Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 28, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

NO LIGHT IN THE TUNNEL....Is it a surge or an escalation?

The Bush administration will not try to assess whether the troop increase in Iraq is producing signs of political progress or greater security until September, and many of Mr. Bush's top advisers now anticipate that any gains by then will be limited, according to senior administration officials.

In interviews over the past week, the officials made clear that the White House is gradually scaling back its expectations for the government of President Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. The timelines they are now discussing suggest that the White House may maintain the increased numbers of American troops in Iraq well into next year.

Translation: Maliki has no authority whatsoever; the Iraqi troops we've been training for the past three years are still useless; there's no political progress in sight; and in the meantime we're stalling for dear life, hoping against hope that something good magically happens. In Republican leadership circles, this is called a "foreign policy." The rest of us have a different name for it.

Kevin Drum 1:20 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (124)

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Comments

TIME TO MOVE THOSE GOALPOSTS! Yes, AGAIN! No, they won't notice...

Everybody ready? Okay. Here we go. One, Two, Three...

Posted by: shystr on April 28, 2007 at 1:45 AM | PERMALINK

At this point, I would settle for alien invaders landing on my front yard and proclaiming me Universal Dictator. I'd be a hell of a lot more productive then that wasted glob of sperm sitting in the oval office.

Posted by: Rook on April 28, 2007 at 1:50 AM | PERMALINK

If the term FUBAR hadn't already been invented, someone would have had to think it up for the situation in Iraq.

Posted by: SteveK on April 28, 2007 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK

Goopers, I know some terrific outdoor equipment stores, which I think you ought to go and stock up at, because you all are about to spend some very long years in the wilderness.

After this astonishing fiasco of a presidency, how could anyone in their right mind feel they could trust another Republican in the White House?

Posted by: jimBOB on April 28, 2007 at 2:11 AM | PERMALINK

People need to read or re-read the original Kagan/Keane plan, which projected:

  • an increase in casualties in the "short term"; and
  • an increase in the number of forces through at least early Q4/07; and
  • no substantive improvements to the situation until Q3/07-Q4/07
In short, this should be no surprise to anyone.

Posted by: has407 on April 28, 2007 at 2:11 AM | PERMALINK

Where the hell are the apologists to tell us we have turned the corner and only need one more Friedman? I really feel like unloading on someone...

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 28, 2007 at 2:11 AM | PERMALINK

If the term FUBAR hadn't already been invented, someone would have had to think it up for the Bush Administration.

Posted by: SteveK on April 28, 2007 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK

Fixed it for you.
:)


Posted by: jcricket on April 28, 2007 at 2:12 AM | PERMALINK

Has407: People need to read or re-read the original Kagan/Keane plan

Great minds think alike.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 28, 2007 at 2:17 AM | PERMALINK

Oops. Picked up the wrong link. Meant to link to this one. Shorter, less wonky, more scathing.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 28, 2007 at 2:20 AM | PERMALINK

Wow. Friday catblogging followed by Saturday nightowl blogging.
I saw a pretty good movie last night about the Irish war against Britain, and the ensuing civil war after the Free State compromise. There was a wingnut in the small Austin audience. The Brits were behaving badly, and you couldn't escape the comparisons to the US/UK in Iraq. Then the first time the Irish guys used force against the Brits, the poor wingnut couldn't help himself and muttered loudly "Terrorists!". It's like they're brainwashed. OK, I should take out that "like".

Posted by: jussumbody on April 28, 2007 at 2:30 AM | PERMALINK

Goodnight all - Sorry about the blogwhoring. The first link (brace yourself - here comes some more, since that ship has already set sail) got the nod at Salon last week, but the second one is the one I meant to link to, because I was ranting about Keane and Kagan in that post and it ties in with had407's comment.

Thanks again for the indulgence - going to bed now, and won't blog while drinking again for a while.:)

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 28, 2007 at 2:34 AM | PERMALINK

is this news? from the same article:

Mr. Bush was careful when he announced his new strategy in January to avoid public estimates of how quickly Mr. Maliki might take steps toward political reconciliation. Even now, White House officials are being careful not to describe with any precision the mix of benchmarks they expect Mr. Maliki to deliver.

By the time Ambassador Crocker and General Petraeus complete a comprehensive assessment of progress in September, three months after the troop increase has been fully in place, American officials are hoping that some of the pieces of crucial legislation will have passed.

Iraq has a parliamentary system with no majority party. No prime minister can have the kind of effectiveness that Churchill, to pick one example, had during the war years. The whole country is governed by people who were deprived of political power for decades. Open debate and policy mush is probably the best such a government can muster.

By September, I expect that the House and Senate will be able to override Bush's vetoes, unless there is clear and convincing evidence of progress. But I don't think this article has anything in it that wasn't public in February. With analogous thoughts in mind, the suicide bombers will probably launch their own surge, as they seem to have already. They can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on April 28, 2007 at 2:48 AM | PERMALINK

Our commitment in Iraq has been realtively constant, i.e. we haven't been able to stand anybody down.

According to the Brookings Iraq Index we've weaved along: May '03 we had 173,000; we hit a low of 139,000, Feb '04; 180,000, Feb '05; 146,900, June '06; 162,000, Sep '06; 146,650, Jan '07; and now we're heading for 170,000 odd again.

I have no idea why anybody listens to or reads Keane, Kagan or Kaplan. Click for deja vu nightmares tonight.

Anyway, all these asses wanted to play "the great game" and failed miserably, and we're all going to suffer for it. By November '08 we might be seeing serious problems in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Posted by: notthere on April 28, 2007 at 2:52 AM | PERMALINK

what is that name?

Posted by: albertchampion on April 28, 2007 at 2:55 AM | PERMALINK

...being careful not to describe with any precision the mix of benchmarks they expect Mr. Maliki to deliver....

Because they don't expect ANY?

...American officials are hoping that some of the pieces of crucial legislation will have passed....

Yeah, hoping. Hoping and praying. Certainly not expecting.

Churchill had effectiveness (and critics) under a democratic system because everybody saw the crisis and need to find solutions, and Churchill worked to unite them; he actually was a "uniter" and "decider". None of this applies in Iraq, and Maliki loses face (very important in his culture) day by day. And he is as confined within the green zone as Karzai is in Kabul.

God, do we have problems!

Posted by: notthere on April 28, 2007 at 3:03 AM | PERMALINK

notthere: I have no idea why anybody listens to or reads Keane, Kagan or Kaplan.

Because given this administration's paranoid lockdown behavior, it's the best information--and the best indication of what's to come--that's available. And if the administration is following the Kagan/Keane plan--which it appears they are doing (more or less)--then it needs to be considered appropriately, not simply dismissed with surprise and indignation.

Posted by: has407 on April 28, 2007 at 3:09 AM | PERMALINK

has407, that was more meant rhetorically. But I'm not sure it tells you much.

Honestly I don't really think they are following any plan. A few days ago they were looking for a supremo to coordinate Afghanistan-Iraq. Has that idea gone away? Isn't that what CENTCOM is for? Overall strategy and control, with 2 separate active areas of operation? We've had a variation of +/- 14% from median troop levels over 4 years.

