Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 21, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

STANDING UP....Laura Rozen has more evidence that the training of Iraqi troops is not going well: on Thursday the Pentagon abruptly blocked a group of mid-level officers from testifying before Congress about their personal experiences working with Iraqi security forces. More here.

Kevin Drum 12:59 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (79)

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gee now, the pentagon wouldn't want congress to be tainted with the truth that mid-level officer might tell, just like early vietnam.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on April 21, 2007 at 1:08 AM | PERMALINK

egbert, they need you over there! Don't let your country down, pal.

Posted by: Kenji on April 21, 2007 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe it's because they don't want Congress to hear stories like this:

Trainers Skeptical on Training

Saturday, December 23, 2006
Los Angeles Times
by Molly Hennessy-Fiske

CAMP SPEICHER, IRAQ — When Gunnery Sgt. Scott Stalker, one of 5,000 U.S. military advisors in Iraq, arrived at this sprawling base last spring, he was training 80 Iraqi soldiers to fire and maintain their rifles.

Now his class is down to 25.

"It almost feels like 'What are we here for?' " the Marine told Brig. Gen. Dana Pittard, the Army officer sent to Iraq in June to overhaul the Pentagon's military advisor program. "Now the philosophy is 'Train who's there.' "

Pittard has been visiting teams at bases across Iraq recently, checking their progress. Other advisors told him similar stories. Progress is slow. Corruption and fuel shortages are endemic. And 75% of Iraqi soldiers don't show up for duty.


Posted by: trex on April 21, 2007 at 1:20 AM | PERMALINK

Funny thing is, Iraq used to have a working army. I hear some idiot decided to disband it. Fella down the street told me it's since found work.

Posted by: trex on April 21, 2007 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

If Bush were smart, he would just name the insurgency the Iraqi Army, declare victory, and bug out.

Posted by: Disputo on April 21, 2007 at 1:35 AM | PERMALINK

This is going to end badly.

Bush World is crumbling.

I think Frodo might have tossed the ring into the volcano.

Posted by: CapitalistImperialistPig on April 21, 2007 at 1:39 AM | PERMALINK

Or maybe I meant Fredo.

Posted by: CapitalistImperialistPig on April 21, 2007 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

more evidence that the training of Iraqi troops is not going well:

Isn't this becoming dog bites man? Let me know when there is some evidence that it is going well - that wold be news.

Posted by: craigie on April 21, 2007 at 1:47 AM | PERMALINK

Does "Pentagon Lawyers" = White House?

Posted by: TheDeadlyShoe on April 21, 2007 at 1:51 AM | PERMALINK

Hmmm. This conflict appears to have an endless supply of shoes to drop. What will be the last one?

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on April 21, 2007 at 1:55 AM | PERMALINK

Obviously the Pentagon would not have blocked them if it was all going swimmingly.

This afternoon, on NPR, they had an article about how the Army grades disabled troops, its variance with (lower than) pre-war rates and with the VA. Interesting. But what bugged me was how the Army representative was willing to lie through his teeth to pretend all was OK.

Obviously, as with being a US Attorney, you must be on the administrations message not looking after the Army (or the law).

Lieing, or "I don't recall" when you know perfecly well, is now endemic. What a country!

A few months ago (9?) I had a chance to hear a Lt.Col who had recently returned from a tour training Iraqis. Not encouraging.

Posted by: notthere on April 21, 2007 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

What's interesting is that they had to know that this would raise eyebrows and Congressional ire, and that it would likely end up in the news. And they did it anyway. So as bad as it looks, you have to believe that the real testimony would have been even worse.

Posted by: PaulB on April 21, 2007 at 3:05 AM | PERMALINK

from the original: My guess

My guess too. It isn't going well enough. Another "glass mostly empty" story.

Iraq did have a working army. It was loathed by the Iraqis. That didn't hinder its effectiveness, but it was harsh on Shi'ite pilgrims, and it drove out the Kurds. Not worthy of nostalgia.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on April 21, 2007 at 3:31 AM | PERMALINK

Of course the Iraqi army consisted of both shias and sunnis even if the elite forces were sunni, and their total disbandment is widely seen as one of the crucial Bremer errors, so to dismiss this as "not worthy of nostalgia" begs the question as to what value you put on US service personnel's deaths and injuries, and those of the the Iraqi populace, let alone the resulting expenditures.

Not much at all, it would seem, MatthewRMarler.

