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Tilting at Windmills

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May 24, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

AL-QAEDA IN IRAQ....Joe Klein may or may not be a wanker, but honestly, he doesn't really deserve any abuse for reporting in his latest column that (a) Anbar province is fairly quiet these days and (b) the tribal sheikhs in Anbar who lead the Sunni insurgency there have turned against al-Qaeda in Iraq. Both of these things have been widely reported elsewhere, and if Klein deserves any abuse here, it's not for trusting anonymous government sources, it's for trying to spice up his column by repeating common knowledge as if he had dug it up himself.

This tribal U-turn against AQI predates the surge by many months, of course, and mainly shows that the U.S. presence isn't really necessary in order to fight them. The tribal sheikhs consider AQI a threat, and left to their own devices they'll get rid of them on their own. That leaves us in the position not of staying in Iraq in order to fight al-Qaeda, but of staying in order to moderate a communal civil war, a task we're singularly unsuited for.

So what happens in the unlikely event that lots of Republicans (and nervous Dems) figure that out by September and decide it's time to get out? Phil Carter writes about the logistics of withdrawal in Slate today, and to my surprise he says this: "Even if commanders dictate a rapid pullout, it may take weeks or months to bring everyone home from Kuwait and the Persian Gulf region." I have long been under the impression that basic force protection issues would force a withdrawal from Iraq to take the better part of year, but Phil apparently thinks it doesn't have to. He also reads the tea leaves and suggests that the Pentagon already has detailed plans in place to do exactly this. They haven't published the plans, but they've got them

Kevin Drum 12:59 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (51)

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Comments

Why would it take a better part of a year? It certainly didn't take that long to get in to Iraq. Anyone who puts that kind of time frame forward is probably just trying to squeeze out another F.U. from the occupation.

Posted by: Boronx on May 24, 2007 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

As in the invasion, speed and tactical surprise would be essential for retreating with low casualties.

Posted by: Boronx on May 24, 2007 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

I'm guessing that the Pentagon has plans for everything from leaving Iraq to invading Iran.

Doesn't mean anyone will use them - or listen to the recommendations in those plans.

Posted by: Mark-NC on May 24, 2007 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Bullshit, Kevin.

Klein most certainly deserves the abuse for being the overpaid White House stenographer that he is.

How many hundreds of times has Bushit propaganda from anonymous "senior administration officials" have to be pushed---then found to be complete and utter horseshit---for the morons like Klein to get a clue that they have been had?

Posted by: wild bill on May 24, 2007 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

Agree w/Mark - I have no problem believing the Pentagon has a pull-out plan.

Should "pull-out" be the choice, however, my concern is how our C-in-C implements that plan.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on May 24, 2007 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Glenn Greenwald points out just why it is appropriate to rake Joe across the coals for this one, for the reason wild bill says: he's acting as a stenographer, simply repeating the sweet nothings his vaunted anonymous government sources tell him, without giving in to the necessary skepticism to find out whether it's true or not:

Posted by: Kryptik on May 24, 2007 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

In a sense we won't know until the next Democratic President is elected and sworn in. Will Klein and the traditional media play the anonymous sources game with President Hillary's "senior officials"? I strongly suspect that the answer is no: they will refuse to print backchannel information from a Dem Administration.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on May 24, 2007 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

First off, using anonymous administration sources to say what the president says on the record is ridiculous, regardless of what the issue is.

Second, this story reinforces, actually (listeniq1 to today's "press avail") presaging Bush's unrelenting and entirely false claim that the occupation of Iraq is about fighting al qaeda.

The foreign jihadists in Iraq, to the degree that there are very many of them (and I haven't seen a report to indicate that there are), is not the "enemy" in that war. It's hard to say who the enemy is, in point of fact, because it's hard to say what the objective is.

Well, no, it's not. The objective is a stable base of operations for the US in the Middle East. But they can't say that out loud, so they can't state an objective.

Al qaeda is not what is preventing stability and security in Iraq. It's not a central point, they are not an important force, and they certainly aren't going to fight us "here rather than there."

