Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 25, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

MORE WAR....Chuck Schumer:

I think Iraq will not be as strong an issue in the 2008 elections. I think the surge will fail and the president will have no choice but to begin removing troops.

Atrios responds:

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Iraq will certainly be the central issue of the 2008 election.

Please. Explain. This. To. Them.

To which I can only add: And Iran too. Be prepared.

Kevin Drum 7:52 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (63)

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Comments

And Madagascar. (mark my words)

Posted by: Wombat on January 25, 2007 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

As Jon Stewart pointed out last night, this crowd follows the Costanza Rule of doing the opposite of what makes sense. Or was it that they should start doing that? In any case, we should always prepare for wrongheaddedness.

Posted by: Kenji on January 25, 2007 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

And Madagascar.

Posted by: Kenji on January 25, 2007 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

Bush will not leave Iraq before his term is over. Bush doesn't care about anyone or anything except his legacy and not being seen as a loser. When will people realize he's not leavin Iraq? And if we are still in Iraq 2 years from now, how can it not be a bigger issue than it is today. 2 quick points about Iraq: 1. when has the situation ever gotten better over there, and 2. when has the issue ever grown less important in American politics.

One quick observation. If we go to war in Iran, I think Bush would destroy the Republican Party. And by destroy, I don't mean like say Herbert Hoover destroyed the Republican Party, I mean really destroy it so that it goes the way of the Whig Party or the Canadian conservative party a few years ago. The anger against Bush, even within his own party is growing, can you imagine what it would be like if he doubles down by going after Iran.

Posted by: Stuart on January 25, 2007 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

If the decider actually pulls tropps, then Schumer may be right. Politically, it would be very good for the Republican party, but I doubt it will happen. We've got the president's legacy to think about, you know?

Thanks,

Mike

Posted by: lord_mike on January 25, 2007 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

My thinking is that the increased troop levels in Iraq, an increase that won't "work", has a different purpose: it is to provide a margin of control that will be important when (supposition alert) the US attacks Iran. Then it is understandable.

Posted by: Douglass Carmichael on January 25, 2007 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

Newsweek on Iran's aid to the insurgency

Aviation Week on Iran's new missile capacity

Daily Telegraph on North Korean aid to Iranian nuclear program. Rice dismisses the report.

Posted by: Ein on January 25, 2007 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

Oh fun! The Iranians announced they purchased some super-terrific missile defence systems from the Ruskies. Apparently we're all supposed to be mad at them for selling the weapons, but the Russians don't seem to care. I wonder why?

Posted by: Soviet Canuckastani on January 25, 2007 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

Y'all aren't thinking big.

We know Bush's pal Osama bin Laden is.

What if there's another 9/11?

Or worse?

That changes everything. Schumer is not thinking. To ignore this possibility, is to risk maybe even giving Bush a third term.

The question is; will Bush be held accountable for not getting bin Laden? Or will FoxNews tell everyone that it was the Iraqis again?

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on January 25, 2007 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

This reminds me of the 25-yr-old SNL sketches about "Bizarro President Reagan."

Advisor: Bizarro Presesident, the situation in Iraq in hopeless!

Bizarro President Shrub: Excellent news! Send in more troops!

Too bad the Mandarin already used the Bizarro bit. It would really fit today's neews....

http://themandarin.blogspot.com/2006/02/bizarro-president.html

Posted by: TheMandarin on January 25, 2007 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

It's an old article, but gives a pretty weird picture concerning state sponsored terrorism and the "enemies of the United States"
Summary: Saudi Arabia is in the throes of a crisis, but its elite is bitterly divided on how to escape it. Crown Prince Abdullah leads a camp of liberal reformers seeking rapprochement with the West, while Prince Nayef, the interior minister, sides with an anti-American Wahhabi religious establishment that has much in common with al Qaeda. Abdullah cuts a higher profile abroad -- but at home Nayef casts a longer and darker shadow.

The Saudi Paradox

The Saudis are deep into supporting groups who have killed more Americans than Iraq and Iran could ever dream of.

Bush is protecting someone and it ain't Americans.

Profile: Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz

9/11 victims’ relatives add nearly 50 defendants to their $1 trillion lawsuit against mostly Saudi citizens and organizations (see August 15, 2002). The suit alleges the defendants knowingly provided money and other aid to terrorists, which enabled the 9/11 attacks and other attacks to occur. There are now a total of 186 defendants named in the suit.

-Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef
-Minister of Defense and Aviation Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
-The Saudi American Bank, that nation’s second largest financial institution.
-Bank Al Taqwa, for raising, managing, investing, and distributing funds for al-Qaeda.
-Mohamed Jamal Khalifa, bin Laden’s brother-in-law.
-Individual members of the bin Laden family, including Bakr bin Laden, Tarek bin Laden, Omar bin Laden, Abdullah Awad bin Laden, and Yeslam Binladin. The suit claims that in the early 1990s, Tarek bin Laden was the general supervisor of the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), a Saudi charity suspected of terrorist ties.

Monarchs

Posted by: SomeOtherDude on January 25, 2007 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

If Bush manages to pick a fight with Iran, I'll be pushing for impeachment. He deserves it anyway, but that would be more that I could bear.

Bush should have been more like Reagan and attacked some tiny little country that we could easily get right out of. Totally pathetic, but less harmful.

And BTW. We should hang Iraq around Republican necks for decades. They so deserve it.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on January 25, 2007 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

The Saudis and their allies within The Bush Admin have their agents cause trouble and the trouble gets blamed on other actors.

Posted by: SomeOtherDude on January 25, 2007 at 8:40 PM | PERMALINK

What the hell is wrong with the democrats? Are they so blind that they can't see that bush is as committed to the occupation as dobson is to gay bashing.

Posted by: klyde on January 25, 2007 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

Bush will never withdraw any significant number of American troops. He does not want to be the President that "lost" Iraq. He will leave it to the next (Democratic) President to do what has to be done, and for the rest of our lives Republicans will be campaigning against the Democrats who "lost" Iraq. Go back to the early 50's after China went Communist, it's the same story.

Tom O

Posted by: Tom O on January 25, 2007 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

He does not want to be the President that "lost" Iraq.

But the stubborn mother fucker is the President who lost Iraq, and there is no way around it. The confirming information is too readily available now, what with the Google and all.

It's a lot harder to cover shit up now.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 25, 2007 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK
Saudi Arabia is in the throes of a crisis, but its elite is bitterly divided on how to escape it. Crown Prince Abdullah leads a camp of liberal reformers seeking rapprochement with the West, while Prince Nayef, the interior minister, sides with an anti-American Wahhabi religious establishment that has much in common with al Qaeda. Abdullah cuts a higher profile abroad -- but at home Nayef casts a longer and darker shadow.

SomeOtherDude:
So, what do you think of this idea? Do you think it will fly?

My issue has been with the Saudis since the FIRST Gulf War. They've manipulated events in the Middle East for a long time, with the money WE give them.

I don't buy for a second that they're "bitterly divided". It's just an act. I think that this supposed "liberalization" movement by the Royals is a sham, designed to keep Western pressure off of them. At the same time, they buy off the extremists by funding these Madrassas, and hate literature, and terror groups posing as charities.

Their big problem happened when bin Laden was not so easy to buy off, and started to hijack the jihadi movement and direct their hate against the Saudi Royals.

Since we pulled out of Saudi Arabia, bin Laden's rhetoric has softened towards the Royals. I wonder why? I wonder if there are traceable money-trails from Saudi Arabia to foreign Jihadis in Iraq. I bet there are.

Our blind support of Saudi Arabia (and Kuwait, and Dubai, and UAE) is at least as much a cause of this whole thing as our blind support of Israel.

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on January 25, 2007 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

But the stubborn mother fucker is the President who lost Iraq, and there is no way around it. The confirming information is too readily available now, what with the Google and all.
It's a lot harder to cover shit up now.
Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 25, 2007 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

Cheney sat there in front of Wolf Blitzer last night crowing about how things are so much better in Iraq and how we've done "Great Things" there.

The 30% Bush "dead-enders" will NEVER be convinced that this war is lost.

I've got this perverse desire to make Bush serve a third term, and preside over the undeniable, and obvious defeat, so that even the dead-enders know that Republicans Started and Lost this war.

Don't you think that would save millions of lives in the future?

Posted by: Extradite Rumsfeld on January 25, 2007 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

The decider himself is already on the record saying that it will be up to the next president to get us out of Iraq. What is Schumer smoking?

Posted by: Disputo on January 25, 2007 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

The 30% Bush "dead-enders" will NEVER be convinced that this war is lost.