Posted by: notthere on April 21, 2007 at 3:41 AM | PERMALINK

Oh hell - It's 3:00 a.m. I just posted about the other fucked up part of this whole mess a few minutes ago - the sectioning off of Baghdad (read the ghettoization on the Sunnis's)

I'm too tired to recap. Here

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 21, 2007 at 3:54 AM | PERMALINK

Well you can see why Bush doesn't want nobody testifying before congress after the Gonzo show.

I mean, at this point, people that testify just make Dubya look bad. It's a parody, like Dahlia Lithwick's lastest on Slate.

Maybe Alberto Gonzales was brilliant yesterday—and everybody missed it.

It's parody of Pinky and Brain, cause I just see that perhaps Alberto is telling the truth, he really didn't know nothing because it was little Bushie that up and fired those attorneys, and Gonzo is saying "Bushie, you fire me and I'm telling everyone what you did".

Pinky and Brain always end up facing their own crucible moment, cause you know, maybe little Bush CAN'T fire Gonzo. If Bushie wants to take the blame, I say let em. GOP, who needs em huh.

Posted by: Chreyl on April 21, 2007 at 6:20 AM | PERMALINK

Go over to Rolling Stones and read the panel, no matter what we do, we have unleashed the hounds of hell. What have we done> Norma

Posted by: Norma Lampson on April 21, 2007 at 8:10 AM | PERMALINK

According to Bush violence is down in Iraq and our men in uniform are over there building a wall 12 feet high to keep the enemies apart when they live right across the street from one another, now I wonder what dim wit azzhole thought this up, if the Iraqi's can blow up tanks I wonder how long the wall will stand? Bush and Cheney need to go before they start another war with Iran and we will lose that one to.

Posted by: Al on April 21, 2007 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK

We need to privatize the training of Iraqi soldiers.

Markets are far more efficient that governments.

Posted by: CEO @ Halliburton on April 21, 2007 at 8:31 AM | PERMALINK

Don't blame Bremer for disbanding the Iraqi Army!! He was under orders from Rose Marie Woods to do so and then she destroyed all evidence.

Posted by: In need of a Valium on April 21, 2007 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

We need to privatize the training of Iraqi soldiers.
Markets are far more efficient that governments.
Posted by: CEO @ Halliburton on April 21, 2007 at 8:31 AM

CEO makes an excellent point. Indeed, not only should the training be privatized, but the Iraqi security forces themselves should be privatized.

We should issue Letters of Marque to Iraqi security companies to pursue the terrorists. There probably aren't many such companies now, but supply would follow demand. It's a law of economics.

This would definitely be a step in the right direction to help achieve our goal of democracy in Iraq.

Posted by: Al on April 21, 2007 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

Funny thing is, Iraq used to have a working army. I hear some idiot decided to disband it. Fella down the street told me it's since found work.

This is really the untold story of the Iraq War - no one - and I mean no one - seems to mention it.

As if the guys who are attacking us with really sophisticated IEDs went from knocking off the corner liquor store to producing shaped-charge weapons and mastering infantry tactics.

Posted by: chuck on April 21, 2007 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

Another read of this is that the training is going so incredibly well that the Pentagon folks don't want the enemy to know about it, so the new Iraqi Army can be unleashed on the unsuspecting terrorists in such a way as to maximize shock and awe, thus cowering the them into submission all the more rapidly. These Pentagon guys are experts at their craft, and we common folk should, absolutely, trust their judgment until the mission is accomplished.

Posted by: Martin Gale on April 21, 2007 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

Correct me if I'm wrong but it seems to me that Congress should be able to override the blocking by the Pentagon of those mid-level officers to testify.

What Chuck said is absolutely the truth. The disbanding of the Iraqi Army was the second biggest mistake of this whole disgusting situation. Of course the first mistake was prosecuting this war in the first place.

Posted by: In need of a Valium on April 21, 2007 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

Excellent point Martin Gale.

And when they take flight with their new ME-262s, ach du liebe - Our Geheim Waffen Division, at last.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on April 21, 2007 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

Disputo: "If Bush were smart..."

Hey, this isn't a science fiction website.

"Remember the rug?"

Posted by: Kenji on April 21, 2007 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

Princess Bush hides behind American soldiers.

Gonzales hides behind DOJ "soldiers".

See a pattern here?

Conservatives are a cowardly bunch.

Posted by: anonymous on April 21, 2007 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

Valiant, Valorous and brimfull of vim-and-vigor, as good 'ol JFK used to say, our victorious troops raced across the desert, driving our defeated enemies before us, until they had us right where they wanted us.

Has the US Army put one step right since the first mutterings about attacking Iraq were stuttered.

Posted by: Mooser on April 21, 2007 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Have you ever been on a job or a project that was hopelessly screwed up but you kept working simply because your judgment was that the idiocy would pass, the world would right itself, and quitting would cause more problems than it would solve? Everybody over 22 years of age nod your head.