The whole proposition is so ridiculous that it's astounding it keeps getting repeated. So, yes, Joe deserves the crap he's getting because it's feeding the completely false, deeply manipulative, and widely believed claim that Iraq had and has something to do with 9/11 and future "spectaculars."

Go to Cspan and watch the travesty. The guy can't even get a coherent sentence out--and has no substance at all to support his wacky claims.

I cannot believe the Democrats caved to this guy. I can't believe they're afraid of his saying mean things about him.

Posted by: jayackroyd on May 24, 2007 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

The British got over 300,000 people out of Dunkirk in a week under conditions that were a lot worse than this.

Posted by: cld on May 24, 2007 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Consider this extraordinary article about how the Taliban seized control of the Pashtun tribes in western Pakistan in a remarkably Bolshevik-like revolution.

I'm sure the Sunni sheiks in Iraq aren't unaware of it.

Posted by: cld on May 24, 2007 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

The Sunni sheiks' success in taking on AQI has indeed been well publicized. But what gets overlooked in this success story is that it began with a POLITICAL deal between the sheiks-- a deal made easier by their common sectarian affiliation, and their common economic interests. This is constantly being cited as proof that the surge is working or can work. But the specifics of the Anbar situation don't translate well to the multi-sectarian environment of Baghdad.

Posted by: MarkM on May 24, 2007 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

> The British got over 300,000 people out
> of Dunkirk in a week under conditions
> that were a lot worse than this.

The British were retreating on interior lines that they had earlier prepared for defense against the expected German line of attack. And Alan Brooke started preparing for the possibility of catastrophe as soon as it became clear to him that the Germans had penetrated the French lines and the French had no plan that would throw them back. He was accused of pessimism, defeatism, bad faith, and treason but he had his plan ready when it was needed. Today?

All that said, IMHO the retreat won't be that bad: the Shiites will be happy to wave us goodbye and the Sunni will know better than to come out in the open (and get a final dose of vengeful punishment) which is the only way they could do more than harass.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on May 24, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

The New York Times has confirmed the reduction in violence in Anbar. Plenty of reports that AlQaeda is targetting Sunni tribal leaders in Anbar due to the leaders siding with the Maliki government.

Read OBL's 1998 Fatwah if you need proof that Iraq is a central front for AlQaeda!

Posted by: contraryjack on May 24, 2007 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: This tribal U-turn against AQI predates the surge by many months, of course, and mainly shows that the U.S. presence isn't really necessary in order to fight AQI.

I totally disagree. Our forces have finally found an effective approach. We should build on it.

These anti-al Qaeda tribal leaders were recruited and encouraged to fight al Qaeda by American soldiers, from what I have read. Also a strong US presence encourages tribal leaders, because it gives them more confidence that are fighting on the winning side.

The success of organizing tribal leaders to fight al Qaeda can be replicated in some other parts of Iraq. As Joe Klein points out, "The success in Anbar has led sheiks in at least two other Sunni-dominated provinces, Nineveh and Salahaddin, to ask for similar alliances against the foreign fighters. And, as TIME's Bobby Ghosh has reported, an influential leader of the Sunni insurgency, Harith al-Dari, has turned against al-Qaeda as well."

The considerable success we are now seeing argues for a continuation of current strategy, not a pullout.

Posted by: ex-liberal on May 24, 2007 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

"ex-liberal" wrote: These anti-al Qaeda tribal leaders were recruited and encouraged to fight al Qaeda by American soldiers, from what I have read.

I'm sure "ex-liberal"'s sources are as credibile as he/she/it is... [eyeroll]

Posted by: Gregory on May 24, 2007 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

If you're referring to Glenn Greenwald's ripping of Klein today....It probably has more to do with Klein's cheer leading for a corrupt and untrustworthy Administration. On that count, I think Glenn is right and Klein deserves no respect from me.

Other than that, it appears we all agree.

Posted by: kindness on May 24, 2007 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

And of what real significance is it that things are improving in Anbar Province in particular, when, as best I can make out, overall violence in Iraq is up substantially?

