Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 13, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

MORE BENCHMARKS....I want to highlight something from the previous post. Regardless of whether you believe that Bush's "benchmarks" in Iraq are serious or not, Defense Secretary Robert Gates testified that we'd know if Maliki was meeting them "probably within a couple of months."

That was on January 12. A couple of months takes us to March 12. We should expect to see Gates back in front of the Armed Services Committee on that date.

Kevin Drum 1:29 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (66)

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Benchmarks.

The marks on a workbench usually stay in place as
reference points.

I might have my workbench marked with decimeter intervals.

I might have it marked with one inch lines.

Other bench marks might be dings from hammers (known as elephant tracks to us carpenters), or holes from drills that slipped through the wood
projects from above.

Benchmarks. Nice term but not really useful when it comes to Iraq. Especially when not every thing
is clearly defined.

I still say we have to look at what happened to Vietnam, the rampant corruption that flourished, the new wealthy who barely knew how to spend money spending it in as frivolous ways possible, partying, etc.

The same thing is going on in Iraq. Corruption is rampant.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on January 13, 2007 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Possibly one area of corruption from Nam is missing in Iraq. That is the extensive NCO and Officer's Clubs systems of graft run by former Big Red One NCOs from Germany - Extended all the way up the ladder on the NCO side to the Sergeant Major of the Army. Officers involved also.

The only benchmarks Shrubs understands are those on slant boards at 1600 where leather straps, handcuffs and other restraints were supervised by underlings.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 13, 2007 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

I'll be looking for some fairly crazy scenes from der Fuhrerbunker well before than including a
' Goldwater' moment.
Better warm up Marine-one.

Posted by: professor rat on January 13, 2007 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, call Gates back before Congress. Not to pick on Gates, but some accountablity is desperately needed.

Congress and the American public need some answers about the situation in Iraq, including specific information about Maliki, who is really supporting him (Iraqi military vs. a militia or two or three), and how his "government" is really doing.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on January 13, 2007 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Benchmarks.

It's laughable.

I mean benchmarks in chaos is fighting for the window seat on the Hindenberg

It's like measuring a street riot.

If the deaths of US servicemen isn't a benchmark, then what will be?

Posted by: maccabee on January 13, 2007 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/I/IRAQ?SITE=MIDTN&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

What is necessary is for the army loyal to the elected government to defeat the various, and generally disunited, militias. Part of the plan (that is, some of the benchmarks) is for Iraqi army units from the stable regions of the country to be deployed to the unstable regions. According to the plan (written by Petraeus [sp?]), units of about 2,000 or more IA are to me accompanied by units of about 500 American soldiers. The street fighting last week has US and IA units of about equal size. Recent reports from al Anbar province have been about combines of IA about double the size of US forces with them. The IA has units of all the major ethnic groups, Whether they can prevail in the upcoming combats is yet to be known, but at least the elected government seems determined to defeat all of its enemies, judging from recent rhetoric.

I don't remember exact dates, but the legislature has been in office less than a year; most heads of ministries have been in office less than 9 months; al Maliki has been in office less than 10 months. Almost all of them are people who were denied realistic experience in government under the Baathist dictatorship, and are learning while on the job. It's hard to know exactly what standard of governance is appropriate. Three years into the Revolutionar War the American government was a shambles; a year into the Civil War, Lincoln't government was in considerable disarray.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 13, 2007 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

It's a lot easier to get a handle on something and start the process of "setting things right" than is taking place in your own country than it is to try to orchestrate order from chaos in another hemisphere.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 13, 2007 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

A couple of months, a couple of years, what the difference when you know its non-starter anyway?

Little Bushie sez:

President Bush fought back at lawmakers opposing his new plan for Iraq today, charging that simply being against the strategy without suggesting alternatives was "irresponsible." He challenged them to come up with a better plan.

First of all Bush doesn't have a plan, and second of all, since Bush never listens, why not tune it to Sen. Carl Levin, it think he might have a suggest or two.

But first get some Q-tips and have Gates clean all the wax out of little Bushies ears. Bush has a hearing problem.


Posted by: Cheryl on January 13, 2007 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

A year into the Civil War, the Confederate Government in Richmond functioned like a well oiled machine.

Oops, Marler, didn't really have a goverment, per se, during the Revolutionary War. And just because a lot of folks got purple on their fingers, does not mean they have a democracy or ever will have on, or really care to have one. Democracy in Iraq is an illusion.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 13, 2007 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

"We have a new strategy with a new mission: Helping secure the population, especially in Baghdad," Bush said. "Our plan puts Iraqis in the lead."