So the surge is not a surge any more than any other. All we've done is concentrate a higher proportion in the Bagdad area, but still not to the generally recognized necessary levels to enforce security. We are tinkering tactically, there is no strategic change. There's no reason to believe this will have any different result.

And where we need movement, in the political arena, there has been and remains a stunning silence and lack of engagement. Within Iraq. Within Afghanistan. Within the region.

Posted by: notthere on April 28, 2007 at 3:53 AM | PERMALINK

What exactly is the difference between a surge and an escalation? Both are the use of more troops to kill the enemy and achieve objectives. Under our system, the National Command Authority decides how and where we fight. Calling them names doesn't make the use of their authority any less legitimate.

Our troops are neither defeated nor combat ineffective. The war is having an impact on both sides. Our effect on the enemy cannot be accurately measured by how many car bombs they explode. And one doesn't have to be an apologist to want to see us succeed.

Posted by: trashhauler on April 28, 2007 at 3:54 AM | PERMALINK

trashhauler --

What is "success"?

Posted by: notthere on April 28, 2007 at 4:00 AM | PERMALINK

Success is never having to admit you were wrong.

Success in life is having good digestion and a bad memory.

Success is having your master scratch you just above your tail. With love, you get your ears scratched and your belly rubbed.

Posted by: bad Jim on April 28, 2007 at 4:24 AM | PERMALINK

What exactly is the difference between a surge and an escalation?

It's about duration. "Surge" suggests a quick, temporary buildup meant to break through barriers and bring a resolution. "Escalation" is a slower, more permanent increase.

The administration desperately wants to play down the fact that their entire approach is based on staying in Iraq permanently. The voters really really want this thing to be over. Use of the term "surge" was a way to pretend that there could be a near-term resolution to the conflict. However, "escalation" far better describes what is going on.

As usual, this bunch is subverting language to try to hide their failures and avoid accountability.

Posted by: jimBOB on April 28, 2007 at 4:24 AM | PERMALINK

trashhauler: Our troops are neither defeated nor combat ineffective.

Yes, but not to belabor the obvious (Hanoi, 1975):

Col. Summers: You know, you never defeated us on the battlefield?

Col. Tu: That may be so, but it is also irrelevant.

Posted by: has407 on April 28, 2007 at 4:47 AM | PERMALINK

notthere asks:
"What is 'success'?"

bad Jim replies:
"Success is never having to admit you were wrong."

Yes. Yes. Exactly. You guys have it just right.

Success for Bush & Cheney is to rely on the smokescreen of the fictional "surge" strategic change (Really only tinkering with minor tactical changes in troop numbers and locations, as notthere correctly shows us) to delay the inevitable. Our troops will do as they're told, and soldier on for the rest of Bush's term.

Bush/Cheney will run out the clock, if they can, leaving troops in the field in Iraq until Jan. 2009.

The "war" (really an occupation) will continue, unresolved, until Bush's successor is forced to behave like a grownup and cut our losses. The successor will then be painted as the dupe or the coward or the traitor who "lost" Iraq, because [the wingnuts will wail, much as Melvin Laird recently wailed regarding Vietnam) he (or she) will have "surrendered" just when the war effort was beginning to turn the corner.

The new strategy is quite clear: Run out the clock, then never admit you were wrong. Hannity and Rush will provide cover.

Posted by: shystr on April 28, 2007 at 5:09 AM | PERMALINK

...or hoping that something really bad magically happens.

Then Chimpy/McCain/FauxNews can predictably play the "Fear! Terra!" card again. It's so fucking predictable.

Posted by: melior on April 28, 2007 at 5:10 AM | PERMALINK

Bush, Cheney and their lackeys are just being weak. Wiser minds will prevail, and we will do something like this (read down).

Posted by: Jimm on April 28, 2007 at 5:15 AM | PERMALINK

CORRECTION:

I said: "Hannity and Rush will provide cover."

After watching Bill Moyers the other night, this is what I SHOULD have said:

"To a really disturbing and disgusting extent, the mainstream media will parrot the Administration's line, providing free cover."

Posted by: shystr on April 28, 2007 at 5:38 AM | PERMALINK

REGRESSIVE-DEMOCRATS:

Once again,

[you have been deleted for being obtuse and histrionic]

Posted by: The Objective Historian on April 28, 2007 at 5:38 AM | PERMALINK

Oh God, he's back. The Objectionable Histrionic.

Once again, is the correct spelling "TOH", or should it be (like Homer) "DOH"???

Or maybe both, as in TOH - DOH

Catch this "objective" thinking, where TOH - DOH suggests we repeat the worst of the 19th Century's Manifest Destiny, imperialism and ethnic cleansing:

"This means making Iraq a US terrirory and the Iraq people subject to Exeuctive [SIC] Order similar to the general way we treated the Native Americans during our expansion Westward"

Yeah. Genocide, TOH - DOH. That's the ticket. That's what America is all about.

Posted by: shystr on April 28, 2007 at 5:48 AM | PERMALINK

TOH

Um, there's not 80 million in Iraq, more like 26 million. But that was close, considering the rest of your "facts."

And how exactly are we supposed to make Iraq a US territory? Have an election?

We must then compel Iraqis to behave or leave or perhaps live on reservations within Iraq that we can control

Leave? Their own country? For where? Gitmo can't hold 26 million.

Asshat.

Posted by: tomeck on April 28, 2007 at 6:13 AM | PERMALINK

TOH must have been on the tail end of an all-night bender when he posted the drivel above. What a lunatic...

Regarding the topic, Bush is looking for some way to kick the can down the road on Iraq and pass this fiasco on to the next president, who most assuredly will be a Democrat. I sure hope someone at the DNC is thinking about how to extricate ourselves from this mess and to ensure the blame lands squarely on the heads of the GOP, where it belongs.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on April 28, 2007 at 7:06 AM | PERMALINK

This all proving once again exactly what everyone already knew: that the surge was "too little, too late".

Rahm Emanuel has the right idea, time to feed the loyal Bushies some of their own nasty medicine.

Rahm sez...

In a recent memo to House Democratic leaders, Emanuel offered his colleagues the following advice: "Remind the country that congressional Republicans are willing to rubber-stamp the president's stay-the-course policies but have no plan for Iraq."

Dems do have a plan, to get out of the Bushies lost war. And Bush lost it, not Dems.

Posted by: non-no mass on April 28, 2007 at 7:31 AM | PERMALINK

Ladies and gentlemen, the goalposts have left the stadium...

Posted by: David W. on April 28, 2007 at 8:34 AM | PERMALINK

What do you mean those troops we were training are useless. Why I remember big army men and government leaders and Joe Lieberputz telling us how well the training was going! There were simply hordes of them just waiting to bust out and fight for freedom and democracy -- hundreds of thousands of them! All we had to do was wait for them to stand up so we could stand down...

Posted by: The Fool on April 28, 2007 at 8:37 AM | PERMALINK

"how do you make Iraq a territory of the US"

Well, for starters, you could invade it and then set up a puppet government.