Who's behind this increase in overall violence? Is it still AQIA in substantial part? Has AQIA gone down in its contribution, or up?

The problem with Klein's article is that it fails to address the larger issues, finding instead convenient smaller issues that look favorable. Why believe that whatever progress there might be in Anbar province would spread? How does Klein or his sources make out that argument?

And if Kevin is going to defend Klein's article, maybe he could hazard an answer to some of these questions.

But the basics here seem to be pretty obvious. Overall, violence has only gone up in Iraq in the last number of months (certainly as best I make out). Unless there's something extraordinary going on, which clearly would need to be explained, how do you make a silk purse out of that sow's ear? Or, sticking with the porcine, isn't writing an article about the great things in Anbar province simply to put lipstick on a pig? Why should Kevin go out of his way to praise such an effort?

Posted by: frankly0 on May 24, 2007 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

This tribal U-turn against AQI predates the surge by many months, of course, and mainly shows that the U.S. presence isn't really necessary in order to fight AQI.

If the past year is any indication, the U.S. presence was both really useful and appreciated by the local sheiks. Peace has remained where the Americans have remained, and has departed where the Americans have departed. It remains to be seen how far into the future the American presence will continue to be really useful, but for now it does indeed look "really necessary".

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on May 24, 2007 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

The more Klein is abused the happier I am. Surely Greenwald's column today does not fall into that
category. Besides, sadistic flogging of Klein would only be poetic justice and taste of what awaits him in next life.

Posted by: Mellors on May 24, 2007 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Certainly one possible explanation of the decrease in AQIA activity in rural Anbar province is simply that AQIA has found it more effective to focus its efforts elsewhere.

Again, it's got to be the overall numbers that count here. If globally there's more violence in Iraq, why fantasize that some locally better situation is a true harbinger of something good?

Posted by: frankly0 on May 24, 2007 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Marler wrote: Peace has remained where the Americans have remained, and has departed where the Americans have departed.

We've departed from Baghdad? Who knew?

Good Ford, Marler, can you try to make your pro-war bullshit a little less obvious?

"ex-liberal" wrote: The considerable success we are now seeing argues for a continuation of current strategy, not a pullout.

As predicted, "ex-liberal" and the other dishonest neocon toads are grasping at straws of "success" to advocate staying in Iraq. The only mild surprise is how far ahead of schedule they are. Worried about September, boys?

Unfortunately for the neocons, the disaster wrought by Bush's incompetence is beyond obvious to the American people, who are no longer willing to waste our blood and trreasure in this quagmire. "Progress" isn't good enough. The Administration has had four years to bring order to Iraq; now they have until September. We all know it isn't going to happen; hence the predictable pointing to spurious signs of progress in the midst of the chaos.

That dog won't hunt. If y'all believe so much in this war, get your asses over there to fight it and quit asking other people to take the risks for your benefit.

Oh, but I forgot -- that's what being a conservative means to you.

Posted by: Gregory on May 24, 2007 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0 wrote: why fantasize that some locally better situation is a true harbinger of something good?

Are you kidding? Fantasy is all the neocons have -- and have ever had -- with regard to Iraq.

Posted by: Gregory on May 24, 2007 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

To make my point still another way, if violence overall in Iraq is worse than before, and things have indeed improved in Anbar province, then, necessarily, things must have gotten MUCH worse in other parts of Iraq.

Posted by: frankly0 on May 24, 2007 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

This tribal U-turn against AQI predates the surge by many months, of course, and mainly shows that the U.S. presence isn't really necessary in order to fight them.

Many months? They've hated al-Qaeda for a lot longer than that.

Posted by: thehim on May 24, 2007 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

The Iraqis want all foreign fighters out of their country, be they coalition forces of "al Qaeda" militants that entered the country after the invasion because Hey! The Americans came to the neighborhood! Can't pass up that opportunity!

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 24, 2007 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

George Bush is Al Qaeda's greatest ally:

He's increased Al Qaeda's recruiting.