Wait, you mean securing the population was never a strategy until now?

Posted by: Cheryl on January 13, 2007 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

The Washington Post:

Choices Dwindle if Iraq War Plan Fails

IF????


Posted by: Cheryl on January 13, 2007 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

First, they're still looking for the military solution on its own.

Call them what you want, but the assumptions upon which both tactics and strategy are underpinned need to be known for critical analyses sake, and goals and objectives known so that performance can be judged. Without these there is nothing.

What I also heard from Gates and Pace is that there are no contingency plans, sort of we'll cross that bridge when we find ourselves drowning kinda attitude.

That's precisely the thinking that got us where we are now. It's taken Bush 3 1/2 years to even wipe some of the tint off blinders.

MatthewRMarler, you seem to be smoking the same shit as the administration.

Posted by: notthere on January 13, 2007 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Someone help me. Rice was being smacked around re Maliki's effectiveness. I swear that I heard Condi say something to the effect that could always be another government.

Problem is...I was working on my second martini at the time (Turi vodka, shake the hell out of it, strain and add anchovy stuffed olives) so its all a little vague.

Posted by: Keith G on January 13, 2007 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Not too long ago making a suggestion like this was the equivalent of whistling in a hurricane.

Posted by: B on January 13, 2007 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Keith G -- yes you did!

Also, since Bush is asking his opponents for alternative plans, do you think he ever did get around to reading the Iraq Study Group recommendations? I haven't heard his reasons for junking it in toto.

Maybe Bush really is in the fuerherbunker as I can think of 5 other courses of action recommended by senators or senior reps right off the top of my head.

Ah, well. Must be nice living in Bushland. Paint you own reality every day afresh.

Posted by: notthere on January 13, 2007 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

the equivalent of whistling in a hurricane.

Tried that once, really did. Then a large garbage can flew by and the tree I was near went horizontal.

I took the hint.

Posted by: Keith G on January 13, 2007 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

So nice to see the White House going more feline. And to help the environment, all of that paper from the ISG for litter boxes.

Posted by: stupid git on January 13, 2007 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, Not, I mean I was stunned: technically one of the few OK things was the voting. Then Condi goes and gets all Rush-like and says we might go shopping around to find some one who will do what we want.

Posted by: Keith G on January 13, 2007 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

somewhat related, another non-pessimistic view of Iraq:

http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/DefenceNews/MilitaryOperations/DispatchesFromBaghdadASoldiersViewOnIraq.htm

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 13, 2007 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

The Washington Post on Saturday carries a front page puff piece on behalf of Sen. John McCain by Dan Balz and Shallagh Murray. The article is a gift that hands Senator McCain an opportunity to answer in a single forum for his continuing support for escalation of the Iraq War. The Post thus ingratiates itself with the McCain organization and undoubtedly will benefit with a few 'phone tips down the road.

Not so the photograph that accompanies the article. Here McCain in a facial shot is shown without the pancake makeup he piles on before the kleig lights and thus is revealed for exactly what he is -- a tired old man, a tired worn-out old man.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Posted by: art on January 13, 2007 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Keith G -- just another reason for the Iraqis to believe that they only have the democracy we want them to have, which in turn gives strength to all the dissenting voices. We've even started pissing the Kurds off now by waltzing in and capturing the Iranians who are obviously there at the Kurds invitation. Incredible!

Whatever the army keeps telling us about flexibility, readjusting their thinking, etc., someone at the higher level aint got it yet. But I'm sure the CinC loves it. "That shows those stinkin' Iranis who's boss. Yessiree."

Posted by: notthere on January 13, 2007 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

A year into the Civil War, the Confederate Government in Richmond functioned like a well oiled machine.

On the whole, the Confederate government was mostly more poorly run than the Union government, and never functioned like a well-oiled machine.

Other than that, it's probably fair to say that some governments have functioned well early after being implemented, though others haven't.

the government of England functioned somewhat erratically after the forces loyal to the elected government defeated the forces loyal to King Charles I and the aristrocracy. After deposing King Louis XIV, the French created a bloodbath and a 20-year military dictatorship. There are no exact historical parallels to the Iraq case of today, but that's no reason that the only standard of comparison has to be perfection.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 13, 2007 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

It seems to many of us that Maliki isn't providing the intensity of support we would like to see. Those of you who are rooting against Bush will think, "Hurray! Bush is going to lose!