Well, currently, the entire federal government finds itself in this boat. Piss poor leadership can filter down pretty quickly.

A couple of months ago, Gen. Tony McPeak said:

“This is a dark chapter in our history. Whatever else happens, our country's international standing has been frittered away by people who don't have the foggiest understanding of how the hell the world works. America has been conducting an experiment for the past six years, trying to validate the proposition that it really doesn't make any difference who you elect president. Now we know the result of that experiment [laughs]. If a guy is stupid, it makes a big difference.”

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on April 21, 2007 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

It's kind of sad to see the glee here when there is evidence that Arabs cannot rule themselves without tyrants. This was always an experiment. Perhaps you prefer the theory of Michael Scheuer, who wrote Imperial Hubris, that we will have to kill all the Muslims before they kill us. The Iraqi Army that some here recall with nostalgia was made up of Sunni officers and Shia recruits and melted away during the invasion. There was no army by the time we got to Baghdad. There was never a chance that any but a fraction would actually serve as a nucleus for a modern army. One reason why the present army members often don't show up for duty is the failure of the government to pay them. We are still trying to get them to be a professional army and that includes paying the salaries. I guess you prefer Arafat with his Swiss bank accounts.

If you really think the American people agree with you and Harry Reid that it is lost and we should run, why haven't the Democrats introduced and passed legislation to defund the war ? Then you would have your way. And the consequences, as they unroll over the next decade or two, would be assigned to the proper party.

Posted by: Mike K on April 21, 2007 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

trex

Of course only 25% show up for training. The other 75% are out shooting at our guys.

Posted by: tomeck on April 21, 2007 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

If you really think the American people agree with you and Harry Reid that it is lost and we should run, why haven't the Democrats introduced and passed legislation to defund the war ? Then you would have your way. And the consequences, as they unroll over the next decade or two, would be assigned to the proper party.

Because many Democrats, when they get a good government job, are as cowardly as Republicans.

Posted by: fyreflye on April 21, 2007 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

"This was always an experiment."

So Mike K - how many more American and Iraqi lives is "an experiment" worth?

What was the experiment supposed to prove, given that the people running the experiment have shown themselves to be ideologically blinded fantasists incapable of formulating a coherent theory, proposing a hypothesis, or constructing an experiment to test said hypothesis.

Posted by: Butch on April 21, 2007 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

We'll sit down when they stand up.

I think that's what they said about Rosa Parks, too.

Posted by: absent observer on April 21, 2007 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

Mike k

why haven't the Democrats introduced and passed legislation to defund the war ? Then you would have your way.

So you're saying Bush would sign the legislation?

We are still trying to get them to be a professional army and that includes paying the salaries. I guess you prefer Arafat with his Swiss bank accounts.

So after more than 4 years we haven't even progressed to the point of the government paying it's army? Just what are we doing in the Green Zone, anyway?

Your comments about the "glee" others show are even more off base than your understanding of the situation. If Democrats prefer bringing troops home to having them walk around with bullseyes on their backs, and you're against that, then you must be in favor of having our troops killed needlessly in a lost cause.

And don't just spout the usual "We can win this." This administration has shown no ability to win this war. So surge away, Mikey, the only surge is in the number of American troops killed. Hope you're happy back here at home.

Posted by: tomeck on April 21, 2007 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Mike K, of the many cretinous and absurd comments that you've posted over the years, this one may well take the cake as the stupidest. there is not one shred of intelligence in your 11:05.

that is, the only "experiment" this piece of adventurism comprised is an experiment in how many dumb things can the us government do when run by a joke. the poor success of training is not in the slightest a reflection on democracy in the arab world (and listen, big mouth: the US "experiment" in democracy worked so well that we only allowed white males with property in on the experiment and we ended up with a civil war in under a century, which is a polite way of saying to shut your racist trap).

and the reason not to defund the war today is because we want to see a sensible withdrawal take place.

we lost in vietnam and won the cold war; today, vietnam is an ally. so what's your point, mike k? other than to demonstrate how little you know beyond right-wing cliche.

Posted by: howard on April 21, 2007 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

This thing about "glee" hammered by Mike K and mhr and the other no-hopers is a really a pathetic last-ditch attempt to shore up an untenable situation. It's easy to imagine that, in Germany of March and April 1945, when Nazis hardly had the power to round people up anymore, the last thing they said to realists who had come to grips with their imminent demise: "Yeah, you want Germany to lose".