He's increased Al Qaeda's funding.

He's provided a more secure and worthwhile sancturary for Al Qaeda in Pakistan.

He's increased the possibility of a radical Islamic coup in Pakistan which has the potential of igniting a devastating Pakistani-Indian war, not to mention giving radical Islamists control over nuclear weapons much faster than Iraq could have developed them, if ever, faster even than Iran could develop them.

He's squandered military resources on Iraq that could be better used to fight actual terrorists like Al Qaeda.

He's squandered 100s of billions of dollars on Iraq that could be better used to fight actual terrorists like Al Qaeda.

He's squandered thousands of American soldiers in Iraq and is willing to sacrifice thousands more just to save face for himself, just so he can have any lame excuse at all after his term is up to blame somebody else for his miserable failure as a leader.

He's damaged America's ability to militarily and politically respond to the threat of terrorists like Al Qaeda, damage that will last years, if not decades.

He's subjected this country to the greatest national security risk since WWII.

And 14% of the American public are still idiotic enough to "strongly support" this buffoon.

Besides ex-liberal, who are these nitwits?

Posted by: anonymous on May 24, 2007 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

"Even if commanders dictate a rapid pullout, it may take weeks or months to bring everyone home from Kuwait and the Persian Gulf region."

What politician in Washington is suggesting a complete withdrawl from the Gulf region. That's a new one to me. Is that Barack's position? Surely not Clintons.

Posted by: Chad on May 24, 2007 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Mr Drum please explain exactly how you disagree with Greenwald here. You write "if Klein deserves any abuse here, [snip], it's for trying to spice up his column by repeating common knowledge as if he had dug it up himself." He wrote "what conceivable journalistic justification is there for granting anonymity to government sources to recite the Government Line? It has no value other than to lend the government position enhanced though unmerited credibility ("It isn't just Bush saying things are getting better in Iraq; Time has a leaking, brave anonymous source who also says that, so it must be true")."

You and Greenwald object to the style (quoting an anonymous source on something that has been claimed in public by named sources) not the content of Klein's article. Neither of you says his claims about Anbar province are wrong, neither is willing to defend the way he hyped his non story. Do you disagree at all ?

Posted by: Robert Waldmann on May 24, 2007 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

ex-lib: Our forces have finally found an effective approach. We should build on it.

From the beginning of May until Tuesday, 321 unidentified corpses, many dumped and showing signs of torture and execution, have been found across the Iraqi capital, according to morgue data provided by a Health Ministry official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. The data showed that the same number of bodies were found in all of January, the month before the launch of the Baghdad security plan.

Washington Post 5/24/07


With eight days still to go, May 2007 caps the deadliest six-month period for America of the entire Iraq war — 540 dead, and counting.

Posted by: mr. irony on May 24, 2007 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory: We've departed from Baghdad?

I was writing about al Anbar. I thought that, as al Anbar was the topic of this thread, that was clear. There are of course places in Baghdad where peace has been brought by the American soldiers, and where it has departed when the American soldiers departed, but that's a different story. As you hint, there have been ebbs and flows of violence in Baghdad independent of American forces.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on May 24, 2007 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

Left to their own devices the Sunni Arab sheiks in Anbar would not get rid of al-Qaeda on their own. They would fight al-Qaeda, and they would lose.

This doesn't mean al-Qaeda types would take over the country if the Americans left. More likely an American departure would be followed quickly by an explosion of Shiite militia attacks on Sunni Arab civilians that would force Islamist extremists types on the defensive, at least until the Shiites began fighting among themselves. Beyond that, to use Anbar as a base for operations beyond Iraq terrorists would need to be able to pass in and out of the area freely, as al Qaeda was able to pass in and out of Afghanistan prior to the fall of 2001. They would face obstacles that the earlier iteration of al Qaeda did not -- and Anbar now, unlike Afghanistan then, is within easy reach of American airpower.