Yes, it is time to leave Gaul - Those Franks and Viso-Goths are clearly raisin' too much of a ruckus - Of course, the Franks did fight with the Romans to defeat those V-Gs, but then turned on their masters - Now, about that question of letting the Army cross the Potomac after they leave Gaul, is an entirely different matter.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on April 28, 2007 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

Isn't announcing a September assessment date the equivalent of telling the insurgents to rest, refit, and replan until mid-August? Should we be telegraphing these assessment moves to the terrorists?

Might be best to have some sort of news blackout concerning troop levels, troop deaths, and the amount of sectarian violence.

Posted by: B on April 28, 2007 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

"In Republican leadership circles, this is called a "foreign policy." The rest of us have a different name for it."


Right. It's called the Micawber theory, after Dicken's character who always hoped "Something will turn up."

Posted by: Rula Lenska on April 28, 2007 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

Everyone,

Unfortunately the Dems will have to do what they have always done....come in and clean up after Republican messes. Hillary, Barack, Mr. Edwards or whoever takes over in 2009 will have the uneviable job of extricating the U.S. from Iraq. Also, the Dems WILL be blamed for 'losing Iraq' so we all might as well get over it!


However, if our being blamed for 'losing Iraq' saves the life of even 1 of our fighting men and women, I think the price will be well worth it.

Posted by: James M on April 28, 2007 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

Then the first time the Irish guys used force against the Brits, the poor wingnut couldn't help himself and muttered loudly "Terrorists!". It's like they're brainwashed. OK, I should take out that "like".

Posted by: jussumbody


One of the mistakes I'm seeing people make is to assume that people like that guy in the audience are "brainwashed," or duped by the administration's lies and propaganda and so on. This is wholly incorrect, and it's important to understand that. These people are not brainwashed, and there have been and are people just like them in every era and every country. There is a deep seated need in people to have an enemy, to feel that they are on the "right" side of some conflict, and there are dispicable, utterly evil people against whom they are engaged in some kind of epic struggle. The "War on Terror" for these people has taken the place of the old Cold War, but if it wasn't the "War on Terror" it would be something else. Not understanding this leads one to assume that once Bush is gone and someone a little less dishonest and more competent is in power people like that guy will come to their senses, but Bush exists because of people like that guy, not vice-versa, which means that if we don't combat the attitudes that Bush has exploited, there will be another Bush before too much longer.

Posted by: Martin Gale on April 28, 2007 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

Objectionable Historian:

Have you actually read any history--other than that tripe that occasionally spews forth from the keyboards of peopel like Gingrich and the Kagans? I don't think so, because if you had, you would realize that much of the reason for the hegemony of Europeans was that native American populations were decimated by disease before armed conflict. Who is going to give the Iraqis the equivalent of the smallpox infested blankets (to use the most egregious example--most of the transmission of disease was done fairly innocently). How are we going to kill off most of the Iraqi population so they can be "controlled" on reservations? What is your Final Solution, you ignorant twerp?

Posted by: BiggerBill on April 28, 2007 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

As this war continues ad infinitum, no one suffers more than George W. and Laura Bush. Can't you all see the sacrifice they're making?!

As Atrios would say, these are bad people.

Posted by: Del Capslock on April 28, 2007 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

The rest of us have a different name for it.

Yes, it's the John McCain Magic Pony Plan.

Posted by: Daryl Cobranchi on April 28, 2007 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

The rest of us have a different name for it.

yeah, horseshit!

Posted by: jim in austin on April 28, 2007 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

Surge, escalation, tomatoe, toe-mah-tow. Once again it bears repeating, the reason there's no exit strategy is because we ain't ever gonna leave. We will be a PERMANENT presence in Iraq. That was the plan all along, and Dear Leader will not deviate from it. The "surge" is just another monumental distraction from this essential point. Indeed, it's a policy on steroids; i.e.(d). confirm the Islamists worst suspicions about our motives, breed more hatred and contempt, create more havoc and escalate the violence, and voila, we can't leave now, not when we've finally turned the corner, and we can't leave with our human sacrifices having died in vain. *sniff* America would never do such a thing.

Figure it out guys ~ these gangsters have been LYING and MANIPULATING the press and the public since the beginning, and nothing is about to change that strategy. The "surge" is a distraction ~ it is an escalation ~ we are the occupier ~ and we ain't goin' anywhere. Get used to it.

Thank you.

Posted by: billy bob tweed on April 28, 2007 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

Two comments: First, TOH if we continue to fight in Iraq another 10 years, perhaps Iraq will have 50% of the world's untapped oil at that point. Second, if we don't continue to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on a war, the economy will go into a recession, look at the GDP report Friday. New rationales for the war (getting pretty low on the list, but hey, when you're desperate).

By the way, what is a "more compassionate execution"?

Posted by: Neal on April 28, 2007 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

Liberals, stop being so full of hate. We are winning in Iraq. Maybe you should study history as at least one of your commenters has. Real history, not PC History, We need to take the gloves off and smack the people of Iraq around so hard they die, give up or leave and stop attacking us. Then we need to colonize. Perhaps the Jews can make the desert bloom here as well.

Posted by: Gary Ruppert on April 28, 2007 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

Is Ruppert in for the early shift at Tucson Pig Insemination College? Or is that a parody of the Dumbfuck Troll?

Anyway, Fatty Fred Kagan may have got his plan, but he doesn't get the luxury of stipulating just when the public can judge its success.

Posted by: ahem on April 28, 2007 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

bb tweed is right, it is an "enduring" sort of occupation, kinda like the bases.

Gary "We need to take the gloves off and smack the people of Iraq around" Rupert, WTF planet are you on?

Posted by: jay boilswater on April 28, 2007 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

The only way we're going to get out of this is if every person who bleats "but we have to stay in Iraq and fight forever!" is thereby taken to have volunteered for military service and for all his taxes to be earmarked for paying for this.

For those of you who want permanent occupation, got a plan as to how we're going to do it? Aside from clapping our hands for Tinkerbell and assuming the nice Chinese will keep buying our gov't bonds?

That's going to be G. W. Bush's legacy--an America with a destroyed fighting force, a pile of debt to the world, a corrupted system of government, a steadily shrinking economy, and a decaying science and technology base. I know that some of you think that everything is peachy keen provided it's been done by The Great Bush, but could you please let the rest of us poor f*ckers who've been caught up in the same wild ride OUT?

Ah well, looks like the US will have to discover the hard way why you don't let the "idealism manners more than competence" and "Praise Jeeezus!" idiots out of their strait-jackets. Enjoy the history you picked, monkey-boys.

Posted by: grumpy realist on April 28, 2007 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

Translation: Maliki has no authority whatsoever; the Iraqi troops we've been training for the past three years are still useless; there's no political progress in sight; and in the meantime we're stalling for dear life, hoping against hope that something good magically happens.

Why is it that some of us said, point blank, from the beginning that this would be the reality of the Maliki government one year, two years, three years down the road? Answer: because the Maliki government was the end result of a pathetically flawed process that was not fair, not democratic, not defensible, not shrewd, not anything.

When large segments of the population cannot vote (especially Sunni), when candidates cannot even campaign, when voters have to vote for “lists”, when anything and everything about the electoral process is dependent upon military occupiers who often ramrod their preferences through, then the resulting government is not legitimate and most everybody knows it. The Iraqi “constitution” was also the result of such a process.