Well, you shitbag traitors, you made us lose, and you're not going to be able to blame it on people who simply had their eyes open--or opened, no matter how late that happened. So cling to the ship, suckers. It's going down. Just don't pretend it makes anyone happy.

Posted by: Kenji on April 21, 2007 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Mike K: You get high marks for complete intellectual dishonesty. Well Done. Very little empiricism intrudes on your world I see. What a complete surprise as darkness falls every evening.
The democrats want to save lives, prevent a complete American economic catastrophe, and are looking at impeaching your fantasy team. About six years late to the game.

Someone asked when Bush confirmed himself as the worst President ever. To me, it was when he allowed henchman to install him in office like some despotic Third World premiere in 2000. The proper thing for any real leader to have done in similar circumstance, for example a leader who actually cared about the whole nation, was to not accept so tainted an offering. The right course was to allow the will of the majority of America, a democracy, to have its day. He could have become a legend and would have been forever lionized. Instead, he proved himself a small and corrupt man, surrounded by enablers. He has done nothing in his life well, and has virtually no self-authored accomplishments. It is because he is fatally flawed with egotism that lapped long ago over the top to megalmania. He was the worst president ever upon taking the oath of office.

Posted by: Sparko on April 21, 2007 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

As I perused the headlines this morning I noticed that we are going to give apartheid a try in Baghdad. Hmm

Posted by: nutty little nut nut on April 21, 2007 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

The ultra leftist liberal lens casts every act of the poor GWB administration into something nefarious, conspiratorial and criminal.

The simplest explanation is that the project is so successful that they do not want to jeopardize its glorius achievments by publicizing the details.

Hail our fearless leader!

Posted by: gregor on April 21, 2007 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

God does the the shitstorm ever stop with these incompetent criminal fucks. Every day it's something else. It almost makes you long for the days of Nixon.

Posted by: Gandalf on April 21, 2007 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

The Green Zone is called just that because that is where the money is--it's really that simple. Money is flown in and out of the Green Zone to unknown international destinations...

One such destination might be the United States body politic...via...the coffins of our dead compatriots.

Posted by: parrot on April 21, 2007 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

I would like to reiterate the link Cheryl posted above.

This record reflects either a Harvard-trained lawyer—and former state Supreme Court judge—with absolutely no command of the facts or the law, or it reveals a proponent of the unitary executive theory with absolutely nothing to prove. Gonzales' failure to even mount a defense; his posture of barely tolerating congressional inquiries; his refusal to concede that he owed the Senate any explanation or any evidence; his refusal to even accept that he bore some burden of proof—all of it tots up to a masterful display of the perfect contempt felt by the Bush executive branch for this Congress and its pretensions of oversight. In the plainest sense, Gonzales elevated the Bush legal doctrine of "Because I said so" into a public spectacle.

Viewed in that light, Gonzales did exactly what he needed to do yesterday. He took a high, inside pitch to the head for the team (nobody wants to look like a dolt on national television) but hit a massive home run for the notion that at the end of the day, congressional oversight over the executive branch is little more than empty theatre.

Posted by: cld on April 21, 2007 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

"This was always an experiment."

Mikey, you've been smacked down plenty by others already so I'll make just one point. This debacle was peddled as an absolute matter of life and death to ensure our national security/survival by a bunch of lying incompetents. It was never sold nor could have been sold to the American people as an "experiment". This is Bush's (and Republicans) albatross for all time. Your feeble attempt to blame the Dem Congress won't fly - the majority of Americans are smarter than you.

Posted by: ckelly on April 21, 2007 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

...Has the US Army put one step right since....

Posted by: Mooser on April 21, 2007 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

They did what they were asked to do. Defeat Iraqi armed forces and unseat Saddam Hussein.

"Mission Accomplished!" Remember?

Everything since then is political judgement. You can't be at war with the populace of the country of which you are the occupying power.

That's exactly where this administration went wrong from the moment the statue was toppled.

Posted by: notthere on April 21, 2007 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

It's kind of sad to see the glee here when there is evidence that Arabs cannot rule themselves without tyrants.

A number of people have pointed out your dishonesty already, Mike K., but since "ex-liberal" raised the same canard in another recent thread, I defy you to point to a specific example of the "glee here."

Thanks in advance.

By the same token, since the reference to "glee" is clearly projection of how you wingnuts would feel if you were proved right, how does it feelto be proved so many times wrong in your faith in and support of this mendacious, incompetent and corrupt administration?

Posted by: Gregory on April 21, 2007 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

I am a junior officer and know many mid-level officers who work with Iraqi forces. Those officers do indeed have hair raising stories.

One involves arriving at an IP station and finding the IP officers in their underwear, smoking pot and watching porn on satellite TV.

