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Tilting at Windmills

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April 26, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

AL-QAEDA IN IRAQ....Andrew Sullivan makes the prosaic point this morning that we are "occupying a sovereign Muslim country indefinitely, against the wishes of a clear majority of Iraqis," a project with little chance of success and considerable chance of creating ever more problems as long as it continues. Then he makes a followup argument that gets surprisingly little air time:

So we should leave. Soon. Let the Shia and tribal leaders and the Kurds confront al Qaeda. It's about time they did. And they have as good a reason as we do and far better knowledge of the enemy and the terrain. Until they own this war against Islamist terror, it won't be won. And by continuing to stay, we postpone the day when they have to fight for their own country and their own religion — and win the war we cannot win for them.

Does anyone really doubt this? Putting aside questions about whether al-Qaeda in Iraq is really al-Qaeda — or merely a new name for the most extreme fringe of a nationalist insurgency — surely the best way to crush them is to leave. They are unloved by practically everybody, they draw their strength mainly from our continuing presence, and Iraqi security forces would likely decimate them if they were left to their own devices.

Yes, AQI's demise would come only at the end of a lengthy and brutal war, but how much worse is that than coming at the end of an even lengthier war run by the United States? Or perhaps not coming at all because this isn't the kind of war the United States military can fight effectively? Isn't it time to face up to this?

Kevin Drum 11:12 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (125)

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Who cares? It was written my Andrew Sullivan.

Posted by: JeffII on April 26, 2007 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

"Does anyone really doubt this?"


Yes.

.

Posted by: agave on April 26, 2007 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Leave? But what about Teh Oil?

Posted by: bleh on April 26, 2007 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, Jeff II

They're sick of me over here. How 'bout you take over for me and I'll head on over to Yglesias.

Al

Posted by: Al to Jeff II on April 26, 2007 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Say, Kevin, you'd better update your "Worst of the Worst" post from last week. Mitt Romney is quoted on The Politico:
"Why is it that the Democrats wouldn't even go on Fox, but we Republicans are happy to sit there and have Chris Matthews of the Carter administration, former chief of staff to (ex-House speaker) Tip O'Neill? We're happy to sit there and have him dish questions to us, but they won't even go on Fox."

Why indeed?

Posted by: Grumpy on April 26, 2007 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Satisfactory if it doesn't bring in Sunni-dominated countries (followed by Iran). A nightmare (with the US right back in it) if it does. Anyone want to bet their house on it?

Posted by: Tom S on April 26, 2007 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

Why not let the Iraqis vote on whether we stay in Iraq? It seems as it if should be their decision anyway.

Posted by: Everett on April 26, 2007 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK
Putting aside questions about whether al-Qaeda in Iraq is really al-Qaeda — or merely a new name for the most extreme fringe of a nationalist insurgency — surely the best way to crush them is to leave.

As I understand it, the group that became "al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia" was a internationalist Islamist insurgency, ideologically similar to al-Qaeda but not associated with it, prior to the Iraq war, and whatever association it has with Iraqi nationalism is a product of the US invasion as much as the name change is.

Generally, though, yeah, al-Qaeda in Iraq (and, for that matter, radical Islamist terrorism more generally) will only be defeated when it is defeated by the populations among which it exists. That's not to say outside nations might not play a constructive role at times, even with military force. But that is extremely delicate and risks becoming, as the US presence in Iraq has become, counterproductive if it is seen as an occupation oriented around imposing the outsider's will, rather than genuine, respectful support of local popular governments (or popular movements against tyrannical governments).

Posted by: cmdicely on April 26, 2007 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

"..Let the Shia and tribal leaders and the Kurds confront al Qaeda. It's about time they did..."

I think you're being naive in believing the Iranian allied Shiites and Al-Qaeda wouldn't work together Kevin. In fact, recent intelligence reports say Iran and Al-Qaeda are planning a Hiroshima level attack on the West.

Links

"Al-QAEDA leaders in Iraq are planning the first "large-scale" terrorist attacks on Britain and other western targets with the help of supporters in Iran, according to a leaked intelligence report."
"The report... provide[s] evidence that al-Qaeda is active in Iran and has ambitions far beyond the improvised attacks it has been waging against British and American soldiers in Iraq......."
Posted by .Al.

Posted by: iioweo on April 26, 2007 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Sullivan and Drum make mistake of assuming a post withdrawal war between factions can be contained. Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia will all have vulnerable proxies and significant interests in the war Sullivan and Drum seem anxious to bring on - seems a bit naive, and in an ass backwards sort of way not far removed from the wishful thinking that got us in this mess in the first place.

Posted by: saintsimon on April 26, 2007 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

our choices are (and have always been):
Kill them ALL.
Or learn to live with them.

Anything in-between defers the problem.
It's clear that we don't have the means, or the stomach (at least most of us), for the "kill them all" choice. I'm sure there are a few hardcore Bushies who are thinking "all we gotta do is use our huge nuclear arsenal". That's been the case since the 1960's. Folks like Bush/Cheney/Rove will try to appeal to this bloc by making noises and rattling sabers - but this is only to get votes. It must be obvious by now, to even the most dim-witted, that Bush went into this war with absolutely zero intention of winning.

Because he just wanted to jack-up oil prices. And his buddies at Exxon sure appreciate that.

So, if we're not going to "kill them all" - when are we going to start learning to live with them?

Posted by: bungholio on April 26, 2007 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

What cannot be repeated enough (and Pelosi & Co don't) is that Iraq is a hideous mistake; an enourmous bungle that is wasting our military and our treasure. The term "War in Iraq" should always be accompanied by adjectives pointing this out.

Posted by: Rula Lenska on April 26, 2007 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Excuse my ignorance on the point, but do we really know that there are not elements in Iraq sympathetic to the original al Qaeda?

Obviously, in Afghanistan, the Taliban were, and presumably are, pretty loyal supporters of al Qaeda. Why wouldn't there be similar factions and sympathies in Iraq?

Posted by: frankly0 on April 26, 2007 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

Considering that the US and Britain are supporting al Qaeda in Afganistan's terrorism against Iran, it only makes sense that Iran would work with AQ in Iraq for some payback....

Posted by: Disputo on April 26, 2007 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

We are in Iraq at the request of its democratically elected government.

Furthermore, I don't necessarily buy the contention that a majority of Iraqis want the US to withdraw immediately. The polls I've seen show a majority for eventual US withdrawal. I've not seen majorities calling for withdrawal now.

Posted by: ex-liberal on April 26, 2007 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Now that you mention it: Newsweek has something that's, well, way beyond interesting:

"One senior administration official with extensive knowledge of the region, who didn’t want to be identified discussing sensitive policy matters, tells NEWSWEEK that the chances of a regional war in Iraq are low in the event of a U.S. withdrawal. When asked if a regional war would break out, the official said: “Possibly, not probably. It’s more likely that other powers would support their favorite militias, as they’re doing already.”

"The senior official said the genocidal bloodbath that Sen. John McCain outlined recently was also unlikely, pointing to the militias’ ability to secure their own neighborhoods after the attack on the Golden Mosque in Samarra in early 2006. (The official’s main concern: the Iraqi government’s failure to unify the nation and address the root cause of sectarian conflict. “Both the Sunni and Shia are too afraid of each other,” the official said.)

"Bush’s argument that Al Qaeda will use Iraq as a safe haven to plot new 9/11-style attacks if the United States pulls out is problematic, too. Osama bin Laden already has a safe haven to plot new attacks in the tribal areas of Pakistan. Gen. Michael Hayden, the CIA director, told senators last year that the border area of Pakistan was a “physical safe haven” that Al Qaeda used as a base to attack Afghanistan. That area is also the likely home of bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, General Hayden added."


Posted by: penalcolony on April 26, 2007 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

"ex-liberal" wrote: We are in Iraq at the request of its democratically elected government.

Just like Vietnam... [eyeroll]

Posted by: Gregory on April 26, 2007 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Let the Shia and tribal leaders and the Kurds confront al Qaeda.

But then they'd be killing each other and we'd have to admit we made a mistake.

Posted by: tomeck on April 26, 2007 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

The reason is obvious - either Al-Quiada wins or Iran wins. Either way we lose. Of course we lost on the day we invaded as Saddam was the only barrier to those two forces. So the real question is do we leave now with "only" 3000-some dead or do we wait a few more years and try to top Vietnam for stupid reasons to die? Either way millions of Iraqis are going to die because the nation was going to be in bloody upheaval with or without us. We can not stop that without a million more troops and the sort of brutal mentality that allowed Saddam to kill a few thousand for an example.

Posted by: Mark in Minnesota on April 26, 2007 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone really doubt this? yes.

"They are unloved by practically everybody," - OK
"they draw their strength mainly from our continuing presence," - Sure, Whatever
"and Iraqi security forces would likely decimate them if they were left to their own devices." HUH?????

Does anyone really believe THAT? With no real central government to speak of? Who gives orders? Who keeps different units of the Iraqi forces from fighting against each other?

This is just a rationalization for withdrawal, to save our own asses, come what may for the Iraqis, let them fend for themselves...

Posted by: weis on April 26, 2007 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

. . . who didn’t want to be identified discussing sensitive policy matters, tells NEWSWEEK that the chances of a regional war in Iraq are low in the event of a U.S. withdrawal. When asked if a regional war would break out, . . .

First of all, and I don't have time to waste on the Newsweek web site (I save that for my first love, PA), what's he talking about, regional war (as in Greater Gulf region) or regional war within Iraq? As the country hasn't been divided into and doesn't exist in distinct regions, save for the de facto Kurdish north, a regional war, by definition, would be Kurdistan vs. the rest of Iraq. Otherwise, though the Shia are in the minority throughout the country, there are no such things as distinctly Shia and Sunni regions. Then there is the hodge-podge that is Baghdad.