So, is the Maliki house built upon sand? Yes. The Maliki house was a political joke from day one. It will not stand, it was never even erected de facto. There is no legitimate government to even try to support.

We need to get out.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on April 28, 2007 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

The "surge" won't even be fully implemented until May/June. This has always been the case, since Petraeus began his new strategy. And you had to give it at least a couple of months to see if it would work, no? That takes you to late-summer.

What is the problem here, exactly?

Posted by: weis on April 28, 2007 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Not only that, there are increasing grumbles about our running out of literal *capability* (as well as the horrible consequences of breaking the army and marines...) to keep such a mess going anyway, regardless of what the Commandeer-er in Chief wants. We need to hear more about that out there in media land.

Posted by: Neil B. on April 28, 2007 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

weis: Kevin went over some of the many problems, like the inherent incapability and ill will of the Malaki government and armed forces (his Interior Ministry is riddled with Shiite death squads, which prey on Sunnis - how can we support one side oppressing the rest of their countrymen in such a civil war?), our own military wear-down problems as I mentioned, etc. It isn't mostly a matter of waiting until a more appropriate evaluation moment. Gen. Petraeus is sufficiently skilled and motivated that maybe he can pull it out of being really bad, but he is up against a lot.

Posted by: Neil B. on April 28, 2007 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

BTW - now that they've found extra oil reserves in Iraq, how will that affect plans to stay? Just asking...

Posted by: Neil B. on April 28, 2007 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

The only way we're going to get out of this is if every person who bleats "but we have to stay in Iraq and fight forever!" is thereby taken to have volunteered for military service and for all his taxes to be earmarked for paying for this.

Seriously. During the Revolutionary War, my family lost the farm and some of my cousins were hung. If someone is convinced this war is worth winning, I'd like to see them risk their life/property.

Posted by: absent observer on April 28, 2007 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Great comment on this article over at TPM, by David Kurtz:

It is a milestone in the Bush Administration's public spin of the war, marking the first official acknowledgment that the surge and all the attendant fuss were nothing more than an elaborate stop-gap intended to buy time so that the colossal failure of the President's foreign policy can be pawned off on the next president:

Posted by: jimBOB on April 28, 2007 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

They exclude car bombs and they underreport attacks as a matter of policy and still the situation looks bad.
No wonder sane Americans and Iraqis say the war is lost. If it weren't for trillions of dollars of Bush's oil under their desert....


Posted by: Mike on April 28, 2007 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

The White House has very specific definitions for the terms "surge" vs "escalation" vs "augmentation."

Posted by: AngryOne on April 28, 2007 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

Once again,

[you have been deleted for being obtuse and histrionic]

I LOL'd.

Posted by: Doug H. on April 28, 2007 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

Neal: Second, if we don't continue to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on a war, the economy will go into a recession, look at the GDP report Friday.

for what it's worth, that's not true. The money can be spent more profitably developing domestic energy supplies than in building weaponry or paying mercenaries in Iraq or building Iraqi infrastructure.

NeklB.: It isn't mostly a matter of waiting until a more appropriate evaluation moment.

Not only is it not that "mostly", it is not that in the least. The "news" here is that the administration is still saying what they said when the surge was announced.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on April 28, 2007 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

Obama the interventionist?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/27/AR2007042702027.html

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on April 28, 2007 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

" We need to take the gloves off and smack the people of Iraq..."

S-s-spud alert!

Posted by: Bob M on April 28, 2007 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

"BTW - now that they've found extra oil reserves in Iraq, how will that affect plans to stay? Just asking..." - Neil B.

I think you've hit the nail on the head, sort of. Although Bush and Cheney may be acting like characters out of a Greek myth, making decisions based on hubris and trying to avoid humiliation on their watch, I think more is going on here. Someone upthread mentioned the 'great game.' I've always felt that this is what Iraq is about and that the powers-that-be (not necessarily Bush and Cheney per se) don't want to leave until their objective is accomplished. That objective initially was probably some sort of permanent base structure from which the US could project power over the whole area. Although that appears less likely now (is it less likely, despite Dem candidates' promises?), I don't think the US will quit Iraq until, at the very least, a pro-US Iraqi government is firmly installed.

Posted by: nepeta on April 28, 2007 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

Bush is trying to scale back expectations, and Kevin's post is helping him to do so. In September, when there are clear, albeit limited, gains for our side, the lowered expectations will make the war popular again.

notthere: Churchill had effectiveness (and critics) under a democratic system because everybody saw the crisis and need to find solutions,

This was true only after full-fledged war began. Throughout the 1930's unrealistic people (and Nazi synpathizers) firmly denied the need for war. The US didn't see the need for war until we were directly attacked.

Many of today's opponents to the Iraq War are similarly unrealistic. They imagine that we have the choice of fighting Islamic fascism or ignoring it, just as we please. They dream that Islamic terrorists can defeat us in Iraq without horrendous consequences.

Some (Pelosi and Murtha) intentionally skipped
General Petraeus's presentation to Congress in order to make sure no facts get in the way of their lack of realism.

Posted by: ex-liberal on April 28, 2007 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Marler is right that it was always an escalation, but lying when he pretends that it was always known to be such. Just like Bush's little asides about "nation building" before launching his unprovoked assault on the Iraqi people are now touted as the main reason for slaughtering so many of them.

But you can't expect much from Marler, he's still spreading the lie that Iraq was seeking to truck 25 tractor-trailers filled with ore across the desert without anyone noticing. This in an attempt to get material they already had and didn't have the technology to refine. Hard to believe anyone still believes that nonsense, but then there are some incredibly stupid people in the world. See, for example, the post of "ex-liberal."

Posted by: noel on April 28, 2007 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

I'm shocked, shocked to find out that the right-wing trolls on this site are being obtuse and histrionic.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on April 28, 2007 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

Of which Islamic terrorists (fascists) do you speak? It's probably not the +/- 3% al Qaeda in Iraq, which are disliked by both Sunni and Shia.
Is it the Sunni insurgents, or the Shia militias, both whom are in a power struggle for control of Iraq and have nothing to do with Islamic extremeism? Cut the crap.

Posted by: nepeta on April 28, 2007 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: They imagine that we have the choice of fighting Islamic fascism or ignoring it, just as we please. They dream that Islamic terrorists can defeat us in Iraq without horrendous consequences.

And thus two fundamental flaws in the "conservative" approach to dealing with the authentic threats that we face: a) the assumption that those of us opposed to the Iraq War also want to "ignore" the very real threat of Islamic jihadism and b) that "Islamic terrorists" are the primary obstacle to "victory" in Iraq.

Posted by: JM on April 28, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

"If the term FUBAR hadn't already been invented, someone would have had to think it up for the Bush Administration."

Fucked Up Bush Administration R... what?

Repeatedly?
Republicans?
Reaction?
Response?
Reasoning?
Responsibility?

... so many possibilities.

Ed

Posted by: Ed Drone on April 28, 2007 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

noel: but lying when he pretends that it was always known to be such.