Posted by: germany on April 21, 2007 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

germany, I shoudn't laugh but I did. The visual is just too strong.

You can't make the best stuff up.

Posted by: notthere on April 21, 2007 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

You can't make the best stuff up.

Though Ford knows Bush Cultists like Powerline and his water carriers here try...

Posted by: Gregory on April 21, 2007 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

here's this:

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1176152844073&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

There are other stories, all recent, about Sunni leaders cooperating with Iraqi army and police.

It is clear that the Iraqi army can not put down the insurgencies. The question is whether it can help Americans put down the insurgencies, and then "hold" areas with little American help.

This year, reprisal killings by Sunni and Shia militias are much reduced compared to last year, and most of the highly publicized killings are by al-Qaeda suicide bombers.

"This was always an experiment."

Not intentionally. Only in the sense that every enterprise has some chance of failure, and only trying it can tell whether you can do it. In that sense, the American attack at Midway was an experiment, as was the whole Pacific War. That was supposed to work, and it did. This was supposed to work, and it just hasn't worked out really well.

Posted by: spider on April 21, 2007 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

It's kind of sad to see the glee here when there is evidence that Arabs cannot rule themselves without tyrants.

To you I say Hear Hear! Sir.

Finally--someone gets it. A strong leader with the tools of the state apparatus at his disposal and the control of all aspects of the press and free expression is necessary to govern. A strongman, with a penchant for knowing when his next enemy may arise and when to launch a full scale invasion of a neighboring country in order to stave off unrest at home, is all that can rule the Arabs. How can anyone claim that is racist when that is what they have had, what they have asked for and what they crave? Can one ignore thousands of years of history? Do they have knowledge of the Greeks or accept Democracy as a theory of governance? Of course not!

Finally, someone has spoken the truth. We await the heel of the boot that will come down hard on the scattered tribes and unite them in a leather-gloved fist of power.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on April 21, 2007 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

...and it just hasn't worked out really well.

Posted by: spider on April 21, 2007 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

This is old news and we had that conversation here days ago.

No, the security forces have not been of much help. Notice the deafening silence since the first few days of Iraqis leading the action, or successful joint ops, or brigade strenghts. No, Iraqi security and police forces have not been able to hold areas without US help. So far this year, there has been some reduction in killings but they are still turning up at the rate of 30 a day. And when the Shia-dominated police are left to themselves seems like they want to help that number along.

You're right, there was nothing intentional behind this. The kid-idiot believed that every Iraqi was going to become a grateful Republican-voting citizen of democracy because he lives in dream land.

If you think the Allies of WWII mounted their operations in the sense of experiment as you seem to imply here, you don't know much. Probably the biggest risk of the war was mounting the invasion of Normandy, but even its failure probably would not have changed the outcome.

Here we are dealing with a failed state that we created, and shifted the stability of the whole region against our own interests.

And that's because they never weighed the pros and cons in any realistic sense. They never saw any downside to their actions.

And they still live in la-la land.

Posted by: notthere on April 21, 2007 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

In an earlier thread, I was challenged to provide an example of a poster taking joy in the the war in Iraq going badly. Here in this thread is a joke about the Lord of the Rings:

This is going to end badly....Bush World is crumbling....I think Frodo might have tossed the ring into the volcano.

As I said earlier, joy over Bush's failure outweighs grief over the horrors occurring in Iraq.

Then there's a joke about The Godfather

Or maybe I meant Fredo.

Then a snarky comment (which contains no element of grief)

Isn't this becoming dog bites man? Let me know when there is some evidence that it is going well - that wold be news.

A Rosa Parks joke:

We'll sit down when they stand up....I think that's what they said about Rosa Parks, too.

Points to Mike K. for seeing the same inappropriate attitude of glee.

Posted by: ex-liberal on April 21, 2007 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

ex-lib....i don't see an "joy"?

looks like you come up empty..

again...


Posted by: mr. irony on April 21, 2007 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

As soon as the right adopts the right attitude, to wit, utter shame and guilt short of self immolation over having caused the deaths of thousands of innocents people in the fiasco of a war of choice, the left will follow suit and stop adopting the 'inappropriate attitudes'.

Posted by: gregor on April 21, 2007 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

ex-lib...

now if you are looking for funny....well..that's hard to beat during a war...than our own war czar...oops...

commander in chief...


"Nope, no WMD's over there...(looking under a couch)...Maybe under here." - President Bush March 2004


"I have no intention of becoming a lame duck President -- unless, of course, Cheney accidentally shoots me in the leg." President Bush 3/28/07


good times....