"The senior official said the genocidal bloodbath that Sen. John McCain outlined recently was also unlikely, pointing to the militias’ ability to secure their own neighborhoods after the attack on the Golden Mosque in Samarra in early 2006. Posted by: penalcolony

No. The reason there hasn't been this kind of a "bloodbath" is the presence of the American military. While it really doesn't control any place, apparently including the Green Zone, it possesses a lot more fire power and logistics. These don't provide that much of an advantage against guerrilla activity, but it still means that our mere prickly presence keeps things from boiling over.


Posted by: JeffII on April 26, 2007 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

The comic thing (and by comic I mean "despairing") is that nobody knows what the war is being fought about. At first, I truly believe it was entirely for Republican domestic advantage. That turned out well. Once that rationale went sour, the only thing that makes sense is that George Bush has started to believe his own PR and that the war is being continued simply to fan his vanity. Winston Churchill in cowboy boots! The rationale for the war gone from obscenely cynical to lunatic.

If this were truly Ancient Rome, as the Federalist Society wishes, a cohort of men in tunics would have long since visited the crazed and impotent emperor and set that goonybird's clock back a couple or three hours.

If this were movie-land Transylvania -- as it appears from the outside -- a ragtag batch of peasants with braids of garlics, flaming torches, and upraised pitchforks would have surrounded the White House where a comet-bearded priest would perform an exoricism.

Do we get any of the interesting scenarios? No, damn it. (Although O'Reilly going starkers is grim fun once in awhile.)

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on April 26, 2007 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

As I understand it, the group that became "al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia" was a internationalist Islamist insurgency, ideologically similar to al-Qaeda but not associated with it, prior to the Iraq war, and whatever association it has with Iraqi nationalism is a product of the US invasion as much as the name change is.

Essentially. AQiI is Salafist, much like AQ proper, and it existed--under different names--prior to the U.S. invasion. Its operational and financial associations with AQ proper are tenuous at best, however, as it is jihadist propaganda websites that have alleged such links. But AQiI is definately *not* an Arab nationalism group, as Salifism proffers itself specifically as an alternative to Arab nationalism.

AQiI is now a major component of the insurgency, but it is no more a creature of AQ proper than a skinhead group in Skokie, Illinois is a creature of an ultra-right political party in Germany. Corellation of beliefs across national borders does not an international phenomenon make.

Posted by: Andrew Wyatt on April 26, 2007 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

occupying a sovereign Muslim country indefinitely, against the wishes of a clear majority of Iraqis,

and that this facilitates and plays into the hands of Al Qaeda and their growth.

This simple fact, that is virtually ignored by the right, simply amazes me. I do think that there is a segment of the hawks that know this but condone it as it makes it possible for endless war...gotta love that flow of American Taxpayer money.

Posted by: Simp on April 26, 2007 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory, you bring up the example of Vietnam. Of course no parallel is perfect, but I will remind you that after we withdrew from Vietnam, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese were killed and millions of Cambodians were killed. Aren't you worried about a similar bloodbath in Iraq?

Posted by: ex-liberal on April 26, 2007 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

First of all, the Iraqis aren't able to defeat al Qaeda without some help. That's exactly what the Anbar Salvation Council is trying to do - defeat al Qaeda - and they repeatedly insist that they need more support in order to do so. Probably partly becuase al Qaeda gets all that foreign funding, so without comparable support the ones fighting al Qaeda will eventually be worn down and destroyed.

Secondly, the report claming that there wouldn't be serious fighting between the sects seems to have conveniently overlooked the fact that we were finding something like fifty bodes A Day from Shiite death squads. Which the Sunni retaliated for by conducting large scale bombings. That's what caused Iraq to degenerate so badly the past year...so what the hell was this guy talking about, by claiming that the militias weren't going to slaughter each other?

No wonder the soldiers I work with stopped paying attention to the news - they keep putting out such utter crap.

Posted by: K on April 26, 2007 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

The Shia miltias would make short work of AQ in Iraq, along with the Sunni insurgency. These aren't your father's Shia militias.

For a somewhat contrary argument, see yesterday's LA Times. The article discusses divides within the Baathist element of the insurgency.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-baath25apr25,0,7078197.story

Posted by: mkultra on April 26, 2007 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Aren't you worried about a similar bloodbath in Iraq?

"ex-liberal," you keep harping on this talking point. But aside from the fact that no one is impressed with your crocodile tears about the Iraqi people, and aside from that fact that this bloodshed will be squarely the fault of Bush and you neocon jackasses who demanded this war, the fact remains that thousands of Iraqis are already being killed in this civil war, Bush's incompetent occupation has shown over four years of bloodshed that it's powerless to stop it, and moreover, American lives are bing lost in this futile effort.

Yes, there will be Iraqi deaths if the US withdraws, just as there are now. The difference is there won't be American soldier losing their lives. Why are you so eager to see Americans shed their blood in Iraq as well?

Oh, wait, I know -- it isn't the blood of you or yours being shed.

Tool.

Furthermore, your point about "millions of Cambodians" being killed is disingenuous -- surprise, surprise! -- since the Cambodian regime was destabilized due to Nixon's illegal war there. It's a transparent attempt to bolster your potential body count to make the consequences of withdrawal seem worse than staying, and it stinks on ice. But surely you aren't agreeing that Bush's war on Iraq was illegal?

You're right that no parallel is perfect, ex-liberal," but I'll tell you this -- Iraq is going to be an albatross around the necks of Bush and you bloodthirsty neocons for a generation.

The American people have decided that they have no interest in continuing to waste American lives and treasure in a futile effort to moderate an ongoing civil war. Your talking point about Iraqi casualties is bogus and utterly without merit. But then, you know that. You don't comment here in good faith. One wonders why you do comment here?

Posted by: Gregory on April 26, 2007 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

We need to leave. All we have the power to do is to reshuffle the deck for another 20 months. However, events on the ground may get out of control no matter what we do before those 20 months are up.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on April 26, 2007 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

The whole piece is the best analysis of the political situation concerning Iraq and Al Qaeda that I've seen in a long time!

Posted by: Jörgen in Germany on April 26, 2007 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone really doubt this? Putting aside questions about whether al-Qaeda in Iraq is really al-Qaeda — or merely a new name for the most extreme fringe of a nationalist insurgency — surely the best way to crush them is to leave. They are unloved by practically everybody, they draw their strength mainly from our continuing presence, and Iraqi security forces would likely decimate them if they were left to their own devices.

I wish I considered this as obvious as you. It would make the hard decisions about what is the best for Iraq and the US so simple. The fact that you think this is obvious makes me lose respect for you and your opinions. The idea that any American, espeically one who lives in the surreal world of Newport Beach CA, can come to such easy conclusions about the difficult situations in the Middle East is the outcome of a juvenile view of the real world, religious extremism and the reality of third world living.

Posted by: John Hansen on April 26, 2007 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

The whole piece is the best analysis of the political situation concerning Iraq and Al Qaeda that I've seen in a long time! Posted by: Jörgen in Germany

I guess none of us had any idea that the press was that bad in Germany. I'm sure lots of us would gladly help pay for Andy's plane ticket, one-way, if you think he'd find a gullible, er, I mean willing audience there.

Posted by: JeffII on April 26, 2007 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK
Of course no parallel is perfect, but I will remind you that after we withdrew from Vietnam, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese were killed and millions of Cambodians were killed. Aren't you worried about a similar bloodbath in Iraq?

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed since and because of our invasion.

People worried about that kind of bloodbath wouldn't have started the war. We're going to leave Iraq eventually, and since, administration propaganda aside, our presence is making conditions worse, not better, even if there is likely to be a spike in violence when we leave (which may be a reasonable belief), all we're doing by delaying our departure is making that eventual spike worse.

The bad consequences are all the inevitable results of the wrong that has been done thus far in Iraq.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 26, 2007 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely: People worried about that kind of bloodbath wouldn't have started the war.

First of all conditions in Iraq under Saddam were atrocious. Saddam's misrule and the wars he started killed millions. Who knows how many more would have died had he remained in power?

Secondly, the people who started this war probably didn't anticipate the level of bloodshed. Perhaps they should have done.

Third, the argument that we're going to have to leave Iraq some day doesn't address how long we'll be there. WW2 ended 60 years ago, but we still have troops in Europe.

Fourth - if our presence is making conditions worse, then I agree that we should leave. But, I see us making conditons better:

-- our troops are caturing and killing terrorists,

-- our troops are discovering terrorist plots before they can be hatched,

-- our trooops are helping to prevent a civil war between Sunnis and Shias.

-- we are training Iraqi military and police to better fight agaisnt terrorists

-- rebuilding projects, such as schools, hospitals, oil facilities, power facilities, etc. make Iraqis more self-sustaining.

-- our government is encouraging the government of Iraq to be more active in support of the entire populace (e.g., sharing the oil revenue with all).

These seem to me to be helpful steps that are making conditions better.

Posted by: ex-liberal on April 26, 2007 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

JeffII and John Hansen, how do you like pie?

Posted by: absent observer on April 26, 2007 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely: Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed...because of our invasion.

Let's be clear on why these people were killed. Iraq had been ruled by a merciless dictator who killed and tortured hundreds of thousands in order to maintain his misrule. Now that he's been overthrown, other groups are seeking to gain power by emulating Saddam's carnage.

Do we want a world where the most barbaric groups rule, simply because they're willing to commit the most mayhem and kill the most people? I don't. If that's to be avoided, then we must fight against these killers, even though the costs are high.

In the days when I was a liberal, it bothered us liberals when the State Department favored continuing a facistic dictatorship for the sake of stability or because he was "our" dictator. Liberals today ought to be on the side of getting a successful democratic government into Iraq. JFK and Woodrow Wilson would have been on that side. Bush-hatred has blinded liberals to their proper role.

