possibly. However, there is one additional step towards a "war footing" that is far short of instituting a draft, and that is arguably a prerequisite (e.g., see here):

10 U.S.C. 12301(a) “Full Mobilization” Declared by Congress:
• In time of war or national emergency
• No limit on numbers of soldiers called to active duty
• For duration of war plus 6 months

10 U.S.C. 12302 “Partial Mobilization” Declared by the President:
• In time of national emergency
• No more than 1 million reservists can be on active duty
• No more than 24 consecutive months

10 U.S.C. 12304 “Presidential Reserve Call-up” Determined by the President:
• To augment the active duty force for operational missions
• No more than 200,000 reservists can be on active duty
• No more than 270 days

We've gone as far as 10 U.S.C. 12302 “Partial Mobilization" Declared by President (Bush Sep 14, 2001).

Posted by: has407 on January 6, 2007 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

Well, here's one for you courtesy of Rick Atkinson of the Washington Post on Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus:

"Conrad C. Crane, a West Point classmate of Petraeus's who last year helped him write the new counterinsurgency manual, said: 'There have been situations in our history where American generals were given tough problems to resolve, like Lincoln grabbing U.S. Grant in 1864. Those situations have all demanded steadfastness, fortitude, initiative and creativity. It will take all those traits in Baghdad.

"'We've got a big problem," Crane added. "'He's the right guy to fix it. If anybody can fix this, he can.'"

And casualties, dear Conrad, casualties. It took casualties, lots of casualties. Like at Shiloh where General Grant (1862) gave up 1,754 dead and 13,000 wounded. Are these the sort of numbers we have to look forward to from General Petraeus at the Battle of Baghdad?


Posted by: david on January 7, 2007 at 12:34 AM | PERMALINK

It's McCain's War now.

So trumpets Slate online magazine.

But remember, you heard it here first.

Here's some of what Slate has to say on McCain and his war:

"It's John McCain's war now. Next week, President Bush will announce a troop surge of between 20,000 and 40,000 troops, according to those who have been briefed on outlines of the plan. Though the president will give the speech, McCain is the politician whose career most depends on it. The senator has been advocating more troops since August of 2003. Recently he has advocated for a surge in private conversations with the president and at greater length with National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, who is heading up the administration's policy review.

"In the debate that will follow the president's announcement, McCain will blanket the news outlets making the case for the troop hike . . .

"McCain has long benefited from being a supporter of the war but a critic of the tactics. Now they are his tactics, and his political neck is on the line. With his presidential campaign all but announced, McCain is embracing an unpopular strategy that will make an already unpopular war longer and bloodier. The surge plan will take 18 months if everything goes right, say planners."

Posted by: Tucker on January 7, 2007 at 12:51 AM | PERMALINK

david: And casualties, dear Conrad, casualties. It took casualties, lots of casualties. Like at Shiloh where General Grant (1862) gave up 1,754 dead and 13,000 wounded. Are these the sort of numbers we have to look forward to from General Petraeus at the Battle of Baghdad?

At least. As Kagan et. al. put it:

More Casualties?
  • Yes
  • Short-term increase in casualties is not a sign of failure
  • As troops actively secure the population the enemy will surge its attacks on coalition troops and Iraqi civilians
  • Long term casualties over a nine month period will decrease as the population is secured
A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that the plan will incur (approx): 1,000-2,000 additional US fatalities; 20,000-30,000 additional US wounded; and a very large but indeterminate number of Iraqi casualties. Not to mention an additional $200-300B(?).

Posted by: has407 on January 7, 2007 at 1:12 AM | PERMALINK

I want to bitch about the "contractors in Iraq are evil" thread. The vast majority of contractors are working class people like myself hired as mercenaries to protect fixed assets or, do extremely dangerous convoy duty, or to try to protect high profile individuals, like the judges who sent Saddam to the next world.

For the most part you do not get a lot of opportunity to kill innocent women and children in this line of work. The reason you are American instead of Iraqi is that there is no Iraqi who can not be turned by a sufficiently gruesome but credible threat against his family.
Pretty soon, even Americans will not be trustworthy because terrorists have quickly been learning how to maniipulate American public opinion and turn Americans against each other.