All I'm saying is that we shouldn't muck up the debate over ending the American commitment in Iraq with a lot of rosy optimism about what would happen in the country once the American army left. In fact, most of what we know suggests it would be bad, very bad, even worse in some respects than what is happening now. In 2003 one might have argued that this should make preventing further strife in Iraq our first priority, but four years later our priority needs to be liquidating the commitment.

Posted by: Zathras on May 24, 2007 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

There's plenty to gag on in Klein's piece, but I somehow held down my lunch until the last 2 sentences.

"They rest with the Iraqi Shi'ites. Eventually even battered children have to grow up. "

cluelessarrogantchowderheadputz....
Can I please add some curse words?

Posted by: Downpuppy on May 24, 2007 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

mr. irony: With eight days still to go, May 2007 caps the deadliest six-month period for America of the entire Iraq war — 540 dead, and counting.

mr. irony, yes 540 Americans dead in less than six months is horrible. Still, to put the number into context, here's a surprising statistic:

The number of American military deaths during the Clinton administration was almost twice as high as the number who have died in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The US has lost 3434 soldiers and marines in Iraq and 390 soldiers and marines in Afghanistan over the past 5 years. This total of 3824 has just passed half of the number of the 7500 soldiers lost during the Clinton peacetime years.

http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/2007/05/grim-milestone-war-on-terror-fatalities.html

Posted by: ex-liberal on May 24, 2007 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

30 million people in Iraq are now free to practice terrorism.

Posted by: Luther on May 24, 2007 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

That is some statistical gymnastics, and "Gateway Pundit" is a bigger fucking neo-con tool than you are.

That is the number of all deaths, stateside auto accidents, natural causes, off-base bar-fights. And only a fucking dishonest, boot-licking neocon shill war apologist with nothing to lose except a tax cut would even try to float that shit.

What a craven fuck you are.

Who is paying you to post your disingenuous bullshit?

Posted by: Isle of Lucy on May 24, 2007 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Figure those numbers in to the war-dead you dishonest hack. Those deaths didn't cease with the advent of awol.

Posted by: Isle of Lucy on May 24, 2007 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

ex-lib: yes 540 Americans dead in less than six months is horrible. .. The US has lost 3434 soldiers and marines in Iraq and 390 soldiers and marines in Afghanistan over the past 5 years. This total of 3824 has just passed half of the number of the 7500 soldiers lost during the Clinton peacetime years.


ex-lib....those numbers for clinton excluded iraq and afghanistan...

in order to make your comparison

dead on..

how many soldiers have died...outside iraq and afghanistan from 2001 to now...

then...add that to the 3824....

how does that stack up?


Posted by: mr. irony on May 24, 2007 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Bush "Now, many critics compare the battle in Iraq to the situation we faced in Vietnam. There are many differences between those two conflicts, but one stands out above all: The enemy in Vietnam had neither the intent nor the capability to strike our homeland. The enemy in Iraq does.”

The enemy in Pakistan has the intent and capability to strike our homeland too. As does the enemy in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, and a host of other countries.

So, why isn't Bush attacking them?

To boot, the enemy in Iraq (which enemy btw, since there are various factions with varying intents) if you mean Al Qaeda attacked us long before either the US or Al Qaeda was in Iraq so the only people making Iraq important are self-serving war supporters who value every death of an American solider for its ability to churn American anger into support for the Bush administration's jihad against Muslims and Arabs.

Posted by: anonymous on May 24, 2007 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

mr. irony, yes 540 Americans dead in less than six months is horrible

Oh fuck that, you pussy. What's 540 lives when civilization itself is at stake?

Sure, the peacetime meatgrinder of the Clinton era was tough (the magical spike in violence was probably due to his blowjobs -- because isn't it obvious that more people would die during peacetime than war? And because of that completely intelligent fact, we should fight MORE wars. By my count, using your crack stats, I calculate if we fought six more wars in the Middle East our soldiers would never die and we'd have a casulty rate of less than zero. Formerly sick soldiers would be cured of illness and the dead would come back to life. After all, it's only logical.), but we managed to pull out of that pacific time of hope and prosperity. Thank God.