Posted by: ex-liberal on April 26, 2007 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK
First of all conditions in Iraq under Saddam were atrocious.

Yeah, so? Our invasion has not worked a net improvement in conditions, so clearly cannot be justified on humanitarian grounds, further, it was not in response to an actual or imminent attack, so it cannot be justified on defensive grounds.

Secondly, the people who started this war probably didn't anticipate the level of bloodshed.

Incompetence is not a defense.


Third, the argument that we're going to have to leave Iraq some day doesn't address how long we'll be there.

Yes, actually, the argument I made did address how long we should be there.

WW2 ended 60 years ago, but we still have troops in Europe.

True, but irrelevant. We had troops in Europe first for combat against the Axis Powers, and secondly for post-war stabilization and finally defense of the nations our troops were in against other powers. During the post-war stabilization those troops were contributing positively to conditions, so keeping them there made sense.

In Iraq, after the war against Iraq, our troops are there nominally for stablization and defense of Iraq against outside forces. However, our troops are manifestly not contributing to improving overall conditions or political stability, and therefore are not serving the purposes that they are present for.

The situations are not parallel.


Fourth - if our presence is making conditions worse, then I agree that we should leave. But, I see us making conditons better:

-- our troops are caturing and killing terrorists,

Our troops are motivating and creating terrorists. That they are capturing and killing a few of them isn't causing a decrease in the number, success, or cost of the terrorist attacks, and therefore is not improving conditions.

-- our troops are discovering terrorist plots before they can be hatched,

And motivating others which they do not catch before they are hatched with deadly results. Again, our troops are not contributing to a net decrease in such attacks or the harms inflicted by them.


-- our trooops are helping to prevent a civil war between Sunnis and Shias.

A credible contention only if one ignores the civil war taking place.

-- we are training Iraqi military and police to better fight agaisnt terrorists

Without actually producing better results, again, not a contribution to better conditions. Of course, given that a number of the terrorists have been US-trained members of the Iraqi military, police, and security services, perhaps that shouldn't be too surprising.

-- rebuilding projects, such as schools, hospitals, oil facilities, power facilities, etc. make Iraqis more self-sustaining.

That's a nice fuzzy hope, but doesn't seem to actually be working.

-- our government is encouraging the government of Iraq to be more active in support of the entire populace (e.g., sharing the oil revenue with all).

Again, a nice fuzzy hope, not actual improvements on the ground.


These seem to me to be helpful steps that are making conditions better.

They seem to me to be fantasies that ignore what is actually happening in Iraq.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 26, 2007 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Al Qaeda cannot win in Iraq, would be crushed, and wouldn't even bother. Why would they waste so many suicide attacks when the US and the Western media are gone? They wouldn't. Iraqis have more than enough men and arms to put a big hurt on Al Qaeda, who wouldn't be winning any more points by blowing up innocents in Iraq anymore if we weren't there.

The only real question would be whether they could retain a presence there, for training camps and what not, and with the Shiites leading Iraq and the Kurds not wanting any part of that I don't see Al Qaeda operating in Iraq at all except very underground and with limited activity.

Posted by: Jimm on April 26, 2007 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

That said, we need to leave on our own terms, and frame our own exit strategy, in concert with the leadership of Iraq with clearly public protocols and deadlines. We should have done this a long time ago but it's not too late to do it now. Al Qaeda cannot realistically declare victory if Iraq's legislature beasically just tells us to leave, and then we abide by their requests. Then the government of Iraq is the hero amongst its people for removing our unpopular presence. That is what needs to happen.

Posted by: Jimm on April 26, 2007 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and Iraq doesn't have to tell us belligerently or confrontationally to leave, per se, just do so in a firm way in light of the domestic US developments and popular opinion at home in Iraq. Pass some legislation ASAP saying Iraq is taking over the struggle against criminals and internal resistance, and is doing it in these timeframes and guidelines, and ask the US to be ready to leave when that comes to be.

Posted by: Jimm on April 26, 2007 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Basically, we need a combined strategic approach on our exit from Iraq between us and the Iraqis, in light of the larger struggle against Al Qaeda, and the fall guys are going to be Bush and Cheney. For the good of the country and world, they should go along.

If they don't, then we'll have to apply even more political pressure than we'd like to here at home in the US to make it happen. even though strategically the best approach at this point is to work together with the Iraqis on an immediate exit plan that they firmly impose on us. If Bush and Cheney can pull that off without having to be defamed even further than more power to them, but if it was my choice I would start renewing our image internationally be making those two fall guys (and truly deserving scapegoats).

Posted by: Jimm on April 26, 2007 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Finally, when I say "fall guys" I'm not talking about being put on trial or anything, just taking the blame globally in terms of PR for the chaos and clusterfuck in Iraq and our foreign policy so that the US can begin to repair our image around the world, put this behind us, and Iraq and other Muslim countries will have an easier time appealing to their publics to accept us as benevolent as well.

Posted by: Jimm on April 26, 2007 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

This really being the last point, here at home in the US it will and should look like wiser minds and legislators listened to the American people and changed our course, not that the Iraqis firmly asked us to leave, while in Iraq the public will see that their government firmly stood up to the Americans, and we respectfully abided by their wishes in their domestic affairs, even while continuing to help them in whatever way possible.

Posted by: Jimm on April 26, 2007 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

Delicious bit of fisking, cmdicely.

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on April 26, 2007 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

"ex-liberal" wrote: If that's to be avoided, then we must fight against these killers, even though the costs are high.

But you already admitted you aren't paying these costs, so your highfalutin' rhetoric isn't worth a bucket of piss.

No one is impressed with the eagerness you have to sacrifice American lives to further the neocon agenda, no matter how much phony bullshit you use to justify it.

it bothered us liberals when the State Department favored continuing a facistic dictatorship for the sake of stability or because he was "our" dictator

Oh, it still does -- in fact, that the Bush Administration you carry water for contuinues to do so renders all your hughfalutin' high-horse yap rather hypocritical.

But there's a difference between, say, actively supporting juntas in Central American and tolerating the existence of a dictator, despitue your typically dishonest attempts to conflate the two.

Liberals today ought to be on the side of getting a successful democratic government into Iraq.

You've made arguments of this stripe before too, "ex-liberal," and they're still bullshit. It doesn't matter if we want freedom, democracy, and a pony. It isn't happening, and the American people -- not just the commentors here, as you seem to imply, but a clear majority of Americans -- aren't willing to expend American lives in a futile effort to quell an ongoing civil war.

And you know what? Neocons and warfloggers like you agree with us. You agree with us. You aren't going or sending your children to be sacrificed to save the Republican Party's branding effort as strong on defense, and you support a President who to this very day insists on paying for the war with a tax cut ofr the rich. So, again, your crocodile tears are composed of nothing but 100% bullshit.

One other thing -- The US has declared that the government of Sudan is engaging in genocide. Do you support a military intervention to overthrow the government there? Or is Sudan not enough of a rival to the State of Israel's regional hegemony to stir you?

As usual, "ex-liberal," your dishonesty in support of the neocon / Republican agenda belies your claims, and renders your feeble prentense at one-time liberalism as phony as eveyrthing else you post here.

Of course, you're well aware of the facts cmdicely cited. You're well aware how little credibility your claims of "progress" have. You're well aware that no matter how many times you repeat lies, they don't become the truth. And your increasingly desperately shrill tone reveals that you realize that Bush's Iraqi adventure, and the neocon / Republican political fortunes they gambled on it, are doomed -- hence your sneering at some straw man about what you imagine we do or don't want.

You're well aware how unpersuasive you are. One wonders, therefore, just what, ah, motivates you to post here.

Tool.

Posted by: Gregory on April 26, 2007 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, AQI's demise would come only at the end of a lengthy and brutal war, but how much worse is that than coming at the end of an even lengthier war run by the United States? Or perhaps not coming at all because this isn't the kind of war the United States military can fight effectively?

The first question is worth some discussion. How about 200,000 additional Iraqi lives lost?

Your second question presumes that the U.S. military is fighting alone, and will continue to fight alone. The Senate war-funding bill provides for U.S. forces to remain in Iraq indefinitely, some fighting al Qaeda, some training the Iraqi army, and some protecting the infrastructure. This envisions a continuing partnership between the Iraqi army and the U.S. forces.

Another possibility is that the Iraqis are more likely to fight al Qaeda effectively if they know that the American forces are staying to help them; and are more likely to wilt into passivity if the American forces leave.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on April 26, 2007 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, one other thing, "ex-liberal" -- you must not have gotten your RNC blast-fax today, because your talking points about "democracy" -- phony as they were -- are no longer operative.

Jackass.

Posted by: Gregory on April 26, 2007 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

The first question is worth some discussion.

Maybe, but you've long since shown you aren't worth discussing with.

Posted by: Gregory on April 26, 2007 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

I apologize for calling Kevin's viewpoint juvenile. It does not serve any purpose to name call.

So here is something that might do more than name call. Read these words with an open mind and some of you may learn something.

Posted by: John Hansen on April 26, 2007 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

The first question is worth some discussion. How about 200,000 additional Iraqi lives lost?

Interesting question given that that not only were you not concerned about the first 600,000+ killed when you supported this invasion, you're actually on record on this blog denying those deaths.

The hard truth is that Iraqis are going to continue to die as a result of this ill-considered invasion no matter what. The number of dead and wounded continue to rise the longer we stay, unaffected by the number of boots on the ground -- almost half a million men when you add in the much vaunted Iraqi security forces. The morbid mathematics of it all is undeniable.

Posted by: trex on April 26, 2007 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

I suppose if your opinion had any credibility, Hansen, someone might care.