It's down to 28% now. ;)

Posted by: Disputo on January 25, 2007 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

It is clear that aWol wants to dump his bogus war on the Dems in January 2009 to spread the love.

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr on January 25, 2007 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

Crikey! Who's more delusional: Bush for staying in Iraq despite repeated failure or Schumer for believing that one more failure will make Bush withdraw?

The only way I can imagine Bush withdrawing before '09 is if the Republicans privately draft Articles of Impeachment and Boehner and McConnell deliver them to Bush as an ultimatum.

Posted by: Tentakles on January 25, 2007 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus Christ. Has Schumer seen the CNN interview with Cheney from the other day? The man sounds no different than he did three years ago. If anything, he's more confident that war is the answer, regardless of what pesky legislators and citizens might think.

At best, Bush will maintain the status quo in Iraq for the next two years. A war with Iran is about 50/50 at this point.

Posted by: keptsimple on January 25, 2007 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

Everybody watch this and weep.

Posted by: trifecta on January 25, 2007 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

Iran, oh brother! If we strike Iran, we immediately put all of our troops in Iraq in the southern 2/3 of the country in the cross hairs. We also might get an oil embargo.

As for Iraq, I agree with just about everybody. We're there right through January 2009 doubling down again and again.

Posted by: Greg in FL on January 25, 2007 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

"Has Schumer seen the CNN interview with Cheney from the other day?"

You mean the one where he said we replaced one regime with another regime?

Question:

Do you have to be war criminal to believe that bringing democracy to the Middle East means "regime change"?

Posted by: ROTFLMLiberalAO on January 25, 2007 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

Hogwash!

Nothing wrong with replicating the enormous success of the Iraq war in its neighboring countries too, though.

Posted by: gregor on January 25, 2007 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

Has Schumer ever said anything that indicated much in the way of insight, foresight, imagination? As far as I can tell, he's the Dem version of "Pothole Al" d'Amoto. I've never understood why Dems allow him, of all people, to serve as one of their de facto spokespeople. Carl Levin, for one, is vastly more capable and informed.

Posted by: sglover on January 25, 2007 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

trifecta

Excellent link. Very powerful images, gut wrenching raw truth.

We have unleashed hell.

Posted by: SnarkyShark on January 25, 2007 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, blue girl. In Karl Rove's playbook of endless fallback position, losing after you've already left the room is always better than when you're still paying for the microphone (in Ronnie Raygun's famous phrase).

Posted by: Kenji on January 25, 2007 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

If Bush manages to pick a fight with Iran, I'll be pushing for impeachment. He deserves it anyway, but that would be more that I could bear.

Ummmmm.... If Bush launches an Iran adventure, and Americans finally feel some serious repercussions (primarily economic, but who knows?) from our foreign policy, our politics are likely to become, ahem, very interesting. And I do NOT mean that there's going to be a nationwide wave of tolerance and liberal values. Legal niceties like "impeachment" might become positively... quaint.

That's why we've got to stop this.

Posted by: sglover on January 25, 2007 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

To which I can only add: And Iran too. Be prepared.

Sounds like a musical number I know:

[George/Scar]
A shining new era
Is tiptoeing nearer
And where do we feature?
Just listen to teacher
I know it sounds sordid
But you'll be rewarded
When at last I am given my dues
And injustice deliciously squared
Be prepared!

So prepare for the coup of the century
Be prepared for the murkiest scam
Meticulous planning
Tenacity spanning
Decades of denial
Is simply why I'll
Be king undisputed
Respected, saluted
And seen for the wonder I am
Yes, my teeth and ambitions are bared
Be prepared!
[All Neocons:]
Yes, our teeth and ambitions are bared
Be prepared!

Posted by: Keith G on January 25, 2007 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

Prominent Dems should start talking about how they are sure this president is not QUITE stupid enough to attack Iran but that if this president or some alternate reality president who just happens to exist in a largely parallel reality WERE stupid enough to attack Iran it would surely be an impeachable breach of what little trust there was that weren't governed by a COMPLETE and TOTAL git. And that they would then, you know, start impeachment proceedings. But they are very sure that this particular president isn't QUITE stupid enough to attack Iran so Impeachment Probably isn't something he has to worry about at this second. Mostly.

Posted by: hijjl on January 25, 2007 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

As chance would have it, Schumer just put in an appearance on The Daily Show, pimping yet another book for the remaindered pile. He demonstrated not one jot of understanding of the stakes vis a vis Iran. I reckon he'll do as AIPAC commands....