So, if I am guarding an important refinery and I receive a credible message that I can either be charged as a baby-raping war criminal on evidence that an eager leftists Western news media will grasp to its bosom like the direct word of Christ, or I can accept a couple hundred grand in a Cayman Island bank account if only I let the refinery be blown up, which will I choose?

I really do not know what I would do, at this point. I am sorry that I am too old to be involved, as I do feel that the Iraq war is rather a critical juncture for world history. I was involved in Vietnam and damn, if the wrong side didn't win, and damn, if that still doesn't have some fairly negative consequences for anybody in SE Asia who values the rule of law, the protection of minorities against either majoritarian or dictatorial rule, or other abstract Western concepts concerning individual rights and democracy.

Posted by: mike cook on January 7, 2007 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK

egbert writes:

Applying this reasoning, as we approach that magical number of 27M, we realize increasing returns for security. That is the logic behind surging.

So using the current number of 140k US troops, there are 0.00518 US soldiers for every Iraqi. Adding 20k makes it .00592 US soldiers for every Iraqi. I would call that statistically insignificant. Instead of having to hide when American soldiers patrol their neighborhood 3 times/month, the insurgents will have to hide 4 times a month - we might improve our odds marginally, but I doubt it's enough to make a difference. And instead of putting a roadside bomb and hoping some of the 140k US soldiers drive by it, if we "surge," the insurgents will now put a roadside bomb with the hopes that some of the 160k US soldiers will drive by it. I frankly don't see how adding 20k soldiers will make a difference even if they're permanent, without a fundamental shift in policy. And if we have a fundamental shift in policy, we may not need 20k more soldiers. Here's an idea - how about a surge of 20k Iraqi soldiers?

Posted by: Andy on January 7, 2007 at 2:23 AM | PERMALINK

The generals don't think a surge will work. The people are dead set against it. Even the Iraqis are skeptical. The president's men seem unable to articulate a reason for the surge. The administration has a track record of incompetence so profound that the normal benefit of the doubt we should give our commander in chief is inoperative. Most people think this surge is nothing more than a PR stunt.

Exactly what does the president hope to accomplish by sending 9000 more of our best and bravest young people to act as targets in Baghdad?

I feel sorry for the parents of the youngsters serving in the military. They and their children are bearing a great burden people like the President seem unwilling to carry.

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 7, 2007 at 7:54 AM | PERMALINK

I believe that Georgie W has Surge confused with Purge, as the only Surge that will result from his irresponsible actions will be a Surge in our American solider's deaths and certainly not a Purge of terrorism.

Posted by: Forrest Brooks on January 7, 2007 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers:

Great post. No personal attacks, just solemn analysis and heartfelt opinion. This Iraq occupation has lost all rational justification. Even if you truly believe that we are there to "establish a democratic society" (which was never even mentioned when we went in), it is abundantly clear now that will not happen. There are no WMDs, Saddam Hussein is dead, the fragmentation of the former country of Iraq into sectarian enclaves is inevitable. It is time to leave. Period.

Thanks for a thoughtful, cogent post. Strikingly different than our friends on the right side of the aisle.

TCD

[Kevin must be taking the weekend off, eh?]

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 7, 2007 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

Jeso Pete! Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is yammering about his support for Bush's "surge" on MTP.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 7, 2007 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

Escalation. Stop saying surge. Next, will the US be unwilling to evacuate with helicopters when leaving because it brings back bad memories? If the sheeple had a memory - we wouldn't be in this mess.

Well, I do remember - and escalation is the correct word.

Posted by: Robert on January 7, 2007 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

aj also has a notable post above, quoting the eloquent Simon Jenkins, re: such callousness about the lives of others, with the planned escalation of the Iraq war (on 1/6, 10:57 p.m.)

I read on another board that McCain's words sound like a commercial for Cialis, needing 'sustained and substantial'... and that it is the LAST thing this country needs after the current priaprism of this presidency.

It is time for someone of the substance of former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO forces Wesley Clark, now a Senior Fellow at UCLA's Burke Center for International Relations, to come to the forefront.