And you cite Wizbang in the same sentence as the word "open mind"? That's really funny!

It really rankles you Bush fluffers that we're right and you're wrong, doesn't it?

But what I imagine rankles you more is that the American people realize it.

Posted by: Gregory on April 26, 2007 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

"The first question is worth some discussion. How about 200,000 additional Iraqi lives lost?"

As I don't recall your tremendous concern about the loss of Iraqi lives during our invasion, I'm not sure why you would pretend to care now.

"Your second question presumes that the U.S. military is fighting alone, and will continue to fight alone. The Senate war-funding bill provides for U.S. forces to remain in Iraq indefinitely, some fighting al Qaeda, some training the Iraqi army, and some protecting the infrastructure. This envisions a continuing partnership between the Iraqi army and the U.S. forces."

Seeing as the previous "partnership between Iraqi army & US forces" (by which I assume you mean training of Iraqi forces by the US military) hasn't gotten the Iraqis anywhere near the point where they can defend themselves, you might explain why continuing this "partnership" will yield different results.

" Another possibility is that the Iraqis are more likely to fight al Qaeda effectively if they know that the American forces are staying to help them; and are more likely to wilt into passivity if the American forces leave."

If this were the case, they would ALREADY be fighting effectively, since we HAVE been there helping them. But since that's not the case, it's far more reasonable to conclude that they'll take up the fight themselves if there's nobody there to do it for them.

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on April 26, 2007 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting question given that that not only were you not concerned about the first 600,000+ killed when you supported this invasion, you're actually on record on this blog denying those deaths.

And, of course, the figure Marler omits is how many more American deaths will result from Bush's open-ended commitment.

It's really sad. The warfloggers have lost the argument -- the American people have decided that they don't want to expend their blood and treasure on Bush's disastrous, incompetent occupation of Iraq. (As I pointed out, the chickenhawk warfloggers agree -- they insist other people do the dying, not them.) After four years, 3,000 American lives and Ford knows how many billions, spurious claims of "progress" or please for one more Friedman unit cut no more ice.

Yet here they come, as if posting recycled, disingenuous RNC bullshit constitutes "support" for a failed war effort or a bankrupt, corrupt, incompetent political party.

Posted by: Gregory on April 26, 2007 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Is it not al Qaeda's stated goal to drive the infidels from Iraq. Was it not Zarqawi’s goal to foment sectarian violence and civil war by blowing up the golden Mosque?

Did not Osama Bin Laden call Americans “paper tigers” because we took up the cause of Somalia, but would cut & run once the going got tough?

Posted by: Fitz on April 26, 2007 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

The Iraqi government doesn't approve of the Senate vote to withdraw troops. Their spokesman is concerned that it discourages the use of the political process in Iraq. If I understand the spokesman, he's saying that the Senate vote encourages more violence in Iraq.

BAGHDAD (AP) - An Iraqi government spokesman criticized the U.S. Senate vote to begin withdrawing U.S. troops by Oct. 1.
"We see some negative signs in the decision because it sends wrong signals to some sides that might think of alternatives to the political process," Ali al-Dabbagh told The Associated Press.

He spoke after the Senate passed legislation Thursday that would require the start of troop withdrawals from Iraq by Oct. 1. The House passed the same bill a day earlier, and President Bush has promised a veto.

The legislation is the first binding challenge on the war that Democrats have managed to send to Bush since they reclaimed control of both houses of Congress in January.

"Coalition forces gave lots of sacrifices and they should continue their mission, which is building Iraqi security forces to take over," al-Dabbagh said. "We see (it) as a loss of four years of sacrifices." http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D8OOF7N01&show_article=1

Posted by: ex-liberal on April 26, 2007 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

Did not Osama Bin Laden call Americans “paper tigers” because we took up the cause of Somalia, but would cut & run once the going got tough?

What do you mean "we"?

bin Laden may have predicted the US would stop fighting, but he couldn't have dreamed that so many of the war's most vocal supporters would refuse to fight in the first place.

Jackass.

Posted by: Gregory on April 26, 2007 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

"ex-liberal" wrote: The Iraqi government doesn't approve of the Senate vote to withdraw troops. Their spokesman is concerned that it discourages the use of the political process in Iraq. If I understand the spokesman, he's saying that the Senate vote encourages more violence in Iraq.

Which is ironic, because to all appearance, the Iraqi government is doing fuck-all to prevent violence in Iraq.

Beyond that, it's amazing that "ex-liberal" quoted approvingly a criticism of the United States Senate by the Iraqi Parliament.

Why do you hate America, "ex-liberal"?

Of course, it goes without saying that "ex-liberal" ignores the rebuttals to his/her/its earlier posts and blithely goes ahead with his/her/its blame-America-first posting. But then, we know "ex-liberal" has no shame and doesn't post her in good faith. One wonders what does motivate "ex-liberal" to post here? Why is it so important to someone that neocon propaganda be represented here?

Posted by: Gregory on April 26, 2007 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

"bin Laden may have predicted the US would stop fighting, but he couldn't have dreamed that so many of the war's most vocal supporters would refuse to fight in the first place."

I see were your going with this!!

Well FYI..

I am currently engaged in a gunfight in Ramadi as we speak. I am blogging from my blackberry & happen to be an Army Special Forces lieutenant.
Now that I have firmly captured the moral high ground, you’ll have to excuse me while I try to take the actual high ground.

[Not according to an IP check]

Posted by: Fitz on April 26, 2007 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

"Which is ironic, because to all appearance, the Iraqi government is doing fuck-all to prevent violence in Iraq."

No - thats not irony, thats tragedy.

The Maliki goverment has been in place for ten months.

Posted by: Fitz on April 26, 2007 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

The Maliki goverment has been in place for ten months.

And they couldn't possibly have their own interests in ensuring a heavily armed foreign occupation force to ensure they stay in power. [eyeroll]

Anyway, y'all will just have to excuse the United States Senate for putting the interest of the United States ahead of foreign governments...sorry about that, neocons.

I see were your [sic] going with this

Yeah, because the all-hat-no-cattle nature of war supporters from Bush to the Cheeto-stained warbloggers is only too freakin' obvious.

I am currently engaged in a gunfight in Ramadi as we speak. I am blogging from my blackberry & happen to be an Army Special Forces lieutenant.

You don't say.

Now that I have firmly captured the moral high ground

Sorry, but you're arguing for Bush's disastrous folly. I think the word you need is "forfeited." (see: "ex-liberal")

Posted by: Gregory on April 26, 2007 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK


marler: How about 200,000 additional Iraqi lives lost?


"How many additional American casualties is Saddam worth? And the answer is not very damned many." - Dick Cheney August-1992

Posted by: mr. irony on April 26, 2007 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

moderator: [Not according to an IP check]

I think it's a safe bet no one believed him, but still:

pwnzed!

Posted by: Gregory on April 26, 2007 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

boat people

Posted by: Fitz on April 26, 2007 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

[Not according to an IP check]

Hilarious or pathetic? I'm afraid it's the latter.

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on April 26, 2007 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

I am currently engaged in a gunfight in Ramadi as we speak. I am blogging from my blackberry...

[Not according to an IP check]

Now that's just sad. Pretending to be one of our heroic military while actually typing furiously from the basement. Fitz, I didn't believe I could think any less of you but...mission accomplished.


Posted by: ckelly on April 26, 2007 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

given sullivans attitude in his column here
link

His column today is breathtaking,even for sullivan.

4 years ago he was arguing that it was a briliant strategy to lure AQ into iraq.

Now not so much......

Posted by: kb on April 26, 2007 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK
Is it not al Qaeda's stated goal to drive the infidels from Iraq.

Sure, that's one of al-Qaeda's stated tactical goals. It was also al-Qaeda's stated goal to overthrow the Ba'athist regime in Iraq, and to get US forces out of Saudi Arabia.

The American Right seems to have a rather bizarre and self-serving selective aversion to serving al-Qaeda's stated goals, i.e., they only complain about "al-Qaeda's stated goals" when those don't happen to exactly correspond to the policy preferences of the Bush Administration.


Was it not Zarqawi’s goal to foment sectarian violence and civil war by blowing up the golden Mosque?

Probably. So?

Did not Osama Bin Laden call Americans “paper tigers” because we took up the cause of Somalia, but would cut & run once the going got tough?

Yeah, so? Is your argument this: "He called us chicken, so we have to keep up the counterproductive policy we are engaged in"? God, you righties are easy to manipulate.

Al-Qaeda's strategic goal, their only hope of gaining broader power, is to have a persistent situation on the ground which validates their propaganda of a existential struggle in which the West, led principally by the US and Israel, in concert with corrupt allies in the Muslim world, are working to harm the harm and oppress Muslims generally throughout the world. And the Iraq war is, as this poll shows, a great success at validating this propaganda and building support for al-Qaeda's view of the world.

That's serving al-Qaeda, and you righties aren't in the least bit concerned about it, apparently.


Posted by: cmdicely on April 26, 2007 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

"Do we want a world where the most barbaric groups rule, simply because they're willing to commit the most mayhem and kill the most people? I don't. If that's to be avoided, then we must fight against these killers, even though the costs are high."
- Ex-liberal


So why did you vote for Bush?

Posted by: Captain on April 26, 2007 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

...and Iraqi security forces would likely decimate them if they were left to their own devices

ROTFLAO. Again and again and again. Thanks for the afternoon laugh Kevin. You sure know how to jest.

Come to think of it, did you mean to say "Iraqi security forces would likely BE DECIMATED if they were left to their own devices?"