Posted by: sglover on January 25, 2007 at 11:48 PM | PERMALINK

Well T. Brosz and American Hawk never foresaw these disasters, did they?

"where have all the Chuckleheads gone? Long time passing.

When will they ever learn? When will they ever. Learn."

Scalia says we just need to get over the disaster the Supreme Court authored. "No one could have foreseen that giving a psychopath and an ignoramus the keys to the world's greatest country would end in disaster."

Heckuva job, Tony. Heckuva Job.

If the flag falls in battle this day, which democrat or republican will retrieve the colors and lead us? It is time to ask that question. Impeach, remove, replace.

Posted by: Sparko on January 26, 2007 at 12:17 AM | PERMALINK

Douglass Charmichael said above: ...the increased troop levels in Iraq, an increase that won't "work", has a different purpose: it is to provide a margin of control that will be important when (supposition alert) the US attacks Iran. Then it is understandable.

I completely agree, and have posted this before. We are now in the stage where the Iran War is being planned while Bush is essentially saying "there are no war plans on my desk". (Which is of course true -- they are on Cheney's desk). He will probably again ask Congress for a resolution to be used, like the earlier one, "to put pressure on Iran", "because dictators only understand the threat of force". And, in all probability, Congress will vote for it, for the same reasons they voted for the 2002 AUMF. And, in all probability, nobody has bothered to study the likely consequences -- as with Iraq. Syria next.

Posted by: JS on January 26, 2007 at 12:34 AM | PERMALINK

And Madagascar.

What? Are the lemurs acting up again?

Posted by: Pygmy Hippo on January 26, 2007 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

Nothing else matters to W. If the decider decided, then who can dissuade him?

You gotta remember that this guy thinks he understands things totally better than the rest of us, and for that reason he's always in the right and his dissenters are always un-American.

Impeachment is the only thing that could stop him from his stubborn path.

Posted by: Absent Observer on January 26, 2007 at 12:59 AM | PERMALINK

I disagree. The primary topic will be the economy. The housing collapse is starting to cause systemic failure in the financial sector. There have been 16 mortgage lenders to close shop in the past month because the high rate of default has caused them to go BK. By the spring this will be very bad; the SNL scandal will look like a walk in the park compared to what is happening now.

Iraq may be bad, but far more people are affected by the collapse of housing values.

Posted by: Walker on January 26, 2007 at 1:05 AM | PERMALINK

Iraq may be bad, but far more people are affected by the collapse of housing values.

True, Iraq is really an abstraction for most people. But if it comes to Iran, think Persian Gulf oil shipments interdicted. Think skyrocketing oil prices. Think worldwide economic slump, layoffs, beggar-my-neighbor trade policies, seriously crazed politics. That'll make the real estate deflation look benign.

Posted by: sglover on January 26, 2007 at 1:13 AM | PERMALINK

Carl Bernstein on our golden era ,

"Nixon and his men lied and abused the constitution to horrible effect, but they were stopped.

"The Bush Administration -- especially its top officials named above and others familiar to most Americans -- was not stopped, and has done far greater damage. As a (Republican) bumper-sticker of the day proclaimed, 'Nobody died at Watergate.' If only we could say that about the era of George W. Bush, and that our elected representatives in Congress and our judiciary had been courageous enough to do their duty and hold the President and his aides accountable."

Bernstein was also asked about the CIA leak case and the leaking of Valerie Plame's name, which he called "a truly Nixonian event, a happenstance not atypical of the take-no-prisoners politics of the Bush presidency. But it pales in comparison to the larger questions of the Constitution, of life and death, of the Geneva conventions, of the expectation that our leaders -- from Condoleeza Rice to Dick Cheney, to the attorney(s) general to Paul Wolfowitz and on down and up the line speak truthfully to the American people and the Congress. They have consistently failed to do so."

Posted by: cld on January 26, 2007 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

Why haven't Bernstein's words been more widely disseminated? And why are Dems so slow to utter the words "Worse than Watergate"? Just askin'?

Posted by: Kenji on January 26, 2007 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

I think Schumer made that point in an attempt to promote the theme of his new book.

Posted by: Rich on January 26, 2007 at 2:58 AM | PERMALINK

Kenji: "And why are Dems so slow to utter the words "Worse than Watergate"? Just askin'?"