Posted by: mr. irony on April 21, 2007 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

I really don't give a fuck what some jackasses with nothing to lose (except a tax cut) think about any fucking thing.

You fuckers support this, but sacrifice nothing. Fuck you.

I'm not gleeful - I'm pissed off. I'm not joyful, I'm heartbroken.

And I really don't give a good god damn about your tender sensibilities or if you are offended by coarse language. Let me say it again, for the record.

Fuck you. Very much.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 21, 2007 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

If this present administration took their responsibilities to the people and the troops half as seriously as they should, they wouldn't be so open to irony, sarcasm, pure jadedness at their obtusenous, and all the wonderful editorial cartoons of the last 4 years that have a least brought some humour to a very dark subject. Far darker than the would-be-king seems to realize.

And, you know, there never was anything wrong with humour in time of war, even if most of us aren't in it.

What you really object to is direspecting the preznit.

Posted by: notthere on April 21, 2007 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

Their loyalties are not to America, they are to The Party. How very Soviet of them.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 21, 2007 at 5:51 PM | PERMALINK

glee? really.. Glee?

You can tell a person's profession by their lexicon. Statisticians talk of p-values. Chemists talk of molarities. Athletes talk of contusions. Hacks talk of "glee".

Really, when was the last time you used the term 'glee'. Probably while you were sitting 'round the yule log, roasting chestnuts (didn't they all succumb to blight?), listening to the pitter-patter of tiny reindeer.

Or, if you're a troll, you last said it when Limbaugh starting saying it.


(I've got the Greasemonkey script working, which filters out whichever trolls you want to ignore. If anyone else wants help setting it up.)

Posted by: absent observer on April 21, 2007 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

No glee, just the knowledge that the people who opposed the war were right. Next time do you experiments in a test tube, oh yeah, I forgot that you guys also don't do science. So much for the neocons inventing their own reality-it tuned out to be millions of people's hell. Feel better now. Stuf your "glee" right alongside your head.

And, given the neocon love affair with AIPAC, isn't it interesting that since we already have Israeli guards torturing Iraqis in prison, we are now adopting Iraeli control methods like a wall.

Posted by: Neal on April 21, 2007 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

It is clear that the Iraqi army can not put down the insurgencies. The question is whether it can help Americans put down the insurgencies, and then "hold" areas with little American help.

See, the giant glaring hole in this argument that you could drive a military convoy through is that members of the Iraq Army also belong to the Badr Corps or the Mahdi Army. Some are diligent members of death squads or cheerfully plotting against American and British troops while off duty. Time and time again victims have described being attacked by members of the Iraqi Army, and broadly speaking they're neither trusted by our guys in uniform or the average Iraqi.

So let's review: by training the Iraqi Army we're also training and arming people who are engaging in violence against American forces and Iraqi civilians in their off time. Other than keeping political pressure off of George Bush, this is helping how?

Yeah, if Iraq were simply a good guys vs. bad guys issue it would be easier, not to mention that it wouldn't exhaust the apparent limits of your comprehension. The problem is it's a little more complicated than that.

Posted by: trex on April 21, 2007 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

I love the greasemonkey script - but some trolls just deserve a pummeling. ex-lib, neocon, emphasis on con, is one of that variety.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 21, 2007 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

I don't expect agreement here but sensible disagreement would be an improvement. Do any of you read anything except left wing web sites ? You might try reading the opinion of a former CIA agent who actually knows something, as opposed to Valerie whats-her-name, the Vanity Fair star.

Posted by: Mike K on April 21, 2007 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. K, you are a twit of the highest order:

This distancing was inevitable once the Americans reversed the disastrous tactics of former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld and General John Abizaid, which had allowed Sadr and his allies to become the only defenders of Baghdad's Shiites against the Sunni insurgents and holy warriors.

This is blasphemy, sir. The war in Iraq is not going to be blamed on Donald Rumsfeld, no matter what you and your wooly-headed liberal pals wish to do to a good man's legacy.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on April 21, 2007 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

You might try reading the opinion of a former CIA agent who actually knows something, as opposed to Valerie whats-her-name, the Vanity Fair star.

Bwa ha ha ha haha!

Yes Mike, why don't we read the opinion of Reuel Marc Gerecht, fellow at the American Boobyprize Institute and one of the Directors of the Project for the New American Twelfth Century, the failed ideological slam dunk tank whose cabal of former dungeonmasters waltzed us blindly into Iraq. And do let's read him writing in its own propaganda organ The Weekly Standard -- where both he and they were wrong about WMD's, wrong about the Saddam Al-Qaeda connection, wrong about how the Iraqi people would recieve their occupiers, and on and on and on.