Posted by: rational on April 26, 2007 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

PROGNOSTICATION

Hmmmm....
It's all becoming clearer now. Yes... What I can see is that all this talk about withdrawing troops is PREMATURE, do you hear me? Premature indeed.
And how can I say that with such confidence? It's elementary. On the subject of Iraq, just about the ONLY thing I can predict, with certainty, is this: I don't know exactly when our troops will leave Iraq. What I DO know, as a lead-pipe cinch, is that whenever our troops leave, it will be ONE MONTH TOO SOON.
Did you get that? Regardless of when our troops leave Iraq, it will be JUST BEFORE we turn yet another corner there. It will be JUST AS WE CLOSE IN ON VICTORY (very much like happened in Vietnam, you see). And, unfortunately, our premature withdrawal of troops, just a month too soon, will be decried through the annals and archives forevermore, as SNATCHING DEFEAT FROM THE JAWS OF VICTORY, all because we jumped the gun by one month. What a pity.
See? It's not so complicated. Now, call me back in a little while and I'll give you tomorrow's stock picks and lottery numbers (just as soon as I can sort them out from all the other voices echoing in my head)...

Posted by: Karnak (aka shystr) on April 26, 2007 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, AQI's demise would come only at the end of a lengthy and brutal war, but how much worse is that than coming at the end of an even lengthier war run by the United States?

This statement is the only problem I have with this post. I do not accept at all that AQI is a significant force in Iraq. All indications are, and always have been, that they are not. If the U.S. leaves, there may be a lengthy and brutal war, but it won’t have much to do with al Qaeda.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on April 26, 2007 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

" a sovereign Muslim country"

Nope. It's a place that happens to have Muslims as well as other religions.

All countries are multicultural and secular by definition. If the place ain't that, it ain't a country.

Posted by: Bob M on April 26, 2007 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

Hilarious or pathetic? I'm afraid it's the latter.

It is pathetic. "Fitz" even admitted he knew I was pointing out the chickenhawk quality of modern so-called "conservatives". There are a number of argument chickenhawks use to justify the fact that, deep down, they agree that Bush's mess in Iraq is worth American lives -- at least their own. But instead, Fitz essentially agreed with the argument's validity by pretending to be in the military in order to stake a bogus claim to the "moral high ground."

Pathetic indeed.

By the by, I heard today that 200,000 civilians have been killed in Darfur. I wonder if "ex-liberal" advocates overthrowing the Sudanese military and occupying that heavily Muslim nation?

Posted by: Gregory on April 26, 2007 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

All countries are multicultural and secular by definition. If the place ain't that, it ain't a country. Posted by: Bob M

That's interesting. I suggest you test that by taking your soap box, heading to Riyad, and spouting that nonsense on a street corner. The only thing multi-cultural about SA are the indentured servants brought in to do all the dangerous and dirty jobs they apparently don't have enough spare princes for.

Posted by: JeffII on April 26, 2007 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK
All countries are multicultural and secular by definition. If the place ain't that, it ain't a country.

Certainly not by any definition of "country" I've ever encountered; mostly that's just used as an equivalent of "state" in the international relations sense, to refer to a sovereign polity, without reference to whether it is multicultural and secular or monocultural and religious. Indeed, most "countries" are also "nation-states" with a certain degree of congruence between cultural ("nation") and political ("state") units.

If you are going to make nitpicking, semantic arguments like this, you ought to at least make some effort to be accurate with your pedantry.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 26, 2007 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

I found this story about a Lt Col in Baghdad charged with "aiding the enemy" of interest:

Steele was charged with aiding the enemy by "providing an unmonitored cellular phone to detainees," the statement said, but also with fraternizing with the daughter of a detainee, having an "inappropriate relationship with an interpreter, wrongfully and knowingly storing classified information in his living space, failing to obey orders and having pornography," the statement said.

Charged with having porn? Oh no, the liberal emasculation of our country has infected the military! How will we ever defeat the terrorists now?!

(What little experience I have with the military, it was *all* about porn, which, incidentally, is one of the reasons I didn't consider the military as a career when I came to those crossroads back in HS.)

Posted by: Disputo on April 26, 2007 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK


marler: How about 200,000 additional Iraqi lives lost?


"How many additional American casualties is Saddam worth? And the answer is not very damned many." - Dick Cheney August-1992

mr irony, the world is certainly full of terrible ironies. Getting rid of Saddam did not cost "very many" American lives. The American lives are being invested in the reconstruction of Iraq. GWB campaigned in opposition to "nation building", and now is stuck in a large nation building project. You'll notice that Gregory brought up Darfur. Some people who oppose the continuing U.S. presence in Iraq propose a U.N./U.S. presence in Sudan, without telling us how it can be done effectively without drawing in al Qaeda and without American deaths.

Cheney's 1992 quote was before the 17 UNSC resolutions that Saddam complied with only partially, and before the 1999 attempt by the Iraqi government to purchase uranium in N. Africa. It was before the terrible cost of the U.N. sanctions was known, and before the campaign by France and other nations to end the sanctions.

Ironies never tell us whether a particular ironic course of action is correct. Ironically, we now can tell that Cheney in 1992 was wrong. That would have been the best time for the U.S. to overthrow Saddam's regime. At that time the Shi'ites had plenty of martial competence, and only were defeated because the Iraqi army had aircraft, chemical weapons, tanks and artillery. The fractionally reconstituted Iraqi army has practically none of these.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on April 26, 2007 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

Did not Osama Bin Laden call Americans “paper tigers” because we took up the cause of Somalia, but would cut & run once the going got tough?

It was Clinton and the Democrats who wanted to stay and finish the job in Somalia, and the Republicans who forced us to cut and run. Here, for example, is what the defeatist John McCain said on the Senate floor in October 1993 when he urged us to run away from the Somali thugs:

There is no reason for the United States of America to remain in Somalia. The American people want them home, I believe the majority of Congress wants them home, and to set an artificial date of March 31 or even February 1, in my view, is not acceptable. The criteria should be to bring them home as rapidly and safely as possible, an evolution which I think could be completed in a matter of weeks.

Our continued military presence in Somalia allows another situation to arise which could then lead to the wounding, killing or capture of American fighting men and women. We should do all in our power to avoid that.

....What is the criteria and what should be the criteria is our immediate, orderly withdrawal from Somalia. And if we do not do that and other Americans die, other Americans are wounded, other Americans are captured because we stay too long--longer than necessary--then I would say that the responsibilities for that lie with the Congress of the United States who did not exercise their authority under the Constitution of the United States and mandate that they be brought home quickly and safely as possible. . . .

I know that this debate is going to go on this afternoon and I have a lot more to say, but the argument that somehow the United States would suffer a loss to our prestige and our viability, as far as the No. 1 superpower in the world, I think is baloney. The fact is, we won the cold war. The fact is, we won the Persian Gulf conflict. And the fact is that the United States is still the only major world superpower.

I can tell you what will erode our prestige. I can tell you what will hurt our viability as the world's superpower, and that is if we enmesh ourselves in a drawn-out situation which entails the loss of American lives, more debacles like the one we saw with the failed mission to capture Aideed's lieutenants, using American forces, and that then will be what hurts our prestige.

And here's what Republican Senator Phil Gramm haid to say when he urged defeat:

The President's decision to extend our presence for 6 more months is totally unacceptable to me and totally unacceptable, I believe, to the Congress. If the people of Texas--who are calling my phones every moment, who are sending me letters and telegrams by the hour--are representative of the will of the American people, the American people do not believe that we should allow Americans to be targets in Somalia for 6 more months. I cannot see anything that we would achieve in 6 more months in Somalia.

Posted by: Stefan on April 26, 2007 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

Getting rid of Saddam did not cost "very many" American lives.

By that criteria the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center did not cost "very many" American lives either. Less, in fact, than have been lost in Iraq. A mere pittance, really. I wonder why we even care....

Posted by: Stefan on April 26, 2007 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

Ironically, we now can tell that Cheney in 1992 was wrong.

You mean when Cheney said "it would have been a mistake for us to get bogged down in the quagmire inside Iraq"? Uh, yeah, he sure was wrong about that, wasn't he....

Here's the full quote:

If you are going to go to war, let’s send the whole group; let’s make certain that we’ve got a force of sufficient size, as we did when we went into Kuwait, so that we do not suffer any more casualties than are absolutely necessary.
I think it is vitally important for a President to know when to use military force. I think it is also very important for him to know when not to commit U.S. military force. And it’s my view that the President got it right both times, that it would have been a mistake for us to get bogged down in the quagmire inside Iraq.

Posted by: Stefan on April 26, 2007 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin is almost always lame on everything.

(so you won't be coming back?)

[caps abuse deleted].

Posted by: Brian on April 26, 2007 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

Getting rid of Saddam did not cost "very many" American lives. The American lives are being invested in the reconstruction of Iraq.

"Invested"....I love it, Marler. Go tell the mother of a dead soldier that her son or daughter was "invested in the reconstruction of Iraq," you mendacious asshole.

But how dishonest of you! The occupation followed the deposition of Saddam, since the notion of turning the joint over to the Iranian agent Chalabi was a stupid fantasy. The lives being lost -- American and Iraqi -- are a direct result of Bush's decision -- no, determination -- to evade. It says much about you that you dissemble on this point -- none of it good.

And I don't want to give "ex-liberal" any help, so
I'll keep this brief, but I'll note Clinton stopped the ongoing ethnic cleansing in Kosovo without the loss of a single US life. If we don't provide details, I'd presume it's because we assume simply not putting Bush in charge of it vastly increases the chances of success -- at least into positive territory.

Creep.

Posted by: Gregory on April 26, 2007 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

Brian wrote: Kevin is almost always lame on anything that relates to miliary [sic] issues.

How jealous you must be, given how lame your every defense of Bush is.

Posted by: Gregory on April 26, 2007 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

WHAT IS THE FACTUAL BASIS FOR THAT?

Reality.