Then you can daydream about the details of the loss -- benchmarks missed, troop reduction schedules,...maybe even impeachments! You can happily count the days until Gates returns to Congress to report failure.

Those of us who want to win are thinking about how to Maliki can be persuaded to provide the proper level of support. The key, IMHO, is making it clear to him that we are going to win.

What most Iraqis want most of all is to be on the winning side. Experience under Saddam has shown that the losing side is apt to have their entire family tortured and murdered.

So, I am rooting for US troops to be highly successful against militias, against al Qaida, against insurgents, and against the Iranis and Syrians who are supporting them. The more successful our troops are, the more support we will get from al Maliki.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 13, 2007 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

I would have liked it if Senator Levin had interrupted Gates at that point, pulled out his calendar, and said, "OK, let's see, a couple of months will be Monday, March 12. We'll see you back here at 10am, and you can tell us exactly how well it's going. I'm writing it into my calendar." Gates and the gang spend way too much time in the wiggle-room provided by inexact dates. It would have been nice to make him commit to a real date, or admit that he has absolutely no firm idea how long it will take to know if the Iraqis are measuring up, because they will continue to move the goal posts.

One-third of a Friedman Unit will become two, then a full Friedman, than another, etc, etc. It's time to start using some "benchmarks" with our OWN government, not just the damn Iraqis.

Posted by: biggerbox on January 13, 2007 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Condeleeza Rice has refused to speculate the circumstances where the US would tell the Maliki gov't when enough is enough. She has no decency.

It is certainly an instructive moment for us with Mr. Gates seemingly more forthcoming, and Kevin Drum is correct to associate Gates' statement with accountability factors down the line.
Bookmark that benchmark!

Thus far, the escalation rhetoric-- like the run-up to the war in '03-- has been
an abstraction...disingenuous, not at all straightforward or candid,
and far apart from the horrid reality of death, destruction and expense.

Those in charge of this government are extremists,
and we have to require accountability as we monitor the void space of rhetorical insincerity.

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 13, 2007 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

The tide is turning is this fight. Malicki has signed an agreement with Bush to tamp down on Sadr. The Iraqi military is showing a willingness to fire on insurgents regardless of their ethnicity.

A year or two from now, when Iraqi is a stable ally in the war against terror, I'm coming here and laughing at you.

Posted by: egbert on January 13, 2007 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

egbert has received bonus pay to catapult the propaganda of the administration at this critical time.
You should go out shopping today, and let sensible people converse here.

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 13, 2007 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Ex Lib, why are you supporting those who want American to lose? I figured you for a true patiot and not just a sunshine soldier. I am so dissipointed.

Posted by: Keith G on January 13, 2007 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

A year or two from now, when Iraqi is a stable ally in the war against terror, I'm coming here and laughing at you.

Fine. See you in two years.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 13, 2007 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Keith Olberman has another 'special comment' on MSNBC: "Only this president, only in this time, only with this dangerous, even messianic certitude, could answer a country demanding an exit strategy from Iraq, by offering an entrance strategy for Iran."

This from Dan Froomkin's column. If missed Keith Olberman's "special comment" on Bush and his horrid speech, you missed a real history maker. It's was Olberman's best.

Carter administration national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski sez.

One option is to adopt the policy of 'blame and run': i.e., to withdraw because the Iraqi government failed to deliver. That would not provide a remedy for the dubious 'falling dominoes' scenario, which the president so often has outlined as the inevitable, horrific consequence of U.S. withdrawal. The other alternative, perhaps already lurking in the back of Bush's mind, is to widen the conflict by taking military action against Syria or Iran. It is a safe bet that some of the neocons around the president and outside the White House will be pushing for that.

Dick Cheney of course, and the neo-cons have wanted WWIII in the Mideast, how else to get a military draft since asking for one is like asking for impeachment. Bush doesn't want ExxonMobil to lose those oilfield contracts, but oil poeple will lose them anyway.

Bush/Cheney attempt to esclate the war via attacting Iran.

Posted by: Cheryl on January 13, 2007 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Eggy, my dear, the cool thing about this simple statement of yours (aside from your normal typos - put away your boy member and use two hands)

The tide is turning is this fight

is that there is no need to consider it or debate it, as very shortly we will know the unvarnishable truth.

Posted by: Keith G on January 13, 2007 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Hi blue girl in the red state. Three day weekend!