He says the real danger of escalation is that it undercuts the urgency for the political effort desperately needed now, wasting time/effort, perpetuating the appeal of terrorists, simply bringing us closer to a Iranian showdown...which would be a tragedy.
He notes that the neocons' vision has failed.

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 7, 2007 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

What we need is a surge *protector*.

From Slavoj Zizek's NYT Op-Ed this week, on the BushCo slogan:

Think locally, act globally.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 7, 2007 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Doesn't the increase in troop strenght still bring us to levels less than what General Shinseki had recommended before the war? It seems irrational to conclude that we will be able to stabilize Iraq with less troops than what was recommended before the war, particularly since Iraq is even more unstable now than before we invaded.

Posted by: William Jensen on January 7, 2007 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

William Jensen:

Word.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 7, 2007 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

You have to wonder how someone gets so much hate inside them.

War makes people hate.

Posted by: Brojo on January 7, 2007 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

An escalation of 20,000 is meaningless. In 1999, General Zinni, then-commander of CENTCOM conducted a "war game" exercise called Desert Crossing to determine what would be necessary in a post-Saddam Iraq. When invasion looked imminent, Zinni called up CENTCOM and told them they should dust off Deseert Crossing and they didn't even know what it was, less than four years later. Apparently the DoD feared the consequences if that report fell into competent hands.

Posted by: Declined on January 7, 2007 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Did I read that report? Yes. Did I think much of it? No, not really.

That's the old way of thinking. Today we can achieve the same goals by going smaller, lighter, and faster.

two words: cyborg insects

Posted by: Rumsfeld on January 7, 2007 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

Rumsfeld:

*spitting coffee* ... oh *shit* that was funny :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 7, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Globe took a moment to point out - on her blog and a comment on mine - that Laura Rosen at War and Piece posts links to several times in the past when the Times has put up the Israeli air assault scenario.
Then she mad a fine piece on how mad it would be.
I had to chuckle at Consider Wisely Always citing Sheila Samples. Her opinion of GW Bush has been around for quite a while. Scathing doesn't do it justice.

Posted by: opit on January 7, 2007 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Bob----very clever of you saying "What we need is a surge **protector**"

Made me smile, having posted on Wesley Clark as maybe being our saving grace

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 7, 2007 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

consider wisely always:

I just don't know what we can do, CWA ... I think one of the committee chairs is talking about passing a resolution requiring Bush to come to the congress to request more troops. That might be the best we can do. You know they're not going to go for Kucinich's proposal to de-fund the so-called surge.

Well I guess we've always got oversight. Leahy seems pretty intent on the privacy issues around the GWoT. I think we've got to concentrate on oversight and see what develops from there.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 7, 2007 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is yammering about his support for Bush's "surge" on MTP.

Yes Apollo 13, I saw that. Deputy Daawg seemed really worked up about it. I wonder if he has gotten some polling data from back home (his term is up in 08) leaving him feel the need to be quite the surge supporter.

I thought Biden did ok, but could have done more. It seems to me that the anti surge side needs to deal with the argument about what will happen when we quickly draw down and how that eventuality will be better than the reality created by the surge.

I know (we know) that a draw down is better, but there is a PR battle that must be aggressively joined to confront the frothing neo cons who are now so enthused about protecting the security of our dear Iraqi friends.

Posted by: Keith G on January 7, 2007 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

It is time for someone of the substance of former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO forces Wesley Clark, now a Senior Fellow at UCLA's Burke Center for International Relations, to come to the forefront.

Consider Wisely, I have never found anything in the person of Wesley Clark that inspired me. As I have said before, “I have dish rags in my sink more dynamic than the good general”. Yet if he were to want to win my support, now is the time for him to vigously make a stand to join the battle to stop this stupid policy.

I will not be holding my breath.

Posted by: Keith G on January 7, 2007 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Keith G: Deputy Daawg seemed really worked up about it. I wonder if he has gotten some polling data from back home (his term is up in 08) leaving him feel the need to be quite the surge supporter.

When Graham popped a few veins, red-faced and animated in support of the Bush-McCain escalation, I wondered if he's jockeying to be picked as St. John's running mate....to pull in the southern vote.