Of course, things may look different from Cloud Cuckoo Land where brian lives.

Posted by: Stefan on April 26, 2007 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

more attacks on al Qaeda?

http://www.iraqslogger.com/index.php/post/2517

"Invested"....I love it, Marler. Go tell the mother of a dead soldier that her son or daughter was "invested in the reconstruction of Iraq," you mendacious asshole.

I know, you prefer "lost". That's because you think nothing good has happened, or could happen. How about "gave the last full measure of their devotion", do you like that phraseology any better? They are giving the last full measure of their devotion to the pacification and reconstruction of Iraq. As Joseph Biden wrote in 2002, getting rid of Saddam Hussein was not the costly part; staying to rebuild Iraq was the costly part.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on April 26, 2007 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

They are giving the last full measure of their devotion to the pacification and reconstruction of Iraq.

Bullshit. Complete and utter callous and sickening bullshit. Those poor soldiers were told they were invading Iraq to protect the United States from Saddam -- only there was no threat and hence nothing to protect us from. They didn't give their lives to "pacify" or "reconstruct" Iraq, since that was never a stated goal of the war. They were lied to and they were killed because of one one weak feckless alcoholic mama's boy's disgustings delusions.

Go fuck yourself, you soulless scumbag.

Posted by: Stefan on April 26, 2007 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

Brian,
Obviously, you are not keeping abreast to the news. A young sheik last month approach American forces, brought them into his section of the township, and pointed out all the foreign fighters.
But's what is even more interesting is that the Sunni insurgents are turning on the AQ types as well, often in running gun battles. And here's the kicker, Brian, the Shi'ites aren't interested in them either. Oh Boo'yah!
But that's an inconvient truth you would rather ignore.
So, take your pathetic little ignorant butt back to Rove, and get new marching instructions cause you obviously DON'T KNOW WHAT THE F*CK YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT!
Oh, and do try to read once in awhile. I know the Republican slime machine doesn't like it's minions thinking for themselves, but you know, at least you wont' be publicly confirming what we all suspect.

Posted by: Sheerahkahn on April 26, 2007 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

I know, you prefer "lost". That's because you think nothing good has happened, or could happen.

No, I prefer "wasted", you lying shithead, because I don't think this clusterfuck is worth their lives.

And you agree, since you're posting from Stateside and haven't mentioned any kids in harm's way.

How about "gave the last full measure of their devotion", do you like that phraseology any better?

Sure, if they gave their lives in defense of this nation. Not sacrificed on the altar of Bush's political ambition and neocon wet dreams. Iraq isn't enhancing the US national security posture -- I think even you've given up on that notion.

As Joseph Biden wrote in 2002, getting rid of Saddam Hussein was not the costly part; staying to rebuild Iraq was the costly part.

But you can't have the former without the latter, dipshit.

And before you embarrass yourself further, yes, we knew it. Bush I and Colin Powell didn't depose Saddam the first time so we wouldn't have to occupy Iraq. And we never got anything from you warmonkeys but "greeted as liberators" bullshit -- which was, incidentally, when I knew this whole project was doomed.

Come on, Marler, even you can do better than this, can't you? You haven't written a single word that refutes anything I said, except to use a straw man argument as a feeble retort to my calling you out on your bullshit semantics.

And I still dare you to tell the parent of a slain soldier their child was "invested" in Iraq. Oh, but that's cool with you, because as a conservative, you believe in reaping the benefits while others assume the risks.

Tool.

Posted by: Gregory on April 26, 2007 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

K: "First of all, the Iraqis aren't able to defeat al Qaeda without some help."

Two observations about your faulty first sentence:

(1) The "Iraqis" are hardly a monolithic political entity, and at this particular point in time there is very little if any reason to believe that they'll ever become one in the foreseeable future.

(2) "Al Qa'eda" in Iraq is independent of Osama bin Laden's organization, and most reliable intelligence estimates place its numbers at less than 1,000 fighters at any given time. Its military threat to this country is negligible.

But rather than be seen for what it is and thus marginalized accordingly, AQI has instead been morphed by the Bush administration into an all-too-convenient bogeyman, for purposes of providing this president with his primary rationale for maintaining a continued military presence in Mesopatamia.

Thus, this administration obfuscates both to itself and the American people the most pressing and prescient threat to overall regional security, which is the active presence of well-armed and in many instances avowedly anti-American Shi'ite militias, whose members are highly motivated to avenge themselves upon their Sunni Iraqi brethren for past slights both real and imagined.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on April 26, 2007 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

Go fuck yourself, you soulless scumbag.

That had to leave a mark.

Posted by: Alfred E. Newman on April 26, 2007 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

Lemme pile on - Brian, you are a tool.

That is all.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 26, 2007 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

I'll say it. And don't think a huge number of Americans don't think it. I couldn't care less if these people who are hobbled by their bullshit religion and their ignorant superstitions and their 2000 year old revenge culture kill each other. No, not one damn bit. I think it would have been better for U.S. security to leave Saddam there. I feel bad for them, but it frankly isn't our job to try to impose democracy on them when they have never demonstrated a single desire for it themselves. Not one American life nor one American dollar is worth it. Offended? Tough titty.

Posted by: Peter on April 26, 2007 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

It would have been better for the Iraqis if we had left Saddam Hussein in power for the simple reason that hundreds of thousands of them would still be alive. Saddam Hussein wasted fewer Iraqi lives than has George W. Bush. The oppressiveness of living under Saddam Hussein was less than the oppressiveness of living under the current anarchy. Those who have suddenly discovered the suffering of the Iraqis after the rest of their reasons for the war on the Iraqi people have been revealed as so much empty puffery are simply trying to cover their fat asses with any handy fig leaves.

As to Marler's laughable recitation of bullshit talking points about why it was imperative that we go to war with the people of Iraq, the whole thing is a tissue of lies, but the most egregious lie is that Saddam Hussein was seeking Uranium in North Africa. There are three small flaws with that argument.

First, the only thing Hussein could have been seeking would be yellowcake - which is not uranium. Second, he already had unprocessed yellowcake and no refining capabilities. Third, he already had unprocessed yellowcake and no refining capabilities.

The brighter of you (sorry Marler), may have noticed that the second and third flaws are identical. But the point is so important that it was worth mentioning twice. The technology for making a nuclear bomb from fissile uranium is trivial - place two sub-critical masses far enough apart and create a mechanism for pushing them together to create a single super-critical mass. Everything involved in that part is simple engineering. But if you can't create the fissile material (and that part is very difficult as it involves separating chemically identical materials) you are fucked.

Short version: Put up or shut up Marler.

Posted by: noel on April 27, 2007 at 12:20 AM | PERMALINK

No, I prefer "wasted", you lying shithead, because I don't think this clusterfuck is worth their lives.

And you agree, since you're posting from Stateside and haven't mentioned any kids in harm's way.

It's true. I have not mentioned any kids in harm's way. That's because I do not post anonymously. They, he, or she, were not or was not in harm's way to support my arguments, but to do a job. I may have mentioned an NROTC scholarship and an interval of service, but if harm's way ever entered the story, I have not mentioned it.

AS to the hundreds of thousands dead, the John Hopkins/MIT group have made their data publicly available to researches whom they deem competent and sufficiently unbiased. maybe a university professor near you is analysing them now, to see how a few hundred recorded deaths were extrapolated up to 650,000. You can also read about it in the most recent Amstat News.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on April 27, 2007 at 2:36 AM | PERMALINK

So Marler, you going to defend your lies about Hussein's attempts to create nuclear weapons, or just pretend that hundreds of thousands of people haven't been killed by your warmongering?

Posted by: noel on April 27, 2007 at 2:40 AM | PERMALINK

The fact is, even if the number were only the published 30,000 or 3,000 or even merely three - there was no legitimate reason to invade.

Americans would never have invaded because a few companies (including American ones) were profiting off the sanctions.

Americans would never have invaded because Saddam Hussein had missiles capable of reaching 10 miles beyond the legal limit.

Americans would never have invaded because Saddam Hussein was a bad guy.

All of those reasons together still would not have made a plurality of Americans support the loss of thousands of soldiers lives.

No rational person would have supported the invasion over those trivial reasons because the horrors of war are far greater than those paltry justifications warrant.

The Iraqi dead do not thank you Matthew. The sociopaths killing Iraqis because you destabilized Iraq, on the other hand, give thanks to you daily. You have helped ensure death, destruction, and misery are a daily fact of life for the common citizen of Baghdad.

Posted by: noel on April 27, 2007 at 3:39 AM | PERMALINK

to see how a few hundred recorded deaths were extrapolated up to 650,000

...using commonly accepted statistical sampling techniques. The study's methodology was already released and stood up to scrutiny -- "it can't be that high" gut feelings not counting, of course.

And yes, 600,000 was the resulting top end. But come now, Marler, surely you aren't desperate enough to insinuate that Iraqi casualties are at some acceptable level? Even it it isn't 600,000 --and again I note that the researchers identified that as a maximum figure -- it's hundreds of thousands dead by anybody's count, including, if memory serves me right, the UN.

Noel's right -- these dead do not thank you, Marler. Shame on you for trying to insinuate them out of existence because they're inconvenient to your arguments or create cognitive dissonance. Why you do sign your name to such asshattery is beyond me.

And I still dare you to tell the mother of a dead soldier her child was "invested" in Iraq, jackass.

I didn't think it was possible for you to get any lower, Marler. Shame on you.

Posted by: Gregory on April 27, 2007 at 6:09 AM | PERMALINK

noel: the most egregious lie is that Saddam Hussein was seeking Uranium in North Africa.

FactCheck.org a non-partisan organzation, reports:

Two intelligence investigations show Bush had plenty of reason to believe what he said in his 2003 State of the Union Address.