Posted by: consider wisely on January 13, 2007 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

ex-lib: it is this side of delusional to believe the war can be won. They'll be readying thousands of body bags. Bush's dad tried to rescue him through the Iraq Study Group, but it went unheeded, and Bush the younger seeks out war with Iran and Syria. Have you considered enlisting?

Posted by: consider wisely on January 13, 2007 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

(*smiling and waving*)

Hi CWA! I had a 40-some day weekend, briefly interrupted when the Blackboard Academic Suite crashed. Classes resume the 17th and frankly, I'm ready.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 13, 2007 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

You have had a nice respite. (*smiling, waving right back at ya!!) We have a good rainy, damp day in Pa. to stay indoors and type today, knock these trolls around a bit.

Posted by: consider wisely on January 13, 2007 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

consider wisely: it is this side of delusional to believe the war can be won.

I know this is conventional wisdom among many liberals, but, what's the evidence?

Obviously many things are going badly -- particularly the large number of Iraqis, and lesser number of Americans, being murdered. But, how does one conclude that there's no hope at all that the war can be won?

Others who agree with consider wisely are invited to explain their basis for concluding that the war is entirely hopeless.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 13, 2007 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

How can we win Iraq's civil war?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 13, 2007 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

I think you have to cover the point spread?

Posted by: dbutch on January 13, 2007 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

egbert? Years gone by haven't taught us anything? This charade has worn thin.
Now they want to rekindle it and watch it explode?
There will be deeper, multiple crises.
They manufactured "evidence" before, and are trying with slogans to expand this war.
Before the original invasion, Senator Robert Byrd appealed, "To contemplate war is to think about the most horrible of human experiences. Yet this (Senate) chamber is for the most part silent--ominously, dreadfully silent. There is no debate, no discussion, no attempt to lay out for the nation the pros and cons of this particular war. There is nothing."

That is not the case now. Dissent is prominent. You appear to be in the minority.
Do you own stock in Halliburton? I cannot imagine any other reason you would support this horrible war.

Posted by: consider wisely on January 13, 2007 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

Beyond even Globe's (excellent) point -- how do we know who the enemy is?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 13, 2007 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of marks, I wonder if the report of a UFO crash in Iran was a U-2 spy plane or a Predator? Ya think?

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 13, 2007 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

I had something to say about confusing the Iraq civil war with the War on Terror.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 13, 2007 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

egbert? Years gone by haven't taught us anything? This charade has worn thin.
Now they want to rekindle it and watch it explode?
There will be more deplorable consequences as the conflict widens.
They manufactured "evidence" before, used fear-mongering for the faint of heart, and are trying with slogans to expand this ill-fated war.
Before the original invasion, Senator Robert Byrd appealed, "To contemplate war is to think about the most horrible of human experiences. Yet this (Senate) chamber is for the most part silent--ominously, dreadfully silent. There is no debate, no discussion, no attempt to lay out for the nation the pros and cons of this particular war. There is nothing."

That is not the case now. Dissent is prominent. You appear to be in the minority.
Do you own stock in Halliburton? I cannot imagine any other reason you would support this immoral and illegal war.

P.S. monitoring on blog appears inconsistent. One evening rdw, I believe, posted 10 consecutive times, with just one person responding to him.

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 13, 2007 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen): How can we win Iraq's civil war?

By seeing the democracy prevail, the insurgencies put down, and stability return to Iraq.

Insurgencies in other countries have been put down over a period of years. My question is, why is it impossible that the same will happen in Iraq?

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 13, 2007 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

As much as it pains me to say this, egbert might have a point. The tide is turning in this horrible war of occupation - only it isn't turning the way eggie thinks it is.

According to this article, the Sunni jihad is no longer against the Americans. It is against the Shia. Welcome to World War III.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 13, 2007 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

The Conservative Deflator: According to this article, the Sunni jihad is no longer against the Americans. It is against the Shia.

I don't understand why this is news. The Sunni insurgents have been killing many more Shia than Americans all along, and vice versa. That's why some call the situation a Civil War.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 13, 2007 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal:

News flash: The Iraqis don't have the tiniest clue of what democracy means. Like most people who've been recently introduced to it (and us until about 100 years after the Civil War), they think it means simple majority rule.

This is a culture, my friend, where the soldiers we're training bite the heads off of frogs and chew the hearts out of live rabbits as part of their graduation ceremonies. What does that tell us?