It is a sign of how times have changed that you can ask the question!

I think the enormity of what Bushco has been doing over the past six years has been so rash, so unthinkable, on such a destructive scale, that it has been hard for our Democratic leadership to comprehend it.

It didn't help that Bushco ran smear campaigns against any voice of opposition and that their base gleefully neutralized criticism with accustations of "Irrational Bush Hatred Syndrome" or aiding our enemies.

Posted by: PTate in FR on January 26, 2007 at 3:42 AM | PERMALINK

Atrios is right, though not entirely for the reasons he might think. We might very well begin withdrawing troops from Iraq before the election, but that will not end our involvement in Iraq or the region. We are going to be there for quite some time, despite partisan disagreement about how much or where.

An attack on Iran is unlikely - right now it falls into the "too hard to do" category. What opponents of the Administration should really fear is the possibility of an armed intervention into Darfur. It's just the thing for the proposed Africa Command and a partial withdrawal from Iraq might just give us the wherewithal to carry it out. Politically, a successful intervention in Darfur might catch most everyone off balance.

Posted by: Trashhauler on January 26, 2007 at 4:44 AM | PERMALINK

What opponents of the Administration should really fear is the possibility of an armed intervention into Darfur... Politically, a successful intervention in Darfur might catch most everyone off balance.

Fear it? Heck, welcome it with open arms. Who would oppose a humanitarian success because it might (might! double might! almost undoubtedly wouldn't be!) be a political success for the wrong guys? But. It. Ain't. Gonna. Happen.

Posted by: snicker-snack on January 26, 2007 at 5:26 AM | PERMALINK

snicker-snack wrote about a possible Darfur intervention:

Fear it? Heck, welcome it with open arms. Who would oppose a humanitarian success because it might (might! double might! almost undoubtedly wouldn't be!) be a political success for the wrong guys? But. It. Ain't. Gonna. Happen.
____________________

Just so. Though it probably won't be just a humanitarian operation. There will certainly be some killing and it could involve a regime change.

Posted by: Trashhauler on January 26, 2007 at 5:37 AM | PERMALINK

War and fear of mythical enemies like al-Qaeda is all the Republican Party has left to keep people afraid and voting for the GOP.

Anyone with an IQ above room temperature is not afraid of gay marriage, because most know a gay couple living in their own neighborhood who are happy, productive people. While many oppose abortion, only the Fred Phelps minority want to legislate it into criminal status, since nearly everyone has a wife/daughter/girlfriend/niece/aunt who has had one.

What else do Republicans have to sell besides fear and tax cuts? And everyone can see the mountain of debt for our grandchildren that mindless tax cuts bring...

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 26, 2007 at 6:34 AM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile the Oil Price Support Plan:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?
pid=20601072&sid=aVrP62rXZWTc&refer=energy

Jan. 23 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. President George W. Bush plans to double the size of the country's emergency oil reserves to 1.5 billion barrels by 2027, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said.

The government this spring will start buying 100,000 barrels of oil a day to fill the stockpile to its current capacity of 727 million barrels, Bodman said in a conference call with reporters. Crude oil prices had their biggest gain since the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in September 2005 on concern that the purchases will stretch global supplies.

[snip]

The expanded reserve, stored in salt caverns along the U.S. Gulf Coast, would be equal to about 97 days of U.S. oil imports. It will cost about $65 billion, including $10 billion to build new storage facilities and $55 billion for the extra crude, according to Energy Department spokesman Craig Stevens.

Oil Prices Rise

Benchmark crude oil futures rose $2.46, or 4.7 percent, to $55.04 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

``The market loved it,'' said Adam Sieminski, chief energy economist at Deutsche Bank. Oil as up just 50 cents in New York prior to Bodman's announcement.

Bush's plan adds ``significant upward pressure on oil prices,'' said Jason Schenker, an economist at Wachovia Corp. in Charlotte, North Carolina. ``It would remove a significant amount of supply from the market. Refiners will have to spend more to get the available barrels.''

[snip]

And it sets off a race with China, India and Europe as they will be forced to attempt to do the same.

Of course, this will also put even more pressure on the dollar...but Cheney's clients in the Persian Gulf will still come out ahead on the deal which I'm sure is the point after all.