I just quoted from the same source that KD quoted from.

noel: he's still spreading the lie that Iraq was seeking to truck 25 tractor-trailers filled with ore across the desert without anyone noticing

you're making that up. However, considerable quantities of stuff are smuggled "without anyone noticing", such as the rockets of Hezbullah, and the oil and fuel pilfered from the pipelines in Iraq and Iran.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on April 28, 2007 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin's statements are, at best, gross exaggerations that reflect a lack of seriousness or maturity:

1. Maliki has no authority whatsoever;
2. the Iraqi troops we've been training for the past three years are still useless;
3. there's no political progress in sight; and
4. in the meantime we're stalling for dear life, hoping against hope that something good magically happens.

Posted by: brian on April 28, 2007 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

nepeta - there are many different Islamic terrorists with various degrees of relationships. There is OBL's al Qaeda. Then, al Qaeda in Iraq, which is related, but has some independence. Then, there are terrorists among the Shia and Sunni warlords in Iraq, as well as others in the Middle East, such as many of the Palestinians, Hamas, Hezbollah, etc. In addition, there are Muslims in the West who are inspired to terrorism by OBL and by Wahabi teachings.

The growing strength of Islamic terrorism is a threat that the West will have to deal with. Some wishful thinking people correctly point out that they're not a single organization. In a way, that helps us, but in a way it harms us. How do you defeat amorphous groups of millions of fanatics who will use any means at all to defeat your way of life?

One way to help defeat them is to get democratic Islamic countries that are on the side of the West. Iraq can become such a country if we prevail. The Iraqis are eager for us to help their democratic government prevail. E.g., Omar Fadhil of Baghdad writes:

I am an Iraqi. To me the possible consequences of this vote are terrifying. Just as we began to see signs of progress in my country the Democrats come and say, ‘Well, it’s not worth it.Time to leave’.

To the Democrats my life and the lives of twenty-five other million Iraqis are evidently not worth trying for. They shouldn’t expect us to be grateful for this.

For four years everybody made mistakes. The administration made mistakes and admitted them. My people and leaders made mistakes as well and we regret them.

But now, in the last two months, we have had a fresh start; a new strategy with new ideas and tactics. These were reached after studying previous mistakes and were designed to reverse the setbacks we witnessed in the course of this war.

This strategy, although its tools are not yet even fully deployed, is showing promising signs of progress.

General Petraeus said yesterday that things will get tougher before they get easier in Iraq. This is the sort of of fact-based, realistic assessment of the situation which politicians should listen to when they discuss the war thousands of miles away.

We must give this effort the chance it deserves. We should provide all the support necessary. We should heed constructive critique, not the empty rhetoric that the ‘war is lost.’

It is not lost. Quitting is not an option we can afford—not in America and definitely not in Iraq.

http://pajamasmedia.com/2007/04/out_of_iraq_why_are_the_democr.php

Posted by: ex-liberal on April 28, 2007 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

I think it may be the case that Democrats in Congress are being hamstrung from articulating a very different vision of America's role in the world by the prospect of winning back the White House in 2008.

What is lacking today are voices articulating a different set of principles, republican principles. This country will never again be a quiet, emerging giant - an island in a sea of history - but that doesn't have to mean becoming a conniving hegemon.

Someone needs to begin talking about what it means to be a city on the hill in an increasingly interconnected world. America can provide humanitarian aid and development assistance and arbitrate conflicts but countries and regions need to begin to provide for their own security needs.

If as conservatives ritually say economic dependence is bad for other countries, security and energy dependence is also bad for other countries, as well as for us. The relationship becomes perverse, codependent, imperial.

If we continue on this coarse the costs will continue to grow: in lives, liberties, and dollars. America cannot have military expenditures at many multiples of almost any country on earth as well as old age entitlements and low middle class taxes (let alone universal health care) in the context of an aging population.

And if Democrats aren't going to begin to say these things I don't know who will.

Posted by: Linus on April 28, 2007 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: "Many of today's opponents to the Iraq War are similarly unrealistic. They imagine that we have the choice of fighting Islamic fascism or ignoring it, just as we please. They dream that Islamic terrorists can defeat us in Iraq without horrendous consequences."

Hardly. We're much too busy plotting with Captain Hook and Mr. Smee to first assassinate Peter Pan and Tinkerbell, and then terrorize Wendy, her brothers and the children of Never-Never Land.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on April 28, 2007 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Marler, even if I were wrong about the semis (which I'm not), the bullshit you were spreading about Saddam Hussein seeking uranium from North Africa still makes no sense as a reason to go to war. There are two problems with it. One, Saddam Hussein did not posses the capability to refine the ore, and two, Saddam Hussein did not posses the capability to refine the ore.

As to your idiotic comparison of trucking hundreds of tons of ore through the desert of North Africa with the trafficking of small arms, the less said the better.

And then there's the difference between the fact that Bush knew that he was lying when he called it a surge and the public pronouncements made by those working with and for Bush. Yes, like a lawyer who knows his client is guilty but must present the best possible case, Bush parsed his public words very carefully. But that doesn't mean that this scaling back of talk about Iraq's progress isn't news. They pushed it while trying to get troops in so that they could continue their plan of kicking Iraq down the road and now that they have the troops in place they want people to forget that the definition of a surge is a short term escalation. Your spin does you no more credit than your lies about the danger Iraq posed in 2003.

Posted by: noel on April 28, 2007 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: One way to help defeat them is to get democratic Islamic countries that are on the side of the West.

Does this mean that we should support "democracy" generally in the Middle East, or only in ME countries where we think that we might get a government that we like?

In Pakistan, or Egypt, for example, democratic elections might result in victories for Islamic fundamentalist parties.

Completely open and participatory democratic elections in Iraq would result in a government run by Shiite political parties, most of whom would be allied with Iran...um, which is what we've got at the moment.

So, what do we do next?

Posted by: JM on April 28, 2007 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

JM,

Read exlib's statement again and I think you'll get your answer, i.e., "democratic Islamic countries that are on the side of the West."

Posted by: nepeta on April 28, 2007 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Then the first time the Irish guys used force against the Brits, the poor wingnut couldn't help himself and muttered loudly "Terrorists!".

At the risk of invoking Godwin's Law, the Nazis also referred to resistance fighters in the countries they occupied as "Terroristin".

Btw, what is the name of the movie?

Posted by: Disputo on April 28, 2007 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

sorry, typo in the German; should be "Terroristen".

Posted by: Disputo on April 28, 2007 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

The movie is Ken Loach's "The Wind That Shakes the Barley," with Cilian Murphy in the lead role.

Another good movie about the same period is Neil Jordan's "Michael Collins" with Liam Neeson as Collins.

Posted by: Stefan on April 28, 2007 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

Read exlib's statement again and I think you'll get your answer, i.e., "democratic Islamic countries that are on the side of the West."

Right. And those might be?

Posted by: JM on April 28, 2007 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Or, let me rephrase: if open democratic elections were held tomorrow in every country in the Middle East, which ones would turn out to be "on the side of the West?"

Posted by: JM on April 28, 2007 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

The Bush administration will not try to assess whether the troop increase in Iraq is producing signs of political progress or greater security until September,

Why would you want less info, not more?