Anyway, back to war. 540 is nothing. 540 Americans went to their deaths over the past six months. Who cares? So long as they're keeping your pathetic ass safe, right ex-lib? I'm sure you'll feel the same touching sentiment after another 1000. Because not enough people can die -- never mind American people, but scores of other people to -- just so you can feel secure in the knowledge that they're doing it all for you.

At least own up to it you giant pussy.

Posted by: noltf on May 24, 2007 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

We still do - but Iraq ain't possible and it is siphoning manpower and materiel from Afghanistan, and the fight against the people who actually attacked us. What part of that do you idiots not get???

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 24, 2007 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

And really - you fuckwits who are so quick to invoke Truman, Roosevelt and Kennedy - do you really think any one of them would have launched this clusterfuck? Of course they wouldn't have. Gawd the stupidity is staggering.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 24, 2007 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

noltf, of course I believe the troops fighting overseas to keep my ass safe. I am more than happy to acknowledge the debt I owe the marveloous American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The overseas troops are fighting to keep your ass safe, too, noltf. Will you own up to the debt that you owe the troops?

Posted by: ex-liberal on May 24, 2007 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

For Ex Lib---i have seen that "statistic" about clinton era military deaths. The 7500 included deaths from natural causes (eg disease) and accidents (a significant number intrinsic to an military body of order 1 million people) .which is vastly greater than the combat deaths (eg Somalia, Kosovo etc)---which were numbers For Ex Lib---i have seen that "statistic" about clinton era military deaths. The 7500 included deaths from natural causes (eg disease) and accidents (a significant number intrinsic to an military body of order 1 million people) .which is vastly greater than the combat deaths (eg Somalia, Kosovo etc)---which were numbers

Of course, the Wingnut Press does not bother to tell you this.

Below for your use is a list (gleaned from a gleaner of a Defense Dept site, but you can google it all up) is a list of yearly total military deaths from 1992 to present.

The maximum overall casualty count post 1980 occurred during the admin of GOP idol Ronald Reagan. If that means anything.

The numbers are generally declining from 1992 on. Guess why? Well, the military was decreasing in size and reducing its Cold War era activities. Fewer soldiers, lower base death rate.

Nowadays, our Army is pretty much concentrating on Iraq. This country of 25 million who had neither WMD nor the means to deliver them is now tying down the most powerful military force in history.

We sure have taught those ragheads a lesson, haven't we? Who needs nukes when you can sucker a rube into placing his country's soldiers in range of your IEDs?

ciao

jhh

FIGURES ARE CONFIRMED ON DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE SITE

1980 2,392

1981 2,380

1982 2,319

1983 2,465

1984 1,999

1985 2,252

1986 1,984

1987 1,983

1988 1,819

1989 1,636

1990 1,507

1991 1,787

1992 1,293

1993 1,213

1994 1,075

1995 1,040

1996 974

1997 817

1998 827

1999 796

2000 758

2001 891

2002 999

2003 1,410 534*

2004 1,887 900*

2005 919*

2006 920*

Posted by: jhh on May 24, 2007 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

If I thought that Iraq posed a threat, I'd join them. Pretty basic.

But I don't. Iraq isn't a threat now, and has never been a threat. Ever. Once.

I think terrorism IS a threat -- in the limited sense that terrorism EXISTS -- but it's plainly obvious to people who don't hide under blankets when they hear a thud in the night that terrorism is something that needs to be addressed at the micro level. Through intelligence. Through law enforcement. Through diplomacy. And this kind of terrorism, on the scale that threatens Americans, is best prevented by means other than occupation.

The macro level -- unleashing hell onto civilian populations in the name of 'safety'? Insanity. Literal insanity. It's panic. It's stupidity. It's completely counterproductive. It's a 'strategy' that is exactly like hitting a hornet's nest with a pole and then getting surprised that the hornets are angry.

All I ask is that you stop pretending like you give a shit how many people die. If it mattered to you at all, you'd either be there with them, or you'd want them home instead of dying without purpose.