Posted by: MsNThrope on January 26, 2007 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

But the Saudis have already made their down payment for their surrogate troops (Ours, of course) to attack Iran. Notice the increase after the elections and the downward movement since Cheney was "summoned" to Saudi Arabia.

And, to Floopmeister, if you check in - Happy Australia Day. Or should that be Cheers, Australia Day, mate.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 26, 2007 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

Shumer needs to get a grib and stop babbling on and on about 'what Democrats need to do' all over the talk shows.

no one wants wimpy Democrats whining about what their strategy 'should be' -- or about our 'need to project a clear agenda'

Stop talking about it and DO IT. Democratic leaders like 'tin ear Shumer' need to project that agenda -- He should be saying -- We need a Democratic president to (insert goals in health care, environment, security, international affairs ) and stop acting as if Democrats have no ideas but only want to whine about ideas they 'should have'.

HOW HARD IS THIS. At least Webb and Obama have started talking about what we stand for and not what our strategy 'should be.' (if only we had an idea)

Sheesh!!!!!

Posted by: Artemesia on January 26, 2007 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

>>But the Saudis have already made their down payment for their surrogate troops (Ours, of course) to attack Iran. Notice the increase after the elections and the downward movement since Cheney was "summoned" to Saudi Arabia. - ThirdP

Um...a big part of that was hedge funds and other commodity speculators which were being forced to windup energy futures positions at very disadvantageous terms. This will probably be just in the nick of time to head off three or four Amaranth ($6B vanished in a week) sized hedge fund failures, too.

And you gotta recall that the Saudi's are gambling big time in Tulipomania...er...that is, the The Great China Bank IPO Bubble. They need the cash. What they lose at the FX window is more than made up for by the price increases.

Posted by: MsNThrope on January 26, 2007 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

Schumer is a much smarter Leiberman, he won't kiss Bush in public, but his policies and desires to kill Muslims are no different.

Posted by: Brojo on January 26, 2007 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

I think Iraq will not be as strong an issue in the 2008 elections. I think the surge will fail and the president will have no choice but to begin removing troops.

Schumer is a good, smart, and tough guy (when back in NY, I voted for him), but I think he is wrong on this. I don't think anything will force Bush to get out of Iraq except clear, legally binding legislation from Congress.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 26, 2007 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Extradite Rumsfeld: The 30% Bush "dead-enders" will NEVER be convinced that this war is lost.

I was wondering one day what it would take to persuade me that the war in Iraq was "lost".

a. Syrian and Iranian armies successfully invading en masse.

b. A congressional order to pull all American forces out of Iraq.

d. the next president ordering all American forces out of Iraq.

c. two aircraft carriers sunk in the Persian gulf, losing all aircraft.


working down from there, some less extreme scenarios might persuade me that the war is lost. However, I think the most likely scenarios involve long-lasting stalemate (probably leading to b or d) or eventual control of Iraq by the army of the elected government. I am pretty much what you would call a dead-ender.

The Sunni/Shi'ite ethnic cleansings are so far not so catastrophic as the Greek/Turkish ethnic cleansings of the early 20s, and in Cyprus peace is maintained by a wall/fence across the island. As to assessing winning/losing in Iraq, that (like the ethnic separation of the cantons of Switzerland in the early 1800s) isn't helpful in keeping score, but it shows that the ethnic cleansing following the end of tyranny isn't sufficient cause for nihilism.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 26, 2007 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK
Schumer is a good, smart, and tough guy (when back in NY, I voted for him), but I think he is wrong on this. I don't think anything will force Bush to get out of Iraq except clear, legally binding legislation from Congress.

I think that's optimistic. I don't think anything will get Bush to remove US forces from Iraq other than (regular or irregular) termination of his tenure in office, or his needing them all because he started something he can't handle in Iran.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 26, 2007 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

The 30% Bush "dead-enders" will NEVER be convinced that this war is lost.

I think this is exactly right.

The problem for the future of the Republican Party: that 30% of the American electorate is 60% of the Republican Party.

Posted by: frankly0 on January 26, 2007 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

"...ethnic cleansing after the end of tyranny isn't sufficient cause for nihilism."

But we're talking about defeat, stalemate or victory, not "nihilism".

Webb pointed out that Eisenhower ended the shooting war in Korea by simply telling the Chinese they weren't going to take the whole peninsula, and he wasn't going to try to take back the North. So both sides more or less stopped where they were.