It seems to me that the anti surge side needs to deal with the argument about what will happen when we quickly draw down and how that eventuality will be better than the reality created by the surge.

A valid point. Biden fumbled a bit when Graham launched into his "we can't leave Iraq a failed state" tirade and maligned the Pelosi-Reid letter calling for troop withdrawal. Apparently, Deputy Daawg (good one) has joined the Bush-McCain bandwagon.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 7, 2007 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Saw this at Crooks and Liars...

Nancy Pelosi will not fund the McCain doctrine without justification

PELOSI: If the president chooses to escalate the war, in his budget request we want to see a distinction between what is there to support the troops who are there now. The American people and the Congress support those troops. We will not abandon them.

But if the president wants to add to this mission, he is going to have to justify it. And this is new for him because up until now the Republican Congress has given him a blank check with no oversight, no standards, no conditions.

PELOSI: And we've gone into this situation, which is a war without end, which the American people have rejected.

SCHIEFFER: Now, let me ask you, and make sure I understand exactly what you are saying because, up until now, Democrats have not been enthusiastic about using the ultimate weapon, and that is to cut off funding.

PELOSI: We won't do that.

SCHIEFFER: But you will not vote any more money to expand the size of the force there?

Is that what you're telling us?

PELOSI: I'm saying two things. We will always support the troops who are there. If the president wants to expand the mission, that's a conversation he has to have with the Congress of the United States .

But that's not a carte blanche, a blank check to him to do whatever he wishes there.

http://www.crooksandliars.com/2007/01/07/nancy-pelosi-will-not-fund-the-mccain-doctrine-without-justification/

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 7, 2007 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Keith G: I respectfully disagree.

Of Wesley Clark, the following was said:
From General McCaffery: "He is probably among the top 5 most talented people I have met in my life. I think he is a national treasure who has a lot to offer the country."

From Brigadeer General Wm W Crouch: "Wes Clark has the character and depth to be another Marshall or Eisenhower in time of war."

Mr. Clark brokered a peace in Bosnia.
In college he majored initially in physics and math, and achieved an advanced degree in economics from Oxford.
How important it is that at this time he is focused on international relations, and plans a conference.
I mean no offense to you-- I think it is small to diminish his accomplishments and liken him to dishrags(?)(?) On what grounds?

Have any of us headed NATO from 1997 to 2000, attended such a prestigious school as Oxford University, ran for president, heralded the need for regional positioning in Iraq, identified in news articles that vicious ethnic cleansing is underway right under the noses of our troops, as various factions fight for power and survival, and the escalation desired by this administration will stir yet more resistance?
The general says we are beyond more troops in Iraq at this point--it will put troops in harm's way, further undercut our forces' morale, and risk further alienation of the elements of the Iraqi people.

He knows directly about the past troop levels at Kosovo, so adding now, in Iraq, in January'07, he says is too little too late. Gees, give him some credit, Keith. He is sensibly questioning the path of the current administration, which we need at this time, given his integrity and his considerable experience.

He has an excellent essay at comment.independent.co.uk 1/7/07. Do we?
He is of top of things. This is a reasonable man.

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 7, 2007 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

The debate now is between a 6-month surge and an 18-month surge. The original cakewalk was supposed to be over in 3. So the pres wants a "surge" lasting SIX times as long as the original war.

Posted by: helmling on January 7, 2007 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

consider wisely always is correct that Clark's contributions to this debate are important and worthwhile (regardless of what people may think of his presidential aspirations or capabilities).

Kagan's proposal has scattered references to the Balkans, which are the only proof points offered for why the US can be successful in Iraq (can you say "irony"?). Clark's counterpoint is significant.

Posted by: has407 on January 7, 2007 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Here is a link to General Clark's Op-Ed in todays Independent.

Posted by: Global Citizen on January 7, 2007 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Consider wisely: 1) worry not about any offense as I always follow your commentary with great interest, 2) my comments re Clark were not aimed at his value as a military leader of even a scholar and statesman.

Either by habit, will, or disposition, I have never seen Clark display the passion or salesmanship one must display to have impact as a leader in this day and age.