What I guess I'm saying, exie, is that you are either an intelllectual coward afraid of the truth (an occupation increases the numbers of 'terrorists'), or a moral coward, afraid of dying for what you profess is a life and death matter.

Posted by: noltf on May 24, 2007 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Heh - the Gateway Pund-Idiot (yes, I waded into the fever swamp) got his ass handed to him in the comments. It was almost worth the trip just to witness the fisking.

Now, I must shower...

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 24, 2007 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK


combat deaths under clinton: 1

combat deaths under g.w. bush: 3400+

and counting....

Posted by: mr. irony on May 24, 2007 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

Hostile action deaths from the DOD:

Clinton
1993 0
1994 0
1995 0
1996 1
1997 0
1998 0
1999 0
2000 0

Average = 0.13 hostile action deaths/yr

Bush
2001 3
2002 18
2003 344
2004 737
2005 846
2006 816
2007 435 (thru may-24)

Average = 457 hostile action deaths/yr


Posted by: mr. irony on May 24, 2007 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK


chart showing the above stats:


http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/CASUALTY/Death_Rates1.pdf

Posted by: mr. irony on May 24, 2007 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

C'mon Kevin the Pentagon has contingency plans to invade Canada or evacuate Califonia on the shelf if the need arises.

It took us 3-1/2 weeks to fight our way into Baghdad. It shouldn't take that long to bug out unless we have a harder time fighting our way back to Kuwait. Unless of course we decide to dismantle the biggest embassy ever built and all those permanent bases and move them to New Orleans or something.

Anyway Hillary has called on the DoD to develop a plan to get out of Iraq. If they haven't developed a comprehensive one (probably a firing offense under Rummy) they will now.

Posted by: markg8 on May 24, 2007 at 11:47 PM | PERMALINK

Regarding the speed of any withdrawal, it depends on what assumptions are made:

Is it a fighting withdrawal or will we be allowed to move out unmolested?

What are we leaving behind for the Iraqis and what remaining presence will we have?

In what order will units be withdrawn?

What continuing operations will be conducted while withdrawal is executed?

How many and what sort of unit equipment sets will be pre-positioned somewhere in the area?

It's taken hundred of ship loads and thousands of airlift missions to deploy and sustain all that we have in Iraq. Ships take about three days to load efficiently. Two days if done in a hurry. How many layberths are available? Three? Four? I'd reckon about two hundred days for ship loading alone.

Airlift will be difficult to calculate, since much of it was driven by the need to deploy rapidly, such as armor. Much of the stuff flown in can go via surface, threat permitting. Airlift will be primarily a people move. We don't use commercial aircraft in Iraq, so everybody has to get to Turkey or Kuwait first.

Nope, the long pole in the tent is sealift and how fast we can load out. Two hundred days, minimum, is my guess. Unless we just start abandoning things wholesale.

Posted by: Trashhauler on May 25, 2007 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

In all the back and forth over the substantive issues, Greenwald's basic point, which I thought was very significant, is largely getting lost (although not to Mr. Waldman, who quotes the key graph). So let's look at it again.

Glenn is pointing out that, regardless of what you think about anonymous sources under other circumstances, it makes no sense -- and raises real dangers -- for reporters to accept anonymous leaks from Administration sources that are merely repeating the published line. All this does is bolster, unreasonably, the credibility of a message that the Admin is trying to get out there anyway. Let them get on the record if that's what they want to do; they don't need to be off-record to deliver the party line. There's no job security issue here, and no national security issue either.

Moreover, it's idiotic that reporters continue to put up with this gambit, as it's something no rational person would fall for in a minute in private life. Suppose you went to buy a used car, and the salesman told you that it was really only half the stated age "but you have to promise not to tell anybody I told you so." You'd be an idiot not to leave immediately, as the guy is obviously a conniving liar. If it was really true, he'd be happy to make the claim on the record. Why is this anonymous sourcing of supposedly good news talking points any different?

Posted by: retr2327 on May 25, 2007 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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