That doesn't seem likely in Iraq, and the Korean example gets even more remote when you contemplate American soldiers holding the lines for 50 years. In Cyprus, Switzerland, etc., any ethnic lines I can think of, you don't have AMERICANS enforcing the separation.

So, Marler, your example contradicts itself: your notion of victory looks exactly like your notion of defeat -- we leave.

Posted by: theAmericanist on January 26, 2007 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

But what about Madagascar?

Posted by: Kenji on January 26, 2007 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

Schumer knows what is going on here, what he is saying he is saying for a reason.

There is only one way that US troops will be out in 2008, that is if Bush is impeached and convicted.

That is the likely result of Bush's planned adventure in Iran. They will attack with air power in the hope of a swift victory. Reprisals against US troops in Iraq will be swift and deadly.

The Iranians will close the Persian gulf to shipping. Nobody is going to risk their $250 million supertanker when the Iranians have surface to ship missiles.

Posted by: Phill on January 26, 2007 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

theAmericanist: But we're talking about defeat, stalemate or victory, not "nihilism".

I have been trying to think of a better word than nihilism. What's a good word for interpreting stalemate as "defeat" - "defeatism"?

On the day that the Iraqi parliament voted to support al Maliki's new strategy to fight equally against the Sunni insurgents and the Shi'ite militia , the NYTimes reports that support in paragraph 27 of a 28 paragraph article with a headline about the argument. A senior Iranian agent was captured in Iraq by coalition forces, and the news is that some of the Iraqi units are not very good. The Senate is working on a resolution criticizing Bush's Iraq strategy, but approves the appointments of Generals Casey and Petraeus. Everything and everyone is contradictory, but the bad news is examined in detail so that stalemate is protrayed as defeat.

So, Marler, your example contradicts itself: your notion of victory looks exactly like your notion of defeat -- we leave.

It depends on whether there is more peace or less peace after we leave. We had troops in the Philipines for decades, and now they are gone; the situation was bleak in the early 40s, but the end result was not defeat.

cmdicely: I think that's optimistic. I don't think anything will get Bush to remove US forces from Iraq other than (regular or irregular) termination of his tenure in office,

I think that I am frequently more optimistic than most people who post here, on just about all topics. I think that if we had all been blogging in real time in 1862, most people writing here would have taken the battle of Shiloh as proof positive that the USA could not defeat the CSA.

I don't think they'll impeach him unless he disobeys a very clear and direct order to get the troops out of Iraq, and I do not think that they'll pass such a clear and direct order. But they might, and I think Schumer is saying he's willing to do it.

Greg in FL: As for Iraq, I agree with just about everybody. We're there right through January 2009 doubling down again and again.

Maybe, but I think Congress is working up the energy to do something that counts. Unless nancy Pelosi comes back from Iraq and talks about what a great guy Nouri al Maliki is, I think that the Congress will start passing binding resolutions by summertime. I don't cite much left-wing press here, but plenty of people besides me are reminding the Dems that they have to use their majority in Congress to do something in Iraq that counts. Like the last years of the VietNam war, the public is closer to the war protesters than to the president. Remember that phrase "a decent interval"? They want a decent interval between an American withdrawal and a conflagration.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 27, 2007 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe for Matthew R. Marler the current situation is not one of defeat. But for some of the Iraqis I've met on (brief) business trips to the Gulf desperately trying to get papers to someplace so they could restart a life, it is already defeat. Admittedly, we're talking here about a small number of secular and well-educated Sunnis and their lives small potatoes compared to the importance of the States not looking like it's losing.

There is no good way forward and this was loudly predicted. I remain extremely pissed. Whatever leads to the least bad outcome for all Irasqis. Americans can take whatever lumps necessary to achieve this. You let this group into power.

Posted by: snicker-snack on January 27, 2007 at 3:26 AM | PERMALINK

Admittedly, we're talking here about a small number of secular and well-educated Sunnis and their lives small potatoes compared to the importance of the States not looking like it's losing.

Whatever leads to the least bad outcome for all Irasqis.

Kurds have returned to their homes, the marshes of the Marsh Arabs have been substantially (but not completely) restored, most if the Kurdish and Shi'ite towns and villages have elected mayors and councils. Business is booming in Basra. Even Sadr City has a nice new water system. And some Sunnis have suffered. Balancing the outcomes of ALL Iraqis is what this discussion is about. It isn't fundamentally about an appearance of non-defeat.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 27, 2007 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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