That this is a culture which values the strong and pitiless.

A culture which values the strong and pitiless can't very well be expected to have a nuanced understanding of minority rights, now can it ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 13, 2007 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

A culture which values the strong and pitiless can't very well be expected to have a nuanced understanding of minority rights, now can it ...
Bob
Posted by: rmck1

I'm not so sure about that ... now that they ARE the minority, repub congressmen seem to do nothing so much as pontificate on minority rights.

Posted by: Nads on January 13, 2007 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

A year or two from now, when Iraqi is a stable ally in the war against terror, I'm coming here and laughing at you.

egbert, t*by petz*ld used to say things like that three, two, even as recently as one year ago. He isn't back, and he isn't laughing.

Posted by: derek on January 13, 2007 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

And ours is a culture of war.

"Yet the wounds will remain. Arms don't grow back. For the paralyzed, there will never be girlfriends, dancing and rolling in the grass with children. The blind will adapt as best they can. Those with merely missing a leg will count themselves lucky...for others it will be less good.
A colostomy bag is a sorry companion on a wedding night...they will remember what their vice president, a man named Cheney, said during his war, the one in Asia, that he "had other priorities."
From Fred Reed's "Walking Wounded." amconmag.com, 1/31/05

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 13, 2007 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

The repeated statements "Failure is not an option" says it all, we are there for the next 20+ years. If we stabilize central Iraq, there is no country of Iraq to reassemble, certainly not acheivable by the "government in hiding" in the green zone. The benchmark of a strong stable Iraq is a mirage, that we will continue to crawl toward until we are bled to death.

Posted by: eal on January 13, 2007 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

What bothers me most is the oh-so-convenient blame-mongering directed at Iran -- which doesn't make a great deal of sense strategically but is a marvelous scapegoat to trot out for why we're not able to pacify Baghdad.

Sure, one could argue that Iran might well have a desire to see our nose rubbed in failure in Iraq as an object lesson of what happens when you press regime change on their border. But they really don't need to do much aside from sit back and gloat. The two most anti-American factions in Iraq -- the Sunni insurgents and the Mahdi Army -- are also the two most anti-*Iranian* factions in Iraq as well.

The shaped-charge IED accusation is shaping up to become the new Gulf of Tonkin Incident. Has there been *any* evidence that an obviously Iranian-trained faction in Iraq has used them against our troops? Have we ever had an engagement with the Badr Brigrades or Iranian Revolutionary Guards? Seems to me that the IEDs are being planted by Sunni insurgents (who got the munitions from al Qa'qa, the expertise from the IRA via the Palestinians and the cell phones, garage door openers and infrared sensors from the corner electronics store), and we're fighting the Mahdi Army in house-to-house searches with conventional munitions.

To the extent that the Badr Brigades is torturing and executing Sunnis, then we're being fucked with by Iranian proxies because we're trying to promote a settlement between the factions. But so is the Mahdi Army, and nobody accuses them of being in bed with Iran ...

Just wait ... an American casualty incident is going to be directly linked to Iran in the next few weeks, well before we hold the "new benchmarks" (same as the old benchmarks) to account ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 13, 2007 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

Bob--aren't there already kidnapped American soldiers? I heard that on NPR radio coming home Friday.

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 13, 2007 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1: That this is a culture which values the strong and pitiless.

A culture which values the strong and pitiless can't very well be expected to have a nuanced understanding of minority rights, now can it ...

Well, Bob, you have a good point. It would be quite an achievement to convert Iraq to democracy.

Still, in these days of television and internet, things move faster. Most Iraqi people probably understand democracy, even if they're dubious about it succeeding in their country.

An interesting test will come at the next general election. If the leadership is able to be replaced without bloodshed, that will be a good step.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 13, 2007 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

Most Iraqi people probably understand democracy, even if they're dubious about it succeeding in their country.

I am not willing to spill the blood of American troops for a "probably."

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 13, 2007 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

ex-lib: It has been democracy at gunpoint, with bloodshed. But it is not about democracy. Back in 1992 Cheney's dream as expressed: : Our overall objective is to remain the predominant outside power in the region and preserve U.S. and Western access to the region's oil."
Democracy is just a soothe word, to make you feel good about it all.

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 13, 2007 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

consider wisely:

I don't believe it was linked to Iran. The hostage incident I recall was about a month ago, and we suspected he was held somewhere in Sadr City -- a Mahdi Army stronghold and thus no hotbed of Iranian sympathy.