For all intents and purposes, he “keeps his light under a bushel”. If you were to randomly ask 100 Americans what the general feels about escalation, you would get a bunch of blank stares among those who even knew who you were talking about.

That is why I discount him as a political leader. He ran for a presidential nomination. I expect better from those who dream to perform at that level.

Posted by: Keith G on January 7, 2007 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Keith-----I still do not understand why you discount him so--did you click on the article at the illustrious Global Citizen's web site--it is powerful, timely and important. I thank her for adding it.
Maybe by habit or disposition you ARE the proverbial critic? So he ran for a presidential nomination---that is your criticism?????
I supported him entirely. It is my hope that one of the 2008 Democratic front runners hook up with him, or that he achieves an important position in their administrations. Think big, my man!

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 7, 2007 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

CWA, I read Clark’s essay and found it a useful reiteration of what has been said by others, but nothing shone through. There was no passage that moved me. Workmanlike and uninspiring. I am even left to question his choice of venue for publishing his ideas. The Independent for god sakes, why not go all out and chose the Bangladeshi Banner?

In all seriousness, why not NYT, WP, LAT where many, many more Americans would be immediately confronted with his ideas? I have no doubt that Wes is a great person, but right now I just don’t think that he is doing as much as he could to save lives.

Posted by: Keith G on January 7, 2007 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

OT: I saw at DailyKos about Sen. Leahy's War Profiteering Prevention Act of 2007. It's about frigging time.

Also, Rep. Waxman told ABC's Stephanopoulus today that he will begin hearings Feb. 6 on Iraq waste, corruption, and graft. The ABC/Waxman transcript is at Crooks and Liars. One point Waxman made: "...how the money is spent is not classified. It's not national security."

Finally, congressional oversight. Let the hearings begin.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 7, 2007 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

Right on. Begin the oversight. I love Congressman Waxman. He has a cache of information.
Plus the Philadelphia Eagles just defeated their division rival the New York Giants

Celebrate good times, come on...

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 7, 2007 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

Keith--do you think he is a small man? Is it his stature? I feel his words have great meaning and reasonate. First and goal to go, and he gets a touchdown.

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 7, 2007 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

Here's the funny part.

We've contaminated the Iraq environment with enough depleted uranium to make it uninhabitable for any form of life forever. At current pace a scorpion won't survive. So, please tell us who's going to go work to extract the oil when it would be a death sentence to anyone that breaths the air, uses the water or eats the food?

It gets even funnier.

Everyone deployed has been exposed and carried the contamination home to their wives, children or anyone they exchange fluids with. Cancer rates and birth defects are souring.

Now it gets hilarious.

bush wants to have more troops exposed.

Posted by: Gonnuts on January 7, 2007 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

Here's the funny part.

We've contaminated the Iraq environment with enough depleted uranium to make it uninhabitable for any form of life forever. At current pace a scorpion won't survive. So, please tell us who's going to go work to extract the oil when it would be a death sentence to anyone that breaths the air, uses the water or eats the food?

It gets even funnier.

Everyone deployed has been exposed and carried the contamination home to their wives, children or anyone they exchange fluids with. Cancer rates and birth defects are souring.

Now it gets hilarious.

bush wants to have more troops exposed.

Posted by: Gonnuts on January 7, 2007 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

Gonuts: I agree. Part of the escalation and 'surge' of this administration somehow includes a works program/jobs program--ludicrous, as the air quality has substantially deteriorated, and, as the questions remain with depleted uranium, and the repeated explosions--the nation-building experimentation is diseased.
Time will march on, the many wounds will remain. It really is about incompetence.
The US used chemical weapons in Iraq--- Willy Pete, the soldiers themselves called it. White phosphorus. Unconventional weapons, illuminating positions in the dark in city neighborhoods, an incendiary substance, a napalm formulary, MK 77. Maurizio Torrealta from Italy had dramatic footage of the bombardment on civilians. Bush and the foggy nature of phony war. While the Syrians and Iranians fear they may be next, Venezuelans also worry. Democrats: please engage in damage control.