In fact, if you'd like to know just how wrong Reuel Marc Gerecht can be, he argued that an invasion of Iraq would create a wave of democratization that would topple the Mullahs in Iran. Bzzzzzt! Instead it caused a right-wing backlash that turned a moderate government into a hardline one and caused them to go full bore into looking at a nuclear deterrent to invasion.

If you're interested in just how personally bizarre this guy is in addition to making a career about being wrong about the Middle East, you might be interested in the little anecdote on wikipedia where he addressed an audience drunk and called himself a douche in Persian.

Keep 'em coming, Mike, this stuff is gold!

Posted by: trex on April 21, 2007 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

trex, no doubt you have better sources of information. I assume you do not rely on TPM cafe and other high powered source of intel on the middle east. Perhaps you could share with me your sources. I'm always willing to learn, especially from one who knows more than the government. Perhaps you have a private network, something on the order of the Scarlet Pimpernel ?

I'm sure you excel Gerecht in your knowledge of Farsi and Arabic.

Right ?

Pitiful poor fools.

Posted by: Mike K on April 21, 2007 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K - c'mon back when you get this translated. Hint: Right to left.

یک شخص کورکه دیدنهابهترازیک شخص دیدنی است که کوراست

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 21, 2007 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

That 's one of my favorite Persian proverbs. Translated, it says "A blind person who sees is better than a seeing person who is blind."

I think of it every time you neocons spew your nonsense.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 21, 2007 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

I'm always willing to learn, especially from one who knows more than the government.

Gerecht isn't "the government" he's a PNAC tool. And apparently many progressives, military experts, and academics knew more than the government when it came to the false intelligence used to gin up a war and what turned out to be it's very non-cakewalk aftermath.

Putting your faith in the government is really putting your faith in a party is really only putting your faith in corruptible men with more often than not have less than noble agendas.

I'm sure you excel Gerecht in your knowledge of Farsi and Arabic.

Not at all. But you can speak Farsi and Arabic and still be a tool, and you can not speak those languages and employ critical thinking about an issue that reaches better conclusions. As all the pre-war claims and the doubts about them from the intelligence community were made public in English, one didn't need to speak any Middle Eastern language to assess their veracity, one only needed objectivity. Similarly, no one need speak those languages now to figure out what's happening in the Middle East.

Bottom line: I and others like me were correct about the WMD claims and the chaos that would ensue an invasion of Iraq, and Gerecht was flat out wrong. If he'd like to phone me I'd be happy to explain to him where his reasoning was off.

Next.

Posted by: trex on April 21, 2007 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

"Finally--someone gets it. A strong leader with the tools of the state apparatus at his disposal and the control of all aspects of the press and free expression is necessary to govern. A strongman, with a penchant for knowing when his next enemy may arise and when to launch a full scale invasion of a neighboring country in order to stave off unrest at home, is all that can rule the Arabs. How can anyone claim that is racist when that is what they have had, what they have asked for and what they crave? Can one ignore thousands of years of history? Do they have knowledge of the Greeks or accept Democracy as a theory of governance? Of course not!" I'm confused..are you talking about Bush??

Posted by: Neal on April 22, 2007 at 12:41 AM | PERMALINK

More here:

The Pentagon's decision to halt the briefing followed a memo sent to Capitol Hill that stipulated ground rules for "this and future requests for DOD participants" in congressional briefings. The memo was dated April 16, but Akin said the committee did not receive it until Wednesday night.

In the memo, the Pentagon stipulates that rules governing participation in congressional briefings vary depending on rank. More junior officers, for example, may only provide support to higher-level briefers and are not required to have their names in the record, the memo says.

The memo also states there should be no transcripts for "briefings and interviews."

WTF!? It was a closed-door briefing after all. Someone at the Pentagon has some serious explaining to do.

Posted by: has407 on April 22, 2007 at 2:57 AM | PERMALINK

Mike K: "I'm sure you excel Gerecht in your knowledge of Farsi and Arabic."

Maybe you meant to say "exceed". It helps to get things right while you attempt to sneer about things you don't understand.

Posted by: Kenji on April 22, 2007 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

A Right-Wing Rebuttal of common Anti-Iraq War positions

1) It was an illegal war and a completely unjustifiable war from a moral perspective. Maybe, but what the heck was Clinton's 72-day air war in Europe? Slobodan Milosevic was not a nice guy, but a long trial could not find him guilty of much. Saddam was evil incarnate.