Posted by: Swan on April 28, 2007 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

As usual, Sanger buried the lead:

In January, Mr. Bush characterized Mr. Maliki as an architect of the troop increase plan, even while telling visiting Congressional leaders that I said to Maliki this has to work or youre out, according to two officials who were in the room.

Can you say "puppet regime"? I knew you could. Shrub's created his very own Manchukuo on the Tigris.

Posted by: Peter Principle on April 28, 2007 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Not understanding this leads one to assume that once Bush is gone and someone a little less dishonest and more competent is in power people like that guy will come to their senses, but Bush exists because of people like that guy, not vice-versa, which means that if we don't combat the attitudes that Bush has exploited, there will be another Bush before too much longer.

Posted by: Martin Gale

I have no illusions that these people will come to their senses when Bush is gone. My own mother is one of those pod people. And you're right, her dirty little brain is constantly in search of washing, and it doesn't matter who is in power at the time. And I agree that the dirty pea brains are the real problem, not their petulant boy king.
But I still call them brainwashed because of their reflexive, almost involuntary parroting. Best example I have was from my youth. Telling my mother about the serious gaybashing that I got the night before, which could have left me dead, her first words were "All crimes are hate crimes."

Disputo, the movie was called Wind that Shakes the Barley. Act fast when it comes to your area, because it's one of those movies that gets a 1 week run (may 2 weeks at the max). It's playing in Austin this week, so I assume it's done playing on the left and right coasts.

Posted by: jussumbody on April 28, 2007 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

The surge was a political strategy and nothing more from the very beginning. It was designed to hold Republicans in Congress in line to continue to support war by giving the illusion that the Administration was formulating a plan for victory in Iraq rather than just trying hold the situation together for another in hopes things would somehow magically improve. Hell, they didn't put the amount of troops called for in the original military plan to begin with.

This White House has taken wishful thinking to an art form. But these fantasies can't last for ever and by October even Republicans are goign to say enough is enough and when they do, only one GOP candidate will benefit: Ron Paul.

Posted by: Sean Scallon on April 28, 2007 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

CNN's reporter in Iraq, Michael Ware, said live and on camera the other day that a US withdrawal from Iraq would be a disaster.

I think you missed the part where he said the U.S. can't win militarily because it can't surge the whole country, and that a political solution is impossible because Maliki is a lame-duck prime minister with no legitimacy in the eyes of Iraqis, and that the cost of this stalemate will just be more dead American soldiers.

Sane people tried to avoid this terrible and predicted dilemma by urging that we not invade Iraq. Insane people -- like yourself -- not only urged a disastrous invasion but are cheerleading the ensuing chaotic bloodbath for what are essentially petty, partisan political reasons, all dolled up in the garb of post hoc humanitarian concern. That particular bit of insanity is breaking the military, leaving our country vulnerable, sapping our treasury, and building more and more resentment against us in the Middle East and around the world.

If this issue is that important to you then you need to get off the sidelines, stop cheering, and get in the game. Meanwhile we'll do our best to get you back out of Iraq before your legs get blown off by some pissed off "liberated" Iraqi.

Posted by: trex on April 28, 2007 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, good fucking lord, mhr. The Khmer Rouge was placed into power by the actions of Nixon, and was defeated by the evil commie VN once the US left.

Posted by: Disputo on April 28, 2007 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

Liberals have good memories for Vietnam but none of them remember that after the US withdrawal,

What withdrawal? The US never occupied Cambodia. Bombed it, yes, but never occupied it.

the Cambodian Khmer Rouge ran amok and killed two million Cambodians.

Until they were stopped by the invasion of the communist Vietnamese....

I notice also that this tender concern for Iraqi lives didn't exist before we invaded, else over 600,000 Iraqis and counting would still be alive now.

Posted by: Stefan on April 28, 2007 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

ex-thinker: "...in order to make sure no facts get in the way of their lack of realism."

Ah, you've finally come to see Republicans as they really are.

And mhr, you are even stupider than Doug Feith.

Posted by: Kenji on April 28, 2007 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

Kenji, since you're so interested in facts, I presume you watched all of General Petraeus's press conference, or read the transcript at http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=3951

Or, if you're too busy to read the entire transcript, excerpts are available at http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/013/576bqpce.asp

By the way, did liberal web sites also print excerpts or are conservatives the only one interested in actual facts?

Posted by: ex-liberal on April 28, 2007 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

no matter, mhr. your hero, pat robertson, says the world will end tomorrow. he talks with god, you know.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on April 28, 2007 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

mhr: "Liberals have good memories for Vietnam but none of them remember that after the US withdrawal, the Cambodian Khmer Rouge ran amok and killed two million Cambodians."

Excuse my liberal impertinence, Captain America -- but when Vietnam ousted the Khmer Rouge and occupied Cambodia, incurring the wrath of Khmer Rouge ally China, who do you think President Reagan and his administration was supporting and arming in the 1980s, just to ingratiate himself with a fellow anti-Soviet comrade, Chinese strongman Deng Xiao Ping? Go ahead -- take a wild guess.

You've the right to your opinions, ignorant as they are currently and probably will be in the future. However, that right does not also entitle you to your own set of facts.

Your highly selective wingnut memories and wild wingnut revisionist interpretations of history mislead no one but yourself and your fellow foolhardy wingnuts.

You want to revel in your regressive wingnut fantasies and reside in your delusional cuckoo-for-cocoa-puffs parallel universe -- perpetually doing simultaneous battle with a multitude of al Qa'eda / Communist bogeymen, Cadillac-driving black welfare queens with six kids and two more on the way, shiftless illegal Mexican immigrants who want to take over Arizona and make Spanish our national language, and treasonous liberal Democrats who encourage adolescent schoolgirls to have sex with multiple partners at the same time just so they can get pregnant and have abortions before becoming militant porn stars foisting the Gay Agenda on decent, unsuspecting, God-fearing white heterosexuals like yourself -- that's your privilege. Have fun.

The rest of us will remain here, firmly grounded on planet Earth, and do our level best to deal with the present reality.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on April 28, 2007 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

Marler, even if I were wrong about the semis

I never said anything about semis, as you said I did. I also didn't say anything about trucking small arms. I was referring to the thousands of missiles that no one saw being transtported into Lebanon.

I think what you tried to say was: "Had the Iraqi efforts to purchase black market uranium succeeded, they'd have had to solve the problem of transporting the stuff into Iraq."

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on April 28, 2007 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, did liberal web sites also print excerpts or are conservatives the only one interested in actual facts?

If you actually READ the Petraeus remarks and Q&A session, then you know there is literally nothing there to crow about. Literally the only bit of progress was a slight decrease in sectarian murders, which he later admits is probably due to Shia lying low during the surge.

And if you think about it, once a few million million people have fled the country in distress and neighborhoods have been reshuffled at gunpoint to be more homogenous, one might expect those numbers to naturally fall on their own, surge or no.

Everything else Petraeus talked about were efforts that had yet to bear any fruit, but that he hoped might do in some happier future, despite the fact that similar and identical efforts in the past have not borne fruit and have only led us to where we are at, in the bloody present.