If Iran had *any fingerprints on it at all*, it would've been screamed on the front page headlines. Americans are rather sensitive to the taking of American hostages by Iranians, due to a certain unpleasant incident in '79-'80 ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 13, 2007 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

Dear Never-ever-ex-liberal,

"It seems to many of us that Maliki isn't providing the intensity of support we would like to see...

...My question is, why is it impossible that the same will happen in Iraq?..

...Still, in these days of television and internet, things move faster. Most Iraqi people probably understand democracy, even if they're dubious about it succeeding in their country...

Which exact planet are you on? And who is the "many of us"?

Given the polls in the US the last 6 months, there are not "many of us" that disassociate our cognitive agknowledgement of Maliki saying one thing and distancing himself from the same.

We all also are mostly quite content to see what is actually going on and the trend within that and conclude things are getting worse, not better.

You seem to have a remarkably one sided idea of what Iraqis get from the internet. Exactly how much of Arab sourced internet do you bother to watch or read? And how much English speaking internet do you think the Iraqis source?

You are an unbelievably narrow minded nitwit. Just the sort who are now in control and doing such an extra-ordinarily bad job. God help us all.

Posted by: notthere on January 13, 2007 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

notthere: We all also are mostly quite content to see what is actually going on and the trend within that and conclude things are getting worse, not better.

notthere, I hope you meant "resigned", rather than "content". "Content" means satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else I can understnad that you believe things in Iraq will get worse and worse, but I hope that's not what you want.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 13, 2007 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

not-ever-ex-lib --

Yup. I saw that on the re-read and figured people would figure it out. There is nothing about the Iraq war that I am content about if anyone remembers anything I've said, certainly not any unneccassary deaths, especially troops.

And I certainly would hope that this administration would grab hold of any policy that might improve Iraqi daily or future life.

Posted by: notthere on January 13, 2007 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK
By seeing ..., the insurgencies put down, and stability return to Iraq. Insurgencies in other countries have been put down ... x-liberal at 5:34 PM
One would be hard-pressed to find insurgencies that have been put down with or without permanent occupation, and no such thing possible here. Americans put down the Native American insurgencies but only by ferocious genocide. The US did win against an unsophisticated Philippine insurgency at a cost of hundreds of thousands lives and some of the most grotesque torture imaginable, but they ultimately kicked us out. Zionists have been battling in Palestine for over 50 years and haven't won despite being better funded and armed.

The US has zero interest in any "democracy" in the Middle East. The guaranteed winner of any free-election at this point in time would be anti-American fundamentalists. Stability will return to Iraq when the US leaves. It's that simple. The invasion caused the instability, leaving will enable the Iraqis to end it.

Posted by: Mike on January 14, 2007 at 1:12 AM | PERMALINK

Did any Senator ask Gates if Bush's new strategy includes dialogue with Iran and Syria as suggested on in the ISG, whic he signed off on?

Have the MSM described Bush as a "flip-flpper" because he was against more troops before he was for them?

Posted by: JerseyMissouri on January 14, 2007 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

x-lib: I can understnad that you believe things in Iraq will get worse and worse, but I hope that's not what you want.


but as an outsider looking in on the bush administration's actions...

it sure looks that way...

Posted by: mr. irony on January 14, 2007 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Ex-liberal--

Please sign up to go fight, if you think this war is so important. We're tired of people banging the war drum who demonstrate no knowledge of war, no realization that Sherman was right, no empathy for others.

In other words, put up or shut up.

Posted by: grumpy realist on January 14, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Mike: One would be hard-pressed to find insurgencies that have been put down with or without permanent occupation

I didn't mean the US could put down the insurgency as an occupying nation. My hope is that the elected Iraqi government can put down the insurgency with our help.

E.g., The shining Path has been active in Peru for decades. Like the Iraqi insurgents, they are utterly ruthless. Over many years, Peru has succeeded in weakening them. In any event, the Shining Path has not succeeded in overthrowing Peru's democratic government.

I don't think the Iraq insurgency can be put down quickly, but I do see some hope that it can be eventually controlled, particularly if Iran and Syria can be force to stop their support for the insurgents.

Posted by: ex-liberal on January 14, 2007 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK


x-lib: In any event, the Shining Path has not succeeded in overthrowing Peru's democratic government.


and who invaded peru and helped them pacify their terrorists?

Posted by: mr. irony on January 15, 2007 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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