2) The suspicion of WMD's in Iraq was all based on neo-con and Bush lies. To err on the side of caution is not to be a liar. When real WMD's do come out as terror weapons it is unlikely that perfect intelligence is going to warn us. Algore is called a liar by some on the right because he thinks the evidence of anthropogenic global warming is irrefutable. I don't call him a liar, although I am highly skeptical even yet that the Arctic is warming as much as claimed and that it is iron-clad "proven" that mankind caused this. The Antarctic, BTW, I am now convinced is not warming.

3) The consequences of an abrupt pull-out from Iraq at this time are not a significant moral or practical concern. Actually, I am starting to agree with this position. Barring an invasion by some outside force, the Baghdad government will easily survive an American withdrawal, barring a conventional invasion from Iran or Saudi Arabia.
At one time I thought that at least there would be a mass ethnic cleansing of all the Sunnis from Baghdad and Kurdistan after we leave, but I kind of doubt it today.

4) The failed neo-con war in Iraq leaves us in worse condition to deal with Iran and "real" terrorists. The judgment of history will have to wait many decades on this issue, because real terrorist WMD's will come out at some point in such a way that all talking points on Iraq will need serious reconsideration.

Posted by: mike cook on April 22, 2007 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Interesting juxtaposition from two residents of Orange County, CA

One position by the fellow who wrote the thread.
The other by one who responded with a post.

Now, one was intelligent and the other was not. One of them is a doctor - In olden days, I might have quessed the Doctor was the Intelligent one behind Door A. But, it appears to be the Computer fellow. How times change.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on April 22, 2007 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

To err on the side of caution is not to be a liar.

To "fix the intelligence around the policy" however, is to be a liar, and that's just how our British allies as well as some inside our own intelligence community described the Bush strategy.

Erring on the side of caution is allowing the inspectors to finish their work -- and not throwing them out because you've realized they're not going to find anything and that will throw a monkeywrench into your plans for an invasion that is a fait accompli.

Posted by: trex on April 22, 2007 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

A Reality-based Rebuttal of common wing nut Iraq War positions

mike cook: 1) It was an illegal war and a completely unjustifiable war from a moral perspective. Maybe, but what the heck was Clinton's 72-day air war in Europe?


to truly compare...first..

add up the number of dead americans...

iraq = 3300
kosovo = 0

then count the difference in billions spent...

that's a good place to start..


.

mike cook 2) The suspicion of WMD's in Iraq was all based on neo-con and Bush lies. To err on the side of caution is not to be a liar.


"We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons." -- Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, NBC 3/16/2003

LIE...

how do we know they didn't believe it?

simple...

1991 invasion of iraq = over 400k troops

2003 invasion of iraq = 150k troops

then consider this...

Unsecured Munitions Responsible for Half of U.S. Casualties in Iraq - Government Accounting Office 3/23/07

who let that happen?

.

3) The consequences of an abrupt pull-out from Iraq at this time are not a significant moral or practical concern. Actually, I am starting to agree with this position.

show me who says what happens after a withdrawal...isnt a concern, morally or practically?

concern, of course is different than pouring more blood and cash into a hole...based on another promise from the bush admin.

remember?

...greeted as liberators..

...last throes..

..as they stood up, we would stand down...

..we would stay the course...

..we were never 'stay the course'...

...enemy is al Qaeda..foreigners....

..terrorists.....Baathists...

...the war would pay for itself....

..it would cost $1.7-billion...

....100-billion...

..400-billion.....

"Sending more Americans would undermine our strategy of encouraging Iraqis to take the lead in this fight." - President Bush 6/28/05

fool me once...shame on...oh...the heck with it..


4) The failed neo-con war in Iraq leaves us in worse condition to deal with Iran and "real" terrorists.

too late..

"The overall security situation "will continue to deteriorate" in next 12-18 months." - Iraq National Intelligence Estimate 2/2/07

"The US invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism." - National Intelligence Estimate 9/22/06

...."the overall terrorist threat has grown since 9-11." - National Intelligence Estimate 9/22/06

Posted by: mr. irony on April 22, 2007 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Bush must think that he has everyone believing in his judgement on the Iraq war, but actually he is the most insane son of a bitch that I have ever heard. All he and his administration of theives and liars can do is stand up in front of cameras and lie their ass off, he does not want to bring our troops home from his own private war because his war is all about putting more money in the Bush family vault from the oil coming out of Iraq, Bush is still a theif, remember the Savings and Loan branches that he stole money from when daddy was president, just like the 2.3 trillion dollars came up missing from the basement of the Twin Towers after it was bombed by this same bunch of outlaws we have now in the White House. Oust these lawbreakers before its to late.

Posted by: Al on April 22, 2007 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

This Al goes a long way to redeem the brand-name...

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 22, 2007 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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