So in sum: there is simply no "there" there.

Thanks and come again.

Posted by: trex on April 28, 2007 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

trex, I agree that there's no conclusive evidence that the surge will work. However, for the sake of accuracy, your "slight" reduction in sectarian murders was actually a big 2/3 reduction. Or, for those who have trouble with fractions, that means if monthly sectarian murder rate in January was 180, it has reduced to 60 per month.

Posted by: ex-liberal on April 28, 2007 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

Well - that 2/3 reduction evaporates when you count the car bombings...you know, the thing that kills the most Iraqis. Take that out you can get a pretty fuckin' cheery report. Except it is a lie. And the victims are still just as dead, no matter what label you use to describe it.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 28, 2007 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

I got your reduction in sectarian violence bullshit right here.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 28, 2007 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

Or, for those who have trouble with fractions, that means if monthly sectarian murder rate in January was 180, it has reduced to 60 per month.

Conceded.

And that would be something, except for the following:

1) Deaths from bombings have been on the rise.

2) Petraeus admits what we all know: that this is largely because the Shia are in hiding -- meaning these numbers will likely go back up when the "surge" is over.

3) Sectarian violence in other areas has increased as we've squeezed the Baghdad balloon.

4) In an apparent bid to "boost" the surge, the Iraqi government has decided to discontinue keeping accurate records of casualties, so we can't trust those numbers going forward.

So if you're going to measure the real impact of that figure impartially, as I said before -- nothing's changed. It's nothing more than a talking point for sorry hawks who ignore 99% of the scenario which is bad to focus on this half percent that just appears to be good.

(as I go to post this I see Blue Girl has once again beat me to the punch...although I am unfairly hampered in this typing contest by my tiny forelimbs and poor, reptilian vision)

Posted by: trex on April 28, 2007 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

We make a hell of a team, trex.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 28, 2007 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK


mhr: However, for the sake of accuracy, your "slight" reduction in sectarian murders was actually a big 2/3 reduction.


U.S. officials exclude car bombs in touting drop in Iraq violence - McClatchy Newspapers 4/25/07

Posted by: mr. irony on April 28, 2007 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

ex-thinker: "...are conservatives the only one interested in actual facts?"

That's a question that answers itself--but only to those with functioning minds.

Posted by: Kenji on April 28, 2007 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

I assume that 2/3 reduction means in Baghdad only, while in the rest of the country violence increased.

Posted by: nepeta on April 28, 2007 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Why are conservatives so violent?

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on April 28, 2007 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

From the LA Times website: Most of the troops added since Feb. 13 have been sent to Baghdad. But the Karbala attack, apparently by a suicide bomber, shows the difficulty of stopping determined extremists willing to sacrifice themselves..

Although civilian casualties in Baghdad have declined since mid-February, overall civilian casualties in Iraq are up, the U.S. military said this month. The number of foreign soldiers killed has increased more than 50% over the first four months of 2006, according to the website icasualties.org.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 28, 2007 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

It's neither a surge nor an escalation. It's a juggling of deployments to bring troop levels in Iraq up to about their average over the past four years. It's a whole lot of nothing - unless you are one of the grunts who's nth tour has just been extended.

Sure makes great press though - "give it a chance to work", etc.

Bastards.

Posted by: FreakyBeaky on April 28, 2007 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

mhr, we don't notice you posting from Baghdad or anywhere else in Iraq.

And we don't notice you donating your money to the government to keep this drain on the country's resources going.

So what it comes down to--like usual--is that you're playing armchair soldier while other people die. No actual sacrifice on your part. As far as you're concerned, it has no more reality than a video game.

And you're perfectly willing to do this ad infinitum. Watching other people fight. Other people die. Just so that you can get a warm feeling in your little tummy about How We're Fighting Them Islamofascists.

Suit up or shut up, brother.

Posted by: grumpy realist on April 28, 2007 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

I think what you tried to say was: "Had the Iraqi efforts to purchase black market uranium succeeded, they'd have had to solve the problem of transporting the stuff into Iraq."

No Marler, you fucking moron you don't think. I was pointing out that even if your fantasy of Iraq attempting to buy uranium were true it still had no chance of happening. Hiding hundreds of tons of material isn't quite the same as moving missiles into Lebanon. Has no one taught you the notion of scale?

In other words, using a non-existent event with a zero chance of occurring and could not have led to a national security problem (still having trouble with the refinement question?) as a reason to invade Iraq demonstrates a fundamental lack of seriousness about national security.

What I meant was: "Saddam Hussein did not try to buy material he didn't need for a nuclear weapons program he couldn't possibly have been hiding."

Posted by: noel on April 29, 2007 at 12:16 AM | PERMALINK

noel, the point is, if Saddam Hussein was setting out to build nuclear weapons, he was going to succeed, sooner or later. In 1991, when we defeated his invasion of Kuwait, we discovered that his nuclear program was more advanced than the CIA had thought it was. A nuclear armed Saddam cared the wits out of reasonable people.

Saddam's efforts to buy yellowcake in Niger went nowhere (perhaps for the reasons you give), but people took those efforts as a sign that he was reconstituting his nuclear developmental development efforts.

Posted by: ex-liberal on April 29, 2007 at 1:28 AM | PERMALINK

ex-lib: "people took those efforts as a sign that he was reconstituting his nuclear developmental development efforts."


a sign?

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

that was a lie...

Posted by: mr. irony on April 29, 2007 at 5:37 AM | PERMALINK

FAUX-Lib,

Will you please set a timetable for withdrawing from this site? It is, as is your Lord and Master's war in Iraq, a losing proposition for you to remain.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on April 29, 2007 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

"ex-liberal" the fact that someone walks onto a car lot does not mean that they have attempted to buy a car you dimwitted troll. The fact that your only report of that person walking onto the car lot has been repeatedly demonstrated to be a lie means that not only do you have no reason to assume the person was buying a car, the only way you would even think he was is that you are a complete moron.

Here's another secret for you warmongering idiots, being frightened is not a valid excuse for murdering hundreds of thousands of people in a land far away. It isn't even a valid excuse for murdering people next door. The fact that you think it is demonstrates why Republicans like yourself cannot be trusted with matters of national security.

The fact remains: "Saddam Hussein did not try to buy material he didn't need for a nuclear weapons program he couldn't possibly have been hiding."

Posted by: noel on April 29, 2007 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl, yes it's true that as sectarian violence has declined in Baghdad, large-scale bombings have increased. In the short run, this is no net improvement for the poor Iraqis. But, the nature of the perp is key in the longer run.

The sectarian violence could expand into a much bigger civil war. But, the bombings are mostly the work of al Qaeda. If Iraqis unite to fight al Qaeda, they can defeat them eventually (although al Qaeda can commit many horrible bombings meanwhile.)

Iraqis are beginning to unite to fight al Qaeda. Today's New York Times reports:

Uneasy Alliance Is Taming One Insurgent Bastion

RAMADI, Iraq — Anbar Province, long the lawless heartland of the tenacious Sunni Arab resistance, is undergoing a surprising transformation. Violence is ebbing in many areas, shops and schools are reopening, police forces are growing and the insurgency appears to be in retreat.