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 7, 2007 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

First and goal to go, and he gets a touchdown.

I am just reacting to the play calling I witnessed in 2004. I have seen no reasons for endzone celebrations on his part.

Nor am I now seeing the motivation to compete or the willingness to take the hits that I would expect from a leader who wants the ball when the game is on the line.

Posted by: Keith G on January 7, 2007 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Keith>>>>> I respect your right to disagree, and I am supporting Wes Clark @ securingamerica.com
Thanks for saying you follow my posts. You write well, I notice.

And I am in a football mood, having watched the playoff games this weekend. From Pennsyvania,
I hoped for an Eagles victory.

Posted by: consider wisely on January 7, 2007 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

It looks like Blair will be replaced by Brown as PM in the UK within a few months and he has different thoughts on Iraq:

"At the start of a week in which President Bush is expected to announce an increase of at least 20,000 in the number of US troops in Iraq, Mr Brown insisted he would stick to plans to "scale down" by thousands the number of British soldiers there by the end of the year.
"I believe that it is true to say that by the end of the year there may be thousands less in Iraq than there are now," he told BBC1."

Is the "surge" a replacement of coalition troops that will be leaving? The UK forces are primarily in the Shia south. If they leave and we don't take their place.. how do we withdraw?

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on January 7, 2007 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

The Plan--or what can be speculated about it given limited information--basically leaves much of Iraq to its own, with the "surge" focused on the security of Baghdad. It admits to the fact that there wouldn't be enough troops to secure the entire country, and that the focus should be on the areas of greatest importance (i.e., Baghdad).

Posted by: has407 on January 7, 2007 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

Hat's off to all (allmost all) contributors today. This was a good read.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 7, 2007 at 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

Doc --

much as the US would like to see UK troops remain in Iraq to show there is a meaningful coalition, home politics will enforce a significant UK drawdown. But the present size of the UK commitment means this only runs to a brigade reduction. Also, I think both the US and UK have surrendered southern Shia Iraq to the powers in the area. The Sunnis see this and it underpins their belief that the US is siding with the Shias. Unfortunately it also opens the door to Iranian influjence.

Be that as it all may be, this administration is positioning itself to draw down before the next election high-season, showing it has made its best good-faith effort, and the failure lies with the military not the failed politicos, their overriding of military and State Dept. advice, and certainly not the Republican party collusion in cheap warfare for political gain.

No surprise, I think.

Posted by: notthere on January 7, 2007 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not quite sure why above comment runs down the The Independent, a relatively recent arrival that has grabbed a sustaining proportion of UK news sales, who employ Robert Fisk, a long-term experienced Middle East correspondent and, to whom, they devoted a 15 page spread in one October weekend supplement specifically on Iraq now.

In contrast, the last 4 years, US papers have totally under-reported this war and have been underwhelmingly critical of this administration's total mismanagement.

Simply, General Wesley Clark would surely have printed in US papers if his script was accepted. My assumption is that, even today, the US papers are backward about stepping forward.

Your popular press is probably not all you assume it to be!

Posted by: notthere on January 7, 2007 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

Best I can figure is it requires a strict, militant Christian upbringing. Can anyone else find any other common threads to such pathologies?

Militant Republican upbringing?

Posted by: ckelly on January 8, 2007 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Funny how the core of insurgency is "surge"

Posted by: ckelly on January 8, 2007 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

Bush, like many elderly men, would love to 'surge.' Unfortunately it seems the best he can manage is to trickle.

Posted by: Tripp on January 8, 2007 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Gonnuts,

Cancer rates and birth defects are souring.

Good one. Soaring cancer and birth defect rates are indeed "souring."

But so what about the depleted Uranium dust? It is not like the middle East of Iraq have, I dunno, something like sand or dust storms to kick it up or blow it around. No, it has probably all been captured by the lush vegitation.

Oh, wait a minute . . .

Posted by: Tripp on January 8, 2007 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

re. surge/escalation - whatever!!

I'd summarize my thoughts on this great idea with a quote from one of my favorite Mad Max characters
Lord Humongous

"... what a puny plaaaan!!!!"

Posted by: True North on January 8, 2007 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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