Summary

The famous “16 words” in President Bush’s Jan. 28, 2003 State of the Union address turn out to have a basis in fact after all, according to two recently released investigations in the US and Britain.

Bush said then, “The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa .” Some of his critics called that a lie, but the new evidence shows Bush had reason to say what he did.

A British intelligence review released July 14 calls Bush’s 16 words “well founded.”

A separate report by the US Senate Intelligence Committee said July 7 that the US also had similar information from “a number of intelligence reports,” a fact that was classified at the time Bush spoke.

Ironically, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who later called Bush’s 16 words a “lie”, supplied information that the Central Intelligence Agency took as confirmation that Iraq may indeed have been seeking uranium from Niger.

Both the US and British investigations make clear that some forged Italian documents, exposed as fakes soon after Bush spoke, were not the basis for the British intelligence Bush cited, or the CIA's conclusion that Iraq was trying to get uranium.

None of the new information suggests Iraq ever nailed down a deal to buy uranium, and the Senate report makes clear that US intelligence analysts have come to doubt whether Iraq was even trying to buy the stuff. In fact, both the White House and the CIA long ago conceded that the 16 words shouldn’t have been part of Bush’s speech.

But what he said – that Iraq sought uranium – is just what both British and US intelligence were telling him at the time. So Bush may indeed have been misinformed, but that's not the same as lying.

http://www.factcheck.org/bushs_16_words_on_iraq_uranium.html

Posted by: ex-liberal on April 27, 2007 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

Al-Qaeda is in the White House.

Posted by: Al on April 27, 2007 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

Gregory, I have to get on your case for a couple seconds - I think you'll understand.

655,000 dead was the 95% confidence interval, NOT the "top end".
Top end was closer to 920,000 - i.e. nearly 1 million. Confidence interval-wise, that number was as likely to be correct as 380,000, the low end.

Posted by: kenga on April 27, 2007 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry ex-lib - a 3 year old article no longer cuts the mustard. Particularly one that has been refuted by the release of US government documents.

http://www.truthout.org/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi/59/19157

Posted by: kenga on April 27, 2007 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

655,000 dead was the 95% confidence interval, NOT the "top end".

I stand corrected.

As for "ex-liberal," you've been corrected on this point before. You really do get some kind of sick thrill at repeating what you know are smelly, bogus lies, don't you?

If memory serves me right, the claim that Iraq was seeking yellowcake was based on the opinion of a Niger official that such was the purpose of the visit, even though the Iraqi delegation did not, in fact, seek yellowcake.

Bush was informed that the Niger claim didn't hold water before the SOTU, and his administration admitted that the language shouldn't have been in the speech (and why not -- it had already achieved its desired effect). Bush had very good reason to believe that the claim didn't hold water -- hence the very specific phrasing, which didn't quite amount to a lie -- but he also had what he myust have considered a very good reason to include it -- using the phantom of an Iraqi nuclear program to scare Americans into supporting his war ambitions.

No one's buying that anymore except tools like "ex-liberal."

Rip that one up, "ex-liberal." That dog won't hunt.

Posted by: Gregory on April 27, 2007 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

maybe a university professor near you is analysing them now, to see how a few hundred recorded deaths were extrapolated up to 650,000.

As Gregory points out, these numbers were reached using standard epidemiological sampling methods, making you either a liar or a blithering idiot. My guess is a little of both. It's really too bad that they interfere with your little propaganda campaign.

The same techniques used to calculate the number of Iraqi deaths as a result of the invasion have been used successfully and accurately to track casualties in war zones in Africa, as well as to calculate the number of patients in outbreaks of disease both domestically and abroad. Those numbers have been accepted by the U.S. and other governments and have never been challenged before, ostensibly because there weren't wingnuts trying to spread an alternative narrative to try and cover their asses for having been so very, very wrong...not to mention monstrously inhumane.

Posted by: trex on April 27, 2007 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

TREX: The Lancet / Johns Hopkins study was conducted using the same methodology as the U.S. Census.

Sorry ex-lib - a 3 year old article no longer cuts the mustard. Particularly one that has been refuted by the release of US government documents.

He tried to use a NY Times article from 1990 to sway me on a health-care thread last week. How fucking lame is that?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 27, 2007 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

TREX: The Lancet / Johns Hopkins study was conducted using the same methodology as the U.S. Census.

Well that cuts it then, Blue Girl. Obviously there are only 30,000 Americans, not the 300 million that defeatist liberals would like us to believe.

Posted by: trex on April 27, 2007 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin writes that this is not the type of war our military fights effectively -

True - So, why don't we simply go back to Grafenwohr and Vilseck in Germany and retrain for tank warfare to the east. Putin is starting to kick sand at NATO. So many more CIBs to win.

And the local beer is sooooo much better.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on April 27, 2007 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

Obviously - by the way, folks - there is an Iraq and al Qae'da connection...The Q!

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 27, 2007 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

Paul 3 - Have you been to WTWC lately? I addressed the Russia problem yesterday.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 27, 2007 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

He tried to use a NY Times article from 1990 to sway me on a health-care thread last week. How fucking lame is that?

I disagree with the implication that "ex-liberal" provides his/her/its citations to "sway" anyone. "ex-liberal" seems to be operating under a directive of some sort that there must be a certain quota of posts ostensibly promoting or defending the Bush Administration and the neocon agenda.

The nearest analogy I can think of is Winston Smith's job at The Times in 1984 -- in other words, a propagandist.

Of course, I don't doubt that BGRS knows that "ex-liberal" isn't here to argue in good faith, and I completely agree that his/her/its defenses of the mendacity, incompetence and corruption of the Bush Administration and its neocon allies are lame indeed.

What's truly lame is that these feeble efforts seem to be the best "ex-liberal can do. Either that or, as I suggested, he/she/it simply gets some sick jollies out of posting lame drivel just to piss us off. Either way, "ex-liberal" fails as a propagandist, since mere volunme counts for nothing and repetition does not, unfortunately for "ex-liberal," turn lies into truth. Ultimately, "ex-liberal" discredits the neocon agneda rather than supporting it.

Which is, of course, just fine with me.

Posted by: Gregory on April 27, 2007 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

Eh, this thread is a full day old - I'll blog-whore a bit...the folks blogging with me over there are doing a damn fine job and making some primo posts.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 27, 2007 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

I can't pinpoint the exact pathology, either, Gregory.

I think he posts that shit for the lurkers, under the operand that an argument unchallenged is an argument accepted.

That's why I don't greasemonkey Mr. I don't know. (I have not forgotten that he responded "I don't know" when asked if the war with Iraq had been worth it. Apparently he has made up his mind on the matter since Christmas.)

He slides in here under the false banner of civility and he has to be dealt with. Swiftly, sternly, and at times even brutally.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 27, 2007 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Did you read what I wrote "ex-liberal?" Because if you had and could understand it, then you wouldn't bother with the bullshit from factcheck.org. Wilson is a distraction (he was right, there was no evidence, but that's a different issue - well addressed by the rest of the posters. And using the Republican addendum to the report on pre-war intelligence demonstrates only that the Republicans kept up the pretense long after it had been discredited).

Only fissile material can be used to make bombs. The only thing Hussein could have gotten was yellowcake. He already had tons of yellowcake. He had no way to make it into fissile material. He also had no way of turning it into fissile material. Furthermore, there was no fucking way he could turn it into fissile material. No fissile material, no bombs.

The murderers in Iraq thank you too "ex-liberal" for giving them a free hand to slaughter the Iraqi people. The dead, not so much.

Posted by: noel on April 27, 2007 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Ten Four, BGRS - Will do. Gotta find something for those Abrams to do.

Gregory, FAUX is still very busy driving that Yellow Cab down Alvarado looking for Mrs Li. But, he always has time to stop at Dunkin Donuts to send a BushPost to us.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on April 27, 2007 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

I think he posts that shit for the lurkers, under the operand that an argument unchallenged is an argument accepted.

I think you're right, especially considering the number of myths and flaeshoods packed into the typical post by "ex-liberal" and his ilk. For example, I was just noticing that Marler asserted, upthread, that 1992 would have been an ideal time to take Saddam out, notwithstanding -- as Stefan and I observed -- that Bush the Elder and Colin Powell demurred precisely because of the risks of occupying that Muslim nation, risks no warflogger at the time dealt with other than with "greeted as liberators" bullshit and which risks have been shown to be all too real.

He slides in here under the false banner of civility

Only too true, that. "ex-liberal" has, inexplicably, been accepted as "civil," apparently because he/she/it avoids profanity.

But repeating bullshit assertions after they've been corrected isn't civil, it's a deliberate insult. Then again, so is "ex-liberal"'s very handle. I think these facts lend weight to your analysis that "ex-liberal" posts for the lurkers.

and he has to be dealt with. Swiftly, sternly, and at times even brutally.

Not that "ex-liberal" or Marler show the slightest bit of enmbarrassment or remorse at their performance in this thread or any other. It's interesting that they don't seem to truly believe that "an argument unchallenged is an argument accepted"; dishonest tools like Marler and "ex-liberal" have no problem dropping one refuted point only to assert another, as if their credibility weren't whimpering in a corner in a pool of blood and urine.

Posted by: Gregory on April 27, 2007 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

I have not forgotten that he responded "I don't know" when asked if the war with Iraq had been worth it.

I've noticed, by the way, that saying "I don't know" is one of "ex-liberal"'s verbal tics, an apparent (and gutile) bid to avoid losing all credibility by expressing more crackpottery.

If memory serves me right, for example, "ex-liberal" is fond of saying he/she/it "doesn't know" if the surge will be successful, but we're still wrong to oppose it.

Posted by: Gregory on April 27, 2007 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.): Sorry ex-lib - a 3 year old article no longer cuts the mustard. Particularly one that has been refuted by the release of US government documents.