“Many people are challenging the insurgents,” said the governor of Anbar, Maamoon S. Rahid, though he quickly added, “We know we haven’t eliminated the threat 100 percent.”

Many Sunni tribal leaders, once openly hostile to the American presence, have formed a united front with American and Iraqi government forces against Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. With the tribal leaders’ encouragement, thousands of local residents have joined the police force. About 10,000 police officers are now in Anbar, up from several thousand a year ago. During the same period, the police force here in Ramadi, the provincial capital, has grown from fewer than 200 to about 4,500, American military officials say.

At the same time, American and Iraqi forces have been conducting sweeps of insurgent strongholds, particularly in and around Ramadi, leaving behind a network of police stations and military garrisons, a strategy that is also being used in Baghdad, Iraq’s capital, as part of its new security plan.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/29/world/middleeast/29ramadi.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Iraq news must be very good indeed when the New York Times feels compelled to report it.

Posted by: ex-liberal on April 29, 2007 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

But, the bombings are mostly the work of al Qaeda.

Either they are extremely industrious, or the conservative mainstream media is complicit in propaganda propagation. For a force that is a mere 2-4% of the insurgency, they sure get a lot of press.

I'm starting to think that they take credit for everything, and too many American dupes are willing to let them have it and get all worked up into a fearful lather about.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 29, 2007 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl, as I believe you pointed out, it doesn't take much to commit horrendous bombings. If a group has a supply of explosives, people who know how to make car bombs, and fanatics willing to be suicide bombers, then a fairly small group can commit huge carnage. Note that many of the recent bombings are not military targets. They are aimed at anywhere that people congregate. There's no way to protect every location.

I hope the US never faces a similar challenge. A small group could cause similar carnage here. I'm surprised that we've seen no such chain of bombings since 9/11.

Posted by: ex-liberal on April 29, 2007 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

No they are not military targets, by and large. They are fighting a civil war that Americans don't understand and can't conceive of.

When you understand the significance of the schism between Karbala and Baghdad, then you might have a clue as to what we walked into. Do you understand that schism, ex-lib? I challenge you to accurately compare and contrast the prevailing religious mores of each city.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 29, 2007 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

"Butchery management"?

Posted by: twc on April 29, 2007 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

One blogger listed all the successes our troops have had in Iraq during the last week:

Sunday, 29 April 2007 72 SUSPECTED TERRORISTS DETAINED
Saturday, 28 April 2007 US, Iraqi raid in Mahmudiyah nets Iranian-marked rockets, mortars
Saturday, 28 April 2007 Marines destroy truck bomb near Karmah
Saturday, 28 April 2007 17 SUSPECTED TERRORISTS DETAINED IN IRAQ
Saturday, 28 April 2007 Baqubah: Local’s tips lead to success
Saturday, 28 April 2007 Commandos, Baghdad Eagles detain suspected extremists, find caches and IEDs
Saturday, 28 April 2007 Marne Forward Newscast – Soldiers work with Iraqi Police
Saturday, 28 April 2007Iraqi Army-led mission nets large cache
Saturday, 28 April 2007 Operation Chalons emphasizes U.S., ISF coordination
Saturday, 28 April 2007 Weapons cache found
Saturday, 28 April 2007 FOUR SUSPECTED TERRORISTS DETAINED
Friday, 27 April 2007 Operation Commando Dive leads to detentions, cache finds
Friday, 27 April 2007 COALITION FORCES DETAIN NINE
Friday, 27 April 2007 FOUR SUSPECTED SECRET CELL TERRORISTS DETAINED
Thursday, 26 April 2007 Four terrorists killed, two suspects wounded
>Thursday, 26 April 2007 TERRORISTS KILLED, VBIED NETWORK DISRUPTED
Thursday, 26 April 2007 CCCI Convicts 41, Sentences 4 to death, 3 to life imprisonment
Thursday, 26 April 2007 THREE TERRORISTS KILLED DURING OPERATIONS IN SADR CITY
Wednesday, 25 April 2007 Six suspected terrorists detained
Wednesday, 25 April 2007 Al-Qaeda in Iraq security emir killed
Tuesday, 24 April 2007 10 SUSPECTED TERRORISTS DETAINED, CACHE FOUND
Tuesday, 24 April 2007 VBIED detonates near Diyala’s provincial council headquarters
Tuesday, 24 April 2007 Correction - Fardh Al-Qanoon Update Efforts Against Extremists Continue
Tuesday, 24 April 2007 Weapons cache found inside Baghdad mosque
Monday, 23 April 2007 19 TERRORISTS DETAINED IN COALITION RAIDS
Monday, 23 April 2007 Troops assist neighborhood with fire damage
Monday, 23 April 2007 Coalition Forces see progress in Diyala River Valley
Sunday, 22 April 2007 ONE TERRORIST KILLED, 19 SUSPECTS CAPTURED, BOMB-MAKING CACHE FOUND
Sunday, 22 April 200715 TERRORISTS KILLED, SEVEN SUSPECTED TERRORISTS DETAINED
Sunday, 22 April 2007 Clearing operation Nets Five Weapons Caches in Baghdad’s Mansour district http://www.mudvillegazette.com/

He concludes with the mordant observation:

Meanwhile, back in America, hard working newspaper editors were diligently ensuring that virtually none of these stories would appear in their headlines.

Posted by: ex-liberal on April 29, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Finding that list (muck of which has appeared in my local paper, btw, but I have a McClatchy paper for my local news) is indeed a lot easier than meeting the challenge I put forth.

I can only conclude that you have no blooming idea how to answer the question I asked. But without that inherent understanding - which Americans do not have - all the lists of "achievements" are so much random chatter, significant of nothing.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 29, 2007 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

At least you aren't calling Omar by name anc citing him as some unimpeachable source - you are trying to at least be sneaky about the PJ's media drivel you cite as sources.

We're going to call that progress!

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 29, 2007 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK


faux-lib: If a group has a supply of explosives, people who know how to make car bombs, and fanatics willing to be suicide bombers, then a fairly small group can commit huge carnage.

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

who let that happen?

heck of a job..

Posted by: mr. irony on April 29, 2007 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK
One blogger listed all the successes our troops have had in Iraq during the last week: ex-lax at 1:32 PM
One 'unnamed' blogger who may be part of the Lincoln group? Yes, Victory Is At Hand! Except for the events overlooked by your favorite blogger: dead Americans, dead Iraqis, Bombs, and the propensity of the Bush Occupation not to count all the attacks. Posted by: Mike on April 29, 2007 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal, around Christmas time, you were asked if this had been worth it, and your response was "I don't know." You have obviously decided now that it has been worth it. Yet I have no evidence that you actually understand what you have signed on to.

You have not even attempted to answer the question I posed. Why is that?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 29, 2007 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

In other words: Pointing and saying "Look! A puppy!" ain't going to cut it.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 29, 2007 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I came back to see if ex-lib had seen fit to venture an answer to my most basic question, but alas, no answer is forthcoming. I am not surprised, but I am saddened by the lack of understanding on the part of the war hawks.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 29, 2007 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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