Blue Girl, I provided my source, which is non-partisan and very highly respected. FactCheck.org maintains their high reputation by having fair and accurate entries. If later documents contradicted what they wrote in 2004, FactCheck would have updated their article.

If you really have information that refutes FactCheck, please provide a cite. Otherwise, it seems that your belief is not in accordance with the actual evidence.

As for Gregory's source -- "If memory serves me right" -- no comment.

Posted by: ex-liberal on April 27, 2007 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

"Semantic Plethorae"
.
Iraq was governed by brutality before we arrived. It unfortunately is going to be governed by brutality when we leave,...... regardless of timing.
Staying, leaving, deadlines....chimeric illusory words, for at least a decade or three.
Ten plethora's of semantic universes will not change this sad fact.
Labels: deadlines, Iraq, Iraq/ foreign policy, withdrawal
cognitorex

Posted by: craig johnson on April 27, 2007 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

"Semantic Plethorae"
.
Iraq was governed by brutality before we arrived. It unfortunately is going to be governed by brutality when we leave,...... regardless of timing.
Staying, leaving, deadlines....chimeric illusory words, for at least a decade or three.
Ten plethora's of semantic universes will not change this sad fact.
Labels: deadlines, Iraq, Iraq/ foreign policy, withdrawal
cognitorex

Posted by: craig johnson on April 27, 2007 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, AQI's demise would come only at the end of a lengthy and brutal war, but how much worse is that than coming at the end of an even lengthier war run by the United States? Or perhaps not coming at all because this isn't the kind of war the United States military can fight effectively? Isn't it time to face up to this?

To channel Biden from the latest Dem prez candidate "debate": Yes.

Out. NOW. Not in 2 years, not in 3. Out as fast as logistically possible. Out in orderly, yet swift, form.

Hell's bells, the war being continued by the Bushie GOP "savior" Gen. Petraeus, "the guy who wrote the book on counter-insurgency" (literally) isn't even being fought according to his book. According to Petraeus (something Petraeus has forgotten), to properly and successfully deal with the insurgency in Iraq (this is in HIS BOOK), there needs to be 120,000 US Troops in Bagdad alone. We aren't even CLOSE and aren't going to get close. HIS OWN REQUIREMENTS are for 20-25 counterinsurgents per 1000 population (not insurgents, plain population). We have, what, ~130,000 troops on the ground in Iraq right now? Half of that number is support troops, NOT combat troops, NOT counterinsurgents. Just to reach Petraeus' own requirements, we need 130,000+/- couple hundred direct counterinsurgent troops. In other words, we need to DOUBLE the number of actual troops in Iraq (based on the smallest possible ratio of support:combat troops) to get anything approaching Petraeus' own requirements for a viable counterinsurgency.

Petraeus has sold out exactly the same way Gen. Colon (sic) Bowel (sic) sold out to the Bushies. He is going along and tossing out his own requirements for successful counterinsurgency...and the GOP as a whole is ignoring the very clear statements in THE book on counterinsurgency at the same time they use its authorship as a magic potion in defense of Petraeus and the failed surge.

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on April 27, 2007 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

FactCheck.org maintains their high reputation by having fair and accurate entries. If later documents contradicted what they wrote in 2004, FactCheck would have updated their article.

FactCheck.org is neither infallible nor exhaustive, which is an underlying premise of your "they would have updated it" blather. In fact, if you're looking for cites, look to anything Joe Wilson has written about his involvement, which deputes the FC account that he said Iraq was seeking yellowcake.

Then actually read kenga's link that cites multiple intelligence sources warning the White House that the letters had to be forgeries. Then read this carefully, you witless boob:

The material in the memo about Wilson's wife was based on notes taken by an INR analyst who attended a Feb. 19, 2002, meeting at the CIA where Wilson's intelligence-gathering trip to Niger was discussed.

The memo was drafted June 10, 2003, for Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman, who asked to be brought up to date on INR's opposition to the White House view that Hussein was trying to buy uranium in Africa.

It records that the INR analyst at the meeting opposed Wilson's trip to Niger because the State Department, through other inquiries, already had disproved the allegation that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger. Attached to the INR memo were the notes taken by the senior INR analyst who attended the 2002 meeting at the CIA.

So the White House knew that Iraq wasn't seeking Yellowcake for any number of reasons, but they couldn't pass up a convenient lie which would be a "slam dunk" to sell a war that was a foregone conclusion; former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill said they were "obsessed" with finding a reason to invade Iraq from their first week in office. No imminent threat, no yellowcake, no 9/11, no Al Qaeda - just an "obsession" to raise political capital and fulfill PNAC's dream of an American hegemony.

Next.

Posted by: trex on April 27, 2007 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Irony alert: "ex-liberal" wrote: it seems that your belief is not in accordance with the actual evidence.

Bonus: "ex-liberal" writes this about having his/her/its beleifs challenged by actual evidence, and cites as a defense his/her/its belief that FactCheck is "non-partisan and very highly respected," "maintains their high reputation by having fair and accurate entries," and "would have updated their article."

Priceless!

As for Gregory's source -- "If memory serves me right" -- no comment.

I'll take your "no comment" as an admission you don't have any rebuttal, thanks.

Sedcond of all, "ex-liberal," you have no standing whatsoever to cast aspersions on anyone's credibility and the burden of proof here, particularly when making off-the-cuff but easily verifiable remarks.

None whatsoever.

Anywya, not so fast, "ex-liberal" -- do you deny making comments to the effect of "ex-liberal" is fond of saying he/she/it "doesn't know" if the surge will be successful, but we're still wrong to oppose it, or do you admit that the substance of my characterization is correct?

"No comment" isn't good enough, "ex-liberal." Put up or shut up. Since you have no shame, I'm sure you won't object to being humiliated some more.

Posted by: Gregory on April 27, 2007 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

"ex-liberal" can you, please, explain why we even care if Saddam Hussein was looking to increase his stores of useless yellowcake?

Posted by: noel on April 27, 2007 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

marler: Ironies never tell us whether a particular ironic course of action is correct.


consider this...


"You think Vietnam was bad? Vietnam is nothing next to Kosovo." - Tony Snow 3/24/99


U-S death toll in Kosovo? 0


"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is." - Governor George Bush - Houston Chronicle - 4/9/99

comparing kosovo to iraq...

i'm sure more dead americans wasn't the gop's goal..

it just looks that way..

Posted by: mr. irony on April 27, 2007 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

The problem with the argument of staying in Iraq, is that no matter what, we are in a lose lose situation. We can't win, we never could. The only way to win in this type of disagreement is total annihilation of the opposition, or in this case 2 whole major factions. These guys have been fighting since before any of us were born. It would not be hard to believe that they will still be fighting when we are all long dead. Weather American soldiers are there or not. We have stuck our heads in the hornets nest.

Have some of you taken the time to see actual footage where some stupid soldiers of ours have taped themselves killing random innocent Iraqis? There is no way to stop this; this is why we cant win with violence. We cant win with military presence. The smarter soldiers who are taking out their aggression on innocents will not be video taping their crimes. We are occupying what would seem to not be amiable lands. Oh how we would rankle if someone did the same to us. This is what has always happened in war. Dont think for a minute that loads of innocent people havent died at our hands from all of this. Violence creates violence, it always has, it always will. And because of the environment that is Iraq, we would be fools to walk in with open arms, like lambs to the slaughter. I bet if I shoot your mother, father, brother, sister, or cousin that you would potentially be out to shoot me or do me harm in some way. Even if you know that relation is a bit off, you will take offense to their loss.

We have labeled those doing nothing more then protecting themselves and their families as terrorists. We have killed people who did nothing more then be in the wrong place at the wrong time. We have blamed several nations for what was merely done by a few of its citizens. Should foreign nations declare war on us for crimes committed by American civilians who go on a vacation with the intent to do wrong? It must be our nations fault that we dont have absolute control over all of our citizens at all times.

We have placed ourselves in the ring of responsibilities of all the deaths in Iraq. Its one thing to watch a foreign tyrant kill and murder his people, its quite another to stick yourself in the situation and become a part of the tragedy. If we can't stop the deaths, then really what good are we? And now instead of some stranger being to blame, we have to blame our own. You can spout whatever nonsense you want, but the deaths continue..... What it comes down to now is accepting the responsibility for the mistakes we have made. We did this. There will be no easy way out. We could be there 100 years with no results. Do you really want to wait that long to find out? We are not going to be able to leave with a clean slate or clean hands. Our hands are covered in blood, the blood of our own, and the blood of Iraqis. The blood of our brothers and sisters. We have broken the Geneva convention. We have violated the basic rights of others. The sad truth of the matter is that its so bad. I believe the real issue now is that we as Americans will all have to accept the responsibility before we can move forward. Everyone who drags his or her feet just keeps it going. What it means is we all have to accept that we have evil in our hearts. Which we do and they knew this 1000s of years ago. We all have the capacity for good and evil, its up to us to know the difference.

Posted by: Skorian on May 2, 2007 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

I suppose I could go on forever, I disagreed with this from the start. But, how crazy is it to declared war on a noun and not even have any specific absolute goals? Our leadership did not even make it clear exactly why we are there, with no bull involved. They have even changed their stories of why we are there a few times. How can you achieve an objective, that doesn't exist? Its the perfect way to lead us around by the nose. When we finally reach one carrot, they give us another. Iran is next.

Personally, I think its all a smoke screen for something else and that we are all in deep doo. Its done its job in keeping us distracted. For what I can only guess.

I have never read anything so fishy in all of our history. Have you?

(Is there any chance a moderator can fix my ?'s that should be ' ? and then delete whats in the (...) )

Posted by: Skorian on May 2, 2007 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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